Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Full Circle by Tim Baker

Tim Baker was born and raised in Warwick, Rhode Island.

He enjoys a wide variety of activities including sports of all kinds, music, motorcycles, scuba diving and, of course, writing.

An avid dog lover, Tim was a volunteer puppy raiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, raising and socializing potential guide dogs.

He has also studied and taught martial arts.

Tim writes fast-paced, off-beat crime stories full of colorful characters and loaded with unexpected and often humorous twists and turns, set in Flagler Beach and St. Augustine, Florida.

Currently, Tim is enjoying life in Palm Coast, Florida.

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About the Book

What goes around…Comes around.

It’s an indisputable law of the universe, but Joe Moretti Jr lives his life as if it doesn’t apply to him. 

When Joe’s mistress gives him some unwelcome news, he decides to take drastic action, which starts a chain reaction of events that will affect the lives of thirteen strangers in the quiet seaside town of Flagler Beach. 

It’s a bizarre ripple effect, but will it be enough to teach Joe that his money and influence can’t protect him from the power of Karma.

Get it today on Amazon and Kindle!

Keep reading for an excerpt:

There was no way she could possibly know what she was talking about. She was a store-front gypsy trying to scare him in the hope of drumming up some business. Next she’d be telling him to come in for a reading. Then the real con was on.

Joe wasn’t biting.

“Okay,” he said. “I got it. Be careful…don’t mess with the spirit world…the universe has power and all that happy horseshit.” He held the card out to her. “Here you go. Thanks for the tip.”

Anya Yaroshenko still made no move to take the card. Joe’s hand defied his brain’s instruction to drop it and walk away.

“You remember movie A Christmas Carol?” she asked.

“Scrooge, Tiny Tim, yeah, sure. What about it?”

“Remember when Scrooge’s dead partner, Jacob Marley, show up to warn him about spirits?”


“He was wearing long, heavy chain.”

“Yeah, very ghostly.”

“Chain was not there to make it ghostly. It was…” she searched for the word, “…symbol.”

“Symbol of what?”

She paused to formulate her answer. “Everything we do in life, every thought, every action, every reaction is like link in chain. Our fate is determined by the links we put on our chains.”

“So what I’m getting from this is, it’s my life. My chain.”

Anya shook her head No and grinned. “It is mistake to think that way.”

“And why is that? You just told me it was my chain.”

“Actually, you said it was your chain. I wasn’t finished.”

Joe exhaled slowly through his nose, re-crossed his arms and shifted his weight to the other leg. “Okay, so finish, but speed it up, I got things to do.”

“You are putting links on your chain every minute of every day, as am I. The woman getting into that car, she is doing it as well.”

“Is there a point hidden here somewhere?”

Producing a pad and a pen from her satchel, she began sketching.

“You see this?” She showed him a drawing of several small, interconnected circles running from one end of the page to the other.


“If your chain was just your chain it would look like this. A straight line.”

More sketching, taking longer than the first. “But look at this…”

Now the page was filled with chains randomly running from place to place, some connected, some not.

“This is what it really is.”

“Looks like a tangled mess.”

“Sort of. This chain is your life, this one is mine. They became connected the moment you picked up your card. This one coming in here is the woman who just walked by us. This one is the man whose car you were standing behind a minute ago.”


“Notice how every time your chain connects with somebody else’s, it changes direction little bit.”


“That’s because that person’s link is now attached to your chain, affecting everything that happens to you afterward. Some more than others.”

“This is all very interesting.” Joe checked his watch. Hopefully Mark would be here any minute to rescue him. “But you still haven’t gotten to the point.”

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Lyon's Roar by Artemis Crow

Artemis Crow lives in the southeast U.S. with a tolerant husband, a pack of foster dogs, and a beleaguered cat. When Artemis isn't gazing at the stars, and thinking about infinite possibilities, she's busy writing the next book in the Zodiac Assassins series. For more information about the Zodiac Assassins and their world, visit Artemis. For cool imagery that inspired the Zodiacs, the InBetween and the paranormal creatures, be sure to check out the Pinterest page.

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About the Book

Twelve Zodiac Assassins. Forged in the Darkness of the InBetween, Ruled by the Shadow Side of their Stars, The Only Hope for the Light of Humanity. The InBetween, a subterranean haven created by the goddess Hecate for persecuted paranormals and ruled by twelve formerly-human princes, has been hidden for centuries, their numbers growing, and their hatred for humans festering.

So when the paranormal children are stolen, and the evidence implicates humans, the paranormals are called to rise out of the darkness and into the light to get retribution. Imprisoned, with the demon soul attached to his own soul close to taking permanent possession, Zodiac Assassin Lyon jumps at the chance to earn his freedom by retrieving three women from the human world. But when the other Zodiacs try to steal his prize, Lyon must secure the women and run.

When foundling Persephone Payne is attacked by one man then rescued by Lyon, the monster plaguing her nightmares, she is thrust into a supernatural world beyond imagining and forced to rely on Lyon to protect her and her sisters by choice, not by blood. But, can she safeguard her heart from him? After Persephone’s fate is finally revealed, Lyon must choose between the reclamation of his soul or saving her and the love he doesn’t believe he deserves.

Get it today on Amazon!

Here's an excerpt from the book:

The screech of the screen door’s rusty hinges alerted him to Persephone’s presence. He turned. She crossed the yard and stopped just outside his reach, her purple eyes glowing like they were lit from within. The moon bathed part of her face in cool silver that matched her hair, while shadows enveloped the rest of her in fierce black.

His heart slowed. The anger in him cooled. The wind stopped and Lyon struggled to breathe. The world fell away, leaving only her. He wanted to freeze this moment so he could figure out why it felt so important. The answers were right in front of him, but…

Persephone squared her shoulders like the bravest warrior, yet her hands trembled like the fallen facing death. “I know what to do.”

Her words snapped Lyon back. “Zodiacs are not totally human. We’re enhanced, making us the best assassins in all worlds. These men could kill you and your friends without a thought.”

“But I thought you were supposed to get us to the InBetween alive.”

“Those are my orders.”

“But you don’t know about the other Zodiacs?”


“What about the man who attacked me?”


“He could have snapped my neck and walked away. Why didn’t he?”

“I don’t know.”

Persephone sagged, as if giving in to the weight of the unknown.

He didn’t expect her to have anything of worth to offer, but his curiosity and no small amount of desperation made him indulgent. “So, what would you do?”

Persephone looked at the ground. “I don’t think I can explain it, you’ll think I’m crazy. But when Abella, Taryn, and I get together, especially lately…um, things happen.”

“Things happen? You want to go up against eleven assassins with ‘things happen’?”

Persephone scrunched up her face and shrugged her shoulders. “They’re really good things?”

Lyon stared at her, thinking. The woman was nuts, but this whole situation didn’t sit well with him. Llewellyn had no interest in humans; he considered them to be a stain on the planet. How could three humans have possibly caught his attention?

Lyon shook his head. The why didn’t matter. Confronting the Zodiacs alone would be a disaster that would cost him Persephone and his freedom. “So your plan is to walk into the middle of a house filled with most highly trained killers in any world, get your friends, then waltz out? Do you have a death wish? Or are you just that foolish?” He sighed, his mind made up. If he could get Persephone to the InBetween in the next few hours, he could turn around and try to run down the other two women. “No, we’re running.”

Lyon turned away, but stopped when she placed her hand on his arm.
Her casual touch made him shudder.

“My friends that you dismiss so easily? They’re my family. They mean everything to me.”

He whirled on her. “Family?” He leaned into her, his body trembling, his flash-fire rage all-consuming. “These people called family, they sidle up and say ‘I love you’ over and over until you believe it, until you relax and trust that they’ll be there when you need them most.”

Persephone backed up but Lyon followed her, pressing into her space.

He wagged his finger. “But that’s when they have you. That’s when they rip your heart out and stomp on it. Family.” He stopped advancing and dropped his hand. “You better run as fast as you can away from them, before you learn this truth the hard way.”

Persephone shivered. She wrapped her arms over her chest, as if that would protect her. “Don’t you have anyone you would lay down your life for?”

Sunday, 13 December 2015

The Way Knight: A Tale of Revenge and Revolution by Alexander Wallis

Alexander Wallis is the author of the dark fantasy novel 'The Way Knight: A Tale of Revenge and Revolution.' The novel was inspired by the problems facing young people, seeking love and meaning, in a narcissistic society corrupted by elites.

Alexander graduated from the University of Chichester, where he studied Youth and Community Work. He has supported many schools and youth clubs with his social learning approaches and thousands of young people have benefited from his mental health workshops.

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About the Book

Daimonia Vornir is a wild and impulsive girl, who fears she is unlovable. When corrupt politicians execute her brother, she travels to find her mother — the famous hero who abandoned her years before.

To survive the treacherous journey, she hires the Way Knight — a travelling warrior sworn to protect anyone who pays his fee, no matter how dangerous the journey, or hopeless their cause.

Together they will chance the battle-torn coast, pursued by the champion of the Secret God.

THE WAY KNIGHT is the terrifying tale of a girl’s journey from child, to woman, to goddess. It is a provocative story that will challenge everything you believe.

Get it today on Amazon!

Here's an excerpt:

Now she knew with absolute certainty. She was the Goddess of War. She was the avenger, chaos and death. She was Cere-Thalatte and the falling stars were a measure of her anger.
Daimonia, heroine of The Way Knight

As the heavenly fire descended, she raised her sword, light flashing on the bloody tip. Shadows took life and prowled the battleground, delineating the abundant dead. The Goddess had repaid greed with slaughter; a thousand lives shed for one. 

As the screaming stars rained down, her laughter became a haunting song. 

I am the crown of eternal stars, 
I am the armour forged from scars, 
I am the truth whose seed is doubt, 
I am the flaming sword that will never burn out! 

The song was carried to its conclusion by the theatrical players as the battleground became a stage and the stage little more than a hill upon which they had practised their craft. Falling stars became wooden torches. Bodies rose happily from the dead. Masks of virtue and vice were cast aside to reveal the cheery grins of actors. Having concluded their performance, the players bowed to the gathered villagers of Jaromir. 

Daimonia Vornir led the applause with all her heart. She had been so completely absorbed in the drama that she came back to herself with a jolt. She was no longer the heroine of the mythological saga but merely a wide-eyed girl cheering into the wind. 

‘Goddess, give me your certainty,’ Daimonia prayed, ‘for I am beset with questions and doubt.’ She blinked a swell of tears, her heart tired from the demands of the drama.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The Second Coming by Grant Leishman

I am an expatriate New Zealander, residing in the beautiful islands of The Philippines, with my wife and two step-daughters.

After careers in finance and journalism, I have finally found my true passion in life - writing and I am now "living the dream" as a full-time author.

About the Book

God looks down on Earth and is disgusted with what he sees his creation has become. He decides that humanity is a failed experiment, and he orders Earth and all of humanity destroyed. He will start again from scratch. Jesus, however, intervenes and requests one more opportunity to turn mankind around. He is given one year to see if he can make a significant difference. 

If you are a fan of the "Left Behind" series, this is your type of book. Asking the big; What If? question and following it through with a story interwoven with Christian symbolism. 

"The Second Coming" begins with Jesus (JC to his friends) in an induced coma in a Manila hospital after having been hit by a bus, losing his memory in the process. The book follows the exploits of Jesus and his "disciples" as they seek to firstly recover his memory and then embarking on a mission of saving humanity from the brink. 

There is interwoven into the story a romance between Jesus (Jose Christian Castillo or JC for short) and his number one "Disciple" Maria Lyn Manyanan (Ma for short). 

The sequel to The Second Coming; Rise of the AntiChrist will be published in December 2015.

Get it today on Amazon, Google Play and iBooks!

Check out this interview with Grant:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

I told my Mum when I was eight years old that I wanted to write books, when I grew up; books that would excite people, like I was excited by the books I read. She smiled sweetly, as all mothers do and told me I could be anything I wanted. 

It just took me 45 more years to grow up. When I moved to The Philippines, I had to find something to do - I was too young to retire, so I rediscovered my boyhood promise and hopefully made my late mother smile down on me from heaven and say; "I knew you would make it". 

Simply put - writing is my bliss and it's what makes me happy and fulfilled.

What genres do you write?

I like to try and answer the what if? questions. 

My books tend to transcend genres and ask and hopefully answer moral and ethical dilemmas. If you were to try to categorise me, I would say the following genres: Romance, Action/Adventure, Spiritual Fiction and Christian Fiction

Is there a genre that you've been wanting to experiment with? If so, what is it and what attracts you to it?

Absolutely - two actually 

I want to write an historical romance, because I love history with a passion and would love to do the research necessary to facilitate an accurate portrayal of a period. 

Science Fiction, because since I was a child I have been in awe of the imagination and genius of science fiction writers like Herbert, Heinlen, Arthur C Clarke et al. I want to see if I can actually stretch my mind to that genre,

What inspires you to write?

My wife. She is my muse, my inspiration and my biggest fan. 

My other inspiration is my burning desire to do so - to write. I don't care if I'm not a best-seller (although that would be nice). My books will be my legacy to this life. Nothing I have done before compares to the sheer joy and excitement of a completed novel.

If you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?

That's easy - it would be Paolo Cohelo. The Alchemist is by far and away my book of a lifetime. 

I love the way he is prepared to interact personally with his readers and has no airs or pretensions. If I had a role model, it would definitely be him.

When did you first consider yourself an author?

I've had this discussion before with a number of people. I WAS an author the moment I typed the first word on my first manuscript. I might be a published author now, but I was an author at that point. 

I would even argue that I was always an author....just undiscovered in my own mind.

What are your goals as an author? Where do you see yourself in five years?

My goals are fairly simple and straightforward and have nothing to do with sales or money. 

My goals are to write three books a year for the rest of my life. In five year's time that should mean I have fifteen books to my name. 

I want people to read them and enjoy them, but I don't need that to validate myself as a success. I am a success because I am an author.

What is the best writing advice you've ever received?

This was a quote I read somewhere on Pinterest I think. I can't even remember who said it - maybe Stephen King. 

"The worst writing you ever did, is still better than the best writing you never did."

What is the worst writing advice you've ever received?

Follow the rules! 

Following the rules if for formulaic, legacy authors who want to be rich and successful. I don't begrudge the Clive Cussler's, the John Grisham's and the Tom Clancy's of this world, their success, fame and wealth, but I cannot abide formulaic, plots and characters. Yes, they make money, if they're successful, but really what difference is writing that to working on a factory production line? Not a lot in my opinion.

What do you enjoy doing aside from writing?

Reading. I read voraciously. 

Before I became an author I read all the legacy published superstars. These days you couldn't pay me to buy their books. 

I read only "indie" authors now and there are some truly fabulous ones out there, ever bit as good as the legacy published authors.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only have five books with you, what would they be?

Swiss Family Robinson 
The Alchemist 
The Hero 

How many books do you have on your "to read" list? What are some of them?

About 20: They're all "indie" authors: A few are 

There Was No Body; by Colin Griffiths 
The Road to Dar Rodon: by Nat Russo 
Rampant Damsels: by Michael H Kelly 
Mud on Your Face: by Rachel McGrath 
The Caravan of Love: by Annie Lancaster 

I will never run out of the awesome number of "indie" books available.

Are you a pantser or outliner?

Absolutely a pantser. 

When I come up with an idea, I usually have a beginning and an's that pesky bit in the middle that is the problem. 

In general terms I write chapter by chapter. It is usually while I am taking a break in the middle of a chapter, the idea for the next development and chapter, will hit me.

How long does it take you to write a book?

I try to make my novels a minimum of 100K words. It usually takes me about two months to write the draft and then two months to edit the draft. 

There are times I long for a professional editor, but the reality is that self-editing, painful that it is, is actually very elemental to becoming a better writer. I learn so much about my writing through self-editing.

Do you ever base your characters on people you know?

My latest book, Just A Drop in the Ocean, although fictional is based on real people and their characters certainly show through. 

I think every character I've ever written has some basis in a person I've met or known. It is often hard to divorce reality from fantasy.

What are you working on now?

I am working on an anthology of short stories, in collaboration with my son, who realised earlier than me where his true talents lie. I'm incredibly excited to be doing something in tandem with my son. 

The genre is horror, which is his forte, but definitely not mine, so I'm looking forward to seeing what I can squeeze out of my fevered mind in that genre.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Ancient Voices: Into the Depths by Allison D. Reid

Allison D. Reid was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her love for medieval fantasy was sparked by the Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis, which fed both her imagination and her spiritual development. When at the age of thirteen her family moved to Germany, her passion for medieval history and legend only increased, and she found herself captivated by the ancient towns and castles of Europe.

Allison returned to the United States to study art and writing at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. She earned her B.A. under the tutelage of the well-renowned and prolific writer Andrew Salkey, a student of her other great inspiration, and the father of fantasy, J. R. R. Tolkien. After graduating from Hampshire College, Allison moved to Connecticut. There she got the opportunity to attend seminary and further explore her faith before returning to her home state of Ohio. 

Allison now lives in the Miami Valley area with her husband and children. She continues to work on her first published series while taking care of her family, editing for other independent writers, and managing a home business.

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Sign up for Allison's newsletter!

About the Book

The Kinship rides victorious into the small village of Minhaven, just in time to celebrate the Winter Festival. Their leader, Glak, brings with him both hope and spoils from battle, but also some distressing news. Though Minhaven's greatest threat has finally been defeated, a new one is emerging to take its place.

The enemy Glak describes has not been seen in hundreds of years, yet somehow it has been haunting Elowyn’s dreams. Has Braeden’s cruel reach followed her from Tyroc’s troubled borders into this remote wilderness? If so, there is no place left to run, and the Kinship is preparing to fight an enemy more sinister and powerful than they can possibly imagine. 

Past becomes present, as prophecies long buried continue to emerge, revealing their truth to the coming generation. The Era of Peace has ended. The Era of Awakening has begun. While Morganne seeks guidance from the crumbling pages of ancient tomes, Elowyn tries to find her place within a community for the first time. 

Despite the impending danger, Morganne and Elowyn decide to make their stand with the people of Minhaven. As they plunge into the depths of history, prophecy, the wilderness, love, fear, hope, faith…the girls begin to learn more about who they are, and who Aviad is calling them to be.

Get it today on Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble!

You can also get Book 1 of the Series, Journey to Aviad, free!

Now for an interview with Glak from Ancient Voices:

Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?

I was born in Minhaven, though it was somewhat smaller then. Fewer buildings, fewer people, and more dangerous. There was no Kinship law. That was part of what drew men there—the chance to begin a new life in a place too distant to attract the Sovereign’s eye. Most were honest folk pressed under hard circumstances. But some were running from justice they should have had to face. Though the streets were sometimes hazardous, the mountains were just as glorious back then as they are today. When I was not working, I spent much of my time learning their secrets.

Who is your enemy? What makes you enemies?

Braeden, the late Sovereign’s Chief Steward, is my greatest enemy who walks this earth. In my youth, he found my weakness and used it to betray me, and the world with me. He fed me to The Shadow—the greatest enemy of Aviad and all of humankind. That betrayal has left a wound on my soul that I fear shall never heal. I shall not forget his part in it.

Did you have a close relationship with your family?

I confess that I do not remember my mother. She died of an illness when I was very young. I have some scattered, yet fond memory of my father, though he was also taken from us too early. My brother Grindan and I were left alone, and we became closer than most brothers could hope to be. We desperately needed each other, for we had no one else left. He took up my father’s trade as best he could so that we would not starve. When he became ill, I fell into despair, terrified of what might become of me. You understand, I was willing to do anything to keep him with me in this world. Anything at all. And I was too young to realize how dangerous that would prove to be.

What is your greatest fear? How did/will you overcome it?

My greatest fear is that I will lose hope. Without it, the Shadow’s gray veil which still clings to me like a shroud, will only grow stronger. Hope is what drives me to keep fighting, so that I can right the wrongs I’ve done…perhaps even find forgiveness in the end. If I lose hope, I will lose everything that I am, and every good I’ve done would be overturned by the man I would become.

What is the most important lesson you've learned about life?

To live each moment as though there will not be another.

Who has been the greatest influence in your life? Why?

The men of the Kinship have been my greatest influence, from the time I joined as a wounded, yet ambitious young boy who just wanted to redeem himself. They helped me become more than my pain, and gave my life focus. Without that, no doubt I would have long ago descended into a darkness of the Shadow’s making.

What kind of clothing do you prefer to wear?

Simple trousers and a plain white tunic, though I spend most of my time in armor. It is so well worn that it fits me as comfortably as my own skin.

What was your greatest achievement?

Finally defeating the thieves of the western pass after so many years. Yet it was not my achievement alone, but that of the Kinship as a whole. 

How did the Kinship form? 

Minhaven might well have remained a lawless place and descended into chaos over time. But as men dug their fortunes out of the mountains, a band of thieves from the west began to make Minhaven its favorite target. We suddenly had a common enemy that united us as a community. A small group of miners who had once been fighters came together to defend themselves and the other miners. More joined them, and the Kinship was born, though much has changed since those early days.

What do you regret most in your life? Why?

A group of monks once advised me to go home and sit by my ailing brother’s side, to spend whatever time with him Aviad might grant us. I did not listen, determined instead to change my brother’s fate of my own will. As much as I love my brother, and as much as it pains me to say it, I should have let him die. It would have been a kinder fate for all. 

If you had one day left to live, what would you do with your last day?

I would strap on my armor and head into the mountains beyond Minhaven, much like I would any other day. There is no other place I would rather live, or die, than wrapped in the cold beauty of that place which I have known and loved since birth.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Out of Oblivion by Taren Reese Ocoda Countdown Deal

Taren Reese Ocoda is actually a pen name I've decided to use for writing my sci-fi and erotic romance stories. I write fantasy under my real name and decided that I wanted to keep the two genres separate.

I live in Australia with my husband and daughter. I'm originally from America, but I moved out here a bit over ten years ago to be with my (now) husband. We met online and I came out here just for a visit so we could meet in person, and I've been here ever since. Ten years later we are still happily married, so we're living proof that it can work! :-D

We have two cats, named Padme and Anakin—you couldn't tell from that, that I'm a Star Wars fan—and two guinea pigs, named Sith and Prince.

I love to read fantasy mostly, but I've been reading more romance lately as a result of meeting some really good indie romance authors who turned me onto it. I'm very picky about what I read though. Anything I read has to have a great story with characters that feel real to me. Those are the stories that really draw me in.

They're also the kinds of stories I try (and hopefully succeed at) writing. I had some ideas for romance stories in mind, but for a long time I didn't think I had the skills to write one. I didn't want to do what everyone else was doing either. Now with the sci-fi romance genre out there, it's intrigued me enough to give it a try. So I really hope you enjoy!

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About the Book

When Haleigh Lucas is dragged to a party with her best friend, Alexis Dalton, she is shocked to find it was not the kind of party she was expecting. Forced into a world she never knew existed, Haleigh is faced with a choice.

Dominic Hansen is gorgeous and witty. Haleigh likes him immediately, but he is a Dominant, and she is not interested in being controlled. Kurt McCray gives her the creeps at first sight, but as she gets to know him, she decides her first impression was wrong. Although he is also into BDSM, he avoids the topic when Haleigh makes it clear she is not interested.

Though Haleigh feels more attracted to Dominic, Kurt seems to be the easier choice. She learns the hard way, the easier choice is not necessarily the best choice. After more than a year of forced slavery at Kurt's hands, Dominic rescues her, but now Haleigh feels she can never love again. How will Dominic win her trust and her love?

Disclaimer: This is not a "girl falls in love with her abuser" kind of story and it does have a happily ever after kind of ending. However, there are elements of kidnap, abuse, rape, and forced slavery. Do not buy this book if these themes offend or upset you.

Get it for 99 cents between the 26th and 30th of November on Amazon!

An excerpt from Out of Oblivion

I hated parties. I always have. It's not that I wasn't a social person. I didn't like loud, crowded spaces that reeked of smoke and stale alcohol with drunk and high people running around like idiots. And, okay, I wasn't a social person. I didn't mind spending time with friends, but most of the time I was happiest on my own, in my quiet room with a good book. My best friend, Alexis Dalton, on the other hand, was a complete social butterfly.

"We're going to a party tonight," Alexis announced the minute I walked through our shared dorm room's door as she primped herself in front of a mirror.

She wore her black mini skirt, which she could pull off with her body, and a black lace top with nothing more than a black lace bra underneath. She completed the ensemble with her favorite fishnet stockings and black high heeled boots. Alexis was planning to get laid, which meant one of two things. She would leave the party in tears, in which case I would spend the night trying to console her. Or she would stay the night, in which case I'd be too worried to leave her. Either way, if I went, I wouldn't be getting much sleep that night.

I groaned. "What party?"

"You remember Jason Hansen?"

I fell onto my bunk and pulled the pillow over my face. After the day I had, all I wanted was a nap. "You mean the junior you're all hot and bothered over and don't shut up about? Yeah. How can I forget?"

Alexis yanked the pillow away, rolling her eyes. "Well, yeah. He invited me, and I think he might finally ask me out."

"You keep saying that every time you invite yourself to whatever party he's planning to be at," I said as I lifted myself onto my elbows.

"Yeah, but this time I didn't invite myself. He told me he likes me, but he can't date me until I understand something about him."

I narrowed my eyes. "That sounds a bit ominous. What? Is he a vampire or something?"

"You read too much," Alexis said, then laughed. "So will you go?"

"If you're going with Jason, why do you need me there? I'm not in a party mood."

Alexis sighed. "You're never in a party mood, and Jason won't be there until later. He has to work, but he said I can go early if I want so I can… explore."

She knew more about this party than she was telling me. What could there possibly be to explore? It was a party. I started to object. There was nothing I wanted less right now than to be near other people.

"Please, Haleigh. I don't want to go alone." She got down on her knees, her hands folded in front of her chest as though she was praying.

I sighed. She would not give up. "You know you're a pain, right?"

"The biggest pain in the world. Please, please, please?"

"Fine," I said. I didn't like her going to parties alone anyway. Trouble seemed to follow her. "I'll go."

She jumped up and wrapped her arms around me. "Thank you, thank you, thank you. You won't regret it."

My gut told me I would.

"Okay, get dressed. We have to leave soon."

"I am dressed."

"Jeans and t-shirt is not dressed, Haleigh," Alexis scolded.

"It's just a party, right?"

She sighed. "Fine. Wear that. You might be the most covered person there. That won't draw attention."

She was trying to bait me into dressing up, but it wouldn't work. People ignored me at parties because I didn't dress up. It kept me safe. Well, until they were too drunk to care anyway.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Soulless Creatures by Katharine Grubb

Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Soulless Creatures, Falling For Your Madness, and Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement and community. She understands what it means to make the most of her time. She blogs at She lives in Massachusetts with her family.

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About the Book

Working-class future leader Roy Castleberry and pampered over-thinker Jonathan Campbell are 18-year-old freshmen at the University of Oklahoma who think they know everything. Roy thinks Jonathan could succeed in wooing Abby if he stopped obsessing over Walden. Jonathan thinks Roy could learn to be self-actualized if he’d stop flirting with every girl he meets. They make a wager: if Roy can prove that he has some poetic thought, some inner life, A SOUL, then Jonathan will give him the car he got for graduation. Roy takes the bet because he thinks this is the easiest game he’s ever played. Roy spends the rest of the school year proving the existence of his soul, competing against Jonathan for Abby's attention, dodging RAs who are curious about the fake ID ring in his room and dealing with his past. For Roy and Jonathan, college life in 1986 is richer, (both experientially and financially) than either of them expected.

Get it now on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with Kathrine!

Why did you decide to be a writer?

I remember being four years old and holding a pencil and piece of paper and my first thought was not “let’s draw a picture” but “let’s tell a story” and then I probably cried because I didn’t know how to write. If only I would have known that someday I would be able to type 100 words a minute, and this skill would serve me when I wrote in ten minute increments. As I grew up I was Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder fan girl. And I wanted to be them. They were girls! They were writers! They wore Holly Hobbie bonnets!

What authors/books have most influenced you?

Back in 2006, when I decided that I probably wouldn’t, as a stay-at-home mom of five kids under 8, be called by Fox to write for The Simpsons, that I would, instead, learn how to write a novel. I read everything I could get my hands on. But the best resources were How To Grow A Novel by Sol Stein, STORY by Robert McKee, the books and blog by Victoria Mixon, and I would NOT have the confidence for any of this without The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. That showed me the how of writing. And every time I read a book and the characters wow me or the setting fascinates me or the plot intrigues me, I think "I SO WANT TO DO THAT!" There are far too many authors and books out there to mention.

What is the biggest obstacle you face as an author and what do you do to overcome it?

The biggest challenge I face is fear. I found out, at age 45, that I’ve suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder my whole life I’ve spent most of my life a breath or two away from an anxiety attack. My fear is a vague, paralyzing kind of fear that shuts me down and isolates me. (Ironically, one of God’s solutions to this fear was to bless me with a LOT of loud, obnoxious, confident kids.) I realized that if I didn’t do something about my fear, that I would never have my dreams come true. I’ve learned how to manage my time and my fear in small steps. Can I make this phone call? Can I contact this agent? Can I rewrite this paragraph? Like every other writer, I’ve faced rejection and disappointment, but that pain of that was not nearly as bad as the pain of thinking my children were watching me. Would they see me be paralyzed by my fear or be successful in spite of it?

Does your family support you in your writing, or are you on your own?

From the summer of 2006, when I decided to get serious, my husband and five children were ALWAYS my biggest cheer section. They think that I deserve the Pulitzer. They’d hack into Amazon and leave my books dozens of five star reviews simply saying “This book is awesome!” if they knew how. But from a practical side, that’s a bit of a different story. I call myself the ten minute writer because, in theory, I write for ten minutes and then go do Mom stuff for ten minutes and, in theory, they were supposed to leave me alone. This worked. Sometimes. But woe to the kid that wants apple juice during the wrong ten minutes. Now that they’re older, and I’m working more, they are doing their best, emotionally and practically to support every venture I have.

What is the best writing advice you've ever received?

One of the best pieces of advice I was given in college was this: The Single Piece of Best Writing Advice Never compare yourself to others. If you do, you’ll compare their strengths to your weaknesses, and you’ll always be the loser. When I compare myself to other writers, it doesn’t do me a bit of good. I either pick up some frothy bonnet romance and throw it across the room, puffing myself up with thoughts of superiority. My books will have more meaning! I will be more literarily significant! I won’t have any ripped bodices! Or, I will read something breathtakingly good, like The Elegance of the Hedgehog or Someone Else’s Love Story and moan in despair that I can never achieve what that author has done, so I might as well give up. 

If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only have five books with you, what would they be?

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, A Collection of Short Stories by Flannery O'Connor, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and How to Escape A Deserted Island by some well known expert. 

What book or series do you enjoy reading over and over again?

All of Jane Austen's books, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings Series

How many books do you have on your "to read" list? What are some of them?

Oh Golly! My local library allows for digital downloads and I have over 200 on my wishlist. They fall into four categories: marketing, like Seth Godin; sociological nonfiction, like "How To Deal with Difficult People"; memoirs, like right now I'm reading Amy Poehler's "Yes, Please" and critically acclaimed novels, like "All The Light We Cannot See". I'll get to the bottom of this pile in 2021 or so. 

Are you a pantser or outliner?

I’ve learned that plotting is the best way for me. THE TRUTH ABOUT THE SKY, my first novel, was a pantser book and it took me five years. FALLING FOR YOUR MADNESS kind of struck me like a lightning bolt, so it didn’t really count as either. And my latest novel SOULLESS CREATURES was far more organized and I was most comfortable with that method. And earlier this year I release WRITE A NOVEL IN 10 MINUTES A DAY, which preaches the whole plotting Gospel. I do see the value in learning how to free write, which is just self-controlled pantsing, in the beginning stages of writing a draft. So the answer to the question, obviously, is YES.

What are you working on now?

Right now I'm in between projects, which is a nice way of saying, "Hey MUSE! A little help???" I'd like to write a nonfiction book about marketing for self-publishers and I'd also like to write another novel, but my fiction ideas are not playing nicely together. So I'll do my research and plod through the proposal.

I would also like to add that in 2014 I created the Facebook group 10 Minute Novelists for time-crunched writers everywhere. Now at nearly 1400 members worldwide, we are active, lively had three goals: tips, encouragement and community. We accomplished these goals through weekly chats on Facebook and Twitter, daily memes like #MondayBlogs, Buddy Tuesday and #AuthorHappiness. Group members are encouraged to engage with each other to solve problems in any of these areas, offer advice, critique each others’ work and build relationships. 10 Minute Novelists became far bigger than a blog and far better than a fan club. 

All writers are welcome to join us!

Friday, 20 November 2015

Deep Blue Eyes on the Greek Isles by Dimitri Sarantis

The author was born in Athens, Greece and is a dual U.S. / Greek citizen. He studied at Brown University and obtained his MBA at Harvard Business School. He is married and has two children and lives in Athens but often visits America. He is currently employed as the Senior Financial Analyst of Viohalco SA, Greece's largest manufacturing multinational. His interests include poetry, romance fiction book publishing and reading.

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About the Book

This book is for lovers! It is for sensitive, romantic souls. It is for people who wipe a tear as they watch a vivid sunset or who, under the August full moon, understand that life is always about love. But love isn’t always a field of roses. In this book, those roses are full of thorns. Love is a long, adventurous journey. But no matter the thorns in the roses, love never ceases to be the miracle of life. ...

Paul, a handsome young Greek business executive guides Sophie, a younger ethereal beauty of a Greek Goddess, in her Harvard Business School application. They are interested in one another. However, so many questions arise. Will they date, as Sophie has had a steady boyfriend for six years, Robert, and even worse as Paul still has a mad crush on his former girlfriend at Harvard, Wendy? Will they fall in love, will he ask her to marry him and will their marriage ever take place, if at all? This passionately romantic written novel is also definitely a suspense mystery thriller as there are so many threatening plots against their relationship. Robert and Wendy, Sophie’s and Paul’s mothers, and many other people each separately and for their own specific reasons actively plot to blow everything up. Even Alice, Sophie’s sexy-bombshell twin sister wants to “share” Paul. But will she succeed? Paul is so tempted, interested…

Get it now on Amazon!

Here's an excerpt from his upcoming novel:

A week passed following their first meeting, and the time had come for their second encounter. Paul was busy at his laptop doing after hours corporate work at home, as he often did. It was one of those early December evenings before Christmas that Greece was famous for: cool and crisp and in the low forties. The evening was magic because the atmosphere was razor-sharp clear. It seemed crafted for those people who marvel at a beautiful, distinct sunset. For those who treasure a crisp, bright starlit winter sky and for those who stand in awe marveling at a beautiful, shiny winter moon. Paul was touched as he admired the strikingly lit up Acropolis, only about a mile away from him. The doorbell rang for Paul and Sophie’s second meeting. Paul stood up and went to the main entrance. When he opened the door, Paul was shocked by the difference in her looks. “Was this the same Sophie?” Gone were the awful green glasses. She had beautifully pulled up her hair, natural, authentic and sensuous. She had hair with an amour-propre. Gentle, but unmediated and determined to be free, long, warm brown hair was pulled up to a tight bun.

Her face was stunning with its perfectly balanced characteristics, high cheek bones and her narrow distinct nose. She had perfect silk-fine nicely tanned skin, which seared warmth. Her deep blue eyes with their long eyelashes radiated kindness. 

She was like a beautiful lotus flower blossoming in the autumn. Her typical casual business attire had a benefit because it would easily direct Paul to her gorgeous deep blue eyes, constantly. Her smile was stunning. 

The constant eye contact made him feel an interest in this woman. He was impressed by the combination of beauty, intelligence and the obvious interest in him she was projecting with those very eyes. An off-white blouse under a tailored blue jacket formed an area of vividness near her exquisite face. The contrasting crimson-red scarf sharpened this effect. 

“Could this Goddess be the same Sophie? Was she Helen of Troy? Was she real?” 

Paul, still in shock instantly decided that he had to shake her hand this time and he now had a second powerful shock. Since he was tall and slim his palms were long and thin and when he shook hands, he had the habit to squeeze the other person’s hands to show his warmth. However, Sophie’s hands were so long, feminine and slim that he had trouble even holding them. A second shock overcame Paul, like a mighty wave sweeping the beach. 

Her amazing, piercing blue eyes impressed him. She was stunningly attractive and good-looking! He had to take time to relax and absorb the shock. 

“Mr. Vassilatos, this view of the Acropolis is awe inspiring. I’m deeply touched; you’re a very lucky man to live here.” Sophie’s eyes were beaming. She was emotionally impressed. 

As they sat at the table and began their work, Paul’s glimpse at Sophie’s hands occasionally interrupted the very meaningful constant eye contact between their blue eyes. Her hands were slim, long and tanned; they could only belong to a pianist or even project the uniquely beautiful hands of the best ancient Greek statue. He was having difficulty in concentrating on their work due to the feelings stirring from the reoccurring eye contact and the elegance of her hands, touching him now and then. He had some of his orange juice. 

“I’ll pretend that this glass is half filled with vodka. That will calm me down.” 

But it didn’t, naturally. The long, professional application meeting that followed only strengthened his impression that she was a very exceptional, extraordinary individual. She had it all. She was sharp and sensitive; a true leader and a professional manager, as well as a knock out. After she left, he wondered if she dolled up just for him. “This is wishful thinking, Paul.”

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

SICK: A Novella by Christa Wojciechowski

Christa Wojo (short for Wojciechowski) was born in New Jersey and raised in Florida where she fell in love with a handsome Panamanian and escaped the US in 2006. Since, she has lived a lush life in her wild new country, traveling with her husband and working as a freelance internet marketer. 

Christa devotes her free time to wine, yoga, outdoor sports, and classic literature. She's also mother to an epileptic Rottweiler, a mutt with a phobia of boots, and a Red-lored Amazon parrot who hates her. 

When Christa's not on the road, you'll find her clad in dog hair covered yoga pants, writing from her home at the foot of Volcan Baru in Boquete, Panama. There, she either sips coffee or Cabernet and tries to figure out the meaning of life through the mysterious process of writing. 

Christa Wojo is the author of The Wrong David and has just released SICK: A Novella. She's now working on a series of novels that explore abuse, addiction, art, and existentialism. She also runs My Sweet Delirium, a blog about creativity and assorted weirdness, and offers a menu of internet marketing services for authors.

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About the Book

A woman sacrifices everything to care for her husband whose chronic illness can’t be diagnosed. 

John Branch is bred from a long line of old New England wealth. He is also the victim of debilitating chronic illness. His wife, Susan, uses all her resources and energy to take care of him and makes sure he is as comfortable as he can possibly be. 

After a frightening episode of acute organ failure, John makes an amazing recovery. Susan is hopeful for a lasting cure and a normal life, but his insidious illness is more persistent and horrific than she could ever have imagined.

Get it today on Amazon!

Excerpt from SICK

I began to cry soundlessly. My tears dripped onto his pale skin, suctioning my ear to his chest. I heard his voice from inside, deep and low. “Did you get the Demerol?” he asked again. “Please, tell me you got it. There wasn’t much left, and now we’re all out.” 

I became aware of the hard glass bottle in my bra. I didn’t want him to know I had it. I didn’t ever want him to ask me to help him commit suicide. “I couldn’t get it,” I said. 

“I’m sorry I took the vial,” he said. “I was a bad boy. I promise I won’t do it again.” 

I was still getting my head around his idea. Even if he wanted me to help him die, no matter how he suffered, I was not strong enough to be the one to do it. Was I? 

He paused and held his breath for a second. “You’re crying.” 

“Why did you do it?” I asked. “The rest of the vial? Tell me the truth.” 

“I was in a lot of pain. That’s all.” He continued to pet my head. “I just wanted to feel good.” 

“I’m scared,” I said. “You did way too much.” 

“Oh, please. I’ve been taking these drugs for decades. They hardly affect me anymore, sadly enough. I feel all the pain through them, they just help me not to pay so much attention to it.” 

I traced his appendectomy scar with my fingertip. Then the one from his emergency intestinal enteritis operation. 

He patted me a few more times. “There’s no need to be frightened.” 

He waited. He knew I had the drugs. I never could pass a lie off on him. I reached under my top and flipped the vial out of my bra. It was warm from my body heat. I handed it to John. 

He read the label and held it up to the light. “You are an angel, Suze. My dream come true.” He placed it back in my palm and closed my fingers over it. “Now hide it well.” 

“Promise? You won’t go looking for it?” 

“I promise,” he said. “I will listen to you, Nurse Suzie.” 

“Then you don’t want to die. Right?” 

“No, not yet,” he said.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Shadow Stalker: Defiance (Episode 13) by Renee Scattergood

Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn't start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark fantasy. She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, Savior of the Serpent Isles. The first book, The Galvadi Invasion, is due to be released mid-2016. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter. Visit her site for more information and a free copy of Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6).

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About the Book

Defiance is the first episode in Part 3 (Episodes 13 - 18) of the Shadow Stalker serial.

Three years have passed since Auren and Shai escaped the daily torture of the Galvadi. With Makari's help, they have learned more about the Galvadi's technology and discovered ways to overcome its effects on their power, which gave them an edge in the war. However, the Galvadi have spent that time developing new technology that could mean the end of the shadow stalkers.

If you haven't read the serial yet, you can download Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 - 6) free!

If you're all caught up and want to keep reading, you can read weekly installments of the serial for $1 a month. You'll also have access to all previous episodes and bundles!

Now for an excerpt from Episode 13:

Cali gave me a nudge as she took a seat next to me. "Do you have any idea what's going on?"

"No idea," I said, moving over a few inches so she had space to sit between me and Shai on the log someone had converted into a bench.

Shai slung an arm around her cousin and Cali returned the gesture, then wrapped her free arm around me. I smiled at her. Cali was the only one who had helped me maintain my sanity over the years. It drove me crazy never knowing what was happening to Makari. Kado kept me busy, as usual, but any time I had a free moment, all I could do was wonder if he was safe. I would know if he died. I would sense him again in the shadow world. He had been blocking me to keep me safe, though I had no idea how it was supposed to help. All it did was make me want to go to him, which would be more dangerous.

Of course, Kado would never allow that. He saw my thoughts as I had them most of the time, and he would know as soon as I made the decision. I learned quickly not to allow my thoughts to go down that path too often. That's where Cali came in. She distracted me by helping me forget the war and making me feel like a normal person once in a while. She was as good a friend as Jade, except she didn't encourage me to disobey Kado when I was angry.

"Maybe the Galvadi have decided to give up," Shai said, pulling me out of my thoughts.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Algorithm by Arthur M. Doweyko

Arthur has authored 100+ scientific publications, invented novel 3D drug design software, and shares the 2008 Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award for the discovery of Sprycel, a new anti-cancer drug. He writes hard science fiction, fantasy and horror.

His novel, Algorithm, which is a story about DNA and the purpose of humanity, garnered a 2010 Royal Palm Literary Award (RPLA) and was published by E-Lit Books in October, 2014. Many of his short stories have garnered honors including finalists in the 2011-2013 RPLA competitions, Honorable Mentions in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contests, and best short fiction in the 2012-2013 Preditors and Editors Readers Polls. He has completed Angela's Apple (Winner of RPLA 1st Place, Best Sci-Fi of 2014) , a story of guardian angels that are not angels, forbidden love, and the secret fate of humankind. His current project is Henry The Last, a story about the last creature with a human brain, and what it means to be human in a post-apocalyptic world where nothing is what it seems to be.

He lives in Florida with his wife Lidia, teaches college chemistry and happily wanders the beaches when not jousting with aliens.

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About the Book

Algorithm is a fast-paced, science fiction mystery/thriller. The novel is an epic tale consisting of two parts: The Medallion and The Makers. Using real science and real events, we are drawn through a rapidly unfolding series of discoveries and adventures, which ultimately lead to a surprising view of mankind’s purpose on Earth.

A gold medallion is discovered in a lump of coal over a hundred million years old. It contains a code describing human DNA at a time when there were no humans. How could this be? Adam Dove wants to know, but when he starts to investigate, his laboratory is destroyed and a close friend is murdered. Joined by a brilliant biochemist, Linda Garcia, the two are hunted by a Nazi underground bent on retrieving the disk and a mysterious alien presence, which may be more interested in destroying it. Adam and Linda face the most difficult decision of their lives-to leave all they know behind for the chance to discover mankind's origin and purpose.

Buy the Book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo!

Excerpt from Algorithm

When he reached the bottom, he peered down the length of the basement toward the front of the house. The darkness felt grim and the cold air licked at the back of his neck. The light from the stairs faded as Adam crept forward, groping for a switch or a dangling chain. Bumping into musty carton boxes and storage crates, he crept farther into the gloom. He paused when he heard footsteps above, muffled conversation, or the sound of water gurgling through pipes. When his outstretched hands touched a metal post, he craned his head to the side and focused on the dim outline of the broken window. Hazy light streamed in from above and outlined a darkly smeared coal bin. As he neared the coal bin and he needed to look no further. The ball sat atop a mound of dusty anthracite.

He scaled the blackened wooden planks and landed softly at the base of the coal pile. He clambered up, slipping and kicking up sulfurous dust, blackening hands and knees as he scrambled to the top. He lunged for the ball, grasped it with one hand, and glided down the rocky heap in deep satisfaction. Dust settled around and on him, fading in and out of the light. Adam found his other hand clutching a few nuggets. He was about to toss them back into the heap when a sparkle of reflected light caught his eye. He opened his fingers, releasing one lump at a time, until all that remained was a fist-sized chunk. Even in the muted light he saw the oddly-shaped golden glimmer. He rotated his upturned palm, bringing it closer. There was something metallic in the coal.

The sound of footfalls on the staircase broke his reverie. There he was, reclining in a dusty coal bin at the far end of an unlit, unfamiliar and cavernous cellar—ball in one hand and a mystery lump of coal in the other. The shadowy figure reaching the foot of the stairs was about to discover an intruder. Tucking away the coal in his dungarees pocket, he rolled off the brimstone mound, careful to avoid dislodging a 'here-I-am' mini-avalanche. He slipped over the side of the bin and felt for some potential cover. The lights came on just as he squeezed between a stack of cartons and the cellar damp wall. Shuffling feet with loose slippers slapped their way toward him. Adam fought down a strong urge to jump up and run.

I bet my ass is hanging out for all to see.

The shuffling and slapping drew to a stop.

That's it, he's got me.

"What's this?"

I'm dead.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Shadow Stalker Serial by Renee Scattergood

Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn't start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark fantasy. She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, Savior of the Serpent Isles. The first book, The Galvadi Invasion, is due to be released mid-2016. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter. Visit her site for more information and a free copy of Shadow Stalker Part 1(Episodes 1 – 6).

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Renee's Author Spotlight - a blog where I feature indie and small press authors.
Read As I Write (Don't wait til the book is released)

Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 - 6)

The Hidden Truth (Episode 1)

A young shadow stalker is destined to enslave the people of the Serpent Isles, and the Galvadi Empire want this child of prophecy dead. Auren Trasks perfectly normal life is disrupted when the Galvadi invade, and she learns a startling secret about her past. A secret that will change her life forever.

The Delohi-Saqu's Fate (Episode 2)

Auren is being targeted by the Council of Elders, and the only one who could put an end to their corruption is her father. But leaving the Dark Isle would turn Kado against her.

Shadows' Betrayal (Episode 3)

After seeing the monster she will become, Auren swears not to leave the Dark Isle. Despite that, the elders are conspiring against her. To escape their scheming, she and Kado decide to explore the Dark Isle. But worse things await them in the forests.

Forbidden Love (Episode 4)

Kado and Auren survive a deadly storm, but when Auren is forbidden from pursuing love with another young shadow stalker, will it be enough to drive a wedge between her and her foster father?

Destiny Reconciled Part 1 (Episode 5)

Auren and Kado accept that they may not be able to avoid her leaving the Dark Isle. Now they have to prepare for that eventuality. Will the training be more than Auren can handle?

Destiny Reconciled Part 2 (Episode 6)

Cathnor has been arrested and is facing a death sentence. The Dark Isle is out of control, and Kado is the only one who can help his people. So he prepares Auren for the possibility that she may have to leave the Dark Isle without him and face her destiny alone, but can she leave him and do what must be done?

Now Available Free!

Shadow Stalker Part 2 (Episodes 7 - 12) is also available in many online retail outlets!

To read more of this serial, sign up for a new chapter each week! It's only $1 a month!

An excerpt from Shadow Stalker: The Hidden Truth (Episode 1)

Reality is an illusion we create to convince ourselves nothing will ever change. I have learned change happens regardless of the reality we create. Sometimes it’s so subtle we don’t notice it, but other times it’s so dramatic it alters our lives in a very profound way. One thing is for sure, once it sets into motion, we can’t stop it.

For me, it began with a camping trip. My friends and I had been planning it since the month before our graduation. This trip was to be our first autonomous venture into the world as fledgling adults. After spending my entire childhood in a proverbial cage, I longed for freedom. Well, okay, my life wasn't that bad. My foster father, Kado, just kept me busy doing things I believed to be unimportant, like studying maps of the islands and learning combat fighting. I didn't have time for much of a social life. It was important to him, though, so I tried not to complain—too much.

The fact that I was eighteen wasn't enough to warrant independence in Kado’s opinion. He felt I still had a lot more to learn before I could call myself an adult. It was doubtful he would believe I'd be responsible enough to travel to another island on my own, even for a few days. I had been trying to think of a way to convince him all that week to let me go on this camping trip, but I couldn't come up with anything. Worse, his mood had been gradually declining throughout the week, which decreased my chances for a positive outcome. I was out of time, though. My friends were leaving early the following morning, so I was lying on my bed, committing my spiel to memory.

"Auren, come down here, please."

Ready or not, this was it. "Coming."

I found him where he spent most of his spare time, sitting in the study reading in his favorite chair. Piles of books lined the walls making the room appear smaller than it was. There was only enough room for a couple of armchairs and a small table for furniture. How he managed such organization amongst this clutter was beyond me. I wasn’t even able to keep my room tidy, and I didn’t have nearly as much stuff as he did. Despite his ability for order and cleanliness, the room still reeked of that musty old book smell. Not even air freshener had any hope of defeating that odor; trust me, I'd tried.

I strode into the room and sat in the chair across from him. Gazing at him, it was easy to see how he could pass for my father even though we were unrelated. We both had the same dark hair, green eyes and olive skin that made us look like we belonged in a much warmer climate. The only real difference was his face was long and angular, while mine was small and round. It made my head seem disproportionate to the rest of my body, but when Kado told me I looked like my mom, it eased my self-consciousness. I loved looking into the mirror and pretending it was my mother looking back at me.

"Have you finished packing?" Kado asked without looking up from his book.


Kado lowered the book, and his eyes bore into mine. That could have sounded more confident. I had packed, but it was for the camping trip with my friends, and not for wherever Kado was planning to take me. We typically went camping every summer, though I had the impression it wasn't the plan for this trip when he told me to bring anything that had value to me. Part of me wondered if he was intending on coming back.

"Kado, my friends and I planned a camping trip to celebrate our graduation, and I'd really like to go."

His eyes narrowed. "Where?"

Somehow my request didn't seem to surprise him, so I felt my first spark of hope. "Luten Isle."

"Absolutely not."

"Why?" I asked, my hope fading.

"Auren, I have told you we are leaving Appolia in the morning."

Appolia was the largest island in the north, and capital of the Coalition. It also happened to be the coldest place on the planet. Why Kado had chosen to live here I would never understand.

"Can't we leave next week, so I can at least spend time with my friends?"

"No," he said, and went back to his book. His subtle dismissal was his way of telling me the conversation was over, but he seemed to be considering letting me go for a moment. His final decision had nothing to do with the trip he had planned.

"What's wrong with Luten Isle?" I asked, hoping I wasn't pushing my luck too far. I was always told that ‘no’ was not an invitation for further argument, and making him angry would be counterproductive to my cause.

Kado set his book down on the small table between the two chairs, then sat forward with his forearms resting on his knees. "You know very well it's too close to the Galvadi border."

"So? You took me there last year. What difference does it make?"

"The difference is, I won't be there."

I would have told him to come with us, but that would have defeated the whole purpose of the trip, which was to get away from parental figures. I didn't think my friends, Deakan and Jade, would want him along anyway. Kado intimidated them. Then again, he intimidated most people. It could have been his size. He dwarfed most tall men, and while sitting he was taller than I was when standing. Although, it could have also been the fact that he always appeared to be in a bad mood.

"Why don't you trust me?" I asked under my breath.

Kado sighed and rubbed his forehead as though soothing a headache. "It's not a matter of trust, Auren."

"What then?"

"It's not safe for you there."

“I'm not helpless,” I said, groaning. He had been training me for as long as I could remember to protect myself, so it seemed to me a pretty lame excuse.

"I know you're not, but it's my duty to protect you, and I can't do that if you're over a hundred kilometers away."

There was something going on he wasn’t telling me. Granted, he was normally overprotective, but something else was motivating his decision. I wished he would just tell me what it was. "What do you need to protect me from?"

"You'll understand soon enough," Kado said. "Go pack."

I started to say something else, but my mind abruptly went blank, and I lost interest in the conversation. Jade would be waiting for my call anyway. I rang her from my bedroom.

"He said no, didn't he?" Jade asked after hearing my voice.

I snorted. "How'd you guess?"

"How brave are you feeling at the moment?"

I narrowed my eyes even though she couldn't see me. She was scheming, which meant I would, no doubt, end up in trouble. "Why?"

"Can Kado hear you?"

"Most likely."

"Okay, well that explains your short answers. What if we were to come and get you tonight? Do you think you could sneak out?"

I took a moment before answering, so I would be able to focus on keeping the excitement out of my voice. "It's possible."

"After midnight?"

"Sure." Kado was almost always asleep by then, so that might work.

"Okay, see ya then."

"Have fun on the camping trip," I said, sounding as forlorn as possible just in case Kado was listening.

Jade giggled as she disconnected on her end. All I had to do now was to come up with a way to sneak out. He would hear me if I tried to go through the house. I could move like a ghost in more ideal conditions, but nothing would stop the creaking and groaning of the old floorboards. Although, thanks to Kado's training, leaving through the second story window in my bedroom shouldn't be too difficult. Finally, it was proving useful for something.

That night I laid awake in bed waiting for Kado to go to sleep. I left the window open, even though it was a chilly night, so I wouldn't have to risk having it squeak and wake Kado. The clock ticking in the hallway was a constant reminder of the passing of time. I was afraid he might stay up the entire night, until I heard his light padding as he came up the stairs. I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep in case he checked on me. His footsteps stopped outside my door. At first he did nothing, so I thought he would head to bed, but then the door opened. The light that spilled into my room gleamed through my eyelids, tempting me to open them to see what he was doing. Then a floorboard creaked near my bed, reminding me I was supposed to be fooling him into believing I was asleep.

I struggled to keep my breathing even. The shadow hovering over me and blocking the light coming in from the hallway made me suspect Kado stood right next to me. The musky scent of his aftershave confirmed that fact. I flinched when his hand rested on my shoulder. I wasn't expecting the touch.

"Nice try, Auren."

I opened my eyes and tried to respond, but my voice wouldn't work. I expected Kado to be angry, but he looked amused. After a moment, his face faded and everything went dark. It seemed like seconds had passed when I heard something hitting my window. I forced my eyes open, but I was so groggy it took me a moment to be able to keep them from closing again. Where was Kado? My room was dark, and the house was quiet. He must have gone to bed, but I didn't remember him leaving.

I heard another clink from the window. I sat up, ignoring the chill as I walked over to see what was making the noise. Kado must have closed it, but he was already aware I was up to something, so I would need to be extremely quiet. I inched the window open as slowly as possible, and miraculously succeeded in not making a sound. Sighing in relief, I poked my head outside just in time to have something hard hit my forehead.

"Ow, damn it. Watch it!" I cursed wordlessly at my slip up, and listened to make sure I didn't wake Kado. The house remained silent, so I tossed my backpack out the window into Deakan's waiting arms. I grabbed a hair band off my dresser, so I could tie it back and keep it out of my face. The wind rocked the branch of the tree outside my window, but I watched the pattern of its movement. When I was sure I could make the jump without missing the limb, I climbed onto the window ledge and leapt. My feet landed on the branch, and I managed to keep my balance despite the bouncing. Jade let out a squeak. I would have rolled my eyes if I wasn't trying to focus on getting to the ground in one piece. When it stopped shaking, I checked to see if anyone was below me and began my final swing toward the ground.

Deakan held up a hand in warning. "Wait, there's a—"

It was too late. I had already let go of the branch. I braced for impact against the hard ground, but instead the ground gave way and my feet sank as though I had landed in quicksand.

“Mud puddle," Deakan said.

My shoes sloshed as I stepped out of the slick and onto the hard cement. I sniffed. "Are you sure that's mud?"

Deakan snickered. "It's a good thing you're not a girly-girl."

I punched him in the gut. I didn't think I hit him that hard, but he wrapped his arms around his middle and hunched over, taking a couple of deep breaths.

"Oops, sorry." I covered my mouth with a hand to hide the smirk.

"So violent!" Deakan swung my backpack toward my head, but I caught it before it made contact. Regrettably, I didn't anticipate the momentum of the strap and it smacked my face.

Jade giggled.

"Shh," I said as I pointed toward Kado's window.

"Right, sorry."

I followed Deakan and Jade as they led the way to his father’s hydrocar. Deakan was tall, but nowhere near as tall as Kado. Still, he quite often used my head for an armrest. Jade looked like a midget next to him, but they had matching blond hair and pale skin. They looked like typical Appolians. He had parked his vehicle down the road in the shadow between the street lamps. It was a good thing, too, because he demanded I change out of my muddy clothing first, and I didn’t need a spotlight for that show.

I pulled out a clean set of track pants before throwing my backpack in the trunk. My shirt was free of mud, so at least I'd be spared having to expose my top half. I didn't have another pair of shoes with me, so I'd have to go barefoot for a while. Deakan stood on the opposite side of the hydrocar facing away from us, while I stood between the opened front and rear doors. Jade held her sleeping bag over the gap, but even with the cover, dressing on the side of the road would be awkward. My only other option was to risk going back into the house, but I didn't want to press my luck. It was a miracle I had made it out of the house without Kado knowing.

Before I took off my pants, I looked up and down the road. The houses were dark, so I hoped it was safe to assume the neighbors were all sleeping. I could imagine the look on Kado's face if he heard from one of them I had exposed myself in public. I sat on the back seat of the hydrocar and removed the muddy shoes, socks and pants, placing them in the laundry bag I brought with me. Goosebumps formed on my legs before I had the chance to cover them with my clean ones, and I was already shivering.

It may have been early summer, but the nights were still cold this far north. In fact, there was still patches of snow on the ground where the larger mounds hadn't quite melted, yet. We were lucky to even have summers. North of us, in the higher elevations, the snow covered the ground all year. That was one of the reasons my friends and I had decided to go to Luten Isle. It was as far south as we could go without crossing the border into the Galvadi Empire, the enemy of the Coalition for all intents and purposes. Luten Isle might still be a bit cool this time of year in the evenings, but at least it was warmer than Appolia, and during the day it might even be warm enough to swim.

I threw my laundry bag into the trunk with my backpack, and then climbed into the back seat of the hydrocar. Deakan and Jade sat up front, which didn't bother me. I'd have plenty of room for stretching out. It was the most comfortable vehicle I had ever been in. A soft leather, with cushions so supple it was like floating on a cloud, covered the seats. I leaned toward the front to ogle the controls on the dashboard, which lit up more brightly than a star filled sky. The outside of the hydrocar was pretty typical, with its boat meets car look, except it had no wheels. The newer models didn’t need them because they employed a new technology that used the planets magnetic field to make the vehicles seem to just float in the air. It was similar to trying to push two magnets with the same polarization toward each other.

"How did you talk your dad into letting you take this?" I asked in wonder. His dad coveted his possessions, and I never imagined he’d let Deakan drive his hydrocar, much less leave Appolia with it.

"I promised to go to the Appolian Institute of Science and Technology. He wants me to go to officer school like my older brother instead of enlisting in the army. Something about there being more prestige as an officer."

"Wow, you? An officer? What happened to being a big time killing machine?"

"I can still be a killing machine."

"Science and technology," Jade pointed out.

"Yeah, you'll probably end up in a lab somewhere."

Deakan tapped a few buttons on a control panel on the steering column and the hydrocar started gliding down the road. It even had auto drive. I was instantly jealous. Why couldn’t Kado buy something like this? His hydrocar was ancient, although in this case it might work in our favor. It had wheels, and he had to switch from land to water mode manually, which made the process of entering and leaving the water much slower. Even if he did follow us, he'd have a hard time keeping up once we left the island.

Deakan turned in his seat so he was facing both Jade and I. "Whatever. Officers have combat training too. So what took you so long, Auren?"

"How long were you waiting for me?"

"About two hours," Jade said.

"Seriously, guys?"

They nodded.

"Damn, I'm sorry. Kado came into the room, and he knew I was up to something. I must have fallen asleep while waiting for him to leave."

"When's he gonna give you a break? Even my dad thinks he's overbearing, and that's saying something," Deakan said.

"Why don't you just run away from home and start a new life somewhere else?" Jade suggested.

I shrugged. "It’s complicated."

"What’s so complicated?" Deakan asked.

I pulled a lock of my dark hair into my mouth and started chewing. Part of me longed for that kind of freedom, but it felt wrong. Despite Kado's emotional distance and lack of affection, I knew he cared about me. If he didn't, he wouldn't have heeded my father's dying wish to raise me, and he wouldn't be taking the time to teach me all he knows. Kado never told me how my father died, but I was aware that he had given his life so I could live. If I ran away I would be tarnishing my father's memory, and betraying the man who has dedicated himself to raising another man's child. I couldn't bring myself to do that, but I didn’t know how to explain my feelings to my friends.