Nicholas Rossis is Hosting a Giveaway and Some Awesome Deals on Fantasy and Science Fiction. Just in time for the Weekend!

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Avid readers, fans of fantasy and science fiction, listen up! Until the end of the month, author Nicholas C. Rossis is offering both Pearseus: Rise of the Prince and Pearseus: Mad Water at a discounted price on Amazon for just .99 (normal price: $3.99).

He’s also hosting a giveaway for up to seven fantasy novels! The grand prize is a Kindle “Gift Basket” of ALL SEVEN fantasy novels. Nine winners will receive selected titles. Click on this link for more information.

And if that doesn’t sate your hunger, the second issue of the Nonlocal Science Fiction magazine is available on Amazon.

book-photo-nr-500In case you don’t already know, Nicholas C. Rossis is a talented author of children’s books, epic fantasies, and science fiction. He lives to write and does so from his cottage on the edge of a magical forest in Athens, Greece. When he’s not writing, he’s spending time with family and chatting with fans. He’s also a huge supporter of the indie author community and offers helpful advice on his blog.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Make sure to check out these great deals, and have a great weekend!

 

Let the Online Scavenger Hunt Begin! And May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor . . .

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Hello everyone, and welcome to the 75th Annual Hunger Games–wait, what? I mean, welcome to the opening of the online scavenger hunt! Whoo hoo!

For a refresher on rules and prizes click here.


The Questions:

#1. Where is the most unusual place I’ve had a book-signing?

#2. Name all 4 song titles my editor thinks should be on my novel’s playlist.

#3. What song best describes me?

#4. Which character in The Wizard’s Gambit is my favorite?

#5 Who is the main character in The Wizard’s Gambit?


symbol colorNeed a hint? Remember, the information containing the answer will be marked with a sword, axe, and bow crossed over a ring just like the image to the right. Each one will note which question it pertains to, just to make things a little easier.

So, what is the significance of the image, anyway? Does it have anything to do with the story? Or is it totally random? What could it possible represent? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

The Wizards Gambit ebook coverYou can order the Kindle edition today for $2.99 at Amazon.

Or, if you prefer paperback, you can order your copy of the paperback version on Amazon for $13.50.

Want the book for free? Be one of the first 3 participants to complete the scavenger hunt! Winners earn Amazon gift cards and/or free copies of my book!

Happy hunting! And may the odds be ever in your favor!

I’m Hosting an Online Scavenger Hunt! Rules, Prizes, and More!

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Only one more day until the release of my new book, The Wizard’s Gambit, and since the majority of the story centers around a high-stakes scavenger hunt, I thought it might be fun to host a sort of scavenger hunt right here on my blog!

symbol colorOn Saturday October 17th, at the start of my online book launch party, I’ll officially open the scavenger hunt to anyone who wants to participate. All “hidden items” should be inserted by then;)

Starting at 11 a.m., participants can search my past blog posts to find the “hidden items” that will help them answer 5 questions pertaining to the author and the book. (Hint: look for the image to the right).

Questions will be posted on the Facebook event page. Participants should submit their answers to all five questions to kyliebetzner@gmail.com. I will note the time the message was received. The first 3 people to submit their answers to all 5 questions will win a prize!

The Wizards Gambit ebook cover1st place: A $5 Amazon gift card and a free copy of my ebook

2nd place: A $5 Amazon gift card which you can use to buy a copy of my ebook **cough, cough**

3rd place: A free copy of my ebook

Everyone who submits their answers by 3 p.m. on Saturday is automatically entered into a drawing for the chance to win a free copy of my ebook.

The winners of the contest will be announced at 3 p.m. on the Facebook online book launch events page, and prizes will be distributed within one to two weeks.

Rules:

  • Don’t answer questions in the comments. That will ruin the game.
  • Don’t email me individual answers in separate e-mails. Wait until you get them all.
  • Don’t be a sore loser. This is just for fun. I’m sure I’ll host another contest again soon.
  • Don’t give up!
  • Do have fun! That’s the point of these things, isn’t it?

Any questions? Post them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them as soon as possible.

One more thing. Please help spread the word! Games are always more fun with more players!

I’ll see you tomorrow for the book launch party! Until then, have a fantastic Friday!

I’m Hosting an Online Book Launch Party and You’re Invited! Virtual Drinks All Around!

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Saturday, October 17th marks the release date for my second novel, The Wizard’s Gambit. Can I get a whoop whoop!

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. I’ll be hosting an online book launch party to celebrate with friends! Virtual drinks all around! The more the merrier, so I hope you can join me in the celebration.

During the online party I’ll be sharing some of my favorite quotes, answering questions about my book, and making virtual toasts with virtual beer glasses, wine glasses, coffee mugs, or whatever your drink of choice. Mostly, we’ll just be having fun. Plus, there will be virtual cake:)

I’ll also be hosting an online scavenger hunt on my blog. Winners and prizes will be announced at 3 p.m. on the Wizard’s Gambit Book Launch Party Page!

Please click on this link to get started. It might tell you the site is not available if you’re not logged in or if we’re not friends. Feel free to send me a friend request and I’ll accept you right away so you can join the party.

Have a great week and I hope to see you this Saturday at the Wizard’s Gambit Book Launch Party!

Here Goes Nothing! Entering the Royal Nonesuch Humor Writing Contest

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8300I’ve never had much luck with writing contest. The most I’ve ever accomplished was third place in my high school writing contest, winning myself a whole whopping five bucks. But today I took it as a sign from the celestial bodies up above when I saw a post regarding an international writing competition geared towards humorous writers. When I discovered it raises funds for the Mark Twain House and Museum in Connecticut I was sold.

After some consideration, I decided to submit the prologue from my Arthurian parody, The Quest for the Holy Something or Other. This section introduces the main theme of my work which deals with change and several pivotal characters who either drive or oppose change. The prologue can easily be enjoyed on its own but entices readers to read on with its originality and whit. Hopefully, the judges enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.


Here’s my entry for those of you who are curious:

From his throne atop the raised dais, King Arthur observed the Great Hall with all the smug satisfaction of a cat on a high perch. Below him, servants bustled about, clearing the Round Table and cleaning up after the knights, who had feasted with Arthur earlier that night. Dinners in the Great Hall were raucous affairs, and it was never an easy task putting the room back in order. Arthur grimaced as the last of the dishes were removed from the table, revealing a new stain. A servant took a rag to it, but it was no use. The stain had already set in. She was about to give it a spit shine when Arthur told them all to leave.

Alone, Arthur considered the table. But rather than face it head-on, he angled his body away and scrutinized it from the corner of his eye. The Round Table had seen better days. The oak surface, once polished and smooth, was now dull and covered in scratches and stains. He dared assume if the seats were ever moved, the knights would still be able to find their prior places by the rings left from their drinking glasses. But worse were the gouges in the wood as though the knights had used the table for weapon practice or for a demonstration of proper wood chopping techniques, practices not fitting the famed table of legend. A giant chunk of wood was missing from one side of the table. His brother Sr. Kay liked to whittle—perhaps he was the culprit.

Arthur closed his eyes against the sight of the table, but its creaking served as a constant reminder that it was, in its own way, suffering. He almost believed the table could feel pain the way it carried on some nights.

He reopened his eyes and dared another glimpse at the table. There was no denying it was in desperate need of repair. Minor rigging kept the table standing, and coasters had been wedged under several of the legs to stop it from wobbling. Still, the chairs squeaked, parts came loose, and bugs continued to eat away at it. Soon there would be nothing left of the once glorious symbol of Camelot’s pride. The very thought made him as cold as a corpse’s kiss.

He had addressed the issue with his wizard, Merlin, on several occasions, because it was the duty of the wizard to advise the king; however, Merlin kept insisting he replace the table with a newer and, dare he say, “better” one. Once he had even recommended removing the table all together. When asked where the knights would sit, Merlin had suggested there be no knights to dine with the king. Disband the knights? Ridiculous, Arthur scoffed. Sometimes he believed his wizard truly was insane.

On cue, Merlin entered the Great Hall and made his way to Arthur’s throne. Even from the other end of the room, Arthur recognized his wizard; there was no mistaking him for anyone else. Merlin was the only one foolish enough to cavort himself in wizard garments, complete with conical hat and fake beard. In one arm, he carried his crooked staff, in the other—Arthur narrowed his eyes—a carryout bag that left a trail of dripped grease in its wake. The stench of fried meat reached Arthur before Merlin did. It was all he could do to keep his supper down when Merlin came before him and bowed.

“Welcome back, Wizard Merlin,” he said between clenched teeth. “Did you just now return? Tell me, how was your trip? I pray you found everything you set out for.” He stifled his laughter behind his velvet sleeve, already knowing the answer. Two weeks ago, he had approved Merlin’s travel request to Cornwall to see the supposed wall made of corn, for which Merlin had assumed the city had been named.* Arthur knew the wizard would only be met with disappointment but had sent him anyway.

“The title of the city was somewhat misleading. Not worth the blisters on my tired feet,” Merlin replied. “I did find time to stop at the Deep Fat Friar before my return. I was told it was the local favorite.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Arthur remarked with a smirk as his eyes followed the meandering trail of dark stains across his newly swept floor. “Hopefully you were able to come away from the experience with more than just a carryout bag.”

“I did actually,” said Merlin eagerly. “At the restaurant, whilst eating my meal, I overheard the man at the table next to me inquire on directions to Camelot. Of course, none of the other patrons knew the way or could point him in the right direction. Then inspiration struck me like an iron skillet to the back of the head—I would solve the conundrum myself!” He made a grand gesture, splattering grease every which way. “So, using the only materials available to me, I created this!” Merlin set aside his staff and carryout bag to produce a rolled up parchment from his satchel. He presented it to Arthur, who took it with much hesitation.

Slowly, he unrolled it. At once his eyes were affronted by hand-drawn illustrations of snakes, cows, and what appeared to be an eight-armed sea monster named Steve. All of these things were difficult to make out around the soiled spots, but it appeared as though Merlin had incorporated them into the drawing with the appropriate labels. A large coffee ring in the upper right corner of the page became a sunspot, and a streak of meat sauce was transformed into a murky rainbow. One spot of grease near the bottom of the page caught Arthur’s attention. The shape reminded him of a squirrel. He leaned down to inspect the stain more closely, and sure enough, Merlin had scribbled on the eyes, nose, whiskers, and tail.

Where did you get this parchment?” Arthur finally asked, a little uneasy.

“The waitresses laid them out at each table setting.”

“I see,” said Arthur absentmindedly. “But what is it?”

Merlin chuckled. “It’s a map, or ‘placemap’ according to the waitresses.”

Arthur looked more closely at it. All he could decipher were a few animals, the location of the first Deep Fat Friar, and the words “my favorite spot in the world” scribbled beside a large red dot. “A map to what?”

“A map to Camelot.”

Arthur shook his head.

“Allow me,” said Merlin as he stepped up onto the dais directly left of where Arthur sat. Leaning over the arm of the throne, he planted one gnarled finger near the center of the map and led Arthur’s eyes to a large circle. To the side of the circle, he had made a note. Arthur read it aloud, “Camelot: somewhere and nowhere in particular.”

“The trouble with trying to map a legendary kingdom is that it is so elusive,” Merlin explained. “Not to mention, the task of creating a map in a busy diner proved to be more challenging than I had anticipated. First, there were the frequent interruptions of the waitresses asking me if I wanted more to drink or condiments, or what have you. It also didn’t help that dishes were constantly being placed upon and removed from the map. But worse! Worse was when the contents of the dishes sloshed over onto the map, muddling my work.”

“I see.” Arthur stared blankly at the map as he searched for the right words to say, finding it increasingly difficult. At last he rolled up the map and handed it back to Merlin, saying, “Well done.”

“Thank you, my king.” Merlin bowed and backed off the dais, tripping as he did so. Arthur tried again to hide his amusement behind his sleeve. There was no need for a court jester as long as he had this lunatic in his charge. Yet, he hired them anyway. After all, Merlin was not there to amuse him; he was there to provide council, and council he did—even when it was unwelcome.

Creak. Crack. Snap.

Both men turned just as one of the Round Table’s chairs collapsed into a pile of splinters on the cold stone floor.

Arthur narrowed his eyes. It was easy to dismiss a chair breaking beneath the weight of a full-grown man, but there was no excuse for one to collapse without provocation. This would only fuel Merlin’s argument to replace the table.

Sure enough, Merlin turned to face him, one eyebrow raised knowingly.

Arthur swallowed. “It seems there are ghosts among us, wouldn’t you say, Wizard Merlin?”

“I would say the table is on its last leg so to speak,” said Merlin, chuckling. Then he became deadly serious. “Your majesty, have pity on it. It begs to be made into firewood. That is how tables pass on, you see.”

And here it began. Arthur sighed and said, “How many times do I have to tell you, wizard? The table will not be replaced.”

“It is past its prime. Its glory days are over,” Merlin pressed. “It is time for a new table. It is time for change.”

Change. Arthur recoiled. He hated that word. Glowering at Merlin, he said, “I cannot simply change the table when it serves as the very symbol of chivalric code.”

“If that’s the problem, then maybe we need to get rid of the code.” Merlin met Arthur’s challenging gaze. For several minutes they stared at one another, neither man moving a muscle. Merlin, of course, could not remain still for long, and to Arthur’s annoyance, began pulling faces, all the while, never breaking eye contact. At last Merlin’s eyes began to stray, wandering in opposite directions until Arthur could no longer hold.

“The code stays, and the table stays,” said Arthur firmly.

“Yes, milord, of course.” Merlin lowered his head. When he lifted his gaze to meet Arthur’s, his eyes were bright with mischief. “Perhaps I might be able to make some repairs to the table so that it might last longer.”

“That sounds reasonable enough.” Arthur stroked his bearded chin then nodded his consent. “Very well, you have my permission.”

“Thank you, your majesty.” Merlin retrieved his staff and carryout bag. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some business to attend to in my laboratory.”

“Of course,” Arthur sighed with relief. “You are dismissed.”

“Your majesty.” Merlin bowed and turned away.

Was that a smile? He could not be sure. It was hard to tell with Merlin, which was why Arthur could never fully trust him.

When at last the wizard was out of sight, Arthur slumped in his throne and resumed his quiet contemplation of the table.

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Merlin was indeed smiling as he made his way out of the Great Hall, down the long, dark winding staircase to his private laboratory. Once inside, he took off the conical hat* and exchanged his traditional wizard garb for more sensible attire. Feeling more like a regular man, he took a seat at the large wooden desk in the center of the room, cleared some space, and opened his “spell book” to a blank page. There, by the dim and odorous light of burning rutabagas, he jotted down notes on Cornwall’s military, their armory, and their battle tactics, periodically pausing to take a bite of cold leftovers from his carryout bag.

 “Wall made of corn,” he scoffed. He still could not believe Arthur had fallen for that pitiful excuse. “What kind of a lunatic travels hundreds of miles to see a wall made of corn?”

Surrounding him, illuminated eerily in the feeble glow, were one hundred or more inventions on display: wings made from old broom handles and paper sacks, wizard hat sharpeners, and plague-away spray, to name a few. Discolored parchment covered in scrawls of inventions littered the floor, adding to the ambience. Of course, he had no intentions of ever building that ridiculous flying contraption, nor did he really believe the goat translator would work; these projects were only meant to create the illusion of insanity. Sometimes he wondered if the inventions were too ludicrous.

A devious smile spread across Merlin’s face as he glanced at the closet door in the back of the room. Behind that door was no mere closet, but a storage area where Merlin kept his actual inventions: weapons to be tried on the training yard. He thought of his newest invention, an arrow-launching device he had yet to name. Surely, a certain knight wouldn’t mind testing it for him.

Finishing his notes, he set the pen back into the inkwell and left the book open to dry. He wasn’t worried about anyone seeing it. The notes were all written in code. To the untrained eye, it appeared to be the ingredients for a magical spell, but to Merlin, it was the recipe for change.

“Change,” he spoke the word aloud now that Arthur was not present, a small act of defiance that left a pleasant aftertaste on his tongue. “Such a tiny word to invoke so much fear in a king.” He would never say this to Arthur, of course, but inwardly he knew the king was holding onto that worn table for fear of change. That same fear kept alive every outdated tradition, including the chivalric order. Merlin snorted. That table was no more capable of supporting a feast than the knights were of defending the kingdom if ever it fell under attack.*

As Arthur’s advisor,* he had tried to convince the young king to adopt the technologies and advancements being made in other kingdoms, but his ideas were always rejected. Fed up, he tossed aside his council robes in exchange for ones with little moons and stars on them, taking on the guise of Wizard Merlin. Only then was he able to get things done. Whereas Steve couldn’t even convince Arthur to change the tapestries in the Great Hall, Merlin had completed all of the preparations necessary to amass an army worthy of Camelot, his largest project to date.

Leaning back in his chair, Merlin folded his hands behind his neck and went through his mental checklist. Uniforms, check; weapons, check; potential recruits, check. The only item not taken care of was, well, the knights.

Merlin frowned. He couldn’t build a new army with the old one still standing, now could he? Certainly, the knights would oppose it. Merlin couldn’t imagine them just standing idly by while he threatened their job security. He would have to get rid of them. But how?

He could always go the traditional route—let loose a white stag in the Great Hall and insist they pursue it. But usually, only a handful of the knights chased after the wild game. Sir Bedivere, for one, did not eat meat, and Sir Kay was always complaining about having a bad back. No, he needed all of them to leave at the same time. A beautiful maiden in distress was certainly more enticing, and hiring a girl to belt out a sob story wouldn’t cost much.* But maybe only one or two knights would answer her call. He needed a bigger, grander reason to get them beyond that wall and miles away. Amassing an army could take weeks, even months. It was going to have to be important.

In the bottom drawer of the desk was a bottle of mead. Merlin took it out and poured himself a cup. Sometimes, when he had trouble getting in touch with his inner lunatic, he would turn to the bottle, and sure enough, he’d know what to do.

Halfway through the bottle, it came to him. Send them on a quest, the mead told him—after an important object, perhaps something holy. Merlin searched his mental catalog for holy items in need of searching: spears, swords, chalices—they all passed through his mind. But they were too easy to replicate. A sword could be purchased from anywhere, taken to a smithy, and made holy; the same with a spear. What he needed was an item more elusive, more difficult to come across.

He stared at the goblet in his hand. The cut was rough and misshapen. If only he knew a good grail maker. He smiled. The Holy Grail.

“A quest for the Holy Grail,” Merlin gasped. That was just the sort of thing to get all of the knights out of Camelot. Then he thought of the knight who tested his weapons. It didn’t seem right sending him on the same quest as the others; after all, he was the only one brave enough to test his inventions, some of which could be rather dangerous.* But he would still need to be tested . . . he would need his own quest. Surely, with a little more mead, he could think up another holy item, one worthy of a quest. He drained the goblet while brainstorming everything from holy kettles to sacred coat racks. At last the mead provided the answer.

He refilled his goblet and raised it to a portrait of Arthur that hung opposite his desk. The portrait was covered in holes; so many, in fact, one could barely recognize the king’s face. When questioned on the condition of the portrait, he just shrugged, blaming it on the moths.

“To progress.” He offered a toast to the dart-laden king before draining his cup. He licked his lips. “And to a never-ending supply of mead.”

Footnotes:

* Everyone knew the dominant crop was wheat.

* The beard was attached.

* Even from herring-wielding fishwives.

* At the time, he went by Steve.

* Six pence, tops. Seven for tears.

* The self-propelled rotating duel blade had nearly taken off the knight’s head.


The_Quest_eBook_coverHope you enjoyed it. If you’re interesting in reading the rest of the story, it can can purchased on Amazon in both paperback and e-formats.

For those of you who would like to know more about the contest, please follow the link to Bridget Whelan’s blog. You can enter the contest by clicking “Submit” at the bottom of page.

Happy Hump Day, everyone!

The Search for the Ultimate Cache Scavenger Hunt: Item #4

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Hello everyone, and welcome to the fourth and final week of the Ultimate Cache Scavenger Hunt! This is it, so, grab your coconuts. Round up your gang. It’s time to finish the search for the Ultimate Cache!

For a refresher on rules and prizes click here.

Time for item #4–or rather, question #4:

Name all four members of the League of Comedy Fantasists!

Knight Peice

Need a hint?

Need a hint? There’s a blog posts designated to their introduction . . . but you can find the information somewhere else on the blog, too;)

Remember, the information containing the answer will be marked with a black knight piece just like the image to the right.

The clue will stay up until noon, but remember, only the first 5 participants who turn in their answers will receive a prize. But all other participants who turn in their answers before or at noon will be entered for a drawing to win a signed copy of my debut novel. So, don’t give up! Finish the quest!

Wondering what the chess piece is all about? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

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Available now!

You can order the Kindle edition today at Amazon. ($2.99 for Kindle edition and free to Kindle Unlimited members).

Don’t prefer eBooks? That’s cool. You can order a paperback copy at 5% discount only on Amazon. (Lowest price at $11.37).

Want the book for free? Be one of the first 5 participants to complete the scavenger hunt! Winners earn Amazon gift cards and/or free copies of my book!

Happy hunting! And may the odds be ever in your favor!

The Search for the Ultimate Cache Scavenger Hunt: Item #2

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Hello everyone, and welcome back to the 75th Annual Hunger Games–woops, not again! I mean, welcome back to the second week of the Ultimate Cache Scavenger Hunt! Whoo hoo! So, grab your coconuts. Round up your gang. It’s time to continue the search for the Ultimate Cache!

For a refresher on rules and prizes click here.

Time for item #2–or rather, question #2:

If I could cast anyone to play my favorite character, Sir Kay, who would it be?

Knight Peice

Need a hint?

Need a hint? The actor wouldn’t take the role because Sir Kay doesn’t die.

Remember, the information containing the answer will be marked with a black knight piece just like the image to the right.

Please keep in mind I’m only hiding one clue per week, which gives you approximately seven days to find it and answer the question. But even after the piece is removed, you could still find the answer on your own. It just won’t be as easy without the hint.

Wondering what the chess piece is all about? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

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Join the quest today!

You can preorder the Kindle edition today at Amazon. The book will be available to read on January 30th. ($2.99 for Kindle edition and free to Kindle Unlimited members).

Can’t wait for the release? Don’t prefer eBooks? That’s cool. You can order a paperback copy at 5% discount only on Amazon. (Lowest price at $11.37).

Want the book for free? Be one of the first 5 participants to complete the scavenger hunt! Winners earn Amazon gift cards and/or free copies of my book!

Happy hunting! And may the odds be ever in your favor!