Winter’s Last Chance

The Winter Warmer bundle comes off store shelves March 1, leaving just 4 days now to get a copy. After that, it’s gone forever. That’s the nature of bundles.

Winter, a time of festivity, of hardship, and cold. Perhaps it remains the most superstitious of seasons and for many the most beloved. Snow, feasting, gifts, religious significance, family and getting together. A time for storytelling!

Thirteen tales about, or set in, the harshest of seasons. From witches to icy realms and faery kings, to holiday nutballs who might be less nutty than they seem. From detectives up against wintery crimes and mysteries to Christmas romance and second chances, there’s something for everyone in this winter warmer.

“Sanctuary” by Leslie Claire Walker
“Snowman’s Chance in Hell” by Robert Jeschonek
Tollard’s Peak by Michael Kingswood
“Phoenix” by Leslie Claire Walker
The Tuxedoed Man by Marcelle Dube
“Nutball Season” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The Dreamweaver’s Journey by Diana L. Wicker
Dark Dancer by Jaleta Clegg
“Coconutty Christmas” by Ann Omasta
Nobody’s Child by Janet Dawson
Freak Sanctuary by Ann Stratton
“Desperate Housewitches” by Dayle A. Dermatis
Winter Glory by J.M. Ney-Grimm

The Winter Warmer bundle (with 13 titles) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

For more about the stories and novels in the Winter Warmer bundle, see:
Winter Warmer: Phoenix
Winter Warmer: Nutball Season
Winter Warmer: Winter Glory
Winter Warmer: Nobody’s Child
Winter Warmer: Desperate Housewitches

 

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Immortals Bundle

This seems to be the year of the book bundle for me. Across the last 6 months, I’ve had stories in four bundles. Now I have two titles in a new fifth bundle!

My short story, Rainbow’s Lodestone, features the spirit of the rainbow as its protagonist. My novel, Fate’s Door, follows the adventures of a naiad of the Mediterranean Sea.

Both Rainbow’s Lodestone and Fate’s Door are included in Immortals, along with 12 more stories by other authors, amongst them the talented Leah Cutter, the unique Janet Morris, and my new favorite Leslie Claire Walker.

Gods, nymphs, vampires, deathless clones, cursed mages and those who serve them face perils where immortality acts as either curse or blessing or…both. Souls and selves lie at stake in this eclectic bundle.

“The Goddess Problem” by Sherry D. Ramsey
Glamour of the God-Touched by Ron Collins
A Man and His God by Janet Morris
“Unnatural Immortal” by Russ Crossley
First Chosen by M. Todd Gallowglas
Walking Gods by Leah Cutter
“Rainbow’s Lodestone” by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Brainjob by David Sloma
“Silver Dust” by Leslie Claire Walker
“Vale of Semūin” by Eric Kent Edstrom
Fate’s Door by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Kaylyn the Sister-in-Darkness by Barbara G. Tarn
“The Legend of Oeliana” by A. L. Butcher
“Jamal & the Skeleton’s Heart” by Ezekiel James Boston

The Immortals bundle (with 14 titles, including Rainbow’s Lodestone and Fate’s Door) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

 

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Remembering Warriors: Resonant Bronze

My short story “Resonant Bronze” is one of the 13 titles included in the Remembering Warriors bundle. I’ve had readers tell me in conversation that they enjoyed the tale, but shorts don’t tend to collect written reviews as much as do longer works.

However, one reader on Goodreads shared his opinion after winning a copy in a Goodreads giveaway.

“…I enjoyed it very much. The characters and plot were well developed given the [length] . . . I would recommend [Resonant Bronze] to anybody who enjoys a good medieval-era tale with a little magic and mythology thrown in.” —Tyler Knight

Thank you, Tyler! I’m glad it pleased you! 😀

Resonant BronzeHere’s the official blurb for Resonant Bronze:

The warriors of Torbellai brought back a prize in the night, and young Paitra wants to see it. Even hidden away in the armory, the artifact changed the whole mood of their mountain citadel from dread foreboding to hope. And Paitra’s people need hope to turn the tide in their long war against the troll horde.

Might this small triumph presage a mightier victory?

But the warlord hid the fighters’ plunder for good reason. Forged by trolls and radiating magic, it presents grave risk to the soul and spirit of any who approach it.

Sneaking past the weapon smiths into the armory with his brother, Paitra still believes his home a safe place for boy’s mischief. But bronze hammered by trolls is anything but safe. Opportunity cloaked within its lethal enchantment awaits the right unlocking key. Could Paitra wield that key? And will he survive his curiosity?

Through death into magic and sound, Paitra confronts . . . resonant bronze.

And here’s a list of the all the titles in the Remembering Warriors bundle:

Comrades in Arms by Kevin J. Anderson
Outside the Walls by A. L. Butcher and Diana L. Wicker
Norman Blood by Barbara G.Tarn
The Rise of a Warrior by Harvey Stanbrough
Total War by Russ Crossley
“Resonant Bronze” by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Siren by Blaze Ward
“The Museum of Modern Warfare” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Nothing for Nothing by Harvey Stanbrough
“The Rescue” by Blaze Ward
Soldier, Storyteller by Linda Maye Adams
“Heroes of Old” by Russ Crossley
With a Broken Sword by Stefon Mears

The Remembering Warriors bundle (with 13 titles, including Resonant Bronze) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

For more about the stories in the Remembering Warriors bundle, see:
Remembering Warriors: Siren
Remembering Warriors: The Museum of Modern Warfare
Remembering Warriors: With a Broken Sword

 

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Remembering Warriors: With a Broken Sword

I thought I’d read all of the Remembering Warriors bundle, from its first book to its last. I was so convinced of this that I don’t know why I re-opened the ebook. But I’m glad I did!

There was one more story—a novel—awaiting me, a quintessential war story, telling of an all-but-conquered town, courageous commonfolk facing a hopeless situation, and one lone knight, committed enough and crazy enough to attempt to save . . . as many as he can.

As I started reading With a Broken Sword by Stefon Mears, I was immediately captivated by its protagonist, Ser Colin, with his youthful enthusiasm for deeds of derring-do and his surprisingly wise heart. Ser Colin knows that while he has sworn to serve his king, he has also sworn to serve his country. And his country—the people of Kholost—come first in that oath.

As I continued to read, the world building came to charm me as much as had Ser Colin. The medieval country of Kholost has a vaguely Hungarian mood, as does its mighty river, the Odeda. Its dread sorcerers work their evil with demons in a way new to me, despite all my reading in the fantasy genre, while its “cunning men”—equally unique—work gentler magics through the essences of squirrel, trout, cow, beagle, boar, and crow spirits.

The story is well told, moving from scene to scene surefootedly, from one point of view to another with clarity and discernment. As the challenges facing our heroes escalate, the pace quickens, rising to a brisk sequence of hair-raising events, and then resolving into a brief-but-satisfying denouement.

Through the action and the suspense, I came to care about all of the helpers Ser Colin recruits. Particular standouts included old, wrinkled Farold, the “cunning man”; the devoted husband-wife team, Drud and Ebba, brave and generous; and, of course, the clever and resourceful seamstress-leader, Terrwyn.

All in all, With a Broken Sword was a pleasure. I hope Stefon Mears has written more stories in this world.

One knight stands between invaders and conquest.

His secret mission ended in an ambush. Now Ser Colin awakens on a battlefield under the bodies of his friends, the last knight still alive. And the invaders have seized the town of Three Bridges, with river access to the whole kingdom. How can one lone knight lead a ragtag group of townsfolk to victory over warriors and wizards?

The Remembering Warriors bundle (with 13 titles, including With a Broken Sword) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

For more about the stories in the Remembering Warriors bundle, see:
Remembering Warriors: Siren
Remembering Warriors: The Museum of Modern Warfare
Remembering Warriors: Resonant Bronze

 

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Going, going, gone!

One of the things about bundles is that they don’t stay on the store shelves forever. Some last a mere 3 weeks. Others longer.

The Mythic Tales bundle arrived for purchase November 1, and now it’s about to bow out!

Edited to add: The bundle is gone now, but the stories that were in it remain available separately. A few are so good that each was worth the price of the Mythic Tales bundle all on its own.

I urge you to check out the individual titles with an eye to purchasing the ones that particularly appeal to you.

Remember those epic legends of heroes and monsters? Stories of great adventure woven with magic and myth live once more in this collection; read of ancient lore, magic swords, wicked beasts, courageous souls, desperate champions, and unholy bargains. Fairy tales and bold ventures come together in this boxed set.

Beneath the Knowe by Anthea Sharp
Tales of Erana by A. L. Butcher
A Sword’s Poem by Leah Cutter
On the Edge of Faerie by Stefon Mears
Sorcha’s Heart by Debbie Mumford
Tales Fabulous and Fairy by Kim Antieau
Tempus by Janet Morris
Caught in Amber by J.M. Ney-Grimm
The Warden of Power by Karen L. Abrahamson
Beautiful by Barbara G. Tarn
Lost: Cinderella’s Secret Witch Diaries by Ron Vitale
Tales of the Faie: The Beginning of Days by Diana L. Wicker
Raziel’s Shadow by Joseph Robert Lewis
Magic for a Rainy Day by Alexandra Brandt

For reviews of the stories and novels from the Mythic Tales bundle
(plus the odd character interview), see:

Mythic Tales: Beneath the Knowe
Mythic Tales: Caught in Amber, Character Interview – Fae
Mythic Tales: A Sword’s Poem
Mythic Tales: Tales of Erana
Mythic Tales: Tempus
Mythic Tales: Author Interview
Mythic Tales: Raziel’s Shadow
Mythic Tales: Magic for a Rainy Day

 

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Remembering Warriors: The Museum of Modern Warfare

I first read “The Museum of Modern Warfare” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch long enough ago that I can’t remember where I encountered it. It might have been included in a bundle sponsored by StoryBundle, but—then again—it might not.

Regardless of where I discovered the story—which isn’t really very important—it stayed with me. It’s a powerful and moving narrative, so I was delighted for the excuse to re-read it when I learned it was included in the Remembering Warriors bundle.

When the Ambassador to the Dylft System—a veteran of the Dylft Wars—receives orders to lead a diplomatic mission to Craznaust, she wonders at the wisdom of accepting the assignment.

Still, when she arrives at the controversial Museum of Modern Warfare, she believes herself prepared to face the past and address whatever diplomatic issue she might find there.
 
But nothing could prepare her for what she finds deep within the museum. Something long buried. Something that could change everything she thought she knew about the war.
 
Winner of the 2015 Analog Anlab Award for Best Short Story.

“The Museum of Modern Warfare” is a deeply internal story, compelling and immersive. We are embedded so firmly within the thoughts and feelings of the ambassador that we never even learn her name. And we don’t need to. Her experience as a veteran of war is the centerpiece here. In a sense she is everyman or everywoman who has fought and lost pieces of herself and survived.

As the narrative progresses, we learn the specifics of what made her military posting to Craznaust so challenging, how the planet eroded the sanity of many serving there, and why the ambassador accepted a return to that environment on a mission of diplomacy.

At the heart of the story, we discover a personal secret the ambassador buried so deeply that she’d forgotten she held it—along with the revelation of a universal truth about grief, mourning, and reconciliation.

I enjoyed the story very much, primarily because of how flawless was the illusion it created that I walked in the ambassador’s shoes. I felt like I was her, that I felt her feelings, thought her thoughts, experienced her experiences, and received the gift of her personal internal revelation.

10% of the royalties from the Remembering Warriors bundle will go to the Royal British Legion plus another 10% to Help for Heroes, two charities that support wounded and ex-service personnel and their families, in commemoration of the World War I centenary.

Comrades in Arms by Kevin J. Anderson
Outside the Walls by A. L. Butcher and Diana L. Wicker
Norman Blood by Barbara G.Tarn
The Rise of a Warrior by Harvey Stanbrough
Total War by Russ Crossley
“Resonant Bronze” by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Siren by Blaze Ward
“The Museum of Modern Warfare” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Nothing for Nothing by Harvey Stanbrough
“The Rescue” by Blaze Ward
Soldier, Storyteller by Linda Maye Adams
“Heroes of Old” by Russ Crossley
With a Broken Sword by Stefon Mears

The Remembering Warriors bundle (with 13 titles, including “The Museum of Modern Warfare” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch and my own Resonant Bronze) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

For more about the stories in the Remembering Warriors bundle, see:
Remembering Warriors: Siren
Remembering Warriors: With a Broken Sword
Remembering Warriors: Resonant Bronze

 

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Remembering Warriors: Siren

Vo Arlo survived the destruction of Alexandria Station and RAN Auberon.

In between assignments, at a small college on a back-water planet, he stumbles into a mystery when the prettiest girl on campus suddenly starts throwing herself at him.

Vo, the former gutter punk from the streets.

What will it cost him to understand why he attracts such attention?

I just read Siren by Blaze Ward and enjoyed it thoroughly. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I didn’t want it to end!

Set within the milieu of academe, the novella is the brilliantly written story of an encounter between a space marine from the slums and a beautiful co-ed from the wealthy upper crust.

The characters are compelling. The narrative is compelling. I felt like I was Vo Arlo as events unfolded and he assessed and responded out of his unique blend of effective marine, man of honor, and escapee from the ghetto.

I’ll be reading more by Blaze Ward. I only hope he has more stories about Vo, because he’s a character I’m eager to spend more time with.

Siren is one of 13 stories in the Remembering Warriors bundle. (Another of those stories is my own “Resonant Bronze.”) Here’s a little more about the bundle:

One hundred years ago, in 1918, the Great War ended after four terrible years. Never had the world seen such a conflict. All touched by its scythe hoped we would never be thusly reaped again. Their hopes were but desperate dreams. Since that first armistice, there have been many more battles, and thousands have given their lives or their health to preserve freedom and escape from tyranny.

One hundred years after the first armistice we still remember and honour those brave souls. But still the soldiers fall, for the War to End all Wars did not.

10% of the royalties from the Remembering Warriors bundle will go to the Royal British Legion plus another 10% to Help for Heroes, two charities that support wounded and ex-service personnel and their families, in commemoration of the World War I centenary.

Comrades in Arms by Kevin J. Anderson
Outside the Walls by A. L. Butcher and Diana L. Wicker
Norman Blood by Barbara G.Tarn
The Rise of a Warrior by Harvey Stanbrough
Total War by Russ Crossley
“Resonant Bronze” by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Siren by Blaze Ward
“The Museum of Modern Warfare” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Nothing for Nothing by Harvey Stanbrough
“The Rescue” by Blaze Ward
Soldier, Storyteller by Linda Maye Adams
“Heroes of Old” by Russ Crossley
With a Broken Sword by Stefon Mears

The Remembering Warriors bundle (with 13 titles, including Siren by Blaze Ward and my own Resonant Bronze) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

For more about the stories in the Remembering Warriors bundle, see:
Remembering Warriors: The Museum of Modern Warfare
Remembering Warriors: With a Broken Sword
Remembering Warriors: Resonant Bronze

For more about other bundles, see:
Winter Warmer bundle
Mythic Tales bundle
More than Human bundle

 

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Winter Warmer: Winter Glory

I’ve been writing mini reviews of my favorite stories in the Winter Warmer bundle to give you a taste of what the bundle contains.

This will be my last blog post about the bundle, but I want to remind you that my own novella, Winter Glory, is one of the 13 stories collected in it.

(There’s a mix of lengths: 6 shorts, 2 novellas, and 5 novels: ).

Obviously I cannot review my own work, but Winter Glory happens to have accumulated a bunch of reviews on Amazon. So I’m going to share a few excerpts with you.
 

The story moves along quickly. The descriptive language is nothing short of gorgeous without being repetitive or taking away from the plot. The characters are interesting, well-written… I love that the protagonists are older—I think the unconventional (read: not young and gorgeous and physically flawless) characters are relatable, and they stuck with me long after I had finished reading. —Mary Anne

The writing is lucid, elegant, smooth. Ney-Grimm creates a fantasy world of Norse legends, but with real people… the settings are gorgeous, sketched with quick perfect strokes. The culture she writes is realized in great detail in few words. I felt as if I had dropped in. —Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

A little atmospheric gem of a novella…puts you into the lead character’s shoes beautifully, and that’s a treat because the protagonist, and his society, is so alien. It’s interesting, beautifully written, and worth re-reading. —Rich S.

An excellent fantasy—well written and absorbing, with a lot of depth in both background and characters. It would be worth reading just for the fascinating details of life and different cultures in this cold landscape, but the characters are people you can care about. —Paul T.

I have been drawn to this writer’s work by her vivid use of language. This story is no exception in how it showcases her skills on that front, but what really makes it magical is that this is a story with a strong heart. In the starkly beautiful Northlands—a place that Ney-Grimm conveys so clearly it’s like watching a movie on the inside of your skull—two people who once knew and loved each other meet up again. This is their story… —Laura M.

Thank you so much to those of you who have taken the time and made the effort to review my stories. I love hearing what my readers think, and when your words are words of praise, I feel great!

Here’s the blurb for Winter Glory:

In the cold, forested North-lands—redolent with the aroma of pine, shrouded in snow, and prowled by ice tigers and trolls—Ivvar seeks only to meet his newborn great granddaughter.

Someone else has the same plan.

Traversing the wilderness toward the infant’s home camp, Ivvar must face the woman he once cherished and an ancient scourge of the chilly woodlands in a complicated dance of love and death.

Ivvar’s second chance at happiness—and his life—hang in the balance.

The Winter Warmer bundle (with 13 titles, including Winter Glory) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

For more about the stories and novels in the Winter Warmer bundle, see:
Winter Warmer: Phoenix
Winter Warmer: Nutball Season
Winter Warmer: Nobody’s Child
Winter Warmer: Desperate Housewitches

 

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Winter Warmer: Desperate Housewitches

Kimberly reigns as the witchy Martha Stewart of her neighborhood coven…until Philippa moves in across the street, with her snooty English pagan heritage and her magical one-upmanship. When the annual Winter Solstice ritual goes horribly wrong, can Kim and Philippa put their differences aside and avert disaster?

In preparation for writing this blog post, I re-read “Desperate Housewitches” by Dayle A. Dermatis.

I intended to peruse only the first few paragraphs to refresh my memory, but the story is so good it beguiled me onward for “one page more” all the way until I reached the end. I found it just as delightful, charming, and fun as I did the first time through.

The real heart of the tale is change and jealousy and making new friends, but the window dressing of witch’s hat fascinators, patchwork gift bags, peppermint fudge, and other housewifey projects adds a sparkle that makes the whole story sing.

Kimberly, who was always “the one with the best decorations, the best food at potlucks, the best parties, the best poison garden (for show only, of course),” feels threatened by newcomer Philippa, who uses magic to do her work, instead of doing the work to fuel her magic.

Their rivalry starts at Halloween (or Samhain, as the witches term it) and escalates as the year progresses to its close.

I loved Kimberly’s verve, the inventive world building of the coven and its neighborhood, the clever intertwining of the personal with the ritual, and how the whole desperate situation worsens and comes to a head.

“Desperate Housewitches” is altogether a gem of a short story. I’ll definitely be reading more by Dayle A. Dermatis.

The Winter Warmer bundle (with 13 titles, including “Desperate Housewitches”) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

For more about the stories and novels in the Winter Warmer bundle, see:
Winter Warmer: Phoenix
Winter Warmer: Nutball Season
Winter Warmer: Nobody’s Child
Winter Warmer: Winter Glory

 

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Mythic Tales at a Lower Price!

Story bundles, by their nature, are intended to offer readers some excellent reading for a modest price. I think the Mythic Tales bundle achieved that goal with its 14 titles – a mix of novels, novellas, and short stories – for $6.50.

But now the bundle is on sale for only $4.99.

If you were thinking of picking up a copy, now is the moment to do it! 😀

Remember those epic legends of heroes and monsters? Stories of great adventure woven with magic and myth live once more in this collection; read of ancient lore, magic swords, wicked beasts, courageous souls, desperate champions, and unholy bargains. Fairy tales and bold ventures come together in this boxed set.

Beneath the Knowe by Anthea Sharp
Tales of Erana by A. L. Butcher
A Sword’s Poem by Leah Cutter
On the Edge of Faerie by Stefon Mears
Sorcha’s Heart by Debbie Mumford
Tales Fabulous and Fairy by Kim Antieau
Tempus by Janet Morris
Caught in Amber by J.M. Ney-Grimm
The Warden of Power by Karen L. Abrahamson
Beautiful by Barbara G. Tarn
Lost: Cinderella’s Secret Witch Diaries by Ron Vitale
Tales of the Faie: The Beginning of Days by Diana L. Wicker
Raziel’s Shadow by Joseph Robert Lewis
Magic for a Rainy Day by Alexandra Brandt

Mythic Tales is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

Fourteen titles (8 novels, 1 novella, 4 short story collections, and 1 short story) for $4.99.

Note: The sale at the reduced $4.99 price is now over, but the bundle will continue to be available until February 1.
 

For more about the stories and novels in the Mythic Tales bundle, see:
Mythic Tales: Beneath the Knowe
Mythic Tales: Caught in Amber, Character Interview – Fae
Mythic Tales: A Sword’s Poem
Mythic Tales: Tales of Erana
Mythic Tales: Tempus
Mythic Tales: Author Interview
Mythic Tales: Raziel’s Shadow
Mythic Tales: Magic for a Rainy Day

 

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