Friday, December 9, 2016

Cover Reveal: The Last Shadow Gate by Michael W. Garza

 Print Length: 264 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: NeverHaven Press; First edition
Pre-Order Date: December 9, 2016
 Publication Date: March 3, 2017
 Language: English
ISBN-13 (Paper Back): 978-0997900415 ISBN-13
(eBook): 978-0997900408 BISAC:
Juvenile Fiction / Fantasy & Magic

Summer vacation was never supposed to be like this. It was bad enough Naomi had to be shipped off to her dad's home for the summer and deal with her half-brother Gavin, but when the siblings are forced to spend their break with their greatgrandmother in upstate New York, everything changes. An investigation into the strange disappearance of their great-grandfather forces them to retrace his footsteps. They discover a gateway between worlds and encounter extraordinary creatures in a land where the people are desperate to escape the coming of a shade lord. To survive their adventure, Naomi and Gavin must settle their differences and find the elusive shadow gate that will take them home again. THE SHADOW GATE CHRONICLES: Book 1: The Last Shadow Gate Book 2: A Veil of Shadows (Coming 2017) Book 3: The Shadow of War (Coming 2018) Praise for THE LAST SHADOW GATE: "If this book had been around when I was a kid, I’d have held it right up there with The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings.” - Sunshine Somerville, Author of THE KOTA SERIES "You won't want to miss out on the thrilling yet perilous world beyond the shadow gates!" - J. Cornell Michel, Author of JORDAN'S BRAINS *If you love fast-paced, YA Fantasy, THE LAST SHADOW GATE is the book for you.*


Where did the idea for The Last Shadow Gate come from?
This book was in the draft phase for over a decade. I based the characters on my kids and as they grew and developed their own personalities I allowed the characters in the book to do the same. It’s been a labor of love and seeing it finally in print has been a wonderful experience. Every time I read through it I see my daughter and son on every page.

Where do you get your ideas?
Ideas for stories come from the strangest places. I never sit down and say ‘let’s write a book’ there’s usually a spark that comes out of nowhere. It’s the littlest things that lead to the big ideas for me. I’m never in a hurry when it comes to writing so I’ll sit on something for quite a while and let it build until I can see an entire adventure from beginning to end. In that way, by the time I sit down to write I usually know exactly where I’m going.

How do you find the time to write?
As a father of three, time is always a challenge. Writing is a hobby for me. It’s something I’m passionate about but my focus is usually needed elsewhere. A majority of my writing is done in the quiet of a late night when everyone else is in bed. I take my shots whenever I can get them. I’ve been known to disappear for a short time here and there if I see an opening for a writing opportunity but a majority of the good stuff I get down on paper is done long after everyone else is snoring.

The Last Shadow Gate (Sample Chapters) 1 

Gavin Walker sat in a dining room chair at the head of the table. His dirty-blond bangs were pushed to one side revealing a wide-eyed expression. His mouth hung open, and he was at a loss for words, which was something that didn’t happen often in the twelve-year-old’s daily life.

“The whole summer?”

His father stood at the opposite end of the table resting his hands on the back of a chair. The similarities between father and son were unmistakable. Mr. Walker’s expression was calm, unlike his son’s overreaction. Gavin could see his father wasn’t going to back down, so he resorted to repetition.

 “The whole summer?”

Mr. Walker didn’t budge.

 “Don’t be so dramatic.”

“But Dad.”

“It won’t kill you,” Mr. Walker said. “You haven’t seen Mama Walker in over two years and she’s not getting any younger.” His face was stern. “Look, she’s nearly eighty-five and I’m not sure how many more opportunities the two of you will have to spend time with her.”

Mama Walker was Gavin’s great-grandmother. She lived alone on the outskirts of Albany, New York, in the town of Gum Springs. To a twelve-year-old boy from Southern California, Gum Springs was on the far side of the moon. Gavin didn’t know Mama Walker very well.

“But she’s crazy, Dad,” he said. “You said so yourself.”

Mr. Walker’s brow wrinkled.

“I don’t think she’s crazy. She’s lonely since Papa went away and…”

He went on, but Gavin stopped listening. He crossed his arms and sulked. He wanted to protest, but he already knew his father wasn’t going to give in. He focused on something else he’d heard.

“What do you mean by the two of you?”

Mr. Walker smiled and hesitated.

“Well,” he said, “that’s the rest of the story. I want you and your sister to spend the summer together with Mama Walker.”

Gavin rolled his eyes. Naomi was his half-sister who lived in Florida with her mother. The two siblings were forced to tolerate each other over summer vacations and an occasional holiday break. She was older than Gavin by three years and reminded him of it every chance she could. “What about football camp?”

He was playing dirty now.

 “Already took care of it,” Mr. Walker said, and Gavin’s smile disappeared. “First day of camp is at the end of August, and it just so happens that you’ll get back with plenty of time.”

“You already bought the ticket?” Gavin asked as his voice filled with dread.

“Yep,” Mr. Walker said, “school’s out next Friday, and you and I fly out on Saturday.”

“You’re coming?”

 “I’m flying with you. We’ll meet Naomi in Albany then I’m going to stay a few days and fly back.”

“Very brave of you,” Gavin said.

 Mr. Walker got up, came around the table, and took a seat next to his son. He put his hand on Gavin’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze. “I know I’m asking a lot, but come on, Gavin, do this for me,” he said. “Your mother and I have talked about this for a while. Mama Walker has been distant from the family for a long time. This will be good for her and good for the both of you kids too.” He let go and stood up. “You know, you might even have a good time.”

Gavin doubted that very much.


Destin, Florida is a popular vacation destination. It’s known for white, sandy beaches, and clear, blue water. That beauty is a part of life for the people who live in Destin and across the bridge in the city of Fort Walton Beach. Naomi Walker happened to be one of those lucky people.

She sat on the school bus staring out at the clear, blue water counting down the days until summer. The ninth grade was particularly difficult for Naomi. She calculated she’d spent more days grounded during this year than all of the years before it combined. She wasn’t a bad student, quite the opposite, she enjoyed most of her classes.

She’d always had an interest in science and history, but this year she spent more time interested in gossip and boys than any academic pursuit. Naomi’s mother was forgiving for the most part. She and her step-father were willing to give Naomi some slack as she dealt with becoming a young woman. Her father was a different story altogether.

Naomi knew her father lived in California, but sometimes she thought he was somewhere closer to Mars. Her parents divorced when she was young, but Mr. Walker did everything in his power to keep a close relationship. Naomi cherished that bond as a little girl; however, her needs had changed over the past few years. In a short time she’d be shipped off to California while all her friends would be having the time of their lives.

She decided looking at the beach was only making matters worse and spun around to stare at the back of the seat in front of her. Chloe, her little sister, sat next to her. All of Chloe’s attention was focused on the screen of a hot pink, handheld game. Naomi pulled the game from her hand for no good reason, and the two fought over it for the rest of the ride home.

The walk from the bus stop to the front door felt longer than usual. Naomi passed the time by snatching her hand away from Chloe as the little girl tried to hold on. At fifteen, Naomi was at a peculiar crossroads in her life where adulthood and individualism was a goal and childhood just plain stunk. To Chloe, only seven, holding hands was still all the rage.

“Mom, we’re home.”

 Naomi threw her backpack on the sofa and walked to the kitchen with Chloe close on her heels.

“What about peanut butter?” Chloe asked.

 “What about no,” Naomi said.

Chloe stuck her tongue out. “Fine then,” she said, “I’ll make one myself.”

The little girl pulled a chair in from the dining room as Naomi poked through the cabinets and settled on a half-finished bag of chips. Naomi slumped down on the couch, leaving Chloe to make a mess in the kitchen. She began a never-ending search for something to watch on TV with the chips in her lap and the television remote secured. The sliding door in the rear of the house opened and closed, announcing their mother’s arrival.

“We’re home, Mom,” she said.

“Just finishing up the laundry.”

Naomi was convinced her mother did the laundry for the entire block.

“What in the world?”

Naomi grinned.

She knew her mom’s outburst had something to do with the mess Chloe was making in the kitchen.
A moment later her mother made it into the living room. Her hair was frazzled and her eyes were focused in a disapproving glare.

“What?” Naomi asked.

“You could have helped her.”

 “She’s not a baby, you know.”

Her mother sat down on the love seat. “I want you to turn that off, Naomi. We need to talk about something.”

 Naomi didn’t like the tone her mother took. This was the tone she used when delivering bad news. It was that very same tone she’d used to tell her and Chloe their beloved cat, Tinker, was in heaven. Naomi eyed her mother closely as she hit the mute button on the remote control.

“Your father and I have had a long talk about your summer vacation,” her mother said.

Naomi pulled a handful of chips out of the bag and ate through them in an unnecessarily loud manner.

“And…” her mother’s voice rose to match the chip-chomping, “I believe we’ve come to an agreement.”

 “I can stay here for the summer?” Naomi asked.

“No.” Naomi sank back into the couch.

 “Your father wants you and Gavin to spend the summer together.”

“What’s so different about that?” Naomi asked. “I have to put up with him every summer.”

 “Yes, but—” Her mother was interrupted by a ring. She pulled the phone out of her back pocket, looked at the number, and smiled. “I’ll let him explain.”

 Naomi took the phone from her mother and answered it. She recognized her father’s voice at once.

“Hey, Dad.” She saw her mother smiling and noted it was the smile you give when you feel sorry for something. Naomi’s face scrunched as Mr. Walker explained what awaited her on summer vacation.

“But,” she cut in. Mr. Walker pushed on. “Mama Walker?” Mr. Walker continued to talk. “But, Dad…” Her father didn’t let up. Naomi popped up off the couch. “But, Dad, that old lady’s crazy.”

Michael W. Garza often finds himself wondering where his inspiration will come from next and in what form his imagination will bring it to life. The outcomes regularly surprise him and it’s always his ambition to amaze those curious enough to follow him and take in those results. He hopes everyone will find something that frightens, surprises, or simply astonishes them. Contact & Social Media Information:

Thursday, December 8, 2016

#PBwkendread: Knotted Roots by Ruthi Kight


This is my weekend read!! Pretty sad that I dropped this book and it got all muddy on the top of my SIGNED copy!!! It is now ruined but hopefully I can look pass this and just enjoy the story. I really do love the cover! High heels and hay bales oh my what will Roxie have gotten herself into now. 

Review: Z-Minus IV (Z-Minus #4) by Perrin Briar

29550744Title: Z-Minus 4
Author: Perrin Briar
Published: March 16, 2016
Pages: 159
Genre: Zombies
Review: ebook provided by author
Buy Links: Amazon, 

The post-apocalyptic series readers are describing as "one of the best post-apocalypse stories I've ever read."

Once infected, the virus shuts down organs, kills nerve impulses and even reprograms the way we think. The virus becomes us.

But the process takes eight hours.

If you only had eight hours left to live, what would you do?

In response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, a Special Forces team is sent on a military exercise to curtail future outbreaks. But when they encounter infected civilians, they soon discover they’ve entered a real-life nightmare, and must put their training to the test.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Book Spotlight: Duck Squad by John Arnold

Title: Duck Squad
Author: John Arnold
Publisher: Createspace
Pages: 75
Genre: Fantasy

Three ducks escape from a university lab experiment and find sanctuary in a fraternity house. They discover human beings can be their friends – and enemies. Their adventures begin righting wrongs – and getting even.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The humans in the lab coats turned off the lights and left the room, shutting the door behind them. Quock listened carefully so he could hear them walk down the hallway and out through another doorway to the outside world.

Quock waited until there was no other sound in the building and he quacked at Guk who he could see in the cage next to him in the dim evening light from the lab windows.

            “Guk? Are you sleeping?”

            Guk wearily lifted his head from under his wing and quacked, “I was.”

            “Is Op asleep?” Quock asked.

            Guk looked over at Op’s plump, feathery figure in the cage next to him and then at all the sleeping Pekin ducks in all the other cages. He said, “Everybody’s asleep. Those drugs they give us make us sleepy. Why aren’t you asleep?”

            Quock looked around apprehensively. “Something’s happened to me.”

            Guk was wide awake by now. He stared at Quock.  “Like what?”

            “It’s like a cloud was lifted from my head,” Quock explained. “Suddenly I can understand.”

            Guk almost laughed. “Understand what? It’s the drugs they give us. They can make you think all kinds of crazy things.”

            Quock stared back at Guk. “No, I mean it. I can understand them. I know what they are saying.”

            “You mean – the humans in the white coats?”

            “Yes. The humans in the white coats. I can understand them now. And I can read what they write.”

            Guk shook his head. “There’s no way. It’s just gobbledygook.”

            “Oh, no it’s not,” Quock shook his head. “It’s serious.”

            Guk looked around at all the sleeping ducks in the room.
“How serious?”

            Quock took a breath and whispered. “They are going to eat us.”

John Arnold has had his work presented in either a reading or production at American Conservatory Theater (San Francisco) playreading series; California Playwrights Festival, Sacramento; Out and About Theater, Minneapolis; Playwrights Center, San Francisco; Sacramento Theater Company; West Coat Ensemble, Hollywood; Aloha Theater, Kainaliu, Hawaii; Moving Arts, Los Angeles; Mercury Cafe, Denver; First Stage, Los Angeles; The Theater-Studio, New York, Prince William Sound Community College, Valdez, Alaska; Theater of Western Springs, Illinois; and others. His monologue “Bit” is featured on Fourth Wall His screenplays have been finalists in the Art Color Digital Cinema International Film Festival, Montreal, the San Francisco Global Movie Fest, Indie Film Fest, Switzerland and the Swedish International Film Festival.

His play “Saint George” was winner of the 2016 Play Competition – Thistle Dew Theater, Sacramento. His monologue “Aunt Velma Considers Changing Religion” was part of the 2016 One Act Play Festival, Phoenix Stage Company, Connecticut.
 He is author of “Duck Squad,” “Autobiography of a Duck” and “Going Home” - available via 
You can visit John’s blog at

Review: Z-Minus III (Z-Minus #3) by Perrin Briar

25332774Title: Z-Minus 3
Author: Perrin Briar
Published: April 8, 2015
Pages: 130
Genre: Zombies
Review: ebook provided by author
Buy Links: Amazon, 

Once administered, the cure heals organs, rebuilds neurons, and even reunites us with our consciousness. The cure heals us.

But the cure will only exist for the next eight hours.

If your daughter had the power to save the world, what would you do?

Chris Smith has eight hours to get his cured daughter Maisie to the research ship anchored off the coast of Brighton or lose the only chance of salvation the human race has. He must battle raging undead hordes and evade a powerful warrior goddess hell-bent on retaining power in the new world order.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Review: Z-Minus II (Z-Minus #2) by Perrin Briar

25320849Title: Z-Minus 2
Author: Perrin Briar
Published: April 6, 2015
Pages: 345
Genre: Zombies
Review: ebook provided by author
Buy Links: Amazon, 

Once infected, the virus shuts down organs, kills nerve impulses and even reprograms the way we think. The virus becomes us.

But the process takes eight hours.

If the only remaining member of your family was infected, what would you do?

Chris Smith has eight hours to get his infected daughter Maisie to the rumored cure or lose her forever. The only things in his way: a marauding army of killer zombies, a self-declared warrior goddess and a secret buried deep in his past.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Review: Z-Minus I (Z-Minus #1) by Perrin Briar

23941832Title: Z-Minus 1
Author: Perrin Briar
Published: Dec. 10, 2014
Pages: 136
Genre: Zombies
Review: ebook
Buy Links: Amazon, 

The post-apocalyptic series readers are describing as "one of the best post-apocalypse stories I've ever read."
Once infected, the virus shuts down organs, kills nerve impulses and even reprograms the way we think. The virus becomes us.
But the process takes eight hours.
If you only had eight hours left to live, what would you do?
For Chris Smith, that decision has been made for him. He’s infected, and returns home to find the rest of his family undead or missing, save his youngest daughter Maisie. He’s never been much of a father, but can he make up for it now in the final few hours of his life and find somewhere safe for her to survive?