Book Excerpt: Two Empty Thrones by C.H. MacLean

Two Empty Thrones 2Title: Two Empty Thrones
Author: C.H. MacLean
Publisher: CNH Publishing
Pages: 242
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Paperback; Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

With her powers growing every day, fourteen-year-old Haylwen Rightad thinks she’s safe in the magical forest. And now that she finally has the friends she always wanted, what is there to be afraid of?

But she’s not out of the woods yet. Old enemies rip through her beloved forest, threatening to haul Haylwen and her newfound friends away. Their safety shattered, Haylwen and her friends are suddenly at each other’s throats. Is the friendship she worked so hard for already ruined, or is there another, unseen enemy at work?

Haylwen and her brother must unmask this mysterious enemy before they can fight it off. But even if all their enemies are destroyed, the King of the magic users will stop at nothing to ensure he’s still in power when the dragons take over the world. And he’s hidden an enemy where Haylwen would never think to look.

If no one is what they seem, who can she trust?

Book Excerpt:

Haylwen heard a crash, the distant sound of breaking wood. She started walking, and then heard the sound of a chainsaw. She picked up the pace. Nacia was gesturing to the twins, who looked confused, then angry. They started running, sprinting past Haylwen. By the time Haylwen got to the farmhouse, the boys were standing next to Feabee on the porch, the three of them looking like thunderclouds.

Nacia ran over to stand with her mother, Topaz, just inside the door. They looked so much alike, one just an older version of the other, a mirror through time. Haylwen drifted to stand by her parents off to the side, while Cadarn stood by himself to the side of the porch. Everyone was looking down the path, to where the sounds of crashing branches and large motors were gradually coming closer. Feabee made an occasional gesture to the twins to let them know what the rest were hearing.

Haylwen blanched at a particularly loud crash, wincing. Her father looked at her questioningly. “They are trying to help, and it is hurting them,” Haylwen whispered. Her father held his questioning look for a moment. His eyes popped wide and suddenly narrowed as he heard what she’d said. He looked into the forest briefly and then turned and started to say something to Haylwen.

He was drowned out as a large, olive-green truck crashed through the last of the branches, leaves and twigs caught in its grille and hanging from the roof rack. It looked like some savage beast, a destroyer of trees. It revved its engine and then growled its way up the slope to stop halfway up. It backed off the dirt road onto the grass as a shiny black SUV quietly rolled out from the mangled tunnel of trees. After the SUV passed it, the truck threw itself in a roaring spin that threw chunks of green and mud behind it to block the road out. It sat there, engine still growling. The smell of diesel rolled up to the house.

The SUV pulled off the road and drove across the rolling lawn, leaving crushed grass in its wake. It stopped with the passenger side at the very edge of the farmhouse porch. The passenger door opened and a tall man in a charcoal suit stepped out, directly onto the porch.

With his blond hair chopped short, it took Haylwen a moment to recognize him. “Mr. Johansen,” she whispered, clutching her father and sliding behind him. Her ex-principal was here? A wave of fear washed over her, carrying memories of when he had grabbed her—the feel of his hands on her neck, the chemical smell of his car as he’d stuffed her in.

“You have nothing to fear from him,” her father said in a quiet, but stern, voice, tension rolling off of him.

Haylwen’s mother, Crystyn, leaned over, turning to look Haylwen in the eye. “He will never touch you again, I promise.” Crystyn stood, taking a couple of firm steps to stand a bit ahead of Haylwen and her father. Abrennin twitched away as Crystyn moved past him, like he had gotten a shock. He gave her a brief look of surprise and confusion, but she wasn’t paying attention.

“May I help you?” Feabee said. “You realize this is private property.”

Mr. Johansen took a step toward Feabee, a reddish hue seeping from him. Haylwen’s guts clenched. He was going to use magic to hurt Feabee!

Abrennin whispered something and then choked. Haylwen’s stomach twisted more, realizing what her father’s choking meant. With me and Cadarn here, our parents’ Oath is in effect. Mom and Dad can’t use magic. Her parents might protect her from a physical attack, but what about a magical one?

Feabee shot Abrennin a wide-eyed look and he nodded once. She blinked, then her jaw muscles jumped as a green glow slipped around her. Haylwen squeezed her father’s hand, a question. He smiled thinly and squeezed back. Of course, Feabee could use magic!

“I have information that you are willfully transgressing against federal law,” Mr. Johansen said. Haylwen gave a little gasp as a red arc shot from Mr. Johansen, a striking snake, to bounce off Feabee’s green shield. “You are harboring fugitives, aiding and abetting criminals.” Another red snake slithered along the ground, trying to work its way under Feabee’s shield.

Feabee shook her head with a smile.

“You think truancy laws are less important than any other?” Mr. Johansen said loudly, standing a bit taller. “We must make sure the children of society are safe.”

“My paperwork is in order and has not expired,” she said.

“Perhaps, but it only lists three students,” he sneered.

Haylwen looked over to Cadarn, sharing the look of guilt and fear that this was about them. Haylwen felt her fear twist into anger. Feabee, Nacia, and the twins were going to get in trouble because of her! She looked up at her father, who just held her hand and shook his head slightly.

“Actually, I submitted updated paperwork, which was received two days ago,” Feabee replied.

“And I was sent to confirm the information was accurate. We have the right to do an inspection for classes equal to, or larger than, five,” he said.

“There is no such law,” Feabee retorted, eyes narrowing.

“Law? Oh, I guess you didn’t see the express invitation to an inspection on the forms you completed?” he sneered. His red bubble pulsed. Several snakes struck as he said, “The forms you signed authorized the right of inspection with acceptance. We must make sure there is actual learning, to prevent child neglect.”

Feabee threw apologetic looks at Haylwen’s parents. “Invitation? I didn’t see…” Her green shield was weakening under the repeated attacks.

“You understand that the neglect laws include all students, correct?” The red intensified, and the attacking snakes grew in number. “Under the child abuse and neglect statutes, we have the authority to take all of the children into custody immediately,” Mr. Johansen said.

Haylwen watched as the green glow started to show tiny spots of black, gaps in the shield. Two more red snakes quickly shot out from Mr. Johansen, squirming against the black spots, trying to force their way in. Feabee looked resigned, trapped. Haylwen felt her father try to say something, but he tensed and choked.

“You have no authority here.” Haylwen gave a small gasp, hearing her mother’s voice with such power. “You will take your polluting trucks and leave immediately.” Crystyn stalked across the porch to stand ahead and to the side of Feabee, making Mr. Johansen shift to face her. Haylwen glanced up at her father, who was breathing easier. His face was an odd combination of confused and proud.

Mr. Johansen looked over Crystyn’s head, following where she had come from to see Haylwen and Abrennin standing there. He gave a little smirk, a twisted look of revenge.

“Ah, Mrs. Rightad. I see where your vandalizing daughter gets it.” Several thick red snakes slowly approached her mother. “If I leave, it will be with your truant children…”

A white glow erupted around Haylwen’s mother. Haylwen squinted, slightly blinded as the white glow around her mother flared even brighter, engulfing the snakes, obliterating them.

“You will leave with nothing,” her mother said in a tone that sent shivers down Haylwen’s spine. Her mother had locked eyes with Mr. Johansen. Though he was at least a foot taller, he seemed to shrink with each passing moment, while Haylwen’s mother seemed to grow. The white glow increased in intensity and size, washing like waves against the receding red of Mr. Johansen. “If you ever come close to either of my children again—”

“I did nothing, I have witnesses,” Mr. Johansen interrupted, momentarily straightening, the red pushing against the waves.

The white flared again, and Mr. Johansen took a step back. He had only the slightest hint of red around him now, flickering.

“You have nothing to withstand a mother protecting her child,” Haylwen heard her mother say, as another blinding flare of white pulsed out. Mr. Johansen took another step back, stumbling, withering even more under her fierce gaze.

Crystyn pointed her finger toward the SUV as another pulse of the white light washed over Mr. Johansen. “You and your agent’s invitations are revoked!” Haylwen’s mother nudged Feabee, who nodded once.

Mr. Johansen slid backward down the stairs, banging into the SUV, scrambling to open the door and get inside before being sucked away. He slammed the door closed, and the SUV’s idling engine roared, tires spitting grass and dirt in every direction. Everyone was pelted, but Haylwen noticed not a fleck hit her mother.

The SUV bounced down the hill as the olive-green truck tore out of the way. The black SUV disappeared into the tunnel as the truck spun around, engine roaring, tires clawing the ground, making a new set of wounds in the grassy field. A cold shiver crawled up Haylwen’s legs, tightening around her throat, as she looked at the ruined lawn. Even after the smell of exhaust had drifted away, the wounds were mocking proof they weren’t safe. It was only a matter of time.


XGeneration: You Don’t Know Me Book Blast – Win $25 Amazon Gift Card!

XGeneration 7

Title: XGeneration: You Don’t Know Me
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Coming of Age
Author: Brad Magnarella
Publisher: Brad Magnarella
Language: English

In the fall of 1984, Cold War tensions between Washington and Moscow are close to breaking.

But in sleepy Gainesville, Florida, fourteen-year-old Janis Graystone is mainly worried about starting high school, earning a spot on the varsity soccer team, and keeping her older sister from running her life. And then there are her nighttime experiences. Experiences where she awakens in her backyard—out of her body—with the disturbing sense that someone is watching her.

For Scott Spruel, the start of high school means the chance to start over. And he’s willing to ditch everything—computer hacking, Dungeons & Dragons marathons, even his comic book collection (well, except for his X-Men)—if it means getting closer to Janis, the secret love of his life. But will Scott’s past be so easy to shed. And what about the eerie delay on his telephone, a delay he senses through powers he is only beginning to understand?

Welcome to the gripping new series, XGeneration: part The X-Files, part Freaks and Geeks, and totally ’80s.

Rated 16+ for language.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON for 99 cents during his book blast!

About the Author

Brad Magnarella 7

Brad Magnarella grew up in North Central Florida. As a boy he discovered Marvel Comics, text-based gaming, Bruce Springsteen, and Stephen King, roughly in that order. The prize, however, was a creek that wound through his neighborhood, providing him and his friends a wooded sanctuary in which to lose themselves, while discovering natural Florida.

A graduate of the University of Florida and American University, Brad has long aspired to write the kind of fiction that colored his childhood. His books include The Prisoner and the Sun trilogy and the first in his new young adult series, XGeneration.

Brad lives in Washington, D.C. When he’s not writing, he’s somewhat hard to find.

His latest book is XGeneration 1: You Don’t Know Me.

Sign up to Brad’s mailing list for new releases:

Connect & Socialize with Brad!


XGeneration banner 7

Pump Up Your Book and Brad Magnarella are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins December 2 and ends December 27.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, December 30, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Interview: Ray East & VOLUSPA

Ray East and Sam D have moved to Voluspa and live in the Forest of Skotos with their 5 year old daughter and a pet Typhon.  They visit Earth with the help of an Empath from time to time. Ray East did her masters in Phsychology from Univeristy of Sussex and has worked as a counselor for adolescents. Sam D used to teach at a SPJC before he moved to Voluspa.

Their latest book is Voluspa: A Magical World.

To get your copy of VOLUSPA: A MAGICAL WORLD by Sam D & Ray East at Amazon:

To get your e-copy of VOLUSPA: A MAGICAL WORLD by Sam D & Ray East for your Kindle at Amazon:

Order your copy of VOLUSPA: A MAGICAL WORLD by Sam D. & Ray East at B&N:


To learn more about Sam D and Ray East, visit their website:

Visit Sam D & Ray East on Twitter:

Like Sam D & Ray East on Facebook:

Follow Sam D & Ray East at Goodreads:

Welcome to Between the Covers, Ray and Sam. Why was writing Voluspa so important to you?

We wanted to present this magical world which although is comparable to our world yet is exotically different. We tried to create this enchanted land with great details so that it would read as something magical yet very believable. Also set against this magical backdrop we wanted to tell the coming of age story of Amy and her adventure in this magical realm.

What was the experience like writing Voluspa?

It has been the most wonderful experience. Seeing your thoughts take shape and form tangible prose is very satisfying. Being able to convey what you are feeling through words and making yourself understood to others is a good feeling.

How did you come up with the title?

The name ‘Voluspa’ was derived from an old Nordic poem and both I and my co-author liked the name and decided to name the magical realm after it.

Can you tell us more about your main characters, Amy and Drake?

On the surface Amy is like any other fifteen year old girl with her usual share of teenage angsts. But once you get to know her better, you realize that she is a remarkable girl, with a core of steel. She faces whatever life throws at her with courage and spirit. She is no paragon of virtue; like every human being she has her foibles. The admirable part is, she does not let her own shortcomings, difficult circumstances or even evil adversaries defeat her without putting up a fight. In short, she is someone who is brave and loyal, vulnerable yet strong, someone who inspires epic love.

Drake, the hero of this novel and Amy’s love interest is definitely hero material in all sense. He is the ideal boyfriend any girl could wish for. He can be a fierce protector one minute, a romantic companion the other. He is the guy you want in your corner in a tight situation yet he has just the right tinge of ‘bad boy’ in him, to make him devilishly appealing.

What does Amy think of this new world called Voluspa?

At first Amy is in awe of this magical world but soon, with the help of Drake and other friends she starts to feel quite at home in this magical realm. With passage of time Amy realizes that this is where she belongs and she loves being a part of  a magical clan and life in Voluspa.

What kind of people live at Voluspa?

Voluspa is home to many magical creatures but mainly it is inhabited by four clans. Each clan is unique; they have special habitats, professions and most importantly magical powers. The Empaths  are the mind readers with the power to travel to magically move objects or travel from one place to the another with their mind. The Morphus clan comprises of people who can shape shift into different animal forms. The Pulchrous clan is the most aesthetically beautiful clan but don’t be fooled by their golden looks.  They are fierce warriors and most of them possess superlative physical strength or some form of heightened physical power. And last but not the least the Menden clans are peace loving, often reclusive healers. They are great at potion making and casting spells.

Are there any other supporting characters we need to know about?

The character of Helen is of significant importance. She acts as Amy’s surrogate mother, guardian, relative, protector all rolled in one. She is the first mother figure in Amy’s life and helps her adjust to life in Voluspa.

Can you open to page 25 and tell us what’s happening?

This page describes a very crucial moment in Amy’s life. She meets her grandmother after nearly a decade. She gets a glimpse at the house her mother lived and grew up in. This page also features Amy’s initial reaction at meeting her only relative and as such is emotional and important for further development of the novel.

What about page 65?

This page is a perfect showcase for the magical world that this book creates. Amy is exploring an open air market with Drake. Here she comes across the currency of Voluspa – Mcash, for the first time. She also explores a curios shop full of potions and spells – almost comparable to an apothecary shop in our world. All in all this page gives the readers a funny and interesting glimpse into this magical world.

Now that Voluspa has been published, what’s your next project?

I am working on the second book in the Voluspa series. Amy and Drake’s adventure continues.

Do you have anything you’d like to tell our readers that hasn’t been discussed?

I just hope that readers  like my book ‘Voluspa – A Magical World’. I put my heart and soul into this book and it’s a story that I really want to share with everybody. I hope people have as much fun reading it, as I did writing it.

Author Interview: Susan Wingate & SPIDER BRAINS

Most recently, Susan Wingate’s novels, SPIDER BRAINS and DROWNING each reached Amazon Bestseller status in 2012. DROWNING won the 2011 Forward National Literature Award for Drama. She would love for you to read her books. You can find them all under the tab on this site labeled “Books”. SUSAN has written eleven novels, two short story collections, a few plays, one screenplay and tons of poems. Her latest 2011 novel DROWNING  (contemporary women’s fiction), won 1st place in the 2011 Forward National Literature Award and also won a finalist award for the category of Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit in the 2011 International Book Awards. A vibrant public speaker, Susan offers inspiring, motivational talks about the craft of writing, publishing and marketing, and how to survive this extremely volatile (e-)Publishing industry. She presents these lectures for private groups and at writing conferences, libraries and bookstores around the country.

To get your copy of SPIDER BRAINS by Susan Wingate:

To view all books by Susan Wingate:

To learn more about Susan, go to her website:

Visit Susan Wingate on Twitter:!/susanwingate

Like Susan Wingate on Facebook:

Follow Susan Wingate on Pinterest:

Welcome to Between the Covers, Susan. Why was writing Spider Brains so important to you?

I can’t say that it started out important to me but by the time I realized the full story, it became extremely important. It started out a teen fiction idea but with zero depth and then came the loss of the main character’s father and her attention-deficit disorder. Then came the bullying issues and the mean teacher. In my opinion, Spider Brains grew into a very special story.

What was the experience like writing Spider Brains?

My husband hated it! LOL. I walked and talked and acted like Susie Speider until I completed the novel. I became subsumed in the character and her voice. I loved it but my husband really believed he’d married a 15-year-old at times.

How did you come up with the title?

Well, Spider Brains came after the working title. The working title was Speider: The “E” is Silent. It felt like too much of a mouthful and I wanted to change it. After the writing of Spider Brains, when I could sit back a ways from it and give it some good thought, the title presented itself. Susie’s wild thinking gave me the ‘brain’ part of the title and then the fantasy part spider scenes gave me the rest. I like it much better than the working title.

Can you tell us more about your main character, Susie Speider?

Susie Speider is an extremely intelligent young lady who tends toward sarcasm and one-upping people, even herself. She loves words and making up words. She has high hopes for her future in the publishing world and she’s got her eye set on working as the editor of the high school newspaper.

What are her strengths and what are her weaknesses?

Susie has the propensity to analyze things deeply. To me, this is her single strength AND weakness.

Are there any supporting characters we need to know about?

There are four key supporting characters: Willa Speider, Susie’s mother; Matthew Ryder, the neighbor boy; Paul Ryder, Matthew’s father; and Mrs. Morlson–the gnarliest of gnarly teachers.

Can you open to page 25 and tell us what’s happening?

Susie has just gotten up from a nap and smells the flaky, buttery scent of a pie her mom has baked for the new neighbors. It’s delicious smell has permeated the air and is dragging Susie “by the nostrils” to the kitchen. And, then, there’s the issue of Justin Beiber.

What about page 65?

Susie has had a bad day at school because of her “Nazi” teacher, Mrs. Morlson and so she’s turned to her favorite instrument– one she’s just learning to play–the saxophone. Her cat, Delilah is there with her on the bed, however briefly when she picks up the sax and begins to blow, hard, to extinguish thoughts from her nasty day at school.

Now that Spider Brains has been published, what’s your next project?

I’m working on two projects actually. The second book in the Susie Speider Series and also an apocalyptic thriller entitled Eschatos. Eschatos will be categorized as young adult also.

Thanks, Susan, for this wonderful interview. Do you have anything you’d like to tell our readers that hasn’t been discussed?

I’d like to say thank YOU so much for having me. It’s been my pleasure to do this interview. -Susan.

Author Interview: SM Blooding & THE HANDS OF TAROT

SM Blooding lives in Colorado with her pet rock, Rockie, and Ms. Jack, who’s a real bird. She’s still learning to play the piano and guitar, which is going marginally better, and for those of you looking for an Arabic update, she has successfully learned one word, “Yalla, people yalla!”

She’s dated vampires, werewolves, sorcerers, weapons smugglers and US Government assassins. Yes. She has stories.

Her latest book is the YA steampunk, The Hands of Tarot.

Visit SM Blooding on the web at

Stop by SM Blooding’s blog at

Follow SM Blooding on Twitter:!/SMBlooding

“Like” SM Blooding on Facebook:

Check out SM Blooding at Google+:

Follow SM Blooding at Goodreads:

Friend SM Blooding at LinkedIn:*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1&report%2Esuccess=jgJxTlkGP726Ky-c5KwR61IrRQHo7WkbEMb_CbEDa703MvofkxsDCc06MMP3wv3vgcoytKSrRn0L_rsfDgJjp8-

Don’t forget to check out Colorado Paranormal Rescue:

Welcome to Between the Covers, SM. Why was writing The Hands of Tarot so important to you?

This book was about me finding the courage to stand up for myself. I could stand up for anyone else, but for me? Oh, no. Over the past few years, I’ve really grown a lot through my characters, their lives and their mistakes. I’ve learned to deal with a lot, but I still hadn’t mastered the art of defending myself.

I’m not the only one. There are a lot of people out there like me. Take the election. There are a lot of people with opinions that aren’t heard because they don’t feel their voice matters, or because others disagree very loudly. We’re in a day and age where everyone has an opinion and everyone has a voice and no one is being heard. We’ve lost the respect of listening because it’s more important to be heard. In so doing, a lot of voices are shushed. They don’t want to speak up.

The people of the United States really are a caring lot. We’re really not a bunch of whiners. We don’t necessarily sit around and complain without taking charge, but we’re not as active as the generations before us.

When I was studying our history, brainstorming The Hands of Tarot, the thing that got me about the generation of the 20th century was that they were fearless! They were undaunted as they changed the world we now live in.

I wanted to delve into that, to remember what it was like for them, the courage and the fear they had to have lived through. They did so much with so little!

What was the experience like writing The Hands of Tarot?

Daunting! I blended our own history into an entirely different planet. Yes, things are different. The planet shaped the people differently, for one thing. But by doing so, it was lot less for me to remember, and a lot less for the reader to remember.

There was still a lot to keep straight. So there was a lot of note taking while writing, a lot of re-reading, and a lot of head scratching.

It was also a lot of FUN! OMW (Oh My Word), I really let my geek out. Now, I did try to keep the geek off of every single page. That would just be overwhelming and ridiculous, but if you pay attention, there will be little tid-bit #SuperGeek nuggets that will be fun to unravel. I’ve been informed that it’s almost more fun to read the second time through because that’s when a lot of the #SuperGeek nuggets come out.

This book is also unlike any other book I’ve ever written. It’s almost pure action, which is the hardest thing for me to write. I typically write character driven stories. There’s usually a lot of interaction, puzzle unraveling, and usually a little romance. Action is at a minimum unless there’s a bedroom.

Not this story. Uh-uh. There’s still a lot of interaction, but there’s just so much more! The action is off the charts for me. We’re jumping from airships, climbing through jellyfish cities (letharan cities), shooting down bi-planes, blowing up sphynctor bug heads with a lightning lava pistol. Just—wow! Lots and lots of stuff! It was a hoot, but INTENSE!

How did you come up with the title?

I was playing with a new tarot deck and my brain was just exploding with ideas! I was playing around with different plot lines. I mean, the plot itself isn’t unique, but I said to myself, “Self, let’s not go the really traditional route and have a monotheistic society try and decimate the world. What’s the safest ‘religion’ we have here? Well, there’s Buddhism, but can you really see Buddhists up in arms trying to take over the world? No. Who else?”

Then it just hit me, with the tarot cards in my hands. So the Hands of Tarot was created, with the same hierarchy as the tarot deck. I love tarot. It’s amazing and beautiful. There are a lot of intricacies there that are just amazing, yet simple.

Can you tell us more about your main character, Synn El’Asim?

Synn fascinates me. He’s born during a time when you have to be an adult a lot sooner than we would, which is a quandary. Young people don’t have a lot of experience. So, it was interesting for me to watch him. He has all the confidence of a teenager, but no knowledge of how the world really operates. He’s just starting to grasp the concept of true responsibility and it’s terrifying.

He’s very close to his El’Asim family, which is his father’s side. He grew up in the sky, on the airships. They are these gloriously beautiful ships that float in the sky by way of an air jellyfish who resides in the nets above the sails. He knows next to nothing about how the letharan (picture a Medusa jellyfish the size of…a sprawling suburb) cities work, and has no clue how the land dwellers survive. He’s pretty clueless for someone who’s as cocky as he is.

He only has one other sibling that travels with the fleet. His other three siblings grew up with his mother’s Family. His mother is the matriarch of the Ino Family and they reside in a lethara (the sea jellyfish) city. Man, she’s tough and demands a lot! She’s also very hard to read. Thankfully, his siblings aren’t anything like her. They’re all very likable and loveable.

It’s a very odd situation. His mother calls him “my husband’s son” early in the book. That shows that he is of the El’Asim Family, or tribe, and not one of her own. It’s a very strong statement, and something that you’ll see change as the other books come out. I’m very excited to bust through that line.

What are his strengths and what are his weaknesses?

His strength is that he so self-assured. He literally doesn’t think that anything can or will stop him.

His weakness is that he’s…well, he’s a teenage boy who’s a little too self-confident, and doesn’t always listen. He has great friends, though, and they’re quick to remind him of his failings.

What about Queen Nix? Can you tell us more about her?

Oh! She’s wonderfully, fantasmically evil and I love it!

She’s an orphan. Each Family has their Mark of power. The El’Asim Mark is storm (wind, rain, lightning). The Ino is fire. Well, the Shankara Mark is air. Nix was born with the rogue Mark of fire, and was cast out. No one’s really sure who her parents were or if they’re still among the living.

The Hands are a religious order, and took her in, inducting her into the House of Wands, whose Mark is also fire. There, she excelled in everything and eventually rose to the rank of Queen.

Once she became queen, she showed her dominance by destroying her Family. When she was done, she discovered what it felt to be so supremely powerful, so she decided to control the world. That’s always fun. She destroys anyone who stands in her way, which includes the major Families. She decimates them, and takes their children to be raised in her city under her influence.

She’s not what I would call damaged. She…has a sense of over self-importance, and no one has been able to stand up to her yet. She’s manipulative, gorgeous, sexy, conniving, vindictive, and unafraid of a little blood on her hands. She welcomes collateral damage.

Are there any supporting characters we need to know about?

I love supporting characters! Haji is Synn’s best friend before everything happens with Nix. He’s of the Umira Family, who are land dwellers. Think of the best friend who has the key to your house so he doesn’t have to climb through the window. Yeah, that’s Haji. He’s probably spent half of his life on an airship, but you can’t tell it! He’s a born and bred land lover.

Joshua is my geek hero. You’ll be seeing him a lot more in coming books. He’s snarky, has a great sense of humor and knows exactly how to defuse Synn. His Family was destroyed when he was pretty young. He’s spent most of his life with the Hands, in Sky City. He’s got a lot to learn about the world, but he’s learned a great deal as a prisoner of the Hands, developing their technologies.

Keeley is the heart of their little band of friends. She’s Joshua’s younger sister. She doesn’t remember anything, really, before the Hands. She’s sweet, is a lover, not a fighter, and is so hesitant. She can be a bit frustrating only because I know she could do so much more if she just believed in herself a little.

Yvette is her total and complete opposite. Her Family was destroyed by the Hands, too, but she’s influenced by Queen Dyna who took her into the House of Swords. Yvie (pronounced Ee-vee) has a sharp intellect and a fierceness that is refreshing. However, all of my readers so far find her to be mean and blonde (think Mean Girls). She’s not. She’s just blunt and knows how to hide well behind the “I’m a girl” card.

Can you open to page 25 and tell us what’s happening?

Synn and his father have stepped into Queen Nix’s trap. She’d captured the Umira Family. They’re currently being taken care of. It’s gruesome and not pleasant. Synn tries to defend them, to save at least a few. They’re his best friend’s family.

However, in doing so, he breaks the flag of truce. They’re surrounded, outnumbered, and out-gunned. They brought swords to a gunfight. His father tells him to run. Synn’s not good at following orders, but when your father tells you to run, you run. This is the first turning point in the book.

What about page 65?

This is almost the second turning point of the book. Synn is talking to Keeley and they’re discussing the possibility of escaping. Haji had contacted Synn earlier that day. He’d snuck aboard Sky City and has a plan to get Synn out of there. However, Synn is having a hard time leaving without Keeley.

There’s no real love story here. Keeley was just the person who reminded Synn what it felt to be human after Nix broke him. I think Synn would have turned into a very ugly person if it hadn’t been for Keeley. I would like to see them get together someday, but I just don’t see it happening quite yet. There’s just so much other stuff going on.

Now that The Hands of Tarot has been published, what’s your next project?

The Nightmare, which is Book 2 of the Dreamland Stories. I’m writing it now, and, boy! Is it fun! It’s a completely different world than Hands, a totally different voice. I’m having so much fun! It should be ready to launch around Christmas.

Then I will be writing The Knight of Wands because that book is SCREAMING at me to be written! There’s a lot of research I need to do before I start writing it, but OMW! I’m excited!!!

Thanks again for this interview, SM (Frankie). Do you have anything you’d like to tell our readers that hasn’t been discussed?

I’m such a blabber. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me or leave a message on my site. I’m easy to contact and I love hearing from you!