Authors, Promote Your Books for FREE with Humanmade

humanmade-logoAny author who has ever tried to find free marketing opportunities knows how many ‘rubbish sites’ one has to sift through in order to find the good ones. One of the sites I’ve discovered that’s super easy to use is – you click the ‘submit your talent’ button on the website, add your book’s details and Bob’s your aunty… you’re done and can sit back and wait for the confirmation email. The best part is that it literally takes a few minutes per book, so it won’t cut into your writing time too much, and it’s not only for authors – all creative people can showcase their work.

Here’s a little more about this free promotion site, from the owner: is a free promotion website (with a human touch) for talented people and their works. It gives users the opportunity to increase their web presence by having special pages for their works and the ability to receive comments and rating by visitors.

Although the website is heavily used by authors, writers and poets to promote their books, it is also used by other talents. Talents’ categories/directories currently include Books and Authors – in the following genres: Business, Children, Crafts, Fiction, Humor, Inspirational, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Religion and Spirituality, Sports and Technology, also, Artwork, Music, Performing Arts, Personal Websites, Photography and Videos. Other categories can be created at anytime to suit users’ submissions.

The website currently functions by direct submissions by visitors, then by reviewing submissions by site moderators/webmaster. Once accepted, the work will be indexed according to its appropriate category and published. What’s great about this talent promotion website is that each talented person will have a separate profile page showing his/her biography, website, blog, links to social networks, summary of all works indexed at the website in addition to a contact form enabling other users to interact with him/her directly to his/her personal email address (this is if the user wishes to).

Each work submitted by the user will have a separate page on the website, featuring work description, image and other related links. Each page has sharing and book marking tools which will help visitors to spread the word about this work. Also, there are rating widgets and a comment form, which will open the door for discussing the work and gives visitors the chance to share their insights about it.

Website moderators also utilize various social networks to spread the word about indexed works in order to give its web presence a boost and help it receive more attention. also helps talented people in the field of promoting their works by the initiative ‘Learn from the Talents’, which is a voluntary collaboration with the featured talents on the website to share their experiences in promoting their works. It comes in an interview (questions and answers) format. Although it is based on special invitation by site moderators, users can request to share in their stories through this initiative.

Since established in 2007, several changes have been made, and other changes are in process to improve the website and enhance users’ experience. One major change would be shifting it to a full talents’ community website, where users can submit, publish and edit their works by themselves, with more tools to interact with other users. For that purpose, we are running a poll to evaluate users’ opinions to decide on the future shape of the website. is open for all to visit, enjoy and use. Your comments and suggestions are always highly welcome.

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JUST RELEASED! No Angel – Pippa Jay’s latest offering, a futuristic urban fantasy novel

bannerFBToday I’m sharing an extract from the futuristic urban fantasy novel No Angel by Pippa Jay, which was released today. Enjoy!

NOANGELHow far would you fall for love?

Centuries ago, guardian angel Lucien committed a terrible sin. He gave into his own desires and revealed himself to the mortal woman he’d been charged to protect. By kissing her, he condemned himself. Torn of his wings and his angelic powers, thrown down into the City Below, Lucien now serves Satan as an incubus who claims souls for his master from the City Above, and who feeds on the energy stolen from his mortal lovers. Dark, sexy and charming, he’s been top of his league for decades uncounted.

Until His Infernal Highness decides to send Lucien looking for a lost angel. Lucien has no idea what he did to deserve such a punishment, and the touch of an angel could destroy him. Yet the challenge and the potential kudos of seducing one of his former heavenly kin leads him on.

But when he finds the angel, he learns he still has more to lose than his already forsaken soul.

Please add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE, or sign up HERE for Pippa Jay’s no-spam newsletter for special previews on cover reveals, new releases, the latest giveaways and discounts, and upcoming news.

Extract from No Angel

But where to find an angel? Just as his kind haunted bars and restaurants, where the old sins of lust and gluttony rose strongest in humans, so angels would be drawn to places where hope burned brightest. Hospitals. Aid centers. Churches were a rare commodity as the twenty-second century progressed, preserved more for their architectural value than any religious use. Sometimes people would marry there, strong traditionalists still clinging to the past. The only church in Lucien’s territory—which was larger than most—was St. Bartholomew’s. It was as good a place as any to start. Continue reading

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Pre-publication extract: Wizard of Ends, Book 3: Mountains of Eclador

Today I bring you another pre-publication extract from Wizard of Ends, Book 3: Mountains of Eclador. This will probably be the last until the book is published next year. Enjoy!


Lanaran and the soldiers of Ends followed Rune along the narrow path she had opened in the mountain face. The sorceress still followed the kreag’s magical trail, which Lanaran wished he, too, could see. It irked him that he would be lost without someone as insufferable as her.

Rune slowed her horse until she was alongside him. “The trail grows thin.”

Lanaran’s heart sank.

“That’s a good sign,” she said. “With an enchanted tail spell, the ‘tail’ gets thinner the closer one gets to whatever it is one follows.”

Lanaran heaved a sigh of relief.

“We must proceed with greater caution, lest we give away our presence.”

He nodded, adrenaline searing through him in anticipation of the fight he imagined would soon come.

They rode in silence until the noon sun was directly overhead, then Rune gestured for them to stop.

She pointed ahead, to where solid rock blocked their way. “We’ve reached the other side.”

Lanaran groaned. “Don’t tell me we have to go through that whole trance-like procedure again?”

Rune shook her head. “No. I saw this when I followed the magic to its source.”

She waved her hands and the rock shimmered and vanished, revealing a lush valley beyond.

Lanaran urged his horse forward, followed closely by Rune and his soldiers. Greenwood trees lined the valley sides, their melon-sized yellow flowers in full bloom, which was strange for this time of year. Unknown red-flowered bushes spread out between the trees, so small they were half hidden in the long grass. Birds chirped above and the familiar hum of a night insects filled the air – also strange, since night insects never came out at day.

Rune whispered, “Something’s wrong here.”

“I agree,” Lanaran murmured. “Is it more magic?”

The sorceress frowned and flicked her long fringe out of her eyes. “Yes. Of the worst kind.” She scanned the surroundings, as if expecting to see an enemy. “I know Lashlor said it’s impossible, and it is, but…”

“Yes?” Lanaran hissed, impatient.

“It’s Eldryn’s magic. I’m certain of it.”

Lanaran cocked his head. “The ancient sorcerer – the one who’s dead?”

She nodded.

“As you said, that’s impossible.”

“I’m not wrong,” Rune insisted. “It’s Adranalis – magic that survives death. It’s almost impossible to undo.” She fell silent for a moment, then her eyes widened almost imperceptibly and she spun back to the rock face, which once again looked solid. She waved her hands as she’d done just minutes ago, but, this time, the rock did not shimmer and vanish. She touched it and cursed, then whirled back to face Lanaran.

“I’m trapped! I’m trapped in this insufferable mountain again!” Rune sank to her knees and put her face in her hands, then looked up at Lanaran. “You should not have sent Lashlor away.”

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Ley Lines & Orion’s Harvesters

Since ley lines are vital to my plot in Legends of Origin, Book 2: Orion’s Harvesters, I decided to share a bit about them today.

The answer to whether or not ley lines exist and what they are depends on who you ask. Oxford Dictionaries defines a ley line as ‘a supposed straight line connecting three or more prehistoric or ancient sites, sometimes regarded as the line of a former track and associated by some with lines of energy and other paranormal phenomena’.

The general consensus among some schools of belief is that ley lines are natural energy rives whose power we could harness, if we knew how.

While there is some evidence to suggest that ley lines are, in fact, underground ‘rivers’ of energy, and/or perhaps an anomaly in the Earth’s magnetic field, there is no conclusive proof – at least, none accepted as fact by everyone in the scientific community.

Origin of the term ‘ley line’

In 1921, an amateur archaeologist named Alfred Watkins noticed that many footpaths on the map of Blackwardine connected the hilltops in straight lines. As he studied the landscape further, he grew convinced that these straight lines, which he called ley lines, were the remnants of ancient trading routes – an ancient road network that used hilltops and other landmarks as sighting points.

Interesting theories and facts about ley lines

  • Ley lines connect many ancient monuments and other mysterious places in straight lines. Places ley lines pass through include Stonehenge, the Egyptian pyramids, Glastonbury Tor, Machu Picchu, Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, the pyramids at Xian in China, southern Japan’s Dragon’s Triangle, the Bermuda Triangle and Easter Island.
  • Ley lines are, to this day, largely perplexing.
  • Evidence suggests that birds, animals and fish use ley lines to navigate to their breeding ground or warmer climates, and some say that even bacteria use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate.
  • Some believe that ley lines’ energy comes from the energy of ancient humans who once walked along them.
  • It’s said that one is more likely to encounter paranormal activity in places intersected by a ley line. However, it’s generally accepted that electro-magnetic fields affect the mind and body, causing things like hair standing on end, a tingling sensation, or an altered perception, all of which might account for the ‘paranormal’ activity.
  • Some believe that UFOs use ley lines to navigate Earth’s surface.
  • Some think that ley line energy can be either positive or negative, as opposed to neutral energy.
  • It’s believed that ancient humans deliberately built massive structures along ley lines to harness their power.
  • It’s said that the nexus – the place where two or more ley lines intersect – is a place of immense power.

Ley lines in my sci-fi fantasy series, Legends of Origin

In Book 2 of this series, I introduce an ancient ley line weapon that makes Earth’s most powerful nuclear weapons look like firecrackers.

With this ley line weapon, some humans can harness Earth’s untapped natural energy. Hidden in Table Mountain, the massive ancient weapon is three storeys high and half a kilometre long, with a DNA helix-like structure rising from the centre of the dish at its tip.

Klarion, the Zephlo (alien) Liam meets in Book 2, uses ley line energy to open a portal to his home galaxy. Exactly how he does so will only be unveiled in later books.

Extract from Book 2, Orion’s Harvesters

Vareck and Jacques stood on top of Table Mountain, the ground trembling beneath them as the wind buffeted them, ripping at their clothes and hair as if determined to drag them over the mountain’s edge. A few metres away, the ley line weapon ascended from the ground, the deep, juddering groans as it rose higher giving the impression that it was about to fall apart, quite literally. Gus, whose job it was to fire the ancient weapon, sat strapped in the seat two metres below the dish.

“Maybe this isn’t such a good idea,” muttered Gilbert, standing next to Vareck.

Tempted to agree, Vareck bit back his first thoughts. “We have no choice.”

“There’s always a choice,” said Gilbert.

Vareck glared at him.

“I’m just saying…” Gilbert took a step back as the weapon came to a grinding halt.

Vareck spoke into his radio. “Fire it up, Johann.”

Seven minutes passed before a high-pitched whine filled the air as the energy river beneath Earth’s surface flowed through the ley line weapon, giving its copper surface a turquoise-white shimmer.

By now, it felt as if they were in the middle of an earthquake, and Vareck worried that this part of the mountaintop may collapse under their feet. Once the weapon had charged to full capacity, the whine and juddering should stop. Vareck counted the seconds. Come on.

Danie hurried into view carrying four sets of earmuffs just as the ancient weapon fell silent. Swirling mists of turquoise and white energy cloaked the dish, hiding Gus from view and slowly spreading out across the sky. Good; it would hide the weapon’s exact location and make destroying it a little harder.

A low hum replaced the whine. Vareck grimaced, hoping it wouldn’t grow louder.

It was time. Would the centuries of waiting and passing down information, of keeping the weapon in good condition, of preparation… would it all be in vain, or would it save humanity?

Goosebumps prickled Vareck’s cold flesh, and he rubbed his arms as he stared up at the dish – similar to a satellite dish – near the weapon’s tip. The DNA helix-like structure rising from the dish’s centre was barely visible, a mere pin to the eye. The silence hurt his ears, and he scanned his brothers’ faces as they locked their gazes on the weapon.

“It’s time,” Vareck murmured. “Everyone ready?”

“It doesn’t matter if we aren’t,” Danie said. “If we wait much longer, there won’t be any humans left to save.” He looked at Vareck. “I have to finish packing up. We’re nearly ready to load the first lot of crystals and medical supplies onto the first truck.”

Vareck nodded. They were moving as much of their equipment as possible to various smaller bases across South Africa. When this was over, military, air force, government, media and other curious parties would be crawling all over Table Mountain to see the weapon and those who had fired it. With any luck, no clues would be left behind – other than a few red herrings, of course.

“God speed, Brother,” Jacques said, slapping Danie on the back.

“Have fun.” Danie winked as he left.

Vareck sighed, glanced at the towering ley line weapon, then raised his radio to his lips. “Gus, fire at will.”

Just when they thought that either the weapon hadn’t worked or Gus had lost his nerve, blinding turquoise-white energy jetted from its tip, heading for the Harvesters’ spaceship. It struck the ship’s underbelly with a resounding boom that Vareck could have sworn he actually felt. Black smoke poured from the alien craft, raising cheers from the small group and those who were on guard duty to ensure no unwary soul happened upon the weapon.

Strangely, the energy had discharged in utter silence… although it could just be that the wind had snatched away the sound before it could reach their ears.

Vareck spoke into his radio. “Fire again, Gus. Keep firing. It’s working!”

How many times could the ley line weapon be fired until it had to be recharged? That was one of the few things their ancestors hadn’t mentioned. Stupid, since it was vital knowledge, as far as Vareck was concerned. Perhaps those texts had simply been lost over time, or maybe their ancestors had been under the mistaken impression that firing the ley line weapon only once would do the trick.

Earth’s ley line energy streaked towards the Harvester spaceship again, causing more smoke to billow from its underbelly. Flickering red dots appeared on the craft as small fires erupted across its surface. Not even Cape Town’s gale force winds could whip away the cheers this brought.

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Smashwords: an e-book aggregator I recommend

For new writers who are still looking for a distributor, I recommend Smashwords. It’s probably one of the biggest e-book distributors around at the moment, and is an excellent way to get your work out there that won’t cost you a cent.

Authors upload MS Word manuscripts, and Smashwords’ Meat Grinder converts it to the most popular e-book formats. Once your manuscript is approved, Smashwords sends it to various distributors, including Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo and a few others.

The author sets the price of each book, payments are made via PayPal, and you get your own profile page on Smashwords.

I’ve published my books on Smashwords, and I’m reasonably happy with everything so far. There’s the odd thing or two I’m not completely charmed with, but then you’ll find that it’s the same no matter who you use to sell your books.

I’d love to hear your experience, both with Smashwords and other distributors/aggregators.

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PRE-PUBLICATION EXTRACT – Wizard of Ends, Book 3: Mountains of Eclador

I haven’t had much time to write lately, largely due to this being our busiest time of year at work, the need to go Christmas shopping, and my husband’s fight with a power tool on our daughter’s first birthday early last month – he lost Round 1 and had to have an op to repair tendons on his foot, but it looks like he’ll win in the end. I manage to save my sanity by slipping in a few paragraphs of Wizard of Ends whenever I have a chance, although that’s not nearly as often as I would like.

What follows is especially for the readers who contacted me to say how much you enjoyed the first two Wizard of Ends books – a pre-publication extract from Book 3: Mountains of Eclador, which I’m about halfway through writing. I hope you enjoy it!

Wizard of Ends, Book 3: Mountains of Eclador

Queen Narraki Dragonsbane examined her reflection in the mirror, pleased with her appearance. Despite the exhaustion caused by being cursed, the dark rings under her eyes were barely noticeable with the make-up Shohanna, her strawberry blonde maid-in-waiting, had applied. Her black hair was as silky as ever, shining in the morning sunlight that streamed through the open window, and her bright green eyes shone, giving her the appearance of being fully alert – which she wasn’t. How could she be, with the insomnia caused by her worry for her husband, King Lanaran Dragonsbane?

Lanaran had gone off to rescue a friend in need, however, and King Axim would not have hesitated either if Lanaran had been the one to be abducted. Still, Narraki wished Lanaran had sent his soldiers alone, which was funny in a sense, since his willingness to lay down his life for his friends was one of the many things she loved about him.

Shohanna entered the royal bedchamber with clean linen and proceeded to change the bedding. Narraki studied the girl. She was seventeen years old, sentenced to be a servant for six months for the crime of stealing costume jewellery. Narraki had noticed how terrified Shohanna was and had taken pity on her and insisted she take over as her maid-in-waiting for the duration of her sentence – like most other petty criminals, the girl had chosen not to spend her sentence in the castle dungeons. Nervousness had made her clumsy for her first few days, but she had soon realised that the Queen of Ends was not going to treat her like a criminal, despite her sentence. It was a pity that most citizens of Ends reviled servants so much; there were times one could be too loyal to one’s kingdom, Narraki thought.

A knock came at the door, and Narraki called, “Enter.”

A kitchen maid entered with breakfast – a silver tray holding fresh strawberries and cream, with a glass of goat’s milk to wash it down. She greeted the queen, then placed the tray on the balcony table and left.

Narraki stared at it for a few moments. “I’m not very hungry. Why don’t you have it?”

Shohanna looked up, her eyes wide. “I-I couldn’t. It’s intended for the Queen of-”

“But the Queen of Ends does not want it. Or should it go to waste?”

Shohanna finished with the bed and fixed watery blue eyes on Narraki. “If you don’t eat, even the make-up won’t work tomorrow.” She looked down, blushing. “I’m sorry, My Queen. I didn’t mean-”

“I know.” Narraki sighed and went to sit at the table. She gazed over the balcony’s white marble walls at the luscious castle gardens and sighed again. “I’m just not very hungry. Worry does that to me.” A few moments of silence passed, with Shohanna twiddling her thumbs, her eyes constantly darting between the floor and queen. “Does it do that to you too? Take away your appetite?”

Shohanna’s eyes widened again, her expression revealing that she wasn’t used to being asked for her opinion. She shuffled her feet. “Sometimes, yes.”

Narraki nodded, then looked down at her food, pushed back the plate and stood up. “I’m going to take a walk in the gardens. I wouldn’t object if you cleaned off the plate before you took it down to the kitchens.”

She turned to leave the room as the door burst open and Arku, the mousy haired, stick-thin royal messenger, flew across the room and skidded to a halt before her, panting and wild-eyed.

Narraki scowled. “What is the meaning of this? Do you have no respect for my privacy?”

“My Queen!” Arku gushed. “I bring news too urgent to worry with manners! As I speak, an army rides for Ends!”

Narraki’s eyes narrowed. “An army? What army?”

“A united army, My Queen. King Lokar Ivydancer of Cinnadid and King Romlin Swocat of Taquessa have joined forces.”

Cold fear swept through the queen. “For what purpose?” she asked, though she already knew the answer.

“To seize the Kingdom of Ends, My Queen.”

Shohanna gasped.

Arku glanced out of the balcony door, as if expecting to see the enemy army already entering the city.

“When will it arrive?” Narraki asked.

“It will reach the castle shortly before sundown tomorrow, My Queen.”

Narraki clenched her teeth. “Why was I not notified sooner?”

“They were only spotted by a border patrol a mere hour ago, My Queen. Kealmonn thinks they used magic to hide themselves.”

Kealmonn, the balding chief advisor, should have been the one to give her the news. She knew he disliked dealing with a woman, but that was his problem; she would not tolerate insubordination at a time like this, when it seemed war was upon them – and with so little time to prepare.

She led the way to the war room, where she knew Kealmonn would be waiting. “Why now? Why attack us now, after so long? I thought they learnt their lesson the last time they tried to seize Ends.”

Arku said, “With King Lanaran and Captain Amkesh away indefinitely, and King Axim unavailable to order the soldiers of Storher to lend aid, they must believe Ends to be an easy target, ripe for the taking.”

“Then King Axim’s abductors only wanted him out of the way, so Ends will have no support.” Narraki began pacing, her hands clasped behind her back. “They must have known he would go after Axim. A devious plan.”

“End is defenceless, My Queen,” Arku said. “There is nothing we can do.”

Narraki’s jaw grew taut and she spun to face him. “We will see about that.”


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A Map of Kex’s Face by Robin Wyatt Dunn

Today I introduce you to fellow author Robin Wyatt Dunn, who shares a little about his latest book, A Map of Kex’s Face, and interviews himself. I hope you find this post as entertaining as I did. Without further ado, here’s Robin:

photoA Map of Kex’s Face by Robin Wyatt Dunn

Hello from the capital of paranoia, Los Angeles! For New York it’s anxiety, for Paris melancholia, but for L.A. it’s the feeling close to Woody Allen’s heart: “just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.”

In my new novel, A Map of Kex’s Face, SoCal paranoia has caused a split from the national body: secession. And lust has driven our hero, Professor Roberto, from his marital bed into the arms of his undergraduate mistress.

The bigger split is in reality itself: a dimensional doorway has appeared on campus and SoCal’s breakaway republic and flagship university Eidon Academy are eager to capitalize on it, to forge diplomatic relations with the parallel humans on the other side of the Gate.

And now for an interview with myself, which is easy to do when you’re paranoid:

Q: Robin, how are you doing?
A: I’m doing well, Robin, thanks for asking.

Q: What is with this interviewing yourself thing?
A: No one has time any more, Robin. No one has time any more for anything. Time is money. Society got tossed under the bus.

Q: Now, now, it’s not as bad as all that, yet. You’re here to talk about your new novel!
A: That’s right, I wrote another novel.

Q: Tell us about it.
A: Well, it’s another f***ed up love story (a nice young woman once told me “all love stories are f***ed up”). In this one, animals are as smart as humans (no surprises there), and I shamelessly imitate Kafka in having two creepy gate-guardians (who, I suppose was only emulating Gilgamesh…). Anyway, things go south, and the madness of our hero, Roberto, seeps into the narrative, forcing him to make difficult decisions, as in, what form of reality does he want to experience, and how much of the crazy sh*t he experiences and knows to be real, does he want to admit is real, on a functional level.

Q: Wow, sounds all meta. Real intellectual.
A: Yeah, people hate intellectuals. I recently changed my bio on my website to proudly identify myself as a member of the intelligentsia because so many people (many of them writers!) now seem eager to wave around their “stupid” bonafides, e.g. “I never read books, I only write them!” or “I hate books that make you think!” Yeah, society’s falling apart.

Q: Well, that’s about all the time we have for today…
A: Wait, wait, I know. I’m not being entertaining enough. Okay. Come into my dark corner, reader, neighbor, and I will show you something different. I will show you the spark in my eye, and the fire in your blood, and everything you knew will fall away, because you’re gonna visit, my nightmare city, close to my heart.

Q: How much are you charging for this trip into your nightmare city?
A: That will be $9 for the paperback trip to my nightmare city of my heart, and $6 for the digital version. Available 30 December 2014. Check for a link. Or, if you’re a reader of this blog, send me an email at The first five to do so will be entitled to a free advance electronic copy in the format of their choice.

Q: Thanks Robin.
A: You’re welcome Robin.

Find the author and his books online

Author website

About the author

robin7Robin Wyatt Dunn was born in Wyoming in the Carter Administration. He lives in Los Angeles.

He is a member of the intelligentsia. He holds three degrees and drinks coffee (lattes included) and thinks that being intelligent is a good thing and talking about ideas worthwhile.

He is the kind of pinko egghead Joseph McCarthy wanted to flay alive and burn at the stake on the White House lawn. He knows that the McCarthys and Pol Pots and George W. Bushes of the world are always and forever eager and ready to slit his throat and dump him in a mass grave.

This is why he has a wicked sense of humor.

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An interview with Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, author of Seasons’ Beginnings

Seasons rgb, FINAL, med, low resBetween gods and humans stand Avatars…and him…

Kron Evenhanded is an artificer, able to enchant any man-made object, but he finds people more difficult to work with. When he visits the city of Vistichia, he encounters Sal-thaath, an extremely magical but dangerous child created by Salth, another magician Kron knew at the Magic Institute. Kron attempts to civilize Sal-thaath, but when his efforts lead to tragedy, Kron is forced to ally himself with a quartet of new deities and their human Avatars. Together they must defend Vistichia as Salth attempts to drain its life and magic. But Salth has Ascended halfway to godhood over Time. Will Kron’s artifacts be enough to protect the Avatars, especially the woman he loves, or will Time separate them?

Author interview:

  1. Thank you for joining us today, Sandra. To start off, please tell us a little about the world you created for your book, Season’s Beginnings.

In Seasons’ Beginnings, the world of the Season Avatars has a technological level similar to the Bronze Age. The biggest cities are ruled as city-states by kings with harems. (Salth grew up in a harem.) However, the common people have had to endure plagues and war. They need magic that can help them.

  1. For what purpose did the magician, Salth, create the dangerous magical child, Sal-thaath?

Salth created her son partly as a magical experiment and partly to remember her half-brother, Tham, the only one of her many siblings who was kind to her.

  1. Do all magic users in your world attend the Magic Institute? What subjects are taught there?

Up to Kron’s time, all magic users attend the Magic Institute, where they learn subjects such as healing, magical transport, artifact creation, and transformation. In addition, magicians also learn mundane subjects such as astronomy.

  1. How does magic work (what are the rules) in your world?

The rules of magic actually change during Seasons’ Beginnings. Initially, a small percentage of people are naturally born with the gift to wield magic. Some, like Kron, have a specialized type of magic, while others, like Salth, can use a broader range of magic. However, when a new type of magic descends from the stars, it creates a variety of local deities who take control of magic. Each god or goddess gifts a mortal or mortals with magic to use on the deity’s behalf.

  1. If you could be any of your characters, which one would you choose, and why?

If I restrict myself to the Season Avatars series (so I don’t spoil my other series), I would choose Gwendolyn lo Havil, a Spring Avatar and the heroine of Scattered Seasons, the sequel to Seasons’ Beginnings. Gwen has both touch telepathy and healing magic. A noblewoman and the leader of the other Season Avatars, Gwen is determined and practical. I’d like to think there’s a lot of me in her already.

  1. What do you do when you aren’t writing?

I read a lot of science fiction, fantasy and non-fiction. I also spend a lot of time with my family, doing things such as taking my seven-year-old to museums, practicing archery, or watching improv comedy shows with my husband. My son is very much into Star Wars, and my husband and I are thinking of joining the Rebel Legion, a group of Star Wars costumers that appear for charity. Unfortunately, neither of us can sew, so we’ll have to find someone who can make our costumes for us.

  1. How do you market your books?

I’ve tried a lot of marketing techniques, but I’ve found the most effective way to sell my books is to advertise them on free/bargain book websites and mailing lists. I’ve made Lyon’s Legacy, the first book in my SF Catalyst Chronicles series, permafree on Amazon, Smashwords and other sites. Hopefully, readers will move on to Twinned Universes, the next book in that series.

  1. What do you hope readers will gain from reading Seasons’ Beginnings?

I hope they enjoy it and want to keep reading about the characters and the world. In addition, perhaps readers will have new ideas about how love can make people use or abuse power and what makes gods different from strong magicians.

  1. Do you have any advice for other authors?

Read a lot and always try to improve your craft. If you’re an indie author, don’t expect instant success with your first book. Most authors will need to publish several books to develop a fanbase, so be patient, write the next book, and write what moves you.

  1. When can readers expect the release of Book 2 in the series?

I’m currently revising Scattered Seasons and plan to release it next spring.

Purchase links:

Barnes and Noble

About the author:

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan--resizedSandra Ulbrich Almazan started reading at the age of three and only stops when absolutely required to. Although she hasn’t been writing quite that long, she did compose a very simple play in German during middle school. Her science fiction novella Move Over Ms. L. (an early version of Lyon’s Legacy) earned an Honorable Mention in the 2001 UPC Science Fiction Awards, and her short story “A Reptile at the Reunion” was published in the anthology Firestorm of Dragons. Other published works by Sandra include Twinned Universes, Seasons’ Beginnings, her haiku collection Life at Seventeen Syllables a Day, and several science fiction and fantasy short stories. She is a founding member of Broad Universe, which promotes science fiction, fantasy, and horror written by women. Her undergraduate degree is in molecular biology/English, and she has a Master of Technical and Scientific Communication degree. Her day job is in Quality Assurance for an enzyme company; she’s also been a technical writer and a part-time copyeditor for a local newspaper. Some of her other accomplishments are losing on Jeopardy! and taking a stuffed orca to three continents. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, Eugene; and son, Alex. In her rare moments of free time, she enjoys crocheting, listening to classic rock (particularly the Beatles), and watching improv comedy.

Sandra can be found online at her website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

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NEW RELEASE: When Dark Falls – extract and introduction

bannerFBToday I bring you fellow author Pippa Jay’s latest release, a superhero romance titled When Dark Falls – enjoy!

whendarkfalls_blogIn a city where Dark Technologies Inc. now runs the show, Kadie Williams has more immediate concerns than the fall of Blaze, their guardian superhero. Almost every morning for the last few months she’s woken up with cuts and bruises on her body, and no idea how she got them. There are no nightmares. No evidence that she sleepwalks, or any sign of a break in. And nothing to tell her who’s been cleaning up after her. As just one of thousands of civilians conscripted to slave away in the labs of Professor Dark, she knew there’d be trouble ahead. But she never expected it to be so bad, or so personal.

Desperate for answers, Kadie looks to the new defender of the night, the only person who can hinder the total domination of Professor Dark—Nocturnelle. The mysterious vigilante superhero came from nowhere with her cybernetic sidekick Shadow, set on putting an end to the brutality of Dark’s regime. But as his laboratories work on a new secret super-weapon, Nocturnelle and Shadow may not be enough to save Nephopolis…or to save Kadie either.

When Dark Falls is an alternative 1920s superhero romance released from Breathless Press 21st November. Add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE. Sign up to the author’s no-spam newsletter HERE to stay up to date with releases, cover reveals, sales and giveaways for all my titles and more.


The roar of the cloudburner flaming into life woke her. The vibration as it powered up rippled through the building created a disturbance impossible to sleep through. No more being roused from sleep by the dawn chorus of traffic or a rowdy neighbor. Those days were long past. Everyone in Nephopolis woke to the sound of fire burning into the clouds, to cast a false darkness over the city. The shadow of Dark.

Kadie stretched…and froze. She stared at her left arm. A pattern of blue and purple covered her forearm, a harsh contrast to her otherwise pale skin.

She shuddered, turning her arm this way and that. Had she fallen out of bed? And if so, why hadn’t she woken? She didn’t remember catching it on anything yesterday that would have gone unnoticed and yet left such intense bruising. One day blurred into another now, but even so, surely she’d remember hurting herself that badly?

If I’d been conscious. She sat up and examined the bruise. It was the fourth injury in as many nights, and yet there’d been no dreams. No sign she’d left her bed in the night. Would she know if she’d been sleepwalking? After all, she lived and slept alone. Unless she was leaving her apartment to wander around in the corridors… Continue reading

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Doorway to Destiny – the perfect Christmas gift for the readers in your life


With Christmas just around the corner and the economy in a sorry state, everyone is on the hunt for bargains. If you’re looking for an affordable Christmas gift for the readers in your life – a gift that won’t cost you an arm or a leg, but also won’t appear cheap – take a look at Doorway to Destiny, a 13-book fantasy and science fiction adventure ebook bundle, only 99c for a limited time.

boxcover_thumbWith eight novels by TC Southwell and three novels and two anthologies by Vanessa Finaughty, this box set offers fantasy and sci-fi lovers escapism that will keep you up long past your bedtime. Dive into fantastic worlds and meet fascinating characters whose trials and tribulations will enchant and inspire. Discover how a vengeful assassin reshapes the fate of three kingdoms and share in a quest to discover the origins of mankind, then follow the tale of a young queen’s fight to be free with the aid of a combat cyborg. Two short story anthologies spice up the fare with dragons, sorcerers and magic galore, and a child of another god strives to save his world from mankind’s ravages. When a mortal dark god treads a tragic path as he rises to destroy the Overworld, a brave young girl risks her life to try to change his savage ways. Each hero and heroine takes a definitive step through a doorway to destiny as he or she seeks to right wrongs and save worlds.

Read a free sample at Smashwords.

Watch the book trailers for some of the books in the bundle


Purchase Doorway to Destiny for only 99c

Barnes & Noble

Thank you for your support, and let us take this opportunity to wish you an early ‘happy holidays’!

Vanessa & Tammy

Posted in Book Promotion, Books | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment