Monday, April 23, 2018

#Excerpt: ISAN by Mary Ting


ISAN
Mary Ting
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: May 1st 2018
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult

THE WORLD HAS CHANGED.
SCIENTISTS WARNED IT WOULD HAPPEN.
Meteors devastated the Earth. World Governments developed plans to help surviving citizens. The United States disbanded and salvageable land was divided into our quadrants—North, South, East, and West—governed by The Remnant Council.
Struggling to survive, seventeen-year-old Ava ends up in juvenile detention, until she is selected for a new life—with a catch. She must be injected with an experimental serum. The results will be life changing. The serum will make her “better.” To receive the serum, Ava agrees to join a program controlled by ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network.
While on a mission, she is abducted by a rebel group led by Rhett and told that not only does she have a history with him, but her entire past is a lie perpetuated by ISAN to ensure her compliance. Unsure of who to trust, Ava must decide if her strangely familiar and handsome captor is her enemy or her savior—and time is running out.



EXCERPT:
When the bodyguard with the gun directed the weapon at Roxy, something dangerous ignited in me knowing my team would be next. This foreign existence in my core wanted blood. It wanted death. It wanted destruction. I became a monster. Helix transformed me into a shallow shell to servitude—a perfect model of ISAN assassin.
I pulled my gun from the side of my boot and took aim. The bodyguard who had shot Roxy’s team went down first, followed by the others.
Don’t look at their faces. Don’t make eye contact. But I did look at their faces, and I did make eye contact.
Each guard held my foster father’s cruel face, his steel malevolent eyes. I saw the man who ripped the happiness out of my soul, who towered over me into submission, and molded me into a terrified little girl. For a heartbeat I froze, knees buckling, heart palpitating with trepidation and regret. I became that little girl. A rat, he had called me, and beat me until I stopped crying from missing my mother.
No more. No more. I am no longer that petrified girl.
Then, one after the other, as hunger for revenge drove me, as if each of the men was him, I shot them until they were all down.


Author Bio:
International Bestselling Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl.
When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

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#Excerpt: COME BACK TO ME by Trilina Pucci


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will receive an author selected package which includes a signed copy of the book, mug, water bottle, and other essentials for the avid reader. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Mia West is drawn to Cole Parker and she doesn't know why but each time he is around, she can't stop the pull, drawing her into dark secrets and closer to her past. Will she put the pieces of her life back together or just end up in his bed?

When she meets Jack, it's clear he wants Mia as his own but knows that to keep her means he has to keep her away from Cole. She wants to feel the spark with Jack but something keeps holding her back. Is it Cole or is there more to Jack than meets the eye?

When her past and present intersect, both men will give her reasons to run, the question is...whose arms will she run into.

Come Back to Me is the first book in the Forever series duet. The finale, Forever with Me, releases in June.

Excerpt:

“You have a little bit… right, here.” He uses his thumb to brush a spot of chocolate sauce from my lips. The heat from his thumb on my mouth spreads through my body and right to my center. Before I can help myself, the tip of my tongue licks the pad of his thumb. It happens so fast, but it’s as if we are suspended in time. I watch his eyes, suddenly nervous and yet not at all, and a low growl emerges from the back of his throat. He pulls away quickly, not wanting to call attention to us. All I can think of is that I want to suck on that thumb, just as a preview of what else I can do to him!

About the Author:

Trilina is an author, wife, and mama to three rowdy kiddos. When she isn't making grilled cheese sandwiches, she can be found writing saucy novels that titillate and excite her readers.

Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/trilinapuccibooks/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/trilinapucci
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/trilina_pucci
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39650406

Buy Links:

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/come-back-to-me-47
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/come-back-to-me/id1367323240?mt=11
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07BQFYLKB


The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2018/04/book-blast-come-back-to-me-by-trilina.html

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Friday, April 20, 2018

#Excerpt: FLESH INTO FIRE by J.A. Huss and Jonathan McClain


Flesh Into Fire
J.A. Huss & Jonathan McClain
(Original Sin #3)
Publication date: April 17th 2018
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

Payback is owed.
And Maddie Clayton is going to collect. This time Carlos and Logan have gone too far. People are dead, lives have been changed, and she’s had enough. Plus, she’s got the Devil on her side, so when an enemy turns into a friend with an idea of how to take Carlos down, she’s in.
Tyler Morgan has been fighting back his whole adult life. He’s ready for anything when it comes to payback. But endangering Maddie can’t be part of the deal. Unfortunately for him, once Maddie gets an idea in her head, there’s no stopping her.
Her debt has been paid in blood and she wants revenge.
His fight is still there, but now he’s got more at stake than himself.

The end is coming.
But even if they win against Carlos, they can still lose each other.


EXCERPT:
TYLER
I roll our interlaced fingers over so that I can see the back of her hand. It’s strong, but delicate. Long fingers and white skin. Veins that tense with the clench of her grip. Freckles. Just a few light, faint, perfect freckles.
I have the same thought I had the other day. That I want to learn her. Her body. Every millimeter of her. I want it burned into my brain. I want to imprint her into my memory before she goes. I want to study her. I want to have a PhD in Maddie Clayton.
I let go of her hand and stand up, turn to face her and then kneel down.
“What are you doing?” she asks.
I don’t say anything. She’s not wearing shoes, so I start tugging at the toes of her socks and she giggles as I work them off her legs and then hold her precious feet in my hands, examining them. I stroke the bones that run along the top, ending at the tips of her toes, and I kiss each toe one by one.
I turn them over to inspect the scar I found the other day, and I give it a kiss. Then I spread her legs and slide in between them, popping my head up to give her a kiss on the lips, before I unbutton her jeans and draw down the zipper. She leans back, propping herself on her elbows, and shimmies her hips as I pull her pants down. They’re so tight on her, so fitted, that they draw her underwear along with them as I pull, and then the pants are off her body and on the floor, and her bare calves, and knees, and thighs, and pussy are there for me to explore.
Still leaning back on her elbows, she tilts her head to the side, presses her lips together in a tight smile, and raises her eyebrows at me.
I lift one of her legs and place my face right next to it. Like an archaeologist exploring the contours of a priceless, ancient artifact.
Her smell. Her smell will be the thing that I know I will hold onto most. It’s always been that way for me. Smell is the most potent sense I have when it comes to triggering memories. When I smell cinnamon, I remember my mom. Because she was baking when she collapsed that last time after chemo. And so that’s the smell I choose to associate with my final memory of her, as opposed to the antiseptic smell of the hospital. Because that wasn’t her anymore anyway. Mom stayed in the kitchen. Only the shell of her stuck around for a couple weeks more in the hospital bed.
Anyway.
Right now, Maddie smells like freshly cut grass. She’s been packing and getting ready to leave all day, and it’s been weirdly warm of late, so she’s a little sweaty. And that smell—that pungent, dense, round smell of sweat on her skin that fills my nostrils—reminds me of summer. Which I love. Because I suppose that means that for the rest of my life, there’ll be an entire season where every day all I’ll be able to think about is her. Even though I don’t imagine needing a lot of prompts to steer my thoughts in her direction.
As I stroke my fingers along her leg, kissing as I go, and drinking in her scent with every breath, she drops down from her elbows, letting herself lie flat on her back, her legs dangling off the side of the bed. She traces her fingers up and down the line of her stomach, pushing her t-shirt up to the curve of her breasts as I continue my survey of her flesh.
I’m discovering things. Things that no one else on earth besides me will know.
Her right calf appears just infinitesimally stronger than her left. Her left knee is the teeniest bit knobbier than her right. And when I kiss her behind either of her knees, she shudders through her stomach, causing her toes to crinkle.
As I pass the bend in her knee, I draw my nose along the inside of her thigh. She wriggles a teeny bit as my beard moves along her soft skin. And then my mouth is right at the brink of her entrance. I take my thumb and run it along the pink folds and she lets out a “mmmmm.” I tilt my head, studying my fingers as they massage her tender skin, and take note of what sound each gesture evokes from her.
Kissing tenderly on her opening causes her to growl from somewhere deep inside her throat. So I do. I kiss, and I let my warm breath signal my presence, but I don’t want to penetrate her. Not this way. If she wants me to be inside her, I will happily oblige, but for now I just want to be here with her and hold her close.
And I will.
And I will hold her close in my thoughts every second that she’s gone.
But more importantly…
I will hold her in my heart.
MADDIE
Some people search their whole life looking for that one place they belong. For that one person who gets them. Who brings them into their world, lets them fall easily into the pull of their gravity, and lets them just… be. Just exist. Quietly. Naturally. Freely. This is Tyler for me. The center of my universe. The man around whom I now orbit.
Not like a satellite, either. But like… like two things meant to be one. Like long ago something crashed into us, broke us into little pieces, and left us adrift. Floating in directionless space. Spinning wildly with no tether. And now we’ve been pulled back together. And we circle each other, still spinning, but with the purpose of joining. Of becoming one thing again. Not because of tragedy, the way I’d imagined when I sent that letter. It’s not a lifeline of salvation connecting us now, but some force of nature we can’t explain, or control, or bend to our will. Some law of the universe that dictates the fate of things.
We are connected by something more powerful than shared sorrow. And every moment we’ve spent apart has been valuable. Necessary. Critical.
His mouth between my legs feels wonderful. I could close my eyes and enjoy it. Let myself reach the heights of pleasure.
But alone?
No. I’m done doing things alone. We’re connected now. And everything we do will be together.
So I whisper, “Tyler,” as I caress his head. Run my fingers through his hair. Touch his shoulders. Slide my fingertips up and down the hills and valleys of his muscular arms.
He looks up at me, his eyes smiling even though they’re half closed, even though his mouth is still working. His tongue still flicking against my pussy.
“Come up here,” I say. “And kiss my mouth.”
Now he smiles with his whole face. His hands plant on either side of my hips and he draws himself up to standing. He lifts his t-shirt over his head and undoes his jeans, letting them fall to the floor, and his nakedness reminds me that he has lived every single day of his time on this earth.
He leans onto the bed and eases forward. My legs open wider for him, welcome him between them as his cock—hard, and long, and ready—rests against my clit, making me want him.
If we stopped right now, if he just rested his chest on top of my breasts, became nothing more than heavy weight as he closed his eyes, relaxed, and fell asleep… I’d be content, happy, and satisfied.
And not because there’d be more chances to do this later. But because it’s him I want. Not the sex.
He leans down, his hands on either side of my head now. Bending the mattress the way spacetime bends around a sun. And when his lips reach mine, my eyes are closed.
And I fall again.
I fall far, and long, and easily. The same way I drifted towards him. And as I drift, weightless, we kiss. But I’m still connected to him. Always next to him. Because this is what it feels like to fall into someone, not away.
This is not me slipping down the mountain.
This is not me losing my footing.
This is me finding myself. In him. In us.
So when I reach my hand between my legs and place him right where he needs to be, he enters me. And all those broken, spinning pieces come together to once again create the thing we were always meant to become.
Our bodies move together. Perfectly synchronized. Like the dance of stars in space. His body is hot, and my body is hot, and the heat we create between us doesn’t burn like fire but rearranges us. Like the molecules of two metals mixing to form the strongest sword made of the very best steel.
Our lovemaking is slow. And perfect.
We reach the heights of pleasure together. As one. And it’s the kind of climax that only happens once in a lifetime. The kind of release that means more than the way it makes you feel. It tells you who you are, and who you’re with, and exactly where you fit in the grand scheme of things.
He says, “I love you, Madison.”
And I say it back. “I love you, Tyler.”
We mold ourselves into each other as we relax and grow sleepy. Our bodies back together. His arms around me. My back pressed against his chest.
Our hearts beating. Keeping time.
Becoming what we were always meant to be.


Author Bio:
Two accomplished writers come together to create unforgettable sexy romance. JA Huss is the New York Times bestselling author of 321 and has been on the USA Today bestsellers list eighteen times. Johnathan McClain is a veteran actor and writer whose work, either performed or written, is probably airing on at least one of the channels on your television right now. You can contact them on their website www.hussmcclain.com or find them at their social links below.

STALK JULIE
FACEBOOK / TWITTER / INSTAGRAM
STALK JOHNATHAN
FACEBOOK / TWITTER / INSTAGRAM

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

#New Short Story: OPERATION SUNDOWNER by James Moushon


Blurb:

A bomb explodes at a country club in Southern California and Jonathon Stone is right in the middle of things. Jonathon and fellow CIA agent Chuck Chun are assigned to protect Russ Evans, their boss from San Francisco, at a retirement party and things go terribly wrong. Several guests are killed and Russ is hurt. As the two CIA agents try to find the perpetrators, they end up with an op filled with out of the way places and superstition.

Amazon buy link:






 Author bio:
James Moushon is a Mystery writer, Author Advocate, and a Book Publishing Blogger. His blogs recently passed ONE MILLION views.

Starting over 15 years ago, he helped lead the startup of the electronic forms industry in the creation, conversion and usage of electronic forms by supplying that industry with a continuing source of published literature, software products and training seminars.

In 2003, Moushon changed his focus to ebooks and their development.

He is the author of the Jonathon Stone Mystery Novels. He has published three books: Black Mountain Secrets, Game of Fire and The Cajun Ghost plus several short stories including Operation No Sanctuary (June 2017), Operation Camp Navajo (July 2017), and Operation Asian Tiger (August 2017). All featuring CIA Agent Jonathon Stone.

A Jonathon Stone Mystery Short Story Winter 2017 has been released:
Operation Sundown (November 2017), Operation Little Havana (December 2017), and Operation Listen Close (January 2018). All featuring CIA Agent Jonathon Stone.

You can find his blogs at:

HBS Author's Spotlight http://bit.ly/QVEMix

The blog's purpose is to help authors get exposure in the book publishing industry. He has interviewed and showcased over 600 authors to date.

HBS Mystery Reader's Circle http://bit.ly/19Nfrx8

The HBS Mystery Reader's Circle provides information about the latest novels and what is coming next from a collection of Bestselling and Outstanding Authors in the Mystery, Thrillers, Historical Fiction and Crime genre.

Indie Author's Corner http://bit.ly/TauYkJ

The Corner is a collection of Author advice, ideas, experiences and studies including Marketing, Social Media and other major topics created to help writers in today's ever changing world of book publishing.

He has spent the majority of his adult life developing computer systems and thinking about writing mysteries.

His website is: www.jamesmoushon.com

To contact him, e-mail: james.moushon@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Interview with Arthur J Gonzalez, SONS OF GODS

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Logline: Cienzo has always had an affliction for metal and fire; he just never knew it would mean he was heir to the great Territories: Skies, Seas and the Underworld.

Long ago, the wrath of the three God brothers marked the onset of the Great War. The other Gods watched in horror, until they, too, were forced to take sides. Their beloved Mt Olympus collapsed, ruin was brought to all Divine, and the Age of Darkness gripped the world in its clutches. But a group of Gods was wise, and before their impending deaths, they had crafted a pact, committing to one day rebuilding the Territories - the Heavens, Seas, and the Underworld. It would usher in the world they protected and honored out from its darkness. And from it would rise the new Greats: the Sons of Gods. 

Cienzo has always had an affliction for metal and fire; never did he anticipate it would one day translate to wielding dormant powers. It is during a journey to fulfill a promise to his dying sister, that he is plunged into a dark and magical world, and where great responsibility is bestowed upon him. 

Is he worthy of assuming the throne of the Territories? Can shattering steel and splitting fire change his mind?

Do you have a favorite character?
I really love my character Kayana in the Sons of Gods. Her dedication is so deeply rooted. It’s not a common trait you see often, and the loyalty for Cienzo and Isla is a beautiful thing. Plus, she’s a major badass.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
I knew exactly what I wanted on my cover, and I did not shy away with communicating it, either. But I think it’s important to set clear expectations, and do so effectively. It eliminates any problematic interference in the future. Having good interpersonal skills goes a long way, too. The process for me was very easy, because when I did not necessarily agree with something I kindly rejected it, but explained the why. I also always, always complimented their work, because everything was truly amazing, just not always in the right direction. In the end, it is a world of working with others. And you can’t just be a writer in today’s world without a keen business mind and set of adequate people skills.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I have a journal with favorite words. I tend to skim through this first and get those buzz words flowing in the back of my brain. I start with a rough outline, for sure. It organizes me. I also constantly pull from my phone’s notepad. I have a pretty organized folder for each story in my Notepad on my phone. Once I map this out, I come to terms with what I want to write…sort of a realistic goal. Then I will visually map it out on paper.
Then I will pop on some jams—maybe some Odesza—plug in my head phones, and get to writing. Also, I should add, that coffee is a must!
Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Absolutely! And I caution anyone who is serious to hire a professional if self-publishing. It is the first sign of an amateur. You have one shot for a return reader. Do not ruin in by a cheap draft. Save the money, wait the time and be patient if needed and get it edited. Also, listen to your editor!
What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
I have learned that you must be open to continual learning. These evolve and change quickly. There is a lot of noise out there, and one must be ready to filter out what is important. Also, you have to be diligent, perseverant and hardworking. If you want to self-publish, and you make it to the finish line. . . then I commend you. Because it’s a lot of work. From saying “I want to write a book” to actually committing everything to doing so, is a testament to the human commitment. Rock on to every accomplished writer!

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
Instagram is a big one. But my biggest tools are Wattpad and virtual blog tours, to be honest. They really help with getting the word out.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Don’t stop. Dedicate time and write relentlessly. You will tear apart stories, but some of the ‘failures’ might become pieces to a larger future story. It has happened to me. So never, ever let a writing opportunity leave you.
Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I love being by the water. Any ocean time I can get I will. I love going out for walks and jogs, and remaining active. Anything that involves a sense of adventure is on my list. I also work full-time as a regional leader for a tech company. My team is absolutely amazing and they have become a family to me. I love them very much and I can without a doubt say I am passionate about them.
Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?
Dogs. I have my Schnoodle and she is my everything. But, I should add that I loooove animals.
Ugh—Chocolate. But I love vanilla, too. Total sweet tooth.
Text. Quick and to the point.
I love the night. Complete night owl.

What’s next for you?
Currently, I am working on Book 2, the Sequel to the Sons of Gods. The working title now is Blood of Gods. It will be pretty exciting, because it delves into the Underworld … and my vision for it is pretty stellar. Besides that, I am also working in my first try children’s illustration book, Mack and the Peculiar Tree. This is very exciting for me. I’m working with a talented artist from Spain who has illustrated some of the most breathtaking art I have seen.





Interview with Alexa Randolph, WITH LOVE, ELLA

Do you have a favorite character?
My favorite character is Ella Chambers. I find her to be a very strong person who does everything with her heart. She is always putting everyone and everything before herself. There are many parts of Ella that remind me of myself

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
I did try to go through the traditional publishing route by querying an agent, but after a while of no luck I decided to it try this way. I did a lot of research beforehand and once I realized that the main difference is with self publishing you pay everything up front and in traditional publishing the costs come later through royalties and such I decided to just go for it. I liked that I would have more control.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I normally outline my stories ahead of time so that I always have a guide as to where I am going. It helps to keep writers block away and throughout the chapter I will let my muse take me to different places.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I like to edit myself, have people I know look through it as well as hire an editor to review before publishing. I think it is important to have many eyes reading it.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I like to market my novel through social media channels such as facebook, twitter, instagram, good-reads and LinkedIn. I have been blogging, having booking signings, blog tours, and local TV interviews. I am very heavily involved and have done a lot of it on my own.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Sometimes it feels like there are not enough hours in the day. I am always working on my books whether it is the marketing aspect, or writing and sometimes it feels like I should be doing one more over the other and it can be hard to decide between the two.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
I would say once you know that you are going to self-publish I would start the marketing part as soon as possible. I would build an author platform before you publish because it could really help you in the long hall. I would say take business cards or anything you can with you at all times because you never know when it will come up in conversation. Potential fans are everywhere and you will always have to market.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I love to help others and I love to speak. I used to hate speaking in front of people, but now I find it to be invigorating. I love to read.

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?
I am a dog person. I love coffee and tea I no longer have a preference. I love to talk on the phone more than texting because you can’t take it the wrong way and you can feel closer to the person. I am a night person.

What’s next for you?
I am just going to continue working on novels and hopefully start to public speak.


With Love, Ella
Alexa Randolph
Publication date: December 12th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary

Ella Chambers is basking in her success as a sought-after New York party planner when she gets her dream job: planning her own wedding to her long-time boyfriend Daniel Collins, a professional football player.
Sadly, amid planning her own nuptials, Ella gets some devastating news that turns her life inside out. Will she and her fiancé finally make it down the aisle, or will tragedy get in the way?


Author Bio:
I am a graduate of Michigan State University with a BA in Communications. I love to read, write, travel, binge watch Netflix for days, make up stories about random people I see for days and drink lots of coffee.


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Monday, April 16, 2018

#Excerpt: BOUND by Alexandrea Weis with Lucas Astor


Bound
Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor
(A Magnus Blackwell Novel #2)
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: April 17th 2018
Genres: Adult, Supernatural

Magnus Blackwell’s past is about to catch up with him.
An evil force has seized New Orleans. Pestilence, suffering, and darkness cloak the city. The citizens are scared and need their mambo to guide them, but Lexie Arden can’t help anyone. A diabolical presence has taken Lexie’s power and severed her ties with the other side.
Magnus Blackwell is fighting demons of his own. Torn between his devotion to Lexie and a spirit from his past, Magnus’s loyalty is put to the test. He must revisit his sins to uncover the key to the hatred ripping the city apart. If he doesn’t, Lexie’s reign as mambo will end.
Their search for answers leads them deep into the darker realms of voodoo—until a desperate Lexie does the unthinkable, and Magnus can do nothing to spare her from her fate.


EXCERPT:
Will went to the doors leading to the balcony. “Do you hear that?”
Lexie got up from the sofa, and as soon as she came up to him, a low buzzing came through their back door. “What is it?”
Will hooked her waist. “Get behind me.”
“Why?”
“Just do it, Lexie!”
She curled into his back with her hands on his shoulders, looking around the nape of his neck while he reached for the door handle.
The buzzing got much louder when he cracked the door.
Her breath coming in quick gasps, she stared out into the night.
A wave of black shot up from the courtyard as if alerted by the light escaping from their door. The humming became deafening. Her eyes adjusted to the dark, and then Lexie became paralyzed with terror.
Flies, thousands of them, swarmed like a flock of birds, dipping and rising with a single mind. While poised over the pond, their mass obscured the floodlights from the adjacent buildings.
Aghast, Lexie’s nails dug into Will as the swarm pulled into a giant ball. A black wave flowed over the mass, bending and twisting in different directions, forming a shape.
“Have you ever seen flies do that?” Will mumbled.
Never taking her eyes off the object, she whispered back, “No. Never.”
Right after Lexie spoke, the ball suddenly contracted into a tight, flat orb.
She could not see the flies anymore, but their buzzing remained. Depressions sank into the orb; two eyes, a dip where the nose should be, and a thin line for the mouth.
The face reminded Lexie of a large black skull.
The skull then exploded, and the flies flew off in every direction.
“Holy shit!” Will slammed the doors and set the bolt. “What the hell was that?”
Lexie went around him to the window and peeked outside.
The only things hovering above the pond were a few bright beams from a neighbor’s spotlight. The flies had disappeared.
She stepped back, trembling. “It’s a warning.”
“Any idea who’s sending it?”
She rubbed his back, eager to feel his warmth. “No, but I’m sure I will find out soon enough.”
“Are you all right?” Magnus arrived in her living room. “I came as soon as I felt the black presence nearby.”
“We’re fine.” She looked up. “Just spooked.”
“Who are you talking …?” Will’s voice faded. “Oh my God. Is that …?”
Lexie held her breath as Will stared openmouthed at Magnus. “Can you see him?”
Will closed his mouth and cleared his throat. “Oh yeah.”
She rubbed her head, fighting the tension headache coming on. “This is all I need.”
“Others have seen me, why not him?” Magnus maneuvered closer. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Will.”
Will’s cheeks blanched, but he managed a courteous nod.
“Yeah, it’s nice to know you’re real.”
Magnus smugly grinned. “I’ve always been real.”
A long lapse of silence followed as each of the men—well, man and ghost—sized the other up.
Since she’d first met Magnus, Lexie longed for Will to see him, to know he existed. Her wish finally granted, she questioned if seeing Magnus was good for her husband. Will had stayed on the fringe of her world, opting to support her in any way he could, but leaving her to run her responsibilities without his assistance. She’d preferred things that way, seeking guidance from Titu instead of Will. He had his architecture firm and she her shop. Could they go back to their comfortable existence, or had the tide turned?
“Why is this happening?” Will staggered backward. “Why am I seeing him?”


Author Bio:
Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight.
He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.
Photography, making wine, and helping endangered species are just some of his interests. Lucas is an expert archer and enjoys jazz, blues, and classical music.
One of his favorite quotes is: “It’s better to be silent than be a fool.” ~Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans.

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What is Patriots' Day?


I sometimes forget that people who don't live in Massachusetts, have no idea what Patriots' Day means. Patriots' Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775 and it is celebrated on the third Monday in April.

Observances and re-enactments of these first battles of the American Revolution occur annually at Lexington Green in Lexington, Massachusetts, (around 6:00 am) and The Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts, (around 9:00 am). In the morning, mounted re-enactors (National Lancers - Massachusetts) with state police escorts retrace the rides of Paul Revere and William Dawes, calling out warnings the whole way.

So if you find yourself in the Boston area, you might want to take a ride out to Lexington and see the battle green for yourself.

 


Friday, April 13, 2018

#SALE .99 and #Excerpt: ASSASSIN'S CURSE

The Prophecy of the Witch Stone

From the line of power twice born
To the power born twice
Shall arise the seekers of the Stone.

Look for the sign of the witch in two joined
For they shall be the saviors
Who shall grasp the power from darkness
And bring it into the light
For when the flower blossoms
Then will be the time

For their powers shall be twined within a single aspect
And stand balanced on the sword’s edge of good and evil.
False guidance shall lead to the path of doom
And will spell destruction of all
That they were brought about to save.


PROLOGUE:
The boy stood in the middle of the room staring blankly at the wall.
Choose well was all he remembered.
The room was about sixty paces long and probably half as wide.  It was two stories’ high with numerous oil lamps set along the upper walls that provided more than adequate lighting for the entire room.  A balcony ran along three of the four walls and provided a means to observe any event happening below.  There was one door leading in and out of the room, but it was blocked by a large, well-muscled man dressed completely in black.  His eyes were deadpan, like those of a cold-blooded killer. 
The air was relatively cool, but the young boy felt a drip of sweat run down his back.  He tried to hide his nervousness beneath a façade of serenity while staring at the wall, but he could feel the butterflies roiling in his stomach, threatening to unman him.
The wall the boy stared at contained all conceivable manner of weapons, from short throwing knives to elegantly curved swords to long-handled halberds with wickedly curved barbs and spikes.  The boy had to choose something soon or forfeit his chance to test again for another year.  He would not let this opportunity pass, because this was the day he had trained long and hard for, the day he had anticipated for the last three years, and the day when he would finally prove himself worthy.  Today he would test to become an apprentice in the guild of assassins.
The rules of the test were simple: choose your weapon and fight.  Any novice who aspired to test for apprenticeship had twenty short minutes to fight and draw blood from their opponent.  Whatever weapon a novice chose to test with would be the school in which they would be apprenticed if they passed.  There were five schools: Sword, Knife, Axe, Staff, and Bow.  The tests were short, brutal, and bloody, designed to ensure that no one advanced who did not rightly deserve to.  Their opponents were fully trained brothers of the guild who gave no quarter or latitude to the would-be contenders.  Many tested for the honor, but few passed their first time, and some even lost their lives in the attempt. 
Jeda had decided many months ago to choose a pair of fighting knives as his weapon of choice.  He was good with knives, both in hand-to-hand combat and throwing, and liked the way they felt perfectly balanced in his hands.  He had been steadfast in his weapon of choice until the moment he entered the room and saw Brother Mave waiting for him.  A slight grimace passed over his face, but he quickly composed himself.  The last thing he wanted was for Mave to see he was scared.  Mave was dressed in the traditional, assassin color of black, but also wore a distinguishable symbol of red, crossed swords on the bandana holding back his hair.  That symbol marked him as a preeminent sword expert within the guild, second only to the masters in the School of Swords.  Knives were excellent, close-in fighting weapons, but Jeda was not good enough with them to draw blood from a sword expert like Mave.  Now he stood immobilized, staring at the weapons wall, furiously trying to think of what he should do next.  He knew he would have to choose wisely if he was to survive this day. 
Damn, of all the brothers in this guild, how could I be so lucky as to get Mave? Jeda thought sarcastically.  He stepped forward and reached for the weapon he thought he would have the most luck with.
No sense in changing now.
***
Mave saw the boy look his way and inwardly smiled.  He knew the boy was scared, and rightly so.  It was not chance that brought him here today, but a carefully orchestrated scheme to make sure he tested the boy.  He felt Jeda was no more than a third-year upstart who did not deserve the opportunity to test for apprenticeship.  Most novices trained for five or six years before petitioning to test.  Mave was going to make sure that the boy did not pass.  That was as it should be, for it was Mave who had brought Jeda to the guild in the first place.  He should be the one to put the boy in his place and teach him humility.
Jeda finally reached up and took a pair of fighting knives off the wall.
Mave shook his head at the boy’s choice.  I knew it.  The boy may know how to fight, but he knows nothing of winning.
“Begin,” said the dispassionate voice of the master-in-attendance judging the test.
Mave strode forward, closing the distance and eliminating the only advantage knives would give the boy.  Without the distance to throw them, they were completely useless against swords. 
The boy stood stock-still, visibly trembling as Mave approached.  His frozen fear was pathetic and almost embarrassing.  Mave would cut him slightly with his first blade and knock him out with the handle of his second, putting a quick end to this charade of a test.  Twirling his swords in a deadly dance, Mave felt no sympathy for the boy.  Today’s failure would set Jeda back at least a year and give him more time to learn proper respect and modesty, traits Mave felt he was sorely lacking. 
The young fool doesn’t know what he’s in for.   
As Mave swung the first blade to catch the boy across the cheek, something unexpected happened.  Jeda dove forward, under the first blade, and whipped one of his knives at Mave’s exposed side.  Mave deflected the throw with his second sword.  If he had not been such an excellent swordsman, the throw would have a scored a hit.
Maybe not quite the fool I took him for.  Mave spun around swinging the sword in a deadly arc to face the boy as Jeda jumped to his feet.  The swing cut the boy high on the arm and he cried out in shock and pain.  The cut was deep and bleeding heavily, rendering the arm useless.  The boy went down on one knee, but Mave moved cautiously forward.  He would not be caught off-guard a second time by the boy’s cleverness.  When Mave came within a sword’s reach of him, the boy jumped forward into a diving roll and threw his second, remaining knife.  Mave anticipated the move and easily deflected the throw, shaking his head at the boy’s stupidity in throwing away his last means of defense.  As he turned to face Jeda, he realized his mistake.  He felt a blade slice through his trousers, burning and drawing a bright-crimson line along his leg.  Jeda had used the second throw to distract Mave from his true objective: the first blade that Mave had deflected.  The boy had used his diving roll to reach that first blade, left forgotten on the floor.  
How did he get that knife so quickly and throw it so precisely? Mave wondered, looking down at his bleeding leg.     
“Enough.  Blood has been drawn by Novice Jeda,” said the master’s voice from the balcony.  “He is elevated to the rank of apprentice.”
Mave studied Jeda with a smoldering anger.  He was a good fifteen feet away and was wobbling on his feet from loss of blood.  It didn’t seem possible that he could have thrown that knife in his condition.  Mave knew the boy must have somehow cheated. 
This is not over; no one makes a fool of me.

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REVIEWER’S COMMENTS:

5 Stars
This is a really great book - it moves fast, but at the same time develops the characters to the point where you will really feel for them. Mave is a wonderful villain, in that I really, truly hated him and hoped he would come to a bad end. Jeda is a perfect anti-hero, and the girls Kala and Kara are so different from each other and unique - I was really impressed with how the authors developed them. The Black and White Covens created a wonderful contrast and I found it highly entertaining; the Assassin's Guild is just vague enough that you are drawn between unease over the assassinations, and interest that they would provide this sort of service for hire. Fans of epic fantasy or good, old-fashioned, high-quality storytelling will all love this book - highly recommended!! – Amazon reviewer
5 Stars
Every once in a while I find a book that draws me in so effectively that I don't want to put it down. Assassin's Curse is one of those books. Jeda is a great hero, even though he's forced into the role. The authors do a great job of transitioning him from cold-blooded killer into unwilling hero, and then finally a man who'll freely stop at nothing to protect his family.

There's more than one "villain" in this book. But Mave gets my vote for being the scariest. Literally. This guy is pure evil. I spent the entire book enthusiastically anticipating Jeda finally getting the best of Mave. I wasn't disappointed.There were a few twists in the book that I didn't see coming--which is always a plus. If you're a fan of fantasy, or just plain ol' good storytelling...grab this one. It's a keeper! – Amazon reviewer
5 Stars
This is an amazing book. I could hardly put it down once I started. The story is well-written and engaging, really pulling you into this world that David and Debra have created. All of the characters were fleshed out wonderfully. I felt like I knew them all as close friends rather than people I just read about. I would highly recommend this read to anyone who loves an exciting read. Geat job! -  Captivating Read