Bewitching Book Tours Magazine Issue 40 December 2015
Bewitching Book Tours Magazine is a publication of Bewitching Book Tours and Bewitching Books. Editor: Roxanne Rhoads Design Editor and Layout: Lisa McGeen Contributors include Bewitching Book Tours Authors and Tour Hosts learn more at www.bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com
Ad space rates are: $40 full page ad $20 half page ad $10 quarter page ad
You can subscribe to this magazine at http://issuu.com/bewitchingbooktours ÂŠ Copyright 2015 Stock images from www.123rf.com
Did you read our previous issue?
Table of Contents December 2015 Page 5 Holiday Flash Fiction A Sleigh Ride Home Page 7 Easy Ideas for a Merry Green Christmas by Wenona Napolitano Page 11 Poetry The Jolly Elf by Roxanne Rhoads Page 18 ReGift with Class by Wenona Napolitano Page 20 Alphas Unwrapped Page 27 Under the Gaze of the Basilisk by Laura Bickle Page 36 Top 10 Tales with Badass Women Leads by Kory M Shrum Page 41 5 Holiday Gifts for the Undead in Your Life by Kory M Shrum Page 42 Mystical by Michael D. Weekly Page 46 Top 3 Tips for Novice Writers by Michael D Weekly Page 48 Tasty Christmas Treats by Roxanne Rhoads Page 49 Eerie by C.M. McCoy Page 51 The Skull Collector by Paris Singer Page 54 Stone Legacy Series by Theresa DaLayne Page 58 Ten Things You May Not Know About Decadent Kane Page 61 Top 10 Gifts for the Author in Your Life by Lisa Beth Darling Page 76 The Limits of the Imagination in Paranormal Romance by Sharon Buchbinder Page 80 Sources for NA inspiration by Kim Wells Page 84 Top Ten Time Travel Tales by Kevin B. Henry Page 86 Crestfall: A Novel of Earth and Fire by Lily St. John McKee
A Sleigh Ride Home Sweet Romance Holiday Flash Fiction By Roxanne Rhoads The moonlight glittered off the freshly fallen snow. It was like taking a sleigh ride through a forest of crystals. Everything sparkled, glimmered and shimmered. It was truly beautiful. Caleb was really trying so hard to give me the “good, old fashioned Christmas” experience that I had always dreamed of; complete with a one horse open sleigh, fresh falling snow, and a thermos full of hot cocoa. The blanket started to slip off my lap so I tugged it up to make sure it didn’t fall to the floor of the sleigh. Caleb glanced my way, “Are you cold Maggie?” How could I be cold with Caleb, the man of my dreams and fantasies sitting beside me? I had wanted this man since high school, when he was the popular, hot guy that was so nice to everyone. Including a skinny, scrawny girl with braces and glasses. Me. “No, I’m actually quite warm. The night doesn’t feel that cold and between my thick leggings, sweater, wrap and the blanket I am toasty warm.” “Good, I didn’t want you to get cold. After living in Texas for the past couple years I bet you aren’t used to the cold, Michigan winters anymore. I was afraid you’d be freezing by now.” Caleb was always so wonderful. He was the kind of guy that was always concerned about people. We had been pretty good friends. He was so sweet he even took me to our senior prom seven years ago. I was sure he’d just done it to be nice because he felt sorry for me since no one else had asked me to be their date. Now I wasn’t so sure that he had taken me to the prom just to be nice. Maybe he had real feelings for me. The kind of feelings I have for him.
This was only the second time I had seen him since I left to go to college in Texas right after graduation but I had never stopped thinking about him. It seemed that he never stopped thinking about me either. He sent me letters, cards and emails from time to time always asking when I was coming home. This was the first year I had replied telling him that I’d be home for Christmas. Usually my mom flew out to Texas to spend the holidays with me there. This year though my mother had finally met someone special and she wanted to spend the holidays with him…and me. Honestly I was glad. I had really begun to miss Michigan lately, especially at Christmas. There was nothing like a snow covered Christmas. “No matter how long I stay in Texas I’ll always be a cold blooded Michigan girl.” His smile twinkled as bright as the snow, “Glad to hear that.” “You know Caleb this was awfully nice of you to invite me on this sleigh ride. The drive through town seeing all the Christmas displays and lights was fun and then here, in the woods…it is so still, so quiet and so utterly beautiful. It is a dream come true.” “Maggie, I remembered that last Christmas we spent together before graduation and how you would always talk about wanting an old fashioned Christmas with sleigh rides and hot cocoa and even ice skating. I have always wanted to give that to you. I’ve had old Drew here,” he motioned to the horse, “and this sleigh for five years now hoping you’d come home for the holidays so I could give you the Christmas sleigh ride you’ve always dreamed of.” “Really? Caleb, I had no idea. But why?” “Why? Maggie isn’t it obvious? I love you; I’ve been in love with you since middle school. I’ve tried to put you out of my head, I’ve tried dating other people but it’s you. You are the one that’s always had that special place in my heart.” My eyes welled up with tears as his words rang true. My heart swelled telling me I felt the same way. All this time I hadn’t let myself believe in my feelings because I feared rejection. Caleb pulled the sleigh off the trail and into a small clearing. “Maggie would you consider coming home?” “Caleb, I am home,” I said as I threw my arms around his neck. “Really? To stay? With me?” he mumbled into my neck. “Yes, with you, for as long as you’ll have me,” I cried. “I hope forever isn’t too long for you,” Caleb said with a smile as he pulled away from my tear soaked embrace to look into my eyes. “Forever sounds just about right.”
Easy Ideas for a Merry Green Christmas By Wenona Napolitano
Are you tired dealing with a Christmas season that is stressful, commercialized and consumer-oriented? Have you been trying to live a simpler, greener lifestyle, but you are not sure of how to go about greening the holiday season? This year you can make your Christmas more eco-friendly and meaningful for you and your family. Make Your Own Holiday Magic One way to add more meaning into the holiday season is to slow down and make time for the ones you love. Shop less. Spend more time not money on your loved ones. A great way to make memories that last is to create holiday traditions that you look forward to doing as a family: like making and decorating Christmas cookies, decorating the tree together or wrapping gifts together. Other traditions could be reading Christmas poems and stories, such as "The Night Before Christmas", as a family. Another way to make holiday magic is to celebrate the true meaning of the holidays by doing something meaningful for someone else: Donate to charity or volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter for a day. Go through your closets and donate unused, un-needed items to charity. Get the kids involved too, have them find things they no longer need, and donate the items to charitable organizations or local churches that distribute items to the needy. Decorate Green A fake tree can keep real trees from being cut down but artificial trees are not usually made of earth-friendly materials, yet once you buy one it lasts for years. Even experts are divided on whether it is better to buy a fake tree or purchase a real one. My pick is if you already have a fake one stick with it but if you need a tree then opt for a live one. Preferably a real tree that is purchased from a local tree farm (organic if possible) and have your tree mulched afterward. Many communities are now providing tree-recycling services during the holidays. Once you have a tree, light it up with LEDs. They use 90% less energy than regular lights, which means youâ€™ll be green, and youâ€™ll save some green at the same time. They also don't emit as much heat, therefore helping to reduce the risk of fire. LEDs have other benefits as well: one LED light can outlast 60,000 regular incandescent bulbs and last up to twenty years longer than a regular bulb. Another way to decorate green is to purchase decorations of good quality that will be used over and over again for years to come. You can also decorate with vintage ornaments or ones made from recycled and natural objects.
How about an old fashioned popcorn string that can be fed to the birds or composted after the holidays? Just make sure to skip the disposable stuff that will only be thrown away. Save your ribbons, bows, bags and boxes and use them again next year. If it can't be saved, recycle it. Greener Gifts You can green up your Christmas shopping habits, too. One way is by purchasing eco-friendly gifts. These could include organic, sustainable, reused, recycled or fair trade items. Examples include organic bath and body products, natural beeswax or soy candles, or clothing and household linens made from organic cotton, hemp or bamboo. Another way to shop green is to purchase items from nonprofits. Many of them sell great Christmas gifts and donate the proceeds to charity. Like the NWF (National Wildlife Federation) and WWF (World Wildlife Federation) both offer wild animal “adoptions” where you donate money to help an endangered animal and in return you get items like a certificate and stuffed animal-which would be the perfect gift for a child on your list. Give green by giving gifts that are sure to be used. No one ever lets gift cards or gift certificates to someone's favorite store, tickets to a concert, movie passes or cold hard cash go to waste. Shop for unique gifts for the collector on your list. Treasure hunt at local thrift stores, consignment shops or antique stores for one-of-a-kind fabulous finds. Edible gifts are another eco-treat (except the fruitcake). A box of cookies, a cake, crackers and gourmet cheeses or fine chocolates are sure to be enjoyed. A wine lover would enjoy a good bottle of wine. Other options could be jars of do-ityourself mixes for cookies, cakes, brownies and even soups. Homemade jams, jellies and canned vegetables or fruits are also a good choice and a way to extend your bountiful harvest. A very green gift is one that you know someone really wants or needs. That way, you know it won't sit around unused, be returned or end up in a landfill anytime soon. Other ideas for eco-friendly gifts include multipurpose, practical gifts that are likely to be used over and over again. If you can’t come up with a great green gift idea you can always give the gift of yourself. Make up handmade certificates or coupons for your time or talent that may be needed. Could your best friend use some time by herself? Give her a coupon for a night of babysitting. Does your mom need some help with housecleaning? Would grandpa like a homecooked meal? Is there a special event your daughter would love to go to with you? How about a night on the town with that special someone? Wrap It Up Once you have the gifts you are going to need to wrap them up green. You can make your own holiday cards, presents and gift wrap out of scrap materials, used items or recycled materials. Get the kids involved. Children love craft projects, and they’ll feel like they have more input in the holidays beyond asking for what they want from Santa. Let them paint, stamp, and decorate plain boxes, bags and paper and transform it into fun holiday wrappings. Here are some tips for wrapping gifts the green way: Use unique reusable items for wrapping paper, such as the comic section of newspapers, pages from magazines, colorful maps or paper you make yourself.
Plain brown or white package paper can be completely transformed with stamps, paint, markers, stickers or anything else you may have laying around the house. Have the kids use finger paint and stamp their little handprints on the paper, which grandparents will love. Make the present part of the package by wrapping a gift with another gift. Are you giving a blanket as a gift? Put another present inside the blanket, and use the blanket as the wrapping. Tie it with a ribbon, and you are all set. Roll up sweaters, and stick items like socks and underwear inside. Tie gifts up with curtain tiebacks, shoelaces or hair ribbons. That way everything gets used, and nothing gets thrown away. If you are handy with a needle and thread you could make reusable cloth gift bags to wrap up your green gifts. If you like the idea of cloth gift bags but canâ€™t stitch to save your life, check out www.giftbagsgonegreen.com for a nice selection of hand crafted, reusable cloth gift bags. No time to make creative eco-wrappings? Then make sure you at least purchase wrapping paper that is made from recycled paper or tree free materials. FishLipsPaperDesigns.com offers a cute selection of wrapping paper made from 100% recycled paper and printed with soy based inks. EarthLoven.com has some snazzy wrapping paper also made from 100% recycled paper and is printed with vegetable based ink. Interested in learning more about greening the holidays? Check out Iâ€™m Dreaming of a Green Christmas: Gifts, Decorations, and Recipes that Use Less and Mean More by Anna Getty. It is full of crafts, recipes, gift ideas and so much more to help you have the best, and greenest, Christmas ever. ~Wenona Napolitano is the author of The Everything Green Wedding Book: Plan an elegant, affordable, earth-friendly wedding. Visit her at www.creativelygreen.blogspot.com
What Makes Bewitching Book Tours Different From Other Virtual Book Tour Companies? Bewitching Book Tours has been in business since 2010 making us one of the oldest virtual book tour companies around. We know book promotion. Our authors are our number one priority. This is not a hobby or a side job in addition to the day job. This is our day job, which means we put our authors first. Bewitching Book Tours offers multiple tour packages and services for authors- we have one day packages for cover reveals, release day blitzes, and one day tours. We also offer one week, two week and one month tours. Bewitching also offers Kindle Free Book Blitz tours to promote your Kindle free book for up to five days. Other services we offer are Twitter parties, Facebook parties, Press Release Writing, and radio interviews. Custom packages are available. Bewitching has optional special features including a monthly magazine, a BlogTalk Radio Show and we offer custom Bewitching Book swag creations such as bookmarks, keychains, purse charms and more.
The most important things about Bewitching is that your book starts receiving promotion as soon as you sign up with Bewitching. A media kit is created, tour banners are made, and a page goes up on the Bewitching Blog announcing your upcoming tour. An invitation is sent out to all the Bewitching Tour Hosts and your upcoming tour is shared throughout our vast network of social media which includes multiple Facebook pages and accounts, Tsu, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, Tumblr, and other book social sites. Immediately your book has been put in front of thousands of book lovers. And we don’t stop there. We continue to work on your tour scheduling tour stops, reviews and more depending on your tour package chosen. Once your tour is set up we send you the tour schedule, materials and instructions so there is no confusion. You return requested materials to Bewitching and we handle the rest. Once your tour has started we promote every single tour stop every day on multiple social media platforms several times throughout the day. Combine this exposure with the daily tour hosts’ and the author’s social media promotion of the tour stops and you have your book in front of thousands of readers every day. An author will have quality content that can be used after the tour including a professional media kit with all the book and author information in one place that can be distributed to future promotion locations. You’ll also have great quotes you can pull from reviews to help you promote your book. If you wrote guest blogs or other promotional materials (character profiles, book soundtracks, the story behind the story posts, etc.) you now have content you can reuse on your blog or website as bonus material. Yes, your guest blogs and other tour materials that you created, are yours. You retain copyright to them. Now if a blogger adds images, comments or other materials you cannot reuse the blog exactly as it appeared on their site. You retain the rights only to your original creations. I suggest waiting at least a month after your tour ends before reposting to your sites that way it does not hurt the tour blog traffic. Interviews are not the same, not unless you provided both the questions and answers (for instance a character interview you created). If you wish to repost an interview you must ask the blogger who interviewed you if it is okay to republish their questions. Or simply post a link to the interview.
Even after the tour Bewitching continues working for you. Your name and web link will be listed on our blog as a client and your tour pages will be archived, not removed. So they will always be available for readers to access. If Bewitching has special events in the future like calls for submissions, holiday contests or other multi-author events you will be invited to participate.
Bewitching Book Tour Packages and Pricing Book sales will magically soar during one of our spellbinding virtual book tours
Bewitching Book Tours specialize in tours for paranormal, urban fantasy, and paranormal erotica books with prices just right for any author's budget
Every tour package includes: a custom media kit custom tour button and banners including a facebook header banner the option to offer review copies to bloggers- the number of reviews actually received during a tour are not guaranteed- they depend on blogger participation two tour pages at Bewitching Book Tours (one invitation tour page announcing the upcoming tour and one final tour page with schedule) distribution to our mailing list of over 600 tour hosts Daily promotion throughout the Bewitching social media outlets including multiple facebook pages and accounts, twitter, and google plus Giveaways are not necessary during tours but they are highly encouraged. Giveaways draw many more readers and viewers to tour stops plus they help increase your social media followers. We utilize Rafflecopter entry forms so you can offer one prize package or several throughout your tourwinners are chosen at the end of the tour. $47.50 will get you the Release Day Blitz One day book release blitz includes Posting on up to 20 blogs which will include- tour banner, your book info, excerpts, and fun tidbits (character profiles, music playlists, etc or whatever other materials you would like to provide) a custom media kit custom tour button and banners including a facebook header banner the option to offer review copies to bloggers- the number of reviews actually received during a tour are not guaranteed- they depend on blogger participation two tour pages at Bewitching Book Tours (one invitation tour page announcing the upcoming tour and one final tour page with schedule) distribution to our mailing list of over 600 tour hosts Daily promotion throughout the Bewitching social media outlets including multiple facebook pages and accounts, twitter, and google plus The release day blitz can be purchased alone or added to another tour package
$50.00 will get you the week long Bewitched Book Blitz Tour Your will receive 1 week of tour stops Posting on approximately 5-7 stops which will include- tour banner, your book info, guest blogs, interviews, excerpts, and fun tidbits (character profiles, music playlists, etc or whatever other materials you would like to provide) a custom media kit
custom tour button and banners including a facebook header banner the option to offer review copies to bloggers- the number of reviews actually received during a tour are not guaranteed- they depend on blogger participation two tour pages at Bewitching Book Tours (one invitation tour page announcing the upcoming tour and one final tour page with schedule) distribution to our mailing list of over 600 tour hosts Daily promotion throughout the Bewitching social media outlets including multiple facebook pages and accounts, twitter, and google plus This tour is perfect for an author to get a taste of how a book tour works Great for new releases or for the backlist book that could use a sales boost $85 will get you the 2 week Cast a Magic Spell Tour
2 weeks of tour stops Posting on approximately 10-14 stops which will include- tour banner, your book info, guest blogs, interviews, excerpts, and fun tidbits (character profiles, music playlists, etc or whatever other materials you would like to provide) a custom media kit custom tour button and banners including a facebook header banner the option to offer review copies to bloggers- the number of reviews actually received during a tour are not guaranteed- they depend on blogger participation two tour pages at Bewitching Book Tours (one invitation tour page announcing the upcoming tour and one final tour page with schedule) distribution to our mailing list of over 600 tour hosts Daily promotion throughout the Bewitching social media outlets including multiple facebook pages and accounts, twitter, and google plus
$140 will get you The Spellbinding Special 1 Month Tour This is our most popular so far- with it you'll receive one month of tour stops Posting on approximately 20 stops which will include- tour banner, your book info, guest blogs, interviews, excerpts, and fun tidbits (character profiles, music playlists, etc or whatever other materials you would like to provide) a custom media kit custom tour button and banners including a facebook header banner the option to offer review copies to bloggers- the number of reviews actually received during a tour are not guaranteed- they depend on blogger participation two tour pages at Bewitching Book Tours (one invitation tour page announcing the upcoming tour and one final tour page with schedule) distribution to our mailing list of over 600 tour hosts
Daily promotion throughout the Bewitching social media outlets including multiple facebook pages and accounts, twitter, and google plus
Kindle Free Book Blitz $50
Is your book going free on Kindle? Get the most out of your Kindle free days with Bewitching Book Tours We are now offering a Kindle Free Book Blitz Tour- Up to 5 days of promotion just $50- this includes: Posting on numerous blogs that will announce that your book is free is Amazon a custom media kit custom tour button and banners including a facebook header banner the option to offer review copies to bloggers- the number of reviews actually received during a tour are not guaranteed- they depend on blogger participation two tour pages at Bewitching Book Tours (one invitation tour page announcing the upcoming tour and one final tour page with schedule) Daily promotion throughout the Bewitching social media outlets including multiple facebook pages and accounts, twitter, and google plus
Cover Reveals are $45 Add a live Facebook party to any package for $100 A Facebook Party includes the coordination, set up and moderation of a live Facebook party (event) page. The party will last for about two hours. A party page will be created and moderated by Bewitching Book Tours. This is a great way to interact with readers. They can post questions and the author can answer in real time. The author will be responsible for providing party content (book/author facts and links, quizzes, games, and prizes). Bewitching Book Tours can help with brainstorming ideas for content and prizes. The Facebook party can be purchased by itself or added to a tour package. Please understand Bewitching Book Tours is not responsible for missed your stops on your tour. After the tour is scheduled and all of the tour materials have been sent out, it is the responsibility of the Blogger who signed up for the tour to post materials on their designated day.
Bewitching Book Swag Bewitching Book Tours offers custom book swag creations that can be added on to tour packages or ordered separately. We offer high quality, hand crafted, one of a kind items made to match your book. Currently we are offering beaded bookmarks, beaded keychains, purse charms, belt loop charms, wine glass charms, and earrings. These items can be created with colored beads to match the colors in your book cover. We can also add small charms to coordinate with book content- we have a wide variety of charms to choose from and if we don't have something that matches your book we can get it. Some of the silver charms available are: vampire fangs, wolves, witch hats, keys and locks, books, hearts, haunted houses, bats, foxes, hamsas, dragons, sugar skulls, rhinestone skull and crossbones, high heeled shoes, Fleur de lis, masquerade masks, owls and many more. You can also opt to have the items completely customized by adding your book cover to a metal charm. The book covers are encased in small metal photo frame charms and sealed in resin for a high quality charm that looks fabulous and is very durable. Our goal is to create custom book swag that represents your book.
ReGift with Class By Wenona Napolitano It happens, we all end up receiving a few less than desirable gifts throughout our lives. Maybe it’s that third crock-pot you received as a wedding gift or the fourth toaster for your house warming or maybe it’s the ten millionth holiday coffee mug that found its way to your stocking but most of us all have a few things tucked away in cupboards or closets that we have never used. With the economy in such a slump and eco-thoughts fully conscious in your mind it is time to rethink the regift. The key to regifting is to do it with style and class. First of all don’t regift to the person who originally gave you the gift or at a social function where that original gift giver may be. If the gift is something unique also don’t regift to someone who is in contact with the original gift giver (you wouldn’t want the gifter to see the gift at the new giftee’s home unless you plan on offering full disclosure). Second, make sure the gift was never used and that it is still in pristine, brand new condition (exceptions are allowed for books, CDs and DVDs that you know someone would really love but they still have to be in good shape). For any appliances or items with multiple parts make sure that all the pieces are there and that the item is still in working condition. You don’t want to give a gift that’s all banged up and missing pieces after being shoved around in your closet, tossed around in the garage or moved from place to place. If it needs batteries put a brand new set in with the gift. Third, rewrap the gift. Do not ever leave the gift in the same torn wrapping paper that you re-taped or in the same (now) rumpled gift bag it came in . And make sure you put a new tag on it addressing it specifically to the person the gift is for. This cleans it up and makes you put a little thought into it. A gift should always have a bit of a personal touch to it. Fourth and most importantly, don’t regift just to get rid of something taking up space in your home or so can have a gift to give someone without spending any money. Give the gift to someone who will actually use and/or enjoy the gift. If you know someone needs a toaster or coffee pot then by all means give them the extra appliance that you have in your closet but don’t just give it to someone to get rid of it. There’s a way to really regift with class- personalize the gift. Make the receiver feel special by letting them know the gift is just for them, that you really thought about it. This could be done by adding little custom things. If it’s a scarf or linens add a bit of custom monogramming. Is it a book? Add a special note in the book for the person who is receiving it. Find some way to add a special touch to the gift so the receiver will feel special.
If you really want to unload some of those unused gifts taking up space, participate in a regifting party, also known as a white elephant exchange. You could even hold it on National Regifting Day which is December 17, 2015 this year. Always the third Thursday in December. There are many ways to have a regifting party. One is to have everyone bring one or two unwrapped gifts and place them on a table. Everyone takes a number and the first number called gets to pick the first gift and it goes on from there until everyone gets a chance to choose a gift Here are two other ways to have a Regifting Party : http://regiftable.com/Regifting101/WhiteElephant.aspx Leftover gifts and anything thatâ€™s really unwanted by anyone at the party can always be donated to Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or a local shelter. Someone could love it. To learn more about regifting visit http://regiftable.com/ and make sure to check out ReGifting 101 http://regiftable.com/Regifting101/Default.aspx for a crash course in regiving. ~Wenona Napolitano is the author of The Everything Green Wedding Book: Plan an elegant, affordable, earthfriendly wedding. Visit her at www.creativelygreen.blogspot.com
Alphas Unwrapped: 21 New Steamy Paranormal Tales of Shifters, Vampires, Werewolves, Dragons, Witches, Angels, Demons, Fey, and More Genre: Paranormal Romance Date of Publication: December 1, 2015 ASIN: B014VCCLGI Cover Artist: Renee George Boxed Set Description: 21 Paranormal Tales so hot, they're sure to make Santa's Naughty List! Now's your chance to own this LIMITED Edition Boxed Set for only .99 Cents. Grab your copy before it's gone! The alphas are hot! The heroines are sassy! These ALL NEW stories are guaranteed to heat up your holidays!
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA Amazon AU Barnes & Noble iTunes Kobo http://www.redhotalphas.com/
Bear Winter (The Pack Rules 8) Michele Bardsley After a vindictive wendigo nearly kills his brother and kidnaps his sister-in-law, bear shifter Gabe Pearson has no choice but to ask psychic and ex-fiance Hope Wheeler for help. Together, they will fight through vicious snowstorms, murderous shifters, and grievous emotional wounds to save Gabe's family--and get a second chance at love. New York Times Best Selling Author, Michele Bardsley Raging Winter: Max Denton Book 2 (The Gardella Vampire Hunters) Colleen Gleason
England, 1922: Savina Eleaisa is certain the famous vampire hunter--and her former lover--Max Denton is dead. But when she follows a vampire to a Christmas house party at a large English estate, whom should she find but Max Denton, deep undercover--and not very happy to see her. "If Buffy visited Downton Abbey." --Laurie London New York Times Best Selling Author, Colleen Gleason Tristan's Escape: A Belador Novella Dianna Love Holidays stink when you're alone, but the only woman Tristan ever cared for betrayed him years ago. Sucker that he is, Tristan teleports another Alterant to Atlanta in December to propose to his girlfriend, and walks straight into an ambush ...along with the woman he vowed would pay for his five years of imprisonment. Now he has to choose between saving her and losing his freedom forever. New York Times Best Selling Author, Dianna Love Christmas Flame (A Flame Series Book) Caris Roane On Christmas Eve, vampire Officer Kyle Drake has finally persuaded the shy shifter, Verena, to go on a first date. His plans include a little mistletoe and a lot of seduction. But when a call comes in that a teenage girl has been abducted and Kyle and Verena go in pursuit, he fears the dangers of their world will once again force Verena back into her no-dating-ever mode... New York Times Best Selling Author, Caris Roane Invisible Betrayal: Invisible Recruits Novella Mary Buckham Street savvy Jaylene Smart is spending her DC holiday on a snatch and grab assignment to terminate a threat, but it beats sitting alone in an empty hotel room. Her target is way-out-of-her-league-powerful Herm Kane and stealing from him sends her into the dangerous underworld of preternaturals she never knew existed. Surviving will depend on teaming up the same sexy Herm Kane, the man she just betrayed. USA Today Best Selling Author, Mary Buckham White Witchmas Dakota Cassidy It's Christmas in Paris, Texas, ya'll! Prepare for a magical journey perfect for the holidays! USA Today Best Selling Author, Dakota Cassidy
Nether Blue Claudy Conn Magic has always been a part of Calico's life, but now because of it, she is on the run. Ahead, more danger. Enter Brodie, a prince from another realm. Will saving Brodie, trap her or save her? New York Times Best Selling Author, Claudy Conn
Fur Ever Yours Melanie James When a dangerous female shows up in the middle of the night, Rafe's world is turned upside down. Was she sent by a rival clan to rip apart his pack, or just his heart? New York Times Best Selling Author, Melanie James
Christmas With The Beast Rebecca Hamilton & Conner Kressley Christmas heats up for a Beauty and her Beast when they find themselves at the top of a homicidal Santa's naughty list. USA Today Best Selling Author, Rebecca Hamilton USA Today Best Selling Author, Conner Kressley Bite of Frost (A Dragon Blade Novella) Gena D. Lutz After Jericha Frost is thrust into a paranormal existence she knows nothing about, she learns that the scorching blood from an infuriating dragon-shifter is her only hope of survival. New York Times Best Selling Author, Gena D. Lutz
Fang Chronicles: Esha's Story D'Elen McClain
Vampire politics are not exactly what Rondy expects when he enters the dark world of immortality and killing a deadly, out of control tigershifter is not his idea of fun. When fate intercedes, Rondy and Esha fight her inevitable death and take the brief time they are given to search for a miracle that would topple the childless world of vampires. USA Today Best Selling Author, D'Elen McClain
Her Dragon's No Angel (A Dragon Guard Novella) Julia Lake Mills Take one snowbound dragon combine with one Christmas Angel, throw in a healthy dose of an attraction only the Universe could have conjured and top with the largest blizzard in a hundred years. Now sit back and enjoy the show! This one's gonna be a bumpy ride! New York Times Best Selling Author, Julia Mills Winter Guardian Dawn Montgomery Ashley Baker never forgot the icy December night he came into her life. Her fallen guardian angel with wings dark as sin destroyed a beast from her worst nightmares, and then disappeared into the storm. When the beasts return, so does the guardian, but this time he's the one in trouble. Wingless. Mortal. The spark of attraction ignites into a flame that threatens to consume them both, but will it be enough to save them from the hell that awaits if they fail? USA Today Best Selling Author, Dawn Montgomery Dark Wolf Rising Stephanie Rowe Shifter Cash Burns has been on the run for ten years, hiding a dark secret. When his childhood sweetheart, who he hasn't seen in over a decade, is targeted for assassination by his wolf pack, he's the only one who can save her...but at what cost? New York Times Best Selling Author, Stephanie Rowe Covert Cougar Christmas Terry Spear Bridget Sinclair, Special Agent with the Cougar Special Forces Division has a mission--permanently stop two shifters from distributing a new drug in Cheyenne, Wyoming. While investigating, she rescues Special Agent Travis MacKay. Winter advisories are in effect for the Christmas holidays, but that doesn't cool off the sizzling heat spiraling out of control between the two agents as they covertly team up to take down the drug-runners. USA Today Best Selling Author, Terry Spear Lori's Wolf Pack, Rolf's Wicked Winter A K Michaels Rolf is Beta and has managed to escape the Pack for a couple of days 'alone time'. However, Fate has other plans for him and he soon finds himself in a situation he never envisaged. Finding a mate is surprise enough, but she is on the run, and those that are looking for her are only a day behind.
New York Times Best Selling Author, A.K. Michaels Legendary Lover - Arctic Plunge Candice Stauffer Glorious friction sets Northern Alaska's winter air ablaze when Dean Lawless, an alpha lycan, finds Jayne Dekker, his double-crossing mate, and takes the ultimate plunge New York Times Best Selling Author, Candice Stauffer Ravished by the Alpha: A Christmas Cull (The Cull Book Three) Renee George Single by choice, werewolf Lizzy Langston has never been a fan of Christmas. But when Coy Vega chooses her tribe's lands to hide from the drug cartel over the holiday, she is drawn to his dark nature and, oh yeah, his yummy six-pack abs. It will take a Christmas miracle to survive below freezing temperatures, Colombian hit men, an accidental culling, and each other. National Best Selling and Award-Winning Author, Renee George Bound by Joy (A Cauld Ane Christmas Novella) Tracey Jane Jackson Kenna McFadden has waited more than two hundred years for her mate and she finds him in a most unexpected way. On a mission to find his missing niece, prince Gunnar Baldersson finds someone far more precious to him. Join in their bonding as they fall in love while celebrating the sweetness and joy of Christmas. New York Times Best Selling Author, Tracey Jane Jackson Choices H.M. McQueen An unbreakable bond with a handsome immortal Protector, drags Rachel Andrews into a world she never believed existed and has no desire to be part of. The actions of one night drastically alter the course of his long existence. Torn between his feelings for Rachel and his life's calling, Roderick Cronan comes face to face with the fact that he is losing both. Amazon Best Selling Author, Hildie McQueen
Yule's Fallen Angel Sky Purington
Sparks fly as a sexy fallen angel turned warlock tries to free a feisty witch trapped between life and death. But rekindling lost love comes at a price. Now it's time to beat the clock against a yuletide curse with a midnight deadline of December 25th. Amazon Best Selling Author, Sky Purington
Under the Gaze of the Basilisk By Laura Bickle The basilisk is one of the most fearsome creatures in alchemy. It’s capable of killing any creature that gazes upon it, harkening back to the myth of Medusa. Oddly enough, it symbolizes the Elixir of eternal life. Blood drawn from its right side is said to grant this great gift, while blood from its left is deadly venom. Depending on the source, this serpentine creature can be as small as a salamander to as huge as a dragon in size. It’s often depicted with a feathery crownlike crest on its brow, a symbol that it is the ruler of serpents. The crown is also a hint about the creature’s origins – it’s said to have hatched from a rooster’s egg. In the mythology of MERCURY RETROGRADE, the basilisk retains many of its traditional powers. The basilisk in my book is rumored to have been borne from the blood of Medusa herself, and she bears many characteristics of the Ouroboros – the serpent that bites its own tail in the unbreakable cycle of life and death. She’s about thirty feet long in this story, with a yellow crest and eyes, with iridescent green scales. Her toxic venom is symbolic of an alchemical process of dissolution – her venom dissolves flesh and bone more efficiently than battery acid. But she’s far from home. Her home is the spirit world, where she was abducted by a rogue alchemist in the 1890s and forced into the diminutive body of a rattlesnake. Dragged through time and space to the tiny gold rush town of Temperance to serve a tyrannical master, she rebelled. That insurrection wasn’t taken lightly, and she lost a magical duel that parked her in one of the volcanic vents below what its now Yellowstone National Park. She’s been sleeping since that time…and growing. Now her full size and power, she’s been awakened by regional earthquakes. An unlucky family of campers has been found dead, poisoned. Others have gone missing, and the Park is on lockdown. Geologist and skeptic Petra Dee is tracking the basilisk through Yellowstone’s autumn backcountry, following a trail of desiccated brush. With the help of her coyote sidekick, she aims to try and stop the basilisk before the body count rises. The Hanged Men of Temperance also want the basilisk. The Alchemical Tree of Life, the source of their power for this gang of undead cowboys, is dying. Only the blood of the basilisk can revive the tree – if the Hanged Men can get close enough. Jaded by a century of superhuman powers, they discover that they are as vulnerable as any other man or woman in the face of this creature. And they’re not the only ones – a cult of snake-worshipping biker women are searching for the basilisk. They feel a deep spiritual connection to her, as an ancient serpent goddess. They want to serve her…but what havoc would the basilisk wreak with an army of worshippers – assuming she didn’t devour them, first?
Only the ancient serpent knows, and she’s not sharing her secrets with the living anytime soon. Image credits: By G.dallorto (Own work) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons "Ouroboros 1". Licensed under Public Domain via Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ouroboros_1.jpg#/media/File:Ourobor os_1.jpg Medusa by Arnold Böcklin, circa 1878 MERCURY RETROGRADE CHAPTER ONE: DUST
No matter how decent Petra Dee’s intentions were, things always went to shit. Sweat dribbled down the back of her neck, sliding down her shoulder blades and congealing between her skin and the Tyvek biohazard suit. The legs of the suit made a zip-zip sound, snagging on bits of prickly pear as she walked through the underbrush of Yellowstone National Park. She clutched her tool bag tightly in her gloved grip, the plastic of the suit rustling over the hiss of the respirator in her ears. Her breath fogged the scuffed clear mask of the suit, softening the edges of the land before her with a dreamlike filter. “You don’t have to do this,” Mike said. “Consider it a professional favor, okay?” she said. “And you said it was weird. Now, I’m curious.” The park ranger in the suit in front of her stopped, turned, and awkwardly grabbed her sleeve. “Look, you don’t have to. The hikers who found it said it was pretty gruesome.” Mike’s voice was muffled behind his own mask, but his brow creased as he looked at her. It was clear to her that he now thought better of bringing her here. Maybe it was his dumb, misplaced sense of chivalry, or maybe things really did suck as badly as he suggested. With him, it was hard to tell. “You can go back,” he suggested. Again. “Mike. You need a geologist. There isn’t anybody on your staff who can tell you if it’s safe to be up here. Weird seismic shit has been happening in the last couple of weeks—new springs and fumaroles and mudpots opening up in this area, stuff that isn’t on the maps. And you’re stuck with me unless you want to wait for the Department of the Interior to show up and tell you what you need to know.” She didn’t want to be having this discussion out in the open. There were more men and women in suits behind them, far behind, waiting to see what Mike and Petra would do. They might not be within earshot, but it offended her sense of professionalism. “Besides, I owe you.” And she did, big-time. Petra had a knack for causing trouble for Mike. Since she’d shown up in town two months ago to take a quiet-sounding geology gig with the federal government, she’d managed to stumble into an underground war between a cattle baron and the local drug-dealing alchemist. A shitstorm of administrative paperwork had been generated for Mike when drugs and bodies turned up in his jurisdiction. Pizza and beer only went so far to balance the scales of debt. Mike rubbed the back of his hood with a crinkling sound. “Yeah, but …” Petra nodded sharply. “I can do this.” Her voice sounded steadier than she felt. “If you need outta here, just say the word.” Mike started walking again, pushing aside a branch blocking her way. She moved forward to the edge of the tree line, beyond where blotches of color swam in her sweaty vision. A campsite. A red tent had been pitched in a clearing, though it tilted in a lopsided fashion on a broken pole, like a giant
spider someone had plucked a leg from. Nice tent—a deluxe model, with mesh windows and pop-outs. A dead fire with cold ash was surrounded by a ring of rocks. Laundry dangled from a clothesline: T-shirts, jeans, socks. And beyond it, a gorgeously pink mudpot. Iron in the underlying slurry likely yielded the soft rose color. The acidic hot spring burbled mud, steaming into the cool air. She was reminded of the steam rising from mountains as the dew baked off in the spring. There were thousands of these mudpots dotted all throughout Yellowstone National Park, too many to catalog, despite the hazards they posed. Petra ducked under the clothesline, wrestling for a moment with a pair of child-sized purple leggings that seemed determined to get snagged around her respirator hose. After fighting them off, she turned her attention back to the scene. A dark-haired man sat upright at the edge of the dead fire, hunched forward, his arms tangled in a blanket as if he’d been trying to protect himself from the cold. Her breath echoed quickly in her mask. Mike moved forward to kneel before the man. Pulling the blanket off, he reached for his neck to take his pulse. Early morning sunshine illuminated the man’s face. It was slack, jaw open, violet tongue protruding from his lips. Broken capillaries covered his cheeks, the red contrasting with mottled grey skin. His eyes were frozen wide open, and the sclera were bright red instead of white. The blanket fell away to reveal a red flannel shirt. Oddly enough, it looked as if part of it had been bleached, as if he’d brushed up against a gallon of white paint. A knife glinted in his right hand, trapped in a claw frozen by rigor mortis. Petra squinted to get a good look. The knife was a piece of junk—the blade had been melted. The body rolled over on its side, landing like an action figure holding its pose in the dirt. Mike swore and grabbed his radio. “This is L-6, be advised that we’ve confirmed a male victim. Tell the medics to …” Petra turned. That was a big tent. Too big for just one guy. And then there were the little girls’ leggings that she’d tussled with … damn it. Steeling herself, she crossed to the tent, her suit creaking. Sweating, she grasped the tent zipper. Its teeth stuck in the PVC-coated canvas, and she tried three times before she gave up. Part of the tent had come unstaked on the right side, letting daylight creep in. She worked that seam and pulled it open. She stumbled back, falling on her ass. A woman sat bolt upright in a sleeping bag, with speckled and broken skin like the man at the fireside. She stared at Petra with the same blood-red gaze under a tangle of brown hair. Petra leaned forward to touch her shoulder. The woman didn’t move, frozen in some unfathomable moment of shock. Heart hammering, Petra fumbled for a pulse. Through her gloves, the woman felt cold, and her chest didn’t move. Her skin felt swollen, as if stretched over an unseen trauma. Mike crawled into the tent to stare at a bundle beside the woman. He peeled back a sleeping bag on a little girl, maybe five or six, clutching a dinosaur plush toy. Her eyes were closed, seeming very peaceful under bruised skin. “Please let her be alive,” Petra whispered. Mike shook his head. “No pulse. But … not a mark on her.” Petra backed out of the tent into the clearing. Blinking, she reached for her equipment bag and dug out a handheld yellow gas monitor. Stabbing at the buttons, she waited for the sensors to start analyzing the air. She glanced at the mudpot, that beautiful pink jewel barely the size of a bathtub. The warmth it radiated condensed against her plastic suit. When the call came in that a man had been found dead near a mudpot in Yellowstone, the rangers had all assumed that the culprit was poisonous gas, carbon dioxide or hydrogen sulfide. And that would make sense, but …
While waiting for the gas monitor to calibrate, Petra stood to peer into the bubbling mud. It was possible, but poisoning by those gases was a relatively rare phenomenon. She fished some tongue depressors out of her pack to dip a glob of the mud out into a specimen bottle for analysis. A sharp drumming sounded overhead, and she looked up. A woodpecker drilled into a pine tree above her, making a sound like a jackhammer. Birds had much more delicate respiratory systems than humans. If poisonous gas had seeped up from the mud here, then the bird should be showing ill effects. But instead it had found its breakfast, plucking bugs from bark, ignoring the humans below. Her gaze scraped the perimeter of the camp. The vegetation was all wrong here—brittle and yellow and spotted, as if burned by something acidic. She knelt to pluck a piece of curled grass to stuff into a specimen bottle. Low-level amounts of hydrogen sulfide were likely to enhance plant growth. High levels could kill plants, but not quickly. She glanced down at her gas detector. “Huh.” Mike had backed away from the tent. “Well?” “No carbon monoxide. No sulfur dioxide. Normal amounts of carbon dioxide. No appreciable levels of hydrogen sulfide right now, which is what I assumed the culprit would be, since that’s the most common airborne poison spewed by mudpots.” She pulled the hood of her suit back to take a sniff of the air. It smelled like pine needles, not like rotten eggs. “I think that it’s safe for your people to come in. Just … tell them not to touch anything they don’t have to. Gloves and suits.” Mike nodded and began barking orders into his walkie-talkie. Petra lifted her freckled face to the sky, feeling the blessedly cool breeze against her cheeks. She spat a bit of dark blond hair out of her mouth and reached to take another soil sample. Maybe there was some other toxin here? Something more exotic that would need more tests run. Arsenic could be here, but it wouldn’t have killed these people so quickly. The ground was opening up in pockets in the whole Pelican Creek area. Geologists had been detecting midlevel quakes in previously quiet land. In a place like Yellowstone, the geology was always changing, but this was unusual. And it needed to be investigated. Mike mopped his brow. “Maybe there were high levels here overnight, and the wind swept it all away,” he mused. “Or the mudpot belched. A one-time thing.” “Could be.” Inspiration struck her, and she stood to examine the man’s body by the dead fire. He lay where he’d fallen, rigidly on his side. “Could you help me with him?” “Sure. What do you need?” “I need to check his pockets for change.” Mike rolled the guy over. The body didn’t turn over with a normal thick, human sound. Petra heard sloshing, as if they were moving a cooler full of melted ice. Mike came up with a set of car keys and a fistful of change, which he handed to Petra. She stared at the debris, pushing aside the quarters, nickels, and dimes in her palm. “Whatcha lookin’ for?” “Pennies … ah.” She held a penny up to the light. A 2015 penny, bright and shiny and new. “It wasn’t hydrogen sulfide poisoning.” “How can you tell?” “If he’d been exposed to hydrogen sulfide, the copper in the penny would have oxidized. No evidence of that, here. When hydrogen sulfide was used as a chemical weapon in World War I, copper coins in the pockets of victims turned nearly black.” “Great. Maybe the coroner’s toxicology report will tell us what it was. I’m mostly just concerned that we’ve got an ongoing hazard situation here.”
“I’ll run some soil samples,” Petra said. “In the meantime, you should have your rangers cordon this off for at least a hundred yards until we know for sure what it was.” She wrinkled her nose and reached for her respirator. “What the hell is that smell?” It wasn’t the rotten-eggs smell of hydrogen sulfide. This smelled worse, like roadkill. Mike turned to the body. “It …” The smell hit him, and he struggled to pull his hood over his head. “It’s the body.” Where the camper’s corpse had been turned over to the earth, a black, viscous substance oozed. Two medics had arrived in full gear and grasped the body, one at the arms and the other at the feet. As they lifted, it seemed as if some fragile surface tension held by the man’s skin failed. The skin split open, and dark fluid soaked the dirt to splash against the white suits of the medics. “Christ,” Mike said behind his mask. “Only a floater would behave like that.” “A floater?” she echoed. “A body that’s been in a river for weeks. The gases build up while the organs rot. But … these guys can’t have been here that long. We’ll know for sure when we get an ID.” More plastic suits showed up with body bags into which to pour what remained of the camper. They discussed how best to remove the woman and the child from the tent without rupturing them. It was decided to start with the child. Petra turned away. She just didn’t want to see that. She began picking at samples around the edge of the campsite, trying to fade into the background. But the scene burned behind her eyelids. It wasn’t just the people that were dead. Death had spread to the vegetation around the campsite in a circle, as if someone had sprayed the plants with weed killer. As she ventured farther and farther away, she found a trail of rust-colored grass vanishing into the forest. Ignoring the chatter and radio static behind her, she began to follow the trail. It spanned an area a little over three feet wide, a perfect path of brittle vegetation that contrasted sharply with the early autumn grass that still thrived. She paused before a pine tree that seemed to have had its bark scorched away by some kind of chemical reaction. She began to regret removing her hood. Holding her breath, she chipped a piece of bark away with an awl and dropped it into a sample bottle. The track ended abruptly at a spine of rocks that composed the next ridge. There were no plants to speak of here, only fine milk quartz pebbles and sandstone gravel. She blew out her breath, frustrated at having lost the trail. Had there been some kind of chemical accident here? She ran through the desiccants and herbicides she knew, most of which were not good for people, but the most likely short-term effects would have been simple respiratory distress or skin contact allergies. Nothing that could cause the amount of squish and slop that the medics were dealing with. No rational explanation. Maybe there was an irrational one. She glanced behind her. No one had followed her this far, to the edge of the forest. She fumbled in her gear bag for the last bit of equipment she’d brought: a golden compass. Glinting in the sun, it lay flat in the palm of her hand. Seven rays extended to the rim, with an image of a golden lion devouring the sun in the center. The Venificus Locus, a magic detector that she still wasn’t entirely sure she believed in, but couldn’t discount. Maybe it would have something to say. Maybe it wouldn’t. But not asking the question would be stupid. She stripped off her glove, wiggling her sweaty fingers in the air. A hangnail that she’d neglected to trim kept annoying her. She ripped it off and hissed when blood welled up around the cuticle. Clumsily, she sloshed a bright drop of it into the groove circumscribing the outside of the compass. The blood sizzled on contact, then gathered itself into a perfectly round bead. It circled the rim of the compass once, twice … Petra held her breath, as much in anticipation as not wanting to spill the blood. The bead of blood swung back and forth in an agitated fashion, then settled on north, pointing to the campsite right behind her.
“Great,” she muttered. That was pretty decisive. The compass would have just sucked up the blood if no magic was present. This was weird land. The nearby town, Temperance, had been founded by Lascaris, an alchemist who’d conjured gold from dead rocks. Some of Lascaris’s old experiments still wandered the countryside. She’d encountered a few of them in her short time here: the Hanged Men, the Alchemical Tree of Life, and the Locus itself—which she’d been told had been made by Lascaris’s own hands. A shadow flickering through sunlight caught her eye, and she looked up. She half-anticipated it to be the woodpecker foraging for more insects, but froze when she spied a raven watching her, balanced on the edge of a branch. His eyes reflected no light, his shadow mingling among the flickers of needles and branches of the lodgepole pine. She stared back at it. It might be an ordinary raven. Or it might be one of the raven familiars of the Hanged Men. She turned the compass toward the bird. The drop of blood spiraled halfway around the disk before the bird, alerted, took wing and vanished. Things around here were rarely ordinary. **** Clear now. The raven pumped his wings, pulling himself into the blue sky, as far as he could get from the smell of blood in the compass and the aura of poison clinging to the campsite. He caught an updraft from the sun-warmed land, skimming along the south edge of the mountains, over the dark ribbons of road and the dry grasses of autumn fields. This draft required little effort from him. He stretched his wings and allowed his eyes to drift shut. The sun felt gloriously warm on his back, seeping through his feathers into his light body. In the sky, things were simple. There was no magic that could touch him here. No blood. No pain. There was just sun and air and sky. He sailed along the current until it weakened. He twitched his feathers, gave in to the instinct to flap his wings, and opened his eyes to look down. A vast field spread below him, gold and grassy and glinting with dew. A massive elm tree stood at its center, and below its shade stood a man in a white hat. The raven made a slow spiral, relishing the last bit of air through his feathers. He skimmed around the tree in a lazy arc, approaching the motionless man on the ground. The man opened his arms, as if inviting a lover back. His amber eyes glowed brighter than the dawn. The bird slammed into his chest. Feathers melded with flesh, fluttering into a pulse and soaking into skin. Gabriel let his hands fall. The bird twitched through his consciousness as he absorbed all it had seen. Above him, leaves rustled. Some were living leaves, some dead. The tree stood, scarred and ancient, but its shadow had grown thin. He reached up to pluck a brown leaf from a branch of the Hangman’s Tree. This wasn’t the only withered branch; the tree’s leaves had begun to curl at the center, as if autumn’s breath had come weeks earlier. He turned the leaf over in his hands. The tree was dying. He’d felt it even before the leaves had begun to drop, as the magic in it faltered. Even the Lunaria, the Alchemical Tree of Life, couldn’t survive forever. Not after what it had been put through, creating generations of undead to haunt the Rutherford Ranch. Not after what he had been put through. If he closed his eyes, he could still remember bleeding into the roots of the Lunaria and the tree’s frantic efforts to put him back together. He’d been torn to pieces in the explosion of a collapsing house. Wood had pierced and rent his body to bits. It would have been best to leave him to dust. But no … the other Hanged Men had brought him back here, out of sheer instinct. And the last raven had been brought back to him, the last fragment of himself. Through excruciating pain and light, he’d been revived.
Though not wholly. He was conscious of vast gaps in his memory, as if time had eaten away at an old tintype photograph. He’d forgotten his middle name. He couldn’t remember the exact year he’d come here, though he knew it had happened over a century ago. He recalled bits and pieces of alchemy, arcane bits of ephemera about dissolution and phoenixes. His right hand shook when he wasn’t concentrating on it, and he’d developed a somewhat mechanical twitch in his left eye. An irritating limp came and went, even if he parsed his feet away as ravens and brought them back again. Revived. But at terrible cost. The light running through the veins of the tree grew more sluggish with each sunrise. He could feel it choked off, as if some force had girdled it beyond retrieval. The end of the tree would be the end of all the Hanged Men. He remembered that much. Behind closed eyes, he thought about that possibility of oblivion. Nothingness was seductive. No more striving to see another day. Just dust. He’d had a taste of it, when he’d lain in pieces within the Lunaria’s embrace. He crumpled the brittle leaf in his fist and opened his eyes. His gaze traveled to the south fence, where the rest of the Hanged Men toiled, herding the cattle to the north pasture. This wasn’t just about him; there were the others to think of. The others, who had no voice, who would simply cease to exist along with him if the tree died. He could choose to give up—but the decision was not his alone. And yet … perhaps he had seen a solution. The part of his consciousness he’d sent out as a bird had detected something strange. Something that might save the last thing he held dear.
About the Author: Laura Bickle grew up in rural Ohio, reading entirely too many comic books out loud to her favorite Wonder Woman doll. After graduating with an MA in Sociology - Criminology from Ohio State University and an MLIS in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she patrolled the stacks at the public library and worked with data systems in criminal justice. She now dreams up stories about the monsters under the stairs. Her work has been included in the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project 2013 reading list and the State Library of Ohio’s Choose to Read Ohio reading list for 2015-2016. More information about Laura’s work can be found at www.laurabickle.com https://twitter.com/Laura_Bickle https://www.facebook.com/Author.Laura.Bickle
Top 10 Tales with Badass Women Leads 1. Pandora by Anne Rice Pandora sticks her fingers into the chests of her victims and sucks their hearts(!!!) What could be more ruthless than that? 2. Sunglasses After Dark by Nancy A. Collins Actually any of the Collin’s novels led by Sonja Blue are amazing. This is certainly not a vampiress who sparkles. Sonja blue would make even Price Lestat (whom I adore), step aside should she enter the room. 3. Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton This is the book where it all began for Anita Blake and where I found her at her most interesting. Necromancers with chicken blood under their fingernails? Yes, please! 4. Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison Here lies Rachel Morgan and all her witchy charms! 5. Bitten by Kelley Armstrong If you’re into werewolf ladies holding their own in a world of boys, like Armstrong’s Elena Michaels, this one is for you! 6. Graveyard Shift by Angela Roquet Lana Harvey is a reaper who doesn’t take crap from anyone, though she dishes quite a bit of sass herself. 7. “Big Driver” by Stephen King When Tess is raped and left for dead, she finds incredible strength not only in saving her life, but in exacting her revenge.
8. Fledgling by Octavia Butler Who said badasses can’t come in small packages? Shori, a child-like vampire, certainly doesn’t think so. Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Kindred also feature awesome female leads. 9. Empress by Shan Sa My first non-paranormal reading suggestion, but too good not to include. This historical fiction novel follows Empress Wu, a real life woman who came to be China’s first emperor in a time when women couldn’t even own property. 10.Inoculata by Scott Westerfeld YA and set in a world of zombies, we get a baby badass in this one. I think when Allison is all grown up, she’s going to be quite the force to be reckoned with! :0) Dying Light Jesse Sullivan Book Four Kory M. Shrum Genre: Contemporary/Urban/Dark Fantasy Publisher: Timberlane Press Date of Publication: November 2nd ISBN: 0-9912158-9-3 ASIN: B014GMBV28 Number of pages: 220 Kindle/ebook Number of pages: 465 paperback Word Count: 79,000 Cover Artist: John K. Addis
Book Description: In the wake of her handler’s death, Jesse has never felt more alone. Her best friend is distracted by a new love. Her mentor Rachel is missing and her boyfriend Lane isn’t returning her calls. Worse, a Necronite with the ability to heal any wound wants to kill Jesse and absorb her power of pyrokinesis. With little to hold her to Nashville, Jesse agrees to work as a freelance agent for Jeremiah Tate, a pharmaceutical tycoon in Chicago. Together they plot revenge against Caldwell, the mastermind responsible for the genocide of over 100,000 Necronites worldwide. When Jeremiah fails to dominate Jesse and her pyrokinesis, tensions escalate, dividing her from her allies.
Then Caldwell gives Jesse an ultimatum she cannot refuse. Amazon "Kory Shrum's writing is smart, imaginative, and insanely addictive! I have begun to think of her books as my Kory Krack. I beg of you to pick them up. You will NOT regret it!" -Darynda Jones, NY Times Bestselling Author of the Charley Davidson Series
Excerpt: Chapter 1 “Come on,” I wail. “Jumping out of a burning building is not the craziest thing we’ve ever done!” “If you hadn’t panicked, the building wouldn’t be on fire,” Ally snaps back. She tucks the bundled laptop under her arm and starts yanking open desk drawers. Post-it notes of every color fly through the air, followed by pens, a stapler, paperclips and a Kleenex box. I search the open office space for another door. Nada. Only one way in and out. “I had to do something.” I thought firebombing the bad guy was my one good idea on this mission to retrieve a laptop for Jeremiah. “If I hadn’t, we’d still be stuck with him.” We both turn our gaze to the locked door twenty feet away. A row of unoccupied desks rests between us and where we entered. The office is spacious, with rows of silver tabletops running the length of the room. Spacious—but not spacious enough with a homicidal maniac just on the other side of the door. Something large slams into the locked office door, rattling the walls. Ominous black smoke seeps through the cracks and the smell of campfire wafts in. That smell is surely going to cling to my hair until I wash it. “Just because we’ve been reckless before doesn’t excuse it now.” Ally slams a desk drawer shut and yanks another open. Her disheveled blonde hair hides most of her face, revealing only terrified eyes. She gives up trying to find a weapon in the desk drawer and hurries to the window. Her gaze falls on the street below. “God, Jesse. No. We’ll never survive a fall from this height.” I shrug and pucker my lips. “It’s fine. I’ve fallen from higher. We’ll be fine.” She blinks at me. “You’re forgetting about my shield thingy.” I’m talking out of my ass here, but there is no way I’m letting him come in here and hurt her. He can trade punches with me all day if he wants, but not with Ally. I’ll have to find a way to break the window, jump out, and shield her on the way down. The door shakes for the fourth time and a thick crack appears to the left of the jamb. A thicker plume of black smoke rolls through the crack and floats to the ceiling. The white popcorn tiles disappear beneath the black fog. I go to the window and look through the glass beside her. The glass is cold under my palms and my breath fogs on the surface despite the growing heat of the room. Down below, tiny cars cut corners around buildings. One could easily be mistaken for a child’s toy. Shit, it really is far down. I meet Ally’s eyes and shrug. “We don’t have a lot of options.” Sweat forms at my hairline and in the folds where my coat sits snug against my body. Chicago shines brightly around us, each pinpoint of light from the buildings and streets illuminating the dark sky. My gaze flits from building to building, from illuminated window to illuminated window, but I don’t see salvation. We aren’t close enough to another skyscraper to signal for help. No scaffolding or window-washer platform is available to carry us to the safety of solid ground or to the roof above, where we were supposed to meet Jeremiah. The coms in our ears buzz incoherently for the billionth time. Ally sighs in irritation. As the coms stop crackling she mashes the speak button flat with her thumb. “For the thousandth time, we can’t understand you. Something is wrong with our signal. If you can hear us, we are on the 34th floor of the Jensen building and we’re trapped. Send help.” A look of resolution solidifies on Ally’s face. “Jason’s going to kill us.” “No.” I squeeze her arm. “So what if he’s like a hell-bent terminator with unlimited healing ability.” I snort, trying to hide my panic. “I’ve got this.” She cocks her head. “It’s great you have firebombs and shields but we have to be careful. We don’t know the repercussions of your powers yet.” “And getting ourselves locked in burning buildings with raging madmen is playing it so safe.”
“You know what I mean.” She steps away from the window and shifts the laptop in her arms. She yanks open more office drawers. I arch an eyebrow. “A paper cut isn’t going to hurt him.” “Paper cuts hurt.” She forces a smile. “But we need something to slow him down. And you’re not helping.” I throw my hands up and pick an aisle of desks. After uselessly searching two drawers, I lift one of the office chairs and immediately know this flimsy, ergonomic piece of crap won’t be able to break a window. I throw it anyway. It bounces off the glass and comes back at me with a vengeance, clipping my knee. “Fuckity fuck! Ow. Ow.” Ally looks up from the drawer and scowls at me. “Injuring yourself before he even breaks into the room is not what I had in mind.” I give her a hard stare, rubbing my throbbing knee and stumbling to another desk. I have half a mind to remind her that it wasn’t my idea to come to Chicago. I was happy in Nashville. Sure, my boyfriend Lane—ex-boyfriend—wasn’t talking to me, but everything else was okay. The first time Jason, the instahealing terminator tried to rip my head off, Ally had a fit. Jeremiah capitalized on it, of course. Come to Chicago where it’s safer. We have more people and more power there. And Caldwell is up to something in the city. We could really use the extra hands. I just wanted to stay in bed and mourn Brinkley, the man who’d given his life trying to kill Caldwell. Everyone else keeps acting like I’m supposed to be working here. The crack in the door widens and I see an angry eye fix on me. Jason screams as if the very sight of me enrages him. Gabriel appears at a desk two rows up from the one I’m searching. He flickers in and out, unable to hold his form with another partis—a weirdo with powers like me—nearby. He’s crystal clear when I’m alone, but when there’s two or more partis, I’m lucky if Gabriel can materialize at all. This is real inconvenient given that I need him most when the others show up looking for a fight. “Here.” Gabriel points at a giant rock sitting on top of one of the desks. “Use this.” No, not a rock, I realize. I place my hands on the massive stone. It’s an amethyst the size of a grapefruit. Beside it sits a little note: Don’t touch me. Please. You’ll change my energy. I look up, but Gabriel’s gone. I lift the rock off the desktop. It sinks into my palms like dead weight, the purple spikes poking my flesh. “Sorry, but I need your energy to club this fucker.” I meet eyes with Jason again as he inches his fingers through the crack and starts swiping at the locking mechanism we latched behind us. “Get over here,” I shout to Ally. Ally makes it halfway across the room before the door explodes. Splinters the size of my leg fly at my face. I duck behind the desk, clutching the gigantic stone to my chest. I peek over the tabletop and see Jason standing in the flames. His body smolders. His blistered arm melts from burnt to scabby to pink. He spots me behind the desk and we lock eyes. His face twists into a murderous grin. “Stop hiding,” he calls out. “Let’s do this.” In my peripheral vision, Ally darts to another desk, staying low. Jason takes a step toward me. “Just think, this power could be yours if you’d challenge me already.” “Fighting is such a commitment.” I stand slowly, but keep the desk between us. I’m hoping it buys me time if he does anything crazy like lunge for my throat. “You have to get close. You have to touch people. Sometimes, like you, they smell. No, thank you.” Jason’s face goes perfectly smooth. Was it something I said? A flash of black wings catches my eye. Gabriel’s still here, even if he can’t materialize. The scent of rain overtakes me as Gabriel dials up my power. My muscles contract and my body warms. My skin starts to itch around the collar of my shirt and across my belly. I feel like I have to pee. I try not to squirm. “You know who else is in the city? Caldwell. Why don’t you kill him instead?” Jason’s face twists up in fury again. “After I’m finished with you.” “Why does everyone keep saying that?” I would put my hands on my hip if not for the giant amethyst. “Don’t you think I’m a badass?” “You’re smaller.” My temper flares. “You’re trying to kill me because I’m short?” Ally coughs on the smoke filling the room and I jerk my head toward the sound. Jason doesn’t hesitate. “Jesse!” Gabriel’s voice booms in my head.
My soul rips open, power exploding from my center in all directions. It’s like someone is yanking my intestines out of my belly button. I’m so overwhelmed but I can’t stop the power from flooding out of me or even slow it down. Fire and smoke whoosh away from me as if blown by a great wind. The air around me shimmers like pavement on a hot day. Blue flames roll over the surface of my body, suspended about three inches above my skin before erupting outward toward Jason, the office around us and anything else in its path. The only object that is safe is the amethyst cradled in my hands. The walls and ceiling shudder under the force of my firebomb, raining dust and plaster down on our heads. One minute the windows shatter, and glass spills out into the night air. The next minute cold winter air is sucked into the room. I open my eyes and find Jason sprawled on the floor, unconscious. My power blast knocked him out, burned his skin, but didn’t kill him. Damn. I come around the desk, or what is left of it, and peer closer. His flesh is already healing. I try to use my breath to slow my heart rate. I need to calm down, but my head is throbbing. “Ally?” No answer. “Ally!” “Here.” She pulls herself to standing in the middle of a cluster of desks that had obviously been pushed together in the blast. She shakes glass out of her hair and checks the laptop in her arms for damage. “Kill him,” Gabriel says in my ear. The weight of the amethyst doubles in my hands. “Kill him.” The idea of killing Jason and taking his healing powers appeals to me. Instead of having to die in order to heal myself, I could simply stay alive, and after a few breaths, be as good as new again. Wasn’t that a hell of a prospect? Less pain. Less wasted time. Less danger for myself and the people around me. I lift the amethyst, my eyes fixed on his skull. “Jesse.” I lift the rock a little higher as a strange calm washes over me. No, more than calm. Peace tinged with excitement. Oh god, I want to kill him. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to kill anyone. “Jesse.” Ally’s face appears in front of mine. Eye to eye, she blocks my view of Jason. “Baby.” She’s whispering. “We need to get out of here.” Her voice. Something about Ally’s voice seeps into my mind and untangles my thoughts. The cold hand inside me, the one delighting at the idea of peeling Jason open and stealing his ability to heal, grows warm. Its hold on me slackens as her brown eyes come into focus. I can’t murder someone in front of Ally. What the hell am I thinking? My muscles relax and I let the amethyst slip from my fingers to the floor. “Come on.” Ally squeezes my shoulders. “Maybe we can crawl down the hall a little bit and find the stairs.” “No we can’t go that way—” I don’t finish my thought. The smallest movement steals my attention and I turn just as Jason snatches up the amethyst and throws it at Ally. “No!” I scream as the rock sails through the air. “Gabriel!” My shield goes up around Ally. The shimmery purple light envelops her from head to toe. The rock ricochets off the force field, shoots through the broken window and out into the night. Jason screams and runs at me, head down as if he might tackle me like some football player. “Fuck this.” I sidestep Jason and grab hold of Ally. Her shield falters just long enough for me to wrap her in my arms and yank her forward. Before she can process what is about to happen, I shove her out the big window and don’t let go. Her shriek is muffled by the wind whipping around us, tearing at our hair and clothes. I suppose this is a perfectly natural reaction to your friend shoving you out of a high-rise building. “It’s okay.” I squeeze her against my chest. “The shield will hold.” “Right?” I ask Gabriel. “What about you? What about you?” Ally screams. “You will not survive the fall.” He plummets with us, his wings folding back to embrace the drop. “You must shield yourself.” “Ally lives, not me. We have a deal.” “You must shield yourself also.” “I don’t know how. You have to help me.” “Envision it.” Gabriel’s wings open, lifting him up into the air. “See it grow larger.”
The field shines about an inch or so above Ally’s skin, it touches parts of me, but it sure as hell doesn’t cover anything important. “Hurry,” Gabriel says. “See it around you.” I close my eyes and see us falling in my head. The building rushes past us. The freezing air tears at our clothes and hair relentlessly. Lights shine from windows in a blur as we pass. I picture my shield bigger. I picture it around me and Ally, covering us both from head to toe. “Good. Do not stop now,” Gabriel says. I peek my eyes open to see purple has crept over my arms and shoulder, the shield half devouring my body— until pain erupts through my legs, my back, and the whole world goes black.
About the Author: Kory M. Shrum lives in Michigan with her partner and a ferocious guard pug. She has dabbled in everything from fortune telling to martial arts and when not reading or writing, she can be found teaching, traveling, or wearing a gi. She is the author of four books in the Jesse Sullivan contemporary fantasy series. She is also an active member of both SFWA and HWA. www.korymshrum.com www.korymshrum.blogspot.com www.twitter.com/koryshrum www.facebook.com/korymshrum
5 Holiday Gifts for the Undead in Your Life Kory M Shrum Dying and coming back to life isn’t easy. In fact, apart from dying and staying dead, it might be the absolute worst thing that could happen to a person. That is why it is so important to show the undead loved one in your life that you care about them this holiday season. Gift #1: Something Minty If you thought your breath was bad after a night’s sleep, imagine how bad it is after a couple days of being dead! So why not get your undead loved one something minty fresh! There’s a wide range of breath fresheners on the market today: mints, oral rinses or even Listerine pocket packs. Get one or a variety and stuff those stockings with something other than rotting feet. Gift # 2: Warm Fuzzy Socks I don’t know about you, but from November to April I feel like my feet are constantly cold unless I have a warm pair of fuzzy socks to slip on. Imagine how much colder your feet must be if you were the living dead! Your feet might be as cold as a corpse! So share that bundled feeling with your recently resurrected loved ones. In fact, why stop at warm fuzzy socks? Fuzzy leggings, sweaters, scarves,
earmuffs and gloves would all be a safe bet for your frigid friend. Better yet, why not invest in a Snuggie! I’m sure a Snuggie could warm even the coldest heart. Gift #3: Books No one likes feeling misunderstood. So why not brighten someone’s holiday season with books that an (undead) girl can really relate to? Might I suggest Warm Bodies, Zombies vs. Unicorns, or Dying for a Living? Perhaps stay away from unsympathetic stories like The Zombie Survival Guide. We don’t want anyone to lose their head. Gift #4: A personal massager No one likes to shuffle through their days with stiff muscles. And while getting a professional massage isn’t always practical, personal massages certainly can be. There are a lot of products on the market from massage chairs, to vibrating neck pillows and even the popular Hitachi Magic Wand—can we say “me” time? Gift #5 Automatic coffee machine Sometimes, the actual resurrecting part is the problem. For those loved ones who need at least a couple of cups in the morning in order to pry open their eyes, consider gifting an automatic coffee maker. It can be programmed to dispense coffee with just a touch of a button—great for those struggling with fine motor movements.
Mystical Mystical Series Book One Michael Weekly Genre: New Adult/Urban Fantasy Publisher: Limitless Publishing LLC Date of Publication: 12/8/15 ISBN-13: 978-1680583953 ISBN-10: 1680583956 ASIN: B018HB7AQA Number of pages: 130 Word Count: 91,000 Cover Artist: Yvonne Less Book Description: When Eliza Rose found out she was a witch, she thought she’d be casting spells… However, it turns out Eliza is on her way to becoming a mystical assassin. But first she has to start college with her best friend Dawn Roberts and her feline familiar Jared. If you think college is stressful, try finding your best friend being seduced—nearly to death—by a venomous fairy. Something is horribly wrong, and Eliza must find out what it is. Knowing who’s who in the Mystical world can be a burden—or save her life… Murderous mermaids, seductive fairies, and manipulative elves are terrifying enough, but pure witches can become corrupt…and they’re the most dangerous creatures of all. Eliza struggles to discover the source of this chaos, but is repeatedly attacked—and saved by a shadowy figure. On a very personal note, Eliza must learn whether corruption is beginning to claim her mother. Her strongest ally might be handsome, enigmatic Donovan—but he is hiding a shocking secret… Donovan wants nothing to do with his old gang—not after the things they’d made him do. But when he meets Eliza, he’s both frustrated by her amateur skills and impressed by her emerging strength, and he feels compelled to help her grow into the assassin she’s meant to be. Every answer has a price, and there are beings born to corrupt the pure.
Eliza fights to master her skills before it’s too late, while Donovan must determine whether Eliza can be saved…or if she must die to keep her out of the hands of those who would use her powers to reign over all of Mystical. Amazon
Excerpt: I kneel down and pull out my silver dagger slowly from my black boots. Tugging the dagger out carefully with my index finger and thumb, I structure a plan to save the girl in my head. One of the things mom said to herself when I eavesdropped repeats in my head: “Mystics, they are disguised amongst people.” I narrow my eyes and lock them on the creature before me. I attempt to move and save her. Instead, I clench my hands into a fist, my throat is dry, and my heart drops inside of my chest. My hands are shaking, and I’m struggling to breathe properly. I can’t lunge forth. I’m too nervous. I press my lips together. Anxiously, my eyes slide from left to right as I try to think of what I can do to save this innocent girl. I glance down as soon as I hear something moving below me. Gravel on thin strands of weeds puckers out of the ground slowly and slithers up my calves. I cringe as the feeling of the moist dirt on my skin stings my legs. The sweet wind his wings create brush against my face, intoxicating me and causing my neck to numb. I become drowsy, my vision becomes blurry, and I forget about trying to save her. I’m paralyzed in this peaceful reverie. The smell of fresh roses controls my thoughts and actions. My eyes daze and, though I blink twice to wake myself up, I don’t want to fight against this calm feeling. It feels amazing. The weeds continue to wrap around my legs, holding me in place. I shake my head, trying to fall back into reality. I press my lips tightly together and focus on cutting off the weeds slowly. With each slash, it feels like my movement and reactions are slowing down. It must be the scent causing the nerves in my body to act strange. I cover my nose and continue cutting the strands of weed silently. Each cut increases the growth beneath me. The mud from the gravel thickens, gluing me further in place. The girl moans in pleasure while the weeds attach to me and cling onto the fabric of my clothing. The noise she is making and the weeds from underneath me are overwhelming me. My heart picks up frantically, and my lips feel dry. The strange creature caresses his prey’s bruised body. There are glowing hickeys all over her skin. He allows the weeds to slither around her neck slowly. He leaves another colorful hickey on her skin. He kisses her neck, eventually pulling on her skin with his sharp teeth. The scent of his tongue sliding slowly on her neck flows over to where I’m being held captive. My lips part as her eyes roll back into her head. I can feel my mind and thoughts drifting away with her. I want the creature’s lips on my skin just as much as his prey does. Think, Eliza, think. Stay focused. I shudder as the cold wind tickles the tiny hairs on my skin. The guy stops kissing the girl and the moans fade away. He looks up and scans his setting. His eyes lock on my hiding place. I increase my cutting movement as fast as I can. He smirks at me with colorful drool dropping to the ground from his white blade-like teeth. His red lips glimmer in front of me in the shadows. He lets the weeds take over the girl’s body, preserving his meal for later. She is still stuck in ecstasy. Her eyes slide in my direction. Even though she must be in pain, she’s smiling. Weeds form around her body, slither up, and then slap across her eyes and mouth. The creep holding her captive flutters toward me slowly. He reaches out as weeds beneath the ground and roots spring up and wriggle around my ankles and neck. They travel up against my thighs and then slap across my mouth, preventing me from screaming. I am lifted up against the wall, just how the girl is in front of me. I raise my dagger to try and cut the weed covering my mouth, but I lose my grip and it falls to the ground. I panic, struggling to breathe, but the same scent crawls into my nostrils. Its sweet taste overpowers my senses. My heart beat slows down drastically as my eyes follow the monster, who is floating in front of me, grinning wickedly. He touches my skin with his soft hand, sizzling and calming my emotions. My heart skips a beat. It’s finally my turn.
About the Author: Michael believes he is a mad scientist experimenting with his own imagination. He enjoys world building and having alluring conversations with his stubborn characters. He is your author of The Mystical Series. Specializing in many genres such as Fantasy, Urban Fiction, Dystopian, Young and New Adult. Most of his inspirations come from fairy tales, music, and his curious what ifs. He’s never thought of being an author, writing was just a hobby to him. However, one day his thoughts and ideas kept interrupting his daily life. At work he’d come up with story lines and decided to join the reading/writing app Wattpad, and there he would write. Realizing the enjoyment from creating characters and worlds doesn’t stop him from ever jotting down a potential story. You can find him anywhere to snuggling in a comfy seat with hot cocoa Netflix binging, or taking a soothing walk along the forest lines. Possibly diving in a tank with sharks, but that would be too insane. He is a shopaholic east coaster living in Virginia with his fury companion Coco. Where the two live happily ever after. Website: www.MichaelDWeekly.com Twitter: @MichaelDWeekly Instagram: @AuthorMDWeekly Tumblr: http://abcdmikey.tumblr.com Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1RU3LAm Goodreads: http://bit.ly/20cIyaF Wattpad: http://w.tt/1NvgHc4 Periscope: @MichaelDWeekly
Top 3 Tips for Novice Writers Michael D Weekly
Writing is tough and it’s an emotional rollercoaster ride. You have to be ready for anything. Have your sword sharpen and out to kill anything or anyone who disturbs your thinking process. It’s not as easy as people may think it is. You see movies of writers so excited to get down to business (at times this is true) but really it’s frustrating, time-consuming, and just a battle you’re going to have to fight. My name is Michael Weekly I’m the author of Mystical, and here are a few tips I wish someone would have told me before I started writing. Let’s face it, most of us literature geeks spend most of our valuable time with fictional characters. The ones who write spend majority time in their writing caves, a dark place no one ever leaves. We sometimes forget to go out and be social. We’d rather be social with our characters and our fictional boyfriends/girlfriends instead. Which is why the first tip is to… 1.
Please keep the screaming down, I know this is the hardest thing to do nowadays. Back in the good ole days, all you had to do was write up a note asking someone to be your friend, and what did the receiver have to do? Circle Yes or No. That was it! It was that easy, however, If you wish to be an author one day or If you already are. You need to get connected with other readers and writers. It’s good to always be on social media. Establish yourself on the amazing, yet, scary internet place! Trust me word of mouth is your biggest promoter. There are a ton of free sites you can put some of your work online and get feedback from other authors and readers. One of these awesome places would be Wattpad! I would know, because that’s where I started. 2.
Write Now Edit Later
It’s tough, it’s real and it happens. Most new writers like to edit while they write. I say no to this automatically? But why Michael why should we not edit our books at all? Because my friend, it is time consuming and more stress for you when you can do that when the book is finished. What you should be worried about is actually getting your thoughts and ideas on paper. You’ve done the biggest challenge already and that is actually writing the story. I’m so proud of you for doing that at least! You were brave enough to get your thoughts talking and active. Don’t waste your creative juices on editing and trying to figure out what a semi colon is when you can be killing a character off in your amazing story. 3.
I remember reading a quote from a blog recently. This is what it says, "My first rule was given to me by TH White, author of The Sword in the Stone and other Arthurian fantasies and was: Read. Read everything you can lay hands on” — Michael Moorcock. Strange thing is, this is very true. If you’ve never read anything or if you hate reading why are you trying to be an author? Go back to the books
that gave you the inspiration to write in the first place. Fall back into the beautiful worlds. Hey? You never know it may help you writerâ€™s block one day. My name is Michael Weekly please do feel free to check out my Urban Fantasy: Mystical! It was released on December 8th! I would love to see what you think about it. Writing can be tough but as long as you tackle the things that can get in your way. It can be a wonderful experience and you wonâ€™t regret re-reading your book and thinking, wow? I wrote this SH*T!
Tasty Christmas Treats Roxanne Rhoads Holiday erotica, short story About the Book: It's the night before Christmas Eve and all the naughty elves have been working hard in Kelly's upscale adult boutique. Santa Kelly is exhausted and in desperate need of a night off to spend some quality time with her sexy husband, Marc. But just as Kelly and Marc's holiday fun starts getting really heated, an emergency phone call from one of Kellyâ€™s employees interrupts the festive fun. Her oversexed cousin, Chrissy, is up to no good, and wreaking havoc in Kellyâ€™s shop. Can Kelly convince Chrissy that her store is not a brothel before the cops shut it down? Will Kelly and Marc ever get to finish their passionate Christmas rendezvous?
Eerie C.M. McCoy Genre: Paranormal Romance Publisher: Omnific Date of Publication: 15 Dec 2015 ISBN: 1623422337 ASIN: B0176M19RM Number of pages: 450 Word Count: 117k Cover Artist: Omnific with art by Robin Lynne Schwind
Book Description: Being a ParaScience freshman is a nightmare come true Hailey’s dreams have always been, well...vivid. As in monsters from her nightmares follow her into her waking life vivid. When her big sister goes missing, eighteenyear-old Hailey finds the only thing keeping her safe from a murderous 3,000-year old beast is an equally terrifying creature who’s fallen “madly” in love with her. Competing to win her affection, the Dream Creature, Asher, lures her to the one place that offers safety—a ParaScience university in Alaska he calls home. There, she studies the science of the supernatural and must learn to live with a roommate from Hell, survive a tunneling earworm, extract a carnivorous splinter, evade the campus poltergeists, and hope the only creature who can save her from an evil immortal doesn’t decide to kill her himself. Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/YPx4FELVxH4 Amazon Amazon UK Amazon Canada BN iBooks BAM Kobo
Eerie Preface Nowhere to Hide “Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson Hailey plunked her head on the desk and groaned. Why, why…why couldn’t she just tell Asher that she wanted out, that she was afraid—afraid of the others, afraid of dying, and even afraid of…of him. After all, he was planning to kill her. Only temporarily, but still. She couldn’t believe she was even considering it, but she had no choice. If Asher didn’t kill her, one of the others would.
Permanently. And Asher protected her. He cared about her. He loved her, right? Asher—an emotionless creature. Hailey wasn’t sure if he was even capable of love. Oh, this made absolutely no sense. Kill her to save her? Was that love? Freshman year at her dream college was turning into nightmare, and as she rolled her forehead on the desk, the library’s impossibly large ceiling clock echoed a thump with her heart. She simply had to pull on her big girl pants and tell Asher she was done. That’s all. She squeezed her eyes shut as a swarm of butterflies took flight in her stomach. Lately, she felt an awful lot like Jekyll and Hyde: logical, rational ParaScience student by day— emotional monstrosity at night. Come to think of it, this was more like The Phantom of the Opera, and she was the naïve student who didn’t realize the secret and strange angel she’d come to know was actually a homicidal maniac… “I’m not a maniac.” Hailey jumped up. She didn’t mean to say that out loud. Asher slid behind her, putting his lips next to her ear. “But I suppose I am homicidal,” he whispered, his breath on her skin sending goose bumps down her arms and legs. She leaned into him and sighed. So much for steadfast resolve. Wrapping his arms around her waist, he pulled her closer. “How did you know I was here?” she whispered. “You were dreaming, Hailey,” he murmured. “I’ll always find you when you’re dreaming.”
About the Author: C.M. McCoy is an Irish dancer and former military officer living in the Great White North. Though B.S.'d in chemical engineering and German, she's far happier writing stories involving Alaska and a body bag (with an awkward kiss in the mix.) While working 911 dispatch for Alaska State Troopers, she learned to speak in 10codes, which she still does...but only to annoy her family. In the writerly world, she's the PR Manager at Inklings Literary Agency. Her debut novel, EERIE, is a paranormal adventure with romance and released 15 Dec 2015 through Omnific Publishing/Simon and Schuster. Add to GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27274308-eerie Follow C.M. McCoy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/eerie_o Follow C.M. McCoy on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eeriesaga/ Join the C.M. McCoy Circle of Trust on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/903719723053202/ Watch the EERIE book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPx4FELVxH4
Subscribe to the C.M. McCoy YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCq1Hvat1KHssjcsL-eGKa1g/ Become a Simon and Schuster author fan of C.M. McCoy: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/C-MMcCoy/573248418 Subscribe to C.M. McCoyâ€™s blog: http://www.cmmccoy.com/blog/
The Skull Collector Paris Singer Genre: Dark Fantasy Publisher: Booktrope/ Foresaken Date of Publication: November 17th ISBN: 978-1-51370-450-0 Number of pages: 134 Word Count: 43029 Cover Artist: Yosbe Design Book Description: In a world in which children are exploited, monsters are saviors, and dark magic is constantly at play, a little girl will go to any lengths to be reunited with her lost ones. After the disappearance of her parents, a heartbroken child is sold to the Doll-Maker who promises to revive them. In return, she is to travel from cemetery to cemetery, unearthing graves and collecting skulls. While doing so, she must avoid the Violinist and his crows, who are determined to steal the skulls she has painstakingly gathered. As she travels across the province, with her life in constant peril from vengeful policemen to furious villagers to strange creatures, the little girl must use her wits to succeed in her macabre mission.
Chapter One Our story begins in the cradle of a little girl's anguish and despair, without which there would be no tale to recount.
On a dark, stormy night, like on many others, we find her wailing inconsolably under the warming caress of a street light by the side of a nameless, muddy road. She cries, for her parents mysteriously vanished not a week ago, leaving her utterly, miserably alone. As was the way of things in the quiet province she inhabited, should one disappear without first declaring it to the town hall, by way of application, one's entire estate and contents would legally pass to the proper authorities. This instance being no different, the little girl's home had been seized immediately and locked three times by its new owners. Alone in the world, the little girl had looked to the police sergeant for help. “What is it?” he had barked. Fighting to hold back her tears, the little girl had mustered nothing more than, “...Please, sir,” as she’d clutched dearly to the only possession she had left: a stuffed bear once given to her by her mother on her birthday. The police sergeant had watched her briefly then, with softening eyes and a wry smile peering through his bushy moustache, he’d said, “I have a girl about your age.” He’d knelt down beside her and patted the damp hair on her shivering head a little too hard. Times being harsh for most and kindness deemed an ugly myth, there was no room for noble gestures or acts of compassion. This instance being no different, the police sergeant had suddenly snatched the little girl's teddy bear from her freezing fingers. “My daughter will love this, she will,” he’d said, as he stood and walked away from her to the police cart. “Let's go, boys!” The sound of whipping cracked the air and the horses at once began to gallop, sending a thick spray of mud from the wheels flying all over the little girl. As tears flowed down her muddy, sodden cheeks, two glowing eyes emerged from the dark stillness of the night. Unblinking, they watched her a while, hanging like tiny, yellow orbs. A moment later, the eyes began to etch closer and closer, until the shadowy figure of a thin man was revealed. His shabby attire was matched by an old cloth cap he wore on his head, which shrouded all facial features except his somewhat bulbous nose. “What 'ave we 'ere, then?” he enquired. “Why are you crying, lil' girl? Why all alone?” As he spoke, he seemed unaware that he was rubbing his hands together. Her parents having taught her not to speak to strangers, the little girl felt hesitant about replying to him. As if reading her mind, the scrawny man said, “Oh, you can talk to me, lil' girl, I won't 'arm ya. I'm just a concerned ci'izen looking to 'elp ano'ver.” Wanting to believe in the inherent good in people, the little girl replied, “My...My parents are gone, and I have nowhere to go, sir.” At her final word, the little girl burst into tears once again, as if her statement had somehow made events as cold and real as stone. “Ooh, there, there,” said the man, drawing slowly closer to her. “Don't you worry your lil' 'ead. Squidge is 'ere to 'elp. I just so 'appen to know someone who can 'elp ya, if you'll follow me.” The little girl hesitantly considered his words and came to the conclusion she had no other choice but to follow him. “That's my girl!” exclaimed the wiry man contently, as he offered her his hand to hold. As much as the little girl wanted to trust the wiry man, she felt uncomfortable with the idea of holding his hand, especially as the last one she had held had belonged to her mother, and she wanted to keep it that way. “Suit you'self, Love. Come this way,” he grinned. He led her into the cold darkness of empty streets to the tenebrous hollow of Midnight Forest,
known throughout the province to contain terrible things beyond the mere imaginings of mortal beings. As such, a certain understanding was said to have been devised in times when magic and myths were created, that, should people refrain from crossing the boundary that led into the forest, no evil within would flow into the land of the living. That was what they believed and seemed to be content with. “...Isn't this the forest we are not supposed to go into?” asked the little girl, tentatively. “Oh, this? Nah, they's just superstitions, they is. Load of cod’s wallop, if you ask me!” The little girl walked as fast as she could to keep up with the man's long, bandy legs, each stride of which like four of her own. “Come on! 'Is place isn't far—if you know where you're goin', that is. 'E doesn't like bein' disturbed, see?” Endlessly into the forest they seemed to walk, as wooden pillars, like ever-reaching fingers, twisted in around them at every step and enormous toadstools shielded them from the moon's gaze. As the little girl struggled to keep up, she tried not to focus on the strange crunching and squelching sounds underfoot, as she sliced her way through a dense sea of lightly blue fog. The further they walked, the denser the forest appeared to be. Just as the little girl felt as though she would collapse from exhaustion, the man she followed came to a stop and announced, “'Ere we are!” Nearly walking straight into the back of his stringy legs, she felt a combination of relief and anxiety at the sight of what stood before her. An old, ramshackle structure appeared to barely stand, as the trees and brush coiled and climbed and covered most of its rusted corrugated walls; its roof was utterly smothered by a blanket of dead and dying leaves. Though the structure appeared dilapidated, it’s windows were whole and clean, a detail the little girl found quite odd. Beyond the windows, a flickering light somewhere within made shadows dance upon the walls and ceiling inside. The thin, shabby man suddenly turned with a wide grin and gleefully spoke. “This, lil' girl, is the Doll-Maker's workshop.” About the Author: Paris Singer was born in Brussels, Belgium. He has lived in the U.K. and in various places in Spain, where he currently resides. At university, he studied English law and Spanish law. He didn't like it. He then studied translation and didn't like it, either. Currently, he is an English teacher in the south of Spain. He has far too many interests, he's told, a few of which being sports, playing his old guitar, learning Japanese, painting, reading and cooking. Not a day goes by, however, where he doesn't write something, be it under a palm tree or on a bench at a bus stop somewhere. Website: http://libertad79.wix.com/paris-singer Twitter: @dakukarasu Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShadowsOfPerception Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6434200.Paris_Singer
Stone Legacy Series Overview Genre: Mature YA Their empires have fallen, but their mythology lives on… Zanya Coreandero is a seventeen-year-old orphan with only a single friend and no hope for a normal life. The only home she’s ever known is the isolated institution—where breakfast is a handful of medications, the psychiatry sessions are mandatory, and her every move is watched. When Zanya is kidnapped, she meets a group of gifted Mayan descendants, each with a unique ability. Gone from a nameless castaway to the only hope of mankind, Zanya is forced to make a grueling decision: bond with an enchanted stone and save humanity from rising underworld forces, or watch helplessly as Earth falls victim to a familiar dark deity from her dreams. This time, he’s playing for keeps. A wicked secret hides behind a handsome face… When Arwan, a dark-eyed timebender, takes interest in Zanya's mission, it's unclear if his intention is to help, or if he's on a hell-bent mission for revenge. Wary of falling for another guy with major secrets and a tainted past, Zanya fights to keep her distance. If only her heart gave her a choice. With the approach of an ancient bonding ceremony, Zanya struggles to control her abilities—and her desires. As the winter solstice approaches, it brings an onslaught of unexpected side effects. While Zanya battles to seize control over her supercharged powers, she must also face an overwhelming suspicion that her new boyfriend, Arwan, is hiding a secret so dark it could destroy them both. And with her powers finally taking root, pacing their relationship becomes even more of a challenge. Just when she thought life couldn’t get more complicated… With the arrival of a surprise houseguest, Zanya’s deepest fears about Arwan are confirmed. And when middleworld deities intercede, the group of gifted Maya descendants are confronted with hardships they never saw coming—including an enemy more deadly than they have ever faced. When the heavens, middleworld, and underworld collide, an epic battle for power threatens the existence of mankind. Their survival rests in the hands of Zanya and her new, enchanted family. But when a final secret turns her world upside down, her stone, family, and future aren’t the only things she’s destined to protect.
Mayan Blood Stone Legacy Book One Theresa DaLayne Their empires have fallen, but their mythology lives on… Zanya Coreandero is a seventeen-year-old orphan with only a single friend and no hope for a normal life. Diagnosed with anxiety and night terrors, no one believes her cuts and bruises are a result of an evil entity, and not a brutal case of self-harm. With the only home she’s ever known being the isolated institution—where breakfast is a handful of medications, the psychiatry sessions are mandatory, and her every move is watched—the only relief is her red-haired roommate named Tara, who’s more like a little sister than her best friend. Free will is strong, but destiny is stronger. When Zanya is kidnapped, she meets a group of gifted Mayan descendants, each with a unique ability. Gone from a nameless castaway to the only hope of mankind, Zanya is forced to make a grueling decision: bond with an enchanted stone and save humanity from rising underworld forces, or watch helplessly as Earth falls victim to a familiar dark deity from her dreams. This time, he’s playing for keeps. A wicked secret hides behind a handsome face… When Arwan, a dark-eyed timebender, takes interest in Zanya's mission, it's unclear if his intention is to help, or if he's on a hell-bent mission for revenge. Wary of falling for another guy with major secrets and a tainted past, Zanya fights to keep her distance. If only her heart gave her a choice. Goodreads Interlude Stone Legacy Book Two Theresa DaLayne Tara may have spent years in an asylum, but that doesn’t make her crazy–just fearless. Dropped in Moscow with a the group of enchanted Mayan descendants, seventeen-year-old Tara is forced to wait on the sideline while her best friend—the Stone Guardian— battles to reclaim a friend’s soul trapped in the underworld. It sucks being ordinary when everyone else is superhuman… A mortal girl with a tainted past, Tara is left to deal with an overwhelming sense of inadequacy. Her boyfriend, Peter, is a healer. Her best friend is The Guardian, and everyone else is a powerhouse of awesome strengths. Meanwhile, she
struggles to leave her childhood of abuse in the past, and while Peter picks her up every time she falls, it becomes clear he deserves better. When they opened Pandora’s Box, hell came pouring out… When she’s given a chance to aid in the group’s mission, Tara is eager to pull her own weight, even if it means uncovering buried memories of being held prisoner by the underworld general. Now haunted with flashbacks of torture, Tara wanders from the safety of Peter’s arms into a city of depravity and corruption. And amidst all this evil is a young man with an agenda of his own, who leads her down a road that will either prove she is a hero at heart, or drag her into a world she’s always feared. He wants revenge, she wants redemption. And in an underground ring of missing girls and bloody sacrifices, only the fearless can survive… Goodreads Lights of Aurora Stone Legacy Book Three Theresa DaLayne After living her entire life in an orphan asylum, Zanya fears she may actually be losing her mind. Following the discovery of her ancient Maya bloodlines, eighteen-yearold Zanya Coreandero is faced with a daunting responsibility. She must protect the relic stone while Sarian, the underworld general, ceaselessly drives her to the brink of insanity. With the approach of an ancient bonding ceremony, Zanya struggles to control her abilities—and her desires… As the winter solstice approaches, it brings an onslaught of unexpected side effects. While Zanya struggles to seize control over her supercharged powers, she must also face an overwhelming suspicion that her boyfriend, Arwan, is hiding a secret so dark it could destroy them both. And with her powers finally taking root, the struggle to pace their relationship takes on a life of its own. Just when she thought life couldn’t get more complicated… With the arrival of a surprise houseguest, Zanya’s deepest fears about Arwan are confirmed. And when middleworld deities intercede, the group of gifted Maya descendants are confronted with hardships they never saw coming—including an enemy more deadly than they have ever faced. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. And when that woman has no soul and a taste for revenge, they will need the powers of every surviving ancestor simply to stay alive. Goodreads Anarchy Stone Legacy Book Four
Theresa DaLayne Jayden’s heart may have stopped beating for good when he was rescued from the underworld, but it can still break… After an ancient Mayan ceremony goes horribly wrong, Jayden is left to face reality—the girl he once loved is pledged to another. At his breaking point, he steals a cab to leave behind the group of enchanted descendants, this time for good. When Hawa—a beautiful but lethal acquaintance—decides to call shotgun, his only choice is to take her along for the ride. He’d be glad to have the company…if it were anyone but her. He only knows her by occasionally sharing a hallway in Renato’s huge estate in Belize. It’s clear she has a perma-chip in her shoulder, and they have absolutely nothing in common. So he thinks… With no cash and nowhere to stay, Hawa leads him into the heart of Guatemala City to an abandoned hotel of orphaned kids. As more of her tainted past is revealed, an unwelcome memory reappears in flesh and blood, threatening to break her wild spirit. A mysterious orphan is the only one standing between him and the new queen of hell… Modem, a spunky twelve-year-old girl with a knack for computers, seems to be keeping her eye on Jay. When his abilities go rogue and pull him back to the underworld, Modem shows she’s more than meets the eye. And as everything spirals out of control, Contessa proves no realm is out of reach… Goodreads About the Author: A long-time enthusiast of things that go bump in the night, Theresa began her writing career as a journalism intern—possibly the least creative writing field out there. After her first semester at a local newspaper, she washed her hands of press releases and feature articles to delve into the whimsical world of fiction. Since then, Theresa has been married, had three terrific kids, moved to central Ohio, and has been repeatedly guilt-tripped into adopting a menagerie of animals that are now members of the family. But don’t be fooled by her domesticated appearance. Her greatest love is travel. Having traveled to over a dozen countries—not to mention an extended seven-year stay in Kodiak, Alaska—she is anything but settled down. Wherever life brings her, Theresa will continue to weave tales of adventure and love with the hope her stories will bring joy and inspiration to her readers. Author website: http://www.theresadalayne.com FB: https://www.facebook.com/theresa.dalayne Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheresaDaLayne Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authortheresadalayne/
Ten Things You May Not Know About Decadent Kane 10) I very rarely paint my fingernails. Having polish or fake nails on makes my hands feel awkward and 'clogged' is the best way I can describe it. 9) I create my own teasers and my cover for Impure Bargains via power point. I love power point. 8) I can't stand to go without wearing a bra- even to bed. 7) I redid a two story house with a friend- carpets, painting, cleaning up after the people who had used the house like a dog kennel- in two weekends so me and my girls had a place to live. 6) I hate feet- my own- other peoples- just yuck. 5) Jeff Dunham is my favorite comedian and only one I really 'get' because my sense of humor is- off. LOL Most of the time I don't understand regular jokes because I take them way to literally. Friends and family often have to explain why it's funny. 4) I love to color. I have my own crayons and coloring books â€“it is also how I got myself to quit smoking- color books and suckers. Kept my mouth and my hands busy because the alternative to keep mouth and hand busy couldn't always happen when I had a craving *winks*. 3) I don't drink a lot of pop- actually I can't stand pop most of the time. 2) I prefer boxers to briefs. *grins* 1) I have 1 tattoo. Impure Bargains Impure Series Book 1 Decadent Kane Genre: Paranormal Romance Date of Publication: Ebook edition Dec 1, 2015 ISBN-10: 1514889870 ISBN-13: 978-1514889879 Number of pages: 224 Word Count: over 50k Cover Artist: Decadent Kane Book Description:
Desiderus has served Ba'al faithfully for nearly one hundred years. When Haven Rowe put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, her fierce nature stirred emotions he hadn't felt since before Ba'al claimed him. With his sight set on consuming her body and soul, he'll use every deceptive idea at his disposal to make sure she belongs to him. When Haven walked in on a demon stealing her brother, Jeremy, her entire world unraveled. Born to a family of magic users, yet unable to use magic of her own, Haven will do anything to get her brother back from the depths of hell, even if it means she has to bargain her soul. With the help of a witch, Haven seeks out loopholes to the soul bargains that have been made. She either finds a way out for her and Jeremy, or they both might be lost forever. What she doesn't count on is the betrayal of her own body and the insurmountable attraction she has for the demon she's trying to escape. Available in Kindle and Paperback Excerpt: Surprised by the female's actions, Desiderus watched her run for a moment before his mind registered her actions. Her obsidian hair flew behind her with a strange bag slung over her small shoulders. In a way, he should have known Haven would bolt. Experience all but told him that. Many had run and failed. Desiderus shook his head and a grin spread across his lips. She wouldn't get far and not just because she was naked. He had a pretty good idea that Haven didn't worry about her loss of clothes as much as she worried about what he might do to her. He would have loved nothing more than to chase after her...but she needed to be taught a lesson, to understand what it meant for him to have her name, for him to be in control. After quickly making Ba'al's sign in the air in front of him, a toad with a circle, magic flickered into the sigil like sparking a match. The sign brightened to an orange color. Desiderus had been a demon so long it took seconds to create. Under his breath, he let her name roll off his tongue in one easy motion, "Haven Rowe." The color of the sigil sprinkled away on a breeze and black smoke swirled. Haven's image slowly began to appear, little by little, tantalizing, as if she somehow knew he wanted her body, far more than he had any other mortal female. Her legs came first, the lazy curve of her hips, he groaned with the swell of her heaving breasts, and finally her face construed in a perfect scowl piercing him with those damn blue eyes. "Running will do you no good, Haven." Inside lust coiled around his core, urging him to do anything but stand there looking staring. Her skin shimmering with sweat, making his tongue slip out to lick his lips. He swallowed a groan at the thought of tasting her tanned flesh. Lost in his erotic notions he didn't see her foot until it was too late and a sharp jolt of lightning like pain raced up from between his legs, shooting over his spine and slamming into the base of his brain. Colors formed in his eyes and he blinked it away as his stomach churned. His knees weakened, but he kept himself standing somehow, adrenaline replacing the pain as anger mounted inside him like a lion. "But that does demon." Haven turned to run for the second time and despite the throbbing radiating from his balls, Desiderus reached out for her, latching fingers around an ankle that had come up from the ground and Haven fell front first into the dirt with Desiderus falling on top of her.
About the Author: Decadent Kane, author of the trouble with elves series, writes paranormal romance with heat. She lives in Wyoming with a full house: 3 dogs, 1 cat, 1 guinea pig, 1 rat, 2 kids, and 1 fiance. An elfess in human form, Decadent enjoys dipping her fingers into the human realm where she took pen to paper and began the tales of the trouble with elves. Her obsessions include reading, Dean Winchester, and honey. She will devour your soul with glimpses of the feral ridden drow elves, with their dark skin and soul consuming. She'll sneak morsels of naughty thoughts to you via goblins, and seduce you into stepping inside the elven realm where females disappear when lust takes over among other elfish troubles. Beware the sprites. Follow the wisps. But never look a drow elf king in the eyes... Amazon Author: www.amazon.com/author/decadentkane Authorgraph: https://www.authorgraph.com/authors/DecadentKane FB : www.facebook.com/DecadentKane Twitter: https://twitter.com/DecadentKane Blog: http://decadentkane.blogspot.com/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/DecadentKane Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/FDtsL Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/746945411992459/
Top 10 Gifts for the Author in Your Life
1- A nice bottle of their favorite alcoholic beverage is always appreciated. Most of us will happily tell you the stereotype of the "drunken author" really isn't a stereotype at all. For myself, I prefer a bottle of Barefoot wine or nice bottle of Southern Comfort. 2- A lumbar pillow for their writing chair sitting hunched over the keyboard for hours at a time and days on end is murder on the back! 3- A small soft blanket to go over their knees while they write is helpful. It seems to me the older I get the more sitting there wreaks havoc on my knees keeping them warm is very beneficial. It also helps me to make feel snug in my little writing spot. 4- Scented candles, I always seem to have several of these burning when I write. If you poke around a bit you may even be able to find candles scented expressly for the creative/writing experience. 5- Wrist wraps/supports are always good especially the kind you pop in the microwave for a few moments, oh, they're wonderful! 6- Any type of pain relieving rub; Ben Gay, Aspercreme, anything like that as our hands tend to ache when we're done for the day. Of course, with me, my entire arms ache/tingle from shoulder to fingertips due to carpel tunnel and a touch of arthritis. 7- Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee, more than anything else we run on caffeine. 8- A gift certificate for a nice long massage to ease all of the ailments I've described. 9- Their favorite food, often we get so busy that either we forget to eat or we sit at our keyboards typing away absolutely starving but terrified to break the magick of moment for a nosh. If left too long we could actually starve to death trying to get just one more sentence in! 10- A picture of ourselves, this is mainly for our families who can forget what we look like when we're sequestered far away from the world for so long working on our latest masterpiece.
OF WAR SERIES An Epic Journey of Love, Lust, Betrayal, Rage, and Redemption Lisa Beth Darling The Complete no-box set. ASIN: B00RI9I2CO Series Description: Fall in Love with Ares God of War and Alena MacLeod. Together they Rock the World from the Heights of Olympus to the Celtic Moors. In The Heart of War, Magdalena MacLeod has been on the run from Cernunnos, Great Horned God, for 200 years when she mysteriously washes ashore on secluded isle of the God of War. When the Olympians discover her presence on Ares' island, they send Apollo to the island to retrieve her while Ares is away. Diplomatically winding her way out of immediately going to Olympus and having nowhere to turn, Alena strikes a bargain with the God of War--her virginity for his protection. Ares sees a sweeter deal; her in his bed and himself back in his rightful place on Olympus even if it means turning Alena over to Zeus. After Alena proves herself to Ares in battle and his bed, the God of War must choose between his Divinely Dysfunctional Family, his pride, and Alena. Child of War-A God is Born Ares and Alena have settled on snowy Olympus to await the birth of their son, Raven. Before Raven is even born, Zeus outwardly despises him for his Fey blood. With only one to keep his family safe from his father, Zeus the God of Gods, Ares enters into a blood pact that could cost the God of War everything he holds dear. After a harrowing birth wherein mother and son are nearly lost to Ares, it quickly becomes clear that Raven may be the most powerful and cunning Olympian ever born despite his muddled bloodline. Zeus, Apollo, and Aphrodite plot against the new family by carefully planting the seeds of rage and doubt in Ravens' mind, they turn son against mother. It appears as though Cernunnos' prophecy is coming to life as Raven grows to be a very angry young man. As the true past between the Olympians and Celts is revealed, the battle for Ravens' mind and the ultimate control of Olympus begins. Before it's over, the white snows of Olympus will run red with blood. Child of War-Rising Son sees Raven on the verge of manhood as his rampage continues and he begins the difficult path to Acceptance by his fellow Olympians. Out to prove he's as good, if not better than, any of them he bests the Trials set before him by Hades and Poseidon. This isn't enough for him, in his
quest to prove to his Father, Ares, that he is an Olympian Raven preys upon the Mortals below Olympus in a time of great weakness. Enlisting the aid of his Uncle Apollo and settling for nothing less than utter Chaos, together they push the Mortals to pure anarchy. Ready to conquer the remainder of his Trials so he may take his place at the Counsel Table, and bring Ares the glory Cernunnos once prophesized, only one thing stands in his way; the night his Mother fell down the stairs. Apollo, ever the Man Behind the Curtain, pulls Raven's strings like a true puppet master. It's far too late when Raven realizes all he's done in hopes of pleasing his Father actually makes Ares look guilty of destroying the Mortal World. A little Chaos and a little Anarchy aren't enough for the Golden God, in his on-going quest to destroy Ares, Apollo sets a plague loose upon the embroiled Earth. By the time the Olympians discover what's going on twenty million people are dead with the number multiplying exponentially every day. Women of War gives us a brief reprieve from the death and darkness as we journey backward in time spanning four generations of women in Alena's family. From her great-grandmother, Shar Draiocht the last known Queen of the Dark Kingdom to her tortured daughter Morrowind, to Maven Alena's freespirited mother and through the lonely life of Alena MacLeod ending where The Heart of War begins with the night Alena washes up on Ares' shore. With intensity, lust, fear, and strength these Women of War make their way in the world revealing the hidden truths of the past and Ares true connection to his beloved Wife, Alena. Kingdoms of War, the OF WAR Series Finale, sees nearly four billion souls lost to the ravages of Anarchy and the dreaded disease Major Falls. Ares, Athena, and Raven journey the Mortal World vainly reaching for a sliver of what was only to discover what will be. From the fiery wreckage a new world is slowly arising one where the descendants of Olympians, Celts, Dark Fae, and all manner of Magickal Being will rule. Ares and Athena wander the world, hoping to curtail further damage by obliterating weapons of mass destruction the Wolf inside the God of War slowly succumbs to Major Falls. A rabid God of War is not a pretty sight. Soon it becomes clear that Ares may not live to see the glory of Olympus restored. By the time Ares' fevered body is brought to Olympus, Apollo's descent into madness is utterly complete. The Gold God is quite insane as he expertly kills off the members of his Divinely Dysfunctional Family. Yet, Alena's greatest nemesis holds the key to saving Ares' life. The price is high and, should she pay it, Alena can't be sure Ares would ever be able to forgive her. Trailer: https://youtu.be/T8v8DdXqwDM Available at Amazon Price Reduced 40% from $9.99 to $5.99 until January 7, 2016 The Heart of War Book One Lisa Beth Darling Genre: Mythological/paranormal, dark romance/erotica, suspense/action/drama,
contemporary Publisher: Moon Mistress Publishing Date of Publication: December 2010 ISBN: 978-0615424682 ASIN: B004DCB3CA Number of pages: 597 Word Count: 200,000 Book Description: Inside the Heart of every Warrior breathes the Soul of a Hero--even within The Heart of War. Meet Ares God of War, the greatest Warrior the world has ever known. He's moody, grumpy, dominant, ravenously sexual, and above all, built like a Greek God. Suspected of killing his Daughter in-Law, Psyche, and long in exile from Olympus, the solitude of Ares' island is interrupted when Magdalena MacLeod a brash and sometimes manipulative Fey washes up on Ares' island after believing she's been shipwrecked. It's not mere fate that has brought the unlikely couple together yet it may be what tears them apart. Branded with a golden chastity belt bearing the mark of Cernunnos, Celtic God of the Forest and Death, Alena has been on the run from her husband the Great Horned God for 200 years. When the Olympians discover her presence on Ares' island, they send Apollo to the island while Ares is away with orders to bring her to Olympus. Diplomatically winding her way out of immediately going to Olympus, when Ares returns and with nowhere to turn, Alena strikes a bargain with the God of War--her virginity for his protection. Ares sees a sweeter deal; her in his bed and himself back in his rightful place on Olympus even if it means turning Alena over to Zeus. After Alena proves herself to Ares in battle and his bed, the God of War must choose between his Divinely Dysfunctional Family, his pride, and Alena. Get lost in this sweeping dark saga battling Ancient Gods while falling in love with Ares God of War and Alena MacLeod. Ares and Alena share a love that will rock the world from the heights of Olympus to the Celtic moors but; will it be enough? Will love triumph, or will revenge and rage win the battle for the Heart of War? Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ai8maYw89s Amazon
Excerpt The Heart of War
Nook iBooks Smashwords
Ares was in a foul mood and suffering from a splitting headache when he arrived back on the island with Alena. "Go inside." He said gruffly and pointed toward the cliffs and the cave above. "Ares?" "Please, Alena, just do as I ask. Go." She didn't want to leave him here, alone, on the beach but it didn't appear Ares was wanted company, not hers anyway. In the face of his Father and the other Olympians, Ares stood tall and strong. He'd come to her aid just as he said he would and kept his promise. Alena was stunned. When Zeus said he would return Ares' property and his station to him, she felt sure the God of War would sell her down the river. She wanted to thank him, wanted to ask why he had done it but she held her tongue. "Yes, my Lord." Hiking up the hem of the dress, she turned to make her way up the long strange stairs leading from the beach to the top of the cliff. With a heavy heart, she walked a few steps until she got to the base of the stairs and there she turned around. Ares was sitting on the sand facing the water and the setting sun. He had thrown off the belt with the heavy sword and his thick leather vest; they were in the sand next to him as he sat there with his head down in his hands. She could not leave him there. Quietly coming up behind him, Alena sat down, wrapped one arm over his left shoulder and the other under his right lacing her fingers together and pulling him backward. Alena expected him to balk or to fight but, instead, Ares settled backward into her arms, rested his head in the crook between her neck and shoulder as he let out an exhausted sigh. "I'm sorry I'm so much trouble, my Lord." She whispered as she nestled her face into his hair. Letting the softness of her touch and the warmth of her body comfort him, Ares closed his eyes and drew in the peaceful shelter she offered. "It's not you. It's Them." The Olympians were quite the Divinely Dysfunctional Family. Alena had never seen or heard so much bitter bickering from one clan. If that was her Family, she might be damn happy that she lived in Exile on a beautiful island such as this. "They're awful." She whispered in his ear careful not to let any prying ears overhear. Ares gave out a deep chuckle and then another sigh as his hand rose up to caress her arm. She thought of how brave, how daring, and even dashing, Ares had been as he stood there telling all of them they could not have her. When she listened to him speak of Artemis, Alena nearly cried. Then she had been stunned into silence having expected the God of War to hand her over, maybe not with ease but readily enough, in return for his crown and scepter. "Thank you for keeping your promise." "You expected this chauvinistic pig to do less." Ares mused still with his eyes closed. "Everyone does."
Child of War-A God is Born Book Two Lisa Beth Darling Genre: Mythological/paranormal, dark romance/erotica, suspense/action/drama, contemporary Publisher: Moon Mistress Publishing Date of Publication: November, 2011 ISBN: 978-0615523460 ASIN: B0063I60HU Number of pages: 386 Word Count: 150,000
Book Description: Do you remember Damien? Raven makes that kid look like an angel. In book #2 of the OF WAR Series, Ares settles down with his wife, Alena, to await the birth of their son, Raven. As Alena struggles to enjoy what should be a blessed event, prophetic visions of an adult Raven haunt her dreams. Are they true visions or false ones implanted by Cernunnos who told her the boy would bring glory to Ares but only pain and agony to her? The strong but delicate Fey is relentlessly bombarded by hostility from the Olympians making her yearn to be back on Ares' secluded island home, far away from all the bickering and backstabbing that makes up Life on mighty Mount Olympus. Before Raven is even born, Zeus outwardly despises him for his Fey blood given to him by his filthy Celtic mother. With no way out and no way to keep his family safe from his father, Zeus the God of Gods, Ares enters into a blood pact that could cost the God of War everything he holds dear. After a harrowing birth wherein mother and son are nearly lost to Ares, it quickly becomes clear that Raven may be the most powerful and cunning Olympian ever born despite his muddled bloodline. As Zeus, Apollo, and Aphrodite plot against the new family by carefully planting the seeds of rage and doubt in Ravens' mind, they turn son against mother. It appears as though Alenas' visions and Cernunnos' prophecy are coming to life as Raven grows to be a very angry young man. As the true past between the Olympians and Celts is revealed, the battle for Ravens; mind and the ultimate control of Olympus begins. Before its over, the white snows of Olympus will run red with blood. Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Et3HZTTVJno Amazon
Nook iBooks Smashwords
Excerpt Child of War-A God is Born Alena, daughter of a warrior and wife to one as well, had no objections and she joined them in the basement daily. Ares wholeheartedly approved, as he believed it was high time Alena worked with her own powers and skills. Even though she was the boy's mother, since her powers were bound for so long, they were very evenly matched and sparred well together, Raven with spear and she with the staff Ares made for her. Having the complete run of the cavernous basement, they sparred and chased each other around as Ares shouted out encouragement and strategies to them. Alena was only a few inches taller than Raven but his arms were already longer than hers, and that gave him an advantage when thrusting and swinging out with the spear. Alena almost always seemed to sense such moves and jumped over the spear as though she were playing double-dutch. The smacking of wood on wood clattered throughout the Fortress. Raven gave it his all but Alena treated the matches more like a game; when she struck out it wasn't with all of her force and a few times Ares caught her letting Raven best her. He took great exception to that. An opponent either won or lost in battle; there was no mercy. A few times, late at night in their bed, Alena told him it was good for Raven's self-esteem if she let him win once or twice, but that only made him angrier as he told her self-esteem was earned and not given like a toy. Raven would learn nothing if she let him win; he had to learn how to be victorious on his own, or when it came time for a real battle he would be unprepared.
From that night on, Alena won every match between her and Raven, though the last few had been very close and Raven was catching on to his mother's moves and strategies. It turned sour yesterday as they sparred and Raven chased his mother into the small meat locker where their meat was either cured by smoking or roasted in the huge stone pit. The pit was five feet deep and seven feet across, surrounded on three sides by stone four feet high that came together in an arch at the center. A drop from the top to the bottom wouldn't prove fatal, but it was certainly deterrent enough when Raven cornered his mother up there. Alena was going to jump to the top and then down the other side to use the stone walls as cover, but Raven was faster than she thought. By the time her foot landed on the uppermost stone, Raven was already waiting for her on the other side, sharp point of the spear thrust upward toward her throat. "Yield!" Raven commanded, feeling victory in his fingertips for the first time. Ares still didn't know just how she managed it. Alena swung out with one foot as she pivoted on the other, knocking the spear safely away from her as she turned, silver hair flying out behind her like the mane of a steed, to make the jump to the other side and safety. When she came around the corner with her staff at the ready, Raven, angry at having been cheated, let an ice ball five inches thick fly from the palm of his hand to hit her squarely in the jaw. Alena was knocked back by the force, her lips split open, gums bleeding, nose broken. Raven loomed over her, his eyes vacant and empty as he held the sharp spear to her throat. "Yield, bitch." It was no command-it was a threat. Before Ares could shout to his Son that was enough, a great gust of wind swirled around in the small room. It blew back his hair and then pushed against him with such force he had to fight to stand his place. Alena's beautiful gray eyes closed as her arms splayed out at her sides, one with the palm open and the other choking the staff. The point of the spear wavered in the strong wind as Raven struggled to stay pitched forward as the growing gale threatened to lift him off his knees and toss him across the room. Raven countered, his young hands glowing with an eerie blue light as they began freezing to the staff, the new ice ball growing between them. This one was twice the size of the other and if he hit her with it at this close range, Raven might well kill his mother. Without any warning, the wind seemed to turn on Alena; it lifted her body upward from the small of her back to her shoulders, bringing her throat dangerously close to the tip of the spear. Suddenly her eyes opened to reveal only the whites. As though she could see through them, they shifted to Raven's hands and then back to his face. Amazingly, Alena's lips turned into a cold grin that fixed Raven's stare to her face while she lifted the staff and then brought it crashing down to the marble floor with such force the echo was deafening. Raven flew off her. The staff left his stunned hand, the ice ball retreated, and he hit the stones of the fire pit with such force that they shattered. Before the boy or his Father knew what was happening, Alena, her eyes still showing only the whites, was standing over Raven with her staff pointing at his throat and her foot on his heart. "Yield," she whispered as the wind whipped around them, tossing bits of dust into Ares' eyes. Angry at having had victory snatched so cruelly from his grasp, Raven stared up her as he shielded his eyes from the biting wind. "Uncle," he spat. It took a few moments but the wind subsided, Alena stumbled backward on unsteady feet before the whites of her eyes rolled down and she looked out at the world through those luminescent pearls of gray. "Wow," Ares muttered, stroking his beard trying to digest everything he'd seen. Magick was not normally part of Alena and Raven's sparring routine; she was afraid to use it even though he'd tried to tell her that he could counter any damage she might do. No matter what he did he couldn't coax her into it, so magick was off-limits when they sparred. Today when Raven unexpectedly threatened her with it, Alena didn't hesitate to answer the call. Catching her breath and feeling a wave of nausea wash over her, Alena looked down at Raven, who looked up her angry and afraid. "Are you ok?" She reached out a hand to him but Raven batted it away. "Fine, mom." Jumping to his feet in a quick move, he brushed off the dirt and debris from his bare skin. Instead of stepping up and congratulating his mother, when she turned her back to him to look at Ares, Raven let an ice ball fly from his hand to strike her in the back of the head, splitting it open as it brought her to her knees. "Take that, you whore."
Ares didn't hesitate, he didn't even know he was doing it; all he did know was that one moment Raven was standing there with that snide smug look on his face and the next he was screaming as flames surrounded him. He stumbled in the fire a few moments before turning his whole body to ice and putting out the flames. When Raven returned to normal, he was lightly singed but otherwise unharmed. "Don't ever do that again, boy."
Christmas Eve on Olympus Book Three Lisa Beth Darling Genre: Holiday, Romance, Fluff Publisher: Moon Mistress Publishing Date of Publication: December, 2011 ASIN: B006HUECGA Number of pages: 20 Word Count: 10,000 Book Description: This holiday themed short story is meant as an enhancement to the OF WAR Series. Join Ares, Alena, and Raven as she brings Christmas and Yuletide to Olympus. This bit of romantic happiness contains graphic adult material. Amazon
Excerpt Christmas Eve on Olympus: As her mind feverishly searched for what she'd missed, a small bit of fluffy white and green came into her view and she felt relief as a smile broke out on her pretty face. "What's that?" "Mistletoe, I believe there's some Mortal custom about standing beneath it and then being forced into kissing." Alena glanced upward over her shoulder to take him in and marveled at how handsome he was. "Forced? How terrible." "Awful," Ares held the mistletoe over their heads with one hand and pulled her in close with the other. He lowered his head for the kiss he'd been waiting for all night. When their lips he was not disappointed but encouraged to probe deeper with his tongue and grasp the soft red velvet surrounding her tighter as the mistletoe fell to the marble floor and he grabbed her with both arms turning her fully around to face him. Her heart raced against his stomach, even through the velvet, he felt it as she pressed against him and reached up to grab handfuls of midnight hair. "You know, if you're lucky," Ares said breathlessly as their lips parted, "I think I might have a candy cane around here for you to suck on." "Oh, really? I love candy canes," she winked up at him as she bit down on her lower lip, "where oh where could it be? Over there by the tree?"
Ares shook his head as he ran a hand through her silky silver tresses, "No. Guess again." "Did you put it in my stocking?" "Not yet." Ares crooned making Alena giggle like a schoolgirl.
Child of War-Rising Son Book Four Lisa Beth Darling Genre: Mythological/paranormal, dark romance/erotica, suspense/action/drama, contemporary Publisher: Moon Mistress Publishing Date of Publication: November, 2012 ISBN: 978-0615721422 ASIN: B00ADAWTSS Number of pages: 396 Word Count: 151,000 Book Description: On the Verge of manhood, Raven's rampage continues as he begins the difficult path to Acceptance by his fellow Olympians. Out to prove he's as good, if not better than, any of them he bests the Trials set before him by Hades and Poseidon. This isn't enough for him, in his quest to prove to his Father, Ares, that he is an Olympian Raven preys upon the Mortals below Olympus in a time of great weakness. Settling for nothing less than Chaos, he enlists the aid of his Uncle Apollo and pushes the Mortals to pure anarchy when a global financial crisis leaves the entire world destitute, in ruins, and at each other's throats. Ready to conquer his Trials, take his place at the Counsel Table, and bring Ares the glory Cernunnos once prophesized, only one thing stands in his way; the night his Mother fell down the stairs. Alena, her body asleep in Ares' bed for four long years, is lost deep in the clutches of a never-ending dream induced by Morpheus. After years of living an illusion and becoming Morpheus Wife, Alena discovers his deception and struggles to escape her prison. Morpheus has no intentions of ever letting her go. He'll fight to the death to keep her. Apollo, ever the Man Behind the Curtain, pulls Raven's strings like a true puppet master. It's far too late when Raven realizes all he's done to please his Father actually makes Ares look guilty of destroying the Mortal World. A little Chaos and a little Anarchy aren't enough for the Golden God, in his on-going quest to destroy Ares, Apollo sets a plague loose upon the Earth. A bio-chemical weapon stolen from the United States Government at Area 51, known commonly as Major Falls. By the time the Olympians
discover what's going on twenty million people are dead with the number multiplying exponentially every day. With only one option left to each of them, Raven and Alena turn to their unlikeliest of enemies-Aphrodite and Apollo for help. One night in the bed of the Goddess of Love can be painful but one night in the bed of the Golden God can kill and destroy all that Ares and Alena have built and endured. To ensure that her beloved Husband and her Son are not put to death she may have no other choice. Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-hhoBlX3_k Kindle Nook iBooks
Excerpt Child of War-Rising Son: "Trinity?" He called out. "HERE!" They all called back. "No, not you. Her! Trinity! Look at me I want to help you. I want to get you out of here but you have to help me do it. Turn around, please. Turn around." In the cage near the middle of them all, the girl who sat still and quite with her head resting unnaturally on her shoulder turned around and watched him gasp. "What?" Trinity asked through lips nothing more than shredded meat. She stared him, her head on her shoulder, her face smashed in, and one eyeball bulging out of its socket. When he flinched, she gave a smile nearly hideous enough to freeze the raging river below her. Raven found it very hard to look at her, he wanted to turn away, wanted to run away. There was nowhere to go and nothing to do but stand back and fully appreciate his handy work all over her face. What a jagged little pill, but Raven swallowed it the best he could before he opened his mouth. "I'm gonna throw this to you, you catch it, you tie it around the bars and then I'm going to swing you this way and pull you down, got it?" "Why? What do you care? Why should I trust you?" "You're gonna burn in that river," Raven warned. "So what?" She turned away from him again. "So what? What...so....so you don't deserve that, do you? You didn't do anything. Let me help you, I'll take you back to the Fields where you'll be happy." "I was happy on Olympus," she mumbled. "You were my Brother, you were supposed to protect me, look out for me not kill me. You're only doing this so you can rule Olympus one day." "I want to help you, please, Trin, I'm gonna throw this, we'll only get one shot if the rope lands in the river it's gone. So get up and catch it. Let me help, let me get you out of that cage." Raven waited but she didn't turn around and she didn't say anything. "I'm sorry," he muttered looking down at the rope in his hands and feeling the nasty sensation of guilt run through him. "I never should haveâ€ŚI'm sorry, Trin." Words he never thought he would utter fell out of his lips, "Please forgive me."
Women of War Book 5 Lisa Beth Darling
Genre: Mythological/paranormal, dark romance/erotica, suspense/action/drama, contemporary Publisher: Moon Mistress Publishing Date of Publication: February, 2013 ISBN: 978-0615767611 ASIN: B00BEJPA3S Number of pages: 206 Word Count: 58,000 Book Description: Venture on a Mystical Journey through Time and Secrets Past This story spans four generations of women in Alena's family from her great-grandmother, Shar Dra誰ocht the last known Queen of the Dark Kingdom. Morrowind, her tortured daughter. Maven, Alena's free spirited mother. And ends the night Alena washed up on Ares' shore. With intensity, lust, fear, and strength these Women of War make their way in the world revealing the hidden truths of the past and Ares true connection to his beloved Wife, Alena. Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02WcvnLy8-8 Amazon
Nook iBooks Smashwords
Excerpt Women of War: Sitting in the dank cell hour after hour and day after day, time lost all meaning. Not even the rancid food came to him on anything that resembled a steady basis. All Ares knew for sure was that one moment he'd been doing his best to sleep on the tilting cot with his knees hanging over the foot of it when the cell door burst open and a full battalion of the Queen's Guard rushed him. Wrestling him to the ground, they clasped him in chains and dragged him to the center of their little underground village. The whole town gathered to witness, torches, staffs, and readily available throwing items in hand. They hissed at him, cursed him, and tossed their stones while guards led him up to a round platform with a pillar of granite jutting out of the middle. Ares needed no introduction to the structure or to learn its intended purpose, after all he invented the whipping post. Understanding their intention, Ares fought as mightily as he could with his ankles and wrists bound together. "I'm a GOD! How dare you try to whip me?" he railed as he threw off the guards to deliver double axe handle blows upon them, but they were so damn small and agile that he kept missing them. This infuriated him mostly because he was so large they couldn't help but land their return blows on his half-naked frame. It wasn't long before the Queen's Guards knocked his legs out from under him with a heavy blow of a study staff. Once on his knees, blows landed on his head, shoulders, and jaw. Ares discovered that tiny fists hurt a great deal. Bloody and dazed, they shoved him down on all fours and attached the chains on his wrists to the post. Looking out at the crowd with seething eyes, he cursed them. "You're going to regret this." "I think not," replied a soft but stern voice from behind him.
Ares looked back over his shoulder to see Shar Draiocht standing there, whip in hand, ready to dole out the punishment they thought he so rightly deserved. "Unusual for a Queen to get her hands so dirty," he snarled. "It's a special occasion," she hissed back as she brought the whip forward with a practiced wrist. It licked between his shoulder blades and split open a wide swatch of his olive flesh. Each time the whip sliced through his perfect flesh, Ares snarled, "You bitch!" With every crack of the whip the crowd shouted out, "Hazzar!" They raised their staffs in victory. Queen Shar gave Ares God of War fifty lashes before she dropped it to the floor and took her leave in silence. The guards left him tied to the post, sweating, bleeding and in agony for the next five days.
Kingdoms of War Book 6 Lisa Beth Darling Genre: Mythological/paranormal, dark romance/erotica, suspense/action/drama, contemporary Publisher: Moon Mistress Publishing Date of Publication: June, 2014 ISBN: 978-0692248409 ASIN: B00LEVJAJ6 Number of pages: 496 Word Count: 190,000 Book Description: With nearly four billion souls lost to the ravages of anarchy and the dreaded disease Major Falls, Ares and Raven journey the Mortal World vainly reaching for a sliver of what was only to discover what will be. Unleashed by Apollo, Major Fallsâ€”a weaponized version of the flu and rabies-- has wiped out every person of watery Mortal Blood. From the fiery wreckage a new world is slowly arising one where the descendants of Olympians, Celts, Dark Fae, and all manner of Magickal Being will rule. For the last millennium the Dark Kingdom has sent small legions of its Daughters in search of its Lost Queen. Among their number is Lenora, a sharp tongued Dark Fae who joins up with ARES hoping to get close to its leader, Raven. And she does. The Wolf inside the God of War contracts Major Falls. As Ares and Athena wander the world hoping to curtail further damage by obliterating weapons of mass destruction he slowly succumbs to the sickness taking over his fevered rabid mind. Ares may not live to see the glory of Olympus restored nor fight to keep his Wife. If he does, how high will be the price for Ares' life? How long will Alena have to keep paying Apollo even once Ares is crowned King of Olympus?
With devastating consequences shattering their lives will Ares ever be able to swallow his pride and forgive Alena when the truth is revealed or will she take her place on the Throne of the Dark Kingdom leaving Olympus and Ares behind forever? Amazon
Nook iBooks Smashwords
Excerpt Kingdoms of War: Apollo looked off into the distance and to the glittering reflection of stars dancing on the ocean surface. "Just thought I'd check in and see how things are going." He glanced back to the opening of the cave. "I take it they're not going well." "A hundred million dead aren't enough for you? You have to come here and watch three more die?" Apollo looked down at his feet and kicked his feet around a little. "Actually, we're closer to two hundred millionleft alive that is," Apollo proudly crooned before raising his golden eyes back to the sea to wonder aloud. That couldn't possibly be right. There was no way nearly six billion people dropped dead in a few short months. Apollo was playing her. "You're lying, you always lie." "Awww, Maggie, you wound me." The Golden God hung his golden head but his eyes didn't stop shining as they stayed fixed on her. Holding her stormy stare firmly Apollo let his head roll up on his long neck as he wondered aloud. "Maybe those women in there don't have to die? Maybe I can help." Ragging flooded through Alena's small frame. The fine tea cup in her hand tumbled to the ground at her feet and shattered as she reached out for his throat. "There is a cure? You son of a bitch!" Apollo stood there unflinchingly but at the last second he batted away her angry talons as though she were no more than a fly. "Maybe, but you won't find out that way." Knowing he couldn't be trusted, Alena took a step back and away from him, a step toward the edge of the cliff. "You're still lying! You're trying to get into my head, that's all. You don't have a cure. This is just another mind game of yours." "Is it?" Apollo muttered thoughtfully. "Hmmmmm. Maybe. Maybe not." Surely there was some pact with the devil to be made here and Alena wasn't interested in signing on the dotted line. "Get out of here. Nothing that comes from your venomous lips is the truth. You're just a nasty little boy with a wide cruel streak." Apollo kept his voice tight as he bit back the sting of her barb. "Look into my eyes little Fae then tell me I'm lying," Apollo challenged as he took a purposeful step toward her. "As for my cruel streak, you haven't seen the worst of it yet." He glanced down at her hip hidden below the tight fitting blue jeans. "What did you tell my Brother about the scar? I know you didn't tell him it was me or I'd be dead. Is that because you dream of me in the night? This…nasty little boy," Apollo whispered seductively. "Now that the belt is no longer between us do you lay awake aching to know how I'd feel inside you?" Instinct took over and Alena's little hand curled up into a tight little fist as she landed a right hook across Apollo's smug face. "You're a pig!" Alena spat and took another step away from him, another step closer to plunging off the cliff. "Get out!"
Apollo rubbed his cheek and ran his tongue along the inside to catch the salty taste of his Ichor. His golden eyes rolled in her direction, the rage in them unveiled. He wanted to hit her back but that wouldn't get him what he wanted. It wouldn't do him any good if she fell off the cliff either still he ventured one more step. Alena backed up, lost her footing and began to topple just as he slipped his arm around her waist to catch her. "Fine," he whispered, holding her close, "but when their eyes are glazed and the fever hits their brains, when they're foaming at the mouth, snarling, trying to bite everything that comes into view as they twist and turn in agony, " he glanced off toward the cave's opening and then smiled slyly, "don't say I didn't offer." Twirling her swiftly back to safety, Apollo chuckled and then disappeared from the cliff.
About the Author: It was in the 4th grade when Lisa discovered she was a naturally gifted writer. The teacher asked the class to pen a story about a baby bird's first flight and read them to the class. Putting pencil to paper, Lisa was instantly whisked away by a force she couldn't explain. When they were finished, all of the children read their happy stories to the class. Not Lisa. She got up and told of how the baby bird flew too high, hit a plane, crashed to the ground and died. She told of how the mama bird and daddy bird cried of how even God was upset sending the rains pouring from the sky. The class was speechless when she finished all they could do was stare at her. The teacher kept her after class told her the story was very good but it was different from the others. She asked Lisa if she'd ever heard of Icarus and did she base her story on him. Lisa had yet to encounter Greek Mythology or hear a whisper of Icarus. As Lisa left the classroom the teacher again told her how good the story was but suggested she might want to write something happier next time. When Lisa asked her teacher why she had no answer. Luckily for us, Lisa I never took her advice. Lisa Beth Darling is 49 years-old, lives in her hometown of New London, CT with her husband of nearly 30 years, Roy. She is the author of more than fifteen novels along with several short stories and non-fiction books. Website: http://www.lisabethdarling.com Blog: http://lbdarling.wordpress.com Twitter: @lb_darling Facebook: http://facebook.com/lbdarling Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1577311.Lisa_Beth_Darling
The Limits of the Imagination in Paranormal Romance When I first saw the topic for my guest post, I thought, that’s easy. There aren’t any limitations. Done! However, because it’s a Romance (capital R) first and foremost, there are genre specific rules that must be followed. There must be a Hero/Heroine—or Hero/Hero or Heroine/Heroine or maybe three or four or more and any variety of sexuality you can think of! And we aren’t limited to humans, but if there are shapeshifters, let’s keep the sex in human form, shall we, please? We must have a relationship(s). Most readers enjoy watching the characters fall in love, moving from first look and first like or perhaps, first look, first hate, to “maybe he/she’s not so bad,” to “get out of my way, I can’t keep my hands off” you heat. And, we must have a happily ever after or a happily for now and an upbeat ending. Pretty simple, right? Or is it? Throw in the word “Paranormal” and things can get quite complicated. I began my fiction writing career in horror, mystery, and sci-fi. At the urging of a friend who said, “All your stories have relationships. Why aren’t you writing romance—paranormal romance?” That’s when I discovered the wonderful, limitless world of Paranormal Romance. It was a natural fit for me. Paranormal events have played a role in my life since childhood. I have always accepted this alternate reality that many others do not experience or recognize. Their disbelief doesn’t dismiss my psychic experiences: dreams that come true, that I think of someone–and that person calls, and that I knew my sister was pregnant before she did. In the 1970’s while a psychology major at the University of Connecticut, I participated in telepathy experiments using the now famous J.B. RhineZener cards and other images. (Even the Central Intelligence Agency was into ESP, just read Newsweek!) My “hit rate” as a receiver was statistically greater than chance occurrence. Curiosity and pragmatism took me down the paths of psychology (BA), neuroscience (MA in Psychology), Nursing (AAS) and finally, public health (PhD). So, it’s really not surprising that I’ve gravitated to paranormal romance as one of my favorite sub-genres to read and to write. For many years, outside the realms of science fiction, horror and paranormal romance, it was felt that science, religion and the paranormal couldn’t coexist–much less cross into each other’s territories. However, Jeffrey Kripal, a highly regarded author who holds the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University, where he is also the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, published Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred. This in-depth examination of four major figures, Frederic Myers, Charles Fort, Jacques Vallee and Bertrand Méheust, researches the links between religious experiences and paranormal reports. Kripal’s scholarship provides a solid foundation and gives other serious scholars permission to explore these intriguing relationships outside the realm of fiction. I enjoy writing about the tension between the scientific, paranormal, and spiritual realms. In Kiss of the Virgin Queen, I explore the fascination of four major religions with the Queen of Sheba, King Solomon story. My research of the sacred texts, mythologies, legends, as well as scientific disciplines led me to create a story that encompasses a contemporary descendant, a scientist who also happens to have special powers. Her love interest is a man of science, a psychiatrist.
However, when he shifts into a Persian lion, all his beliefs about his family’s history are challenged. Can they work together to defeat an evil jinni? Or will they die before finding the love that history decreed? With two story lines that alternate between Biblical and contemporary times, the key take away message to the reader is this: No matter how far we are into the future, everything connects us to our past.
Kiss of the Virgin Queen Kiss of the Jinni Hunter Series Book Two Sharon Buchbinder Genre: Paranormal Romance Publisher: The Wild Rose Press Date of Publication: October 14, 2015 ISBN: 978-1-5092-0392-5 Paperback ISBN: 978-1-5092-0393-2 Digital ASIN: B015ATFQTA Number of pages: 300 Word Count: 75K Cover Artist: Rae Monet
Book Description: Homeland Security Special Agent Eliana Solomon is on a mission to prevent terrorist attacks. Hard enough to do when the threats are human, almost impossible when it's an evil, shape shifting jinni. Eliana needs help so she calls the sexy and beguiling psychiatrist, Arta Shahani. However, no matter how good he is at his job, the man is on her blacklist. On their last case together, the guy left her for dead. Arta is stunned when he receives Eliana’s call. Forced to abandon the woman he loves, he now fears she won’t accept his shape-shifting skills as a Persian Lion. Eliana, in the meantime discovers she is a direct descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba with special powers of her own. But will her skill and Arta's be enough to defeat the jinni, or will they lose the love history decreed for them as well as their lives in this battle of good versus evil? Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/4ONWBeBZXlw ARe Amazon
Kobo WildRose Publishing
Bonus and Spotlight Material
Short intro: This full length novel is the second in the enthralling new Jinni Hunter series from award-winning author, Sharon Buchbinder. Edgy and suspenseful, this paranormal romance series explores diverse cultures and an array of supernatural beings. Join the Special Agents of the Anomaly Defense Division as they race to save humanity—and the people they love. Tagline: No matter how far we are in the future, everything connects us to our past. Two sentence blurb: Forced to work with sexy and secretive Dr. Arta Shahani, Homeland Security Special Agent Eliana Solomon isn’t sure she can trust him—or her heart. Will Eliana’s skill and Arta’s be enough to defeat the evil jinni—or will they lose the love history decreed for them as well as their lives?
Excerpt: Chapter One Summertown, West Virginia, U.S.A., Present Day A picturesque flight over the Appalachian Mountains to Summertown, West Virginia gave Special Agent Eliana Solomon of the Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate, Anomaly Defense Division time to process the urgent report she’d received by email. Up until this week, the existence of werewolf packs had been concealed from the general population. Now reports of the secretive shape shifters exploded in her inbox. Where had this information been all this time? Had the government monitored them all along? If so, why had her boss, Bert Blackfeather, insisted on her obtaining proof of their existence, along with the jinnis? She’d pry an answer out of that closed mouth man—someday. Right now, she had a more pressing matter at hand. Five days ago, three nine-year-old werewolf boys and their three eighteen-year-old sisters went on a birthday expedition in the heavily wooded state wildlife area and disappeared. By day, local human authorities, volunteers, and bloodhounds brought in from surrounding jurisdictions combed the forest, the hills, and caves. By night, pack members ran through the forest using their extraordinary senses—olfactory, visual, and auditory—to hunt for their missing kin. Divers also explored the waterways, all to no avail. No clues to the kids’ whereabouts had been found, not even a backpack—until two this morning. A night security guard discovered the boys in the middle of the Adalwolf Winery parking lot. Slightly bruised and scratched up, but otherwise alive and well, in their human forms, the youngsters had no recollection of anything between arriving at the park and waking up in the parking lot with their back packs under their heads—their five-day-old lunches untouched. Rushed to the ER and examined thoroughly, the boys displayed no evidence of physical abuse. The blank space in their minds where the memories should have been was inaccessible to parents and psychologists. If it weren’t for the fact that the three older girls were still missing, the local authorities wouldn’t continue to press the boys for information. Over time, their memories could return, but without ransom notes, calls or clues, the clock was running down for a successful search and rescue. The local police, state troopers, sheriff’s office, and the West Virginia Bureau of Investigation feared the operation would soon become a search and recovery. The plane touched down, bounced along the runway, and Eliana’s cell began to vibrate. “Solomon.” The gruff voice of her boss boomed in her ear. “New development in the case.” Blackfeather paused. “A hiker found one of the missing girls in a culvert near an abandoned mine. Bites, claw marks. Throat ripped open. Damn thing nearly tore her head off.” She shuddered. “Black bear?” “Based on the paw prints around the body, the first responders are saying these weren’t bear bites. More like a dog—or wolf.”
“Boss, aside from zoos and wild animal preserves, there are no wolves in the eastern U.S.” He sighed. “I stand corrected. Werewolf.” Her stomach lurched, and she gripped the armrest so hard her knuckles turned white. Shit. Shit. Shit. A werewolf attacking one of its own? Why? What the hell was going on? “West Virginia Division of Homeland Security has a car waiting for you, fully loaded with everything you’ll need for the investigation. Get to that scene.” Her boss clicked off. Bossy desk jockey. A flush of shame rushed over her. He’d taken on the orphan Anomaly Defense Division of the Science and Technology Directorate that no one else wanted, along with a mission no one else supported or believed in. As abrupt and abrasive as he could be, the Gulf War veteran deserved credit for giving her the opportunity to pursue what everyone else thought was something out of the tales of The Arabian Nights: jinnis. With the needed proof of werewolves and jinnis from Project Aladdin, support surged into the division. A stable funding source made her jinni hunting work possible So far, it seemed wherever there were werewolves, there was jinni activity. This case was no different. According to the report, relationships between the local humans and werewolves were more than cordial. They were so intermarried, almost everyone was family. A large non-denominational wedding facility placed Summertown on an international list of destination weddings, like Hawaii and Las Vegas, but specifically for werewolves. A thriving bed and breakfast trade supported the wedding industry, along with other leisure activities, such as biking, hiking, white-water rafting, and winery and sightseeing tours. Murder of a werewolf girl wasn’t just bad for the family, it was bad for the town.
About the Author: Sharon Buchbinder has been writing fiction since middle school and has the rejection slips to prove it. An RN, she provided health care delivery, became a researcher, association executive, and obtained a PhD in Public Health. When not teaching or writing, she can be found fishing, walking her dogs, or breaking bread and laughing with family and friends in Baltimore, MD and Punta Gorda, FL. Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001IODIE2 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sharon.buchbinder.romanceauthor Twitter ID @sbuchbinder https://twitter.com/sbuchbinder Instagram: https://instagram.com/sharon_buchbinder/ Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sbuchbinder/ Blog http://sharonbuchbinder.blogspot.com/ Website http://www.sharonbuchbinder.com/index.html Goodreads author page https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4417344.Sharon_Buchbinder Link to sign up for Newsletter http://www.sharonbuchbinder.com/contact.html#newsletter
Sources for NA inspiration Pinterest makes a great place to collect my inspiration for some of the story moments. The initial spur for me came when I got the first line, so I knew I had to have the “great outfit” clearly described. I initially had them all downloaded to my computer, and then when I discovered Pinterest, it got so much easier. My pinterest page is here, but you really don’t want to look at it if you haven’t finished the story. It will spoil a number of super secret plot elements. https://www.pinterest.com/daydreamsdandel/mariposa-novel-inspiration/ So I’ll research a topic like crazy, even a place I know as well as I know San Antonio. It’s much easier to pull up a photo when you want to write a scene than to drive over there to make sure you got the details right. And even if it’s just the briefest mentions of something, something you would only notice in passing, I need the details to be right. It works, because a number of readers have told me they liked the descriptions of San Antonio so much they want to visit there now. I need to send the tourist & visitor center a bill. I’ll admit that a number of scenes of pure description from the story ended up cut because I get so caught up in describing the scene that the story lags. But at the same time, I want my stories to be very grounded in real places, very sensory in nature, and for that to happen, the reader wants to know what the couch looks like, what the food tastes like, what songs might be playing on the PA system. So when I get stuck, I’ll go look at an image. Why? Because that’s the kind of story I want to read. I hate it when authors leave everything up to your imagination. I want to know what color the shirt is! And sometimes, I want to find out later that the shirt being red meant something special. One scene in the novel, where Meg is trapped in one of the “bad” ghost’s lair, I knew I wanted the bad ghost to have a series of collectibles, magic-items that she used to ensnare other ghosts. So I googled something like “antique nick nacks” and found this amazing picture of a dresser covered in items like silver brushes, jewelry boxes, scarves, feathers. One of the items ended up being the focus-item in one element of Meg’s magic, a kind of talisman, until she could figure it out on her own, without the help.
Other things, like the snow globe of San Antonio—I actually used to own one of those. My son broke it a couple of years ago which drives me nuts because they’re super rare and collectible now. You just can’t find it on the internet anymore. But I have a pin of it because I had stuck the image on my hard drive, back in the day, and it helped me visualize what I wanted to do with that particular scene, a scene which moves the narrative into the home stretch towards the big conflict finale. Another pin that I have is of a video by a band called CocoRosie, for their song “Gallows.” They really get this very spooky, madwoman haunting and scaring, otherworldly vibe in the video, and the song is just creepy and weird. I listened to the song about 100 times on repeat while I was writing several of the scenes. I know that when Renata, the audiobook narrator, wanted some information on how to voice characters, I told her about the video and with one of the major baddies, you can really hear the influence of this song. The story really is grounded in the city, and the fantasy peeks through in elements like the mural (which is a major player on the cover, too) and the descriptions of the ghosts that make up a major part of Meg’s quest. I love being able to share the files with people, too, because then they go “OH WOW! That’s totally how I pictured Martha!” Also, there won’t be any confusion when Hollywood decides to cast the movie. :D Mariposa Children of Mariposa Book One Kim Wells Genre: Urban Fantasy/Magic Realism Publisher: Daydreams Dandelions Publications Date of Publication: December 24, 2014 ASIN: B00O9DCRDC Number of pages: 293 pages Word Count: 106,993 Cover Artist: Lawrence Mann Book Description: What if the best night of your life was also your last? On the eve of a much-anticipated proposal, Meg is happier than she could have ever imagined. The future she sees for herself on that magical night is bright, one that’s full of love and laughter and dreams finally realized. That is, until one random act of violence changes everything…
Consumed by fate and forces she can’t comprehend, Meg finds herself at the center of a spectral conflict that transcends life and death. Her very soul is up for grabs in this war, and what’s worse… she’s not the only one. Now, she’s fighting not just for the love she lost, but the daughter she would have called her own. She must fight the battle of her life, for the sake of her friends and family, and find out for herself if love can indeed be stronger than death. Intertwined with true-ghost stories, some heart-warming, some heart-breaking, this love-note to San Antonio combines history, myth, and vivid description. This is the full story of Meg & Amelinda's quest-journey, what author Laura Metzger calls "A beautifully written story with compelling characters that reach between the universe of the living and the dead to embrace their mutual destiny" and author Elena E. Giorgi calls "A beautiful tale of love and redemption." Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/u8wWa70P7ck Kindle Paperback Audiobook Excerpt: Meg: Vanilla and Lavender On the day I died, I was wearing a great outfit. This is important to know because it turns out that your default look for eternity as a ghost is what you’re wearing when you die. I mean, seriously. Who knew? If I’d have known that, I wouldn’t have risked any days in mediocre clothes. In that respect, I was lucky I was on a date when I was killed, but of course, if I hadn’t been on a date, on that date, maybe things would have turned out differently. Not everyone gets to be a ghost. In fact, some people disappear immediately, and I don’t know what happens. But they just wink right out of existence, only out of their bodies for a few seconds. Maybe it has something to do with intent, or their last actions, or their own belief systems. I hope the good people go somewhere good, no matter what they did in the last moments of life, that there is a way for them to make up for those Big Mistakes. Some people, people who haven’t Figured Things Out, people like me, linger for a while. We hang around those we love and sometimes try to influence their choices, trying to keep loved ones from making Big Mistakes. My grandmother had been my ghost–I was not surprised when it came right down to it. Back when I was alive, I used to smell her perfume in the apartment we shared, vanilla and lavender. I could never figure out what actual perfume brand she wore to get that scent, and believe me, I tried. I loved it and wanted that for my signature perfume. I haunted the local drugstores, especially the old ones, and vintage stores, looking for an old- fashioned perfume that featured those fragrance notes, but never found anything that smelled even remotely like hers. I guess it was just her individual magic that combined the scents that way. It seemed to linger in our apartment, long after she had been gone. Especially at certain important moments. I wouldn’t know those moments were important ‘til later, but looking back, it’s obvious. I’m getting ahead of myself, moving way too fast for normal people. First, you probably want to know more about me, right? You can’t just start in the middle of the story; you have to work up to these big deals. I
made it 23 years on the planet before checking out. I guess you’d say I was pretty, although I was never very stylish or together. I thought that would come with maturity, but I never got to find that out. When I died, I had shoulder length wavy copper colored hair, cut in a bob that was always tickling my chin and sometimes made me want to cut it all off. I certainly never had the patience to grow it all out. It was “in between” hair, lack of decision hair. My eyes were basic gray, nothing exciting, although I desperately wanted the “limpid blue” or “decisive green” eyes of a romance heroine. A light plague of freckles scattered across the bridge of my nose showed my Irish- Scottish mutt background, and I had fair redhead’s skin that burned, rather than tanned, which kept me indoors most of the time or slathered in sunscreen. 5’8’, skinny without being too skinny. I did have my family’s big butt, which we will not discuss. Why I have to go through eternity with that butt is beyond me. I tended to prefer jeans and a comfortable cotton shirt, paired with flat old- fashioned Converse tennis shoes as my daily outfit, but I could clean up pretty nice when I had to.
About the Author: Kim wrote her first critically acclaimed (if you call her fourth grade teacher a critic, and she does) short story when she was 9 years old. It was about Christmas in a Cave, and it featured such topical, ground-breaking subjects as homelessness & cave dwelling. She's been writing ever since. The state of publication depends on who you ask. She has a Ph.D. in Literature, with specialties in American Lit, Women Writers, Feminism, Sci-Fi/Fantasy & Film Studies but please don't hold any of that against her. She teaches academic writing and how to read literature at a university in her hometown and tries to convince college students that it really is cool to like poetry. She lives in the South, has twin children (one girl, one boy) and a husband who is the model for all her best romantic heroes. She also has two cats-- one black and sassy, one stripey and fat, and also kinda sassy. Website: http://www.kimwells.net/ Find her on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/kimwellswrites Twitter here: https://twitter.com/dandeliondreams Pinterest here: http://www.pinterest.com/daydreamsdandel/
Top Ten Time Travel Tales By Kevin B. Henry Long before I ever had the glimmer of an idea to write my Amber Gifts Series I loved stories about time travel. Some I read. Some I saw on television. All effected my growing affection for science fiction and fantasy. Here is a list of my Top Ten Time Travel Tales. Yep I went with the Five T’s for a title. Unlike David Letterman, these are in no particular order. 1. By His Bootstrap by Robert A. Heinlein a. Introduced me to the word paradox. I’ve looked for those ever since. 2. All You Zombies by Robert A. Heinlein a. This was recently made into a movie and I had forgotten I’d read it so many years ago. It holds up well. 3. The Door into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein a. I know the list is top heavy with stories by RAH but what can I saw, I read him a lot and he did good work. 4. A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury a. Loved how this short stort ends. They tried to make a move out of it but it never worked, in my opinion. Stick with the book. 5. Fantastic Four #5 Prisoners of Doctor Doom by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby a. Yes, I’m old enough to have read this when it was released. I think I still have a dog-eared copy in my basement. 6. Blink, Doctor Who Series 3 Episode 10 by Stephen Moffat a. Best Doctor Who story ever and he has a fairly minimal role. The Weaping Angels steal the show. Just Don’t Blink!! 7. The City on the Edge of Forever, Star Trek Season 1, Episode 28 by Harlan Ellison
a. Kirk, Spock and Bones in pre-World War Two America. How much better could it get? The controversy with Ellison just adds to the fun, in my opinion. 8. War Without End, Babylon 5 Season 3 Episodes 16 & 17 by J. Michael Straczynski a. Helps to see Babalon Squared, Season 1 Episode 20 first but I’ll count this as one since it’s all one continuing story. Again, the ending made me go, Oh My Gosh!! Repeatedly. 9. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (book & movie) by Mark Twain and staring Bing Crosby a. I read the book after seeing this movie on TV. I liked both and living in Washington state I laughed when he evokes Walla Walla as magic. Not sure Twain would approve. 10. Dark Shadows. The 1966 to 1971 TV soap opera. a. This came on in the late afternoon, after school was over. I would come home and watch it before dinner, wondering where they might be going or who Barnabas might bite next. Don’t see the movie. It was a horrible disappointment to me. I’m sure I’ve left out your favorite. There are a lot to choose from. These are mine. What are yours? Thank you for reading. ~KbH
Lily St John McKee’s novel Crestfall has been published posthumously by her family. What inspired Lily to become an author? Lily loved reading. She lived in a world filled with books and populated with her favorite characters. She wrote stories from early on in her youth, and she began “Crestfall” when she was still in high school. (Of course it changed over time, but she began it then.) Where did Lily grow up? Lily grew up in Washington, D.C. and she was lucky enough to have access to all the Smithsonian programs and the Shakespeare Theatre and all the Folger Shakespeare Library programs and summer camps. She attended numerous plays in New York, London, and in Washington. She came into adulthood at Muskingum University in Ohio, and worked on her “Crestfall” manuscript as part a master’s degree in creative writing at Bath Spa University in Bath, United Kindgom. Is there a message in “Crestfall” that Lily wanted readers to grasp?
She wanted young people to know that after the rigors of adolescence there was a rich, full life waiting for them. They would not be defined by the limited viewpoint of their adolescent world. She created the lead character, Aria, as a model of a resilient, tough, self-confident young woman. She hoped Aria would inspire other young women to stand up for themselves. What genre did Lily write in and how did she approach it? Lily drew from many genres in her work, which reflects her wide knowledge and love of a variety of literature. Her book is a mystery novel, but it also includes a love story and elements of the paranormal. Some would consider this a coming of age story, because that’s what happens with the lead character. Others might also consider it fantasy because of some supernatural elements. Is anything about the book based on events in Lily’s life? The book draws on a number of Lily’s own experiences, including her time spent studying in the United Kingdom. Even little details like the main character’s interest in the Black Death brought out a topic that Lily was long interested in. In the book, Aria helps solve a murder mystery and that draws on Lily’s knowledge about forensics, which she studied in school. Some elements of Aria’s personality resemble Lily’s personality, as do many of Aria’s jokes. How did Lily choose the setting for “Crestfall?” In the summer of 2010, Lily visited Newfoundland with her family and she was captivated by the mystique of the small towns and the beauty of the island. She was already writing “Crestfall” and was planning to set in the state of Oregon. But after visiting and photographing Newfoundland, she moved the book there. The photograph on the back cover of the book is one that Lily took on that trip. Who was Lily’s favorite author and what is it that really struck her about their work? She loved the work of Jane Austen and read every book that Jane Austen wrote. Lily had a very wicked sense of humor and she appreciated the social criticism in Austen’s books. Lily often felt like an outsider, just as many of Austen’s characters were. They were very smart women who were able to find their own niches in society – as was Lily. Her other favorite author was William Shakespeare. She began her interest in Shakespeare by loving his plots and storylines, but over time, she also became enamored with his word craft. She delighted in the fact that many of the phrases that are common in our language now came from his plays. She attended every Shakespeare play produced in Washington from when she was young child, and many summer programs affiliated with the Shakespeare Theatre Company and the Folger Library. One of her favorite programs at the Folger Shakespeare High School Fellowship Program. Since Lily passed away, her family has endowed that program, and it has been named in her honor. Who is “Crestfall” dedicated to and why? The book is dedicated to her college roommate and best friend, Amy Adams, who passed away in the spring of their junior year.
In publishing the book, we are also dedicating the book to research on ARDS, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, and to Lily herself. Lily passed away this March from a brief struggle with this difficult disease. Books give us all a window into an author’s mind, what parts of Lily’s personality can you see in “Crestfall”? Lily identified with people who are misunderstood and she had a strong sense of justice. You can see both of those qualities in the book. She also had a funny and unique sense of humor. At one point in the book, the main character calls someone an “Asshat.” That was pure Lily. She was also a playful romantic, which comes out in the book’s plot. Crestfall: A Novel of Earth and Fire Lily St. John McKee Genre: young adult/paranormal Publisher: Posterity Press, Inc. Date of Publication: November 23, 2015 ISBN: 978-1-889274-50-8 Word Count: 64,425 Cover Artist: Robert L. Wiser Book Description: Crestfall is a dark fantasy with a heart of love—for the earth, its creatures and plants, for people who strive, care, and face down fear. Its young heroine, Aria Andrews, interrupts her medieval history studies to attend her sister’s funeral in a town on the rugged coast of Newfoundland. Her estranged twin was murdered, and Aria becomes a suspect before setting out to uncover the brutal truth with the help of her brother Fynn, his girlfriend Sophie (a witch), and forthright Bennet Halfnight, a handsome detective. All three Andrews siblings have possessed unworldly natural powers; Aria uses hers to pursue an old antagonist and confront new ones: shape-shifters and werewolves in this startling romantic novel of beastly gore and human tenderness.
CHAPTER 1: STRANGER THINGS Myths are truths buried beneath layers of speculation and obscurity. There are those who would disagree, but I have seen enough of the world beneath the veneer of civilization to know better. Legends travel in the same boat as myths. They only differ because they were once thought to be real, but the validity of such things has been shrouded by the passage of several generations. These thoughts circled in my mind as I waited to go through the long lines at immigration and at the airport car rental. With a long drive ahead, I stopped to stock up on the necessities – food, water, and a couple of books on CD. In northeastern Canada, an island called Newfoundland breaches the Arctic Circle. Newfoundland is a strange place. The Vikings found it, but did not stay. The Irish, English, Portuguese, Spanish and the French settled the wild land in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is a rough land, full of crags and uneven edges. The climate weeds out those who are unable to withstand colder weather. It takes a sturdy constitution to survive in the vicious winters and cool summers. The temperature rarely climbs above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The water can be an unreal shade of blue, such as one would never see north of the tropics. The forests that line the coast are thick and green in the summer. Coral formations sit just underwater in the coves bordered by the jagged coast. Thousands of years of erosion are lined by watermarks that delineate the different water levels. And this island is where my siblings have decided to live. I still could not believe that she finally got me to come to Newfoundland. After years of taunting me with her shenanigans, she got herself killed. I was finally free of her. My identical twin and I were as opposite as night and day. Though she and I were not always like that. Something changed when we turned thirteen. She became cruel and careless to herself and others. When we were young she was my best friend. She was the kindest person you could ever meet. Then she began to delight in crushing the hopes of those around her. She would take their opportunities for herself. Sonata was an opportunist from hell. She had the ability to ferret out my dreams, and would systematically demolish them before my eyes. The worst part was that Mom and Dad were oblivious to her manipulations. Only our brother, Fynn, knew the real Sonata. When I tried to get our parents to see the lies she was spinning, I was punished. When I turned eighteen, I left home and never looked back. The only reason I stayed as long as I did was Fynn. My big brother was a godsend. But when one of Sonata’s friends got her claws into him, I could no longer trust him. So I hardly ever spoke to him in the intervening years while I was studying abroad. I left to go to college on the opposite side of the ocean. I went to Cambridge and graduated with honors. Afterwards, I decided to stay to pursue a master’s. I was working on my master’s thesis, about the Black Death of 13481350, when Fynn called with the news that Sonata was dead. The service was being held in the Crestfall Church, in the town she called home. With everything that she had done, she had no right to be buried on hallowed ground. Memories of the past flitted through my mind as the miles sped by. Before I knew it, I had entered the outskirts of Crestfall. I had never even heard about this town until Fynn called me. We were raised on the opposite side of Canada in Vancouver. Nevertheless, Crestfall was a beautiful town. The houses were quirky and painted in a riot of colors—one bubblegum pink and another the color of purple hydrangeas. The town itself was close to the ocean, beside a large bay with a rocky headland that made a sheltered anchorage for the dories of solitary fishermen and the trawlers that coursed offshore for the big cod and salmon. Sea gulls were everywhere and the townsfolk were obsessed with puffins. Everywhere I looked stores had “puffins” in their names. Also, on the docks were many boats advertising whale watching tours and trips to see these comical seabirds. I would have preferred that Sonata be cremated, so that she could never come back. I never could tell with my twin, she might be having a big joke on me, forcing me to come here for her funeral only to show up and mock me. But it was not my call. It was Fynn’s, since our parents’ death in a freak accident had made him our guardian of sorts, even after we became adults. My car squealed to a stop in front of the church. I paused to straighten my outfit: a black skirt that stopped just short of the knees, knee-high stiletto boots, a black and white V-necked shirt, and a black jean jacket. Finding nothing amiss, I walked up the steps and into the church. This was going to be hard, but I was not grief-stricken. I was sad that my sister was dead. After all, she was my second half, but I only mourned the loss of my childhood half, my wombmate. I had not seen Fynn for seven years and it scared me to think about seeing him so soon after Sonata’s death. I would have preferred being invisible and I dreaded the thought of being the focus of every irritated and stunned eye as I
walked toward the pew designated for family. But it could not be helped. I had been traveling for so long, I could not remember what I was doing when I got Fynn’s call. I waited until the last minute to book my flight. It was not as if I wanted to come. The service was almost over—I hadn’t thought I was that late—and my entrance caused a slight commotion as I interrupted the minister’s eulogy. Head held high, I walked down the aisle searching for Fynn. I found him seated in the front row. He looked stoic as always, but thinner than I remembered. He must not be eating right. I made a mental note to restock his fridge before I left and to create a list of things he should continue to get. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a young woman with black hair, with streaks of pink, purple, green, and blue threaded through it. Her eyes were a strange amber color. I reached Fynn and took a seat next to him. I could hear the whispers from those who had come to mourn. I was unsure whether this had been a good idea. When the minister did not resume his speech, but rather stood and stared at me, I felt a twinge of unease and said, “apologies.” “Would you like to say something?” the minister asked. I thought for a moment and stood. I turned to the congregation and said, “My mother once told me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I nodded as if that was final and sat back down. The young minister continued to stare at me. Sighing, I waited for him to regain the ability to speak. “I thought Mother told that to Sonata,” Fynn whispered to me. It echoed in the now silent church. “You only thought it was Sonata,” I whispered back. I saw a muscle in his jaw tick and he nodded. Fynn had changed a bit over the past seven years. He was still tall, but his lanky frame had filled out. His grey eyes held a sadness that hadn’t been there before. I could see the outlines of some of his bones and that scared me. I always remembered him as being strong and healthy looking. The minister cleared his throat, jerking me out of my reverie. “Into thy hands we commend thy servant Sonata, a sheep of thine own flock, a lamb of thine own fold, a sinner of thine own redeeming. Amen.” As we walked out of the church to go stand by the gravesite at the far side of the cemetery, Fynn took me aside. “Aria, it’s great to see you. I’ve missed you.” He looked sincere and my gut twisted with guilt. I hadn’t talked to him since he told me our parents had died in my freshman year of college. “It’s great to see you too, Fynn.” I struggled to think of something else to say. We shared a rather awkward hug. “I’m glad that you could make it. I didn’t think you would come.” “Thanks. I almost didn’t. I am supposed to be working on my thesis.” I would not lie and say I was glad to be here. I never wanted to be anywhere within a fifty-mile radius of Sonata. “All the same, it’s great to see you.” We stood awkwardly until we realized that everyone was waiting for us. I could feel their eyes on me and it was slightly unnerving. * I drove to Fynn’s house after the burial. He lived on a rambling estate, in a mansion with huge bay windows, set back from the road. It was nothing like the house we grew up in. I realized that I did not even know what Fynn did these days. Whatever it was, it paid well. The door had been left open for mourners to come and go as they pleased. I was awestruck by the extravagance as I entered his foyer. There was crystal, gold and dark wood everywhere. The place looked slightly less extravagant than Versailles. There were waiters carrying trays of champagne and canapés. Seeing the champagne made me cringe. I found Fynn talking to a tall young man whose broad shoulders tapered to a lean waist. He wore Ralph Lauren black trousers. From the back, the man’s dark brown curls were slightly longer than the current fashion. I immediately had the sense that he was powerful. “I know,” Fynn was saying as I neared. “We should have told you that Sonata had an identical twin. But I didn’t expect her either. I thought she wouldn’t arrive until tomorrow. It was awkward what she said.” For a moment I froze. Lord. I probably wasn’t supposed to hear that. I hesitated for just a second until my eyes narrowed, “Fynn,” I said. “Are you talking about me?” Fynn looked slightly abashed. “May…uh…er—” “Yes,” said the man beside Fynn. “We were talking of you.” I looked the stranger in the eye. His eyes were a strange mixture of brown and grey. I believed he was expecting me to flinch, but I knew better. To hide my shaking hands, I clasped them behind my back. I wouldn’t be undone by him.
“Well, I think it’s safe to assume that it was not good things that were being said about me,” I said. “No indeed” the man said. “But there is an explanation.” “Really? I would be happy to hear it.” “Actually, I believe the explanation lies in your corner.” His eyes raked me over from head to toe. My skin felt like it would like to crawl right back to England. “I do not have to explain myself to a complete stranger, nor do I have any wish to.” I would not defend my existence to this ass-hat. “I have a right to know why someone would be so crass as to come late to my girlfriend’s funeral, and then refuse to speak.” The man squared his shoulders, and then looked away. I wanted to laugh. “Why would you think I have anything, nice or otherwise, to say about Sonata?” “Because you are an exact replica of her!” The laughter died in my throat. A replica? Was he serious? Who was this guy? Fynn, who noted the high color in my cheeks, spoke up. “Aria, why don’t I show you to your room?” It was my turn to raise an eyebrow. “I’m staying here?” I said it slowly, trying to grasp the meaning of this. I had not been under the same roof with Fynn in years and he assumed that I would stay with him. “Yes, I think that would the wisest choice, don’t you?” I got his meaning instantly. He wanted me to stay so that we could talk. Apparently there was more to Sonata’s death than I knew. “Sure, I would love to stay here.” As we walked up the stairs, the entire room froze. Everyone and everything in it stopped moving. People stopped in midsentence, in mid-action. Only I was still able to move. I had never experienced this before—someone was freezing time around me! I let out a yelp of surprise and fear. Acting on instinct I dropped to the stairs and placed my hands over my head, expecting an attack that never came. “Sonata Andrews, back in the flesh.” A derisive voice sounded behind me. I jumped at the hostility, and turning slowly I beheld a young woman about my age. She was tall and had a willowy build. Her long curly black hair streaked with color hung to her waist in a riot. Her skin was pale and her eyes were a brilliant amber. She was the woman I had spotted in the church earlier. “You are incorrect,” I said. “I’m Aria. She was my twin.” My eyes kept searching the room. Panic was settling in under the surface of my skin. I tried to keep a cool mask on my face so as not to display how totally weird this all felt—a place and its people frozen in time. “I don’t believe you.” “Believe whatever makes you happy.” My voice had no trace of panic, thank God. “You should,” her voice held a promise of some sort. “I should what?” I countered, feeling as if she was continuing a conversation that she had started with someone else, perhaps Sonata. The woman stared at me, her eyes seeing things that only she could comprehend. Most unsettling was the feeling that she was not something I could understand. The ability to manipulate time was foreign to me. I had not ever thought about its existence. That is what most unnerved me. “What are you?” I asked. “I’m a witch,” she acknowledged. “What are you?” “I don’t know,” I said in all honesty. Mom and Dad never explained to me how I was able to do the things that I can do. If they knew, they never said. They kept that information to themselves. The woman appraised me. “You say that you are Aria Andrews?” I sighed, “Yes, that is what I said.” “Sonata knew what she was—a witch. She had figured it out a few years ago.” “Bully for her.” “That is not the answer I was expecting.” “Too bad.” “How come you have no idea but your sister knew?” She asked. “Perhaps because I have not spoken to her in years.” “Why—” “I don’t know.” Exasperated, I wanted her to be gone. For her to just disappear and let Fynn show me to my room.
Then she broke the spell and everyone began talking once again. The sudden noise nearly deafened me. I looked around as I saw that conversations were continuing as if the last few minutes hadn’t happened. Stunned I tried to catch up to what had just transpired. It was so unreal… “You okay, Aria?” Fynn asked. “Yeah,” I resumed walking up the stairs. “I think.” Still shaken, I was unwilling to divulge what had just happened. The woman had melted back into the crowd. Fynn nodded and I knew that we would talk about it. We entered one of the suites. I was not surprised, given the grandeur of the rest of the house, to see a walk-in closet, a full bath; there was a small sitting area and a large four-poster bed. Soft colors were mixed with bold accents. It was decorated exactly how I imagined a room of mine would look like if I had the choice. There were pinks mixed with browns and purples and random bold blues. It was beautiful. Fynn eyed me with a grin. “I thought you would like this.” “Indeed,” I told him. I wondered if he designed this room for me, but I was afraid to ask. “I had this room made up for you when I built the place,” Fynn confessed, answering my unasked question. “I wanted to make sure that there would be a space for you if you ever wanted to…” He trailed off and stared uncomfortably at the floor. He probably thought I wouldn’t believe him. “I’m truly touched,” I said, and I meant it. “Wait, you built this?” “I bought the land, designed the house and hired a contractor to do the actual building. And of course Sonata was furious when she found out about the room. I tried to cover it up by saying it could be a guest room, but she saw right through it. She tried to burn it.” “I am glad it survived.” I didn’t tell him I wasn’t staying long. Not right now. I wanted to make sure everything was in order first. “Look, I wanted to apologize for the things you overheard. Archer is just…well. I don’t really know how to describe him.” “Was he really in a relationship with Sonata?” The idea of her being steady with anyone seemed laughable. “Yes, she was sweet and kind with him. The way she always was with men that she wanted something from, or to anger their women.” “Still pulling the wool over their eyes?” “Of course. Herding sheep was her favorite pastime,” Fynn said with obvious disgust. I thought of Sonata’s friend, Morgana, who had turned him into the untrustworthy person I left behind. “What happened to Sonata?” “I honestly don’t know. The police have been pretty tight lipped about it. I do know that her death was no accident…the police are investigating it as a homicide. I think Sonata was murdered. I think you’d better get ready to be questioned.”
About the Author: Lily St. John McKee was born November 24, 1987, in Washington, D.C. Finding refuge in books from childhood challenges, she graduated cum laude from Ohio’s Muskingum University in 2011 and earned a master’s degree at Bath Spa University in England. She traveled widely—to Costa Rica, Iceland, Patagonia, Egypt, and Newfoundland, the setting for her novel Crestfall, which she finished in the autumn of 2014. In the winter Lily McKee fell ill and passed away on March 19, 2015. http://lilysmckee.com/ https://www.facebook.com/lily.mckee https://twitter.com/lilymckee
Published on Dec 7, 2015
The December issue is full of holiday cheer. Holiday features include: Alphas Unwrapped, Easy Ideas for a Merry Green Christmas by Wenona...