The Untold Read-Along: Part 4

The Untold Tale readalong

“It’s not cheating to know your enemy.”: The Untold Read-Along Part 4

Welcome to The Untold Tale read-along! The Untold Tale by J.M. Frey is the first book in the Accidental Turn series, the second book of which, The Forgotten Tale, will be released on December 6th. To prep for book two, we’re sharing a ten-part series that will be part recap, part review, and part discussion of the book that has been called the “most important work of fantasy written in 2015.”

If you want to read along with us and avoid the SPOILERS that will follow, you can pick up your copy of The Untold Tale from major online retailers.

About the book

Forsyth Turn is not a hero. Lordling of Turn Hall and Lysse Chipping, yes. Spymaster for the king, certainly. But hero? That’s his older brother’s job, and Kintyre Turn is nothing if not legendary. However, when a raid on the kingdom’s worst criminal results in the rescue of a bafflingly blunt woman, oddly named and even more oddly mannered, Forsyth finds his quaint, sedentary life is turned on its head.

Dragged reluctantly into a quest he never expected, and fighting villains that even his brother has never managed to best, Forsyth is forced to confront his own self-shame and the demons that come with always being second-best. And, more than that, when he finally realizes where Lucy came from and why she’s here, he’ll be forced to question not only his place in the world, but the very meaning of his own existence.

Smartly crafted, The Untold Tale gives agency to the unlikeliest of heroes: the silenced, the marginalized, and the overlooked. It asks what it really means to be a fan when the worlds you love don’t resemble the world you live in, celebrates the power of the written word, challenges tropes, and shows us what happens when someone stands up and refuses to remain a secondary character in their own life.

Part One: “I assume the body is a corpse.” Chapters 1 and 2

Part Two: “Information, at last!” Chapters 3, 4, and 5

Part Three: “Your brother is a slimeball.” Chapters 6 and 7

Part 4: Chapters 8, 9, and 10

Cal Spivey

In this section, abandoned by Kintyre, Forsyth and Pip set to plan the quest themselves with the wealth of knowledge at their disposal. They turn adventure into an academic challenge, using Elgar Reed’s own predictability against him to chart the requirements and dangers of the quest into a mystical Excel spreadsheet.

They sneak off in the dead of night and make their way to the first stop: the capital of the kingdom, where they need to procure one of the several magical items necessary for the spell to get Pip home. This item, the Quill that Never Dulls, is a noble family’s heirloom, and Forsyth–as the Shadow Hand–is going to steal it.

Or at least, that’s the plan. But plans go awry! When theft and blackmail fail, the Shadow Hand is forced the duel for the Quill. Despite Forsyth’s lack of confidence in his swordsmanship, he makes quick work of his opponent–and with help from Pip, procures the Quill.

Since this section includes the first time we get to see Forsyth as the Shadow Hand, we’re figuratively sitting down with author J.M. Frey to talk about the role of spymaster in fantasy stories, and heroic ethics.

Cal: Was the role of Shadow Hand influenced or inspired by any particular author or character?

J.M.: I’m sure there’s some sort of prototype lurking through my subconscious, but off the top of my head, no, I didn’t base “The Shadow Hand” on any other character or author’s story in particular. I don’t think. I mean, I deliberately referenced The Hand of the King from Game of Thrones, because I wanted it to be clear that Forsyth runs Hain just as much as King Carvel Tarvers does. But for…

…oh!

Tuxedo Mask!

Totally, right? The cloak, the mask, skulking in the shadows and only jumping into the fray when the Sailor Scouts/Senshi are getting their arses whooped? Yeah. I totally based him on Tuxedo Kamen.

(Actually, it was Mycroft Holmes, as portrayed by Mark Gatiss, really. The Shadow Hand is Mycroft. Forsyth is not.)

Cal: In The Untold Tale, the magical mask of the Shadow Hand will only accept a “good” person as its owner. Spies and spymasters tend to be villains or, at best, anti-heroes. Can you talk about combining a virtuous character with a historically unethical position?

J.M.: I think, historically, the Shadow Hand of Hain was more of an advisor to the King. But because he keeps tabs on everyone – is the medieval-esque fantasy version of Big Brother – the people who had something to hide started calling the Shadow Hand a spy. Good folk who live upright lives have nothing to fear from the Shadow Hand, and probably have unknowingly been helped by his silent intervention.

It’s only the baddies, the frivolous, the ones with loose lips and narcissistic ploys who need fear the Shadow Hand. The plotters at court, the evil magicians, the assassins and brigands.

So he’s a spy, yes, because he collects information on people without them knowing it, and acts on it. But he does it for all the right reasons. He’s a good guy spy.

Like Batman.

Cal: I love the idea of a spymaster emphasizing analysis over force, and buried in paperwork (I refer to Forsyth as the Chief Executive Spymaster in my head). But Forsyth’s swordsmanship plays a big role in his success in this section, which makes a sharp contrast between his heroism and Kintyre’s a little harder to draw. What do you see as a key difference between a spymaster type and a warrior type?

J.M.: Well, I first need to make it clear that Forsyth is the first Shadow Hand in a very long run of Shadow Hands to “despise the legwork”. His predecessor, Lewko Pointe the Elder, was more of an action-hero type. He skulked and fought and adventured. It’s all chronicled in book four of The Tales of Kintyre Turn.

It was Forsyth’s choice to withdraw from the field and manage everything via paperwork. Not that Lewko or any of the other Shadow Hands before him didn’t have paperwork to do – one has to keep account of one’s payoffs and expense one’s potions – but I imagine a lot of them let it fall by the wayside in favour of using swords over the mighty pen.

(I also imagine that Forsyth is doing about a hundred year’s worth of back paperwork as well as his own. He couldn’t stand having things messy and ill-organized and neglected, even if the expense claims he’s submitting are for something that happened a decade ago.)

Forsyth is trained to be a courtly fighter – an Italianesque Rapier style of fighting that flitters and flits and has many fussy rules. This is dueling. It’s useless on a battlefield, especially when everyone is in heavy armor, so none of the knights or real fighters learn it. It’s a rich man’s game. It’s a sport. It’s a waste of time, according to the real warriors and heroes.

Forsyth learned this because his father, Algar Turn, had full intentions of marrying him off to some noble house with more wealth and status than the Turns to benefit Kintyre Turn’s standing as Lord. Algar didn’t teach Forsyth because he wanted the lad to know how to fight – he taught him because knowing the courtly form of fencing would make Forsyth better livestock at the marriage market.

Luckily Lewko Pointe the Elder saw potential in Forsyth – and a good, if bruised heart – and furthered his studies, helped him turn his frippery and nonsense into something unpredictable and deadly. Because this has made Forsyth swifter and more lethal than the common fighter using a broadsword, he only ever draws Smoke when there’s no other recourse.

Kintyre, by contrast, never had any interest in courtly fighting and as the elder son, would have been trained in the knightly forms of combat just in case the King ever called the nobility to war. His style is thick and swinging. And to be fair, Kintyre’s a bit of a lazy fighter. Foesmiter is magic – it does half the work for him.

I wanted this contrast in their styles on purpose. I wanted it to highlight the different upbringings the Turn boys had, but also really underscore where and why they fight, and what they’re fighting for. Their ideologies are wrapped up in their styles.

Kintyre fights like Aragorn – cutting, brutal, to the point. He saves the world and there is no subtlety in his morality or his mannerisms. But Forsyth fights like Arya – in roundabout ways, from the shadows, and always in a way to ensure that his opponents underestimate him.

I think that’s the key difference. They’re both aiming for the same thing – a safe Hain – but they walk different paths in order to do so.

Cal: It sometimes seems that golden heroes–the ones for whom the ends never justify immoral means, the Aragorns versus the Boromirs, if you will–are few and far between these days, in favor of more “grey” protagonists. Would you agree with that assessment? If so, would you say that a spymaster type is in fact a more perfect hero (or at least, more perfect for our current societal climate)? If you don’t agree, what do you see as the most appealing trait of a golden hero?

J.M.: There’s lots been said about why the mid-to-late 20th and early 21st century have given rise to such a plethora of antiheroes and grey protagonists, so I won’t rehash that all here. But I agree, writers do tend to like to write the more interesting version of a character, and usually that means making people fallible, imperfect, and sometimes morally grey.

I think this has a lot to do with writers trying to portray people more realistically than the heroes of the great epics of the past, in some way. I mean, to use your example, Aragorn is a shining golden hero, but don’t you think he would have been a little less, well… predictable if he had had just a few more moments of doubt when it came to the One Ring? Or at least if he fully intended to destroy the ring, but doubted the Hobbits ought to come along? Or…?

I think this also has a lot to do with the fact that we are really seeing, now more than ever, that our heroes aren’t perfect. That nobody is. Our politicians phrase things wrong, a scientists fibs in a paper and suddenly the world is filled with misinformed anti-vaxxers, and our police force is murdering innocent people (and yes, I mean my Canadian police force, not just the American one). I mean, for years my government has turned a willful blind eye on the abduction, rape, and horrific murders of hundreds of aboriginal women. The world – while statistically becoming safer and more peaceful – is filled with stories of loss, and grief, and misery, and willful ignorance.

So how can anyone write a Golden Hero any more, how can anyone believe in them, when anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together can see all the ways our world is tarnished? And could be polished again, if people could just stop being douchecanoes to each other.

I’ve said before that I do love me a good villain, and I love writing from the villain’s perspective. But villains never think they’re villains, which makes writing them even more interesting. Because how can I justify something like Forsyth’s spying on folks if he’s supposed to be the good guy?

I think Forsyth is very much an “ends justify the means” type of hero. And I think, sometimes, as long as the ends don’t cause further harm, sometimes they can be justified. Just look at Snowden.

Forsyth is a Boromir (though Forsyth has a stronger moral compass – he would never have been tempted by the One Ring. He’s like Samwise Gamgee that way. What on Earth would Forsyth want to rule it all for? He has enough sodding paperwork as it is, thank you very much.) Kintyre, bless, is more of a Faramir, really, except their father loved and loathed them the other way around.

I do love a Golden Hero – I mean, I adore Sailor Moon and Captain America. But I love a well-written Grey Hero too, like Jesse Custer or Inu Yasha or Kamui. And damn but if we don’t all love Loki Laufeyson.

It’s less about the Status of the Hero and more about the quality of the characterization, the portrayal, and the way we can connect to their motivations… the way they’re written.

Coming up:

Next Tuesday, 11/1, things get hot and heavy as Pip and Forsyth’s adventure throws them into closer quarters and higher stakes than ever before. Marketing intern and romance writer Voule Walker will guide us through part 5, chapters 11 and 12, over at the REUTS blog.

Release Day Blitz! INIQUITY by Melody Winter

It’s here! It’s here! The happiest of book birthdays to Melody Winter’s self-published INIQUITY! (Flail with me! Flail in complete abandon at this gloriousness! Now check out the giveaway below…)

Iniquity release day artwork

Release Day – INIQUITY (The Ascent, Book One) by Melody Winter
Publication date: October 25th, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Dark Romantic Fantasy

iniquity-giveaway-prize

To celebrate the release of INIQUITY, the first book in The Ascent series trilogy, Melody is giving away a signed paperback of Iniquity and a handmade Iniquity bangle.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is sign up to her newsletter.

If you’re already signed up then send Melody a quick email telling her you’d like to be entered into the giveaway for the release day prize.

Melody will pick a winner on the 31st October 2016.

If you haven’t grabbed your kindle version of Iniquity, grab it today — the last day before the price goes up. (Please double check price before purchase.)
Amazon.com (Iniquity on Amazon US)
Amazon.co.uk (Iniquity on Amazon UK)

Iniquity Book Blurb:

It's SO GORGEOUS! (❁´▽`❁)*✲゚*

It’s SO GORGEOUS! (❁´▽`❁)*✲゚*

Athena Harrow is about to turn twenty-one, but there will be no celebration. What is there to celebrate when the world is ruled by demons?

She hates the darkness the demons brought with them and longs for the light to return to the world—a world she only vaguely remembers. The people in her forest village blindly accept the life the demons forced upon them, even tolerating the yearly ascension ceremony where all the girls who have turned twenty-one are either sent away to serve the Master Demon or left in the village and forced to procreate.

But Paymon, the assigned village demon, selects a different role for Athena, a role that pits her against the village. While she adapts to her new life, Erebus, a younger, more powerful demon, arrives, and Athena must play a dangerous game with his emotions in return for information about the demon’s reign of darkness.

As Athena’s dreams of restoring the light begin to fade, her life with Erebus takes an unexpected turn, and this time it’s her life being put to the test.

Set in the forest around Buttercrambe in North Yorkshire, England, INIQUITY explores the frightening, darker side of romance and the uncontrolled emotions it can unleash.

About the Author:

Melody Winter

Melody Winter

Growing up, Melody showed a natural ability in art, a head for maths, and a tendency to write too long English essays. Difficult to place in the world when she graduated, she pursued a career in teaching, but ended up working in finance. Melody is convinced the methodical times she spends working with numbers fuel her desire to drift into dream worlds and write about the illusory characters in her head.

Melody Winter lives in York, North Yorkshire, England with her husband and two sons. When not dealing with football, rugby, and a whole plethora of ‘boy’ activities, she will be found scribbling notes for her stories, or preparing for another trip to the nearby beaches at Scarborough and Whitby. With an obsession for anything mythical, Melody revels in reading and writing about such creatures, and creating her own.

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Blog Tour: SACHAEL DESIRES by Melody Winter

SD Tour copy
The editing front has been quiet as of late, so I’ve had the immense pleasure of reading whatever I want for the past few months. The latest book on my reading list was Sachael Desires, the second book in the Mine Series by wonderful Melody Winter.

My carry-over desire from the first book was to visit Saicean – the dwelling place of Azariah and the other Sachaels – right away. Yes, I wanted Estelle to escape from The Sect. Yes, I wanted her and Azariah to reunite. Yes, I wanted to give Orontes a big old punch in the face (figurative or literal – I’m not picky). Even though all those things happened at the end of Sachael Dreams, Sachael Desires picks up just hours afterward. Estelle, having been kept on land during the last full moon, has lost her Sachael abilities for the month, and must wait to regain them at the next full moon. So like her, we must wait to see Saicean.

But the wait wasn’t spent in vain. The world of the Sachaels and their apparent war with the Oceanids – another race of sea-dwellers – starts to reveal more of its secrets . . . and misconceptions. These revelations test the relationships between Azariah (whose world view begins to crumble before his eyes), Estelle (who fears what will happen when she arrives in Saicean), and fellow-Sect-escapee Michael (who begins to come to terms with his new identity) as they spend the days leading up to the full moon, unsure of who to trust as they hide out in the Orkneys from Orontes and The Sect.

Shortly after Estelle regains her abilities, Azariah is captured by Orontes. Desperate to save him, she pushes past her fear and calls upon the help of other Sachaels (namely Chanon – which let me take this time to declare my support for Team Chanon, wait ’til you meet him!!) to take her to Saicean. Estelle truly starts to come into her own as she becomes more Sachael-like, but her compassion and love for Azariah make her a unique force to reckon with against Sachael and Oceanid alike. And Saicean – I won’t get into any details, but visiting this world did not disappoint, and I look forward to exploring it further in the rest of the series.

I basically burned through Sachael Desires this week – taking every opportunity to find out what was going to happen next. No lunch break or cardio workout was safe, though I made the mistake of reading it at the gym the day I got to a rather steamy* love scene. While beautifully written, I spent a majority of that time sheepishly looking over my shoulder at all the other elliptical users, praying they’d keep watching their TVs and not gaze over curiously at my tablet.

Regardless! I enjoyed reading this, and will be looking forward to Sachael Delusions to see what the future holds for Estelle.


*I lied. It was super steamy.


About Sachael Desires:

Sequel cover, yay!! °˖ ✧◝(○ ヮ ○)◜✧˖ °

Sequel cover, yay!! °˖ ✧◝(○ ヮ ○)◜✧˖ °

During her ordeal with the Sect, Estelle Bailey dreamt of escaping back into the arms of the sea—and Azariah. But freedom came at a price, and though she’s back with the Sachael who’s stolen her heart, she’s also land-bound until the next full moon. And with the threat of Orontes looming ever larger behind them, Azariah, Estelle, and Michael—her once-captor turned rescuer and friend—are on the run.

Following Michael’s lead, they seek sanctuary amidst the natural beauty of the Orkney and Shetland Islands until Estelle can complete her next submergence ritual and Azariah can whisk her away to the safety of Saicean. 
​

​
Secrets, betrayals, and old enemies await them, though, and as events spiral out of control, Azariah makes a decision that puts all their lives at risk, forcing Estelle to face a journey she never wanted to take. With time running out and tempers running high, her only hope to save the man she loves lies in a reconciliation between two kingdoms who despise each other.

Book Two in the Mine Series, Sachael Desires further expands on the intricate underwater world of the Sachaels, and the hostility and isolation of not belonging.​

Add to goodreads

About Melody Winter:

Melody Winter

Growing up, Melody Winter showed a natural ability in art, a head for maths, and a tendency to write far too long English essays. Difficult to place in the world when she graduated, she pursued a career in teaching, but eventually ended up working in Finance. Melody is convinced the methodical time she spends working with numbers fuels her desire to drift into dream worlds and write about the illusory characters in her head.

Melody Winter lives in North Yorkshire, England, with her husband and two sons. When not dealing with football, rugby, and a whole plethora of ‘boy’ activities, she will be found scribbling notes for her stories, or preparing for another trip to the beach. With an obsession for anything mythical, Melody revels in reading and writing about such creatures. In fact, if she wasn’t such a terrible swimmer, she’d say she was a mermaid.

Sachael Desires is her second book in the New Adult Romantic Fantasy series – the ‘Mine Series’.

Learn more about Melody Winter on her website, twitter or facebook.

Release Day Blitz! SACHAEL DESIRES by Melody Winter

Happy Release Day to the lovely Melody Winter and her second book in the Mine Series: Sachael Desires! Join me in wishing her the happiest of book birthdays! Check out the book trailer from REUTS Publications and behold the tour-long book giveaway below!

SD Tour copy

(Save the date for my stop on the tour on December 11.)

Sachael Desires Giveaway!

sd2 giveaway copy

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Sachael Desires:

Sequel cover, yay!! °˖ ✧◝(○ ヮ ○)◜✧˖ °

Sequel cover, yay!! °˖ ✧◝(○ ヮ ○)◜✧˖ °

During her ordeal with the Sect, Estelle Bailey dreamt of escaping back into the arms of the sea—and Azariah. But freedom came at a price, and though she’s back with the Sachael who’s stolen her heart, she’s also land-bound until the next full moon. And with the threat of Orontes looming ever larger behind them, Azariah, Estelle, and Michael—her once-captor turned rescuer and friend—are on the run.

Following Michael’s lead, they seek sanctuary amidst the natural beauty of the Orkney and Shetland Islands until Estelle can complete her next submergence ritual and Azariah can whisk her away to the safety of Saicean. 
​

​
Secrets, betrayals, and old enemies await them, though, and as events spiral out of control, Azariah makes a decision that puts all their lives at risk, forcing Estelle to face a journey she never wanted to take. With time running out and tempers running high, her only hope to save the man she loves lies in a reconciliation between two kingdoms who despise each other.

Book Two in the Mine Series, Sachael Desires further expands on the intricate underwater world of the Sachaels, and the hostility and isolation of not belonging.​

Add to goodreads

About Melody Winter:

Melody Winter

Growing up, Melody Winter showed a natural ability in art, a head for maths, and a tendency to write far too long English essays. Difficult to place in the world when she graduated, she pursued a career in teaching, but eventually ended up working in Finance. Melody is convinced the methodical time she spends working with numbers fuels her desire to drift into dream worlds and write about the illusory characters in her head.

Melody Winter lives in North Yorkshire, England, with her husband and two sons. When not dealing with football, rugby, and a whole plethora of ‘boy’ activities, she will be found scribbling notes for her stories, or preparing for another trip to the beach. With an obsession for anything mythical, Melody revels in reading and writing about such creatures. In fact, if she wasn’t such a terrible swimmer, she’d say she was a mermaid.

Sachael Desires is her second book in the New Adult Romantic Fantasy series – the ‘Mine Series’.

Learn more about Melody Winter on her website, twitter or facebook.

COVER REVEAL! Sachael Desires by Melody Winter

‘Tis the season for booky goodness and I have a treat for thee! In March 2015, REUTS Publications and author Melody Winter brought us Sachael Dreams – an introduction to the world of Estelle Bailey and those seductive, sea-dwelling sachaels. Now they’re back with the second book in the Mine Series: Sachael Desires.

And is the custom of all REUTS books, it has a gorgeous cover, which you must see! Don’t forget to look for Sachael Desires coming soon in the next few weeks!

Sequel cover, yay!! °˖ ✧◝(○ ヮ ○)◜✧˖ °

 All my yay!! °˖ ✧◝(○ ヮ ○)◜✧˖ °

About Sachael Desires:

During her ordeal with the Sect, Estelle Bailey dreamt of escaping back into the arms of the sea—and Azariah. But freedom came at a price, and though she’s back with the Sachael who’s stolen her heart, she’s also land-bound until the next full moon. And with the threat of Orontes looming ever larger behind them, Azariah, Estelle, and Michael—her once-captor turned rescuer and friend—are on the run.

Following Michael’s lead, they seek sanctuary amidst the natural beauty of the Orkney and Shetland Islands until Estelle can complete her next submergence ritual and Azariah can whisk her away to the safety of Saicean. 
​

​
Secrets, betrayals, and old enemies await them, though, and as events spiral out of control, Azariah makes a decision that puts all their lives at risk, forcing Estelle to face a journey she never wanted to take. With time running out and tempers running high, her only hope to save the man she loves lies in a reconciliation between two kingdoms who despise each other.

Book Two in the Mine Series, Sachael Desires further expands on the intricate underwater world of the Sachaels, and the hostility and isolation of not belonging.​

Add to goodreads

About Melody Winter:

Melody Winter

Growing up, Melody Winter showed a natural ability in art, a head for maths, and a tendency to write far too long English essays. Difficult to place in the world when she graduated, she pursued a career in teaching, but eventually ended up working in Finance. Melody is convinced the methodical time she spends working with numbers fuels her desire to drift into dream worlds and write about the illusory characters in her head.

Melody Winter lives in North Yorkshire, England, with her husband and two sons. When not dealing with football, rugby, and a whole plethora of ‘boy’ activities, she will be found scribbling notes for her stories, or preparing for another trip to the beach. With an obsession for anything mythical, Melody revels in reading and writing about such creatures. In fact, if she wasn’t such a terrible swimmer, she’d say she was a mermaid.

Sachael Desires is her second book in the New Adult Romantic Fantasy series – the ‘Mine Series’.

Learn more about Melody Winter on her website, twitter or facebook.

Release Day Blitz! LINK by Summer Wier

Happy Release Day to the fantabulous Summer Wier and LINK! Check out the book trailer from REUTS Publications below, and after you’ve taken a gander at that, behold the tour-long book giveaway!

Giveaway Graphica Rafflecopter giveaway

About LINK:

Link Cover

For seventeen-year-old Kira, there’s no better way to celebrate a birthday than being surrounded by friends and huddled beside a campfire deep in the woods. And with a birthday in the peak of summer, that includes late night swims under the stars.

Or at least, it used to.

Kira’s relaxing contemplation of the universe is interrupted when a piece of it falls, colliding with her and starting a chain of events that could unexpectedly lead to the one thing in her life that’s missing—her father.

Tossed into a pieced-together world of carnivals and gypsies, an old-fashioned farmhouse, and the alluring presence of a boy from another planet, Kira discovers she’s been transported to the center of a black hole, and there’s more to the story than science can explain. She’s now linked by starlight to the world inside the darkness. And her star is dying.

If she doesn’t return home before the star’s light disappears and her link breaks, she’ll be trapped forever. But she’s not the only one ensnared, and with time running out, she’ll have to find a way to save a part of her past and a part of her future, or risk losing everything she loves.

Dreamy, fluid, and beautiful, Link pairs the mystery of science fiction with the minor-key melody of a dark fantasy, creating a tale that is as human as it is out of this world.

Available now from Amazon, and other retailers.

About Summer Wier:

Summer Wier Author Photo

Summer Wier is an MBA toting accountant, undercover writer, and all around jack-of-all-trades.  Link is her debut novel and the first in The Shadow of Light series. She has three short stories appearing in Fairly Twisted Tales For A Horribly Ever After and co-authors the Splinter web serial. When she’s not digging through spreadsheets or playing mom, you can find her reading/writing, cooking, or dreaming of the mountains in Montana.

Check out more of YA author Summer Wier on her blog, twitter, facebook, and goodreads.

Blog Tour: DIVERGING CADENCE by Katie Hamstead

Diverging Cadence Blog Tour

Endings are difficult. I’m never sure how to feel about a book that leaves me with more questions than when I first started. You know, the type of questions like, “But what ever happened to Blankity-blank?” It usually boils down to “But what happens next?” There’s always that part of us that doesn’t want a story to end, that wants to know what happens next.

Deceptive Cadence ended on a cliffhanger. Some readers were not aware of this when they picked it up. Having worked on Deceptive Cadence and Diverging Cadence, I got spoiled and was able to read both books back-to-back and edit both books back-to-back. If you read the end of Deceptive Cadence and found yourself sputtering, “But what happens next?”, the only consolation I have to offer is that there was a two-month wait to find out, and it will leave you satisfied in the end.

Katie Hamstead’s Diverging Cadence picks up right where Deceptive Cadence left off. Cadence Anderson, now eighteen, is off to university across the country, but she finds herself questioning this choice. Before, in Deceptive Cadence, she sets out to correct her past mistakes with the goal of saving her husband (Austin) and daughter (Melody) in the forefront of her mind. In the process of doing so, she started forging a new path in her life, a path that included James, her high school sweetheart of three years.

Now, in Diverging Cadence, we see Cadence’s struggle of how to reconcile saving her family and saving her relationship with James. Cadence’s whole motivation to go back in time was to save Austin and Melody, and while she clearly loves James, she can never stop loving or thinking of Austin and Melody either. They were her life, and she lost them. Even though it’s never explicitly said, you understand that James’s love can’t replace that, which is why we follow Cadence to the university where she met Austin.

At times it’s difficult to watch Cadence make the choices she does throughout the book, to the point of heartache. While her family and friends seem to direct her toward the path with James, by holding on to life as they currently know it, Cadence feels the pull of her original life constantly, and you begin to wonder if she’ll undo all her efforts of the previous book entirely to make her relationship with Austin come about again. Ultimately, Cadence makes her choice and must deal with the fallout from that decision.

I still stand by what I said in my review of Deceptive Cadence: I am not a romanc-y kind of reader, but I love Hamstead’s characters and the world she created. If you look at Deceptive Cadence and Diverging Cadence as one massive book*, you get to follow Cadence’s journey to a satisfying conclusion. She isn’t a perfect character, even if it seems like everything’s coming up Cadence in the first book – you can see her grow and develop, from her good choices as well as her bad ones. For all the damage her poor choices cause, you still get to see the underlying impact her good choices had on others long afterward.

And hopefully, once you reach the end, you won’t be asking “But what happens next?” for Cadence. You’ll know.


*Which you really should – don’t let the two-month span between releases throw you off. But I’m not advocating duct taping the covers together either – the artwork’s too pretty.


About Diverging Cadence:

SO LOVELY ヽ(;▽;)ノ

SO LOVELY ヽ(;▽;)ノ

When Cadence Anderson woke to find her husband and infant daughter had been killed, she thought her life was over. Instead, she was offered a second chance and sent back in time to do it all again.

She’s made the most of this opportunity, repairing her relationship with the best friend she lost the first time, avoiding the romantic mistakes she made originally, and even bringing her family closer together. But she’s also done something she wasn’t planning on — she’s fallen in love with someone other than her future husband.

Stepping onto a plane and flying across country to attend university is the hardest decision she’s had to make. But unless she follows through with it, her future with Austin might never happen. And what becomes of her beautiful baby if she stays with James, the man she was never supposed to love?

The only thing she knows for certain is that she has to see Austin again, and she’s intent on reliving that part of her previous life exactly like she did the first time. Even if that means she has to lie to James to do it. Because, deep down, she can’t quite bring herself to let him go.

Now, past and future are about to collide, and Cadence has to make her final choice — follow the uncertain path of a life with James, or the one she came back to save . . . with Austin.

In this emotional conclusion to the story that began in Deceptive Cadence, relationships will be tested, identities revealed, and the past will overshadow the future, putting the finishing touches on an unforgettable tale of courage, sacrifice, and, above all, love.

Get Diverging Cadence from Amazon or other retailers today!

About Katie Hamstead:

Katie-Teller-Author-Photo

Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.

After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dogs.

She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing. Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She now works as an Acquisitions Editor to help support her family. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.

Find Katie Hamstead on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.

Blog Tour: UNDEATH AND TAXES by Drew Hayes

Fred Tour

So about one year and one week ago, I published my (first ever!) book review for Drew Hayes’s THE UTTERLY UNINTERESTING AND UNADVENTUROUS TALES OF FRED, THE VAMPIRE ACCOUNTANT (aka FRED). I absolutely adored it and ever so much wanted a sequel, and thank goodness Hayes did too, because this summer he gave unto the world UNDEATH AND TAXES.

And there was much rejoicing!

After the events of FRED, our favorite Undead American returns triumphant after conquering in all his quiet nerdy might the Certified Public Parahuman Accountant exams. And while one may assume this would condemn him (or bless him, from Fred’s perspective) to a nightlife behind a desk crunching numbers, it actually gets him into more trouble than even he could possibly expect.

Right out of the gate, he gets caught up trying to stop the kidnapping of his first client’s daughter, then later on while trying to make a deal with another client, gets trapped in a living, breathing haunted house with many living, breathing humans, one of whom is intent on bulldozing said living, breathing house.

Fun, right?

You know it!

I called the first FRED book a nerd lark. I expected the same of UNDEATH AND TAXES and it did not disappoint. We get to see the same cast from the previous book:

  • Krystal–Fred’s girlfriend, devil host, and resident ass-kicker
  • Albert–zombie, accounting assistant, and unlikely hero
  • Bubba–werepony extraordinaire and just a sweetheart of a trucker
  • Gideon–my absolute favorite character and holy crap, read “An Accountant in the Warehouse” and TRULY KNOW FEAR AT THE SIGHT OF HIM SUPER PISSED AND IN A TUX

(I know I’m leaving some people out, but you should totes get a copy and read about them for yourself.)

What stood out for me was that UNDEATH AND TAXES really could’ve just been FRED PART II and it really wasn’t. Fred and the gang get to grow and get more accustomed to parahuman society. We see how Fred’s not a hero in the sense that he’ll charge off into battle and flex his vampire strength around, but in the sense that he knows what the right thing to do is, even if it’s also a really, bloody stupid thing to do. We get to see the real heart of Albert, chosen for a destiny that he’ll perform on his own terms (his own sweet, peaceful terms or you can just eff off) with his bestie in tow. Even the new characters we’re introduced to open up a broader world to the cast, and their reactions and choices truly show how far they’ve come along, individually and together as friends.

**WARNING: FANGIRL THEORY APPROACHETH**

**I will also take this time to voice my suspicions that the FRED universe and the NPC universe (also written by Hayes) coexist within the same realm. If this is the case, Hayes – you’re a magnificent bastard. Keep it up. If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, you best read yourself some NPCs and UNDEATH AND TAXES right now. I’ll be here.**

I’m looking forward to the next sequel – I hope you all will too.

#gideonrules


About UNDEATH AND TAXES

☆*:.。. o(≧▽≦)o .。.:*☆ It's so wonderful!!

☆*:.。. o(≧▽≦)o .。.:*☆ It’s so wonderful!!

After discovering just how filled with magic, intrigue, and adventure the parahuman world of being an Undead American can be, Fredrick Frankford Fletcher did exactly what was expected–he became a certified parahuman accountant. Myths and legends, as it turns out, are not so great at taking appropriate deductions and keeping their receipts, and Fred is more than happy to return to a life others view as woefully dull, expanding his accounting business to cater to various monsters and their respective financial needs.

Said monsters are, unfortunately, still spectacular at pulling Fred into trouble, though. And despite merely wanting to stick with simple paperwork, Fred once again finds he is going to have to deal with enchanted weaponry, government agents, possessed houses, and one enigmatic dragon’s interest. In the parahuman world, any business can turn deadly, even one as mundane as accounting.

Buy Undeath & Taxes Today!

About Drew Hayes

Drew Hayes, author

Drew Hayes – probably not a vampire accountant

Drew Hayes is an aspiring author from Texas who has written several books and found the gumption to publish a few (so far). He graduated from Texas Tech with a B.A. in English, because evidently he’s not familiar with what the term “employable” means. Drew has been called one of the most profound, prolific, and talented authors of his generation, but a table full of drunks will say almost anything when offered a round of free shots. Drew feels kind of like a D-bag writing about himself in the third person like this. He does appreciate that you’re still reading, though.

Drew would like to sit down and have a beer with you. Or a cocktail. He’s not here to judge your preferences. Drew is terrible at being serious, and has no real idea what a snippet biography is meant to convey anyway. Drew thinks you are awesome just the way you are. That part, he meant. Drew is off to go high-five random people, because who doesn’t love a good high-five? No one, that’s who.

See Drew talk about himself in first person on his website and twitter.

Cover Reveal! DIVERGING CADENCE by Katie Hamstead

Happy August, you glorious peoples! I have glad tidings: Diverging Cadence by Katie Hamstead is getting ready for publication! And you know what that means – time for a cover reveal!

Remember in April when the cover for Deceptive Cadence came out? Remember how *excited* I was then?

I’m JUST as excited now, because the magical being who creates the covers for REUTS Publications has done it again. Just . . . wow. So much wow.

ALL MY WOW.

I’m all rambly now. You just need to see it to believe it. Check it!

SO LOVELY ヽ(;▽;)ノ

*SO LOVELY* ヽ(;▽;)ノ

About Diverging Cadence:

When Cadence Anderson woke to find her husband and infant daughter had been killed, she thought her life was over. Instead, she was offered a second chance and sent back in time to do it all again.

She’s made the most of this opportunity, repairing her relationship with the best friend she lost the first time, avoiding the romantic mistakes she made originally, and even bringing her family closer together. But she’s also done something she wasn’t planning on — she’s fallen in love with someone other than her future husband.

Stepping onto a plane and flying across country to attend university is the hardest decision she’s had to make. But unless she follows through with it, her future with Austin might never happen. And what becomes of her beautiful baby if she stays with James, the man she was never supposed to love?

The only thing she knows for certain is that she has to see Austin again, and she’s intent on reliving that part of her previous life exactly like she did the first time. Even if that means she has to lie to James to do it. Because, deep down, she can’t quite bring herself to let him go.

Now, past and future are about to collide, and Cadence has to make her final choice — follow the uncertain path of a life with James, or the one she came back to save . . . with Austin.

In this emotional conclusion to the story that began in Deceptive Cadence, relationships will be tested, identities revealed, and the past will overshadow the future, putting the finishing touches on an unforgettable tale of courage, sacrifice, and, above all, love.

Add to your Goodreads.

About Katie Hamstead:

Katie-Teller-Author-Photo

Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.

After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dogs.

She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing. Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She now works as an Acquisitions Editor to help support her family. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.

Find Katie Hamstead on twitter, facebook, and her website.

Blog Tour: DECEPTIVE CADENCE by Katie Hamstead

Deceptive Cadence Blog Tour

It was late January when I got my grubby little mitts on Deceptive Cadence, and the sequel, Diverging Cadence. REUTS Editor Kisa Whipkey gave me a brief overview of the two books so I could read ahead, get familiar with author Katie Hamstead’s work, and see if I’d be interested in working on the line edits. I’d received the files on a Friday, and figured I could work my way through the manuscripts over the course of the week.

It was January, in the Northeast. I’m fairly certain it was snowing, but definitely really bloody cold out. I woke up around five in the morning on Saturday, created PDFs of the manuscripts, and, still in my pajamas, started reading. I was still reading when my husband woke up later that morning, I resumed reading after breakfast, and I was still in my pajamas at about six that night after finishing the first book. The next day, Sunday, went exactly the same, except for the book hangover that occurred in the late afternoon when I finished book two, and when realized I was still in my pajamas for the second day running.

The Deceptive Cadence you may have read (and if you didn’t, please do) is clearly not the same version I first encountered—but the heart of the story remains unchanged. Our choices, great and small, can have a profound influence not only on our lives, but also on the lives of others.

Hamstead explores this notion in the life of Cadence, who wakes up in the hospital after an earthquake claims the life of her husband, Austin, and daughter, Melody. As she grows despondent, an angel appears with a proposition: she can go back in time to change her life or continue living her life now. She assumes that she can use this opportunity to save her family, and agrees, provided she tells no one what has happened or what will happen. The angel transforms her into her fourteen-year-old self, and Cadence begins her teenage years all over again.

Being fourteen but having the wisdom of a 25-year-old is an advantage many of us wishes we had growing up in high school. Cadence slowly realizes she wasn’t the best daughter, sister, friend—many of her adult-life estrangements were because of her choices during high school, so she sets out to reverse them.

Sometimes, you see flashbacks between the way things were and how Cadence alters them. At times, you may think Cadence is being self-serving by changing her past to improve her future, but that’s not the case. She genuinely wants to do right this time around—she has five years to go until she meets and marries Austin—and the love she has for her family and friends shines through as she mends the relationships that are showing signs of fracturing.

But, her new choices begin to affect more people than were involved in her life before. She gets the attention of James Gordon, a “bad boy” from the grade above her. James changes to prove his worth to her, and seeing examples from Cadence’s original timeline and the present show the true impact of Cadence’s choices. Even though the choices James makes on his part are all his own—a theme that gets mentioned several times—he does it with Cadence in mind. This becomes fascinating to watch unfold—many of Cadence’s actions up until this point are done with Austin and Melody in mind, and, slowly, she begins to include James in her life as well.

I am not a romance-y kind of reader, but I fell in love with Hamstead’s characters. Cadence, as the narrator, is easy to read, and you grow to love her more as she realizes her original faults and failings and sets out to correct her past behavior. She fights so hard against falling for James, but as he cleans up his life, you can’t help yourself from falling for him at the same time. Cadence’s family and friends are all real people—a moody older sister, an overprotective yet doting father, a caring mother, a goofy younger brother, a loyal, devoted girlfriend—and through Cadence’s interactions with them, we see their lives improve for the better, cementing the strong family bonds that Cadence lacked in her later life. And, though the story begins with the deaths of Austin and Melody, you see the love Cadence still bears for them throughout the book. This capacity for love, something she didn’t know she was capable of at first, affects everyone’s lives once Cadence travels back through time.

So, as summer’s just starting, sitting inside and reading in your pajamas may not be realistic. Pack yourself some iced tea and some sunscreen and sit out on the deck or spend the day by the pool. This is an excellent, single-sitting read, and though I hope you’ll be clamoring for Diverging Cadence (which will be out later this summer) once you reach the end, Deceptive Cadence will leave you satisfied until then.


About Deceptive Cadence:

Cover of Deceptive Cadence

( ノ^ω^)ノ゚ *SO AMAZING*

Cadence Anderson has the perfect definition of happily ever after . . .

Until she doesn’t. A freak earthquake shatters her life as surely as her home, taking away everything she holds dear. She wakes in a hospital to find that her beloved husband and infant daughter have been killed, crushed by the earthquake’s wrath. Disoriented, injured, and alone, Cadence refuses to accept the loss. So when a man claiming to be her guardian angel appears and offers her a chance to go back in time to save her family, she doesn’t need to give it a second thought. She accepts.

Thrust back eleven years, she now faces the ordeal of high school all over again. But this time, she’s armed with all the knowledge of her adult life and the determined to do everything better, from preventing the loss of her best friend to avoiding her original, drama-inducing boyfriends. She’s focused solely on Austin, her future husband, and is content to bide her time until she meets him again.

But then James Gordon crosses her path. Cadence wants to remain single, but James has his sights set. He is determined to win her over, and he’s very hard to resist. As Cadence starts to develop unwanted feelings for him, she realizes he threatens to disrupt everything, changing the future and distracting her from her original goal. Now, Cadence must choose: deny the unpredictable and exciting path James offers her, or stay true to the life she had and is trying desperately to resurrect. Second chances are more complicated than they seem.

Deceptive Cadence combines the soaring emotion of a heartfelt romance with the innovative storytelling of magical realism, crafting a uniquely moving, intricate tale about love and loss that asks: what would you do if given the chance to right all your wrongs?

Get Deceptive Cadence from Amazon.

About Katie Hamstead:

Katie Hamstead

Katie Hamstead

Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.

After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dogs.

She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing. Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She now works as an Acquisitions Editor to help support her family. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.

Find Katie Hamstead on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.