Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Virtual Tour: Author Q&A: Sleight of Hand by Sue Duff #TheWeirChronicles




Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy, SciFi Adventure
Crosswinds Publishing
January 15, 2016
Pages: 348
As the epic Weir Chronicles continue in this third installment of the series, rebels poison Ian and it’s up to Rayne and Patrick to find a cure before their friend succumbs and Earth’s fate is left in the hands of adversaries intent on taking control of the planet. To obtain answers, Rayne must travel to an alternate world where few survive as Patrick unearths the secrets of the rebels and discovers a truth that shatters his beliefs about the Weir and the future of Earth.

Catch up on the series by reading Fade to Black and Masks and Mirrors !


Want more? Join The Weir Chronicles Fan List for exciting news and updates on special events, giveaways and upcoming books in the series!

Praise for the Series

“A stunning debut with a thrilling mix of sci-fi and fantasy. Duff has a real hit on her hands.” - Roxanne Kade, blogger at Therian
“I recommend this to anyone who loves a good Sci-fi esque, fantasy, dystopian, secret-war-going-on-behind-the-human’s-backs-and-right-under-their-noses sort of book.” -- Jaay V, blogger at Reckless Indulgence
“This is one series that I recommend to readers of fantasy and paranormal romances. You will not be disappointed.” - Jessica Bronder, blogger at J Bronder Book Reviews
From Readers on Amazon

“You may lose sleep. The action is fast paced and it’s refreshing to see a book in this genre with a male protagonist! I truly enjoyed his journey to self-discovery.”
“I love that Sue Duff does not dumb down her writing to make everything repetitious each time - she let’s you figure out the rules yourself while you read. Her style of writing really suits the smart world-building, and I also fell so in love with the characters.”
“A magical tale filled with likeable characters.”

Contact: Samantha Lien at Roger Charlie
Twitter: @samijolien

Sleight of Hand thrills readers with science fiction, adventure and mind-blowing reveals

DENVER, CO -- January 2016 -- A magical race of beings, the Weir have served as caretakers of Earth for thousands of years. But when they are pitted against each other by outside forces sucking life from the planet, it’s once again up to a young illusionist to come to mother nature’s rescue in the third installment of the Weir Chronicles, Sleight of Hand .
As the epic story continues, main protagonist Ian Black is poisoned by rebels and it’s up to friends Rayne and Patrick to find a cure before he succumbs and Earth’s fate is left in the hands of adversaries intent on taking control of the planet. To save Ian, Rayne must travel to an alternate world few have survived while Patrick unearths the secrets of the rebels to discover a truth that shatters his beliefs about the Weir and the future of their planet.
“We’re midway into the five-book series, so it’s a pivotal turning point in everyone’s lives,” said Duff. “Everything shifts for Ian and the gang.” This game-changing chapter combines fantasy, magic and Duff’s great love of Earth and Space to weave the magical wonders of the universe into the new novel. “Natural sciences play a major role in the Weir - who they are, and what they cherish the most’ and Sleight of Hand finally helps to answer some questions about the Weir from the first two books in the series.
Duff has already begun work on books four and five and even had the opportunity to fact-check her story with NASA scientists when she participated in 2015 Denver ComicCon programming.
“It was intimidating to sit on a panel with them, but they were a kick to hang out with, and even verified that my research was sound for the upcoming novels,” said Duff. “What a relief!”
Out of hundreds of submissions, Duff’s novel Fade to Black placed as a finalist in the Colorado Gold Writing Contest in 2011 and in 2015, her writing earned her the PEN Award from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers . Additionally, Duff has completed a short story entitled Duo’vr for the anthology TICKTOCK: Seven Tales of Time , which hits store shelves on March 1, 2016.
Sue Duff has dreamed of dragons and spaceships before she could even read, so it’s only natural that she now combines both fantasy and science fiction as her favorite genre. Having written since high school, Duff never took it seriously until a skiing accident laid her up for an entire summer and she turned on the word processor to combat the boredom. A couple years later, her first urban fantasy novel, F ade to Black , was one of five finalists in the

RMFW Colorado Gold Writing Contest and in 2015, Duff’s writing earned her the PEN Award.
She is the second oldest of six girls with an avid reader mom and her dad, the family’s single drop of testosterone in a sea of estrogen.

By day, Duff is a dedicated speech-language therapist at an inner city school district, a career she pursued much in part to her aunt who got her hooked on stories of the profession when Duff was younger. She is passionate about the work she does and regularly works to help those students that need it the most.

Sue is a member of the R ocky Mountain Fiction Writers and T he Pikes Peak Writers.
She calls Colorado home and when not saving the world one page at a time, she can be found walking her great dane, getting her hands dirty in her garden, or creating something delicious in her kitchen.

Check out her blog, A Cook’s Guide to Writing and other musings on her website.


Q&A with Sue Duff
We’re now on the third book in the Weir Chronicles. Can you tell us where you got your inspiration for the series?
I was in search of a new kind of superhero and I drew upon my love of science in a deliberate avoidance of all things alien, vampire, werewolf, or typical wizardry. From that basic premise, Ian’s character and the world of the Weir gradually took shape.
Since there may be some readers that haven’t yet seen Fade to Black and Masks and Mirrors, can you catch readers up who are just now joining in on the adventure?
The main protagonist and “superhero” is Ian Black. Born the last of the Weir, all hope rests on him to save the planet, but he doesn’t inherit the powers as predicted. Tortured in a last ditch effort to bring his supposed powers to the surface, he escapes and hides among the humans as an illusionist - until a nosy college reporter uncovers his secret. Together, they discover a malevolent Weir who is sucking Earth’s energy and depleting its resources at an alarming rate.
The Weir are a race of magical beings who have served as caretakers of Earth for thousands of years and it is their connection to the planet that keeps what roams above in harmony with the energies that churn below.
 Unfortunately, they are becoming extinct and as a result, there is an intense rise of natural disasters across the globe.. Desperate to save the earth and prevent the end of their race, the Weir turn to modern science to perpetuate themselves. But this philosophy separates their kind into two warring factions - the Pur and the Duach. To keep them from killing each other, and all but guaranteeing their extinction, a Curse is created by the Ancient counsel as a means of keeping them apart. Of course, as you could predict, the Weir soon discover it’s not wise to mess with Mother Nature!
A band of rebels, committed to stopping their mutual enemy, come on the scene in Masks and Mirrors , and give Ian reason to be suspicious as he struggles to uncover what ulterior motive they have for saving Earth.
What do you think will surprise readers most about Sleight of Hand?
Talk about mind-blowing reveals! This book is chock full of them. EVERYTHING changes for Ian and the gang. This is midway in the five book series and it’s the pivotal turning point for everyone’s lives.
What kind of research did you have to do for your book / series?
As an Earth and Space science fanatic, I follow National Geographic and NASA pretty closely. The news clips that come are amazing and sad at the same time. The probes in deep space are bringing back incredible pictures of frontiers we’ve only speculated about until now, and I love checking those out on a regular basis.
I also did a lot of research with magicians and illusionists for the first two books. If there was a TV show on about magic, I was probably watching it! It was so fun to come up with twists on the tricks I saw, or to find ways to connect a trick to something in nature, as Ian might.
What are your initial thoughts when thinking about your book(s)?
I write the way I like to read - short chapters that end with a cliffhanger so you can’t help but turn the page and read just ‘one more chapter.’ I’ve received feedback from individuals, who don’t typically read my genre, but end up loving my books. Others that aren’t big readers have finished my novels in one, two or three sittings!
What is the most exciting part of creating a story/writing a book, for you?
Living in a world of my choosing and control. I feel the most alive when I’m creating worlds, characters and living inside their heads! I have a vivid imagination and can actually hear the characters speaking the dialogue I’m typing, or watch them walk down that path or run through the forest. As a writer, I’m challenged to take all of that out of my head and bring it to life for the readers, hopefully so they enjoy living in my worlds as much as I do.
Do any pieces of the book come from personal experience?
When I was a teenager, we took a road trip up the California Coast and spent time in the redwood forests. I thought it was the most breathtaking place on Earth, which is why I have Ian living there in my stories.
Have you based any of your characters on anyone you know?
LOL I can’t help but put a piece of me in each of my characters. Milo is a stickler about housekeeping and feels the most comfortable in the kitchen. Anyone who has come to my home knows that’s me. Rayne is bold, yet vulnerable. Ian is a caregiver and struggles with seeing the dark side in others. Patrick has my sense of humor and I give him the best lines, by far. Tara is fighting for a place in the world and a way to help in the face of helplessness. Jaered carries baggage around and in spite of his grumbling and resistance, can’t help but do the right thing. Even the antagonists have pieces of my twisted, evil imaginings. Aren’t we thankful that stays on paper!
What do you hope readers most get out of your book (or the series as a whole)?
Regardless of the naysayers, believe in yourself and follow your own strengths and path in the world. Ian didn’t develop his powers as the prophecy predicted, and Rayne wasn’t the firstborn male Sar that her father desired. The fact that Ian turned to illusions in order to do what he couldn’t naturally (lack of powers in a magical world) is key to his character.
Tortured for what he had no control over, he discovered and nurtured something that he could control.
 I also hope that my readers can accept that science can’t explain everything and embrace the wonders and mysteries in the universe. My favorite line from the first book is, “There will always be magic in the world, as long as we believe in what we don’t understand.”
Can you tell me a bit about your writing process, and how it was piecing a series together! I know it takes a lot of attention to detail to make sure you’re catching small parts in each story so they all make sense!
I’m not a plotter like so many of my colleagues. I tried to use color-coded sticky notes, or create a storyboard and timeline to keep every critical scene and other details straight, but it drove me nuts and felt overwhelming. I write best when I can sit down and just start typing.
I usually crank out a novel within 6-8 weeks that way, but the pain comes afterward when there’s so much editing to do! My editor and copyeditor help a lot with the small details that I miss, but admit they’re amazed at how I keep it all together in my head. I just know the story that well and I’m that intimate with my characters.
What has been one of your favorite experiences as an author?
I’m not sure I can pinpoint a single accomplishment, but I have to admit that having a young fan come up to me at the 2015 Denver ComicCon and tell me that she wrote a book report on Fade to Black for school will stick with me forever!
What is the most invaluable piece of advice you can offer aspiring authors?
There’s two things I often stress with aspiring writers. First, write for yourself. If you try to mold yourself off of others, it won’t be genuine and your own writer’s voice won’t shine through. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t aspire to be better. Join writer’s critique groups, attend workshops and conferences. Their insight and feedback can help you discover your unique voice. Second, have a thick skin. Most people start writing because they feel passionate about something. They spill their heart and soul onto paper/word processors, sit back to read it and feel the words. But that doesn’t mean that they’ve done it justice. I can’t tell you how many times writer’s drop in on our critique group, read their work and then crunch their face or actually argue when feedback is given. They don’t return, probably because they believe the group “didn’t understand” their work. If it’s done well, a writer can make the readers/listeners understand. Learn, be open to improving yourself. Editing is the cornerstone of writing for a reason!
What is your next project?
Writing the fourth and fifth book in The Weir Chronicles series will keep me busy for the next several months! I’m also involved in an author group releasing an anthology this year( TICKTOCK: Seven Tales of Time) , and hope we keep putting out at least one anthology a year. I have two other series in mind, too and following the completion of The Weir Chronicles , I hope to work on those, as well. The hard part will be choosing which one to focus on first!

Review & Excerpt Tour: Excerpt + #Giveaway: Searching For Mine by Jennifer Probst #1001DarkNights


1001 DARK NIGHTS: Searching for Mine

(A Searching For Novella)

The Ultimate Anti-Hero Meets His Match…

Connor Dunkle knows what he wants in a woman, and it’s the three B’s. Beauty. Body. Boobs. Other women need not apply. With his good looks and easygoing charm, he’s used to getting what he wants—and who. Until he comes face to face with the one woman who’s slowly making his life hell...and enjoying every moment...

Ella Blake is a single mom and a professor at the local Verily college who’s climbed up the ranks the hard way. Her ten-year-old son is a constant challenge, and her students are driving her crazy—namely Connor Dunkle, who’s failing her class and trying to charm his way into a better grade. Fuming at his chauvinistic tendencies, Ella teaches him the ultimate lesson by giving him a special project to help his grade. When sparks fly, neither of them are ready to face their true feelings, but will love teach them the ultimate lesson of all?

  SFM Now Available


Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback



Connor trudged inside and reheated his dinner. The interior of his apartment didnt reflect the shabby exterior. Hed updated the original dull beige walls and carpet with a rich blue, and his brothers girlfriend, Kennedy, had transformed the bachelor pad into a home using a few feminine touches to brighten up the place. Hed moved from his old apartment hed shared with Nate to save money, ignoring his brothers protests that hed cover his expenses until Connor finished school.
Hell, no.
Connor had spent his life taking care of his little brother and raising him. Though Nate was now a fancy rocket scientist who used to work for NASA, Connor refused to take his charity. But he hadnt been able to afford the tuition so theyd struck a deal. Since Connor had worked three jobs to get Nate through college when he was young, Nate would front his tuition bill. Connor could live with that, knowing hed pay back his brother every dime once he got into a management position. Hed quickly moved to this apartment to save on rent and was now able to live comfortably.
He may not have fancy granite counters or stainless steel appliances, but everything worked, including the big screen TV. The furniture was secondhand, but it was solid wood mahogany, with clean, masculine lines. The extra bedroom was a nice perk, so he used it for his workout equipment and skipped the gym membership. Photos of architectural buildings and bridges filled the walls, bringing a sense of wonder and creativity to the space. His textbooks stuffed the antique bookcase, and hed created a small workspace in the corner of the living room, saving a spot for where hed hang his degree.
He pulled out his sub, cracked open his beer, and ate at the sturdy pine table while he scrolled through his iPhone and updated social media. The radiator hummed and the pipes creaked in the background. The smell of sauce and meat drifted in the air. He embraced the quiet, settled in, and enjoyed the solitude. After dinner, he powered up his laptop and did a few hours of schoolwork, finally rubbing his tired eyes around nine oclock.
To think he once had nothing to do but hang at the pub with his friends was now laughable. Most of the time, he fell asleep with his textbooks open on the table, drooling over the pages. Other than an occasional Saturday night out or hanging with his brother, his social life had dried up to an embarrassing level. He rarely saw his old friends, who were mainly into getting drunk at the bars every Friday and Saturday night, refusing to acknowledge that forty loomed dangerously close. Hell, the saddest part of all was he didnt even miss his old life.
Not even the women.

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Jennifer ProbstJennifer Probst - Bio: Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.
She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean. She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, was ranked #6 on Amazon's Best Books for 2012. She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website for updates on new releases and her street team at


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Book Blitz: Excerpt + #Giveaway: King of Bad by Kai Strand #SuperVillainAcademy


King of Bad (Super Villain Academy Book 1) by Kai Strand
Genre: YA Fantasy


Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA. He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?

About the Author

Kai Strand
When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website,

An alarm blasted, startling the occupants of the room into silence. The double doors burst open, slamming against the walls with an alarming crack. A swarm of people, clad in black from head to toe, poured through the door. Blue flames erupted from those on the outer edge of the group. The flames weren’t directed at the kids in the room, but acted more like a battering ram to clear the way.

“Blue flame?” Oceanus whispered.

Jeff stepped between her and the melee. He saw a panicked look on Source’s face and wished the intruders didn’t separate them. Jeff knew Source’s lack of skill left him vulnerable.

Oceanus stepped around Jeff. “What do you think you’re doing?”

With her eyes sparking, Oceanus didn’t look as helpless as Jeff would like to think she was. Regardless, the need to protect her was strong and he again stepped in front of her. Hoping to distract her, he said, “Uh…you’re more experienced than me and you can help me fight if we need to. Stay back.”

Oceanus glared at him.

“Uh…for now.” He nodded to give his feeble statement strength.

“But I want to see.” Oceanus stepped sideways. “I’ve never seen blue fire before, Polar. What is it?”

“I don’t know, but it looks like they have more tricks up their sleeve.”

The tight knot advanced militarily to the center of the room. Then they unfurled like a flower bud, revealing a deadly stamen. A small woman, with ebony skin and violet eyes, stood in the center, seeming seven feet tall with the importance she emanated.

She spoke in a smoky, low voice to a ferret-like kid. “¿Dónde está, el?”

The ferret pointed and she raised her long nailed hands above her head. Nets, conjured from thin air, shot up and sailed across the room landing over her surprised target.

“No!” Jeff yelled. He lunged forward, his hands instantly aflame, but when he tried to shoot his fire it balled back on him, burning his own hands. He blew ice onto his hands to squelch the burn. Seeing the frost gave him a thought. “Oci, water!”

He pointed to the floor and indicated that he wanted it to snake across the room.

Oceanus pulled water from the overhead sprinklers and dropped it onto the floor. Jeff drew a deep, deep breath and breathed across the surface of the water. It iced over, immediately sending half the blue flame people to the floor. Jeff blew again, refreezing the water over their hands and trapping them.

“It won’t last forever, let’s move.” He grabbed Oceanus’ arm and they ran. They were halfway across the room when roots burst through the floor and wrapped around their ankles. They sprawled face first on the floor. Another kid fell, knee first, onto Jeff’s back, knocking the wind out of him. Jeff squirmed around until he sat up and grew a small controlled fire in his palm. He showered sparks onto the roots that had snaked up around his calves. The roots shrank away from the fire, loosening their hold and Jeff tore free of their viney grip. He did the same for Oceanus and they scrambled to their feet again.

The intruders hefted their squirming captive toward the door.

Jeff anchored his feet firmly on the ground and gathered all the gravity he could feel around him. As quickly as he could, he bound the feet of those carrying the hostage.

“See if water will work on that blue fire, Oci. Before they get to us.”

Oceanus swung around and saw four of the blue flames approaching. She pulled water from the drinking fountains and doused the flames. But instead of putting it out it seemed to increase it. “No good. I think it’s feeding on it!”

Jeff felt light headed from having to split the gravity in so many directions. He imagined his feet were buried in the ground, giving him a deeper contact with the source, and his head cleared a bit.

“Can you smother it somehow?” Jeff yelled.

“No, I don’t have anything. And the others are getting free.

Sure enough the blue flamers who’d been temporarily frozen were up and re-igniting their fire.

One of the intruders with the blue fire yelled, “¡Detenganlo!” and pointed toward Jeff.

Teachers had joined the fight. In the midst of pelting milk cartons, lightning strikes, and lashing ropes, Jeff was struck by one strange fact. His fellow students seemed to be fighting for the sake of fighting. No one appeared intent on retrieving the hostage. As a matter of fact, Jeff watched a kid blast one of the captors and turn away from the hostage.

Jeff roared. He had to get over there, but if he moved, he’d release the gravitational hold he had on the captors. Experimentally, he slid a foot forward without lifting it from the ground. He felt the hold weaken, but it didn’t break. Concentrating all his efforts on maintaining control, Jeff slid his feet across the floor. The going was agonizingly slow. He felt some of the captors struggle against the gravity that locked them in place, hoping to break free. Someone’s psych ability nudged around his head looking for a way in. With all his efforts focused, he continued to slide across the room.

A blast of steam and heat hit Jeff, knocking him sideways. He slid a couple of feet across the ground and came to a rest in a heap. Dazed, he shook his head and sat up. Then he remembered what he’d been doing. He leapt to his feet and searched the room for the group of captors. Too late. The doors swung closed behind them. Source was gone.
The Giveaway
$15 Amazon gift card plus a signed bookmark and a pack of King of Bad playing cards (see attached picture); open US only


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