Archive for May, 2014

Finis

Literature | Posted by Shannon
May 29 2014

After years of writing and editing, months of graphic designing and formatting and printing …

The Valley of Decision is done.

It is now available on SALT Christian Press (order now for free shipping!), and on Amazon, in both print and Kindle editions; the Goodreads giveaway ends after today, and the Prism Tour begins in less than three weeks. The adventure of this new book is beginning.


The Valley of Decision

by Shannon McDermott

SALT Christian Press
softcover; 416 pages; map

Paperback: $11.99
Kindle edition: $4.99

Where the Black Mountains pierce the sky, they divide the south from the north, Alamir from the kingdom of Belenus. Belenus, the undying master of the north, commanded Keiran – the Captain of the Hosts – to conquer Alamir. But the Captain is deep in conspiracy, and he has his own plans.

The Valley of Decision is a fantasy novel, a saga of slavery, freedom, and choices.


Praise & Endorsements for The Valley of Decision

The prose also frequently achieves a gentle cleverness … A solid fantasy that wears its spirituality lightly yet effectively.  -Kirkus Reviews

The Valley of Decision transports its readers into a fantasy world as rich and authentic as Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The novel is high fantasy with a neo-medieval setting. McDermott’s characters and storytelling are not only credible, they are totally enthralling, imaginative, and original. She has created a trio of men–Keiran, Caél, and Jarmith–who cannot possibly be any more different from the other, but they forge an alliance of friendship and championship that is then capable of delivering a host of people and other creatures from the oppressive grip of the evil Belenus. Through their struggle and battle for liberty comes the revelation that we all have to choose which master to serve. It will either be the one that steals, kills, and destroys; or else the Eternal One, who is good, restores, and can set us free. -Dr. Brenda Ayres, Director of Undergraduate Research and Creative Writing, Liberty University.

Valley of Decision is a masterful tale of fantasy, friendship, and redemption. It is sure to inspire as well as entertain all those who read it. ~ Sarah Holman, author of Adventures and Adversities

Shannon McDermott is a promising young author who has created an intriguing story with strong plotting and character relationships. Readers who enjoy thinking below the surface of a novel will find much to think about here. Janie B. Cheaney, Sr. Writer, WORLD Magazine

Review: Samuel Adams

Book Reviews | Posted by Shannon
May 23 2014

In 1776, the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to determine what course the American colonies would take in their struggle against Britain. Some men were driving toward a declaration of independence, bold and dangerous, and others hung back. Thomas Jefferson, by appointment and at the urging of John Adams, began writing a declaration to present to the Congress.

And Samuel Adams, behind the scenes, guided the delegates to make the bold decision, war and threat of hanging and everything.

Samuel Adams, written by Amber Schamel, is the second in Remington Colt’s Revolutionary War Series. At an estimated 22 pages, Samuel Adams is a novella that takes place one morning of the Continental Congress. It also flashes back to earlier events as Adams sets forward the case for independence to reluctant delegates.

The novella contains much history, many facts, united under a framework that makes for an easy, absorbing read. Given the amount of history, it’s impressive how smoothly the story flows, how easily it all comes together. There were snatches of dialogue that left me wondering if those men of the Revolution would really have said that, but capturing the long-discarded style of the past, and still keeping it accessible to readers of the present, is a large task, especially for so brief a book.

There were a few lapses in the writing style (a few paragraphs shifted past and present tenses), and a persistent grammatical error of capitalizing dialogue tags (“Another answered.”). But Samuel Adams is still nicely-written. Moreover, it is a historical novella that captures the facts of the day, as well as Samuel Adams’ trials and his emotions. I recommend Samuel Adams to those who enjoy history and historical fiction.


I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Sweet Green Paper

Writing | Posted by Shannon
May 16 2014

This weekend, Sweet Green Paper is on a Kindle Countdown sale. It will be 99 cents – 67% off its list price – through Sunday. Then it will go up to $1.99 for another three days, and finally will revert back to its list price on May 22.

Sweet Green Paper is an Adventure of Christian Holmes, a humorous detective series. Excerpts are available on Amazon and on Goodreads.


Sweet Green Paper (An Adventure of Christian Holmes)
by Shannon McDermott

This was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I like mysteries, and I loved the interactions between the characters. I would recommend this one. – 4-star Amazon review

Christian Holmes is on the trail of a thief. It’s another day in the life of his private detective agency—until he’s shown a picture of the thief’s accomplice, and recognizes his own cousin.

So he partners with his cousin in pursuit of a thief and the more elusive truth. All sorts of lies are told, when the reward is sweet green paper.

Christian Holmes is a detective series, offering humor and moral themes.

Review: Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset

Book Reviews, Uncategorized | Posted by Shannon
May 13 2014

In Aerisia, the land beyond the sunset, there are beautiful fairies, immortal warriors, and the magic-wielding Moonkind. There are thick forests, lovely palaces, and tall mountains.

And there are the Dark Powers, the Evil.

When Hannah Winters is suddenly spirited away from Earth into Aerisia, her hosts graciously but implacably assign her her destiny: to become the Artan, their deliverer.

Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset is written by Sarah Ashwood and published by Griffineus Press, the first of a trilogy. The world-building of this novel is impressive – a collection of races, each distinctive and compelling, a rich mythology, and a fascinating history. An attention to detail completes the land of Aerisia as a wholly different world.

As the first book in a trilogy, Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset is devoted to establishing its strange, new world, with all its peoples and history. The plot moves somewhat gradually on account of this. With all the space devoted to world-building, it’s a curious omission that the story never elaborates on the Dark Powers. We see them in action three or four times before the climax, but as readers we have little notion who they are and what they want. It’s hard to discern what the threat to Aerisia really is. They need a deliverer, but from what? As far as we can see, and except for a few targeted attacks, everything in Aerisia is great.

I think this neglect to develop the Dark Powers is the novel’s primary flaw. Hannah’s character arc may be frustrating to some readers (she mostly reacts, and when she does act, it’s usually foolish), but it is a real and believable journey, as she progresses from a frightened, angry young woman to … something more, maybe even the Artan.

Although this was not the author’s fault, there was an unusual number of typos. It wasn’t too bad, but it was enough to be noticeable. (Typos are hard to clean out, and you need at least two thorough edits besides the author’s.)

Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset is a rich fantasy with memorable characters, an intriguing mythology, and a fresh romance. Recommended to those who enjoy intricate world-building, fantasy creatures, and romance.


I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Prism Tours Launch Blitz: The Blink Tour

Misc. | Posted by Shannon
May 12 2014

Zondervan’s YA Imprint Blink launches…

The Blink Tour!

Each stop on the five-city tour will feature a combination of seven prolific YA authors, including Golden Heart finalist Carey Corp and HonestlyYA blogger Lorie Langdon (DOON); Christy Award finalist Lisa T. Bergren (REMNANTS); co-founder of readergirlz Lorie Ann Grover (FIRSTBORN); Robert Treskillard (THE MERLIN SPIRAL series); Christy Award winner Jill Williamson (THE SAFE LANDS series); and Jonathan Friesen (AQUIFER), whose first YA novel Jerk, California received the ALA Schneider Award.

Events will feature a reading and Q&A, tons of swag up for grabs, and even bigger prizes to win in the grand prize giveaway at every stop.

Can’t make it in person?
Meet the authors on the virtual Prism Tour!
Enter to win copies of each featured book…

Sunday, May 11 – Tour Launch Blitz
Contact PrismBookTours@gmail.com to share this post!

Monday, May 12
– Tressa @
Tressa’s Wishful Endings: Lorie Langdon & Carey Corp: Doon (Doon #1)

Tuesday, May 13
– Meet the authors in person at School Events in the Atlanta Area
– Kathy @
I Am A Reader: Lisa Tawn Bergren: Season of Wonder (Remnants #1)

Wednesday, May 14
– 6:00 pm at THE BOOKSELLERS AT LAURELWOOD, 387 Perkins Road Extended, Memphis, TN 38117. Robert Treskillard, Lorie Anne Grover , Jonathan Freisen
– Amber @
The Wonderings of One Person: Robert Treskillard The Merlin Spiral Series: Merlin’s Blade, Merlin’s Shadow, Merlin’s Nightmare


Thursday, May 15
– 7:00 – 9:00 pm at SALT LAKE CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY, 210 East 400 South, Conference Room A, Salt Lake City, UT 84111. Lorie Ann Grover, Jill Williamson, Jonathan Freisen, Lisa T. Bergren
– Bonnie @
A Backwards Story: Lorie Ann Grover: Firstborn

Friday, May 16
– School Events in the Phoenix Area
– Laura @
Colorimetry: Jill Williamson: The Safe Lands Series: Captives & Outcasts

Saturday, May 17
– 4:00 pm at CHANGING HANDS, 6428 S McClintock Drive, Tempe, AZ 85283. Lorie Ann Grover, Jill Williamson, Jonathan Freisen, Lisa T. Bergren.

Sunday, May 18
– Lisa @
Bookworm Lisa: Jonathan Friesen: Aquifer

About Blink: Blink brings true stories and fiction to YA readers. The literature published by Blink is a positive reflection of what is inspiring and heartening while maintaining a tradition of imaginative and exciting storytelling that will bring readers to the edge of their seats, immerse them in a heartrending love story, or engross them in a story of a life well-lived. Readers will see themselves in all facets of Blink’s literature and will find new levels of entertainment that enrich and uplift. For more information please visit http://blinkyabooks.com/ or visit us on facebook and Twitter.

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/blinkyabooks
Tumblr: http://blinkyabooks.tumblr.com/

Tour-Wide Giveaway

May 11 – 27, 2014

Must be old enough to enter (see Rafflecopter). USA/Canada only. 6 Winners!!

Merlin’s Blade, Merlin’s Shadow, and Merlin’s Nightmare (Paperbacks)
Captives & Outcasts (Paperbacks)
Doon (Hardcover)
Firstborn (Hardcover)
Aquifer (Hardcover)
Season of Wonder (Hardcover)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Are you a blogger and want to receive information about new tours? Go HERE.
Are you an author or publisher and would like to have us organize a tour event? Go HERE.

A Blog Tour and a Giveaway

Literature, Writing | Posted by Shannon
May 06 2014

With the release of The Valley of Decision less than four weeks away, I have two announcements regarding the book.

Prism Book Tours will be doing a themed tour of The Valley of Decision June 16-29. It will have a story-book theme, journeying through the fantasy world of The Valley of Decision. I am creating a series of guest posts to be featured by bloggers on the tour, writing about Trow and hobgoblins and Northmen. (“In the uttermost north, beyond even the kingdom of Belenus …”)

I’ve participated in Prism Tours as a blogger, and I’m excited to have a Prism Tour of my own book. You see that post directly below this one, the Grand Finale of The Weather Girl? That’s what I’m looking forward to, a virtual tour of reviews and guest posts and interviews. Any blogger who wants to jump in is welcome. Visit Prism Tours to learn the details and to sign up as a reviewer (receiving a copy of the book), or to sign up to feature a guest post or an interview.

I also have a Goodreads giveaway of The Valley of Decision running until May 30. Goodreads restricts its giveaways to its own members, but becoming a member is easy, and being one is fun. If you are interested in entering, drop by Goodreads’ Valley of Decision page; you’ll find the giveaway there.

And the release of The Valley of Decision grows closer … closer …

Prism Tour Grand Finale: The Weather Girl

Misc. | Posted by Shannon
May 05 2014

A themed tour with Prism Book Tours

It’s the GRAND FINALE for the April Showers Book Tour for
The Weather Girl by Amy Vastine

Did you enjoy getting to know more about Summer and Travis and their story?
If you missed any of the tour stops, you can go back and check them out now…

4/21 – Tour Launch – Interview
What do you hope readers will take with them when they read your book?
I hope people walk away with the idea that love doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice who you are for someone else. When you follow your heart and your dreams, everything else will fall into place.

4/22
Copywrite1985 – Weather Research
Summer tends to rattle off some pretty obscure weather facts when she’s nervous, so finding interesting tidbits took some time but made me a fan of Mother Nature. The photographs I saw while researching this story blew me away! From Texas hail the size of baseballs to lightning storms in Venezuela, there are some amazing stories out there.

Rhiannon Paille – YA Fantasy Author – Excerpt
“Summer Raines.” She left off her usual “pleasure to meet you.” She was madder than a wet hen but was determined to maintain her composure.

“Summer Raines, the weather girl,” he said with a chuckle. “That’s a good one. Who came up with that name?”

“My parents,” she replied flatly, turning her attention back to the suffering butterfly population. “And my title is meteorologist. Not weather girl.”

Angels With Attitude Book Reviews – Interview
What would you have done differently if you were the main character of your book?
Well, I have to say I love football, so I probably would have been one of those people who were fawning all over Travis in the beginning. In the book, Summer is also into lots of extreme sports. She bungee jumps out of a hot-air balloon. I can tell you I would never in a million years jump out of a perfectly good hot-air balloon if I didn’t have to. I hate the feeling that comes with free falling!

4/23
Mel’s Shelves – Review
“This is a fun, clean read!…I haven’t read a Harlequin in years, but this is now the second book I’ve read in the Harlequin Heartwarming line in the last couple of months and it won’t be the last. I love this clean line of romances and look forward to reading more!”

The Bookish Fairy – Character Description: Summer
What I love about Summer is the amazing way her brain works. She has so much information in her head related to the weather, she can spout of facts at any given time. Of course, she sometimes sees it more as a curse than a blessing. Until Travis Lockwood comes to town. Travis is the first person to show some interest in what she has to say. No wonder she falls for him – who doesn’t love a guy who actually listens to you?

4/24
Kelly P’s Blog – Interview
What are you working on right now?
I just submitted my second manuscript and am working on my third. These are two of three books I have been contracted to write for Harlequin Heartwarming . They’re part of series set in Chicago about three sisters, who each find love in the most unexpected places. THE BETTER MAN is set for release in September. THE BETTER PLAN is scheduled for February 2015 and THE BETTER FIGHT is due sometime in fall of 2015.

Getting Your Read On – Review
“There sure are plenty of bumps along the way. Like I said before, I love Travis. He is the one that made this book great for me. This was a fun, romantic read. A kick back and relax sort of book.”

Cherry Mischievous – Excerpt
“I don’t control the weather, I just predict it.” She turned her attention back to her monitor. Her soft-looking curls fell down like a curtain, shielding her face from him. He wanted to reach out and push them behind her ear so he could see those cheeks, those eyes. Her eyes really were amazing. They were big and blue like the Texas sky…

4/25
Brooke Blogs – Character Description: Travis
What I love about Travis is his pure heart. There isn’t a mean bone in this guy’s body. He’s been fortunate and lived a charmed life up until now but still has a wonderful humbleness about him. In fact, sometimes he can be darn right self-deprecating. But he’s strong physically and emotionally. Strong enough to make the tough choices when he needs to.

4/27
Tressa’s Wishful Endings – Review
“Overall, this was pretty much a perfect romance. It’s light and heavy in all the right places. There’s tension and some sweet kisses and some difficult choices that these characters had to make. It all comes together in the end and left me with that happy-ever-after feeling that I love. I would definitely recommend it to romance lovers everywhere!”

Seasons of Humility – Review
“With clever characterization, relevant conflicts, and an ending that is adorable and absolutely perfect for the story, The Weather Girl is a sunny read for a rainy day. Harlequin Heartwarming at its finest!”

4/28
Kindle and Me – Excerpt
Summer sat up on her elbows. Just then, water shot out of the in-ground sprinkler, hitting her with a force she couldn’t have expected.

They both jumped up as the entire field came to life, showering the dried-up grass and the two friends with shockingly cold water. Travis protected his camera and ran for the track. The old groundskeeper shouted at the younger man, who must have accidentally turned the system on. He was now oblivious because of the music being pumped into his ears.

Instead of running, Summer stood in the middle of the field and laughed. Once she got used to it, the cool water felt nice. She lifted her arms and tilted her face up to the sky. She closed her eyes and spun around as if dancing in the rain like when she was little…

Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – The Book Cover
Since this is an April showers book blog tour and rain makes me think of umbrellas, I thought it would be fun to talk about the cover of the book. First, you should know that Harlequin authors don’t have too much say in what their cover will look like. We provide information to the art department regarding characters, setting, and some key scenes. However, it is the talented group over there then takes that info and creates the cover art.

JRRichardson Fics – Review
“She’s perky and driven. He’s broken and sexy. And there are not many writers that can pull off giving me heart fail and swelly hearts and steamy scenes without one ounce of sex in their story. Amy is one of those who can. She doesn’t need it either. The banter between these two is just one of the things I love about it. Their tender moments as they get to know each other are another.”

4/29
Katie’s Clean Book Collection – Review
“Naturally, this was the perfect story for me. I love a clean romance that tells the tale of how two people meet and their course to falling in love. It isn’t easy; it isn’t always pleasant; there can be a lot of misunderstandings and assumptions that stand in the way. Take this sweet romance and add weather and it’s the perfect combination.”

Letters from Annie Douglass Lima – Excerpt
When they were alone and she had no menu to hide behind, Travis continued, with his dimples in full effect. “I think you’ve finally stopped hating me.”

“I never hated you. I tried to hate you, but you’re too likable.” He liked that answer. He liked that answer a lot. “I am, am I?” “Less and less by the minute.”

He wasn’t buying it. “Admit it. You like me.”

“I don’t know. You never return the things you borrow, you drive a pretentious car. The list of reasons not to like you goes on and on.”

“Your umbrella is sitting right by my front door. I never remember it because it hasn’t rained in weeks.”

“Don’t make me come get it,” she warned.

He laughed. “You aren’t as scary as you used to be, Weather Girl.”

The Written Adventure – Interview
1) What is your favorite thing about writing?
What I love most about writing is seeing an idea come to life. Sometimes the original idea is just this one scene or this one character that I love. To be able to take that one piece of the puzzle and put it all together into something rich and full is very satisfying.

4/30
Paulette’s Papers – Spring
The only thing I don’t like, that my heroine in The Weather Girl had the ability to predict thanks to a sort of sixth sense, is rain. I don’t really enjoy grey skies or wet, soggy grass. We have a dog who always finds the mud, no matter how hard we try to keep her away from it. And my weather girl may find tornados thrilling, but I only fear the damage they can do. I will admit that there are some very impressive pictures of tornados out there that I will happily look at from the safety of my computer.

Library of a Book Witch – Excerpt
“I should go inside,” Summer said for the twentieth time. She kept saying it, but never actually got out of the car. Not that he minded. He was waiting for the perfect moment to kiss her goodbye. He’d have to initiate this time, but he couldn’t help being smug that she had kissed him first, as he had predicted.

“Thanks for driving,” she said.

“You’re welcome.” He reached out and squeezed her hand, afraid they were getting close to really saying goodbye. His thumbs brushed the soft skin on the back of her hand as he tried to remind himself it would be wrong to kidnap her from her grandparents’ driveway.

“I should go,” she said again. He didn’t want her to go. He wanted to keep her forever…

5/1
The Wonderings of One Person – Top Ten Weather/Football Movies
I thought since the book is about a weather girl and a former football quarterback, it would be fun to share my list of the top ten weather-related/football movies with everyone. Maybe you’ll find something you can rent for next Friday night!

My Love for Reading Keeps Growing – Review
“This is such a sweet story of finding friendship that can turn to true love. Those are my favorite kinds of love stories. I enjoy when there is more to the relationship than the “insta” love. Travis and Summer connected as friends before they truly allowed themselves to be connected in a real relationship.”

I Am A Reader – How Amy Became an Author
I have been dabbling in writing as a hobby for about nine years. It started as a way for me to organize my thoughts and daydreams. I am a dreamer. I can entertain myself for hours by telling myself stories in my head. Music inspires me and drives a lot of the plots in there.

5/2
Lola’s Reviews – Review
“The Weather Girl is a sweet story and I really enjoyed it. Once I picked it up I didn’t want to stop reading, it was addictive and I just wanted to read more about the two awesome characters. Ir’s a sweet and heartwarming story about finding love and finding your dream.”

Deal Sharing Aunt – Excerpt
“Summer, we love you,” Mimi said, taking hold of her hands. “We want you to be happy. Tell me this job with Ryan won’t make you happy.”

“It will and it won’t.” She couldn’t ignore the way her heart ached when she imagined telling Travis about the other job. It would have been hard enough to leave her grandparents, but Summer had to go and fall in love with a man who had broken down all of her walls so effortlessly.

“Any of this indecision have to do with that mighty fine looking man who’s walking your dog with Big D right now?”

Summer shrugged, unable to speak around the lump in her throat. Maybe it had more to do with Travis than she wanted to admit.


The Weather Girl
by Amy Vastine
Clean Adult Contemporary Romance
January 1st 2014 by Harlequin


Turbulence is in their forecast.

Summer Raines knows when it’s going to rain. She can feel it. That’s why the local weather girl’s so good at her job. Too bad she couldn’t have foreseen the tumultuous arrival of Travis Lockwood, everybody’s favorite star NFL quarterback. Make that former star NFL quarterback. Sidelined back to Texas after an injury, the golden boy is trying to steal her precious on-air time. Summer is reduced to reporting from…football games. It’s enough to make her quit and become a storm-chaser like her parents. She’s stuck with a career that’s going nowhere and a man who delights in her refusal to be charmed. Falling in love isn’t nearly as easy as predicting the weather.

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Harlequin


Amy Vastine has been plotting stories in her head for as long as she can remember. An eternal optimist, she studied social work, hoping to teach others how to find their silver lining. Now, she enjoys creating happily ever afters for all to read.

In September of 2012, she saw a tweet about Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest. She entered, hoping for nothing more than a little feedback from some people in the business. Amazingly, The Weather Girl made it into the semi-finals, thanks to the many wonderful voters out there! The manuscript didn’t make it to the finals, but the editors over Harlequin were still interested. A few revisions later and The Weather Girl was contacted for publication with Harlequin Heartwarming – a dream come true!

Amy lives outside Chicago with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, three fun-loving children, and their sweet but mischievous puppy dog.

Website * Goodreads * Facebook * Twitter

Tour-Wide Giveaway

– Grand Prize: $25 Amazon gift card, red umbrella, signed copy of THE WEATHER GIRL, umbrella bookmark, and decorative box (US Only)
– 5 ebooks of The Weather Girl (INT)
– April 21 – May 11

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Are you a blogger and want to receive information about new tours? Go HERE.
Are you an author or publisher and would like to have us organize a tour event? Go HERE.