Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Elf {+ #Giveaway}

It’s almost Christmas and want better time to be a part of THE ELF by Max Dune Blitz with Xpresso Book Tours.

There’s a lot in store for you today during this blitz. Max is sharing an excerpt from his book, along with graciously answering some questions. In addition, you can see a book trailer for THE ELF and enter to win some fabulous prizes ($150 Amazon gift card - 15 YA paperbacks). Please see the end of the post for more details on the giveaway.

◊The Elf
◊by Max Dune
◊Publication date: October 18th, 2016
◊Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult

This Christmas…it’s war. Grab your weapon and join the fight in this modern Santa Claus retelling with a dark twist. Fans of Guardians of the Galaxy and Avatar will be riveted by The Elf‘s action, humor and romance!

          Elves are dying in the North Pole, and none of their scientists can find a cure. They believe it’s a virus, unleashed by a powerful enemy. All signs point to Jack Frost, who’s been biding his time from afar. Watching. Waiting. Plotting.
One brave elf, to save his kind, will venture out to meet evil in the eye. But he uncovers a mystery more dangerous than he could have ever imagined. Now Lucian must join a group of warriors and fight. Fuego; a flame-wielding pyro. Tiktok; a brilliant bomb expert, Yuriko; a deadly ninja assassin. And Bullets; a hot-headed gun aficionado.
These unlikely heroes must learn to work together and defeat the rising evil. Or Christmas will soon be lost…forever.

THE ELF can be found at the following sites:

Here’s THE ELF book trailer for your viewing pleasure.

Now here’s an excerpt for your reading pleasure:

By the time we reach the forest, though, my enthusiasm has dwindled. The place seems to have been drawn out of a nightmare. The black trees twist violently out of the ground, and their equally dark leaves form a canopy so dense that hardly any sunlight breaks in. I bite my lip, staring at the path of gloom and uncertainty that cuts through the densely packed trees. A plethora of worries swirls around in my head, especially since we already encountered one mythical monster who tried to kill and eat me. I do my best to shove those grim imaginings aside and strap on my headlamp. After it’s turned on, I snap Blitzen’s reins.
The reindeer remains still as a statue. He stares into the dark labyrinth of timbers.
“I’m not thrilled either, but what other choice do we have? Going around the forest will take much longer, and our supplies might run out. We have to go through it.”
He huffs unhappily, then proceeds.
I can almost feel the darkness pressing down on me. It has a suffocating effect as we move carefully through miles of eerie maze. My ears strain to pick up any animal sounds, but apart from the distant howling of winds above us, silence fills the air. I turn my face from side to side, shining my headlamp beam on the massively thick trunks. These trees make the pines of the forest that encircles Santa’s Village seem like twigs by comparison. I’ve never seen anything like them, which makes me think magic is at work here.
And that makes me nervous.
After awhile, I begin humming Christmas carols. It helps calm me, and I’m sure it brings comfort to Blitzen too. I have to question the logic of my current plan. Because, to be honest, I don’t know the full extent of Frost’s powers. Santa hasn’t told us much. Apart from his flying, all we know is that Frost has dangerous ice-wielding powers. But what if he has other secret powers at his disposal? Such as super healing, for instance. If that’s the case, he could have recovered from the bullet wounds by now. I frown at the possibility; a healthy Frost will be much tougher to kill.
Off to the right, leaves rustle.
I stop humming and turn my head. I see them. A pair of golden eyes, shining in the darkness. I inhale sharply, then increase the intensity of my headlamp for better visibility. I instantly regret the decision. The eyes belong to gigantic black wolf. It rests on its haunches, with hits head lowered, perfectly positioned for an attack. A low growl escapes its throat, sending chills up my spine.
Before it moves, I raise my crossbow and take aim.
It doesn’t budge. It just maintains its battle-ready crouch, never blinking, sizing us up, salivating hungrily as it does. My chest tightens to the point of aching. God, what do I do? I think, shaking in fear. Should I shoot it or wait for it to make a move?
Blitzen lowers his pointy antlers and waves them in the wolf’s direction. A warning to our enemy: “Back up or I’m making wolf-kebabs.”
A smile forms on my face, half from nerves but half in great pride. Blitzen the Barbarian doesn’t mess around. I couldn’t have asked for a better companion, and I’m beyond grateful for my comrade’s brazenness, not to mention his intimidating physique.
Suddenly the wolf throws its head back and howls. As if on cue, more yellow eyes appear in the inky blackness surrounding us. The pack joins him, releasing their own haunting wails. The reverberations of the cries crackle through my eardrums and make my hair stand on end all over my body.
“Go, Blitzen. Go!” I cry.

Now join me in giving a warm welcome to Max as he answers some questions. Welcome, Max.

What sort of research did you do to write this book?

That was the most time-consuming part. I had to research SO much. Topics I’d never though I’d have to learn about. About ninjas, guns, bombs, arctic wildlife, the machinery used by toy manufacturers—all sorts of random things! Thank goodness for Google and YouTube.

Any chance of a sequel?

Several, actually. I have three sequels outlined already. I want to make our team like the Suicide Squad for fairytales. Once they deal with the villain in book one, they will help other famous characters. In one sequel, for example, they will rescue Dorothy from the clutches of the Wicked Witch of the West.  Flying monkeys will be the least of our heroes’ worries as they travel through the land of Oz…(evil laugh).

What started you on the path to writing for a living?

I’ve just always had an overactive imagination, ever since I was little. I’d spend most of my time daydreaming, but it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I decided to get those stories onto the page.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

Oh boy. I wish I had a happy story about that. Truthfully, I got the idea for this story during the most difficult year of my life. 2014. Everything that could go wrong in my life, went wrong. All at once. It was bad. I lost my faith in people. I withdrew from friends and family. I stopped writing. Totally shut down. But it was during that period these characters came to me and shared their story, pulling me out of my depression and into their wild adventures! Now, I can honestly say I’m thankful for the trial I went through. It molded me into the person (and writer) I am today.

What was your favorite part to write in The Elf?

That’s a tough one. There’s so many parts I loved writing and often go back to re-read. I’d probably say the epic battle at the end. All hell breaks loose then, and tons of characters bite the dust via guns, flamethrowers, bombs, katana, etc. Readers will never see Christmas or elves the same way ever again!

Who was your favorite character?

It’s a tie between Lucian and his best friend, Zeb. I’d say I connected more with Lucian because I was experiencing the same emotions he was while writing this book. Also, he and I have similar personalities. But Zeb was such a riot. He infused the book with so much fun, humor and randomness. I laughed pretty hard during most of his scenes.

What do your friends and family think of The Elf?

They’ve been supportive from the get-go. In fact, out of all the novel ideas I pitched them, The Elf is the one that got the most enthusiasm. Their eyes would just light up. Their reaction was strong enough that I stopped working on a thriller I had at the time and focused solely on this project.  

Do you have any other hobbies besides writing?

Walking, hiking, swimming, fishing. And over the past year, I’ve started cooking almost everything I eat. It’s healthier and saves money. I’ve also gotten into vegetale gardening for the same reasons. Nothing beats homegrown tomatoes!

Any advice you’d give aspiring writers?

Write stories that YOU want to read. You’ll have more fun that way. : )

Max, thanks for visiting with us today and answering these questions. I think you’re right, we might not look at Christmas and elves the same way ever again. LOL

Now for those who aren’t familiar with Max, here’s some background on him.

Max Dune is a Southern writer who spent most his childhood watching TV, devouring comic books and weaving magical worlds in his head.

In his mid-twenties, he decided to follow his true passion. He has since created a number of short stories, novels, screenplays and TV pilots.

To be alerted to future books and giveaways, please sign up for his newsletter at http://eepurl.com/b5Is91. For more on Max and his writing, visit his website and connect with him on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

This blitz-wide giveaway is for a $150 Amazon gift card and 15 YA paperback books. The giveaway is open internationally.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient.

Thanks for stopping by today during Max’s visit. Do you think of Jack Frost as a good guy or bad guy? What are your thoughts on elves now that you’ve had a chance to see the book trailer?


  1. Oh what fun.
    There is always room for quirkiness, and zaniness in my world.

  2. Sounds like those characters got you through that bad time.
    And what's a Christmas story without a Ninja, right?

  3. Max, thanks for visiting with us today. You definitely put a different spin on Christmas. :) Wishing you much success.

    Hi, all! Thanks for dropping by. Have a wonderful day.

  4. This is a really interesting and creative twist on the traditional story. It may be dark, but I give the author credit for innovation. Thanks for sharing, Mason.

  5. What a cool trailer! I like the twist on Christmas. Sounds like a pretty dark story. Best of luck with the book.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.