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Barbara Ashford, author of Spellcast and its newly released sequel, Spellcrossed, is holding a release party this Sunday, June 24th, 2012, 1-4pm, at Spectator's Pub, 219 North Avenue, New Rochelle, NY. I'll be there as well, and we're both looking to sign some books. There will be some food (free), drinks (not free), and books for sale at the event (not free in case "for sale" didn't register with you). It should be a grand old time. So if you're in the area and are looking for something to do Sunday afternoon, swing on by and chat with us both!

Release Party!!!!
Spectators Pub
219 North Avenue
New Rochelle, NY

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Hey, all! Barbara Ashford and I will be throwing a release party for our two books Well of Sorrows (mine) and Spellcast (hers) TOMORROW, June 5th, from 1-4pm at:

Spectator's Bar
219 North Ave.
New Rochelle, NY 10801

We'll have some food set out and copies of all of our books available for purchase as well, including the anthology AFTER HOURS. But it's really just an excuse to get together with friends and family and throw a party. *grin* Come on by! Take a day trip up from the city! I mean, it's two authors for the price of one!

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The book discussion for Spellcast by Barbara Ashford is now up at the [ profile] dawbooks community. Stop on by and let everyone know what you think! Or check out what the book is all about and see if you might be interested. There's even a link to my review of the book.

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Barbara Ashford's debut novel is at once fantastical, realistic, heartwarming, and touching. It begins with Maggie Graham losing her job and having her bathroom ceiling plaster cave in on her while she's taking a relaxing conciliatory bath. Fed up, she decides she needs a break from Brooklyn and her life and heads to Vermont in her car. There, she finds the Crossroads Theater and, reaching back to her original passion before she settled for a 9-5 day job, she "accidentally" auditions for the summer stock roles.

All of this happens in the first few chapters of the book. After this, Maggie sinks herself into the theater while keeping her illicit affair with the stage secret from her mom and working half-heartedly on seeking another job. As the summer progresses, she begins to realize that there is more going on at the theater than it at first appears, something magical. The director and the staff seem to be able to take ordinary people with no theater experience and turn them into decent actors over the course of a few weeks, and most of these newbie actors undergo some kind of life-changing transformation, most for the better. Meanwhile, Maggie gets along fine with the staff, but seems to be in continual confrontation with the director about nearly everything. HER life doesn't seem to be getting better. Until they hit the production of Carousel and she's forced to confront her role as Nettie . . . and her own past.

This is not really urban fantasy, more of what I'd call contemporary fantasy. The magic is subtle and evocative, not in your face, and the general feel of the novel is in no way "dark" as I expect of most urban fantasies. There is a strong romance element in this novel. It will appeal to urban fantasy readers and paranormal romance readers alike, mostly because it has all of those elements but is slightly . . . different. It's a refreshing take on those two genres. Readers will love Maggie with all of her insecurities and the sheer reality of her life, and they will root for her as the confrontation with the director, Rowan MacKenzie, progresses and Maggie discovers the true magic behind the Crossroads Theater. I'll definitely be reading the sequels.
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First, the new books for May 2011 have been posted up at the [ profile] dawbooks community here on LJ, including this little book called Well of Sorrows, now available in paperback! In case you've heard of it. *grin*

Also, a new guest blog has appeared over at [ profile] anghara's blog. This one's about fantasy and exploration, and why I thought "settling a new continent" was perfect for a fantasy setting. Check it out! Oh, and if you leave a comment, you could win a copy of the book!

And also, you could win a copy of another new book this month: Spellcast by Barbara Ashford. She and I are doing a joint "review contest." To enter to win HER book, you need to post a review of Well of Sorrows on either your blog, website, at, or at Then send me an email at (or leave a comment here) with a link to the review or saying that it's up at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The winner will be chosen at random from all of the entires received.

Now, to win a copy of MY book, you have to post a review of Spellcast on your blog, website, at, or at Then send an email to Barbara at with the link.

The deadline for this review contest is May 31, 2011. Winners will be chosen at the beginning of June. So get out there, get one of the books, review it, and you could win the other book! Or just buy both books. That works to. *grin*

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I got my copy of Barbara Ashford's debut book Spellcast in the mail today. What about you?

Cover Copy: Maggie Graham was having a very bad summer. . . .

First, she lost her job. Then the bathroom ceiling in her Brooklyn apartment collapsed. That was when Maggie decided it was time to run away from home for a while. A weekend in Vermont sounded like the perfect getaway. Spying a road sign for the township of Hillandale, she impulsively took the exit, and randomly turned left toward Dale. For some reason the area felt familiar, especially the big white barn she passed on the way to town.

And, as though everything about this journey was somehow preordained, Maggie ended up auditioning for and being offered a job in the summer stock company of the Crossroads Theatre--housed in that white barn outside of town.

As it turned out, she was practically the only person in the cast with previous acting credits. But none of her professional experience could prepare her for the magic that was about to happen on the stage of this big old barn, or for the theatre's unorthodox staff, especially its moody and mysterious director. . . .

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Hey, everyone! Barbara Ashford's debut book is coming out this May (along with my book), and a friend has posted her recommendation for the book here. The book is called Spellcast, an urban fantasy set in a summer stock theater. Check it out!

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Today, April 10th, Barbara Ashford and I (plus Ben Tate) will be signing copies of AFTER HOURS: TALES FROM THE UR-BAR at Spectator's Bar and Grill (and/or Pub) in New Rochelle, NY! We'll have some bar food out for people to snack on and the books to buy if you don't have it already. Feel free to stop by! We're there from 1-4pm, and since both of us have books coming out in May (SPELLCAST from Barbara and WELL OF SORROWS in paperback from me), you can come chat with us about those new releases as well. The address is below. If you're in NYC, take a break and do an outing up to Spectator's for drinks, bar food, and a good long friendly chat with two fantasy authors. We'll be searching for the perfect Gilgamesh impersonator among the crowd. *grin*

219 North Avenue
New Rochelle, NY
(Exit 16 off I-95)

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As part of the promo for the After Hours: Tales From the Ur-bar release, I figured I’d highlight all of the contributors to the anthology individually. And while we’re at it, run a contest as well! So here’s the deal, to enter the contest you have to either friend the [ profile] afterhoursurbar community here on LiveJournal OR you have to like the After Hours: Tales From the Ur-bar Facebook page (search for the title of the anthology to find the page). If you do both, you’re entered into the contest twice! The contest will end March 31st, 2011. Prizes will include copies of the contributors books (sometimes entire trilogies), After Hours: Tales From the Ur-bar M&Ms, and perhaps other prizes. They will be awarded by random drawing from those who’ve liked or friended the appropriate pages. If you’ve already friended or liked the pages, then you’re already entered into the contest! Find out more about the anthology at its website!

And now for the fourth contributor: Barbara Ashford! Barbara’s contribution to the anthology is the short story The Tale That Wagged the Dog, which has some rather prominent and well-known personages from English history and folklore carousing at its tables. Here’s the official description:

"The Tale That Wagged the Dog" by Barbara Ashford: Transformed into a dog by the Queen of Faery’s curse, Tam Lin finds the cure he seeks in the Ur-Bar, but discovers there’s more to becoming a man than changing his shape.

Barbara and I hit it off almost immediately after meeting at a convention . . . I think it was Lunacon? Perhaps Balticon? I can’t remember (they all blur together after a while). But I do remember her and I playing darts at Albacon and clearing out a fairly good-sized circle around the dart board. Drunk authors who don’t really play darts can clear a room, let me tell you. But WE had a blast. Here’s her author bio from the anthology:

The only dog Barbara Ashford ever owned was a dachs¬hund. He didn’t say much. After stumbling through several jobs in educational administration, she ran away to the theatre, working as an actress and later as a librettist/lyricist. Her first trilogy was a finalist for the Mythopoeic Society’s award for fantasy literature. Her new novel--Spellcast--comes out in May 2011 and is set in a summer stock theatre far more magical than any she worked in. She credits her husband for inspiring “The Tale that Wagged the Dog” and for keeping her supplied with single malt whisky. Visit her at

We’ll be giving away a copy of Spellcast as one of the prizes in the contest mentioned above, but the winner will have to wait until the book is actually released in May 2011.


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Joshua Palmatier

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