Friday, 29 September 2017

Paradisi Escape by Cheri Lasota

USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Cheri Lasota is a freelance author, editor, designer, and founder of Her bestselling debut novel, Artemis Rising, is a 2013 Cygnus Awards First Place Winner and a 2012 finalist in the Next Generation Indie Books Awards. Cheri also helped found the Paradisi Chronicles, a massive open-source sci-fi universe set on the fictional planet, New Eden. Her Paradisi Exodus series focuses on the early years of the human exodus from Earth to the new planet. Cheri’s most recent project is her ambitious Historical Fantasy series, Immortal Codex, which explores the lives of immortals throughout history.

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About the Book

In near future 2094, Earth is on the brink of nuclear winter. A secret evacuation is already underway, and Solomon Reach and his crew have guaranteed passage on the last ship to leave for colonization and exploration of a new planet in the Andromeda galaxy. When Solomon learns of a betrayal that will have catastrophic consequences, he is faced with an impossible choice: who will live and who will die?

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

The Betrayal
Earth, 2094
Lifter 2, Solix Sky Space Elevator

Today, equatorial Earth shone out against the abyss of the cosmos, its blues and greens almost the picture of paradise from this distance. Almost.

As the lifter rose up through the 30,000-kilometer mark toward the Solix Sky Elevator’s Docking Station, Solomon Reach’s gaze drifted down through the viewing panel beneath his feet for the first time in a long time. It wasn’t his custom to think about what was happening down on Earth. He was one of the few living in space who kept his eyes on the stars.

In the last few weeks before launch, almost everyone else, including his Reach Corp crew, focused their attention on what and whom they were leaving behind. Crews gathered to view the planet below, anxious to memorize the shapes of the continents, the vastness of the oceans, and the whorl of storm clouds—signature markings of the only home they’d ever known.

Each vertical kilometer took the elevator’s lifter further from Earth and closer toward their final destination: New Eden, Paradisi System, Andromeda galaxy. Earth had been their Eden once. Long before the threat of nuclear war, before the terrorists controlled the world’s borders, before the storm of 2093 destroyed much of the food supply. He barely remembered the feel of real earth. It had been years since he had felt blades of grass between his toes. But he no longer cared. Always on his mind was the future he had built and the new world that lay ahead.

One hundred thousand Founders had already left on the ten other Asteria-class spaceships Reach Corp had designed for them. They would have landed on New Eden by now. Thus far there had been no communication from any of them. Of the ten thousand crew and passengers yet to leave on the eleventh and final ship, the SS Challenge, most worried that the Founder ships had met with disaster or failed to make it through the Sideris Gate or the wormhole itself. Solomon was not among them. He felt certain now that the Founding Families simply did not care whether the final ship arrived in the Paradisi System at all.

Five thousand of those waiting to take the ship to the Paradisi System were Solomon’s Reachers, what he called his Reach Corp crewmembers and their children. When Solomon’s father had led Reach Corp, he signed a contract with the Founding Families, the pillars of Earth’s elite and the group who had secretly launched the Paradisi Mission back in 2025. Their deal was simple: Reach Corp would build the three space elevators, space stations, and ten ships needed to launch the requisite number of humans to populate the new planet.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

PURE by Kim Alexander

Kim Alexander grew up in the wilds of Long Island, NY and slowly drifted south until she reached Key West. After spending ten rum-soaked years as a DJ in the Keys, she moved to Washington DC, where she lives with two cats, an angry fish, and her extremely patient husband. She began writing when she ran out of authors to interview (and they pulled the plug on her channel, Sirius XM Book Radio.)

Kim was in her twenties when she finally read a book not prominently featuring spaceships and/or wizards. Turns out Jane Austen was pretty funny!

Kim's husband tells her she needs to write at least ten more books if she intends to retire in Thailand, so thank you for your patronage.

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About the Book

“A unicorn walks into a bar…”

That is not a joke.

Look, I’m a bartender, I have nothing to do with the xenos. I don’t care if it’s an elf or a vampire. As long as they don’t bother me, I steer clear. I have my reasons. You can see them in the scars on my neck.

I never wanted to get involved. But my life changed for the second time when I saved the life of a unicorn. I made an enemy of something old—old and evil, and whatever it was, it’ll be back for another try. I also made a friend when I decided to help March. He’s only been a human man for a day. I’m responsible for him now. He’s my friend…and, maybe something more. Maybe a lot more.

It doesn’t matter to me that he isn’t magical anymore.
I don’t care if he’s not PURE.

But, he does

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

The unicorn walked right past me.

Maybe it didn't notice me because I was standing behind my car. I know, a Mini Cooper isn't that big, and I was just standing there with my key in my hand and my mouth hanging open. But it didn't look my way; it just kept walking up the middle of Kenyon Street like it was an enchanted grove or something. It was getting close to 4:30 in the morning, so there wasn't any traffic, just some late night drinkers looking for Ubers, and me, getting off my bartending shift at the Hare. I had to park two blocks away as usual, and I just stood there, watching as it went by. At the moment I was alone on the street, so no one else saw it. I couldn't move. I couldn't breathe. I didn't even think to take a picture.

When it was about a half a block ahead of me, I quietly stashed my purse under my car, hunched over and followed it, hiding myself on the other side of the line of parked cars. I didn't want to startle it, I guess. I looked up the street, and saw where it was going. Another block up, lit up by a streetlight, a girl stood in the middle of the road. She was slight, wearing skinny jeans and a gauzy blouse, and she looked young. She had a lot of blonde hair, and she had her hand held out, and the unicorn went straight to her. It stood in front of her and lowered its gorgeous head, and she laid her hand on its nose. Neither one of them noticed me, and I felt like I was looking at something private, something I ought not to be seeing. The unicorn, in case you've never seen one (which is actually pretty likely) wasn't anything like a white horse. I mean, it was horse shaped, in that Jon Hamm is monkey shaped, but you'd never mistake one for the other. It wasn't even white. It was silver, or mother of pearl. Its nose and feet were darker silver, and it was surrounded by rainbows shimmering off its body like they do over water sometimes. It did have a horn, though, and that was made of light. It was too bright to look at.

After a minute of the girl and the unicorn looking at each other, and me looking at them, three men in black clothes came out from the shadows between the cars. One had a rope. One had some sort of industrial looking oven mitts; elbow length ones, like glassblowers use. When I saw what else he had, I thought I was going to throw up. He had a hacksaw. The unicorn saw them, too, and it began to shiver. But it looked like the stories were true the ones about unicorns and purity. I guessed right away the girl was a virgin, I remembered the story from those tapestries—you can still seem them, I think they’re hanging in a museum in New York. That’s how you’re supposed to be able to catch a unicorn—get a virgin to snare it. As long as the girl was touching it, it couldn't move to save itself other than shift from side to side and stamp its feet. Two of them went to its head, and the guy with the gauntlets pulled the horn down far enough for the guy with the rope to get a loop around it. The other went to its side and put his hands on it, I guess to make it stop moving around. Black smoke blotted out the rainbows, and it began to make a noise that if I'm super lucky I'll never hear again. The guy slapped its smoking side and laughed. That guy had his back to me.

So I made a decision that honestly, I knew was pretty stupid, but wouldn't you have done the same? Wouldn't anyone?

Monday, 25 September 2017

Ship of Dreams by Elaine LeClaire

Lillian Csernica's fiction has appeared in Weird Tales, Fantastic Stories, After the Happily Ever After, and Killing it Softly. She takes particular pleasure in writing historical fiction. Fans of steampunk will enjoy her Kyoto Steampunk short stories appearing in Twelve Hours Later, Thirty Days Later, and Some Time Later available from Thinking Ink Press. Lillian's nonfiction how-to titles include The Writer's Spellbook and The Fright Factory. History is her passion, jewelry making her hobby, and glass blowing the next item on her Bucket List. Born in San Diego, Lillian is a genuine California native. She currently resides in the Santa Cruz mountains with her husband, two sons, and three cats. Visit her at

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About the Book

Lady Rosalind Hanshaw sails to Jamaica to tell her brother of their father's untimely death. When her ship is attacked by an infamous French pirate, she jumps overboard to save herself yet again. But the Black Angel refuses to let her get away--he demands her body. To her horror, after one sensual touch she longs to give it to him.

Revenge. It had never tasted so good nor loomed so near. But though he will soon see his beautiful captive's surrender, Alexandre de Marchant's plan to deflower and then ransom his worst enemy's fiancee is in ruins. He has begun to doubt himself. He is a man who will risk everything for a bold beauty who's earned his respect. Now he just has to win her heart.

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Keep reading for an interview with the author:

What genres do you write?

Historical, romance, fantasy, steampunk

Is there a genre that you've been wanting to experiment with?

Mysteries. It takes real skill to plot the actual crime, then tell the story of how the detectives pursue the investigation.

What inspires you to write?

Questions. What if? Why? Why right now? Who would do such a thing?

How often do you write?


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

Tanith Lee or Esther Friesner

When did you first consider yourself an author?

When I made my first short story sale.

What are your goals as an author?

I want to launch The Flower Maiden Saga, a historical series set in Japan between a girl born British but raised Japanese and a samurai fallen on hard times.

What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

"This is weird even by our standards!" (My first sale, a horror short story.)

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

Hotel du Lac (Anita Brookner), The Portable Dorothy Parker, Red Harvest (Dashiell Hammett), The Art of the Personal Essay, and Writing Open the Mind (Andy Couturier).

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

The Discworld series by Sir Terry Pratchett and The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich

What is your writing process?

Write the rough draft, chasing every idea, anything goes. Then I go through five drafts, checking story structure, character arcs, worldbuilding, and emotional resonance.

Are you a pantser or outliner?

It depends on the idea and the size of it. Mostly I'm a planner.

How do you come up with the titles for your books?

Titles spring full born from my mind like Athena, which is rare, or I really struggle to come up with something that sparkles.

Do you write about real life experiences, or does everything come from your imagination?

It's always a mixture of both. I'll start with using a real-life incident, then tinker with it according to the needs of the story.

Do you have any advice for other authors?

Less talking, more writing.

Do you have anything specific you'd like to say to your readers?

Thank you. You all mean so much to me.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Kingdom of Honor (Kingdom Journals Book 3 – Jude’s Story) by Tricia Copeland

Tricia Copeland grew up in Georgia but now lives outside the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado. She not only draws from personal experiences, but creates adventures and fantastical journeys for her characters. She feels it is important to portray bravery in the face of turmoil and challenge.

Her contemporary romance Being Me Series includes the novels Is This Me?, If I Could Fly, Think You Me, and the finale, Being Me. These new adult books follow a college co-ed named Amanda, from her freshman year to her senior year, as she navigates a huge crush, first love, and an intense personal tragedy. More than just romance novels, the series chronicles a young adult’s journey to womanhood, diving into coming of age, personal growth, and recovery themes.

Tricia also writes in the young adult space. Her first YA paranormal work, entitled Drops of Sunshine, features Nina who hopes to escape her family drama at a summer camp for the visually-challenged. Problems ensue when she realizes the campers can hear her thoughts. This novella is available free in Spellbound, a summer themed anthology of YA stories. Tricia’s second YA work, a dystopian tale featuring Jema and Troy, is entitled Lovelock Ones: Native One, and can be found in The Butterfly Box. In addition to Native One, The Butterfly Box includes seven adult healing themed novellas. All proceeds from this anthology benefit Doctors Without Borders. A follow up to Native One, Bred One, will be available January of 2018!

Copeland’s latest books are the YA paranormal fantasy romance, Kingdom Journals Series, including Kingdom of Embers and Kingdom of Darkness. In the first journal, you read a first-person account of a modern-day vampire-witch hybrid named Alena who finds her soul-mate, Hunter, who realizes he is a witch. The second, gives a glimpse into the mind of a girl who believes she suffers from schizophrenia. Camille discovers, she is the witch of the trinity, destined to break the curses put on the witch and vampire species. The third and fourth books of the series, Kingdom of Honor and Kingdom of War, are due out in September of 2017 and June of 2018, respectively.

An avid runner and paranormal fan, Tricia enjoys hiking, trivia, and Scrabble.

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About the Book

Kingdom of Honor
Kingdom Journals 3 – Jude’s Story

Jude only knows one thing: he must rescue Camille. It doesn’t matter what must be done to save her from the evil coven, he will do it. The path is convoluted and there is much pain to endure. If he can rescue her, will she still have her magic? What will his role be once she is found? How does he fit into the trinity’s prophecy? Find out in this fantasy adventure novel that finds the Kingdom Journals characters traversing the globe in search of Camille, and the key to breaking an age-old curse.

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Two-day release sale! 99 cents for two days only!

Don't forget the first two books in the series! Kingdom on Embers (last day to get this for 99 cents) and Kingdom of Darkness!

Keep reading for an interview with Jude from Kingdom of Honor:

Where were you born?

I was born in Los Angeles, California on the spring equinox, March 21, 1999.

Do you have a close relationship with your family?

My dad travels a lot and my mother struggles with manic depression and drug issues so I was mainly raised by my grandparents, Nan and Pop. When I'm seventeen I discover my father is a witch and mother is half-vampire.

Who is your enemy?

My friend Camille and I were taken hostage by Michael's coven, an evil coven of witches. They wish to use a magical dagger to free all of their fallen ancestors from purgatory by putting their souls into vampires.

Tell us a little about your world, and where you fit in?

My friend Camille discovered she was a witch at the same time I did. She realized hallucinations she was having were really visions of two other witches she is linked to, Alena and Hunter. They like Camille, were born on the summer solstice in 1999. They are the children of light and the prophecy states that they are to free witches from a curse that limits how long they can live in one place. We also believe that witches' souls will pass from Sheol where they are imprisoned to find peace.

What are your goals?

I escaped from Michael's coven but they are still holding Camille. I will rescue Camille and make sure she stays safe.

What was the most exciting adventure you've ever been on?

Camille and I met during a camping expedition in Iceland. We went hiking, ice climbing, explored glaciers, and kayaking in the North Sea. From there we traveled to Italy where we were held hostage in a castle and trained to be witches.

What do you regret most in your life?

My biggest regret is leaving Camille to go rescue her father. When I returned she as gone, captured by Michael's coven. I only have one aim now, saving Camille.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith by Shaun Hume

Shaun wrote his first story, entitled "The Stagecoach Robbery", at the age of six, and has been making stories ever since.

After working in education with children of all ages for many years, Shaun turned his passion into his profession, and is now a freelance writer and photographer.

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About the Book

Ewan Pendle was weird. Really weird. At least, that's what everyone told him. Then again, being able to see monsters that no one else could wasn't exactly normal ...

Thinking he has been moved off to live with his eleventh foster family, Ewan is instead told he is a Lenitnes, one of an ancient race of peoples who can alone see the real 'Creatures' which inhabit the earth. He is taken in by Enola, the mysterious sword carrying Grand Master of Firedrake Lyceum, a labyrinth of halls and rooms in the middle of London where other children, just like Ewan, go to learn the ways of the Creatures.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

Sleep was a restless affair for Ewan. The thought that he had to get up extra early and, therefore, had to fall asleep as quickly as possible in order to get a decent amount of shuteye, only kept him awake for longer. When Max’s snoring started, he didn’t think he would get any rest at all.

In the early hours of the morning, when sleep finally did come, it was anything but peaceful. Ewan was visited by dreams of wide open green fields with a singular white blurry figure set on the pristine horizon. Every time Ewan tried to get closer to the figure and see who, or indeed what, it was, it would only get blurrier until it finally disappeared altogether and turned into a wisp of smoke that then became a massive and monstrous pale cloud, dominating the sky above him.

‘Ewan … Ewan.’ Blown over by a mighty gust of wind, Ewan tumbled to the ground. A voice was demanding he get up and follow the cloud as it shot across the sky like a floating city.

‘Ewan – Pendle!’ Ewan woke suddenly to see a wide and shimmering head glaring down at him through the darkness. It was Moham. ‘On your feet,’ he said in the quietest voice Ewan had ever heard him utter. Although his voice was dim, it carried with it no less foreboding of what the result would be if its request was not immediately carried out.

‘Pain Yard – five minutes,’ said Moham, then turning and walking away.

Ewan dressed as quickly as he could and then tiptoed past all of the other snoozing cadets and out of the dormitory. A few smouldering embers in the gigantic fireplace puffed sympathetically as he crossed the darkened common room. The empty corridors of Firedrake were still asleep too, and Ewan did his best not to wake them as he tried to achieve a balance between speed and silence. He thought with a little shudder that right now Betony could have probably sneaked up on him and snapped his neck before he had even known that he was no longer alone.

As he stepped outside a few minutes later, the chill early morning air bit at Ewan’s face and neck like a million tiny flies, all of them trying to take the largest chunk or leave the most painful mark as they nibbled at his skin. Moham was standing in the centre of Pain Yard, curiously staring up at the peach coloured sky. Ewan approached him slowly, but the tall Master did not unclench the grip his singular visible dark eye had on the brightening sky until Ewan was close enough to touch him.

‘Laps,’ said Moham in a low voice. Ewan complied immediately.

As Ewan set out on his first lap of the long and wide rectangular Pain Yard, he bent his eyes towards the high walls of the Lyceum, there being nothing else but sand and Moham in the Yard itself to look at. For the first half a dozen floors or so, all four walls that frowned down onto the Yard were the same height. But after this the roofs were mismatched and the tiles and gutters chased each other up and down and in all directions.

Firedrake Lyceum was slowly waking, the tips of its highest flat glass eyes blinking and glinting in the sun.

Ewan knew that the widows in the boy’s Grade One dormitory looked down onto the Yard, but he had no idea that the girl’s did too. Casting a wistful look up in the direction of his bed and the beds of the other sleeping Grade One cadets, Ewan spotted someone waving to him from a long and thin window set into the honey coloured stone of the Lyceum, like a shiny welt on rough skin.

Ewan focused his sharp hazel eyes.

Mathilde was sitting on what must have been the wide inside sill of one of the windows of the girl’s dormitory. Still in her pyjamas and cross legged, she offered a vehement wave and a wide smile that Ewan couldn’t quite make out but was still sure was there. Suddenly the wind didn’t seem so fierce, the barked instructions from Moham for him to lift his knees didn’t thump against his eardrums so thickly, and Ewan picked up his pace.

For a whole hour Moham made Ewan run, and for that whole hour Mathilde sat and watched, offering another short wave every time he looked up. It was strange that the thought which came to Ewan so clearly now had only just arrived, because he had been through a lot already with Mathilde and Enid. But as he lifted his head back up for his regular once-every-five-minute look towards the high windows of the dormitories, something warm trickled down Ewan’s throat, settling itself in his stomach and welling up like a bowl being slowly filled with warm soup.

This, Ewan thought, must be what it feels like to have friends.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Sleep, Savannah, Sleep by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross' debut novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller earning praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series. In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write - among other things - the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, reached the bestseller’s list in its first week of release. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has featured such guests as Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore.

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About the Book

Sleep, Savannah, Sleep
The Dead Don’t Always Rest in Peace

Jason Crandall, recently widowed, is left to raise his young daughter and rebellious teenage son on his own - and the old Victorian in Shadow Springs seems like the perfect place for them to start over. But the cracks in Jason’s new world begin to show when he meets Savannah Sturgess, a beautiful socialite who has half the men in town dancing on tangled strings.

When she goes missing, secrets begin to surface, and Jason becomes ensnared in a dangerous web that leads to murder. But who has the answers that will prove his innocence? The jealous husband who’s hell-bent on destroying him? The local sheriff with an incriminating secret? The blind old woman in the house next door who seems to watch him from the windows? Or perhaps the answers lie in the haunting visions and dreams that have recently begun to consume him.

Or maybe, Savannah herself is trying to tell him that things aren’t always as they seem - and that sometimes, the dead don’t rest in peace.

Pre-order it today on Amazon!

Available for purchase on the 25th of September 2017!

Keep reading for an excerpt:

“This is it? Seriously? It’s like we’re moving into Hill House.” In the passenger seat, Brent looked uneasy.

Jason Crandall turned to his son. “It has character.” He looked up at the old Victorian. But he’s right. It’s creepy. Surrounded by mid-century houses, the decrepit Victorian seemed like a flaw on the neighborhood, a stain on something otherwise clean. The cat’s claw vine climbing the walls seemed to shroud the house, as if trying to hide it, the violently yellow blossoms creating a diversion from the faded wood siding - as did the bowers of honeysuckle that accented the yard, draped the veranda, and sweetened the air. Two second-story windows peered out from between the lush vines, looking like the eyes of a hunted beast.

Surrounded on both sides by white split-rail fences coated in spindly climbing roses, the property was spacious, with a small courtyard beyond a wisteria-choked arbor that lead to the back yard. “I don’t know. I think it’s charming.” He offered his son a grin, and shut off the silver Legacy. The annoying squeal - probably a fan belt - went silent and Jason made a mental note to hunt down a local mechanic.

“It’s creepy, Dad. Seriously creepy.” Brent leaned back and assumed his usual air of annoyed indifference.

“But creepy in a cool way, right?” asked Jason.

Brent’s eyes, the color of seawater, looked unimpressed. “Only if you like haunted houses.”

“It’s haunted?” In the back seat, Amber sat up, rubbing sleep from her eyes. Even Ruby, the blond, blue-eyed doll that never left her arms, looked alarmed.

“Of course it isn’t haunted.” Jason shot Brent a warning look. “It’s just old.”

The three of them stared at the house and it seemed to stare right back. All in all, it didn’t appear pleased to meet them.

“Let’s go have a look around.” Jason undid his seatbelt. “After that, you two can help me unload.” A large moving van was a day or two behind them; the small trailer they’d pulled contained only the essentials - and most of Jason’s massage equipment. He knew he was being optimistic about how quickly he could get his studio up and running, but he couldn’t help it. His new business was the entire reason he’d bought the house. It had a basement complete with its own entrance, so Jason could work without having strangers traipsing in and out of the family’s living space. Overall, the old Victorian was pretty ideal, even if it was a little spooky.

Then again, the whole town - or what he’d seen of it so far - was pretty spooky, too. Quaint and quiet, Shadow Springs was a startling contrast to the buzzing pace of Los Angeles. Jason told himself this would be good for him - good for all of them.

Here, just outside of Ojai in Ventura County, they’d begin their new lives, free of bad memories. That was what Jason had told himself a hundred times in the past weeks - it was what he had to believe.

Friday, 15 September 2017

A Father's Love by Lorana Hoopes

Lorana Hoopes always wanted to write. She used to create short stories when she was young, but full-length novels just never worked for her until 2016, when the idea started flowing. Though she eventually hopes to write full-time, she is currently an English teacher in the Pacific Northwest where she lives with her husband and three children.

When not writing, she can be seen kickboxing in her local gym, singing at her church, or performing on stage. The Heartbeats series is her first full-length novel series. She has also just released the first book in her early reader chapter book, The Wishing Stone. She is also hard at work on a new series set in the small town of Star Lake.

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About the Book

Maxwell Banks was the ultimate player until he found himself caring for a daughter he didn't know he had. Alyssa is his ex-lover's best friend who promised to help keep Peyton safe. Though nearly complete opposites, feelings develop, but can Max really change his philandering ways? Or will one mistake seal his fate forever?

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

“Why do I feel like she knows something I don’t know?” Alyssa asks in a lowered voice as she and Max head back outside.

Max laughs and the smile that lights up his face tugs on Alyssa’s heart. He really is handsome. He reaches for her hand as they step outside the house and she doesn’t pull hers away. Though she still isn’t sure how she feels about his past, she can’t deny that he seems to be changing in front of her. Besides, the feeling of warmth creeping up her arms at his touch is too nice to let go of for now.

He opens the door for her and helps her into the seat. Only then does he let go of her hand, and immediately she misses the warmth.

“Where are we going?” she asks as he slides into the driver’s seat. They are in his BMW, and she can see why he doesn’t want to get rid of the car. The leather on the seats molds itself to her body, and she feels like she is sitting on foam.

“Do you like Italian?” He glances at her with a sly smile.

Does she like Italian? Her mother, while not Italian, use to cook her own pasta at home, so Alyssa grew up eating Italian. In fact, that is one thing she has really missed since being at college, her mother’s cooking.

“Love it,” she answers and can’t tame the smile spreading across her own lips.

When they arrive at the restaurant, he hurries to open her door and takes her hand once again. This time his fingers lace through hers and fit like a glove. Another piece of her guard chips away.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Blackmark (The Kingsmen Chronicles #1) by Jean Lowe Carlson

Award-winning author Jean Lowe Carlson writes adventurous epic fantasy fiction with a dark twist. Her raw worlds remind one of Patrick Rothfuss, George RR Martin, Robert Jordan, and Robin Hobb. Jean holds a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine (ND), and has a keen awareness of psychology and human behavior, using it to paint vivid characters set amidst nations in turmoil or societies with riveting secrets. Exciting, challenging, and passionate, her novels take the reader upon dire adventures while exploring deep human truths. In 2016, she was the recipient of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist medal for her dark fantasy "Tears".

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About the Book

“Blackmark is spellbinding! Strong development of characters, fully integrated storylines with intriguing plot twists, and deep world building. A fantasy novel that takes you on a journey you never want to leave!” – Michelle G., Amazon Review

“Like George RR Martin and Joe Abercrombie, Carlson writes in this genre for grown-ups, with flair and elegance. A complex world with characters that develop well, this story reveals as it builds!” - Daniel F., Amazon Reviewer

A nation's most elite warriors vanished overnight. A throne in jeopardy on the heels of murder. War devouring the survivors, fanned to fury by a shadowy cabal born of ancient magic. And the five friends who can stop it, banished to the corners of the continent as traitors. Welcome to a land where dreams die and men do what they must to survive.

This dark and gritty sword and sorcery series from award winning author, Jean Lowe Carlson, explores a complex world of treachery, passion, sex, and magic. Readers who enjoy Game of Thrones, Outlander, the Kingkiller Chronicles, or the Wheel of Time will love this fantastic adventure.

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Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

It chose me! I had a completely separate career as a primary care doctor, but I've always had epic movie-style dreams. My husband encouraged me to write my dreams down (rather than talking his ear off at the breakfast table for an hour), and I finally started to in 2012. This one dream I just kept adding to, seeing characters develop, scenes, then a plot. I soon had 50 pages, and I thought "Well, maybe I should try writing a book!" And so it began... ;-)

Did you have a hard time sharing your work with the public?

At first, yes. My work was very personal, exploring dark themes that I wrestled with in dream-work, meditation, and in my daily life. It was hard to expose all that to an audience, but once I got up the courage and put my dark fantasy trilogy Three Days of Oblenite out there, I didn't really have any qualms after that.

What genres do you write?

My key genre is dark epic fantasy, but I also write contemporary dark fantasy that sneaks over into alt-reality sci-fi and even a bit of dystopian.

Is there a genre that you've been wanting to experiment with?

Dark romance. I have a TON of drafts going, but I need to start a pen name to get them out there. Many traditional fantasy readers don't enjoy as much sex as I like to throw in my novels, and I need an outlet for all the dark and dangerous naughty bits I like to write!

What inspires you to write?

Dreams, dreams, and more dreams. I have so many ideas from the dreams I've written down that it's ridiculous. When I see themes begin to emerge, and then characters or a plot that I could run with, it gets me so excited to write and follow where it's going!

How long does it take you to write a novel?

I write a lot, almost daily and about 2K-5K words/day, so the writing takes maybe 6 months per epic fantasy novel, and my epic fantasy books average around 200K. But it's the editing and streamlining the story that takes time. I'd say I publish a book about every 9 months.

If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?

Olea den'Alrahel. She's a badass warrior Captain of the Roushenn Palace Guard who takes no shit from anyone. But she also has a really big heart and a fantastic, bawdy sense of humor. She's a renegade in a position of responsibility, and she takes that seriously, inspiring others. Plus, she wears a sexy but functional cobalt leather jerkin and a sword and longknives. What's not to love? ;-)

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

Probably Brandon Sanderson. He's so prolific, and his worlds are so detailed and intriguing but not so complicated that they're hard to follow. It's fast and dirty sometimes, crude and dangerous sometimes, and always beautiful. And that really resonates with me. Plus, I want to get tips from someone who writes fast and publishes regularly on the business side of things, and he's great at that.

When did you first consider yourself an author?

Not until I published Blackmark, the first book of my dark epic fantasy series The Kingsmen Chronicles, summer of 2016. Even though I had released books before that, I didn't feel like my writing style really gelled until that novel. And even then, it changed a bit again for Bloodmark (The Kingsmen Chronicles #2) to be faster and grittier, more action-driven. My writing style is still evolving, but it's stabilizing now that I've been at it for about 5 years. And I certainly didn't get the hang of marketing until 2016, so I don't consider myself successful at being an indie author until I began to get that going. Marketing makes or breaks a career. ;-)

What are your goals as an author?

Publish like crazy. Market the hell out of good material. Get paid! ;-) No really, my goals are to release at least 2 novels per year for the next 10 years or more and perfect my launch strategies and write-to-market details until I am making a steady self-supporting income from sales. In five years, I plan to have an epic fantasy line, a dark fantasy line, an alt-reality sci-fi line, and a separate pen name for dark fantasy romance. My current works are really just the tip of the iceberg. I also want to network and co-author with other great authors who inspire me and support their work as they grow. The dog-eat-dog model of traditional publishing is dying. Co-supportive indie models are the new successful model.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Pura Vida by Annette Montez Kolda

Annette Montez Kolda was born into a large Catholic, Latino family in Corpus Christi, Texas. Much of the inspiration for her writing is drawn from her rich Tex-Mex culture and her beloved Church.

After graduating high school, Kolda went on to attend Corpus Christi's Del Mar Community College. In between attending classes, she worked at a residential facility for disabled children and took part in missionary trips to Mexico.

Later, she transferred to the University of Texas at Austin where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction.

Kolda's first job was that of pastoral associate with the Diocese of Corpus Christi. She partnered with a Sister of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament. Together, Kolda and her ministry partner visited the homes of people with disabilities, bringing to them the Word of God and instructing them in the Holy Sacraments of the Catholic Church. Kolda used the sign language that she learned at the University of Texas to communicate with the many hearing impaired individuals that attended Diocese Masses, classes, and social events.

Kolda's next job took her to Houston, Texas where she taught sixth-grade English to gifted and talented students. While in Houston, she married her high school sweetheart, Tim Kolda.

In 1991, Kolda and her husband started a family, and she left the classroom to stay at home and raise three children. During that time, she taught off and on– preschool, first grade, and third grade, but most of the years were spent volunteering at her children's schools, leading Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, teaching Sunday School and volunteering with bilingual students. In addition to her husband and three children, her family has grown to include a son-in-law and two grandsons.

In 2010, with the help of UCLA Online Writers' Program, Kolda imagined a tough, brave nun that would fight injustice and stand up for the poor, and she started writing her first novel, Pura Vida.

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About the Book

Pura Vida is a story about a family with a great deal on its plate: undocumented immigration, deportation, war, death, drugs, teenage pregnancy and now international terrorism. But what family isn't complicated?

Sister Bridget is the Miss Marple of East Austin's Latino community. She is known as a crime-fighting nun, but this time, she may be in over her head. Terrorists enter the US via the Texas/Mexico border. They incite violence and plot a race war. Sister Bridget and fifteen-year-old Miguel Lopez must race against the clock to stop them.

At the same time, Miguel's mother travels deep into Mexico to find her missing husband and tell him that their eldest son has died.

Pura Vida is an emotional ride that takes the reader on a dramatic, exciting ride through Texas and Mexico.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

Chapter One

He called himself Javier.

He stole one bomb component from each small shop. The process took longer, but it kept him off the government’s radar. Small, disparate thefts didn’t raise red flags. He doubted the shop owners even missed the stolen items.

It was four o’clock on a chilly November morning. Javier clicked off his headlights and the Escalade’s bright, colorful dials and gauges went dark. The black SUV hulked along the block of small, patched-up houses of East Austin. Only the occasional porch light illuminated his way.

He didn’t own a computer, nor did he use a cell phone. He knew better than to create an Internet footprint. Javier didn’t buy bomb components with cash either, for once the explosive did its job; forensics would trace its parts, leading police to a description of the buyer. Him. He took no chances. Prison wasn’t an option.

He was thirty-two years old, six feet tall, lean and clean-shaven. He melded into the night with his black clothing, boots, and gloves. His black neoprene ski hat doubled as a facemask should he need it. The hat also hid Javier’s loss of hair, a relentless reminder that time never compromised. His task took many years of preparation and would be his crowning achievement, but the slipping away of his youth angered him nonetheless.

The abandoned house at the end of the street bore a condemned sign on its dilapidated door. The SUV’s hefty tires crackled on its gravel driveway as Javier pulled under the home’s rusty, sagging carport.

He carefully opened his car door, then froze as a furious dog barked across the street, setting off a loud, chaotic chain reaction.

When quiet returned, he moved on.

In just over two minutes, Javier reached the darkened Montez Hardware on MLK Boulevard. He’d cased the store in advance. It was a small, family run operation: no alarms, no cameras.

He inserted his filed-down bump key almost completely into the door’s keyway, nudging it the rest of the way while rotating at the same time. The lock held. The store’s owner had installed a dual sidebar locking system. He’d have to use his tools; two slim, metal picks.

In Javier’s mind, blinding, deafening explosions played on a constant loop. The blasts that tore his homeland apart resided permanently in his subconscious. And the disappearance of his father and uncles burned a hole in his brain that he filled with hatred.

Now, it was the United States’ turn to be ripped to pieces. Now was the time to ignite the Americans’ smoldering anger and fear. Time to turn their bigotry against them. After twelve years, he’d finally drawn close to his objective: Americans would bite and devour one another until their home became a country of ghosts who wandered amid wreckage and festering ruins. Like his own country.

He looked over his shoulder to MLK Boulevard. All was quiet and still; only gray moths flitted in the hazy streetlight. He carefully retrieved his pick tools and focused on the door’s lock.


It was four-fifteen AM, and Sister Bridget kept close to the streetlights of MLK Boulevard. Her morning exercise consisted of a three-mile run, which didn’t involve actual running. The middle-aged nun’s gait was more of a scuttle or a trot. She was fair-skinned and big-boned like her German mother, and she had curly, black hair and wide, brown eyes like her Mexican father.

She belonged to the Sisters of St. Paul, whose rules stated that each sister wear her veil and habit at all times when outside her residence. Sister Bridget wore a gray, hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants, size men’s large. She huffed and wiped sweat from her face with her sleeve. With Placido Domingo’s dramatic Granada resounding on her earphones, she threw back her hood, lifted her face to the wind, and let the opera and the cool breeze sweep over her like a baptism.

Friday, 8 September 2017

A Passionate Play by Jessica Lauryn

A life-long lover of romance, Jessica took several writing classes in college, and told her professors she was one-day going to write soap-operas. When graduation came, she joined a critique group, and on a whim, decided to “write a romance novel.”

Then, on a train ride to her internship in the fashion industry, Jessica finally cracked open her very first romance novel. That hot August morning, she fell head-over-heels for the genre, and has been writing it ever since.

Jessica is an author for BookStrand, the “sweetest” imprint of publisher SirenBookStrand. She writes “Romantic Suspense,” which she describes as being heavier on the romance, and lighter on the suspense—just the way it should be!

Jessica is an active member of New Jersey Romance Writers where she has served on the executive board as the Put Your Heart in a Book Contest Chair, Special Events Chair and Hospitality/Critique Chair. She is also a member of the parent chapter, Romance Writers of America.

When she’s is not writing, Jessica enjoys shopping for the latest fashions and the prettiest of antiques. Though she resides in Central New Jersey, her heart belongs to the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.

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About the Book

On the heels of a major performance, theater actress Alicia Coleman is attacked in an alleyway. She is struck over the head with a pistol and the blow causes her to lose her memory. Injured and afraid, Alicia struggles to remember the details of her life. The only person who appears to know who she is, is the man she fears may also be her attacker.

In the midst of several failed attempts to escape, Alicia comes to know the man whose home she awoke in and realizes that the two of them share a complicated past. Though Nick refuses to tell her much beyond her first name, a series of dreams, in which she and he are sharing a lot more than the second story of a secluded mansion, cause Alicia to suspect the most outrageous of possibilities—that the man holding her prisoner may actually be her lover. Surrounding threats, including that of a midnight intruder, cause Alicia to realize that proving her theory true (or not) may be her only chance of keeping her attacker from coming after her a second time.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

Nick wandered across the floor to the area behind the curio cabinet. There was a stereo there that Alicia hadn’t noticed before. He pressed a button, causing the room to fill with soft, romantic music.

Nick extended his hand once more as he came toward her. His smile was cool but also insistent and it contained a hint of danger. Dark brown eyes looked into hers, willing her to trust, to comply with her very mysterious and yet compelling desires.

Allowing herself to operate on pure instinct, Alicia slipped her hand into Nick’s. His warmth surrounded her and she felt a hint of anticipation as he urged her gently forward. Nick led her into the middle of the floor. Placing one large hand against her waist, he brought her beside his powerful, broad frame.

They began to move and Alicia swayed in unison with her partner as though they had danced together a thousand times before. In her mind, she was in the arms of a stranger, but her body reacted as though he was anything but, as though he were someone whom she knew intimately. Nick’s eyes, his scent, the very feel of him seemed familiar to her, and as his hand slid from her hip to the small of her back she realized that she ought to be telling him he was getting too close. Except she didn’t want him to back away—it felt good, being close to him like this.

As her partner drew her closer still, Alicia felt chills, yet at the same time she began to let go of the tension she was holding. She was encased in a blanket of heat, and as that blanket spun her around and brought her back against its softness she was taken into a realm of comfort and dreams. Dancing with her captor felt right to her and in a strange way, safe. Nick had gone out of his way to make her happy tonight and she got the feeling that wasn’t something he did every day. Letting her eyes fall closed, she inched beside him and when he didn’t resist she rested her head against the cushion of his shoulder.

Nick’s arms enveloped her, and Alicia became aware that he didn’t only smell of pinewood but of something darker, something she couldn’t quite define. She sensed a degree of rebelliousness in this man and for some strange reason the idea of that intrigued her. Strength seemed to emanate from every part of him and she wondered what it would be like to taste that strength. Filled with the strongest desire to do just that, she settled her hand against the back of his neck and tilted his head so that she could just about feel what she wanted to so desperately.

“Kiss me,” she insisted, lifting her chin.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Archipelago - A Problem by G H Neale

GH Neale was born the same week as the death penalty was abolished in the United Kingdom – a matter of some good fortune. He is occasionally accompanied by his wife and three children as he traverses the highways and byways of the Kentish countryside.

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About the Book

ARCHIPELAGO is a philosophical work which addresses the concerns of the ineffable nature of language: its inability to be able to describe our world, what we are and – more importantly – what we are capable of knowing. With that as its central premise, the reader will be enforced to hack his way through its Gordian knot of argot.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

Basically, the whole thing had been an adventure. Not a bucket and spade, seashore, rock pool sort of adventure, like down Margate on a bank holiday. But an exciting moment in his life and of that there was no doubt. He stood there in his uniform. It was November 8th, 1936; and he was a machine gunner in the XI International Brigade, part of the Commune de Paris Battalion. He had gone to war and he stood to attention whilst the Jewish General Kléber addressed him and his comrades at Atocha Railway Station. He had not the faintest idea what was being said, as his knowledge of Spanish was nonexistent and his knowledge of English was marginally better. He struggled to read and write in his native tongue. Words were difficult to him. His primary means of discourse had been with his fists in argument and disagreement. He was a great big clod of a man, the perfect warrior, but he knew what he believed in. Unlike Hamlet’s soldiers, he knew he was fighting for a something.

“Considerar cuál es vuestra proegenie: hechos no estáis a vivir como brutos, mas para conseguir virtud y ciencia,” harangued Kléber.

The Madrilènes cheered, “¡Vivan Los Rusos!” as he marched with his battalion up the Gran Via and turned left down the Cuesta de San Vincente. How incongruous he looked with his bright blue eyes of Irish ancestry. Eyes that had seen clearly all that distance away.

He reflected on matters as he waited: on how the world was changing. There was the Irish with their struggle for home rule, the General Strike, Mosley’s fascists were on the march in his East End, supported by Rothschild’s Daily Mail, “Hooray for the Blackshirts” (15th Jan 1934); and his own Labour MP, upon returning from Germany, had eulogised how, “marvellous Hitler had made things there.” The hunger marches too, with people in the streets calling them ‘reds.’ During the Great Depression, when he had been working on a ship, the government had imposed a ten per cent pay cut on wages for all public workers but the cuts had not been equal for all. The lower ranks had twenty-three per cent of their wage removed but his commander had only a three per cent cut.

For it were these things that made him understand the true meaning of leadership and the true meaning of injustice; and made him realise that his politics should have no borders. Somewhere he had to defend his beliefs.

So he was there with his Capstan filter tips, making a stand, waiting for his commander to order him to shoot. It would only be history that would either prove him right or wrong. He was there to defend the rights of social justice, equitable distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges. He did not know but in amongst the dead of that night, and later found in the morning, would be himself, his legs brutally removed above the knee.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Blue Satin Diary by Melissa Saari

Melissa Saari is nearly done with her Master's Degree in Screenwriting and plans on a long future entertaining readers and moviegoers. Melissa writes in horror, suspense, fantasy, romance, and historical genres, and each book captures her unique viewpoint. When complete, the Satin series will be four unique novels, all connected because they will be ghost stories, but each one will feature fresh characters and chilling new plot twists. The next book in the series is "Green Satin Hat," a chilling ghost story that slips across the genres from ghost story to vampire story without missing a beat.

About the Book

Blue Satin Diary is a chilling tale set in the frozen lands outside Boston, but the tale doesn't end there. Casey Davison is a struggling music teacher, who has trouble paying the bills and taking care of her mother, Victoria, who's wasting away from Alzheimer's in a nursing home. When she learns that her grandmother has just left a house to her, she thinks the lake house in Newton is the answer to her prayers. Instead, she finds a nightmare that's just beginning to unravel.

Digging into the mysteries left behind by her grandmother, Casey finds valuable antiques, but she also finds a mysterious blue satin diary. Opening the cover, Casey is transported to the past, but the past is not always the idyllic wonderland she hoped for. In "Blue Satin Diary," Casey discovers that the past can be even darker than the present.

As Casey explores her dark family history, she finds herself trapped inside the house, stalked by a vengeful ghost that doesn't care who stands in her way.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

Red fire licked the top of the fireplace and the book roared with flames. Oxygen-rich air sucked through the pages from the force of the fire and drove the red flames higher and higher. With small pops, the leather straps inside the bindings broke, and finally the diary crumpled apart.

“That’s it,” said Casey. “I’m getting out of here tomorrow!” She walked back up the stairs, feeling better, and opened the door to the guest room. There in the bedroom, she saw the diary, the same one with the blue satin cover, resting on the bed. It hadn’t even been scorched.

Casey stared in complete horror.

The other things she could explain away, but not this.

An extremely loud slam behind her rattled her senses, and turning around, she found the door shut.

She stood frozen in terror, completely unsure of what to do. Just then, she heard the doorbell ring.

The doorbell echoed through the house, into every empty room, and even through the closed door in front of Casey. She tried to open the door, but the doorknob rattled in her hands and refused to budge. In desperation she ran over to the window.

Looking out, Casey surveyed the frozen landscape outside. A modern, massive Ford pickup sat outside her house, parked in the yard not too far from her own car. The words “Massachusetts Assessor’s Office” were printed in jet black letters that stood out against the boring champagne color that all officials seemed to prefer.

She knew the assessor was still at the front door, because the doorbell rang again. “Help me! Help me!” Casey screamed.

The assessor never moved from the porch. He or she remained an invisible entity under the porch roof as Casey pounded on the window, screaming loudly. Casey was confused as she kept banging on the window. Not even a single crack emerged, and her hands began to hurt. She wrapped her sleeves around her hands and kept pounding frantically.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Maleficium by Samantha E. Payne

Samantha Payne holds an MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis in Fiction from Northern Arizona University. She is the author of the new-adult-romance novel Maleficium and her short stories have been featured in Alt Hist, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Dirty Pool, Donut Factory, and Story Shack. She was the fiction and visual arts editor for Thin Air Magazine, and is an active publishing assistant for the speculative fiction magazine, Bards and Sages Quarterly. Prior to being a Graduate Teaching Assistant at NAU she taught sewing and a variety of other courses at Joann Fabrics where she managed the Education department. When she isn’t teaching or writing, Samantha draws manga and practices coloring inside the lines.

Areas of interest: Reading/writing fiction, drawing, graphic novels and video games as literature, Norse mythology and Icelandic lore, and all things One Piece.

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About the Book

For an Icelandic witch, Arisa’s life was mundane. Between accepting offerings from citizens in the town nearby in return for magic, and living in the middle of nowhere, Arisa had little to no social life outside of her mother and her cat, Baldúr. Until Ren.

Ren, attractive and arrogant, forces Arisa outside herself and sets them both on a path far from home. Even if Arisa can learn to understand Ren while on their journey, the outside world threatens to split them apart since not all magic is good and witches aren’t the only ones hiding in the wood.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

When Arisa came to her head hurt and her movements felt constricted. She heard someone calling out to her and opened her eyes. Ren was lying in front of her with hands tied behind his back and his ankles bound together. Besides Arisa, Ren, and a mattress layered under sheets in the corner, the room was empty. A dim light flickered overhead. There were no windows and only one door. It was a cell of wooden floors and walls.

Ren exhaled. “Thank goodness. I was starting to worry you wouldn’t wake up. Are you all right? Did they do anything to you?”

“I’m all right, are you okay?” She thought his lip looked swollen but she couldn’t reach out to him. She was bound just as he was.

“Yeah, I’m fine. A little confused but otherwise, okay.”

Of course he was confused. Arisa wasn’t sure what his interactions with the dark elves that brought him here were like, but it certainly wasn’t anything he was used to. “Well, I’m a little confused myself.” She tried to free her wrists from their constraints but it was no use. The rope was thick and she couldn’t wiggle out of it. “It would appear we’ve been kidnapped by dark elves and I’m not sure why.”

“Allow me to enlighten you.”

Arisa recognized Ymir’s voice as the door slammed behind her. She looked back at him.

“Glad to see you’re awake, little witch.”


Arisa looked at Ren whose voice filled with anger. He forced himself up off his side into a seated position “Are you the one who knocked her unconscious?”

“Guilty.” Ymir raised his hand in response.

“You better pray I don’t get out of these ropes.”

“Or what, you’ll kill me?” Ymir laughed and his demeanor quickly shifted. His laughter died and his words were bitter. “Don’t be stupid.” He kicked Ren’s abdomen, the pointed toe of his boot driving into the soft flesh.

“Stop!” Arisa shouted and Ymir turned to her.

Ymir sat Arisa up and leaned her against the nearby wall. He patted her head. “He’ll be fine, won’t you?” He glanced back at Ren but didn’t wait for him to respond. “You’ll both be fine. I didn’t bring you here to hurt you.” He knelt down in front her so their eyes were level. “However, I will not tolerate rudeness, especially not from a lowly human. So, keep him in line and we’ll get along just fine.”

Arisa saw that Ren was about to run his mouth. “Ren.” She waited for him to look at her and shook her head.

“But, Arisa.” He stared at her for a moment and sighed. “Fine.”

“Wonderful!” Ymir stood and clapped his hands. “Now that everyone’s on the same page, allow me to answer your earlier question. You’re here…Arisa, was it? You’re here, because I need to borrow your magic.”