Archive for April, 2013

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sharp-185x300A Mindspace Investigations Novel, Book 2

Roc

ISBN 9780451465047

HISTORY HAS A WAY OF REPEATING ITSELF, EVEN FOR TELEPATHS.…

As a Level Eight telepath, I am the best police interrogator in the department. But I’m not a cop—I never will be—and my only friend on the force, Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino, is avoiding me because of a telepathic link I created by accident.

And I might not even be an interrogator for much longer. Our boss says unless I pull out a miracle, I’ll be gone before Christmas. I need this job, damn it. It’s the only thing keeping me sane.

Parts for illegal Tech—the same parts used to bring the world to its knees in the Tech Wars sixty years ago—are being hijacked all over the city. Plus Cherbino’s longtime nemesis, a cop killer, has resurfaced with a vengeance. If I can stay alive long enough, I just might be able to prove my worth, once and for all…

EXCERPT:

Guilt – an excerpt from Sharp, Mindspace Investigations Book #2

By Alex Hughes

You okay? came Cherabino’s thought again, frustrated. Tap, tap, her mind against mine, tap, tap, as if she could somehow feel my distress and reacted with impatience instead of care. Tap, tap, along the long yellow line back to the real world.

I followed that line, hand over hand, inch by painful blind inch, laboriously surfacing, one overwhelming moment at a time. She kept tapping. She kept pushing. It was the only thing that got me all the way there.

I woke to the clear view of the floor and my knees, twelve inches from the bloodstain, my nose overcome with bad smells. I hadn’t thrown up. I could say that much. And—mind shaking, aching, shivering in reaction pain, I realized I was back to mind-deaf. My head rang with pain, pain—but no emotion. I was deaf and blind again.

You okay?” Cherabino asked.

I shook my head—and immediately thought better of it; the movement made the world spin.

My eyes caught the victim’s foot, her bare foot on the tile, and I saw a small tattoo, a circle of wavy lines, neurons, encircling a stylized S and Q. I sat down hard, on the tile. I knew that tattoo.

I knew that tattoo, and in combination with it the female mind, or who she’d once been. Her name hadn’t been Hamilton when I’d known her, but she hadn’t been married. Emily, her name had been. Even through the overwhelming pain in my head, I couldn’t let go of the thought. Emily had been one of my best advanced students, years ago. Before it all fell apart. Before her mind twisted into a knot—into something not an Abled mind anymore. Before I’d done the unthinkable.

Are you okay?” Cherabino repeated.

I fought the guilt and the disorientation of seeing Emily again, seeing her dead. I fought the exposure sickness, the injury. I sat on them, hard, and built a barrier between us with bleeding fingers. Cherabino couldn’t know. She knew too many of my failures as it was.

One small knee shuffle at a time, I moved back, away from Emily. It wasn’t her fault she smelled of urine, dried blood, and darker things, but it wasn’t mine either.

Well, did the husband do it?” Freeman asked.

Are you okay?” Cherabino repeated.

I pulled myself to my feet and fished out my sunglasses over my now-light-sensitive eyes. “Unless the husband’s an ex-SEAL or something,” I said in a rasp, “somebody else did it. And now, unless there’s some kind of emergency, I’ll be in the car.”

Uncaring of reactions, I stumbled out of the devil house, away from the seat of every failure I’d ever had, down the stupid steep stairs, and climbed into the backseat of the cop car. I needed to be horizontal. Now.

Hughes_authorphoto_verysmallAlex has written since early childhood, and loves great stories in any form including scifi, fantasy, and mystery. Over the years, she has lived in many neighborhoods of the sprawling metro Atlanta area, including Decatur, the neighborhood on which Clean is centered. Her work is dark, complex, action-filled and a little funny. Her Mindspace Investigations series has been called “A fun blend of Chinatown and Blade Runner” by James Knapp, and Publisher’s Weekly called her “a writer to watch.”

When not writing you can find Alex in the kitchen cooking gourmet Italian food, watching hours of police procedural dramas, and humming to delightfully obscure music.

Learn more about Alex and her work at www.ahugheswriter.com.

Places to purchase:

For a chance to win a copy of book 1 in the Mindspace Investigations Novels, CLEAN, check out Alex’s guest post about how music makes her brain happy!!

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Words & Music Monday with Alex Hughes

Posted April 29, 2013 By Jennifer

WordsAndMusicMondayHughes_authorphoto_verysmallMusic and the Brain

A blog post by Alex Hughes

If you know me for very long, it becomes obvious that I’m a science geek. I’ll happily discuss cool biology, interesting math, even the occasional physics for fun. But one of my all time favorite topics is neuroscience, the study of the brain and the study of the brain and human behavior. For one thing, we don’t know all that much about the brain; it’s still one of the frontiers of science. And for another, what we do know is so cool! We’re engineered in an amazing and complex way.

When Jennifer asked me to write about music and my writing process, I immediately jumped to a conversation I’d had with a journalist friend recently. She had been doing research on Beethoven and the brain. Beethoven was deaf for a lot of his music writing career, she said, and thus his music had to exist entirely in his brain as he was writing it. Let’s pause and think about this for a second. Writing music while deaf—holding the sounds or the representations of sound in your head so well you can write amazing music without hearing it. It’s kinda awesome.

But, my journalist friend argued, the way Beethoven wrote makes his music a particularly good fit for how the human brain operates. His music had to be pleasing to the brain because that’s how he wrote it. She went on to say that his Fifth Symphony, for example, has the reoccurring notes we all know–“da da da dummm”—repeated in different patterns and keys and instruments. They say that even people who are musically untrained can recognize what the next note in the series should be, even in another key or tempo. It’s fascinating. There’s something about the patterns Beethoven used that just makes sense to our brains.

I’m at C2E2, a huge comics convention in Chicago, as I write this, still thinking about music. They brought in a DJ in the main atrium area, mixing a steady beat with interesting quiet sound lines, something that you’d never notice if you weren’t paying attention. The beat repeats over and over, but the variance makes it fun to listen to rather than repetitive. After awhile, it falls out of your conscious attention; you don’t hear it anymore. But even so you feel more energized and excited and happy the whole time you’re in the area. It’s brilliant, and well worth the expense of the very talented DJ. He’s literally setting a mood through sound.

sharp-185x300When I’m writing, I find that different kinds of music help me write different things. Dramatic movie and video game soundtracks help me write action and dramatic change over time. Soothing spa music helps me write the calm-down scenes after a big moment, or to focus on writing after a stressful day. But the kind of music I prefer—something complex, with movement and pattern—seems to hit me in much the same way the Beethoven symphony hit the subjects of the experiment. It makes my brain happy, and it makes me more able to form patterns and string together words in a faster, more satisfying way.

So as I listen to The Gutan Project, to Lindsay Stirling, to jazz fusion, to latin lounge, I’m listening for pattern and beat. I’m listening to enjoy the music, but I’m also listening until it all falls away and I find that moment everyone found here at ComicCon: where the sound makes your brain work better.

What music makes your brain happy? Comment below with your happy-making musical choice, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of book 1 in the Mindspace Investigations Novels, CLEAN!! (US only, sorry.) And check out our blog post (with blurb and excerpt) for Alex’s SHARP Blog Tour HERE!!

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Review: NIGHT DEMON (Night Series, #2) by Lisa Kessler

Posted April 25, 2013 By kellysmithreviews

Night_Demon_Front_DigitalTitle: Night Demon (Night Series, #2)
Author: Lisa Kessler
Release Date: March 18, 2013
Pages: 304
ISBN #: 9781622660742
Disclaimer: Received book as contest prize.

From EntangledPublishing:

Gretchen Finch’s job would be much easier if she weren’t alone in the jungle with a brilliant recluse whose every glance sets her on fire. But the more she focuses on her work, the closer she gets to unlocking the mysteries of a terrible creature—the Night Demon—that threatens the world as she knows it. Though her scientific mind tells her it’s impossible, she’s beginning to believe the ancient Mayan tales as the sinister jungle comes alive around her.

Lukas Smith has spent hundreds of years searching for answers to his immortal Night Walker nature. As a series of ancient glyphs become clear, he’s about to find out more than he’d ever hoped, but the more he learns, the more his fate intertwines with the Night Demon, and the harder it becomes to hide his immortal secret from the beautiful, intelligent Gretchen.

Together, they must find a way to stop the inexplicable violence and mass destruction surging across the earth before the Night Demon destroys more than just mankind

Fans of Lisa Kessler’s Night Series will remember Calisto and Kate from “Night Walker”, the story that details much (but still not enough) about how Night Walkers are created, and about how Kate was reincarnated from Tala. A part of this tantalizing story reveals just whom TALA had been the reincarnation of.

In the beginning of this novel, you will be introduced to Lukas, a Russian Night Walker, created by Calisto, searching the Yucatan region where Night Walkers originated so be can learn how they can be killed–so be can kill himself. His research partner, beautiful human archeologist Gretchen, desires information on the ancient Mayan race herself, for her report. But, even more, she desires information on Lukas, her extremely attractive and enigmatic partner.

During the time they are researching, unbeknownst to either of them, the most evil creation known to both humans and Night Walkers alike has been awakened deep in the heart of the Yucatan jungle: Camalotz, the Night Demon. She has been banished to the center of the Earth for millennia due to a sacrifice of the Goddess Of The Moon, Ch’en. The four Night Walker gods of the four corners of Earth were positive that she would never again rise, because they had ripped out Ch’en ‘s heart so she could never be reincarnated. What went wrong?

As Camalotz terrorizes humanity with her thirst for blood and souls, Lukas, Gretchen, Calisto and Kate find themselves neck-deep in a battle to either save or end the world with the four gods, including Calisto’s maker, Mulac; neck-deep into a world Lukas never wanted to reveal to his beloved Gretchen. All be wants is to love her freely; all she wants is him. Can their feelings get them through this battle to save Earth, regardless of what kind of blood flows through their disparate veins? In this inventive, passionate novel, Kessler grips the reader’s attention from paragraph one and leads them on a journey filled with danger, history and romance, all leading up to a twist no one will never see coming.

KellyGraphic

EmoRating5_Love_2

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WordsAndMusicMondayHappy Tuesday, everyone!! I know, I know… this is a Monday feature. But there was a weirdness yesterday, and it’s getting posted today. So put away your calendars and just roll with me, ok? Thanks, lol 🙂

Today’s guest has a slew of awesome books to choose from already, but is celebrating a brand new series debut. THE DEMON’S SONG is the first in a new series by Kendra Leigh Castle, and it looks really, really good. And with a title like that, I couldn’t pass up the chance to ask her to talk music with us. I was THRILLED to find out what the inspiration for her main character was, as it’s a favorite of mine. I’ll share more below…

kendraphotoThe Demon’s Song

By Kendra Leigh Castle

Every time I write a book, there’s at least one song that inspires me, matching up so well with something I’m working on that I end up playing it over and over again. Sometimes it’s a character’s theme song, sometimes it’s part of a general soundtrack. In the case of my new book THE DEMON’S SONG, first in the Hearts of the Fallen series, one particular song set the entire book in motion.

La Malagueña Salerosa is a very old Mexican song that’s been redone many times, though I’d never heard it before stumbling upon the version by a band called Chingon on one of my “wandering around Youtube” nights. Now, I already knew that Phenex, the hero of the story and the former Angel of Song, would be sitting in a vampire club playing guitar and singing, but I was at a loss about the details. I’m such a pantser that I was still piecing together his personality at the time, so I wasn’t sure what he’d favor—Springsteen? Fall Out Boy? What? I hadn’t expected he’d be a flamenco fan, but the second I heard this song, I knew he was, and that he’d have a black acoustic guitar, and that his heroine would be a beautiful Latina. All that from one song, and I don’t even speak Spanish (I was actually a French major for my first two years in college)! Still, it was the perfect starting point for my story about the fallen Angel of Song, a being who grew to resent the ugliness humanity was capable of, so at odds with his music, until he let his wings go from white to black. Now, on the run from Hell and doing mercenary work for Heaven, Phenex is thrown together with the one human woman who might be able to remind him that music isn’t the only thing worth loving.

The Demon's SongIt’s always been interesting to me, how one piece of music can suddenly make a story come together. The Demon’s Song has other music I associate with it…Phenex and Sofia’s love song is In Your Arms by Claire Tchaikowski, for example. But flamenco guitar is at the heart of the story, sexy and sinuous, and perfect for Phenex and Sofia as they begin their own sort of dance. I love looking around for music to inspire me…I never know what I’ll find! And sometimes, a particular song shapes a work like nothing else can. So tell me, what songs inspire you?

Kendra Leigh Castle is the author of numerous paranormal romances, including The Demon’s Song, first in the Hearts of the Fallen series. She lives in Maryland with her family, where she can usually be found wearing ugly pajamas and drinking too much coffee. She can also be found on her website, www.kendraleighcastle.com,as well as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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I was so excited to see that Flamenco was such an inspiration for Phenex in this story. I’ve been a huge fan of Spanish guitar for a long time, and love finding new music in the genre. For the record… my two favorite musicians right now are Jesse Cook (Rattle and Burn) and Ottmar Liebert (Barcelona Nights).

Big thanks to Kendra for sharing some inspiration with us. Now… what do YOU all think of flamenco?? Click the links… take a listen… 🙂

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Used with permission, from EntangledPublishing.com’s blogsite:

If there’s one thing we know about paranormal romance at Entangled, it’s that it breaks rules. All kinds of rules. And that’s where the Covet imprint comes in. Covets are firmly grounded in the contemporary world, but each novel brings in supernatural twists, breaking the contemporary and paranormal rules alike.

Covets have all the sexiness, emotion, and happily ever after that readers have come to expect and love from Entangled. With our launch this month, we’re bringing five titles to the forefront of this rule-breaking imprint. Greek gods, witches, demons, shifters, vampires … there’s something for everyone.

To find out more about our launch titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books you’ll be coveting next, visit the Entangled website(entangledpublishing.com), follow us on Twitter (@CovetBooks), and LIKE our Facebook page.  We have lots of exciting events coming up, and Round Two of our launch in May!

Take a look at the first Covets, and start making your TBR list.

Gone with the WolfGONE WITH THE WOLF by Kristin Miller

CEO and alpha werewolf Drake Wilder has given up the search for his
one true love. When he discovers that she’s a secretary in his
company, Drake’s primal instincts kick into overdrive.

What he wouldn’t give to have her fingers rake over his body instead
of the keyboard…

Free-spirited bartender Emelia Hudson wants nothing more than to make
her Seattle-based bar succeed. But when profits decline, she slips
into a dress suit and secures a nine-to-five. After learning that her
bar has become property of Wilder Financial, Emelia is determined to
get some answers.

Two can play the ruthless business game. If only her attraction to
the boss wasn’t so intense…

When Drake’s twin brother senses that Drake has found his match–and
now inherits their father’s billion dollar estate–he hatches a plan
to take Emelia out. Drake vows to protect her at all costs, but he
might have to pay with his own life.

The Awakening-AidanTHE AWAKENING: AIDAN by Abby Niles

Is the gift of eternal love a blessing or a curse?

After years of counseling grieving shifters, psychiatrist and
half-shifter, Dr. Jaylin Avgar has become jaded on shifter mating. She
wants to marry a human and forget about the love for eternity crap.
Then she meets Aidan O’Connell, an infuriatingly laid back shifter who
represents everything she doesn’t want. Yet, the more he pursues her,
the more she craves a future with him. Only one thing stands in her
way: death. Can she overcome her fear of losing Aidan to the one
guarantee in life?

Millionaire consultant, Aidan O’Connell knows he’ll one day meet a
woman who’ll awaken an unrelenting mating instinct. Unfortunately,
that woman is Jaylin, who has no qualms about telling him that he and
his so-called eternity can shove it. When she pushes him away, he
takes a drastic step so she can no longer escape. The close proximity
throws the instinct into overdrive. Can he control the need engrained
in him until he’s certain she will reciprocate the bond, or will a
moment of weakness doom him to hell on earth?

The Demon's SongTHE DEMON’S SONG by Kendra Leigh Castle

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. At least, that’s how
it seems to Sofia Rivera when her attempt to help a friend ends in a
blood-soaked confrontation with creatures that aren’t even supposed to
exist. With a group of rogue vampires determined not to leave a single
witness to their violence hot on her heels, Sofia finds herself
saddled with an immortal bodyguard–Phenex, the fallen Angel of Song.
While the vampire king roots out the corruption threatening to take
down his underworld kingdom, Sofia will have to deal with a fallen
angel whose dark beauty is often at odds with his ornery nature.
Slowly, Sofia and Phenex give in to the strange attraction neither can
deny. And as the darkness closes in around them, Phenex begins to
wonder whether even the wickedest Fallen might find his own happy
ending…and his heart.

Tall, Dark, and DivineTALL, DARK, AND DIVINE by Jenna Bennett

Being the Greek god of love doesn’t mean you believe–or
want–anything to do with that sappy emotion. Sure, Eros runs his
matchmaking business, Made in Heaven, but finding his own love has
never been part of the equation. When he spots the sweet baker who
works across the street, he vows to match her with someone else before
she stirs his sullen heart.

Annie Landon has given up on finding Mr. Right. What she needs is Mr.
Right Here, Right Now, and this so-called “Greek God” she’s heard is
on the rebound sounds like the perfect kind of distraction. But
picking up the bitter workaholic is easier said than done…especially
when he seems unreasonably determined to match her with someone else.

Can a woman looking for love–and the matchmaking god who wants her
to find it with someone who isn’t him–have a shot at a happy ending?
May the best god–or mortal–win.

Deceiving the Witch Next DoorDECEIVING THE WITCH NEXT DOOR by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez

Down-on-her-luck witch Storie Bell never thought the biggest threat
to her future would be Reid Malone, the very man she’d run from years
before. After striking it rich in Texas shale, he’s back in town, and
he seems hell-bent on getting in the way of her bookstore’s grand
opening. A witch trying to blend in in a small southern town is hard
enough, but now he’s seriously testing her strict No Kissing Mortal
Men policy. But even witches don’t have a spell for that.

Reid knows there’s much more to Storie than meets the eye. But right
now he has only one mission: to infiltrate her shop so he can snatch
the elusive secret ingredient to his father’s million-dollar moonshine
recipe. Once he does, he can go back to the city and get out of his
small hometown, a place in which he has no future.

But as the days go by, he can’t help falling for Storie in every
way…and every encounter brings him closer to finding out what happens
when you try to deceive a witch.

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So… which of these lovelies are YOU Coveting??? I love the stories Entangled Publishing puts out, and I’m THRILLED with their Covet line so far. I can’t wait to hear which of these you all read and love!!

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