Friday, September 30, 2022

Sweet Vendetta Blues Release Tour: Author & Character Mini-Interviews


Hello, everyone! As promised, today I'm joining up with the Sweet Vendetta Blues release tour! Sweet Vendetta Blues is the latest release from Hazel West, and it's set in the same world as The New Emperor's Concerto, which I haven't read but intend to sometime. (Concerto has a hardcover edition preorder going on right now, by the way; details here.) I reviewed this book last week, and for this week's post, I have two mini-interviews: one with the author and one with the book's two leads, adoptive brothers Jack and Sebastian. But first, let me share a bit about the book and author.

About . . .

Sweet Vendetta Blues

It’s been eight years since Jack left his life in the mafia. Eight years since his adopted father was murdered. Eight years since his own brother shot him in revenge and he had to go into hiding, nothing but a dead man.

When the past comes back to haunt him in the worst way possible, Jack is forced to leave his new life as a homicide detective to flee his faceless enemy, leaving a dead partner in his wake. But the bodies keep piling up and Jack can no longer avoid his past when he finds out that all of the deaths turn out to be connected to one person—The Don of Rosa Nera.

Things get even more complicated when his brother shows up out of the blue, leading his own investigation with information that their adopted father, Paccioretti, had gathered before his death. Despite their turbulent past, Jack and Sebastian decide it’s in their best interests to join forces and fight against the enemy who took so much away from them.

Set in the same world as The New Emperor’s Concerto this new novel by Hazel B. West contains the overarching theme of family woven throughout a noir adventure with a cross-country road trip for information and justice. 

Buy the book: Kindle || Smashwords || Paperback || Hardcover (preorder) || Prequel Backstories || Add on Goodreads




Hazel West

Hazel is an indie author, book wyrm, and coffee connoisseur. She typically enjoys writing books with an unconventional flair, maybe with a bit of mythology or literary symbolism, most definitely with a lot of siblings or found family in them. When she’s not writing, she manages an Etsy shop, drinks a lot of coffee, listens to music, or just holes up like an eldritch horror and binges favorite shows and manga. If you meet this rare creature on the street, she has been known to respond to the offer of coffee and old bookstores.

Find her online: Website || Ko-Fi || Instagram || Twitter || Goodreads

And now, what we've all been waiting for . . . the interviews!


Interview With Hazel West

Welcome to the blog, Hazel! First of all, how did you get the idea for Sweet Vendetta Blues, and how (if at all) is the final product different from the original idea?

So, the original idea was kind of a branch off of Concerto (the companion novel to this one) and Jack and Sebastian are actually more like my original concepts for Lysander and Flynn, who were originally supposed to have had a darker past instead of just being on opposite sides of a conflict. I still wanted to write that sort of relationship, though, so when I was originally coming up with the idea for SVB I just decided, what if I add family drama into it? I think for the most part a lot of the original storyline stayed intact; it just branched out and became more cohesive. (And then there was a major twist at the end that I didn’t actually know until I got to that point in the story.) I actually go into depth about my writing process in today’s tour guest post as well if anyone wants the full story!

Oh, cool! I'll definitely have to check that guest post out. Now, Sweet Vendetta Blues involves some dark topics and problems that are all too present in the real world. How did you approach researching and writing these in such a way as to balance honesty and sensitivity (and without becoming depressed)?

For me, writing this kind of story is actually therapeutic; I think it was more born as a way to deal with the kind of depression researching these subjects can cause instead of being the purveyor of it. There’s something refreshing about having characters who are morally grey enough to take out the seriously bad people in a way that’s actually satisfying. As far as portraying these topics, I’ve always been a big fan of letting the reader read between the lines. The lack of graphic detail is actually a lot more telling. I think a good example of this is how the issues faced during the WWII era are portrayed in books like The Book Thief and Between Shades of Gray. I think it’s stupid not to acknowledge that bad things happen even in fiction. After all, that’s how you create characters. But you also don’t have to shove it in a reader’s face either. A subtle touch, what you don’t say, often has a lot more impact when crafting a story.

I would definitely agree with that last statement. Now, let's lighten the mood a little . . . Would you rather spend a day with Jack or Sebastian? (Bonus: what would you want to do in that day?)

I mean, no offense to Jack, but I think Sebastian would be more fun (laughs). I would love for him to take me around all his favorite restaurants and gelato stands in New York or even to see a concert. Maybe there’s a My Chemical Romance tribute band in 2228? I’d also like to give him a hug, though I don’t know if he would accept it after all I’ve put him through.

Yeah, characters do tend to be suspicious of the authors who make their lives so difficult. Last question! What projects are you currently working on? What can we look forward to next from you?

I’m not really at the point where I want to give too much detail on my next project, but it will be a standalone action/adventure and for a hint, it’s like Winter Soldier + Spy x Family + Trigun.

Sounds exciting! I look forward to hearing more about it. Thanks for taking the time to share.




Interview with Jack and Sebastian

Welcome to the blog, Jack and Sebastian. To start out, what does normal look like for you right now, and how is that different from what you expected it to look like ten years ago?

Sebastian: (looks at Jack) You want to go first?

Jack: (sighs) Well, I don’t know how you really define normal when the brother who accepted a hit on you from your former boss is now working with you to take down said boss.

Sebastian: It does get a little complicated.

Jack: That’s one way to put it.

Sebastian: (whispers) I’m sorry.

Jack: (rolls eyes) 

Sebastian: As for how I expected my life to go? Um, yeah, definitely not this. 

Jack: I’ve already had three career changes before I was 25, so nothing has obviously gone to plan there.

Oof. Sounds . . . stressful, to say the least. Next question: what is your favorite memory of your brother?

Jack: (folds arms) Well, definitely not when he shot me—

Sebastian: (covers Jack’s mouth) You don’t have to keep bringing that up, you know.

Jack: Fine then. I’m pretty fond of the memory of when I used to tow you on my e-bike in Central Park while you were on rollerblades. And you would always wipe out.

Sebastian: Okay, not bad. That was actually a lot of fun. 

Jack: So what’s yours then?

Sebastian: How bad a liar you were when you tried to cover for Luca after he ate my ice cream.

Jack: How do you—

Sebastian: Oh, please, the only reason I didn’t make a fuss was because I had broken Luca’s favorite mug right before then and neither of us mentioned anything about the disappearance of either item.

Jack: (snorting) Leave it to you to actually win in that situation. 

Ha! Last question: if you could say one thing to one person in your past, what would you say, and who would you say it to?

Sebastian: (takes a deep breath) I…would actually like to tell my younger self that it would actually get better. There were a lot of times that…would have really helped.

Jack: (nods) There are…a lot of people I would like to say things to. But I think that if I could go back now, I would just like to tell Paccioretti that I’m grateful for everything he did for us.

Sebastian: (nods) Yeah, agreed.

Jack: (turns to Sebastian) There’s actually something I’d like to say to you now.

Sebastian: Yeah?

Jack: (sighs heavily) …It was actually me who ate your ice cream.

Sebastian: I hate you.

Well, that was very touching and then it was very . . . brotherly? Thank you both for answering my questions!

I hope you all enjoyed those interviews as much as I did! Now, we just have one more thing to cover before we go . . . the free stuff!


Swag & Giveaways


Hazel is offering some fun preorder swag, as shown in the graphic above! Any purchase of the book qualifies for swag, but if you order in ebook or paperback form, you'll need to claim your gift by filling out the form here. In addition, if you preorder the hardcover, Hazel will be signing those live on Instagram and answering some questions at the same time — keep an eye on Hazel's socials for more details.

And as one more bonus for those of us on Instagram, @onemorechap on IG is currently hosting a giveaway for an ebook copy of Sweet Vendetta Blues. Make sure you go check that out if you think you might be interested!

Well, that's all for me. Make sure you check out the rest of the tour stops (there's a full list here), order the book, request your swag, and enter the giveaway. And before you leave, let me know in comments what you think of Jack and Sebastian and whether or not you're excited for this release.
Thanks for reading!


Friday, September 23, 2022

Thoughts on Sweet Vendetta Blues

Hey'a, all! Hopefully y'all have been keeping up with the Silmaril Award ceremonies this week — we've had some great ones. And hopefully y'all also caught yesterday's very exciting announcement. (If not, make sure you go back and check it out!) Today's post, however, has nothing to do with either of these things. Instead, we're joining the release festivities for Hazel West's new future-noir thriller, Sweet Vendetta Blues. While the official release party isn't until next week, I'm getting in a little early so I can post a review before the Silmaril Awards Ceremony next week (though I will have a post during the official tour on Dreams and Dragons). So, without further ado, let's get on with the Thoughts!

Thoughts on Sweet Vendetta Blues

  1. This is a story about brotherhood. And family in general, particularly found family. But the relationship between Jack and Sebastian is really the cornerstone of this book. Their bond is fractured by time, grief, mistrust . . . and, you know, a  murder attempt . . . but even with all that, they're still brothers, and I enjoyed watching them work to mend things between them.
  2. This story tackles some pretty dark topics, but it does it well. And by dark topics, I mean: this book involves the main characters trying to take down a human trafficking network, and occasionally people get rather brutally murdered over it. In addition, both brothers carry scars from their past and have ended up in some dark places because of it — namely, there's a struggle with alcohol addiction and reference to an attempted suicide. As I said, the author handles the topics well, with the gravity they need, and she keeps most anything that would be scarring off the page, but it is a presence in the book that you can't miss.
  3. It's technically future-fiction, but it's more five-minutes-in-the-future than proper sci-fi. I'll be honest, I kind of missed the fact that this is technically set two-hundred-odd years in the future until I got to Chapter 1 and was hit with "2227" and a prosthetic arm that's more robotic than not. (On a side note: the main POV character, Jack, lost his arm in the past, and although this world's prosthetics are a lot more advanced than our world's, Jack having to deal with that — with the pain, with the fact that it can break and need fixed, and so on — added some interesting tension.) But it was interesting to visit a world that's fairly recognizable, while still shifted significantly from the familiar.
  4. It's an odd mix of road trip and thriller. Jack and Sebastian spend most of the book traveling cross-country, tracking down one lead after another and periodically getting attacked by the goons of the man whose identity they're trying to find. So while there are aspects very in line with something noir or thriller, it's not purely that, and I found that interesting.
  5. I do think that the writing style could be more polished. I did get an early ARC, so take that comment with a grain of salt, but . . . I've read some of this author's previous books, and I suspect the final version wasn't all that different from what I read. It wasn't difficult to read, but I do think that some extra work on the voice could've elevated this book from good to great.

Does Sweet Vendetta Blues sound like the kind of book you'd enjoy? If so, make sure to preorder it on Amazon (for ebook) or from the author (for hardcover), and keep an eye out next week for the release celebrations. And, of course, let me know in the comments whether or not you're excited for this new read.
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Through a Shattered Glass COVER REVEAL + Preorder Info!

Hello hello hello! I've been working on Through a Shattered Glass on and off for a bit, and now I have some exciting news! Which you can probably guess from the title, but in case you're the kind of person who skims past the title and just clicks the post: Through a Shattered Glass has a cover! And a release date! And, in a surprise to no one at all, it's going to be released as part of the Broken Mirrors Arista Challenge Group.

So, who's ready to see the shiny?


Drop the mirror and you break the world in two.

Alys hasn’t set foot in Wonderland in years. Not since the White Queen’s mirror shattered; not since her best friend, Kai Hatter, was killed; not since Alys fled back to her own world with a shard of enchanted mirror in her eye. She’s done her best to set aside the past and move on — until a red-painted rose appears in her room, and the portal opens once more.

Simultaneously desperate for hope and terrified of what she might find — or cause — Alys ventures back through the mirror. But the Wonderland she finds is not the same one she left behind, and though Kai is less dead than she thought, he still might be past saving. To make matters worse, the mirror shard is still in Alys’s eye, and Wonderland is all too susceptible to its corrupting power.

Only Alys can save the land and friend she loves — but if she’s not careful, she might be their doom instead.

A dark portal fantasy remix of The Snow Queen and Lewis Carroll’s Alice duology.

Releasing December 23, 2022

Preorder on Amazon || Add to your Goodreads shelf


Yes, you did read that correctly — this will be my second book released this year. And yes, it is coming out just two days before Christmas, which means I will be extra busy this holiday season. It's fine. (And yes, this means it may or may not arrive in time for Christmas gifts . . . but if it's a little late, it's fine. It spreads out the cheer, y'know?)

As I mentioned, Through a Shattered Glass is releasing alongside the rest of the Broken Mirrors collection, a group of six Snow Queen retellings, which I strongly encourage you to check out! They all sound SO GOOD. You can learn more about them by reviewing the escapades from last night's Facebook party, but I also have some links here.

Snowfield Palace (The Austen Fairy Tale Book 4)
by Kendra E. Ardnek

A young girl struggles to find her place among her betters, only to have visitors send her world spinning.

Preorder on Amazon || Add to your Goodreads shelf || Discover the Series

The White Queen's Spell (Sequel to The Dark King's Curse)
by Wyn Estelle Owens

Danger abounds when curses combine, and now it's Ailsa's turn to be saved.

Preorder on Amazon || Add to your Goodreads shelf || Check Out Book 1

Shattered Reflection (The Shattered Lands Book 1)
by Madisyn Carlin

When her brother is taken, Layree must form an uneasy alliance with an old enemy to save him.

Preorder on Amazon || Add to your Goodreads shelf

Of Ice and Roses (A Flamesend Novel)
by Heather M. Elliott

As dangers mount, what is Gemma willing to sacrifice for the fate of two kingdoms?

Preorder on Amazon || Add to your Goodreads shelf

Christmas Games
by Erudessa Gentian

Beware the harmless Christmas Gift.

Preorder the ebook || Preorder in paperback || Add to your Goodreads shelf


Sound intriguing? I think so. Also, for the next week or so, you can preorder all of these in ebook form for just $0.99 each! So if any of these sound up your alley, make sure you get in soon to take advantage of this deal!

Also, if you're as excited about this reveal as I am, you're invited to help spread the word! We've put together a reveal packet with information about all six books. Feel free to share about any or all of them on your socials or blogs.

As a bonus, if you either preorder all six books OR share all six covers, you'll receive a special PDF with a sneak peek of the first chapters of each book. And if you both preorder and share, you'll also receive one of several free ebooks from the Broken Mirrors authors. Full details are available here. And if you want to request an ARC or get in on the release festivities in December, keep an eye on the main release page.

So, what do you think of the cover? How excited are you about Through a Shattered Glass? Which Broken Mirrors retelling are you most excited for? (I hope it's mine . . . but I won't be offended if it's not.) Please tell me in the comments!

Friday, September 2, 2022

August 2022 Doings!

Oof. Not going to lie; August has been a bit of a rough month. Not entirely bad, to be sure, but also far from ideal. Given that July was a high in a lot of ways, that's not entirely surprising — problems always hit harder when you're coming off something really fun and exciting — and I'm hopeful that September will swing back to a calm and cheerful equilibrium. Hopefully. It may just end up being more crazy. But before we get to that, let's take a look back at August.


  • This month was a little discouraging on the writing front. If you've been following my weekly goal posts on Facebook and Instagram or if you read my Taleweaver's Desk post a couple weeks ago, you know why: I ended up scrapping most of what I'd written and going back to scratch with an adjusted outline and a mostly-new draft. There were a few chapters that I could mostly salvage, but . . . not many. I think the new version is going to be better, but it's still frustrating. I'm currently working on the new Chapter 6, which is behind where I wanted to be, but . . . it is what it is.
  • Edits on Through a Shattered Glass are also stalled because feedback from one person kept getting pushed back . . . I know she's super busy with her own writing, and the story is pretty strong already, so I'm not upset, nor am I super worried? But I would also like to get back to this so I'm not rushing at release time. (Also, I can't finish the cover design or work on formatting until I have at least one more round of edits done, and I want to work on those things!)
  • On the upside, D&D writing is coming along reasonably well. Not quickly, by any means, but still well enough that I'm counting it as a win. And my group says they're enjoying it, even if it is more or less glorified communal fanfiction.


  • This month actually started really well on the reading front, as I devoured the rest of H.L. Burke's Supervillain Rehabilitation Project (excellent, particularly the last two), her Supervillain Romance Project duology (also delightful), and the first Supervillain Rescue Project book (every bit as good as the rest). I absolutely love these books, and I can't believe it took me so long to read them! I would say that Refined, Reunited, On the Run with a Supervillain, and Power On are my favorites, but they're all quite excellent.
  • A couple other highlights of the month: Grave Peril and my Secrets of the Mountain reread. Grave Peril is the third Dresden Files book, and while I wasn't thrilled about a lot of the content (even more so than usual), I was pleased to meet Michael — I've heard quite a few people speak highly of him as a character, and he definitely lived up to what I've heard. And, of course, I love Secrets of the Mountain, and it was doubly fun because I know quite a few secrets behind the story now and because I got to read it in hard copy instead of on a computer.
  • Then we got to about midway through the month, and I got distracted by a new book called How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler by Ryan North. The conceit is that it's a guide from an alternative future for stranded time travelers who get stuck in the distant past and need a shortcut to recreating a version of modern life; the actual content is a breakdown of different physical and cultural inventions and some degree of how they work and what goes into them. It's not exhaustive, but even with what it does cover . . . well, some of the chapters are fine, but there's one chapter that took me about half a week to get through because it's so. long. And while the voice is fun, and the author does a good job of not getting too technical, it still dragged a bit. I haven't finished yet, so we'll see what my final verdict is.


  • I didn't get to watch a lot this month, partially due to being busy and partially for other reasons.
  • I did get to introduce my sister to Firefly, though, so that was exciting! Unfortunately, we only had time for the pilot, but she seemed interested in watching more at a later date.
  • I also watched a couple episodes of The Librarians because . . . mostly because I wanted a change of pace, I guess? And because I didn't feel like watching something on a tablet/mobile device, and my other more active shows are limited in what devices I can easily watch them on.


  • Why have I spent so much of this month tired? July made sense — I was running around like mad getting ready for Realm Makers and then being at Realm Makers. But this month . . . I don't know.
  • The month had a very exciting start when, on the very first day of August, my car started vibrating and shaking on my way to work. I pulled off, Googled things, and did a visual inspection of the wheels in case I had a flat, but because I was still pretty close, I decided to take the car home and have my sister drive instead . . . which was very much the right decision, because when I turned the car back on, it was shaking worse than before, and I had to floor the gas pedal to get above 10 or 15 miles an hour. So, you know, that's mildly problematic. Thankfully, it kept going until we could get home and quickly leave again, and some very helpful neighbors offered advice on what was probably wrong and where to go to get it fixed. It turned out to just be an issue with the spark plugs, and I'm grateful that it wasn't worse, but it was still . . . you know. Scary and stressful. (And then I had tire trouble at the end of the month . . . yeah.)
  • The rest of the month hasn't had anything quite so stressful, but it's still been a bit not-ideal, as I spent two weeks dealing with some fairly significant ear pain — not debilitating, but I couldn't use earbuds and couldn't sleep on one side, and it eventually got bad enough that I went to the doctor over it. As with the car, the problem ended up not being a serious one — just painful and unpleasant in the moment — but it did not make for a great month.
  • On the upside, I finally did something I've been wanting to do for a couple years now: upgrade from a desktop to a laptop! I've been struggling with my laptop for the last couple years due to the low amount of storage space — constantly having to pare down programs and files in order to get Photoshop to work or to upgrade things, keeping ninety percent of my files on an external drive (which meant my laptop was no longer particularly mobile), and trying to figure out why two-fifths of my drive was being taken up by OneDrive stuff that I knew I'd deleted. I knew that the easiest way to resolve the issue would just be to go up to a desktop, but didn't find one within my price range until this year's back-to-school sales. As a bonus, once I had everything transferred over to the new computer, I could start over with my laptop from scratch and get rid of the OneDrive error! So now I can actually use my laptop as a laptop without constantly running out of storage space and having to decide if I want to be able to write, work on graphics stuff, or play games (because there wasn't space for all three).
  • What else . . . my sister left to go back to college midway through the month. I miss having her around, but she seems to be having a good start to her semester.
  • At work, I had a couple very light weeks, and then everything got thrown into overdrive this week and last week. We're gearing up for several big events in September and October and trying to update various graphics, systems, and whatnot around the church, so . . . yeah. It's been a bit stressful. We did have an indoor picnic midway through the month, though, so that was fun.
  • We also went to visit my grandpa towards the beginning of the month, and it was nice to get to see him again. It wasn't an especially eventful visit, but it was enjoyable. (Also, we were celebrating his birthday, so my mom made Almond Joy cake, which was delicious.)
  • Oh, and I finally finished a crafting project I've been working on most of the summer! Not the scarf I've been working on for a couple years, but still a win.

September Plans

  • Please, let September be quiet.
  • Oh! But not too quiet, because September is the Silmaril Awards! The nomination posts go up Monday, and I am SUPER excited. I get to host one of my favorite categories this year; it's going to be fabulous. I also have a bunch of characters I'm excited to nominate in other categories.
  • I need to make progress on Bastian Dennel, PI #4, but I also need to get at least one round of Through a Shattered Glass edits done, possibly two. And I need to get a preorder up.
  • On a completely unrelated note, the cover reveal for the Arista Challenge Broken Mirrors collection is coming up on September 14! I hear there's a pretty shiny lineup of releases, so that's going to be exciting. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on that.
  • I'll also be doing some traveling this month to attend a friend's wedding. I'm looking forward to celebrating with her and seeing my friend group in person again — plus, I'll probably get to visit my sister at her college during the same trip. (I may also try to hit a Ren Faire and/or one of my favorite non-VA coffee shops during said trip. We'll see how things work out.)
  • I would really like to finish the scarf that I've been working on for ages this month. I don't know how successful I'll be, but . . . I'd like to get all my projects finished before I start anything new. (And I really want to start another embroidery project, but I can't decide what design I want to make — do I want to do something related to a favorite book? Something around song lyrics that I really like? Just something cute and neutral?)
  • And, at work, the busy schedule will continue as those big events I've mentioned draw ever closer . . . oh well. At least this is a long weekend, so I can get a little bit of rest.

How was your August? Any exciting plans for September? Are you excited for the Silmaril Awards (and have you started thinking about who you're going to nominate)? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!