Friday, April 26, 2013

Chapter 4 - The Plan

Last week you saw the amazing cover for Book 1 of the Forest People, Chameleon: The Awakening. Next week you will get to see the cover for Book 2, Chameleon: The Choosing.  Again, done by wonderful cover artist Christy Caughie at Gilded Hearts Design. These first two books in the series will be released on May 30th. 

For this week I've posted the next chapter in the book, Chapter 4--The Plan.  Camryn is planning to leave Starlight Center, but it won't be easy.

f you are just finding this blog, you may want to go back and read the book from the start. Here are links to each posting. These sample chapters are from the eARC, which means it is an uncorrected copy.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Chameleon Cover Reveal and Chapter 3 - Sweet Sixteen Available

Hooray! Ta Da!  My book cover for the first Chameleon Book is now done.  Special thanks go out to amazing cover artist, Christy Caughie at Gilded Heart Design.

It's time for Chapter 3. Like last week I'm posting it in it's entirety, instead of dividing it into two parts.  Several people have written me privately and said they prefer reading an entire chapter instead of ten pages at a time.  So that will be the way I post future chapters as well.

If you are just finding this blog, you may want to go back and read the book from the start. Here are links to each posting. These sample chapters are from the eARC, which means it is an uncorrected copy.

Chapter 4 will be posted the end of next week.

Review Copies Are Gone
The 50 review copies Windtree Press provided for me to give directly to readers of this blog and my Facebook page have now been assigned, so there are no more eARCs to giveaway at this time. Thank you to everyone who signed up! You will be getting an email from NetGalley in early May describing how to download your copy.  I'm really looking forward to reading your reviews.

Other Giveaway Opportunities
I will be doing a giveaway of three print books of both Book 1 and Book 2 on GoodReads in May and June. Watch my FB page for when that is posted.

I'll also be doing a pre-release blog tour with Beyond Words Book Tours in mid-May which will include a giveaway of the special necklace Camryn wears in the book AND a coupon to each commenter to purchase eBook 1 and eBook 2 for only 99 cents each.  That is quite a deal considering the regular ebook price is $4.50 each. Sorry, no discounts on the print book. :(

The necklace is pewter (see the picture) and comes with a leather thong, instead of a chain, and a scroll describing the meaning of this magical owl. You'll learn about this necklace in the chapter posted today. The owl is a special spirit animal for Camryn which serves as a warning and guiding spirit.

Now, enjoy Chapter 3!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Good and Evil in All of Us

Whenever I see/hear headlines like what happened at the Boston marathon, it takes me back to every other time some horrible evil has become a part of my consciousness--times where it appears that evil won that day.  I have to admit, I don't understand it. I don't understand what kind of darkness comes upon a person's soul to make them believe that killing others is helpful.  They must believe it is helpful, right? Why else would you do it except to change the world into a better place for yourself or those you love? What darkness must make killing "good" in someone's mind? Does a person put on evil one day, like a coat that protects them from even worse elements in their life? And when the deed is done, does the coat come off and good is returned for some period of time? Even if one is "redeemed" but whatever method (spiritual, legal, societal acceptance) does the evil of that coat stick to you -- forever calling your name to return to its warmth?

Writers and storytellers have been attempting to explain this tug-of-war between good and evil from the dawn of mankind. Stories of how the earth was formed often has that tug-of-war of violence and calm. Stories of the gods in every mythos tells of the struggles between good and evil. From the Bible to the latest fantasies, like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, stories provide us a common basis for that constant struggle--whether it is beyond our world and power and the struggle within each of us.

Some believe that we need both good and evil in the world to achieve balance. The rationale is that without evil, we wouldn't know what good is. I don't personally believe that. I would be perfectly fine with a world that only knew good.  Everyday I wake to that world of good. Everyday I try to create that world of good in some small way so that when I go to bed, I can wake to it again. But even wearing my best pair of rose-colored glasses I can't stop the evil from knocking on my consciousness.

In my undergraduate college years, I took a class from a Catholic priest that explored the potential for evil in each of us. It was centered around the holocaust and the culpability of not only the German people but the culpability of people in every nation. We talked about the seemingly smallest decision to ignore your neighbors being ousted from their homes and marched away "for the good of the country" (look at what happened to the Japanese in our own country, or to the Native Americans before then) to the larger decisions of politics and isolationism that chooses to ignore what is happening in other places.  It is not coincidence that the words "ignore" and "ignorance" come from the same root-- a Latin word "ignosco", meaning "not know."  The difference is one of choice. In The Handmaids Tale Margaret Atwood put it best: "Ignoring isn't the same as ignorance, you have to work at it."

That college class deeply impacted me. I wish I could say I came away from that class confidently knowing I would have been like the family who harbored the Franks. But that isn't what happened. Instead, I realized I could have been one of those people who ignored what was going on. I could have been one of those people who at worst allowed fear for my safety to rule my decisions; or at best put the onus for my decisions on some authority figure to keep me one-stepped removed from the burning consequences. Believe me, that is not a comfortable realization about oneself.

As I've become older and been faced with many examples of evil in the world, both in politics and closer to me and my work, I've often been faced with difficult choices. I've come to believe that understanding my own ability to do both the good and evil and my own ability to make a conscious choice for good is the only way to fight evil in the end. Ignorance is NOT bliss. Ignoring does NOT erase my culpability. If I can choose good in the small things every day, that practice will stand me in good stead when I am faced with a larger evil and have to stand up to it. That practice will make it easier for me to make the right choice if I ever have a horrific choice to make one day. I hope that day never comes, that test like the holocaust or that test where I have to choose between my safety and the safety of someone else. I believe that now my answer would be different than it was in college.But I won't know for sure until the day comes.

In the meantime, the only way I can deal with the evil like that of the Boston marathon, or the world trade center, or shootings in a mall or a theater, or reading about a parent killing her child, her husband, and then herself, is to continue to make a personal choice for good.  If each of us does that, I have to believe good will win in the end. I have to believe that constant practice prepares us for the ultimate fight of our lives.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

RETURN by Charity Santiago

Today I am featuring a new YA Fantasy author.   I've become particularly addicted to YA books in the last three years because they tend to push the boundaries of cross-genre writing more frequently than adult books. I also love the drama. :)

The book I'm reviewing here is the first book in a trilogy by Charity Santiago.  The good news is she already has the other two books out--Regret and Redemption, so you don't have to wait for them. So, if you like this one, you can get all three right away.  

I love authors who are clever and title their books similarly, yet stay with the theme.  I also LOVE the cover of Return. The heroine looks like someone who can definitely kick-butt on her own. :)


For the last three years, eighteen-year-old Ashlyn Li has been running from her destiny. A free-spirited ninja, Ashlyn would rather loot an abandoned city or challenge a fiend to battle than assume leadership of Toryn, her father's kingdom. However, when a series of attacks reunites Ashlyn with the friends who helped her save the sun three years ago, she discovers that her kingdom is at war and her father has presumed her dead.

Suddenly Ashlyn is faced with not only fulfilling her birthright, but also making sense of her feelings towards two very different men- Drake Lockhart, the enigmatic vampire who captured her heart three years ago, and Vargo, the charismatic assassin who was once Ashlyn's sworn enemy.

Will Ashlyn ascend the pagoda and become Lady of Toryn?


Ashlyn frowned, trying hard to focus. "I only asked you to start thinking of yourself as a man,         Drake, instead of a monster. That's hardly the same thing."
"I'm asking you to think of yourself as a leader," he said. "You've spent so long running from responsibility that you think yourself incapable of fulfilling your birthright."
"We haven't seen each other in three years. You don't know what I'm capable of-- I don't even know what I'm capable of."
He grabbed her hand, abruptly, and brought it up to his chest. Through the cloth of his shirt, his skin was warm to the touch, and Ashlyn let him press her hand against the solidness of his shoulder, confused as to what he was doing.
"This," he said, his voice low, "is where I was struck by Devlyn's sword."
After a moment, he slid her hand lower, until it was resting directly above his heart. Ashlyn paused, entranced by the lack of a pulse beneath her fingers, the scent of him filling her senses and enveloping her like the rain against the roof.
"This," Drake said. "This is where I would have been struck, if you had not deflected the blow."
She met his gaze, breathing so hard that she felt light-headed. His eyes bored into hers, piercing her straight to her soul.
"I know what you are capable of, Ashlyn," he said. "I know better than anyone."

My Review

Note: This review is also posted at my Maggie's Meandering blog
First, I have to say that Ashlyn Li is a great character. I loved that she wasn't the typical girl--she's Asian and a ninja.  Second I loved her combination of snark and caring. It's pretty hard to write that type of character, and I think Ms. Santiago pulls it off. 

For the most part I enjoyed this book.  In the beginning, I had a love/hate relationship. I was drawn in by Ashlyn, the heroine of the story, and her immediate willingness to take responsibility for a war that started in her self-imposed absence.  I liked her lets-go-get-them-and-make-things-right attitude.  I also really loved Skye's down-to-earth and often profuond advice. On the other hand, I was frustrated with the two setups of the story that were too pat: 1) She didn't pursue a relationship with Drake because of a perceived slight when he smiled at another girl three years ago; and 2) Accepting responsibility for a war that occurred when she was gone--as if she had any control over that.  Also, in the first 20 pages or so I had some problems with the passive voice, a lot of telling to bring the reader up to speed on the background, and some missed editing.

However, after those first 20 pages or so, the character of Ashlyn made me forget those things as her combination of wit, caring, and youthful exuberance propelled her forward to right all wrongs. Like many young people, Ashlyn is very focused and when it comes to saving her kingdom, she is not going to stop until she's accomplished that. Being a ninja has always been her calling. Not only is she proud of it, but she is very good at fighting and killing if need be. It was her three year absence from her kingdom that set up the situation where it was taken over by the bad guy.

Once the reader is brought up to speed on the background, the book becomes non-stop action. There’s a definite love triangle with Drake and Vargo. I won't tell you who I like best, it is up to you to choose. Personally, I would have liked a little more relationship development but I can't complain about the page turning action.  I am definitely going to pick up the next two books in the series so I can see what happens to Ashlyn and her friends.

 This book is available for only 99 cents at Amazon. 
If the blurb, excerpt, and review sound good to you, run and take advantage of such a good deal.  The other two books are $2.99. So still a nice price.


In February 2011, Charity Santiago's 7-month old son was admitted to the hospital with severe respiratory issues. While Charity stayed at his bedside, she kept them both entertained by downloading several books on her new Kindle and reading them out loud. It was during this time that Charity learned about Kindle's self-publishing program, and realized that she had an opportunity to share her writings with the world.

Charity is a native of southeastern Arizona, and a writer since childhood. She wrote her first manuscript, Guinea Pig Code!, at age nine. When she’s not writing books, Charity spends her time wrangling children, watching Sylvester Stallone movies and pursuing a degree in Education.

Contact Charity on the Web: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads 

* * * Giveaway * * *

Charity will be awarding one $10 Amazon gift card for a random commenter. She is also awarding a Grand Prize: winner's choice of any mini gift basket from (a $24.99 value).  All I can say is Yum Yum!!! 

Follow the Rest of the Tour

Remember, the more you comment on other blogs on the tour the better your chances of winning the prize.  Here are all the stops. Check out the one's before me and after me to learn more about Charity and her trilogy.
Tour Schedule

 4/1/2013 Unabridged Andra
4/2/2013 Beyond My Writing Space
4/3/2013 Margay Leah Justice
4/4/2013 Sue Perkins Author
4/5/2013 Straight from the Library
4/8/2013 Long and Short Reviews
4/9/2013 Racing To Read
4/10/2013 Maggie's Meanderings (You are Here!)
 and Stop 2 Maggie Faire YA
4/11/2013 Books in the Hall
4/12/2013 Let's Get BOOKED!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Chapter 2

This week I'm posting all of Chapter 2 at once, instead of dividing it into two parts.  The past two weeks and this coming week have been pretty crazy for me, both for writing deadlines and a death in my family. I'm not sure with all that is scheduled this coming week that I'll be able to get back and post again.  So enjoy!

If you are just finding this blog, you may want to go back and read  the Prologue , the the first half of Chapter 1. and the second half of Chapter 1 before tackling Chapter 2.

Chapter 3 will be released the third week of April. 

If you are interested in receiving a free advanced reading copy of the book and will post an honest review, please contact me at my email, maggie AT maggiefaire DOT com. In late April, Windtree Press will be sending out at least 50 review copies to readers and bloggers.

As always I love hearing from you.  If you prefer getting entire chapters at once instead of having them broken up. Let me know.