Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Oracle Book Tour - Guest Post by D.J. Niko - The Perils of Writing What You Know Too Well

02_The Oracle_Cover 

The Oracle (The Sarah Weston Chronicles, Book Three) by D.J Niko

Publication Date: November 10, 2015 Medallion Press Paperback; 456p ISBN-13: 978-1605426273 Genre: Historical/Archaeological Adventure

 Add to GR Button     

 In Delphi, the mountain city deemed by the Greek gods to be the center of the Earth, a cult of neo-pagans re-create with painstaking authenticity ancient rituals to glorify the god Apollo and deliver oracles to seekers from around the world. When antiquities are stolen from a museum in nearby Thebes, British archaeologist Sarah Weston and her American partner, Daniel Madigan, are drawn into a plot that goes beyond harmless role-playing: someone’s using the Delphian oracle as a smoke screen for an information exchange, with devastating consequences for the Western world. Pitted against each other by the cult’s mastermind, Sarah and Daniel race against time and their own personal demons to uncover clues left behind by the ancients. Their mission: to find the original navel stone marked with a lost Pythagorean formula detailing the natural events that led to the collapse of the Minoan Empire. But will they find it in time to stop the ultimate terrorist act?


Guest Post

The Perils of Writing What You Know Too Well
By D.J. Niko

Every time I gear up for the release of one of my novels, I hold my breath. I don’t know if this happens to every writer, but it sure happens to me. Four books into my career, I still think: What will the critics say? Will anyone buy it? Will the reviews be glowing, scathing, or, worst of all, lukewarm?
The feeling is amplified when the book’s subject is something I am particularly close to. This month’s release, The Oracle, is one such instance. It is set in Greece, where I was born and raised, and delves into both the ancient history and the current state of this great nation. I’d always known I wanted to write a Greek setting, yet I’d hesitated, waiting to build up storytelling experience—or, perhaps, nerve. Since The Oracle was the third book in my Sarah Weston Chronicles series of archaeo-historical thrillers, I took a deep breath and told myself it was time.
The widely accepted “write what you know” logic might dictate that this was the easiest book for me to write. In fact, it was the opposite. I can’t tell you how many plot lines I scrapped and started over, each time sweating my looming deadline. I even had full-blown anxiety attacks—twice.
While writing what you know is a good policy, writing what you know too well is fraught with peril. It demands that you dredge up your deepest emotions, let go of long-held biases, and be unafraid of telling it like it is, even if you might be judged for it. It’s scary, anxiety-inducing stuff, but, if handled correctly, it can lead to some of your best writing.  
In my case, there were two imperatives: to describe the settings with the authenticity one would rightly expect from a native, and to give some insight into the culture, past and present, and into the sociopolitical minefield of a nation bogged down by crisis and instability. The first part: no sweat. The second was harder to nail, and the jury’s still out as to whether or not I’ve managed that.
I’ll share an example. In the excerpt below, I describe the scene in Omonia, which in my childhood was the commercial and cultural hub of Athens but has since been blighted by neglect and crime. I struggled with whether I should tell it like it is or avoid it altogether. Writing is all about taking risks, of course, so I opted for the latter.

Sarah wandered the back streets of Omonia, the square in the heart of downtown Athens. She needed time to process what she’d just heard and a distraction to keep from doing something she’d regret.
She glanced furtively at the faces around her: Bangladeshi men, dressed in sarongs and tank tops, chewing paan as they sat idly on stoops of shuttered buildings; homeless waifs lying on filthy blankets on the sidewalk, staring vacantly at passersby and on occasion summoning the energy to extend an open palm; an emaciated young woman dressed in a cheap, skin-tight micromini, standing against a corrugated metal construction wall, cigarette in hand, soliciting business.
She couldn’t believe how Omonia Square had changed in the years since she’d visited Athens. Apart from the die-hard souvlaki stands and tobacco kiosks, businesses had gone under, leaving behind boarded-up buildings that eventually became magnets for posters and political graffiti. The apartments, once desirable real estate, had been left to decay and converted to low-rent immigrant quarters, many with no heat or running water. The Greeks had all fled to other neighborhoods, handing the spiritual keys to their Omonia over to poor, jobless foreign settlers—some legal, some not—and letting them turn this former hub into a cesspool of debauchery.
Sarah stopped by the temporary wall, behind which was an abandoned construction site now strewn with garbage. She took a cigarette out of her jacket pocket and fumbled for a lighter. The streetwalker walked up to her, offering a light. Sarah accepted it, noting the multiple needle marks on the woman’s arms. She met her gaze and realized she was probably no older than sixteen. The girl flashed a smile, a heartbreaking playfulness in it. Sarah nodded her thanks and walked on.

It’s a hundred percent accurate, yet it was hard for me to write. But I’m glad I did it. There is a certain acceptance that comes with committing something to paper and putting it out there for the world to see.
Many scenes like this one unfold in The Oracle, and—I hope—enrich the narrative. Though it cost me some sleep and tears, the decision to paint a true portrait of Greece, for better or for worse, ultimately was a good one—if for no one else, for me.
Truth is, after all, one of the paragons of ancient Greek philosophy. As Plato said in his seminal work, The Republic, “When the mind’s eye rests on objects illuminated by truth and reality, it understands and comprehends them, and functions intelligently.” It’s sage advice for all of us.

The Oracle is available this month from Medallion. For more information, visit www.djnikobooks.com or the author’s Facebook page.


About the Author

Daphne Nikolopoulos, photography by Lauren Lieberman / LILA PHOTO Daphne Nikolopoulos, photography by Lauren Lieberman / LILA Daphne Nikolopoulos in an award-winning journalist, author, editor, and lecturer. Under the pen name D.J. Niko, she has written two novels in an archaeological thriller series titled The Sarah Weston Chronicles. Her debut novel, The Tenth Saint (Medallion Press, 2012), won the Gold Medal (popular fiction) in the prestigious, juried Florida Book Awards. Her follow-up release, The Riddle of Solomon, continues the story of British archaeologist Sarah Weston as she seeks the relics—and mystical secrets—left behind by the biblical King Solomon in remote Israel. Daphne is currently at work on The Oracle, book 3 in The Sarah Weston Chronicles, which releases in 2015. Also slated for publication in 2015 is her first historical novel, The Judgment, which is set in Israel and Egypt in the tenth century BCE. In addition to writing fiction, Daphne is editor in chief of Palm Beach Illustrated magazine and editorial director of Palm Beach Media Group. Prior to that, she was a travel journalist who logged hundreds of thousands of miles traveling across the globe, with emphasis on little-known and off-the-beaten-path locales—many of which have inspired her novels. Daphne frequently lectures about her research on the ancient world. She is an instructor at Florida Atlantic University’s Lifelong Learning Society, teaching on the subject of archaeology. She has also spoken to audiences at the Jewish Community Center of the Palm Beaches’ Academy for Continuous Education, and several libraries and private groups throughout Florida. Born and raised in Athens, Greece, Daphne now resides in West Palm Beach with her husband and twin son and daughter.
You can find her on the Web at djnikobooks.com and connect with her on Facebook (AuthorDJNiko) and on Twitter: @djnikobooks.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 9 Review at A Book Geek  
Tuesday, November 10 Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection  
Wednesday, November 11 Review at Back Porchervations  
Friday, November 13 Spotlight at I'd So Rather Be Reading  
Monday, November 16 Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More  
Tuesday, November 17 Review at Book Nerd  
Wednesday, November 18 Review at History From a Woman's Perspective Spotlight & Excerpt at The Lit Bitch  
Thursday, November 19 Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
 Friday, November 20 Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book  
Monday, November 23 Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews  
Tuesday, November 24 Guest Post at Yelena Casale's Blog
 Friday, November 27 Spotlight at Teatime and Books  
Tuesday, December 1 Review at Kristin Un-Ravelle'd  
Wednesday, December 2 Review at Book Lovers Paradise  
Friday, December 4 Spotlight at Diana's Book Reviews  
Thursday, December 10 Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
 Friday, December 11 Guest Post & Giveaway at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
  04_The Oracle_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Eclipse The Flame by Ingrid Seymour - Cover Reveal & Giveaway


Eclipse The Flame by Ingrid Seymour
(Ignite the Shadows #2)
Published by: HarperVoyager
Genres: Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

In the new world of The Takeover nothing and no one will be safe. Marci must choose: love or vengeance.
One night she secretly follows her lover to a club. To her horror she discovers those closest to her, mingling freely with parasitic creatures which have secretly possessed human minds. A bloody ambush follows, leaving Marci a shadow of her former self.

Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious attacks. Ignite, the only resistance group, is disintegrating. As the world catches fire, Marci struggles to control the buzzing spectres in her own head.

Her hardest battle is between the forces of good and evil within herself. For Marci must fight. She was meant to burn

Ingrid Seymour is the author of IGNITE THE SHADOWS (Harper Voyager). When she’s not writing books, she spends her time working as a software engineer, cooking exotic recipes, hanging out with her family and working out. She writes young adult and new adult fiction in a variety of genres, including Sci-Fi and urban fantasy.

Her favorite outings involve a trip to the library or bookstore where she immediately gravitates toward the YA section. She’s an avid reader and fangirl of many amazing books. She is a dreamer and a fighter who believes perseverance and hard work can make dreams come true.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Friday, October 2, 2015

Quote of the Day


“Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other opinions drown your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

 ~ Steve Jobs

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Happy Book Birthday to Code Black by Tina Moss! Don't Miss This One!

Heat Up The Night...Heed The Call

eBook Edition
October 2015
Price: $3.99
Sale Price: $0.99 

Buy Now
Read the EXCERPT now!
Gossip mag reporter Sera Benenati knows a thing or two about unearthing secrets...and burying them. As an unregistered supernatural, her freedom depends on keeping her fire-wielding abilities contained. Yet, the threat of a little flame isn’t enough to snuff out her journalistic pursuits. She’s determined to claw her way to the top and land a spot with a real paper.

When she tracks a lead on a string of gruesome paranormal murders to the small town of Buckhorn, Arizona, she’s certain she’s landed the perfect scoop. But, as the crime scene reveals victims with bite marks, torn flesh, and battered bodies, Sera may have smoked out more than she can burn. As the investigation grows hot and Sera winds up in the crosshairs, she’ll need the help of a sexy shifter, special agent Talon Rede, to unmask the murderers before she becomes the next victim.

Paranormal Romantic Suspense

Paperback edition available at Amazon and through the Ingram catalog.

 Pre-Order Book 2, RED ALERT, now. Coming this spring!




"A cast of vampires, psychics, and shape-shifters delivers...witty quips that round out this solid example of the genre." - Publishers Weekly

"The introduction to the Paranormal Crimes Division (PCD) promises to be entertaining and tense. Humor is never far from the surface, which comes in handy because the world they patrol is treacherous and fear-inducing." - RT Book Reviews

Monday, September 21, 2015



Find your next red-hot read in this sizzling collection of paranormal romance scenes, featuring werewolves, dragons, vampires, witches, psychics, angels, goblins, aliens, a succubus, and sexy cowboy shifters. Your favorite authors (including New York Times and USA Today bestsellers as well as rising stars) share the steamiest scenes from their latest works!


Coming September 30th, but don't wait! Pre-Order your copy today.
Only $0.99 for the hottest excerpts in paranormal romance!

All Retail Outlets:

Don't forget to check out the Wicked Alphas, Wild Nights website for all the details and newsletter sign-up. Be the first to find out about the next two sets in the series!


Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Outlander King (The Aetheling's Bride Book 1) by Hilary Rhodes - Review

 The Outlander King (The Aetheling’s Bride, Book 1)
by Hilary Rhodes

Publication Date: June 1, 2015
eBook; 476 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Add to GR Button

The story of The Lion and the Rose and the Norman Conquest continues in this spellbinding new historical fiction series from author Hilary Rhodes, pulling back the curtain on the lives of two remarkable women connected across centuries: Aislinn, a seventeen-year-old English girl caught up in the advancing army of the “outlander king,” the man who will become known to history as William the Conqueror. Thrust into the center of the new Norman court and a dizzying web of political intrigue and plotting princes, she must choose her alliances carefully in a game of thrones where the stakes are unimaginably high. Embroiled in rebellions and betrayals, Aislinn learns the price of loyalty, struggles to find her home, and save those she loves – and, perhaps, her own soul as well.
Almost nine hundred years later in 1987, Selma Murray, an American graduate student at Oxford University, is researching the mysterious “Aethelinga” manuscript, as Aislinn’s chronicle has come to be known. Trying to work out the riddles of someone else’s past is a way for Selma to dodge her own troubling ghosts – yet the two are becoming inextricably intertwined. She must face her own demons, answer Aislinn’s questions, and find forgiveness – for herself and others – in this epically scaled but intimately examined, extensively researched look at the creation of history, the universality of humanity, and the many faces it has worn no matter the century: loss, grief, guilt, redemption, and love.


My Review

4 out of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this historical fiction set in the time of William of Normandy (later known as William the Conqueror). The main story follows a commoner girl, Aislinn, as she is taken away from her home and goes through various personal and historical events to becomes a strong yet flawed woman. Aislinn and her family are fictional characters but most of the rest of the people surrounding her are in fact historical characters, and I really liked the mix of the two. Most of the secondary characters were also well fleshed out and interesting. There were a couple of Aislinn's actions that had me shake my head and wonder why she would do it, but on the whole, it was a strong and captivating story.

The other part of the book is about Selma, an American graduate student studying at Oxford, on a search of the “Aetheling” manuscript, presumably written by Aislinn herself. In honesty, I could have done without that part. I felt like taking a sharp break from the medieval story for Selma's part took me out of Aislinn's story and did not add much value to it. I also didn't connect much with Selma's story and didn't find much of a connection between her story and Aislinn's (it's possible there will be more of an explanation in the next book).

Minus the modern day part, I loved the novel and would recommend it for any historical fiction aficionado. I will also pick up other novels by Hilary Rhodes.

Hilary Rhodes is a scholar, author, blogger, and all-around geek who fell in love with medieval England while spending a year abroad at Oxford University. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in history, and is currently preparing for doctoral studies at the University of Leeds, fulfilling a years-long dream to return to the UK. In what little spare time she has, she enjoys reading, blogging about her favorite TV shows, movies, and books, music, and traveling.
For more information please visit Hilary Rhodes’ blog.




Monday, August 24
Spotlight & Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Tuesday, August 25
Review at Based on a True Story
Wednesday, August 26
Spotlight & Excerpt at To Read, or Not to Read
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Thursday, August 27
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Friday, August 28
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book
Monday, August 31
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Interview at Boom Baby Reviews
Tuesday, September 1
Spotlight at The True Book Addict
Wednesday, September 2
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, September 3
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Guest Post at Books and Benches
Friday, September 4
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Saturday, September 5
Review at A Fold in the Spine
Monday, September 7
Review & Excerpt at Queen of All She Reads
Tuesday, September 8
Review at Book Nerd
Wednesday, September 9
Spotlight & Excerpt at Historical Fiction Connection
Thursday, September 10
Review at Yelena Casale’s Blog
Friday, September 11
Spotlight & Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...