Turn On The Air – It’s About To Get HOT! DEACON by Cheryl Douglas

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Deacon

Starkis Family – BOOK 1

Cheryl Douglas

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Date of Publication: June 15th, 2015

Number of pages: 158

Word Count: 74k

Cover Artist: Fantasia Frog Designs

Deacon Teaser 6Book Description:

When Deacon Sarkis sets his sights on the gorgeous young model gracing the pages of his glossy catalogue, he knows he has to have her. One problem. She’s not available. But that won’t stop Deacon. He’s a man used to getting what he wants and he wants Mia.

Mia is stunned when she receives an email from the elusive billionaire who owns the lingerie company she models for. He tells her he’s intrigued. He’s not the only one. But she knows she’d be a fool to throw away an eight year relationship for a brief affair with the head honcho. He doesn’t do relationships and she doesn’t do casual sex. It seems they’re at an impasse.

Who will come out on top in this battle of wills? The dominant one or the woman intent on teaching him the meaning of submission?

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

Deacon coverEXCERPT:

I barged into Deacon’s office at eight o’clock that evening. Since his silver Lamborghiniwas one of the few cars left in the parking lot, I wasn’t too concerned about interrupting a meeting. He looked up from his computer when I stormed in, and a smile quickly replaced his scowl.

“They let you in without clearance?”

I plopped down in the seat across from him, trying not to notice how tempting he looked with his sleeves rolled up and no tie on. “The receptionist who usually guards your castle left for the day, and the security guard at the front desk has a crush on me, so he didn’t ask any questions.”

He frowned. “Which security guard is that?”

I spotted a stress ball on the corner of his desk. I doubted he used it; it looked like a promo item Alabaster’s gave away. I whipped it at his chest. “You’re not serious.”

He laughed, catching the ball before it hit him. “You have a pretty good arm.”

“Shut up, Deacon!” The nagging voice in the back of my head reminded me I was talking to my boss, but I told her to mind her own goddamn business and go back to sleep. “I’m pissed at you.”

He leaned back, kicking his feet up on the desk as he tossed the ball from one hand to the other and squeezed it. “Do tell.”

“You told Eleni about us.”

“So?”

“So you had no right to do that!” He seemed totally unfazed by my anger, which only incensed me further. “She’s my friend. I should have been the one to tell her, when—or if—I decided there was anything worth telling her.” That got his attention.

When he pinned me with that hot gaze, I feared he would demand I bend over the desk and take my punishment like a brave girl.

“I asked you not to tell anyone, including Eleni. You didn’t, and I appreciate that. Now that you’re single, I’ve decided it’s time your best friend know about our… relationship.”

The way he said relationship made me feel as though he had been seeking a different word but come up short. Arrangement, perhaps? Was that what this was to him?

Not willing to let him have the last word, I said, “We’re not in a relationship. We’re still getting to know each other. If I like what I see, I might agree to date you, though not exclusively. I’ve been tied down too long to get serious again so soon.” I swallowed, averting my eyes when the thin skin across his knuckles turned white from the pressure he was inflicting on the ball.

“Let me get this straight. You might agree to date me—though not exclusively?”

I was almost afraid to push him further, but if I backed down, that would set a precedent for all future arguments. “That’s right. If you have a problem with that, we can part ways now and—”

He planted his feet on the floor and made his way around the desk slowly, like a panther preparing to devour its prey. He gripped the armrests of my chair, his face a fraction of an inch from mine. I held my breath—waiting, praying, and trying to predict what he might do next. Pushing him had been a very bad idea.

“You really think that’s an option?” he whispered.

cherylAbout the Author:

When one door closes, another one opens. I closed the door to my business for the last time in 2011, which left me with a decision. What now? Find another location and move my nutrition business, go to work for someone else, or take a chance on my dream? I chose the latter and I’ve never looked back!

I’ve always loved reading and writing, but it wasn’t until I jumped in with both feet and decided writing would be my career, instead of just a hobby, that my muse woke up from her deep slumber.

It was like someone flipped a switch inside my head and stories just came pouring out. At the end of the day, I would often look at the keyboard and wonder, ‘Who the heck wrote that? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure it wasn’t me!’

I don’t write books. I tell stories, or rather, I allow my characters to tell their stories through me. I’m not a plotter, never have been, never will be. Why? Because I have no idea how the story will evolve and it’s not my place to manipulate it. My job is to get to know these characters, figure out what makes them tick, then follow their journey wherever it takes me.

When I’m not writing, I’m daydreaming. Thankfully, I have an understanding husband and son who know I’ll re-join the land of the living just as soon as my muse decides it’s quitting time. I don’t work for myself. I work for her. She’s the boss. And I’m okay with that.

Website: http://cheryldouglasbooks.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/cheryldouglasbooks

Twitter – https://twitter.com/CherylDouglasNN

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5761770.Cheryl_Douglas

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Release Day: Amber Prelude by Kevin B. Henry

amber preludeAmber Prelude

Amber Gifts

Prequel

Kevin B. Henry

Genre: Fantasy, Time Travel, Science Fiction, and History

Publisher: Burst/ Champagne Books

Date of Publication: June 01, 2015

Word Count: 20,000

Formats available: eBook, PDF

Cover Artist: Ellie Smith

Book Description:

Mitchell didn’t really believe the story the Man told him, Just take a sip and speak a year. He whimsically chose a historic event to witness. Little did he know he would become part of that history. Faster than you can say Teithwyr Amser our man Mitchell is chasing a bona fide assassin not only across America but across time.

Amber Prelude will require Mitchell to travel from the America he knows to France and Africa. He will travel to decades and centuries he is unfamiliar with. Mitchell will chase authentic villains and make historic friends, all in an attempt to set history back the way he remembers.

Amber Prelude RDB Banner 851 x 315

Excerpt Chapter One 

1963: New Mexico

It had started simply. I uncapped the vial, drank the liquid, and spoke the year I had chosen aloud. The room spun. I dissolved.

I anticipated nothing happening. I began by sitting at the old wooden table feeling numb. My expectations extended to looking for shelter the following morning. Maybe I would move under a bridge for a short time; maybe I would do something much worse to myself.

I’d experienced severely morbid thoughts for months. Moving often transformed me.  A nightmarish combination of a manic and depressed person was all I had been until the vial. It continued for months, and I expected it to continue forever. What I didn’t expect was a twisting feeling in my chest and lower abdomen. It wasn’t painful, just an unusual feeling. I didn’t expect the room to blur. I blinked several times, but it wasn’t my eyes; the room was blurry. Soon the room ceased to exist.

I had not spent long hours considering the year I would move to. I flippantly selected 1963. It would give me almost ten years before my birth moment and I vanished from the universe forever. The Man was specific about not existing past my birth moment. It would give me a chance to see some of the most tumultuous years in America, civil rights marches, hippies, the moon landing. My choice of year would give me a chance to stand at Dealey Plaza and personally see if there was a second shooter. It was a shallow choice, but it was the best I could come up with.

My first thought as the world congealed around me was that I had said something wrong. Had I said 1863? It was night. The stars above me were crisp and clear. Sagebrush surrounded me in all directions. Gone were the smells of the city. My senses absorbed a clean, fresh smell. This was how I remembered the world use to be. A scrub oak blended with the evening shadows just a few feet to my right. To my left was a light in the distance, a campfire. The flames created dancing shadows on the two trees surrounding the fire. Someone sat next to the fire, stirring the flames, sparks rising into the starry sky.

I walked toward the fire. I didn’t see that I had any choice; every other direction was pitch-black. Halfway there he rose from his place at the fire and raised his left hand above his head.

He sparkled. It wasn’t anything residual from the fire. His whole body twinkled and sparkled. It was disturbing.

“About time, Mitchell,” he yelled. “I’ve been waiting here for damn near three days.” “Come on in. I’m sure you have questions, son.”

I got over my initial anxiety of the twinkle man and sat on the far side of the fire. We had been sitting before the fire for fewer than five minutes. I was dazed, confused, and overwhelmed. Less than an hour ago, I was sitting in a dingy, two-bit hotel room.

Now, here I was, in some large expanse of desert in the company of someone who looked like Ray Teal, that quintessential sheriff on so many TV westerns and movies. He wore standard blue jeans, a simple button-front dress shirt, and a light-gray jacket. This twinkle man had a slouch hat, not exactly cowboy, but not a fedora either. He was half a foot shorter than me, stockier, and a minimum of twenty-five-years older, if I had to guess his age. There was salt and pepper stubble covering his face. His voice was deeper than mine, but not so deep that I envied it.

“Okay,” I began. “Where am I?”

“New Mexico,” he answered without hesitation. “You’re about three miles east of Tucumcari.”

I considered that answer. “When am I?”

“It’s November, 1963.”

“What’s the date, the day?” It concerned me I might miss my reason for picking this year.

“It’s the sixth.” A wave of relief swept over me. I wasn’t too late.

His answers were rapid-fire, no pauses or measurable moments that I would have considered creative thinking. He was either telling the truth or extremely well prepared for my random questions. I tried to think of the relevant questions I should ask. The standard ones, who, what, when, where, seemed a good place to start.

“How did I get here?”

“Well now, that’s an obvious answer to a poorly considered, ill-thought out question.” He shook his head. “You took a drink from that vial you have tucked away in your jacket pocket.”

A sudden gust of wind caused me to wrap my windbreaker tighter around my body. Maybe it wasn’t the night air. I was a little hurt. It wasn’t an attempt at sounding stupid; just understand what had happened to me.

“How did you know I was coming?” Maybe that question would seem less inept.

“Now that’s complicated.” He answered this question more slowly. He was thinking more and not just responding. “My name is Gil, Gil Seward. I got a letter just a few days ago. It asked me to come here and see if you’d appear. The letter said to just wait here a while and see if you drank from the vial or not. If you did, I’m supposed to help you out a little. Get you started and send you on your way.”

“Asked by whom? That guy who gave me the vial?”

“Yeah” was his only response. I hate one-word answers.

“Who was he? Why did he give me this vial?”

“He was someone I owed a favor. I haven’t seen him for a long time. He isn’t someone you need to know. Forget him. I don’t know why he decided to give you his vial. He just did.”

He paused for a while, stirring the fire with his stick, a small branch from one of the nearby trees.

“One last question for now,” he said. “Make it a good one.”

“Okay, Gil,” I said, using his name for the first time. “Why the hell do you sparkle? You look like some creation by Industrial Light, a special effect in a vampire or science fiction movie.”

“Forgot all about that,” he laughed. “You sparkle too. You just can’t see it. You started as soon as you drank from the vial. All Amser will sparkle.”

“What’s an Amser?”

“Sorry, Mitchell, You’ve reached your limit on questions for now. It’s my turn to ask some.”

I started to say something, but the look on his face made me stop. I hoped that ‘for now’ meant there would be more answers in the future.

“What made you pick this year?”

“It wasn’t a rational decision. Who would believe this would really work? I figured I’d see something special, something historic. Dallas and the Kennedy assassination was a significant event in my life. All the other conspiracy theories I remember while growing up could never surpass this one event. Standing on the grassy knoll and knowing beyond a doubt if there was or wasn’t a second shooter seemed as good an idea as any.”

“With all of history to choose from, you wanted to watch somebody die?”

“That wasn’t my motivation.” I said “I thought of it more as watching a documentary on TV.”

“We’ll see what you think of your documentary as you watch it live. Did you have plans afterward?”

“I don’t have many concrete plans. Just live out the next decade before I die.”

“Why would you want to die?”

“The Man said I couldn’t live past my birth moment. That was another reason I came here. That gives me several years to live before that time.”

“He didn’t tell you?”

“Tell me what?”

“You have it all wrong, Mitchell. You can use that vial repeatedly. Just refill it. You can travel to any year, any time, as often as you want, as many times as you want. You’re not stuck in this year or decade forever.”

I’m not sure my mouth actually fell open, but that is how I remember it.

About the Author:Henry

From an early age, Kevin B. Henry was a voracious reader. His collection of science fiction, fantasy and mystery books bring tears of envy to the eyes of many small community libraries.

Kevin has worked as an educator, technology specialist and day laborer most of his adult life. During all that time he lived the life of a frustrated author. That it took 30 years for him to piece together the series, Amber Gifts is a testament that the best meals need slow cooking to bring out the flavor.

The Amber Gifts Series begins with Amber Gifts. The second story, which is really the first, is Amber Prelude, and is available now. The third story, Amber Legacy continues where Amber Gifts left off. It will be available in November 2015. All are published by the wonderful folks at the Champagne Book Group. A fourth story is in the process of being written.

Kevin is a natural story teller, so it’s logical that he lectures occasionally. Topics range from the implementation of cutting edge technology hardware to the creation, modification and use of e-books within education. He constantly pursues research to expand his range of possible topics. His most recent research revolved around the aerodynamic properties of reindeer. He’s also been known to include little known facts and trivia within his presentations. Did you know just 146 years ago today the Union Army marched into Atlanta. It took longer than anticipated. They were delayed by a traffic jam on I-75 and the toll booth on Ga. 400

He continues to live in the Mid-West without human or domesticated mammal companionship.

Blog/Wesbite: www.ambergifts.blogspot.com

Twitter:       @Kevin_Henry

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AmberGifts

Snap! Cover Reveal for Amber Prelude

Here it is….and definitely worth the wait. Is this model not gorgeous? AMBER PRELUDE, the exciting time travel novella beneath the cover is just as captivating and will be available to the public on June 1st!  I’ve included a teaser but be sure to check back on June 1st for my review.

Amber Prelude

Amber Prelude

Amber Gifts

Prequel

Kevin B. Henry

Genre: Fantasy, Time Travel, Science Fiction, and History

Publisher: Burst/ Champagne Books

Date of Publication: June 01, 2015

Word Count: 20,000

Formats available: eBook, PDF

Cover Artist: Ellie Smith

Book Description:

Mitchell didn’t really believe the story the Man told him, Just take a sip and speak a year. He whimsically chose a historic event to witness. Little did he know he would become part of that history. Faster than you can say Teithwyr Amser our man Mitchell is chasing a bona fide assassin not only across America but across time.

Amber Prelude will require Mitchell to travel from the America he knows to France and Africa. He will travel to decades and centuries he is unfamiliar with. Mitchell will chase authentic villains and make historic friends, all in an attempt to set history back the way he remembers.

Excerpt Chapter One

1963: New Mexico

It had started simply. I uncapped the vial, drank the liquid, and spoke the year I had chosen aloud. The room spun. I dissolved.

I anticipated nothing happening. I began by sitting at the old wooden table feeling numb. My expectations extended to looking for shelter the following morning. Maybe I would move under a bridge for a short time; maybe I would do something much worse to myself.

I’d experienced severely morbid thoughts for months. Moving often transformed me.  A nightmarish combination of a manic and depressed person was all I had been until the vial. It continued for months, and I expected it to continue forever. What I didn’t expect was a twisting feeling in my chest and lower abdomen. It wasn’t painful, just an unusual feeling. I didn’t expect the room to blur. I blinked several times, but it wasn’t my eyes; the room was blurry. Soon the room ceased to exist.

I had not spent long hours considering the year I would move to. I flippantly selected 1963. It would give me almost ten years before my birth moment and I vanished from the universe forever. The Man was specific about not existing past my birth moment. It would give me a chance to see some of the most tumultuous years in America, civil rights marches, hippies, the moon landing. My choice of year would give me a chance to stand at Dealey Plaza and personally see if there was a second shooter. It was a shallow choice, but it was the best I could come up with.

My first thought as the world congealed around me was that I had said something wrong. Had I said 1863? It was night. The stars above me were crisp and clear. Sagebrush surrounded me in all directions. Gone were the smells of the city. My senses absorbed a clean, fresh smell. This was how I remembered the world use to be. A scrub oak blended with the evening shadows just a few feet to my right. To my left was a light in the distance, a campfire. The flames created dancing shadows on the two trees surrounding the fire. Someone sat next to the fire, stirring the flames, sparks rising into the starry sky.

I walked toward the fire. I didn’t see that I had any choice; every other direction was pitch-black. Halfway there he rose from his place at the fire and raised his left hand above his head.

He sparkled. It wasn’t anything residual from the fire. His whole body twinkled and sparkled. It was disturbing.

“About time, Mitchell,” he yelled. “I’ve been waiting here for damn near three days.” “Come on in. I’m sure you have questions, son.”

I got over my initial anxiety of the twinkle man and sat on the far side of the fire. We had been sitting before the fire for fewer than five minutes. I was dazed, confused, and overwhelmed. Less than an hour ago, I was sitting in a dingy, two-bit hotel room.

Now, here I was, in some large expanse of desert in the company of someone who looked like Ray Teal, that quintessential sheriff on so many TV westerns and movies. He wore standard blue jeans, a simple button-front dress shirt, and a light-gray jacket. This twinkle man had a slouch hat, not exactly cowboy, but not a fedora either. He was half a foot shorter than me, stockier, and a minimum of twenty-five-years older, if I had to guess his age. There was salt and pepper stubble covering his face. His voice was deeper than mine, but not so deep that I envied it.

“Okay,” I began. “Where am I?”

“New Mexico,” he answered without hesitation. “You’re about three miles east of Tucumcari.”

I considered that answer. “When am I?”

“It’s November, 1963.”

“What’s the date, the day?” It concerned me I might miss my reason for picking this year.

“It’s the sixth.” A wave of relief swept over me. I wasn’t too late.

His answers were rapid-fire, no pauses or measurable moments that I would have considered creative thinking. He was either telling the truth or extremely well prepared for my random questions. I tried to think of the relevant questions I should ask. The standard ones, who, what, when, where, seemed a good place to start.

“How did I get here?”

“Well now, that’s an obvious answer to a poorly considered, ill-thought out question.” He shook his head. “You took a drink from that vial you have tucked away in your jacket pocket.”

A sudden gust of wind caused me to wrap my windbreaker tighter around my body. Maybe it wasn’t the night air. I was a little hurt. It wasn’t an attempt at sounding stupid; just understand what had happened to me.

“How did you know I was coming?” Maybe that question would seem less inept.

“Now that’s complicated.” He answered this question more slowly. He was thinking more and not just responding. “My name is Gil, Gil Seward. I got a letter just a few days ago. It asked me to come here and see if you’d appear. The letter said to just wait here a while and see if you drank from the vial or not. If you did, I’m supposed to help you out a little. Get you started and send you on your way.”

“Asked by whom? That guy who gave me the vial?”

“Yeah” was his only response. I hate one-word answers.

“Who was he? Why did he give me this vial?”

“He was someone I owed a favor. I haven’t seen him for a long time. He isn’t someone you need to know. Forget him. I don’t know why he decided to give you his vial. He just did.”

He paused for a while, stirring the fire with his stick, a small branch from one of the nearby trees.

“One last question for now,” he said. “Make it a good one.”

“Okay, Gil,” I said, using his name for the first time. “Why the hell do you sparkle? You look like some creation by Industrial Light, a special effect in a vampire or science fiction movie.”

“Forgot all about that,” he laughed. “You sparkle too. You just can’t see it. You started as soon as you drank from the vial. All Amser will sparkle.”

“What’s an Amser?”

“Sorry, Mitchell, You’ve reached your limit on questions for now. It’s my turn to ask some.”

I started to say something, but the look on his face made me stop. I hoped that ‘for now’ meant there would be more answers in the future.

“What made you pick this year?”

“It wasn’t a rational decision. Who would believe this would really work? I figured I’d see something special, something historic. Dallas and the Kennedy assassination was a significant event in my life. All the other conspiracy theories I remember while growing up could never surpass this one event. Standing on the grassy knoll and knowing beyond a doubt if there was or wasn’t a second shooter seemed as good an idea as any.”

“With all of history to choose from, you wanted to watch somebody die?”

“That wasn’t my motivation.” I said “I thought of it more as watching a documentary on TV.”

“We’ll see what you think of your documentary as you watch it live. Did you have plans afterward?”

“I don’t have many concrete plans. Just live out the next decade before I die.”

“Why would you want to die?”

“The Man said I couldn’t live past my birth moment. That was another reason I came here. That gives me several years to live before that time.”

“He didn’t tell you?”

“Tell me what?”

“You have it all wrong, Mitchell. You can use that vial repeatedly. Just refill it. You can travel to any year, any time, as often as you want, as many times as you want. You’re not stuck in this year or decade forever.”

I’m not sure my mouth actually fell open, but that is how I remember it. 

About the Author:Henry

From an early age, Kevin B. Henry was a voracious reader. His collection of science fiction, fantasy and mystery books bring tears of envy to the eyes of many small community libraries.

Kevin has worked as an educator, technology specialist and day laborer most of his adult life. During all that time he lived the life of a frustrated author. That it took 30 years for him to piece together the series, Amber Gifts is a testament that the best meals need slow cooking to bring out the flavor.

The Amber Gifts Series begins with Amber Gifts. The second story, which is really the first, is Amber Prelude, and is available now. The third story, Amber Legacy continues where Amber Gifts left off. It will be available in November 2015. All are published by the wonderful folks at the Champagne Book Group. A fourth story is in the process of being written.

Kevin is a natural story teller, so it’s logical that he lectures occasionally. Topics range from the implementation of cutting edge technology hardware to the creation, modification and use of e-books within education. He constantly pursues research to expand his range of possible topics. His most recent research revolved around the aerodynamic properties of reindeer. He’s also been known to include little known facts and trivia within his presentations. Did you know just 146 years ago today the Union Army marched into Atlanta. It took longer than anticipated. They were delayed by a traffic jam on I-75 and the toll booth on Ga. 400

He continues to live in the Mid-West without human or domesticated mammal companionship.

Blog/Wesbite: www.ambergifts.blogspot.com

Twitter:       @Kevin_Henry

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AmberGifts

Like Horror? Read “Beneath” by Robin Heggelund Hansen

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Beneath

Eldritch City Shorts 

Book 1

Robin Heggelund Hansen

Genre: Crime/Horror

Date of Publication: March 21st, 2015

ASIN: B00V0R5QYW

Number of pages: 15

 Word Count: 5100

Book Description:

Nine years have passed since the tragic and mysterious deaths of Mr. Phillips and his daughter. A new clue surfaces, one which the lead investigator will follow to the brink of insanity.

Available at Amazon

beneathREVIEW:

Reading the first few paragraphs of short story “Beneath”, I was reminded of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart” and its lyrical prose. The narrator is tortured by his own actions, consumed with guilt and disbelief of unmentionable horrors. He even questions his sanity.

For lovers of the horror genre, it’s a great hook.

“Beneath” ends with a beginning, leading me to think it’s a prelude to an interesting novel.  This short story packs a lot of wallop into a few pages, 15 to be exact, but don’t think of it as a detriment. Rather, consider this a choice morsel you want to roll over your tongue and hold there, enjoying the burst of flavor for as long as it lasts.

That’s not to say the story is without flaws. It could use a good edit. The word “that” appeared much too often, and certain phrases were repetitious – but those things are only a nuisance in an otherwise well told story. Mr. Hansen understands less is more. While there are a few gory scenes, they are not sensationalized and contribute to the main character’s discovery later in the tale.

My only regret is that I read this late at night – before I took the dog out for last potty call. I did not stray from the sidewalk, and will avoid walking on the ground in the future. <shudder>

Excerpt:

To whoever reads this: I feel that I must apologize if what you find on these pieces of paper appears to be nothing more than a collection of near-indecipherable words. I can assure you that I have tried everything I can think of, and yet I cannot keep my hands from trembling. This, however, is only a symptom of my much greater problems.

I cannot eat, or sleep, or even close my eyes for longer than the briefest of moments. I feel as if I’m about to lose my mind, but I’m clear enough to realize that I have to get this story off my chest, before it consumes whatever sanity I have left. Unfortunately, the only recipient I can trust with a story as bizarre and horrible as this are the same pieces of paper upon which these words are written.

For officers of the Eldritch City Police Department, no two days are alike. Even with this in mind, yesterday morning would still single itself out as peculiar. As I entered the precinct to begin my shift, I met a man who I realized was from out of town. It was clear that he was uncomfortable since he was constantly scratching his arm and shifting his gaze. It was as if he was trying to view the entire room at once.

There are many things that can be said of Eldritch City, but the one thing people always remember is the air. It’s not that it has a particular smell, but it has a way of sticking to your skin, like wet clothes on a rainy day. Us locals usually say that it is due to the humidity that comes with being in a warm coastal city, but humid air does not leave you with a feeling of being watched, or that something terrible is about to happen. Given time, one learns to hide this discomfort. People from out of town, however, usually haven’t learnt the knack.

The man introduced himself as Deputy Swanson of the Heartbrook Sheriff’s office. Upon learning my name, he raised his eyebrows in surprise. “It would seem I am in luck,” he said. “It is in fact you that I have come here to see.”

Before continuing the conversation, I invited Swanson back to my desk — I have yet to earn my own office — and offered him a choice of coffee or tea, of which he chose the latter. When we were both sitting comfortably, I asked what had brought him all the way here from Heartbrook. To this he responded by handing me a newspaper article, dating back nine years. The article was an interview with a younger me regarding a murder case out by Mirkwood. I knew the article well, not just because I was the subject of the interview, but also because the case in question had been troubling me ever since I had been assigned to it.

Nine years earlier, for their summer-break, the Phillips family had gone out to their newly built cabin in Mirkwood, on the outskirts of the city. Only a day into their vacation, Mr. Phillips and his daughter, Julia, were brutally murdered. Their bodies had been mutilated to the point of being barely recognizable — large portions of flesh were missing. It was almost as if something had fed on them. The coroner couldn’t rule out an animal attack, but thought it unlikely since the wounds were inconsistent with the bite of any species known to be living in Mirkwood.

robinAbout the Author:

Robin was born on a cold winter night in Oslo, Norway, 1989. Growing up, he was always fond of telling stories, leading people to wonder when, not if, he would move on to writing stories of his own. Inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, he wrote his first short story, ‘Beneath’, in 2015.

Blog: http://insideeldritchcity.tumblr.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/eldritchcityauthor

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

HooRah!!! Contest, Guest Blog by Jena Baxter, & Excerpt from The Carriage

The Carriage Banner 851 x 315

WOW!!!  I’ve got a great package today! A very awesome contest with entry details at the end of this blog, a fascinating guest post by the equally fascinating author, Jena Baxter and a delectable excerpt from her new novel, The Carriage. Let’s get started:

The Charm and Truths in Historical Romance

by Jena Baxter

Hello, my name is Jena Baxter, and I write YA fantasy and historical romance.

I never planned on writing historical fiction, but I’ve always loved history, and wanted to write a novel of The Little Matchgirl, that was closer to Hans Christian Anderson’s vision. I guess that’s a little contradictory, but I hadn’t seen past that particular story yet.  I started my research on the time period and studied the story and what he might have seen. Later I learned it was a prompt from a popular calendar someone gave him, but I’ve also read that he meant for it to be a statement of his time.

I’ve always thought it was interesting that Little Matchgirl became a children’s Christmas classic. A young girl is afraid to go home because she didn’t sell any matches. It’s New Year’s Eve and she’s cold so she lights her matches one by one to try and stay warm, hallucinating, until she dies sometime before morning and her grandmother – who is now an angel – takes her to heaven. We see the romance in her visions and the dream of a better life, and forget she’s a lost child on the street somewhere. I’ve written two published novels since then and my Little Matchgirl still hasn’t been written.

The Victorian Era was such a time of hope, but also a time of despair. It encompassed the Industrial Revolution. Many people suffered incredible losses; a few opened factories and made a fortune. Unfortunately, so many people flocked into London that employers could pay less than they should, and many lives fell into poverty. Even children had to work some pretty terrible jobs.

And yet it’s still a period of romance. The language of flowers, courting, dancing, gorgeous dresses and long walks with a hopeful suitor. But a woman had to choose well because who she chose defined not only who she was, but also the comfort of her future. I found a diary entry by a gentleman who said he had everything he needed and it was time to get a wife to care for his home. Forgive me for not being able to give you my sources, in changing computers I’ve lost more than a few things I studied.

We all know about the dreaded corsets. They were uncomfortable and often cut off the air flow so much that women would faint. Men saw them as delicate creatures. They would be too, if they couldn’t breathe, but women have always paid for beauty, whether by cash or disfiguration. What I had never realized was that the internal organs had to go somewhere, so they were pushed up and down, away from the beautifully sculpted waist.

In my recent novel, The Carriage, my main man and heroine have to face a clash of cultures because Alexis is an independent twenty-first century woman. They learn how to compromise to make the relationship work, and my leading man, Ezra is cutting edge for his time.

The facts of the era sound discouraging, and in some ways they are, but time has proven that romance is eternal. From the beginning of time until now, love has always made the difference.

     TOUR GIVEAWAY

     http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ba112ffc975 

    The Carriage Button 300 x 225 4 $10 Amazon Gift Cards

     1 $20 Amazon gift card  

     2 e-book copies

 

 

The Carriage

Jena Baxter

Genre: YA, Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Jena Baxter Books

Date of Publication: February 16th, 15

ISBN: 978-0-9911677-2-2

ASIN: B00TOQNODQ

Number of pages: 214

Word Count: 52,313

Cover Artist: Consuelo Parra

Model: Amber Ornelas

Book Description:Carriage

A teenage girl enters a carriage in Central Park and disembarks in Victorian, England.

Cursed by her sister Brooke, Alexis Powell arrives in the Victorian Era where she meets Ezra, who was recently murdered by an assassin his brother Amos hired. Now a supernatural creature, Ezra sees into Alexis’ mind with a touch and Intrigued by her memories, offers his help only to be rebuffed for his kindness. Alexis runs away, but Ezra is unable to shake off what he saw. He follows her through the streets of London.

Vulnerable after the death of his Father, his brother’s harassment, and Alexis’ many rejections, Ezra decides to stop following her.  Alexis is unable to find work or food. Facing starvation, she steals a tomato and Ezra finds her facing the local magistrate and an angry mob. He pays for her freedom.

Finally accepting the help Ezra offers, Alexis moves into the manor he shares with his brother. Romance blossoms but the bond between Ezra and Amos is worse than Alexis’ relationship with Brooke.

While Ezra and Alexis search for a way to send her home, Amos looks for a way to kill them.

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/-2P1NTDmQww

Available at Amazon

Excerpt:

Somehow I was certain I was no longer in New York. The streets were cobblestone, and the buildings wood and brick. A lot of them were broken down, old and shabby. The alleys were filthy and smelled like shit. Exhausted, I looked for a place to hide but didn’t know where to go. When I couldn’t move another muscle, I hid behind a wooden staircase with my back against the wall and fought not to jump at every sound.

I hadn’t meant to fall asleep, and didn’t know how long I’d slept, but it looked close to mid-morning when I opened my eyes and looked around.

The women walking by were wearing long, full dresses, and big feathered hats. The men’s pants were more form fitting, not the jeans they usually wear. Some of the children running around were barefoot and downright filthy, looking as if they had been rolling in mud or playing with charcoal. I cringed when I saw a boy carrying a rat by the tail. Everything was straight out of a Dickens novel. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see little Dorrit, or Ebenezer Scrooge waltz by any minute now. I rubbed my nose with the palm of my hand. What the hell was I going to do?

This obviously wasn’t real, so I must have fallen in with a role playing community of some sort. My mother and father used to play dungeons and dragons. Maybe this was the same thing, but in the extreme.

Something slammed into my back. I screamed and turned at the sound of a woman yelling at me. The broom in her hand whooshed down again, just missing my face.

“Whoa. Hey, stop!”

What was wrong with these people? I couldn’t understand a word she said, so I ran. She chased me, swinging the broom until I left the alley.

I stopped to catch my breath, smoothed my clothes, and approached a woman in a long brown dress with a white bonnet and black boots. She stared at me like I was some sort of freak. Uh … she was the freak, not me. Maybe the men would be friendlier, but not one of them would stop. Then I saw the man that crashed into me yesterday across the road. He looked a little different, wearing a brown suit, and an odd piece of material similar to a scarf around his neck, with a top hat. He was actually still attractive in the weird clothes. Dodging carts and vendors, I made a bee-line for him. At least he wouldn’t chase me with a broom.

JenaAbout the Author:

Jena Baxter has always loved history and time travel. She liked to read, and often wrote poetry as a stress inhibitor while growing up. But like other writers, she dreamed of writing a novel. So she enrolled at the UCLA Writer’s Extension, to gain the confidence and skill to move forward.

Today Jena has a YA Fantasy novel, as well as a YA Paranormal Romance novel online and in print.

www.jenabaxter.com

http://jenabaxterbooks.blogspot.com/

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/jenabaxterbooks

https://www.facebook.com/jenabaxterbooks

https://twitter.com/@jenabaxterbooks

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8103907.Jena_Baxter

http://www.amazon.com/Jena-Baxter/e/B00M4YF352