Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Guest Post - Jocelynn Drake - The Asylum Tales


Why tattoos?
By Jocelynn Drake

2012 has been a year of endings and beginnings for me.  In April, the last Dark Days series story was released (BOUND TO ME), closing the book, so to speak, on Mira and Danaus in Savannah.  Meanwhile, readers got their first glimpse of Gage and the rest of the crew at the Asylum Tattoo and Potion Parlor when The Asylum Interviews: Bronx and The Asylum Interviews: Trixie were released this summer.  The first book Angel’s Ink hits the shelf on October 16, blowing the doors wide open on this world.

The Asylum Tales shifts to an entirely new world, populated by humans, vampires, shape-shifters, ogres, trolls, elves, pixies, goblins, faeries, satyrs, and a whole lot more that’s going to keep readers on their toes.  But the big question is: why tattoos?

I first thought of writing about magical tattoos and the tattoo artists who created them during one of my own visits to get some ink.  While I was finishing up the Dark Days series, I popped in to one of my favorite tattoo parlors for a little work.  I was chatting with a pair of artists when they suggested that I needed to write about a tattoo artist.  I laughed and brushed off the suggestion, but apparently the idea stuck in my brain. 

I started to turn it over days later.  The tattoo artists that I knew could tell some of the best stories of personal experience.   I felt like they saw just a little bit of everything pass through their doors.  What better way to get a good look at this strange world than through the eyes of a tattoo artist?  And if you add an element of magic to that experience, the chances for adventure expands even further.

The magical tattoos also became an easy way of leveling the playing field for the humans in this complex world.  When your average day may include encounters with elves, pixies, shifters, sirens, hinky-punks, and all manner of magical creatures, sometimes it helps to have a little magical help.  Charmed items are extremely hard to come by and very expensive.  And in my world, most potions need to be introduced to the blood stream directly – hence the tattooing rather than just drinking the potion. 

Now, the tattoos won’t fly up off the body and protect you like some guardian angel if you’re in trouble.  However, if you’ve been having a run of bad luck, a good luck tattoo could help turn the tide.  If you’ve been trying to win over that sexy hunk at work, a special love tattoo may help you catch his eye.  Got someone you would like to … get rid of?  Yeah, your local tattoo artist has got something for that to, but you’re gonna have to pay for it.

The potions placed in many tattoos are mixed from the usual ingredients you may find around the area.  Nightshade, pollen from an Easter Lily resting on the altar during the morning Easter mass at the local basilica, tears from a mermaid, or maybe something a little exotic, like the yolk from a golden egg laid by a somewhat famous goose.

If you’ve got a problem in Low Town, your local tattoo artist can give you a helping hand.  Just remember, you’re going to have to pay and pay big for the hard jobs.

Author Bio
Love comes in many varied forms.  There is the love of family, love of country, and love of chocolate.  But for Jocelynn Drake, one truly treasured love is the love of a good story.  This Midwestern native spends the majority of her time lost in the strong embrace of a good book.  When she’s not hammering away at her keyboard, frowning at her monitor, or curled up with a book, she can usually be found cuddling with her cats, Harley and Demona, walking her dog Max, or flinging curses at the TV while playing a video game.  Outside of books, cats, and video games, she is completely enamored of Bruce Wayne, Ezio Auditore, travel, tattoos, explosions, fast cars, and Anthony Bourdain (but only when he’s feeling really cranky).
 

Angel's Ink Description

BUYER BEWARE...

Looking for a tattoo -- and maybe a little something extra: a burst of good luck, a dollop of love, or even a hex on an ex?  Head to the quiet and mysterious Gage, the best skin artist in town.  Using his unique potions -- a blend of extraordinary ingredients and special inks -- to etch the right symbol, he can fulfill any heart's desire.  But in a place like Low Town, where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires happily walk among humanity, everything has a price.

No one knows that better than Gage.  Turning his back on his own kind, he left the magical Ivory Towers where cruel witches and warlocks rule, a decision that cost him his right to practice magic.  If he disobeys, his punishment -- execution -- will be swift.
 
Though he's tried to fly under the radar, Gage can't hide from powerful warlocks who want him dead -- or the secrets of his own past.  But with the help of his friends, Trixie, a gorgeous elf who hides her true identity, and a hulking troll named Bronx, Gage just might make it through this enchanted world alive.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Excerpt - Death Is A Bitch

Death stepped from the shadowy curtain of night along a deserted stretch of road toward the mangled hunk of cherry-red metal that used to be a sweet Z240 sports car. Stardust glinted in the black hair that dipped to her waist.

She kept a safe distance from the wreck. Inside, a thirtyish man slumped behind the wheel, the air bag deflating away from his near-lifeless body. Blood oozed from a nasty gash to his head. Should have worn his seat belt. Too late for life lessons, though. Those weren’t her expertise anyway. Just the opposite.

Leaves crackled in the underbrush beyond the nearby trees. Death gripped the silver charm bracelet on her wrist, her senses on high alert. Her finger poised near the hidden latch, ready to release a stream of lightning.
.
A deer. It stilled, its wide eyes fixed on her.

Seeing nothing else, she continued with a modicum of caution. Taking souls didn’t exactly make her popular, and after so many millennia, she should’ve been used to it. The bad jokes. The Halloween parodies. A scythe? Please. She’d never used cheap props. Only the finest weaponry. No mortal ever suspected the intricately designed baubles adorning her bracelet were anything more than ornamental.

Moonlight gleamed off the curves of the sports car, and she ran a gilded nail along its hood. She wouldn’t mind taking one of these babies for a spin. In its former condition, of course, before this guy took the curve too fast and wrapped it around a tree. Humans always rushed everywhere, sometimes straight into her arms.

The man’s moan signaled she had no need for weapons. This one would give her no trouble. She fingered his blond hair, matted with blood. What a shame. So young, and so handsome. He’d leave at least one lover grieving, no doubt.

His eyes fluttered open. When he looked up, recognition intensified the flicker of life in his eyes.
She needed no introduction. They always knew her, unmistakable in the glimmering black filament gown, its folds revealing a glimpse into infinity.

The stilettos usually earned a second glance, the four-inch heels glistening like fool’s gold. The butterfly tattoo spanning her upper arm likewise drew curious looks, which inevitably changed to horror when the souls recognized the face imprinted within that colorful ink: their own.


Review - Death Is A Bitch


Death Is A Bitch
Cate Masters

Genre: Urban fantasy/dark paranormal

Publisher: Decadent Publishing
ASIN: B008RQFJEQ

Number of pages: 113
Word Count:  43,000

Cover Artist:  LFD Designs



Book Description:

Eternity can suck when it’s all work, work, work. Death harvests souls even when they stack up faster than pancakes in an all-you-can-eat-buffet. No wonder she can’t shed the Grim Reaper rep.

As the patron angel of death and dying, Azrael works closely with Death but is dying for true intimacy. She’s the only immortal who’s ever aroused such powerful emotions in him. One taste of her leaves him needing her like humans need air and food, but will a demon’s lies leave a bad taste?

No one escapes Death – except King Sisyphus. Twice. With the help of Damien the demon, Sisyphus tries again, and she’s determined to have justice. Some say Death’s a bitch, but only when she has to be. But will the price of justice be a broken heart?

*-*-*-*-*
My review:

This was a short, quick read.  But really enjoyable.  I was hooked from the beginning.

The Death in this story is not your typical hooded figure with a scythe.  She is an immortal but tries to have mercy for those that deserve it.  She knows its their time and their souls have to be taken but tries to do it peacefully.  Only when they argue is it more difficult, then she has a cool bracelet bag of tricks to handle the situation.

Azrael is the one in charge of Death's division.  And has had a crush on Death for a long time, but unsure how to act on it.  Luckily for him Death feels the same way.  Just when it seems like they might overcome their hesitations Damien shows up and starts trouble.  Soon Damien is helping Sisyphus escape his eternal punishment and cause more havic.

Will Death get justice on Damien and Sisyphus.  Will she and Azrael overcome the obstacles set in their path.  These and other issues are all resolved by the end of the story.  

If you are looking for a quick paranormal that is well written and fun to read.  Check this one out.  I am looking forward to more from the author and hopefully entering this world again.




Promo - Death Is A Bitch


Death Is A Bitch
Cate Masters

Genre: Urban fantasy/dark paranormal

Publisher: Decadent Publishing
ASIN: B008RQFJEQ

Number of pages: 113
Word Count:  43,000

Cover Artist:  LFD Designs



Book Description:

Eternity can suck when it’s all work, work, work. Death harvests souls even when they stack up faster than pancakes in an all-you-can-eat-buffet. No wonder she can’t shed the Grim Reaper rep.

As the patron angel of death and dying, Azrael works closely with Death but is dying for true intimacy. She’s the only immortal who’s ever aroused such powerful emotions in him. One taste of her leaves him needing her like humans need air and food, but will a demon’s lies leave a bad taste?

No one escapes Death – except King Sisyphus. Twice. With the help of Damien the demon, Sisyphus tries again, and she’s determined to have justice. Some say Death’s a bitch, but only when she has to be. But will the price of justice be a broken heart?



Author Bio:

Cate Masters loves romance with a dash of magic and mayhem! Multipublished in contemporary to historical, sweet to erotic, fantasy/dark fantasy to speculative, she sometimes mashes genres. Reviewers have described her stories as “so compelling, I did not want to put it down,” and “such romantic tales that really touch your soul.”

When not spending time with her family, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

Cate loves to hear from readers! Friend her on Facebook or Goodreads, or email her at: cate.masters AT gmail.com



Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CateMasters






Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review - The Problem with Power


The Problem with Power
Agnes Jayne

Genre: Paranormal
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press

ISBN: 978-1-937254-63-6
978-1-937254-63-64-3
ASIN: B008BKAUQA

Number of pages:306
Word Count:  96,000


Book Description:
Emily VonPeer hopes that she never meets the man of her dreams. For years, she's been haunted by visions of an unknown lover destined to die in her arms. When her aunt's death brings her home to her family's estate in Upstate New York, she meets Nicholas Flynn, an agent of Paladin, an enterprise dedicated to the study and eradication of demons, and the hero of her nighttime fantasies. He arrives on her doorstep seeking answers for a slew of magically-related murders tied to the VonPeer family.
Although his intentions are suspect, Emily follows Nicholas into the investigation, hoping to spare him the fate promised by her premonitions - at least, that's what she tells herself. When their exchange with a demon goes awry, Emily sustains an injury that threatens to turn her into a monster. Her transformation places her in the crosshairs of sorcerers, senators, and a seductive stranger who promises eternity.

*-*-*-*-*
My review:

This was a very interesting, well done story.  It has all the twists and turns of a good suspense while adding a dose of the paranormal and romance.

Emily knows she descends from a line of witches but doesnt believe she has any power.  Nicholas was born to be a demon hunter but has issues with others of his type.  Emily has dreamed of Nicholas since she was little and has hoped never to meet him because her dreams never end well for him.  But when he shows up on her estate one day, investigating mysterious events and disappearances including that of her aunt.  She feels she has to do whatever she can to help him.

The characters both main and secondary are well developed and interesting.  You want to read their stories and find out about them.  Following along on their journey is fun and great to read. 

My only issue with the book was at the beginning a couple times I got lost with characters and past history that I felt we should know.  Either explained in this story or from a previous.  However, it didnt last long and did come together in a way that made sense.

All in all it was a great book and I am looking forward to reading more from this author.