Cover Reveal: A Touch of Darkness by Yelena Casale & Tina Moss

So I’m about two days late in posting this cover reveal (day job stuff, yada yada), but I could not NOT post this reveal. Yelena and Tina are two of the nicest, sweetest, kindest authors I’ve ever met and I’m absolutely thrilled about the new cover for their book, A TOUCH OF DARKNESS.

 

If you’ve visited my site before–or maybe your new? *smile*–you can read my review of ATOD here, and a special excerpt here. And be sure to check below the cover to read ATOD’s list of awards (thus far), a teaser, and learn a little about the authors, Yelena Casale & Tina Moss. Oh, and the giveaway, of course. 😉

 

And now… here’s the fun you came to see. 😉

Title: A Touch of Darkness
Author: Yelena Casale & Tina Moss
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: March 2, 2015
https://gum.co/muxG
 

A Touch of Darkness 

Key Series, Book One

Cassie Durrett dreams of the darkness. And lives the nightmare. She’s working for a tightwad boss at a pretentious NYC diner,
dealing with paralyzing pain that doctors can’t diagnose, and trying to
hide her hands that glow purple whenever she …well, whenever. 

So, when mystery man, Gabe, walks out of her dreams and into her life to
spout some nonsense about her being a mythical creature, she chalks it
up to one more crazy thing to add to her it’s-a-crappy-life list. Yet,
when his predictions start to come true, she’ll need his help to beat back the darkness-spawned creatures invading her reality.

Pretty soon Gabe has her running half way across the country in search of answers. As a bond grows between them, Cassie worries not about losing her mind to the paranormal madness, nor her life to  hellish monsters. Rather her deepest fear is surrendering her heart to a powerful man fallen from grace.

Pre-Order | GoodReads

A TOUCH OF DARKNESS has already won the following awards (and I’m sure there’ll be more):

FIRST PLACE in the Readers’ Crown Award
for urban fantasy.

FIRST PLACE in Central Florida RWA’s Touch of Magic
contest for paranormal romance.

Teaser

 

 

 

 

About the Authors

Yelena Casale is an award-winning author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Being very curious and inquisitive, she has been a devoted reader
and writer since childhood. As a 2nd degree black belt and instructor in
Shotokan karate, an avid traveler and history and art enthusiast, she weaves
universal themes with martial arts philosophies into her stories.
She
lives with her amazing, super supportive husband. In her spare time, she reads, paints, watches cool shows on TV and
tries to get more sleep.
Like
the samurai of the old, as well as the ultimate Renaissance man and
Yelena’s favorite historical figure, Leonardo da Vinci, she believes
that nothing is greater than mastery of oneself.

Tina Moss is an award-winning author of urban fantasy, paranormal
romance, romantic suspense, and New Adult novels.  She lives in NYC with
a supportive husband and alpha corgi, though both males hog the bed and
refuse to share the covers. When not writing, she enjoys reading,
watching cheesy horror flicks, traveling, and karate. As a 5’1″ Shotokan
black belt, she firmly believes that fierce things come in small
packages.

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Special Excerpt from A Touch of Darkness by Yelena Casale & Tina Moss

A Touch of DarknessLast week I reviewed A TOUCH OF DARKNESS by Yelena Casale & Tina Moss. And this week I have a special excerpt from Yelena & Tina. 🙂

Take it away, ladies!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gabe might be the hero of the story and he is quite the sexy-broody-mysterious type, but if Yelena and I are honest…well…we sort of have a soft spot for bad boy, Rafe. He’s the kind of character you want to kill for his arrogance, but you just can’t seem to help but like. The ultimate in suave and sophistication, you’ll rarely catch him without a suit on, unless of course it’s in bed. We hope you like reading him as much as we enjoyed writing him! This special excerpt is the first time we meet the smooth-talking Rafe.

EXCERPT:

Several decades ago, he’d known Rafe… Yet, friends wouldn’t have been the term for their complex relationship, in fact bitter rivals fit far more. Having to come to Rafe now for help ate at Gabe.

“Still as arrogant as ever, I see.” Rafe jumped over the front of the desk in one easy motion. Soundlessly, he landed and leaned back. The mod chandelier spotlighted him. A white collar peeked from under a black designer vest. The middle button of a sleek coat hinted at a tight chest and trim waist. Long tailored slacks marked him as a half-foot above the average height. He’d star in many a woman’s fantasy, and proudly made such fantasies reality. “If you’ve come to see me, you want something, bad.” He grinned. “How much do you want it, Gabe? What’s it worth to you?”

Gabe continued to peer at Rafe without as much as a blink.

“You know, I think you should beg for it.” Rafe motioned to the floor. “That would really get my blood going. You, down on your knees, begging. Perfect.”

“You haven’t changed.” Gabe took a step forward, his face riddled with disdain. “All this time here and you’re the same, if not worse. A perverse mess.”

“Perverse? Interesting choice of words. As I remember, Ariel called it…passionate.” Rafe’s deliberate pause left the room silent before he continued, “This of course when she, how do you put it…mounted…yes that’s it, when she mounted my defense to the council.”

Gabe remained motionless.

“So, Ariel means nothing now, huh? It’s only when I push your pride I get a rise out of you. You haven’t changed either.” Rafe sneered. “All right, then, tell me what was Ariel’s defense for your infinite arrogance?”

Pushing the jibe aside, Gabe said without feeling, “No defense. She’s part of the council now.”

A roar of laughter echoed in the sparse office. “Conniving…ha…brilliant. Then, she was responsible for your fall. Oh, this just gets better and better.”

“I didn’t come here to play games or reminisce!” Gabe’s anger had reached its threshold and spilled forth unchecked. He took another step forward.

“Ah see, it wasn’t so hard. That’s what I’ve been waiting for.” Rafe beamed revealing a layer of perfect white teeth. “Face it, Gabe. You’re here to stay whether you realize it yet or not.”

Furious with himself for giving into Rafe’s taunts so quick, Gabe took a firm step back and said nothing.

Rafe waved a dismissive hand. “No matter. On to business…”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yeah … I sort of a soft spot for bad boys, too, ladies. And Rafe is definitely no exception. 😉

About the Authors: Yelena and Tina

Yelena Casale was born in Kiev, Ukraine and came to New York when she was 13, which, gave her a great perspective into two very different cultures. Being very curious and inquisitive, Yelena has always been an avid reader with a wide range of literary interests. Writing has been her passion since she first learned to write, and it only grew over time. Yelena is especially fond of reading and writing urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Yelena can follow Yelena on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Tina Moss is a writer of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and historical romance. She lives in NYC with a supportive husband and alpha corgi, though both males hog the bed and refuse to share the covers. When not writing, she enjoys reading, watching cheesy horror flicks, traveling, and karate. As a 5’1″ Shotokan black belt, she firmly believes that  fierce things come in small packages. You can follow Tina on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Don’t forget you can still enter Tina & Yelena’s giveaway for a $10 Amazon or B&N gift card + an e-ARC of A TOUCH OF DARKNESS.

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Happy Reading and Writing, everyone!
Melinda

Review: A Touch of Darkness by Yelena Casale & Tina Moss

I’m SO excited to share my review today for Yelena and Tina’s debut novel, A TOUCH OF DARKNESS!

A Touch of DarknessBook Blurb:

Cassie’s working for a tightwad boss at a pretentious NYC diner, dealing with paralyzing pain that doctors can’t diagnose, and trying to hide her hands that glow purple whenever she …well, whenever.

So, when a mysterious stranger walks out of her dreams and into her life to spout some nonsense about her being a mythical creature, she chalks it up to one more crazy thing to add to her it’s-a-crappy-life list. Yet, when the stranger’s predictions start to come true, she discovers a world that could shake up her humdrum existence.

My Review:

Ask any writing friend who knows me and they will tell you that I am picky, picky, picky about my urban fantasies (well, any book in general, but this genre even more so). Paranormal Romances are my thing because of the … well, the romance. So when I switch over to Urban Fantasy, the story, characters, and writing needs to be spot-on in order to keep my attention.

AND THIS BOOK DID JUST THAT! 😀

Wow! Ok, so Cassie has a huge problem–her hands glow purple whenever she becomes emotionally stressed. And to make matters worse, whenever the purple-glow comes about, she also experiences debilitating pain. So when A TOUCH OF DARKNESS opens, we’re immediately drawn into the mystery of why this happens to Cassie.

Then we meet Gabe.

Gabe comes to the city from another realm in search of Cassie … and he can help Cassie find the answers she seeks. But there’s one problem–Gabe isn’t from this world, so he has NO idea how to socialize with women of this world. So you I’m sure you can imagine the delicious tension that happens between these two upon their first meeting. 🙂

Yelena and Tina have given us a new, unique urban fantasy world with vibrant settings, worldbuilding, true-to-life character personalities, and intense conflict and tension. I’m definitely excited to get my hands on the next book in the Key series. 😀

4 Stars

A TOUCH OF DARKNESS released on October 31st–just in time for Halloween! Be sure to add this great entry into the Urban Fantasy genre to your TBR list on Goodreads. 😀

Yelena and TinaAbout the Authors:

Yelena Casale was born in Kiev, Ukraine and came to New York when she was 13, which, gave her a great perspective into two very different cultures. Being very curious and inquisitive, Yelena has always been an avid reader with a wide range of literary interests. Writing has been her passion since she first learned to write, and it only grew over time. Yelena is especially fond of reading and writing urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Yelena can follow Yelena on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Tina Moss is a writer of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and historical romance. She lives in NYC with a supportive husband and alpha corgi, though both males hog the bed and refuse to share the covers. When not writing, she enjoys reading, watching cheesy horror flicks, traveling, and karate. As a 5’1″ Shotokan black belt, she firmly believes that  fierce things come in small packages. You can follow Tina on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

About the Giveaway:

Yelena and Tina are giving away a copy of A TOUCH OF DARKNESS and a $10 gift card! So don’t forget to enter for your chance to win!

Good luck!

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Be sure to check back next Thursday! We’re going to have both Yelena and Tina on the blog with an excerpt from this fantastic book. 🙂

Happy Reading and Writing, everyone!
Melinda

“The Week of the Writer” is Headin’ This Way!!!

Before we head into today’s post, I need to announce the winners of last week’s book giveaway:

Congratulations go to……..

Jami Gold – MARKED by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast *throws confetti*
and
Amber West – THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins *throws more confetti*

Shoot me an email with your mailing address to MelindaCollins82 (at) hotmail (dot) com and I’ll drop your books in the mail on/by Monday! 🙂

Now…..onto today’s post!

Today is an exceptionally awesome day as I am ‘officially’ announcing that next week is “The Week of the Writer” here on Muse, Rant, Rave!!! *throws even more confetti and dreads cleaning it up*

So….just what is “The Week of the Writer” and why is it so special?

Great question!! *smiles*

“The Week of the Writer” is a week where we celebrate…..

  • The Writer!
  • The Craft!
  • The Process!
  • The Hunger to continuously learn about the craft!
  • Our nature as writers to share what we’ve learned!

And much, much, much more!

Week of the Writer Pic

Beginning on Monday, five fantastically talented writers and bloggers will join us here on Muse, Rant, Rave to share their own love of the craft and sharing with us their own writing process, giving their best advice and/or tips to fellow writers, reminding us why we write, and telling us how to just say no.
Here are the fabulous writers who have joined me in celebrating The Week of the Writer:

Monday: JC Fiske
  J.C. Fiske, author of Renegade Rising: “How to Shake the World”

Tuesday:
Jami_Picture_200_x_300

Wednesday:
TINA MOSS Picture

Thursday:
LGG Picture

Friday:

S.P. Sipal, of Harry Potter for Writers: “Top 10 Tips of Writing I Learned from Studying JK Rowling”


ATT00007

I will also be joining in on the fun with a post on Monday: “Why and How I Write: 80% Pantser, 20% Plotter, 100% Heart”

Be sure to come back every day next week to join the celebration and share your love of the craft!

Melinda

First Sentences……And a Giveaway!

According to some, it’s dangerous for my brain to start turning……

Regardless of what they say, I did start thinking. This week it was about first sentences…..mainly due to an article posted last week on Writer Unboxed (and #2 in “My Week in Favs” post last Friday): “The First Sentence as an Amuse-Bouche.”

I’m not talking about just any first sentence like those that begin a new chapter – though I personally believe the first and last sentence of every chapter should be grand and enticing. That’s for another post.

I’m talking about the very first sentence of a book.

Whether in the prologue or the first chapter, a first sentence should catch the reader’s attention. Yeah, yeah…most readers give us an entire page before they’re putting the book back on the shelf, but……

…what if one sentence was all you had?

For the sake of ‘research’, my sister, Elizabeth, and I took a trip to Barnes and Noble this week. We spent around 3 hours perusing through several different genres.

Based on the covers – since we know that a lot of readers tend to pick up or ignore books based on their covers – we methodically picked 4 books from each genre and wrote down their first sentence (some were covers we liked, others not so much). We even made it a point to not read the back cover blurbs until after we read the first sentence (I know, a little backwards, but a lot of fun).

So let’s take a look at these first sentences, shall we?

There were 28 books in total, but I’ll shave it down to 14 for you:

*Note: Each first sentence will be followed by the first comment that was made by either Elizabeth or myself.


“Blue planet Earth and its seven billion beings lay 440,000 kilometers below – or, given the arbitrary terminology of orientation in space, off to one side.” Heaven’s Shadow by David S. Goyer & Michael Cassutt
*”A little too science-ey for me, but alright. I think you may have me a bit longer.” – Me

“Francesca Thayer sat at her desk until the figures started to blur before her eyes.”44 Charles Street by Danielle Steele
*”I’ve done that before.” – Elizabeth

“”You’re my lucky piece,” Grandma says.” The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow
*”Hmmmm…..I need more on that one.” – Me

”Graf Milieu, my fiancé, stands in the sunlight filtering through sheers of the bedroom window.”Bones of a Feather by Carolyn Haines
*”Oooookay……” – Elizabeth

“We came home because we were failures.” The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
*Me: “Is she writing about us?” Elizabeth: “It sounds like it, huh?”

“Jack Holloway set the skimmer to HOVER, swiveled his seat around, and looked at Carl.” – Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
*silence….more silence…. *Elizabeth closes the book and silently puts it back on the shelf*

“I’ll say one thing about walking around with a rubber band up your asscrack – it helps you train for torture.”The Deadliest Bite by Jennifer Rardin
*”Amen to that….wait – what torture?” – Me

“My life fell apart when I was sixteen.” Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
*”More please.” – Elizabeth

“Only three people were left under the red and white awning of the grease joint: Grady, me and the fry cook.”Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
*”I wanna know what you were doing there.” – Me

“Everyone has a secret.”The Tudor Secret by C.W. Gortner
*”And I wanna know yours.” – Me

“I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.”Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
*”That sounds interesting…..” – Elizabeth

“Jimmy Cornett, the leader of Black Briar, paced the length of the room, eleven strides before turning and making the return trip.” Honeyed Words by J.A. Pitts
*”Uh-oh….it’s the second book in a series and I don’t know who Jimmy is.” – Me

“French is a sexy language.”The Whole Package by Cynthia Ellingsen
*”Yes it is!” – Elizabeth

“The shovel has to meet certain requirements.” Bad Things Happen by Harry Doland
*”I must know more.” – Me

**BONUS FIRST SENTENCE**

“I am Josephine Darly, and I intend to live forever.”Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
*”Now THAT is awesome….it’s the first sentence and literally the first chapter.” – Me

**Note: These were our opinions as readers. They’re not intended to offend any of the wonderful authors or their work.

I bet you can guess which books I *may* have walked out with that night or added to my TBR list, huh?

Bottom line:

First sentences are important. There was a chance for me, as a reader, to buy – or add to my TBR list – 28 books. Instead, I only decided upon 15. It makes me wonder if some of those first sentences that failed to intrigue were the original first sentences that kicked off the first draft?

HOWEVER…..

Just because there’s a great first sentence, doesn’t mean the book lives up to its intriguing promise. This means that as writers we should:

  • Concentrate on finishing the story and editing and polishing it up FIRST.
  • Once the story’s written: Put it on a shelf for a bit then you can go forth and do some editing. Sometime during the editing process, first lines will flow through your brain. I can almost guarantee it! At times, the first sentence will come to you the moment you finished the first draft!
  • Take the idea of your first sentence and sit on it for a few days. If several possibilities popped into your head, write them all down then come back to them every once in a while over the course of a few days. Remember: the best possible first sentence for your story takes time. Let is stew while you enjoy a new book or something.
    • Why do that? Because you want to make sure you don’t fly a bunch of people over to Jurassic Park and promise they’ll *see* dinosaurs only to either have the exhibits pull a no-show on you or have your guests eaten alive by the carnivores. You want a happy medium in your first sentence that will entice and deliver.
  • Take that fabulously awesome first sentence and build it into the beginning of your MS. Re-work the first chapter if needed. Re-writing is *almost* as fun as writing that first draft (for me it’s a little more fun than editing also).

And the research continues……


Giveaway Details:

I will be giving away 2 books this week. One has a great first sentence and lived up to its promise. The other didn’t have *too* great of a first sentence, but the story completely blew me away and left me craving more – and ton of other readers felt the same throughout the world:

Marked (House of Night Series #1) by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Marked (House of Night Series #1) by P. C. Cast: Book Cover 
&
The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Series #1) by Suzanne Collins: Book Cover

 

How to Enter:

Crack open a book on your shelf – doesn’t matter if you’ve read it or not – and leave a comment that includes the title, author, the first sentence of that book, your name and your email address.

Then, answer one of the following questions ß Remember, this is for research 🙂


1. How important is the first sentence to you?

2. Does your purchasing a book hinge on that first sentence OR is it a combo of the back cover blurb and the first sentence (or the first page)?

3. If you’re a writer, what is your process for writing and/or selecting the perfect first sentence?

Get your comments entered by 8pm on Wednesday, August 17th …..please 🙂

*You must have at least listed a book title, the author, the first sentence and your email address in order to be entered. You can also specify which book you would *prefer* to receive. 

Two winners will be selected by drawing names out of a hat – yeah, we’re goin’ old school on this one – and announced in next Thursday’s post (8/18/11).
**Contest is open for US residents only**


Happy Reading and Writing Everyone!!!!

Melinda

And The Winner Is…..

 

As most of you know, on Monday, I posted a review of Chosen by Blood by Virna DePaul, and held an author giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card.

So, without further ado: per Random.org, the winner is ….

Danielle W.

Congratulations, Danielle!!!

 

Thank you again to everyone who participated! I had so much fun hosting a giveaway, so keep your eyes open for more in the near future! Winking smile

Also, don’t forget to check out my Song of the Week: Over and Out by Alkaline Trio.

Happy Reading!

Melinda

Review & Author Giveaway!! Chosen by Blood by Virna DePaul

Chosen by Blod
Chosen by Blood by Virna DePaul
Pub. Date:  May 3, 2011
Published by: Berkley
Format: E-book, 310 pages
Synopsis from Virna DePaul’s Website

Synopsis

United by fate. Bound by desire.

Five years after the Second Civil War ends, humans and otherborn – humanlike creatures with superhuman DNA – still struggle for peace. To ensure the continued rights of both, the FBI forms a Para-Ops team with a unique set of skills.

CHOSEN BY BLOOD

Leader of an Otherborn clan, half-breed vampire Knox Devereaux would do anything to find a cure for the anti-vamp vaccine slowly starving his people into extinction. When the FBI contacts him about leading a team of hand-selected Others on a mission to reclaim the stolen antidote, Knox accepts. His new assignment places him in direct contact with Special Agent Felicia Locke, the beautiful human he’s craved since their very first meeting.


Review
“Every human and Otherborn for himself.”

Chosen by Blood, the first book in the Para-Ops series, opened quite shockingly. After reading the prologue, I could tell that the romance in this book was not going to be ‘generic’. Knox Devereaux and Felicia Locke open this world with such intensity, that it’s hard not to overlook the circumstances surrounding them. When these two first met, they literally knew they were soul mates. But, between them stood Felicia’s best friend –  and Knox’s wife – Noella. Forbidden love? Yes. Typical? No.

A few years later, Knox steps right back into Felicia’s life as the half-born leader of an Otherborn vampire clan. After the humans created a vaccine that keeps their blood from nourishing the vampires, Knox’s mother, Bianca, had to step down from her role as the Vampire Queen due to the weakness her body has suffered. As a dharmire, Knox’s human blood kept his body strong, unlike the full-blooded vampires in his clan.

Given the opportunity by the FBI to save his clan by securing an antidote to the vaccine, Knox agrees to lead the Para-Ops team, but under a few conditions. One in particular in regards to Special Agent Felicia Locke – the woman of his heart that has been avoiding him like the plague even though her best friend no longer truly stands between them, and her feelings ran just as deep for him.

Against Knox’s wishes, Felicia joins the team. As a human, she stands along-side an absolutely wonderful cast of characters, known as the FBI’s Para-Ops Team: Dex Hunt, a bad-ass werebeast, Wraith, a ghost, Lucy, a powerful mage, and Caleb O’Flare, a fearless mountain-climbing, human-psychic medic.

Immediately after being introduced to these individuals, I could tell this diverse group was going to be fun to watch. Most of them are not too happy with working for the FBI, which is why they were baited with something that they each desperately wanted or needed. But eventually, they begin to grow on one another – even Felicia begins to let down her wall that has kept her feelings for Knox at bay all these years.

As the discovery and location of the antidote, and a hidden agenda is uncovered, the individual relationships between the Para-Ops team members grows by leaps and bounds – none more so  than that of Felicia and Knox (though Caleb O’Flare and Wraith begin to have you wondering).

I started reading Chosen by Blood knowing that it most definitely was a romance, but I soon discovered that this particular romance was only the beginning in a strong series set in a world that was built beautifully by Ms. DePaul. Every character has been fleshed out among the pages exceedingly well, and every detail made this book extremely interesting and the wonderful flow kept me enthralled so I couldn’t miss a single one of those details.

While Ms. DePaul closed Chosen by Blood in a manner where it ‘could’ be a stand-alone novel, she did leave a few loose ends open for future books. Those loose ends are exactly what has me counting the days until the next book, Chosen by Fate, is released on October 4th. And, to hold me over until then, a prequel novella, Wraith’s Awakening, is available for download from Virna DePaul’s website.

As you may know by now, any author who pulls me into their extraordinary world and keeps me immobile for hours with a need-to-know hunger for what happens next, has officially earned themselves a loyal reader. Well, I can not only say that about Ms. DePaul, but I can also say that I am now a true fan of her writing since I felt it push me further with my own.


Author Giveaway!
Ms. DePaul has graciously offered to giveaway a $10 Amazon gift card to one commenter!
How to Enter: Enter your comments on the book review below (and remember to keep them clean and respectful). Please include your email address in your comment.
Deadline: All comments made/entered by 8pm on Wednesday (6/22) will be entered to win.
The winner will be chosen via Random.org and announced on Thursday morning’s blog post.

Good Luck & Happy Reading Everyone! Open-mouthed smile