August 31, 2015

Spotlight ~ Sword of Deaths by Chrisopher Mannino

Scythe Wielder's Secret


Susan Sarnio made a choice, and will spend the rest of her life as the only female Death.  Last year she was bullied and ostracized. Now, to her complete bewilderment, four Deaths vie for her affection. Yet, something is terribly wrong at the College of Deaths. When a ship carrying scythe metal is attacked, many blame the newly-freed Elementals, but Susan knows the Elementals are innocent.

Shadows from the distant past come to light. Dragons circle the horizon, blood spills, and nothing is what it seems. Susan and her friends struggle to stop a war. They search for the fabled First Scythe, hoping to sway the balance, but who is the true enemy?

Sword of Deaths

SWORD OF DEATHS, the second novel in the critically acclaimed YA Fantasy trilogy "The Scythe Wielder's Secret," is now available from MuseItUp Publishing in both ebook and paperback formats. In SWORD OF DEATHS, Mannino delves deeper into the world and characters introduced in the first novel. The novel is told from three rotating points-of-view, and for the first time, the conflict with Dragons is fully realized. The style becomes darker, and for more epic, as the series moves towards a momentous climax in the final book DAUGHTER OF DEATHS.

Sword of Deaths

Here is an excerpt of this exciting novel:

Frank started to speak when a deafening shriek pierced the woods. They exchanged a silent acknowledgement, and crept to the side of the boulder.
“We might be able to hide beneath the stone,” Frank told Michi. He used his mind, grazing the power without diving into its depths.
The shriek screamed through the forest. The Elementals huddled on the rock’s edge, grasping for a crevice. Frank reached into his pocket and clutched the hilt of Rayn’s dagger. Tingles of warm energy coursed through his skin, rippling in waves from the mortamant blade.
A third scream blasted leaves to the ground. The forest floor trembled and trees quivered in the face of the Dragon’s fury. 
“Something’s changed,” said Michi. “He knows we’re here.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” said Frank. For a moment the forest quieted.
The canopy overhead tumbled down, trees snapping in half. A smell of sulfur choked Frank. A blast of heat swept through the forest. White-hot flames engulfed the woods, disintegrating trunks and leaves in a conflagration. Fire rushed around them like a tidal wave against a beach. The boulder protected their backs, yet even the stone grew hot. Smoke stung his eyes like acid.
Frank pulled out the dagger. The Dragon’s scales covered its entire body. He’d never get close enough to draw blood. Yet, one nick of his own blood and he’d be home. 
The Dragon’s blast ceased. So much destruction in a single blast.How did the Deaths ever defeat creatures like this? Acrid smoke billowed around the ashen ruins of trees. A wide swath of forest had been obliterated.
“Hold my hand,” he said. The boulder radiated heat behind them like coal in a furnace. “I’m going to bring us back to the College.”
“Wait. I’ve used my power,” said Michi. “It’s two against one, we should fight.”
“Fight a Dragon? Are you insane?”

(Praise for SCHOOL OF DEATHS: The Scythe Wielder's Secret Book One)

"Not just a book for young adults, but an imaginative read for everyone who likes something a little bit different. 5 Stars!" - Reader's Favorite

"With a well-developed setting, strong characters, a fairly fast moving plot, and snappy dialogue, this novel should keep readers engaged from the beginning to the end. Five Stars." - BookBreeze Magazine 

"Let's start with one simple statement: Wow!  This book, the characters and the world created by Mannino is absolutely spectacular."  -Kay, GoodReads Review

"This book's world is brilliant, and the author's creativity is more than amazing and the way he conveyed his imagination was just stunning."  -OnlineBookClub


Christopher Mannino
Christopher Mannino’s life is best described as an unending creative outlet.  He teaches high school theatre in Greenbelt, Maryland.  In addition to his daily drama classes, he runs several after-school performance/production drama groups.  He spends his summers writing and singing.  Mannino holds a Master of Arts in Theatre Education from Catholic University, and has studied mythology and literature both in America and at Oxford University.  His work with young people helped inspire him to write young adult fantasy, although it was his love of reading that truly brought his writing to life.  

Mannino is currently completing The Scythe Wielder's Secret series and is working on several adult novels.

Learn more about Mannino and his novels, including trailers and purchase links at 

August 14, 2015

Author Interview ~ Lisa Dunn author of Heir of Koradin

Blog Tour
Heir of Koradin by Lisa Dunn
The Second Book of Chasmaria

Join me in welcoming author Lisa Dunn (my own author, by the way) in an interview to promote her new book Heir of Koradin. It is the sequel to the fabulous Grit of Berth and Stone. Now, onto the questions!

Thank you for having me, Laura! Its been an immense pleasure to work with you on these books, and I am forever thankful to you for pushing me harder and harder with each one. Okay, to the questions
1)      Where did the idea for this book come from? 
GRIT OF BERTH AND STONE started with the question of what life would be like without love. HEIR OF KORADIN is a continuation of that idea, as Grit struggles to balance her role as a warrior with her newfound devotion to the people in her lifea devotion that is wholly awkward at times because she still doesnt quite know how love works. Dagger presents the question of whether a persons worth is based on his actions or on something deeper and more beautiful. At the core of each characters story is the matter of grace. They both wonder if love can remain when one gets everything wrong.
2)      If you could meet one of your characters, which one would it be and what would you say to them? 
Id love to have breakfast with Arrow, side by side at Harths bar in contented silence. Hes a soothing presence. I might give him a hug when we parted to let him know how very special he is.
3)      If you had to pick a single person who inspired you to write, who would it be and how did they do it?
Arent you getting tired of hearing about my Wise and Wonderful Sister? Seriously, my sister has been a huge encouragement every step of the way. My husband has been with me in the trenches of daily life, though. Without him to put the kids to bed and without his accommodation of my need for focused writing time, these books never could have been written. Also, hes the sort of person who makes up his mind to do something and then does it. (Example: He completed a marathon while I was editing GRIT.) Hes about the most honest person youll meet and has a sense of humor as warped as mine. Over the years, hes modeled grace and persistence in every sphere of life, and I hope those characteristicshonesty, humor, grace, and persistenceflow into my writing.
4)      What writers resources have you used toward the goal of getting published?
During drafting and revision, Google and Webster were invaluable for research and choosing the right names and words. Google and Twitter were excellent tools for researching agents, editors, and publishers, as were Query Tracker, Agent Query, and, a blog filled with agent interviews. I also had several friends and a local critique group give feedback on my manuscript.
5)      How long did it take you to get published?
Assuming I have my dates right, I finished GRIT at the end of June 2012. I queried for about nine months before doing a major revision, essentially rewriting two-thirds of the story. I probably queried another nine months and was just thinking of shelving the trilogy and trying to get my foot in the door with a standalone when Anaiah Press picked up my manuscript.
6)      Who are your favorite authors?
Lloyd Alexander, John Knowles, the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Daphne DuMaurier, Georgette Heyer, Suzanne Collins, Pierce Brown, and Mo Willems.
7)      Besides writing, what would be your dream job?
Wait. There are other jobs? Who knew? Okay, to be serious againI sort of already have the other best job in the world. Thanks to my supportive, hard-working husband, Ive been a stay-at-home mom for thirteen years. I currently teach our four children at home, and while it can be a beast of a job, I wouldnt trade it for anything.
8)      Can you see your book being made into a movie? If so, who would you want to play the leads?
It would be wild to get a movie deal. Realistic, maybe not, but let
s go ahead and assemble a cast. I recently watched Tomorrowland, and Britt Roberston could definitely play Grit. If Logan Lerman would grow out his Percy Jackson hair, wed have Dagger. Colin ODonoghue could cover Strike and Stone. Coil, I dont even know Hed be the hardest to cast because Id want him just right.

Dagger of Willow and Strike has waited a lifetime to return to the village of his birth. He’s been promised the throne of Koradin, but getting captured by his treacherous sire wasn’t part of the plan. Dagger needs a miracle to turn his childhood dreams into reality—And Grit of Berth and Stone might be that miracle.

Unfortunately for him, Grit’s stuck in the rival village of Thresh, and she’s in way over her head. Having bluffed her way into commanding an army of incompetents, she’s useless to Dagger if her new recruits don’t learn the right end of a sword. To make matters worse, Dagger’s sire seeks Grit’s life, and there’s no telling when he’ll return to Thresh to finish what he started when he killed her dame.

But freedom calls through shifting alliances, and neither Dagger’s disillusionment nor Grit’s doubt can keep the armies of Koradin and Thresh from war.

Book Links
Anaiah Press:





Review Snippets from Book 1: Grit of Berth and Stone
“Grit does not fit into any of our modern stereotypes and I love that.”

“ Grit's world is well-crafted and revealed to the reader through the story telling with just enough details to understand the world and story and to keep you intrigued and guessing about what is coming next.”

“This book will definitely keep your attention and your thoughts long after you've finished.”

Book Trailer

End of Tour Author Facebook Q&A: Thursday, August 27, 9-10 p.m. EST

Rafflecopter giveaway code: Anaiah Press will giveaway one ecopy of Grit of Berth and Stone. Enter via the Rafflecopter below:

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About the Author

As a child, Lisa Dunn fell asleep to her father’s fanciful bedtime tales and played with her own stories during the daylight hours. She now resides in a small southern town with her husband and four children. Local librarians thank her for their job security.