Monday, July 25, 2016

Guest Blogger: Jennifer Loring (Tea Time with Alex)

I'm thrilled to host Jennifer Loring on my blog today. Jennifer is a fellow author and blogger and is here to share some information about the second book in her Firebird trilogy, What's Left of Me, which releases tomorrow. The hero, Alex, loves tea and so in today's blog entry, Alex will be instructing us on the correct (i.e., Russian) way to brew a cup of tea. Welcome, Jennifer and Alex!

Now available on Amazon

WHAT'S LEFT OF ME by Jennifer Loring
The Firebird Trilogy, Book #2
Release Date: July 26, 2016
SYNOPSIS — Recovering from years of living the superstar hockey life wasn’t easy, but now Aleksandr Volynsky finally has everything… 

He’s married to the love of his life, expecting a daughter, and has a new job as an assistant coach with his old team, the Buffalo Gladiators. His happiness is short lived, however, when a sexual assault allegation surfaces, and Alex is forced to cooperate with an investigation for a crime he didn’t commit. 

Stephanie Hartwell is juggling her dream job with marriage and motherhood, but she’s not convinced she’s doing any of it well… 

Stephanie’s stress level goes from bad to worse when she’s diagnosed with a serious illness. Battling declining health and the critics who question her commitment to Alex in light of the allegation, she makes a decision that could change their relationship forever. 

Alex is afraid he’s about to lose everything—especially when he sees Stephanie’s friend kiss her… 

Devastated that his life is spiraling out of control again, Alex turns to his friend, Natasha, a Russian pop star. Convinced that Stephanie and her friend Brandon are having an affair, Alex resumes his self-destructive behavior. 

What Alex doesn’t know is Stephanie has been conducting a secret investigation of her own. She learns the truth behind the sexual assault—a truth no one, especially Alex, expects. 

With everything now out in the open, can Stephanie and Alex commit to a fresh start for the sake of their daughter, or will the ghosts of their pasts finally tear apart everything they have left? 


Tea Time with Alex
You’ve probably had black tea at least once in your life.
You’re doing it wrong.
Where I come from (Russia), we take tea very seriously. In fact, we have an entire tea culture. So no, we’re not just sitting around drinking vodka all day. Today I’m going to teach you how to brew a proper cup of tea, and you can thank me later.
First, you’ll need a samovar, a metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water. It has a faucet near the bottom and a metal pipe running up through the center. We fill the pipe with fuel to heat the water. After the water boils and the fire is extinguished, the smoke-stack on top is removed and a teapot placed there to be heated by the rising hot air. We use the teapot to brew a strong concentrate called zavarka. Then we serve the tea by tempering the concentrate with boiled water. Here’s how you do it:
1.     Boil the water. Rinse the inside of your teapot with boiling water then, while the teapot is still hot, add one heaping teaspoon of tea leaves per cup. Immediately cover to steam the leaves.
2.     After 5-10 seconds, add the boiled water. We typically add fresh fruit jam at this point as well, so the tea and fruit can steep together.
3.     Steep the tea for at least fifteen minutes to get the best flavor.
4.     After it has brewed, place a tea strainer in your tea cup, and pour in equal parts zavarka and boiled water.
5.     Serve the tea with containers of jam, honey, or sugar—or all of the above, so your guests can enjoy it as they wish. Should you need to have a lot of tea on hand, save at least half the zavarka in your teapot, and add more boiling water and jam to keep the tea replenished for several hours.
This is a strong, flavorful tea, not your typical weak American tea. Even my tea-hating wife is starting to come around. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Jennifer Loring has been, among other things, a DJ, an insurance claims assistant, and an editor. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, webzines, and anthologies, including Crystal Lake Publishing’s Tales from the Lake vol. 1 and Black Mirror Press’ Snowpocalypse. Longer works include the novella Conduits (DarkFuse, 2014) and the novels Those of My Kind (Omnium Gatherum, 2015), Firebird, and What’s Left of Me (Limitless Publishing, 2015 and 2016). Jennifer’s novella No One on Earth (After Glows Publishing) will be released in late 2016. She lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband, their turtle, and two basset hounds.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Guest Blogger: Andi Adams

I'm thrilled to host Andi Adams on my blog today. Andi is a fellow author and blogger and is here to share some information about her recent release, The Girl in the Glass Box. Welcome, Andi!
Now available on Amazon

10 Things You Didn't Know About The Girl in the Glass Box

by Andi Adams

1.     The first draft of this story took one year to write.
2.     I envisioned a young Marion Cotillard as Genevieve (Snow White) while I was writing.
3.     Before I even knew what the story was going to be about, I already had the title set in my mind. It was the first thing I decided upon, and pretty much wrote the story around it.
4.     The amazingly talented artist who designed the book's back and front cover is from Croatia.
5.     Many critique partners and writing friends tried to convince me to change the ending because they didn't believe it to be commercial enough, but I kept it because I believe it best articulated the theme of the overall work.
6.     The rhyming verses spoken by the mirror was one of my favorite parts to write. I had to change a few parts along the way as the plot shifted, but generally, I loved writing them and pushing myself to find logical and appropriate ties to the words and the plot.
7.     In spite of the many instances of bird symbolism, I am pretty terrified of birds. I'm not a fan of their beady eyes. They just freak me out!
8.     At the last minute (seriously, only days before publication), I changed Genevieve's love interest's name from Adrian to Oliver because I believe there to be too many names that started with the letter "A" and I was afraid that it would cause confusion. Instead, I chose to keep Alaricus and Agrippine as the only ones with "A" names because they are brother and sister and have villainous ties to Snow White.
9.     It hopefully will be obvious to most, but Arcana is based on a fictionalized version of France in the medieval ages, and Heiglet on Germany. I tried to keep pretty true to their borders, geography, language, and even the resources available to them (types of trees, types of birds, etc). So a lot of research went in to that aspect of the setting and structure of the work.
10. My favorite character is, without a doubt, Grog. I loved writing his dialogue and his parts are the ones that, to this day, make me laugh out loud. He experienced a great deal of growth throughout the story and I really struggled with some of the parts of his character arc because they were so emotional for me to write through. But I love his sass and his sarcasm and his honesty. He really does grow on you – well, at least he did for me.


Author Bio:  

Andi Adams writes, teaches, gets excited about performing random acts of kindness, invents words, and talks with strangers, as often as she can. She loves learning about the world, about others, and about herself, and uses that knowledge to write realistic fiction – everything from YA Fantasy to Women’s Lit. She has a passion for travel, for all things Harry Potter (of course!), and for her two dogs, who are also incidentally her biggest fans. The Girl in the Glass Box is Andi’s first novel.


Author Links:

Amazon author page

Friday, July 1, 2016

Guest Blogger: J. L. Gribble

I'm super excited to host J. L. Gribble on my blog today. J. L. is a fellow author and blogger and is here to introduce us to her shifter characters from the Steel Empires series. Welcome, J.L.!
The Werecreatures of Steel Empires by J. L. Gribble
Werecreatures of all types are an important part of the landscape in the sprawling world of my Steel Empires series, which are urban fantasy novels set in a very alternate history. Whether it’s the British werewolf nobility, the intricate werepanther clans, or the secretive weredragons of the Qin Empire, they all play an integral part in fleshing out my world in the form of both secondary characters and villains. Though the characters are all adults in my novels Steel Victory (currently available) and Steel Magic (available on July 6), it’s always fun to imagine characters at other points in their lives.
So without further ado, I’d like to welcome the following students to Shifter High!
From Steel Empires Book 1: Steel Victory
Tristan the Timber Wolf (Photo Credit: First People)
Name: Tristan
Shifter type: Timber Wolf
Favorite class: Government. As a werewolf alpha, he knows that being in charge means he has to know how to be in charge.
Sport: Cross-Country Track. Wolves can run for miles to wear down their prey. Tristan can run for miles with the promise of a medal and a cheeseburger to follow.
Hobby: Wargaming with miniatures. Despite his rough and tumble exterior, his favorite part of this activity is painting intricate works of art in such a small scale. Rolling great dice to defeat his enemies is only an added bonus.
Future: Werewolf alpha, with a seat on the ruling council of the independent city of Limani.
Saba the Sanai Leopard (Photo Credit: The Megalithic Portal)
Name: Saba
Shifter type: Sanai Leopard
Favorite class: English. He’s not much for writing papers, but he tears through all the reading.
Sport: Free-climbing. There’s not a rock face that can faze him. He’s also known for dropping out of trees next to unsuspecting fellow students.
Hobby: Poetry. When he’s not reading submissions for the student literary magazine, he’s writing up his own for consideration.
Future: Working at the shipping yard outside of Limani while pursuing a graduate degree in the evolution of the British sonnet.
Bethany the Honey Badger (Photo Credit: Joburg Zoo)
Name: Bethany
Shifter type: Honey Badger
Favorite class: Computer Science. She’s no good at languages, but coding comes as naturally to her as breathing.
Sport: Walking from her desk to the fridge for another energy drink.
Hobby: Knitting. Yes, she made the fingerless gloves she is wearing. She’ll make you a pair, too. For a price.
Future: Early retirement in Limani after a career in computer programming for corporations in the Roman Empire. She still knits, but it’s easier to convince her to make you something for free.
Lorus the Adder (Photo Credit: BBC Earth)
Name: Lorus
Shifter type: Adder
Favorite class: Chemistry. Especially the “accidentally” blowing things up part.
Sport: Chess. With a little bit of boxing for those who try to argue that chess isn’t a sport.
Hobby: Building and racing model airplanes.
Future: After a career in the Eire Royal Air Corps, Lorus relocates to Limani to start a new life. He also rules on the Limani city council as the representative of the werecreatures who are not of the canine or feline variety.

And introducing in Steel Empires Book 2: Steel Magic
Hal the Arctic Wolf (Photo Credit: WolfWorlds)
Name: Earl Henry “Hal” Delacour
Shifter type: Arctic Wolf
Favorite class: Economics. His family fortune relies on shipping assets, and he knows they will be his responsibility someday.
Sport: Rugby. Whether it’s tournament play or scrumming in the park with friends, there’s no better way to spend an afternoon.
Hobby: Video games. Though his reflexes are great for first-person shooters, his guilty pleasure is empire-building strategy games.
Future: Overseeing the family business in the British colony of New Angouleme by day and enjoying the local party scene by night, where he’s always sure to run into some interesting characters...
See Hal in action in Steel Magic, coming in hardcopy or ebook on July 6. Now available for pre-order.
“Funerals are usually the end of the story, not the beginning.
Newly graduated warrior-mages Toria Connor and Kane Nalamas find themselves the last remaining mages in the city when a mage school teacher mysteriously falls ill and dies. But taking over the school themselves isn't in the cards. They're set to become professional mercenaries-if they make it through the next 18 months as journeymen first.
The debate over whether to hunt mutated monsters in the Wasteland or take posh bodyguard jobs is put on hold when a city elder hires them to solve the mystery of the disappearing mages. Toria and Kane's quest brings them to the British colonial city of New Angouleme, where their initial investigation reveals that the problem is even greater than they feared.
But when a friend is kidnapped, they'll have to travel to the other side of the globe to save her, save themselves, and save magic itself.”
And catch up on the adventure with Steel Victory, currently on sale for 99 cents!

By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. She is currently working on the Steel Empires series for Dog Star Books, the science-fiction/adventure imprint of Raw Dog Screaming Press. Previously, she was an editor for the Far Worlds anthology.
Gribble studied English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She received her Master’s degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, where her debut novel Steel Victory was her thesis for the program.
She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online (, on Facebook (, and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits).