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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Character Interview with Alex from Jennifer Loring's What's Left of Me

WHAT'S LEFT OF ME by Jennifer Loring
The Firebird Trilogy, Book #2
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Release Date: July 26, 2016

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? 


Author Jennifer Loring interviewing Aleksandr 
Interview with Aleksandr Volynsky –Model, Singer, Former Hockey Star

1. What’s your favorite color?
Really? That’s what you’re asking me? Khristos. For the record, it’s blue. Also for the record, I hate interviews.

2. Sorry. Can I ask you what your family is like?
My family is amazing. My wife, Stephanie, is the most incredible woman in the world for putting up with me. And my baby girl, Anya…she leaves me speechless every time I look at her. I still can’t believe I get to be her father. My parents live in Russia, so I don’t get to see them very often, but it’s because of everything they did for me that I was able to become the hockey player I was. So da, I have the greatest family in the world.

3. What do you most want in the world?
I already have it. My two girls. And I want Anya to have the best life I can possibly give her. The things her mother should’ve had growing up.

4. If you could change something about your past, what would it be?
It’s tempting to say I’d change what happened the night of my injury, which ended my career. But if that hadn’t happened, maybe I wouldn’t be where I am now. So the only things I’d really change are the times I’ve hurt Stephanie, although I guess those sort of led us to where we are now, too. In that case, maybe I wouldn’t change anything, no matter how hard it’s been.

5. What do you most admire about your wife?
She doesn’t realize how strong she is. She’s overcome so much, but she doesn’t always see it. I’m just so in love with her, every day is like I’m sixteen and seeing this beautiful American girl for the first time all over again.  

6. What drives you crazy about your wife?
I hope she doesn’t read this. She thinks she’s weak if she has to ask for help. She thinks she can and should be able to do everything herself. No one can, but she’s been doing it for so long, it’s a hard habit to break.

7. What do you most like about yourself?
I didn’t like myself for a long time, and neither did a lot of people. Now, I think the best thing about me is that I’m completely devoted to those I love, and I’ll do whatever it takes to protect them and provide for them.

8. What do you least like about yourself?
I don’t like having bipolar disorder. I’ve learned to accept it, although certain aspects have been hard for both Stephanie and me to deal with at times. I just have to keep telling myself it’s a part of me, but it doesn’t define me.   

 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’s Snowpocalypse. Longer work includes 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 19, 2016

Awash in Talent Tour Continues

Today Awash in Talent is making a brand new stop on its media tour, this time with gracious host James Jackson.

Previous stops have been hugely fun and informative, with some of the kindest and best authors I've ever met. Find them here:

“Kindle Scout Success” with Kristin Gleeson

“What If The Abolitionist Had Telekinesis?” with Kim Rendfeld

“Author Spotlight” with Teresa Roman

“Jessica Knauss: She’s Awash in Talent” with Linda Sands

Author Interview with Rachelle Paige

“Jessica Knauss—Awash in Talent” with Katherine Hayton

“A Conversation with Jessica Knauss, author of Awash in Talent with Seymour Hamilton

“Jessica Knauss Interview” with Craig A. Hart

“Interview with Author Jessica Knauss” at Today’s Author

“Writers Reach: Jessica Knauss with Awash in Talent" at Musings of Orientation with Jennifer Skutelsky

Indie Spotlight with author Ricki Wilson

About the Kindle Scout campaign with The Crazy Mind

If history is more your thing, tomorrow I'm at Unusual Historicals telling what little I know about thirteenth-century Spanish astronomy. If it has to do with Alfonso X, you know I'm there!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Interview with Award-winning Historical Fiction Author Jana Petken

Today I'm thrilled to welcome Jana Petken, who writes extraordinarily good historical fiction (some of it set in Spain) as an extension of an extraordinary life.

Jana Petken served in the British Royal Navy as a leading Wren Regulator, equivalent to a sergeant in the military police.

After the Navy she worked for a travel company as an overseas representative.

She was a security guard at the BBC World Service radio station. Afterwards she spent twelve years as a bodyguard for a Saudi Arabian Princess.

Her final career was as a cabin-crew member for British Airways. Unfortunately, she suffered serious injuries on board a flight. The aircraft, a Boeing 747, was flying at 39,000 feet above Africa when it was caught in clear-air turbulence. As a result of that accident, she endured three major operations on her spinal cord, and was forced into retirement.

Jana Petken is a multi-award-winning and best selling historical fiction author. Her books include:
The Guardian of Secrets. (2013)
The Mercy Carver Series: Dark Shadows, book 1, and Blood Moon, book 2. (2014)
The Errant Flock: The Flock Series, Book 1. (2015)
Swearing Allegiance. (2016)
Coming Autumn 2016, The Scattered Flock: The Flock Series Book 2.

JK: I notice some of your novels are set in Spain, the country that occupies my heart and mind 99% of the time. Please tell us about them.

Jana Petken: I have two books about Spain, with a third on its way. The first is The Guardian of Secrets, a Readers’ Favourite 2015 silver medalist. Here’s a little bit about the story.

After fleeing from an abusive husband accused of murder, Celia Merrill becomes embroiled in a Spanish Civil War.

Celia’s two sons march under opposing banners, whilst her twin daughters take different paths; one to the Catholic Church and the other to the battlefields. And in the shadow of war, a sinister villain from the past resurfaces.

"Three generations struggle in this suspenseful and compelling saga, which begins in 1912, Kent, England, and ends during the 1936–1939 Spanish Civil War."

The Errant Flock is a two-part series, with the second in the saga being released in October. TheErrant Flock was a top 100 book, across all genres, according to Shelf Unbound magazine, in 2015. It also won a 2016 silver medal, at the Independent Publishers’ awards, the IPPY’s.

Valencia, Spain, 1491
The ambitions of four men merge and collide in a deadly game of intrigue.

David Sanz, a young militiaman, is forced to carry out a heinous crime, and he becomes an unwitting pawn in a tense battle for power.

Luis Peráto, the duke of Sagrat, sacrifices his own people to cover up dark secrets that could see him burnt at the stake for treason.

Sergio Garcia, Sagrat’s lord treasurer, is a cruel and unscrupulous man, willing to eliminate anyone who opposes his rise to power.

The inquisitor, Gaspar de Amo, zealously punishes heretics for their sins against Rome and her Holy Office. But bringing the Inquisition to the town of Sagrat proves more challenging than he or the church could ever have envisaged.

In the midst of chaos, the people of Sagrat, terrorized by a series of murders, face an even greater danger with the arrival of the Inquisition and the unimaginable horrors it brings.

Jana Petken with her well-earned IPPY award. 
JK: What inspired you to write about Spain? 

JP: I grew up in Spain. It’s a country with a rich history and one can’t help but be fascinated by times gone by. Once an empire, it evokes colourful characters, from Don Quixote to its kings and queens, seafarers, Inquisition, and civil war. The historical material is massive, and I want to let the rest of the world to know about it.

JK: How do you research all this great material?

JP: My research goes deep. I suppose I’m lucky, in the sense that I know the Spanish culture and its people pretty well. Having said that, I work hard to bring facts to life, merging them with the story, but hopefully, not overpowering the fiction and entertainment value for readers. I also love being able to research subjects close to home, geographically.

JK: What do you do when you're not writing?

JP: When I’m not writing, I enjoy doing simple things. As an author, I don’t believe I ever really switch off, but I do enjoy walking in the country and by the sea. I love to paint in oils and socialising. I’m also love to lie back and watch a good TV series or two.

JK: It really all counts as research! Thank you for being here today.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Character Interview with Toria from J.L. Gribble’s Steel Magic

From author J.L.Gribble:

In honor of the release of my second novel, I’d thrilled to have the chance to introduce readers to one of my favorite characters. Torialanthas “Toria” Connor was one of two major point-of-view characters in book 1 of the Steel Empires series, Steel Victory. In Steel Magic, she takes center stage for a tale of her own. While not strictly a YA urban fantasy novel, this story features Toria and her friends setting off on their first adventure after graduating college.

Steel Magic is available for pre-order and will be released July 6. To get caught up, make sure to take advantage of the 99 cent sale for Steel Victory through July 5!

From the back of the book:

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.

If that didn’t hook you, hopefully this interview with Toria by her author will!

Tell us about a few of your favorite things.

Oh, I see how it is. Lowball me with the easy questions before you hit me with the hard stuff? Fine. “Favorite things” is pretty nebulous, but I’ll give it a shot. First of all, can I tell you how annoying it is that everyone assumes my favorite color is purple just because I’m a storm mage? I like it and all, and my magical shields do trend toward violet, but give me a nice teal any day. What else? Let’s see, my favorite food and favorite dessert are the same thing. Delicious, delicious crème brulee, especially if it’s made by my dad. I think half the reason I finally learned that silly fire cantrip was because I wanted to caramelize the top myself.

Okay, then here’s something more interesting. Since you’ve chosen mercenary as your career field, first you have to make it through 18 months as a journeyman. Was it difficult to leave your hometown?

I may not have been born in Limani, but I got there as an infant and it’s the only place I’ve ever called home. Before I graduated college, I’d already risked my life to defend it twice. So yeah, I’m kind of attached to the place. I think it’s more difficult to leave my family behind, but a girl’s gotta spread her wings sometime. The fact that my adopted mom is a vampire helps, though. You don’t have to worry so much about someone who is functionally immortal. She’ll even look exactly the same whenever I come home!

Your mom is a vampire? What is the rest of your family like?

Just as epic. Grandpa is also a vampire. He found me as a baby after my parents died, but didn’t really want the responsibility of a kid, so he took me to his progeny. Mama also had no interest in a kid, but that’s where Dad stepped in. He’s a daywalker—a human bonded to my mom, which grants him long life, too. Kane, the guy I consider my brother, is my partner in all things magic and mercenary, since we’re a bonded warrior-mage pair. And Syri, my best friend, is an elf. We’re definitely not a normal bunch around the dinner table. Especially since it’s breakfast for half of them.

Do you ever wish you could have been raised by a normal family? Is there anything else about your past you would change?

I wouldn’t trade my crazy family for the world! If I wanted normal as a kid, I could always go over to Kane’s house. But normal was relative there, too, since his parents were also mages. One thing I would change is my college major. I love chemistry and I love metallurgy, but I should have stuck with those as a hobby. Switching to a political science double-major so late in the game would have saved me a lot of all-nighters my senior year. But that was the field of study that would benefit me most as a mercenary, so I made the sacrifice.

So overall, you’re pretty happy with your life? What do you like most about yourself?

I am amazing, and don’t you forget it! In all honesty, I think my biggest strength lies in the power of my friends. I’m pretty convinced that I can take on the world, but that’s because I know they will always have my back. Kane, Syri, and I might be connected magically, but all that power would be useless if we weren’t also extraordinary friends.

What do you like least about yourself?

I can be a little arrogant, if that wasn’t obvious! I guess that happens when you’re told that you’re a child prodigy for half your life, in the whole doing magic area. I’ve gotten knocked down a few pegs since then, but I still have a hard time knowing what my limits are. That’s probably going to backfire on me someday.

And finally, tell us a bit about why we should read the books you're in.

Because you’ll have an amazing time following along on my crazy adventures!


About the Author:

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).

In Jessica Knauss's Awash in Talent news, winners have been selected for the Goodreads giveaway of two signed copies of the softcover. Congratulations! You beat out more than 600 people requesting the book! I hope you enjoy it. It may take a little longer to get your copies to you because of the holiday. Happy Fourth of July!