Fire by Sam Rook – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sam will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The thrilling conclusion to the Knights of Av’lor trilogy!

Trapped on Av’lor and left for dead by her betrayer, Kathryn’s unrelenting determination is the only thing that might overcome the invading Zahkrinon army.

With the portal destroyed and the Zahkrinon army fast approaching, Kathryn and Lanclor have no choice but to focus on the survival of the Knighthood before they can consider rescuing Rachel. Unexpected events threaten their victory and the combined Av’lorian and Earth forces struggle to survive as their numbers dwindle.

They find the Zahkrinon are more dangerous than they had ever imagined.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“I know this news is hard to hear, but I wanted you to hear it from me,” Alextor continued. “I will do everything in my power to find a way back for you to return to your homeworld. However, the most pressing matter at hand is the approaching army. We must focus on the approaching hoard of Zahkrinon and dark elves before we can delve into—”

Kathryn abruptly rose from her chair and left the room. Most of the servants scrambled out of her way and faded back into the background, except for one small form who followed Kathryn from the room. Hal shook his head. The servant probably thought she could help the Hero of the Last Battle in some way. Hal turned his attention back to Lord Alextor, determined to listen to what his commanding officer had to say.

“I know not all of you will agree, but I believe—”

Nidira threw herself at her brother’s side and intercepted the knife meant for Lord Alextor’s heart. All around the table, the bare-footed servants randomly attacked the members of the meeting. Blood splashed across the table, a startling contrast against the white slices of bread. Hal jumped to his feet and looked behind him just as a servant prepared to attack.

About the Author: Sam Rook lives in Vermont with her husband and two children. Her passion for fantasy novels began in high school with her desire to write following shortly thereafter. Software engineer by day, fantasy author by night, she strives to give her readers a chance to enjoy worlds that transport them away from the stress of everyday life.

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Winter Blogfest: Jane Dougherty

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of Revelation.

This year, we have left our offspring in the city and retreated to a farmhouse in the middle of a field. Without the family and religious aspect, and the glittery commercial temptations, Christmas as a concept is fading into the past of childhood when it actually meant something. This year we will listen to the wind in the poplars instead of Christmas carols, the owls calling instead of ‘Dumbo’, and the foxes bickering instead of Julie Andrews. We will celebrate the winter solstice instead of the 25th, with a log fire in the grate, and tell a few stories by the firelight. Like this one, perhaps.

Long ago, in the land of the Northmen, as the longest night of the year was beginning, Gudrun was sent to bring in the last of the wethers. He was the biggest, wildest of the curly-horned sheep and a right royal pain in the arse. Gudrun wrapped her thick cloak tight about her and trudged through the snow up to the oak copse where she suspected he would be, gorging himself on the last of the acorns. She called and whistled, more to keep the wild beasts away than with much hope that the daft sheep would come.

The copse was empty. The wind blew flurries of snowflakes between the tree trunks and Gudrun cursed. Beyond the oaks was empty heathland until the fjord dropped away abruptly, and the sea crashed dark and wicked below. It would be just like the gormless creature to have fallen over the edge and be stuck on a ledge. Sure enough, after a quick search, the setting sun through the clouds along the horizon showed her the wether’s neat prints. Snow clouds hid the sun, and the wind whined, and in its voice, she heard another sound—someone calling faintly.

She ran across the heath that sloped down to the sea, to where the last rowan tree clung to the rocky soil before the slope became bare rock that tumbled into the waves.

“Who’s there?” she called into the wind, fearful that on this long night, the Draugr would be abroad.

“Gudrun? Tis Sigurd Two-Wolves. Take care, the rocks are as treacherous as sin!”

Gudrun picked her way to the broken edge and peered down a narrow goat track. In the middle of a group of scrubby trees, the yellow-eyed wether, straddling a pair of legs, was glaring up at her. With the last of the light to guide her, Gudrun clambered down to the outcrop that had stopped Sigurd’s fall. He raised himself feebly on his forearms, and she caught her breath. A ray of sun picked out the red of his hair and turned it to flame. His eyes glittered, with fever or with something else, she couldn’t say. Though they had been children together, she had never before realised how beautiful he was, and the expression in his eyes, she had never seen in a man’s eyes before. He needed her. Not in the way men usually need women, but he needed her because he was weak and helpless. She knelt down by his side. Her hands twisted a fold of her cloak, itching to touch him, to find out where the pain was.

“It was the wether,” he said sheepishly, “and I almost had him. Then he jumped, and I went with him.” He looked along his body. “The ankle. Nothing to weep over, but I’d best wait for the light before trying that track again.”

Gudrun ran her hand down his leg and had the satisfaction of seeing how he stirred. Gently, she lifted his leg from the rocks that imprisoned it in a twisted position. He cried out and she felt power and pleasure and compassion all at the same time.

“We’ll not be moving from here this night,” she said.

“You’ll stay with me, the dark night through?” he asked, although he must have known the answer.

“This night and every other, if you asked me,” Gudrun whispered as she wrapped them both in her cloak. The wether settled down, sheltering them from the wind, until the sun goddess birthed a daughter to light the first day of the new year.

Carla was expecting Paradisio to be like…well…paradise. But bad boy Nathaniel shows her that the inhabitants are anything but angelic.

Wormwood has fallen, but the journey isn’t over for Carla and Tully. Erelah, the Messenger, leads them onward to Paradisio, where they hope they will find their real home. The Grigori recognize Tully as Israfel, and he takes to his new role of guardian of music like a duck to water, but Carla’s impressions are of a world with dark secrets hiding in the shadows.

Tully seems absorbed in his music and whenever he comes up for air, Erelah with her neat little wings is waiting. In her misery, Carla finds consolation in Nathaniel, a Warrior who is a hunk and knows it. But she is playing with fire. Nat wants her, and what Nat wants, he takes.
As if her personal problems weren’t enough, Carla begins to piece together the mad plan that Nisroc, the Yazata of Paradisio, has lined up for the other worlds. But Tully, who has been promised a star part, seems keen to play along with the lunatic scheme.

Carla finds herself caught up in a revolution, to stop Nisroc and the one who is creating his weapon of mass destruction—Tully.

 

Jane Dougherty writes stories where the magical and the apocalyptic mesh, where horror and romance meet, and the real and the imaginary cohabit on the same page. If real life bores you and you hanker to be whisked away to somewhere infinitely worse…before it gets better…and turns into your wildest dreams, her stories have got just what you’re looking for.

Jane was born when she was very small and was brought up in Yorkshire. Her first job took her to France and she has never found her way anywhere else. She now lives in a strange world where she writes the rules, creates the landscapes, catastrophes and the magic. She also bends the rules of physics, plays Cupid and hands out happy endings to deserving characters.

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Top Ten Reasons to Read The One Apart by Justine Avery – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Justine Avery will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Top Ten Reasons to Read The One Apart

Hmmm… the cover is full of mystery, and the description promises a compelling plot and a big, intriguing puzzle to be uncovered, but how do you know if The One Apart is really for you?

10) The One Apart is filled with eeriness, a dark presence leering over your shoulder, and apparitions only one special child can see. And you’ll never guess who or what they are. In fact, you may begin to wonder if they really do exist—all around us…

9) The One Apart will make you laugh, gasp, cry, and glance over your own shoulder to remind yourself you’re safe and sound in your own room.

8) The One Apart introduces you to compelling characters you’ll fall in love with, feel every struggle with, or love to hate. You will not want to say “goodbye” to any of them when the story ends.

7) The One Apart grabs you like a compelling saga and treats you to an epic adventure. It’s a mystery wrapped in a mystery, gripping your attention like a suspense thriller.

6) The One Apart will keep you guessing until the very end. There are twists around every turn, unpredictable events that will leave you gasping and expecting nothing but the unexpected.

5) The One Apart is a roller coaster of emotions—ups and downs that will have you clenching your pillow tight and then throwing it into the air in elated celebration.

4) The One Apart rewards you with a surprise romance tucked into its pages, waiting for the main character when he needs—and deserves it—most. And you’ll wish it was all your own.

3) The One Apart is not like any other book you’ve ever read. It’s a fast-paced ride that will whirl you away, spin you around, send you soaring, and leave you wondering what’s actually real and what may not really be. It’s a story that will stick with you long after you’ve reached the end.

2) The One Apart introduces you to a world like none you’ve ever read before, one seamlessly integrated with the world you know and live in, a world you’ll wish is actually true and out there, waiting for you.

1) The One Apart delivers an ending that will leave you in awe, speechless, and completely satisfied. It will reward you so richly, that you will want to start at the beginning and live the story all over again.

Only one obstacle stands in his way of enjoying a normal life. He remembers—every life he’s lived before.

Tres is about to be born… with the biggest burden any has ever had to bear. He is beginning again—as an ageless adult trapped in an infant body.

He and his teenage mother face life filled with extraordinary challenges as they strive to protect, nurture, and hide how truly different he is. But Tres alone must solve the greatest mystery of all: who is he? The answer is linked to the one question he’s too afraid to ask: why am I?

In his quest, Tres discovers that all is considerably more interconnected and dynamic than he could ever imagine—and fraught with far more danger. He cannot hide from the unseen threat stalking him since his birth.

Life as he knows it—as all know it—is in peril. And Tres is the only one aware.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Tres felt his body abruptly drop around him with overbearing weight, encapsulating him once again.

The mental images, the overpowering memories, finally faded. Only an ominous stillness remained.

Every cell within him began to twitch, infusing with energy—even as he felt immobile. Every joint, tendon, and bone ached under the pressure of being alive.

A deep sadness engulfed him. He pondered possible rea
sons. And, just as quickly, he was distracted by the presence of his own simple thoughts.
Thoughts. He realized his own thinking.

This mind—certain of its own newness—desired to explore, feel, do, be. Tres opened his eyes—tried to open his eyes. He found his eyelids fused shut.

He opened his mouth. Thick, warm syrup seeped inside his swallow. Intense fear washed over him, even as he knew exactly where—and how—he was.

Oh, no.

Tres was aware, more aware than any had ever been. In this moment, he knew everything—and yet, nothing.

He was beginning again.

About the Author:Justine Avery is an award-winning author of stories large and small for all. Born in the American Midwest and raised all over the world, she is inherently an explorer, duly fascinated by everything around her and excitedly noting the stories that abound all around. As an avid reader of all genres, she weaves her own stories among them all. She has a predilection for writing speculative fiction and story twists and surprises she can’t even predict herself.

Avery has either lived in or explored all 50 states of the union, over 36 countries, and all but one continent; she lost count after moving 30-some times before the age of 20. She’s intentionally jumped out of airplanes and off the highest bungee jump in New Zealand, scuba dived unintentionally with sharks, designed websites, intranets, and technical manuals, bartered with indigenous Panamanians, welded automobile frames, observed at the Bujinkan Hombu Dojo in Noba, Japan, and masterminded prosperous internet businesses—to name a few adventures. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree that life has never required, and at age 28, she sold everything she owned and quit corporate life—and her final “job”—to freelance and travel the world as she always dreamed of. And she’s never looked back.

Aside from her native English, Avery speaks a bit of Japanese and a bit more Spanish, her accent is an ever-evolving mixture of Midwestern American with notes of the Deep South and indiscriminate British vocabulary and rhythm, and she says “eh”—like the Kiwis, not the Canadians. She currently lives near Los Angeles with her husband, British film director Devon Avery, and their three adopted children: Becks, Sam, and Lia. She writes from wherever her curiosity takes her.

Avery loves to connect with fellow readers and creatives, explorers and imaginers, and cordially invites you to say “hello”—or konnichiwa.

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The Science of What If by Archer Miller – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Archer Miller will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Science of What If?

Even if fantasy is not counted, science fiction is split into a number of fragmented sub-genres. At least one list had 48 separate sub-genres under the heading science fiction. Something I believe they should all have in common is, of course, science.

Holding on to some reasonable contact with actual science creates a feeling of plausibility for the reader that make the suspension of disbelief easier to maintain. Doing this, however, places a burden on the writer to do his (or her) homework. You must start by asking questions such as: Is faster than light travel a possibility? Are their Earth-like planets out there somewhere? What is a black hole? Are there parallel universes? And so on. Then you must find the answers.

Two of my favorite writers were exceptionally good at this. Robert Heinlein asked questions like: Is it possible for man to live forever? What would it be like to settle a new planet? What is the basic nature of man? How can we overcome our limitations? These became central themes to much of his work.

Anne McCaffrey wrote a 22 book series after asking the question: Are dragons possible and how? She also asked how would a human society, under extreme duress, reorganize itself after being cut off form its past and its technology.

Douglas Adams simply asked: What is the answer to life, the universe and everything? Which we now all know is 42. He also postulated that in an infinite universe anything is possible.

These and other “what ifs” are the jumping off points to great fiction. But it isn’t enough simply to ask the question. As writers we must find a possibility where the answers also exits. Like Heinlein I like to ask what is next for mankind. When and where will be take the next evolutionary step and what are the possibilities. The answer MUST be based on actual science in order to get the reader to buy in.

This is the quality that drives my good friend and writing partner, Skip Miller, up the wall. Every time he presents me with an idea for what he calls a simple little story, I start picking it apart and asking those irritating questions. It isn’t that I dislike his ideas. It’s simply my job to ask.

So next time you find yourself stuck for a great idea for a story start asking yourself questions that start with “what if…”

Humanity has spread to the far reaches of space with The Golden Door, a planetary colonization monopoly, selling off every desirable and not so desirable planet to desperate settlers.

Each new world comes with new challenges, and to meet that challenge the children are evolving.

When Pieter, and other gifted children like him, become the target of government research they must fight not only for their lives but the future of their kind.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Pieter’s eyes opened, but it was an exercise in futility. There was nothing but darkness for him to see. He knew he was awake because of the lancing pain running down his back and across his chest; the cover on his head was stifling and smelled of sweat and blood. He was upright in some sort of chair but he was unable to move. The back of the chair was straight and hard, and he was bound to it with his arms pinned behind his back. He struggled to breathe. His chest was stretched as his shoulders pressed into the chair behind him. A cry of pain rose in his throat, but he clamped his mouth tight to hold it prisoner.

As he gasped for air and strained to ease the pain in his chest and back, a voice from beyond the pain alerted him to another presence.

“Suka is awake.”

“Good. I want this suka blyad to remember this.”

With no way of knowing or seeing its approach a hand struck his face, slamming the back of his head against the hard chair. He could stop the scream, but not the tears that rained from his eyes.

“Little boy want to play,” the voice taunted him.

Something hard crashed into his stomach, forcing the air from his lungs. He tried to breathe, but was unable. What do they want from me?

A second fist slammed into the side of his face, whipping his head to the right.

“Don’t kill him,” the first voice warned.

“I won’t. But he’ll wish I had.”

About the Author:Archer Miller emerged from the East Texas hill country and set his sights on finding the life of which few of his contemporaries dreamed. In 1974, he migrated to Boulder, Colorado to enroll at the Naropa Institute – now known as the Naropa University, a tiny Liberal Arts college founded by the renowned Tibetan Buddhist scholar and lineage holder, the Ven. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1940-1987). Rinpoche was enormously influential in spreading the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism to the West.

Archer earned a degree in herbs and creative writing. He was a four-year Letterman on the Varsity Competitive Meditation Team.

After graduating in 1978, he took a year off to hike the Jack Kerouac literary trail. He became a top freelance gun-for-hire with dozens of ad agencies across the south and southwest. As a way to deal with the proliferation of Disco, he took up Zen Archery.

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The White Lady by Beth Trissel – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions.
Beth Trissel will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Avery Dunham has always been ready to follow her friend, time-traveling wizard, Ignus Burke, on incredible adventures. This time, though, she has serious misgivings. It’s just one week before Christmas, but she cannot get him to change his mind. The usually cool and collected magic-wielding leader is wholly obsessed by the portrait of the White Lady whom he is bent on rescuing.

Almost as soon as they begin their journey, it becomes clear their mission is a trap.

Avery was right: this adventure is not going to be like any other.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Avery had a few queries on the tip of her tongue, like, “Are you out of your freaking skull?”

If she didn’t ask, Stan probably would. They’d graduated from high school this past June and worked part-time ‘nothing’ jobs, taking a break before college while finding their way, as Avery’s mother put it. Mostly, they were drawn to Ignus like moths to a flame, especially Avery. Not that he noticed.

If only he’d look at her the way he did the white lady. More and more, the portrait seemed to dominate his thoughts. How could a petite, okay short, girl in a sparkly pink sweater and unicorn leggings compete with this tantalizing beauty?

Avery wasn’t plain, some even referred to her as cute, but exotic didn’t describe her. Quirky, sure. She wouldn’t term her brown eyes deeply affecting, and her face wouldn’t compel men through centuries to her side. The best she could do was plead with him.

“Ignus, be reasonable. Please.”

No reply. He wore his stubborn look. Crossing his arms over a lean chest, he tilted his head to better view the femme fatale on the wall above them.

The tousled brown hair covering his ears and forehead needed a trim. In his red Zombie Preparedness hoodie with a white rescue logo, gray dress pants, and white high-topped sneakers, he was the quintessential nerd. Most importantly, he was a wizard and time traveler with a passion for rescuing lost souls. His fervor for this particular lady was alarming.

About the Author: Married to my high school sweetheart, I live on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with my people and furbabies. An avid gardener, I grow herbs and heirloom flowers and use them in my stories. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans, and the Scots-Irish are at the heart of my inspiration. My English/Scots-Irish ancestors were among the earliest settlers in America. I write historical romance set in the colonial frontier (The Native American Warrior Series), and the American Revolution (The Traitor’s Legacy Series), colonial American Christmas romance (A Warrior for Christmas) Georgian England romance (Into the Lion’s Heart, the time and place of Poldark). Some of my historicals have ghosts and paranormal in them. I also write Young Adult shapeshifter, fantasy romance (The Secret Warrior Series), and New Adult paranormal time travel, time slip romance to the Scottish Highlands, the American Revolution, the Civil War, WW1.. (My Somewhere in Time and Ladies in Time Series.)

One Writer’s Way | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Author Page

The White Lady is available at Amazon and in eBook from all major online booksellers.

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Favorite Genre by Susan Badaracco – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Susan Badaracco will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Favorite Genre

I’m a new author and I can’t afford to have a favorite genre.

In the past, I had favorite authors and subject matter like everyone else. But one day I was reading a business book on leadership (not my typical weekend read) and the author used this brilliant description for looking over a timeline of past mistakes. Since then I have realized that good writers are everywhere.

If you look at most home decor magazines, you can find descriptions for both interior and exterior. Phrases that are not typically part of my vocabulary…

Narrow, vertically driven architecture
Mood lifting white
The curved lines echo the arch of her favorite stilettos

And it’s not just the written word.

I was watching a movie last night and the scenes jumped back and forth between a man enjoying a celebratory drink with friends and his wife who went into labor prematurely. The boisterous laughter with raised glasses, the woman clutching her abdomen and moaning…dazzling contrasts.

My friend’s sister completed her round of chemotherapy and went in for scans and blood work to see if the treatment had been effective against the cancer. She waited for the results for days. After the doctor’s call, she went to bed… in the middle of the day. It had been good news, wonderful news, but the tension of waiting was exhausting. Had I not heard that, my imaginary character would go out for a drink. And that would not have been wrong but the vision of clicking the phone off, scuffing off the shoes at the bedside, pulling up the quilt and sinking into oblivion seems more fragile, more tender. Less expected.

Lest I focus too hard on the details, in a historical novel by Frank Delaney, I am reminded to “raise our heads and be aware of the horizon”. I have been guilty of concentrating on the intricacies of a scene and letting the plot lag. That line pulls me back and reminds me of what our roles are supposed to be…storytellers.

When her past merges with her present, Maddy is not sure what to think. Was that really an abduction she witnessed? Does she have the courage to find out?

Silenus is a unicorn haunted by his past failure to protect his charge. He trains relentlessly but is he fierce enough to protect this innocent? Will she even trust him?

Can a mortal and immortal pursue the truth together or will Maddy pay the ultimate price?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Silenus shoved emotion down and boldly, systematically, scrutinized the victims strewn throughout the meadow. He saved the copse of trees for last. Coming down the hill, he’d determined that tactically, the trees provided the best defensive position. It would be the only logical place to go if you had a younger, slower unicorn to protect. It was there, under a canopy of graceful tree limbs and flickering sunlight that he found them both. He knew his wife, who was known for her speed, gave up any chance of escape in order to shield their beloved daughter. His wife was bloodied, her chest splayed open, her pearly horn crimson stained. His daughter looked peaceful, undefiled with the exception of a single puncture wound to the chest. Her tiny horn sparkled as it caught rays of sun filtering through the trees.

Silenus nuzzled his wife, but although her body was still warm, she remained motionless. He leaned down to breath in her essence but instead the metallic scent of blood hit his nose. Tears slid down his muzzle and dropped in dark splotches on both his wife and daughter. Tears that would normally heal wounds and cure poisons but were ineffective against death. He pawed at the ground in front of them, sending up dust that cloaked his mouth and burned his eyes.

About the Author: Susan Badaracco is the author and independent publisher of The Oath: Maddy and Silenus.

In her real life, she is a pediatrician at Kids First Pediatrics where she routinely consoles anxious moms, retrieves interesting objects hidden in ears and laughs at made up knock-knock jokes.

She lives with her husband, a dog (ADHD is not limited to humans) and a cat. Her daughter and son both made the unfortunate decision to grow up which means she travels more than she used to.

Website | Blog | Facebook

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Hinder by Kristin Ping – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kristin will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Ethan SUTCLIFF is no normal seventeen-year-old, but he tries to be really hard. He is what witches call a Guardian, or a the easier term will be a Bender. Benders are crucial to elemental witches as they have the ability to bend their witches’ gifts. In Alex’s case he is one of the rarest, an Earth Bender, but his witch is either dead or deep in hiding and Ethan needs to find whoever they are otherwise the witching race might be in danger.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Awe filled me as I watched Ethan playing in the garden. Though only ten years old and scrawny, he was… a wonder.

The farm was the safest place for him. A few miles from the city and its prying eyes. Less danger here.

His hands lightly stroked the rosebushes as he walked past them.

It wasn’t time for them to bloom yet, but at Ethan’s tender touch, pink and white rosebuds opened and expanded into the most beautiful roses I’d ever seen.

“Ethan,” I called from the porch, warning in my tone.

His blond head snapped toward me. He pulled his hand to his chest. “Sorry, Dad.”

“Be careful.” I spoke as if he was pulling the cat’s tail—not lending nature a hand.

With one flutter of the newspaper, I pretended to return to reading. After a few seconds scowling at the small black letters, I peeked over the top of the page and stared back at Ethan.

Natalie his mother, never let him explore. She worried about the others. That they would see.

Ethan walked over to the willow sapling Natalie had planted a few weeks ago. It wasn’t tall; the top barely reached Ethan’s waistline. He stumbled and fell with hands first—diving right into the willow.

It started to grow… and grow. In a matter of seconds, it was a full-grown tree. Slender, silver-green leaves swayed in the lazy breeze.

The newspaper fluttered as I set it aside and stood, mouth agape. Not many could do that at his age.

Surprise galloped on the heels of awe, followed by a dash of fear—okay, more than a dash— as Ethan stood and brushed himself off.

So this was what Natalie felt most of the time

My eyes darted this way and that. What if anyone saw?

Everything was exactly as it had been a few moments ago, except for the mature willow in the middle of the yard, its graceful branches lazily stroking the earth. A few cows grazed serenely in the green pasture. The chickens clucked in their pen. The ginger tomcat lay on the opposite chair to mine.

Behind me, the door opened. Natalie gasped. She smacked my shoulder with a dish cloth—hard. I scrambled back from her wrath.

“I told you to watch him!” she hissed. She ran down the steps with huge eyes and long strides. She reached him and crouched down in front of him, almost pulling the boy down with her, scowling.

Rubbing my shoulder, I watched the expression on my son’s face. He hadn’t meant to do it. It was an accident. Ethan never asked to be born into our family of Benders.

Ever since he got a taste of his element, well, he’d just been so damn curious.

He would need to find his match: an earth Wielder.

Earth Wielders rarely reached their fifteenth birthdays. And because of what Ethan would become one day, his life was in mortal danger.

Benders were born to protect Wielders. The payoff was being able to manipulate the Wielder’s element. To use it to their advantage. To, well, bend it into whatever they wanted the element to do. Whether it was to make a tree grow or a fire burn or the wind blow… Wielders could start the process, but the Benders performed the magic. They told the flame how to crackle, or the earth how to quake, or the gale how to waft.

Without a Bender, Wielders would cause chaos.

If a water Wielder or an earth Wielder had no Bender, then a tsunami was inevitable.

Wielders and Benders were a mechanism, an interdependent team that functioned as one. They benefited mutually from one another and kept each other safe.

It had always been this way since Wielders were labeled as Witches. Now they had plenty of names—alchemists, spellbinders, and shifters, to name a few.

About the Author: Kristin resides in South Africa with her husband, two beautiful girls and two bulldogs that tries to eat her house. She has been writing for the past eight years and her first debut novel, Hinder: A Bender’s novel will be published 2018 by Fire Quill Publishing.

When she isn’t writing, she is spending her time with her family, or trying to teach her two bulldogs to not eat her house. You can find more about Kristin at www.authorkristinping.com

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A CHANCE TO WIN

Follow the steps and you can stand a chance to win a Macintosh laptop. It’s easy.
Please note that your entry will not count if you haven’t followed all the steps.

Want to win a Mac? Every two to three months, Kristin Ping is giving away a mac, all you have to do is subscribe to her newsletter, confirm to the confirmation email that will either be in your inbox or spam, and open the letter. Find the secret Facebook group, join and enter the giveaway. It’s as easy as that. We even give you extra entries by inviting your friends to subscribe too. We already gave away the fist laptop.

INTRODUCING THE PING CRATE

The Ping Crate is a crate filled with goodies for readers. It’s built around the theme of the Guardian of Monster Series. The first few boxes will be built around witches. Think journals, cups, books, novelty jewelry, swag and something electronic that will push the worth of the crate up to $700 and more.

All you have to do is stay subscribed to the subscription list and open the monthly newsletter that Kristin will send out to find the rafflecopter for you to enter in this lovely giveaway.

It’s a box full of reader goodies and a surprise. Sometimes it will be a gift card if there isn’t any electronics.

Believe me it will be worth your time.

PRE ORDER HINDER FOR 99c. Yes, you’ve heard right. The pre order special is 99c only. The price will go up to 2.99 in its first month, think of it as a release day blitz, and from the second month it will go up to its normal price of 4.99c. So it’s a major deal of getting the pre-order for just 99c. GRAB YOUR COPY NOW!!!

When you purchase Hinder, you can claim your free gift through the subscriber link. Don’t miss out on this amazing Pre-Order deal ‘Even Witches needs saving now and then.’ Use the link below:

Pre-Order Landing Page
Reminder: “The book is available for pre-order for only $0.99!”

or

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Write What You Know, Know What You Write by Jack Hillman – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jack Hillman will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Write What You Know, Know What You Write
One of the first things you probably heard as a writer was: Write what you know. It’s much easier to write about people and places you know, things you have done, or, at the least, things you have watched other people do.

When you write that non-fiction article, it works the same way. It’s much easier to write about something you have done, a job you have worked at, a hobby you enjoy, or a subject you have studied for years.

That’s good, and if you have subjects, or hobbies, or employment that lend themselves to articles, you’re in for a shock the first time you get a check for a non-fiction article you wrote.

Permit me to impart to you one of the great secrets of writing. Sit at my feet, Grasshopper, and listen to the wise, old… well, anyway. The real money in writing is in non-fiction.

Writing fiction is fun. You get to create things: places, people, events. You get to play God as these things do what you tell them (Okay, the article about characters talking to you and giving directions is for another time).

But the real money in writing, unless you’re lucky enough to get that book deal, is in non-fiction. Trade publications in many cases pay anywhere from ten cents a word for the smaller magazines, to as much as $1.50 a word for some of the really specialized journals. While it is true that many professional journals don’t pay for unsolicited material, it is also true that the same article that won’t get you a cent in the New England Journal of Medicine, might, with a little work, get you a hefty paycheck from Medical Economics.

So, how do you get those nice fat paychecks if you haven’t worked in the field, studied it in school, or have access to a spouse with the proper skills. Simple: you do research.

The key to a good non-fiction article is enough research to write intelligently on the subject, without overloading the reader with fourteen volumes of background (Gee, sounds just like writing fiction, doesn’t it?). With the Internet, the information you need is often only a click away.

Well, if it’s that easy why isn’t everyone doing it?

Mostly because it’s one of those things that looks easy on paper but is quite difficult in practice. So here are some tips.

First, learn the language. Find a good glossary on the subject you want to write about. If you don’t understand what the articles, websites, books or speakers are discussing, there is no way you’ll know what to put in (or keep out) of your article.

Second, check on groups. Most professions have professional groups or trade groups that have regular meetings, regular publications and—most importantly—regular sources of information, as in speakers or consultants. As someone explains it to you, so can you explain to your reader.

Third, be persistent. One of the hardest things about writing on a new subject is wading through three times more information than you need for your article to find that lone gem of an idea. But look at it this way, the other two-thirds of the information you have acquired might be a start of a new article, and you’ll already know the language and what questions to ask.

Fourth, learn the markets. Okay, you’ve probably heard this comment so many times that you’re getting tired of hearing it. But the truth is, if you don’t know who to sell the piece to, or at least have an idea of several markets, it’s a waste of time to write the article. Most professional publications have a specific way they want their information presented. And if they already did an article last year on Grecian Urns, they probably don’t want another, unless you convince the editor you have a new twist on what a Grecian earned (Ouch! Did I really write that?).

Fifth, be persistent. No, I’m not stuttering. Another facet of non-fiction writing that differs from fiction is that the same information, rewritten, can provide more than one article for different publications. In some cases, but not often, it may even be possible to sell exactly the same article to different publications that do not have conflicting readerships. Be ready to sell your knowledge to more than one editor, and charge accordingly.

Now that I’ve repeated everything you’ve heard before in Non-Fiction 101 at the last six conferences, why should you, the writer of fiction in whatever genre, pay any attention to non-fiction works. Simple—it pays to be flexible. Or, as I’m fond of saying: It pays to have options.

I got my start as a writer doing short essays and (gasp!) poetry long before I decided this was something I wanted to do as a career. In fact, I never planned on a career as a writer. But when I was laid off from my job, along with so many thousands of other folks, the only gig available that paid more than the fast-food joint down the street was as a writer. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t want to be a writer, it just meant I had to make a career change. But at least I had the option to do so. Many of my associates are still looking for work in our profession, and scraping by working at the local Micky D’s.

So take a look around your home office, or bedroom, or small corner of the kitchen table, where you do your writing. What’s in there that might be worth a few drachma to the right editor?

You never know.

Magic Forgotten is an Adult Urban Fantasy set in Eastern PA. It is the story of a paraplegic, freelance writer who has withdrawn from the world only to be dragged back out by the appearance of two strangers in his back yard. They are a Sidhe, the old elves of England, and a human wizardess, a captive of the elf, and they are here to take over the world. The writer and the wizardess have to stop the elf from achieving his plans.

Enjoy an Excerpt
Dan awoke with a splitting headache.

This was not surprising considering he was seated at his desk with his head resting on the computer keyboard. The corner of the escape key pressed into his forehead hard enough to leave an impression.

“At least they left the computer.” He mused as he tried to look around at the room. Everything seemed to spin as he moved. He lifted a hand to his forehead as he groaned in pain. His groan stopped as he felt something imbedded in the skin just above his nose, between his eyebrows. He probed with his fingers, trying to judge what it was. Smooth and oval, was all he could tell by touch. As he lowered his hand to look at his fingers for any residue, he noted something on the back of his wrist. Both wrists, he soon saw, had oval green gems the size of a nickel imbedded in the skin, just above the joint where it did not impair movement. As far as he could tell by touch, they matched the stone in his forehead. The sickly green color did little to help Dan’s queasy stomach.

His computer screen caught his attention as he examined his wrist. On the screen was a logo Dan did not immediately recognize, a sign-on for a database he had never entered before, to his knowledge. Looking from his hands to the screen, Dan wondered: had he had been typing under someone else’s control and accessed something he wasn’t supposed to see?

“Oh, shit. Steven King strikes again.”

About the Author: A lifelong Pennsylvania resident, Jack began a love of books sitting amid the mystery of hospitals and medical paraphernalia. Mythology of all cultures and a fascination with martial philosophies led to King Arthur, the knights of the round table and an array of science fiction and fantasy authors that had a strong impact on his life.

Real life got in the way of a writing career to start, but thirty years in the life and medical insurance field led Jack to a job as a stringer for local newspapers and writing for medical and insurance journals. In addition to years in the insurance field Jack also has fifteen years experience as a journalist and freelance writer, and has even won a Keystone Press Award (1998) for his journalistic efforts. Jack has written on a wide variety of subjects and keeps his hand in medical and insurance matters on a daily basis.

In addition to newspaper reporting and magazine articles, Jack has written articles for a variety websites–some under his own name and some as a behind-the-scenes contributor. Jack’s first short fiction piece, a novella, was serialized in an old BBS site in 1992, with the first hard copy magazine story arriving in 1993. Four dinner theater plays written by Jack have been produced and performed for local theater in Eastern Pennsylvania. His novels are now coming to light with the release of There Are Giants In This Valley published by Archebooks Publishing.

With experience as a journalist, short story writer, playwright and novelist, Jack often speaks at writer’s conferences, to writer’s groups and to school gatherings. If you are looking for a speaker on esoteric subjects, Jack probably has something tucked away in a folder for the occasion.

He lives in eastern Pennsylvania with his supportive wife, a squad of feline editors, and an array of edged weapons to inspire his works.

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Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will win a $10 Amazon/BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

In Nysa, Alexander the Great and time traveling journalist Ashley find their abducted son Paul being worshiped as “the son of the moon”. Knowing she can’t change history and that Alexander’s kingdom will be torn apart when he dies, Ashley must make the terrible decision to leave her firstborn son in the sacred valley.

Alexander presses on to India, where he and Ashley are welcomed with feasts – and treachery. They struggle through monsoons, face the might of Porus’s army, and outwit deadly Brahmin rebels. Facing the reality of Alexander’s looming death, Ashley considers the unthinkable – How to save him, and the consequences of cheating the Fates. Book III in the Time for Alexander series

Enjoy an Excerpt

The battle that day was over by mid-morning. Alexander lost twelve men. The enemy lost half their army and sued for peace before noon.

Alexander was carried into the infirmary where I was helping Usse. His ankle had been shattered by a lance.

“Are you all right?” I asked, rushing to his side.

He stared at me, sweat pouring off his face, and his eyes two wells of pain.

“Would I come here if I was all right?” he gasped.

I sat down next to him and held his hand while Usse took off his sandal and examined the wound. When he probed, my own hand was nearly broken in Alexander’s grip, and I yelped.

“Sorry,” muttered the slender Egyptian doctor, dousing the ankle with hot water mixed with different herbs. He cleansed it and put a splint around it. There wasn’t much else he could do. Now we just had to pray it didn’t get infected.

We stayed for three days while we organized the peace talks with both tribes. Then Alexander decided to pull out and head straight to Nysa. An ambassador for the Assacenian king told us that the child of the moon was being worshipped in Nysa.

The child of the moon was Paul, my baby, now nearly five years old. I hadn’t seen him since he was ten days old.

Alexander left two divisions behind with his general Coenus while we took the rest of the army. We would all join up at the Indus River.

About the Author: Jennifer Macaire lives in France with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves cooking, eating French chocolate, growing herbs and flowering plants on her balcony, and playing golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.

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Publishing and Patience by Laurie Gardiner – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

PUBLISHING AND PATIENCE

There are no words to describe the feeling a writer has when they write the words “The End.” Relief, joy, pride certainly, but also a tiny kernel of doubt and fear for what is still to come.

The best advice I took was to set my manuscript aside for a while. I was too close to it, and needed that separation in order to go back to it later with a clear mind and fresh perspective. While it sat, I researched. For a month, I spent hours each day reading every article, blog, and book I could find about revising, editing, and publishing. I kept my options open by researching traditional, indie, and self-publishing. To be traditionally published had always been my dream, but I knew how tough it is as a new author to break in to the industry.

Finally, I revised, and revised, and revised. I read the manuscript over and over, focusing on one issue each time, deleting, cutting and pasting, adding words where necessary. During this process, I discovered that I love ripping words apart and putting them back together, like a giant word puzzle. It gives me a sense of satisfaction to make good words better.

When I could revise no more, I set the MS aside again to gain distance before the editing stage. Now, the possibility of publication loomed so near, I could almost let myself believe it might happen. For the next few weeks, I researched traditional publishing in depth. I attended nearby publishing workshops with well-known authors and literary agents, arming myself with their knowledge and experience.

During this time, I discovered query letters; a good one will hook an agent or publisher, and motivate them to ask for more. Again, research was key in learning all I could about writing an engaging query. I wrote and rewrote my query, but still I struggled with it. Finally, I signed up for a query workshop with a literary agent who would spend the last hour of the class critiquing queries. Armed with a newfound confidence, and a query full of red ink, I went home and rewrote it.

Now that my query was honed and ready, I set to the task of editing and polishing my manuscript. Much like revising, each pass focused on an issue: one for dialogue, one for grammar, another for punctuation, etc. The final step was proofreading. When Tranquility was as polished as I could make it, I was ready to submit.

Again, research is key when searching for agents and publishers. Not only do you want to be sure those you submit to are legit, but also that they are looking for what you are offering. Submitting your YA fantasy to an agent who does not accept YA is a waste of your time and theirs. The best way to ensure they are a good fit, and at the same time protect yourself, is to take your time and research each one carefully.

It is too easy, in the euphoria of finishing a novel, or any written work, to rush the process. I get it, you’re excited and proud, and you want everyone to read it. But when you rush into publishing, whether self or traditional, without knowing exactly what you are doing, mistakes will happen. I’ve seen too many writers who don’t understand how publishing works, get sucked in by vanity presses who tell you they love your work and make all kinds of promises. Thousands of dollars later, the writer finally learns the hard way what they should have known all along; you never pay to publish.

In the same way, writers often rush into self-publishing, so eager to put their work out into the world, that they skip important steps. If you can’t afford an editor, wait a few months and save for it. Even better, set aside money each month while you are writing so that, by the time you are ready to publish, you can afford professional editing. If you are not good at cover design, hire someone to do it. Do your research. Learn all you can about self-publishing and marketing. Publishing a book that is not ready to be published will only hurt you in the long run.

It took me eight months to find a publisher. Eight months of researching each agent and publisher I submitted to, of tailoring each query to fit the submission. For months, I waited. With each email response, my heart skipped a beat. With each rejection, it sank. My patience paid off. I received two offers and six months later, my dream of becoming a published author came true.

From the time I sat down to sketch out the plot, to the date of publication, the whole process took nearly three years. Writing a book requires hard work, dedication, and patience. Research and learn. Arm yourself with knowledge. Take the time to do it right. In the end, it will pay off.

From Scout Media comes A Haunting of Words—the third volume in an ongoing short story anthology series featuring authors from all over the world.

In this installation, the reader will experience a multi-genre journey beyond traditional haunts; from comedy, to drama, fantasy, romance, and horror, these stories put eclectic spins on the every-day ghost tale. Whether you are running from the ghost of a vengeful mother, falling in love with an apparition, touring with a deceased famous musician, saving a newborn from a possessed crib, or having a specter cat as a sidekick, these stories of hauntings and apparitions will warm your heart, send shivers down your spine, and tickle your funny bone.

Whether to be enlightened, entertained, or momentarily caught up in another world, these selections convey the true spirit of the short story.

About the Author of Thief: Laurie Gardiner’s publications include short stories “Til Death Do Us Part,” which placed first in the Cambridge Writers’ Collective contest, “Retribution,” selected for publication in Scout Media’s 2016 anthology, A Journey of Words, and “Thief” included in the third “of Words” anthology, A Haunting of Words. Over the years, her poetry has also been published in various anthologies.

Her debut novel, Tranquility, published in 2015, by Escargot Books and Music, was inspired by her work as a personal support worker specializing in dementia care.

In 2015, she graduated with honors from Conestoga College’s Creative Writing program. She’s a Canadian, an avid reader, a yogi, and a Gemini. She grew up on a farm in remote northern Ontario and now lives near Toronto with her husband and cat.

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