The Origin Key Book Trailer

My first novel, for sale on Amazon.com, has a trailer!

The Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key is a sword-and-science fantasy adventure like no other. Prince Rasteem, a third-century Persian warrior, discovers an obscure culture that appears to take twenty-first century technology for granted.

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When you publish a book you have to promote it, get the word out, let the world know about it. One way to do this is to blog about it constantly, but that can get boring for both me and my readers. A better way is to create (or let a talented friend create) a book trailer. I can hear you thinking, “What the heck is a book trailer?” Just like a movie trailer, but for a book, it’s a short video that gives you an idea of what the story is about. And here it is!

https://spark.adobe.com/video/Bk2Of-wu/embed

 
Celebrate this milestone with me and support a wonderful local family restaurant at the same time on Friday, August 12. We’ll be at Terranova’s Italian Restaurant in Huntsville from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. enjoying fantastic cuisine and giving away some great prizes.

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Apparently when you publish a book, people get all inquisitive about your reading habits, likes and dislikes, and even want to know what inspired the story. My publisher and friend Russell Newquist recently interviewed me for his own blog. You can read all three parts of An Interview with S.D. McPhail here: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3. If you have any more questions, just ask in the comments section.

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Ashes

OK.
Wow.

I am freshly done, having stayed up late to finish. I am just hanging on a cliff’s edge. What a book! What a ride! It just goes from bad to worse, yet I kept hoping, fearing for Alex, our brave heroine.
I ran across the term “unputdownable” when I read a blurb about this book. I have to agree. It is stuck. In. My. Head. WHAAAAAAAT happens next!?!?!?!

Here’s the rundown:

Alex has a terminal brain tumor. She’s been through treatments and is on a last round of experimental attempts to save her life. She can’t smell anything, feels terrible and is just ready to be done. So she takes a few meaningful items on a final camping trip. She won’t proceed with the experimental PEBBLES. She’s tired. She says good-bye to her aunt and goes on to say goodbye and battle some personal demons.

She meets an elderly man, his granddaughter Ellie and their dog, Mina on the trip. Like Alex, Ellie has lost her parents and her only tie to her dead soldier father is his bomb-sniffing dog, retired from the war. All is going well until something happens. Something terrible.

In the horrific aftermath of what appears to be an attack by EMP, all Alex can do is try to survive. It’s not the same world: modern electronics have been utterly destroyed, including medical devices like the pacemaker that killed Ellie’s grandfather. No phones, no iPod, nothing. Faced with keeping Ellie safe and enduring the wilderness on dwindling supplies, Alex makes a horrifying discovery. Hint: the kids are NOT alright. And few other people are. And Alex is not the same.

I don’t want to give too much away, but Ashes will be a trilogy. The second is Shadows and the third is Monsters. I. Can’t. Wait.

The Night Circus

by Mandy

 

What if your first kiss was held suspended in time, bestowed as all in the room succumb to the power of magic?

There’s no doubt Erin Morgenstern has created magic. In her debut novel, two opponents fight in a lifelong battle of skill versus skill in a mysterious challenge that threatens to rip the world apart. Well, some of it anyway.

The black and white tents of Les Cirques des Rêves appear without warning, suddenly occupying space that was empty the day before. Drawn by its mystery, townspeople enter and are enthralled by nights filled with mystery and feats of extraordinary talent. But who is behind it all?

Bound as children to a contest they do not understand, raised without love by men they barely know, Celia and Marco are rivals in an arena that defies convention. It is a dreamland, one that speaks to the hearts, souls and imaginations of not only the audience, but the creators of each exhibit. Dazzling and intricate, the circus is a living thing, and perhaps Morgenstern’s most brilliant invention. Every decadent page speaks of love, betrayal, hope, mystery and magic. It’s a love story, but it’s so much more. As pawns trapped in a cruel wager between two powerful, magical and proud men, Celia and Marco must not only discover the nature of the challenge, but how to play and ultimately win. Each tent is not only a display of immense talent, but a secret token of affection to one another. Poetry runs down the trunk of a tree, an ice forest grows and blooms and a reflecting pool transcends grief and loss.

I was drawn in by the early buzz, but skeptical of the label “Harry Potter for adults.” I take issue with this. It is a desperate plug for publishers and entertainment houses in a post-Harry Potter and Twilight world to gain what they love most: money. First of all, Harry Potter is just as much for adults as it is for kids and teens. It’s just that good. Tread carefully when invoking Harry’s name, people! Anyway, I received my copy, and from the very first line, I was entranced. The hook is fantastic. It’s a confident work, and I will smile whenever I see splashes of red alongside black & white. I’m certain it will be a trend, with the book generating its own rêveurs. The book is not for the impatient: though the chapters are brief, each slice of the circus is delivered leisurely. Glimpses are provided through different characters, descriptions of challenges created and answered and through the players themselves. It’s slow, but maddening only because the desire to know more about the circus is so strong.

I want to say more, but some tents are left better explored at one’s own pace. Enjoy.

The Last Werewolf

by Mandy

 

Imagine a world that has grown tired of you. Not just tired, it has systematically and efficiently eliminated all of your kind. Except you. You are the last, and you are tired.
Jacob Marlowe is 200 years old. He’s literally been there, done that. Healthy and hunted, he makes evading the WOCOP (World Organisation for the Control of Occult Phenomena) look easy, even if it requires heels and makeup. Between his existential crisis and tortured memories, Jake feeds. He is blunt, jaded and consumed with ennui as he describes his appetites for flesh, devoured or sexually dominated, without holding back. He wants to die, but the world isn’t quite through with him yet. He cannot repress his murderous nature, nor does he try. He simply copes, and keeps moving.
Beyond a thinking plot (are humans really better?) there’s action aplenty. Graphic, brutal action. Duncan’s biting cynicism stands in stark relief from the cruel mechanisms of lycanthropy. Literary references and modern British prose can take several pages to encapsulate the reader, but the payoff is worth it in this unique take on a potentially exhausted genre.
Recommended for the reader seeking a good gory romp this Halloween. I’ll not give too much away, but we may see more of Duncan’s universe. ( I hope so!)