Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Trial by Fire Virtual Book Tour

Trial by Fire
Covencraft Book One
Margarita Gakis

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
Publisher: Fable Press

Date of Publication:  6/25/2013
ISBN: 978-1-939897-03-9

Number of pages: 325
Word Count:  84,000

Cover Artist: Steven Novak

Book Description:

Jade leads a structured life:

Routine job.

Caffeine addiction.

No serious relationships.

And now, she can spontaneously set things on fire with her mind.

Well... perhaps “normal” was never in the cards for her. As she questions her own sanity and spirals out of control, a man appears on her doorstep and tells her that, like him, she’s a witch.

Pulled in all directions, her unbridled magic draws dangerous attention and Jade wonders if she’s made the worst mistake of her life by joining a coven, or if she’ll even live long enough to regret it.

Excerpt from Trial By Fire (Covencraft #1) by Margarita Gakis, available at Amazon.

Jade shrugged and looked around the medical area.
“I sent Callie home. Your testing is next and it’s best to have no other witches about when it occurs.” Paris answered her unspoken question.
“What about you guys?” Jade asked, gesturing to the doctor and the coven leader.
“Oh, I’m not a witch,” Dr. Gellar said. “I just work for the Coven.”
Jade looked at Paris as he spoke. “Part of the test involves your power being tested against another witch. I’ll be testing your power with mine.” He smiled benignly at her.
“Is it going to be like the other night, when you were trying to kill my fire?” she asked, wary. Thinking about the sick, heavy feeling that had permeated her chest and stomach made Jade wrinkle her nose in distaste. Paris made a waffling motion with his head and looked uncertain.
“Possibly,” he admitted.
At least he’s honest, she thought.
Dr. Gellar motioned Jade over to one of the chairs in the public area. “If you would like to have a seat over there, we can begin your power testing. I’m going to attach some electrodes to your head, neck and a few of your fingertips and then we can begin.”
The room was silent as the doctor connected Jade to the monitoring equipment. Jade released her hair from her ponytail and shook it out, knowing it was probably in a huge halo around her head. She wasn’t one of those women who could take their hair down and have it look like she stepped from the pages of a magazine. Out of the ponytail, her hair curved along a huge wave from where the elastic sat. It puffed from her head like a lion’s mane. Gellar clipped more sensors to Jade’s fingertips, and put a few on the side of her neck. Jade tugged at a few of the electrodes and poked at the machine they were attached to until Dr. Gellar rolled it out of her reach.
“Try to remain still, Jade,” the doctor admonished.
Jade snatched her hand away and leaned back in her seat, tapping her foot on the marble floor.
“Completely still,” Dr. Gellar said without even looking over at her.
Feeling churlish, Jade stuck her tongue out at her and then felt like an idiot for doing it, but it was too late. She slunk lower in her seat.
“Okay,” Dr. Gellar said as she made one final adjustment to the machine, “now we can begin. Paris tells me that you’ve already been able to generate fire?”
“I want you to try again now.”
Jade held her hand out at elbow level and immediately a blue flame appeared in the center of it. Eyes wide, the doctor tilted her head sharply at Jade’s palm and then glanced at Paris.
“I know,” he said. “She has a knack for that one.”
Dr. Gellar raised her eyebrows but didn’t say anything as she made a few notes on a clipboard. Jade craned her head over to the side to see if she could read it but it was too far away.
The doctor returned her attention to Jade. “Can you extinguish it?”
As soon as she was done asking the question, the flame winked out with an audible puff. Dr. Gellar made additional notes.
“And bring it back.”
The flame sprung up in front of Jade again, only this time, she didn’t even raise her hand. The flame just floated softly in front of her at chest height.
“Jade, would you be able to change its shape?” asked Paris.
She shrugged. “I guess.”
Thinking about the tiny flame caused it to dance a bit and she could feel the shape of it in her brain. She pulled at it, twisting it, getting a feel for it and then stretched it out and shaped it. She thought about a triangle and then discarded that idea immediately for a pyramid. The flame flickered into a flat triangle and then quickly folded in on itself and settled as a pyramid, keeping up with her thoughts. She rubbed her fingertips together and, feeling a rough edge along one of her cuticles, turned her focus away from the flame in front of her and looked down at her nail. When she glanced back up at the pyramid, it was rotating lazily in front of her, like a gyroscope, in three dimensions. She looked over at Dr. Gellar who was staring from Jade to the flame to the machines with interest.
“Anything else?” Jade asked.
Dr. Gellar came to stand in front of her. “You can extinguish your fire again, Jade.” As it dissipated, she held out both hands toward Jade, a small object in each. Her right hand held a tiger eye stone, the left held a small gold coin.
“One of these objects has been charmed.” Dr. Gellar stated plainly. “Can you tell which one?”
Jade looked at the items in the doctor’s hands and although she didn’t know why, she immediately pointed at the coin. Surprising herself, she raised her eyes to the doctor, who nodded and put the stone in her pocket.
She handed the coin to Jade. “What can you tell me about this?”
Jade took the coin and turned it over in her fingers. The top of her knuckles tingled slightly. She rested the coin on the top of her fingers, in the soft skin between her pinky and ring finger. The coin rolled easily from knuckle to knuckle, flipping itself over. She moved her fingers slightly, letting the coin flip itself over, running back and forth across the top of her hand.
“It was charmed so it won’t fall off,” she stared down at the flickering gold. Then, turning to Paris, she asked, “How do I know that?”
“Magic lingers, gives off an energy,” he said as though it was a response she would fully understand.


About the Author:

Margarita loves the art, creativity and romanticism of storytelling. Sometimes, however, the act of putting pen to paper proves challenging, elusive. She develops genuine, relatable characters which grow in the hearts of her readers. From that foundation, the stories flourish into a warm friend.

She enjoys pursuits which blur the lines between the analytical and creative sides of her brain. This includes her day job in electronic data management, where she uses her creativity to solve logical problems, and also her lessons learning to play the cello, where she finds beauty in the structure of music and the instrument. She believes there is a place for both logic and imagination to work together. When they do, the results are magical.

Margarita has a special spot in her heart for dogs and lives with three of them. It can be a little overwhelming but the quality snuggle time makes up for it.

Margarita lives in Calgary, Alberta with her family.

Twitter:  @margaritagakis

 Tourwide giveaway: 5 Kindle copies of Trial by Fire! Follow the blog and fill out the form below.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Box Office Poison by Phillipa Bornikova

A fresh, original blend of urban fantasy, legal thriller, and workplace drama—with a heroine you won’t soon forget!
BOX OFFICE POISON by Phillipa Bornikova

“Bornikova accurately depicts Hollywood with warmth and wit, her puzzles will keep readers guessing until the end, and she tops it off with a smart, sassy heroine
willing to poke and prod those more powerful than she. Refreshingly different, intriguing and involving:
A sequel that’s even better than the splendid opener.”
-Kirkus Reviews, starred review for BOX OFFICE POISON

“The feisty and indomitable Linnet Ellery is back, and her second outing is a well-plotted, continuously intriguing story that delivers on every level.
Bornikova excels at blending the paranormal elements of her stories with the mundane realities of daily life and workplace politics, making a world that’s
instantly recognizable and delightfully dark and complex. The chemistry between her main characters and the continued hints about
Linnet’s secrets heighten the anticipation for the evolution of this series even before the final page.”
-RT Book Reviews for BOX OFFICE POISON

“..lots of fun, and I’m looking forward to finding out more about Linnet and her world.”  
-Locus Magazine for BOX OFFICE POISON

Author: Phillipa Bornikova
$24.99 / 320 pages

What happens when exquisitely beautiful elves start getting all the roles in Hollywood? Human actors sue, that’s what and the Halls of Power have to step in. In Phillipa Bornikova’s BOX OFFICEPOISON (A Tor Hardcover; On Sale August 6, 2013; $24.99), law, finance, the military, and politics are under the sway of long-lived vampires, werewolves, and the elven Alfar. In a desperate attempt to keep the squabbling inside the Screen Actors Guild from going public, the president of SAG forces the two sides into arbitration.

Enter Linnet Ellery, a human lawyer working for a vampire law firm, to serve as arbitrator. Linnet discovers that there are sinister forces at work in Tinsel Town determined to shatter the fragile peace between elves, vampires, werewolves, and humans. To complicate matters, it seems that something has been coercing famous elven actors into committing sudden and terrible acts of violence that they claim to have no memory of.

During the course of her investigations Linnet realizes that a puzzling secret surrounds her, and that a strange power has been affecting the very course of her life. . . .

A new flavor of urban fantasy, BOX OFFICE POISON is a legal thriller plus supernatural action, with a clever and gutsy heroine you will cheer for as she uses the power of the law and her personal sense of justice to save the day.

PHILLIPA BORNIKOVA has been the story editor of a major network television series, a horse trainer, and an oil-company executive. She lives in the Southwest.

Picking up this book on my first day of vacation is like a breath of fresh air. Box Office Poison is a book you fall into and the rest of the world falls away. Urban fantasy is one of my favorite genres and Phillipa Bornikova has outdone herself with the vampire politics and supernatural elements. I can't wait to sit down and read more, but even the first few pages have given me a collective sigh of happiness. High emotional impact, characters you can literally sink your teeth into and a plot that I know is going to keep me up into the late hours of the evening (hurray vacation!) 
5/5 so far! Love the book
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Life as a Teenage Zombie Book Tour and Giveaway

Hi Dana, thanks for letting me stop by your cool blog as part of my Book Launch Blog Tour for Girl Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie, which was released August 1.
* Be sure to comment for a chance to win assorted prizes. Leave an email, blog or website link to contact you.*

Synopsis for GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie:
Sixteen-year-old Rebecca Herrera Hayes' life changes forever when her cousin Spence comes back to their small Wisconsin town carrying a deadly secret—he's becoming a zombie, a fate he shares with her through an accidental scratch.
The Z infection, however, has mutated, affecting younger persons like her, or those treated early enough, differently. Now she must cope with weird physical changes and habits no girl wants to be noticed for.
But time is running out... Becca needs the help of her friends and other cousin to fight off hungry zombies and find their missing mothers.
Most of all, she needs to find something, anything, to stop this deadly transformation before it is forever too late...
A virus. A freaking virus.
I'd been sick before, you know, measles, mumps…kid stuff…but not really sick.
Never like this.
This...this couldn't be happening.
I tuned back in to the doctor's explanation…new diet, pills, blah-blah-blah…and let his words fade again into the background.
Gone was the golden tan I'd nurtured over the summer with tanning cream and hours sunbathing by the pool with one of my cousins. My skin had a weird grayish tone, like I'd rubbed myself with fireplace ash.
I gazed at my legs, now mottled with strange gray blotches, and my pretty pink toenails peeking out from beneath the sheet.
The machine next to me made a frantic beep-beep.
I turned and caught my reflection in the metal canister sitting on the table next to the bed. Whimpering, I rubbed a hand over my cheek, wondering at the scaly texture, while at other times I felt almost nothing.
Large, deep brown eyes under ebony bangs stared back. I saw a decent nose.
I took in the pinkish patches and my uneven skin tone, which reminded me of those old battleships on the PBS show I'd watched with my aunt.
For the first time in my sixteen-year-old life I was...ugly.
I struck the bed frame over and over, the pain barely registering. The machine's whir-click-whir turned into a wail almost louder than mine—beep-beep-beeeeeeep.
A nurse in blue scrubs rushed in and tried to reassure me, even as she attempted to keep me immobile on this slab they called a bed.
"Relax, it'll be fine," she said.
"No, it won't," I yelled, "it won't!"
How could looking like freaking King Tut without his wrappings ever be fine?

Amazon:  *Canada - China - France - Germany - India - Italy - Japan -Spain - US - UK
Blog: GirlZombieAuthors -

1. Tell me a little about your inspiration for GIRL Z.
Like most everyone else, I got hooked on The Walking Dead, but I've long been a horror, monster, and zombie fan. (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead). But I wanted to do a story from the point of view of someone who is part-zombie and part-human yet.

2. What is your favorite character from the book and why?
Only one? I love my main character, Becca. She's sassy, funny, and not always sure of herself, but that's okay. She finds her way. But her cousin, Carm, is no pushover, either.

3. Tell us about your favorite three zombie movies and TV shows.
I loved Zombieland. Fun and funny.
Typical, yeah, I really like The Walking Dead.
And... there's still something fascinating about re-watching the original Night of the Living Dead.

4. What five things would you want with you in a zombie apocalypse?
Funny thing is I'm not a weapons fan, but in that world it's a necessity. So: gun, huge knife , baseball bat, flame thrower, and it might be impractical, but gotta have my dog.

5. Cheeseburger or sushi?
Burger, but I like Turkey.

6. Favorite ice cream?
Anything chocolate.

7. Plotter or panster?
I plot and outline, but do get different ideas to add while I write.

8. What must you have on your writing desk?
Notebooks. I like to write ideas down longhand.

9. What are you working on next?
A horror book with a historical figure and a GIRL Z sequel, along with assorted short stories.

10. What do you want readers to get from your book?
Being different is okay. Ignore the naysayers and be yourself.

Bio: Christine Verstraete is a big Halloween fan who enjoys a good scare or two. Her short fiction has appeared online and in anthologies including Timeshares and Steampunk'd from DAW Books. Her new YA book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie was released August 1. Stop by her website at or blogs, and

*** Don't forget to follow along the rest of the tour! ***
GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie Book Launch Blog Tour - August 5-15
Monday, 8/5 - Marian Allen,-
Tuesday, 8/6 - Armand Rosamilia,
Wednesday, 8/7 - GirlZombieAuthors,
Thursday, 8/8 - StraightFromHel, Helen Ginger,
Friday, 8/9 - Dana Wright, ZombieGirlShambling,
Saturday, 8/10 - GirlZombieAuthors,
Monday, 8/12 - AR Von, Dreamz of Dragons,
Tuesday, 8/13 - B. Swangin Webster, Books, Shoes, Writing,
Wednesday, 8/14 - DB Corey,
Thursday, 8/15 - Wrap-up - GirlZombieAuthors,