Delighting in THE HOUSE OF FOX–Excerpt and Giveaway!

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Hi there! Today I’m helping to get the word out on an erotic adventure from SJ Smith. HOUSE OF FOX is sure to please those who love reading about sexy-sex, with a side of sex. Oh, and some scheming and celestial interference.

Drop down to catch and excerpt and enter the $20 GC and book giveaway!

2016-291 eBook The House of Fox 6x9About the book:
After a drunken night on the town, four friends awake to find themselves in the House of Fox, the ultimate brothel in the universe, where every sordid fantasy becomes reality.

But all is not as it seems.

The House of Fox harbours many dark secrets, and factions are plotting against one another.

The four newcomers must choose their friends carefully and take care not to lose their minds on the thrill ride of perversion that will carry them to the ends of the Earth and beyond.

The Great Voyeur in the Sky is watching . . .

How about a delicious taste?

Jane!” Dylan called from the stage.

She kept her gun trained on Donna a moment longer, relishing the fear that had wiped away that look of smugness, and then turned to face him. “Dylan the Dick.” She readjusted her aim, pointing the muzzle at his crotch. “Soon to be Dylan the Dickless if you give me any trouble.”

He smiled. “I’m sensing you have some anger management issues, young lady.”

Jane did a double take, incredulous he could be quite so dumb. “Oh what a great idea, Dylan: Hey, let’s make jokes at the expense of the lady who has a gun trained on our prize shlong. That’ll certainly prove you aren’t the moron everyone claims you are.”

“Have people been saying I’m a moron?” He rolled his eyes. “Not that old chestnut.”

“It’s a well known fact you have more dong than ding.” She cocked her head to one side. “Which is what got us all wondering – how could someone as retarded as yourself possibly manage to put this little insurrection together? It’s patently obvious you’re merely the puppet, so if you want to spare yourself an eternity of agony, start naming names. Who put you up to this, Dylan?”

“Funnily enough, the person who put me up to it also provided me with this.” He held out his hand to show her a silver device sandwiched in his fist. “If my thumb lets go of this button, a V bomb will take out this entire level and we’ll all spend eternity in agony.”

Jane took a step back and waved away the encroaching militia. Her bravado died pitifully inside her chest. She should have known it was too good to last.

“Looks like the moron stole a march on the Fox Girls.” Dylan waved the silver device in the air. “Guess that makes you pretty stupid, huh?”

“Put it down,” Jane shrieked, raising the muzzle of the gun level with his head.

“Put it down? Okay, I’ll put it down.” Dylan bent forward, making as if to drop the device on the floor.

“Stop!” Jane backed up another step, panic bubbling at the realisation she’d fucked everything up. “You wouldn’t dare.”

“You think so? Do you know what a V bomb is, Jane?” Dylan’s twisted smile mocked her to the core. “It’s a very powerful piece of black witchcraft that essentially turns every vagina within a hundred yard radius into a hydrogen bomb. Your little ginger quim will explode with the force of ten Hiroshimas, blowing you and everyone else within a mile into a billion pieces in the blink of an eye.”

Jane stared at him, trying to work out if he was bullshitting or not.

Some thoughts from author SJ Smith…
Secrets of the House of Fox
“The House of Fox was created halfway between heaven and hell, so the devil could kiss our ass and God could suck our cock.”

The House of Fox is the ultimate brothel in the universe, a hedonistic retreat built by those seeking to escape the dogma of the Puritans. It has existed for centuries as a secret known only to the privileged few, who celebrate their carnal desires under the ever watching gaze of the Great Voyeur in the Sky.

But who exactly is the Great Voyeur in the Sky? Is there some secret code hidden in the never ending lists of numbers? What exactly are the meanings of the riddles our heroes must hope to solve?

There are many mysteries lurking around every corner in the endless corridors. Doors opening onto entire worlds await those brave enough to step inside. Every sordid fantasy will be plucked from the deepest recesses of your imagination, and made real by the witchcraft woven into the House’s foundations.

If you are a man, then sultry, brazen nymphomaniacs will seduce you. If you are a woman, then muscle bound studs will fuck you all the way to the stars. Every pleasure is catered for, every taboo relished. There are no boundaries to what you can do and no limits to how far you can go.

The House offers exquisite opulence and filthy depravity in equal measure. It does not discriminate as to who it serves. Pleasure is the only dish on the menu, served just the way you like it.

Are you brave enough to enter? Are you willing to leave your morals behind and give in to your basest cravings? Admission costs only a silver sixpence and perhaps your soul.

BWAHAHAHAH!!! Oh, sorry, I let a creepy laugh escape there… A-hem.

Interested? You can find THE HOUSE OF FOX on Goodreads, Amazon (US and UK), Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win books and a $20 Amazon giftcard!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
SJ Smith is a neurotic recluse who lives in North Wales. It has long been his dream to become a full time filth monger.

You can catch you with Mr. Smith on his blog, Facebook and twitter.

Cephalopod Coffeehouse April 2016–MY SEVENTH-GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS-A Review

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Hi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

This month I’m so excited to share a middle-grade story with a tiny dash of romance. MY SEVENTH-GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS is a romp through the world of Dillon, a 7th grade boy, who wants–more than anything–to learn how to dance. And, who secretly loves his dance partner, bestie, Kassie.

My Seventh-Grade Life in TightsAbout the book:
LIVE IT.
All Dillon wants is to be a real dancer. And if he wins a summer scholarship at Dance-Splosion, he’s on his way. The problem? His dad wants him to play football. And Dillon’s freestyle crew, the Dizzee Freekz, says that dance studios are for sellouts. His friends want Dillon to kill it at the audition—so he can turn around and tell the studio just how wrong their rules and creativity-strangling ways are.

WORK IT.
At first, Dillon’s willing to go along with his crew’s plan, even convincing one of the snobbiest girls at school to work with him on his technique. But as Dillon’s dancing improves, he wonders: what if studios aren’t the enemy? And what if he actually has a shot at winning the scholarship?

BRING IT.
Dillon’s life is about to get crazy . . . on and off the dance floor.

My Review:
This is a sweet and charming book about a young boy following his dream, even if it means sacrificing himself along the way.

Twelve year-old Dillon Parker is a perpetual bench-warmer on his middle school football team. That doesn’t stop his father from talking it up, and talking down all his attempts to get training in dance. His two best friends, Kassie and Carson, both have had studio dance lessons, and they detest dance schools for that very reason. Still, they love to dance and this trio works hard at expressing passion in the form of dance. Dillon feels as if he’s the worst of the lot, most of his dance moves being inspired by karate moves, a “style” he calls ninja freestyle. He desperately wants to be better, for himself, and for his dance crew, the Dizzee Freekz, but neither Kassie nor Carson will offer him any instruction.

When Dillon learns that a renown studio, Dance Splosion, is offering a three-week dance camp scholarship he creates an entry video. Too embarrassed to send it in, Dillon’s actually encouraged by his fellow Freekz to do just that: enter the contest, with the intention of turning it down, thereby humiliating the studio.

Yes, it’s a completely juvenile revenge plot. And, it’s deftly executed with just the right amount of doubt, self-examination, and subterfuge. To be successful in the contest, Dillon seeks help from Sarah, Dance Splosion star student. She agrees, at first as vengeance for a slight made by Kassie. When she learns that Kassie isn’t up for the competition, Sarah still helps Dillon learn how to dance, and it’s unclear why she’d help him. A secondary nefarious plot, perhaps?

What I really loved about this book was what I love about most middle-grade: tons of heart, tons of insecurity, tons of finding one’s path moments. Dillon feels simultaneously guilty for accepting Sarah’s help, as he must cut himself off from the Dizzee Freekz as part of his deal, but he’s also rocking out, feeling like a real dancer for the first time ever. Sarah’s an excellent dancer, and a good instructor, but she’s not very nice, and being around her only reminds Dillon of how much fun his other friends are.

The plot of the book allowed for many ups and downs, with great supporting characters that are real, and very much imperfect. I had so many fantastic moments of YES! and other fantastic moments of DON’T DO IT, DILLON! There are plenty of excellent insights about being true to one’s self, following your dreams, Don’t give up, being a team player. All of this happens organically, and Dillon’s an excellent naive hero. He’s an everyday kid, no special talent, and all of his success, if any comes, is down to his hard work. Dillon also has to educate his father regarding prejudice, and you can be sure the G-A-Y word is tossed around–not without consequence! Such fun, and told in a way that’s totally engaging and accessible to kids of that age. Expect a diverse cast, a tiny dash of romance, and unexpected friendships.

Interested? You can find MY SEVENTH-GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and likely your public library.

Thanks for popping in! Hope you’ll bop over to check out the fave reads of my fellow Coffeehouse reviewers.


Cover Reveals for the Love of Olympus Series!

Hi there! Today, I’m sharing THREE cover reveals for Sasha Summers’ Loves of Olympus series. In anticipation of the release of ECLIPSING APOLLO, the entire series has gotten a new look! They look so good, and interesting. Looking forward to reading these…good thing all three books will be released on August 2, 2015!

Medusa, A Love Story 
(Loves of Olympus Series, Bk #1)
by Sasha Summers 
 
Blurb:
It’s said love can change a person. Medusa wasn’t always a monster…
Medusa is ruled by duty, to her Titan father and the Goddess Athena. She’s no room for the tenderness her warrior guard, Ariston, stirs. When Olympus frees her from service, her heart leads her into the arms of the guard she loves… and curses her as the creature with serpent locks.
Ariston goes to war with a full heart… and dreadful foreboding. He learns too late of the danger Medusa faces, alone, and a Persian blade sends him into the Underworld. But death, curses, nor the wrath of the Gods will keep him from returning to her.
Poseidon will use Greece’s war to get what he wants: Medusa. He does not care that she belongs to another. He does not care that she will be damned. He is a God, an Olympian, and she will be his.

Release Date:  August 2, 2015

For the Love of Hades 
(Loves of Olympus Series, Bk #2)
by Sasha Summers
 
Blurb: 
Hades, God of Death, has no heart. Persephone is determined to prove otherwise…
Hades, the Lord of the Underworld, has no patience for living things or his Olympian brethren. His purpose is order, administering justice to those who enter his realm, and keeping the balance decreed by the Fates. Meeting Persephone sways his focus, her gentle sweetness threatening his control. But he will not be tempted.
Poseidon’s scheming wreaks havoc upon Persephone. Hades has no choice – he must rescue her.
Hades awakens something within the Goddess Persephone. She feels no fear from his brooding presence. In truth, she’s never felt so alive. Every stolen moment together only confirms her instinct: he is meant to be hers. Such a powerful union suit will face opposition – from Olympus, her troubled betrothed, the Fates, even Hades himself – but she is determined to win his heart.
 

Release Date:  August 2, 2015

Eclipsing Apollo 
(Loves of Olympus Series, Bk  #3)
by Sasha Summers
 
Blurb:
Apollo is fond of many things. Music, poetry, physical prowess, truth, and love. The Pythian Games are in his honor and he attends, as a mere mortal, to enjoy the competition… and the women. Meeting the fair Coronis offers him his greatest delight. Her strength, her fearlessness, and her beauty clasp his heart with an irrevocable hold. But she wants none of him.
Coronis’ duty is to marry, but she yearns for so much more. She is a fierce competitor, a hunter, skilled in strategy and reason. Those that would court her lack both the mind and the body to rival hers – she will settle for no less. As a mortal, Apollo was both infuriating and tempting. But Apollo the Olympian is terrifying. She fears giving him her heart might destroy her soul.
Demeter’s need for revenge pits Olympian against Olympian, forcing Apollo into a darkness the God of Light must fight if he ever hopes to see his Coronis again.

Release Date: August 2, 2015

About the Author:
 
Sasha is part gypsy. Her passions have always been storytelling, Hollywood, history, and travel. It’s no surprise that her books include a little of each. Her first play, ‘Greek Gods and Goddesses’ was written for her Girl Scout troupe. She’s been writing ever since. She loves getting lost in the worlds and characters she creates; even if she frequently forgets to run the dishwasher or wash socks when she’s doing so. Luckily, her four brilliant children and hero-inspiring hubby are super understanding and supportive.
You can stalk, I mean find Sasha here
          
Presented By

They Were Linked DANGEROUSLY FOREVER–Review and Giveaway

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Hi all! Today I’m reviewing a sci-fi erotic romance newly released by best-selling author AM Griffin. DANGEROUSLY FOREVER is a whirlwind of human slavery, daring escapes and forever love–pretty much in that order.

Dangerously Forever (Loving Dangerously, #5)About the Book:
Being kidnapped by a deadly—and dead sexy—brothel slave wasn’t exactly what Kiehle Xochis signed up for. His instructions had been simple: Watch over the human female until his brother and his mate arrived to rescue her. Instead, the slave has decided to liberate herself. She’s proving to be more than Kiehle can handle—and he kind of likes it.

Allysan Miller has gone through hell since being taken from Earth during an invasion. She’s finally found a way to escape the latest, and worst, of the brothels she’s been sold to. Now if Ally plays her cards right, she could gain both freedom and love…if she can learn to trust the dangerous male she’s chosen as her hostage.

Inside Scoop: Ally suffers her share of abuse at the hands of a brothel owner’s guards. But don’t worry. The feisty female warrior gives as good as she gets.
A Romantica® SciFi erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

How about an excerpt!

Flustered at being mesmerized by him, yet again, she turned and focused her attention back on the post and practiced fighting combinations. Not giving in to the temptation to turn and watch him more.

From the corner of her eye, she saw him crouch low to stretch his thighs. The material of his pants stuck to every fine muscular line.

Even outlining his…

She gave her head a light shake. There’s no need to focus on that…that…monstrous thing.

She eyed the post and focused hard. Left, right, cross and duck. Left, right, cross and duck. As he finally walked over to her, she mentally repeated the words, trying to drown out the other voices in her head. The voices that whispered how delicious he looked…that begged her to let him crush her under his weight.

By the time he stood a foot away, the chant sounded more like, Left! Right! Cross! And duck! Left! Right! Cross! And duck!

He moved to her side and assumed a fighting stance, crouching low with his arms out, his smoldering lavender eyes trained on her. His face was framed by thick dark hair that hung a little past his shoulders. Good gracious, he was gorgeous.

She gave him a look of indifference. “We’re sparring?”

“Unless you think I might be too much for you to handle.”

He didn’t know what he was walking into. She’d spent the morning thinking of ways to knock him on his back—and not the way he was probably thinking of now.

She twisted her hair into a knot on the back of her head. He didn’t make a move to do anything with his. Hanging loose, it made him look primal…dangerous…sexy.

Shit.

She narrowed her gaze. He must think that every female around him should swoon like a schoolgirl. He really didn’t need to take off his shirt to advertise his perfect body and that stretching performance had been way over the top. Now his hair was blowing around his face as if he were some kind of alien Fabio.

She looked around. Where the hell is all this wind coming from? “Are you planning to tie back your hair?” she asked, trying her best to sound annoyed—not aroused.

“I had not planned to.” Smiling, he added, “Unless you find it too distracting.”

My Review:
Following Earth’s occupation, Ally becomes a human slave, separated from her dead husband and best friend Eva. She’s not very good at being a slave, however, and continues to get sold to increasingly brutal brothel owners because, well, she has a tendency to maim/kill clients or guards who mistreat her. At her sixth brothel she unwillingly befriends a young boy, Max, the personal pet of her owner. She’s already killed a few o his guards, but when Alharad notices her affinity for Max he’s finally got the right tool to bend Ally’s strong will: threatening Max.

Eva survived her purchase, and thrived. She’s married to the king of Drazlan and has been scouring the galaxy for Ally for years. When she finally finds her, Eva is on the verge of delivering a baby and cannot travel so she sends her brother-in-law, Kiehle, to secure Ally. Kiehle is a warrior, but he’s no match for the cunning of a momma bear. See, Alharad plans to put Max and his friend Yoshi to work as prostitutes, and Ally knows a prince has his own transport. She constructs a half-baked, but daring, plan to kidnap Kiehle and escape with her two child charges.

Best laid plans of desperate women aside, Kiehle is terrifyingly impressed by Ally’s ferocity and loyalty. He’s attracted to her warrior heart as much as to her physical attributes and allows her to “capture” him. There begins the chase scenes and the “Ally can’t trust nobody” interlude. There’s some steam and a whole lot of humor throughout. Ally is a kickass heroine who’s gonna save her kids, and herself, in that order. Kiehle is a great male lead–totally loving and sensitive, while also being huge and hot.

The reunion between Eva and Ally is tender and real. It’s such a romp of a book, with appropriately timed plot twists and great relationships–not just the romance, but also the friendships. Fun, sexy and funny–it’s a triple threat. Kinda like Ally.

Interested? You can find DANGEROUSLY FOREVER on Goodreads, Ellora’s Cave, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win
an eBook of DANGEROUSLY MINE
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:

A. M. Griffin is a wife who rarely cooks, mother of three, dog owner (and sometimes dog owned), a daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She’s a hard worker whose two favorite outlets are reading and writing. She enjoys reading everything from mystery novels to historical romances and of course fantasy romance. She is a believer in the unbelievable, open to all possibilities from mermaids in our oceans and seas, angels in the skies and intelligent life forms in distant galaxies.

You can find Ms. Griffin on her website, Amazon, Goodreads, twitter and Facebook. Or sign up for her newsletter.

In Love With ONE MAN GUY–A Review

I was trolling NetGalley this week–looking for the fun, the new, the different–when I came across this Contemporary YA M/M romance from debut novelist Michael Barakiva. It takes teen angst to a whole new, humorous, educational level…

One Man GuyFourteen year old Armenian-American Aleksander is weeks away from the end of his freshman year. For him, summer is all about tennis camp and a family trip to Niagara Falls and hanging with his BFF, Becky, and he can’t wait.

Oh, the cruel whims of parents!

It seems that Alek is doing okay in his classes, but not nearly good enough to remain in the Honors track–unless he retakes English and Algebra in summer school. So, those plans of summer fun and tennis? POOF!

And Alek is downright salty* over it. (*in this context ‘salty’ means rude and angry, or so my teen son tells me…)

But, honor his parents’ wishes he does, because being Armenian means, well, I guess it means doing more. Alex’s parents definitely lay a guilt trip so thick a water buffalo might drown in it. See, Alek’s family is very tight-knit. He wants to assert his independence, but he’s smothered by his folks, unable to even pick out his own clothing. So he doesn’t stand a chance of avoiding summer school if that’s what his parents demand.

While at summer school Alek meets the notorious skater-boy, rabble-rousing, food-fight-starting Ethan Novick, a junior. Ethan is the embodiment of rebellious teen in Alek’s admiring eyes. He’s not sure why Ethan draws his attention, but Alek cannot seem to get him out of his thoughts. Confessing to Becky, Alek learns she harbors a secret crush for Alek creating a bit of discomfort.

On the way to school one morning, Alek and Ethan meet at the NYC-bound train stop, and Ethan drags Alek off to The City for a daylong hooky adventure, the like of which Alek has dreamed of but never had. He and Ethan bond until Ethan uses the F-word: Faggot. Alek isn’t gay, but he’s thoroughly offended and stands up to Ethan over it–at least until Ethan explains why it’s A-Okay for him to use that particular slur–Ethan’s gay.

Alek is stunned, but still friendly. In fact, to make up for his mistake he creates a gift that wins Ethan completely over, and Alek begins to realize why Ethan is such a big focus in his mind…attraction. But, he struggles with this new wrinkle in his identity. Alek’s had a couple girlfriends before, after all. And he never felt attracted to boys–Ethan excepted. When they actually kiss, Alek is blown away by the rightness of his feelings, the overwhelming rush of desire.

This relationship must stay on the down-low, however, because Alek is certain his Orthodox Armenian parents will never accept a gay child. Good thing their vacation is looming. Family friends convince Alek’s parents to leave him unattended while they travel–a point Alek had argued for–and now he has an empty home and a curious boyfriend. They skip school again for another NYC visit and Alek indulges in his freedom, getting a new haircut and updating his wardrobe from the geek-chic clothes his mother buys.

Do I need to tell you that Alek’s parents return home at an inopportune time? Yeah. Drama.

But the end is a super HEA that satisfies. I adored this book for its humor, and its cultural grounding. I really learned a lot about Armenian culture (and food!) and history that, lamented often by the Armenian characters, is largely denied and forgotten except by those within the Armenian community. Observing Alek accept his sexuality was refreshing. His wit and observations had me in stitches, even if I’m one of those Americans! Becky and Ethan are solid supporting characters, and Alek’s over-involved parents are real people, not cardboard caricatures. They really shine in their love and sincerity.

Overall, the book is meant for teen readers and I’d highly recommend it. There are brief encounters between Alek and Ethan that amount to some heavy make-outs, but nothing more. Having no knowledge of Armenian culture and life, I was pleased to recognize some similarities to the Jewish experiences with which I am familiar. I think any reader could relate to Alek’s family and their quirks. Well, unless you are Turkish. There seems to be a decidedly anti-Turk sentiment within the Armenian community represented here–and its historical significance is fully described within the book.

The author, Michael Barakiva, has really injected a lot of history into the novel without making it preachy. In fact, his deft hand actually calls into question the validity of holding onto past prejudice as opposed to pursuing future happiness. As a result, uneasy truces are made that support moving forward with love and acceptance, even when a Turk is involved.

Interested? ONE MAN GUY will be out this May. You can find more info at Goodreads, and pre-order it via Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’s a fantastic read! I received an advanced review copy of this book via NetGalley.

Thanks for popping by, and keep reading my friends!

Steampunk With Heart–Guest Post and Giveaways

Hi there! Today I’m letting my good friend and writing pal Susan Kay Quinn take over my page for:
Steampunk with Heart: Steampunk IS Romance
with Susan Kaye Quinn and Scott E. Tarbet
She’s a great gal and an awesome writer–who might could like giveaways as much as me, so:
**see bottom of post for steampunk giveaways** AND
**see Steampunk With Heart Page for Facebook Party schedule**

Without further ado, Susan, and her fellow steampunker, Scott…

Susan Kaye Quinn: As I was writing my steampunk romance (ThirdDaughter, The Dharian Affairs #1), it struck me that the term Steampunk Romance is just a bit redundant. Yes, some steampunk stories have romance as the main driver of their plot, but to me, the entire genre is inherently romantic. These stories take place in a bygone era (or entirely fictional analogue of one), alleviating some of the oppressive ideas of the past while keeping the lush aesthetics and romantic ideas about relationships and love. How could that be termed anything other than Romantic?

I discussed this very issue with fellow Steampunk Romance author Scott Tarbet, over tea and fictional crumpets (the tea was real; tea is always real):
Susan Kaye Quinn: Scott, you suggested the title for our little chat, Steampunk IS Romance. How is it you think Steampunk is romance?

Scott E. Tarbet: Steampunk is all about goggles, right? We use them as a convenient symbol of the entire genre. Through our steampunk goggles we look at the world in a different way, a more romantic way. We get to reimagine reality (sometimes the Victorian past, sometimes alternative futures) without the fettering realities of modern technology and recent history. We get an imagined do-over.


Let’s face it: from an historical perspective the 20th Century was horrible. Sure, there were rapid technological advances, but with them came the worst wars, genocides, and horrors in all of human history. What a wonderful thing it is to put on our Steampunk goggles and imagine a simpler, more romantic world without that 20th Century baggage!
Susan Kaye Quinn: I love the idea of using our magic googles of re-imagination! Speaking of imaginative retellings, your book, Midsummer Night’s Steampunk, is a Shakespearean love story retold in a steampunk setting. It’s like a multiplication of romances! Can you tell us a bit about it, and how the romance of steampunk plays into your story?

Scott E. Tarbet: Susan, you’re 100% right! A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk (AMNS) is just what you would expect from the title: a resetting of Shakespeare’s beloved comedy/romance into the Victorian Era. Let me do a little stage-setting:

If you ask any three Steampunks for a definition of what Steampunk is, you’ll get at least five different answers involving the clothing, the weaponry, and the literature. But common to every definition I’ve seen is the gender politics. Did the genders have equal rights and influence in the real life version of the Victorian Era? Not even close. Would the 20th Century have been very different if they had been? Ooooh yeah!

One of my favorite academic writers, who takes on Steampunk as a field of study, Dr. Mike Perschon, puts it this way: “[W]e make the past in our image, as we do whenever a nineteenth century woman isn’t slowly going crazy in a room with psychedelic wallpaper.”

Writing AMNS I had great fun projecting how history would have been different if Vicky, the mother of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, who happened to be the eldest daughter of Britain’s Queen Victoria, had been able to take that brat over her knee and straighten him out. There would have been no World War I, no Russian Revolution, no World War II, no Holocaust, no Cold War. Millions around the world would have lived out very different lives. The world we live in today would be a very different place.
Would the two young girls in Shakespeare’s romance also have been different people? Yes, in fundamental ways. As a result many of the elements of their respective romances would have been different in interesting ways. My heroine, Pauline, is a Sorbonne-educated engineer, the epitome of the strong, educated woman.

So AMNS gave me the opportunity to play with this romantic concept, and bring these three strong women (and several others) to the center of the stage of world politics. It was a lot of fun.

My turn to ask you, Susan: the world you create in Third Daughter also has gender politics flipped on their ear, making strong female characters possibleóeven necessary. How did that feel for you as a woman, and as a writer?

Susan Kaye Quinn: Wow, that’s quite a question! Third Daughter definitely turns gender politics upside down, imagining an analogue India where Queens rule and society is very used to the fact that all women, especially the Daughters of the Queen, carry significant influence and power. As a writer, I loved playing with the concept of male courtesans, and how a princess who carries true power might have to wrestle between marrying for love and marrying to keep her country from war. That premise takes a classic political intrigue and interweaves a very feminine perspective into it without losing either the romance or the adventure. Add in the inherent lushness and romance of an east-Indian aesthetic, and I like that reviewers are calling it vivid and crisp. It tells me that I got something right in the descriptions!

Personally, as a woman who has worked in engineering but now writes fiction, strong female characters come naturally to me. But I know that female empowerment is a huge issue in India, and I hope that I can, through a small flight of fancy, give a taste of that empowerment to young woman, no matter where they live in the world.
Speaking of India, Scott, I hear you have an east-Indian character in your story as well! Can you tell us about her and her role in the story?

Scott Tarbet: I do! Her name is Lakshmi, and she is the Steampunk analogue of the character Titania in Shakespeare’s play. In the play, Titania and Oberon are the fairy queen and king. In my adaptation they are genius inventors. Lakshmi is the daughter of the sultan of Golkondah, a physician, engineer, inventor, and philanthropist. Truth be told, not only is she my ideal woman, but she is everything I myself would like to be my idealized feminine side. To me she embodies all aspects of love: romantic, filial, and godly. She is a profoundly romantic figure, in the best possible sense.

Her efforts to stave off the disasters that will befall the 20th Century world the analogue extension of the conflict between Titania and Oberon over the little Indian boy are the heart of the political intrigues of the novel. Together with the other queens, she forms the heart (literally and figuratively) of the resistance to evil.
I think of Lakshmi as embodying all that is best and most charming in the Steampunk genre: she represents the bridge between unattainable magic and the good that can come from attainable technology. The spirit of Lakshmi is why I love Steampunk.
Now, I see that Third Daughter is part of a series, The Dharian Affairs. What can you tell us about the future of the characters we meet in Third Daughter without spoiling the surprises for us, of course.
Susan Kaye Quinn: The Dharian Affairs will be a trilogy: Third Daughter, Second Daughter, First Daughter. Aniri, the spunky Third Daughter who wrestles with love and duty, will be the main character throughout, but in Second Daughter, we’ll get to see more of Aniri’s beloved sister, the princess whose fate was sealed from the start by an arranged marriage to protect an alliance. In First Daughter, the adventure will continue closer to home, where Aniri’s oldest sister and heir-apparent, the First Daughter, plays a prominent role in bringing the trilogy to a close. In fairy tales, the number three plays an almost mystical role, and I love the idea of exploring each daughter’s role in the fate of the Queendom.
Will we see more from the characters you created in AMNS?
Scott Tarbet: Yes! There’s a short story called Ganesh that tells the backstory of one of the characters in AMNS. It is to be part of anthology of AMNS short stories at some point in the future. I’ll soon be putting it online exclusively for people who have already enjoyed AMNS.
The next book set in the AMNS universe, Lakshmi, is well underway. It’s up to Xchyler Publishing whether it will come out before or after my novel Dragon Moon.
Susan, it has been a great pleasure chatting with you. All the best to you and your readers!

Susan Kaye Quinn: The pleasure was all mine, Sir!

Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, which is young adult science fiction. The Dharian Affairs trilogy is her excuse to dress up in corsets and fight with swords. She also has a dark-and-gritty SF serial called The Debt Collector and a middle grade fantasy called Faery Swap. It’s possible she’s easily distracted. Her business card says “Author and Rocket Scientist” and she always has more speculative fiction fun in the works. You can subscribe to her newsletter (hint: new subscribers get a free short story!) or stop by her blog to see what she’s up to.
Third Daughter (The Dharian Affairs #1)

Kindle|Nook|Print

The Third Daughter of the Queen wants to marry for love, but rumors of a new flying weapon force her to accept a barbarian prince’s proposal of a peace-brokering marriage.

I reviewed THIRD DAUGHTER back in December. SO GOOD! Check it out here.




Scott Tarbet is the author of A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk from Xchyler Publishing, Tombstone, in the paranormal anthology Shades & Shadows, and the forthcoming Lakshmi, Dragon Moon, and Nautilus Redux. He writes enthusiastically in several genres, sings opera, was married in full Elizabethan regalia, loves steampunk waltzes, and slow-smokes thousands of pounds of Texas-style barbeque. An avid skier, hiker, golfer, and tandem kayaker, he makes his home in the mountains of Utah. Follow Scott E. Tarbet online at his website or on Twitter.

A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk
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Immerse yourself in this Steampunk retelling of Shakespeare’s classic, replete with the newfound wizardry of alternative Victorian technology, mistaken identities, love triangles, and deadly peril, set against the backdrop of a world bracing itself for war, and Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

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Good luck, and as always: keep reading my friends!

He Doesn’t Have a HEART OF STONE After All–A Review

Saving the world? That’s woman’s work!

Heart of Stone (Gargoyles, #1)I nabbed HEART OF STONE off of NetGalley just so I could see if Christine Warren could write Urban Fantasy as hot as Karen Marie Moning.

Mmm mmm mmm. Good stuff.

About the Book:

Ella Harrow is trying to carve out a normal life for herself. Well, as normal as an art geek with psychic abilities can hope for. As museum docent and gift-shop manager, Ella is able to keep her distance from people—and her powers in check—while surrounding herself with the artifacts she loves. But how on earth is she supposed to act normal when a thousand-year-old statue on the museum’s terrace suddenly comes to life?

Not your ordinary gargoyle, Kees has been asleep for eons, waiting for a portent of evil to wake him from his slumber. Kees isn’t a vision; he’s a bat-winged guardian created to protect the world from the seven demons of the Dark. Somehow, Ella triggered his reawakening. Maybe the demons have been unleashed? Maybe his heart is finally ready to be chiseled open? The fate of the world isn’t carved in stone…yet.

My Review:

This was a super fun read. Ella is spunky. She’s got a terrible amount of power that she strains to contain–particularly after the last time it escaped. Becoming an instant orphan will teach a gal control. One night she’s attacked on the terrace of the art museums where she works and the statue beside her erupts into life.  It’s enough to make a gal swoon. She did.

Kees isn’t just a delicious art-come-to-life–he’s a Guardian, and he knows the world is in big trouble when an untried, untamed magical girl can rouse him from his mystical slumber. Together they learn that the Keepers of Light are being systematically hunted down by the minions of Darkness. WIthout the Guardians Earth has no hope to prevent demonic subjugation. Kees fights against his emotional reactions–claiming to be nothing more than the stone he is–but Ella insists there’s more to him than he will accept.

Let’s just say this: End of times doesn’t normal equal romance, but the heat simmered from their first contact–long before they recognized the danger they were in. And, I am NOT a gal who’s going to get miffed about some serious friction. Bam-chicka-bow-wow.

Kees? D-Lish. Makes me want to hit the Art Institute just to see if I can find me some Guardian…

In any case, Ella and Kees do get it right and track down the last Keeper they can find. Unfortunately he’s torched soon thereafter by the Big Baddies. And they continue the hunt for both Keepers and Guardian statues–the remaining six which seem to be scattered to the four winds. All while dodging the Dark Ones. Ella’s standoff in her childhood home leaves her with far better magical skills, and a few less enemies.

It seems, instead of the usual rituals to awaken these magnificent defenders of humanity, a single woman of power can entreat the creature within to break his stony bonds–much like Ella did for Kees–if she is his true mate. And one of Ella’s art friends may have found another Guardian. As this is the beginning of a new Gargoyles series, I expect there to be six similar books where a smart sassy gal brings her personal stony savior to life all to save the world.

In total I liked the magical elements. I felt that Ella wasn’t clueless, but needed training to use the powers she always knew she had. And Kees did train her. Hard. With his teaching, and some books gleaned from essential support characters, Ella built herself from a danger into a weapon for good–and in far less time than Mac Lane. Also, did I mention the sex? Kinda like voting in Chicago it happens early and often… Nice.

Interested? You can find HEART OF STONE at your local bookstore, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.

If you pick this one up, make sure to come back and tell me your thoughts.

In the meantime, keep reading my friends! 🙂