Monday, August 31, 2015

Fiction Feature Gets Fantastical with Emily Rodda!

Ahoy readers!

            I’m here today with a very special Fiction Feature that’s close to my heart. Before I was a writer, I was an avid reader. Though I bloomed late (thought books were for nerds until 5th grade) my literary journey started with the Deltora Quest series by Emily Rodda. Her series even inspired my first work of fiction, a short story that was 10 pages over the limit for my 6th grade English assignment. Arguably, my journey into the written word began with this series.

            This iconic book fair staple intrigued young readers with its colorful covers and hooked them with Rodda’s wild and wonderful world of Deltora. I could write an essay about how much I love this series, and how the underlying meanings change with each read, but I’m here to review a wonderful surprise I stumbled upon last week!

            The Deltora series continues with several book series, including The Shadowlands and Dragons of Deltora series, both continuing the stories of our heroes. At the end of these series, our heroes get the happy ending they’ve more than earned. I thought the story had finally come to an end and happily shelved the books on my shelves and in my heart. 

            However, I recently stumbled upon another great series that takes place in Rodda’s Deltora universe. Thanks to a lucky find at my local library, I was honored to read The Three Doors Trilogy!

            “The walled city of Weld is under attack from ferocious flying creatures that raid in the night, bringing death and destruction. The Warden calls for Volunteers to find and destroy the Enemy sending invaders, and the heroes of Weld answer the call one by one, never to return. Rye is officially too young to go, but his brothers are among the lost and he must find them. What terrors await him beyond the Wall?”

            There’s the blurb that shows this series for what it is at face value. You have your reluctant hero (Rye) who has to go find his lost brothers (the quest) and who faces unknown perils and grows up along the way (coming of age.) Just like Deltora, Rodda uses her favorite fantasy quest scenario. Yet, as per Rodda’s standard, the Three Doors Trilogy brings so much more to the table with her imagination and knack for creating a world larger and more diverse than the book implies. Throughout the trilogy, you not only learn about a cast of characters in a strange land, but you also grow attached to the heroes as they explore a vast world that leaves you guessing and wondering throughout the entire story. The ending, which I refuse to spoil, is a mind-blowing revelation.

            So, who should read these books? Only Deltora fans? Definitely not! In fact, you don’t need to read any of Deltora Quest to follow what goes on in this series. You’ll have a few “aha!” moments, and you really should read DQ if you get the chance, but this series lies separately, and across an ocean, from the one written decades ago. I highly recommend these books to fantasy readers at all ages, though some of the monsters may be scary for readers in 2nd grade or below. Aside from that, all readers looking for a good tale, look no further!

            You can find The Three Doors Trilogy at any book retailer, library, or book selling website. It’s also available as an e-book series if the digital route is more your speed.

           And, if you want to reach out to the amazing Emily Rodda and learn about her other fascinating reads, you can find her website here:
                                                         Emily Rodda

            Thank you, Ms. Rodda, for giving us another wonderful story in which to get lost. You have always been, and continue to be, an inspiring role model for me and other fantasy writers. May your words, worlds, and wonders continue inspiring future readers and writers for years to come.  

And stay in tune for more updates about all things Lucid! 

Until next time, keep readin and dreamin! 


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fiction Feature Gets Romantic with J. J. Nite!

JJ Nite Blog Post

Ahoy, lovely readers!

Happy Tuesday!  I hope you enjoyed your summer weekend, survived Monday, and are preparing for a great week. Before you slip back into that routine, however, I have another great fiction feature! This time, we’re going into the romance genre with J. J. Nite’s Lovely Paradox: Lost out on the e-shelves now!

It feels like nothing is ever going to change for Ali Morgan and then she meets Damien.He’s 
the opposite of everything her parents have hoped she would find, which makes him all the 
more attractive. The more involved Ali becomes with Damien, the more her parents try to
 separate her from him. Their actions cause Ali to ignore her parents and jump even further
 into a world she has been sheltered from.

But now that she has found her confidence thanks to Damien, Ali isn’t going to blindly
 follow the rules her parents have tried to force upon her. Will Ali’s parents be able to
 convince her that Damien isn’t the one for her or will Ali discover something much
 different all on her own?

            If you’re into romantic thrillers, this will be a great book to start your week off on the right foot, book-wise. Be careful, though, you may find it hard to rip your eyes from the book to do any work at all! Don’t believe me? Here’s a little excerpt to whet your appetite even more:

ʺI know you’re in there! Open this door, or I’m going to call the cops and let them open it for me! ʺ I heard my dad’s voice yelling from the other side of Damien’s front door.
ʺOh no. That’s my dad, ʺ I said, feeling a paralyzing cold start at my feet and spread upward through my body.
ʺI figured,ʺ Damien said.
I watched as his face, open and loving only moments before, closed off. The hardened mask he showed the world slowly slipped into place as he picked me up and placed me on the couch. He slowly stood up and went to the door.
As soon as Damien opened it, my father stormed through. He looked from me, sitting on the couch in clothes other than my own, to the halfdressed state of Damien. I could almost see my dad make the completely wrong assumption.
"Dad, let me explain before you say something really stupid!" I said, as I jumped to my feet.
"Something stupid? I think you’ve already accomplished a level I never imagined. Sneaking out of the house! Coming here and doing… I don’t even want to imagine what the two of you have been up to," my dad said.
"Dad, please stop. I can explain," I said.
"Don’t. Just stop before you even start. Do you have any idea what your mother and I went through when we woke up and found you gone?" my dad asked.
ʺMr. Morgan, none of this is Ali’s fault," Damien said, as he walked over to where I was standing.
"I don’t want to hear a word you have to say about my daughter! Ever since you entered her life, nothing has been normal. She’s completely changed, and I don’t even feel like I know her anymore," my dad said.
"I’ll admit I haven’t been the best influence on Ali, but she hasn’t done anything she didn’t want to do. I haven’t once forced her to do something," Damien said.
I was sure the look my dad leveled on Damien would be enough to reduce him to a pile of embers. It was full of fury, and I watched as my dad balled his hands into fists.
"Dad! None of this is Damien’s fault. He’s telling the truth about not making me do anything. I’m a big girl, and I can make my own decisions if you and mom would just get out of my way. I’m not a little girl anymore!" I yelled at my dad.
I felt Damien put his arm around my shoulders and then press a kiss to my hair just above my temple. He was doing it to show he supported me, but my dad didn’t see it quite the same way.
In horror, I watched as my dad ripped Damien away from me and pushed him to the ground. I threw myself on top of Damien in a futile attempt to protect him from my father, or my father from him. I didn’t know, but what I did know was this wasn’t how I had wanted the night to end.
"Ali, get out of the way!" my dad yelled.
"It’s okay, Ali. I’m not hurt, and you can stop crying," Damien said quietly at my ear. "Everything’s going to be just fine."
When had I started crying?

I did warn you! Find Lovely Paradox: Lost at these e-book sites today!

About the Author

J. J. Nite lives in North Alabama with her husband, 3 kids, 2 dogs, and 5 goldfish.  She writes young adult sweet romance for Clean Reads and loves reading as much as possible. J.J.'s also found that if she doesn't write something every day, her mood is that of a bear waking from hibernation. Don't worry though, the children have learned to let Mommy write a little before approaching.
You can follow J. J. Night on Twitter @jjnite on Instagram at @jjniteauthor and on Facebook at

Hope this starts your week off right! Until next time, keep readin’ and dreamin’!


Monday, August 17, 2015

Fiction Feature with Chris Von Halle's Fourth Generation!

The Fourth Generation feature

Ahoy, lovely readers!

Sorry for the temporary silence, but I’m happy to say that I am safe and sound on American soil again! Japan was excellent, and I have a few more stories to tell about the experience, but I’d like to get right back into what I love doing best. That’s right, it’s time for another fiction feature!

This time, I’m happy to introduce a new author and his debut novel. Meet Chris Von Halle and his novel, The Fourth Generation!

In the future, no adults exist. Ever since the plague swept the world 100 years ago, no one has lived past seventeen.
Sixteen-year-old Gorin, a collector of curious artifacts left over from the pre-plague civilization, is on the verge of perishing from that deadly epidemic. And his last wish is to find a way to visit the rulers’ reputedly magnificent, off-limits mansion.
Up against the clock, he and his friend Stausha steal into the mansion and discover a secret more horrifying than they ever could’ve imagined—a secret that holds the key to the survival of the whole human race.

Sounds like a winner for anyone who’s into the hot topic of teens in a post-apocalyptic world! Only living to 17? What a crazy, short life! But don’t let me ramble on about this exciting tale. How about I tease you a little more with an excerpt?
I raced up the stairwell pretty fast for someone in my awful condition. My empty backpack bounced on my shoulders, my feet landing just in front of the steps’ worn, chipped edges. Sunlight leaked through the dusty windows at the top of each landing, enough to light my way to the decaying apartment building’s eighth floor.
            The rest of the Valuable Objects better still be there.
            No way I was losing the Tournament of Prestige this year, and the VOs could be worth just enough prestige points to finally push my faction into the top spot. But if someone else found them while I was gone…
            At last I made it to the eighth floor. My chest heaved as I sucked in breath, my burning legs threatening to crumple.
            You’ve gotta be kidding me.
            The second door on the right lay wide open. My heart banged against my ribs, making it tough to breathe, as I crept to the door as quietly as only I could.
            I peeked inside the room. My gut clenched, even though I’d seen it coming.
            A boy about my size—taller than average with good-size muscles—stood in front of the old wooden cabinets on the left side of the room. He had blotchy, dark gray skin, so was about sixteen years old like me. His back looked a little crooked, like his spine wasn’t quite aligned right. Mine was probably in similar shape.
            Even from the doorway I could see through the cabinet doors’ inlaid glass. Empty, except for one measly glass bottle. Sure enough, the boy started to turn away from them. I jerked my head back into the hallway, then peered back in. He made his way to the right side of the room.
            No—not there.
           He stopped at the faded loveseat wedged against the wall. Patches of peeled leather formed large, complicated shapes that looked like continents on a globe.
            Get away from there.
            Then again, this room had been scoured countless times over the past fifty years by generations of supply hunters like us, and none of them had found the short, tiny closet behind the sofa. Chances were slim this kid would.
            Please, Power, this is my last year, my last chance. Please don’t let him find the VOs.
            He walked to the side of the loveseat and put his hands on it. He was about to push it!
            I yanked my flashlight out of my pocket, snapped open the battery compartment as quickly and quietly as I could, and hurled a battery across the room. Wasn’t like I needed it. Our faction got fresh batteries every week from the mansion, and could probably get more if we asked.
            The battery smacked the back wall by the open window—I felt a light breeze, even from where I stood by the door—and hit the floor with a thud. The boy stopped pushing the sofa. Thankfully, he’d only moved it a couple inches. Not enough to reveal any of the closet.
            “What the…?” He watched the battery roll across the wooden floor a bit and stay still.
            He walked toward it.
            He picked it up and headed toward the window, his back to me. Probably thought someone had thrown the battery through it.
            I crept toward the sofa as quietly as I could, so there was no chance the kid could hear me. Few people had feet as soundless as Gorin of Faction 235.
            I navigated around the squeaky floorboards. Good thing I’d memorized them during my first two trips to this room, after I’d found the jackpot of a closet this morning. Could never be too careful or prepared for a situation like this. Every VO counted, especially ones worth as many prestige points as DVDs.
            When I made it to the loveseat, I shoved it aside as hard as I could and burst into the closet.
            “Hey!” the boy cried as I lifted the lid of the plastic blue bin inside and started to stuff the last of the whopping stash—a stack of plastic DVD cases coated in thick dust—into my backpack. Not sure exactly what they were or what they did in the Old World. Us supply hunters weren’t trained to know stuff like that, annoyingly enough, though I’d give all my limbs to be given one hint.
            Feet shuffled toward me. “Get your filthy paws off those. They’re mine.”
            I turned my head toward the boy. He towered over me, at least by a foot. Thick, muscled arms framed his sides. Okay, so I was wrong—he was bigger and stronger than me. He dug his gaze into mine with pebbles for eyes on his overly broad forehead. A large, beak-like nose jutted from his face.
            “Sorry, you know the rules,” I said. “I got to all of these before you, fair and square.” Which meant I got to keep them. Actually, I’d gotten to them way before him, but I had no proof of that, so no use mentioning it.
            He folded his meaty arms across his chest. “Sorry, punk, but I don’t play by the rules.”

            As most of you know, I’m all about deadly competitions, whether they’re in written form or a part of one of my video games, so I am very honored to show you all a bit of The Fourth Generation!
            The best part is you can buy this good read now at these e-book links!

But how about we meet our author before you rush off into his world, eh?

Chris von Halle has had many different lives in many different worlds—the near and distant future Earth, other planets, and even other dimensions—and his books recreate his childhood memories of such outlandish locations.  In this world and life, he lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and enjoys such extraordinary activities as playing videogames, tennis, and basketball, and writing the occasional comic strip.

You can reach out to Chris on his personal sites below:
Twitter: @ChrisvonHalle

That’s it for now! I’ll be posting more frequently to give you Reverie updates and other great fiction features!

Until next time, keep readin’ and dreamin’!