Tuesday, 28 February 2017

My First Book by Jennifer K. Ensley


Jennifer K. Ensley shares how her first book came about...


I had never dreamed of being a writer. I was happy being a life-long avid—compulsive—reader. Alas, when my precious little daughter turned into a teenager…I was no longer her favorite playmate, no longer the cool mom at parties. Suddenly, I was a source of shame. Apparently. I mean, who knew? I guess all teenagers act like/go through that. I couldn’t remember. It’d been far too long in my past. One thing my (previously) precious little angel retained from childhood to adolescence, pre-teen, and beyond…was her ever-growing love of the printed word.

So, what’s a mom to do, right? Well this mom decided to write a book. My reasoning? If she no longer wanted to spend time with me, I would create something that she would lose herself in. A magical story for the ages. Something that would capture her hormonal-laced attention and focus her back on me. Vanity? Absolutely. I was her mom, for crying out loud. I demanded to continue on as the center of her magical little universe. Thus, I wrote Cursed by Diamonds, the first in what would soon become a six-book series of an epic, fantastical tale of love, loss, friendship, self-discovery, and belief in something far greater than we are on our own.



It had everything—Elves, Dragons, Demons, Angels, Mermaids, Swords, Battle, Suspense. And this was to be my Christmas gift that year to my precious daughter. But that’s just it…it was to be a gift. I couldn’t just write this amazing story and then print it off on copy paper and wrap it up with a pretty little bow. No. If I wanted her to actually read it, if I wanted her to put me back up on my deserved pedestal (cough, cough) it had to be AWESOME. No colored copy paper—even the kind with pretty, decorated borders—for my little angel. I was going to present her with a real book. A real book with real editing and a real cover wrapped around real binding. It had to be a real book, no matter what.

Thus, my accidental journey into the amazing world or writing—story-spinning, epic world-building. I didn’t know it that day, but the printing company actually makes that new real book I just uploaded…available for the rest of the world to purchase as well. And seeing how this was supposed to be an intimate Christmas gift with a new adventure to look forward to the next year, I added the first chapter of the second book Blessed by Sapphires at the end of Cursed by Diamonds. Needless to say, it wasn’t very long until I started receiving emails inquiring as to when the next book in the series would become available.

And there you have it, friends. Ten published novels later and still writing every single day. The stories flow and my pen is ever running dry of ink.

How did the Christmas gift go over? Well, she loved the pretty new book. Of course she did. But to this day, she has never read a single word of it. She knows the story (because I forced her to listen to the audio) and she gets the first brand new copy of every book I write…but I suppose I will never be as cool as I was when she was four years old. Maybe when they make it into a movie, eh?



Cursed by Diamonds is now free from all eBook vendors and on all devices. Blessed by Sapphires is available as a free download if you sign up at my website for my newsletter.

You can find my books available in all formats and for all devices by going to…

And don’t miss my newest story Faerie Princess Loli in the upcoming anthology—Masquerade.



♦    ♦    ♦    ♦

Jennifer K. Ensley will be attending Romancing the Smokies

March 17-18, 2017  |  Hilton Knoxville Airport, Alcoa, TN


Romancing the Smokies, a production by Sweet Romance Author Donna Wright, is a romance readers dream with an Emerald Isle event, author meet and greet, an elegant luncheon, book signing, Masquerade Ball including fun casino games, plus tons of swag and giveaways.

Here, readers get to meet their favorite authors and authors get to connect with readers. We have put together authors from every sub-genre of Romance and even some Mystery authors so you, the reader, can make a personal connection and really get to know the authors whose books you’ve loved.


See full details at our website.
See ticket options at Eventbright.
(the book signing from 2 to 4 on Saturday is free to the public)

Find out how to win the

Monday, 27 February 2017

The Oracle by K.S. Marsden


Title: The Oracle
Series: Book 2 of Enchena
Author: K.S. Marsden
Genre: Fantasy

After a brief respite, the Gardyn rebels have returned to fight the tyranny of King Hrafn and Prince David.

Samantha, Jillis and Tobias will have to find their place in the new vision of Enchena; but first, they have to risk everything to make it real.

New allies will rise, as the past plays a huge part in the future; and an Oracle must be brought, to guide them all.






My Review:

The second book of the series starts out with a new 'leading lady', but it's not long before she meets up with Samantha and other characters from book 1.
The story is well-written with plenty of twists to keep me hooked.
In my review for The Lost Soul I said:
"The detailed descriptions allowed me to visualise the landscape, the scenes, and the characters."
The same applies to this book.
I enjoyed revisiting Enchena, and am looking forward to further visits. The book ended well, without a cliffhanger but definitely leaving room to continue the story.


The Author:

Kelly Marsden grew up in Yorkshire, and there were two constants in her life - books and horses.

Graduating with an equine degree from Aberystwyth University, she has spent most of her life since trying to experience everything the horse world has to offer. She is currently settled into a Nutritionist role for a horse feed company in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

She writes Fantasy stories part-time. Her first book, The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter #1), was published in January 2013, and she now has two successful series under her belt.







Guest Post by K.S. Marsden:

Overcoming the Stereotype

One of the wonderful things about being a Fantasy writer, is that you are only limited by your imagination. No magic, miracle, creature, timezone etc is out of bounds.
You can create something completely new and unique to your series, or you can use something that already has a basis in history or fiction.

In the Enchena series I decided to include both.

The mallus is a nightmarish creature that hunts in the Great Forest. I wanted to create something that could be terrifying, could be real and mysterious. The mallus are designed to be the perfect hunters, so no one survives long enough to confirm they are real.

I had an image in my mind of a dark shadow moving through the trees, long claws clicking against the wood, to drive fear into their prey.

At the time I created them, I hadn't planned for one of the mallus to be a good guy, but that was where the plot ended up. As I said, there are no limits or restrictions in writing Fantasy!

One of the most notable creatures found in Enchena are unicorns.
Bear with me, I know a lot of people will want to run a mile at the mention of the u-word.
What do you think of when I say unicorns? Rainbows, fluffy animals and girliness? I think a lot of people do.

That's the reason I thought long and hard about publishing the Enchena series. The unicorns in Enchena are wild, and prone to violence. They are incredibly intelligent, but also driven by their natural instincts. When I was creating them, they had been inspired by everything I loved in the Narnian books when I grew up, in The Silver Brumby and The Last Unicorn.
But all that didn't help overcome the fear that people might expect something fluffy. I also didn't want anyone to get part-way through the book and suddenly roll their eyes that unicorns appear.
In the end, I decided there were two things I had to do, if I wanted to publish this book:

  1. Make it bloody obvious that the story contains unicorns;
  2. Make it my marketing campaign that #UnicornsRcool

Part one was a little tricky. I'm not very good at writing blurbs at the best of times, and I couldn't find a way to word it succinctly that it included unicorns as serious characters.

So I went to plan B and got them featured on the front cover. After all a picture says a thousand words...

OK, so maybe my cover designer was saying the wrong thousand words. He was obviously hindered by the fluffy stereotype.

But, not to fear, it's rare to get the cover you want for a new series on the very first attempt. We discussed what I was looking for, and that the book features war and betrayal, etc.
What he came up with after that was perfect.

So, now set with my perfect-not-a-hint-of-fluffy book cover, it was time to hit social media and let them know that there was no shame in mentioning unicorns!

I decided to start the ball rolling by turning my own horse into a unicorn with the help of some tin foil – Blue Peter eat your heart out!

I then persuaded (bullied) my baby sister into riding him, so I could get some photos. It was actually a lot of fun, and I forget I'm supposed to be one of those grown-up thingys at times like this.


Suddenly, unicorns were everywhere, and people were sending me photos and memes, links to websites and unicorn-related gifts!
Sure, it's a bit of a double-edged sword, propagating the silly and cartoon aspects of these creatures; but I found people more willing to discuss them, and they were no longer ashamed to admit they were intrigued by the unicorn characters.

Did I succeed? Check it out for yourself, with some comments left by reviewers:

"I'm a thirty-nine-year-old male and something told me when I was assessing the alluring front cover and plot synopsis that I was not the intended demographic for this book - but I love it.
Samantha, David, Jillis and Tobias are all clearly drawn and sympathetic characters, and I cared about all of their fates. Then there is the aforementioned unicorns. K. S. Marsden has done the unthinkable and breathed new life into this mythical creature. They are wonderful here - dignified and noble - Alina and Autumn in particular are captivating and heroic."

"K.S. Marsden did an absolutely wonderful job of turning unicorns into fully fleshed out characters with motives. This isn’t some kind of my little ponies gag but rather human characters in equine form.
Marsden uses the mannerisms of horses to express their feelings and thoughts with great effect. When a horse neighs or stamps its foot, you can tell whether it’s afraid or angry or impatient. What’s most fascinating to me is that I actually liked the unicorn characters. I’m generally the type of reader that prefers human characters over animal characters, but in this book the animals totally stole the show. There’s stubborn unicorns, vengeful unicorns, distrustful unicorns, sympathetic unicorns, basically an entire selection of diverse characters who don’t feel campy in the slightest."

"That there are unicorns in this book should not be a turn-off. They were another race among the other inhabitants of the land of Enchena and were characterized very well."

"So let’s start off with the book cover. If you’re a reader who isn’t really interested in reading a book that seems heavily catered to girls (think Barbie’s playhouse). You may think that The Lost Soul is not for you since it has a unicorn featured prominently on the cover.
You would be mistaken. The Lost Soul is an extremely refreshing take on a well treaded genre. First off, the cover is pretty indicative of what you’re going to get, a fantasy story that also involves unicorns. I promise you, this is not a bad thing."

"The plot and characters too just made me unhappy. The two main characters were poorly drawn. Things happen in this book but none of it was truly interesting. I mean: boring unicorns! How can unicorns be boring? Sad."

Four out of five, that makes me very happy!





Sunday, 26 February 2017

Prison of Statues by Ainsley Shay



Title: Prison of Statues
Series: Book 1 of The Statues Trilogy
Author: Ainsley Shay
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance



Everything appears colorless in Iris’ world...until she falls asleep and the nightmares begin.

Iris’ plan to stay in her small town of Gradywoods just long enough to bury her father shatters when she finds a letter he wrote to her only two days before his death. On the evening of his funeral, her nightmare bursts with colors. Being colorblind since birth, Iris feels both amazed and apprehensive, but when she wakes in the morning, her world turns gray once again.

The day after her father's funeral, Iris finds refuge from her pain at Yves Antique Pages, the small bookshop owned by Mr. Yves, her adopted grandfather. She soon encounters three mysterious strangers who are inexplicably drawn to her. Through secrets and deceit, she fears they are all here for one reason…her.

Night after night, the nightmares continue into a series of disturbing events where Iris finds herself caught in a vibrant collision of past and present. In them, she witnesses another’s loss, torture, and broken love. As each episode escalates, she’s brought closer to a place where death may be a more satisfying end.

As Iris’ world reaches fragile limits, she must find a way out of an uncompromising fight for her life and for a love she may once have had.






Excerpt:
      The front door opened. I reached across the passenger seat and rolled down the window. He was not quite silhouetted as light bathed him from behind. I could easily see the details of his shirtless, firm body. My dream hardly gave justice to the real thing. He stood on the porch with the phone still held to his ear. “Do you want to come in?”
      “Yes.” This was not a good idea. I meant, it was a great idea, the best idea I ever had. But, it was bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. I got out of my car to go to him. Blacwin waited for me on the porch. It wasn’t until I heard him breathe as I climbed the few steps of the porch that I realized we both still held the phones against our ears. He whispered, “Hi,” into the receiver.
      “Hi.” His bare chest was a distraction, as was the line that led from his chest all the way down to the waistline of his jeans.
      “I guess we don’t need these anymore.”
      Agreeing, I lowered the phone. We smiled sheepishly at each other. Bad idea, Iris. This is how things that probably shouldn’t happen, happen. But, right now, I really wanted those things to happen.
      “I hope this isn’t too creepy, me showing up on your doorstep at four-thirty in the morning.”
      “Creepier things have happened.” His smile touched his eyes, and simultaneously, every other part of me, too. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more alive than in those countless seconds of staring into his eyes. It was like he knew every secret, every moment that had ever happened in my life. He pushed open the door and gestured for me to enter. I did. As I passed him, I caught a glimpse of the pendant resting in the hollow of his throat. Unconsciously, I took a sharp intake of breath. It was exactly the one from my dream. I shook my head and tried to conjure some rational explanation. I had to have glimpsed it before and tucked the image into the layers of my subconscious. No, I haven’t. I felt positive I had never seen it.



The Author:

Ainsley Shay’s passion for writing sparks from her unstoppable brain conjuring random first sentences, a single trait of a character, or a single thread of a plot. But, when her love for the fantastical world of fiction, where anything can happen takes over, it’s exactly at that moment she is reminded that the possibilities are endless. And, there is where the fun begins.

She surrounds herself with positive people and strives for balance in everything (rarely finds it, but she’ll never give up looking for it!). She sleeps with rocks and dreams in her pillowcase, loves audio books, has more jeans with holes than without, is fascinated with the word “hence”, and has a beta fish named Enzo, who excitedly meets her at his window each morning.

Ainsley resides in South Florida with her incredible husband and three amazing daughters. She loves the beach, but like most Floridians takes that beautiful part of our state for granted. (She’s working on that!)




Other Works by Ainsley Shay:

Adelina’s Curse (Book 2 of The Statues Trilogy)
The Carving Witch (Book 3 of The Statues Trilogy)
After the Curtain Falls
Delicate Thorns
Catching Bait


Saturday, 25 February 2017

Son of a Kitchen Witch by Tim Hemlin






As if being a high school student isn't already hard enough, Bobby Hawthorne and his best friend, Angelina Dellapicallo, struggle to understand the emerging secrets of witchcraft and magic - secrets strictly guarded by Bobby's overprotective mother and her friends. The unexpected appearance of his spirited grandfather, though, sets in motion a series of events that sweep the young teens down a dangerous path, one inhabited by an ancient evil that threatens not only Bobby and Angelina but their whole community of witches as well.

Pixies can't stop the hellhounds . . . but they have sounded the alarm . . . and the magic users must respond . . .

Amazon ~



RJ Reviews - "This is a great, fun read that puts a very American spin on the story of witches living among us in the real world, blending Texan culture and Native American mythology together into something unique and enjoyable. If you're a fan of fast-paced, YA stories, then you need to give Son of a Kitchen Witch a read!"


Snippet #1:

Just as I felt myself let go and the floor come rushing up toward me, a skiff made of books swept in and Angelina and I were suddenly sailing back through time. No, not time. I realized that Esther had cast us from the shop and skipped us back through the portal like a flat rock across the smooth surface of a lake.
Angelina and I held on as we bounced from Seattle to San Francisco to L.A. to San Diego to Austin until finally we arrived back at home on Highway Six, two dazed kids surrounded by the wisdom of centuries, our ship of words now a pile of books beneath the mellow autumn moon.














Bobby Hawthorn's Playlist:

To get me in the mood, I listened to a variety of styles of rock. While Bobbie and his band, Ravenwood, love alternate and old school rock, it’s always with a twist. Bobby is currently obsessed with turning some of the old Sinatra songs into Heavy metal rock ... and doing a bad job of it. But here are the songs he, and I, love best.
  1. Coldplay

    • Paradise
    • Fix you
    • Cemeteries of London
    • 42

  2. One Republic

    • Stop and Stare
    • Apologize

  3. The Fray

    • Never Say Never
    • How to Save a Life
    • You Found Me

  4. Led Zeppelin

    • Stairway To Heaven
    • Dazed and Confused
    • D'yer Maker

  5. Rolling Stones

    • Jumping Jack Flash
    • Angie
    • Can't Always Get What You Want

  6. Sinatra

    • Fly Me to the Moon
    • Summer Wind
    • My Way

  7. Fleetwood Mac

    • Rhiannon
    • Landslide
    • Dreams

  8. Meatloaf

    • Bat Out of Hell
    • I Would Do Anything For Love

  9. Eric Clapton

    • Layla
    • Wonderful Tonight

  10. Aerosmith

    • Dream On


  11. Alice Cooper

    • Schools Out

  12. King Harvest

    • Dancing in the Moonlight


Listen to the playlist on YouTube




Snippet #2:

The first time I saw an angry Earlene Tamarack I thought it was a funny sight. And then I witnessed the storm she unleashed. You see Earlene has a strong connection with the weather and the freak tornado she cut loose caught everyone by surprise and took off a corner of Macy’s at the mall. I don’t even remember what made her angry, only the repercussions. Luckily the only one hurt was a bikini-clad mannequin in a display case.















The Author:

Tim Hemlin has taught middle school English Language Arts in the Houston area for over 20 years and now puts his master’s degree in counseling to work as a high school counselor in the Fort Bend Independent School District.

Besides running marathons, Hemlin enjoys cheering on his favorite sports teams—the Patriots, the Red Sox and the Cowboys. He currently lives with his family outside Houston, Texas.

Son of a Kitchen Witch is Hemlin’s seventh full-length novel and is informed by the decades he has spent as an educator in Houston-area public schools. Set in suburban-Houston, Son of a Kitchen Witch is a fast-paced urban fantasy about the teenage son of a witch and how he navigates the perilous terrain of young love, high school drama, and being hunted by a pack of hellhounds.

Tim Hemlin’s other works include the Houston-based Neil Marshall Mystery series and “The Wastelanders,” a dystopian-clifi novel about a futuristic world devoid of water.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~




To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our





Friday, 24 February 2017

Nite Fire: Flash Point by C. L. Schneider



I’m excited to share with you the cover for my upcoming release! After completing the Crown of Stones Trilogy last year, I wanted to do something different. And this series is it! Flash Point is the 1st book in The Nite Fire Series, a fast-paced, entertaining urban fantasy full of action and mystery. Nite Fire centers on the character of Dahlia Nite, a shapeshifting creature-hunter from a parallel world—ruled by dragons.
                                                                                                            ~ C.L.





Nite Fire: Flash Point

Slated for execution, shapeshifting assassin, Dahlia Nite, flees her world to hide in the human realm. As payment for the shelter they unknowingly provide, Dahlia dedicates herself to protecting humans from what truly lives in the shadows. Moving from town to town, she hunts the creatures that threaten an unsuspecting human race; burying the truth that could destroy them all.
But the shadows are shifting. The lies are adding up. And when Sentinel City is threatened by a series of bizarre brutal murders, light is shed on what should never be seen. The secrets that have kept humanity in the dark for centuries are in danger of being exposed.
Wrestling with a lifetime of her own deceptions, Dahlia investigates the killings while simultaneously working to conceal their circumstances. But with each new murder, the little bit of peace she has found in this world begins to crumble. Each new clue leads her to the one place she thought to never go again. Home.

*Flash Point will release in paperback the last week of February with a pre-order for the ebook to follow.


Excerpt:

His roar blew the hair back from my face. His oddly pliable jaw opened with a wet crack of cartilage. Dropping, extending past throat, then chest, the square edge of his jaw came to rest even with the center of his abdomen. Outlined by fleshy lips, the dark maw within held an inner ring of uneven teeth, all stained with a deep red grime. Pushing out from their center, the del-yun’s gray tongue ejected like a whip. A heavy discharge of green followed. Hitting the floor in front of me with a moist splat, the glop of saliva gurgled and smoked as it devoured the concrete. A smaller rivulet of smoke curled up from the front of my left boot, where tiny beads of the creature’s spit were eating through the laces.
“Come on,” I groaned, “not the boots…” Bending, I slid my knife in behind the black crisscross. In the corner of my eye, I saw his tongue emerging again.
I broke the lace with a quick yank.
Flinging off the still-bubbling piece as I straightened, I flung the knife next. My throw was directed at his tongue, hoping to sever the bit wagging down over his teeth. But at the last second, he moved. My weapon sailed past his tongue, in through his wide mouth, and impaled his left cheek. The tip of the blade pushed out with a spill of yellowish blood and sliced tissue.
I raised a finger. Fire trickled from my nail. It slid off the side of my hand and onto the floor. Watching its journey, the del-yun knew: one little touch was all it would take. His blood would catch like kindling, and my fire would follow it down inside him like a flame on a fuse.


The Author:

C. L. Schneider is a New York-based author of adult epic and urban fantasy. Born in a small Kansas town, she grew up in a house of avid readers and overflowing bookshelves. Her first full-length novel took shape in high school, on a typewriter in her parent’s living room. Schneider’s epic trilogy, The Crown of Stones, tells the story of Ian Troy, a man born with an addiction to magic. Nite Fire: Flash Point is the first book in a fast-paced urban fantasy series with shapeshifters, dragons, and parallel worlds.

Learn more about C.L. Schneider and her work at clschneiderauthor.com where you can read reviews, excerpts and sneak peeks, and subscribe to her newsletter. An active part of the indie author online community, you can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Google+, where she is often found chatting about books, zombies, coffee, and the daily ups and downs of writing.










Murder at Midnight by John Ukah



Title: Murder at Midnight
Author: John Ukah
Genre: Cozy Mystery


Alex Simpson, an ex-police officer, decides after a bout of typhoid fever to take a break in a serene and therapeutic environment. The last thing he expects is to be called upon to solve a murder at the Kinging Guest Lodge. But that is what happens, when the delectable and vivacious Maria Marshall is found dead in her bedroom at midnight.

The gallery of characters living at the guesthouse and thrown into the mix, do not make his task of solving this chilling and brutal murder any easier …

Okadabooks is mainly for buyers in Africa.



Excerpt:

“I can’t find it!” Ayuba said with a tremor in his voice. “It’s missing … it's not where I kept it.”

“Break down the door, Mr. Simpson!” ordered Mrs. Marshall.

I looked at Ayuba, who shrugged his shoulders. So, I put my shoulder to the door. The door was quite good, but my shoulder was better. The door flew off the hinges, when I smashed into it. We rushed in and met a gory sight. Maria was lying face up on her bed; her eyes were open and staring in what seemed to be surprise, at the ceiling. Her mouth hung slightly open. A butcher knife was buried deep in her chest and the bedsheets were caked with dried blood. I did not need a doctor to tell me that she was dead. Ayuba gasped in shock and Mrs. Marshall screamed and fell forward. I caught hold of her, just in time to avoid a nasty fall.

“She is dead!” said Ayuba, in a strangled voice. Shock and dismay were boldly written on his face. It dawned on me that this was the same room in which a young lady had hung herself earlier in the year. Was it a room of death? This was not good for business in any Lodge.

“Did she kill herself?” asked Ayuba. “Her door was still locked from inside.”

“I don’t know,” I replied, as I helped Mrs. Marshall into a chair.

She seemed to be in a state of shock. Her body was shaking and she kept saying, “Maria! Maria! Maria!”

I took some steps closer to the bed and examined the corpse. She had been dead for hours and the knife was buried to the hilt. A loose, white, square button lay close to her right hand; I observed that it did not match those on her dress. Though I did not touch it, I could not help feeling that there was something familiar about the button. I had seen it somewhere before, but I could not quite remember.

“Call the police, Ayuba! And get an ambulance,” I said.

The other guests had been attracted by the scream and were now crowding the doorway.

“What happened?” asked Willie, who led the group. A shocked silence followed, when they saw the body.

Within the hour, an ambulance and two police vans arrived. While waiting, I had kept watch by the door of the bedroom, so that nothing would be tampered with. The others had hung around, too. Mrs. Marshall had been taken to the lounge, where Amina sat with her. She looked like she was desperately in need of medical attention. She was still saying, “Maria! Maria! Maria!” intermittently. She was also crying and shaking.

As soon as the police came, we were all waved aside. We were kept out of the room, while they worked, as was routine in such circumstances. Finally, a gurney was brought out of the ambulance and wheeled into the room. Maria's body was placed on it, covered with a sheet and wheeled inside the ambulance.

Mrs. Marshall asked to accompany them to the morgue and they only agreed, when it was explained that she was the mother of the dead girl.

Ten policemen were dispatched; they went over the room and asked us all kinds of questions. They kept nodding to themselves. I introduced myself as an ex-policeman, thinking that would make them take me into their confidence. I was greatly mistaken. They just smiled and asked some polite questions about my career in the Force, then completely ignored me.

But I was eager to know whether they had found the button, which I had seen. So, I called one of the policemen aside.

“I don’t know if you saw a white square button on the bed?” I asked.

“What about it?” asked the policeman. His eyes narrowed suspiciously.

“I just wanted to know if you took note of it,” I explained. “I observed that it did not match those on the dress of the deceased.”

“We saw it and also took note. Thank you,” said the officer curtly and he left. They probably thought I was poking my nose into their investigation. I would have thought the same. All the same, there had been something familiar about that button.




The Author:

John Ukah is a seasoned banker and Associate of the Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ACMR). He is a graduate of Business Administration from the University of Benin, where he was listed as University Scholar. He also holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA).






Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Trials and Tribulations



Title: Trials
Editor: Faith Hunter
Genre: Urban Fantasy

21 Vignettes and Short Stories set in Faith Hunter’s World of Thorn St. Croix.

The Rogue Mage world began long ago, when the epic battle between the High Host and the Darkness was won and lost. TRIALS takes fans of Thorn St. Croix into the past, before the opening pages of BLOODRING. These stories, set in Faith Hunter's Rogue Mage world, are adventures with new characters and old, facing dangers unimaginable. And they must save the world all over again.

If you ever wondered what happened between seraphs, kylen, second-unforeseen, mages, seraph-touched, spawn, humans, dragons, and their creatures before the series, now is your chance to delve deeper and wider. TRIALS features new short stories from nine authors—including Faith Hunter—and vignettes from the Rogue Mage role playing game.

TRIALS Authors: 
Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, Lou J Berger, Ken Schrader, Spike Y Jones, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Christina Stiles, Tamsin Silver, Melissa McArthur.



Title: Tribulations
Editor: Faith Hunter
Genre: Urban Fantasy

17 Vignettes and Short Stories set in Faith Hunter’s World of Thorn St. Croix

The Rogue Mage story began with the post-apocalyptic novels BLOODRING, SERAPHS, and HOST, when epic battles between Thorn St. Croix and the forces of Darkness were fought. TRIBULATIONS (Rogue Mage Anthology Vol. II) takes place during and after the series timeline. These stories and vignettes, set in Faith Hunter's Rogue Mage world, are adventures with new characters and old, facing Darkness and an uncertain future.

The relationships between seraphs, kylen, second-unforeseen, mages, seraph-touched, spawn, humans grow deeper, and the battles with dragons and their creatures grow more dangerous. TRIBULATIONS features new short stories from five authors—including Faith Hunter—and vignettes from the Rogue Mage role playing game.


TRIBULATIONS Authors: 
Faith Hunter, Jean Rabe, Spike Y Jones, Christina Stiles, Lucienne Diver.

Amazon | B&N



TRIALS and TRIBULATIONS will soon be followed by TRIUMPHANT—the paperback omnibus (both Anthology Volumes I and II in a bound format).


Bones
by Faith Hunter

(late Winter 105 PA/2117 AD)

                David lifted the chunk of crystal. On first glance, it appeared to be a huge chunk of amethyst, gem quality, smooth to the touch, but it contained a luminescence that looked biological rather than mineral when he placed it under a microscope. It looked like things were swarming inside, creating purple light. He had no idea where the rock had been found—or even if it was true rock.

                Though he had done it a thousand times already, he rubbed a thumb across the stone and inspected the pad of skin. Nothing rubbed off.

                With a chisel, he scraped along one smooth facet of the natural crystal, collecting the rock dust onto a glass slide. He lowered the 100 X microscope lens. The dust sprang at him through the oculars, glowing. Then the luminescence dimmed, the motion that he could almost—almost—see slowed. And the faint light went out. Just like always.

                David removed the slide from the scope and carried it to the workbench. With tweezers, he removed the cover glass and scraped half of the rock dust onto a petri dish. The other half, he carried back to the crystal. He pressed the start button on a stopwatch as he shook the dust back onto the rock. He watched as it was reabsorbed. Clicked the stopwatch. 8.4 seconds. The first time he had done the test, the dust had taken over twenty-four hours to reabsorb. It was as if the rock had learned a new task, and now excelled at it.

                David closed the crystal up in its metal box and entered his notations into the computer file. An Earth Invasion Heretic and a self-taught scientist, David was also a blasphemer. Not an atheist—not exactly. He believed that the being the seraphs referred to as the Most High did in fact exist. He just didn’t like him very much. He didn’t like what the seraphs and the MH (a glib abbreviation he was careful never to voice among his kirk-employed co-workers ) had done to the Earth or to its people, so he had joined the EIH to prove that the Most High (whatever it was) could be defeated. And now the EIH had joined with the orthodoxy to study artifacts and find a way to defeat the Dark. It was an uneasy alliance, and David imagined that when the Dark was conquered the coalition would fall apart—messily.

                His curiosity unsatisfied, David locked the lab and walked down the hallway to check on his most recent experiment. The seraph. Well, the watcher—a fallen seraph. This one had allied with the Light in the Last War, and was wounded in the battle over Mexico City nearly a hundred years ago: burned to a crisp, sixth-degree burns over his entire body, leaving only bones. But he hadn’t died. Not exactly.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Princess By Ariel Marie


Princess
Book 1 of The Dark Shadows

For centuries, a vicious war has raged on between the Necromancers and Vampires. Two powerful races who refused to surrender in defeat. A half a century ago, the Necromancers disappeared from the face of the Earth…. until now.

Nadira Olaru, the youngest offspring of the Vampire King has become the target of the re-emerging Necromancers. The King of the Necromancers has offered a peace treaty, an offer he refuses to take no for an answer. His one demand— Nadira to mate with his son.

The Dark Shadows, Vampire warriors run by her eldest brother, have been charged with protecting the Vampirian Princess at all cost.

Zac Cooper, human police detective, never believed in the supernatural world, that is, until he witnessed a dead body walk right out of the morgue.

Fate brings Zac and Nadira together. Twice. Nadira knows that Zac is her Fated Mate, but now he is caught in the middle of the war between the Vampires and Necromancers. Nadira is torn, should she be selfish and mate with the love of her life for all eternity? Or should she sacrifice their love forever, and let him go, in order to save him?

Free from February 21-25



The Author

Ariel Marie is an author who loves the paranormal, action and hot steamy romance. She combines all three in each and every one of her stories. For as long as she can remember, she has loved vampires, shifters and every creature you can think of. This even rolls over into her favorite movies! She loves a good action packed thriller! Throw a touch of the supernatural world in it and she’s hooked!

She grew up in Cleveland, Ohio where she currently resides with her husband and three beautiful children. Want to know more about her and her books? Visit her website.


Monday, 20 February 2017

Right to Silence by Lily Luchesi



Another great book in the Paranormal Detectives series.

This one is a book of two halves, so you get two amazing stories for the price of one!

The first half follows Brighton and Mark's relationship through both lives, past and present, and is an emotional story, with a heartbreaking ending.

The second half picks up where Life Sentence left off, with Angelica still 'missing' and Danny trying to make a life away from her and the P.I.D. Add in multiple murders, a kidnapping, an ancient prophecy and some trips into hell and you have a book filled with action and surprising twists.

This book is somewhat darker than the previous ones in this awesome series...
...and I can't wait for the next one.



Synopsis:


The truth can be deadly.

In the first of this two-part novel, we learn the history of hunters Brighton Sands and Mark Evans in their two lifetimes, culminating in their final battle with the insane vampire they have been hunting for centuries.

In the second part, with Angelica Cross still on the run, multiple vampiric murders lead to the kidnapping of a famous vamp. Detective Danny Mancini must drag a mortal into the bowels of Hell in order to rescue her.

But why does Leander Price want her so badly, and what does she have to do with an ancient vampire prophecy?



The Author:



Lily Luchesi is a young author/poet born in Chicago, Illinois, now residing in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things "dark". At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle by the time she was twelve, and, as her family has always been what they now call "Gothic", she doesn't believe she shall ever change. She is also a hopeless romantic and avid music-love who will always associate vampires with love, blood, and rock and roll.

Her interest in poetry came around the same time as when she was given a book of Edgar Allan Poe's complete work. She then realized that she had been writing her own poetry since she could hold a pen, and just had not known the correct terms. She finished her first manuscript at the age of fourteen, and was first published at twenty-one.







Pork Pies by Judy Nichols



Title: Pork Pies
Author: Judy Nichols
Genre: Cozy Mystery


Crusty British transplant Ian Dodge is back on the beat, this time in the service of Her Majesty, otherwise known as Laura Lane, the Food Queen, star of a popular TV cooking show. A blackmailer has threatened to expose her sordid past as a con artist, so she turns to Ian Dodge to get it sorted.

When her blackmailer is found stabbed to death in his hotel room, Her Majesty is the prime suspect. It’s Ian’s job to untangle a web of deception and pork pies (lies) to find the real culprit, all the while dealing with the antics of his twin sons, Jesse and Mac.



Excerpt:


      It was a Saturday, late in the afternoon, hot and humid like it always is in the middle of a Carolina summer. My twin sons Jesse and Mac were with me. Mac was sprawled in the hammock I’d hooked up between the trees next to my trailer. As usual, he had his nose in a book. No e-books for this kid. He was analog all the way. He even collected typewriters.
      His brother hurled tennis balls in an aimless fury, throwing them out as quickly as my border collie Shep could return them.
      “Dad, is there anything to do around here besides throw tennis balls to the dog?” Jesse asked.
      He was the taller of the two, lean and lanky with a head of unruly blond curls. His brother looked more like me, with wispy dark hair and, unfortunately, my nose. While Jesse had brown eyes, Mac’s eyes were an odd shade of green, hidden behind his wire-rimmed glasses.
      “There’s plenty to do.” I said. “You can go around to the shed and get yourself a rake. The yard could do with a good leafing.”
      Besides the pine trees, those of us who live in this part of North Carolina are blessed with pin oaks—trees that shed their leaves all year long. There are always leaves on the ground needing to be raked up.
      Mac figured out a long time ago that saying “There’s nothing to do” around my house meant he’d end up with a rake in his hand. He made a point of bringing a stack of books with him whenever he visited. His brother kept forgetting.
      “I meant something fun.”
      “Raking can be fun,” I said.
      “In what universe?”
      “It’s a job well done in this and any other universe,” I answered, knowing full well that Jesse was not at all interested in doing anything that felt like work. “You know what there is to do around here. Maybe your brother has a book he can lend you.”
      “Jesse doesn’t like dystopian futurism, Dad.”
      “I’m not sure I like the sound of it myself,” I said.
      “It’s what happens when our civilization falls apart,” Mac answered, in an authoritative voice. “It’s not a question of if, you know, but when. Civilizations run in cycles. They’re born.       They live. They die. Then another one comes up and it starts all over again. But it’s always chaos in between. Everything falls apart. I figure we’re due for a civilization shift any day now. I want to be prepared.”
      Well, that was depressing. My son was preparing for the apocalypse, which he expected to happen sometime in the near future. I made a mental note to ask my ex-wife Jeannie next time I saw her if this was a problem. And to stock up on the canned goods, just in case he was right.




The Author:

Judy Nichols grew up in a Batavia, Ohio a small town twenty miles east of Cincinnati and eventually found herself living in Aurora, Indiana, a small town twenty miles west of Cincinnati. She would be there still if GE Aircraft hadn't made her husband Nigel an offer he couldn't refuse-- a chance to live near the ocean with GE footing the bill for moving expenses.

So now she lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.

She started her novel Caviar Dreams while her daughter was napping one day. Five years later it was finished. The biggest challenge arrived once her daughter stopped taking naps and eventually lost interest in watching the “Toy Story” video.

Judy holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Kent State University. She has been a newspaper reporter, a teacher, a temporary office worker, a customer service representative, and currently stay-at-home mom with way too much time on her hands. (And never mind that her daughter has graduated from college and lives in San Diego).

In April of 2012, Judy achieved her lifelong goal of appearing on the quiz show “Jeopardy!” She was a two day champion winning a total of $46,500 and the distinction of being officially named the smartest person in a room full of very smart people.

She has earned only two awards in her lifetime. Neither of them has anything to do with writing, but she is immensely proud of them nonetheless. Adia Temporary Agency presented her with the "Temp of the Month" award for March, 1987 and The Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy gave her a Volunteer Appreciation Award in 1991.

Her experience with The Nature Conservancy inspired her second novel Tree Huggers, about a single mom reporter covering the deadly clash between an unscrupulous developer and a militant environmentalists, published in 2008 She followed it up with a sequel in 2014 called The Reason for the Season.

Her latest book Pork Pies is the latest in her Ian Dodge mystery series. Ian is a British national, living in a small town in rural North Carolina and stubbornly hanging on to every shred of his Britishness. Any resemblance to Ian Dodge and her own prickly British husband is purely intentional. Other books in the series are Sportsman’s Bet and Trouble and Strife.

Currently, Judy is a volunteer with Phoenix Hometown Hires, a non profit group that helps people find meaningful work.




Sunday, 19 February 2017

La La Land by Logan Keys



Wow!

I might've had to wait a while for the second installment in The Last City series, but it was totally worth it.

This epic story continues in the same style as the first book, with different points of view and separate story lines that keep you wondering how and when they will join up.

The characters (new and old) are still 'real' with depth and emotions, and the world building is superb. The pages are filled with non-stop action and suspense, twists and turns, love and hate, and happiness and heartbreak.

The unique and engaging plot kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish, and left me wanting more!




Synopsis:

A rebel who's been revived to save the world. A soldier with a monster locked inside.

Liza and Tommy return to a destroyed America, continuing their fight for freedom, only this time, their search for allies will end with the same madmen and women who've engineered new monsters in an attempt to create the perfect soldier.

Faster. Smarter. Hungrier.

These rejects from the special program have replaced the undead at the top of the food chain.

Blood suckers roam the wilds, while brutal youths trap unsuspecting travelers.

No place is safe.

If Tommy and Liza can't stop the warmongering council that rules the new fortress, they might not get a chance at freedom again.

Grab your copy today.

Following the best-selling novel The Last City (Gods of Anthem), La La Land is a must-read for fans of dystopian zombie books, and young adult fiction. Those who enjoyed The Walking Dead, Divergent, or Hunger Games, will love this sequel that delivers an epic tale of survival until the heart-stopping finale.

Book Order:
The Last City
La La Land




The Author:


Logan Keys says she’s not so much a writer, as she is a soothsayer and preparer for those who are still blissfully unaware. Her stories aren’t dystopian, but rather a warning for the next generation. When she’s not writing zombies, vampires, superheroes, and robots, she’s fighting against government over-reach and oligarchy, using military tactics mixed with a little bit of poetry.





Saturday, 18 February 2017

Cloak & Dagger by Michel Lee King


Title: Cloak & Dagger
Author: Michel Lee King
Genre: Fantasy


A demonic howl rips through the air. Panicked voices call out. Women race through the fields to the sanctuary of their walled village. The wolf howls again. Men barricade the entrance, daughters are wrapped in the protective arms of their mothers. Sons race to assist their fathers.

It is a scene I've seen many times. Heard many times. Caused many times. Their fear does nothing for me. I'm not here for them. I am here for the one they harbor, the one they protect. The harpy in maiden's clothing. I am here for the one who changed me.

She stole my life, my husband, my future, my sanity. Now with the wolf inside I will find her. I will shred her. That harpy will never fly again.

My name is Ashleigh. I am the big bad wolf. And I am here for Rosamund.



Excerpt #1:

The sun rose languid over a desolate land. Scrubby trees stood at sparse intervals throughout the woodland. Their pathetic limbs scrabbling for the few rays of clear sunshine making it through a perpetual blanket of thin clouds. They ringed our valley, presenting a wooden barrier at the edge of our fields. Their brethren stood stripped and bare, spiked and roped together around the village, an impenetrable wall of twigs. High above, the jagged peaks of the Carpathian Mountains looked down on us, waiting to unleash ancient evils from its cliffs.

Everything about that land appeared masked in a veil, obscured by a constant fog more smoke than mist. Mysteries and the mysterious played through the everyday. Plagued by nightmares at all times, we were a people bereft of hope or happiness. We children did not run and play as we were meant, instead we bent to our tasks staying near the parent we were obliged to mimic. Bend, cut, throw, heft, carry, do not get left behind.

I trailed after Mother in the fields, a bundle of decrepit wheat bouncing at odds with my mood in my arms. My only present from my father, a too big leather cloak stained red, kept the wind off my back. A wolf’s call rent the air. Not the yip of a normal, average, livestock-devouring creature. But the howl of the hungry demon, of a soul stealing devil who took from maidens their essence and left a flame of hell in their bodies.

We ran. The crimson leather flashed in the mist like some morbid omen as it tugged on my neck slowing me down.

The blacksmith’s eldest daughter tripped in a gopher hole, yelping in pain. I rushed to her side pulling with all the strength I could muster at ten years old. Fur flashed between the trees, glowing orange eyes tracking us as it weaved closer, and closer. The sturdy woman beneath me lurched backward as her foot popped free of the hole. She hoisted me up by the cloak and shoved. “Run, Ashleigh!”

We raced through the fields back to the safety of our village, feeling the monster stalking behind us. We crossed the painted and carved totems and symbols still maroon with dried blood thinking ourselves safe from evil. Talismans were meant to protect, sacrifices would stave off the beast’s bloodlust. Or so we thought, and we had slaughtered a fair few of our sick and weak kinsmen in those deluded hopes.

Men in leather and wool urged us deeper into the village. My mother helped them slam the heavy door closed and hold it.

I ran into my father’s arms, the customary crinkle at the edges of his blue eyes tight and fierce. “Do not fear, my Ashleigh.” His voice, a soft tenor thick with our Hungarian accent, set a soothing balm across my frenzied nerves. He gave me a tight squeeze before shoving me toward Mother. “Miriam, get her inside and barricade the door.”





The Author:

I drink copious amounts of coffee while writing light and dark fiction. It is an obsession of mine (both coffee and writing). I love to create different world people can delve into. Whether set in our world or a fantasy, I love to push my characters through experiences that most of us can relate to. We’ve all been embarrassed by our own actions. We’ve all had those moments you wish you could take back. We’ve all had the “naked on the first day of school” dream. Our idiosyncrasies are what make us human. And, I love to force those traits on my characters to see how they cope with them.

I live in western Washington state in the shadow of Mount Rainier with my husband, son, dog, and the cat that adopted us and refuses to leave. When not writing, I can be found in a library, in the woods, or reading next to the fire.

I am a raging introvert, but I can be found on social media.





Excerpt #2:

...My father joined the large group of men that gathered their weapons and stumbled into the trees.

Only half returned.

I remember that day vividly. Through the lightening grey fog, shapes, mere shadows, resolved themselves. Bulky forms swaying in the distance. “Papa!” I yelled jubilant, my red cloak flaying open as I threw my arms wide in joy expecting him to run and snatch me up like always. I knew he would save us. He always provided for us and I thought he always would.

But he didn’t answer. No jovial boom met my ears. No happy embrace. No smile that twinkled from his eyes. Just the muffled cries of the women around me being lost in the swirling mist. I scanned the shadows trying to find his shape among the others. “Papa!” I tried again, louder, more forceful and urgent, placing my fists on my hips as I had seen the other women do.

Nothing.

My mother came up behind me and cupped her hands to her jaw. I slapped my palms over my ears over the leather hood as her bellow cut through the cotton clouding our view. “Jaque?!”

My godfather, Baldarich broke away from the head of the group and strode toward us. The set of his mouth, the crease in his brow, the fatalistic warning in his eyes were interpreted in an instant by my mother who had seen her share of death. In a furious wail of agony she collapsed to her knees. She clawed at her face and hair until bloody strands fell to the desolate dirt. Other women followed suit around us as their husbands and fathers and brothers were not found in the throng.

Through the cacophony of wailers Baldarich’s voice met my ears. “Your papa fought bravely. He is the reason we are alive.” He placed a bracing hand on my shoulder that felt more like an earth shattering blow than a gesture of solace.

Young heart crushing in on itself and shattering within my foundling chest, I joined the others on their knees and wailed my anguish to the sky. I never understood why it was our custom to scream so. That day I learned the hard lesson. Sometimes the heart and soul and mind are so filled with pain that the only way to keep from going mad with the ferocity of it is to give it a voice. So I did, cloaked in crimson and feeling my heart shatter for the first time. I screamed though my chest tightened, though my heart refused to beat, though my lungs felt full of ice. My world spun, shrunk, then exploded into a thousand black shards all seeming to say, “no more.”





Friday, 17 February 2017

In the Presence of Knowing by Valarie Savage Kinney



On the run, hiding from an abusive ex-boyfriend, Keisha takes a job at a Renaissance Festival and finds out about a world she never knew existed.

The people there are strange, dressed up like fairies, gnomes, and pirates. Not to mention the bizarre owner of the festival, who really thinks he’s the captain of a ship.

As an introvert, she thinks she’ll never fit in.

Then she meets Rogan, who plays the troll of the festival.

Rogan is incredibly sweet. He also possesses an ability to see and hear things that other people can’t… and he’s not the only one there who can.

When her friendship with Rogan becomes something more, Keisha finds she fits in at the festival better than she ever imagined she would.

Because as it turns out, her baby has the same ability.

When danger comes to the renaissance festival, she’ll need the combined powers of Rogan and his friends to keep her and the baby safe.

In the Presence of Knowing is the first book in the Secrets of Windy Springs series.