Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Secrets Of A Dangerous Woman


Secrets of a Dangerous Woman
 by p.m. terrell

p.m. terrell is the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 16 books in four genres: paranormal romantic suspense, suspense/thriller, historical adventure/suspense and non-fiction. Vicki's Key, the second book in the Black Swamp Mysteries series, was a finalist in the 2012 International Book Awards (one of only five in the mystery/suspense category) and River Passage won the 2010 Best Drama & Fiction Award. She has been a full-time writer for more than ten years. Previously, she founded and operated two computer companies; her clients included the CIA, Secret Service and Department of Defense. Her work in detecting computer white collar crime and computer intelligence inspired many of her books. She is an avid dog lover and advocate for animal rights and founded the New Leash on Life program in Robeson County, NC, which rescues dogs and places them in the prison system for obedience training and adoption. She also co-founded The Book 'Em Foundation, whose slogan is Buy a Book and Stop a Crook; their mission is to raise awareness of the correlation between high crime rates and high illiteracy rates. She co-chairs the Book 'Em North Carolina Writers' Conference and Book Fair each year in Lumberton, NC, which raises money for literacy campaigns in our communities.


Book 'Em NC | Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Fan Page



Genre: Suspense
Publisher: Drake Valley Press
Release Date: September 2012
Buy: Amazon | Kindle

Irishman Dylan Maguire is back in Secrets of a Dangerous Woman, reuniting with psychic spy Vicki Boyd. In his first mission with the CIA, he must interrogate recently captured Brenda Carnegie. But when she escapes again, it's obvious she's had help from within the CIA's own ranks. With Vicki Boyd's psychic assistance, Brenda is back in his custody again. And now he must find out why some in the highest branches of government want her dead - and others will risk everything to help her. And when he discovers her true identity, his mission has just become very personal.

Excerpt:

#1:
Brenda was taller than her sister. His chest touched her back as he leaned on the door, her hair brushing against his face and flowing downward nearly to the top of his jeans. She smelled of Vicki’s shampoo and Vicki’s perfume.
Where the bloody hell do you think you’re goin’?” Dylan said.
She didn’t answer but continued facing the door.
Put the gun down, Red,” he said calmly.
Since you remember me,” she said, still with her back against him, “you know I didn’t have a gun.”
I know that you’ve got me gun in your right hand. And I know as soon as you turn around, that gun is goin’ to be pointed at me chest.”
Let me go, Irish. Don’t make me shoot you.”
There are two things I won’t be allowin’ to happen. First, you’re not gonna shoot me with me own gun. And second, they won’t be catchin’ you with me gun on you. They won’t be tracin’ you back to me.”
She remained motionless and he could almost hear her mind racing. “I’m bad news, Irish. You and I both know it. It’s better this way.”
It’s better that you stay here. You’re safe here.”
What are you saying?”
I think I just said it.”
I’m turning around,” she said after a moment’s hesitation. “And I’m handing you the gun.”
He moved slightly away from the door, dropping his arms from around her head as she turned around. He took the gun from her hand and set it on the kitchen table beside them.
I wish I’d met you before Vicki did. We would have been good together.”
His eyes followed her jawline, her full lips, a slightly wide, upturned nose, her high cheekbones, and a mountain of copper hair a man could get lost in. Then his eyes moved to her perfect brows, one raised slightly, coquettishly, before stopping to peer into her mesmerizing amber eyes. “We would have been dangerous together.”

Giveaway – Gift Basket of goodies from the town of Lumberton where the Black Swamp Mysteries series is based (picture coming soon), to one lucky commenter from tour.





Thursday, January 10, 2013

Take My Heart Blog Tour


Tour Schedule


Take My Heart by Marie Higgins

Mercedes Maxwell’s sister’s last wish was for Mercedes to find evidence against Kat’s husband, William Braxton, and have him hung as a traitor to the crown. Mercedes isn’t na├»ve when it comes to capturing traitors, because her own deceased husband had once been an agent for the King when they lived in England.

When she meets William Braxton for the first time, all is not as it seems. Portraying her twin, Mercedes knows this is the only way to get close enough to William to discover his secrets. What she finds along the way are little surprises she hadn’t counted on, especially when she begins to give her heart to a man who may be a spy against the crown.




Book Trailer



Praise for Marie Higgins
”I enjoyed this book immensely. Each book of Marie's that I read is better than the last. I recommend this book to young adults and older who enjoy historical mystery, intrigue, fight for freedom, clean romance. This is the book for you.”
~~Mary Walling / Goodreads

“Few authors have mastered the art of storytelling like Marie Higgins. In this Colonial-era romance, Marie takes her reader on a wild ride. Every chapter, every scene, every line envelopes the reader's senses and imagination with passionate romance, deep emotional struggles, unexpected twists and turns, and neverending ups and downs. This was a hard book to put down and earns an unequivocal five stars from me. Thanks, Marie, for writing such great romances!”
~~Wanda Luce / Goodreads

 “Marie Higgins's Take My Heart is a stunning colonial romance. With well developed characters and heartwarming scenes, this book will steal the hearts of romance lovers and historical fiction fans. There are numerous twists and Higgins keeps you guessing at every turn as to who the real villain is. This book is a "must-read" for anyone who loves romance, history, or just a good story. FIVE STARS ALL THE WAY!!” ~~L.D. Smith / Kindle

“Breathless! From start to finish you will keep wondering, questioning, and hoping. You will root for the underdog, and smile as love conquers all. Great read. You won't put it down until you're finished!”
~~M. Henning / Kindle


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Author Marie Higgins

Since Marie Higgins was a little girl playing Barbies with her sister, Stacey, she has loved the adventure of making up romantic stories. Marie was only eighteen years old when she wrote her first skit, which won an award for Funniest Skit. A little later in life, after she’d married and had children, Marie wrote Church roadshows that were judged as Funniest and Best Written. From there, she branched out to write full-length novels based on her dreams. (Yes, she says, her dreams really are that silly)

Marie has been married for twenty-six years to a wonderful man. Together, they have three loving daughters and several beautiful grandchildren. Marie works full time for the state of Utah, where she has lived her entire life. Marie plans to keep writing, because the characters in her head won’t shut up. But her husband smiles and pretends this is normal.



Links





Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card
Ends 1/31/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gracier Book Blast



Gracier by Milissa R. Bailey

Everyone around her knows. Everyone she trusts has lied. And the one man who held the key to Jessica McCabe’s past is dead.

Welcome to Gracier, Iowa, a well-kept community with even better kept secrets. Lives are peaceful, streets are quiet, but behind the tranquility is many a tale to be told. Veterinarian Jessica McCabe has returned, but it is not the homecoming she had expected. Her grandfather, Jonas McCabe and Gracier’s longtime vet has died, leaving behind the practice they had hoped to share.

The reading of Jonas’ will sets off a series of events that bring into question Jessica’s birthright, the truth surrounding her mother’s untimely death and her grandfather’s sanity. With her world turned upside down she is thrown into a partnership with Matthew Cassidy, the man who chose his family’s wealth over Jessica’s love.

Her determined spirit leads Jessica to stay, continue the veterinarian practice and return to the life and the community she loves. But a secret loft and a box filled with a hidden past change the course of her life once again.

Longtime family friends, Dr. Andrew Harrison and retired Sheriff Chester Caughlin know the truth. A promise made to a dear old friend to protect the girl they helped raise is one they intend to keep. But the wheels of fate have been put in motion. The people entrusted with protecting Jessica from the past are losing control. The small town of Gracier, Iowa holds many secrets and those who have kept the truth hidden are about to discover that not everything has been laid to rest.


Book Trailer





Praise
"Milissa Bailey has set the perfect stage for the next book in the series with her intriguing characters that are as unpredictable as an Iowa tornado and as genuine as the county fair. The labyrinth of their lives makes you want to learn more about the secrets of Gracier".  - D. Bahrenfuss - Editor

"I was pulled in with the depth of this story and couldn't stop myself from finishing the second half in one sitting. GRACIER is a beautiful reminder of all that is important in life. Bailey has a wonderful gift and I hope she will continue to "breathe"!"
--Leisa Anslinger, author of Forming Generous Hearts, Here Comes Everybody

"...think Jennifer Chiaverini or Jan Karon" - Burlington by the Book

“It was one of those books that I stayed up late reading and picked back up the minute I woke up! ” -Mari Kait

"Milissa Bailey's depiction of small town Iowa is both charming and mysterious--the perfect combination to captivate readers." -C.G.Reader

“Add to that a group of supporting characters you can't help but love. Gracier is a must read.” -Shari

 "I couldn't put the book down...can't wait for book #2!!!!" -RJW



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Author Milissa Bailey

Milissa Bailey grew up among the rolling fields of rural Iowa, where she continues to live with her husband, and three children. In her debut novel she draws upon her rich knowledge of the Midwest as she welcomes us to Gracier, Iowa, a well-kept community with even better kept secrets. Readers are introduced to a cast of characters they will come to know, love and hate. Vivid descriptions, palatable anguish, forbidden romance and touches of humor lend itself to the stories weaved in this idyllic setting. The small town of Gracier holds many secrets and those who have kept the truth hidden are about to discover that not everything has been laid to rest.

Milissa, along with her husband, own a marketing firm located in Iowa. She is currently at work on the second book in the Gracier series.




Author Interview





$100 BookBlast Giveaway (starts January 9th)

Ends 1/20/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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Monday, January 7, 2013

The Sullivans - An Interview


Please enjoy this interview with Bella Andre, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of the contemporary romance series, The Sullivans. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including special romantic swag baskets for each book, an iPad Mini, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, and Kobo eReader, and Amazon and iTunes gift cards!  

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You create characters beautifully and are an absolute master of plot twists. It seems like you could write in almost any genre and do a bang-up job of it. What made you decide to devote your efforts to the romance genre in particular?
Thank you so much for the compliments! I've always been a huge romance fan - I've been reading nearly a book a day since I was a teenager - so it was a natural fit for me when the characters starting appearing in my head one day. :)

How did the idea for this interconnected contemporary romance series first come to you? What was your inspiration?
I love the family series that have always been popular in historical romance - like Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series and Nora Roberts MacGregors - and I was also inspired by my husband's large family. It seemed like a natural fit to combine the the funny and sweet family dynamics into an overarching series of sexy contemporary romances with the alpha heroes that I love so much.

Everyone seems to have a favorite Sullivan. Now I know this is like asking you to choose between your own children, but who is your favorite? And who's most like you?
I'll have to plead the fifth and pick Mary Sullivan - the family matriarch - as my favorite Sullivan. She's the heart that keeps the family together and I get emotional whenever I write a scene with her. In fact, in COME A LITTLE BIT CLOSER (Smith Sullivan's story), the scene where he calls his mother to ask for love advice is one that so many readers have told me is their absolute favorite scene in any Sullivan book. As for who is most like me - maybe Sophie Sullivan from I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU. She loves to read (and is a librarian) and when she wants something (in her case: bad boy Jake McCann), she goes for it! Of course, I'm also a lot like Lori Sullivan (aka "Naughty") with her big mouth and constant laughter.

In your opinion, what ingredients are needed to make up a good love story? Is life the same as fiction in this respect? Why or why not?
I love to love my characters and when I write a story I need two heroic, nice, good people (and why not gorgeous, too?!) who deserve love and have a lot of love to offer in return, but who are flawed partially because they haven't found that perfect someone who compliments them like no other. I like my fiction to be a little bigger than life - the Sullivans are extraordinarily hot, sensitive and attentive - but at their heart, they're all very real.

How has your own love story with your husband informed the Sullivan series? Are there any scenes that are directly taken from your own life?
I have the best husband in the entire world. Sweet, loving, sensitive…and super hot! He's always supported me in everything I've ever done and I think his strength and capability to love is at the core of every hero I write. With that said, none of the scenes are ever taken directly from my own life. I have a very active imagination. :)

Let's pretend for a second that you are a single woman living in the world of the Sullivans, which of the six brothers would you be most likely to fall in love with and why?
Ohhhh, now THAT is a fun fantasy! I would fall in love with each and every single one of them - and do, while I'm writing each of their stories! If I had to pick one, I might have my eye on Marcus (FROM THIS MOMENT ON) - because while all of my Sullivans are sweet, sexy and sensitive - Marcus is the only one with his own endless supply of wine from his winery. And there's just something about the oldest brother…. Then again, Zach Sullivan is such a great combination of cocky and sweet. And Ryan Sullivan has all those muscles. And Gabe is such a hero as a firefighter (and I love his dirty talking between the sheets). And Chase is so sexy and protective. And then there's Jake McCann (who falls in love with Sophie Sullivan) with his tattoo's and big muscles. Not to mention Lori's hero in the upcoming ALWAYS ON MY MIND which will be out this spring. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Lori's hero just might be the hottest hero I've ever written. See, what did I tell you earlier? I'm no good at picking just one. So let's just say, yet again, ALL OF THEM!

The Sullivans and their beaux have some pretty interesting careers. From photographers and sculptors to professional actors, musicians and ball players all the way to firefighters, librarians and business owners, they lead very exciting lives! What type of research did you have to do to capture these jobs so well? Do you have any interesting research anecdotes to share?
I've written firefighters and athletes in previous series which helped with my firefighter, Gabe (CAN'T HELP FALLING IN LOVE) and my baseball player, Ryan (LET ME BE THE ONE). I also live in Sonoma and have a lot of experience with wine and wineries which was ideal for winery owner Marcus (FROM THIS MOMENT ON) and as a writer I've been blessed to work with many librarians who served as information points for Sophie (I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU.) For books where I need inspiration, the internet has been amazing and when needed, I also call on the help of professionals. Even though I'd written firefighters before, I still sent all my firefighting scenes to a professional and for Smith's book (COME A LITTLE BIT CLOSER) I sent all the acting-set sequences to a local film producer.

I was very touched by the inclusion of Yorkie puppy, Cuddles, and Great Dane rescue, Atlas, in book five, If You Were Mine. Are you a dog person yourself? If you have pets, I'd love to know more about them!
I *love* animals. I had the best time writing the two dogs in IF YOU WERE MINE. They had their own little love story in that book, which pleased me to no end. There's a cat that plays a very important role in ALWAYS ON MY MIND (Lori Sullivan's story, coming Spring 2013). My whole family loves animals, and we've recently adopted a beautiful cat. Or more accurately, the cat has adopted us, smart little minx.

The Sullivan series is currently seven volumes long. How many more books do you have planned, and which other family members will get the spotlight in their own books? Lori's book (ALWAYS ON MY MIND) is up next, and there are 5 Seattle Sullivans who are ready for love - I will start with Rafe Sullivan's book this summer! Plus, I have something *very* special planned for Mary Sullivan, their mother, planned to release for the holidays in 2013.

And lastly (for a bit of random fun), what has been the most amazing/ touching/ validating interaction you've had with a fan of your books? Everyone who has ever written to me on Facebook or Twitter or Goodreads or via email to tell me how much they love my books and that the Sullivans have moved them in some way has touched me. I love my fans, so, so much! I have the very best time in the world writing about my Sullivans… and knowing that I have so many absolutely wonderful people waiting to read them as soon as they're released is a total thrill every single day.
The Sullivans are on tour with Novel Publicity. Follow along for your chance to win amazing prizes. We've got special romantic swag baskets for each book, an iPad Mini, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, and Kobo eReader, and Amazon and iTunes gift cards. WOW! You'll also get introduced to this amazing contemporary romance series via excerpts as well as interviews with and guest posts from New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Bella Andre. You'll definitely want to learn more about the family that has captured the world's heart. All the info you need to join the fun and enter to win amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win! To Win the Prizes:
  1. Purchase any of the Sullivan ebooks by Bella Andre for just $4.99 (optional)
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity (go here)
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event (that's where the HUGE prizes are)
About The Sullivans: In this sexy, emotional and funny contemporary romance series, each member of the Sullivan family will eventually find true love...usually where he or she least expects it. Get the eBooks via Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, the iBookStore, or the Kobo Store. Audiobooks are also available for the first five in the series (with more coming soon). Plus, keep an eye out for paperback editions coming from Harlequin Romance starting Summer 2013.
All Sullivan Covers


Bella Andre_1
About the Author: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Bella Andre has always been a writer. Songs came first, and then non-fiction books, but as soon as she started writing her first romance novel, she knew she'd found her perfect career. Known for "sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance" (Publishers Weekly) about sizzling alpha heroes and the strong women they'll love forever, nearly all of her novels have appeared on Top 10 lists at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo. Her books have been Cosmopolitan Magazine "Red Hot Reads" twice and have been translated into nine languages. Winner of the Award of Excellence, The Washington Post has called her "One of the top digital writers in America" and she has been featured by NPR, USA Today, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal. She has given the keynote speech at Book Expo America on her self-publishing success and has sold more than one million books. If not behind her computer, you can find her reading her favorite authors, hiking, swimming or laughing. Married with two children, Bella splits her time between the Northern California wine country and a 100 year old log cabin in the Adirondacks.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Interview With Melissa McPhail


Your debut novel, Cephrael’s Hand was the winner of The Written Arts Award for both the best fiction and the best Sci-Fi/Fantasy categories–congratulations! So tell us, what was the inspiration behind this story, and can you tell us a little bit about it?
I started the first version of Cephrael’s Hand when I was going through a difficult time in my life. I needed the cathartic joy that I’d always found in writing. I didn’t set out to write a novel—just to write. That first draft had no planning, no world-building, no design. It was pure creative inspiration. And it was awful!
But the characters… I had brought them into being, and they insisted that they had a story to tell. It took my growing as a writer—and over a million words tossed into the trash—to finally tell their story properly.
Cephrael’s Hand is the result of a philosopher’s approach to fantasy. It’s the story of one man’s steadfast determination to save the realm he swore to protect, and his willingness to do anything it takes to accomplish that end—even to betray those he loves. It’s the story of the unlikely pieces (men and women) who unknowingly fall beneath his shadow, and of the players who follow him. Ultimately, it’s a story of salvation.
I see fantasy as a metaphor for life in this world. We all face tests of our honor. We’re all working to accomplish our goals and flourish and prosper. Few of us set out to do evil. Yet evil is done. Goals are abandoned. Integrity is compromised. We totter precariously on thin wires as we move through the labyrinth of life. I strive with my series to illuminate those wire-thin paths, that we might find solid ground beneath them.
 Without giving away too much, can you reveal what’s in store for the readers when they crack open Cephrael’s Hand?
If you listen to my critics—too many characters! But this is an epic fantasy dealing with a conflict that spans multiple kingdoms. It takes a team to save the world. ;)
Hopefully you’ll meet interesting characters and a world you can easily find your own place within.  You’ll discover pirates, princes, star-crossed lovers and philosopher-soldiers. You’ll see many characters who are not as they appear, and a few who are exactly as they seem. You’ll find adventure on a perilous road with prince Ean val Lorian, and farcical escapades with Trell of the Tides and the pirate Carian vran Lea.
You’ll often wonder who is good and who is evil—because most villains in real life are cloaked in shades of gray.
 Can you tell us more about some of the key concepts that inspired the world ofCephrael’s Hand?
The story is crafted out of many of the philosophies I’ve studied. As I was planning Cephrael’s Hand, I had been reading about game philosophy. Game philosophy speaks on the importance of games in our lives and takes a look at their composition (barriers, purposes and freedoms) and their anatomy (pieces, players, maker of games). It’s a compelling concept with abundant applications, and I became immediately interested in exploring the ideas more via the story of Cephrael’s Hand.
Balance is another concept that threads throughout the story. Exploration of this idea comes out of my study and practice of yoga. If ever a concept permeates our lives, the pursuit of balance is one. Whether seeking to balance work and parenthood, our social commitments and our private lives, or even just the juggle of that list of a thousand things we’ll never get to, every one of us is seeking balance in some fashion. Placing this concept within the framework of a fantasy story embellishes it with a magical lure.
 The Cephreal’s Hand constellation plays an important role in the book. Is there a real life constellation that plays a similarly important role in your life? 
I can’t say that a particular constellation is important to me personally, though I’ve studied Astrology for many years. But I’m drawn to the idea, both scientifically and philosophically, that we are all connected somehow with each other and the broader universe. String Theory and General Relativity play to this idea from the perspective of science. Certainly, if we are connected to the stars in some esoteric way, then the actions of the stars can impact us. Astrology believes this, and the graphing of natal charts proves an underlying truth in this ancient, mystical and often misunderstood science. Philosophies far and wide declare that we’ve descended or separated from a universal oneness and teach karmic values with the intent of helping us return or re-ascend to that harmonious state.
The concept of Balance in Cephrael’s Hand stems from this idea of universal connectivity.
 Ever since a linguist named Tolkien came along, language has been a very important aspect of the epic fantasy genre. What inspired the various languages in Cephrael’s Hand?
The desert languages are based on Farsi or Arabic, depending on the tribe. Farsi is one of the oldest  languages still in use today, and its traditions lent themselves well to the Kandori culture, which is one of Alorin’s oldest races. Likewise Arabic, being originally a language of the nomadic tribes, seemed the correct base from which to draw the language of the Akkad.
Even older than both of these languages in my novel is Old Alaeic, which is the original language of theangiel, the Maker’s blessed children, and of the two original races: the zanthyrs and the drachwyr. Old Alaeic draws primarily from Gaelic root words. I chose Gaelic because the language maintains some of the earliest roots of our Indo-European linguistic heritage. Its spellings and pronunciations are almost universally reminiscent of mythological beings from ancient times and are often associated, especially in the fantasy genre, with elves, Druids or other mystical races.
 Which other authors have served as influences and inspiration for your own work?
I love lyrical writing, so my bookshelves host an eclectic mix (albeit heavily weighted with fantasy and science fiction). Those who first come to mind from the fantasy genre are Anne Rice, Patrick Rothfuss and Jacqueline Carey, all of whom carry on a great and fabulous romance with the English language, much to the ecstasy of millions. Being able to string words like pearls into a story that reads at times like poetry in motion seems the greatest pinnacle of storytelling skill.
 It’s been said that one of the most time-consuming processes of writing epic fantasy is world building.  Without giving too much away, what are a few of your favorite world aspects and what inspired them?
As I wrote in a recent guest post, world-building and the magic system developed for the world are intimately connected. We can’t really describe a fantasy world without talking about the magic that rules it, because so much of what we understand about the world derives from our understanding of how the physical laws of the world work.
In creating my world of Alorin, I established five “strands” of the lifeforce known as elae. These strands are a way of describing and codifying the lifeforce which is the source of energy in the world, but they are only one way of describing it. While most of the viewpoints I am writing from agree with describing the lifeforce in terms of “strands,” there are other races in Alorin who have codified it differently, darkly, or with less purity for lack of philosophical simplicity.
I love exploring different viewpoints and imagining how each would describe a universal energy. I love examining the cultures that seek to describe this energy and how their ideals might alter their understanding of it. For example, the Adept race believes that Adepts are born with the ability to work one of the five strands, but only one. Yet some of the “Wildling” races are known to be able to innately work more than one strand.
The Fhorgs race works blood sacrifice to fuel their magic. Would their magic work without such sacrifice? The Adepts believe that it would. Yet within the Adept philosophy, a working of magic requires faith both in the existence of power and in one’s ability to manipulate it. If the Fhorgs don’t believe themselves able to wield the lifeforce without letting blood, it follows that magic would become unavailable to them simply because of their lack of belief. Moreover, because the Fhorgs don’t limit their ideas of their magical ability to a five strand approach, it’s possible they might achieve more through the wielding of it–or not. These are existential questions for these two races, questions which set them at odds with each other. Questions from which derive conflicts and persecutions, intrigues and betrayals.
Such explorations fuel both world-building and magic-system building, because their delineation establishes how the world works, how the people of the world interact with the energy that fuels it, how they interact with each other, and how they use the energy itself to work arcane acts.
 You grew up in a house full of musicians, but your creativity emerged in the form of writing. Have you always felt called to write?
I always thought I would end up with a career in music like the rest of my family. I grew up harboring such an appreciation of these accomplished, classical musicians all around me, it seemed a natural course to follow in their footsteps.
Instead, I stumbled into writing the way one sometimes bumps into providence, colliding with it accidentally. I happened to take a creative writing class in high school. My creative writing instructor believed the best way to teach writing was to send her students out to actually write. So I did—hundreds of pages over the next few years. Writing became both an outlet for my creativity and the escape reading had always provided. I know I share that love affair with many authors.
 At one time or another, most writers hit the wall and their work stalls because of the dreaded writer’s block. What do you do to get around or over this mental wall to resume writing?
Usually I turn to music—either composing it or listening to it. If I can find a great new song, sometimes that will help inspire me out of the hole. When a scene just isn’t working, I’ve learned to go back to where I was last doing well in the story and scrap everything that came after. It’s an agonizing process, but often necessary.
 The Dagger of Adendigaeth, Book 2 in your series, has just been published. How has your vision expanded from book 1 to book 2, and what kind of creative growth have you experienced in your process this second time around?
We grow as writers with every novel—at least I believe that’s the goal. Many of the things I gained in writing The Dagger of Adendigaeth are intangible, ineffable understandings of myself and my creative process. I think of those times of being fabulously, fantastically stuck and the final moment of inspiration that launched me out of that depressing well. I think of the plot twists that came to me completely without warning, and the absolute magic that is the creative process.
The thing I loved most about writing this book was being able to explore so many viewpoints—especially the viewpoints of those characters who might be viewed as antagonists. But I don’t and never have seen them that way. It’s my greatest purpose in writing this series to be able to show the motivations and ideals that mold and shape each character. The more we can understand each other, the closer to a peaceful coexistence we will find, whether in the microcosm of our lives or the broader political and religious zones.

Cephrael Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Cephrael’s Hand eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.
The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.
All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes isRIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!
To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of Cephrael's Hand for just 99 cents
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About Cephrael’s Hand:  Two brothers find themselves on opposite sides of a great battle, neither knowing the other is alive… A traitor works in exile while preparing for the disaster only he knows is coming… A race of beings from beyond the fringe of the universe begin unmaking the world from within… And all across the land, magic is dying. Cephrael’s Hand is the first novel in the award-winning series A Pattern of Shadow and Light. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
About the author: Melissa McPhail is a classically trained pianist, violinist and composer, a Vinyasa yoga instructor, and an avid Fantasy reader. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, their twin daughters and two very large cats.Visit Melissa on her websiteTwitterFacebook, or GoodReads.