Copen Lights It Up Again!

I’ve become an E. A. Copen Fan. If she writes it, I’m reading it! You may have caught my first review of her first book, Guilty By Association. If you haven’t, I provided a convenient link for you to check it out. Guilty By Association is the first Judah Black book. Book number four, Playing With Fire, has just gone live, so I’m now allowed to release my review of this book. The title of this post should make it clear that I love this book! This review has minor spoilers, but you still have to read it for the important part of the story!

Judah Black is back and you’ll want to get it soon! In the 4th installment of the Judah Black series, Playing with Fire, Judah’s called to the scene of a fire, and runs into a startling situation as she sees two friends, Gideon Reed and Ed, fighting to the death. When she arrives, one of the friends turns on her and the fun begins. As the fight continues, Sal, Judah’s werewolf boyfriend and mentor to her werewolf son, jumps into the fray and is severely injured by the blade swung by Reed. Ed was singed by the fire thrown by Reed. In the confusion after Sal’s injury, the sword slinger and fire flinger escapes.

As the investigation begins, Judah is pitted against a group called the “Tribulation Adventists” – a so-called Christian fundamentalist organization and Reed is in cahoots with them. The problem this group poses becomes personal for Ed as he reveals that Mara has come under the sway of this group which ostensibly seeks to include supernaturals in the ranks of Christianity. We meet Espinoza who is part of the Concho County task force for Supernaturals, a group created by the sheriff to help Judah. As the investigation continues, Judah discovers treachery at high levels of government and, in the process, we learn a bit about how she got transferred to Paint Rock, Texas.

While Sal lies wounded in the hospital, we realize that the sword that Reed struck him with is enchanted, and becomes a part of the struggle for power between Judah and another old nemesis. She learns a startling secret about this sword and why it’s become the centerpiece of this battle. Meanwhile, because Sal is dealing with his enchanted wounds, we see Ed transforming into a major player who’s beginning to come of age in this story. I really enjoyed the development of his character in this book.

This is the most intense Judah Black story so far, and you won’t be disappointed. Important people die in this story – I won’t tell you who. You’ll have to read the book to find out. While Copen doesn’t go on a killing spree of Gearge R.R. Martin proportions, I teared up as old “friends” died. Magick flows throughout the book, sometimes from those whom you’d least expect to show it. And, in a horrifying turn of events, extreme measures are taken to save the life of one of the characters. This book was well worth waiting for. I recommend it highly.

While there are a few spoilers in this review, I’ve tried to avoid major spoilers. I wish I could say more about what happens! There are two personal issues I need to point out: 1) I’m one of the few readers who has actually lived in Paint Rock. I’m predisposed to like these stories. The Paint Rock of the book is different from the Paint Rock I lived in – but that makes sense given the whole back story and situation. 2) I’m always leery when people start bringing in “Christian fundamentalist” organizations as the bad guy. Followers of Christ are “my people” and as the Tribulation Adventists were introduced, all sorts of warning bells rang in my head. Copen deals with the issues in a very respectful manner as she unveils the true dynamics of this group. My personal commentary on this is that it’s easy for any manipulative group to claim to be a “Christian” group by taking a few verses of things Jesus said out of context and using them to control others. Copen revealed the manipulation in a way that shows this group isn’t really a Christian group. (I guess that’s a bit of a spoiler, but I did it anyway.)

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It’s Coming! Time to Get Fired Up!!!

Almost a year ago, someone pointed me to a series of books starring a hard-nosed, female, supernatural investigator by the name of Judah Black. Her job is to investigate crimes committed by or against supernatural beings: werewolves, zombies, vampires, fairies, etc. I had read the beginning of another series in the Urban Fantasy genre, more on that in a couple of weeks, so I was more open to the books than I might have been before.

I fell in love with the books almost immediately! I love seeing a strong female lead portrayed so effectively. Of course, before I saw how well E. A. Copen wrote the story of Judah Black, I was drawn to the setting: Paint Rock, Texas. “Where is Paint Rock?” you might ask. My standard answer is “Go to the middle of nowhere and take a left.” I know that because I used to live I Paint Rock when I was pastor of First Baptist Church there. For a small town, it’s a great place. The people are wonderful. Copen doesn’t deal with the people who live there, because of the nature of her books, but she does an amazing job of showing the physical attributes of the area and I have enjoyed reading about my old stomping grounds.

I’m bringing this up now because….insert drumroll here….Judah Black #4 is being released on October 31! This book is called “Playing with Fire” and I can tell you that Copen does an amazing job of continuing the story. I’m excited that this is coming out now! I’ve had the privilege of reading an Advanced Reader Copy, ARC, and I told my wife that she‘ll want to buy it the instant it comes out! (I don’t let her read ARCs when I get them, but she’s chomping at the bit to read this book.) I will be posting my review on the 31st.  If you haven’t read any of E. A. Copen’s books, let me suggest you check out the Judah Black series. You can find her Amazon page at E. A. Copen. You’ll notice a couple other books outside of the series. The Fairchild Chronicles is good, but, to be honest, her later work is much better. “Beasts of Babylon” shows how much she’s grown as a writer in a very short time. That’s an awesome book and introduced me to Western Horror – a genre that combine two genres I didn’t like before.

If you’ve read her books before and you just want a shot at “Playing with Fire,” the pre-order link is here. If you pre-order the Kindle version, it will be delivered as soon as possible so you don’t have to wait to read it. Order now….don’t get burned.

Every Little Bit Helps

There is a great way to support up and coming artists of all types: Patreon. With Patreon, you can choose artists that you like and support them by giving them as little as $1 per month. Artists offer different incentives for increasing levels of support, making you a part of an exclusive club. Let me put you at ease on one point: I am not asking for money through Patreon, so this post is meant for information only. Of course, I know many different people who have set up Patreon accounts for their work as an author. I want to highlight a couple. The link to their Patreon account will be connected to their names.

The first is E. A. Copen. She does a great job of crafting her stories and making you stay up way later than you planned when you start reading her work. She is best known for her Judah Black novels set in a small town in west Texas called Paint Rock. (And I love the stories not just because I’ve lived in Paint Rock!) She just released Beasts of Babylon which is different – a paranormal western horror story which I really enjoyed and she’s also got a new series called Broken Empire coming out soon. She’s an author that deserves any kind of support you can give.

The second is R.R. Virdi. He’s best known for his Grave Report Series (Grave Beginnings, Grave Measuresand the soon to be released Grave Dealings) and the first of the Books of Winter, Dangerous Ways. He has some other things coming out as well and the man’s creativity and talent are mind-blowing. He and Ms. Copen are friends. I found out about Ms. Copen through Mr. Virdi. Both of them are wonderful people and if you start supporting them, I have no doubt that one day, you will thank me.

Obviously, there are other authors and artists on Patreon. You may need to be on Patreon. Many of the artists of the middle ages had wealthy sponsors who allowed them the chance to paint. Your support can make you a digital age sponsor where, no one person can sponsor another completely, but working together, we can help support the arts.

Indie Author E. A. Copen

One of the independent authors I really like is E. A. Copen. Her main series is an Urban Fantasy  look at a world where Supernatural Beings are herded onto a reservation in West Texas. The Judah Black novels are a lot of fun. Ann Shannon had a great interview with Copen on her blog. Rather than trying to recreate the interview, I’m going to share a little bit of the beginning and then send you over to Ann’s blog. Get to know E. A. and look into her writings! (You even have a chance to win a free Kindle version of one of her books!)

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EA Copen is a time traveler who’s been writing since she was three. She exists, not only on our timeline, but also in Ancient Rome where she’s called Pompeia Furia.

Hi and welcome to the launch of the Indie Author BLT Spotlight. If you are here, you are helping to launch a brand new way to appreciate Indie Authors for all their hard work. I will be spotlighting a new author each month, they will always be Indie or small press authors, though my focus is on Indies. Each month you’ll get to know my featured author, how they came to be an author, how they approach their craft and many other exciting facts. You’ll also be eligible for a sweepstakes in which I’ll give away one or more of their books so you can sample their work! What could be more exciting than that?

Read all the way to the bottom to enter the Sweepstakes!

This month the sweepstakes winner will receive a Kindle version of Guilty by Association. Be sure your subscribed to take part in the sweepstakes and find out if you won!

EA Copen is a breakout Indie author of 2016.

She’s the author of four books with a fifth and sixth set for release later this year. In 2016 she published her first book on April 1, her second book on July 8 and her third on November 4. Let me reassure you, they are all powerhouses that will keep your eyes glued to the pages as you stay up long past your bedtime. I got a chance to chat with her for a bit and this is what I learned about her. Sit down, pour yourself a drink, wine if you want to join her in ancient Rome while you visit, and enjoy getting to know an Indie author that is well worth your time.

Head over to Ann’s blog to read the full story. 

Guilty by Association by E.A. Copen – Review

Guilty by Association by E.A. Copen – Review

“Welcome to Paint Rock” is asign that signals you’re entering a very small town in west Texas. How small is the town? The sign is painted on both sides. Ok, that’s a bad joke, but you get the idea. The people in Paint Rock are wonderful people, but it’s a small town. I used to tell people trying to find me when I lived there, “Drive out to the middle of nowhere, and take a left.” Imagine my surprise to begin reading Guilty by Association by E. A. Copen and finding out that the Judah Black novels are set in Paint Rock, Texas. (You had me at “Paint Rock,” E. A.)

Paint Rock is a different town from the one I knew and loved. As the truth came out that Vampires, Werewolves, and Fae lived among us, the government had to do something. Someone took a map, put their finger in the middle of nowhere, moved it left slightly, and decided that Paint Rock was the perfect town to use to isolate the Supernatural Beings. Each group re-formed the area of the town that they settled in to their liking. It would be easy to look upon the new Paint Rock and channel Obi Wan: “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.” Yet as Guilty by Association shows, evil is not caused by form. People who aren’t “supernatural” can look pretty bad too.

Paint Rock was the end of the line for BSI agents. (That’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigations.) And so we see Judah Black living there on assignment with her last chance. Doing normal things. Like laundry at the laundromat. And keeping knowledge of her son away from everyone.  Only that day, the laundromat was a crime scene that would lead Judah Black on a hunt for a vicious killer. A werewolf is splattered all over the laundromat and Judah has to begin the hunt while getting her boy ready for school, all in dirty clothes to boot. It was not going to be a good day.

While investigating the murder, Judah and Detective Tindall, her unwilling partner in the investigation uncover the disappearance of three children – one werewolf, one vampire, and one fae. The missing werewolf is the nephew of the murdered werewolf and suspicion begins to rest on him as the abductor. People soon learn that talking to Judah Black is dangerous to their health and it gets even harder for her to gain information. Her neighbor, a war veteran and a werewolf, steps in to help her during this time.

Things turn to the worst for Judah when her son is kidnapped as well. Death, destruction, and mayhem continue to follow Judah until the end of the book. By the time it’s complete, Judah has managed to make enemies with practically everyone in Paint Rock, and also in Eden – 22 miles to the south. Can she redeem herself by solving the murder and rescuing any of the children, including her own?

I have to admit that I might be prejudiced in favor of this book because of the setting. I have actually lived in Paint Rock, and while the overall building set up may have changed because of the circumstances of the story, I relived some good days I had there while reading. The story is gripping, E.A. Copen spins a tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat. She introduces you to a great idea in this book: if all these fantasy creatures really existed, how would we be able to live side by side in the world with them? I highly recommend this book and have enjoyed the next volumes in the series so far.

E.A. Copen is the author of the Judah Black novels and the forthcoming space opera, Broken Empire. She’s an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy and other genre fiction. When she’s not chained to her keyboard, she may be found time traveling on the weekends with her SCA friends. She lives in beautiful southeast Ohio with her husband and two kids, at least until she saves up enough to leave the shire and become a Jedi. (This last paragraph taken from her Amazon page)