Ravenous by Annie Nicholas – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Annie will be awarding a $25 GC for either Kindle or Nook to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

7_29 Cover_RavenousSuffer the hunger.

Pia Blyton wants it all. A steady boyfriend, love and her independence. But to ignore her succubus nature is to welcome chaos. Every three days she must orgasm to feed. Bad sex isn’t an option. Stave off the hunger for too long and her demon side peeks out, and its tastes are much less discerning than hers.

One bad day, one wrong decision, and her demon takes control of her libido and kisses all her best intentions goodbye.

Brokenhearted and ashamed, Pia is dragged home to Lake City by Zur-Sin, a vampire her father paid to find her. Caught in a world where mortal desires are seen as a weakness, Pia needs to figure out how to protect her heart from her deepest longings.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Dialing my boyfriend’s number on my cell phone, I paced our small apartment, chewing my thumbnail ragged.

“Hey, babe.” His voice caressed me. I loved it when he called me babe.

“Can you come home?” The receiver trembled in my hand.

“Uh, now?”

“Yes, I’ll make it worth your while.” I hated the pleading quality to my voice. Begging a human to feed from him. What would my parents think? That I deserved to be starving for not listening to their warnings? For thinking I could live off sex with one man—one human man?

I shouldn’t feed from Pierre twice in one day. I’d taken more from him this morning than I normally did. If I wasn’t careful, I’d kill him. Humans were so fragile. “Pick up some chocolate frosting on your way here.” What other option did I have but to use him again? I’d committed myself to Pierre heart and soul.

He moaned but it sounded more like regret than passion. “I can’t leave work right now, but I’ll skip lunch so I can duck out early, ok?”

My stomach sank. “Sure.” It took all my acting skills to make that single word sound happy and content. How was I going to live through the next few hours? I couldn’t even masturbate. Wiping the sweat from my brow, I stared at my reflection in the window.

The succubus who stared back was too skinny. Her cheeks hollow and the tendons in her neck stood out. A predatory lurked within her gaze, something demonic that didn’t care about hurting people.
About the Author:7_29 AuthorPicAnnie Nicholas hibernates in the rural, green mountains of Vermont where she dreams of different worlds, heroes, and heroines. When spring arrives the stories pour from her, in hopes to share them with the masses one day. Mother, daughter, wife are some of the hats she happily wears while trudging after her cubs through the hills and dales. The four seasons an inspiration and muse.

Annie Nicholas writes paranormal romance with a twist. She has courted vampires, hunted with shifters, and slain a dragon’s ego all with the might of her pen. Riding the wind of her imagination, she travels beyond the restraints of reality and shares them with anyone wanting to read her stories. Mother, daughter, and wife are some of the other hats she wears while hiking through the hills and dales of her adopted state of Vermont.

Annie writes for Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, and Lyrical Press.

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Guiding the Blue Flame by J.W. Baccaro – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be giving away a $15 Amazon GC to one randomly chosen commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stop on the tour.

MEDIA KIT Book CoverThe Elemental Crystals were originally created to protect the earth. However, Abaddon the Demon Lord plans to use them to transform the earth into a realm of haunting darkness and witchery, forever. In Guiding The Blue Flame, a young but powerful Nasharin Warrior, Darshun Luthais is drawn to one of these magical crystals of immense power. He learns he‟s the fulfillment of the two thousand year old Prophecy of the Guardian. The Wizard Olchemy informs him that he is the protector and guardian the earth has been waiting for. With Darshun‟s ability to sense the Elemental Crystals, Olchemy devises a plan to obtain them.

Accompanied by a small group of companions the hunt is on, in hopes to retrieve the long lost crystals before the Demon Lord claims them. During the journey, Darshun encounters Aurora, the sole survivor of a now extinct people. He falls in love for the first time, and now resents the so-called Guardian of the Prophecy role. Due to Darshun‟s naïve spirit he‟s caught off guard by Nayland, a mysterious dark warrior who confronts him about his abandonment of the quest. He reveals that he too, is a Nasharin warrior, though far exceeding Darshun in skill and power. Darshun‟s father, Mirabel saves him from death at the hands of Nayland.

Outmatched and in bewilderment from the attack, a fire awakens in Darshun. He plans on reaching his father’s level of power with a journey to Shajin Island, where Nasharin Warriors train. He‟ll be gone for only one day in Earth realm time, but due to the magic of the rigorous island, it will be seven long years for him. Entering the mystical realm of Shajin, he eagerly awaits its life threatening challenges.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The last Draconian slid from its horse, drew his weapon and charged.

They met with a hard clash of steel and began exchanging blows. With every offense Darshun led, the Draconian countered. He was good, far better than Darshun expected. In fact, seeing a lizard-like creature, with such massive bodily structures move so fast was impressive, to say the least.

Backing Darshun up with a series of heavy blows, he brought down his sword one final time against Darshun’s, knocked the blade from his hands, and kicked him under the chin.

Darshun’s mouth slammed shut, his head jolted up, and he fell upon his back, a bit dazed, with a slight headache.

The creature, grinning and snarling, withdrew his weapon and extended his long venomous claws. “Give me the crystal you’ve stolen and I’ll sheer your intestines quickly.”

Darshun smirked, reached for his weapon and stood.

The lizard creature stilled and seemed to be wondering about the sudden confidence his opponent showed. Unexpectedly, a flash of red light shone, blinding the Draconian for a moment. When his sight returned, he saw his opponent engulfed in red flames and holding a burning red sword. His hair glowed, his eyes were shining; even his skin glistened like a finely polished fire-opal gem—glorious. His mouth dropped open. “…a Nasharin? It’s not possible. Your kind—are extinct!”

Grinning, Darshun taunted, “Are we?”

Enjoy the book video:

About the Author: MEDIA KIT Author_picJ.W.Baccaro is the author of the Guardian Series. In his free time he enjoys literature—fiction and non-fiction, playing electric guitar in the heavy metal band Rigor Hill, Consciousness and NDE studies, and thinking how to intertwine his thoughts about the world’s myths, legends and distinct truths into his novels. He lives in upstate NY with his wife Melissa, his son Alexander, his two German Shepherds and his three cats.

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Where SFF May Go by S.L. Dunn – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter the Rafflecopter to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. You can see the other stops on the tour by clicking on the tour banner.

Long and Short Reviews asked S.L. Dunn, “What directions/topics/issues would you like to see SFF authors take on?”

Science fiction is often used as a mechanism to reflect a given time’s anxieties toward social movements and technology. In the wake of WWII, books like 1984 and Farenheit 451 gave life to the fears people had toward a potential future where creativity and individuality were snubbed out in the name of order. In the 1960s, science fiction began to elevate in thematic imagination, with novels like Dune, A Wrinkle In Time, and 2001 A Space Odyssey. This doesn’t come as a surprise when one considers that the 1960’s were a decade of applicable scientific imagination, (the space race comes to mind).

As I write this blog post, I’m sitting in the shadow of the Seattle Space Needle, an art piece erected for the 1962 World’s Fair—its skyward pointing apex making not so subtle an implication of where the people of 1962 saw humanity headed.

But over the course of the second half of the 20th century, I think technology turned in a direction that people had not anticipated. In 1962 people saw a glimmering future of the Jetsons, monorails and space ships. But in reality, the forthcoming technology instead took the form of computers, the Internet, cyberspace and automation. I think the second half of the 20th century’s innovation wasn’t quite as tangible as people would have envisioned beforehand.

And just as before, this movement toward a digital-abstract-future also had an effect on science fiction. From space and aliens, the genre moved to digital horizons, the idea of simulacra, and the birth of cyberpunk. Neuromancer, Snowcrash and The Matrix come to mind.

Arriving at today: a modern world of tenuous resources, rising temperatures, and growing fears of our global actions as a species, we are greeted by mostly post-apocalyptic science fiction. In today’s science fiction, a common theme is a setting that takes place over or within the ashes of our fallen world.

2014’s fears gravitate around climate change and the loss of individual privacy. Particular to these fears is the awareness that the furtherance of technology might just act to exacerbate these problems instead of alleviating them. There’s a certain bleakness that permeates the modern age when it comes to the future of technology. In today’s science fiction, that bleakness takes the form of dystopia and post-apocalypse narratives—of a future where our immediate destruction is a foregone conclusion.

I think it’s very difficult to predict where the future of science fiction is headed, but I suspect it might move (paradoxically) away from science and toward the humanities. I think we’re living in an age where science is no longer perceived of as a form of salvation, and instead is seen more of an inconvenient truth (at best) or something to be feared (at worst). In that sense, I think we’re going to see an evolution of science fiction into narratives that address social issues that have been historically relegated to sociology and anthropology classrooms.

MEDIA KIT AnthemsFall_ebookAbove a horrified New York City, genetics and ethics collide as the fallen emperor and a banished exile of the same herculean race ignite into battle over the city’s rooftops. In the streets below, a brilliant young scientist has discovered a technology that can defeat them both, yet might be more terrible than either.

Set both in modern New York City and in the technologically sophisticated yet politically savage world of Anthem, Anthem’s Fall unfurls into a plot where larger than life characters born with the prowess of gods are pitted against the shrewd brilliance of a familiar and unlikely heroine.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Yes, Lord Vengelis!” the boy called, but suddenly froze with fear. The boy began trembling, his chest convulsing in terror. Vengelis slowly turned and looked in all directions. Hysteria was rampant; men, women, and children were running every direction, many horribly wounded. None of them were soldiers. The fire was blazing out of control, and the entire block was immersed in raging flames.

A woman standing nearby, just below a broad tilted awning, remained unscathed. Her appearance contrasted strangely with the mayhem around them. She was thin and average sized, of Royal appearance, with blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Tattered ribbons of the awning and bits of orange cinders and ash blew all about her. She was smiling at Vengelis, her teeth white and perfect. Vengelis was taken aback.

Her eyes.

Vengelis squinted through the billowing ash and felt an eerie sense of disquiet surface within him. Her eyes were not quite right. There was a glowing property to her stare, as though her eyes were emitting a strange blue radiance. She was beautiful, but the serene way she was smiling in the midst of the madness was peculiarly horrifying.

“State your name and rank!” Vengelis called out.

The boy stifled a small cry as the woman’s smile broadened. Vengelis glared and turned his attention from her to the boy. In a corner of his mind he already knew he was speaking to one of the Felixes. She moved her unsettling gaze from Vengelis to the boy. The boy let out a terrible sob and released the soldier he had been dragging. The woman took a step closer to the child.

There was no longer any doubt in Vengelis’s mind.

The woman whirled into motion, dashing toward the boy and reaching for his throat. The boy flinched and locked his eyes shut, expecting instant death. But it did not come. He peered through his trembling eyelids after a moment passed. The woman was still reaching for his throat, though now just in front of him. Vengelis had closed the distance and grabbed her wrist with his left hand, stopping the strike in its tracks. Her fingernails were reaching out longingly, inches from the boy’s neck. The woman turned to Vengelis, her expression vacant.

“Huge . . . mistake,” Vengelis growled through gritted teeth, his knuckles white from the vice grip on her wrist. “Get out of here, kid.”

About the Author:S.L. Dunn is the debut author of Anthem’s Fall, a novel he wrote amid the wanderings of his mid twenties. He has written while living intermittently in St. John USVI, Boston, Maine and Seattle. Raised on big screen superheroes and pop science fiction, he sought to create a novel that bridged a near-sci-fi thriller with a grand new fantasy. He currently resides in Seattle with his girlfriend Liz and their dog Lucy, and is hard at work completing the next book of the Anthem’s Fall series. Get in touch at www.sldunn.com.

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Uriel’s Fall by Loralie Hall – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Loralie will be awarding $10 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via the rafflecopter at the end of this post. Please click on the banner to see the other stops on this tour.

NOTE: This book is on sale for $0.99 through August 8, 2014.

Ronnie has the job any entry-level angel or demon would sell their soul for—she’s a retrieval analyst for the largest search engine in the world. Ubiquity is a joint initiative between heaven and hell. Because what better way to track all of humanity’s secrets, both good and bad, than direct access to their web browsing habits.

She might appreciate the position a little more if a) she could remember anything about her life before she started working at Ubiquity, b) the damn voice in her head would just shut up already, and c) her boss wasn’t a complete dickhead.

As she searches for solutions to the first two issues, and hopes the third will work itself out in performance reviews, she uncovers more petty backstabbing than an episode of Real Housewives, and a conspiracy as old as Lucifer’s descent from heaven. On top of all that, if she forgets the cover sheet on her TPS report one more time, she’s absolutely going on final written warning.

Now Ronnie’s struggling to keep her sanity and job, while stopping the voice in her head from stealing her life. She almost misses the boredom of data analysis at Ubiquity. Almost.

Enjoy an excerpt:

I straightened my clothes the best I could. Maybe I shouldn’t have fallen asleep in my clubbing outfit. Then again, I wasn’t sure I cared. I wasn’t exposing myself to the world, which was a good compromise for me. My breath caught in my throat when I yanked open the door. Nope, definitely not missionaries. But Michael looked incredible in a T-shirt and shorts.

Sorry, what? Too busy drooling.

Great. I thought she hated him.

Yeah, about that.

I wasn’t in the mood for her. My smile fell out on its own. “Hey.”

“Am I interrupting something?” He nodded at my outfit.

“Nah.…” The false bravado slipped away. It felt too cliché to say, “What, this old thing?” Besides, I kind of liked being honest with Michael. “I forgot to change before I fell asleep.”

“Did I wake you, then?”

“I also forgot to change when I woke up.” Too many more nights of missed sleep and I’d be forgetting a lot more. Maybe that was how I’d lost my memory. Had I done this before? Had the voice been there before I lost my memory?

You keep asking yourself circular questions. Let me take over for a while.

Nope. Not interested. Michael still stared at me, brow furrowed. I did a quick check of myself. Skirt wasn’t riding too high. Did I have mascara smeared across my face? “Is something wrong?”

He shook his head. “No. Just waiting to see whether you’re going to try and eviscerate me or just brush me off.”

Oh, that. He really did think I was insane. Or, considering the number of ways our encounters had started and ended, maybe he was just bored with something as basic as me in a mini skirt.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Loralie Hall is a full time corporate geek and a fuller time writer. Her spouse is her muse and their cats are very much their children. When they’re not spending way too much time gaming, they’re making the world more good by vanquishing one fictional evil at a time.

Find Loralie Hall Online

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

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/aszreal

Blog: http://blog.apathyshero.com

Website: http://urielsfall.com

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L3WESHU

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/uriels-fall-loralie-hall/1119720777?ean=2940046001648

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Shift Happens by J.C. McKenzie – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding one autographed print copy (US or Canada – digital copy substituted for international winners) plus a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter.

7_24 Cover_ShiftHappensAndrea McNeilly’s job as a government agent is not asking questions, but then a routine assignment turns into a botched assassination of a Master Vampire’s human servant. Answers become a priority. Her search to discover the truth is riddled with obstacles, the largest being an oversized Werewolf who resembles a Norse god. Andy can’t afford the distraction he offers, because if she fails, she faces eternal enslavement.

Wick’s job is to monitor Andy, but he prefers more intimate activities, none of them G-Rated. His choices, however, are often not his own. His ability to help Andy is limited by his bond to the Master Vampire.

Facing many trials and challenges along her path to redemption, Andy learns the value of her freedom might be set too high.

Enjoy the excerpt:

Andrea McNeilly’s job as a government agent is not asking questions, but then a routine assignment turns into a botched assassination of a Master Vampire’s human servant. Answers become a priority. Her search to discover the truth is riddled with obstacles, the largest being an oversized Werewolf who resembles a Norse god. Andy can’t afford the distraction he offers, because if she fails, she faces eternal enslavement.

Wick’s job is to monitor Andy, but he prefers more intimate activities, none of them G-Rated. His choices, however, are often not his own. His ability to help Andy is limited by his bond to the Master Vampire.

Facing many trials and challenges along her path to redemption, Andy learns the value of her freedom might be set too high.

About the Author: View More: http://photos.pass.us/headshot2Born and raised on the Haida Gwaii, off the West Coast of Canada, J.C. McKenzie grew up in a pristine wilderness that inspired her to dream. She writes Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

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Writing Female Characters in Urban/Paranormal Stories by Kat Loveland – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kat will be awarding a $40 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

NOTE:Today ONLY you can get the entire HONOR BOUND series FREE from Amazon! click here to get your copy!

Writing Female Characters in Urban/Paranormal Stories

Hello all and I’d like to thank Long and Short Reviews for having me. I am hardly an expert in writing as I have only published two books so far but am intending to have one or two more done this year. However, I find the continuing conversation about female characters in media interesting. I often feel that the amount of strong characters in Sci-Fi. Paranormal and Fantasy books are often overlooked. My Honor Bound Series has four female characters and two male characters. I would have to agree with Joss Whedon when he stated to write females the same way you write males, make them complete characters and don’t short change them.

I’ve often noticed that on sites where people can upload stories free for others to read the authors will claim they have “strong female characters” as a way to get readers. In my mind that has become a phrase with less and less meaning having been distorted to mean a female fighter type heroine. While I love and will always love female fighters, I think a female can be strong and not be someone who’s trained to handle weapons. I also tend to see it meaning a “smart ass”, “sarcastic” woman. Now I love a good bit of sarcasm as much as the next person but sarcasm but doesn’t automatically make a person a strong character.

In my Honor Bound series my female characters are all different, they are all coming at the plot and their abilities in different ways. I made a point to only have one character that has a truly horrible, abusive background that she has to overcome. The other three come from completely different socio-economic backgrounds, from Clara who is very successful and wealthy to Sarah who’s mother has passed away. She is being raised by her firefighter father while helping to raise her younger brother Chad. When I was writing these books I didn’t think “Oh this is a female, I had better write her this way, make her feel like this, describe her in that way.” Clara is stunning, she’s a model, Jessie is attractive, Min-Ji is horribly scarred and Sarah is the girl next door, average girl. To me their emotional development as they react to the circumstances is what matters, not their gender. I have my male characters be just as emotional and troubled as the women are. John is Clara’s twin brother and they are entwined down to their soul. They’re in many ways one person in two bodies, writing them I could explore both the brother/sister dynamic and male/female dynamic in how they react to different situations. John ended up as the more fiery, emotional one, that’s the way it felt right to me.

Min-Ji vacillates from trying to become “normal” after her traumatic childhood to becoming a cold hard killer to protect others. She goes through a wide range of decisions and emotions as she fights to control both her ability and her flashbacks. The rest of the characters help her in anyway they can. It’s her struggle to overcome her past and her inner strength that makes her a “strong female character” not any fighting skills she may have.

I think often we get caught up too much in gender and the idea of how a woman or a man should act and may think gender first, character later. To me gender is not nearly as important as character and how they serve the story. When I am thinking about a new story I don’t think “Well I should write this from a male perspective.” I just get a cool idea of character in my head and usually the gender pops up along with who they are, I don’t really mull it over. I let who they are drive the story, not what they are. I think that is the most exciting thing about writing, the visual aspect is the least important. It’s your words and how they affect people that are.

MEDIA KIT Awakening Book CoverAWAKENINGS

X-Men meets the Real World. “This was an amazing book while steeped in fantasy it tackles a huge subject , the subject of human trafficking. Instead of a bland preachy PSA against it, this story uses amazing imagery, action, intensity, and heart to keep you reading well into the night.”

Children and teens with unique abilities are being sold on the black market. When twins John and Clara made a vow several years ago to help children that had abilities, they never thought they would be forced to fight hardened criminals. Honor Bound Awakenings shows the beginning of the journey they and their friends from idealism to reality and what sacrifices they will be forced to make to keep their vow.

MEDIA KIT Sacrifices Book CoverSACRIFICES

Picking up the moment Awakenings end – John and Clara are forced to choose which of them will continue to put themselves in the line of fire, Cesco has to make peace with what he may have to become to keep the others safe, Min-Ji confronts her painful past head on, Sarah and her family must learn to adapt to the results of her Awakening and Jessie has to struggle to keep the group emotionally stable.

About the Author:MEDIA KIT Author Photo 2

HONOR BOUND: Awakenings and Sacrifices
By
Kat Loveland

BLURB:

AWAKENINGS

X-Men meets the Real World. “This was an amazing book while steeped in fantasy it tackles a huge subject , the subject of human trafficking. Instead of a bland preachy PSA against it, this story uses amazing imagery, action, intensity, and heart to keep you reading well into the night.”

Children and teens with unique abilities are being sold on the black market. When twins John and Clara made a vow several years ago to help children that had abilities, they never thought they would be forced to fight hardened criminals. Honor Bound Awakenings shows the beginning of the journey they and their friends from idealism to reality and what sacrifices they will be forced to make to keep their vow.

SACRIFICES

Picking up the moment Awakenings end – John and Clara are forced to choose which of them will continue to put themselves in the line of fire, Cesco has to make peace with what he may have to become to keep the others safe, Min-Ji confronts her painful past head on, Sarah and her family must learn to adapt to the results of her Awakening and Jessie has to struggle to keep the group emotionally stable.

EXCERPTS Please choose ONE to use with your post.
Honor Bound Awakenings Excerpts.

Sarah sat in the wreckage of the 6×9 dirty cell she had been confined to for the last five weeks. One of her rescuers handed her a coat. Her captors had prohibited her from wearing anything beyond a pair of underwear and a bra. After her attempt to conceal a weapon her second week they had ripped her pants and shirt off and beat her until she blacked out. She sat silently. Her emotions were numbed by constant abuse. She wasn’t able to believe that it was over. One of her rescuers, a girl named Jessie snapped a picture of her to send to someone. She didn’t care. Jessie walked up to her with a bottle of water.

“Do you want something to drink?”

Sarah looked at the bottle. In her mind she could see all the components that made up both the bottle and the water. Patterns swirled in perfect geometry — she could turn that water into air, ice or using the carbon in the plastic any number of things. She looked closer at Jessie and saw even more possibilities. She had never considered turning people into things until she had been kidnapped. Once before the rescue she had tried it. They broke her brother’s legs in three places as punishment. Sarah reached out her hand, took the bottle of water and had a small drink.

“Where are they?” she asked Jessie.

“We tied them up. The police are on the way. It’s what we do. We’re sort of volunteer police. What’s your name? “ Jessie replied.

“I won’t ask again,” Sarah said “Where are they?”

“Look, I know you want to hurt them but that won’t change anything.”

A bitter smile crossed Sarah’s face. “That’s where you are wrong,” She placed the bottle of water on the ground and put her hand on the lid. As Jessie watched the bottle shifted, losing it’s transparency, it took on a more granular appearance and seemed to slowly collapse in on itself. Then as if all the bonds that held it together were snapped at the same time it turned into a pile of dirt. There was no water, no plastic, just dirt. “I’m Sarah and I want you to take me to them.”

If something had upset Min-Ji to the point where John was texting him it was bad. He was the only person that could calm her down when she was angry. Min-Ji controlled fire, he remembered when he had rescued her and he ran with her in his arms for two miles. He never thought that the girl who’s spirit seemed to be so destroyed could possess such a dangerous and amazing ability. He made it to the hotel in five minutes. John had replied that Jessie and Min-Ji were in the courtyard by the pool and Min-Ji was barely holding on.
\
As Cesco rounded the corner into the courtyard, he smelled ashes and heard the crackling in the air as the temperatures around her increased rapidly. Along with his speed his senses were enhanced far beyond normal. Min-Ji’s good eye was turning red, he was almost too late to calm her down. The closer he got to her the hotter and thicker the air was around him. Without missing a step or slowing down he picked her up and threw her in the pool. She landed in the water, popped back up and started shouting oaths in Korean. Steam rose from the pool as her power heated the water around her.

“Uh, people coming into my cell, ” her voice was shaky. “ They were going to hit me and I wanted to ….Oh no, I wanted to stab them. The second week I was there they left a small metal tray in my cell and I turned it into a knife. I hid it in my pants and I tried to stab them when they came back. I don’t know how to fight so they ripped it out of my hands and then made me watch as they beat Chad up. That’s when I tried to kill one of them by turning one of them into a stone. Humans have all the components in them to make rock. Then they broke Chad’s legs. I watched on a monitor. They wouldn’t let us near each other. I heard him screaming when they did it. Did I make a knife in my sleep?” This was just getting worse and worse.

“Well it’s not really a knife but here.” Jessie handed her the metal spike. “I’m guessing you shifted a bed spring and somehow got it to pop out of the mattress into your hand. I was trying to calm you, I put my hand on your leg and you tried to stab my hand. I guess I startled you. I moved my hand and you stabbed your leg. You shifted that much faster than the water bottle. Maybe because you were just changing the shape of something not the actual structure. I think we have a problem here.”\

“How did I do this in my sleep? I don’t understand.” Sarah’s voice was rising in pitch, she was starting to crack. Jessie had to calm her down and she needed Sarah’s permission to help her. She was afraid of what may happen if she tried to force her to calm down.

Jessie had learned with the more powerful abilities if she tried to force too much of an emotional shift things got even further out of hand. Min-Ji had destroyed three trees with a gout of flame when Jessie had tried to calm her once. Since then she either let Cesco calm Min-Ji or asked permission.

Over the years he and Clara had learned how to block each other out when needed. If they hadn’t, going through puberty would have probably driven them both nuts. When they didn’t block properly they literally felt exactly what the other one was. When their parents started training them in martial arts when they were toddlers they didn’t understand why one would react when the other missed a block and a light hit got through. As they progressed in life and in training they slowly learned how to separate themselves. Their biggest fear when they started to go after criminals was if they got separated and beaten. No matter how strong of a block they put up some of that would leak through and it could incapacitate them both, not to mention if anyone ever found out.

They were each other’s greatest weakness. John started to think of Akinori and what she would say about Sarah. Akinori had been a detective, she was John and Clara’s mom’s partner in the Japanese police dept. Their mom had gone undercover a lot, especially in vice cases. John remembered the night of the car accident that had killed both his parents. It had been Akinori who had showed up at the house, ordered them to pack some bags and leave Japan. Their father was Scottish and had family in Scotland and the United States. They had bought tickets for Scotland and stayed there for about a month until they got a call from Akinori.

“Your mother’s cover was blown somehow. I don’t think their death was an accident. The prosecutor won’t do anything because there is not enough evidence and he is corrupt. I had an accident but will be coming to see you. I retired from the force.” She hung up. The next time they saw her she had a prosthetic leg along with copies of all the files of the their mother’s cases. That was 4 years ago. It seemed like yesterday.

She was deathly afraid of what she would see. If she was going to tell her Dad what had happened she had to first face herself. Her face was much more gaunt than usual, her long blonde hair was tangled and matted and she had dark circles under her eyes. Her eyes, the dark circles made the snow white pupils stand out that much more. So many colors were in her eyes; light blues, coral pinks, soft greens, golds, silvers, purples. The lights in the bathroom bounced off of them highlighting the different shades. Every time she moved her eyes the coloring seemed to shift, her eyes were iridescent. They reminded her of abalone shells in the sun. “So beautiful,” she said as she watched the play of light and color. What would her Dad think? Would he be afraid? As she watched the colors slowly started shifting and swirling. Were her eyes swirling in reaction to her emotions?

Well only one way to find out. She closed them and thought about her captivity, the beatings, the threats to Chad, the endless hours of making cocaine. As her heart started to race from the memories she opened her eyes and looked in the mirror. “Oh my God,” she breathed out.

Honor Bound Sacrifices Excerpts

He couldn’t move, Min-Ji was screaming, he felt searing heat and smelled burning flesh, pain raged through his shoulder. Min-Ji, she couldn’t!

“Min-Ji! Don’t!” Cesco screamed. His eyes flew open, harsh light blinded him. Someone was holding him down. His right arm wasn’t moving, his left arm shot full speed at the face hovering over him, the punch connected, flinging the man across the room where he landed against the wall. Cesco tried to get up, as soon as he moved the intense pain in his shoulder and face floored him causing him to curl into a tight ball. “Min-Ji! Holy crap! What happened?” The phrases coming between waves of pain.

“Cesco! Stop!” John’s voice barely cut through the pain.

“John?”

“Yes, I’m here. Lay back, you’re hurt.”

“Where are we? Is everyone ok?”

John’s hands pushed against his chest easing him onto his back.

“My shoulder, I can’t move it.”
\
“You were shot. The bullet shattered your collarbone and put a hole in your shoulder blade. You just punched Dr. Rothstein. He was sewing you up. Clara was shot too but she’s all right. Doctor, are you ok? Sorry about that.”

First priority was to try to forget everyone else’s emotions. She slowly started unraveling those in her mind, hellish pain and agony, that wasn’t her. She had developed a visualization to help her through things like this, she imagined all of the emotions that weren’t hers as clothes she was wearing and would slowly strip away the layers until she got down to just her own skin. It worked fairly well.

Layer after layer came off. Eventually she cleared everything away so she only had her emotions left and could take inventory of her mental state. The storage facility office froze in her mind, blood on the floor, dismembered people, Min-Ji screaming and Cesco on the floor. As an empath she had learned how to face her own emotions along with manipulating and controlling others. She took a deep breath and allowed herself to relive the moment. Sheer panic and disgust hit her, her heart started to race and her stomach clenched again as she smelled the blood and charred flesh. How badly she had wanted to run the other way, but she couldn’t. She couldn’t at the time and she sure as hell wouldn’t now. Forcing herself to stand there, she allowed the whole scene to slam into her mind over and over until it no longer affected her.

Eventually she could look at it without her pulse skyrocketing so she moved to the next one, driving the car as John shot the people they were chasing. That wasn’t so bad, she and John were focused so their emotions weren’t out of control and the blood and gore was manageable for her to look at. The last one she didn’t want to face but she had to. Her view of Min-Ji coming out of the office and setting a person on fire, the emotions that Min-Ji had felt had been so intense. She and Min-Ji had bonded so often to keep Min-Ji stable that Jessie was starting to think it had almost become permanent. She picked up on even small shifts in Min-Ji’s emotions now without having to touch her.

John went to check on Clara, he had felt her mind start stirring.

“Clara, you need to rest.”

“That’s a bit complicated,” a gentle laugh brushed against his mind. “You haven’t been blocking all that well. I know about Min-Ji and Cesco. I know about how you almost blacked out. I drifted for a bit and slept but there’s too much going on and I am picking up on it. I held back as much as I could until you had a quiet moment. We have a lot to figure out.”

“You’re taking this rather well.”

“Not really. Just pushing it down for now.” As she said that he felt her let him in a bit more and was suddenly glad she had been pushing things down. She was in a panic, if he had been feeling that along with his emotions he would be a wreck. He put his blocks up so she wouldn’t have to do all the work.

“Thank you,” he told her.

“You’re welcome.”

“Sarah is on the way to help with Cesco. I am not sure how much she will be able to do. Dr. Rothstein said he can repair the shoulder later if we are staying in town and wrote prescriptions for drugs. You should be able to walk well enough for the show. Maybe Sarah can heal it fast enough so you’re not in pain. It’s just a small wound, nothing is broken in your leg. We need to get Cesco in the car and get back to the condo and we still have a million things to do for the show. We have more press tomorrow, we’re going to look like hell.”

She squeezed his hand back. “When…I did what I did to you,” she shuddered a bit at the memory, “I wasn’t panicking. I know you thought I was but I wasn’t. I wanted to protect Chad and hurt you, but I didn’t know it was you because it felt like I was being kidnapped again.” She paused, her voice growing soft. “ All I thought was what would be the fastest way to make you stop, I wasn’t really scared, I was angry. I don’t want to say anything else right now, please Dad.” The memory of that moment was pushing her close to the edge. She looked down at the armrest of the seat one of her hands had been resting on it, it had started rippling and shifting form. She quickly pulled her hands away from the chair and away from her Dad’s hand then held them up in the air. She couldn’t shift things if she wasn’t touching them.

“You don’t have to. I understand now.” He reached his arm around her and pulled her close. “We will get through this, somehow we will. I promise you.” He said as he kissed the top of her head. They stayed like that the rest of the flight.

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Who is Kat Loveland? Why does she write?

Good questions. Complicated questions. Questions that make you say hmmmmmmm.
Kat is a person of great charm and grace, she lights up whatever room she walks into. Her stunning fashion sense mesmerizes all who see her. Witty rejoinders and endless amounts of relevant and thoroughly researched facts and tidbits flow effortlessly from her mouth…..

Yeah, ok, Not so much. I’ve got the witty rejoinders but not the fashion sense. I like comfy, simple clothes and sparring with weapons. I occasionally try my hand at archery and artistic photography, sometimes I’ll even hop a wall or vault a bench. I’m a tomboy at heart, what can I say.

Why do I write? My imaginary friends are endlessly entertaining and they always do whatever the hell I tell them to. Besides it’s fun to play Goddess, most authors won’t admit that but I’m pretty blunt. It’s fun to torture, harass, endlessly confound and every once in a while make a character a bit happy with life. Not too often though, that’s just silly.

My editor tells me and I quote : “Only a genius can write three books at the same time, work all the time and shoot arrows into the air and hope and pray what goes up does not come down on top of her.” Have I mentioned she’s an awesome editor?

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The Ashes that Remain by A.M. Griffin – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be giving away a grand prize of a $20 Amazon gift card and a runner up prize of a $10 Amazon gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

We’re at war against the aliens that have invaded Earth, fighting the only way we can—by surviving. I have more than most people do, but although I know it’s stupid to hold on, I can’t let go of what might have been—can’t help dreaming of something more. No matter how I tell myself it would be easier to do what everyone else wants me to, there’s a part of me that can’t give in.

Making the best of the situation is one thing. Settling, even to make other people happy, is something else.

Then we hear the alien mother ships have disappeared. Of course we have to go and investigate. What we find lands us in a huge mess that we somehow have to clean up and, as our little enclave is rocked to the core with even more changes, I’m learning a hard lesson.

The more things change—for the better or the worse—there’s no fighting human nature, and building on the ashes that remain will take everything we have. And maybe more.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Ridiculous. Forget about everyone else here, okay? What about Mia and me?” I can hear the crack in my voice as it rises. “Do you think we’d be able to go along pretending life could be the same without you?” I reach out for his hands and hold them. “Every time you go up top I pray you come back safely. I’m not talking about close my eyes and say a silent prayer, I’m talking about getting on my knees, clasping my hands and praying—loudly.”

MJ chuckles low. “You sound like Shayla. She was always praying about something or another.”

I give his hands a squeeze and let them go. “That’s where I got it from. That girl knew how to pray away any kind of anxiety I was feeling.”

“A lot of good it did her in the end.”

“Hey! Don’t say that. Don’t you dare do that to her memory. She prayed because it gave her strength and peace of mind. Praying or not praying had nothing to do with the aliens killing her.”

“When the lizards were attacking you guys, Mia and I held hands and prayed for you two. We couldn’t say anything out loud, but we prayed silently. And praying didn’t work. They killed her and took you anyway.”

I can hear the pain in his voice and my chest constricts just thinking about the amount of guilt he places on himself. “MJ, please. She enjoyed praying and she encouraged everyone around her to pray. It would’ve made her happy that you and Mia were praying for her.”

“Sometimes when I think back on it, I think my prayer wasn’t good enough. Like I didn’t pray hard enough… And, because of that, it was my fault.”

I narrow my eyes on him and pull back. “I really feel like slapping some sense into you right now.”

His head shoots up. “What?”

“You heard me. First you come in here telling me I shouldn’t go because I might die and Ian shouldn’t go because Mia is pregnant. Then you say Shayla died because you didn’t pray hard enough. Do you understand how crazy you’re talking right now?”

“It’s not crazy. I’m speaking the truth.”

“I miss Shayla too. Just because I wasn’t friends with her as long as you were doesn’t mean I miss her any less. Are you forgetting that I was there when the lizards attacked? It stepped over me to get to her. Do you realize the guilt I feel every day?” I take in a breath that seems to burn my lungs. “Do you even want to know about the nightmares I still have?” I whisper.

He watches me with wide eyes and shakes his head.

“I should’ve snapped out of my paralyzing fear and crawled to my sword and stuck that thing right in its back. If I hadn’t been so scared Shayla might still be alive today. There was nothing you could’ve done to save her, but I could’ve done plenty.” By the time I finish, my voice cracks and tears burn my cheeks.
I get up and head to my locker, leaving MJ to stare after me. When I open my locker door, I do with it with such force that the door swings and clangs against the side, making the sound of metal ring out through my room.

I snatch up my clothes, not caring if they’re clean or dirty. Right now I just want to go to the showers and sit and let the cool water rain over me to help drown out my tears.

Before I can step away from my locker, MJ’s arms are around my neck. He leans down to bury his face on my shoulder. Right then, all of the anger I feel toward him dissipates. I drop my clothes, freeing my hands to hold onto his arms and rest my head on the side of his.

“Do you think we’ll ever be okay again?” I ask softly.

“I don’t know.”

Neither one of us move as he cries softly on my shoulder and I rub his arms, giving him comfort. MJ hardly ever talks about Shayla or her death but he knows that I’m always here for him. He doesn’t say anything else, he just cries softly and I let him.

I don’t know if we’ll ever recover from anything we’ve been through, but I pray that we will.

About the Author:

A. M. Griffin is a wife who rarely cooks, mother of three, dog owner (and sometimes dog owned), a daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She’s a hard worker whose two favorite outlets are reading and writing. She enjoys reading everything from mystery novels to historical romances and of course fantasy romance. She is a believer in the unbelievable, open to all possibilities from mermaids in our oceans and seas, angels in the skies and intelligent life forms in distant galaxies.

 

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Ocean of Dust by Graeme Ing – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Graeme will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via the rafflecopter at the end of this post.

MEDIA KIT oceanofdustaudiobook_withlogoFourteen-year old Lissa is snatched from her home and finds herself a slave on a trading ship traveling on a waterless ocean of nothing but gray dust. A feisty, curious and intelligent girl, her desire to explore the ship earns her the hatred of the cruel first officer, Farq.

Fascinated by the ocean of dust, Lissa becomes embroiled in its mysteries, sensing things that the crew cannot, while cryptic whispers in her head are leading her toward a destiny linked to the dust itself. Only one man aboard can help her make sense of her new talent, but can she trust him? All is not as it seems, and she must unravel the clues before it’s too late.

When a sinister plot casts her adrift on the barren ocean, her best friend is left in the hands of the treacherous crew. Everything hinges upon her courage, quick wits, and her ability to master her new talent.

Listen to an excerpt from the audiobook:

About the Author:MEDIA KIT GraemeIngPhotoGraeme is a writer of speculative fiction. He probably won’t fall into existing pigeonholes, but hang around and you’ll get to read tales of fantasy, science-fiction, paranormal, cyberpunk, steampunk and who knows what.

Born in England, Graeme now lives in San Diego, California. His career as a software engineer and development manager spans 30 years, including the development of a dozen computer games for consoles, home computers and online. Graeme is also an avid armchair mountaineer, astronomer, mapmaker, pilot and general geek. He and his wife, Tamara, share their house with six crazy cats.

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Writing and Getting Naked by Dennis Anthony – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Dennis will be awarding an eCopy of Debunker: Independence Day to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Writing and Getting Naked

When I was little — back when folks used to write letters to relatives — I sometime wrote to my old Aunt Ella in California. Every year she would send us a book full of colored photos of that year’s Rose Parade in Pasadena.

In the letter I would tell her of the badges and arrows I earned as a Cub Scout or the games I won playing football in the backyard or how many “A’s” and “B’s” I received on my last report card. I didn’t mention the trouble I got into throwing crab apples at innocent passersby near the schoolyard or the time I shot my friend, Dicky, in the hand with an arrow while he held a soap box as a target.

I wasn’t completely honest with Aunt Ella.

I mention this because a lot of people think writing honestly means telling no lies. I don’t agree. If you’re a writer, you’ve got to get naked. You’ve got to let it all show and be willing to accept the consequences. No hiding allowed. In short, you’ve got to be you.

These days, I spend my time writing and editing. My boys have grown up. My dad passed away some years back. But when I worked at a regular day job and had a family, I spent a lot of time hiding. I never felt I could write honestly. When I wrote a novel, I had to consider what my boss would think of my words. And what about my kids and their teacher? The pastor at church? My wife, parents?

So I ratcheted back my passion and my prose. I didn’t offend anyone. I kept my clothes on.
The books sucked.

A girlfriend of mine once asked her mother, after meeting me, what she thought. “He’s an odd duck,” she said.

My girlfriend thought it was a funny comment, but I was troubled because I thought it meant I gave away too much of myself. I wanted her mother to see me as intelligent, thoughtful and responsible. But in her mind, I came off as irreverent and a little goofy.

But I am irreverent. I am a little goofy. Yeah, I think I’m intelligent, thoughtful and all that other stuff too, but it’s wrapped up in the same package..

My sister read my book, Debunker: Independence Day, and said she couldn’t finish it. She had a hard time reading “sex scenes written by my brother.” My 95-year-old mother, who isn’t doing any reading these days, piped up, “Oh, my son wouldn’t write any dirty books!”

Well, yes and no, mom. I didn’t write a dirty book, but I didn’t not write one, either. Since I’m trying to write honestly these days, the sex — what there is of it — is not gratuitous. It’s just that I resisted the impulse to remove these scenes to avoid offending my sister or my mother or my grown up kids. If the scenes worked in the story, I kept them in. If not, like a lot of the backstory and some of the longer descriptive passages, I cut them out.

I think the book is intelligent, thoughtful and responsible. But it’s also irreverent, goofy and occasionally amusing. That’s because all those things are who I am. I’m not keeping it a secret any longer.

I wrote it while I was naked. And the book is better for it.

I hope you agree.

MEDIA KIT dhessler-debunker-ebook-coverThis is the greatest battle ever fought on American soil. History will be changed. Thousands will die. And many of the dead will wander the battlefield in three different centuries, waiting to find their way home.

It’s 150 years later. Enter Francis Trecy.

An alienated outsider, he refutes paranormal claims of other researchers on a popular reality television show. Critics call him The Dark Lord. They call him The Unbeliever. Only a few people closest to him know his secret. Francis sees a lot more than he’s telling.

Before he becomes the accidental star of the program, he falls in love with a beautiful, enigmatic woman who disappears without explanation. In her wake, she leaves behind a procession of ex-lovers, along with suggestions of deceit and betrayal. Finding her becomes Francis’s obsession.

His team of mismatched investigators journeys to the most famous battlefield in American history. There he discovers that reality is not at all what it seems. In coming to terms with his relationships and his complicated past, he battles against physical danger and emotional pain. He discovers that longings of thousands of wayward spirits mirror his own.

And he learns that in a world stranger than we can imagine, the human heart remains the strangest thing of all.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Parker’s car was in a small lot behind the Inn and he had to walk past a pond and stream in the backyard to get there. Two ghost soldiers – one was the man from his room and the other a much older soldier with half-moon wrinkles under his eyes – watched him walk up the steps to his car.

While the spirits he’d seen in the last few days did not seem aggressive, he felt they were slowly moving toward him in the glacier-like way of zombies in a George Romero movie. The ghost of an aged man holding a musket that must have been an antique even during the battle was walking stolidly down an alley. Parker tossed his bag into the back seat and got into his car.

He had never seen anything like this proliferation of spirits, nor experienced the kind of jitter he was feeling. He grabbed the steering wheel with both hands and briefly dropped his head against it. He looked down to see if the two dead soldiers at the pond were walking in his direction.

He’d seen families of ghosts in homes or, more often, on porches of homes in the south. There might be three or four together in one place at the same time. Unless Parker acted as though he recognized their presence, there was seldom any interaction.

But Parker had never seen anything like he’d been seeing in Gettysburg. Not in graveyards. Not in haunted houses or abandoned orphanages. The spirits seemed to be assembling like dark clouds bunching up before a storm.

He drove down Baltimore Street, then detoured around some construction sites, and headed for the battlefield.

About the Author: MEDIA KIT Dennis27Dennis Anthony has been a newspaper reporter, sailor, military officer, television news producer, public relations executive and publishing company owner. He and his wife live in Pensacola, Florida, but try to spend as much time as possible at their cabin on
Lookout Mountain in Alabama. Debunker: Independence Day is his first published novel.

Website ~ Twitter: @DennisAuthor

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Why Write Science Fiction by Claudine Kapel – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Claudine will be awarding a $20 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Science fiction is an intriguing genre. It offers a unique vantage point for exploring ideas, experiences and worlds that go beyond our day-to-day reality.

For me, it’s a fun genre to write because it allows significant creative license. In science fiction, anything is possible. Entire worlds or galaxies can be envisioned and populated, providing almost unlimited fodder for exploration and adventure. Because the settings and species – and the technology they wield – are often literally out of this world, science fiction provides familiar archetypes – including brave heroes and nasty villains – with new avenues for expression. Intrinsic to the genre is a lot of undiscovered territory that’s ripe for exploration.

Part of the joy of writing science fiction is the creative art of world building. Piece by piece, a new world comes together, powered by a well-articulated, inherent logic regarding why things are the way they are. Through careful attention to detail, these worlds that initially exist only in the mind of the writer can be made real for others.

It’s greatly satisfying when, like a complex puzzle, the pieces come together and give rise to a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Suddenly, these new worlds and the beings that inhabit them can take on a life of their own.

While A Darker Rain is a science fiction novel, it has its own distinct trajectory in that it is set on modern-day Earth. But this rendition of Earth includes beings from other worlds that have decided to play a more active role in the day-to-day affairs of the planet. Some of these beings are advancing sinister agendas by sharing their advanced weapons and technology with power-seeking human allies.

A Darker Rain is the first book in the Ryan Cole series, which chronicles the adventures of Cole and his team of investigators as they tackle unconventional security threats posed by beings and technology from other worlds. Cole is charged with helping to protect Earth from dangerous alien influences and to keep weapons and technology from other worlds from falling into the wrong hands.

It was fun to create Ryan Cole’s world and establish how it operates. This included envisioning beings and technologies from other worlds and then integrating them into familiar Earth-based settings. That process opens the door for the unexpected, such as Cole’s encounter with a red-eyed leopard in the woods of the U.S. Pacific Northwest, or his efforts to decipher an alien rifle with no visible trigger.

Because science fiction offers such richness in terms of what might be possible, A Darker Rain represents just the beginning of Ryan Cole’s adventures. The second book in the series is slated for release at the end of 2014.

MEDIA KIT A DARK RAIN“It’s definitely not a good time to be going into the woods of Hawkley Ridge.”

When a red-eyed wildcat starts threatening ranchers in the Pacific Northwest, Ryan Cole recognizes the danger is far more menacing than the ranchers realize. Cole specializes in tackling unconventional security threats, particularly those with alien origins.

His investigation puts him in the crosshairs of Antoine Drake, an international arms dealer with a penchant for weapons from other worlds. Both men are hot on the trail of powerful alien artifacts known as guardian stones.

Cole and his team of investigators embark on a dangerous quest to recover the guardian stones before they can be assembled into the ultimate alien weapon. To succeed, Cole must also decipher the wildcat’s deadly secrets.

But in the woods of Hawkley Ridge, it’s easy for the hunter to become the prey.

A Darker Rain is the first book in the Ryan Cole series.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“We now have two stones and the amulet,” said Jackson, barely containing the excitement in his voice. “And you know what they say—you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.”

“Yeah, and you know what they say about good intentions and the road to hell,” Cole countered. “Our goal is to collect all the stones so we can make sure no one parlays them into some sort of ultimate weapon. That includes us. The last thing we want to do is unleash a weapon like that ourselves.”

“The Rajan understood how the amulet worked, and they decided to take it apart and scatter the pieces across two continents,” Ashcroft added.

“Yeah, but that was hundreds of years ago,” argued Jackson.

“And we’ve evolved so much as a species that we can handle that kind of power now?” countered Cole.

“You’re right,” agreed Jackson. “But as scientists we have to learn more about the stones and how they work.”

“Far be it for me to get in the way of scientific inquiry,” said Cole. “I’m not saying you can’t study the stones or the amulet—just that we’re not putting them all together.” That had been a longstanding rule. Cole wasn’t about to create an unprecedented weapon and unleash it on the world.

“I know what you’re saying, Cole,” said Jackson. “But that’s like saying we should study the atom but not try to split it.”

“Good analogy,” said Cole. “That’s my point exactly.”

About the Author: A Darker Rain is Claudine Kapel’s first novel. She lives in Toronto and enjoys books, music, and travel. When not working as a consultant, she can be found writing, reading, or contemplating what else may be out there.

The second book in the Ryan Cole series is planned for release in 2014.

Claudine loves to hear from readers. You can reach her at www.claudinekapel.com.

Buy the book at Amazon US, Amazon CA, iTunes US, iTunes CA, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo.

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