January Black 100th Amazon Review Giveaway

Kelly Seguin:

Check this out! Super cool giveaway!!!

Originally posted on Wendy S. Russo:

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About Book Reviews

Reviews are important to authors and books. For one, it provides us with feedback on our work, and two, it provides other readers with information they need when deciding to pick up a book or not.

Two, in an automated world, the content that we see delivered to us is driven by mathematics. Amazon is the biggest bookseller on the planet, with nine international domains in addition to its US site. They manage their ranking/review system with a complex algorithm. Star rankings, text reviews, and the raw numbers of feedback left by customers are all variables weighed by the calculation. The more data it has, the more it knows about a product.

It. Yes, we are talking about technology. It doesn’t feel one way or another about the data given to it, just how much it has and what the data says. Like a book, tell Amazon. Don’t…

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Kelly Seguin:

Amazing deal!!

Originally posted on Wendy S. Russo:

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Joanne Brothwell, Toni de Palma, Shawna Romkey, and myself, have come together to give you, our lovely readers, a kinda-sorta Buy One Get THREE Free deal on our books. That averages out to $1.99 per book!

The BOOKS:

And that’s not all! Some participants of the All For One event will also be eligible to win all four books in print, each signed by the author, PLUS a June ebook release from Crescent Moon Press.

Sound too good to be true? Well, there is an itsy-bitsy catch. You have to post an honestreview on Amazon to get each successive book.

The RULES:

1. Participants may start with any of the four books, but they must progress through the books in order.

Silencing Breath → The…

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Year of the Snake Blog Hop!

Today we say goodbye to the dragon and welcome the snake.

yearofthesnake

Wendy Russo, author of January Black,  (her debut novel that just recently hit the shelves) has put together this great blog hop to help welcome the snake.  To do that, all we had to do was find within our work, a passage that embodies the spirit of the snake as defined; a symbol of wisdom and cunning, but also delusion and deception. I found two passages within my WIP that I really thought fit well and I just couldn’t decide which one to use, so after a little game of “My mother said to pick the very best one” this little excerpt won:

As I leaned to hook my finger through the straps of my sandals, the air in the alley suddenly changed. I snapped my eyes to the each individual shadow and I knew in an instant, I wasn’t alone.

I inched backward on the broken blacktop and made a slow, deliberate turn, following the surge of energy coming from the end of the alley. It was cold, but familiar and I felt compelled. I took another step, then a third, and with each step forward, the feeling became stronger. It tiptoed across my skin like icy fingers, then hands sliding across my legs and up my back. I shivered and as the phantom pulled away, I saw it. A wisp of black, like wings, that spiraled up to join the dark sky.

“Nate?” I asked the sky above.

There was no answer.

The shadows came now and then. They touched; I chased. They fled; I called to them. They never answered. It was like they never were.

In the dark, almost masked by the patter of rain, there was a new rhythm. Splashes in puddles, pads on wet pavement. Claws scratching, getting louder. And then, there was only the rain. Hot breath puffed on my lower back. Shifter!  I reached for my dagger, while cursing my missing Grigori angels under my breath.

The tickle of pure power danced on my skin as my attacker shifted forms. Not like the icy touch of the phantom, but warm and strong, repelling the chill of the rain. If only its owner wasn’t there to kill me….

Leading with my right arm, I swung around to face the shifter, blade aimed to kill. He caught me first strike, a large hand around my wrist, the other ripping the dagger away with lightening speed. I followed the rotation and kicked high. He blocked, grabbed my leg and dropped me to the ground.

Dark spots blurred my vision, but I had to get up. I rolled back to my feet as he came at me again. I threw a right. He blocked. A left. Blocked again, this time, grabbing me by the wrist and spinning me around. His arm was tight across my throat, constricting my breathing. I gasped and pulled away, but my arm was twisted up at an uncomfortable angle behind me.

The deep, rapid thumping in my chest muffled the sounds of the world around me, and I barely heard my name, but I would recognize that voice anywhere.

“Caleb?!” The pressure on my throat loosened. I whipped around to find my bodyguard towering over me as if surrendering, his hands up.

Not in the mood for an apology, I slammed my hands into his chest, sending him back a foot. “You scared the shit out of me!”

“I scared…?!” he asked, dropping his hands. “You tried to stab me!”

“I thought–” I ran my hands through my rain washed hair and groaned as I walked past him.

“Liz,” he said wearily. “What are you doing out here?”

“Drow pissed me off.”

“Explains the blood, but not what I meant. Elizabeth!” That stopped me dead. As annoyed as I was with him for using my name as a brake pedal, I was doubly annoyed at myself because it worked every time. “You called out to Nate.”

Shit.

“You’re chasing shadows again?”

“Let it go.”

“He…left…you, Liz.”

“And I want to know why!” I spun around in time to see him take a sharp breath. His eyes were closed. I could almost hear him counting.

Softly, he asked, “What happens when you get an answer and it’s not the one you want?”

I shrugged. I wanted Nathaniel Catriona, standing in front of me, attempting to explain the note he left. I hadn’t thought much beyond that. And Caleb knew that. Maybe better than I did.

Thanks for reading! Please, stop by and read the others who are participating in the Year of the Snake Blog Hop as well!

January Black Release Tour! Special guest interview; Iris Locke

Release day for Wendy Russo’s debut novel, January Black is today and I’ve got some visually pleasing treats for you as well as an interview with one character I’m sure you’ll fall in love with, Iris Locke.

Oooh, there is also a chance to win a free signed copy of January Black! All you have to do is find the hidden link within the interview (you’ll need the password, its ‘matty’) and it will take you to an excerpt. Leave a comment and you will be entered to win!

So, now that we have the challenge posted, without further ado, I give you the cover for January Black!

JanuaryBlackCover

Awesome, right?!

Alright, its interview time! Even though it’s release day for January Black Iris still managed to find the time to visit my blog for an interview!

KS: Thank you, Iris.

Iris: Thank you for having me, Ms. Seguin. I like your page. The scrollwork is pretty.

KS: Thank you, I’m rather fond of it myself. So, before we get down to the Q&A, I was hoping you might be able to tell us a little bit about the book.

Iris: Well, it’s more my boyfriend’s story. I just stumbled into it, really. A while back, Matty got in trouble at school and they kicked him out. He embarrassed his dad, messed up his future, but by some luck, the king found the whole thing amusing. They have a deal. If Matty answers a question, he graduates. The king’s question has turned out to be harder than Matty thought it would be, though.

KS: Such a gracious king to let him off with only a single question, albeit a tough one, for diplomacy. Is it safe to say that you may have a hand in helping him answer it?

Iris: The question seems easy, but it’s really not. That’s the challenge. Matty’s really smart, but he gets stuck. I ask him questions about what he learns, and sometimes it helps him work his way out.

KS: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you fit into the story?

Iris: I’m a gardener. Regents like to look at pretty gardens, but they don’t touch them. Ever. Not flowers, not grass, and most certainly not dirt. They contract with the kingdom’s labor guild for any job that might require hand washing. Matty’s different. I met him while I was planting trees. He dug the holes.

I got off topic. Sorry. I guess you could say that I’m Matty’s compass, in a way. Wow, that sounds arrogant. But, Matty’s led a sheltered life. I grew up with a paranoid father, so I see the world a little differently. I do my best to keep him out of trouble.

KS: Keeping Matty out of trouble isn’t all that easy, is it?

Iris: It’s not that he’s a troublemaker–his schoolmasters would disagree with me–but, he’s just curious about things most people know to walk away from.

KS: Jumping a tad bit away from the story here, tell us, what do you think of your creator, the author?

Iris: Ms. Russo? Some days I love her, and somedays I want to slap her. I mean, don’t get me wrong, she’s done a lot for me. I’ve got a great job that I love, a cute Regent boyfriend, and…but…. What’s that expression you use in your century? W-T-F? Yeah, there’s a couple of moments when that fits.

She’s going to read this, isn’t she?

KS: She might, but don’t worry, I happen to know her fairly well and I think she’ll get a kick out of your answer. So, what is it you like best about January Black?

Iris: Matty, duh. He’s got some irritating moments, but for the most part, he’s just the sweetest thing. And without him, there isn’t a story to tell.

KS: Of course. I have had the pleasure of reading a few of scenes, your Matty is quite the gentleman. A good catch, I must say. If you could change something in the story, what would it be?

Iris: Hmm. (Iris looks up and to her right, then smiles and shakes her head.) No. Not a thing.

KS: Hmmm, a memory worth sharing?

Iris: Nope. Keeping that one to myself.

KS: …Can we expect you to be in any future stories?

Iris: I don’t imagine so. Ms Russo’s working on two new series ideas, so IF she does come back to us, it’ll be awhile. And it’ll probably be for Hadrian. I don’t know if you know about our king, but he’s a walking loose end. It’s part of what people find charming about him.

KS: Hadrian is a mysterious man…walking loose end. I like that! If January Black was made into a movie, who do you think would play your role and why?

Iris: I’ve been told that I look like Taylor Swift. Not the new Taylor, with the straight hair. “Fearless” Taylor. I don’t know about that. I mean, we have the wild blond curls. And she’s in love with love and so am I. But, I can’t sing. At all. Still, that would be really neat if Taylor played me. (Iris blushes and shakes her head.) No, I might be too embarrassed to watch.

KS: I think it would be a very good movie. I wonder how Taylor Swift’s acting career is?! I’m sure she’d make a great Iris.

Ok, so I think I’ve kept you long enough. I’m sure there is plenty to be done on release day so this will be my last question. If you had one day to do anything you wanted, what would you do?

Iris: There’s a field of purple and gold irises near Matty’s grandfather’s ranch, way out on the fringe of the kingdom. I’d love to go out there, read a book, take a nap. Kiss Matty until we pass out from lack of air.

KS: Awe, how cute :) Sounds like a great way to spend a day.

I want to thank you for coming today, Iris, and if I may ask one more favor?

Iris: If I can, I will.

KS: Can you give me some links to just where we might find Ms. Russo as well as you and Matty?

You can find Ms. Wendy Russo on

Twitter: @wendysrusso

Facebook: Wendy S Russo

Website: www.wendysrusso.com

 

You can find January Black on

Goodreads: January Black

Amazon: January Black

Barnes & Nobel and paperback will follow soon!


Thanks again for coming, Iris. I look forward to reading you and Matty in January Black!

Don’t forget blog readers, within the interview is a hidden link that leads you to a teaser of January Black. You’ll need the password if you find it. (Matty)

For your viewing pleasure, the trailer for January Black!

Cover Reveal: January Black

Wendy S Russo is an amazing, very talented new author who I have had the pleasure of bouncing writing ideas off of for the last 3 or so years and I am very happy to help reveal her new cover and release date for her novel, January Black!

JanuaryBlackCover

Sixteen-year-old genius Matty Ducayn has never fit in on The Hill, an ordered place seriously lacking a sense of humor. After his school’s headmaster expels him for a small act of mischief, Matty’s future looks grim until King Hadrian comes to his rescue with a challenge: answer a question for a master’s diploma.

More than a second chance, this means freedom. Masters can choose where they work, a rarity among Regents, and the question is simple.

What was January Black?

It’s a ship. Everyone knows that. Hadrian rejects that answer, though, and Matty becomes compelled by curiosity and pride to solve the puzzle. When his search for an answer turns up long-buried state secrets, Matty’s journey becomes a collision course with a deadly royal decree. He’s been set up to fail, which forces him to choose. Run for his life with the challenge lost…or call the king’s bluff.

January 15th is the release date, so don’t forget to put it on your goodreads list!

January Black

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Wendy S. Russo got her start writing in the sixth grade. That story involved a talisman with crystalsthat had to be found and assembled before bad things happened, and dialog that read like classroom roll call.Since then, she’s majored in journalism (for one semester), published poetry, taken a course on short novels,and watched most everything ever filmed by Quentin Tarantino. A Wyoming native transplanted in Baton Rouge,Wendy works for Louisiana State University as an IT analyst. She’s a wife, a mom, a Tiger, a Who Dat, and she falls asleep on her couch at 8:30 on weeknights.

Sometimes, being a bonehead is beneficial!

Woohoo! My new WordPress Blog! I’m excited about it now, but yesterday, ugh. Yesterday I decided to browse what google+ has to offer me. I did actually find some really cool writing communities, and other goodies they recently added, but then I stated playing with my photo albums and accidentally deleted the folder containing every picture I had ever posted on my blog. After muttering every curse word I could think of, I laughed. What the hell else could I do? It really was one of my finer moments, or as I told my boyfriend, ‘my blonde was showing.’

So, here I am with a brand spanking new blog. I really like the theme, but I might see if there is something that has a column on the right as well. I’m excited to get started with it now and I just might re-post the last blog I posted on the old address, because its something I worked pretty hard on and I’m disappointed that it didn’t work out (or perhaps more, that I’m a bonehead)

Pit Bulls; a beautiful and misunderstood breed

Today’s post has nothing to do with writing and everything to do with dogs. Specifically, Pit Bulls; beautiful, misunderstood dogs. I’ve taken a shine to this breed and I wanted to shed some light on the harsh words and thoughts people have for them and also bring more awareness for the reason these dogs have such a bad rep.

Some of the photos I have posted below are of injured and abused Pit Bulls. They are not very graphic compared to the ones I couldn’t bear to post, as some of them made me want to cry.

So, before we get down to the nitty gritty, awful truth of how some of these animals are being treated, I want to introduce you to Rowen!

She’s watching us play cards with great fascination!

Rowen is my boyfriend’s Mastiff cross Pit Bull. She’s a year and a half and the biggest suck you will ever meet. I never really gave much attention to the breed before meeting Rowen and she has totally stolen my heart. She loves to cuddle and always wants to be where the action is; leave her out and you might find her singing the blues (quite literally, she whines like a big baby) She often forgets her size and if you let her, she just might try and curl up on you like a lap dog. She will even share her bones, treats and food if you wanted some ;) But, if you’re not careful, she just might lick you to pieces!

Recently I started following a page on facebook; Keep The Bull Breed Free and it has made me very aware of how misjudged this breed is. The page is set up for responsible owners to enjoy sharing pictures and knowledge of this magnificent breed. The pictures posted are of happy, healthy dogs living in loving homes and some of the comments I see are unbelievable. People say things like, ban all Pit Bulls; they should all be killed; vicious creatures… and those are the more gentler comments I have seen. So, while I have fallen in love with this breed, it has also made me more curious as to why people hate on them so much and I decided to do some research of my own.

It is obvious that dog fighting has given Pit Bulls a bad rep and bad name, but is it really the dogs fault? No! It’s the people. You can take any dog and turn it into a fighter, make it aggressive, but do you think that a Poodle in a dog fighting ring would make those people any money? No. But because a Pit Bull is a strong, powerful animal, they choose to turn them into fighters. Dogs are not born fighters, or killers, just like no person is born a fighter or a serial killer. It is branded into them through abuse and neglect. It’s how they are raised or treated throughout their life. So, why are these animal being punished?! It’s the people! I haven’t a clue what the fine and or prison time would be for this… lets google it:

The average jail sentence for dog fighting is around five years, and/or a fine of about $10,000. However, states like Louisiana and Michigan will fine nearly five times as much, which is upwards of $25,000 and $50,000.

However, the above information is for first time offenses.

I’ve taken the liberty of underlining and highlighting the AND/OR part of this fine. In my opinion, it’s not nearly enough jail time, or a big enough fine.

Do you know what they do to those dogs to make them so aggressive?

They are beaten. They are starved. They are kept on short, very heavy chains. These type of dogs do need heavier chains as they are strong, but that is just over the top, unnecessary and cruel —>

The dogs are chained close to one another, but just out of reach to increase their antagonism.

Shelter is sometimes non existent, or it looks like this:

When training a dog to fight they are forced to run on a treadmill also known as a ‘catmill’, which confines a small animal, cat, dog or rabbit and encourages the dog to chase it. As a reward, the dog will be allowed to capture and kill the animal when finished its ‘work-out’. Some train their dogs by using bait animals for them to practice on. These animals might be someone’s cat or dog stolen from the neighborhood or acquired through ‘free to good home’ ads.

Most times, after a fight they will receive no medical attention for those injuries and can result in death if not treated.

Dogs are usually put into their first test fight at about a year and a half to see if they are fight worthy. A dog that is deemed a non-prospect, or not violent enough, may be used as bait, or abandoned or killed.

These people have no compassion for animals at all. It sickens me that this is going on.

It is not the dogs fault, so why does the BSL, Breed Specific Legislation or (Bullshit Legislation) want to ban these dogs? They just want a loving home, they don’t want to fight!

Check out this video made by Animal Rescue Corps after they saved over 60 dogs from an alleged dog fighting operation in Tennessee.

After posting those sad pictures, let me make you smile with these:

OMG! Too cute!
Happy Puppy!
Can I keep him?!
Awe, blue eyes :)

So, to all of those out there that think this breed should be banned, or the ones who post the awful comments, I just want to say, don’t be so ignorant. Pit Bulls are trained to be aggressive, they are not born that way.

***I knew that by posting this it would stir some comments and when I posted this link to FB, I did in fact receive a comment about how my information was incorrect and that I should do more research. The lady gave me a link to another site which is full of information on Pit bulls. Which is great, I do want to learn more about the bull breeds and what’s going on with the bans and fighting, all of it, so I started reading and I came across this page: http://www.workingpitbull.com/dogfighting.htm The section I want to point out is this one: “As groups like the HSUS and ASPCA put more and more pressure on game dog breeders, and very importantly, as they spread horrific misinformation about “bait animals” and other cruelties unknown before that time, the face of dog fighting changed forever. Those who would fight their dogs no longer had knowledgeable or compassionate people to help them to learn how to condition or treat their dogs. Instead, the only information they had access to was that put out by the “humane groups” who told lurid tales of “bait pets” in order to stir up donations - resulting in far more cruelty than ever their had been.” putting emphasis on the last line. This IS where dog fighting is today because of HSUS and ASPCA.***