Interview With Author, J. P. Sloan & Preview of “The Curse Servant”

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5 Digital copies of The Curse Merchant, Book 1 of the Dark Choir series

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Be sure to keep reading after the interview for an excerpt from The Curse Servant!!

A conversation with author, J.P. SLOAN:

You’ve said your writing is “dark, fantastical, at times stretching the limits of the human experience, and other times hinting at the monsters lurking under your bed.” How do you switch mental gears from an ominous world to being a father and husband?

Ooh… nice question! I think it has a lot to do with mental balance, in general. I do my level best not to repress my dark notions too hard. If you cage the beast, the beast is likely to break the lock and bite your head off, given time. Dark fiction is one way I indulge the shadow self. When it’s sated, it’s not all that difficult to downshift and be wholesome with the family. It helps that my wife is also a horror writer, so she gets it.

I’ve often wondered how horror/paranormal authors explain their dark subject matter to their children. How do or will you deal with potential questions as your son matures? Are your books fiction or could they contain an element of truth?

I don’t find it at all hard explaining my fiction to my son. I realized early on that my son is as strict a rationalist as I am. Our conversations invariably swing toward talk about planets, rockets, chemistry, why the moon looks orange when it’s near the horizon, how we make table salt, etc. His mind is a steel trap, and he doesn’t let me get away with a lot of tomfoolery, so I have to play it straight with him. Good news being that he doesn’t think much about the occult. He finds notions of ghosts and demons to be silly. Now, if I wrote a book about killer tornadoes, he might lose sleep over that!

Bearing that in mind, yes. My books are entirely fiction, at least from a rationalist point of view… which is the view I’ve endeavored to foster in my son.

What made a Louisiana boy relocate to Maryland? Do you like it? Hate it? What are some of the things you enjoy about both locations?

What made me move to Maryland? In a word: Katrina. My wife and I both grew up in Southern Louisiana, and were living in Metairie (a suburb of New Orleans) when Hurricane Katrina hit. We rode out the storm with my parents in Baton Rouge, but when it all blew over, the greatest damage wasn’t so much to our house as it was to the local economy. We couldn’t get work, and the bills were still piling up. A friend of ours was teaching at Georgetown, and he let us know that one of the local counties was offering rent and utilities relief to any evacuees who relocated to Maryland. I got a job interview before we even left Louisiana, was hired immediately… and we never really looked back.

We adore living in the Mid-Atlantic. Unlike the Deep South, we get four distinct seasons, we’re a couple hours’ drive from both the beach and snow skiing. We can hop a train to Boston or NYC or Philly. The culture here in Maryland is pragmatic yet incredibly warm. Plus, Baltimore has a lot in common with New Orleans. They’re both major port cities with an Old World oeuvre and a peculiarly specific seafood culture. I just traded the Blues in for Hard Rock.

I have a doormat that states “A Wine Snob and A Normal Person Live Here” with the “O” in Normal containing a beer cap. It sounds as if you could be a “Beer Snob” as in connoisseur. How does one become a certified beer judge? Are there tests or training involved in getting a certification?

There is a volunteer organization called the Beer Judge Certification Program, which compiles periodic “standards” for world beer styles. They also conduct exhaustive tests to rate one’s knowledge of beer making and styles, and evaluation skills. This is all done in order to improve the public’s understanding of beer, and to assist homebrewers in improving the craft. There are several books available towards understanding the whole scene, and an amateur can get started by checking out http://www.bjcp.org. Ultimately, though, the best education comes from years of homebrewing and tasting beers from around the world first-hand. I benefitted from a “judge club”, a group of fellows who went in together to buy several beers of a single style each month, and over the course of a couple years we basically ran the gamut. Much easier on the liver to taste 2 oz of seventy styles of beer than 12 oz!

You’ve written two novels in the Dark Choir series, The Curse Merchant and The Curse Servant, as well as a short prequel. Are more books planned for the series?  What are you working on now?

I plan to write six total books in the Dark Choir series. The first two were sold at the same time to my publisher, Curiosity Quills. In the interim between the releases of the first two books, I’ve written a stand-alone horror/western which is almost ready for submittal. As I put the final spit-shine on that manuscript, I’ve already begun drafting the third book in the Dark Choir series, The Curse Mandate.

Your main character is Dorian Lake. If your books were adopted for film, who would you want to play Dorian and why?

I think that Sam Witwer would slam-dunk the role, personally. You’ll recognize him from the role of Aidan in the US version of Being Human. I think he could pull off smarmy and self-effacing at the same time, while preserving the sense of doom that Dorian lives under continually.

The Curse Servant

The Dark Choir

Book 2

J.P. Sloan

Genre: Urban FantasyCurseCover

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Publication:  February 26, 2015

ISBN (eBook): 9781620078228

ISBN (Paperback): 9781620078235

ISBN (Hardcover): 9781620078242

ISBN (Smashwords): 9781620078259

ASIN:  B00QEQN1XC

Number of pages:  346

Word Count:  99,400

Cover Artist:  Conzpiracy Digital Arts

Book Description: 

The one person standing between Hell… and an innocent girl… is a man without a soul.

A regular life isn’t in the cards for Dorian Lake, but with his charm-crafting business invigorated, and the prospect of a serious relationship within his grasp, life is closer to normal than Dorian could ever expect. In the heat of the Baltimore mayoral campaign, Dorian has managed to balance his arrangements with Deputy Mayor Julian Bright with his search to find his lost soul. Dorian soon learns of a Netherworker, the head of a dangerous West Coast cabal, who might be able to find and return his soul. The price? Just one curse.

Sounds easy… but nothing ever is for Dorian. A dark presence arrives in the city, hell-bent on finding Dorian’s soul first. Innocents are caught in the crossfire, and Dorian finds it harder to keep his commitments to Bright. When the fight gets personal, and the entity hits too close to home, Dorian must rely on those he trusts the least to save the ones he loves. As he tests the limits of his hermetic skills to defeat this new enemy, will Dorian lose his one chance to avoid damnation?

Available at Amazon

Excerpt:

I knew this wasn’t going to be the typical meeting with Julian Bright when, instead of the usual political organ-grinders at the campaign headquarters, I found a soccer mom duct taped to a chair, foaming at the mouth. Her grunting and growling echoed off the bare sheetrock walls of Julian’s office, vacant except for the three of us.

I peeked through the blinds covering the locked storefront to make sure none of volunteers were back from the morning rounds. Satisfied we were alone, I turned to Julian.

He waved his arm at the woman in a lazy circle. “So, this is why I called.”

“Who is she?”

“Her name is Amy Mancuso. You know her?”

I shook my head.

“She’s a volunteer. Her team was working Cold Spring by Loyola when she started swearing and spitting at the residents. By the time her team captain called me, she’d kicked someone’s dog. Terrier, I think. Or one of those purse dogs.”

I winced. “Remind me not to hand out yard signs for you. Jesus.”

“It’s not like we do background checks on volunteers. I figured she probably missed some meds or something.”

“But you called me instead of the paramedics.”

“Right.”

“Why?” I asked as I took a step toward her.

Amy’s grunting halted as she straightened in her chair. Her head swiveled slowly in my direction, and her eyes sent the creeping chills up my neck.

With a nerve-rattling tone she growled, “Is that Dorian Lake I smell?”

I’d never enjoyed the sound of my own name less.

Julian turned a shoulder to me and whispered, “That’s why.”

“Gotcha.”

I slowly approached Amy, pulling my pendulum from my jacket pocket in a slow, non-threatening motion. Last thing I needed at that moment was to send a crazy person into a panic. I assumed she was crazy. My pendulum would determine whether she was unnaturally energized or the usual cat-shaving flavor of lunatic.

Her eyes were dilated; her mouth twisted into the most unsettling smile one could imagine on the face of an otherwise average woman.

“Have we met?”

“Poor little Dorian lost his soul.”

Okay, this was probably a legitimate problem.

I dangled the pendulum in front of Amy. The little nugget of copper spun from the end of its chain in a perfectly Newtonian fashion. Nothing pulled it contrary to the laws of Nature. I couldn’t even feel a tug on the chain.

She continued, “Lost his soul, he lost his soul. Dropped it down a rabbit hole.”

“I suppose you think you’re being clever?”

“Is he doomed or is he dead? Will he damn your soul instead?”

This conversation had lost all of its charm.

“Who am I talking to?”

She sucked in a huge gulp of air and craned her neck at a painful angle toward the ceiling. A sick squealing noise leaked from her lips as her arms trembled. When she finally released her breath and sank back down into her chair, she simply chuckled.

“We’re going to find it, you know. And when we do, we’re going to eat it.”

I leaned in as close as I dared and whispered, “If you think I’m afraid of you, then you need to know something. I’m not impressed.”

“It won’t be long now.”

“Did someone send you, or is this just a courtesy call?”

She smirked. “We’re going to enjoy this.”

I was knitting together a clever response when a loud rip of tape crackled through the room. Her hand slammed up underneath my jaw, fingers clamping around my throat. My head filled with blood, and I tried to cough through the gag reflex. The harder I beat on her hand to let go, the wider

JPSloanAbout the Author:

J.P. Sloan is a speculative fiction author … primarily of urban fantasy, horror and several shades between. His writing explores the strangeness in that which is familiar, at times stretching the limits of the human experience, or only hinting at the monsters lurking under your bed.

A Louisiana native, Sloan relocated to the vineyards and cow pastures of Central Maryland after Hurricane Katrina, where he lives with his wife and son. During the day he commutes to the city of Baltimore, a setting which inspires much of his writing.

In his spare time, Sloan enjoys wine-making and homebrewing, and is a certified beer judge.

Web page: www.jp-sloan.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JPSloanAuthor

Twitter: @J_P_Sloan

Tumblr: http://jpsloan.tumblr.com/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6569197.J_P_Sloan

 

 

Troubled Spirits by Teri Lee – A Creepy Good Read

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5 ebooks copies Troubled Spirits

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REVIEW:

I don’t typically read YA books although I may change that behavior after sinking my chomps into Troubled Spirits by Teri Lee. I enjoy ghost stories and decided to past the YA genre, hoping the writing would not be too juvenile. It wasn’t. Ms. Lee serves up a fun, “spirited” tale for readers of any age. (Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun.)

The story centers around Annie, a young girl forced to change schools and move to a new city after her father dies. She doesn’t really believe in ghosts until she meets Harmony, an amateur paranormal investigator. When they venture to an old abandoned school, a dark entity attaches itself to Annie and soon makes its evil intentions known.

Of course, there’s a sweet romance and sub-plot involving a boy named Drew, and a few guilty feelings that Annie must resolve along the way.

All in all, this was a creepy good ghost story once it picked up the pace. The author offers solid writing, well developed characters and some snappy dialogue, as well as adding a bit of mystery for the reader to unravel.  Which leads me to ask . . . “What’s next, Teri Lee?”

Troubled Spirits

Teri Lee

Genre: YA Paranormal

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Date of Publication: August 21, 2014

ISBN: 1612964028

ASIN: B00NJ523TE

Number of pages: 220

Word Count: 64,000

Book Description:

Annie Waters hates birthdays. At least she hates her birthdays. Because every year her mother told the story of her grandmother’s ghostly appearance in the delivery room. But the worst birthday was her sixteenth–the day she killed her dad.

Forced to move to Shady Cove, Maine, Annie is drawn deep into the world of the supernatural by her new friend, Harmony. Now, tormented by an angry spirit, Annie has only nine days to unravel the secrets of the Caldwell School or join the spirit world herself

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/2fr-K7A9Bog

Available at  Amazon    AmazonUK    BN   Smashwords 

Google Play    Kobo

Excerpt:TroubledSpirits  cover - Copy

Annie ran her finger along the edges of the worn brown cover. It was divided into four sections. In the top left corner were lines swirled together. Annie brushed her fingers across the raised lines. “Wind,” she whispered. Then, she slid her fingers over to the next corner, touching the raised flames, and whispered, “Fire.” She continued, moving her hand to the bottom right corner, resting her fingers briefly next symbol. “Earth.” And finally, she moved to the final corner. “Water.”

The pages beneath the cover began to glow and Annie pulled her hand away. When the glow faded, she once again reached for the book. Her hand trembled as she opened it. The handwriting on the yellowed pages was clean and crisp as if it had been penned that very day. She read it out loud. “Book of Spells.”

“Wow,” Drew said. “How did you do that?”

“I don’t know.” Annie looked up at the picture of Melinda. The sadness was gone from her eyes and, for a second, Annie was certain the beautiful witch nodded at her. She looked over at Drew.

“Did you see that?” Drew asked.

Annie nodded and turned the page. To preserve fruit was written at the top, followed by a list: cattail root, rosemary and salt, and then written below it were five lines:

Fruit from the earth

Warmed by the sun,

Fed by the rain

Keep your flesh whole

For the lips of the man

The next page was titled To repel biting insects, followed once again by a list and lines. Annie shivered when she saw the next spell – to punish one’s enemies. She quickly turned to the next page. Suddenly the pages of the book began to flip on their own power. When the pages finally stopped, and she read the words: To banish an evil spirit. She sank into the chair and buried her face in her hands.

Drew dropped down on one knee and rested his hand on the edge of her chair. “What’s the matter, Annie?”

Annie drew a shaky breath and let the events of the past days tumble out. She told him everything. And not just the ghost stuff. She told him about Harmony and Logan, and Mike and Callie, and feeling like a fifth wheel. She watched his face as she spoke, waiting for him to laugh. But he just listened, never taking his eyes off her, and with the exception of the occasional nod of understanding, he didn’t move. She had his undivided attention.

When she finished, she took a shaky breath and wiped away the single tear that trailed down her cheek. “You probably think I’m crazy, don’t you?”

“I think you’ve upset a dangerous spirit.”

Annie breathed a sigh of relief. Drew believed her.

“It’s no accident that Melinda opened the book to this page,” Drew said. “We need to copy this spell down.”

“I didn’t bring anything to write with,” Annie said. Before she’d finished speaking, a piece of parchment, a quill pen and a bottle of ink appeared on the table. Annie jumped out of her chair and backed away from thetable until she reached the wall at the other side of the room. “Where did that come from?” she cried.

Drew took a few steps toward her with his hand held out. “It’s Melinda. She’s just trying to help you.”

Annie looked from Drew to the portrait. “But—but—the paper—the pen–they just appeared—out of nowhere!”

Drew stayed where he was, still reaching out to her. “You don’t have to write the spell down, Annie. Not if you don’t want. We can just leave right now.”

Annie shook her head. “No.” She took a deep breath and stepped forward. “I need to do this.” Her legs shook as she returned to the chair and tentatively reached for the pen. It was smooth and solid. She dipped it into the ink and brought it to the parchment, leaving a trail of black drops on the paper as she silently copied the spell from the book. She didn’t dare read the words aloud.

Annie glanced out the window. The sun was sinking below the tops of the trees. Long shadows reached across the clearing.

Drew followed her gaze, then checked the ink to be sure it was dry. He folded the parchment and tucked it into the pocket of his jeans. “It’s going to be dark soon,” he said and headed toward the door.

As Annie followed him across the room, the leaves that had scattered across the floor earlier suddenly swirled up into a miniature wind funnel and moved past her and out the door, leaving the floor once again clean and neat. At the doorway she turned back to the portrait. “Thank you, Melinda,” she whispered. Then she shut the door and walked with Drew along the stone path.

When they reached the little gate, Drew pushed it open and stepped aside. Even after she passed through, he stood there still holding the gate open, looking down at her. “I’m glad we did this today,” he said.

Annie glanced down at her feet, then back up at him. “Me, too.”

He closed the gate behind them. “I’d like to help you with this ghost business.” He stepped closer to her. “If you’ll let me.”

Annie barely managed to nod. The world spun around her, then faded away as she lost herself in his deep brown eyes. And in that moment, all that mattered to her was Drew. She lifted her face to him as he leaned closer, his eyes locked with hers. But instead of kissing her, he brushed the back of his hand against her face and whispered, “Promise you won’t do anything without me.”

Annie’s skin tingled beneath his fingers. “I promise,” she said.

And then the spell was broken as Drew stepped away. “Well, we better getting going,” he said and started across the field.

author photoAbout the Author:

Teri Lee is the author of Troubled Spirits, a YA paranormal novel. Growing up in Maine, Teri spent hours exploring in the woods with her friends dreaming up places like ‘Land of the Lost’, ‘Trouble Hill’, and ‘Paradise’. If she wasn’t in the woods, you’d find her lost in a book. And today not much has changed. She’s still dreaming up imaginary places, getting lost in a book, and sometimes lost in the woods. When she’s not writing you’ll find her saving lives and rescuing splinters in the ER.

Blog:  www.Terileeliving.com

Amazon:  www.amazon.com/author/terilee

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/author.TeriLee

Website: http://www.teri-lee-author.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23116240-troubled-spirits

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TeriLee_author

Want An OMG Moment? Read “The Frailty of Things” by Tamsen Schultz

REVIEW:

I love good Romantic Suspense so discovering a new author AND series is like experiencing Christmas morning all over again! THE FRAILTY OF THINGS is Book 4 in the Windsor Series by Tamsen Schultz. I’ll be honest – until recently I’d not read anything by this remarkable writer but I certainly plan on amending this oversight .

THE FRAILTY OF THINGS is an intriguing story but more than romance and more than suspense. It’s a riveting tale riddled with mystery and intrigue, spiced with witty dialogue and boasting an incredible cast of supporting characters. The main characters ain’t so bad, either. Kit Forrester is an internationally acclaimed author who has some trust issues and a few dark secrets in her past. When Kit unintentionally falls on the bad side of some war criminals, her brother’s partner, Garret Cantona, steps in to offer protection and ends up losing a bit of his heart in the process.

Sounds like a typical formula for romantic suspense . . . but it’s not. THE FRAILTY OF THINGS is a notch above  genre offerings with well developed strong characters, a superb plot and intelligent action. I was concerned about starting the series with Book 4 and not knowing the back story but Ms. Schultz aptly layers in just enough past history to bring new readers up to par without bogging down the action packed thriller. That being said, I’m still eager to catch up with the rest of A Windsor Series. If the first three books are as good as this one, and I’m told they are, I will be a lifetime fan of Tamsen Schultz.

This is easily a novel I can recommend to readers of mystery, suspense or action thrillers. You won’t be disappointed.

frailty banner

The Frailty of Things

By Tamsen Schultz

Genre: Romantic Suspense

296 pages

 Amazon   Barnes&Noble

Book Blurb:TFOT Final Cover

Independence. Kit Forrester is a woman who wears her independence like armor. Despite keeping secrets and hiding her past, she’s built a life she loves and is accountable to no one. Until, that is, one of the world’s most wanted war criminals sets his sights on her and she must weigh the risk to one against the chance of justice and closure for many—a decision Kit couldn’t make on her own even if she wanted to.

Certainty. As a man who makes his living in the shadows of governments and wars, certainty isn’t a part of Garret Cantona’s vocabulary, and he’s just fine with that. But when Kit walks into his life, he realizes he’s never before been so sure about anything or anyone. Suddenly, he finds he’s looking at the world, his world, in a different light. And now that he is, he’s determined to protect it, and her, in whatever ways he can.

Frailty. No one knows better than Kit and Garret that an appreciation for what is, or what was, or what might be, can be born from the uncertainty and fragility of life. But when a hunt for a killer leaves Garret no choice but to throw Kit back into her broken and damaged past, even his unshakable faith in what they have together might not be enough to keep it from shattering into a million pieces.

About the Author:

cover picTamsen Schultz is the author of several romantic suspense novels and American Kin (a short story published in Line Zero Magazine). In addition to being a writer, she has a background in the field of international conflict resolution, has co-founded a non-profit, and currently works in corporate America. Like most lawyers, she spends a disproportionate amount of time thinking (and writing) about what it might be like to do something else. She lives in Northern California in a house full of males including her husband, two sons, four cats, a dog, and a gender-neutral, but well-stocked, wine rack.

RELEASE DAY: A Stolen Season by Tamara Gill

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A Stolen Season

Tamara Gill

Genre: Regency Time Travel Romance

Publisher: Entangled, Select Historical

Date of Publication: 23 February 2015

ASIN: B00T3496CW

Number of pages: 172

Word Count: 55k

CoverBook Description:

Archaeologist Sarah Baxter just broke one of the biggest rules of time travel: leaving a piece of 21st-century equipment in 19th century Regency England. Unfortunately, when she goes back to retrieve it, she makes an even bigger mess of things—resulting in the death of an English Earl. Now his brother is not only out for revenge, but he also has Sarah’s device. Which means an entirely different approach is needed.

It doesn’t occur to the new Earl of Earnston that his charming acquaintance is responsible for his brother’s death. He is merely swept away by a passion that threatens his very reputation. Yet he gets the distinct impression that Miss Baxter is hiding something from him. Now Sarah must find a way to steal back her device, hide the truth about the earl’s brother and—most importantly— not fall in love…

Available at

Amazon US    Amazon UK  

BN     Kobo    iBooks

Excerpt:

“You will have to sleep with him.” Richard threw his cheroot into the unlit hearth. “I thought you planned on doing that anyway. You like him, and he obviously likes you, so what’s the problem? It’s not like you’re a virgin.”

Sarah shushed him and sat down on the opposite chair. “That’s not the point. I can’t just jump his bones; women of this era don’t work that way. He has to court me, woo me.” She sighed at Richard’s disgusted expression. “I know it sounds lame, but it’s actually quite nice to have a gentleman sweep you off your feet.”

About the Author:

Tamara is an Australian author who grew up in an old mining town in country South Australia, where her love of history was founded. So much so, she made her darling husband travel to the UK for their honeymoon, where she dragged him from one historical monument and castle to another. A mother of three, her two little gentleman’s in the making, a future Lady (she hopes) and a part-time job keep her busy in the real world, but whenever she gets a moment’s peace she loves to write romance novels in an array of genres, including regency, medieval and paranormal. Tamara loves hearing from readers and writers alike.

You can contact her through her website, and sign up to follow her blog or newsletter.TamaraGill

Author Website: http://www.tamaragillromanceauthor.com

Author Blog: http://tamaragill.blogspot.com.au/

Author Twitter: http://twitter.com/Tamara_Gill

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tamara.gill.author

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/TamaraGill

Newsletter: http://goo.gl/8KVrSj

 

 

A Book For Romance Addicts: Help Me Move On by Angie Hemmings

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Help Me Move On

The Southern Ties Series

Book 1 

Angie Hemmings 

Genre: Romance        

ISBN: 978-1502871800 

Number of pages: 248 

Word Count: 81079 

Book Description: HelpMecover

Ally Dunn is a small town girl with big dreams planning a wedding that would never happen. Ally’s life revolved around being Eric’s wife…until she watched his best friend Isaiah step off that plane, his arm in a sling and Eric’s casket behind him. Her grief consumed her, their last conversation not one filled with love but an argument over her favorite flower. He knew her favorite flower, he was just busy…fighting for his country. Isaiah made a promise to Eric, he would keep Ally safe even if that meant saving her from herself. Isaiah takes Ally away when her grief becomes too much but their return brings about something she never expected.

When Ally meets Colton Walker she knows her life will never be the same. She never planned to move on from Eric, the mere idea of moving on would send her into a panic. How do you move on from the man you loved, the man who shared your dreams, who made your heart feel whole? But Colton doesn’t push her, he doesn’t pressure her, he gives her everything she ever needed and he does it effortlessly.

Falling in love with Colton was like taking her next breath; she didn’t have to think about because it came naturally…only a cloud hangs over Ally. Isaiah trains her in Krav Maga, Eric trained her in gunfire. Colton sees all of this, asking the one question she can’t answer, why? Why would a woman who lives in such a small town need to know such aggressive self-defense? Isaiah vows to keep her safe, going so far as to track her every move…but why?

Surviving Eric’s death almost killed Ally, the hole in her heart never truly healed until Colton. Falling in love with Colton was easy, fighting for her life when everything she thought she knew was wrong…that was a completely different story.

Available at Amazon

About the Author:

Angie Hemmings is a self-proclaimed romance addict.  Her love for romance began at an early age but after years of reading romance novels she found herself wanting more which led to her first novel.  She’s originally from Mount Airy, a small town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and she loves the art behind creating a new story.  Getting lost in the romance, the struggle between her characters is what makes Angie Hemmings continue her work and writing is what she loves.

www.angiehemmings.com

@angiehemmings04

https://www.facebook.com/pages/angiehemmingscom

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7398893.Angie_Leonard_Hemmings

Read An Excerpt from Captives by Emily Murdoch – Medieval Romance

‘An enthralling saga.’ – Robert Foster, best-selling author of ‘The Lunar Code’

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Captives

Conquered Hearts – Book 3

Emily Murdoch

Genre: Historical Romance, Medieval.
Publisher: Endeavour Press
ASIN: B00R3DP1PQ
Number of pages: 222
Word Count: 74,414words

Book Description:

Normandy. 1067.

England has been brought to its knees by the invasion of William the Conqueror and his Norman troops.

Lady Catheryn, an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman, is taken against her will to Normandy after the invasion. She arrives, a prisoner, at the castle of Lord Geffrei, a ruthless invader who hopes to gain a ransom for her. Her husband Selwyn is dead, slain in the Conquest, and her daughter Annis has been left behind in England at the mercy of the invaders. Catheryn is treated like an animal, and left in a cell until she begins to despair.

When Queen Matilda, William the Conqueror’s wife, sees her plight, she takes pity on her. Catheryn is sent to the castle of the noble FitzOsberns – but will her new captivity be any better than the cruelty she faced at Geffrei’s hands? She finds her hostess cold and embittered, but when her husband William FitzOsbern returns from the Conquest, Catheryn’s heart is torn by unwanted emotions. She becomes entangled in the quarrels and heartbreaks of her jailers even as she tries to remember her place among them.

Is she falling in love with the man who helped to destroy her homeland? Can Catheryn betray her Anglo-Saxon roots, and her late husband? Or will she break free, and find her way back to Annis?

‘Captives’ is a moving historical story of love and loss, and the strength of one woman even in the most dangerous of times. It is the sequel to ‘Conquests’.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US

Excerpt:captives

PROLOGUE

The prisoner had not spoken for weeks.

None had expected it to last this long. The journey over the wide sea, back to Normandy, had been a troubled crossing. Of the five ships that had left England’s shore, only three had arrived safely, and even those had lost men to fear and sickness. Those that had not died or fled muttered underneath their breath.

The prisoner had not complained.

Dressed in clothes that had seen better days, the prisoner had been forced upon a horse, despite its protestations that it was not strong enough to ride. The cloak had become torn and stained over the fortnight-long ride to the castle of Geffrei, and the hood was pulled across the prisoner’s face, obscuring the night. Despite the cold, the prisoner was not offered a warmer cloak, or a kind word.

The prisoner had barely noticed.

As the sound of the horses’ hooves slowed, the prisoner looked up. Through bleary eyes, only a vague impression of the place at which the company had arrived could be seen, but it was imposing even in its vagueness. A stone building with several floors, and no light emitting from the few windows to pierce the darkness of the evening. No flags hung from the walls, and the door outside which they stood was bare, save for one small handle.

The prisoner closed both eyes.

“You awake?”

The prisoner was dragged down from the horse, and made to stand, although every bone cried out for rest. The brim of the hood fell down over its eyes. The murmur that the prisoner attempted made no sense.

“Walk, if you know what’s good for you!”

There were almost a dozen knights that had ridden with the prisoner, but one was more splendidly dressed than the others. His cloak was lined, offering warmth against the bitter autumnal breeze, and it was only he who had been fed thoroughly during the journey.

“My lord Geffrei!”

The man with the lined cloak turned to face one of his men. The others were lowering themselves from their horses, and pulling up their belts over their empty stomachs.

“Yes?” he replied bluntly.

“Food is required,” said the man, pointing at the prisoner. “If you do not want it to die.”

The prisoner fell.

“Up!” shouted Geffrei, pacing towards the prisoner lying on the ground. “You’ll walk, not crawl, into my home, you dirty animal!”

A hand reached up, cracked and sore, from the figure lying on the ground, but no hand went down to meet it. Eventually, the prisoner raised itself up from the ground, and hung its head.

“Now,” breathed Geffrei with malice in every tone, “on you go. You’re the guest of honour.”

Cruel laughs rang out as the prisoner stumbled forwards against the door, clutching at the handle. It turned. The prisoner leaned, exhausted, against the door.

The room that the prisoner fell into was the Great Hall. A small brazier glinted at the far side of the room, and a medley of dogs unravelled themselves to meet their guests. Feet sounded around the prisoner as the men strode in, desperate for warmth.

Geffrei threw himself by the fire into the only chair in the room. He turned his eyes to the prisoner, who had pulled itself up to stare into his face.

“Well,” he said with a smirk. “Here we are. We have finally arrived. What do you think of your new home?”

The prisoner stood up, and with a great effort, spat onto the rushes on the floor.

Geffrei shook his head with a smile on his face. “Now, that’s no way to treat your new home,” he chastised. “What do you have to say for yourself?”

The prisoner pulled back the hood from her face, and shook her long hair and veil out from under the mud-splattered cloak.

“Where is my daughter Annis?”

murdochAbout the Author:

Emily Murdoch is a medieval historian and writer. Throughout her career so far she has examined a codex and transcribed medieval sermons at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, designed part of an exhibition for the Yorkshire Museum, worked as a researcher for a BBC documentary presented by Ian Hislop, and worked at Polesden Lacey with the National Trust. She has a degree in History and English, and a Masters in Medieval Studies, both from the University of York.

Emily is currently working on a new six part book series, as well as writing freelance.

You can learn more at www.emilyekmurdoch.com

@emilyekmurdoch
www.facebook.com/theemilyekmurdoch
www.emilyekmurdoch.blogspot.co.uk

Sassy and Fun: It Don’t Mean A Thing by Kim Taylor Blakemore

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3 Kindle copies of  Bowery Girl 

3 ebook copies It Dont Mean a Thing

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It Don’t Mean a Thing

Kim Taylor Blakemore

Genre: Romance, Historical

Publisher: SilkWords

Date of Publication: August 4, 2014

ASIN: B00MG4C1E6

Word Count:  20,535 pick-your-path story

Book Description: 

Ruby dreams of Hollywood. A chance encounter with The Harmoneers, an all-female jazz group, offers the opportunity of a lifetime. Follow the gang as they scheme and double-cross.

And love?

Well, it don’t mean a thing.

Excerpt:coverBlakemore

Sycamore Grove, California

1931

“I’m not marrying you, Audie McCardle. I most certainly am not.” Ruby Banks crossed her arms, pressed her lips tight, and gave a definitive shake of her head. She leaned toward the mirror over her hand-me-down vanity and stabbed a pin into her blonde curls. She twisted her head left and right, and fluffed the back of her hair. A strange tint of pink ran loose through the strands and waves. Maybe she should have been more careful with the mixture of peroxide and ammonia she’d used the previous night.

But between her mother running up the stairs and hugging her close, her father taking his pipe from his mouth long enough to yell that the hair potion was causing him an onset of lung disorder, and her little sister, Charlotte, jumping around and squawking nonsense about weddings weddings weddings, Ruby botched the dye job.

Never mind, she thought. If anyone asked, she’d say it was exactly the color she was hoping for.

Or she wouldn’t say anything at all. Jean Harlow wouldn’t say anything. Of that Ruby Banks was sure.

She snatched her apron from the end of her bed, bounded down the narrow stairs, and ignored her mother calling from the kitchen. Ruby pushed open the front gate and darted down the sidewalk. She was late (as usual) for her morning shift at the diner, and she still had to pick up the pies from Mrs. Jensen on the next block.

The early morning sun promised another day of horrible Central California heat. The sky would soon brown with the upturned soils of the fields, and the air already stank from the cows.

A beat-up Model T stake-bed truck rolled past Ruby. She heard the tires slow on the hard-packed soil of the street. Gears ground, and the truck reversed and pulled next to her.

John Mayer shifted his stub of a cigar to the other side of his mouth, tilted back his fedora, and smiled. His skin was bronze and wrinkled. He rubbed a weathered thumb across his chin. “Guess congratulations are in order.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Ruby lifted her head and continued walking. John Mayer kept the truck rolling slowly in reverse.

“Fine boy, Audie is.”

“So everyone says.”

“You make a sweet couple.”

“We’re not a couple.”

He scratched the shirt on his chest. “You don’t say.”

“He can buy any house he pleases in the Sears Roebuck catalog, but that doesn’t mean we’re a couple. And it certainly doesn’t mean I’m going to marry him.”

“You don’t say.”

“I do say. I have plans of my own.” She blew back a curl that had come loose. “Don’t you have some hogs to tie or something like that?”

“I don’t have hogs.”

“You know what I’m saying.”

He chewed his cigar then shifted the gears. The truck took a jump and shimmied. “You got a mean streak, Ruby. Yes, miss, you do.” With that, he was off down the road in a swirl of dirt.

Ruby wiped her mouth with her handkerchief. She patted her hair and strode up the wood steps to Mrs. Jensen’s porch. She knocked three times on the screen door frame and stepped back. Mrs. Jensen shuffled to the door, balancing five boxes of peach pies.

Only the top of half of her face was visible above the stack. She passed the boxes to Ruby and wiped her hands on a flour-coated apron. “I hear congratulations are in order.”

“Aw, nuts.”

Ruby’s heels cracked against the pavement. She passed the Esso station and VFW Hall and drew near the two blocks that made up Sycamore Grove’s downtown. The neon spire of the Odeon dwarfed the squat brick of its neighbors. She glared up, worried that this upcoming non-wedding would be splattered in black and white across the marquee. Luckily not. It remained safely Gable and Harlow in Red Dust.

Maud Riley stood under the awning of Rexall Drugs, waiting, as she always did, for Ruby. Her gray felt cloche sat low on her head, the nutmeg tufts of her bob feathered under the soft rim. She shifted from foot to foot, tapping her fingers against her black-and mustard-checked skirt. As Ruby neared, Maud narrowed her eyes and blinked fast before shaking her head. She pursed her lips and twisted them into a strained smile.

“What’s wrong with you?” Ruby asked.

Maud’s eyebrows met in a frown. “Nothing. Not a thing.” She waved her hand for no reason that Ruby could ascertain and fell in step beside her. “I guess I have to wish —”

“Don’t you start.” She shifted the pies to her hip. “I can tolerate all the little gifts he gives me. I mean, a girl does need emery boards and cologne. But buying a house? That’s called unbounded impudence.”

“I think it was just a down payment.”

“It’s still a lot of cheek. What does he think? I’m going to roll over like a, like a starving dog and do whatever he commands?” Ruby stopped in front of the diner, set the boxes on the cement and faced Maud. “He hasn’t even asked me to marry him. And you know what? When he does, I’m going to laugh like this — HA-ha. Because I’ve got all that money Aunt Caroline left me, and come September, I’m going to take the bus to Merced and then the train to Hollywood. And in neither of those vehicles can you fit a Sears and Roebuck house and an ego the size of Audie McCardle’s. And when he comes in for breakfast, I’m going to tell him so.”

Maud crossed her arms over her thin frame and swayed back and forth.

“You got something to say, just say it.”

Maud bit her lip and shrugged.

“What does that mean?”

“It means nothing.” Maud swung her gaze around the street and up at the Odeon spire and then stared over her shoulder at the empty diner. “You like my skirt?”

“What?”

“I wore it just for you. So you could see how the pattern came out. And such.” She gave that funny wave again, as if she were swatting a big bug. “Never mind. I’ve got an early piano lesson to give.”

“Well, don’t let me keep you.” Ruby bent to pick up the pies. “Would you mind opening the door for me? I mean, if you have time.”

“I always have time for you.”

“Are you all right?”

“Of course I’m all right. Why?”

“You’re red as a beet.”

Maud put the flats of her palms against her cheeks, turned on her heel, and rushed away, the bell of her skirt flapping against her knees.

“But the door, Maud … ”

blakemoreAbout the Author:

Kim Taylor Blakemore writes historical fiction and romance that explores women’s lives and brings their struggles and triumphs out of the shadows of history and onto the canvas of our American past. She wishes to share the stories of women whose lives are untold, who don’t exist in textbooks: the disenfranchised, the forgotten, those with double lives and huge hearts filled with weakness and courage.

Her novel Bowery Girl, set in 1883 Lower Eastside Manhattan was recently re-released in Kindle and paperback. Under the Pale Moon, is due for release in Fall 2015. Set in post-World War II Monterey, California, it explores the relationship of a married woman breaking the bonds of conformity, and a combat nurse haunted by the ghosts of war.

Her interactive historical romances The Very Thought of You and It Don’t Mean a Thing, are out now on Kindle and SilkWords.com. She is also the author of the novel  Cissy Funk, winner of the WILLA Literary Award for Best Young Adult Fiction.

She’s a member of the Historical Novel Society, Women Writing the West and Romance Writers of America. In addition to writing novels, she facilitates workshops for PDX Writers in Portland, Oregon.

Web: www.kimtaylorblakemore.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kimtaylorblakemore

Twitter: @kimrtaylor

Blue Words by M.C. Edwards – Dark Urban Fantasy

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2 Signed paperback copies, open to postage worldwide.

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Blue Words

MC Edwards

Genre: Contemporary/Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Warpath Print

Date of Publication: 30/11/14

ISBN: Paperback – 978-0994172303

ISBN: e-book – 9780994172310

ASIN: B00PWIW1ZC

Number of pages: 334

Word Count: 110,000

Cover Artist: Geoff Craig

bluewordscoverBook Description:

Common threads have always woven through the world’s mythology and folklore, strings which seem to link cultures divided by the vastness of oceans and time.

Have you ever wondered why? What if I told you that they all stem from a single origin…..the Varth-lokkr. Within this ancient creature’s blood, stirs the power to save or enslave the world as we know it, a power ignited by a simple word. But which does it truly desire?

This dark urban fantasy follows one of these creatures through its emergence into 21st century Australia. It chronicles the rise of those who oppose it, those who ally themselves with it and those who are unwillingly drawn into its wake.

Shed the blood. Speak the words. Change the world.

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/9Ez7jHeFp2U

Available for Purchase at Warpath Print

Amazon     Smashwords

Excerpt:

“Don’t move or we’ll fire,” ordered one of the guards, his voice shook and his trigger finger twitched. Gudrik glared at him and swiftly shot towards George, who was now leaning over the stainless steel top rail, still scouring for an escape which didn’t exist. The guards began to fire wildly at him. They may not have seemed overly competent, but they could shoot. Several projectiles tore through Gudrik’s flesh as he moved, spattering blue onto the grass. Startled by the gunshots, George spun just in time to see the scruffy relic hurtling towards her. A bullet buried into Gudrik’s knee. He stumbled. Before she had a chance to react, Gudrik crashed into George. His momentum forced her backwards, toppling them both indigently over the safety railing in a tangled mess of arms and legs.

The pair rocketed towards the ground. George screamed profanities so coarse that they blistered the very air around her. She scrambled and flailed as if trying to climb back up Gudrik’s body. He wrapped himself tightly around her. “Earvictius groot,” he bellowed.

His bullet wounds glowed, and the tender flesh surrounding them began to transform into cold, speckled granite. The stone rapidly spread along his limbs and across his abdomen, searing with pain as it went. He cringed and grated his teeth. As it spread across his chest and onto George she began to scream as though he were slashing chunks of flesh from her. Thankfully, the agony did not linger and in the blink of an eye, stone had completely swallowed both of them. No matter how hard she tried George could not move. It was both claustrophobic and frightening.

The living statues whistled closer and closer to the ground. Until……SMASH!  They crashed unhindered onto the roof of a parked car. Glass and shrapnel exploded from the vehicle as they tore through the chassis and into the road beneath.

Just as painfully as it had spread, the rock retreated returning the flesh to its vulnerable state, leaving it sensitive and speckled with sweat. Both lay for a moment of recovery. Their chests heaved deeply as they came to terms with what had just happened. Gudrik crawled out of the mangled wreck and climbed to his feet. “Are you harmed?” he grunted, lifting George to her feet.

She was pale and disheveled with blank shock clouding her eyes. Time was of the essence. Gudrik slapped her across the cheek. Fire filled her blank eyes. She swung a punch, which he avoided. He grabbed her shoulders and repeated his question, “Are you harmed?”

“I-I’m confused as hell,” she responded, panicked, but glad to be alive. “But fine. I think. Yes fine. Definitely ok,” she stammered nervously, quickly checking her body over for injuries and pulling her dress down to cover the lacy black panties on show to the world. Her hand quickly went to her locket, checking it was still there. “Was I made of stone then?” Gudrik ignored her question. His attention was otherwise occupied. By that stage, a huge crowd of onlookers and good Samaritans had gathered around their impact point.

“We must keep moving.”

He dragged his hand along a twisted shard of the car’s metal shell and spoke, “Unjallius.”

Gudrik groaned as huge, white wings tore from the flesh of his back in a puff of loose feathers and a splatter of blue. They stretched to a massive, elegant span and quivered in the sun. The suit jacket and shirt were left torn and tattered, spattered, stained and hanging in shreds from Gudrik’s muscled shoulders. The stunned onlookers stepped back in awe. He grasped the confused woman tightly and with a few powerful beats of his mighty wings launched the two of them into the sky.

George clung tightly as they whipped and glided through the city. They weaved between the highrise buildings, slowly gaining altitude and suddenly plunging toward the ground as Gudrik negotiated the unpredictable up-drafts above the busy city streets. George was not as terrified as her brain insisted she should be. She loved the speed, she loved the wind and she loved the gaping faces of the populous below. It all exhilarated her. Gudrik’s grasp was gentle and caring, but still so firm and reliable that there was no fear of falling.

Finally, Gudrik surged up and breached the top of the sky scrapers. The onlookers below were now nothing more than ants. George released her grip on Gudrik and shielded her eyes. The sun was much fiercer up there without the buildings’ protection. She swivelled and squirmed as she gathered bearings. “Land on those cliffs over there,” George said pointing at a small lookout point above the river.

Gudrik dived and swooped in, gently putting the two of them down on the grass in a rapid flutter of tiny wing beats. “Gratitude,” Gudrik grunted as the wings collapsed into a sprinkling of blood.

About the Author:6a9c6201Warpath

M.C. Edwards, or Eddie as he is known to his mates, grew up in a coastal town on the picturesque Central Queensland coast of Australia.  He has travelled to many corners of the world and has a love of all things bizarre.  He enjoys motorcycles, beards, comics, videogames and the taste of a fine single malt scotch.  In his writing he crafts immersive worlds which mix reality and fantasy to create a strangely believable mix.

Facebook – www.facebook.com/mcedwardsworld

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/MCEdwards

Twitter – https://twitter.com/_Matt_Edwards_

Wattpad – http://www.wattpad.com/user/MCEdwards

Instagram – http://instagram.com/bluebloodedwarlock

Website – www.warpathprint.com