Available Now: Best in Show

BestInShow_FBbanner_DSPAfter writing Felix Ingesson for the Chaos Station series, I’ve found myself reluctant to go to dark places with my characters. It’s not that I’ve lost my Evil Author (TM) badge, or run out of ideas for how to torture my guys. More, I want to explore the lighter side for a while – and that’s definitely what happens in Best in Show. It’s a paranormal tale, but there is no shuffling among the egos of a pack, midnight neck-chewing or fated mates who can never be together. There is a curse, though! And some magic, and a mystery. And two really sweet guys who are both stuck in place – each needing a gentle nudge from fate in order to find something and someone they can care for.

Best in Show releases today and I’ve included it in my tour for Counting Fence Posts. Two books, one tour. Follow along for posts about both books, including character interviews, playlists, excerpts, a recipe and more. Details below. I also have a giveaway! Enter here for a chance to win two of my backlist titles from Dreamspinner Press and a $25 store credit.


BestInShowFSBest in Show

Solitary mystery writer Julian Wilkes doesn’t want a pet, but his sister persuades him to visit Lingwood Animal Rescue, where he is immediately taken with a large ginger tabby cat. Before he can settle into the joys of cat ownership, however, he discovers something very unusual about his new companion.

Macavity Birch is cursed. By day he is a large tabby cat. At night he can be himself—a human male with ginger hair and oddly yellow eyes. He didn’t mean to end up in the animal rescue, but he never meant any harm when playing the prank that resulted in his curse, either. Happily, Julian adopts him. But while exploring his host’s home, he discovers the diary of a long-dead relative.

Unfortunately, not all of Mac’s ancestors are dead and buried. His great-great-great-grandmother is very much alive, and she’s a powerful witch who doesn’t take kindly to the sharing of family secrets. When Mac reveals himself to Julian in order to save him from bigger trouble, he achieves just the opposite, plunging Julian deeper into a magical mystery with him.

Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | ARe | Dreamspinner Press

Excerpt 

Chapter One

Two Books, One Tour

7/23     Counting Fence Posts Gay Book Reviews

7/25     Counting Fence Posts The Novel Approach

7/26     Counting Fence Posts Love Bytes

7/27     Both Books!    Dreamspinner Blog

7/27     Best in Show   Gay Book Reviews

7/27     Best in Show   Queer Sci Fi

7/27     Best in Show   Here Be Magic

7/28     Counting Fence Posts Joyfully Jay

7/28     Best in Show   Diverse Reader

7/29     Best in Show   Foodie Friday

7/29     Counting Fence Posts Divine Magazine

8/1       Best in Show   Sinfully

8/2       Best in Show   Prism Book Alliance

 

Excerpt: Quiet as a Mouse by Asta Idonea

Dreamspinner’s Daily Dose releases today. This year’s theme is ‘A Walk on the Wild Side’, with the call being for stories about unique shifters. Asta Idonea answered with a cute story about a church mouse with a passion for music, and his church’s musical director.  Quiet as a Mouse is short, sweet and available today. Read on for the synopsis, an excerpt and where to buy!

QuietasaMouseCoverQuiet as a Mouse

Upon moving to a new town, shy shifter Paul is instantly smitten by local choirmaster Cale. Wanting to spend as much time with Cale as possible, he becomes the proverbial church mouse so he can enjoy Cale’s music without revealing his feelings.  But when Cale sees him and traps are set, Paul faces a difficult choice. What does he want out of life, and does he have the courage to go after it? Will he be a man… or a mouse?

Available now at the following retailers:

Dreamspinner Press |ARe |Amazon US |Amazon UK

Excerpt

Religion wasn’t the reason he was here. Every member of the group knew that, and he suspected one or two judged him for it, but for the most part, he’d been welcomed into the church choir with open arms. Believer or atheist, they could all agree on their love for fine choral chants. What he hoped none of the others knew was the fact it wasn’t only the music that kept him coming back week after week. Not God, not music, but a man gave rise to his devotion. And that man was the choir’s musical director, Cale Abbott.

Paul first saw Cale a few weeks after he moved to the small town in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. A lifelong music lover, he heard of a forthcoming organ recital at the local church and decided to go along, partly for the performance and partly for company. A close call had almost led to the discovery of his secret at his last abode, and he had been forced to beat a quick retreat. He worked as a freelance illustrator and could earn his living from anywhere with a decent Internet connection, so he’d packed up his bags, dropped a pin into the map, and ended up here. It wasn’t the first time he’d had to make an impromptu move, and it wouldn’t be the last. It was a price he had to pay, given what he was, and yet no matter how many times he went through it, the first few weeks were always the hardest. Settling into a new place, trying to blend with the locals, establishing a new routine; all these things required a certain fortitude that went against his shy nature.

An audio version of this excerpt is available here!


Author Pic 2015About the author:

Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel; all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.

Where to find her:

Blog |Facebook |Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | LinkedIn | Amazon Author US | Amazon Author UK

 

 

Review: The Mark of the Tala (The Twelve Kingdoms, #1) by Jeffe Kennedy

The Mark of the Tala (Twelve Kingdoms, #1)

The Mark Of The Tala’ is the first of three novels set in ‘The Twelve Kingdoms’. Each book tells the story of one of three sisters.

As the oldest, Ursula is heir to the throne. She has a head for politics and strategy and sleeps with her sword. Amelia is the youngest and the sweetest. Her beauty stole Ursula’s suitor, but everyone forgave her because she’s just that nice. Andromeda is the middle sister, the invisible sister. She’s the daydreamer and happy in her insignificance. ‘The Mark Of The Tala’ is Andi’s story.

Out riding, Andi veers close to the border of the Wild Lands. There, she is confronted by a strange man who commands a pack of wolves. Rayfe insists he’s been looking for her and waiting for her father to send her to the Wild Lands, as per a promise to be his queen. Andi attacks him and escapes, but not before he manages to wrest a kiss from her. He has blood on his lips from a wound she inflicted. He bites her lip and their blood mingles for a second. In that second, everything changes.

Soon after Andi returns to the castle, a massive raven shatters a window, heralding an attack of the Wild Landers, known as the Tala. Andi’s father, the king, places the blame on her young shoulders. At once, the invisible sister becomes important. She’s not used to the spotlight and ultimately tries to hide. She begins spinning lies, hiding the truth of the kiss and the changes it has awakened inside of her and the dreams that begin to plague her.

Andi is not the only one hiding the truth, however. As the Tala continue to besiege the Twelve Kingdoms, Andi looks into the history of the Kingdoms, including the circumstances surrounding her parents’ union. She discovers her mother, Salena, was of the Tala and that she always expected to return home to the Wild Lands with her daughters. Unfortunately for Salena, she died giving birth to her youngest.

Andi also learns of the Tala, but in a limited manner. She has access to some texts hidden away when history was rewritten by her father’s court and Rayfe, the stranger from the Wild Lands, visits her dreams. Andi comes to realise she has a destiny and that her loyalty to her sisters and her Kingdom might actually be their downfall. So, she arranges a way to honour the treaty between the Kingdom and the Tala, to become Rayfe’s queen.

From there, she then has to learn to harness the power awakened within her, find her place with the Tala and forge peace between the two lands.

In parts, ‘The Mark Of The Tala’ reads very much like romantic fantasy. From the moment Andi meets Rayfe, she is enthralled. He’s attractive and mysterious enough to warrant the fantasy and the romantic premise and, after they get together, there is definite chemistry between the two. On the plot side of things, ‘The Mark Of The Tala’ is actually a pretty good read. The Tala are shape-shifters. I’d have liked a little more history there, but perhaps we’ll learn more in the next two books. As it stands, their culture is well explored as Andi learns to embrace that part of herself.

The story ends with enough dangling threads that the reader will be interested in continuing. But there is also a nice sense of conclusion for Andi and Rayfe. The plot of this book is satisfying. Of course, the included teaser for the next book, which is Amelia’s story, had me wanting to read forward immediately.

Recommended for fans of light fantasy, romantic fantasy, shape-shifters, magic, and sexy romantic interludes.

Written for SFCrowsnest.