Withhold by Andrea Pearson – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Andrea will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. In addition, forward proof of download (a confirmation email or a screenshot) to withholdbonuses@gmail.com to receive the following: Discern and Praxis (first two books in the series), Hope(less) and (Mis)fortune by Melissa Haag, other titles by other authors, bachelor of science degree from Katon University, coloring pages, word search, fantasy illustration by Andrea’s husband (James E. Curwen, professional illustrator), maps illustrated by Andrea and her husband, etc. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

In the ultimate battle between good and evil, Nicole is in a race to stop Keitus before he achieves his plans. If he succeeds, he will crush everyone who has opposed him and enslave Earth and countless other planets. Unfortunately, he is only minutes away from his goal.

With so much at stake, Nicole and her friends must approach Helen, a volatile and dangerous spirit who will probably destroy them regardless of whether she gives them what they want. And the chances of her helping them are slim.

Fast-paced and epic magical fights, exciting plot twists, and non-stop action and adventure await. So sit down, buckle up, and hold on for the explosive, much-anticipated conclusion to the award-winning and bestselling Mosaic Chronicles.

About the Author: Andrea Pearson is an avid reader and outdoor enthusiast who plays several instruments, not including the banjo, and loves putting together musical arrangements. Her favorite sports are basketball and football, though several knee surgeries and incurably awful coordination prevent her from playing them.

Andrea graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor of science degree in Communications Disorders. She is the author of many full-length novels (the Kilenya Series and Mosaic Chronicles) and several novellas. Writing is the chocolate of her life – it is, in fact, the only thing she ever craves. Being with her family and close friends is where she’s happiest, and she loves thunderstorms, the ocean, hiking, public speaking, painting, and traveling.

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The Bull Riding Witch by Jamie Marchant – Spotlight and Giveaway



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jamie 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.

Daulphina’s father, the king of Asteria, has always wanted a male heir. Unfortunately for him, Daulphina’s magic means that will never happen unless her bastard half-brother displaces her on the throne. But she’ll take on all the gods herself before she lets that happen. He isn’t nice enough to be a good king.

But apparently, the gods don’t like being challenged because she’s flung across the void and into the dumpy old trailer and chiselled body of Joshua Killenyen, a rodeo bull rider from Alabama. With nothing to eat but Frosted Flakes and no knowledge how she got there, she better find a way home before she gets her head stomped in by the bulls she must ride. Or her brother will take the throne and reduce her people to slavery. Remember, he isn’t nice.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

I woke with my head pounding and my tongue coated with the fur balls of ten thousand cats. I nearly gagged at the stench that filled the air, a scent that combined the reek of the inside of a knight’s armor after jousting with the odor of rotting flesh.

Confused, I examined my surroundings. Hanging on the wall facing me was a portrait of a huge bull with its head down and its heels kicked high into the air. Incredibly, a man, holding onto a rope with only one hand, sat on the bull’s back. Why would anyone ride a bull? Bulls were dangerous and impossible to control.

Piled high on the bedside table were plates covered with the remains of several meals, bowls with a few dregs of sour milk, and empty bottles. The sheet I laid on was stained with various substances I didn’t want to identify. Where was I? This was certainly no place worthy of me, the crown princess. Maybe I had somehow ended in the servants’ quarters, although I couldn’t imagine how.

I tried to sit up, and my head felt as if it were going to split in two. I groaned, and the sound was deep and masculine. What the . . .? I looked down at my arms. They were muscular and covered with hair. I grabbed my naked chest. My breasts were entirely flat, and my chest was covered with thick, coarse hair. When I rubbed my hand across my face, I felt thick stubble. I looked down at the short clothes, which were the only thing I was wearing; there was a bulge that just shouldn’t have been there. I lifted the waistband and peeked. Dear gods, how had I gotten one of those? I poked it with my finger, and it twitched. I snapped the waistband closed and jumped away, but I couldn’t get away from the body I was wearing.

About the Author:

Jamie began writing stories about the man from Mars when she was six, and she never remembers wanting to be anything other than a writer. Everyone told her she needed a back up plan, so she pursued a Ph.D. in American literature, which she received in 1998. She started teaching writing and literature at Auburn University. One day in the midst of writing a piece of literary criticism, she realized she’d put her true passion on the backburner and neglected her muse. The literary article went into the trash, and she began the book that was to become her first novel. She writes about the fantastic . . . and the tortured soul. Her poor characters have hard lives. She still teaches writing and literature at Auburn University. She is the mother of a grown son.

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Hell Holes by Donald Firesmith – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Donald will be awarding an autographed copy of the Hell Holes 2: Demons on the Dalton (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

It’s August in Alaska, and geology professor Jack Oswald prepares for the new school year. But when hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appear overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, Jack receives an unexpected phone call. An oil company exec hires Jack to investigate, and he picks his climatologist wife and two of their graduate students as his team. Uncharacteristically, Jack also lets Aileen O’Shannon, a bewitchingly beautiful young photojournalist, talk him into coming along as their photographer. When they arrive in the remote oil town of Deadhorse, the exec and a biologist to protect them from wild animals join the team. Their task: to assess the risk of more holes opening under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the wells and pipelines that feed it. But they discover a far worse danger lurks below. When it emerges, it threatens to shatter Jack’s unshakable faith in science. And destroy us all…

Enjoy an Excerpt

IN THE PLANE
Once everything was stowed, I followed Mark up the short stairs and into the lavish interior of the business jet. Unlike the cramped commuter planes I usually took when flying up to the oil fields, the Embraer Legacy 500 made first class seem like coach. Either the executive funding our study was desperate to get us up there, or this was the only aircraft the company had left to send. Either way, I was happy for the unexpected upgrade.

Unlike typical airliners, the jet’s eight large leather seats were organized around four small tables, two on either side of the cabin. Each table separated two seats, one seat facing the back of the airplane and the other facing forward. Angie and Jill were seated in the first row of the plane leaving the second row seats facing forwards for Mark and me. I’d just sat down opposite my wife when she pointed her finger over my shoulder. Following Mark had prevented me from noticing the unexpected extra person seated in the rear of the cabin. With the satisfied smile of a cat having feasted on canary, there sat Aileen O’Shannon. I wondered whether Angie and Jill had selected this particular seating arrangement so they could glare at the weirdly bewitching beauty in the back. Of course, it may have been to keep Mark and me from being tempted to look at her instead of paying proper attention to our wives.

I got up and marched straight to the rear of the plane and said, “I’m sorry, but I never said you could come along on this trip.”

“You are?” she asked coyly. “Oh, my. You never said I could not come.” She gave me a stunning smile that I’m sure usually got her everything she’d ever asked for. “I naturally took your silence to signify agreement, so I packed my bag and cameras, and here I am. Lucky for you that I did; you wouldn’t want to get up there only to realize you needed someone to make a visual record of your discoveries. Besides, I know some of the discoveries the Russians made that they didn’t publish.”

The co-pilot walked up behind me. “Excuse me, Dr. Oswald. Can you please take your seat now? We’re on a very tight schedule, and Mr. Kowalski wants you in Deadhorse as soon as possible.”

I looked up front and saw that the cabin door was already closed, and the seat belt signs were on. Before I could answer, the plane began taxiing away from the hangar. Realizing that it was too late to rid ourselves of the reporter, I turned around and took my seat facing Angie.

“I see we still have Miss O’Shannon with us,” Angie said with a hint of irritation. “I thought you’d decided we didn’t need her.”

“I did,” I answered as the plane accelerated down the runway. “But the cabin door was already closed, and we were already moving.”

“Jack, you’re the leader of this study, and this plane wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for you. The pilot would have turned around if you’d asked him to.”

“You’re right,” I admitted sheepishly, silently cursing my habit of not questioning authority figures, at least not unless it involved science.

“Well, what are you going to do about it?”

Suddenly and for no apparent reason, my annoyance with O’Shannon disappeared, and I felt an overpowering desire to keep her with us, with me. I twisted around and looked back at her. She was staring back at me with a knowing smile. God, she looked so mesmerizingly beautiful as her fingers provocatively played with the top button of her shirt. Of course, she should come…

“Jack… Jack!”

I jerked back around, my heart pounding as I felt my face warming. I was blushing from embarrassment and guilt. I was also confused, unsure of what had just happened.

“Jack, I was talking to you, and you just ignored me! What’s gotten into you?”

About the Author: A computer geek by day, at night and on weekends Donald Firesmith writes modern paranormal fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from magical woods and mystical gemstones.

A computer geek by day, Donald Firesmith works as a system and software engineer helping the US Government acquire large, complex software-intensive systems. In this guise, he has authored seven technical books, written numerous software- and system-related articles and papers, and spoken at more conferences than he can possibly remember. He is also proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the Association of Computing Machinery, although his pride is tempered somewhat worrying whether the term “distinguished” makes him sound more like a graybeard academic rather than an active engineer whose beard is still more red than gray.

By night and on weekends, his alter ego writes modern paranormal fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and mystical gemstones. His first foray into fiction is the book Magical Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore written under the pen name Wolfrick Ignatius Feuerschmied. He lives in Crafton, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky, his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs, cats, and birds.

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Praise Quotes

“I enjoyed my time in Firesmith’s world. I did not want to leave. I really got a kick out of it, and would happily come back for more. Recommended.”
MJ Kobernus, author of The Guardian: Blood in the Sand

“This book rocks.”
Barton Paul Levenson, author of Dark Gods of Alter Telluria

“a quick, enjoyable read. Full of action and fraught with danger”
Dave Robertson, author of Strange Hunting, Strange Hunting II, and The Brave and The Dead

“The book is an easy and quick read and an action-filled one that you’ll imagine as a TV series or a movie with no difficulty.”
Olga Núñez Miret, author of Escaping Psychiatry

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The Goddess’s Choice by Jamie Marchant – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organied by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jamie will be awarding a $15 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.

In a world where the corrupt church hides the truth about magic, the fate of the joined kingdom falls on the shoulders of two young people from opposite ends of the social hierarchy.

Crown Princess Samantha’s life begins to fall apart when she starts seeing strange colors around her potential suitors. She fears that she’s going insane–or worse that she’s defying the Goddess’s will. Robrek is a lowly farmboy with incredible magical powers. He has been biding his time waiting to get revenge on those who call him a demon.

Thrown together by chance, they must overcome their differences to fight their common enemy Duke Argblutal, who, with dark magic, is slowly poisoning the king’s mind and turning him against his own daughter. Time is running out for those chosen by the Goddess to prevent the power mad duke from usurping the throne and plunging the joined kingdoms into civil war.

Enjoy an Excerpt

He returned to the horses, loaded the supplies on Wild Thing, and rode in silence to the abandoned stable. Robbie led the horse inside. When he lit the lantern he kept there, he let out a whistle of amazement. The horse was a bronze-colored mare that looked more like it was forged out of metal than living flesh! But the horse’s impossible color wasn’t the only thing that struck Robbie. Sores spotted the beast’s body; puss and blood oozed from under the saddle. The horse’s coat was matted with dried blood. Her ribs stood out in stark detail. How could anyone neglect a horse so badly? “Where could you have come from, girl?” Robbie could feel a wail building up inside the horse, so he hurried to take the armor and other equipment off her back, unsaddled her, and removed her harness.

“I don’t think you’re a demon. But I don’t know what you are. By the look of the armor you must have been some knight’s lady. But what happened to him? Sores like these don’t form overnight. If he’s still alive, he obviously doesn’t deserve a lady like you. So how about it? Will you be my lady?” He paused at the sound of his own words. Milady. “I had a lady once. For one day, that is. My brother didn’t approve—I’m sure he wouldn’t approve of you, either.”

About the Author: Jamie began writing stories about the man from Mars when she was six, and she never remembers wanting to be anything other than a writer. Everyone told her she needed a back up plan, so she pursued a Ph.D. in American literature, which she received in 1998. She started teaching writing and literature at Auburn University. One day in the midst of writing a piece of literary criticism, she realized she’d put her true passion on the backburner and neglected her muse. The literary article went into the trash, and she began the book that was to become The Goddess’s Choice. She is now releasing an expanded edition of the novel. Her other novels include The Soul Stone and The Ghost in Exile. In addition, she has published a novella, Demons in the Big Easy, and a collection of short stories, Blood Cursed and Other Tales of the Fantastic. Her short fiction has also appeared in the anthologies–Urban Fantasy and Of Dragons & Magic: Tales of the Lost Worlds—and in Bards & Sages, The World of Myth, A Writer’s Haven, and Short-story.me. She claims she writes about the fantastic . . . and the tortured soul. Her poor characters have hard lives. She lives in Auburn, Alabama, with her husband and four cats, which (or so she’s been told) officially makes her a cat lady. She still teaches writing and literature at Auburn University. She is the mother of a grown son.

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Researching Tips by John Geers

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. John Geers will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC, a signed copy of the book, and a stuffed tiger (US only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the rest of the stops on the tour.

Researching tips

Research is the backbone of great fiction. Only when an author is willing to do and incorporate solid research will their story hit its target, the heart of the reader.

People. An author must be the ultimate people watcher. We study how people react. How they eat, play, sing, and cry. We look at the smallest quirks and most insignificant traits and note them. Then we gather it all and glue it back together to create realistic characters.

Locations: An author must travel. The most effective way to do this is to physically go to a place. If that is not possible, we speak with those who have been there. We read about the places in books and magazines. We watch documentaries on Netflix. We spend time there in our imaginations. Only then are we able to take our readers there.

Things. An author must experience what their character experiences. We eat ice cream on a summer day without a napkin. We ride a bike down a big hill on a rainy day, walk barefoot on hot asphalt, lay naked under a blanket of stars and sip strong whiskey. An author understands that every experience is riddled with nuances that are unknown until they are experienced. We know that this brings authenticity to the reader.

Work…Hard Work: Writing without pouring energy into research is an exercise in vanity. If you are not willing to do the work, you are have deluded yourself into thinking that you are the first writer in human history to write great works in the absence of research. Don’t be that guy.

Go forth and research.

Two couples from Madison, with entwined destinies, both seeking love, are connected by a single element: the ancient Siberian witch, Thuban-Pol. Her magic will either be their savior or their ruin.

Thuban-Pol is the latest in a lineage of Siberian witches. Their eternal aim is to guide humanity to true love. Their guiding tenet, “For love to bloom, these three endure: sacrifice, perseverance and suffering. But the greatest of these is suffering.”

Since the dawn of humanity, they have summoned countless couples, inflicting suffering with the intention to grow true love. They have never succeeded…but now they have their best opportunity in two couples from Wisconsin.

If they succeed, love will finally bloom for all of humanity, if the suffering inflicted on these couples doesn’t kill them first.

Read an Excerpt:

Slivered gray wood covered the outside. Macabre scenes carved like tattoos stretched from ground to gutter and marched around each corner in a black parade.

Clint stepped close to the dark images and put a finger to one. “It’s soft and squishy, like driveway tar in summer, but it doesn’t stick to my skin. Weird.” His finger went to his nose, and he said, “Interesting. Hey, sniff this stuff.”

Lucy pushed her nose forward and sniffed the carving. “Yum, smells like…” she let the scent tumble around her brain, “like peppermint and something else I can’t place, but definitely peppermint.”

“Check out these carvings of animals,” he said.

Real and imagined creatures prowled midst the gray slivers. Indigenous animals were well represented; the snowy owl, Arctic fox, caribou and ermine. Along with these were animals too strange to be from this age. Some warned. Others offered a wry smile of welcome. A serpent barred vicious fangs stained crimson, dripping pregnant bulbs of creamy poison. A grizzly bear smothered the head of a besieged she-wolf with one massive paw while tonguing the cheek of its pup. Wild caribou ran in stampede along the edge of a deep ravine, flirting with the abyss.

Woven among the animals were humans. Black eyes. Black bodies. Black forms. Black illuminated. A child held the face of its mother. A man raised a silver sword over the broken body of his slain foe. A son leaped into the arms of his father, reminiscent of the Prodigal Son, but on this wall, soaked in black, the anguish and joy were fresh. Sex was here too. Bodies engaged in all variety of forbidden acts, twisted and beautiful.

As the black parade marched on, frozen poses of pain pinched Lucy, forcing her tight against his chest once more.

A man groped the ground with orange coals where eyes once took in the world. A woman with a flapping tongue, split like the Serpent, hissed a song to the full blood moon. A young man pled for mercy, torn fingers lost in the gnashing teeth of his lover. A man pounded the ice above his head. A child wailed in the jaws of a terrible beast, eyes begging for a hero, a call for rescue swallowed by winter. A family huddled tight, defying flames that, in real life, would be their end. A woman slumped with blood and afterbirth at her feet, her ashen eyes stone, silence of mother and child scattered across eternity. A wrinkled face echoed hope, sealed behind tortured lips.
About the Author:

John Geers drew inspiration to begin his debut novel from a dream he experienced.

Hours spent in the caffeinated air of his favorite coffeehouse proved to be the perfect place to complete Emerge Beyond Circles.

John is a middle school literacy educator, where he inspires and is inspired by the writers of tomorrow. He is the founder and facilitator of his school’s Creative Writing Club. He is also a columnist for the online magazine Elephant Journal.

He loves a good story, being on the water, and witty puns. He can be found hiking the wilderness, biking big hills, sipping dark coffee, and looking for a chair in the mall.

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Don’t Bury Your Beauties by Stuart Suffell – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors 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.

Don’t Bury Your Beauties by Stuart Suffell

When does one bury a short story so deep into the back of one’s wardrobe, that all of Narnia have read it – twice?

The answer is perhaps never. “Birthright”, my short story in the fabulous Behind the Mask: A Superhero Anthology, began life in a cold wet January in a small, slightly damp room, on the west coast of Ireland in the year 2014. After a hectic schedule for the previous six months, where my trusty laptop knew no creative endeavour, I had decided, enough was enough. I was a writer, (or so I’d told people), so I should write!

My laptop creaked opened and I sat there for some time, staring into space. I was about to close it again when an image appeared in my mind’s eye. A girl, alone, walking down a hard dirt desert road, surrounded by miles of emptiness. She looked like a young Sissy Spacek, and in hindsight it’s possible I had seen said actress in a scene like that somewhere back in time. Way back.

She was alone, but not exactly lonely. There was something awkward in her gait, like she was carrying an invisible burden on one shoulder, throwing her off balance. The burden played on her mind, yet she carried it deftly, accepting its presence. I knew in a flash that she was on the cusp of a change – on the sidelines of an unclaimed destiny.

And I wanted to know why.

Why on the sidelines? What was her burden? Why did she accept its weight? Why didn’t she leave it down?

The heat of the sun burned down on this girl’s back, and I saw her burden. A sunburnt back, but more than sunburned. Ravaged, red, raw. She had been scarred, but I did not know how.

But I started to write, feverishly.

She lived with her Pa, whom she loved dearly, but now a distance had grown between them. She lived in a shack, the yard littered with bits of machinery, car engines, homemade mechanical gizmos. But where? Twelve hundred words written and I did not know her address.

And so out came my mini globe (a cheap toy, but a handy one). I gave it a spin, and the Nevada desert jumped up too bite me.

I went onto Google maps. Ridgecrest popped out. I went in deep. No, too big. I knew she was from a smaller more rural town. I went deeper, and there it was Randsburg. Raggedly Randsburg. A one horse town, whose horse had died of thirst years ago.

So what next? Well, the dreaded research, that’s what!

I hate research, or anything that isn’t creative writing, but sometimes, (all times), it just had got to be done. And boy was I happy I did it.

An empty desert full of vibrant history. The fervour and fever of the gold rush, the displacement of native peoples, the KKK sponsored dances in nearby Johannesburg, and then, the gem, the thing that expanded the story, gave it an undercurrent, and an end – the tunnel, ‘known as Burro’s Tunnel, named after William ‘Burro’ Schmidt, the madman who’d spent thirty three years of his life carving it out of Copper Mountain, with nothing but a pickaxe’.

Who could have imagine such gems could exist in such a dusty dead desert? Certainly not me.

So twelve hundred words became six thousand by the end of the week. I was a hero, the world had been saved.

Except it hadn’t. Friends and fellow writers I shared my master piece with had responses that ranged from ‘meh’, to ‘is everything all right Stuart? I mean, you getting enough sleep ‘n stuff?’

But I knew this was the one. I knew it was a shift in my writing style. Dagnabbit, I found my writer’s voice! After all this time, I’d found that damned, elusive, ‘voice!’

And, I had. But I hadn’t found how to make it speak.

When a got a pretty detailed rejection from my intended publisher, which essentially echoed the comments of my beta readers, I decided it was time to hit the N button – the Nephew.

My dear nephew, Eoin (pr Owen) – hates reading. Despises it. Would rather pluck out his ‘nose hairs with a pair of pliers.’

But his skills with the ‘cross-out pen’ are second to none. He is ruthless to the point of awe, with as much concern for my feelings, as a scorpion might have for its prey. That which ‘bores’ Eoin, goes. Most of it anyway. 6000 words became 5000.

I submitted it again (the story went through numerous titles before Birthright). Again, thanks, but no thanks. Something was wrong.

My master piece was perfect. It was beautiful. It was downright pretty, damn it! And therein was the problem. I had diluted the central idea of the piece, the transformation of this strange girl. I had sacrificed urgency and tension for the ‘wonderful use of language’ accolades I knew would come. My nephew had said as much in his own eloquent inimitable way, (‘too much nonsense, Unc. Too much fluff.’)

My darlings had to die, and I, their father, had to kill them off, one by one.

5000 became 4400.

So I had my MC, her world, her burden, and her path to redemption/ destiny. She was a reluctant heroine – a reluctant super-heroine. But I needed something else. Some form of accelerator to give the story greater urgency. And then the other N came – nuclear. How can there be a superhero without some kind of nuclear fallout? How could there be a Fallout Man or Radioactive Boy without radioactive particles floating around the place? I decided there couldn’t. In such a world many would suffer, not least those yet to exist. A 100 words were added.

And “Birthright” was born.

So, the moral of this everlasting tale?

Don’t bury your beauties, reshape them until they shine through, and shine true.

Behind the Mask is a multi-author collection with stories by award-winning authors Kelly Link, Cat Rambo, Carrie Vaughn, Seanan McGuire, Lavie Tidhar, Sarah Pinsker, Keith Rosson, Kate Marshall, Chris Large and others. It is partially, a prose nod to the comic world—the bombast, the larger-than-life, the save-the-worlds and the calls-to-adventure. But it’s also a spotlight on the more intimate side of the genre. The hopes and dreams of our cape-clad heroes. The regrets and longings of our cowled villains. That poignant, solitary view of the world that can only be experienced from behind the mask.

Enjoy an Excerpt from “Birthright” by Stuart Suffel

Sara stalled her bike and parked on the side of the road some miles away from Joe’s place. She took a slim book from inside her jacket and opened it to a photo, which acted as a bookmark. It was the only photo she had of her mother.

In the photo, her mother was wearing dungarees and had her hair tied back. She was half-concealed under a cottonwood tree, her face and neck speckled with the blotches of shadow from the tree’s many leaves. She was smiling, but without showing any teeth.

As a child, Sara had thought that one had to smile with no teeth visible in order to be elegant. She’d practiced it herself for many hours in front of the mirror, until she’d come across the newspaper clipping that detailed her mother’s radiation poisoning—complete with graphic illustrations of tooth loss.

The photo was dated June 3, 2025, exactly five years after the start of the war—four and a half years after Sara was born. Her mother’s stance had a juvenile awkwardness, like a polio victim who had never stood before—likely to collapse at any time. It wasn’t just the radiation. The wings were heavier than they looked. They affected her mother’s balance when she was on solid ground. In the picture, the wings weren’t visible: They were folded back, like hair tightly brushed. Sara had sometimes wondered if her mother had been ashamed of her “blessing.”

Lily, her mother, was the first to get the poisoning. Soon others turned up at the medical center in Ridgecrest, their backs and shoulders bubbling like hot soup, yet none felt any pain. If anything, they each claimed to have felt healthier than they’d ever felt. Finally, one of the specialists sliced open her mother’s back to see inside. He and the other surgeons recoiled in horror as the two blood-wet wings unfurled before them. Not long after, her mother and the others were hailed as the salvation of the free world. In truth, they were the sacrificed.

In other parts of the world, it wasn’t wings. In some countries, it was dragon horns and a tail; in others, the legs and torso of a horse; in still others, multiple heads or arms. The scientists had said it was an “inverted psychosomatic manifestation of culturally inherited representations of the archetypical good or powerful.”

Each to their own crazy, Sara had once heard someone quip.

But growing up, Sara, like so many others, saw them as heroes. Real life heroes come alive from the comic books of old. Fearless, invulnerable superhuman creatures born from deep within the human psyche. Our childhood fantasies made flesh.

Some said the bombs were a blessing. There were even new comics made—graphic novels her father always corrected her—of the Birds, the Minotaurs, the Dragons, the Kali.

She had collected all of the Bird novels. They were heroes. Superheroes. Unbeatable. Impenetrable. Invulnerable.

But it turned out they weren’t any of these things.

About the Author:Stuart Suffel’s body of work includes stories published by Jurassic London, Evil Girlfriend Media, Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine, Kraxon Magazine, and Aurora Wolf among others. He exists in Ireland, lives in the Twilight Zone, and will work for Chocolate Sambuca Ice cream.

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Kelly Link is the author of four short story collections: Get in Trouble, a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, Pretty Monsters, Magic for Beginners, and Stranger Things Happen. She lives with her husband and daughter in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Seanan McGuire lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest, in a large, creaky house with a questionable past. She shares her home with two enormous blue cats, a querulous calico, the world’s most hostile iguana, and an assortment of other oddities, including more horror movies than any one person has any business owning. It is her life goal to write for the X-Men, and she gets a little closer every day.

Seanan is the author of the October Daye and InCryptid urban fantasy series, both from DAW Books, and the Newsflesh and Parasitology trilogies, both from Orbit (published under the name “Mira Grant”). She writes a distressing amount of short fiction, and has released three collections set in her superhero universe, starring Velma “Velveteen” Martinez and her allies. Seanan usually needs a nap.

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Carrie Vaughn is best known for her New York Times bestselling series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty, who hosts a talk radio show for the supernaturally disadvantaged, the fourteenth installment of which is Kitty Saves the World. She’s written several other contemporary fantasy and young adult novels, as well as upwards of 80 short stories. She’s a contributor to the Wild Cards series of shared world superhero books edited by George R.R. Martin and a graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop. An Air Force brat, she survived her nomadic childhood and managed to put down roots in Boulder, Colorado.

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Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches atop a hill in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld Magazine, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. She is an Endeavour, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award nominee. Her second novel, Hearts of Tabat, appears in early 2017 from Wordfire Press. She is the current President of the Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers of America. For more about her, as well as links to her fiction, see her website.

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Lavie Tidhar is the author of the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize winning and Premio Roma nominee A Man Lies Dreaming (2014), the World Fantasy Award winning Osama (2011) and of the critically-acclaimed The Violent Century (2013). His latest novel is Central Station (2016). He is the author of many other novels, novellas and short stories

Kate Marshall lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and several small agents of chaos disguised as a dog, cat, and child. She works as a cover designer and video game writer. Her fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Crossed Genres, and other venues, and her YA survival thriller I Am Still Alive is forthcoming from Viking.

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Chris Large writes regularly for Aurealis Magazine and has had fiction published in Australian speculative fiction magazines and anthologies. He’s a single parent who enjoys writing stories for middle-graders and young adults, and about family life in all its forms. He lives in Tasmania, a small island at the bottom of Australia, where everyone rides Kangaroos and says ‘G’day mate!’ to utter strangers.

Michael Milne is a writer and teacher originally from Canada, who lived in Korea and China, and is now in Switzerland. Not being from anywhere anymore really helps when writing science fiction. His work has been published in The Sockdolager, Imminent Quarterly, and anthologies on Meerkat Press and Gray Whisper.

Adam R. Shannon is a career firefighter/paramedic, as well as a fiction writer, hiker, and cook. His work has been shortlisted for an Aeon award and appeared in Morpheus Tales and the SFFWorld anthology You Are Here: Tales of Cryptographic Wonders. He and his wife live in Virginia, where they care for an affable German Shepherd, occasional foster dogs, a free-range toad, and a colony of snails who live in an old apothecary jar.

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Jennifer Pullen received her doctorate from Ohio University and her MFA from Eastern Washington University. She originally hails from Washington State. Her fiction and poetry have appeared or are upcoming in journals including: Going Down Swinging (AU), Cleaver, Off the Coast, Phantom Drift Limited, and Clockhouse.

Stephanie Lai is a Chinese-Australian writer and occasional translator. She has published long meandering thinkpieces in Peril Magazine, the Toast, the Lifted Brow and Overland. Of recent, her short fiction has appeared in the Review of Australian Fiction, Cranky Ladies of History, and the In Your Face Anthology. Despite loathing time travel, her defence of Dr Who companion Perpugilliam Brown can be found in Companion Piece (2015). She is an amateur infrastructure nerd and a professional climate change adaptation educator (she’s helping you survive our oncoming climate change dystopia).

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Aimee Ogden is a former biologist, science teacher, and software tester. Now she writes stories about sad astronauts and angry princesses. Her poems and short stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, Baen.com, Persistent Visions, and The Sockdolager.

Nathan Crowder is a Seattle-based fan of little known musicians, unpopular candy, and just happens to write fantasy, horror, and superheroes. His other works include the fantasy novel Ink Calls to Ink, short fiction in anthologies such as Selfies from the End of the World, and Cthulhurotica, and his numerous Cobalt City superhero stories and novels. He is still processing the death of David Bowie.

Sarah Pinsker is the author of the 2015 Nebula Award winning novelette “Our Lady of the Open Road.” Her novelette “In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind” was the 2014 Sturgeon Award winner and a 2013 Nebula finalist. Her fiction has been published in magazines including Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Uncanny, among others, and numerous anthologies. Her stories have been translated into Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian, and Galician. She is also a singer/songwriter with three albums on various independent labels and a fourth forthcoming. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her wife and dog.

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Keith Frady writes weird short stories in a cluttered apartment in Atlanta. His work has appeared in Love Hurts: A Speculative Fiction Anthology, Literally Stories, The Yellow Chair Review, and The Breakroom Stories.

Ziggy Schutz is a young queer writer living on the west coast of Canada. She’s been a fan of superheroes almost as long as she’s been writing, so she’s very excited this is the form her first published work took. When not writing, she can often be found stage managing local musicals and mouthing the words to all the songs. Ziggy can be found at @ziggytschutz, where she’s probably ranting about representation in fiction.

Matt Mikalatos is the author of four novels, the most recent of which is Capeville: Death of the Black Vulture, a YA superhero novel.

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Patrick Flanagan – For security reasons, Patrick Flanagan writes from one of several undisclosed locations; either—
1) A Top Secret-classified government laboratory which studies genetic aberrations and unexplained phenomena;
2) A sophisticated compound hidden in plain sight behind an electromagnetic cloaking shield;
3) A decaying Victorian mansion, long plagued by reports of terrifying paranormal activity; or
4) The subterranean ruins of a once-proud empire which ruled the Earth before recorded history, and whose inbred descendants linger on in clans of cannibalistic rabble
—all of which are conveniently accessible from exits 106 or 108 of the Garden State Parkway. Our intelligence reports that his paranoid ravings have been previously documented by Grand Mal Press, Evil Jester Press, and Sam’s Dot Publishing. In our assessment he should be taken seriously, but not literally. (Note: Do NOT make any sudden movements within a 50′ radius.)

Keith Rosson is the author of the novels THE MERCY OF THE TIDE (2017, Meerkat) and SMOKE CITY (2018, Meerkat). His short fiction has appeared in Cream City Review, PANK, Redivider, December, and more. An advocate of both public libraries and non-ironic adulation of the cassette tape, he can be found at keithrosson.com.

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NOTE: THE PUBLISHER IS OFFERING A SPECIAL CONTEST – ONE COPY OF THE BOOK (CHOICE OF Epub or Mobi) WILL BE GIVEN AWAY TO A RANDOMLY DRAWN COMMENTER AT EVERY STOP (Drawing will be held 5 days after today’s date and is separate from the Rafflecopter drawing below – to enter, the entrant must leave a comment at the stop). Thanks!

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Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat by Keith R. Fentonmiller – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Keith R. Fentonmiller will be awarding a $50 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.

Berlin hatmakers threatened by a veil-wearing Nazi known as the “stealer of faces” must use the god Hermes’ “wishing hat” to teleport out of Germany during Kristallnacht. They won’t be safer in America, however, unless they break the curse that has trapped them in the hat business for sixteen centuries. Set in the Jazz Age, Nazi Germany, and World War II Detroit, Book One of the Life Indigo series is a family saga about the fluidity of tradition, faith, and identity. It will appeal to fans of Everything is Illuminated and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Klaus circled behind her chair. Isana set down the glass and sat stock-still. Only her growling stomach and the electric whine of the overhead lights broke the silence. Suddenly, an empty leather glove landed on the table. Seconds later, cool fingertips touched her neck and gently worked into the base of her skull.

“You are tense.”

“I wonder why.”

Klaus pressed harder into Isana’s flesh. His fingertips warmed, radiating heat into her muscles. As much as Isana resisted, she couldn’t deny his deft touch felt good. The stiffness in her neck melted in seconds.

No, she told herself. Don’t relax. Don’t let your guard down.

Isana tried to clench her muscles, but Klaus’s heat had already penetrated deep into her spine. He seemed to have latched onto her nerves, holding them like a marionettist would grasp puppet strings. Isana should’ve felt panic, relinquishing her volition to this monster, but his touch had suppressed that reaction as well. She was sleepy and light. Her body had lost substance. She had dissolved into the hot, stale air, or evaporated into the overhead lights. She was nothing at all.

When Klaus unhanded Isana, her corporeal nature returned. In her bewilderment, she momentarily worried her chair might give way under the weight of her body.

About the Author:

Keith is a consumer protection attorney for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. Before graduating from the University of Michigan Law School, he toured with a professional comedy troupe, writing and performing sketch comedy at colleges in the Mid-Atlantic States. His short story, Non Compos Mentis, was recently published in The Stonecoast Review and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His short story Exodus was just published in the Running Wild Anthology of Stories.

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The Man from Rome by Dylan James Quarles – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Dylan James Quarles 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.

Rome is a city like no other, protected by a man like no other.
He is the unnamed Immortal, the Man from Rome, and he is under attack.

An agent of his secret order has been murdered, her tongue ripped out, her throat coated in molten silver. The killing is meant to be a message, a warning that old enemies have resurfaced to punish the Man for the sins of his past.

Forced to retaliate, the Man sets in motion a sequence of events which pit an American thief, a Roman policewoman, and a fallen Olympian against one another in all-out war. The streets of Rome become a battleground where the supernatural clash with the mortal, and the Eternal City bears witness to yet another chapter in its storied history of violence.

Vengeance reigns supreme in this, the newest Novel from Dylan James Quarles.

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Light filtered in through the painters cloth, becoming diffused and shallow. As if in preparation for a slaughter, the floor was covered in newspaper, and the tables were draped with black plastic. Overhead, the light fixtures had been removed so that their wires dangled in stringy noose-like clumps.

Taking all of this in, Cato let the door swing shut behind him. The latch gave an audible click, and was instantly echoed by the snap of a Zippo lighter. Cato started with surprise and turned. In the far corner of the room, a candle had been lit, casting illumination upon a table laden with food. Already seated and waiting for him, a man in a three-piece chestnut suit smiled through the blue haze of his cigarette.

Cato blinked, and a pair of golden-eyes blinked back at him. Like memory made manifest, the Benefactor’s unmistakable face came into view. Cato gaped.

“But—but—you look—”

Tapping his cigarette into an ashtray, the Benefactor held up a hand for silence. Cato faltered and the words died in his throat.

“Before you finish that sentence,” spoke the Benefactor. “May I interject a simple request?”

Physically shaken by the timbre of the Man’s voice, Cato did all that he could just to nod.

“I can see that you are…disturbed by me, Cato—disturbed by what you see. Yet I beg of you, please refrain from uttering that which I have heard more times than I care to remember. Spare history the doom of repetition.”

About the Author:

Arriving on the scene in 2012 with the publication of The Ruins Of Mars, Dylan James Quarles is one of Amazon’s brightest Kindle Authors.

Using a his signature ability to make scenes come alive in your mind, Quarles immerses the reader in the world of his creation, adding layer upon layer until the narrative plays like a film. Further enriched by unique characters and breath-taking action sequences, his fiction is an ideal blend of entertainment and substance.

Quarles travels often, drawing inspiration for his work from Europe and South East Asia. His newest novel, The Man From Rome, is a direct product of his numerous visits to the Eternal City. Full of on-the-street detail, the novel packs an extra helping of Roman flare for the reader to enjoy!


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Broken Spire by Sue Perkins – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sue Perkins 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.

Ash’s silvery purple hair sets her apart from her peers and at the magic college of Spires a few senior maeven consider her magic to be alien and unsuccessfully try to expel her. Ash feels a compulsive attraction tempting her to enter the broken North Spire. She believes this off limits ruin holds the answer to her origins, but is not willing to take the chance of expulsion from Spires.

Orm, Ash’s equally talented classmate, is determined to support the girl he considers his soulmate, and promises to help her find out the secrets of the North Spire when they reach the end of their third year.

At the end of the first year, Ash nervously waits to see if she will be allowed to continue at Spires, or will she be sent home in disgrace.

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This opportunity would shape her future, become a Spires maeven or always remain the outsider. Rupe saw the others looking at her and gave everyone a furious glare. The students quickly looked away and the whispering stopped.

Their journey took several days. Few villages lay on this route, and they did not collect any more students. Instead they made straight for Laktu. As they neared the town the roads became smoother. Paved instead of compressed earth, with gullies at the side to drain away surface water from the heavy rains. Their final day took them through a dense forest and out the other side.

“Rupe, look. I can see the spires of the college.”

On the horizon they saw rolling hills and stretching far above them the four spires which gave the college its name.

“See there’s the broken one Tuvor told me about. Nobody’s allowed in there because it’s dangerous.”

The procession followed the Searcher up over the hills. He stopped at the top to allow them their first sight of the town of Laktu.

“As you can see, Spires dominates the town. The East Spire houses the dormitories, the West Spire the rooms of the maeven and the South Spire the classrooms.” The guide carried on before anyone could ask about the broken spire. “The North Spire is broken. You are not permitted to enter there under pain of dismissal. If you disobey you will go home in disgrace.”

About the Author: Sue Perkins grew up in Devon, England and emigrated to New Zealand with her family. Sue and her husband now live at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. Her interests include writing, reading, genealogy and aqua jogging.

Sue’s book genres include romance, fantasy romance, young adult fantasy and middle grade fantasy. Her first romance book was released in May 2007, quickly followed by a fantasy trilogy. She now has many books published in all the genres. Her aim for the future is to write a full-length epic fantasy novel. The outline is complete, and Sue is hoping to find time to finish the first draft by the end of 2017. Meanwhile she carries on with her current fantasy series – Rak Shoma, a blend of magic and fantasy.

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Buy the book at Desert Breeze Publishing.

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Ascended by Maggie Mae Gallagher – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Maggie Mae will be awarding a $25 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.

War. It’s here. The last war of mankind. The winner takes Earth as its prize.

My name is Alana Devereaux. I am an elite Cantati Forces Lieutenant from Earth’s desolate future. I was sent back through time to save your world. My mission to stop the Mutari faltered. Demons infiltrated our world when the walls between Earth and Infernus fell. Millions died in the first volleys.

The Mutari changed me on an elemental level and my new powers scare the bloody daylights out of me. Formorian Hunters are closing in on my trail with a singular goal, to enact the death warrant placed on my head by their Queen. Now I am running for my life, on a quest to discover a way to kill an immortal on a power trip, stuck between mortal enemies, and everyone else wants me dead.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Choices had consequences. Mine had.

What the hell was I? Human? Cantati? Demon?

I didn’t know. Not anymore. The game board of my life had been upended, and I was still trying to make sense of the scattered pieces.

Until yesterday, I believed I was the last of my kind. A Cantati warrior from the Earth’s desolate future sent eightythree years into the past to stop the Mutari. The Mutari happened every few thousand years. When it did, Earth aligned with six planets in our solar system, creating a seventy-twohour eclipse on Earth. It was also when the walls between the dimensions were at their most vulnerable and could be fully breached. While portals could be opened from time to time, they were marginal in size and couldn’t remain open for extended periods. At least, not long enough to allow an army to march through.

Drystan, lord of the dimension Infernus, had used a tiny amount of my blood. And by tiny, I mean drops that Gaelen’s bastard of a brother, Maddock, had stolen from me. Drystan used it to sever the walls between our worlds and give his armies free rein to invade our planet.

We were lucky. He didn’t have massive amounts of my blood. Which was why the human world’s existence limped on. Otherwise, we’d be hip-deep in Drystan’s demon soldiers. And I’d be dead, so it would be a moot point, for me at least.

Thousands still made it through the breeches before the energy of my lifeblood was exhausted. Which meant I failed my mission. When my father, general and commander of the Cantati Forces worldwide, sent me back through time, using a Moldevian orb and incantation devised by our Coven, my objective was to stop Drystan and keep the human race from fading into extinction.

About the Author:

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Maggie grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Maggie never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Maggie is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes erotic romance under the name Anya Summers. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.

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Don’t miss these exciting titles by Maggie Mae Gallagher!

The Mystic Series
REMEMBER ME
CASKET GIRL

The Cantati Chronicles

RUPTURED
ANOINTED
ASCENDED

And if you like your romance with a bit of spice and kink be sure to check out Maggie Mae Gallagher writing as Anya Summers!

The Dungeon Fantasy Club Series

HER HIGHLAND MASTER, Book 1
TO MASTER AND DEFEND, Book 2
TWO DOMS FOR KARA, Book 3
HIS DRIVEN DOMME, Book 4
HER COUNTRY MASTER, Book 5
LOVE ME, MASTER ME, Book 6
SUBMIT TO ME, Book 7
HER WIRED DOM, Book 8

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