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Blog Tour: When The Silence Ends by Jade Kerrion - Review + Author Interview

When The Silence Ends

When you choose your friends, you also choose your enemies.

Seventeen-year old Dee wants nothing more than to help her twin brother, Dum, break free from the trauma in their childhood and speak again, but the only person who can help Dum is the alpha empath, Danyael Sabre, whom the U.S. government considers a terrorist and traitor.

The search for Danyael will lead Dee and Dum from the sheltered protection of the Mutant Affairs Council and into the violent, gang-controlled heart of Anacostia. Ensnared by Danyael’s complicated network of friends and enemies, Dee makes her stand in a political and social war that she is ill equipped to fight. What can one human, armed only with her wits and pepper spray, do against the super-powered mutants who dominate the Genetic Revolution?

America, nevertheless, is ripe for transformation. Exhausted by decades of belligerence between humans and their genetic derivatives—the clones, in vitros, and mutants—society is on the verge of falling apart or growing up. Dee, with her sassy attitude and smart mouth, is the unwitting pebble that starts the avalanche of change. In her quest to help her brother become normal, Dee will finally learn what it means to be extraordinary.

When the Silence Ends is the Young Adult spinoff in the award-winning Double Helix series and can be read as a standalone novel.

Buy it from Amazon US | Amazon UK

Jade Kerrion

Jade Kerrion, an award-winning author, got her start in fan fiction. She developed a loyal reader base with her fan fiction series based on the MMORPG Guild Wars. She was accused of keeping her readers up at night, distracting them from work, housework, homework, and (far worse), from actually playing Guild Wars. And then she wondered why just screw up the time management skills of gamers? Why not aspire to screw everyone else up too? So here she is, writing books that aspire to keep you from doing anything else useful with your time. She lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with her wonderfully supportive husband and her two young sons, Saint and Angel, (no, those aren't their real names, but they are like saints and angels, except when they're not.)

And now, let's welcome Jade to the blog for an author interview!

1.     Tell us a little about your book.

On the one hand, When the Silence Ends is the story of an ordinary girl, Dee, facing ordinary challenges. She holds down two jobs to pay the rent, makes sure her twin brother gets to his speech therapy class, and wonders how to pay for college. Dee, however, is an ordinary girl in a world transformed by the Genetic Revolution—a world that is struggling to deal with the social and political repercussions of human derivatives: the clones, in vitros, and mutants. What chance does “ordinary” have in a world of “extraordinary” people?

2.     How did you come up with the title?

Silence is a key theme in the novel. Dum, Dee’s twin brother, has not spoken ever since a shattering event destroyed their family when they were five. The novel is the story of Dum’s journey out of silence. A secondary theme is that of secrets. Danyael Sabre, the alpha empath who trains Dum, has secrets of his own, and as the story unfolds, the silence around an eighteen-year old secret comes to an end.

3.     What inspired you to write this book?

Young Adult novels abound with extraordinary protagonists. I’m sure that in your travels through books, you’ve met the child of destiny who’s fated to end a war and unite two worlds. You’ve probably also met the quiet kid who doesn’t quite fit in, who discovers his amazing super powers and uses them to save the world. Of course, there’s the protagonist who stumbles upon a mysterious world that coexists alongside her reality, populated by sparkly vampires and handsome werewolves.

I’ve found two major themes running through most YA novels: the first, as I noted above, the extraordinary teenage protagonist, and second, the adults are frequently the enemy, ranging from indifferent parents to murderous despots. Neither of those observations particularly aligns with my observations of life.

So, when I set out to write a YA spin off my award-winning Double Helix series, featuring Dee and her twin brother, Dum, I wanted my readers to appreciate adults in more roles than that of the enemy. Some of them are, of course, but like the real world, there’s a vast spectrum of them; some adults even become Dee’s friends and mentors. More importantly though, I wanted my readers to appreciate the power of “ordinary.”

4.     Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I’d like my readers to realize that “extraordinary” is within all our grasps, and it has nothing to do with destiny, superpowers, or being loved by a vampire. Dee is the embodiment of ordinary, but she still manages to change her world for the better. If she can do it, there’s no reason at all the rest of us can’t.

5.     Do you have a favorite line or scene from your latest release?

It’s hard to choose just one scene. I enjoy many of the scenes involving Jessica—the fifteen-year old alpha mutant, who, unlike Dee, isn’t ordinary, but is striving to find her own brand of normality, nonetheless. My favorite scene, however, is the very last scene at the concert when the silence ends. Several readers have reported tearing up at that scene.

6.     Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I started at the age of thirteen when my school essays were returned to me with a bunch of “A”s scrawled over the top. Teenagers are impressionable. Being much more impressionable than most, and believing that my teachers knew what they were doing, I figured I was destined to be a writer. It’s only taken me tens of thousands of hours of work since then to be halfway decent at writing (and I’m still learning each day), but one has to start somewhere.

7.     Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Neil Gaiman is pure genius in his storytelling ability.

8.     Have you published anything else?

My award-winning Double Helix series includes three books, Perfection Unleashed, Perfect Betrayal, and Perfect Weapon. When the Silence Ends is set in the world of the Double Helix, and readers will find that many of their favorite characters play much larger roles in the main series. My YA science fiction novel, Earth Sim, was just released as well and is currently on tour. It is a compelling and whimsical view of Earth’s history through the eyes of the two students assigned to manage our planet.

9.     What’s next for you? / What is your next project?

I’m currently working on a paranormal romance called City of Eternal Night. Once I finish that, I’ll start work on the fourth novel in the Double Helix series. My plan is to release three novels in 2013.

10.  Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I just want to say thank you. Thank you for your support, your enthusiastic reviews, and your outraged e-mails over what I did to some of my characters. Thank you for loving them. Thank you for rereading my novels. Thank you for trusting me with your time. I do promise to honor that trust and keep delivering fantastic novels that keep you reading past your bedtime.

Here's my review of the book, finished around the 8th of February!

My Rating


My Review

When The Silence Ends was a fantastic novel. I loved every moment of it. When The Silence Ends is a spin-off from the Double Helix series, with several characters like Danyael, Jessica and Zara appearing in this book. Here, we are reintroduced to two characters we saw in Perfect Weapon. Dee and Dum. Dum doesn’t speak due to events that occurred in the past. Dee is his sister, and who I truly do admire.

Throughout the book, I felt that while it displayed the amazing powers that mutants could have, especially that of Dum’s, it did truly show me how a simple human without any powers could influence so much. Dee was someone without any powers. Yet, she fought so hard for what she wanted, protected Dum in ways that is scarcely impossible to imagine. And the depth of love she had for her friends and the people around her was so great. Truly, she was an inspiration.

Heh, its really so much easier to write a review when you love the book so much. I read this book, a long time ago, right at the beginning of this year. And yet, right now, everything is still in my head. And it makes me want to read this book and the whole Double Helix series again.

This book was truly a good read. The storyline was well thought out, well paced, and just about everything good you could want to see in a novel. There was even a small romance, though not overdone that it would over shine the main theme of the book.

As for character development, it was great. It was amazing to see how Dum slowly recovered from that silence that had trapped him for so many years. And I especially loved how Dee coped with everything. Her strength of will is truly amazing. I dare say that without her, Dum wouldn’t have survived all those years.

I love Jade Kerrion’s writing style. Its just so natural that you just feel like you’re really there, experiencing the story right where the characters are. There is humor in the book too, and if you do know the backstory of the other characters, there are sure to be scenes that will make you smile. Heck, even if you don’t, I’m sure you’ll smile.

And the last few sentences of the book brought tears to my eyes. I won’t say what and spoil the surprise, but it truly did touch me. Overall, I think she has crafted an amazing story, one that does not just speak about how mutants are superior, but with the strength that she has given Dee, just a young girl of 17, has showed us that humans too can be strong. And of course, that teenagers, while we may be young, should not be looked down on. Because Dee truly did impress me. I recommend this book to just about anyone who likes science fiction. I mean, I honestly feel that this is an excellent story, along with the books in the Double Helix novels. Its easy to read, yet I would say the tone is just right, and its just very natural. Definitely a 5 star read:)

So yep, that's about it for today! Thanks for visiting! :)

Review Tour: Fraction of Stone by Kelley Lynn

Fraction of Stone

There is only one among the Tarmack nation with the ability to wield magic, eighteen-year-old Rydan Gale. He lives like a prince, cherished for his talent to bend the fabric of the universe to his will. In the war against the Liasam, he is their ultimate weapon.

The Liasam have a source of magic as well, but Akara’s mastery of her power is rudimentary at best. With a brilliant display of fire-rain Rydan’s side wins the war, giving the Tarmack sole control over dwindling resources due to the natural disasters ripping apart the earth.

When Akara is sentenced to death, Rydan questions the motive, and discovers the leaders of the newly unified nation fear magic above all else. With war a memory, his skills no longer needed, Rydan suspects he is next. Throwing away every comfort, he pulls Akara from the flames of her execution and their lives as fugitives begin.

Both have a tattoo on the back of their neck, the mark of an extinguished tribe. They discover the natural disasters plaguing the world are due to the tribe’s demise and only Rydan and Akara can save the crumbling world.

But the greatest obstacle for saving mankind isn’t the bizarre creatures and determined men hunting them.

It’s that Akara doesn’t believe the world is worth saving.

Kelley Lynn

During Kelley Lynn’s last year at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, while pursuing her degree in Chemical Engineering, the voices in her head got the best of her. Surprisingly, they didn’t want to talk about process flow diagrams and heat capacity. They preferred the fantastical. So instead of turning to her Thermodynamics book, Kelley brought up a blank page on her computer screen and wrote.

Come graduation, not only did Kelley have a diploma and, thankfully, a wonderful job, but she had a new obsession as well. Amidst the order and exactness that came with the nine to five, Kelley found a way to create; to determine the rules of a world and take her characters to the limits of what was possible. Perhaps she has a slight control complex.

The first in the series, Fraction of Stone, was born on an airplane and took ten days to write. It probes the question, should the world be saved if there’s no one in it worth saving?

When briefly managing to quiet the voices, Kelley participates in softball, soccer and volleyball. (You probably don’t want her on your volleyball team. Unless you want to laugh.) She lives with her sister and her dog who can attest to the chair that has Kelley’s butt print permanently pressed into it. Depending on the weekend, you might be able to hear Kelley sing for an area classic rock band.

Kelley Lynn is a member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators.

And now, here's my review of this amazing book!

My Rating


My Review
I really enjoyed Fraction of Stone. It’s been a while since I last read, and this book only served as a reminder of how much I miss reading and why I love to read. From beginning to the end, the story was well laid out, interesting and just so addictive to read. I couldn’t, or perhaps, didn’t want to look away from the book. The characters were strong, with the character development excellent. The ending was great, and only made me want to read more.

From the start, I was hooked. The book threw me into the action from the start and just made me want to read more and more. I loved the fast pace of the book, where details were shared where necessary and it wasn’t overkill. Throughout the entire story, I found myself wanting to know more about this world that the author has created. I loved the reasoning behind all the climate issues and problems the world was facing.

For the character development of this book, I truly did love reading about it. I just could feel them maturing in front of my very eyes and as Kara started to love, to trust, it just felt so beautiful. And as I watched Rydan grow up, out of that initial selfish person he was, it just felt so amazing. They were very believable characters, and very well written, such that I found no difficulty in connecting with them at all.

The ending was action-driven and fascinating to read about. Even though I was certain that there would be a good ending, I couldn’t help but clench my fists in anticipation and nervousness for the characters. Because, what if things did go wrong, what if it was an unexpected ending?

However, I do wish that there was a little more focus on magic. As in, in terms of Rydan teaching Kara how to do magic. I find it a little weird that throughout the entire journey, there wasn’t much emphasis on that part, or on the whole magic part. I do like how Kara is so talented with magic, even though she was barely taught anything, and I do look forward to seeing what more she can do in the future, after she is trained.

When I reached the end of the book, it was a bittersweet feeling. While the ending was generally what I expected, it felt sad to me, to have to say goodbye to these amazing characters and the world that the author has created. They were very three dimensional, and even the supporting characters were good. Even though I feel that at certain points, there were too many names for me to remember, when Rydan was speaking to his ‘friends’ that were chasing him, it was just a small little thing with me, and one that barely affected me.

I do look forward to seeing what more the author can come up with. If Fraction of Stone, her debut novel, can be so good, I can barely imagine what can come after with more writing experience. I’m glad that this series has not ended yet, and that I will get to see more of Rydan and Kara. Oh and I love them together. They are just so perfect for each other!

Finished reading: 7 March 2013

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Blog Tour: Rising Tide by Lynn Kevin Steigleder - Excerpt

Coming this March!  A wonderful tour for non other than Riding Tide by author Lynn Steigleder~  
Please enjoy this tour page as it is updated. 

Book Description

Publication Date: April 28, 2009
Another blast ripped through the Orion, cutting all power and knocking him to the floor. Ben lifted himself off the deck and found it was impossible to stand. He crawled to the COM panel. Marty! All systems down! All systems down! With a category six hurricane above and his habitat below destroyed by the blast, Ben finds himself alone in a decompression chamber. Suddenly he receives a mysterious message. Dash, dash, dot, dot, dot, a seven. S.E.E.K.C.7. Is he dreaming, or is someone trying to reach him? In Rising Tide author Lynn Steigleder depicts a world in which land is at a premium due to the advancing sea, and where mans attempt to adapt has led to a decay of morality and survival of the fittest. In the midst of the ocean, a crew of criminally minded profiteers rescues a stranded diver, Ben Adams. Is the rescue just a fortunate coincidence for Ben, or has he been led to this rendezvous with fate for a common goal? Rising Tide is a novel of rebirth for a world corrupted by evil.


Lynn Steigleder


Lynn Kevin Steigleder was born in Henrico County, Virginia. Raised in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia, Lynn spent most of his adult life as a supervisor in the field of construction and fabrication. When Lynn's department was outsourced in 2007 within two months of his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, he realized he needed to transition into a new career path due to his energy and mobility challenges.

Having dabbled in writing short stories for his own entertainment, his son challenged him to consider writing as a career. He accepted the challenge and quickly found he had a flair for creative writing that incorporated fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and adventure. His first novel, Rising Tide, was accepted for publication and released in 2009. Now working on the draft of his fourth book of the Rising Tide series, Lynn has the second and third books ready to submit for publication.

Recently, Lynn was a finalist in the Indie National Book Award Contest.

Lynn currently lives in rural Virginia, with his wife, Donna. They have three grown children who reside in the area.


Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


• • •

Day Five

Ben awoke to a voice echoing throughout the chamber.  “Topside to Ben, come in, Ben.” The transmission repeated. “Topside to Ben. It’s time to rise and shine, sweetheart.”
He moaned and rolled out of the sack. He didn’t have far to roll. The space lived up to its name; it was the size of a tin can. Two bunks, a dry toilet, and a panel to monitor life support, position, and temperature along with numerous small storage bays made up the  interior of the Orion.
He reached for the COM and yawned. “This is Ben, Topside, go ahead.”
“Good morning, Ben. So glad you could take time out of your busy schedule to join us.”
“Good morning, Marty,” Ben said, rolling his eyes.
“Ben, it’s time to begin system’s check. You’ll be on the surface in just under thirty hours.”
Ben moved to the control console, yawned again, and rubbed his eyes.  “Roger,” he said. “Beginning system’s check.”
He knew this was necessary, but why wake him at four a.m. every morning for the same thing? Couldn’t they do this a little later in the day?
“How are you feeling?” Marty asked. “Your vitals look good from up here.”
“Good overall, just a little dizzy,” Ben answered.
“It’s probably the nitrogen,” Marty countered. “We changed your breathing mixture again last night.” He paused. “Ben,” Marty continued, “don’t forget to check your interior hatch control also.”
“Everything’s operative,” Ben said.
“Good,” Marty replied. “Topside out.”
Orion out,” Ben replied.
The one thing Ben loathed more than Pete’s cooking were the rations onboard the OrionThese things must have been around since the First World War, he thought. Unwilling to dive into another cardboard-based meal, Ben sat down on the edge of his bunk, hung his head, and closed his eyes. In this position he could sense the capsule’s movement intensify. He moved back to the COM.
“Topside, this is Ben. What’s with the bumpy ride?”
“A tropical storm,” came the reply.
He waited for further explanation. None came. Ben stiffened. “Is that it?” he said. “Why so tight lipped?”
“Ben, this is Marty. A tropical depression formed yesterday morning. We’ve been waiting to see how it plays out before we filled you in. I didn’t want to cause any undue alarm.”
“Well?” Ben questioned.
“The forecast calls for slow strengthening,” Marty continued. “According to our radar, they may have been wrong. The next update is due soon. Just hang tight. I’m confident that it won’t be a factor in getting you to the surface. If it’s any consolation,” he said, “they named this one Benjamin.”
“I don’t care what they call it,” Ben said. “Just keep me in the loop. It’s my butt in this can, not yours.” He started to say more then thought better of it. “Orionout,” he finished.
In this environment, hours seemed like days. Ben thumbed through the rations again and decided on a prepackaged breakfast bar. He sat down, unwrapped the bar, and took a bite. The Orion lurched violently, tossing him into the port wall. “What the—” It lurched again, throwing him to the opposite side.
The intercom brought him back. “Ben, can you hear me?”
Ben pressed the COM button. “What’s going on up there?” he screamed.
“Ben, it’s not up here, it’s down there. There’s been an explosion in the habitat.”
“Marty,” Ben said, “what about Pete?”
“I don’t know, Ben,” he said. “I don’t know.”
Another blast ripped through the Orion, cutting all power and knocking him to the floor. Ben lifted himself off the deck and found it was impossible to stand. He crawled to the COM panel.
“Marty! All systems down! All systems down!” he repeated.
“Ben, your umbilical has been severed. You’ll have to power up onboard support.”
“Understood,” Ben responded. “What next?” he whispered.
The mere push of a button would begin the conversion, but now even the simplest task was proving nearly impossible for Ben with the capsule bouncing violently.
He located the switch and managed to convert all outside life support to onboard systems control. The battery backup kicked in. The lights flickered and then burnt steadily, not as bright as usual, but it was better than the complete darkness that had momentarily filled the cabin. One look at his gauges told him he was still eighty feet down, too deep to blow the ballast and surface.
The Orion continued to bob up and down. Ben pushed the COM button. “Marty, why am I not stabilizing?”
“Ben, the tropical storm has been strengthening rapidly for the past few hours. The blast bounced you up almost sixty feet. You’ve gotten close enough to the surface to feel part of what we’re getting up here,” he said.  “We’ve got twenty-foot seas, going to thirty.” There was a long silence.
“Give it to me straight this time, Marty,” Ben said.
“Ben, the storm’s going to get stronger, maybe a cat five, or worse. On top of that, with the new protocol in place, everyone on board the platform moves into theArk. We’ll lose our COM link,” he said. “You’ll be on your own, Ben. I’m sorry.”
The Ark was a self-sufficient life station positioned beneath the drilling platform. It could support up to thirty people for a maximum of five days. With limited propulsion it could even be cut loose and move away from OZ if necessary, tethered by a one-inch, two-mile long cable that could be winched in when the “all-clear” was given.
“Great,” Ben said. The chamber lurched again, this time slamming into one of the oilrig’s massive legs. “Marty, I’m still tethered to the sea floor. I’m too close to the rig. I’m gonna have to cut loose from the cable and float free before this thing beats me to death.”
“Ben, do not blow your ballast. Repeat. Do not blow your ballast. You’ll need another sixteen hours minimum to complete your decompression cycle.”
“Roger that,” Ben said. Beads of sweat gathered on  his forehead.
“What about Pete?” Ben asked.
“As close as we can determine, the storm wrenched the habitat’s life support umbilical loose, allowing the atmosphere to escape,” Marty said. “Once the pressure reached a critical level … ” his voice trailed off. “I’m sorry, Ben; no one could have survived that implosion.”
Orion out,” Ben said. His mind was blank, his body numb. He disengaged the quick connects from the cable and began to drift. The oilrig’s stabilizer scraped the side of Orion, seemingly to say goodbye.
Marty transmitted one last time. “We’re moving to the Ark,” he said. “Good luck, Ben. Topside out.”
Overwhelmed, Ben didn’t answer.

Blog Tour: In Like A Lion by Karin Shah

Hey guys! First up, I want to apologise for the late post, it completely slipped my mind!

In Like A Lion

Dangerous and forbidden...

Research scientist, Dr. Anjali Mehta, lost her beloved family in an earthquake. Only her work cuts through the paralyzingly grief, but when she finds her new research subject, reputed mass murderer, Jake Finn, maddeningly uncooperative and inexplicably sexy she's tempted to run away. How can she burn to touch a killer--a man behind bars?

What she doesn't know is that Jake is a chimera, a shapeshifter who can change into a lion or a dragon with all the strengths of both even in human form, who believes his ability to shape shift is nothing but a terrifying hallucination, and his overpowering attraction to his new doctor proof positive he’s finally gone over the edge.

And the employer she trusts has an agenda all his own. If she can't believe the impossible, neither she nor Jake may make it out alive.

Check out the book at Amazon

Check out the book trailer here!

Karin Shah

I live in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio and worship Jeni's Ice Cream, JK Rowling, Jayne Ann Krentz, the tv show Supernatural, and the movies, Hunt For Red October and The Princess Bride(though not necessarily in that order.)

I am a fanatical reader of Romance, particularly Sci-Fi Romance, Fantasy Romance and Paranormal Romance. I always write the book I want to read, so I tend to jump sub-genre a bit. My husband and I are the parents of two kids (a girl and a boy) and slaves to two dogs ( a basenji and a vizsla)

I was born in Rochester, NY, attended SUNY Oswego and got my Master's in Information and Library Science at the University of Buffalo. I was a School Librarian in Webster, NY for five years before starting my writing career. (I still miss my students.)

Time for a short excerpt!

As Anjali stepped out into the corridor, a shout made her freeze.
The exclamation’s guttural force spurred her heartbeat into double time. What the hell?
She tracked the alarming sound to a door with a glass window and peered inside.
In the center of a large room, a shirtless man moved with fluid grace on exercise mats. Karate? Or Tae Kwon Do? That explained the shout. She shrugged.
Before she could slip away, the man turned and came closer. She ducked to the side so he couldn’t catch her watching.
Her breath caught as she saw his lean face.
She swallowed, pulse leaping. God, he was gorgeous. Staring much, Anjali? she admonished herself, scraping together the remnants of logic blown away by the sight of him.
This was just a man, his face, just a pleasing arrangement of features.
Papers on the appeal of symmetry to the human mind had been mandatory reading in some of her classes.
His movements took him deeper into the room and she inched closer again, her long exhale fogging the window in front of her. She didn’t need calipers to know when God had handed out facial symmetry, this man had pushed to the front of the line.
Odd shadows lent the suggestion of a tiger’s stripes to the man’s elegant cheekbones and clean jaw. She glanced at the ceiling and noticed metal baskets caging the fluorescent light fixtures, throwing voids into the harsh glare.
Her attention zeroed back to the man.
His hair—raven black with the sheen of a crow’s feather—hung past his chin and fell forward, masking his eyes. She caught herself wishing he would raise his head so she could see them. Her gaze drifted downward, following the delicious curve of his shoulder.
His large body was a work of art, each muscle defined and chiseled, as if Michelangelo had carved him from a piece of granite. The impish light played more tricks, lending his golden skin the sheen of satin as he defended against the attacks of invisible adversaries.
Her mouth dry, she watched him flow through the movement, muscles rippling beneath that flawless skin. Who was he? A guard?
Given his size and superior musculature, if he was a doctor, he was nothing like the doctors and researchers she’d worked with in the past.
Goose flesh pimpled the back of her arms. There was just something about a man that big that called to her most basic instincts.
A disparaging laugh huffed from her chest. She’d been living like a nun for years and now she was drooling over a man so out of her league he might as well have been a movie star.
What sounded like a voice—short and harsh, but indistinct—reverberated through the thick, metal-reinforced glass. The man halted mid-move and glared over his powerful shoulder.
For the first time, Anjali noticed there were other people in the room; uniformed men with sleek, ugly rifles, not only drawn, but leveled at the man as if prepared to shoot him at the slightest misstep.
She gasped as an awful realization washed over her. This man—the first man to draw her interest since her loss—was not a guard or a doctor.
He was Jake Finn, her subject, and a stone-cold killer.

And now, let's welcome Karin to the blog!

How I Came To Write Multi-Cultural Characters

The first book I ever wrote was in essence Multi-cultural. It was a Science Fiction Romance and the hero and the heroine were literally from two different worlds. That book has never been published, but I went on to write STARJACKED and it was. Again the hero and heroine were from different worlds, and this time, the hero was not plain human stock. He was an Amalan. Stronger, faster, tougher, than ordinary humans.

I don't make a big deal out of it in BLOOD AND KISSES, my vampire/witch romance, but Gideon the hero is from the Middle East, from when before it was the fertile crescent and the cradle of early civilization. Thalia is just a witch from common European-American stock.

IN LIKE A LION is more overt. Anjali, the heroine, is from Mumbai, India. She's not just Indian, she's Gujarati. Her Grand-parents come from the western state of Gujarat and speak Gujarati at home, not Hindi. Gujaratis have a distinct culture separate from other Indian groups. They have their own foods, festivals, and even way of wearing their saris. Writing Anjali was a delicate balancing act. As a product of her culture, she had to believe and act in a certain way, but I couldn't explain things to the reader too much. I couldn't even use as much Gujarati as I would have liked to. If your first language isn't English, it's perfectly natural to slip into that tongue, especially when under stress, but there's something called the "strangeness budget." A reader can only take so many foreign or alien words without being pulled from the story. The concept comes from Science Fiction, but it works as well with characters of foreign origin.

I didn't set out to write multi-cultural Romances, and I really only just realized I do. The US and Canada are full of people from all over the world, and it just seemed natural that people would fall in love. There are wide cultural differences between my characters, but underneath, they, like everyone else, have doubts, desires, and a deep longing for love and somewhere to belong.

The Backstreet Boys said it, "I don't care who you are, what you did, where you're from, as long as you love me."

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Blog Tour: Ragnar The Murderer by Lily Byrne - Author Interview + Excerpt

Ragnar the Murderer
Lily Byrne

Publisher: Taylor Street Books

ISBN: 13: 978-1463698379

Number of pages: 210
Word Count: 40,000

A tale of love and treachery.

It is a time of uneasy truce, of two races living side-by-side, inter-marrying even, but forever on the look out  for treachery among their neighbors.

They meet, they bathe together and they consort. Life is short, fun is likely to be brief, and opportunity has to be seized wherever it can be found without unleashing long-held rivalries and carnage.

Then the youthful Dane, Ragnar, falls in love with Aelfwyn the Angle who is already promised by duty to one of her own village.

Ragnar and Aelfwyn's passionate love affair is a secret which will never be hidden for long, but theirs is not the
only secret around.

When Ragnar finds himself charged with murder, he and Aelfwyn are forcibly parted. But is Ragnar really a  cold-blooded, cynical killer or is there a more sinister plot being played out?

About Lily Byrne:

I faffed around at writing for many years until I had my daughter, but becoming a mum seemed to kick start something in me: I realised that I now had a purpose and time was limited, so I must get on with it.
The winter of 2009 was severe and as I and my family live in a small village, we were house bound by unusually deep snow for southern England. So I settled down in my office (i.e. the corner of our bedroom) and began my first book, which was published in 2010.
I haven’t stopped writing since. I go through phases of planning my story, writing furiously, or editing it. It is much easier now my daughter is at school and I get a few hours of work done each day.
My daughter has truly been an inspiration to me: she has had severe health problems in her short life but is always smiling and laughing, planning for the future, full of ideas. Working at home writing and editing has been ideal, I love my life.

Let's invite Lily to join us for a short interview!

Hey! It’s lovely to have you on the blog today! So, shall we begin? J

Its lovely to be here, I haven’t been on a blog tour before so its all new.

For starters, why not tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?

Not many people know I like motorsport, mostly watching it, but I have driven a rally car round a course. I went to Brands Hatch for a rally lesson as a special birthday present. It was SO exciting!
Otherwise I am a mum, writer and editor. I have one child who is now at school, so I can do editing for my publisher, Taylor Street Books, and my own writing.

What made you want to become a writer?

I have no idea. I have just always wanted to write, and written stories from when I was a little girl, about whatever I thought about at the time. School stories, ones about pets and when I got a bit older, romances.

Do you have any hidden talents? *wink*

Er… list making. Going down stairs quickly. Can’t think of any others!

What gives you inspiration for your book(s)?

Well, to some extent, the Viking books I have been writing lately were inspired two friends of mine, writers Ryan Spier and Richard R Jones (or Reggie, as he’s known). They are both tall with wild red hair, have tattoos and often go out drinking with their mates and get into all sorts of trouble. I don’t think they even know each other but they are quite alike, and made me think of Vikings. I’d never investigated the Viking age so I thought it might be interesting to do so, which it was, and a story was born, about a tall red haired Viking named Ragnar…

Are your characters based off real people, or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

Generally, they are from my imagination, but there are obviously well known human traits such as love, greed, ambition within those characters.

Could you tell us a bit about your book and why it is a must-read?

‘Ragnar the Murderer’ is basically rather like ‘Romeo and Juliet’, a love story about two young people from different cultures, who fall in love, but their cultures disapprove strongly and try and prevent them being together. It’s my favourite theme of ‘forbidden love’, which is the theme of many stories: will our hero and heroine get over all the hurdles and stay together, or will they be prevented? Is Ragnar actually a murderer, or has he been framed? Dun dun DUN!

What do you love most about the writing process?

I like the planning, and the bit where you can finally see the book taking shape, I like the research—I got very carried away researching the Dark Ages and Viking life—and the bit where I finish the book and write ‘the end’. But of course finishing the book is terribly sad too, because the story is over and my friends have gone L So I do actually love all of the process.

And of course, do you have a particular favorite character? I know an author will love most if not all of the characters he/she creates, but I’m sure there must be a favorite of yours! So who is it, and why?

My favourite at the moment is Kjartan from the Ragnar series. He is so naughty and will try anything. He is the opposite of me—I’m a cautious sensible person—maybe he does all the things I secretly wish I could do.

Will you tell us a little about your plans for the future, and maybe other books that are in the works? (Ideas thought out, perhaps even a rough draft?)

At the moment I’m not writing another book, I wrote two Ragnar books last year and its tired me out rather. I am doing editing for my publisher, which is lovely because I get to read all sorts of different genres. I think there is a fourth Ragnar book to come, but when, I don’t know. When I get inspired again, although I have a rough idea in my head. Maybe all the loose ends from the first three books will come together for a grand finale!

And now, just some little random questions!

Favorite colour?


Favorite place?


Favorite book?

Probably, ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnet, ‘Ballet Shoes’ by Noel Streatfeild or ‘Little Women’ by Louisa M Alcott. I can’t think of an adult book I like more than those. They all have feisty heroines, don’t they, hm…

Favorite genre? (and why, if you like)

Forbidden or unrequited love, generally historical. Because its tantalizing—will they, won’t they? How will they get over the obstacles between them? Love makes the world go round, I reckon, so I like reading about it.

To end off, is there anything you would like to say to your readers?

Be adventurous with your reading, don’t demand that every book is written to a formula or fits neatly into one genre. And remember that behind every book is an author with feelings, so don’t write spiteful reviews, be constructive.

Hmm, I think that should be about it for today! It was a pleasure to have you on the blog today! Wishing you all the best in your career! :D

Thank you, some great questions!

Time for an excerpt!

“Come on!” urged Saehild, hopping from one foot to the other to
keep warm. “The quicker we get there the quicker we’ll come back.”
Aelfwyn, being shorter and thinner than her younger sister,
found it harder to wield the pails. The long, stone wall edged path to
the well led downhill, and she hated carrying the heavy pails back
up again.
“I’m looking forward to the wedding feast of Eappa and
Geatfleda next week, aren’t you? It’ll be a change from daily tasks.
When I’m married I’ll have slaves and they’ll do all the work while I
enjoy myself.”
“You’ve got to find a rich husband first.”
Aelfwyn imagined it wouldn’t be difficult. Fair of face and
curvaceous of body, men couldn’t resist Saehild. Their parents
insisted she should not get married until her fifteenth birthday
however, and as that loomed, soon Aelfwyn would lose her
annoying but amusing companion.
Leafless, icy trees eerily overhung the sunken path through the
As they turned the last corner, they saw two figures by the well,
wearing the red woollen cloaks of Jarl Thorvald’s men, stout leather
boots, and trousers with garters. Complaining to each other, their
breath clouded around them as they chipped at the frozen water
with their spears.
The girls hesitated a few yards away.
“Will they attack us?” whispered Saehild dramatically, clutching
at her sister.
Aelfwyn sighed. “Probably not, but we’d better wait until they’ve
The taller Dane abruptly looked up and smiled. His dark red hair
was wavy but tied back in a plat over his shoulders and he wore a
fur cap instead of a helmet, as he wasn’t in battle. With skin rather
darker than most Danes, he looked pleasant, not handsome but
inscrutable, especially as his well groomed beard and moustache
covered most of his lower face.
“Come,” he said. “Do not be frightened.”
The other turned too, and smiled. Now, he really was good
looking. Straight golden hair, his eyes big and blue, his lips an
attractive shape. His moustache and beard were fortunately less full
than the other’s, as this revealed his beauty. The sisters gasped. He
held his hand out in a welcoming motion so they stepped forward as
“We break ice,” said the handsome one, bending over his task
while the other kept watch.
The girls watched, fascinated. Saehild pretended to re arrange
her head-rail, letting her It was flaxen blond, soft fine hair slip out.
She took great care of it, unlike many girls, and owned three combs.
“Saehild!” Aelfwyn glared at her, shocked at her inappropriate
“We’ve all got hair, it’s not something to be hidden,” she
“There!” The handsome Dane pulled up the bucket from the
well, and gestured for them to come forward. He then tipped water
into their pails, smiling at both of them until they blushed.
Aelfwyn thought, however, that he smiled more at her sister. The
same as every other man. Men were so weak and easily understood.
They saw a pretty face and were instantly besotted. It amused her to
see so many of them pursuing her sister, who often didn’t notice.
Saehild was tall and well formed, obviously healthy and a promising
prospect for bearing children.
Being born underweight meant Aelfwyn had always struggled to
grow and throw off illnesses. As a result she had remained short and
thin, despite eating as much as she could.
Grateful that her mother had kept her rather than abandoning
such a weak sister. Everyone always thought she was the younger one, and even
by eighteen, men hadn’t shown an interest. They no doubt thought
of her as unpromising breeding stock.
As she and her sister stepped back, feebly mumbling “Thank
you”, the taller Dane began filling his own pails. He seemed to be
instructing his reluctant companion, who turned back to the girls.
“Bjarni.” He pointed to himself, bowing his head politely and then
pointed to his taller companion. “Ragnar.”
“Saehild,” she gushed in delight. “My sister, Aelfwyn.”
Ragnar did not seem pleased however, and said something sharp
to Bjarni in their own language. Bjarni rolled his eyes and Saehild
“We should go now,” said Aelfwyn, realising their vulnerable
position alone in the wood with two unfamiliar Danes.
“Goodbye. See you again,” said Saehild, before Aelfwyn could
drag her away.
Bjarni looked after them with interest.
“What d’you think, then?” he asked Ragnar as the girls rounded
the corner and disappeared from view. “Would you fuck them?”
“Yes, probably,” his friend said unthinkingly. “I mean, no! We
shouldn’t be associating with the locals. We have our jobs to do, we
should-“baby, even so she wished to be as attractive as her
“By the gods, you’re so boring! You wouldn’t fuck either of them
just because of your job?”
“The Jarl said we must be honourable if we’re training to be
Huskarlr. At your age, you’re supposed to have grown out of fucking
around.” Ragnar’s job meant everything to him, he had no family
and Jarl Thorvald was the only father he had ever known.
“I’m not nineteen yet. I hope by twenty I won’t be like you and
have forgotten how to do it.” Bjarni pretended to doze off against
the wall so Ragnar prodded his leg with his spear.
“Get off! I’ll have the tall, pretty one. Those breasts, you could
get lost in them. I bet she’s a dragon in the sack-“
“Calm down or I’ll throw this ice over you. Come on.” Ragnar set
off with two pails, Bjarni following cheerfully with the others.
“Think they come here every day?”
“I expect so. But we’re only on water duty for the fortnight, so
don’t get too excited. There are loads of local girls for you to harass.”
“Water duty! It should be the women doing such tasks, not us.”
“It’s to teach us humility. You need to learn it.”
Bjarni kicked at him- no easy task while carrying pails of waterbut
Ragnar managed to fight back. Continuing to bicker, they
rounded the corner in the opposite direction to the Anglisc, heading
back to Hallfridby.
* * *
“That was a nice start to the day,” said Saehild on the way back
to their home. “Bjarni is so handsome, do you think father would let
me marry him?”
“I doubt it. Father’s very traditional, as you know. He will want
you to marry a nice Anglisc boy. Someone like Wilmund.”
“Ugh, Wilmund! He never washes his hair, he smells bad.” She
Aelfwyn giggled too. “Or Deorweald. Father would approve of
“Deorweald? He must be about twenty five! Almost old enough
to be my father!”
“Or what about-“
“Oh stop talking about these horrible Anglisc. They’re all ugly and
stinking. Give me a beautiful Dane any day. I want Bjarni to rush into
our village, fight off all my suitors and carry me off to his hall. Or a
hut he’s built just for us, we’d live happily ever after and have
twenty children.”
“Yes, wouldn’t they be beautiful? The boys would look like him,
the girls like me.”
“Where would I live?”
“You could have a corner in our hut, you could help me look after
the twenty children, I’d need help.”
“Do you think they’ll be at the well tomorrow?”
“We have to fetch water anyway, so they know where to find us.
What did you think of the other one? Ragnar was it?”
“He’s alright. I’m sure he fancies you anyway.”
Saehild nodded smugly. “I saw him looking at me slyly. I could
marry Bjarni and have Ragnar as my lover.” She giggled.
“You would definitely have twenty children then, with both of
them loving you!” Aelfwyn giggled too. She didn’t intend to get
married. If no man wanted her, she wouldn’t want them either.
* * *
The next day, Saehild hurried her sister off to the well so early
that her mother, Cwenburg, stared in shock. Intrigued by the
meeting yesterday, Aelfwyn was not reluctant however. The Danes
kept to themselves socially, with their own feasting days and
customs, but were approachable sometimes. She had heard tales of
fearsome Vikingr marauders in the past, but none she had met
caused her problems, so why not see what they were really like?
They waited at the well for a time, but the men did not appear,
however slowly Saehild filled the pails.
They were just about to leave, when a flash of red caught
Aelfwyn’s eye. “Look!”
Two cloaked figures were hastening along through the leafless
“Is it them?”
A few seconds of uncertainty led to Ragnar and Bjarni appearing
on the path in a hurry, then slowing their pace to a casual saunter.
“Don’t be too friendly,” Aelfwyn warned her sister.
“Morning,” said Bjarni, smiling. “No ice today?”
“No, the weather’s warmer today. Thank you for yesterday, we
wouldn’t have had any water if it wasn’t for you,” babbled Saehild.
Neither Dane understood her rapid speech.
“Thank you for helping us yesterday,” said Aelfwyn plainly, and
their expressions cleared.
“You are welcome,” said Ragnar, bowing slightly.
* * *
So for the next two weeks, the sisters met the Danes at the well.
Conversation was understandably limited, but they managed.
Aelfwyn often found herself fetching the water while Saehild
dawdled. The Danes politely waited for her to get all the water she
needed, but she could hear they were both talking to Saehild,
competing for her attention. It wasn’t fair. Why should she do all the
work while her idle sister sat around resting? She banged the bucket
and pail around carelessly, making as much noise as possible. She
crashed around so much that one of the pails slipped out of her
hand and down the well.
Shrieking, she clutched at it, but luckily, a Danish hand moved
quicker. Ragnar grabbed at the pail and almost fell down the well
reaching for it. His arms were far longer than hers but even he only
just saved it in time.
Aelfwyn snatched it from him. “Thank you,” she muttered.
“You are welcome.”
She looked up to see him suppressing a smile, but carried on
filling her pails in silence.
“So, you come to our feast in two weeks?” Bjarni said to Saehild.
Ragnar rolled his eyes.
“Sorry about him,” he said. “He likes women better than work.”
Aelfwyn felt a giggle rising in her throat.
“I’m sorry about my sister too. She is the same. Except men, not
women of course.”
He laughed.
“Is she married?”
“No.” Aelfwyn sighed. How often had she been asked this by one
of her sister’s enamoured suitors? “My parents say not before she is
“She better get married soon. Or she will be in trouble.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean- er- she will be in the bed of a man soon if she behaves
like that. Sorry.”
Aelfwyn looked back at Saehild sitting on the surrounding wall
with Bjarni. She seemed to be teaching him Anglisc, amid much
giggling. They sat very close, gazing into each other’s eyes.
Ragnar realised he had never seen such a small woman as
Aelfwyn before- he could see right over her head, even when she
stood up and he sat down. He didn’t realise adults could be so tiny.
He surreptitiously put his hand next to hers and was amazed it
looked about twice the size. His fingers were like sausages compared
to her twigs. No, not twigs, something softer, like-
She turned back and he snatched his hand away quickly.
“I am not my sister’s keeper. I mean, I am not her mother or
“That is true.”
“It’s her business what she does. I am used to men chasing after
“What about you?”
“What about me?”
“You have men chasing after you, as you are the older sister?”
“None of your business!” So he hadn’t made the usual mistake.
He got on with filling his pails in silence.
“What about you, Dane?”
“No, I do not have men chasing me. I would cut their heads off.”
They exchanged glances, then burst out laughing. Aelfwyn
glanced warily at Saehild. So much for her disapproval of associating
with Danes, she behaved the same as her sister.
“They do not see us, do not worry.”
So he also guessed her thoughts. Obviously a worldly wise man.
“You come to our feast also?”
“Oh! Er- yes. Maybe I will.” She blushed with surprise.
“It is Jolablot, the coming of spring.”
“It isn’t spring yet.”
He shrugged. “It will come. We like to feast, spring or not.”
* * *

Too soon the fortnight ended and the two Danes had to finish
their water duty, which saddened them all.
“Jolablot starts at the next full moon,” said Bjarni on the last day
at the well. “We will meet you at the burnt tree between our
villages.” They said their goodbyes and went their separate ways.
“Oh God, I am so excited!” squealed Saehild, almost spilling the
water. “Something to look forward to.”
The wedding feast of Eappa and Geatfleda had been the same as
any other, with the same old people saying and doing the same old
things, so a Danish feast would be a novelty.
“How can we stop our family finding out?”
“We could ask Sigulf to keep watch. When he went out to meet a
girl last week, I told Father he was helping with the lambing, so he
owes me.”
“Very well.” Aelfwyn felt a flutter inside. Their first Danish feast.
What would it be like? Tired of being sensible and careful, it was
time to relax and enjoy herself. The Danes at the well hadn’t been
frightening or violent, so surely the others could not be either.
* * *
After the next day’s tasks had been completed, Aelfwyn’s father,
Aldulf, called her to him.
“Daughter, you are now eighteen and no sign of a husband. I
have taken an offer from Eadbald for your betrothal. As you know,
his wife recently died and he has eight children to care for. He has
long admired you and it is time to make a contract.”
“B-but Father, Eadbald is over thirty.” She visualised the portly
man with his customary vacant expression. A potter and rather
“That is no age! I am over thirty too. Consider yourself fortunate
to have one offer. Your mother and I want to marry you off before
Saehild’s wedding, which will surely be soon as she has so many
Aelfwyn saw the end of her girlhood approaching. A sensible
wife, married to a man old enough to be her father. Tears formed.
“Oh leof, don’t cry. You are fortunate to have a family like yours.
Other parents would have married you off many winters ago, but we
were hoping…” the sentence trailed off.
“Very well father.” She bowed her head.
She told Saehild, unable to keep the disappointing news to
herself. Her sister sympathised for once, forgetting her own

“There is nothing I can do,” Aelfwyn said. “They could have
chosen a worse husband for me. Eadbald isn’t a bad man.”
“Just unbelievably boring. Never mind, perhaps you’ll meet
someone at the feast.”
“As if Father would let me marry a Dane. Don’t be silly. I shall just
enjoy the feast as my last taste of freedom and the end of my


So yep, that's about it for today! Thanks for visiting! :)


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