Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Squeee!!! It's finally time share the cover for the sequel to FINN FINNEGAN Darby Karchut's GIDEON'S SPEAR!  You all know how much I love my author, Darby, so please help me spread the word. Even awesomer, the amazing Lisa Amowitz, another friend of mine, outdid herself making this cover--and it truly is a perfect fit for the book. Everything you may have loved about Finn, but with even more action and humor!

Awww over the cover...and here are the details!

The sequel to FINN FINNEGAN
By Darby Karchut

Gideon’s Spear
(The Adventures of Finn MacCullen #2)

For Finn MacCullen, it’s time to Irish up.

With a shout, Finn held the spear aloft. “Come along, ye manky beasties,” he yelled, throwing every bit of Gideon-ness he could into his voice. “I’ve a wee point to share with ye!” Gripping the end of the shaft in both hands, he swung it around and around over his head, creating a whistling sound. “Faugh a ballagh!”
“The Spear!” Goblin voices screeched in panic. “The Spear of the Tuatha De Danaan!”
“Yeah, you got that right!” Finn yelled back.
When a power-crazed sorceress and the neighborhood pack of beast-like goblins team up and threaten both his master and his friends, thirteen-year-old Finn (not Finnegan) MacCullen does the only thing an apprentice monster hunter can do: he takes the fight to the enemy.
And woe to the foe he meets along the way.

Finn Finnegan
(Book One of The Adventures of Finn MacCullen)

“Overall, a great choice for adventure-loving readers who prefer their battle scenes with a hefty dose of ancient weaponry, ground-fighting skills, and just a touch of magic." --School Library Journal

"If Lloyd Alexander had written The Ranger's Apprentice, the result might have been something like Finn Finnegan. Fantastic!" --Mike Mullin, author of Ashfall and Ashen Winter

"Finn Finnegan brings classic adventure into a modern day setting for a great read.”
--Dee Garretson, author of Wildfire Run and Wolf Storm

Title: Gideon's Spear (The sequel to Finn Finnegan)
Author: Darby Karchut
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
ISBN:  978-1-937053-94-9
Release Date: 2/4/2014
Formats: Paper, e-book

If you'd like to request an ARC, please use the reviewer form on our website. ARCs will ship in January 2014.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Guest Post: Welcome E. C. Ambrose, author of ELISHA BARBER, first in THE DARK APOSTLE series

I'm very excited to host my friend, E. C. Ambrose, on my blog to talk about her new book, Elisha Barber, the first book in her new The Dark Apostle series published by DAW. 

I've known E. C. for several years through conventions, Broad Universe, and online chatting--and she's an amazing resource on medieval history--which she beautifully works into her novel.  Because I am such a history buff, I was thrilled at the chance to pick her brain at all this cool info! 

Let's start with a little blurb about the book, Elisha Barber.

England in the fourteenth century: a land of poverty and opulence, prayer and plague, witchcraft and necromancy. Where the medieval barber-surgeon Elisha seeks redemption as a medic on the front lines of an unjust war, and is drawn into the perilous world of sorcery by a beautiful young witch. In the crucible of combat, at the mercy of his capricious superiors, Elisha must unravel conspiracies both magical and mundane, as well as come to terms with his own disturbing new abilities. But the only things more dangerous than the questions he’s asking are the answers he may reveal...

I'd really love to hear about the research you did to make Elisha's knowledge as a barber surgeon real. What drew you to this profession?

When I started out, I only need to know a little more about medieval medicine for a scene in another novel, but what I found was fascinating to me. It was another way of viewing the European Middle Ages, a popular setting for fantasy, that would allow me access to all levels of society, and also engage with characters in a more intimate way.  Medical treatment and the need for it create great vulnerabilities, openings into the spirit as well as the body.  Medieval medicine was fragmented by philosophies handed down from Greek and Roman sources, by the demands of religion, and by social class—it's rich territory for fiction.

I wanted to write about a less traditional fantasy hero.  We're used to reading about knights, princesses, remarkable children—Elisha is a mid-career adult, respected in his sphere of influence. He works among the poor and desperate of London's lesser neighborhoods:  prostitutes, carters, laborers, for whom he's the best medical care they can afford.  When he's forced to the front, he finds himself serving beneath the full weight of the medieval hierarchy:  a surgeon who manages the hospital and works with knights and lesser nobility, a physician who advises only at the highest level, yet insists on supervising Elisha's work, and all of the political layers outside of medicine—the warriors, royalty, lords and ladies who are the more usual denizens of the fantasy novel, and to whom the barber surgeon is beneath contempt.

Where did you go for this level of research?

I started with some general resources, like Medicine:  an Illustrated History, which grounded me in a broad understanding of the period.  I moved down through the books that would take me closer to the source, specialized compendia of knowledge like The History of Magic and Experimental Science. From there, I took note especially of any primary sources I could study.  That lead me to Galen, the first-century physician who developed the hugely influential theory of the four humors, and to medieval practitioners like Ambroise Pare, a French barber-surgeon, or Guy de Chauliac, surgeon and personal physician to Pope Clement VI.  Any time I could, I read works written by the practitioners, or by their contemporaries and patients.  I was a bit stymied in this area because I never learned to read Latin!

I also had the chance to visit some specialty museums of medicine, or to locate exhibits about medicine within larger collections in places like the Museum of The City of London.  Lately, I've been accumulating a collection of period-style surgical tools I can bring to signings and readings to illustrate the research.

What were some of the more amazing, gross, crazy things you found out?

One of the popes died of a surfeit of emeralds, which he was eating at the recommendation of his physician in order to cure a humoral imbalance.  That's pretty crazy! They believed that all material things had properties—hot, cold, wet, and dry—which related to the humors, so when a cure could not be effected by bleeding the patient, say, because the wrong astrological sign was ascendant at that time, the patient could also be fed a diet meant to balance these properties.

What are some interesting facts you learned but that didn't make it into this book...or the series? :)

I haven't written much about disease as opposed to wound healing or individual ailments—as of yet.  But in the 14th century there were three modes by which disease was believed to be transmitted:  breath, skin (touching) and gaze.  This includes the notion that a young woman without a husband or a calling to God might emit a certain poison affecting those around her.  The so-called "maleficent gaze of the venomous virgin."  Still want to use that. . . but I haven't quite found the place for it!

Where should readers go to learn more about the book?

For sample chapters, historical research and some nifty extras, visit www.TheDarkApostle.com

E. C. Ambrose blogs about the intersections between fantasy and history at http://ecambrose.wordpress.com/

Buy Links:

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/13pEciI

E. C. Ambrose wrote Elisha Barber and the rest of "The Dark Apostle" historical fantasy series from DAW books.  Published works include "The Romance of Ruins" in Clarkesworld, and "Custom of the Sea," winner of the Tenebris Press Flash Fiction Contest 2012.   In addition to writing, the author works as an adventure guide.  Past occupations include founding a wholesale business, selecting stamps for a philatelic company, selling equestrian equipment, and portraying the Easter Bunny on weekends.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


I'm super excited to finally reveal the cover of the final installment of the Touch of Death series by the amazing, sweet, and wonderful Kelly Hashway!  (What is it about people who write wonderfully twisted horror being some of the sweetest people I know?!)  Anyway, check out this gorgeous cover (complete with Sexy Hades) and keep an eye out for this book in January!

The third and final book in the TOUCH OF DEATH series.
By Kelly Hashway

Having fallen at the hands of Hades, Jodi's enduring torture like she never imagined. Worse, she has to watch her Ophi friends suffer along with her--the punishment doled out by the very people she'd sentenced to life in Tartarus. Hell. This is one reunion Jodi hoped would never happen, but now she must find a way to free them all.

Except the underworld is nearly impossible to escape.

Jodi's one chance may rest in raising the human soul she killed when she drank Medusa's blood.

But splitting her human soul from her Ophi soul means living a double life: One as an Ophi experiencing unspeakable torture and the other as the human she could have been if she never came into her powers. With her two worlds colliding, Jodi will have to make the toughest decision she's faced yet.

Title: Face of Death (Touch of Death #3)
Author: Kelly Hashway
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
ISBN:  978-1-937053-92-5
Release Date: 1/7/2014
Formats: Paper, e-book
Goodreads TBR:

If you'd like to request an ARC, please use the reviewer form on our website.

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