Saturday, June 30, 2012

Last Chance to Enter This Week's C*ntests

I'm on the road today, but continue to play among yourselves!

There's still time to enter this week's giveaways--Thomas Koloniar's dystopian Cannibal Reigns; Alysa Hendricks' first Star Chaser sci-fi romance; a big old TBR multi-book giveaway; and a huge Reader's Choice contest.

Keep scrolling down to find the contests. Contests end at Midnight, CDT in the U.S.

Friday, June 29, 2012

#Dystopian Review & G*veaway: Cannibal Reign by Thomas Koloniar

Don't faint...I've actually read a few books lately! And must share, of course. So read on for my review of Thomas Koloniar's novel Cannibal Reign, which came out Tuesday, and a chance to win a copy.

ABOUT THE BOOK: First the asteroid would come, slamming into the earth just north of the Montana border, followed by earthquakes, tsunamis, and unending night. And after that . . . Hell.
Astronomer Marty Chittenden is the first to recognize the approaching doom--a discovery that makes him a marked man.
     Green Beret Jack Forrest knows the catastrophe is inevitable, and begins stockpiling an abandoned missile silo with supplies while gathering together a small community of men, women, and children he prays can survive the apocalypse.
     Then disaster strikes. In an instant the world they know ends forever, transformed into a nightmare realm of eternal darkness. Soon the few remaining humans are transformed as well, becoming savage things--raping, pillaging, and devouring their own.
     And the time is approaching when Forrest and his people will have to leave their underground "Noah's Ark" to face a shattered world and the unspeakable terrors that dwell there--in desperate pursuit of one slim hope of survival . . . called Hawaii.


MY THOUGHTS: Okay, so this is not going to be everybody's cup of tea--I should say that up front. It's brutal. It's violent. The world populated by Thomas Koloniar's band of survivors is not a pretty place, and even the survivors aren't always pretty people.

That being said, I found it a gripping story after a few stumbles. There's nothing new about the asteroid-destroys-earth-and-sends-humanity-back-to-the-stone-age tale. So it all comes down to the storytelling. I thought the author did a good job of developing the major players and explaining how they planned for and survived impact. I thought once the asteroid hit and everything literally goes to hell, he told a chilling, frightening tale that was hard to put down.

My quibbles: Okay, it's a pet peeve that might not bother you a bit--head-hopping, which is writer-speak for when a point of view shifts so rapidly it gives the reader whiplash, without benefit of text breaks or chapter changes. Drives. Me. Insane. And this book head hops like a bunny. If it bothers you, too, just be prepared for it. I think it says a lot about the gripping nature of the story that I was eventually able to overlook it...well, ignore it....and keep reading.

Want to win a copy of Cannibal Reign? Just tell me this: if you knew you had to move underground for up to six months (but would have basic air, water, waste management, generator power, etc.), what one thing would you want with you? Me, I'd load up my Kindle Fire with as many books and games and apps as it would hold and make sure I had the charger with me! 

I'm on the road today, heading for a Royal Street book signing in my teeny-tiny little hometown in Northwest Alabama, but I'll check in when I get a chance. You know the drill: one entry for comment, one for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and one for Tweeting the contest. Now...prepare for survival!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Meet Author Elysa Hendricks and W*n Some Sci-Fi Romance

First, if any of you are book bloggers or book reviewers, I have review copies (print and digital) of Redemption, the first in Susannah Sandlin's paranormal romance trilogy. Please EMAIL me if you'd like to receive a copy for review.

Today I’d like to welcome author Elysa Hendricks to the blog! She’s been gracious enough to subject herself to the Preternatura interview and talk about her scifi-romance book, Star Crash. You can also learn more about Elysa and find buy links for her books--she writes across several genres--by checking out her website.

And read on to win a copy of Star Crash!

ABOUT STAR CRASH: When Planet of the Apes meets Star Trek what's a girl to do? After recon pilot Cora Daniels crash lands on an alien planet she finds herself a prisoner of the Flock: a race of birdlike humanoids. Trapped in their zoo she discovers they intend her to mate. To breed. To be part of their human herd. She's placed in a cage with a man - a powerful, virile man, but not just any man - Alexander. Was he her lost love, who'd disappeared so long ago? Here he was: naked, glistening, a warrior trained by the Flock to fight for their amusement. How could the brilliant man, the tender lover she remember have become this animal born to dominate and destroy? Was he a pawn of the Flock or would their flight to freedom be a long-sought reunion?

Welcome, Elysa!

What is your favorite scene in Star Crash? I think my favorite scene has to be when Cora first sees Alexander in the alien compound. Here's a small excerpt:
            The women paid little attention to her or her guard as they moved through this human chicken coop. She noticed there weren't any pens with grown men. If the women were hens, where was the rooster?
            The next pen answered her question. Naked except for protective cups over their genitals, ten boys ranging in age from four to ten practiced fighting with wooden swords. Her attention shifted from the boys to the adult male who directed their training. Though his back was to her, he appeared as naked as the boys. Forgetting the guard, she paused to watch.
            Bronze skin shiny with sweat rippled over powerful muscles as the man instructed the boys in swordplay. With his dark hair and straddle-legged stance, the youngest boy looked like a miniature version of the man. Cora smiled at his clumsy attempts to imitate his elder's fluid movements.
            The boy watched the man intently, but his small body, round with baby fat, refused to cooperate. He tripped and sprawled in the dust. His wooden sword slipped from his grip. The other boys' laughter stopped abruptly at the man's sharp command. The man knelt next to the boy, said a few quiet words then handed him back the wooden sword. The boy rubbed the tears from his cheeks with grubby fists, leaving streaks of dirt. The man's compassion for the boy touched Cora, made these people seem less like animals. More human.


Hardest scene you’ve ever written: They're all hard, but the opening scene in Star Crash where Cora wakes up, naked and strapped to an exam table was difficult for me. This scene is about the fear of being helpless, of having no control over your person or your life. Since I'm almost a big a control freak as Cora I struggled with this scene. How could I show my heroine's strength when all control is stripped from her?

What’s on your nightstand or top of your TBR pile? Actually I rarely read in bed. Don't have a TV in the bedroom either. Hubby always says the bedroom is for two things - sleeping and the other one is not watching TV or reading. However, since I received a Kindle for Christmas the top of my TBR pile is constantly changing as I add more books. The listing is alphabetical either by author or title. Right now I have over a 150 books on it. My print TBR pile isn't actually a pile. I have bookshelves. Next on the list to be read is a non-fiction book by Malcom Gladwell, The Outliers. The next fiction book will be chosen randomly. I have a nerf gun that I shoot at the shelves and whatever book it hits is the book I'll read next. Otherwise, I sit and spend hours flipping through the hundreds of books, reading the back blurbs, teasers and first few pages before I decide. I figure since they're all on my TBR shelf it doesn't really matter which one I read next.

Favorite book when you were a child: Since I have a memory like a sieve I really don't recall which book was my favorite as a child. I do remember when I was between the ages of six and sixteen loving books about horses, and anything by Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke or Isaac Asimov.

Your five favorite authors: Kathleen Woodiwiss (her first five books), Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Karen Robards, Robert Heinlein, and Isaac Asimov.

Book you've faked reading: The Bible. Just kidding, I've never claimed to have read it, at least not all of it. Though there are a lot of books I've tried to read, but couldn't for one reason or another, I've never faked having read them. If someone asks I just tell them I didn't read it, and usually why, unless they wrote it. But I'm thinking about faking having read Fifty Shades of Grey. Though I've read and written sexy, sensual stories, erotica and BDSM aren't really my cup of tea.

Book you're an evangelist for:
I'm not much of an evangelist, but I do tell a lot of people about Malcolm Gladwell's book The Tipping Point and Jack Bickham's Scene & Structure as well as Debra Dixon's Goal, Motivation, Conflict.

Book you've bought for the cover: Little Red and the Wolf by Alison Paige. Gorgeous cover and great story.

Book that changed your life: The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. This book is the one that inspired me to try and write my own. Of course, I thought I'd sit down and write a short contemporary romance. I figured I couldn't possible write a historical romance. Way too much knowledge and research would be needed. When my story turned out to be about a winged telepathic alien who stows away aboard a passing space ship I decided I liked making up my own worlds for my characters to play in. That book is hidden under my bed guarded by killer dust bunnies. Eventually though I did end up writing two western historical romances as well as fantasy and sci-fi romances. I discovered that creating my own fictional worlds is as hard as researching an existing world of the past.

Favorite line from a book: I can't say that I have a favorite line from any one book I've read, but I do know my favorite line to write - The End.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Having a terrible memory does have one upside - I get to read books again as if it were the first time. While I usually remember the basic story lines and characters, the details are forgotten, so I can experience the thrill of reading a great book for the first time again and again and again.

Most horrifying moment while reading a book: The most horrifying moment for me is when I'm reading a fabulous book and I get to the end. Also, any books where a child or an animal dies upset me. To this day I can't re-read or watch Gone with the Wind unless I skip over the part where Scarlet and Rhett's daughter dies. I just can't handle the emotions it stirs in me.

Favorite book about books or writing: There are so many great books about and on writing I couldn't possibly list them all, but here are a few that helped me learn the art and craft of writing.
Scene & Structure by Jack Bickham
Goal, Motivation, Conflict by Debra Dickson
Make Your Words Work by Gary Provost
Dialogue by Lewis Turco
Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women, edited by Jayne Ann Krentz

What’s next?
I'm working on the third book in The Star Chronicles, Star Born. Star Born features a secondary character, Silky, from the second book in the series, Star Raiders. Silky appears to be a shape shifter, but she's actually much more. She's an energy entity who's learned to manipulate energy into mass.

Thanks, Alysa! Want to win a copy of Star Crash? Leave a comment—tell us if you’ve read any sci-fi romance before. I’ve read dystopian romances but am not normally a space-opera reader, so I don’t think I’ve read any space-sci-fi-romances! One entry for comment, another for blog follow, a third for a Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and a fourth for a Tweet or Retweet. Now...Go forth and comment!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Missing in Action, with Irma Thomas

I'm having a big collapse of Real Life today, thus no new blog.

Nothing bad, just heavy deadlines on Ye Olde Day Jobbe. So, carry on amongst yourselves and I will be back tomorrow.

I'll leave you with a nice touch of New Orleans, the fabulous Irma Thomas. A friend in NOLA just sent me a CD signed by Irma that has this song on it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Towering TBR Tuesday--Huge G*veaway

Well, today was a first. I was totally stood up by a guest author. So, what does someone do when faced with an empty blog page and no backup plan?

Run a contest, of course!

So, let's play a game. Match the first two sentences of the book with the correct title...and, yeah, sure you can cheat :-) Everyone who has all the answers right will be entered to win all the books. All. of. them. Let's get started!

1. Natalie Fleming had done the impossible, and she couldn't quite believe it. But as she stood there with her hands on her hips surveying the gleaming storefront of Scrumptuous, she knew it was true.

2. Behind you the module burns. Before you....Cold.

3. I've been locked up for 264 days. I have nothing but a small notebook and a broken pen and the numbers in my head to keep me company.

4. The air had a brutal edge to it as I stood outside of Love the Bean, the local free-trade coffee shop. Snow from a recent storm had frozen over in the subsequent days' chill, leaving the roads and the sidewalks in town slick and hazardous.

5. "You're all going to die!" A vulture, perched on a granite gargoyle guarding the double doors, flapped his large wings.

6. The car was black. Black body shell, black wheels, black bumpers, black windows.

7. It was an anniversary of sorts. The anniversary of her death.

Well, weren't those illuminating? I'll help you cheat by giving you links to the books where one might be able to read the first lines.

A. SHATTER ME, by Tahereh Mafi

B. HOLD ME IF YOU CAN, by Stephanie Rowe

C. BLACK JACK, by Lora Leigh

D. THE RESTORATION GAME, by Ken MacLeod

E. A DEMON DOES IT BETTER, by Linda Wisdom

F. PLANESRUNNER, by Ian McDonald

G. A BEAUTIFUL DARK, by Jocelyn Davies

Note: Some of these are ARCs. You know the drill....Comment/answers for one entry. If you'd like extra entries, follow the blog for one, follow me on Twitter for a second, and Tweet the contest for a third. Ready, set, cheat!

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Releases June 24-30 & Reader's Choice C*ntest

Strap yourself in—it’s a wild ride this week, with lots of new releases! (And…next week’s a killer, too!)

First, a couple of commercial interruptions. I did a “Six-Sentence Sunday” teeny-tiny excerpt from River Road over at my regular website yesterday. Check it out if you like Jean Lafitte!

Also, there’s still time to leave a comment over at the Writer’s Digest website (at Chuck Sambuchino’s blog), where I’ve listed seven things I’ve learned on the way to publication. I’m giving away your choice—a copy of Royal Street, or a rare ARC of River Road. And I mean rare. Those things are scarcer than hen’s teeth.

(As Jeff Foxworthy might say, if you understood that analogy, you might just be a redneck. It’s okay. So am I.)

Now…Reader’s Choice! As always, leave a comment telling me the book here you’d most like to win, and maybe random.org will make your wishes come true. International…true dat.

Now, here we go…. 


 
Bared Blade (A Fallen Blade Novel), by Kelly McCullough (June 26, Ace) Former temple assassin Aral Kingslayer has a price on his head and a mark on his soul. After his goddess was murdered, Aral found refuge in the shadow jack business, fixing problems for those on the fringes of Tien’s underworld. It’s a long step down from working for the Goddess of Justice, but it gives Aral and Triss—the living shadow who is his secret partner—a reason to get up in the morning. When two women hit a rough spot in the tavern Aral uses for an office, he and Triss decide to lend a helping hand -- only to find themselves in the middle of a three-way battle to find an artifact that just might be the key to preventing a war. And with so many factions on their trail, Aral and Triss are attracting a lot more attention than anyone featured on ten thousand wanted posters can afford.


Besieged (The Outcast Chronicles, Book 1), by Rowena Cory Daniells (June 26, Solaris) King Chald has laid siege to the Celestial City, home of the mystics. Scholar-warrior Tobazim went to the city seeking glory, but now he's trapped along with the rest of his people. Surrounded and outnumbered, Imoshen, leader of the mystics, accepts banishment for her kind. Far from the siege, Ronnyn and his family live in hiding. He and his sister have grown up listening to their mother's stories of the Celestial City. He dreams of going there one day, unaware that his family will be hunted down and executed, if they don't leave with the rest of their people.


Blackhearted Betrayal (Shades of Fury, Book 3), by Kasey MacKenzie (June 26, Ace) Riss Holloway has taken a leave of absence from her mortal job as Boston’s Chief Magical Investigator to focus on an unsettling friction brewing in the Sisterhood—only to be ushered into a tumultuous civil war drawing every other god and goddess into the chaos as well.


Caliban’s War (Expanse Series, Book 2), by James S.A. Corey (June 26, Orbit)
We are not alone. The alien protomolecule is clear evidence of an intelligence beyond human reckoning. No one knows what exactly is being built on Venus, but whatever it is, it is vast, powerful, and terrifying. When a creature of unknown origin and seemingly impossible physiology attacks soldiers on Ganymede, the fragile balance of power in the Solar System shatters. Now, the race is on to discover if the protomolecule has escaped Venus, or if someone is building an army of super-soldiers. Jim Holden is the center of it all. In spite of everything, he’s still the best man for the job to find out what happened on Ganymede.


Changeling (MetaWars, Book 2), by Kelly Meding (June 26, Pocket)
After barely escaping a madman’s attempt to annihilate all MetaHumans, Kelly Meding’s supernatural crime fighters have banded together to take back the streets of war-ravaged Los Angeles. Dahlia “Ember” Perkins still feels like an outsider among her new Meta friends, despite everything she’s been through since coming into her miraculous ability to absorb heat and extinguish fires. But when the police need help investigating human skins discarded like slipcovers on the street, the Metas’ youngest team member quickly finds her place. Evidence points to a murderer the likes of which they have never encountered but who inexplicably seems to be gunning for Dahlia—and who may be neither human nor Meta.


Chasing Magic (Downside Ghosts, Book 5), by Stacia Kane (June 26, Del Rey)
Magic-wielding Churchwitch and secret addict Chess Putnam knows better than anyone just how high a price people are willing to pay for a chemical rush. But when someone with money to burn and a penchant for black magic starts tampering with Downside’s drug supply, Chess realizes that the unlucky customers are paying with their souls—and taking the innocent with them, as the magic-infused speed compels them to kill in the most gruesome ways possible. As if the streets weren’t scary enough, the looming war between the two men in her life explodes, taking even more casualties and putting Chess squarely in the middle.


Darkness Devours (Dark Angels, Book 3), by Keri Arthur (June 26, Signet)
Half-werewolf, half-Aedh Risa Jones can enter the realm between life and death, and she can see the Reapers who collect the souls of the dead. Now, she is using her gifts—and the investigative know-how of a man who broke her heart—to find a cabal searching for the power to control time, reality, and fate. And this is besides her work for the Vampire Council, half of whom want her dead. But for now the Council needs her alive. Someone is killing blood-whore addicted vampires, and Risa must find the guilty party.


Dust Girl (American Fairy Trilogy, Book 1), by Sarah Zettel (June 26, Random House)
Callie LeRoux lives in Slow Run, Kansas, helping her mother run their small hotel and trying not to think about the father she’s never met. Lately, all of her energy is spent battling the constant storms plaguing the Dust Bowl and their effects on her health. Callie is left alone, when her mother goes missing in a dust storm. Her only hope comes from a mysterious man offering a few clues about her destiny and the path she must take to find her parents in “the golden hills of the west.” Along the way she meets Jack, a young hobo boy who is happy to keep her company. And there’s also an otherworldly threat to Callie. Warring fae factions are very aware of the role this half-mortal, half-fae teenage girl plays in their fate. Young Adult.


False Covenant (Whiddershins, Book 2), by Ari Marmell (June 26, Pyr)
A creature of the other world, an unnatural entity bent on chaos and carnage, has come to stalk the nighttime streets of the Galicien city of Davillon. This couldn’t possibly have come at a worse time. Not for Davillon, and not for a young thief who calls herself Widdershins. She has tried to keep out of trouble, away from the attentions of the Davillon Guard and above the secrets and schemes of the city’s new bishop. But she’s in way over her head, with no idea which way to turn. The Guard doesn’t trust her. The Church doesn’t trust her. Her own Thieves’ Guild doesn’t trust her. Young Adult.


The Hammer and the Blade, by Paul S. Kemp (June 26, Angry Robot)
Egil and Nix, adventurers and swords for hire, are pulled into the dark schemes of a decadent family with a diabolical secret.


Hunter and Fox (Shifted World), by Philippa Ballantine (June 26, Pyr)
Talyn of the Vaerli purchased survival by working as the Hunter for the Caisah, the smiling monster who crushed the Vaerli in ages past and who dominates the world even now. Talyn’s existence comes at the cost of her soul and alienation from her people. Tale-spinner Finn makes himself the Hunter’s next prey with a seditious performance. Evading the Hunter’s peculiar gifts is nearly impossible, but their inevitable encounter ends not in death but hope for both Talyn and the Vaerli.


Hush (Dragon Apocalypse, Book 2), by James Maxey (June 26, Solaris)
The invulnerable, super-strong warrior Infidel has a secret: she’s lost her magical powers right at the moment when she needs them most. To keep a promise to a fallen friend, she must journey to the frozen wastelands of the north. Her quest leads her through the abstract realms of the Sea of Wine, where she uncovers a conspiracy that threatens all life. Hush, the primal dragon of cold, has formed an alliance with the ghost of a vengeful witch to murder Glorious, the dragon of the sun, plunging the world into an unending winter night.


Midnight’s Lover (Dark Warrior, Book 2), by Donna Grant (June 26, St. Martin’s)
Driven by the fierce god within him, highlander Ian Kerr is sworn to fight for the land he loves—and the brother he lost. But when he’s transported four centuries into the future, he finds himself fighting his own desires—for a beautiful, bewitching woman who could hold a warrior spellbound. Danielle Buchanan has heard the legends. She has felt the power of Druid blood in her veins. But she has never known a man as fearsome—or as haunted—as the warrior Ian. With her magic, Dani must help him fight an ancient evil. With her heart, she must join him in his quest.


Once Burned (Night Prince, Book 1), by Jeaniene Frost (June 26, Avon)
After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person's darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world's most infamous vampire, Vlad Tepesh.


Rasputin’s Bastards, by David Nickle (June 26, ChiZine)
From a hidden city deep in the Ural Mountains, they walked the world as the coldest of Cold Warriors, under the command of the Kremlin and under the power of their own expansive minds. They slipped into the minds of Russia's enemies with diabolical ease, and drove their human puppets to murder, and worse. They moved as Gods. And as Gods, they might have remade the world. But like the mad holy man Rasputin, who destroyed Russia through his own powerful influence, in the end, the psychic spies for the Motherland were only in it for themselves.


Suited (The Veiled Worlds, Book 2), by Jo Anderton (June 26, Angry Robot)
Tanyana has chosen to help the Keeper, to stand against the Puppet Men, but has she bitten off more than she can chew?


Tarnished (The St. Croix Chronicles, Book 2), By Karina Cooper (June 26, Avoorn miss will face shadows from her past, demons from her desires, and choices that will foreven) 
In Victorian London, where science skirts the line between magic and mechanics, one stubbr shape who she is. Cherry St. Croix, debutante by day, bounty hunter by night, lives in an alternate London where proper Victorian society sits above a seedy steampunk underworld teeming with dubious loyalties, advanced technology and incredible magic.


Tempest’s Fury (Jane True, Book 5), by Nicole Peeler (June 26, Orbit)
Jane’s not happy. She’s been packed off to England to fight in a war, when she’d much rather be snogging her new boyfriend. Unfortunately, Jane’s enemies have been busy stirring up some major trouble—the kind that attracts a lot of attention. In other words, they’re not making it easy for Jane to get any alone time with Anyan, or to indulge in her penchant for stinky cheese. Praying she can pull off a Joan of Arc without the whole martyrdom thing, Jane must lead Alfar and halflings alike in a desperate battle to combat an ancient evil.


Wicked Nights (Angels of the Dark, Book 1), by Gena Showalter (June 26, Harlequin)
Leader of the most powerful army in the heavens, Zacharel has been deemed nearly too dangerous, too ruthless … and if he isn’t careful, he'll lose his wings. But this warrior with a heart of ice will not be deterred from his missions, at any cost—until a vulnerable human tempts him with a carnal pleasure he's never known before. Accused of a crime she did not commit, Annabelle Miller has spent four years in an institution for the criminally insane. Demons track her every move, and their king will stop at nothing to have her. Zacharel, the brutal angel with a touch as hot as hell, is her only hope for survival.

Now…what do you want to read? Leave a comment and tell me, and I’ll draw one name to win his or her choice. International, as always. And if the book is in a series you haven’t started, you can always pick the first one in the series instead. If there’s a new release in another genre this week you’d like to read, leave that in your comment. If I’ve missed a speculative fiction release, leave it in the comments and I’ll add it in—it’s eligible for giveaway.

As always, four entries possible: +1 for comment to tell me what book (any book) you want, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for a Tweet or RT about the contest. This contest is international. Contests end at midnight CDT U.S. on Saturday, and winners are announced on Sunday’s blog. It’s the responsibility of the winner to contact me with their mailing info. Books unclaimed after a month will go into a general giveaway pile.

Now….go!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Did You W*n a Book This Week?

Yep, it's Sunday...winner time!

And here's my current favorite song to listen to while checking to see if you won anything. I'm sure I will get off my French-Canadian music kick eventually but, in the meantime, sigh. Love this song. It's about a guy who's trying to get up the nerve to walk away from a woman who barely has "an ounce" of love left for him.





Okay, now...if you see your name here, please contact me as soon as possible at suzannej3523@gmail.com -- After a month, unclaimed prizes will be put in a grab bag prize.

The winner of the $10 Anabanana gift card courtesy of author Pauline Baird Jones is LISA C.

The winners of Tamara Hogan's Chase Me, courtesy of Sourcebooks Casablanca, are JUNE M and JOANNA.

The winner of The Demon Within from author Stacey Brutger is NICOLE ZOLTACK. I'm pretty sure this is an ebook, so please let me know the email address and preferred format.

The winner of stories from author Kari Thomas is BN100. I believe these are digital copies, so please let me know preferred email and format.

The winner of this week's Reader's Choice, courtesy of moi, is SULLIVAN MCPIG. She chose Courtney Summers' This is Not a Test. This will come from Book Depository, so please let me know if you prefer a paper copy or ebook/format.

Congrats, everyone! Pop back in tomorrow for a GINORMOUS Reader's Choice contest. I mean huge. Big. Enormous. Really.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Last Chance! This Week's C*ntests End Tonight

It's Saturday, so I'm off at a day-job board meeting for half a day (let me take a moment to contain my excitement). But I wanted to leave a reminder that the week's contests end at midnight Central time tonight...so enter already!

To win a $10 Anabanana Body Works gift card from author Pauline Baird Jones click HERE. They actually have a lot of nice products that are not zombie soap :-)

To win one of two copies of Tamara Hogan's awesome new paranormal romance, Chase Me, click HERE.

To win a collection of stories from Stacey Brutger and read about her new release, click HERE.

To win a copy of Kari Thomas' new paranormal romance Surrender the Touch (it has dragons!), click HERE.

And to win this week's Reader's Choice contest, click HERE.

And there's still time to win a copy of Royal Street, or an ARC of River Road, over at the Writers Digest blog.

And...you're waiting on what, exactly?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Meet Sci-Fi-Romance Author Pauline Baird Jones (& You Might W*n Zombie Soap!)

Admit it--I had you at Zombie Soap!

Today I’d like to welcome author Pauline Baird Jones to the blog! She’s been gracious enough to subject herself to the Preternatura interview and talk about her new book, Kicking Ashe, the final book in her science fiction-romance Project Enterprise series. (And I love that title and very cool cover!) You can also learn more about Pauline and her books--she writes across several genres--by checking out her website.

And...read on to win a $10 gift card from AnaBanana’s Bath and Body Treats. They have ZOMBIE SOAP, people, among lots of other cool stuff. I’m so getting some of that!

ABOUT KICKING ASHE: With hearts and lives on the line, a kiss may be all they have time for... Time has dumped Ashe on a dying planet and she needs to figure out why before she ceases to exist. Or gets vivisected by some Keltinarian scientists. Or worse. Vidor Shan might help-since someone somewhere is trying to hose him, too-if she can convince him to trust her. Probably shouldn't have told him that only someone he trusts can betray him. Also wouldn't mind if he kissed her on the mouth. Vid would love to kiss the girl, but his brother is lost, he's got hostile aliens on his tail, and the stench of betrayal all around him. Can he trust the woman who told him to trust no one? Then a time quake hurls them to a nasty somewhere and some when...

Read on to meet Pauline and comment for a chance to win the Anabanana gift card!

Welcome, Pauline!

What is your favorite scene in Kicking Ashe? There is a scene where Ashe and Shan are entering a dead building in a dead city, but Ashe feels like they are being watched. It was a hard scene to write, to keep the creep factor high without slowing the pace too much. But I finally got to put to good use my cockroach stories from 30 years in the South.

Hardest scene you’ve ever written: I had a hard time with all A Dangerous Dance but there is one scene, where she’s been kidnapped by this really nasty bad guy and he’s basically torturing her. I had a really hard time writing the scene.

What’s on your nightstand or top of your TBR pile? My TBR is mostly digital, so that means that the top book is Wheels by Lorijo Metz and Natalie Bergman, sci-fi YA adventure with mystery and romance and aliens and other fun stuff. I reward myself for good writing production with a chapter or so. It’s a nice, long book (besides the fun stuff), so it makes a good carrot.

Favorite book when you were a child: Anne of Green Gables is still a favorite. My grandmother gave me a copy one Christmas and I read it to shreds. I was a daydreamer like Anne and a big reader. Almost only time I got in trouble in school, it was for trying to read a novel behind my textbook. (Skipped once to go skiing, but that’s another interview.)

Your five favorite authors: I’m going to go back to my old favorites, because I don’t want to risk missing a current favorite (some of whom are also my friends!) and offending. So, in no particular order: Mary Stewart, Georgette Heyer, Elizabeth Cadell, Alastair Maclean, and Helen McInnes.

Book you've faked reading:
Red Badge of Courage. This teacher tried to pound into our skulls and I still get an eye twitch just thinking about it. Won’t even read The Cliff Notes for it. (*Suzanne, who loved that book, cries.*)

Book you're an evangelist for: Gifts from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindberg (I blogged about it not long ago.)

Book you've bought for the cover:
Wow, this is a hard one. I have picked up books for the covers, but the only book I might have bought for the cover (but I won it in a contest) is Mary Jo Putney’s China Bride. Beautiful cover. A cover can only get me to pick up a book (or not). Can’t make me buy unless something inside intrigues me.

Book that changed your life:
Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande. It was the second writing how-to book I found in my local library. If I hadn’t found it, the first book would have killed my writing hopes before they got started.

Favorite line from a book: From Memoirs of an Invisible Man: One thing everyone insisted upon--and for some reason the assertion seemed to reassure the investigators and compilers of reports despite its rather tautological quality--was that no one had seen any invisible men.

Book you most want to read again for the first time: Lord of the Rings

Most horrifying moment while reading a book: Almost at the big finish of a book and having one of my brother grab and close it. Happened a lot when I was a kid. If I noticed them closing on me (sometimes I was so lost in the story I didn’t notice anything), I’d memorize the page number. Just in case. You’d think this would make me a twitchy reader, but no, still get lost in books.

Favorite book about books or writing: Playwriting: The Structure of Action by Sam Smiley, awesome book for playwrights and novelists.

What’s next? At present I’m working on an unnamed, steampunk novel, a romantic suspense novel (working title Past Imperfect) and mulling a science fiction romance, also in search of a title. I’ve never tried a three-pronged approach to my writing before, so we’ll see if this ups my creativity or explodes my head. Smart money is on the exploding noggin.

Thanks, Pauline! Want to win the Anabanana gift card? (Zombie soap!) Leave a comment—tell us if what book you’d like to read again for the first time (I’m saying Stephen King’s The Stand, to see if it would still blow me away now like it did way back when), and you know the rest of the drill. One entry for comment, another for blog follow, a third for a Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and a fourth for a Tweet or Retweet. Now...Go forth and comment!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Aliens, Paranormals & Love: Meet Tamara Hogan and W*n CHASE ME

Today, I'd like to welcome Tamara Hogan, an author of paranormal romance whose book Taste Me was one of my favorite reads last year, with strong worldbuilding and great characters that had humor and heart (and hotness). Her new book, Chase Me, came out a couple of weeks ago, and I can't wait to dig in! You can read more about Tamara and find buy links to her books on her website. Read on for a chance to win a copy of Chase Me, generously offered by Sourcebooks Casablanca.

ABOUT CHASE ME: Centuries ago, when their ship crashed to Earth, paranormals of all types settled secretly in our world, quietly going about their business with humans none the wiser. Self-ruling and careful to stay below humanity's radar, all is threatened when Valkyrie archaeologist Lorin Schlessinger and her werewolf geologist partner Gabe Lupinsky inadvertently draw evil attention to Earth and its treasured natural resources. As the threat intensifies, Lorin and Gabe struggle to contain the chaos they’ve unleashed, and to resist their explosive mutual attraction. Read an excerpt here.

Now, let’s hear from Tamara. Welcome!

How does Chase Me tie in with Taste Me (each works as a standalone)?
Though they were both dating other people at the time, Lorin and Gabe shared a scene – and some sparks – in Taste Me. Half a year later, after the events of the first book, Chase Me opens with Gabe having to travel to Lorin’s home turf, a remote archaeological site located in northern Minnesota, to exert some damage control.  

What is your favorite scene in the book?
I think the scene that I had the most fun writing was the scene where my sophisticated vampire villain walks into a northern Minnesota dive bar. Completely out of his element, he has to navigate unfamiliar territory while trying to gather information about the mysterious archaeological dig down the road. His language chip is outdated, the smells drive him nuts, and there are dead animals hanging on the wall. I enjoyed trying to see this familiar setting through fresh eyes.

Hardest scene to write:
Probably the book’s first scene, when Gabe's vision degrades. This isn't doing necessarily to the subject matter, but because it was the last scene I wrote, at my editor’s urging. She wanted readers to be absolutely certain who the book's hero was, wanted him to appear in the book earlier than Chapter 2. Writing this scene gave me an opportunity to provide information about how serious Gabe's vision problems are in a more visceral way.

What’s on your nightstand or top of your TBR pile?
Let’s see…on the nightstand is Nalini Singh’s latest (AWESOME!) and on Kindle I’m reading Vivi Andrews’s Superlovin’. (Voice.For.Miles, and hilarious!) In TBR, there are about twenty Harlequin SuperRomances I picked up from the library book sale, and this month’s box of Blazes (I'm a long-time subscriber).

Favorite book when you were a child:
This is a tough question for me to answer, because I don't really distinguish between childhood books and adult books. I hit the adult stacks at the library when I was 10 years old; there was no such thing as YA back in the day! I have vivid memories of blasting through Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden and the Little House on the Prairie series, but interspersed with those books were adult romance novels, Stephen King's Carrie, Frank Herbert’s Dune and about twenty linear feet of Harlequin Presents.

Book you've faked reading:
I was a college English major, so I've actually read Moby Dick—but I probably horrified my professor when I said—aloud—that I much preferred Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast. I admit to having faked reading any and all Dostoyevsky. As a character once said in Mario Puzo’s Fools Die, “Dostoyevsky took 150 pages to let out a fart."  I prefer a speedier pace.

Book you're an evangelist for:
Deidre Knight’s Butterfly Tattoo. Most people are familiar with Deirdre’s work as an agent, but she's also a fantastic writer. This story about a bisexual hero who’s grieving the death of his longtime partner and falls in love with a woman, is gorgeously, gorgeously done. Nalini Singh’s first Psy-Changeling book, Slave to Sensation, and first Guild Hunters book, Angels’ Blood, are master classes in world building, and her sensory descriptions are, in my opinion, unrivaled. I can't recommend these books and the follow-ups highly enough.

Book you've bought for the cover:
This might be heresy, but I'm largely immune to most advertising and marketing. I don’t buy books based on the cover. That said, I find the cover for Jaci Burton’s The Perfect Play absolutely drool-worthy—and, most importantly, it was a very enjoyable book.

Book that changed your life:
I would have to say Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire, which one could argue created the paranormal romance genre. While reading it, I just felt this mental ‘click’ that let me know that I was home.

Favorite line from a book:
Chapter One, Line One, of Kresley Cole’s No Rest for the Wicked: “For the second time in her life, Kaderin the Coldhearted hesitated to kill a vampire." World building, characterization, and back story in a single sentence. Absolute bloody genius. This book is one of my Top Ten All Time Favorites.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Tie between Rice’s Interview With the Vampire and Frank Herbert’s Dune.   

Most horrifying moment while reading a book:
Back before I was published, I always found it horrifying to read a romance novel that was published despite purple prose, grammar errors, typos and continuity problems. I still do.

Favorite book about books or writing:
It's a tie between On Writing by Stephen King and Passionate Ink: Writing the Erotic Romance by Angela Knight. Even if you're not writing erotic romance, Passionate Ink has a lot of practical information, very simply stated. It’s the most frequently used craft book I own.  

You know the drill to win a copy of Chase Me. One entry for comment, another for blog follow, a third for a Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and a fourth for a Tweet or Retweet. Now...Go forth and comment!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Q&A with Author Stacey Brutger--and a G*veaway or Two

First, sorry I'm off schedule--normally I do Royal Street annotations today, but I overbooked.

Second, I'm over at the Writers Digest/Chuck Sambuchino GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS blog today, talking about the seven things I've learned through my own publishing journey so far--and I'm giving away a copy of Royal Street (or a preorder of River Road if you already have Royal Street, although I'm only announcing that part here, for you, my beautiful blog readers!). So head over and comment.

But today, I have a special guest, author Stacey Brutger, whose new book The Demon Within, releases next week. And Stacey's offering your choice of a print or digital copy! You can learn more about Stacey and her writing at her website.


ABOUT THE DEMON WITHIN: As a punishment for failing his duty as an angel, Ruman finds himself encased in stone in the form of a guardian statue. Every few decades he is given a chance to repent. And fails. Until the totally unsuitable Caly Sawyer accidentally brings him back to life. Nothing is going to prevent him from gaining his freedom, especially some willfully stubborn human determined to kill him.

Caly doesn’t trust the mysterious stranger who came out of nowhere and risked his life for hers. As a demon hunter, she knows there is something not quite human about the sexy bastard. Her ability to detect demons is infallible. She should know. She used to be one.

War is brewing between demons and humans. The demon infection that Caly had always considered a curse might just be the key to their survival...if Ruman can keep her alive long enough. Despite the volatile attraction between her and her sexy protector, Caly’s determined to do whatever it takes to keep everyone alive. The more Ruman learns about his beautiful charge, the more he questions his duty and loyalty...and dreads the call to return home. If they can’t learn to trust each other in time, one of them will die.

Now...welcome, Stacey!

Give us the “elevator pitch” for your latest work?
When the balance in the world is threatened, human survival rests in the hands of two unlikely saviors, a disgraced angel and a reformed demon.

What is your favorite scene in the book?
My favorite scene would be their first meeting…all three times. lol
She first meets the hero when he was a statue. The second time they meet, they are fighting for her life. The third time is when they really meet; he stalks her to keep her safe, and she catches him.

Hardest scene you’ve ever written:
The first chapter! I don’t know how many times I’ve re-written the first chapter, trying to make it the perfect opening.

What’s on your nightstand or top of your TBR pile?
Have you seen my tbr pile? I have so many stacks that if I take the top book on each stack that would be fifty books. I’ll go with the two books that are on my blogs’ reader challenge this week:
Shelly Laurenston –The Mane Attraction and Lida Thomas-Sundstrom –Barbie and the Beast.

Favorite book when you were a child:
I loved Christopher Pike and Anne McCaffrey books and devoured them as a child. I came into reading late in grade school, so I had a lot of catch-up to do.

Your five favorite authors:
These change daily, but today they are:
Laurell K Hamilton
Lili St Crow
Karen Marie Moning
Shelly Laurenston
Nalini Singh

Book you've faked reading:
I read a lot of the classics in high school, but the one I could never get through was Oliver Twist. Oh, and this is really bad for me to say, but I’ve faked a few Stephen King books, too. I want to read them, but I lose steam and end up switching books a couple chapters into the book. That doesn’t stop me from buying his books, though!

Book you're an evangelist for:
There is no one book for me. I’m an evangelist for books that move me. I love feeling the emotions with the characters. If an author can make me do that, they’ll be an auto-buy for me.

Book you've bought for the cover:
I’m guilty of this. Oh, sparkles. Must have it! lol The last book I bought and read because of the cover was Firelight by Kristen Callihan. Great book, by the way!

Book that changed your life:
A Knight to Remember. Loved that book. I think it was the first book that made me go “I want to do that.”

Favorite line from a book:
I hate this question, because I can never remember any lines.
One that stuck with me was from Bewitched and Betrayed by Lisa Shearin.
“I was being chased by a pissed-off naked guy with a knife. A really big knife.”

Book you most want to read again for the first time:
I have a few series that I would love to read again:
Strange Angel Series by Lili St. Crow
Cast Series by Michelle Sagara
Magic Series (both Devon Monk and Ilona Andrews)
Retrievers series by Laura Anne Gilman

Most horrifying moment while reading a book:
Stephen King’s “The Fog.” I never drive in fog without wondering what it could be hiding. *Looks around suspiciously.*

Favorite book about books or writing:
Stephen King’s “On Writing.”

What’s next?
I’m working on a new book called BloodSworn (a new paranormal romance) as well as the second book in both my series : The Demon Slayer and Electric Moon.

Want to win a copy of The Demon Within? You know the drill: one entry just for leaving a comment; and extra entries for a blog follow, a Twitter follow, and a Tweet or Retweet. Now, go and sparkle!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Little Dragon Love with Kari Thomas & Win SURRENDER HER TOUCH

Notice something different today? Yep, it's a new look! Also a coordinating look for my official website. Yay! Of courses, don't go into the tabbed pages expecting anything new...they're a work in progress :-)


Today, I’d like to welcome Kari Thomas, an author of paranormal romance…including dragons. You know, dragons are HOT. And I don’t just mean breathing fire, although that might prove kind of, uh, interesting. Her books include Temptation Unleashed, Spell Kissed, and Under a Shifter’s Moon. Her latest book is Surrender Her Touch. You can learn more about Kari from her website. And if you’d like to win a set of Kari's short stories, read on!

ABOUT SURRENDER HER TOUCH  
Surrendering her touch could be fatal; will she chose her own life over the lives of her enemies? When a shocking truth uncovers secrets from her past, Summer is faced with life or death situations. Should she accept what has been revealed and give of her healing power to the very dragon shapeshifters who destroyed her family or should she run as fast and as far as she can? What about the too-sexy-for-his-own-good dragon shifter who has stolen her heart and soul--the very man who will not let her say 'No' to her deadly destiny? If she surrenders, will she lose more than just her heart and soul? Will the shifter she loves stand by and let her sacrifice everything?

Now, let’s hear from Kari. Welcome!

Give us the “elevator pitch” for your latest work?
He may be the toughest Dragon Shapeshifter alive, but he knows when it's time to surrender...Surrendering her touch could be fatal; will she chose her own life over the lives of her enemies?

What is your favorite scene in the book?
When Summer goes into Slade's bedroom, finds him stretched out on his bed, naked, and asleep. She has to wake him up. Bad or good timing? Slade is having one very erotic dream about her...and reacts immediately to being woken.

Hardest scene you’ve ever written:
With this book? Or another? In my first book, Temptation Unleashed, I had to kill off a wild animal that just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Being a very outspoken animal lover, it was an extremely hard thing to write. But it was necessary for the scene because it furthered the plot with clues.

What’s on your nightstand or top of your TBR pile?
Over a hundred books! Seriously, I buy books constantly, but dont have alot of time to read, so they start accumulating. I'm a professed Book-A-Holic! My library has well over 300 books right now.

Favorite book when you were a child:
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, and Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I read The Hobbit when I was 9 years old. I read Gone With the Wind when I was 14.

Your five favorite authors:
Where do I begin? Way too many to list them all! Christine Feehan is an auto-buy. Mary Corrales has a talent for writing very creative and unique plots. I'm in the process of reading all of Susanna Kearsley's books right now. Great books. Since I read alot of different genres, as well as non-fiction books, I have ALOT of favorite authors!

Book you've faked reading:
Lord of the Flies for a school assignment! I couldn't stomach the scenes in that book, while being at the tender age of 13!

Book you're an evangelist for:
All of the Tolkien Lord of the Rings books. You really need to read them all, to say that you've read a great classic that is never forgotten.

Book you've bought for the cover:
LOL! Covers grab my attention first! I don't have a favorite. And I've been really lucky in getting GREAT Covers for all of my books too!

Book that changed your life:
I can't remember the title (because I read it when I was 12) but it was a biography about Eleanor Roosevelt. I was so touched by the strength and grace that woman had. I wanted to have those same attributes when I grew up. She is one of my favorite women from our American history.

Favorite line from a book:
From my book Under A Shifter's Moon: "Make me release you, kitten. Before I can't."

Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Can I say my own book, Temptation Unleashed? (Grin). It remains my best seller to this date, and I have never re-read it since it was published. I've had so many readers write me and ask for sequels to the story. So, I wrote two free shorts, and offer them on my site.

Most horrifying moment while reading a book:
I was reading Stephen King's Pet Sematary one night. Right in the middle of a scary scene this LOUD, horrific screech broke loose below my window! I never jumped so high in my life. It took me forever to catch my breath, calm my racing heart, and look out the window. Two cats fighting!

Favorite book about books or writing:
How To Write a Romance and Get it Published by Kathryn Falk.

What’s next?
I'm halfway through another paranormal romance. This is a bit different than my others, and has two couples that are center stage. The plot called for it, and I'm a writer that lets the characters do the talking and direct the story as it goes along.

Thanks, Suzanne, for this wonderful opportunity to be on your Blog!

Many thanks, Kari!

You know the drill to win a set of Kari's short stories. One entry for comment, another for blog follow, a third for a Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and a fourth for a Tweet or Retweet. Now...Go forth and comment!

Monday, June 18, 2012

New Releases June 17-23 & Reader's Choice C*ntest


It’s another “famine” week in the world of speculative fiction, with only a few new releases…but just wait until next week, when it’s huge! Since it’s a small week, if you find a release from another genre coming out this week you’d like to request, just leave it in your comment. As for me, I’m intrigued by Blackmail Earth, an environmental disaster book written by a meteorologist….and how could a book with the name Vacation with a Vampire possibly suck? Heh.

As always, leave a comment telling me the book here you’d most like to win, and maybe random.org will make your wishes come true. International…true dat.

Now, here we go….

Blackmail Earth, by Bill Evans (June 19, Tor)
Chief meteorologist for a national morning TV show, Jenna Withers is appointed to a government task force on climate change because of her acclaimed book on geoengineering. Jenna is stunned to learn that a major oil company has a pilot project to release iron oxide into the sea. Al Qaeda terrorists hijack the iron oxide supertanker, threatening to release the entire load at once. North Korea secretly tells the president that it will launch thousands of tons of sulfates into the atmosphere unless the United States meets their demands. These terrorist acts will hurl the Earth into a new Ice Age. The president, reluctant to act with Election Day looming and his lead dwindling, conceals the Korean threats and stalls negotiations. One of the terrorists’ captives is Rick Birk, a foreign correspondent for Jenna’s network. Tortured, Birk is kept on the air around the clock. Ratings soar! Narrowly escaping a terrorist bombing, Jenna races for the studio with assassins on her tail.


This is Not a Test, by Courtney Summers (June 19, St. Martin's)
It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. 

Burn Mark, by Laura Powell (June 19, Bloomsbury)
Glory is from a family of witches and lives beyond the law. She is desperate to develop her powers and become a witch herself. Lucas is the son of the Chief Prosecutor for the Inquisition—the witches’ mortal enemy—and his privileged life is very different to the forbidden world that he lives alongside. And then on the same day, it hits them both. Glory and Lucas develop the Fae—the mark of the witch. In one fell stroke, their lives are inextricably bound together, whether they like it or not. Young Adult.

A trio of novelettes set outside the author’s vast Malazan world: The Devil Delivered, set in the deadlands of the Lakota Nation in a land blistered beneath a hole in the ozone; Revolvo, detailing a technocrat-dominated arts scene in a fictitious Canada; and Fishing with Grandma Matchie, a children’s story about a boy whose writing assignment goes in unexpected directions.

Dragon’s Curse, by Denise Lynn (June 19, Harlequin)
Only the threat of losing her brother could force Ariel Johnson to break out of her predictable existence and into the stronghold of a changeling’s ancestral estate. Following him from a mystical island to a remote Appalachian resort, she’s trapped between sibling loyalty and an unquenchable desire for a lover who is both beast and man. But when Cameron Drake’s inner beast is awakened by the beauty he would claim for his perfect mate, his human side is not so easily convinced-for he knows Ariel is in the pocket of a sorcerer who wants his family dead. 

Existence, by David Brin (June 19, Tor)
Gerald Livingston is an orbital garbage collector. For a hundred years, people have been abandoning things in space, and someone has to clean it up. But there’s something spinning a little bit higher than he expects, something that isn’t on the decades-old orbital maps. An hour after he grabs it and brings it in, rumors fill Earth’s infomesh about an “alien artifact.” Thrown into the maelstrom of worldwide shared experience, the Artifact is a game-changer. A message in a bottle; an alien capsule that wants to communicate. The world reacts as humans always do: with fear and hope and selfishness and love and violence. And insatiable curiosity.

Forged in Fire (Sarah Beauhall, Book 3), by J.A. Pitts (June 19, Tor)
Sarah Jane Beauhall, the blacksmith turned dragon slayer, has it all figured out—little things like dealing with the political intrigue of dragons who secretly run our world, and learning to wield the magic that she has been given by none other than Odin, who has been fighting the dragons for millennia. And then there is the matter of coming to terms with who she is … and how to build a life with her partner, Katie. All these things are forced into the background however when a magic-wielding serial killer starts prowling the Pacific Northwest. And all of his victims have ties to Sarah. 

The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (June 19, Harper)
1916: the Western Front, France. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong, and the wind in the leaves in the trees. Where has the mud, blood and blasted landscape of No man's Land gone? 2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Cop Monica Jansson has returned to the burned-out home of one Willis Linsay, a reclusive and some said mad, others dangerous, scientist. It was arson but, as is often the way, the firemen seem to have caused more damage than the fire itself. Stepping through the wreck of a house, there's no sign of any human remains but on the mantelpiece Monica finds the prototype of an invention that Linsay called a stepper. An invention he put up on the Web for the world to see and use, an invention that would change the way mankind viewed Earth forever.

A holiday with tall, dark, handsome—and immortal. Everyone needs a break sometimes, especially during the summer. After all, what’s more relaxing, and more romantic, than a midnight stroll through Paris? Or the way the moon reflects off the ocean? And if your mesmerizing, sexy date happens to be ready to nibble your neck, who would want to say no? Features “Stay,” by Michele Hauf; “Vivi and the Vampire” by Kendra Leigh Castle, and “Island Vacation” by Lisa Childs.

Now…what do you want to read? Leave a comment and tell me, and I’ll draw one name to win his or her choice. International, as always. And if the book is in a series you haven’t started, you can always pick the first one in the series instead. If there’s a new release in another genre this week you’d like to read, leave that in your comment.

As always, four entries possible: +1 for comment to tell me what book (any book) you want, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for a Tweet or RT about the contest. This contest is international. Contests end at midnight CDT U.S., and winners are announced on Sunday’s blog. It’s the responsibility of the winner to contact me with their mailing info. Books unclaimed after a month will go into a general giveaway pile.

Now….go!