Book Tour and Giveaway – Confronting the Demon by Ciara Ballantyne

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Today, a bit late, but better late than never (sorry Ciara and Kriss for being late), I host the tour and Giveaway for 
Confronting the Demon by Ciara Ballantyne
A book I’ve read and reviewed. You can find the review here.
But I also jumped to the opportunity to interview the author. 🙂 Below you can read how that turned out.
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Hi Ciara, Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. I know you must be very busy right now with the tour and stuff so I won’t waste any time dilly-dallying.

Tell me, would you rather ride a horse or a dragon?

Oh my god, now there’s a real stumper. I’d never even thought of that. I love a beautiful horse, but who wouldn’t take a dragon if they could? Unless I get flight sick, and then I might change my mind…

Are you a more analytic person or do you act on impulse?

I am totally an analytical person. I would rather die than act on impulse. OK, maybe not quite, but you get the idea. My personality type is known for planning, and then planning in case the plan for when things go wrong, goes wrong…

How does an David Eddings fan become a financial service lawyer? I mean, what went ‘wrong’? *wink*

Ha ha . See above. Also, I figured writing wasn’t going to get me a lot of money (at least it was unlikely) so I thought a good back-up plan was in order. Something that pays the bills, you know? Plus I like to argue. And be right. So far law is really working out for me on those counts!

Now a few fast questions, one-word answers please.

Sweet or savoury? Sweet

Wish for or have what you want?  Have

Staying or moving? Staying

Organised or go with the flow? Organised

Complain or act? Act

Fight or flight? Fight

Revenge, hot or cold? Cold

And then, why you are really here? Chance.

What is the title of the book you would like to talk about?

Confronting the Demon

Of course! Silly question, never mind me. Tell me, did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

A little. It had the working title ‘tentacles’ for a very long time. It’s not like me to not have a workable title from early on, and this one I had to sit down and think very hard. It’s about demon, but it’s about more than that, it’s about facing one’s personal demons, and I wanted a title that spoke to the external and internal conflict simultaneously.

Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?

Wow, people do that? It never even occurred to me. Usually I allow myself to go on and write some other part of the book that’s not so hard 😉

What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?

If I knew that, I would be a millionaire by now, because I could sell the trick to every other writer out there. I think ‘being visible’ is what sells books, but you need an amazing amount of visibility for any sales. So for every hundred people who look at your book, only a very small handful buy – that’s called conversion rate, the number of interested people you actually make a sale to. My conversion rate is around 1.5 – 2% which isn’t bad for a debut book from an unknown author with no backlist which has only been available two months, but I tell you what, the other 98 people who looked and didn’t buy? They are depressing. I tweet my book as much as I can without being in people’s faces, but honestly I feel better about making sales to people I connect with – they feel like a better return for effort. I’m sure all or most of the sales I made this week were just to people I followed and interacted with. So there is no golden rule – only hard work, and hit and miss.

Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?

Tea. I have a mild caffeine addiction, and if I don’t have my tea in the morning, I get a headache at 3pm. I quit once and don’t ever intend to do it again – caffeine withdrawal is not fun. But I love my tea. I have about a dozen varieties of black tea at home. I only do black tea, not herbal varieties. My current favourite is Orange Pekoe, which is a black tea despite the misleading nature of the name. Given a choice, I only drink Twinings.

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe? Does it have anything to do with tentacles? Deviled octopus perhaps?

Ha ha, you’re assuming I can cook? There are two things I can cook, and one of them is lamb roast and the other is the second little-known traditional Italian spaghetti Bolognese recipe. I suppose you could imagine the spaghetti as tentacles… I actually don’t eat seafood. Maybe the tentacles is a reflection of some subsconscious fear!

This is the recipe for the spaghetti Bolognese:

  • 500gms of mince
  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • Other vegetables, such as celery, optional
  • I x 800gm tin of tomato soup
  • 120gms of dry spaghetti
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sugar

Place the mince, the tomato soup, the carrots and onions (diced), any other optional vegetables, a chunk of butter, and 1-2 teaspoons of sugar to a large pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cover the large pot and simmer for an hour (on an electric stove – gas is trickier. I use a simmer mat and simmer for 30 – 40 mins, and it needs to be stirred frequently to avoid burning to the bottom of the pot). Stir occasionally.

Add spaghetti. Break into whatever size you prefer. Cook for a further 30 mins uncovered (or until the spaghetti is done).

It’s pretty easy, and virtually cooks itself. I thought it was spaghetti bolognese done ‘Aussie’ style until an Italian told me it’s actually an Italian recipe, but more ‘home-style’ than the version most people know.

Sounds delish and like something I can try to recreate! Thanks for that. 

Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

Ha, something no one has ever heard from me before? You have GOT to be kidding! I’m known for my rants. Can’t keep my mouth shut, including maybe sometimes when I ought. Give me something that I can take an opinion on, and provided that I actually care about the subject matter, I’ll be off and running before the starting gate opens. I recently travelled to Dallas and met some writer friends while I was there, and after I left a few have been heard to say they miss my rants – and I even thought I was rather subdued while I was there.

What can I tell you?

Here’s a few things that aren’t well-known outside certain circles:

I hated reading before about the age of eight, and my change of heart is due to my third grader teacher, Mick Kelly, who was a retired Australian Rugby League footballer from the local team, the Penrith Panthers.

I was a quiet, shy, retiring little girl who didn’t say ‘boo’ to anyone before about the age of eleven.

All the daughters of both sets of grandparents married men named ‘Robert’. So my maternal grandparents had three daughters who married men named Robert, and my paternal grandparents had a son named Robert and their only daughter married a Robert! My poor husband is so confused.

I met my second husband online, but not through a dating website – just a random encounter on Yahoo! Messenger before Facebook and Twitter really took off.

I hated social media and refused to join any platforms, until I had to for my writing, which was 2011. I’m still not a huge fan of Facebook, which for some reason seems to encourage people to behave more stupidly than usual, but I’m totally addicted to Twitter.

I do not suffer fools gladly.

I love Scotland. If I could live there six months of the year, and Australia the other six, I totally would.

I’m not sure there’s much left to say after all that!

Apart from giving us the places where we can find you online then? So readers, here they are:

WEBSITE†|††GOODREADS†|††FACEBOOK†|†TWITTER†| PINTEREST

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The gates to hell are thrown wide when Alloran is betrayed by his best friend, Ladanyon, and framed for forbidden magic. He is hunted by the guards and the wizards both, tormented by the gruesome murder of his friends and loved ones, and crippled by fear for the living.

Now Alloran must face his demons, or damn the woman he loves.

Also featuring bonus short story ‘A Magical Melody’

Genre – High Fantasy (17+)
Length – 110 pages
Published – September 24th
buy-the-book
TRADE PAPERBACK Amazon $6.99 ~ Amazon UK £4.39
KINDLE – US Kindle Store $2.99† ~ UK Kindle Store £1.93
ALL OTHER E-READERS
Kobo $2.22 ~†Nook $1.99~†Apple device $1.99

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What early readers are saying about the novella

ìBallintyne gives wonderful descriptions and I found myself becoming lost in the magic of her words in a picturesque world with every turned pageBella Doerres

ìThe power-packed action will leave you breathless and the eerie suspense will make you chomp on your own nails, beware!î†Satarupa

ìWith imagination and detail that paints a full scene for the mindís eye, Ciara takes us on a short but exciting journey into a world of magic, love and demons from hell.ì†Miranda Wood†of†DustyKattís Stuff Reviews

ìI actually enjoyed a good fantasy novel that didnít take days and days to read, but still offered the opportunity to get caught up in its world and story.î -†Tracy Riva†Global eBook Awards Judge

“This story wasn’t quite what I expected; it was better! The first pages surprised me, reminding strongly of THE WAY OF SHADOWS by Brent Weeks (the scenes, setting and story feel). I was immediately drawn in.” – Dr. S. Drecker

“I will be recommending this to all my paranormal addicts.” – Leanne Herrera

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Alloran stared at the alley mouth, mallet hanging slack in one hand and chisel in the other. This wasnít yesterdayís alley. It was a different one, but it felt the same. Like seventh-circle demon. Like hellcat, now that he recognised the feel of one. Gooseflesh covered his bare arms. Did a shadow move in the darkness? A cat? Something else, something bigger than a cat? Surely, there couldnít beÖ Ladanyon wouldnítÖ.

Yes. He would. The man heíd once known, the man whoíd been his best friend for nearly a century, wouldnít. But the man heíd become, after summoning a few demonsñhe would. His footsteps dragging, Alloran ventured deeper into the alley.

Once he looked, the body, hidden beneath a thin blanket of rotting food and assorted garbage, wasnít hard to find. It was a man this time. He nudged food scraps off the corpseís face.

The victim had jade eyes, a nose too big for a bearded face, and almost invisible blond brows. The details hit him with the force of a hammer blow. A wizard. A mentor. A man heíd known all his life.

His knees hit the ground and his bones turned to water from the shock. The wizard, Mandron, lay close enough to touch with his belly sliced open by teeth sharper than any blade and his entrails gnawed on. The rest of him left to rot. Sweat dripped down Alloranís face. Another victim of a hellcat. Another victim of Ladanyon. What was the chance that Ladanyon coincidentally killed two people he knew and accidentally left them somewhere he would find them?

None. Every part of this had been planned, right down to the finest detail. Sweat broke out on his forehead. Ladanyon knew too much. He must be watching, watching and playing, as a cat does

with its food. Alloranís gaze darted up and down the alley as if Ladanyon would pop out of an alley or appear on a rooftop.

Nothing stirred.

The corpseís fist held a rolled-up piece of paper. With trembling fingers, he pulled the note loose and unrolled it.

How do I surpass you? Let us examine the matterÖ. I have mastered the minions of hell and enslaved them to my will.

The paper fell from his numb fingers and fluttered away.

Jealousy? Was that all? Thirty years had passed since Alloran gave up research. Ladanyon had nothing to prove, given he made every discovery worth mentioning since then.

Alloran wiped sweaty palms on the coarse fabric of his pants, his hands coming away filthy from the dust embedded in the cloth. The bodies would just keep stacking upñuntil Ladanyon ran out of things he had mastered better than Alloran. He backed out of the alley.

ëWhereíd you run off to yesterday?í

Alloran jumped and spun around, bringing the mallet up reflexively as his stomach sunk. The sight of Dek, even with his arms folded and a scowl plastered across his square features, elicited a sigh of relief.

ëWhatís the matter with you, man? Yer white as a sheet.í

Alloran affected a frown. ëDonít like dead bodies. Donít like violence. Got the heeby-jeebies. Supposiní they come back?í

That was true enough, as far as it went. Everyone thought heíd Choose martial magic when he came of age if only because of his height and the breadth of his shoulders, but heíd never been interested. What he wanted to know was ìwhyî and ìhowî. Why and how for everything. It was a pursuit more dangerous than martial magic as it turned out. He licked his lips and tried not to look at the alley. This was what too much curiosity brought.

Dek was staring at the alley, squinting in the sunlight. Alloran slapped him on the back before the mason could connect the alley and his partnerís nerves.

ëWe got work to do, aye?í He gently tried to steer Dek towards the statue. ëWhere íave you been all morniní anyway?í

Dek turned away from the alley. ëAnsweriní questions for the hell-damned city guards, which is where you woulda been if you hadnít run off faster ían a deer.í

ëDidnít know nothiní. Donít wanna know about no bodies or talk to no guards.í Turning his back on the alley and its gruesome contents, he strode back towards the statue and hauled himself up on to the scaffolding. His arms were cold despite the heat of the summer afternoon, and he rubbed them. ëTopís all done, I reckoní. Weíll be needing to break all this down and get started on the bottom half.í

Alloran slapped the rough timber with a gloved hand, trying to shunt the corpse and its message from his mind. Eyes that werenít there bored into his back. At least, he hoped they werenít there. To be sure, he glanced over his shoulder, scouring the edges of the square for movement.

Dek clapped a hand to Alloranís shoulder, causing him to flinch and fumble his mallet. ëHey, you got a parcel, did you know?í

ëA parcel?í Alloran lost his battle with the mallet, jerking his foot out of the way just in time. ëFrom who?í

Dek shrugged. ëHow should I know? Came in the regular delivery. Down there.í

Alloranís gaze followed Dekís nod. A crate sat at the foot of the statue. Heíd been so pre-occupied with the alley, the corpse, and Ladanyon that he didnít even notice. Stomach twisted in knots, he swung down from the scaffolding.

The crate was nailed shut. His breath whistling through gritted teeth, he seized a claw hammer and wrenched the nails out.

He removed the lid. A scream clawed its way up his throat and choked off into a whimper. The topaz eyes of a sorceress stared at him from a face locked in death. The pain of the crate lid falling on his toes was a distant thing.

Ismyn. Nearly eighty years ago, she was his first lover. He stepped back and stumbled, landing on his arse in the dust. Dek yelled from somewhere nearby, but the words were meaningless.

Recently dead. Her complexion was still the colour of clotted cream, and death hadnít filmed her fixed gaze. Straw filled the bottom of the box, absorbing blood from the stump of her neck, and more blood matted the ends of her red hair. Another scroll poked from rosebud lips.

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4 thoughts on “Book Tour and Giveaway – Confronting the Demon by Ciara Ballantyne

    • You are welcome Ciara, I am so sorry for the late posting, your book was a pleasure to read and host. You are a great author to interview, so if you ever want a full on feature, let me know.

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