Darby Karchut's Blog, page 2

July 23, 2014

Guest Post: S.J. Abraham
One of the coolest things about being a writer is meeting other like minded authors. One of them is S. J. Abraham, an amazing writer and a self-proclaimed geek. My favorite kind of people. I met Abe at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference a couple of years ago and have been impressed with his work ever since. He was gracious enough to allow me to post one of his short stories. If you like what you read (and I know you will), stop by his place, check out his other work, and chill with him a while. Now, sit back and enjoy The Wandering Sword.

About the Author
S.J. Abraham is a writer working towards publication. He's a geek to the core and seeks to write stories that will inspire younger geeks to embrace their nerdy side and never look back. In addition to his novels, he writes fiction for his blog GeekyWriting

The Wandering Sword  by S.J. AbrahamOrson thrashed against the other boys. They held him pinned against the alley wall so he had to watch as Cabbot drove the sword between a chink in the stones and heaved on handle. The metal gave a high pitched shriek—SNAP!It sheared off at the haft and the boys holding him laughed. Cabbot hurled the handle with its stump of a blade at Orson’s feet.“Let’s see you compete tomorrow now, village trash!” the boy snarled and nodding to his lackeys, stalked away. Orson collapsed as if the breaking of the sword had also broken his spine. The sword was everything. It was a simple weapon, just brass and steel. The whole village had donated their meager earnings to buy it so that he could compete to become a Champion. It was the one thing required for the tournament. Purchasing a new blade was miles beyond the handful of coins he had to pay for his room and board. He might have it repaired in time for the morning matches but a repaired blade was unreliable. It would never see him through the competition.“My god, he’s crying,” one of the boys sneered.Unfelt tears coursed down his face long after the footsteps of the city boys had vanished. He felt crushed and foolish. His master had warned him not to display his talents but he had been unable to resist the chance to put the other competitors in their place. The other boys had seen him practice and had known they could not beat him.He cursed his stupidity and the other boys’ cruelty. All the village’s money, all his time and effort training had been wasted.Eventually the tears subsided and he knelt numbly in the filthy alley staring down at his broken hopes. The moon rolled out from behind a tattered cloud and glinted off the shattered steel. The shivered blade seemed to blur and shimmer. Orson blinked, rubbing at his raw eyes and when he opened them again a sword, a beautiful perfect sword, lay across the sheered stump of his old blade. It was a thing of platinum and ebony, steel and diamond with a lean, needle pointed blade.“Where…?”He reached out hesitantly. His fingers grazed the platinum inlaid guard. Cold metal greeted his touch. It was real. It. Was. Real. He closed his hand upon the black wooden handle and felt its warmth. It was full of life and magic. He hefted the blade. The balance, weight and length were exquisite, deadly, perfect.His heart leaped, leaving sorrow far behind.“With you,” Orson whispered to the sword. “Victory is mine!”Then brandishing the blade high he whipped it around in a series of cuts each faster than the last, until the boy’s hand and arm and the marvelous blade blurred into a streak of silvery death. The air screamed. The sword sang. He would be a Champion.~SJA
S.J. Abraham is a writer working towards publication. He's a geek to the core and seeks to write stories that will inspire younger geeks to embrace their nerdy side and never look back. In addition to his novels, he writes fiction for his blog GeekyWriting.
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Published on July 23, 2014 00:00 • 3 views

July 19, 2014

In 2011, I signed my first publishing contract for my debut YA novel, Griffin Rising, with a small press, Twilight Times Books. They went on to publish the second book in the series, Griffin's Fire. Since then, we have parted amiably. Once I received my rights back for both books, I decided to self publish the series myself.

Several reasons:
1. Back list books sell. Not a lot, but every time another one of my books launch from my traditional publisher, Spencer Hill Press, my new work generates interest in my older work. Ch-ching.

2. Promotion can spin on a dime. I can be more nimble in regard to offering discounts, hand sales, and so forth.

3. Cover Art. 'Nuff said.

So, having bent InDesign to my will (thanks to a techno-savvy husband who actually reads manuals), Griffin Rising (Book One) is up and running. The other books in the series are on their way. In celebration of the re-release, I am running a giveaway of three print copies. Here's the link:  Goodreads

And I also want to thank the many readers and fans of this series for all the love and friendship you have given me and my boys. I couldn't have done without you!

Griffin Rising
All you need is one person who believes in you.

Armed with the power to control the ancient elements of Earth and Fire, sixteen-year-old Griffin is determined to complete his apprenticeship and rise to the rank of Terrae Angeli.

But first, he must overcome a brutal past if he is to survive in this world. Will the perseverance of his kindly Mentor and the love of a mortal girl give Griffin the courage he needs to face the monster still haunting him?
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Published on July 19, 2014 06:39 • 11 views

July 13, 2014

Silent Starsong
by T.J. Wooldridge 
Coming July 15th from Spence Hill Middle Grade

Eleven-year-old Kyra is meant to continue the Starbard's proud family legacy of interpreting the future from the stars' songs. Her deafness, incurable by the best medics, breaks her mother's heart and pushes her father to explore anything to help his little girl--including the expensive purchase of a telepathic alien servant to help Kyra communicate on a planet inhospitable to unfixable genetic defects. Marne's telepathy is too weak for his Naratsset culture, so he is sold into slavery and expects to die at the hands of human owners--until he meets a human child who begs her father to save him. Her kindness introduces Marne to a new world--one where he would risk his life to save a human from her own people's abuse and the stars' songs can touch even a deaf girl and a defective telepath. When an intergalactic terrorist organization kills Kyra's father, driving her mother to madness, Kyra and Marne only have each others' friendship--until even that is threatened by the danger surrounding the Starbard heritage. But can the two friends, not good enough for either of their cultures or families, manage to keep each other safe when several different worlds threaten their lives?

My Review:
 While I am not a big sci-fi fan, this book just grabbed me and kept me reading until the end. I especially liked the world-build - T.J. Wooldridge deftly combined elements of both classic science fiction with touches of ancient mythologies. A great summer read for 9 years old and up.

About the Author:
T. J. Wooldridge is a professional writing geek who adores research into myth, folklore, legend, and the English language. Before delving full-time into wordsmithing, she has been a tutor, a teacher, an educational course designer, a video game proofreader, a financial customer service representative, a wine salesperson, a food reviewer, an editing consultant, a retail sales manager, and a nanny. While infrequent, there are times she does occasionally not research, write, or help others write. During those rare moments, she enjoys the following activities: spending time with her Husband-of-Awesome, a silly tabby cat, and two Giant Baby Bunnies in their Massachusetts home hidden in a pocket of woods in the middle of suburbia, reading, riding her horse in the nearby country stables and trails (not very well), reading Tarot (very well), drawing (also not very well), making jewelry (pretty well), making lists, and adding parenthetical commentary during random conversations. She also enjoys dressing up as fey creatures, zombies, or other such nonsense at science fiction, fantasy, and horror conventions.


Barnes & Noble
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Published on July 13, 2014 23:30 • 8 views

July 4, 2014

Welcome to another stop on the blog tour of The Other Tree by D.K. Mok! This was a favorite read of mine, so when I was thrilled to be part of the tour.

The Other Tree by D.K. Mok
(Spence City - January 2014)

From Goodreads:
It’s been four years since Chris Arlin graduated with a degree that most people think she made up, and she’s still no closer to scraping up funding for her research into rare plants. Instead, she’s stacking shelves at the campus library, until a suspiciously well-dressed man offers her a lucrative position on a scientific expedition.

For Chris, the problem isn’t the fact that they’re searching for the Biblical Tree of Life. Nor is it the fact that most of the individuals on the expedition seem to be fashionably lethal mercenaries. The problem is that the mission is being backed by SinaCorp, the corporation responsible for a similar, failed expedition on which her mother died eleven years ago.

However, when Chris’s father is unexpectedly diagnosed with inoperable cancer, Chris sees only one solution. Vowing to find the Tree of Life before SinaCorp’s mercenaries, Chris recruits Luke, an antisocial campus priest undergoing a crisis of faith. Together, they embark on a desperate race to find Eden. However, as the hunt intensifies, Chris discovers growing evidence of her mother’s strange behaviour before her death, and she begins to realise that SinaCorp isn’t the only one with secrets they want to stay buried.

My Review:
I really liked the premise of The Other Tree. This book has been compared to The Da Vinci Code meets Indiana Jones and I agree! The adventures Chris, Luke, and Emir survive—often by a wild mix of brains, skill, and luck—kept me turning pages as fast as I could read. But even more than the action scenes, I really enjoyed the philosophical/scientific “debates” woven throughout the story.

D.K. Mok’s writing is subtle and she is a master at dialogue. While there is quite a bit of head hopping, it doesn't detract from the story.

The Other Tree by D.K. Mok is a ripping good yarn sure to please readers who enjoy mysteries, legends, and overcoming the burden of hard choices. Bravo to D.K. Mok on her debut novel!

Her next book, Hunting for Valamon, will be release February 2015 from Spence City. 
Visit the author at:  
Barnes & Noble
and Indie bookstores everywhere
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Published on July 04, 2014 00:00 • 5 views

July 1, 2014

Today, I get to not only talk about a book that I enjoyed for both story and style, but also to wish the author, Errick A. Nunnally, a happy birthday! Blood for the Sun was a book I had on my radar for awhile. When I was offered an ARC a few months ago, I jumped right into it and it did not disappoint. Now, I can tell the world about it!
From Goodreads: After more than one hundred and forty years, Alexander Smith is suffering from memory loss that plagues him like a supernatural Alzheimer's. He has lasted longer than most by clinging to the love he has for his adopted daughter, the vampire Ana, and puzzling out cases of missing or murdered children. Without them, he wouldn't be able to ignore the ghost of a child from his guilty past or fight the whispers goading him to kill. On his latest job, he's stumbled upon a vampire conspiracy that has left a trail of child murders up and down the East Coast-a conspiracy that promises inoculation against the sun. If true, the conspirators' success would mean a bloody conflict, altering the balance between humans and the supernatural forever. Losing more of his mind every day, Alexander has two impossible tasks ahead of him if the world is to survive: stop the vampire coven and reconnect with his humanity.

My Review
Blood for the Sun is one packs-a-wallop-on-every-page kind of read. And I’m not talking just the action scenes (more on this later). No, it was the emotional, introspective quieter moments where the author’s talents really shine. Alexander (not Alex) Smith’s struggles with memory loss, guilt, and the relentless Beast that tries to claw it’s way out of his heart, makes this character so very human. Which is weird, because he’s isn’t human. Not really. But he kind of is. I can’t say more, or I’ll give stuff away.
The fight scenes are amazing, especially the ones that involved a lot of hand to hand combat. I read the author’s bio and understand he practices a form of martial arts fighting. That training really shows in those scenes.
Please know, this book is a gritty urban fantasy in the classic sense. It is a grimly satisfying read in many ways. For me as a reader, I could have used a few more lighter moments and/or humorous scenes to balance the darkness, but that grittiness is also what made it such a great book. The author has a distinctive voice, especially when he is deep in Alexander’s head, so perhaps lighter moments would have distracted from that, after all.
So, bravo, Errick Nunnally, on your debut novel. I expect (and hope) to read more amazing books from this talented author. 
Author Interview:

1. What have been some of the “coolest” moments for you as a published author? Ever since I was old enough to go to genre conventions, I wanted to be on the other side of the table or invited to be on a panel. As I began publishing more of my work, I found I was getting invited to participate in the occasional panel. Along with a reader letting me know they honestly enjoyed my work, being invited to participate in discussions as a peer or professional has been deeply satisfying. And super-cool. The only thing super-cooler would be to do those same things with writers I admired as I was growing up.

2. How do you juggle your other job, family time, and life in general, with finding time to write?I don’t. To date, I write in sprints, whenever I have time. An hour or more late in the evening after dinner and family time, during my train commute or not at all. It is aggravating, but for now, it’s all I’ve got!
3. What books or authors inspire your work? I started out reading a number of authors primarily known for their science fiction work: Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein, to name a few. There were also the obligatory fantasy authors such as Piers Anthony, Robert Asprin, Gordon R. Dickson, and Diane Duane. My interests continued to evolve as I began reading Octavia Butler, David Gerrold, and more military science-fiction. Eventually, my longtime love of werewolves brought me to urban fantasy. I enjoyed the first several Anita Blake books by Laurell K. Hamilton before the erotica overtook the plot. Kim Harrison’s Hollows series is excellent and Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files is highly entertaining. What I never saw was a consistent werewolf protagonist. (I haven’t read everything, so I’m sure there’s some out there.) In all of the work, werewolves were the wild-folk of the supernatural set, unruly and rough, absolutely akin to wolf packs. I wanted to see something different, so I wrote it.
4. What part of Blood for the Sunwas the most difficult to write and why? The women. I am not a woman and that doesn’t mean I can’t imagine female characters, but I certainly did not want to portray stereotypes or one-dimensional bores. The advice we always hear is to treat women as characters like everyone else. There are aspects, however, that I am entirely not privy to when it comes to a woman’s experience. Trying to create compelling, believable, female characters was tough and I think I did a decent job, but I certainly didn’t dig deep into them.
5. What are you working on now?The sequel, of course! I managed to complete the first draft recently and whenever the mood strikes, I’ll crank out a short story or work on my own communications stuff such as promotional cards or my web site.
6. What advice would you give aspiring writers?The easy answer is to write. I understand that’s not always a simple option, however. I didn’t have anyone in my life, when I was younger, who was an author or related in any way to publishing. The whole concept of being a writer was entirely alien. If that’s the case for any aspiring writers reading this, then my advice is to seek community where writing is accepted and supported. Start at the public library, check your school (if enrolled) for any clubs. The Internet didn’t exist when I was a kid and there’s a vast support network out there. Lastly, read outside your preferred genre and definitely outside your comfort zone.

About the Author
Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Errick A. Nunnally served one tour in the Marine Corps before deciding art school would be a safer—and more natural—profession. He always strives to develop his strengths in storytelling and remains permanently distracted by art, comics, science fiction, history, and horror. Trained as a graphic designer, he studies Krav Maga and Muay Thai kickboxing in his spare time. Errick’s successes include: the upcoming publication of his book, Blood For The Sun; a comic strip collection, Lost in Transition; first prize in one hamburger contest; the short story "Who Bears The Lathe?" in eFiction’s inaugural SciFi issue; the sci-fi short, "Legion," in the anthology Doorways to Extra Time; two lovely children; and one beautiful wife.

Here's the all-important linky link-links:

https://www.amazon.com/author/erricknunnallyGoodreads.com/erricknunnally@erricknunnally (Twitter)erricknunnally.squarespace.com (Blog)erricknunnally.us (graphic design)

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Published on July 01, 2014 23:30 • 3 views

June 23, 2014

I do so love spreading the word about upcoming books! Here's another one from Tulip Romance, an imprint of Spencer Hill Press:

Watch Your Back  by Tracy Bilen When sixteen-year-old Kate hears the boom that ends her parents’ life, she doesn’t even realize it has anything to do with her. Until the police arrive at her front door.  Sent to live with her aunt at a ski school in Vermont, Kate tries to adapt to her new life. But then Kate’s aunt is hit by a speeding car and a rogue FBI agent tries to force Kate into his car at gunpoint. She’s saved by Ryan, the risk-taking skier she’s only just met.
On the run, the two must unravel the truth about her parents’ murder in order to stop a terrorist plot and save their own lives. Release Date: April 2015 from Tulip Romance (an imprint of Spencer Hill Press)
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Published on June 23, 2014 00:00 • 2 views

June 22, 2014

The 400lb. Gorilla by D.C. Farmer

Jacket Copy:
Matt Danmor thinks he's lucky. Not many people survive a near death accident with nothing more than a bout of amnesia, a touch of clumsiness and the conviction that the technician who did the MRI had grey skin and hooves. Still, it takes time to recover from trauma like that, especially when the girl who was in the accident with you disappears into thin air. Especially when the shrinks keep telling you she's just a figment of your imagination. So when the girl turns up months later looking ravishing, and wanting to carry on where they left off, Matt's troubled life starts looking up. But he hasn't bargained for the baggage that comes with Silvy, like the fact she isn't really an English language student, or even a girl. Underneath her traffic stopping exterior is something else altogether, something involving raving fanatics bent on human sacrifice, dimensionally challenged baked bean tins, a vulture with a penchant for profanity, and a security agent for the Dept of Fimmigration (that's Fae immigration for those of you not in the know) called Kylah with the most amazing gold-flecked eyes. The 400 Lb Gorilla is caustic, (vampire-free) introduction to the Hipposync Archives: Contemporary fantasy at its sparkling best.


DC Farmer (as someone else--names changed to protect the innocent) began with writing thrillers while the kids were in the bath. They grew up and so did he. Now he writes contemporary urban fantasy under the umbrella of the Hipposync Archives.

He lives in Wales and uses quite a lot of that umbrella.

My Review:

Combine the snarky dialogue of Jim Butcher with the world-building of Douglas Adams and JK Rowling, mix well with folktales and legends from around the world, then top it off with D.C. Farmer’s famous dry wit, and you’ve one gotta-read-it-now novel in The 400lb Gorilla.

Matt Danmor is a delightful, character. One minute, a bumbling, clueless guy (in a totally adorable way), and the next, a man determined to save his friends, himself, and just possibly, the whole world.

As the climax built, I found myself not only rooting for Matt to overcome all the bad luck the universe keeps slapping him with, but also to overcome his own insecurities and make a try—make a wish—for the one thing he wants more than anything.

The supporting characters include the lethal, but lovely Kylah, her uncle, Ernest Porter (who is more, much more, than he seems), and a vulture (yes, vulture–trust me, it works) sidekick with the spot-on name of Rimsplitter.

Rimsplitter. I know, right?

In spite of a bit of over-usage of metaphors and similes, the writing is crisp, yet rich, and the dialogue is flawless. The English nuances, while a little foreign to this set of American ears, rooted the story in Oxford, the main setting. I found myself enjoying learning many new idioms.

Last year, I had the pleasure of reading one of Farmer’s middle grade novel, The Obsidian Pebble (written as Rhys A. Jones) and enjoyed it so much, I was worried that The 400lb Gorilla would not stack up. I can now honestly say this book is even better.

I look forward to the next installment of the Hipposync Achieves, of which The 400lb Gorilla is the first book.

Bravo, sir, for another terrific book. Five Stars and Highly Recommended.

Pick up your copy today at: Amazon.comBarnes & Noble Or anywhere books are sold
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Published on June 22, 2014 11:01 • 8 views

June 13, 2014

Here is the official cover release for the third book in my Middle Grade series, The Adventures of Finn MacCullen :       

The Hound at the Gate (January 13, 2015)
Autumn: the season of endings. And beginnings.

Especially for one young apprentice.

At the annual Festival of the Hunt, thirteen-year-old apprentice goblin hunter Finn MacCullen and his master, Gideon Lir, join other Tuatha De Danaan to honor their people’s heritage. But Finn soon realizes that there are some who denounce his right to attend due to his half-human bloodline.

As he struggles to keep his place by his master’s side, he finds himself embroiled in a decades-old grudge between Gideon and another Knight, bewildered (and beguiled) by a female apprentice with a temper as explosive as his own, and battling a pack of goblins determined to wipe out the entire camp in a surprise attack.

It’s going to take some fancy knife work, the help of a female Knight with a lethal bow, and one old pick up truck to defeat the goblins and prove to his people that Finn’s blood runs true-blue Tuatha De Danaan.

Coming January 13, 2015 from Spencer Hill Middle Grade, an imprint of Spencer Hill Press
Add it to your Goodreads TBR pile!

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Published on June 13, 2014 08:32 • 41 views

June 11, 2014

Today, I am delighted to share in the cover reveal for The Beast of Seabourne is the sequel to The Obsidian Pebble.  It's by Rhys A. Jones and is out in October.  Rhys' website is here: http://www.rajonesauthor.com/

Oz Chambers has a wonderful secret; the obsidian pebble, gifted to him by his dead father, is an artefact of astonishing power. The sort of power that makes the year eight science project a hands-down walkover thanks to the the pebble's genius avatar, Soph.
But, there are sinister forces abroad who will do just about anything to get their hands on the pebble, and when fellow pupils start being attacked,  Oz finds himself in very hot water.  Soon Oz and his friends, Ruff and Ellie, are caught up in a centuries old mystery involving a missing ring, lava toothpaste and a murderous monster known as the Beast of Seabourne.

I really enjoyed The Obsidian Pebble and am eager to read about Oz's next adventures!
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Published on June 11, 2014 00:00 • 11 views

May 29, 2014

Today, I get to take part in the blog tour for Siren's Song by Heather McCollum. Here's a little excerpt from this amazing book!

“Go, Jule!” he yells from behind, but he’s close, too close. There’s no way. I veer off toward the dark shadows of a loading dock without allowing my conscious thought to take over. I can’t outrun him. And I won’t lead him to where a crowd can witness his insanity. I throw myself against the cinderblock wall. My chest hurts as I drag in breath after breath. He’s there before I can take two.

The light of the moon slashes down. I watch his sculpted chest heave through his T-shirt as he stands before me. With the last amount of courage I possess I look up into his eyes. They burn. Light from within swirls in the darkness, like hot oil.

“You won’t hurt me, Luke.” I swallow hard as I gulp air. “You love me.”

The book is out now!  Siren's Song, by Heather McCollum.AmazonBarnes & Noblewww.heathermccollum.comhttps://twitter.com/HMcCollumAuthor
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Published on May 29, 2014 01:00