Tag Archives: fantasy

Book Review: Hunting Prince Dracula

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

Audrey Rose Wadsworth is still grieving the traumatic loss of her brother when she arrives at a castle in Romania to study forensic medicine. But before Audrey Rose and her friend Thomas Cresswell even arrive, a murder happens on the train. And after another body is found drained of blood, they begin to wonder about the Dracula folklore.

Hunting Prince Dracula is the sequel to Stalking Jack the Ripper. This Gothic horror series for young adults is dark and romantic – paying homage to the classics. Full of suspense, drama, and creepy settings – this sequel is just as exciting as the last. Audrey Rose is a wonderful character – strong and smart – yet confined by the time period because of her sex. The murder mystery builds to a twisted and thrilling conclusion that left me wanting more. I look forward to the next in this exceptional series.

Author Guest Post: D.B. Jackson

“A New Artistic Challenge”
by D.B. Jackson/David B. Coe

Today marks the release of my first short fiction collection.

Tales of the Thieftaker brings together eleven short pieces I have written over the past several years in the “universe” of my Thieftaker Chronicles, a historical urban fantasy series set in pre-Revolutionary Boston (Thieftaker, Thieves’ Quarry, A Plunder of Souls, and Dead Man’s Reach, all from Tor Books). The collection includes some previously released work, as well as pieces that have never before been published.

Among the stories in the latter category is “The Ruby Blade,” a full-length novella that serves as the centerpiece of the book.

Those familiar with the series will recognize that title: The Ruby Blade was the privateering ship on which Ethan Kaille, my thieftaking, conjuring protagonist once served. A mutiny aboard the vessel in 1745 resulted in his court-martial and imprisonment. He served fourteen years at hard labor on a sugar plantation in Barbados, a living hell that left him broken, both physically and emotionally.

Beginning with the first novel of the series, the mutiny was a touchstone of Ethan’s backstory, something referenced in the books again and again, but never fully described. For years, fans of the Thieftaker Chronicles have asked me about the Ruby Blade, wondering when I would get around to writing that episode of Ethan’s life. So, when I decided to publish Tales of the Thieftaker, I knew I would have to include this particular story. I also knew, though, that I didn’t simply want to write that old tale and slot it into the collection. Instead, I found a way to blend it with a new mystery, and to set it in the days after the end of the final book in the series.

I should pause here to say that while I consider myself a novelist, and am best known for my longer work, I love writing and reading short stories. I enjoy the challenge of shaping a complete tale in a limited number of words. I often learn something new about my craft when reading short work from my colleagues and seeing how they approach this task. And more than any other series I’ve written, the Thieftaker Chronicles has lent itself to short fiction.

But in the case of “The Ruby Blade,” I faced some unique challenges, and that is always good for an artist. For one thing, I was writing Ethan’s “origin story,” which I found daunting. I had been asked about this episode in Ethan’s background for so long, and my readers had expressed such eagerness to read it, that I felt more pressure than I have for perhaps any other work in my career. Beyond that, I knew that the story would be an odd length. Each Thieftaker novel comes in at about 100,000 words. Most short stories come in at about 6,000 words. The former would have been far too long for the story I wanted to tell; the latter far too limiting.

A novella, by definition, falls in between the two lengths–according to most definitions, a novella is any story between 17,000 and 40,000 words. Three bits of trivia: 1) At 7,500-17,499 words, a novelette falls in between a novella and short story. Who knew? 2) This particular novella, “The Ruby Blade,” came in a hair longer than 40,000. Technically, it’s a really, really short novel. Shhh. Don’t tell. And 3) Before this, I had never written a novella.

That last piece of trivia proved to be the greatest of the challenges I encountered. A novel tends to have a certain rhythm, defined in a sense by chapters. Write twenty books or so, and you kinda get a feel for how they ought to flow. By the same token, the pacing of a short story is distinctive as well. You can’t be nearly as leisurely spinning a yarn in a short piece as you can in a full-length book. I’d had plenty of experience with this, as well. But in this instance, I was writing neither a novel nor a short story, and so had to discover a new cadence for my storytelling.

The method I chose for telling this tale, facilitated the development of that unique rhythm. As I said before, “The Ruby Blade” is, in essence, two stories in one. Courtesy of Ethan’s long-time nemesis and rival in thieftaking, Sephira Pryce, he is presented with a new mystery in the winter of 1771. But in order for them to solve this case together, he must first relate to her the events of 1745 that led to the mutiny. The story shifts between the two time periods, and those transitions provide cadence and tension that make both strands of the plot work.

I find writing any sort of story akin to piecing together a puzzle. The shape and size of the puzzle may change with each new work, but usually the process remains much the same. Tackling this novella proved different. Everything felt new again, and that made the writing especially exciting. This story forced me to rethink my process a bit, to adjust my strategy for shaping narrative and character arc. And the truth is, having written one novella, I can’t wait to try my hand at another.

David B. Coe/D.B. Jackson is the award-winning author of nineteen fantasy novels and as many short stories. As David B. Coe, he writes The Case Files of Justis Fearsson, a contemporary urban fantasy from Baen Books consisting of Spell Blind, His Father’s Eyes, and Shadow’s Blade. As D.B. Jackson, he writes the Thieftaker Chronicles, a historical urban fantasy from Tor Books that includes Thieftaker, Thieves’ Quarry, A Plunder of Souls, and Dead Man’s Reach. Tales of the Thieftaker, his first short fiction collection, has just been released by Lore Seekers Press.

David is also the author of the Crawford Award-winning LonTobyn Chronicle, which he has recently reissued, as well as the critically acclaimed Winds of the Forelands quintet and Blood of the Southlands trilogy. He wrote the novelization of Ridley Scott’s movie, Robin Hood. He is currently at work on several new projects including more short fiction, a media tie-in, and a time travel/epic fantasy trilogy. David’s books have been translated into a dozen languages.

He lives on the Cumberland Plateau with his wife and two daughters. They’re all smarter and prettier than he is, but they keep him around because he makes a mean vegetarian fajita. When he’s not writing he likes to hike, play guitar, and stalk the perfect image with his camera.


Book Giveaway: Ink

Courtesy of Scholastic, I have a review copy of Ink by Alice Broadway for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends January 5. I’ll draw a name on January 6, and notify winner via email.


Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Ink

Spotlight: Zeitgaiss Christmas Ornaments

Zeitgaiss Ornaments

Zeitgaiss Ornaments

Mike Gaiss from zeitgaiss.com has an Etsy shop with original artwork available as stickers, Christmas ornaments, and magnets for sale. I was offered the above samples to review. These four-inch Luke and Boba Fett ornaments are printed on matte photo paper and laminated on front and back. They are signed by the artist. And hole punched, with the hook included.

I like the Luke one, but the Boba Fett is really great artwork. They’d look really nice on a ceramic ornament. These are going on my tree dedicated just to Star Wars.

Check out the Etsy shop here: etsy.com/shop/zeitgaiss

Box Review: Bam Box – November 2017

Bam Box

The Bam Box was founded in 2015 by Bloof, the same team of geeks, comic book lovers and pop culture collectors that started ComiconAuction.com. We love collecting. We love the thrill of it, the mystery of it and especially that feeling you get when you have a collectible in your hands that you are really excited about. So we set out to bring something different to everyone.

There are some great subscription boxes on the market, but we felt there was still something missing. We went to the drawing board with the goal of creating the box we would want to show up on our doorstep. After a lot of ideas and prototypes we arrived at the Bam Box. From the design of the box to the items inside to the instant winners we send out, we accomplished what we wanted to do: give you the subscription box we would be jealous of.”

Cost: 1 month plan starts at $24.99 plus $7.99 s/h

*SciFiChick.com received a box for review purposes.

There was no mini mag this month, so I have no clue what some of this is… EDIT: I went to their Facebook page, and found a link to their booklet online: http://www.thebambox.com/novbamoriginal

Bam Box

Terminator Pin and Transformers Patch

Bam Box
Bam Box

Iron Coin of the Faceless Man– I had no clue what this was without the link. I thought maybe it was Assassin’s Creed.

Bam Box

Hopper’s Badge – I’m a fan of Stranger Things, so I knew this one – even without the nice description on the box cover. It’s heavy and solid – feels like the real thing!

Bam Box

Dianne Pershing Signed Poison Ivy Print – This is a signed print by the voice of Poison Ivy from the Batman Animated series.. that I don’t watch. Other than knowing the print is of Poison Ivy, I had to look at the magazine link to find out who signed it and why.

Bam Box

Carnage Art Print – I’m not a big carnage fan, so this didn’t do anything for me.

I also had a random plastic piece in my box that doesn’t seem to go to anything. Looks like it was supposed to be a display for something. The missing booklet was a disappointment, as other folks, like me, will be confused about several items. I saw several comments on the Facebook posts about missing items as well. Hopefully, next month’s box they can take their time and make sure everything is finished. The badge was an awesome piece, but the rest of the box was a bust for me.

Box Review: TeeBlox – November 2017


TeeBlox is a t-shirt subscription service that brings 100% authentic licensed geek and gamer shirts to your doorsteps every month. No hidden fees. Cancel anytime. Satisfaction Guaranteed.”

Get 1 shirt and 2 other items starting at $12.99/mo and use code: SCIFICHICK24 to get 24% off your first month!

Subscribers can pick from the following categories: SciFi, Marvel, DC Comics, Cartoons, Movies and TV, Games, Hot Meex, or Disney!

*SciFiChick.com received a box for review purposes.


Star Wars Shirt – This is the first long sleeved shirt I’ve received! I’m excited, since it’s winter and I’d only wear long sleeves here in Indiana. And it’s a great design, with not only a graphic on the front, but down both sleeves as well!


Sticker and Pin – I have no clue what this sticker is. And I’ve received the same pin many times now. But it’s just filler, so no biggie.

Summary: I feel like the value went up with a long sleeved tee. It’s definitely something I’ll wear in the colder months. This was a great surprise.

Remember, use code: SCIFICHICK24 to get 24% off your first month!

Book Giveaway: The City of Sand

Courtesy of Delacorte Press, I have a review copy of The City of Sand by Tianxia Bachang for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends December 29. I’ll draw a name on December 30, and notify winner via email.


Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: The City of Sand

Gift Ideas: ThinkGeek Star Wars Clothing

ThinkGeek has a new exclusive Star Wars clothing line out now for men and women:

The first top I tried was the Star Wars Force Varsity Ladies’ Lace-Up Hoodie.
I wasn’t sure if the sizes were a slim/Juniors fit or regular ladies sizes. So, I got one size larger, and it was a perfect fit. It’s a relaxed fit, and by far the softest sweatshirt I’ve ever owned! I LOVE this one.

Next, I tried the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Logo Ladies’ V-Neck Top.

This is a soft, thin t-shirt material that looks and feels great. Again, just order a size larger than your regular women’s size, if you like a relaxed fit. It’s definitely not as small as some junior’s sizing. On the back it has “The Last Jedi” written out. The cut out v-neck is not hemmed, but looks like it was just cut. It may not last through too many washes unless on the gentle cycle.

Lastly, I got a sweater that I’ll be wearing to Christmas festivities…

Star Wars Darth Vader Lack of Cheer Holiday Sweater
This is a unisex sweater that is perfect for Ugly Sweater parties this season. Heads-up that it’s a handwash-only sweater. And it’s very dense and warm.

Check these out, and more, at ThinkGeek.com for your geeky holiday shopping!

*SciFiChick.com received these items at no cost for review purposes only.