Out of This World: MA Grant

To celebrate Star Wars Day, we asked some of our science fiction authors to tell us what Star Wars means to them. Then, to support science fiction readers everywhere, we dropped the prices on their books…

MA Grant

Star Wars has always held a special place in my heart. It is one of the first movies my dad introduced me to and I instantly fell in love with the concept of the Force, the Jedi tasked to protecting its balance, and the sheer, epic scale of the universe. It was my little girl King Arthur saga on sci-fi steroids and it started a love affair that’s never ended.

As a nerdy outsider, I connected with the characters and their motivations, especially Luke’s desire to move beyond his small hometown and Leia’s refusal to be anyone but her brilliant, tactical self. As a budding writer, I was amazed by the dedication the film makers, novel writers, and fans put into collecting and sorting details. Yes, I was that kid who checked out an out-of-print Star Wars encyclopedia from the library, only to go home and use a typewriter to create my own mini-encyclopedia with targeted data I needed for my attempts at fanfiction (which, at the risk of admitting my age, wasn’t yet a thing).

My love for this series and world has never faded, and now that I’m an aunt, there’s something magical about watching my niece and nephew fall as madly in love with the story as I did. Skype calls spent reading Golden Books adaptations of the stories, character costumes sent at holidays, and discussions about which Jedi are our favourites remind me that good stories don’t just transcend genre; they transcend generational gaps and bring us closer together.


24680The Lawmen of the Republic: fierce, honourable, soldiers, men. But what happens when all that they’ve been told turns out to be lies?

The wars to establish the Republic are over. The families of the Ton have risen from the blood and ashes to claim the new aristocracy. Their prodigal son, First Lieutenant Alexander Cade, is the Lawmen Academy’s youngest and most successful graduate. However, his muddied bloodlines force his exile to the Northern Wastes, the last unclaimed territory of the Republic.

Lailian scout Natalia Volkova knows that her survival in a rebel labour camp rests entirely on her iron will and killing prowess. Her fierce quest for freedom is tempered by only one thing: conflicting memories of the young Republic lieutenant who helped liberate her camp, and then returned to the fold of her people’s oppressors. She never expects that their paths will cross again – under very different circumstances.

Cade’s honour limits his choices to one: take his band of specialised Lawmen into the Wastes, and protect it and its people. There, he meets Talia, a tough, resilient refugee who holds little respect for the Republic and its laws. But as a deathly outbreak leads to a desperate race for a cure, Talia and Cade will find themselves on uncertain ground: What is right is not always obvious, and what is honourable is not always right

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Spring into spring!

To celebrate, we’ve compiled as many spring idioms as we could think of, and paired them with a book that embodies their spirit. It’s like wine and food, but with spring and books.

…we’ll do wine and books later 🙂

A spring in (one’s) step

Nothing says a spring-y step like a good dance. Like, say, the one that Dan and Alex dance together in Ainslie Paton’s Grease Monkey Jive.

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Spring into action

Neither Merry or Jack can afford any hesitations in their life-or-death pursuit of priceless jewels across the world, in Tory Hayward’s breathtaking adventure romance.

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Spring chicken

She’s a spring chicken – until she isn’t. Explore both ends of the hen with the hilarious time-travel novel from Juliet Madison.

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Spring to attention

Soldiers – fighting against a corrupt government, sent to destroy those who most need their protection. I’m sure a few of you sprang to attention too…24680

Spring Fever

“Fever – I’m afire, fever yea I burn forsooth.”…Shakespeare knew it was true, and so do Ben and Trix in this light-hearted, re-envisioned twist on Much Ado About Nothing.

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Spring to life

Nothing springs quite like a newly minted vampire – or, maybe, say, twin vampires?

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Spring to mind

Unfortunately, what with his temporary retrograde amnesia, not much is springing to Connor’s mind – and his best friend Emma is desperate to keep it that way.

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Hope springs eternal

All that Sherise has is hope in the spin-off novel of SE Gilchrist’s Darkon Warrior SF series – hope that they’ll survive, hope they can find a way home, and hope that humanity’s future is secure.

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My book setting: My Alaska

by MA Grant

My husband and I moved to the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska in 2012. In case you’re not familiar with the state, the Kenai Peninsula is known for its salmon rivers, its coastal brown bears, and being one of the most beautiful and accessible parts of the state. We’re on the road system, still get sunlight in the winter, and after living here for four years, I have a hard time imagining myself anywhere else.

Skilak Lake

Skilak Lake

In the part of the Peninsula where I live, our forests are a thick medley of spruce, aspen, birch, and willow. The underbrush varies drastically from area to area, elevation to elevation. At our house, it’s a combination of horsetail, wild roses, fireweed (oh, how I love this flower), moss, ferns, and other assorted greens. If you step off a trail or road and duck ten feet back into the woods, everything changes. Only the forest sounds remain. Wild animals are often a mere stone’s throw away (just watch out for moose and bears, who are incredibly well camouflaged and very quiet for their size). Spring and summer bring streams, waterfalls, ponds, and rivers waiting for you to discover. Best of all, you don’t have to wander far to find that kind of nature. Even Anchorage, one of our largest cities, has a river and greenways running through it.

Kenai River Gorge

Kenai River Gorge

The romance of Alaska comes from its ability to steal your breath at any moment. Driving down the Kenai Spur Highway and cresting a hill, only to see Mount Redoubt dressed in her dawn-colored robes. Driving around the bend and catching your first glimpse of the quaint coastal town of Seward. Sitting on the Kenai River and watching the sunlight dance over the ripples. Even in winter, the glow of a full moon on the snow or the dancing of the Northern Lights over the beach will leave you wondering how you could ever manage to find yourself lucky enough to live in such a place.

Seward Harbor

Seward Harbor

The other reason Alaska will always hold a special place in my heart is because it was the landscape here that helped inspire me to write Red Moon, my first published book. The state and national parks are the perfect places for werewolves to roam and the self-sufficiency of people who live here was as much a part of Flynn’s character as it’s become mine. This place molded him into the man I wrote. It also gave Evie the escape she so desperately needed. And that is truly what Alaska is to me … my daily escape and my everyday vacation.


redmoon

Dark, moving and original, a story of family, survival, and getting on with life…

Leaving the Friend Zone

by M.A. Grant

Good stories come from good conflicts and tropes offer some of the best, most familiar conflicts out there. We’ve all got our favorites, but to me, a child of the ‘90s and all its high-school film incarnations, there is no greater emotional disaster than two people leaving the friend zone for parts unknown.

That’s right, the sound you just heard was Pandora’s box opening.

Feelings get admitted or denied, with varying results, which leads to emotional fallout, where the characters and readers both ask the same question:

A Cinderella Story

Then, if things progress, the risks exponentially rise.

When in Rome

And don’t get me started on the sex.

Is it good? Is it bad? Now that you’ve had sex, do you have it again, or do you decide that it has become the greatest taboo since putting ketchup on hot dogs?

Ketchup Hot Dog

If all that turmoil isn’t enough, you are now vulnerable to the one person who knows every single one of your buttons.

Clueless GIF

And because they’re your friend, they will push that button every damn time.

Inside Out Anger Button

From this point, when complications come up (as they always do), there’s nothing we can do as readers but read on, watching the dominos line up. And the second we hit that black moment we all saw coming, when the world falls apart at the seams, we’re left…well, destroyed, is probably the best adjective to describe it.

New Girl Crying GIF

I believe we’re not just mourning the loss of the love, but the loss of that safe friendship that had meant so much. Friends know how to flip each other inside out, so that dark moment—when the friendship is utterly, almost irretrievably broken—rips out your heart and stomps on it for a while.

But the joy of romance is that once you crawl back to your feet and wobble through those last few chapters, you’re rewarded with an emotional catharsis that leaves you a blubbering wreck, no matter your intentions of not crying at work/school/home/etc.

Rory Cool GIF

These brutal highs and lows are the reason I love writing this trope. I admit that most of the time I have no idea what my crazy kids are going to do next, so I’m typing from the edge of my seat while I wait for the next catastrophe to strike. It’s the unpredictability of this seemingly clear-cut plotline that makes it stand out to me, both as an author and a reader. I hope you see that come out in my newest release First, where Cat and Dallas are forced to leave the friend zone in their dust.


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Best friends do everything together—including falling in love…

ARRA nominees: M.A. Grant

M.A. Grant’s Honour Bound has been nominated for Favourite Sci Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance in the 2015 ARRAs.


I cannot adequately express how grateful I am to the readers who nominated Honour Bound for an ARRA award.

The sequel to award-winning Lace & Lead, Honour Bound doesn’t fit neatly into any one category. It’s kind of Gears of War or Call of Duty meets King Arthur in the lands beyond Hadrian’s Wall. The romance between Talia and Cade is star-crossed, but the bonds of love and loyalty between Cade’s squad are just as important. The book is dystopian fiction with a government so corrupt I felt grimy from writing it. It’s ripping action, political intrigue, romance and humour thrown into a rucksack and shaken around until it settles.

Strong characters were needed to hold this plot together. Cade could be the Republic’s golden boy, if not for his pesky habit of using his free will and believing in an equality the government refuses to grant to all its citizens. Talia is more than his equal; she survived years of internment at a forced labour camp by becoming a cage fighter and is beloved by the despised tribal people of the Wastes. Cade and Talia weren’t ready for each other at their first meeting, but years later, the broken edges formed from their suffering help them fit together perfectly.

Cade and Talia Fate

Talia balances out Cade’s squad. His ‘strays’ are bound by a long-forgotten law and together they manage to stay alive despite the Republic’s best efforts to kill them off. They’re a family forged in the heat of battle and Cade will do anything to protect them. They may have been brought together by the government, but they only trust each other, and for good reason.

That government, the Republic, is what pushes this story into true dystopian territory. A zealous dictator, a shadow government run by the corrupt nouveau-riche, treason, lawmen leaving the service to become mercenaries, people too afraid to challenge their oppression, and a terrifying rebel force gaining power through a campaign of violence help lead to a perfect storm that Cade and his squad must face.

This was one of the hardest books I’ve ever written, but is also the book I’m most proud of. I love my boys and Talia, I love the world they inhabit, and I love that writing this story left me emotionally wrung out—but in a really good way. Hopefully it’ll do the same to you when you read it.


honour

The Lawmen of the Republic: fierce, honourable, soldiers, men. But what happens when all that they’ve been told turns out to be lies?

Feed Your Reader – January Releases

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A sexy new adult duology about falling in love with completely the wrong person. Best friends do everything together—including falling in love …


 

Now available, two new bundles at fantastic prices…

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From the passionate, pacy pen of Alyssa J Montgomery comes a three-book bundle about the most powerful men in the world – and the women who bring them to their knees…


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From Lena Dowling comes two emotional, heart-wrenching, heart-warming stories about second chances at life – and love. 

December Recipes: Chocolate Smoochies

by MA Grant

My family is full of readers and whenever we get together (rarer times now since I live in Alaska and everyone else is in California), my mother rereads us our favorite children’s books. Laura Joffe Numeroff’s If You Give a Mouse a Cookie was a favorite for me and my sisters, and now my niece and nephew love it just as much. Even better, there’s a companion cookbook which has a family favorite recipe: Cousin Bitsy’s Smooches (or, as they’re known in my family, Chocolate Smoochies). The recipe is simple and addictive.

IMG_1796

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup softened margarine
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • approximately 30 unwrapped Hershey’s Kisses
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit (175 degree Celsisus or Gas Mark 4).
  2. Mix together all the ingredients except the Kisses.
  3. Drop one-inch balls of dough onto a greased/parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Press a chocolate Kiss into the top of each cookie.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the bottom edges of the cookie are golden brown.
    IMG_1797
  5. Cool cookies on a wire rack (to avoid molten chocolate Kiss burns).

 

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Best friends do everything together—including falling in love…

Hallowe’en Mini-Series: When I First Fell in Love with the Paranormal

By MA Grant

Discovering Elizabeth Marie Pope’s The Perilous Gard when I was in fourth grade was a dangerous business. Technically it wasn’t my book; it belonged to my older sister, who had an uncanny knack for remembering all the books in her room’s library and exactly where she had placed them. However, the allure of Fairy Folk and an intelligent heroine was too strong to resist.

Perilous Gard Cover

I stole the book from her and hid it under my mattress when I wasn’t actively reading it. I’m positive she knew what I was up to, being in high school and all. I guess she just knew that it was too good a book to deny me.

And, oh my word, was it ever the story I’d been craving! Kate Sutton was—in my nine year-old opinion—me circa 1558. She wasn’t pretty. She wasn’t good at playing the social games of the English court. But she was smart and stubborn and brave. Brave enough to face off against the Queen of the Fairy Folk to save a young man who would never in a million years fall in love with her.

Queen of Elfland

She was everything I hoped to be.

The book not only helped develop my love for novels with a romantic thread woven deep into their plots, but also my growing love for Celtic lore. My nana’s stories of my Irish great-grandma who read tea leaves to my mother when she was a little girl, the books of myths and stories I found at the library, and my family’s amused support of my obsession with old ballads spawned some of my earliest—and ugliest—attempts at stories. Every time I couldn’t get that perfect angst, that hint of the mysterious and paranormal, I would find another book and study the stories again.

The Perilous Gard reminded me that even the most fantastical and magical stories should be grounded in reality. Fantasies are so much more potent when they happen in your mundane moments. The true enchantment doesn’t lie in the goblin king’s offer of the world, but his hope that the heroine may accept it; not in the werewolf’s curse, but in his attempts to live a normal life despite it.

goblin kingalcide

And every Halloween when other people think of slasher films, haunted houses, and ghosts, I remember the ballad of Tam Lin, the Fairy Folk, the travelling dead, and that true love can defeat even the darkest of enemies.


MA Grant is fortunate to live in the rugged beauty of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. She’s believed in happy endings and true love since she was very young. She writes well-crafted, fast-paced, emotional adventures in both paranormal romance and futuristic romance.

18611Dark, moving and original, a story of family, survival, and getting on with life…

Flynn Sinclair understands pack loyalty — for years as his Alpha father’s enforcer, he has done things in the name of duty that he can’t ever forget. But the vast expanse of Alaska offers him a peace he’s never known. Alone, removed from pack life, he can focus on his research and try to forget his life before.

But duty has a way of inviting itself in, and Flynn finds himself doing two reckless things in one week: leaving the safety of Alaska to save his brother Connor’s life, and unwittingly falling in love with Evie Thompson, a woman who doesn’t deserve to be drawn into his terrifying world.

Connor carries news of their father’s descent into madness, and it looks like neither geography nor Flynn’s attempts at disengagement will put off a confrontation. Flynn had finally begun to believe that he might deserve something good in his life — something like Evie — but to move forward in the light, he must first reconcile with the dark.


24680The Lawmen of the Republic: fierce, honourable, soldiers, men. But what happens when all that they’ve been told turns out to be lies?

The wars to establish the Republic are over. The families of the Ton have risen from the blood and ashes to claim the new aristocracy. Their prodigal son, First Lieutenant Alexander Cade, is the Lawmen Academy’s youngest and most successful graduate. However, his muddied bloodlines force his exile to the Northern Wastes, the last unclaimed territory of the Republic.

Lailian scout Natalia Volkova knows that her survival in a rebel labour camp rests entirely on her iron will and killing prowess. Her fierce quest for freedom is tempered by only one thing: conflicting memories of the young Republic lieutenant who helped liberate her camp, and then returned to the fold of her people’s oppressors. She never expects that their paths will cross again – under very different circumstances.

Cade’s honour limits his choices to one: take his band of specialised Lawmen into the Wastes, and protect it and its people. There, he meets Talia, a tough, resilient refugee who holds little respect for the Republic and its laws. But as a deathly outbreak leads to a desperate race for a cure, Talia and Cade will find themselves on uncertain ground: What is right is not always obvious, and what is honourable is not always right.

Feed Your Reader: New Releases Available Today!

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Sometimes the only way to forgiveness is through love…from the ground-breaking pen of Ainslie Paton comes a homeless guy, a government chick, and a cave on the edge of paradise.

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The Lawmen of the Republic: fierce, honourable, soldiers, men. But what happens when all that they’ve been told turns out to be lies?

To Bare or Not To Bare: A Cover, A Question, and A Sneak Peek

by Kate

They say never judge a book by its cover, but let’s be real: we all do it. It’s one of the first things that either attract – or repel! – us from a book, and, boy, can covers cause controversy.

One of the biggest divisions in cover decisions lies in the bare necessities: how much skin is in?

Take this cover, for example – the full-length novel kick-off for a new dystopian series that comes out in August:

HonorBound-Harlequin1920_1920x3022Now everyone is entitled to their opinion, but we think that this might be just the right amount of skin.

Do you agree?


Love dystopia? Get ready for August and the first full-length Lawmen of the Republic novel with the kick-off prequel, Lace and Lead, available now.

Or you can just stare at the Honour Bound cover until then. We won’t judge. 

19569Breathtaking action, startling originality and polished story-telling combine in this futuristic Sci-Fi novella about a rough mercenary, a pampered daughter, and the lies they both believe.

Blue-blood Emmaline Gregson survived one of the most brutal mining accidents ever recorded in the Republic, but she’s never been in a firefight. So when unknown assailants circle the family estate, the only man she can rely on is Peirce Taggart. A former Lawman turned mercenary, Peirce has a simple job: protect Emmaline until her father can collect her and sell her to sex trafficker Richard Stone to pay off his debts. But when Arthur Gregson tries to cheat his way out of the contract, Emmaline seizes the opportunity to hire Peirce for herself, regardless of how crude, dangerous, or appealing he may be. Given the chance for redemption, he promises to help her escape both her father and Stone. But Peirce soon realises that hiding her in his apartment until the storm has passed may be more dangerous than looking down the barrel of a gun…