"I am ready to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared to meet me is another matter."
-Winston Churchill

Monday, November 26, 2012

Virtual Book Tour: #Giveaway & Interview with author Larry Ivkovich - The Sixth Precept




Welcome to Immortality and Beyond. May I offer you a drink?

I’d like the Witches Brew, please. J

Zar, our Zombie Butler will fetch that for you. Zar…



Thank you Zar.

*Drools* while handing drink over…

*Rolling eyes* You may return to your quarters now. Please don’t mind him, sometimes he just gets so excited when we have guest authors. He’s only ever bitten somebody once, *grins*.

Now that we’re settled in, let’s chat. Shall we? 

Larry will be offering you a chance to win  a copy of The Sixth Precept, signed and in paperback, so be sure to enter using the Rafflecopter below.

BK: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

1982. I remember that date vividly because it was when I took my first creative writing course at a local community college and just fell in love with the art. I used to write and draw comic books on scratch pads when I was a kid but really started taking it seriously as an adult.

BK: Please share with us how your current release came to life...

I had written four short stories featuring the protagonist of my book, THE SIXTH PRECEPT, before I got inspired to write the novel. When I realized I was essentially writing a short story series, I decided to take the plunge for a longer work. I liked my protagonist, Kim Yoshima, a Pittsburgh police officer, and wanted to expand her adventures. I have an interest in medieval Japan and that fit right in with my Japanese-American character. Though I didn’t include any ancient Japanese tropes in the short stories, they became a major source of inspiration for the novel. I incorporated a couple of scenes from the short stories (though changed and rewritten) and added a few new characters. The ancient Japan parts take place during the time referred to in Japanese history as the Muramachi or Warring States Period, which was almost a century of continual warfare among the warlords (daimyo) and the samurai. I felt that was an exciting time to place part of my novel in. It just all followed from there.

BK: Do you let your characters tell the story, or do you often fight with them on the direction it will take?

I often fight with them. It’s true that they take on a life of their own sometimes! For example, in THE SIXTH PRECEPT, one of my characters, a nameless female Shadow-Tracker (an animal/human hybrid) who was only to play a small role initially, became much more important to the plot as I wrote. It was an interesting development and I’m glad of the final results.

BK: How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write in this particular genre?

I do use some urban fantasy tropes, of course, like supernatural/mythological creatures existing in our world, an urban or city landscape as the setting and a kick-butt heroine. However, in The SIXTH PRECEPT, I included some science fiction elements (time travel, esper powers, alternate dimensions), horror (the Shadow-Trackers) and even some comic book elements (the Batman-like hero, ArcNight). I call it my “kitchen sink” novel because I have this mix of disparity throughout the story but it flows pretty smoothly and people tell me it all works. I like genre-mixing or mashups.

BK: Which character was your favorite to write for in this story? Why?

Kim Yoshima. I feel like I’m able to write from a female perspective pretty well and Kim was actually easy for me to write on the whole. She’s smart, strong-willed, independent, giving and tolerant. She’s not perfect, however, possessing flaws like all of us—being a workaholic and keeping most people at a distant, among others. But that’s what makes her so interesting, warts and all. Plus, if I was in trouble, I’d want her on my side!

BK: Tell us about the one scene you had the most fun writing…

Chapter 9, which takes place in 2010 Pittsburgh where Kim encounters a Shadow-Tracker for the first time. It’s starts out slowly, introducing the hybrid from his own POV and then showing Kim and her friend, Lazo Sibulovich, discussing ancient Japan and Kim’s ancestry but then becomes an action-packed thriller with the Shadow-Tracker attacking a very freaked-out Kim. I enjoy “monster-on-the-loose” stories so it was fun tapping into that interest for this chapter.

BK: If you were stranded on an island, which character in your books would you most want to be stranded with and why, and what is one thing that would be a must-have?

Kim again. Not because she’s female and gorgeous either! J She’s a very resourceful person with experience in all manner of strange situations so I think she’d be a perfect choice to get us back to civilization. The survivors on the television show “Lost” could have used her. As far as the must-have—a crate full of books. I couldn’t get by without reading.

BK: Now for a little fun, tell us a bit about what your office looks like. Do you need silence to write?

My officer is small, actually being one of the two spare bedrooms of our house (the second is my wife’s office). It’s got book cases with still many unread books lining the shelves, a reading chair (which has been taken over by our cats), a small table and my desk and PC. I’ve got a couple of framed Michael Whelan posters hanging on the wall—he’s my favorite fantastic artist. The office is usually pretty messy and unorganized but, honestly, for the most part I don’t know how to work any other way. I don’t necessarily need silence to write. When I caught the bus to work everyday a few years ago, I’d write on my HP Mini netbook with no problem, despite the noise and conversation. But, I’d rather have the quiet.

BK: What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Reading, watching movies, beer tastings, getting together with friends, going for walks with my wife.

BK: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

I used to play the accordion when I was a kid and was in a thirty-piece accordion band. We won first prize in a music festival for our rendition of “The William Tell Overture.” I’m not kidding.

BK: What is the craziest thing you’ve ever wanted to write, or have written, even if it never reached public eyes?

I wrote a very, very short story titled “Her Fiend-Like Appendages” where my alien characters just spouted complete gibberish. It was fun to write but nobody liked it.

BK: What is one piece of advice you can give to aspiring writers/authors?

Keep trying! If you get a rejection from one market, send it out immediately to the next one. Perseverance does pay off.

BK: What can we expect from you in the future?

I have a second book coming out next year from IFWG Publishing. It’s called MAGUS STAR RISING and is a futuristic science fiction novel. I’m currently working on the sequel to THE SIXTH PRECEPT.

BK: Where can readers connect with you?

Facebook fan/author page - http://www.facebook.com/LarryIvkovich

Larry Ivkovich is an IT professional and the author of several science fiction, fantasy and horror short stories and novellas, published online and in various print publications and anthologies including M-Brane SF, Afterburn SF, Penumbra, Twisted Cat Tales, Abaculus III, Raw Terror, Triangulations, Shelter of Daylight and SQ Magazine. He has also been a finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest and was the 2010 recipient of the CZP/Rannu Fund Award for fiction. His debut urban fantasy novel, THE SIXTH PRECEPT, is now available from IFWG Publishing, Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. He is a member of two local writing/critique groups, the Pittsburgh Southwrites and the Pittsburgh Worldrights, and lives in Coraopolis, PA with his wife Martha and cats Trixie and Milo. 


Genre – Urban Fantasy
Publisher – IFWG Publishing
Release Date – November, 2011
Blurb:
The Sixth Precept In 16th century medieval Japan, Yoshima Mitsu, who is gifted with psychic powers, uses her prescient abilities to send her young attendant, Shioko, into the future. There, Mitsu believes Shioko will be safe from the purges of the maniacal warlord Omori Kadanamora, his warrior monks and his half-human, half-bestial Shadow-Trackers. In present-day Pittsburgh, police Lieutenant Kim Yoshima is attacked by a creature out of someone’s twisted nightmare. In the aftermath of that terrifying struggle, Kim finds a young Japanese girl named Shioko, lost, confused and calling Kim “Mitsu” and her monstrous attacker a “Shadow-Tracker.” Wayne Brewster dreams of the costumed hero, ArcNight. But more than that, he feels bizarrely connected to the fictional crime fighter as if ArcNight and his comic book world are real. And in all of his dreams, Brewster sees one constant, one face repeated over and over--the face of Kim Yoshima. Empowered by a mysterious book, The Five Precepts to Enlightenment, Kim realizes her destiny is in the past. Using her own burgeoning esper powers, Kim, accompanied by Shioko and Brewster, travel by means of a temporal rift to feudal Japan. There they must assume different personas to fight Omori and creatures of Japan’s mythological world to fulfill ancient prophesy and modern historical fact. If they fail, history will be altered and the world will change forever.
EXCERPT #2 – Pittsburgh, PA 2010

Kim heard the shot just as she was putting her briefcase into her car. She didn’t think twice, her instincts taking over. She pulled her Sig P228 and an extra clip from her backpack, threw the pack into the back seat and headed for the lot’s exit door.
The door had a special keyed locking system on the outside to keep possible intruders out. From within the parking lot, it was essentially an emergency exit. She looked up at the security camera stationed above the door and thought about contacting Joe, Lazo’s security head. No time, she decided. Besides, there was no need for two people to be in a possible line-of-fire. Once she took stock of the situation, she’d call for backup on her cell phone. She punched the button and as the door shussed open, exited the lot.
The humidity was all over her; heavy, moist air settling on her skin like a hot towel. It had stopped raining but the streets steamed; the glow of the streetlights cast an eerie luminescence throughout the empty block. She blinked, creeping into the shadows at the side of the garage and then, quickly, opened the section of gating outside the emergency exit and jogged out into the street.
No sounds. Nothing. The street was devoid of life.
That was when she saw the figure walk out into the light.
~~~
It’s her. The Yomitsu. The Eminent Lord be praised!
The shadow-tracker felt a thrill of another kind as he saw his target, gun in hand, crouching across the street. Her scent, even at this distance, filled him to the bursting.
I can take her, he thought, his head throbbing as he blinked the spots from his eyes. I can bring her back to the masters myself! The hell with their rules! The situation had become something entirely different. She was so close! Why shouldn’t he take advantage of this? The masters would know then, that despite his miscalculation on the three gang members, despite the wound he had incurred as a result, that he had still served his purpose.
Yes, he thought, rising to his feet. He would make his mark, no matter what. He walked out of the alley.
~~~
The silhouette was tall, lean, moving like a dancer, sinuous and mincing. The muted light revealed some kind of tight-fitting garment clinging to its body. Its hair was long, knotted into thin corn rows. Its eyes reflected the light as…yellow?
Something sharp glinted from the tips of its fingers.
What in heaven? Kim raised her gun. The figure stopped, its form backlit by a wavering glow from the alley behind it.
Trash fire? This one doesn’t look like your typical street person.
The figure began to move again, loping (yes, loping was the right word) toward her, its motion controlled and precise like a gymnast.
Stop right there!” Kim cried. “Police officer!”
The figure entered a pool of streetlight, its face briefly illuminated.
It was the face of an animal.
Freeze!” Kim yelled, a chill running up her back. “Stop or I’ll shoot!”
The creature speeded up, suddenly charging like a sprinter on overdrive. Kim fired once over its head. No effect. It was only a few feet away now, its arms and legs moving in a whirlwind of motion. My God! Kim thought, her fear building. She aimed a kill-shot, straight at the creature’s head.
The thing shifted to its right, dodging the bullet as if the deadly projectile was moving in slo-mo. It reached a clawed hand out toward Kim, its suddenly visible face stretched into a ghastly parody of a smile.
Kim threw her body sideways. She fell, rolling on her side, the pavement smacking her hard. She felt a crunching pain on her waist.
She pulled herself to her feet, breathing fast, holding her luger with both hands extended in front of her.
Her breath caught in her throat. The creature was down.
Kim blinked. The thing was fast, unnaturally fast. It should have had her. She was positive it had dodged her bullet.
Yet, it lay facedown on the street, struggling to get up. This close, Kim could see the blood on the side of its head.
And that face. Inhuman features glared up at Kim. Man? Dog? It looked a combination of both—exaggerated bone structure, sharp teeth, high cheekbones, sloping forehead, yellow eyes.
Kim fell back a step, a sudden, unreasoning fear taking control. What is it? Both her hands shook as she tried to hold the gun steady. What—?
The creature suddenly leaped to its feet and flung itself at her, arms wide, mouth open. Kim fired and fell back, flinging her arms up over her head.
What? Kim looked wildly around her. The thing was gone. Where had it vanished to?
Have to call for backup! she thought frantically. And surely Joe saw what happened on the security cams! She started back towards the garage, hoping the gate would open again as she fumbled at her belt for her cell phone, looking over her shoulder. The fear was like a burning fire running through her system.
A low moaning floated through the night air. Kim stopped and turned back towards the alley. Someone’s hurt, she thought, licking her lips. Probably by that dog-thing.
Taking a deep breath, she jogged back toward the alley and stopped at its entrance, the skin between her shoulder blades tingling. If this dead-ends, I’m trapped. And yet I just can’t leave someone in there if they’ve been injured.
The moaning increased, a desperate sound radiating pain and confusion. Kim got her cell phone off of her belt. Got to call Lazo, she thought. Have to get—Damn! She stared dumbly at the cracked casing of the now-useless phone. That’s what I felt breaking when I hit the street. Cheap shit! The Captain’s going to hear about this!
She snorted. Listen to me. Come on, Yoshima, get your act together!
Darting another look back towards the street, Kim took a few tentative steps into the alley. “Who’s there?” she called, her mouth dry. “Are you hurt? I’m a police officer!”
A gurgling, wet sound answered her, a barely recognized imitation of speech. Gritting her teeth, Kim entered the alley.





Friday, November 23, 2012

BBT Guest Post & #Giveaway with Robyn Bachar - Fire in the Blood



Okay, so when I first saw this cover, it was a no-brainer for me that I just HAD to have this author on as a guest. Isn't that cover just beautiful? I'm pleased to introduce you to author, Robyn Bachar, on tour with her book, Fire in the Blood at Bewitching Book Tours. Robyn is sharing a guest post today and a chance for you to win a $50 Gift Card. I hope you enjoy it.

Welcome Robyn!!


By Another Other Name
No matter what you call them, vampires will always suck. Blood, that is. Whether you paint them purple and say they’re invaders from Mars, it’s expected that at some point during a story, a vampire’s going to need to feed, because that’s what vampires do. It’s tradition.
Paranormal romance has been going strong for years, and readers have seen a variety of supernatural creatures populating the paranormal landscape. As an author I’ve watched debates about what the next big thing is. (Zombies! No, demons! Zombie demons!) I’ve heard the fears that vampires are on their way out. Or werewolves. Or that paranormal itself as a genre is over, because it’s all been done before. No matter how much you try to reinvent them, a vampire by any other name is still a blood drinker.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. I write paranormal stories because I love the paranormal. Always have, always will. I put my own spin on the supernatural creatures in my series, the Bad Witch books, but I don’t want to reinvent the wheel. I want my characters to honor the myths and legends that they were inspired by, and to have those traditions enhance the world I’m building and the story that I’m telling. I think that readers will continue to enjoy paranormal romance, because the strange, shivery things-that-go-bump-in-the-night have always fascinated us. The trick is to use that fascination and weave it into a rich story with memorable characters.
The heroine of Fire in the Blood, Patience Roberts, is tough and opinionated—a self-professed “cast iron bitch.” But she’s also soft and squishy on the inside, and she’s desperately in love with a man she can’t have. She’s a demon summoner, and he’s an outcast faerie. Fire in the Blood has action, romance, good versus evil—all the things I love in a story. Because no matter what flavor of paranormal populates a novel, it all comes down to the story.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

BBT Virtual Book Tour:Sinister Seductions by Roxanne Rhoads


Today I'm so excited to introduce you to the woman behind the scenes at Bewitching Book Tours , Roxanne Rhoads. Roxanne is sharing why the darkness is so appealing.

Welcome to Immortality and Beyond!

The Appeal of Darkness
By Roxanne Rhoads

Why are we drawn to the paranormal? Perhaps because it is the Other, it is the great unknown. The lure of the darkness that resides inside us all.

Are Others real? Are there really paranormal creatures that exist?

Who knows, but some of us sure like to believe.

Maybe we just need an escape from the everyday existence that has become so…ordinary. In today’s world people want to stand out and be noticed or at least experience something that is different. Perhaps that’s why so many of us turn to the world of the supernatural for an escape from the everyday.

Wouldn’t it be great to have super powers? Or to be immortal? Super strong? Have mind control? Or just be super seductive and a fabulous lover (we can all dream right)?
Of all supernatural creatures, vampires seem to be the most seductive. People are drawn to the vampire more than any other creature of myth and fantasy. Vampires grace the pages of books and appear on the movie and television screen over and over again, each new vampire a source of amusement and desire to us. But why? What is the everlasting attraction of the vampire?

Before the 19th century vampires were just mindless monsters, myths and legends that were horrible and frightening, not sexy, not desirable. Literature changed all that.

Consider this description from the introduction of Blood Read: The Vampire as Metaphor in Contemporary Culture written by Joan Gordon and Veronica Hollinger.

[The vampire is] “an ambiguously coded figure, a source of erotic anxiety and corrupt desire, the literary vampire is one of the most powerful archetypes bequeathed to us from the imagination of the nineteenth century.”

Vampires were turned into seductive and inherently sexy creatures that we just haven’t been able to get enough of. The unknown allure is there, evil has become sexy, darkness is beautiful. Once the monsters of myth and legend were shunned for their differences but today we embrace them because they are different, because they are Other.

Our modern society is full of disquiet, pain, suffering, depression, things that spiral out of control-real monsters and horrors face us every day on the news.

In entertainment we want monsters that we can control, monsters…Others that are appealing in their difference and offer us an escape. The vampire offers us all that and more.

I love many creatures of the Other world but the vampire is my first love and will always hold the top spot in my monster loving heart.

In my fiction, the characters are more often than not, Others, with a vampire playing either the hero or the heroine of the story.

Sinister Seductions is all about that appeal- the seduction of darkness even if it has a sinister lure. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, witches…Sinister Seductions has it all. It is a wonderful collection of darkly indulgent tales that will pull you in…and may not let go.



About the Editor and Author:
Story strumpet, tome loving tart, eccentric night owl...these words describe book publicist and erotic romance author Roxanne Rhoads.
When not fulfilling one the many roles being a wife and mother of three require, Roxanne's world revolves around words...reading them, writing them, editing them, and talking about them. In addition to writing her own stories she loves to read, promote and review what others write.
Roxanne is the owner of Bewitching Book Tours and operates Fang-tastic Books, a book blog dedicated to paranormal and urban fantasy books.
When not reading, writing, or promoting Roxanne loves to hang out with her family, craft, garden and search for unique vintage finds.

Visit her online
Bewitching Book Tours www.bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com,
Facebook
Twitter @RoxanneRhoads
Roxanne can also be found on Linked InGoodreads and Google+


Sinister Seductions
A Crushing Hearts Black Butterfly Anthology
Edited by Roxanne Rhoads

Delightfully dark tales of paranormal desires and sinister seductions grace the pages of this CHBB anthology filled with short stories and poetry from: Raven Corinn Carluk,  Amanda Browning, Ann Gimpel, Roxanne Rhoads, Adam Clark, Lisa Goldman , Nathan Squiers, Selena D. Jenkins, DJ Shaw, Livia Olteano, Joseph J. Langan, and S.J. Thomas
Werewolves, vampires, demons and more will take you on a journey of forbidden seduction luring you into lairs of devilish delights and sinister depravity.
Indulge yourself in darkness.


Excerpt from Dragon’s Den
by Raven Corinn Carluk

The Dragon’s Den was a contemptible nest of scruff and depravity, but it was where my bounty had led me. One little demoness was going to earn me a load of cash, so I wasn’t going to let the sex club scare me off. As one of the top bounty hunters in three dimensions, I had certainly been in worse places, and would be again.
Staring at the white marble facade wasn’t going to get me paid. Checking my weapons, I strode past the bouncer. His gaze was heavy on my breasts, but the big orc said nothing. The Dragon’s Den resided at a nexus of dimensions, they saw weirder things than a mixed-blood bounty hunter like me. I bumped into him as I passed, giving him a bribe; the rest of the bouncers would now leave me alone to do what I needed.
Stepping past the ornate double doors, I realized I was over-dressed for the place. The servers wore harnesses of latex, barely enough synthetic fabric to be called an uniform. Some patrons wore outfits so tight as to leave nothing to the imagination, and others wore nothing at all. Everything was meant to tantalize and taunt, to appeal to sexuality and hunger.
I looked downright prudish in my wyvern leather armor and battle harness. The sapphire and onyx scales normally looked exotic, tight enough to reveal my figure and not get in the way in a battle, leaving only my pale hands and face exposed. Amongst this pool of deviants, not even the eight knives sheathed around my body were anything special.
Touching my blue hair trapped in its topknot, I wished I’d hunted in this club before; it was nice to not stand out.
Not that the freakiest of freaks would stand out here. Magic and technology combined in an unique atmosphere. Music blared and lights flashed while faeries sparkled and elves summoned colorful illusions. More than a dozen races were present, most of them revealing large portions of their anatomy.
Even though I stood in the middle of the entryway, no one said anything to me. Not surprising; most denizens of the crossworlds knew Brygny was a fearsome bounty hunter, and that I wasn’t above a little collateral damage to get my way. I’d yet to meet anyone who didn’t tremble slightly at my name.
Not bad for a genetic hybrid. Instead of being scoffed at and shunned, I used my mixed abilities to carve a name in the multiverse. I was one of those rare cases of mutation where I wasn’t just a bundle of flaws. And with no one people to call my own, no one got special treatment from me.
Of course, with everyone so lost in hedonism, I’d have to play especially rough if someone got in my way.
The demoness I hunted was here, on one of the top floors. Three stories of depraved sex and violence between me and her. Sniffing deep the drug-laden air, I told myself I’d be able to handle it. As much as the blood and lust enticed me, it would take more than this weak crowd to draw me from my job.
I mounted the stairs, letting my senses roam through the Den-goers. I had the hunting abilities of dragon, vampire, weretiger, and a few other species, meaning I could quickly sort through potential prey in a heartbeat. With three decades of collecting bounties under my belt, labeling enemy and non-combatant and potential antagonist was a subconscious job now.
The majority of this group was too intoxicated to be any form of threat. Even the demons and orcs were deep in their addled fantasies, so far gone they wouldn’t know if I attacked them. So long as no one pulled me into one of their little games, I should have no problems getting in and out with my target.
I ascended to the first story, and the club revealed its true nature. The ground floor was all dancing and getting to know one another. This floor was candle-lit booths and diners, with a mingling crowd exploring their bodies. Sex and drugs and decadence were only a front for dark dealings, though. Assassins were given orders, slaves were traded, loot was sold to people who asked no questions.
Not that any of it was out in the open. None of the patrons flaunted what they did, or tried to call attention to themselves. A casual observer would only see club-goers watching the displays of flesh and talking to each other. Even the body guards looked like just other deviants.
But I wasn’t a casual observer. I sensed who was high, who was hungry, who was angry, who was desirous, who was armed. The currents in the air brought me tastes of the emotive cloud, let me know who was watching me. Not many had eyes for me on this level, and I moved quickly through them.


Table of Contents:

A Sinister Seduction
Intro Poem
By Amanda Browning

Dragon’s Den
by Raven Corinn Carluk 

Wolf Bytes
By Ann Gimpel, Ph.D.

Underneath the Fangs
By Roxanne Rhoads

Drain the Blood
A Poem
By Adam Clark

Detonating the Bomb
By Lisa Goldman

A Howl at the Moon
By Nathan Squiers

A Magikal Match
By Selena D. Jenkins

Devilish Delights and Rancid Offerings
By DJ Shaw

Drained
A Poem
By Roxanne Rhoads

Mistress
by Livia Olteano

Sin With Me
By Amanda Browning 

Persephone
By Joseph J. Langan
Forbidden Taste
By S.J. Thomas

Midnight Mistress
A Poem
By Roxanne Rhoads





Friday, November 16, 2012

BBT Virtual Book Tour & #Giveaway with Fumi Hancock - The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell:Hydra's Nest




BK:  When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
This question always cracks me up whenever I’m being asked. Let me share a story my parents shared with me over 14 years ago. I must have been around 2 years old when this incident happened. Mother always told me that at two while most kids were getting into various things, I had one … it was to write on any paper available at my disposal. My mum told me that it didn’t matter what type of paper it was, I would scribble things on it. At first, it was cute but when I started writing on important documents, they soon did not find it funny. At one point, for almost two weeks, my parents would put me in a room with old newspapers, gave me a marker and told me to go at it until I was tired.  They felt that would help me to calm down a little where writing was concerned. They were wrong!
So back to your question, when did I first realize I wanted to be a writer, if you asked my parents, they would tell when at the age of 2! As for me, I can recall back as far as 6 or 7 years old when I started writing poetry.

BK:  Please tell us a little bit about your current release...
The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest is my “love child.”
A unique & thrilling African ambiance not familiar to many!
Lying gracefully between the Vaal River in the north and the Orange River in the south, the rolling grassland and fields of crops rising to a lovely sandstone mountain, is Milner Court, Bloemfontein, a suburb nestled in the middle of Free State, South Africa.
The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest magically transports its readers from the rolling hills of Bloemfontein to the beautiful farmlands of Bela-bela South Africa. It is a fantasy-based coming of age story of a rebellious 17 year old teenager who (through no fault of her own) is thrust into an environment ridden with unfamiliar and unsavory demonic activities when admitted into a prep school in South Africa.

As Jewel Cardwell is relentlessly being trailed by an unapologetic family curse, she races against time to find answers before the curse wipes out all of her loved ones. 

In the midst of this demonic war, she becomes entangled in a love triangle between a young rugged-looking Darwin Morton who she grew up with on Milner Court and the very wealthy and popular high school soccer team leader with the silver spoon in his mouth, Eric Broder.

BK:  What inspired this particular novel/book?
I was born in Africa but have lived in the United States of America for over 30 years. A little over six years ago, my father called me up and told me it was time to return home. I’d literally grown up in the US and this was home to me. Though father lived in the US too, he felt it was time to give back to Africa.

This was an important trip for me as I’d not been back for over 23 years!  The trip was equally important because one of my cousins was being crowned a king in one of the provinces and my father felt it was a great opportunity to reconnect with my roots. 

The journey was exhilarating yet filled with anxiety as I did not know what I was going to encounter.  I trusted my father, packed my bags and went back to West Africa with my family. It was the most incredible journey of my life… to witness a King’s coronation… no words could describe the feelings. What was more important was the surprise which awaited me! The community people rallied around me and reminded me of who I was… their princess who had been gone for long and was now back! I took the time to revisit my childhood boarding school and low and behold, all of my experiences at the school came rushing back.

The characters that readers will encounter in the Adventures of Jewel Cardwell are a culmination of my childhood friends as well as “the conjured friends in my head.” These characters have consistently plagued my dream and haunted my mind into bringing them alive. Every year I would return to Africa (with my American Friends) serving the children in the communities through my non-profit organization the Adassa Foundation, I am reminded of the colorful ambiance and the need to share this part of the world with book lovers.

As I began to paint this African adventure on paper, my sons, 17 and 15 ( now 22 and 19) nudged me with their support and their instant enjoyment of the plot.  Every time I would complete a chapter, they wanted more. They wanted to see what would happen to the characters. More importantly, they were intrigued by the description of the African setting, the culture of the people revealed through the different characters and the blended families relayed by the characters. Different characters elicited different emotions as they read alongside other young adults reviewing the story.

While there has been some popular fantasy books like Harry Potter, Amanda Hockings Trylle series and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, with settings in Europe and America, there has not been one to present the other part of the world.  The characters urge me to fill this gap!

I wanted my readers to be transported to a place where they’d never been before. I wanted them to see how other people live in other parts of the world… I wanted them to also see how people like them, who have travelled to live in Africa… how they adjust to the culture and setting.  The characters though reside in Africa come from various parts of the world especially Europe. My sons were very helpful in painting vivid imagery of “the characters in my head.” Bola, my oldest son was inspired to travel across the ocean… and he made renditions of scenes directly from the book:
www.worldoffumihancock.com. He alongside his younger brother composed and arranged the trailer songs.

BK:  How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write in this particular genre?
I love going places where many have never bothered or dared to. Such is the case with The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest. While many popular fantasy & paranormal books have featured settings within the US or Europe; I bring to my audience a different perspective… a new setting unknown to many.  Because I love adventure, my readers get to go on this intriguing journey with me to South Africa. While the characters have diversified background. e.g Dutch, South Africans, other Europeans countries; it is interesting to see how they adapt to a place like Africa. If you love adventure mixed with fantasy and ofcourse romance, this should be a great read for you. I do a lot of research when dealing with my exotic and sometimes rural settings. In fact, with this book my travels to and fro Africa have inspired me to write it.

BK:  What was the hardest thing about writing this story?
Going back to re-write certain parts of some chapters were cumbersome.

BK:  Which character was your favorite to write for in this story? Why?
Jewel Cardwell’s sidekick, Kaya Darkling, the Sorcerer’s daughter was so much fun to write. She is a culmination of what I would love to be in my magical world and some characters I have encountered in my life journey… full of strength with a little darkness and some light of course. She is a character you would love to hate because of what she represents yet her dark and mysterious side draws people to her.  She is an unpredictable lone ranger, yet people look for her to help solve their mundane problems. My imagination truly went wild on her. I love her so much, I am seriously looking at starting a totally new series for her. My next book in this series will be featuring her a great deal. I can’t wait.

BK:  Tell us about the one scene you had the most fun writing…
This is a challenging question. I lived and breathed every chapter for two years and have become very fun of them all. However, the blazing furnace chapter is the one I am most intrigued by.  This is a “show down” between Jewel and the dark force that’s been haunting down and killing all the female first born in her family since the 18th century.
It was fun unveiling the dark force to Jewel and having them face off!  The aftermath of Jewel’s encounter with the evil force and its revelation was equally intriguing to write as I know it would elicit different emotions from my readers.  

BK:  Will this become a series? If so, what inspired it to be a series? OR If it is a series, what inspired it to become a series?
Absolutely! It is a series, the Grimmlyn series that is. The whole idea started off with me knowing that I would create a series out of it. I felt that the characters were large enough; they had more depth to them that simply creating one book would do injustice to them.  The second in the sequel, The Sorcerer’s Purgatory will provide an opportunity for readers to get to know even closer one of the great characters, Kaya Darkling in the first book.

BK:  Now for a little fun, and into your everyday life, What is a day in your life like?
I’m afraid when I am not travelling to Africa with my non-profit organization, the Adassa Foundation, my life can seem boring. No matter how determined I get to sleep in; I wake up at 2.30 am and begin writing. When I am not writing, I am reading. At 6 am, I cycle for at least 1 hour and yeah, I just recently lost 45 lbs as a result. I am totally proud of myself, as this has been a life struggle for me. My day is pretty much running errands and attending meetings and then back to writing. Arh yes! The weekends are dedicated to watching movies with my husband.

BK:  What do you like to do when you're not writing?
My sons are now in college. So now, I have the time to devote to my African children… helping to raise funds for their education (www.adassafoundation.org). Other fun things I love to do are: watch movies with my husband and cook.


BK:  What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?
I am from an African Royal Family. Going back home to Africa after 25 years in the US was an incredible experience. More importantly, being indoctrinated back into the fold by the current King was extra superb and an experience I will never forget. This has ignited my love for African children.

BK:  What do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?
I love Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and of course adventure. The Hobbit, a prelude to the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolken. I am enthralled by his description of events. No wonder the Lord of the Rings is a big hit!

BK:  What is one piece of advice you can give to aspiring writers/authors?
Writing must be a passion and not something we simply want to glorify. We must go in knowing exactly what we are anticipating as our outcome. Do we want to write just to share with family or do we want others outside of our circle of influence to get a wind of it? Do we want to make a career out of this? Once you know what your vision and the expectations for your writing are, then set your eyes like a flint and pursue it. It could be a very long and windy journey but you must be focused; never dissuading but more importantly, PRACTICE YOUR CRAFT ON A DAILY BASIS. Thank heavens for the electronic age that’s changing the fate of many authors. Today, authors have been discovered through Amazon. SO, there is hope outside of the traditional publishers.

BK:  What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on the sequel: The Sorcerer’s Purgatory. ! I am hoping to get the 1st edition, the author’s edition out by March-April 2013. The Sorcerer’s Purgatory will be the second in the Grimmlyn Series. Here, one of the characters, Kaya Darkling the Sorcerer’s daughter in The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell will be a main contender.  Behind-the-scenes and Cover Reveal are already published at: http://www.worldoffumihancock.com/#the_sequel/crpz
I think the behind-the-scene and the cover reveal will titillate my readers and prepare them for a great saga.  This adventures promises to kick the fun and magical encounters up more notches! Thank heavens; this will not take me another two years to finish!



BK:  Where can readers connect with you?
My blog:                        www.fumihancock.blogspot.com
Twitter:                          
www.twitter.com/fumihancock
Facebook Like Page:
www.facebook.com/fumihancockgrimmlyn
Goodreads:                   
www.goodreads.com/fumihancock
Mailing List:                 
http://www.worldoffumihancock.com/#!order/czpg

Fumi Hancock is a walking example of how an ordinary person from a shackled life of broken promises and shattered dreams can live a fulfilled destiny. After twenty years of dropping her pen, she picks it right back up again by releasing the first in the Grimmlyn Series: The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest.
Though graduated with a postgraduate degree in communication arts, and undergraduate degrees in English studies and nursing, she ascribes her writing to her life experiences, which were many times challenging. According to her, the protagonists and antagonists in her novels often come from the darkest moments of her life—a tribute to the fact that something good can come out of mysterious and difficult circumstances, if we choose to turn our challenges around. Age is merely a number where success is concerned. She also pulls some of her characters from her travels around the world—in particular, exotic Africa—uniquely weaving her tales.
Fumi loves to write for young adults, particularly urban fantasy, and paranormal fiction with a touch of romance. She aspires to one day write a mystery/detective novel for the adult audience. But for now, she is content with her young adult audience. With her background in nursing, she gently nurses her unusual characters to life for her readers to enjoy.
She lives in Tennessee with her husband, Dr. David Hancock, and her two grown sons, Bola and Demola Thompson. She cherishes her two stepdaughters, who reside in Michigan. 


The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest
Grimmlyn Series: Book 1
Fumi Hancock

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy & Romance Fiction

ISBN-13: 978-1475945379 
ASIN: B009E0M3RK 
Word Count: 96,567

Cover Artist: PhatPuppy Art

BOOK TRAILER:  Trailer

Amazon   Smashwords          BN

Book Description:

What would you do if you found out you inherited an ancient familial curse?

When free-spirited and more than a little rebellious, seventeen-year-old Jewel Cardwell gained admission to Grayton Preparatory School, a prestigious, girls-only, top-notch private institution nestled in the South African farmlands of Limpopo, little did she know it would begin a trail of mysterious and unfamiliar events, changing her life forever! At Grayton prep, a battle line is drawn between ‘good and evil’ especially when there’s a full moon and dark forces swirl and
turn up in the form of hideous monsters and frightening demons. With her school fre-nemies, rivalry and treachery become the order of the day and Jewel is forced to question everything she thought she knew as she struggles to stay alive in a dubious place riddled with demonic activity!
 
Armed with a magical secret from her dying grandmother, a golden locket, she sets a new course in motion. In the middle of this whirlwind of events, she is caught between two boys: Darwin Morton, a lad she's known growing up, and Eric Broder, a soccer team leader with a silver spoon in his mouth. Why her love life has to get interesting now is a question she can't answer!

“I welcomed death with open arms, closed my eyes and listened as the aircraft made rattling and shaking sounds through the dreary weather. If this was my time to go, I would embrace darkness, as I had nothing else to lose.” -- JEWEL CARDWELL

Will Jewel be able to solve the mystery before evil is unleashed against those she loves?



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