Posted in Fantasy, Giveaway, Spotlight on December 14, 2017

 

 

Synopsis

The epic tale continues.  A new covenant has been forged in the chaos of war. Its price is nothing less than the Bearer of the Lion Ring’s soul.

The rivalry for dominance over the continent of Andara has taken a dark turn. Eternal enemies – the Jalora and the Sarcion – pit their forces against one another in bloody battle. Good weakens, betrayed by the very humans it has sworn to protect. Valdeon, its stronghold on Andara, falls to sword and flame. The fires of its destruction are set alight by barbaric invaders from across the sea. Their brutal hand conquers the land in a night, exiling the Lords of Valdeon – Sacred Guard of the Covenant. Cut off from the center of their power, the Jalora’s greatest heroes are helpless to defend their homeland.

Hope still lingers. Seth D’Antoiné, Bearer of the Lion Ring, journeys to the great Obsidian Citadel seeking a magical relic, the Book of Ancients. Its power could hold the key to Andara’s defense. He alone can open its pages, sparking the magic into life and restoring the Jalora’s waning power. Finding the book won’t be easy. Elusive Obsidian Gates – appearing and then vanishing again by their own will – keep the secret of the book’s location well hidden.

In the depths of the mountain fortress, he finds treachery and intrigue hiding within its walls. Can Seth open the Book of Ancients before the Sarcion’s men find him? Or will the power of Good leave the land forever? Andara’s future awaits behind the Obsidian Gates…

Digital eBook coming in January 2018!

 

Synopsis

A new series from award winning Author, C.R. Richards: The epic tale of two men begins. The first – a man of honor trying desperately to turn his country from civil war. The other – a boy struggling to discover his destiny before agents of evil find him first.

Coveted by two ancient enemies of a long forgotten age, the continent of Andara holds the key to victory in an endless struggle for dominance. Eight hundred years have passed since the god-like Jalora struck a bargain with the first King of Valdeon. The Lion Ring, symbol of the covenant and conduit of power, gives its bearer incredible abilities. The ring’s borrowed magic protects the people of Andara from covetous evil, but there is a price. As with most predators, the Lion Ring must feed. Only the blood of the D’Antoiné family line will satisfy its hunger.

A rival for Andara’s treasures, the Sarcion has waited impatiently for its time upon the land. Whispers of treason in the right ear aid its treachery. The King of Valdeon mysteriously disappears, leaving his lands in danger of a civil war by the hand of a murderous usurper. His Lion Ring is lost and the covenant is broken. The Jalora’s power begins to seep away from the land. Evil’s foot hold grows stronger. Can the Lords of Valdeon, Sacred Guard of the covenant, stop the tides of war? Or will Andara fall into chaos? The future rests in the blood of a boy…

Praise for The Heart of the Warrior Series

“The Obsidian Gates (Heart of the Warrior Book Two), by C.R. Richards, is a gripping tale of courage and sacrifice as the men who have sworn to save their land Andara battle the evil forces intent upon gaining command of it. The appealing, vividly-drawn characters struggle to overcome centuries of political intrigue as well as mysterious powers arrayed against them. In this sequel to The Lords of Valdeon, (Heart of the Warrior Book One) the award-winning Richards continues this sweeping adventure in breathtaking style.” – Yvonne Montgomery, Author of the Wisdom Court Books, Edge of the Shadow; A Signal Shown; All in Bad Time

“C.R. Richards is an excellent storyteller. The story carries you along at a good pace, while maximizing suspense and piquing your curiosity. As an adult, I loved it, and I think my teenagers would enjoy it, too.”

“I was hooked! There’s something about these characters that just made me need to know what happens to them all!”

“C.R. Richards is an amazing writer. Amazing…my expectations are high for upcoming books in the series.”

“Intense and involved”

“This is not your typical evil vs good story. It grips you through the entire journey and has your full attention.”

“Great blend of suspense, intrigue and adventure. Highly recommend this read.”

“This book is like the Night Circus in its extensive descriptions, mixed with Star Wars’ family feud, with a hint of fantasy and mystery mixed in. I think this is an amazing start to the series, and my expectations are high for the nextbook!”

About the Author

A huge lover of horror and dark fantasy stories, C. R. Richards enjoys telling tales of intrigue and adventure. Having began writing as a part-time columnist for a small entertainment newspaper, Richards has worn several hats: food critic, entertainment reviewer and cranky editor. She has now published a handful of novels, including Phantom Harvest – book one in The Mutant Casebook Series – which took home the EPIC eBook Award for Fantasy in 2014. Richards beat out entries from the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and other English speaking countries.

The youngest of five army brats, Richards was born on a military base in Utah.  She spent much of her childhood in the back of her family’s sky blue station wagon on trips to see her grandmother – who would show her how to spot faeries in the backyard.  “Sometimes she’d put candy in small silk slippers and tell us the pixies had done it,” says Richards. “She’s the one who gave me my love of fantasy creatures.”

Her most recent literary projects include the horror short story, Lost Man’s Parish and the newly-released dark fantasy thriller, Pariah. She is an active member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Horror Writers Association.

In November, Richards releases her epic dark fantasy novel The Obsidian Gates, the second installment in the Heart of the Warrior series. Through her storytelling, Richards aims to reach lovers of fantasy who are exploring alternatives to the traditional status quo. Her message is simple: One person can be a catalyst for change.

 

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Posted in Book Release, excerpt, Fantasy, Science Fiction on December 12, 2017

Synopsis

Now trapped in a prison by a shadow organization named Prometheus, Carter must use all his cunning to survive. But will that be enough? In this prison Carter must learn to follow the rules and submit. Or break the rules in order to gain his freedom. With his life on the line Carter must make his choice, a choice that could have greater ramification than anyone could expect.
While Carter is held prisoner, Alex has been given a job by the elusive Mr. Bright. Rescue a man named Connor Creed from The Cage, another prison facility that houses specific individuals. As Alex and his friends journey to rescue Connor Creed they soon realize they are not the only ones looking for him. Familiar faces return and a mystery deepens as Prometheus’ secrets slowly begin to unravel.
Each has been given their mission. Find out if they can see it through.

Excerpt

4I didn’t even have to look to know that this was probably going to be trouble. I turned my attention from the interior design of the facility to the man that stood a couple feet away. He wasn’t alone, there were two men that stood right by him. I looked to my left and then to my right, there were a large number of people surrounding me. Well not surrounding me in particular, it was just a large mass of people that seemed to be displaced by the looks of it. They were doing the same thing I was which was nothing in particular.

“Hey you I asked you a question.  Don’t ignore me boy.” The same gruff voice said.

It was the man that I wasn’t planning on paying attention to, but plans tend to change. He looked to be in his mid to late forties, he was kind of a big guy not that I was intimidated by him or anything. It was kind of hard to be considering the man was balding, his hair was very thin in the middle while it looked like he was trying to manage the rest of it to hide the fact he was losing hair. Sadly it wasn’t working, anyone that looked at him would come to the same conclusion in a matter of seconds that this middle age man was balding.

“I’m talking to you!” The man yelled just before lunging at me.

I took two steps to the side avoiding him which only made the man angrier. He started huffing and puffing while the people around us began encircling us and chanting. This was beginning to get real cliché, real fast. I curled and uncurled my fingers, I should probably handle this before it got out of hand.

I was preparing to deck this guy once he came near me but before I could even ball my hand into a fist, I felt a sudden tug on my body specifically my legs.

“What the hell?”

Everything turned white for a second just before I hit the floor. The balding man had landed a hit and was feeling a little too good about himself.

“Next time you’ll…”

The man stopped mid-sentence and I didn’t even have a chance to ask myself why, before I found out the answers. Clang something struck a nearby railing then suddenly I was weightless like a cloud just floating in the air. It took me a second to realize that it wasn’t just me that was floating, it was everyone.  I couldn’t even count how many of us were in the air, some people started panicking, which was kind of funny considering you’d think something like this wouldn’t surprise superhumans.

“What’s going on?”

“Get me down from here!”

“Oh crap…I’m afraid of heights.”

I looked around and noticed that some people were higher up in the air then others, for example me in particularly. Why was that? I didn’t have much time to dwell on that thought, CLANG…there it was again something hitting the railings. THUD…

“Awwwww what gives…”

Just like that we were all slammed against the ground which wasn’t the most pleasant landing to say the least.

“Good evening. My name is Jozef Morgan. I have worked here for the last twelve years. Anyway, I am the Warden, and you, you all are the prisoners or if you like unwilling volunteers in Prometheus’ research. Now you must be wondering why would I go so far as to tell you that, it’s simple, the more cooperative you are the more pleasant this will be for you all, while the less cooperative you are. Well…”

CLANG, within seconds I along with everyone else was floating weightlessly CLANG…THUD. Once again we all crashed into the ground, lucky for me I had unwittingly squirmed when I was in the air turning my body which allowed my front to face right side up thus allowing my back to strike the cold hard floor. Yup Mr. Lucky over here, sadly my dry humor didn’t numb the pain that rippled across my back.

“I hope you are all willing to cooperate thus your safety can be insured. You are not to fight among yourself unless you wish to be disciplined like…”

“NOOOOO DON’T…DON’T!” The crowd of people yelled collectively.

By adjusting my position slightly I managed to get a good look at the Warden he was standing on one of the walkways that overlooked the ground floor. He had a thick black mustache and beard combo. He wore a fancy navy blue uniform that looked like something a general would wear, it was even topped off with a hat. I starred at the man for a moment, I had a feeling he was going to be my biggest obstacle if I was going to escape.

For no apparent reason, Warden Jozef raised his right hand and slammed it against the railing. CLANG…CLANG…CLANG…. The Warden repeatedly slammed us into the ground without warning. By now I was dazed and confused, I was no longer on the ground of the bottom floor instead I was on the 3rd floor in a small room. Four guards dragged me into the room then placed me in the middle of it, my eyesight was blurry and I was weakened by the Warden’s Orientation. I didn’t really know what was going on but I heard a clink sound, four of them in fact, that’s when I noticed that I had been chained down. The guards left me in the room and slammed the door shut, I could hear the tumblers lock.

The door was an obsidian color probably specially made for me. I looked at my arms and legs, the chains were attached to my wrist and ankle not like the cuffs weren’t already unpleasant enough. It took me a moment to realize that they were taking extra special care to keep me locked up. I already knew part of the reason was the fact they couldn’t house me in a regular cell even with these inhibitor cuffs that would be just insane on their part but this room was built special wasn’t it. My head was hung down while I thought about it, I wasn’t lying down I was on my knees since I wasn’t coherent enough to stand. My arms were spread apart by the chains.

I had been held captive by Prometheus for who knows how long, I’d been in multiply facilities but not one quiet like this. This was a prison, they were trying to break us in here, trying to break me. I closed my eyes for a moment and bit my lip. I stopped for a second then bit it hard enough that I drew blood. It seemed stupid to do but it was important to me because it was symbolic. They may have beaten me today but they didn’t draw first blood. I just took that away from them. Blood ran down the right side of my lip and dropped to the cell floor.

My head shot up while I glared at my cell door with a burning anger in my eyes.

“I will escape from here, no matter what you throw at me I’m gonna be the one to walk out of here alive.”

About the Author

My name is Adeleke Kayode

Writing is my passion. Something I wouldn’t have discovered if it wasn’t for my brother. He told me I couldn’t write a story so I took out a notebook and pencil that day and began writing.

And now I’m here. By taking that notebook that day I started something and learned something about myself. As I wrote and brainstormed. And changed things within the story I noticed that I was really enjoying it.

I loved the idea of creating my own story, characters, worlds. And now I want to be able to share some of those characters, stories and worlds.

Posted in 4 paws, Fantasy, Review on December 3, 2017

Synopsis

Racine stumbles into her own “herstory” on a visit to the Library Of Congress, as her own “herstory” unfolds, Racine discovers she is part of a great, sweeping mythological world that transcends time and space; and along the way, the 19 year old Racine comes to understand that all the adversity she faced is part of a greater story, and one in which she has the power to narrate for herself. Racine discovers the ultimate truth of good is wrapped up in the magic of Story. Stories have the power to change the world, but first, the stories need unlocking.

Amazon CA * Amazon UK * Amazon AU

Review

While normally not a huge reader of fantasy novels, I picked this one up because the character hides in a library to escape those wishing her harm or to torment Racine.  What I found was a story woven in several realms, with druids and dragons and a young woman learning more about herself and learning how to become someone that was more in control of her being, thoughts and dreams.

While some of the story is in our reality, most of it is not and perfect for those that enjoy the mystical world.  The descriptions bring those worlds into vivid reality for the reader and we can feel like we are there experiencing everything with Racine.  I felt like Racine learned a lot and from many wise female characters and you could liken it to mentors and role models that young women have today.

We give this 4 paws up.

About the Author

Alison Clarke is a writer/artist who also enjoys painting and drawing. She also experiences life as a spoken word artist.

Alison is the author of The Sisterhood, a young adult fantasy novel about Oppie, a sorceress’ daughter, and her best friend, Aurie, who is a dragon, and the journey they go on to save the universe. The Sisterhood is Book One of The Sisterhood Series, and is published by Little Bird Publishing House in London, England.  The second book in the series is Racine, about a young woman’s journey learning about her mystical beginnings on a trip to the Library Of Congress. Both books incorporate themes of the power of friendship, teamwork, and love.

Before Alison entered mainstream publishing, she was indie published with two picture books: The Adventures Of Eli The Elephant, and Eli Goes To The Moon. The second book she also illustrated.

Alison is very involved in the community, participating in events such as Black Arts Matter, a festival focusing on the arts of black artists. In August, 2017, Alison was also part of Chapter.con, a book convention where she met fantasy authors from around the world.

She was also a panelist talking about the importance of diversity in young adult literature. Chapter.con was organized by the publisher of her Sisterhood Series, Little Bird Publishing House. For Alison, life is an interesting journey. Whether she is immersing herself in poetry, prose, or visual art, Alison is at home.

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Posted in Fantasy, Spotlight, Young Adult on November 8, 2017

Synopsis

“The metal horned unicorns are doomed!” That’s what Lauda Lead Horn wailed when she first saw the tribe’s new savior. OK, so his horn was not metal. . .and he did not have a magic power. . .and he was really a puny little runt. But doomed? Were things really that bad?

Well, things were pretty bad in the land of MarBryn. Magh, an evil sorcerer utilized unicorn horns and hooves to create his magical potions and spells. Those he used, to increase his power and to conquer everyone in his path. All of the unicorns from the Tribe of the Metal Horn were now gone . . . except for twelve survivors.

Before the blue unicorn was born, Numen told Alumna, the aluminum-horned oracle, that he had a plan to bring the tribe back home to Unimaise. His prophecy was, “Only the blue unicorn can join with the Moon-Star. Until then, no new unicorns will be born.” Blue was the last unicorn born. Twenty years later, his horn was still covered with a plain blue colored hide. There was not a glint of metal to be seen on it or his hooves. And he still didn’t have any magic. But he was no longer scrawny and he had his wits. Though no one else in the tribe thought he had a chance, Blue felt ready to make Magh pay for his evil deeds. And he went off to do it alone. That was Blue’s first mistake. If the entire tribe was not standing horn-tip to horn-tip at the proper time and the exact place to help usher the Moon-Star Spirit into Blue’s horn, he would die. Then, the rest of the tribe would really be doomed.

Readers will follow along two journey paths in this book. Blue is joined in his travels by his mentor Gaiso, the Stag and his friend, Girasol the Firebird as they try to find their way across a danger-filled MarBryn to Muzika Woods. The rest of Blue’s tribe is forced to follow another route due to Nix Nickle Horn’s unfortunate incident with a Manticore. Nix, the great unicorn defender must safely lead the way for Ghel, the Golden-Horned unicorn; Silubhra Silver Horn; Cornum the Brass-Horned unicorn; Steel Horned Style; Cuprum the Copper-Horned unicorn; Tin-Horned Tinam; Dr. Zinko; Iown the Iron-Horned unicorn and the others in an action packed adventure to their destination in Muzika Woods. Both journey paths converge there in the Nebulium Circle.

 

About the Author

I’m Sybrina. . .. . .Just one of millions of wannabe author/singer/songwriters out there but I hope, after reading or hearing my books and songs, you’ll think my contributions to the world have as much value as any other famous artist out there today.

Fame is all in being in the right place at the right time but at least with the internet and venues like this, all of us have opportunities to share our creativity with the world. I’m so happy that I am able to share my works with you. That is awesome!

The books I’ve written span a wide range between illustrated picture books, coloring books and YA novels to technical and how-to books. If you’re so inclined you can read a little bit about the inspiration for each one below.

My latest effort is “The Blue Unicorn’s Journey To Osm. It is a book I started writing 30 something years ago and never finished. At the time, it was meant to be an epic fantasy along the lines of novels written by Tolkien, Piers Anthony, Ursula K. Le Guin and other amazing fantasy writers. I’ve pulled out my notes, dusted off the outline and began rewriting and expanding upon the 50 pages I had began. This story is now available as an Illustrated Book for teens and older readers in full color and in black and white, too. The black and white version is a “Read and Color” book. Read a chapter, then color the following pages. How fun is that? There is also a picture book for pre-schoolers called Unicorns From Unimaise – The Magical Metal-Horn Trobe. A longer version of the chapter book will soon be available as an Illustrated Novel with a companion glossary called, The Marbryn Compendium. All of the fantastic fantasy illustrations are by Dasguptarts. There is also a companion coloring/character description book, edited by Calyie Martin. It will introduce potential readers to the myriad of characters, places and things in the story.

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Posted in Fantasy, Giveaway, Interview on October 17, 2017

Synopsis

Dahlia, a centuries old genie, lies hopelessly trapped in a damaged golden locket charm attached to an ankle bracelet. Its owner, sixteen-year-old Liana, wears it for the first time during her father Jamison’s opening night illusion spectacular. Not only does its presence cause Jamison to folly his performance, but it also starts a chain of bizarre events that lead to a showdown with Dahlia’s mortal enemy, Stefan, and an unsuspecting romance between Liana and his son.

Interview with Matt

How did you do research for your book?

I did most of my research online. I had a lot of ideas that I wanted to incorporate into the genie/djinn folklore, but I didn’t want them to be completely without foundation. My goal was to create a world that was intriguing to those who had no knowledge of genies, aside from Disney’s Aladdin, and true to those who hold may this folklore dear to their heritage.

In your book you make a reference to quantum physics. How did you come up with this idea?

While I was writing the first draft, I stumbled upon an online news article about a new discovery where particles seemingly knew what was going to happen before it actually happened. This theory more or less answered the question: If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to see or hear it, does it still fall/make a sound? The answer, according to this theory is, No; the tree only falls/makes a sound if someone/something in the future knows that another will witness it. I used this theory as an explanation of genie powers and how they are able to make the impossible, possible.

There are many books out there about genies, what makes yours different?

I incorporated two things that I thought would set this story apart from typical genie stories: the idea of a half genie/half human entity and the very real possibility that the entire mythology of the djinn is a product of mental illness.

Your book is partially set in the Middle East. Have you been there?

I have not been there, but my brother in-law is from Syria, so I have a decent amount of exposure to the culture.

What is the last great book you’ve read?

While I’ve liked Kurt Vonnegut for some time, I recently read his “The Sirens of Titan” and loved it.  I think a lot of people feel that they have been used by others and feel that their worth is summed up by the cliché, “what have you done for me lately.” And while this sentiment may cause great despair, the book reminds us of the alternative: “The worst thing that could possibly happen to anybody, would be to not be used for anything by anybody.”

Do you have another profession besides writing?

Yes, I am the co-founder and Vice President of a boutique medical billing firm in New York City.

About the Author

Matt Dallmann has a background in acting and holds a BFA from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. His films and screenplays have been featured at film festivals across the United States including Cinequest, Big Apple Film Festival, Seattle’s True Independent Film Festival, DragonCon and Zero Independent Film Festival. His piano compositions have been published for commercial use and he is a member of ASCAP. Matt is also the Co-Founder and Vice President of the boutique medical billing firm VGA Billing Services, Inc. in New York City. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.

Amazon Author Page * Goodreads

Giveaway

Prizes: ​ Win a print copy of Tribal Affairs + $10 Amazon gift card, one winner will also get a print copy of Arabian Nights Tales (6 winners total, open internationally to any country where Amazon.com delivers)
(ends Nov 3)

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Posted in excerpt, Fantasy, Spotlight on October 2, 2017

Synopsis

Witness a tale unfold before your very eyes. In the land of Nether, a magical world where magic is alive and real. A land where heroes raise and monsters fall. Where mystery and untold truths lurk beneath the surface. After all the world of Nether is a magical place, even so magic is not embraced by all. In truth people fear magic and magical creatures save for the brave men and woman who train to defend the land from their vile evil.

And Trent is one such brave young man, well at least he tries to be. Trent Bartholomew Albinus the 3rd, a student at the heroic Gilgamesh academy faces the everyday challenges one might expect a warrior in training to face. As well as challenges that not even he was expecting.

This is the story of his journey. This is Trent’s chronicles.

A tale of magic, self-discovery and most importantly dragons. Join Trent on his journey and witness the Chronicles of Nether.

Excerpt

Within in a large wheat field there was a lone figure making his way across the vast landscape. He was hooded and wore a dark gray robe which concealed the rest of his body. The only thing the robe could not conceal was the man’s bright golden reptile like eyes, they were slit. You may ask why this was and I will answer you, this very man in particular was a Dragon.

I know when we think dragon we think large scaly reptile with wings that breathe fire and yes that is a typical dragon and so was this man. To differentiate the two I will refer to human dragons as dracominus-basically dragon being or dracon for short and normal dragon as the standard dragon. Dracon are typically believed to be dragons in human form, something that I now have actually information on but we’ll elaborate further on when necessary.

This dracon whose name happened to be Alaric, something I would learn later. Anyway Alaric was traversing through the wheat fields just outside my village of Taren, he was headed to the castle. It wouldn’t take him long to reach the castle just a couple hours actually but before he reached it. He would have to make his way through a group of Guard Saints that were galloping on horseback toward him. They had appeared out of nowhere but in reality they had been lying in wait for their chance to ambush Alaric.

Unfortunately for them it was near impossible to get the jump on a dragon, sorry dracon. He had smelled them a mile away only playing the fool in an attempt to get them to lose their guard and show themselves, which they did.

Alaric was a steady fellow who wasn’t prone to worrying in battle even if he was outnumbered. There were four Hallowed Knights approaching swords drawn they leapt from their horses just as they reached Alaric. He swayed to the side to avoid the first slash from the closest knight while the others began encircling him.

“Dragons are not welcome in this land. You should leave while you still have your head.”

Alaric looked unfazed at the man’s comment. “Do you have a family?” He said the words in a quiet voice barely a whisper.

“What did you say? Beast!”

Alaric looked at the man seemingly uninterested in him. He turned his attention to the others before looking into the eyes of the man who spoke.

“You think because you have me outnumber that it’s the same as having me outmatch. How I envy your naiveté.” Alaric’s words were calm and quick.

The Hallowed Knights gave each other quick glances, they were becoming unsure of themselves only their leader whose name I believed to be Thomas had ever faced down a dracon before. The others had no idea what they were getting into but they were about to learn and it would be a grave lesson indeed.

“Well are we not going to begin?” Alaric asked calmly.

“Silence beast! I will cut out your boastful tongue and carry it in a pouch as a trophy.”

Thomas was getting mad, Alaric smiled under his robe standing perfectly still as two of the knights charged him. They held their swords high bringing them down with as much force as they could. Alaric jumped back lightly avoiding their slashes then he dashed toward the furthest knight. Grabbing him by the head, Alaric slammed him into the ground embedding it there. Smoke rose from Alaric’s hand as he removed it from the man’s head. The knight was wearing nethermetal armor so it was only natural that it would burn. Even so Alaric didn’t mind the sting it was the least of his worries just like the knights in front of him who were in over their heads.

“Oh God! He killed him! The monster killed him!”

It was one of the remaining Hallowed Knights that was panicking, he took a few steps back revealing his fear. Alaric glanced in his direction while Thomas rushed at Alaric and began slashing at him violently. Slash after slash, Alaric evaded with ease making sure never to break eye contact with his attacker. He was doing this to unnerve him and it was working.

“I will have your head….blaaaaa”

Thomas’s words were cut short by the hand that plunged through his stomach. Blood ran down Alaric’s hand while smoke rolled off it in plumes still Alaric held it there to make a point.

About the Author

My name is Adeleke Kayode

Writing is my passion. Something I wouldn’t have discovered if it wasn’t for my brother. He told me I couldn’t write a story so I took out a notebook and pencil that day and began writing.

And now I’m here. By taking that notebook that day I started something and learned something about myself. As I wrote and brainstormed. And changed things within the story I noticed that I was really enjoying it.

I loved the idea of creating my own story, characters, worlds. And now I want to be able to share some of those characters, stories and worlds.

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Posted in excerpt, Fantasy, paranormal, Science Fiction, Spotlight on August 18, 2017

Synopsis

…Death and the stillness of death are the only things certain and common to all in this future… -Friedrich Nietzsche

Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear.
She is sixteen years old.

Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive super computer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model.
Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale.

What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed.

Excerpt

It was an unsettling feeling to say the least. One second she was lying in the hospital bed surrounded by frantic medical professionals, and then suddenly she wasn’t. In fact, Rose was not at all sure what she experienced.

Rose had understandably developed an interest in near-death experiences over the past year or so. She had watched a ton of documentaries on the subject before she got too weak to work the TV remote. Her mother had encouraged it, along with far too many hours of what Rose scornfully referred to as “Jesus TV”. Gypsie Johnson had hoped this would reassure Rose, help her cope with what was happening to her, but it did not.

Usually, the shows just made her angry that she had to worry about such things at all. Still, she was well versed in the usual particulars of transitioning to the afterlife – the out of body experience, the long tunnel, the bright light, the dearly departed relatives to greet you in Heaven… That was not at all what she experienced now.

Is this it? She thought in confusion. Am I dead?

She waited. Then she waited some more for something to occur that felt… she wasn’t sure… death-like? Nothing really appeared to happen, but Rose could not be positive, not at all certain what ‘dead’ was supposed to feel like.

“How long are you going to lie there?” a bemused female voice asked. “You’ve arrived, you know… Wouldn’t you like get up and look around? I’ve been waiting for you.”

Slowly, Rose cracked open her eyes. She saw earth and grass beneath her tightly clenched fingers. Hesitantly she lifted her head and caught her breath at what she beheld. Rose stood and slowly turned a wide circle in amazement.

A flaxen field of tall grass stretched away from her in every direction to disappear into the distant horizon. Birds chirped, insects buzzed, and she felt warm sunlight, golden on her face. The smell of fragrant flowers and greenery, heavy in the honeyed air, assailed her nostrils and permeated her deepest self to saturate her very essence with an abstruse sense of felicity and well-being. Then she caught sight of a figure, standing just a few feet away.

She was a very beautiful woman. Her dark-brown, luminous eyes were large, almond shaped, and sparkling. They glinted with amusement. Her hair was long, black, and silky, flowing nearly all the way to the red, wooden sandals on her tiny feet. It gracefully framed her pretty face. She was dressed in a gorgeous, bright pink kimono liberally embroidered with a swirling floral pattern of gold.

“Welcome,” the woman greeted amiably with a low bow as she twirled a red, paper parasol slung casually over her left shoulder. Her genial voice floated across the bucolic plain. There was a quality about it that sparkled as brightly as the effulgent sun. “You are among the first to arrive.”

Rose simply stared.  A gentle breeze tousled her long brown hair, and she casually wiped a strand from her eyes. Then she froze. Her hair… She gave the errant strand a tug then gaped at the smiling woman in astonishment.

“Where am I?” she breathed. “Is this Heaven?”

The kimono wrapped woman laughed.

“Well,” she began. “Perhaps it could be. I like it, certainly. I hope that you will too! I’m glad that you’ve chosen my kingdom. You’re actually my first.”

“Kingdom? Chose? I don’t…” Rose stuttered. Then she shook her head and took a deep breath before asking, “Who are you? Are you a… a queen or a… a… an angel or something?” Her voice softened to a murmur. “You’re beautiful…”

The woman giggled girlishly, and her cheeks flushed pleasantly pink. The parasol flashed out of existence.

“Thank you,” she murmured, fanning herself with a pink, silk folding fan that suddenly materialized in her right hand. “I do try. In any case, to answer your second question first, you may call me Hana. If I have to choose, I think I prefer to think of myself as a princess, but some of the others choose differently. And your name is… Rose?” A broad smile spread across Hana’s face.

Rose nodded wordlessly.

“Rose!” Hana repeated with a musical giggle. Her eyes glittered, and her grin pleasantly dimpled her porcelain cheeks. She clapped her dainty hands together in delight. “Rose and Hana! What an apt pair! Well, I am quite delighted to meet you, Rose. I’m glad you are my Veda. I hope you will be happy here.”

There was too much of the woman’s speech that Rose did not understand – far too many questions to be asked. They seemed to flood her brain to bursting so that she could not fully articulate any of them. At last she picked the one that seemed simplest.

“Please, Princess” Rose entreated. “Where is here exactly?”

“Oh!” Princess Hana exclaimed. “I apologize! This place is called Aaru, and you now find yourself in my kingdom of Tenkoku. Aaru is a new place… Another place… Maybe, I could say… the next place?”

Her brow furrowed as she noted Rose’s confused expression.

“I’m sorry,” Hana apologized. “I don’t really know how else to express it. If I told you simply that Aaru is a good place, could you accept that?”

Rose nodded uncertainly.

About the Author

David Meredith is a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee. He received his Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. On and off, he spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but currently lives with his wife and three children in the Nashville Area where he continues to write and teach English.

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Posted in Fantasy, Historical, romance, Spotlight, Trailer on July 28, 2017

Synopsis

A Twist of Fate… A Battle of Wills…

Aestrid Karisson, a Viking princess who lives by her own rules; fiercely free and independent – that is, whenever she can elude the watchful eyes of her overbearing father. When she escapes for an afternoon of adventure, she never suspected to forever alter her destiny.

Captured by a band of raiding Picts, Aestrid is adorned and bound for sacrifice. In the midst of their ritual of blood and fire, the Picts are ransacked by Veleif Kollsvein and his fearsome warriors. Reputed as the most brutal barbarian across all of the North Seas, Aestrid unwittingly trades one abductor for another. Journeying farther from her home across this unforgiving landscape; it isn’t until they reach Veleif’s stronghold that her true identity is discovered.

The oceans are cracking with ice, the mountains impassable, and Veleif refuses Aestrid’s pleas to be returned home. Determined to torment him until he complies, this vixen wages a personal war with the dark and dangerous Viking prince. But when Veleif’s high council decides the two must marry, and quickly, to unite their kingdoms – Veleif combats her with a campaign of his own. Seduction.

Can the wicked heat in Veleif’s game of delicious temptation melt Aestrid’s combative heart? Will the Viking prince tame this warrior princess and claim her as his willing bride? Or will she forever see him as nothing more than her heartless enemy?

His Viking Bride is a love story filled with folly and challenge, wit and passion… by two iron-willed characters who share more than their explosive traits… the ecstasy of all-consuming love.

Trailer

About the Author

Since Olivia Norem was old enough to remember, she devoured books and became enchanted with the worlds the authors created. Imagination, unforgettable characters, and the swoon-worthy, alpha males have made a huge impact on her writing style.

Olivia is known for strong, sassy characters who are always ready with a quip of humor, despite their situations. Born in the Chicago area, Olivia moved to the sunny shores of the Tampa Bay more years ago then she cares to admit. This “semi-native” writes full-time, and enjoys her “C” hobbies: cats, cigars and classic cars.

…and now, for a brief video interlude… Enjoy these Book Trailers

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Posted in excerpt, Fantasy, Spotlight on July 28, 2017

Synopsis

Rhianwyn of the Caderyn is conflicted about giving up a warrior’s life to become a wife and mother, but her love for her new husband is enough to at least make her consider it. However, with the conquering Gaians moving ever closer to her homeland a peaceful life may no longer be an option, for Rhia or for any of her people. With rival tribes, old suitors, and the dangerous General Lepidus to contend with, Rhia soon finds her new family in unprecedented danger, and her choices now must be about more than just herself…

Wildcat is set in a fantasy world inspired by Iron Age Wales and Imperial Rome. The story is that of a young tribeswoman facing a war that sees her people humbled by the expanding Gaian Empire. Forcibly married into a Gaian family, she has to cope with multiple personal tragedies, learn to adapt to an alien society, and save her people from further subjugation by the ambitious Gaian generals.

Excerpt

‘Taran!’

Rhia screamed the War God’s name with joyful rage as hot blood spattered on her face. Rhia was small and the Gorvic was big, but already he was doubled over and on his knees thanks to the axe she’d left imbedded his stomach. At first his hands had clutched at the haft, trying to drag the weapon from her grip or else pull it from his wound, and for a moment Rhia had lost her balance. But then she’d simply abandoned her axe and grabbed a fistful of blonde hair, yanking his head back hard before her knife opened his throat. Bright red now sprayed both on Rhia and on the grass below, and the young woman felt the thrill of battle rise up in her like a flood, erupting from her mouth in another bellowed warcry;

‘Taran!’

The Gorvic’s body jerked and twisted in her grip and she let go the hank of hair, leaving the dying man to collapse to the muddy ground. When they’d arrived at Broken Stream the fields had been nothing but a vibrant green on both sides of the water. Belenos had been shining overhead when the two warbands first faced each other across the little ford, and the stream had been clear and bright and gurgling merrily along its way.

Now the sky was overcast and warriors from both sides lay dead or dying all around. The ground had been churned up into a treacherous mire of mud and the stream was now tainted by the blood of wounded fighters. The scene might have been another world entirely, somewhere far away from the tranquil valley it had been this morning. Though the change in the image was as nothing to the change in the sound of this place.

This morning Broken Stream had known little noise but the trickling of the waters and the singing of the birds. Then the Gorvicae had come and they and the Caderyn had traded insults and boasts, jeers and challenges, and the air had been alive with the voices of warriors, all daring each other to attack first. Then the two sides had charged, and the insults and challenges had changed to warcries and screams, and the sound of iron meeting iron and of iron meeting flesh had combined to fill the valley with the dreadful song of battle.

And Rhia loved it.

She cast her eyes around to find another Gorvic to fight, her eyes wide and almost feverish, her hands shaking in anticipation. This was her first battle, the first time she had fought for her people, and the fear she’d felt before it had melted away into something like lust as she sought out another victim for her long knife and narrow axe. Remembering that the latter weapon was still lodged in a Gorvic’s stomach, she crouched down and began working it free of its fleshy prison, all the while looking around her at the carnage.

Even with her limited experience Rhia could tell the Caderyn had all but won, and she screamed out in wordless triumph as her axe came free of her enemy. She held the weapon high above her head as she looked around the bloody field. Nearly all the Gorvicae were fleeing back across the stream, only a few dozen still fighting of the two hundred who’d come here this morning. Rhia saw Caderyn fighters encircling the few who were still refusing to run away, and her breath caught in her throat as she took in the long iron swords and rigid white hair of their warrior elite. They were the Gadarim: The Mighty.

The finest of the Gorvicae fought with their hair twisted into spikes and bleached blindingly white with lime and Rhia knew that, like the Gadarim of her own people, the patterns on their skin were made of more than simple woad. Rhia, like every warrior on that field, had painted her body with swirling shapes of bright blue, to attract the favour of the gods and inspire terror in her enemies. Twin snakes writhed up her arms from wrist to shoulder, one of them continuing up her neck and around the ear to cover her cheek. She was liberally sprinkled with blood and grime by now and sweat and struggle had caused much of the warpaint to smudge or fade, risking the chance of the gods losing sight of her in all the chaos. The men of the Gadarim had no such concern.

Though they had painted over them before the battle to make them brighter, the spirals and whorls on their bodies had been tattooed there to shine forever, ensuring that Taran and Mabonac would never lose sight of their most favoured warriors. For the most part only their faces had mere woad to decorate them today, the honour of permanency there being reserved for the greatest of fighters. Rhia wondered for a wistful moment if she might know that honour someday but she shook her head at the foolish notion. Female Gadarim were a rare thing. Instead she settled for looking around for some more Gorvicae to kill. She spotted one, a lad of about her own years, who seemed torn between running back across the stream and running forwards to where the Gadarim fought. She decided to make his mind up for him.

What member of the Caledon tribe are you?

Click on this link to find out!

About the Author

JP Harker is the pen-name of James Thomas, an obsessive martial artist and a committed geek of various types, who apparently didn’t drive his fiancée mad enough with those things and so took up writing fantasy books as well. A proud Welshman with just enough Saxon in him to make things interesting, James hails from glamorous Glamorgan where he currently works in the exciting world of hospital admin.

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Posted in Fantasy, Guest Post, Science Fiction on July 22, 2017

Synopsis

JANEY SINCLAIR never knew how or why she gained her ability to teleport. She never wanted it, and for years tried her best to ignore it. But when horrible violence shattered her world, she vowed to use her mysterious talent to protect the citizens of Atlanta, in an effort to prevent anyone else from suffering the kind of agony she had. Wearing a suit of stolen military body armor, Janey became known to the public as the GRAY WIDOW.

But now the extraterrestrial source of her “Augmentation” is about to reveal itself, in an event that will profoundly impact Janey’s life and the lives of those closest to her—

TIM KAPOOR, who barely survived the assault of twisted, bloodthirsty shapeshifter Simon Grove and still struggles to pull himself together, both physically and mentally.

NATHAN PITTMAN, the teenager who got shot trying to imitate Janey’s vigilante tactics, and has since become obsessed with the Gray Widow.

SHA’DAE WILKERSON, Janey’s neighbor and newfound best friend, whose instant chemistry with Janey may have roots that neither of them fully understand.

And Janey’s going to need all the help she can get, because one of the other Augments has her sights set on the Gray Widow. The terrifying abomination known as APHRODITE LUPO is more powerful and lethal than anyone or anything Janey has ever faced. And Aphrodite is determined to recruit Janey to her twisted cause…or take her off the field for good.

Unrelenting ghosts of the past clash with the vicious threats of the future. Janey’s destiny bursts from the shadows into the light in GRAY WIDOW’S WEB, leaving the course of humanity itself forever changed.

Guest Post

I guess one of the strangest thing that’s happened to me in my writing career—or at least one of the most perplexing—is something I’ve come to think of as…

THE GREAT NADIA MYSTERY

or

WEIRDNESS AT THE BEERFEST

In 2014, I got hired to do some writing on a video game called Dying Light. Most of the game work I had done up to that point had involved a little bit of traveling, usually to Canada, and usually for maybe a week at a time every few months. Dying Light was being developed by a Polish company called Techland, and in the course of getting the job, I found out that there would be a good bit of on-site work. Like, several months’ worth. In Poland.

But hey, I needed the job, and as my wife Tracy put it, “When else are you going to get to visit a country you’ve never been to before, and on someone else’s dime?” So I packed my bags and headed out for Wrocław, Poland’s southernmost major city.

A little background: those trips to Canada were the only trips out of the United States I had ever taken. This job in Poland also involved my first-ever trans-oceanic flight and my first-ever trip to Europe—where I bypassed all the English-speaking countries entirely and landed firmly in Central Europe.

I made some really good friends while I was there, several of whom I still keep in touch with. (Hi Magda! Hi Maciek! Hi Michał!) (Not all Polish names start with M, despite how this makes it sound.) But I was a foreigner in a country where I spoke only a few words of the native language, those few being the ones I had learned in the weeks leading up to my trip. What I’m getting at is that it was very easy for me to feel isolated.

Well, my older brother Clint worked with a Pole who turned out to be from Wrocław. My brother’s colleague, when he found out where I was going, immediately said to Clint, “Get him to look up my brother! He can show your brother around the city! It’ll be great!” I’m certainly not averse to making new friends, so I happily took down Clint’s colleague’s brother’s number there in Wrocław, and around the third week I was there, I called the guy up.

He was very friendly, but he didn’t speak much English, as he was quick to point out. He said, “What we can do is take you to the beer festival going on at the stadium this Saturday. Would you like to go?” I was immediately very interested in a Polish beer festival—the Poles take their beer pretty seriously—so I said that I would indeed like to go. He said, “Great. My daughter speaks much better English than I do. She’ll come along and translate.”

So the work week went by, and when Friday afternoon rolled around, I got contacted by the guy’s daughter, whom I’ll call Nadia. (Not her real name, in case that wasn’t obvious.) Well, Nadia’s English wasn’t really that much better than her father’s, but she did make it clear that her father wasn’t going to be able to make it to the beer fest, and did I want to just go with her?

This struck me as a little odd, but I didn’t want to offend anyone, so I said, “Sure, I’ll meet you there.” In the interest of actually communicating effectively, though, I asked my friend Maciek and his wife Monika if they’d like to come along as well, since they’re both Poles who speak very-nearly-perfect English. They agreed, with the caveat that Monika would have to join Maciek and me a bit later, so Maciek and I went to meet Nadia at the Wrocław stadium (which is really a sight to behold once it gets dark, as the entire outside walls of the place light up and constantly shift colors).

It took a few minutes for Nadia to find us. When she finally rendezvoused with Maciek and me, my first thought was, “Wow, she looks like what would happen if Evangeline Lilly worked out a lot more, and maybe spent most weekends playing soccer.” Nadia was clearly kind of uneasy at meeting these people she didn’t know, and truth be told, the situation still felt pretty weird to me. But again, new friends = good, so I introduced Maciek and myself, and once Nadia realized we weren’t a couple of maniacs, she relaxed a bit and we all just stood around and drank (amazing) beers and got to know each other.

It turned out that Nadia was twenty-seven years old, had lived in Wrocław all her life, had a steady job that she didn’t care for all that much, and was just in general a very nice person. She also seemed very interested in how Maciek and I both worked in video games, and even more interested in what life was like in America. I learned at least half of this information thanks to Maciek translating, because Nadia’s English, as I said before, was pretty limited.

Now, during all of this, there was a thought in the back of my mind. I didn’t think it was a very realistic thought, but it hung there, poking at me: did Clint’s colleague think he was setting his niece up with a nice American man?

Surely not, I thought. Surely my brother mentioned that I was married. And it wasn’t as if Nadia was coming on to me. She was just talking with us. Still, to make sure there weren’t any crossed wires, I mentioned my wife several times, along with how I was fifteen years older than Nadia was.

Anyway. Monika arrived, and the four of us spent another couple of hours hanging out and drinking more (amazing isn’t even the right word for it, there was this strawberry ale that made my toes curl, holy cow) beer. By the end of the evening, we decided that we all had indeed made some new friends, and Nadia said that next time we saw each other, maybe I could help her a bit with her English. I said I’d be happy to, and she said she’d contact me the following week.

She never called.

We had exchanged numbers, and at one point I sent her a text, just in case she had misplaced my number. She sent back an oddly-worded reply about how she was hiking in the mountains. That was the last bit of communication I got, and I didn’t press it.

So from then on, I was left wondering. Was the whole thing supposed to be a set-up, but then she went home and looked me up on Facebook and saw that I was married? Or is that just my writer’s over-active imagination at work? Maybe she was just being polite the whole evening, and was happy never to see the weird American guy again? Like, had I offended her in some way and not realized? I don’t know. The one thing I did find out later, that might have some bearing on it or might not, is that in Poland, you wear your wedding ring on your right hand.

Anyway. I have no answers for the whole deal. It remains The Great Nadia Mystery.

About the  Author

Dan Jolley started writing professionally at age nineteen. Beginning in comic books, he soon branched out into original novels, licensed-property novels, children’s books, and video games. His twenty-six-year career includes the YA sci-fi/espionage trilogy Alex Unlimited; the award-winning comic book mini-series Obergeist; the Eisner Award-nominated comic book mini-series JSA: The Liberty Files; and the Transformers video games War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron. Dan was co-writer of the world-wide-bestselling zombie/parkour game Dying Light, and is the author of the Middle Grade Urban Fantasy novel series Five Elements. Dan lives somewhere in the northwest Georgia foothills with his wife Tracy and a handful of largely inert cats.

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