Sunday, 6 October 2013

Featuring 'Wolf Within Series' - ***INTERVIEW, REVIEW and a GIVEAWAY***

It's a very busy feature today! 

There's an excellent interview with Amy Lee Burgess
My review of 'Beneath the Skin' -  Book 1 of the series
A short excerpt from 'Beneath The Skin'
***And a fantastic GIVEAWAY as well.*** 

Let's meet Amy first:
Amy Lee Burgess is a transplanted New Englander living in Houston, Texas with two dogs and lots of DVDs. In an attempt to bond with the city after being forced out of New Orleans post-Katrina, she turned to her writing. Determined to finally finish that novel she’d been hacking away at since high school, Amy managed to come up with a wolf shifter character named Stanzie Newcastle. She and Stanzie have been BFFs ever since.
In addition to Stanzie, Amy has also forged a relationship with several vampires, a witch or two, and other assorted supernatural creatures she hopes will entertain her readers. But she will always have room for coffee and butterscotch squares with Stanzie.
 Amy’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Here's what Amy answered when I put some questions to her....
Take yourself back 20 years and tell us if you had any aspirations to become an author at that time.
Twenty years ago I was writing a series of vampire novels that I shared only with a few friends. I never thought I’d have a prayer at being published so my aspirations were pretty low. I just knew I loved to write, but I didn’t have much confidence that anything I actually wrote would be available for more than just my friends. Luckily, times change and confidence grows!
I believe that is so true of many of us, Amy. What was your main daily occupation back then?
I was a scopist at a court reporting agency.  Court reporters took down depositions on their steno machines which fed into a translation program on a computer. It wasn’t 100 percent accurate so I would come in after that and translate things that didn’t make it through and fix mistranslations. Also edit for spelling and punctuation.  I think that gave me a rather overinflated sense of competency as far as the English language goes. I’ve been thoroughly disabused of that notion by the poor women who have edited my books. 
And today? How do you tend to spend an average day?
I still have to work in a corporate environment. I still deal with information management but not through court reporting.  I start each morning writing for an hour.
I wish I were so disciplined! Now jump forward 20 years from today. What do you think you’d like to be doing then?
Living in France writing full time.
That's an intreresting answer, Amy. I've lived in Holland and loved it, but although I understand a lot more of the French language I've only visited France a couple of times. Back to the questions... What’s your preferred genre for reading material?
I like all kind of things but I love paranormal romance, mystery, horror and urban fantasy the best.
I'm trying to broaden my scope in reading, and have been covering many different sub genres of fiction- though I still have my favourites!  What genre/ sub-genre do you feel comfortable writing in?
Paranormal anything, but mainly romance and mystery. 
What do you think will be the main reading materials within the next decade? Books, some form of portable tablets?
Oh, definitely tablets.  Books will never completely go away, but they will be more for sentimental value.  And for when the electricity and internet go down.
In recent years there’s been a movement towards popular cult-type stories- sometimes driven by what’s been popular on TV and the cinema, like Vampire, shifter, time-shift sub-genres. What do you see as being the ideal focus to capture the imagination in 5 years time?
That’s a good question. I’m hoping gargoyles. I just finished a novel about them.  I think shifters in general will be very mainstream on television and in the movies five years from now.  Another hot sub-genre will be technomagic I’ll bet.
Technomagic? Sounds like an area I need to gen up on though I'm fairly sure I won't be writing in it unless I learn an awful lot more about it! Can you give us an idea of what your writing schedule might be like during the remainder of 2013 and on to 2014?
The fall of 2013 will be taken up with editing a vampire novel I have coming out from Loose Id in December. Winter 2014 will be editing the next Wolf Within novel which will be coming out through Dark Continents Publishing.
Winter/Spring/Summer 2014 I aim to write at least two more novels, hopefully three.  Another Wolf Within, the second in my vampire series and the second in my gargoyle series. However, if I sell the gargoyles next year I will also have to make time to edit.  That’s my goal. 
Sounds like a busy schedule, Amy. Best wishes with fitting it all in. 

Fast and furious:
Ice cream or chocolate cake? Ice cream
Home made lemonade or rum cocktails? Rum cocktails for the win!
Cycling tour of France or a beach holiday in the Caribbean? Cycling tour of France. I speak some French. Luckily I know how to say “I’m tired” because if I have to ride a bike all day, that’s probably what I’ll be moaning.
A date with a politician, or a date with Gerard Butler? Is this a trick question? Gerard Butler!
Children or pets? My dogs emphatically ordered me to answer pets to this one.
Fantastic answers, thank you, Amy! 

My thoughts on 'Beneath The Skin'
(I was given a copy of this book for review)
Beneath the skin has many themes running through it. There’s abandonment, guilt, blame, love lost and love growing, insecurity and a lot of confusion of feelings. There’s a good pace throughout, which keeps the story ticking along. I’ve not read enough of the shifter paranormal sub-genre to know whether the notion, that as shifters they can change at any time, is a novel one - given that sex is involved as a catalyst – but in Beneath The Skin they don’t need to wait for that full moon, or other such natural circumstances. However, when Constance does eventually shift in the novel, the experiences are not as satisfying as she would wish them to be. It’s an interesting concept that she still has a lot to learn about the change, and like many human teenagers, she rebels against being constrained by rules. Fortunately, Liam Murphy is there to eventually help her become less impetuous. Unfortunately for Constance (an interesting choice of name), her first attempt in the novel to have sex with an old friend to initiate shifter-change, is beset by devastating circumstances. Nobody wants to be branded a murder but poor Constance is definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time and is blamed yet again for the demise of another Pack member. Those thought to be ultimately responsible for the unfortunate happenings to young Pack members around the world, provides quite a startling ending to this first novel in the series. The novel is well written, well edited, and is an easy read in one sitting.

If you could shift into a wolf, what would you discover about yourself?
Two years after the deaths of her bond mates, Constance Newcastle is ready to start over. The problem? The rest of the Great Pack, gathered in Paris to shift into wolves together, is not so sure she deserves the chance. Although the Great Council ruled the car crash an accident, even Constance blames herself. She was driving, after all.
Treated like a pariah by those she longs to rejoin, Constance reunites with an old lover. Everything looks promising until he mysteriously dies. Accused of his murder and desperate to clear her name, Constance joins forces with handsome, confident Liam Murphy, a former Alpha pack leader with a past as tragic and troubled as her own. Guided by the mysterious Councilor Jason Allerton, Constance and Liam discover they are not alone– throughout the Great Pack, people are dying. Can all the deaths be accidents, or is something more sinister going on?
CONTENT WARNING: Vulgar language, some sexual situations

 ***Amy's GIVEAWAY***
You can win yourself a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card or...
the entire Series of The Wolf Within in ebook formats. 


These are the other books in the series that you could win: 

Excerpt from Beneath the Skin:
Run. Run, run, run. Scared. Littles hide, no scrape legs, no make noise. Wind no push things. Fur stick up. Me scared. Me follow scent. Her. Me love Her. See big hard thing. Pushed in. Black water drip, drip, drip. Blood. Smell blood. Drip, drip, drip. Scared. See Her. See Her in big hard thing. Her two legs now. Her eyes no see Me. Look up to Big Shiny and little shinies. No see. Smell blood. Smell Her. No hear beat thing. No hear blood move under skin. Her no move no more. Her gone. Me look up see Big Shiny. Me cry loud.
* * * *
When I jerked awake, a smothered scream on my lips, the digital clock on the nightstand read five thirty-two in the morning. I rolled over and reached out instinctively for the reassuring warmth of Grey’s body, but of course he wasn’t there. He never would be there again.

Two years, I told myself as I threw back the covers of the single bed in a small, unfamiliar Paris hotel room and staggered for the bathroom to splash cold water on my face. The dregs of the dream slipped away under my fingertips as I massaged my cheeks and forehead, blond hair spilling over my shoulders into the wet stream of the water.

My hair was getting long. Two years, I told myself again, bitterness twisting my face.
I scowled into the mirror and saw my own reflection–as familiar to me as anything in the world. I thought of the wind, the trees at night, the scent of the pine needles embedded in the soft earth of the forest.

Everything conspired to create a wall between me and the rest of the world. I hadn’t connected with anything or anyone for so long I barely remembered what it felt like not to be alone.

My thirty-second birthday had come and gone three months earlier. Once upon a time there would have been a celebration. Grey and Elena would have been there with me. Presents. Cake.

Instead I’d sat in a dark theater and watched a horror movie while secretly envying all the couples who sat around me.

When I saw people in love, a strange, isolating ache gripped my whole body.
Two years, I told my reflection in the mirror.

Grey used to tell me I was beautiful. He loved to trace the contours of my face with his fingers–my high cheekbones, my full mouth, my eyelids and forehead. Even my nose, which I thought was too big but he pronounced elegant. Ha.

He was the elegant one with his sensitive mouth and long, thin fingers. A poet’s face. Hollow cheeks, dreamy eyes.

Elena had been the beauty in my opinion. Blond, like me, only hers was so fair it was nearly white. The milky translucence of her skin made me think of women in castles in the medieval days, women who stayed behind the castle walls and never saw the sun because of the feuds and fights their men waged for them.

Grey and Elena–my bond mates, my lovers, my friends.
There had also been Jonathan, Nora, Callie, Vaughn and Peter. Grandfather Tobias. My pack.
Two years ago, that is.
When everything stopped.

Thank you for featuring here, today, Amy. Best wishes with your tour!


  1. I like what was said in the review but I liked the excerpt better. I am putting all the books on my to read list