Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Atancia by Wren Figueiro



Wren Figueiro is the author of The Durand Duology, a paranormal romance series for young adults. She first decided to write the story after a long conversation with her sister where they both grumbled that the majority of PNRs they had read lacked an element of surprise. She set out to write a story that she hoped would leave readers guessing. She’d love to know if she’s succeeded. Send her a note and let her know if all the plotting worked!


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About the Book


Atancia is a paranormal romance for young adults. It tells the story of Atancia Clark, a young woman who discovers she is Durand—an immortal being who survives by transferring energy from other living things.

Get it today on Amazon!


Keep reading for an interview with Matthew, a character from the book:


Did you have a close relationship with your family?


I had a close relationship with my mother. She was the only family I knew growing up. I'm trying now to form a relationship with my half-brothers. I only met them recently.

What is the happiest memory from your childhood?


Running around the Greek island of Poros. I would play on the beach and then meet my mother for lunch. Everything I ate there was extraordinary.

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


My world is limited by my nature. I am immortal and therefore need to keep a low profile. While my people have money, we cannot do anything that would make us conspicuous.

I am Durand, but just barely. I come from a line that started as human. My mother did not have enough Durand blood to be immortal. I am the first of her family with the ability to transfer energy.

What was the most embarrassing moment in your life?


When I met Atancia Clark for the first time, and I blurted out how beautiful she was. Apparently being covered in mud at our meeting wasn't embarrassing enough; I had to add some more to the pile by staring at my brother's girlfriend while he stood right there next to her.

What is the greatest obstacle you have ever had to face?


Losing my mother. She died when I was starting college. I was quickly found by my half-brothers and asked to live with them and my father, but my mother had always kept me separate. She didn't really tell me why. It makes it difficult to trust people. I don't have anyone I feel I can speak to about what it was like for me to lose her.

Do you have any hobbies?


I like to ride my mountain bike. I also play the guitar and sing in a band with a couple of friends.

What is your favorite food?


All food is my favorite food, especially since I'm told eventually I'll stop caring about eating any. Durand prefer the "taste" of energy as they mature. If I had to choose one food though, I'd say moussaka. It's like a lasagna made with eggplant, ground beef and bechamel.

What do you own that would be hardest to part with?


The guitar my mother gave me.

What do you regret most in your life?


Not being with my mother when she died.

Would you ever or have you ever lied?


Funny you should ask. I have this ability that makes people tell the truth whenever I ask a question. In light of that, I find it would be unfair for me to lie. I usually blurt out the truth even when I know others will find me awkward.

Monday, 27 November 2017

EXOTIQA (YA Cyberpunk Dystopia) by M. Black

Enter Tomorrow is my brand that focus on robots, AI, SIMS, wildlife, nature, grafting, genetics, social divisions, and future tech.

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About the Book


EXOTIQA is a YA cyberpunk dystopia set in British Columbia where the line between root and man is blurred. When a computer virus infects most of the population, Fione-our heroine, and Maci- a flex, will have to fight o destroy it and save their friends and family.


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Keep reading for an excerpt:


I stretch my left hand forward, my fingers scraping the bark of the log, as my back registers Thirty’s metal knee pushing into my hardwired spine. To the human eye, this might look like a fight between two individuals of the human species, but I know better.

The faux human skin covering his exterior doesn't fool me. Volumetric scans detect the advanced nanowiring and metal foam in every inch of Thirty’s athletic form, and I have to get out of here before his Exotiqa program alerts the other Trackers and they soon surround me. I won’t stand a chance then.

My fingernails catch the edge of the bark on the log and I tug. Thunder cracks and a few fingers wrap around the wood and I yank the only hope I have toward me. As Thirty pushes my body further into the mud with the weight of his own, I dislodge my elbow, allowing 360-degree motion of my arm, and swing.

The log hits his metallic-cold face—nothing warm-blooded about him now except the crimson-colored coolant running through faux veins. The brief knock from the log releases the full force of his body weight on me for just a second. A second is all I need.

Rain pours and my body flips upward underneath him as my hands shoot over his hard shoulders. My eyes catch his charcoal-dark pupils as I push my weight into him, turning, and roll with him in the mud and rain several times before kneeing him in the chest.

Grunting, he almost sounds like he is in pain as his grip loosens and his dark hair, wet from rain splays across his face. I shuffle to my feet before kicking him in the stomach. His arm swings into my standing legs, tripping me backward onto the ground. My hands brace my fall into a puddle, splashing, before I slide on my side to ram my foot into his chin. His neck jerks back with his head as my foot connects. The golden sliver sliding over the whites of his eyes—the sliver that tells me he is connected to Exotiqa—fades, and his left leg jerks in a quick uncontrolled motion.

I push my palms against the mud in a struggle to stand. “The rain must be jamming your joints and the Exotiqa frequency.” I say.

Thirty stares at me with his intense glare. He always had fierce expressions, now more stoic, and he hates losing. Maybe he is this way because Russell Wagner designed him that way. Or maybe because, like me, Thirty developed a sense of himself—at least, before the corporation dissolved him into the collective.

Hands struggle to reach me in desperation as his voice vibrates in and out of monotone syllables making their callous way to my ears. “This is not over yet.”

Friday, 24 November 2017

Shadow Stalker Part 3 (Episodes 13 - 18) 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 and paranormal thrillers.

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, A God's Deception.

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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Things go from bad to worse when the Galvadi Empire develops a new technology to use against the shadow stalkers. Now Kado and Makari are more determined than ever to keep Auren away from their enemies, but Auren decides enough is enough and takes matters into her own hands. She turns herself over to the Galvadi to get close to Drevin and Makari has no choice but to play along. He is forced to either torture Auren to prove his loyalty or die knowing she will be tortured and enslaved anyway. Somehow they must get close enough to Drevin to bring him down and put an end to the Galvadi’s tyranny once and for all.

Episode 13: Defiance


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.


Episode 14: Falling to Pieces


Things go from bad to worse after Cali is captured by the Galvadi. The new technology they have employed is making a rescue attempt impossible and endangering the lives of all the shadow stalkers. Auren refuses to give up though, but the more she tries to fix thing, the more Kado tightens the leash.

Episode 15: Into My Own


Just when Auren thinks she’d had enough of Kado’s overbearing and overprotective nature, he surprises her by apologizing and admitting he had been wrong. Auren finally accepts that she is not at fault for Cali’s death after visiting her in the shadow world, but Kado and Makari are still preventing her from confronting Drevin. They don’t feel she is ready, and Auren is beginning to believe they will never let her fulfil her destiny. It’s time she takes matters into her own hands.


Episode 16: A New Emperor


Makari is told the only way he can prove his loyalty is by torturing Auren, but he refuses to go through it. So Jharak, Drevin’s master interrogator, took the liberty to be the one to break her, but in the end, it would take forcing her to watch him torture and kill Makari.

Episode 17: Allies to Enemies Part 1


Traitors are weeded out and new allies are found. Auren and Makari are determined to bring peace once again to the Serpent Isles, but they have a deadline. If they don’t make it in time, they could end up at war with their own people.


Episode 18: Allies to Enemies Part 2


General Graves wants Auren and Makari dead. When Makari demands one of Graves’ men, who secretly supports Makari, is sent to him for extra security at the palace, Graves uses a mind control drug to get him to assassinate them. Will Auren and Makari learn what happened before it’s too late?

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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Risen by Roxanne Heath

Roxanne Heath's interests and ambitions have changed many times over the years, but the one constant has been her affinity for fiction. Her primary hobby in childhood was writing stories, and the habit continued well into her high school and college years despite pursuing a degree in science. Her favorite genres to write are those that dabble in paranormal horror and fantasy, along with psychological thrillers.

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About the Book


Ragnarok – the cyclical occurrence resulting in the slaughter and resurgence of the universe – is once more coming to pass, taking with it the best warriors that can be offered up to the jaws of Fenrir and his monstrous kin. When three of the best and most burnt-out warriors decide that dishonor is their only hope of permanently escaping the cycle, they abdicate their homeworld and make the jump to Earth. Taking refuge in unsuspecting members of a fragmented family they find that, while the fallen soldiers of their home are returning to fight in the battle, Earth’s deceased are mistakenly doing the same. The dead are rising, and their only call is to destruction.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:


At that moment the three of them hear a snapping twig and the low sounds of someone or something shuffling through uncut grass. When they hear the wet snarl that accompanies it the three of them wheel around to see several creatures stalking out of the trees, their gait awkward and their eyes blazing yellow.

Ása is the first to her feet, reaching for the staff she’d propped against the log. She takes a firm hold on the canvas-bound grips at either end and begins to rotate them in opposite directions, feeling the internal mechanism engage. Under pressure of her grip the blades swiftly begin to protrude from inside the hollow, thick-walled staff. As the rotational abilities of Ása’s wrists come to an end the blades lock into place, a gleaming fourteen inches of sharp, oiled metal protruding from each end of the weapon. She takes several wide steps towards her enemies, giving her ample room for offensive maneuvers. Behind her and to either side she hears Ari and Egill draw their weapons, and she need not look to see where they’ve positioned themselves. She knows their tactics as well as her own.

Ása closes her eyes for a moment, taking the split second to trigger within herself an adrenaline rush that slows the scene to half-speed. She takes hold of the spear by the middle grips and begins to twirl it, positioning it to her left and to her right, picking up speed until she is essentially wielding a silver blur that makes her both lethal and unreachable. The first of the Risen makes its way into her range and she moves the spear upward, catching it under the chin with a sickening crunch as metal meets bone. Its head snaps backward and it falls. Another takes its place and she catches it in the cheek with the staff itself, watching its rotten face splatter open. With no close enemies she resumes the twirling pattern, backing up towards the sound of Egill’s voice.

The creatures take her retreat as their cue to break from a slow shamble to a fearsome rush. Ása turns away and sprints to the outskirts of the area in which they fight, crossing the mock boundaries in her head and creating a viable gap between herself and her enemies. She stacks the Risen – keeping one positioned behind the other at all times – and when the next of the monsters closes the gap she brings the spear up and twirls it, swinging it against its face twice as she finishes out the move. The momentum of the blunt force trauma to its head snaps its neck, and as the creature stumbles Ása shoves him back. He is the last to fall, and Ása returns to the others where they stand, chests heaving, among blood-stained grass and remains.

“We may be too late,” Egill says in the post-battle silence, slow to catch his breath. “They have already begun to rise.”

Friday, 17 November 2017

Thunder Moon by Tonya Coffey






Tonya Coffey lives in southern Kentucky with her husband and two teen sons. If she isn't reading or writing a fantasy novel, you will find her sitting in front of a canvas with a paintbrush in hand.

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Micha, King of Ancients, hoped the fighting between the realms would ease since the treat had been eliminated, yet the forest is filled with enemies who are not what they seem. They can be a plant, animal or even disguised as a friend.

While Micha battles Shifters, old enemies and himself, Jessa struggles to regain her life. A friend, in the spirit world, guides her through the adjustments of the truth, allowing her to uncover the Wars true beginning and of a man who will stop at nothing to obtain the True Power.

Micha must tread lightly as the Shadows reorganize the kingdom, demanding a union between Micha and Roselle. His only hope for happiness is for the curse Jessa cast upon herself to be broken by a Sorcerer, a man he did not trust. Will the King get his true Queen or will evil win?

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Keep reading for an excerpt:


As I moved over a small creek, the shallow water trickled down a rock then dripped one slow drop at a time. My eyes swept the forest as I paused there. A feeling deep in my gut told me I needed to be more vigilant, so I heeded the call and listened beyond what was normal.

The drip of water echoed a slow beat and with it a faint growl surfaced. Narrowing my eyes, I searched the underbrush. Hunkering down to get a better view of the land, I tried to see where the growl came from. I could not see past my outreached hand but movements were noticeable.

I knew it was stretching it as I narrowed my eyes into the shadows but I hoped it was a raccoon or an opossum.

When nothing stood out, I sighed as I rose and stepped over the stream. With each of my steps, I lightly set my boot down—heel to toe—to keep from making any more noise than I needed.

After a few steps, the sound of paws stepping on dried leaves drifted through the night. It was soft, light as a feather dropping on the vegetation. It became louder the closer it tread. I turned to my left, ready to face what closed the gap on me.

Readying my stance, I waited but the sounds stopped. It was as if the animal knew of my readiness. I frowned. Why? I wondered.

Then as if it heard my thoughts, a growl rolled from deep inside the bushes not far from where I stood. Slowly, I reached for my sword, hoping my movements did not threaten the animal. As my hand gripped the handle, a pair of eyes, blue as the autumn sky appeared from the darkness.

A panther; black as the night around us, slipped between the branches into my line of sight. Hair erupted along his back and his ears laid back in a warning to me. I did not want to engage, however as the panther slowly moved forward, I was afraid it was inevitable.

His lips pulled back, showing me teeth as long and sharp as a dagger. Even though I did not want to fight, I knew I had to stand my ground. After all, I was not in his territory. He was in mine.

Pulling my sword from its sheath, I watched the panther. His eyes never left my movements as he came forward, still showing me his aggressive intent. Narrowing my eyes, I waited. I refused to make the first move, however I would make the last.

As I waited, watching him, something struck me as odd. He moved forward but not in a movement to attack me. Panthers were known for their stealthiest and that made me wonder why he came out of hiding to attack me. He could have jumped me from cover and I would have been useless. He would have won.

So as he made his gestures, I realized he was a decoy. He made me keep my eyes on him while…

I turned, raising my sword into the air. A second panther stood feet from me, ready to slice into my gut with one swift swipe of his claws.

I was right, I thought as I swiftly stepped to the side, keeping both cats in front of me. Smart boys…

With my next step back, the second panther sprang. His teeth barred at me. His paws outstretched, nails flashed in the moonlight. I swung my sword, hoping to not get a face full of teeth or claws. My blade hit; the feel of the metal parting flesh caused me to pull back. I wanted no part in killing him. I only wanted to keep him from killing me.

When I did, the cat cried out. A roar erupted from the animal as if it were a woman screaming to the top of her lungs. The reaction surprised me. I lowered my weapon and watched as the first panther ran to the other. It stood by the animal as it got to its feet and limped off. He watched me then narrowed his eyes, growled a warning and stepped into the underbrush after it.

What the… I stood in the forest, my mouth ajar. Panthers should not act that way…

Sliding my sword back into its home, I turned back to my castle and continued on. If it was not one thing, it was two more. I had hoped the realms would calm down and accept a new reign but the attack was proof someone did not want a peaceful union. They wanted war and I would give it to them.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

At Horizon's End by Chris Sarantopoulos



Chris Sarantopoulos studied Geology in Scotland (you may hear him say aye a couple of times), then decided to diversify and did a Masters in Service Management. Alas, words and stories won him. Now he meddles with the lives of fictional characters in genres such as science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, dystopia, cyberpunk, fantasy, high fantasy, dark fantasy, and horror (not the splatter type though). When Chris is not writing, he spends his time crafting new stories and worlds, talks to friends who considered him lost somewhere in an imaginary world, or plays video games. Oh yeah, he likes music too. And books. He lives in Greece, and if you happen to spend time there, contact him. He may be able to arrange a meeting.

His work has appeared on Beyond Imagination, Voluted Tales and Eternal Haunted Summer among others.

You can sign up for his newsletter for updates and news at http://eepurl.com/cUX9hr

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About the Book


Death made a mistake.


The Man Who Fed On Tears always knows whose time it is to pluck from the world of the living. His existence is one of a symbiosis between his need for the tears and woe he causes to those closest to the deceased, and the natural order of life and death to which he is bound. He never questions himself or his actions and has never made a mistake. Until now.

Stella is a four-year-old girl who misses her mommy and wants to see her again. She doesn’t yet understand the concept of loss, so when she sees close family members crying, she tries to stay cheerful and optimistic. After all, Mommy said they’d see each other again when the time comes At Horizon’s End. So if they’ll meet again, why is everyone crying?

Get it today on Amazon!


Keep reading for an interview with the author:


Why did you decide to be a writer?


Unlike most writers, I didn't always want to be one. Occasionally, I felt the urge to write something, but I had a little voice in my head (a very loud one) that dissuaded me every time I tried it. I'm very happy I silenced that voice eventually.

Do you have a "day job"?


I'm on a fixed term contract with the Municipality of the city I live in, and once that's over I'll be unemployed again.

How often do you write?


When I was unemployed I wrote or edited six days a week, for five hours each day. Now that I have a job, I try to write or edit for two hours during week days and another five hours on Saturdays. Sundays are write-free days.

What is the quirkiest thing you've ever done while writing?


Forget to eat. It sucks when it happens. Also, being bilingual and deep into my main character's point of view, I have sometimes answered as that character. In English (remember, I'm Greek, therefore I speak Greek)


What authors have most influenced you?


In no particular order: Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, G.R.R.Martin, R. Scott Bakker, Peter V. Brett, Richard K. Morgan, Stephen King


What are your goals as an author?


I'd like to get a foot into traditional publishing but I keep my options open with self publishing and small presses. Five years from today I'd like to have published not only my two yet-unpublished novels, but perhaps another two. One more at the very least. I'd like to start having a steady readership, and of course I'd like to have learned a thing or two about book promotions and marketing.

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


A couple of weeks ago, a twitter follower complimented my latest short story (At Horizon's End). Why was it so nice? Because I hadn't advertised my work to that follower (or anyone else on twitter for a long time) and he not only spent money on my work, but he also took the time to let his followers know about my story. We had never spoken to each other, didn't know one another, but he did all that for me.


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


Write ten books per year. Sorry, that's not how I do things. I can't work like that.

How many books do you have on your "to read" list?


I'm on the third book of The Expanse so the rest are in my "to read" list. Mistborn is there as well, the second trilogy of R. Scott Bakker's The Prince of Nothing and so so so many more.

What made you decide to self-publish?


I wanted to learn as much as possible about marketing and promoting my work, preferably before I published my first novel. Which is why I'm publishing my short stories and trying things out.

What is your writing process?


First, extensive planning and outlining. I use a modified version of the Snowflake method for my novels. For my short stories, I use the 7-point system. After outlining, I draft the story. For a book, I usually need three months, maybe less. Once that's done, I put the story away for at least a month. Then I start revising and editing it. I usually go through fifteen to twenty revision and editing rounds. Then it's off to my beta readers. Once I get all their feedback I start revising and editing again, but it's hard to tell how many rounds of edits it takes me.


How long does it take you to write a book?


Drafting takes three months. Revising and editing it takes up to two more years. Planning and outlining takes at least another six months.

Have you ever wanted to put one of your characters together with a character from one of your favorite novels? What characters would you choose and how would their meeting go?


You've caught me off guard. The thought has never crossed my mind, so it's something I have to consider.

What inspired your current work?


The effect modern technology has on us, and even worse, the effect and impact future technology will have on our world.

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


I'm looking forward to hearing from all of you. If you ever come to Greece, let me know. I might be able to arrange a meeting or something.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Cassidy by Andrew Gates

Formerly an on-site educator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, Andrew Gates is now a Virginia-based science-fiction writer and magazine contributor. He is best known as the author of the Color of Water and Sky series.

Gates has always been fascinated by science-fiction and fantasy ever since he was a kid. His writing style has been compared to that of Isaac Asimov, author of the Foundation series. Gates's multiple POV writing style focuses on world-building and large scope politics. Though his stories take place in a fictional world, his characters are realistically portrayed and grounded in reality.

When Andrew Gates is not writing, he enjoys running competitively and watching films.


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The world thinks them dead. But they are very much alive. After a deadly attack from an unknown enemy, Captain Sara Gessetti and Lieutenant Damien Saljov are separated from the Cassidy X20 experimental submarine and left to drown in the depths of the Atlantic. Cut off from society, from technology, even from each other, both pilots struggle to survive in this harsh new world, where danger lurks around every corner. But they are not alone. The surface holds many dangers, and some of them come from within...

From the pages of The Color of Water and Sky, this official spinoff story takes place in parallel to books 1-3 in the series.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:


Carter opened his eyes and looked himself in the mirror. The suit fit him well. He was not accustomed to seeing himself so dressed up. He made sure his tie was straight, then ran his fingers through his hair.

He took a deep breath. This was it. This was the moment he had been waiting for.

Carter grabbed the holographic projector from the sink top and held it firmly in his sweaty hands.

"Here we go," he said aloud.

The 32-year-old engineer turned and walked out of the men's room. The black hall outside was bustling with well-dressed men and women, quickly making their way through the office complex. Carter tried not to get caught up in the excitement of it all. He held his projector firmly in hand and proceeded to the committee room. It did not take long to get there. He pressed on the thick door and hastily proceeded through.

Some of the elected officials, or EOs, were already present. Their chairs faced him as he entered the room. A massive crimson flag hung above their heads, adding a bit of color to this otherwise dark interior.

A young Navy guard in a white suit approached him.

"Name, sir?" the man asked. He looked about 20, not much older than Carter was when he first enlisted.

"Dr. Carter Brown," he answered. He pulled out his ID. "I am here for the hearing."

"My apologies, Dr. Brown. I did not know it was you. I expected someone..."

"Older?"

The Navy man was silent. He simply motioned to an empty chair behind a desk facing the EOs.

"Please," he said.

Carter followed the guard's order and took a seat behind the desk. A glass of water was already waiting for him. He instinctively took a sip as a few more EOs arrived and took their seats. It was not long before Deborah Otto, Chairwoman of the Oceanic Committee, arrived. Her bright white suit stood out in the world of black.

She took a seat and moved the microphone to her mouth.

"Good morning, everyone," she said. Her voice echoed throughout the room. "Thank you all for coming. I know it is never easy to come back to work after the New Year celebration."

This had been the first day back to work for most of the city following the bicentennial, but not for Carter. He had worked tirelessly over the last few days, making sure everything was right for his presentation.

"I would like to especially welcome our guest today, Dr. Carter Brown," Otto continued.

Carter was not sure how to respond to this introduction. He simply waved back. He felt the EOs glare back at him. He must have been doing it wrong.

"The purpose of this hearing today is to evaluate Dr. Brown's proposal to grant funding for the testing of his new exploratory ocean vessel. We will hear testimony firsthand from Dr. Brown himself and open the floor to questioning from members of this committee."

Otto paused and looked to her colleagues as if waiting for confirmation to proceed.

"Are we all ready?" she asked.

There were nods all around.

"Very well," Otto said, turning back to face the room again. "I see no reason to delay. Dr. Brown, I look forward to hearing what you have to say. The floor is yours."

Here it goes.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Embracing Hope by Janell Butler Wojtowicz

Janell Butler Wojtowicz, born and raised on an Iowa farm, was one of those kids who loved to write the dreaded “What I did on summer vacation” essay. It’s no surprise that she has spent her entire 30-year career in writing, including newspaper journalism, Christian higher education and nonprofit public relations, and local government public information. Much of her writing has been the “people stories” of trial, tragedy, and triumph, which are reflected in her debut novel, “Embracing Hope.” Janell is a freelance writer/editor, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She and her husband, Frank, live in New Brighton, Minnesota. She has two step-sons, a step-daughter-in-law, and three step-granddaughters.




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Christian college dean Drew McKinley mourns his dead wife and still wears his wedding ring. He stumbles on a desperate journey to understand God’s motives for her tragic death. Crossing his perilous path is Allison, a graduate student and new employee in the dean’s office. Even as she deals with financial hardships, she recognizes Drew’s unresolved grief from her own loss. Putting up a roadblock is Chris Whitney, the handsome but egotistical student senate president. He carries the secret burden of a dysfunctional family and a below-the-surface temper. The road Drew must navigate is fraught with career upheaval, a reawakening heart, substance and domestic abuse, a violent assault, and the struggle for forgiveness and restoration. Will Drew finish his journey to embrace the hope God offers, the love Allison shares, and the guidance Chris needs, or will he turn his back on all three with catastrophic consequences?

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Keep reading for an excerpt:


Drew wrung his hands. Something else was wrong. Mitch had never seen Drew visibly upset. Even during those first days after Kendra’s death and throughout counseling, he had never displayed much emotion beyond sadness, loneliness, and the inevitable questions. But tonight, the young man’s discomfort was painfully evident as his eyes darted about the room and he pulled the coat tighter around him.

“This isn’t just about chapel, is it?” Mitch asked.

Long seconds of silence passed. Then, finally, “I crossed the line,” he mumbled.

Mitch froze. “What line?”

Drew’s hand scraped through his hair again. “With a student. I … I hugged her.”

Mitch barely heard Drew’s whispered words.

“She was upset … and about to cry—” He jumped up and retreated to a dark corner of the room. “I—I could be in trouble with my job. They fire men for this. It’s…it’s sexual harassment! She could press charges!”

Mitch followed Drew, his heart accelerating. “Take it easy. Don’t panic. Explain slowly what happened.”

Drew backed against the wall, his arms stiff at his sides, hands fisted. “I don’t remember most of it…just hugging her. I’m not even sure what we were talking about before.”

“Where did this happen? Who was it?”

Drew stared at the floor. “My office. I didn’t do it on purpose and the door was wide open.” He shook his head. “I can’t tell you who… I don’t want to get her in trouble.”

Mitch released the question, but he already knew the answer. “Was it Allison Bennett?”

Drew’s head snapped up, fear-filled eyes wide.

Mitch placed a firm hand on Drew’s forearm afraid his friend would run out of the house. “Relax. I know you. It wasn’t sexual harassment, and I’m sure Allison realizes that, too.”

He steered Drew back to the couch. “You didn’t cross the line. You aren’t her professor. You aren’t her dean. You aren’t her direct supervisor. You’re both university employees and you’re both responsible and single adults.”

Drew twisted his ring. “I feel like I cheated on Kendra.”

“That’s a natural feeling. But it’s OK to move on, Drew, as hard as it seems right now. The bigger problem is you’ve been holding your emotions in too long and someday they’ll come out.” Mitch chuckled. “Actually, I think they leaked out this afternoon.”

Drew groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose. “This can’t be happening. It’s not right.”

“What do you think of Allison?” Mitch wondered.

His friend opened his mouth then closed it again. Was he even breathing? Finally, “I like her.”

“Obviously,” Mitch snickered. “Why?”

Drew looked up as if searching the sky. The silence stretched on and Mitch gave him a gentle pat on the back.

“Be honest.”

He inhaled deeply. “She’s genuine and honest. She doesn’t try to impress you or turn the attention on herself. She’s a bit negative at times, yet she’s also warm and supportive. But this afternoon, she was hurting, and I wanted to stop the hurt.”

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Journey from Skioria by Kandi J Wyatt



Even as a young girl, Kandi J Wyatt, had a knack for words. She loved to read them, even if it was on a shampoo bottle! By high school, Kandi had learned to put words together on paper to create stories for those she loved. Nowadays, she writes for her kids, whether that's her own five or the hundreds of students she's been lucky to teach. When Kandi's not spinning words to create stories, she's using them to teach students about Spanish, life, and leadership.






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About the Book


Tania is lost, shipwrecked on an unfamiliar shore. With no friends or family, the nine-year-old girl must make her way through the realm of the woodland people to a town she's never heard of. With unexpected allies from the forest, Tania departs on a wild adventure where storms rage and the forces of nature do their very best to end her journey before it has truly begun.

In a land full of forests, oceans, and small people, what will it take for one young girl to make it home alive?

Lord of the Rings meets Narnia in this standalone middle-grade fantasy by author Kandi J Wyatt.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:


Incessant chattering reached Tania’s ears, along with bone-chilling cold on her back and great warmth on her face. It took a moment before she realized that the sound contained words.

“Say! What is this? Is it a man? Is he hurt? Say, he’s a she! Look at that beautiful hair! It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before! Wow, what would Fil say about that? Even the Avarians don’t have hair that shade of blond.”

Tania tried to move away from the cold underneath her, but she had no energy. Instead, she opened her eyes.

“I say, are you awake?” A brown, hairy face looked down at her. Deep brown eyes expressed concern.

Tania blinked and struggled to a sitting position. She rubbed a wet hand across her aching forehead. “How could I sleep with all that chatter? And Mom and Dad say I talk too much! I wish they could meet you.”

“Mom and Dad?” The man glanced around the wooded riverbed. “Where are they? Are they near here?”

Memories flooded back. Tania hung her head. “No. I … I don’t think so. I don’t know for sure.”

“You don’t know for sure? Why ever not?”

“I … I … I was on the boat. Mom tried to warn me, but the next thing I knew, I was in the water.” Tania wiped at her eyes but only managed to get her face wet. A shiver ran down her body. She climbed to her feet.

At first, she thought she’d landed in a state park because the only place she’d ever seen such clean woods had been in Honeyman State Park in Oregon. Next, she wondered if she were dreaming. The man beside her stood no taller than any other kid in her fourth-grade class, and yet he didn’t look like a dwarf or a midget.

The man’s forehead wrinkled as he looked down the waterway. “This river surely wouldn’t have gotten that bad. I mean I’ve seen it pretty rough, but even the old-timers have never seen an accident where people turned up on the bank.”

“Oh, this wasn’t on a river. We were enjoying a vacation and went crabbing.”

“You were out on the ocean!” The little man sat back on his heels. “How’d you make it into the river and here?”

“Well, I did have my life jacket on.” Tania tried to adjust the bright orange vest.

“Lifejacket? What’s that?” The man’s bushy eyebrows disappeared behind his hair.

“Don’t you know anything? It’s this here.” Tania unzipped the jacket.

“Oh, I thought it was just your vest to keep warm. Like mine.” He looped his thumb through the armhole of his buckskin-like vest, then adjusted his dark brown shirt at the collar. He smoothed his brown, leather pants.

Tania stared up into the trees. Their boughs obscured the sky but let streams of sunlight through. “Do you have any idea where I am?”

“That, I can answer. Oh, where ever are my manners? Let me introduce myself. I’m Trilicius. You’re just a half-hours’ walk from Skioria, my home. Why don’t you come with me, I can find a place for you for the night, and then we can see about getting you back to your parents.”

Monday, 6 November 2017

Devils A Collection of Devilish Short Fiction by Erik Henry Vick



Erik Henry Vick is an author who happens to be disabled by an autoimmune disease (also known as his Personal Monster™). He writes to hang on to the few remaining shreds of his sanity. His current favorite genres to write are dark fantasy and horror.

He lives in Western New York with his wife, Supergirl; their son; a Rottweiler named after a god of thunder; and two extremely psychotic cats. He fights his Personal Monster™ daily with humor, pain medicine, and funny T-shirts.

Erik has a B.A. in Psychology, an M.S.C.S., and a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence. He has worked as a criminal investigator for a state agency, a college professor, a C.T.O. for an international software company, and a video game developer.


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About the Book


Come, step inside the dark passageways of Erik Henry Vick’s mind. Come meet his friends, devils, one and all.

Robert is a war hero on his way down. Addicted to cocaine, wallowing in guilt, he meets a beautiful woman with the quirky habit of telling everyone she’s the devil.

Rick Bergen learns the true cost of revenge when he enters the world of the voodoo pantheon and meets the manifestation of vengeance.

Rena is kidnapped by polygamist extremists bent on creating an army for the apocalypse—by any means necessary.

An ancient evil has returned to stalk the shores of Lake Seneca. A colonial New Yorker, with the help of an Onondowaga warrior, must confront beings that can’t be killed or reasoned with.

A man is trapped in Rochester, NY by a massive snowstorm, but if he doesn't make his appointment in Buffalo, his entire bloody itinerary will be in jeopardy.

Mind your step. Don’t attract these devils’ attention.

Get it today on Amazon!


Keep reading for an interview with the author:


Why did you decide to be a writer?


I have always written -- stories, non-fiction, whatever. I started when I was seven, in order to win a contest hosted by my second-grade teacher. I wrote 70 single page stories to win a trip to McDonald's. As an adult, I got distracted by various things (academia, work, etc.), but was disabled about 8 years ago. I focused on writing fiction again as a way to cope with my disability.

Do you have a "day job"?


No, I'm disabled by a chronic illness (rheumatoid arthritis), also known as my Personal Monster (tm). Most recently, I was a professor teaching video game development.


What inspires you to write?


Stephen King and my Personal Monster (tm). Yeah, I know that sounds a bit strange, but it is true. When I was first disabled, I turned to fiction for solace. I read my favorite books again and again. Perhaps my all time favorite series is The Dark Tower, and as I was reading it a few years ago, I began to think about how much fun it would be to write something like it. At the time, computer use was very difficult--even sitting in an office chair for longer than 15 minutes was painful--but the idea wouldn't let go. I found a way--a modified sit-stand swing arm and a recliner, along with a bunch of gadgets to accommodate the variable nature of my disease. I also wanted to raise awareness about the disease, chronic illnesses, and life with an invisible disability. All of those things together became my novel, Errant Gods, which will be released this fall.

How long does it take you to write a novel?


This is actually a very difficult question to answer. Not only are most novels different lengths, but in my experience, each novel has a "personality" (for lack of a better word) of its own. Some just come running, others you have to chase a bit. Then there's the whole first draft vs. finished draft thing, which is a whole other can of worms. I can say that I've written a novel in a month (which was horrible and will never be published), and others have taken years. Then there's the whole Personal Monster (tm) thing. It delights in becoming the largest monkey wrench it can be.

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


The character Hank Jensen (Errant Gods) is largely based on me, so definitely not him! I'd like to be Meuhlnir for a day (or century), maybe.


What is the most difficult thing you've ever researched?


In my novella, The Devil, the character Lily uses slang from multiple languages, including Mexican, Dominican, Hebrew, Russian, German, and Arabic. Keeping all that straight was tough.

What are your goals as an author?


Still writing and self-publishing.


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


Hands down, my disability. There are weeks and even months at a time when I can't be productive. Unproductive time like that can be the death knell of a novel -- the story dies, the characters become something else, the thread gets lost... One of the best tricks I have in my arsenal at the moment is something I stole from Stephen King -- the "next note." When I'm done writing for the day, I add a "next note" to the bottom of the manuscript. I write what happens next, and if I can't get back to it the next day, it's still there when I can. I also use OneNote to track ideas, characters, settings, etc., because I can get to it from any device.

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


A recent reader told me to think of her as "Constant Reader" (which is how Stephen King addresses his readers in his author's notes).


Have you ever had a particularly harsh critique?


Yes, of course. The thing is, all critiques are good. Even if they are bad. The worst critiques are the "vacuous" ones: things like "this sucks" without further comment. I can't do anything with that. I read every review, every critique, and try to learn from them.

What do you enjoy doing aside from writing?


Reading, joking around (with everyone), finding the best funny T-shirts.

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


I would have to take 8. The Dark Tower books.

What made you decide to self-publish?


Not to sound like a broken record, but my illness imposes certain restrictions on me. I wrote my non-fiction book right before I was disabled, and meeting deadlines was a problem. With self-publishing, I am the deadline, so they're much easier to meet.

What fears do you have about writing and being an indie author?


Gaining traction with readers, really. I'm proactive about marketing--that's the only solution, I think.

Do you write in first or third person, past or present tense, and why?


All of the above. I don't like present tense much, but when it makes sense, I use it.

Are you a pantser or outliner?


Pantser!

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


I write from experience, but as a horror writer, my imagination definitely gets in its licks.

Have you ever wanted to put one of your characters together with a character from one of your favorite novels? What characters would you choose and how would their meeting go?


I think it would be cool to have Hank Jensen meet Roland Deschain. They would argue about firearms most likely.

How do you market/promote your work?


I do social media and have spent the past few months building a mailing list, and from there, a launch team of readers who are very interested in my writing.


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


I am very thankful to have readers. I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, 3 November 2017

Mistletoe and Murder by S.L. Smith

A lifelong resident of Minnesota, S.L. Smith was born in Saint Cloud and attended Saint Catherine University in Saint Paul. During her thirty-two years with the state department of public safety, she worked with law enforcement and fire officials at the state, county and municipal levels. Those interactions assisted her with writing mysteries, but were just the starting point. Without the help of a friend who spent thirty-five years as a cop, she might never have ventured into writing police procedurals. He contributed to her understanding of the perspectives of her two protagonists, Pete Culnane and Martin Tierney. Thankfully, this friend is still a resource. He proofreads each manuscript and performs a reality check on the law enforcement aspects.

All three of her previous books include a social issue. In Blinded by the Sight, it’s homelessness. For book two, Running Scared, it’s the impacts of a failing marriage on the kids. Book three, Murder on a Stick, addresses a plight faced by many of the elderly. Smith is a member of Sisters in Crime (an organization that supports mystery writers). She divides her time between Minnesota and Florida, to care for her mother.

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About the Book


Auld Lang Syne with a Twist


As Collette Hammond orchestrates an elaborate New Year’s Eve wedding reception for her brother in St. Paul’s historic Union Depot, she never anticipates the evening might end in her own mysterious death. She collapses just before midnight. A fresh needle mark suggests narcotics. St. Paul police detectives Pete Culnane and Martin Tierney are called away from their holiday celebrations to investigate, launching a trip through a labyrinth of intrigue and deception.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:


Tonight, Colette rang in the New Year like there was no tomorrow. Little did she know that, for her, that was indeed the case. Had she known, she would not have spent her final hours this way. She loved her brother, and she loved to party. Just the same, she had a long list of things she intended to see and do before exiting this life for the something … or nothing … that lay beyond. She had her heart set on traveling to Australia and New Zealand to bask in the lingo and marvel at the scenery. She intended to walk at least a mile on the Great Wall. She planned to learn to play the violin.

She knew not the day, and she’d never have pegged these as her final hours. Confident she’d be on this earth for at least a few more decades, she spent little time thinking about, fretting over, or preparing for an afterlife. Some time down the road, perhaps. For now, she needn’t worry—or so she thought.

Momentarily, the consequences of her procrastination would be between her and her maker. She’d planned this party. Did that mean, in some perverse way, she’d planned her demise?

. . .

Beverages flowed freely before, during, and after the meal. Colette kept up with the best of them.

. . .

In addition to celebrating Demetrius’s wedding, guests spent tonight preparing to ring in the New Year. Some used this as an opportunity to drown regrets about a year of failed attempts to better themselves, while preparing for another shot at the golden ring.

This was Demetrius’s second time around. Colette believed he’d regret this marriage as much as the last one. Just the same, she knew sharing that opinion wouldn’t change his mind. It would, however, change their relationship—at least in the near term. For that reason, she set aside her feelings and helped with the arrangements. She always did that. Nothing, not even a gold digger, could come between her and Demetrius.

During the final seconds before midnight, Colette took center stage. Ordinarily, she reveled in the attention. Not tonight and not this type of attention.

For the last few hours, Colette danced and drank, but not in that order. Shortly before the crowd commenced singing “Auld Lang Syne,” she began slurring her words. Soon her words became unintelligible.

Most of the guests pretended not to notice. Many observed that Colette seemed unusually thirsty tonight, so this didn’t shock them. Unfortunately, what followed raised greater concern, but failed to set off any alarms.

Colette began nodding off. Repeatedly, her chin sank and rested briefly on her chest. That would have been surprising if she was seated at the time. She wasn’t. She did it while standing and talking with several people. Suddenly, without warning, she teetered and slumped to the marble floor.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Twist (Book 2) by Genevieve Raas



Genevieve Raas is an international bestselling author. Originally from Indiana, she now lives in Vienna, Austria with her husband and rather haughty Russian Toy Terrier, Mr. Darcy. When she isn't writing dark fairytales or fantasy, you can find her plotting out her next travel destination.

A graduate from Indiana University, Genevieve holds a Master’s Degree in English and a Master’s Certificate in Professional Editing. She has worked as Lead Transcriber on several published anthologies, including: The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury, Volume 2 and the New Ray Bradbury Review.

Now, she is venturing out on her own, into the wilds of untamed lands and untold stories.

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In this heart-stopping continuation of the Spindlewind Trilogy, Rumpelstiltskin finds himself locked in a battle of blood, debts, and destiny.

For the past nineteen years, Rumpelstiltskin has kept his promise to Laila, the miller’s daughter. Her son, Tristan, must never know the dark deal they made surrounded by straw and gold.

But keeping the truth from a curious Tristan is the least of his troubles. He can’t escape the chill of bodiless eyes watching him. Wanting him. Hunting him.

When an Oracle confirms his greatest fear, she also confirms his greatest hope. A hope and desire he believed long dead.

Laila lives.

Or is it a trick to lure him into what he wants most to avoid?

Unable not to take the risk, he descends into a realm rife with danger, dreams, and shadows to face the deity he despises: Fate.

Soon, dream turns to nightmare as Rumpelstiltskin finds himself again propelled on a path he never wanted.

Caught between love and fate, Rumpelstiltskin must decide if he will choose the path to protect his own soul, or save that of the woman he damned.

Get it today on Amazon!


Keep reading for an excerpt:



Fear cut through my core like a blade of ice.

“This is why you sought me out,” Aldred said.

“I had nowhere else to turn,” I replied.

Aldred, the scholar. Educated by the finest universities and expert in the black arts. Though he was not an immortal being as I was, no one knew more about the craft.

“If you are being followed or hunted, what, or who, do you think it is?”

I am looking forward to what I have in store for you, Fate’s voice resonated in my memory.

I clenched my jaw. Blood rushed through my heart and terror chilled my veins. I hated this feeling of vulnerability. In my heart I wished it were the devil, or some other manner of dark creature, but I knew only one being would toy with me like this.

I only hoped what I suspected was wrong.

“Only you know of what happened all those years ago,” I said.

“You mean with the girl…”

I bit the inside of my lip, Laila’s memory still raw in my gut after all these years.

“I allowed myself to become such a fool at Fate’s hands. I can’t have it happen again. I’ve taken every precaution to rid myself of such an error,” I said.

“You believe Fate is preparing to use you to fulfill some destiny.”

I remained silent. Such a thought was abhorrent to me, but it was what I feared. And now without being able to see my future…

He cleared his throat.

“Does the boy know?”

“No,” I paced across the groaning floorboards, careful to avoid his towers of books. “He never will. I swore to his mother never to tell him the truth of what happened between her and I. It’s one of the reasons he despises me.”

“I’m sure it’s not come to that. You’ve raised him well all these years. The heart remembers what good has been done towards it.”

I wasn’t sure. As Tristan grew so did my guilt, and a distance took root between us. I couldn’t help but associate Tristan with loss.

I recalled how I started to crave the distance. The numbness. I journeyed farther and longer away, hunting desperate souls that would help soothe my own.

“I can bear his scorn for Laila,” I said.

He rested his hand on my shoulder.

“Perhaps this sensation is not Fate, but only a manifestation of your guilt,” he said.

I chuckled.

“I’ve lived with my guilt so long I’m perfectly used to the sensation. No, this has Fate’s stench all over it. But without the cards, I can’t be certain.”

I shook off his hand.

“I know what you are wanting. She is too dangerous,” he said.

“I am well aware, but I have no choice. I must find her. My powers of foresight are not strong enough. Only she can tell me what I can do to avoid what I fear,” I said.

“I’ve seen men go mad from what she told them,” he replied, urgency burning in every word. “I swore I would never tell another soul where she keeps. You must accept not knowing and adapt.”

“It is not in my nature to adapt.”

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