Monday, March 28, 2016

Witch of the Cards on Tour!

Catherine Stine is back to share a little something special about the setting for her latest release, Witch of the Cards. Take it away, Catherine :-)

The allure of creepy, ramshackle beach towns as settings for dark fantasy

What is it exactly that makes edgy beach towns the perfect setting for sinister fantasy and historical suspense? I’ve always been attracted to the dark side, and particularly to strange beach towns. So far, I’ve set two of my novels in them.

When I first moved to New York City after college and a stint out west, you couldn’t tear me away from the nefarious boardwalks of Coney Island. This was back before the arcade was renovated, back when the sideshow by the sea with its sword swallower and human pincushion were on full display. It was when a hungry, dirty capybara was caged in a box that read: Only $1 To See the Biggest Rat in the World! This poor critter was a plot point in Dorianna, my paranormal twist on Dorian Grey. And no surprise, I set Dorianna in Coney Island, and installed my sexiest villain ever, Wilson Warren, an agent of the devil disguised as a videographer who prowled the beaches, making girls into Internet sensations.

Fast-forward to my new novel Witch of the Cards, set in 1932, about Fiera, a sea witch who has a special talent with Tarot (and not just reading the cards). Of course, I set it in a shady beach town, in this case, Asbury Park, NJ. You see, I’ve been coming to this gentrifying beach town for years and know it well—in its sunny moods but also in its spooky, moody shades.

Around the turn of the century, and up until 1940, Asbury Park used to be the stomping grounds of the glitterati. There were grand concerts in the art deco Convention Center, and people dressed to the nines would stroll on the boardwalk at night. Then came the race riots of the 1960s and the economic crash, and the place fell into major disrepair. Its only remaining claim to fame was The Stone Pony, where Bruce Springsteen rocked into the limelight.

When I discovered first ventured into the convention center, there was a hole in its roof that seagulls flew in and out of, and only one lonely saltwater taffy store on the boardwalk run by an ancient lady who seemed to have stepped out of a Stephen King novel. Of course in Witch of the Cards I made her into a fabulous, dangerous witch, who sold magical taffy. And I turned the paranormal museum on Cookwell Avenue, the main shopping lane, into a place to hold séances that often went horribly wrong. I installed an illegal speakeasy in the taffy store basement. In my novel, Witch of the Cards, even the ocean hides terrible secrets.

There’s something about the scent of saltwater and hotdogs, the splintered, salt-dried boardwalk and the scream of people hurtling down on the arcade rides that gets my blood charging and my imagination firing. What about you?

Here’s a snippet of a scene when Fiera and her date Peter went down to the basement speakeasy in the taffy store:
Perhaps I was far too gone, but I didn’t care. Peter and I danced and danced. The room filled with the overflow from the convention hall dance—young lovers, bootlegger types with wide ties and cigars, older women with twinkling earrings and heavy bosoms, even a prostitute or two. I thought so anyway, because they wore way too much rouge and came alone to sit brazenly up at the bar with the gin rummies.
This time I couldn’t say whether or not I stepped on Mr. Dune’s polished wingtips. This time, he probably couldn’t be sure if he knocked his bony legs into mine. We had many more nips of absinthe, and I wolfed down another green-swirl taffy and before I knew it, I was leaning provocatively against Peter and laughing like a wild banshee.
I remember gaping up at him to see his black hair all disheveled and him mumbling indistinctly. And I, thinking that he was the most gorgeous human being I’d ever seen. I remember Dulcie grabbing one of my arms, and Peter grasping the other. I remember all of us howling at the crescent moon over the ocean, and the shocked sideways glance of the hotel proprietor as we all stumbled in.
I recall pulling out the Tarot he’d given me, and laying them out on the bedroom rug. I recall babbling at him—about a witch and a swindler and a boat—not necessarily in that order. I can still picture his expression of shocked surprise but not at what.
And I remember Peter’s lips branding my forehead—how could I ever forget that—while shocks of his lush black hair dangled deliciously on my burning cheeks. The last thing I recall before things went dark was kicking off my shoes.”


Pretty cool post and intriguing snippet. Find out more by clicking a buy link and getting your copy today!
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01COACFVU
Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/hze9ekh
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/witch-of-the-cards
B&N/Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/witch-of-the-cards-catherine-stine/1123499606?ean=2940152837797
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Witch-Cards-Catherine-Stine-ebook/dp/B01COACFVU
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/Witch-Cards-Catherine-Stine-ebook/dp/B01COACFVU

About the Author:

Catherine Stine’s novels span the range from futuristic to supernatural to contemporary. Her YA sci-fi thrillers Fireseed One and Ruby’s Fire are Amazon bestsellers and indie award winners. Her YA, Dorianna won Best Horror Book in the Kindle Hub Awards. Heart in a Box, her contemporary YA was an Amazon Hot New Release in Teen and Alternative Family for over eight weeks. She also writes romance as Kitsy Clare. Her Art of Love series includes Model Position and Private Internship. Book three, Girl and the Gamer, launches this summer. She suspects her love of dark fantasy came from her father reading Edgar Allen Poe to her as a child, and her love of contemporary fiction comes from being a jubilant realist. To unwind she loves to watch “bad” reality TV and travel to offbeat places.

Catherine’s website: http://catherinestine.com/wp/

Don't forget! There's an awesome giveaway as well. You don't want to miss out.
One $40 gift card, two hand-painted heart-boxes (by Catherine) with secret treasure inside, one signed paperback of Dorianna by Catherine Stine, one signed paperback of Witch of the Cards by Catherine Stine, one brand new collector Tarot deck along with an envelope full of special swag!

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Tip the Writetender

If you had a chance to listen to my last video, you'll know that Neverlove is something uniquely special because it was not only my debut novel as a young adult (YA) author, but it was also a huge step I took in sweeping away the dust and beginning the healing process on some things I'd avoided for far too long.

Heading in a lighter direction as far as topics for videos, I want to share a few creative writing tips. The first is this:

READ! A lot.

That is so paramount it can't be stressed enough. I also mention some craft books that would make excellent sources to turn to for beginners and those of us who've been around for a while. On my Youtube channel, I included the links to these books as well since I might have gotten an author name wrong during my ramble lol!

So check it out.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Witch of the Cards
Fiera was born a sea witch with no inkling of her power. And now it might be too late.

Witch of the Cards is a historical, supernatural romantic suspense set in 1932 on the Jersey shore. Twenty-two year-old Fiera has recently left the Brooklyn orphanage where she was raised, and works in Manhattan as a nanny. She gets a lucky break when her boss pays for her short vacation in Asbury Park. One evening, Fiera and her new friend Dulcie wander down the boardwalk and into Peter Dune’s Tarot & Séance, where they attend a card reading.

Fiera has always had an unsettling ability to know things before they happen and sense people’s hidden agendas. She longs to either find out the origin of her powers or else banish them because as is, they make her feel crazy. When, during the reading, her energies somehow bond with Peter Dune’s and form an undeniable ethereal force, a chain of revelations and dangerous events begin to unspool. For one, Fiera finds out she is a witch from a powerful sea clan, but that someone is out to stop her blossoming power forever. And though she is falling in love with Peter, he also has a secret side. He’s no card reader, but a private detective working to expose mediums. Despite this terrible betrayal, Fiera must make the choice to save Peter from a tragic Morro Cruise boat fire, or let him perish with his fellow investigators. Told in alternating viewpoints, we hear Fiera and Peter each struggle against their deep attraction.

Secrets, lies, even murder, lace this dark fantasy.

Buy links: Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01COACFVU
Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/hze9ekh
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1091149257
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/witch-of-the-cards
B&N/Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/witch-of-the-cards-catherine-stine/1123499606?ean=2940152837797
Inktera: http://www.inktera.com/store/title/f9bcdfce-e947-4cc0-a5e7-d19d681acb49
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Witch-Cards-Catherine-Stine-ebook/dp/B01COACFVU
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/Witch-Cards-Catherine-Stine-ebook/dp/B01COACFVU

Book Blitz Launch week giveaway description (starts 3/16 – ends 3/22): One $30 gift card, one signed paperback of Dorianna (or eBook), one signed paperback of Witch of the Cards (or eBook), one super-swag pack of Catherine’s personally designed greeting cards.

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Join the Witch of the Cards Facebook March 23 launch party: https://www.facebook.com/events/1750723695156458/

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Finding Thor Blog Tour

Have you found your Thor? Kai Strand wants to help with that. Be sure to check out the giveaway below.

International intrigue hits small-town America.

Tragedy has left Cara Cassidy broken and the only thing keeping her from giving in completely is her guilt. Until Nik Rock.

Nik stirs up feelings in degrees she has never experienced, and causes her to do things that most assuredly give him the wrong impression – like kiss him before their first date. Somehow, he breaks down the walls around her emotions until she has no choice but to forgive herself and feel again.

But a mysterious, troubled past follows Nik, and Cara may prove to be his weakest link.

When a royal princess shows up looking for Nik, and an international gang arrives looking for missing jewels, Cara lands in mortal danger. Will she be able to save herself? What will happen to her newly repaired psyche if she loses Nik?

Romance, mystery, and high stakes – just another day in high school.

Excerpt:

The veil dropped over Nik’s expression so fast, it told her exactly what she didn’t want to know. Nik had indeed seen her mom. Cara turned away from him again intending to trudge back into the classroom.
“By the crown, will you stop already?” Nik begged.
The exasperation in his tone and the odd choice of words piqued her curiosity. Cocking her head, she asked, “By the crown?”
The frustration melted away and Nik pursed his lips, which almost distracted Cara enough to forget the thread of conversation, but she tore her eyes away and asked, “Is that what they say in Seattle?”
Nik’s eyes lit with appreciation. “Aren’t you clever?”
“Am I?”
He nodded. His appreciative appraisal and half smile wreaked havoc with her supposed cleverness.
“Nik?” she breathed.
“Yes?” He tilted toward her giving her the impression he hung on her every word. His eyes were glued to her lips, which she realized were parted and ever so slightly panting.
She gulped. “Can we perhaps do this after school?”
When he raised his gaze to meet hers she almost liquefied under the heat of it. “Can I trust you?”
“Trust me to do what?” Cara asked. She was losing the ability to think.
“Show up.” He slid closer and she held her breath hoping he would take her in his arms.
“Show up where?” she asked.
A full-blown grin curved across his face and she thrilled with the knowledge she’d put it there. Then she realized she couldn’t remember how.
“Actually, I was going to ask you that,” Nik said. His eyes roved her face.
“Wait. What?” Cara’s voice was so breathy she wasn’t sure if she spoke or gasped.
“Where should we meet? After school.”
She itched to rise up on tiptoe and kiss that stellar grin off his mouth.
A low chuckle rumbled through him. “Why don’t you tell me in gym class?”
She nodded slowly. Was he a drug? Or maybe the male version of a siren. Did they have those?
He tipped further forward and she caught her breath. Then he sighed.
“See you next period.”
Her mouth fell open as he walked away. He hadn’t even touched her and she was burning with need.
At the end of the hall, he glanced over his shoulder and grinned when he saw her still gaping after him. When he walked out of view she let out the breath she’d been holding. It stuttered and shook, but was relieved to escape her burning lungs. How long had she been holding her breath?
By the crown, Nik Rock was dangerous!

Finding Thor is available in print or electronic format from the following:
Amazon| Barnes & Noble| Whiskey Creek Press| All Romance| BookStrand|
Add Finding Thor to your to-read shelf on Goodreads


When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, www.kaistrand.com.


Swag alert! Looking for your Thor? Look no further, Kai’s got you covered. Enter to win a custom tote bag for all of those books you like to carry with you, and a Thor baseball cap. Easy entry for those in a hurry, or many other ways to earn more entries for contest junkies. The Finding Thor swag pack can only be shipped in the United States. If winner is International, an Amazon gift card will be substituted and another winner will be chosen.
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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

IWSG - When You Want to Rant

First Wednesday of the month means something special. It's when we get to celebrate in our accomplishments or share in understanding each other's moments of misery. I find this to be one of the best times to give in to a rant. Other IWSG visitors may be more understanding than you know.

Link to other IWSG bloggers

Instead of ranting, I just want to thank Alex for this wonderful brainchild and to thank anyone who's gotten a copy of my recently released MG fairy tale mash up, Fable Ranger. If you haven't gotten it, I would humbly ask if you'll consider it for your next One-Click or as a gift to a reader friend.

Buy link: Amazon

When you want to rant, what's something you consider doing instead?