Category Archives: Fantasy

Scent of the Soul – A Riveting Must Read by Julie Doherty

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Scent of the Soul

Julie Doherty

Genre: Historical Romance

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Date of Publication:  February 11, 2015

ISBN:  978-1-61935-705-1

ASIN: B00SZ0SKUE

Number of pages: 288

Word Count:  91,000

Cover Artist: Leah Suttle

Book Description:

In twelfth century Scotland, it took a half-Gael with a Viking name to restore the clans to their rightful lands. Once an exile, Somerled the Mighty now dominates the west. He’s making alliances, expanding his territory, and proposing marriage to the Manx princess.

It’s a bad time to fall for Breagha, a torc-wearing slave with a supernatural sense of smell.

Somerled resists the intense attraction to a woman who offers no political gain, and he won’t have a mistress making demands on him while he’s negotiating a marriage his people need. Besides, Breagha belongs to a rival king, one whose fresh alliance Somerled can’t afford to lose.

It’s when Breagha vanishes that Somerled realizes just how much he needs her. He abandons his marriage plans to search for her, unprepared for the evil lurking in the shadowy recesses of Ireland—a lustful demon who will stop at nothing to keep Breagha for himself.

Book Trailer:  https://youtu.be/dBuB3WC3FGU 

Available at   Amazon    Amazon UK    Amazon Canada

REVIEW:Scentcover

I’m going to get right to the point. READ SCENT OF THE SOUL.

I can’t imagine anyone not liking this book. Ms. Doherty displays incredible talent for building a living, breathing world that seduces your senses and tantalizes your mind with rich imagery. Rather than bore the reader with paragraphs of descriptive prose, she subtly layers elements into each scene, making them an intricate part of the story.

SCENT OF THE SOUL highlights a real life Scottish warlord, Somerled, and his fictional romance with a slave girl, Breagha, blending historical fiction and romance, tempered with a bit of mysticism. This is romance with teeth – a gripping, well written tale set in 12th century Scotland. The author has obviously done a lot research which is evident in the authentic details of the period.

Somerled and the cast of characters are portrayed with depth and flaws, exactly what one would expect in a top-notch novel. Everything has a purpose in this book, right down the tiniest detail which adds new meaning to the term “tightly woven”.

I’m truly impressed with Julie Doherty’s style and ability to pen a riveting story. This is easily a five star book.

Excerpt:

As Godred’s oarsmen shoved off from the jetty, Somerled wondered if there was any man less suitable to deliver a marriage proposal. Godred of Dublin was coarse, marginally Christian—indeed, marginally sane—and easily riled. Nevertheless, King Olaf liked him, and for that reason alone, Somerled had selected him as his envoy.

“No side trips,” Somerled shouted before Godred was too far away to hear. “Ye have three places to go and that’s it: the Isle of Man, your clan, and back here.” Godred was prone to unscheduled detours.

Unless bad weather or the scent of easy plunder pulled Godred and his thirty oarsmen off course, Somerled would have Olaf’s answer in a few days. If Olaf agreed to the marriage, Somerled would add a wife to the items decorating his new castle at Finlaggan and eventually, the Isle of Man to his expanding area of influence.

The nobles would respect him then. Half-breed or not.

Behind him, a door squealed on one of the two guardhouses standing sentinel over the Sound of Islay. The small building spat out Hakon, his chief guard, another man of Dublin birth and temperament. Hakon strode the length of the jetty to join him. “I have every confidence the Norns will weave Godred a successful journey, my lord king,” he said, his words puffing white clouds above his tawny sheepskin cape.

“If your goddesses have woven anything, it’s an unfortunate headwind,” Somerled said. “Godred is forced to tack.” He closed his cloak and secured it at his throat with a brooch he once plucked from a Viking who no longer needed it. “The wind promises hail. My proposal will be delayed.”

“Aye, likely,” Hakon said, his hair and beard whipping into copper clouds, “but it will hasten Olaf’s reply. Do not despair, my lord. Ragnhilde will marry ye soon enough.”

Despair? Somerled stifled a laugh. Did Hakon think he had feelings for a lassie he had never met? He was about to tease his guard about being a romantic when Hakon stiffened.

“Another ship,” Hakon said, looking past Somerled’s shoulder.

Somerled spun around to inspect the northwestern waters of the channel separating Jura and Islay—the jewel of the Hebrides and the island that served as the seat of his burgeoning kingdom. “Where?” he asked, squinting.

Hakon thrust a finger toward the fog bank blanketing the horizon. “There, at the promontory, in that pale blue strip of water. See it?”

At first, Somerled saw nothing but swooping terns and ranks of swells. Then, an unadorned sail appeared. It crested on a wave, dipped low, and vanished.

“Should I sound the horn?” Hakon asked.

Somerled raked his fingers through the coarse, wheaten mess slapping at his eyes and held it at his nape while he considered his response. Behind them, the signal tower on Ben Vicar was smoke-free. Across the sound, the towers on the frosty Paps of Jura were likewise unlit, although clouds partially obscured their peaks. The Paps had a commanding view. If a signal fire blazed anywhere, the men stationed there would have seen it and lit their own.

“My lord king, should I sound the horn?” Hakon impatiently palmed the battle horn dangling at his broad chest.

Men began to gather on the jetty.

“Let us wait. It is only one ship, and it looks to be a trader. The signal fires would blaze by now if it were someone worthy of our concern.” Somerled glanced back at the mud and thatch cottages shouldering against one another. At their doors, the bows of half his impressive fleet rested on the shoreline, a sandy slip extending well into the distance. The rest of his ships sheltered at the far side of Islay, in Loch Indaal. A signal fire would deploy them quickly and, perhaps, needlessly.

“Alert the village. Have Cormac ready Dragon’s Claw,” he said, “but send only the nyvaigs for now.” The nyvaigs were smaller, but no less deadly. They would be out and back quickly.

Hakon sprinted through the gathering crowd and past the guardhouses. He leapt over a pile of rocks with surprising agility for a man of his years and size. In no time, specialized warriors and oarsmen were boarding the boats. A pony thundered inland, its rider instructed to warn, not panic, the people of Finlaggan.

Though Somerled carried his mighty sword, he had dressed for warmth, not battle. His mail shirt, aketon, and helmet hung in his bedchamber, two miles away in Finlaggan. He singled out a boy in the crowd. “Lad, find me a helmet and a shield, and be quick about it.”

The boy shot like an arrow toward the cottages.

Somerled held his breath as he watched the nyvaigs head out. At the first flash of steel, he would blow the battle horn. His men would light the towers and he would board Dragon’s Claw. The foreigner would be sorry he entered the Sound of Islay.

The ship’s features were barely discernible, but he could see that its high prow lacked a figurehead. He was trying to identify the banner fluttering on its masthead when the ship’s sail dropped and scattered gulls like chaff in the wind. His heart hammered against his chest as he waited for the foreign vessel to sprout oars; it didn’t. It stalled—a sign its crew had dropped anchor.

Dragon’s Claw bobbed next to him at the jetty, her top rail lined with colorful shields and her benches holding sixty-four of his savage warriors. Cormac gripped the tiller, but he would move aside when Somerled barked the order to do so. He would serve as his own shipmaster in the face of an enemy.

Low and curvy with a dragon’s head exhaling oaken flames from her prow, Dragon’s Claw was his favorite vessel, not because she was new or particularly seaworthy, but because he had wrenched her from the last Viking to leave his father’s lands.

The memory of that battle warmed him and occupied his thoughts while the nyvaigs swarmed around the foreigner. Then, they swung about, furled their sails, and rowed for home like many-legged insects skittering on the water’s surface.

When the boats reached the beach, Hakon jumped from his nyvaig and jogged through ankle-deep water, apparently too impatient to wait for his men to haul the vessel’s keel onto the sand. “Well, my lord king,” he said, “it seems to be the day for marriage proposals. It is an envoy from Moray, who comes at the behest of Malcolm. He asks to speak with ye regarding Bethoc.”

“Malcolm MacHeth . . . the Malcolm MacHeth . . . wants my sister?”

He had met Malcolm MacHeth only once, at King David’s court, on a night spoiled by ill-bred lassies who had mocked his foreign garb and speech. Malcolm, a bastard nephew of the Scots king, had observed his humiliation and pretended not to notice.

Yet here was Malcolm of Moray, a claimant to the Scottish throne and a known rebel, seeking Bethoc’s hand in marriage. Tainted bloodline or not, Somerled was apparently worthy of notice now.

JulieDAbout the Author:

Something magical happened in the musty basement of Julie Doherty’s local courthouse. She went there intending to research her ancestry, not lose herself in a wealth of stories, but the ghosts of yesteryear drew her into the past and would not let her go. The trail left by her ancestors in those yellowing documents led her from rural Pennsylvania to the Celtic countries, where her love of all things Irish/Scottish blossomed into outright passion.

She became particularly interested in Somerled, self-styled “King of Argyll” and progenitor of the Lords of the Isles. In 1164, he led a fleet of 164 galleys up the River Clyde in an all-or-nothing attempt to overthrow the Scottish crown. What would lead a man of his advanced years to do such a thing?

Of course, history records he did so because the king demanded forfeiture of his lands. But the writer in Julie wondered …what if he did it for the love of a woman?

Those early ponderings led to SCENT OF THE SOUL, Julie’s first novel, coming soon from Soul Mate Publishing.

Readers will notice a common theme throughout Julie’s books: star-crossed lovers. This is something she knows a bit about, since during one of her trips to Ireland, she fell in love with an Irishman. The ensuing immigration battle took four long years to win. With only fleeting visits, Skype chats, and emails to sustain her love, Julie poured her heartache into her writing, where it nourished the emotional depth of her characters.

Julie is a member of Pennwriters, Romance Writers of America, Central PA Romance Writers, The Longship Company, Perry County Council of the Arts, and Clan Donald USA. When not writing, she enjoys antiquing, shooting longbow, traveling, and cooking over an open fire at her cabin. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, who sounds a lot like her characters.

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/532434.Julie_Doherty

http://twitter.com/SquareSails

http://www.facebook.com/juliedohertywrites

http://www.juliedoherty.com

Author Debra Dunbar on Chicago – & Preview of THREE WISHES

Three Wishes Button 300 x 225GUEST POST FROM AUTHOR DEBRA DUNBAR

I’ve got a confession to make.  I miss Chicago.  It’s one of the reasons I set my latest paranormal romance, Three Wishes, in the city.  I. Love. Chicago.

We moved around as I was growing up, all over Ohio and Indiana.  The one constant was our summers and holidays in Maryland with my Mother’s family (where I eventually put down roots), but I miss those years I spent just over the Illinois line in Northern Indiana.

Trips to “the city” were among some of my best childhood memories.  I’d stand under the skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex in the Field Museum of Natural History, awed by its size.  Chinatown. Lake Shore Drive. Tour boats down the Chicago River. Miró and Chagall sculptures accessible to any passerby. I remember the first time I saw The Blues Brothers and could easily identify every street, every landmark in the movie.

I don’t miss the weather – those brutal winters with icy winds tunneling through the streets, the humid summers.  Spring and Fall were given a brief nod as the city rocketed from one extreme to the other.

Every few years I go back.  My day job has a division north of O’Hare.  Sometimes I’ll take a few days off and take the train into the city.  It’s those trips – those and the conventions downtown – that helped me set the scene for Three Wishes.

Alliance Bakery.  Tiny Polish bars. Expensive boutique stores and trendy latest-thing restaurants. Navy pier and Millennium Park.  There is so much color and spice to Chicago – too much to put in one novel.

My angel, Asta, loves the city as much as I do.  She’d give her life to protect it, to protect the humans who live there.  But she doesn’t really know them.  She’s been a voyeur, watching from the sidelines but never experiencing firsthand the richness that is Chicago.  It takes a demon to wake her up to the joys of the city, as well as the joys of love.

Want to see Chicago through an angel’s eyes? Three Wishes will take you there!

About the Author:dunbar

After majoring in English with a concentration in Medieval Literature and Folklore studies, Debra promptly sold out to the corporate world, occasionally writing marketing copy and op/ed articles for a local city paper. By day, she designs compensation programs, after dark she stuffs her nose into obscure mythology, and feverishly writes her novels. A DEMON BOUND is her debut novel.

Debra lives on a farm in Maryland with Sweetie, three sons, and a Noah’s ark of four legged family members. She drives an old PT Cruiser, couldn’t carry a tune if you duct taped it to her back, and enjoys an occasional cosmopolitan (heavy on the vodka). On a good day, she jogs and horseback rides, hopefully managing to keep the horse between herself and the ground. Her only known super power is ‘Identify Roadkill’.

http://debradunbar.com

https://www.facebook.com/DebraDunbarauthor

https://twitter.com/debra_dunbar

https://www.goodreads.com/DebraDunbar

Three Wishes

Debra Dunbar

3wishesGenre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Anessa Books

Date of Publication: March 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1505671193

ASIN: B00RKE5608

Number of pages: 229

Word Count: 79,000

Cover Artist: Phatpuppy Art

Book Description:

Dar helped his foster sister become the ruler of Hel, and helped her free the enslaved humans from the elves. It’s about time he helped himself – to a fun week of mayhem in the Windy City. Collapsing a few buildings and corrupting politicians is an ideal vacation for a demon in Chicago, but Dar didn’t count on a beautiful angel sabotaging his fun and putting him to work.

Asta is an angelic enforcer, scanning for demons in her assigned territory and sending them to an early grave. Unfortunately, the latest trespasser from Hel has diplomatic immunity – but immunity doesn’t mean she can’t coerce him into helping her track and dispatch the powerful demon that’s been cycling in and out of her radar for the last few days.

Demons are the sworn enemies of every angel, but Asta must learn to trust Dar or the dark presence that is growing in Chicago will spread – and this particular enemy has the skills and knowledge to send human civilization back to the dark ages.

She has one week left as an enforcer before she returns to her heavenly home – one week to catch an elusive monster, and one week to safeguard her heart from the demon who is determined to seduce her to sin.

Available at Amazon     iTunes    BN

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Excerpt:

Stupid revolving doors.  What idiot thought these things were a good method of entering a building? She stood watching as the door made its circuitous route. Could she time it so she actually managed to get in between the sections?  The last time, she’d been knocked backwards onto the pavement.  That wouldn’t be a graceful entrance given her current dress and sky-high stilettos.

“Need help?”

She recognized his voice even before the faint energy trickled across her skin with its siren song.  How did he do that?  Thank Aaru all demons weren’t as stealthy as Dar, or her job would be nearly impossible. As she turned, she realized that with her heels, she towered over him.  In flats, she was the same height as the demon, but the shoes she loved so much put Dar’s chin right at her bosom — a fact he’d quickly realized and had taken advantage of.

“Want me to get the door for you?” he asked her breasts.

“Did you make reservations?  Otherwise we can skip the revolving door and just head over to Taco Bell.”

The demon chuckled and brushed a curl from her bare shoulder, his fingers lingering against her neck while his eyes explored the skin north of her cleavage.  “Of course I made reservations.  I didn’t want you to give me any excuse to not eat tonight.”

“I swore I’d play your game tonight as long as you help me catch the other demon. I’ll eat anything you put in front of me.”

Why did that cause the demon to nearly fall over laughing?  Did he have something in particular he wanted her to eat, the thought of which was giving him such amusement?

Oh.  Yeah, that probably wasn’t the best thing for her to say given his proclivity toward the sin of lust.

Wiping his eyes, still chuckling, Dar strode forward, stopping the revolving door to the angry protests of those trapped inside.  “Then let us dine, my angel.”

Asta took a deep breath and walked past him, putting her palms on the front of the glass as she’d seen the humans do.  Hopefully he wouldn’t bump her out as he had the other evening.  With these shoes on, she’d probably land face-first on the plush carpet.

“Ready?”

She should have known he’d squeeze into the tiny space behind her, pressing the full length of his form against her back and rear.  Asta tried to scoot forward, only to find herself sandwiched between the demon and the glass.  The humans yelled at them to move, but Dar held still, his body warm and powerful.

“Maybe we should just stay here a while.” His hips shifted and Asta felt something stir to life, hard and firm against her buttocks.

She’d told him no sex, but rubbing against her in the doorway wasn’t off limits.  And it was most definitely brought with it welcome sensations.  “We need to move,” Asta said with regret.  She tried to push the door forward, but Dar had it wedged in place.  The trapped humans began to pound on the glass.

“I love pissing them off,” he whispered against her hair.  “So much anger over such a minor inconvenience.  The gifts of Aaru seem to have turned them into a bunch of minor demons, don’t you agree?”

It did seem a fair comparison at the moment, but Asta hadn’t squandered her century here.  She’d seen sparks of divinity in the human race, and no demon was going to convince her otherwise.

She shifted to look at him over her shoulder, rubbing herself along his body in the process.  Oh stars, this felt good.  If only those darned humans weren’t causing such a racket. “You’re being inconsiderate.” Her voice was breathless. “They have a right to be angry. And they’re still very early in their evolution.  Give them another ten-thousand years or so, and I think you’ll find they’re more angelic.”

Ruth Fox’s Bridges Trilogy: Across The Bridge Of Ice, Book 2

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Tour Giveaway 

5 copies of the eBook, The City of Silver Light, Book 1 in The Bridges Trilogy

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EXCERPT:

The Worst Thing in the Word

There’s a doctor in Outpatients who looks like Count Dracula. Pale skin and black hair pulled back into a bun so tight she can’t even blink. I swear all she needs is a black cloak and a pair of bloodstained fangs.

‘You need to take things more slowly, Keira,’ she says to me every time I go in to see her. I think it’s a threat.

See, I’m not a good patient. I’m impatient. I find it hard to sit still, which is not good when you’ve got a broken ankle. Most of the time I’m doing stuff I’m not supposed to, like, you know, walking. And … well, falling down the front steps.

‘I am taking things slowly,’ I tell her.

I resist the urge to pick at the neatly folded sheet covering the bed underneath me. Being in this room, with all the neatly arranged equipment and dark furniture, always makes me feel antsy. It probably doesn’t help that I haven’t slept properly in ages. I keep having dreams about ice. It crackles all over the house, and into the trees, and across the grass and the streets before everything turns white. But as much as I hate seeing doctors, I definitely don’t want to be sent to a psychologist, so I’ll keep those dreams to myself.

Icecover‘I didn’t fall on purpose.’

Mum speaks up. ‘I keep telling her she needs to take it easy. But every time I turn my back, she’s out of bed making cereal or playing with the dog. And now this …’

I feel sorry for my mum. She works long hours running the Cassidy Heights Bakery, and has to be up at four o’clock most mornings. Not to mention the accounts, bills, sales targets, and production quotas she has to meet. Having me home from school has only given her more to worry about.

When a blizzard hit our little suburb of Cassidy Heights two weeks ago, I kind of got lost walking back from my friend Jake’s place. I tripped on a kerb and went for a slide on my butt. Yeah, it wasn’t exactly my shining moment. Volunteer rescue workers from the State Emergency Service found me eventually, but by the time they called my mum, she was already beyond panic.

The weather system that caused the freak snowstorm has broken up now – according to Chanel Seven News and Weather, that is. Of course, there still haven’t been any satisfactory explanations about what exactly caused it. I can just picture the meteorologists at the Weather Bureau scratching their heads. And me, I was kind of planning to get an A+ on my science project about predicting the effects of an arctic winter in a desert country, but I’ve kind of left my partner, Jake, in the lurch while I’m spending all this time recovering.

‘Well, we’ll see what these new x-rays show us.’ Doctor Dracula waves a sealed yellow envelope. ‘Then we’ll know whether you’ll be able to head back to school. Bet you’ll be excited to see your friends again.’ She rips open the envelope, tipping a couple of plastic sheets into her hands.

I give her a withering stare. Why do adults assume that school is some fun place where you get to hang out with your friends? It’s totally not like that. Teachers spend all their time getting you not to talk, not to sit next to your friends, and not to waste time socialising. I hate school. I hate the rules and regulations.

‘All I really want to do is get back to soccer practice.’

‘Hm,’ says Doctor Dracula. She sticks the x-ray pictures on a lighted board. It’s an ominous ‘hm’, a sound that means there’s something bad here.

I look at my bones. The inside of people’s bodies is pretty interesting. I mean, all those little bits and pieces that join together to make us work. It’s kind of fascinating what living beings are made up of.

‘What’s “hm”?’ I ask.

Mum leans forwards, her brow crinkling.

‘What we have here is a non-union,’ says Doctor Dracula. ‘The gap between the broken edges of the bone was a large one, and that fall you took probably pulled it further out of alignment. The bone isn’t healing the way it should.’

‘What does that mean?’ Mum sounds worried.

‘Well, we might be looking at an operation. We’d need to insert a bolt to keep the bone in place while it heals.’

‘That sounds drastic.’ Mum’s voice is shaking a little.

‘It’s a relatively simple procedure, and certainly not uncommon. But I won’t lie to you. There can be complications.’

‘Complications – like what?’ I ask.

‘Well, Keira, you may have some pain in that foot for the rest of your life. Also a certain weakness. The bones will never heal as strongly as they were before they were broken.’

‘But that won’t matter, right? I mean, it’s not like I won’t be able to walk or anything.’ My own voice is shaking a bit now.

‘Of course you’ll be able to walk. But you may find it difficult or painful to run. You might be restricted in more strenuous activities.’

Slowly, very slowly, it’s dawning on me. ‘What about soccer?’

She purses her lips. ‘We won’t rule anything out at this stage, of course. But I’d like to schedule the operation as soon as possible. Mrs Leichman, we’ll need you to fill out some forms …’

I don’t hear anything else. My mind is ringing with thoughts. What if, what if … what if I can never play soccer again?

‘I’ll see you on Thursday, Keira,’ says Doctor Dracula.

I nod, resigned, and grab my crutches to follow Mum out of the office.

Across the Bridge of Ice

The Bridges Trilogy

Book Two

Ruth Fox

Genre: Fantasy,  YA

Publisher: Hague Publishing

Date of Publication: 31 January 2015

ISBN: 9780987265296

ASIN: B00Q20I4YQ

Number of pages: 175 pages

Word Count: 55,00

Cover Artist: Ruth Fox

Book Description:

In ‘The City of Silver Light’, Keira Leichman spent the night lost in a wild snowstorm that struck Cassidy Heights. But what really happened that night? Not even Keira can be sure. What she does know is that she’s been having strange dreams since the accident, and now she’s stuck with a broken ankle and the possibility of never playing soccer again. That is, until she finds Jake’s telescope, and is drawn across the Bridge of Ice to Shar.

Now Keira is marooned in the City of Silver Light with Daniel, Jake’s younger brother, with no way to get home. But that is the least of their worries, for the secrets they discover in Shar are more dangerous than Kiera could ever have imagined. And the fate of both their worlds are in their hands.

Amazon      iTunes     Kobo

Nook    Google Play     HaguePublishing

About the Author:ruth

Ruth completed a Bachelor of Arts/Diploma of Arts in Professional Writing and Editing in 2006. Her other published works include “Monster-boy: The Lair of the Grelgoroth”, Book 1 of the Monster-boy Series, and “Sand Dog”, an illustrated picture book for younger readers. Both are available from Amazon.com.

Ruth has been an avid reader her entire life and, inspired by the books that engrossed her as she was growing up, she aims to create stories that can draw readers in and enthral them for days or weeks. She writes every day and lives in Ballarat, Victoria, with her partner, her cat, and an ever-expanding library of books.

Twitter: @_ruthfox_

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

Website: http://thewordsandpictures.com/

 

POURAKA – An Underwater Romance by Dianne Lynn Gardner

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Fantastic Giveaway! Scroll to the end for details!!!

Pouraka

Book One

Dianne Lynn Gardner

Genre: Fantasy romance

Publisher: Dianne Lynn Gardner

ASIN: B00T0PED40

Number of pages: 242

Word Count: 75369

Cover Artist: Dianne Lynn Gardner

Pourakasea

Book Description:

Pouraka is a magical sea cavern tucked under the rocky cliffs near Barnacle Bay. Cora, a Pouraka mer, is torn between her friends in the seaside town, and her true love Tas, a foreign mer whose people fled when men invaded their waters.

Life becomes difficult for all mers when an arrogant oil rigger’s son, Tom, finds the bay and the rich aquatic life it harbors. When Tas attempts to rescue a pod of dolphins from Tom’s gill net, he is captured and taken away as a prize to be sold to a theme park. When Cora hears of his capture she changes into human form and travels south to find him, risking her life to free him.

Time away from Pouraka leaves the cavern vulnerable, and a new threat arises when tourists discover its magic.

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/EkSwqips0D0

Available at Amazon

pcoverExcerpt:

The sand was cool, the shells sharp and prickly, making her toes itch. She strolled to the wet sand where the foam still bubbled into clam holes and the remnants of waves frothed over her feet. Seagulls clustered, pecking at shellfish and welcoming the end of day. Farther out the ocean throbbed, constant and carefree. Ever faithful, the sea rocked back and forth over the earth as it harbored its creatures, protecting them from the sun’s vicious heat, feeding them, nourishing them and cradling them. Cora should be in its belly, accepting its nurturing. She was the oceans’ charge and yet here she was, walking the land as though she were human. She’d been denying her heritage all this time.

A surge of shame swept over her. Why did she even want to be human? Merpeople were so much kinder to each other, and to the animals they lived among. Why did she ever doubt that she should live as a mermaid?

Cora took the basket off of her back and unfastened the lid. The water inside was so clear she could see the interior weave of kelp even in the fading sunlight. Scooting closer to the surf so that the waves rolled over her, she held the basket above her head.

Pouraka’s water dripped over her hair, onto her shoulders and her face. She lifted her chin and let it run down her neck, her chest, her belly. Cora poured the water over her hips, her legs, and her toes as the sea rumbled and came to her, a white roll of salt water rushing to immerse her. Cora leaned back and let the ocean swallow her human body. The sea wanted her home, grabbing her form and pulling her far away from shore. She tumbled in the breakers until she was saturated and far from land. Cora came to the surface and viewed the vanishing shoreline one last time. Sunset shined its face on her scales as golden fragments of evening glitter. She hadn’t felt so alive in a long time. She felt good, and somehow she would bring this freedom to Tas. She had to.

About the Author:pouraka

Dianne is an author and illustrator of YA adventure fantasy with a dab of historical content thrown in. Building worlds that might resemble the forests of her home in the Pacific Northwest, or the shimmering deserts of Arizona, add to that a pinch of magic dust and a few million stars and you just might find the portal to another Realm.

Happily married to a man that puts up with her celestial wanderings and wonderings, she is the mother of seven lovely adult children and grandmother to sixteen gorgeous boys and girls.

Dianne loves writing, painting in oils and living in other dimensions. She finds life much more colorful that way! Her books are middle grade to young adult adventure fantasies with dragons and wizards and sorcery and battles on the high seas. Her grandchildren are a big inspiration for her stories. There’s a shared camaraderie, something akin to what C.S. Lewis said about someday being old enough to enjoy fairy tales again.

Dianne’s newest series Pouraka dives into the depths to explore life as a mer. She also has a series that is being re released by PDMI publishing called the Ian’s Realm Saga.

Stretching her tent stakes, she is working on an Indie Film production of her V book Cassandra’s Castle.

Website http://gardnersart.com

Blog https://diendrial.wordpress.com/

Twitter @DianneGardner

Rebel Mouse https://www.rebelmouse.com/DianneGardner/

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Amazing Stories Magazine

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Tour Giveaway

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 20150308_160615   1 ebook copy of Sasha which introduces the story.

     5 8 X 10 prints of Pouraka’s cover without the text, authographed by the author

     1 digital copy of dystopia novel Altered

     1 pair of earrings open to US Shipping

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

♦ RELEASE DAY CONTEST 

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

 

 

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