**REVIEW** ~ The Ghosts of Ravenscrest (The Ravencrest Saga Book 1), by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross

Modern Gothic

#Erotica #Horror #Paranormal

Adult/18+ Read

This is another lust filled and downright scary read from the pens of these two very talented authors! Prepare to be titillated and spooked as Ravencrest’s new governess finds that she is at the centre of a battle between good and evil which has been going on for centuries. Tina :)


Book Blurb

Darkness Never Dies …
Ravencrest Manor has always been part of the family. The ancestral home of the Mannings, Ravencrest’s walls have been witness to generations of unimaginable scandal, horror, and depravity. Imported stone by stone from England to northern California in the early 1800s, the manor now houses widower Eric Manning, his children, and his staff. Ravencrest stands alone, holding its memories and ghosts close to its dark heart, casting long, black shadows across its grand lawns, through the surrounding forests, and over the picturesque town of Devilswood, below.

Dare to Cross the Threshold …
Ravencrest Manor is the most beautiful thing new governess, Belinda Moorland, has ever seen, but as she learns more about its tangled past of romance and terror, she realizes that beauty has a dark side. Ravencrest is built on secrets, and its inhabitants seem to be keeping plenty of their own – from the handsome English butler, Grant Phister, to the power-mad administrator, Mrs. Heller, to Eric Manning himself, who watches her with dark, fathomless eyes. But Belinda soon realizes that the living who dwell in Ravencrest have nothing on the other inhabitants – the ones who walk the darkened halls by night … the ones who enter her dreams … the ones who are watching … and waiting …

Welcome to Ravencrest …
Who is the man digging in the garden beyond Belinda’s bedroom window? Who – or what – is watching her from the vents? From ghostly screams and the clutching bony fingers of death in the indoor pool, to the trio of gliding nuns in the east wing who come at Belinda with black blazing eyes, to the beckoning little girl in the red dress who died more than two centuries ago, Belinda is thrust into a world of waking nightmares where there is no distinction between the living and the dead, and there are no limits to the horrors that await. Witchcraft is afoot at Ravencrest and as unspeakable terrors begin to unfold, Belinda realizes that her beautiful new home is a keeper of tragedy, a collector of souls. And it wants to add her to its collection …

My Review 5 Stars!

Modern Gothic Erotica par excellence!

In The Ghosts of Ravenscrest, the first book in The Ravenscrest saga, Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross have once agian excelled themselves with a super modern take on the gothic novel. The read combines toe-curling scenes of erotica with a ghostly goings on in a plot with an increasing sense of terror and mayhem, sprinkled with some irreverent humour. At the centre of the tale is the unsuspecting ingenue Belinda, the new governess at the mysterious Ravenscrest Manor, who risks losing her innocence and her sanity as she unwittingly attracts the interest of the manor’s occupants, the living and the dead, with what threatens to be devastating consequences……

Ravenscrest is no ordinary residence: the very fabric of the building was transported piece by piece from England, along with  the many secrets and memories from its bloody history, that still resonate today. The ghosts and spirits of the past not only reach out to Belinda in erotic dreams and terrifying nightmares but also as she goes about her duties working for the handsome and enigmatic widower Eric Manning. It seems that Belinda is a VERY special young woman, a fact that has enraged the evil adversary in the form of the uber controlling bitch that is Miss Heller, the manor’s administator and dominatrix!

I was totally absorbed by the depth and breadth of the plot and the characerisations of the manor’s current and former occupants – Miss Heller and Grant Phister, in particular. One minute I was titillated by the erotic scenes experienced by Belinda and others (cue medical play and BDSM) and the next I was on the edge of my seat reading about witchcraft, hauntings and  horror, before being  entertained by scenes of romance and humour. The charatcter of Belinda grows in strength as the novel progresses and her importance in the interplay between good and evil becomes clearer  as the secrets of the manor and its occupants begin to reveal themselves.

The novel, book 1 in The Ravenscrest saga, builds up to a terrifying crescendo and reaches a conclusion which satifies one of the issues at play, working well as a standalone. However, there are still many unresolved questions to answer about Belinda and the occupants of the manor, which I am looking forward to reading about in future instalments.

To sum up: a superb modern gothic which will delight readers of the genre. Indeed, the novels that these two authors are writing individually and together about the dark side of sunny California are truly inpired and I encourage you to find out more!

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of this book was given to me for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

If you would like to read my review of Alistair Cross’ The Crimson Corset, (the Vampires of Crimson Cove), which I read earlier this year, click on the title.

Connect with the Authors



Purchase Links

Amazon US  Amazon UK



**RELEASE BLITZ** ~ Christmas at the Castle, by Jenny Kane (includes extract)

Out Now! Christmas at the Castle by Jenny Kane

(@jennykaneauthor) #contemporary #romance #christmas #ku #kindleunlimited

Christmas at the Castle200


Christmas at the Castle is a seasonal treat from Jenny Kane, featuring much-loved characters from her bestselling novel Another Cup of Coffee.

When hotshot businesswoman Alice Warren is asked to organise a literary festival at beautiful Crathes Castle in Scotland, her ‘work mode’ persona means she can’t say no – even though the person asking is her ex, Cameron Hunter.

Alice broke Cameron’s heart and feels she owes him one – but her best friend Charlie isn’t going to like it. Charlie – aka famous author Erin Spence – is happy to help Alice with the festival…until she finds out that Cameron’s involved! Charlie suffered a bad case of unrequited love for Cameron, and she can’t bear the thought of seeing him again.

Caught between her own insecurities and loyalty to her friend, Charlie gets fellow author Kit Lambert to take her place. Agreeing to leave her London comfort zone – and her favourite corner in Pickwicks Café – Kit steps in. She quickly finds herself not just helping out, but hosting a major literary event, while also trying to play fairy godmother – a task which quickly gets very complicated indeed…

Available to buy from Amazon, and to read as part of the Kindle Unlimited Programme: http://mybook.to/christmasatthecastle


Charlie pushed open the door of The Deeside Bookshop.

Instead of being greeted by John, she was surprised to see a much younger man behind the counter. Having never known the shop without John in it, Charlie was immediately concerned. ‘Um, hello, I wondered if I could speak to John, is he OK?’

‘He’s very OK, thank you. Soaking up the sun in New Zealand in fact.’

‘Oh.’ Not sure what to do, Charlie decided she’d dive straight in anyway. If John trusted this man to run the shop in his absence, then he must be alright. ‘Could I have a quick chat about the literary festival at Crathes? I know Ms Warren has already approached the shop, but I…’

The man, who Charlie guessed must be in his late thirties, ran an exasperated hand through his short hair. ‘I already told your colleague I can’t help. What Ms Warren is asking of me is not cost-effective. Although I wish you luck with the festival, the tactic of sending her prettier colleague to get me to change my mind is not going to work!’

Prettier colleague? Charlie felt thrown. No one ever thought she was prettier than Alice.

‘I assure you no… tactics are in play. I’m only helping out today because I’m a friend of one of the other organisers, and I have a more sensible and, I think, more realistic proposition for you than Alice did. I will tell you about it if you would like to hear it; if not, I’ll leave you in peace to stare around your customer-free shop!’

Rather taken aback by the edge to her tone, the tension in Charlie’s shoulders unknotted a little as, to her amazement, the man began to laugh.

Placing the books he’d been holding on the counter he said, ‘I’m sorry, forgive me for being abrupt. My name is Gervase Potter; I bought John out a few weeks ago. This little empire is now mine.’

Tilting his head to one side, giving Charlie the impression he was enjoying the view, he added, ‘I would very much like to hear your proposal. How about we discuss it tonight over a drink at Scott Skinner’s? I haven’t made it there yet, and I hear it’s a nice pub.’

With her brain privately grappling with the concept of being asked out for a drink by a handsome man who liked books, Charlie replied, ‘It is nice. I often go to Skinner’s to write when I need a change of scene from my desk at home. Oh, I’m Charlie, by the way. Charlie Davies.’

‘I’m pleased to meet you, Charlie. So, you write?’

‘Yes.’ Charlie pointed to the bookshelves, ‘I’m over there somewhere.’

‘You are? Who are you, then? I mean, who else are you?’

‘Erin Spence.’

The Unbrave Heart Erin Spence?’

Charlie’s pulse started to beat faster. He didn’t immediately connect me with The Love-Blind Boy. ‘Yes. Yes that was my first novel.’

‘I love that book.’

‘You’ve read it?’ Charlie was shocked. ‘Forgive me, but you don’t look like you’d be into women’s fiction.’

‘I’m not as a rule, but my ex-girlfriend had the audiobook and we played it on a long journey once or twice. I enjoyed it. You have a very perceptive view of the male side of things.’

‘Really?’ Charlie could feel herself blushing, ‘Thanks. It’s kind of you to say so.’

‘Not at all. That drink tonight, then? Eight o’clock? With a meal as well, maybe?’

‘To talk about my idea for the festival?’

‘I’m making no promises, because I think I’d rather talk about you.’

Charlie’s head buzzed with contradictory thoughts. Had she been right to agree to go out with Gervase? Only this morning she’d been thinking about how she felt about Cameron being back, and now she was going on a date with someone else. A part of her knew she’d only said yes in the hope that Alice and Cameron might see them. But so what if they did? Cameron isn’t going to be jealous, and I don’t want him any more anyway. And Alice wouldn’t notice in her current mode if I walked around naked with a pineapple on my head.

A new thought entered Charlie’s head. Was there any point in going out with another man until Alice had gone home? Gervase would only have to see them standing next to each other, and it wouldn’t be her that he wanted to take for dinner anymore.

Suddenly, Charlie stopped moving. She knew she was being ridiculous, but somehow the thought of how Alice was always going to be there to eclipse her wouldn’t shift…


Jenny Kane is the author the contemporary romance Christmas at the Castle (Accent Press, 2015), the bestselling novel Abi’s House (Accent Press, 2015), the modern/medieval time slip novel Romancing Robin Hood (Accent Press, 2014), the bestselling novel Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013), and its novella length sequels Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), and Christmas in the Cotswolds (Accent, 2014).

Jenny’s fourth full length romance novel, Another Glass of Champagne, will be published in 2016.

Jenny is also the author of quirky children’s picture books There’s a Cow in the Flat (Hushpuppy, 2014) and Ben’s Biscuit Tin (Coming soon from Hushpuppy)

Keep your eye on Jenny’s blog at www.jennykane.co.uk for more details.

Twitter- @JennyKaneAuthor

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JennyKaneRomance

Jenny also writes erotica as Kay Jaybee.


**COVER REVEAL** ~ Dangerous Love, by Liz Lovelock

Romantic Suspense

Dangerous Love

Title: Dangerous Love (Unforgiven Series, #1)

Author: Liz Lovelock

Release Date: No date set

Cover Designer: Soxsational Cover Art


Is love really dangerous?

For Jay Jones love has been nothing but heartbreak. After her boyfriend walks out, leaving her with no money, an empty apartment and the pain of loss, she vows never to love again. To never allow someone to claim her already shattered heart. Years later, Jay has slowly moved forward with her life, but the cloud of sorrow and fear of getting hurt once again always claws away at her soul.

Now a first-rate police officer, a new undercover assignment forces Jay to reassess her insecurities and build a relationship of trust with her new partner. The one person who can save her from the hellish crimes is the one man who dragged her to hell already.

Dangerous love1

Dangerous love 3

*Book Blitz* Five Seven Five: Volume 1 (The Boy with Words) by C.E. Wilson

Sage bookblitz banner

Five Seven FiveTitle: Five Seven Five: Volume One (The Boy with Words)

Author: C.E. Wilson

Genre: YA Fantasy

Release date: November 20th, 2015

Length: 204 pages

Buy Links: Amazon US & Amazon UK

Blurb: Take only what can be used. Take only what won’t be missed. The Creators are watching all of us.

White Frost lives in a world cloaked in darkness and ignorance. While most people in her society are content to live in fearful peace, White’s cousin brings her words from the mysterious Unknown. Strange collections of written words that tease her that there may be more to the world than candlelight and dank hallways.

But when tragedy strikes, White can no longer rely on the words to give her solace. She must discover what lies beyond the only world she’s ever known… no matter the cost.

Eventually, White finds her way to the skies and there she discovers that the tantalizing clues of her words are only pale reflections of the massive and wondrous world above. Colors she never thought possible. Blinding light. And an impossible being who may or may not be the Creator of it all.

But this information comes at a price White Frost is not sure she can pay.

White’s hunger for knowledge proves to be her greatest strength and weakness as she strives to learn more. But as she learns, she has to wonder – is there such a thing as too much information? And what will happen as it brings her closer to a being who could destroy everything she’s ever known?

Find out in Five Seven Five, the first book in a two part series entitled The Boy with Words.

Author Bio:

C E WilsonC.E. Wilson is currently living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband, beautiful daughter, chubby beagle and two cats. They are all the loves of her life. When she’s not writing Young Adult novels, she enjoys writing short stories on DeviantArt. She loves to read and write anything involving giants and little people (also known as G/t) and she can’t decide what she loves more: horror movies or shoujo manga. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Education so she has a soft spot for older literature authors including John Milton, William Shakespeare, and stories such as Paradise Lost and Beowolf. On a side note, nothing helps her to write more than drinking good coffee loaded with lots of cream and watching The Twilight Zone.




Release Blitz for Far from Blind by S.J. Maylee (includes excerpt)

Contemporary Erotic Romance

Adult/18+ Read

farfromblindFar from Blind

Club Blind 2

by S.J. Maylee

Contemporary Erotic Romance

Released October 15th!

Book Description:

Candy Wilson has worked hard to build a life for herself from nothing to something she can be proud of but she can’t catch the eye of the one man who drives her wild with desire.

Brad Chambers has everything, always has, except the woman he loves. When a pitch black blind date at the exclusive Club Blind matches the pair together, Candy refuses to believe what she sees and throws up her protective barrier. It’s up to Brad to tear down her walls and get her to see the man who wants only her.

Be Warned: spanking and light BDSM

Where You Can Find Far from Blind

Amazon | Evernight | All Romance Ebooks | BookStrand

The first review is in!

5-stars from Liz’s Reading Life

“This story is another sizzling creation from SJ Maylee.”

FFB Teaser - you don't want

Far from Blind Excerpt:

He closed the door behind them and the distinct click of a lock tumbling over echoed around the room. Maybe no showing yesterday was a mistake. If they’d had any chance at all, she’d blown it for sure. How could she expect him to trust her now? The air, thick with unsaid words, closed in around her.

It was time to take care of business and escape before she embarrassed herself. “This must be for you.” She held out the envelope.

“Thank you.” He took it from her and tore it open, revealing a piece of paper. His cheeks pulled into a little smile, then it disappeared. He maneuvered around his desk and sat. “Do you like me, Candy?”

“Of course I do.” She clasped her arms around her middle. The bigger question is what he thought of her before Club Blind and now.

“Then why didn’t you show last night?” He pressed his lips together and kept his gaze on her.

“To be honest…”

“That’s all I’ll ever expect from you.”

“I’ll give it to you straight. You don’t want a girl like me.” She blew out a breath as if it could help her raging pulse. Never in a million years would she have guessed she’d want a man to tell her she was wrong.

“Is that what you believe?”

“Yes.” She kept her focus on him. He gave nothing away. His expression didn’t change, only his fingers tapped on his desk which was irritatingly neat.

“Then we have a problem.” He stood. “We’d agreed to meet. I kept up my end.”

“And I didn’t.” She blew out a deep breath.

“Come here.”

She didn’t move. She didn’t take her next breath either.

He pointed to the ground in front of him. “Don’t make me ask twice.”

She jumped and then slipped around his desk. Damn, he really did smell good. No matter whether it was aftershave or him, the deep woodsy scent turned here on. Everything about Brad turned her on.

“Did I ask you to join me at Mistress Charlie’s yesterday?”

“Yes, but—”

“Do you believe I’m a liar?”


“I don’t think you are either.” He tapped under her chin, lifting her focus back to him. “But I don’t believe you’re being honest with me right now and that’s a problem.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t show yesterday.”

“I appreciate the admission, but I can’t let the action and the attitude go unpunished.”

“What, are you going to spank me?” She chuckled.

“I think it’s time.” He tucked some of her hair behind her ear and his touch lingered along the side of her neck over her ugly mole. “Don’t you agree?”

“Agreed, Sir.” She leaned back on his desk. It was the only thing holding her up.



“Very good. Bend over my desk, please.”

“Right here?” She looked around his office. She didn’t find any windows to the hall, but his windows facing the next building were wide open. “You really are pissed.”

The corner of his lips lifted slightly. “The windows are treated. No one can see in here.”


“You’re stalling.”

“Can you blame me?”

“You do know I’m an accountant, right?” He tugged on her hair. “We like to add.”

Praise for the first book in the Club Blind Series

In the Blind

The Romance Reviews “There is a good mix of heat woven into the storyline, perfect for an erotic romance. With the thrill and excitement of the sex club, the author has created the beginning of an interesting series.”

Night Owl Reviews “The beginning of the story leaves you wanting to know more. It has a unique premise. By the end of the first chapter, I was eager to finish the book…the author takes the reader on a wonderful journey”

Cocktails and Books “There was humor, some angst, romance, and of course, I already mentioned the incredible sex. You’ll be quite satisfied by the end. I know I sure was.”

CB - You are a fantasy


SJ Button 2 300x300 with borderS.J. Maylee fell in love with storytelling at a young age and with it came a deep-seated desire for everyone to find their happily ever after. She’s finding the happy endings for her characters one steamy story at a time.

When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her caring for her garden, laughing with her two young sons, or dancing to her husband’s music. She’s a PMP (Project Management Professional), Nia instructor, and coffee addict.

As a writer she has a tendency to break hearts, but she always glues them back together.

Blog | Twitter | Facebook Page | Google+ | Pinterest | Goodreads

New Release Newsletter


Evernight Publishing | Amazon US CA UK| Barnes & Noble | Nook UK

All Romance eBooks | BookStrand | Smashwords | iTunes

**BLOG TOUR** ~ Derailed, by Renee Lee Fisher (includes trailer and giveaway)

Romantic Suspense 


Title: Derailed
Author: Renee Lee Fisher
Genre: Suspense Romance – Contemporary Romance
Published: August — 2015
When you get hit by it, you will know. 
Aubrey Tanner is married to her work. With her recent separation from long-time boyfriend and the town’s most eligible bachelor, she definitely isn’t looking for love. Working in her bakery keeps her busy, feeds her the town gossip, and pays the bills, all that she needs… At least until she finds herself under attack with no way to save herself. 

You can’t see it, but it takes your breath away. 
Tate Manning travels where the leads take him, like a tourist town with a bakery full of sugary concoctions, the sweetest of which is the owner. In the right place, he pulls her out of harm’s way, allowing him to see through the town’s sleepy veneer to the crime running beneath the surface. Worse, Aubrey is unknowingly in the center of it all, and he can’t bear another innocent to be lost on his watch.

In that moment, love changes everything. 
Neither Aubrey nor Tate expects the temptation the other brings nor the complications. Aubrey must choose between the man that held her heart for years or the stranger who saves her from a bad situation. Unfortunately, Tate brings with him secrets and an agenda. How will he choose between his mission of revenge and the woman who chases away the darkness? 
~ Book Trailer ~
~ Teasers ~

About the Author: 


Author that has the passion for putting her pen and ideas to paper. A pure romance junkie and she loves to tell stories. She was an English Major of LaSalle University and always wanted to be a writer. In the past years her books titled – From the Vine (a collection of writings/poems) and Cody and the Pumpkin Truck (a Childrens’ Book) were published. She has also written many other childrens’ stories, lyrics, articles and wedding ceremonies. Currently she is deep into her Heartbeat Series of Contemporary Romance Novels which are titled – ROCK NOTES, LOVE NOTES, MUSIC NOTES, FIRST BEAT, FIRST BASS and FIRST TASTE.
The Crossing Series including The Knot Hole, The Passage and The Muse.
Don’t Miss LIVE Anthology (9 Authors coming together to bring you an amazing rock anthology)
Then Lovesick Trilogy & Thorned & Mask of Rade
Renee resides in Eagleville, PA. with her husband Michael, of many years and her two cats – Nyah and Cody. She has a great support system of Love from her family and friends.
Renee BELIEVES you should follow your DREAMS and that – The HAPPIEST of people don’t have the best of everything, they simply make the best of everything.
Renee loves to travel, especially to St. Martin – Netherland Antilles. She enjoys meeting new people to inspire her and she will always write down a person’s name that is unique to use as a potential character in her future writings.



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*AUTHOR POST* ~ Nicholas Boyd Crutchley on the inspiration behind Dream Alchemy (Life and Shadow series) ~ includes excerpt

 Dystopian Fantasy/Sci-Fi

We are delighted to welcome author Nicholas Boyd Crutchley  to our blog. Nicholas is the author of Dream Alchemy, an exciting dystopian fantasy/sci-fi adventure which is part of the Life and Shadow series, a labyrinth of interconnected stories through deep time. The novel explores the impact of human minds interfacing with artificial intelligences, the long-term effect of humankind on natural ecosystems and compassion in society.

I will be reviewing Dream Alchemy in the coming weeks and in the meantime Nicholas has kindly submited a post where he reveals what has influenced him on his writing journey. He has also very kindly shared an excerpt. Tina :)

Dream Alchemy

Book Blurb

A warrior battles hydra.

The Blood Plague liquefies eyes.

A rapper rails against Earth’s ecological ruin.

From the pitch Abyss, Chaos corrupts our dreams. 

On stealing the dreams of an old warrior and priestess, Chaos discovers them to be essential ingredients for his dream alchemy. With their souls the dark god can control Sol, Dragonland’s angelic ruler, and release his wanton daughter, Babalon, from Hell. If the devil queen returns and swallows the angel’s soul, the veil separating reality from the pitch Abyss will tear, and Chaos will pour forth and warp reality. Can Sol defeat Chaos? Or will Babalon’s poison kiss seduce him?

Through the psiqnet, a network of human minds and quantum artificial intelligences (QAIs), consumers shop Earth towards ecological ruin. The preachers of Gaia, ecoterrorists woven within the system, seek to bring economic and ecological harmony through Gaia QAI. Yet as Gaia begins to infect other QAIs with compassion, the Blood Plague rises, intent on exterminating humankind.

What force connects Dragonland and Earth?

The Life & Shadow Series explores how genetic engineering, synthetic biology and nanotechnology will impact humankind and Earth’s ecology. More specifically, themes include the outcome of human minds interfacing with artificial intelligences, the long-term effect of humankind on natural ecosystems, and compassion in society.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK   e-book  Amazon UK  paperback

Amazon US e-book  Amazon US paperback

Author Post

Seeds of Dystopia

At eighteen my first breakdown began, which continued throughout my degree and beyond. After graduation, I painted factory roofs, peddled Betterware, and sold computers, easels, music tapes, videos, and other junk bought cheaply.

At age twenty-four, a second breakdown conjured voices. Reeling from the chatter, I fled for five years, until I became a high school teacher. The voices pursued me to a teaching post in the Middle East, after which I returned to the UK. There, while hiking in the Scottish Highlands, a Canadian lass wearing sturdy hiking boots met me and said, “Hey, fancy living in the Rockies?”

Twice yearly, thousands of golden eagles migrate from Alaska to Mexico via the valley I lived in. While watching them from atop a frost-weathered ridge, my heart married the girl with sturdy hiking boots, and soon so had my legal status. Together we lived, tenting below -20°C, while conjuring in campfires wondrous imaginings. As she cooked up new recipes for wild camping, I imagined stories to write while waiting for a work permit.

At age thirty-six, a third breakdown conjured another me, who provoked a divorce. After signing my love away, I found myself back in the UK and no longer able to teach. While retraining through an MSc in Ecology and Conservation, I explored environmental contamination and habitat destruction, and wondered whether humankind’s avarice would continue to overharvest natural resources, and how synthetic biology might replace and enhance such resources. Could biologists and ecologists tailor organisms and ecosystems to create self-renewing resources for humankind’s industrial machine? Could humankind interface the biological world with the industrial complex, as researchers now splice flesh with machines? And what about nanotechnology, social networks and cybernetics? Would consumers and corporations connect via neural interfaces woven into brains by injected nanomachines? Facebook on LSD?

For some, the above may appear closer to utopia than dystopia, especially with probable advances in fusion power, industrial ecology, aggregate manufacture and artificial intelligence. Imagine a guilt-free throw-away society that efficiently recycles manufactured goods. A person, mentally linked to Prime, Amazon’s Quantum Artificial Intelligence (QAI) computer, finds no product that quite meets their specific need. With help from Prime, she designs a new product, and has it 3D-printed using locally sourced recycled materials and inputs harvested from renewable synthetic organisms. Fusion powers the process so no greenhouse gases are emitted or further planetary warming occurs.

Perhaps because of my PhD in mental illness (Paranoia, hallucinations and Delusions), and MSc in Ecology & Conservation, I saw the shadow side of the above. Dream Alchemy begins the telling of this shadow.

Excerpt from Dream Alchemy


Noah leans back against rock, sweat beading down his naked body. Ruby light, cast by gemstone scales adorning a colossal statue, bloodies his skeletal features. Beneath the effigy’s gaze, in the pit at the centre of the mine, fornicate slaves. Their rapture climbs rough-hewn walls, claws towards him, whispering for him to join them. The choice, to either crack rock for emeralds or debase oneself in the pit, all slaves endure.

Temptation draws the slave’s stare to the pit, and the statue of Queen Babalon, Whore of Hell, watching over it. The devil queen’s indigo hair caresses her scarlet flesh and voluptuous breasts, and trails along her ruby-encrusted serpent’s tail. The demon’s emerald eyes desire his descent into the pit, where lust consumes.

Around the pit, with scourges in hand, watch two slavelords. The bull-headed giants stand on cloven hooves, snorting approval at the debauchery below. One casts down a length of knotted rope, bellowing, “Use this.” Noah flinches on seeing the rope, as the slavelord booms, “I bet she survive; one urn snakebite grog.” The other brute responds by pawing the ground, crying, “Done.” Together, they each lift an urn and drink alcoholic aphrodisiac. Noah can almost taste the blend of naga venom and alcohol. The memory cascades into scarlet-lit images of a girl, bound by his hand. The slave’s head sinks as he recalls her screams.

The snores of a nearby slavelord, punctuated by hammer blows that punish rock, lifts the suffering slave from shame. Looking up, he sees the sleeping beast, drunk on snakebite grog, and beyond, Nombuso, whose muscles flex across his gangly frame. Noah studies the ebony adolescent’s thick lips, broad nose, and the rag swathing his missing eye, and wonders how he continues to resist the pit. Does Nombuso also believe slaves are brothers and sisters, who should care with gentle touch, not caress with a lascivious one? From the boy’s gritted teeth and wild eye, and the emotion behind each hammer blow, Noah understands anger, welling rage, not belief in compassion, fortifies Nombuso against the devil queen’s desire.

Athuen, Queen of radiant form …’

Noah’s eyes snap to the dark recess from where the whisper emanates.

‘Joined Alta, sunbeam on the storm …’

Standing, he leaves his hammer and approaches the shadowed alcove. The pit, Nombuso and the slumbering slavelord forgotten, he reaches the recess.

‘Together stars filled her womb …’

Where a pale rock face meets a charcoal-grey face, a vein of black rock meanders. There, Noah senses the source of the voice.

This world’s beginning, love’s bloom …’

The slave claws at the black vein, scraping free flake after flake. Blood stains torn fingers as from within the created cavity emerges rainbow fire. The volcano of colour overflows, then erupts—a plume of myriad hues. The hammers of slaves fall silent, leaving only bovine snorts to echo through ruby shadows. Before frightened stares Noah pries more foliated rock away, uncovering a multifaceted diamond, the source of the heatless flame. The gemstone’s triangular facets paint his face vivid crimson through deepest violet, and hypnotise. Forgetting all else, he frees the jewel and presents it to those gathering around him. The diamond’s psychedelic mushroom cloud coalesces into a gold sun cupped by a crescent moon. A mellifluent voice resonates:

Athuen, Queen of radiant form

Joined Alta, sunbeam on the storm

Together stars filled her womb

This world’s beginning, love’s bloom

So we blessed with joyous prayer

Nights with dreams, truth laid bare

The other miners see the vision, hear the voice, and do not see the waking slavelord. Eyes full of hope, hearts courage, they watch as sun and moon morph into their ruler, Queen Babalon. 

Then woke Chaos, pitch Abyss

Who conjured evil, poison kiss

Serpent enchantress of dark desire

Whose forked tongue, made all a liar

Whore of Hell he named Babalon

Devil queen, corruption’s paragon 


Babalon enslaved, people cursed

Corrupting all, in lust immersed

With emerald eyes and scales of scarlet

She seduced souls, gorged the harlot

This wanton whore so devilish

We lost hope, made no wish 

The slavelord stands, whip in hand. Neither Noah nor the other miners notice him as a winged warrior, armed with sword and shield, morphs from Queen Babalon. Noah weeps at the majesty of the shimmering angel, awed by eyes radiating sunlight and outstretched wings that shine moonlight. Shaking with emotion, he believes words that prophesy:

Now Sun and Moon, Gods of Light

Give their son, angel of might

And through Sol smite devil queen

Forge kingdom true, peaceful dream

Where wise children forever grow

Beyond the stars, forever go 


Seek your saviour, where hydra roam

Through toxic mists, choke and groan

Find Paradise Portal sparkling gold

In circle’s centre, seven stones old

Within soars freedom’s peace

From Beyond, angel Sol release 


“I said what that?” A crack of the slavelord’s whip flays Noah’s forearm, and sends the Prophecy Stone sailing. Holy vision and divine voice fade.

“Magic?” the beast snorts, bloodshot eyes wide. “Slave no magic. You die.”

Noah does not cower as the monster draws back his whip: emboldened by the Prophecy, he stands proud.

A dread sound silences the cavern.

The slavelord topples forwards, his skull caved in. Shocked, Noah looks up from the twitching beast to the boy with one good eye. “Nombuso?” he whispers.

“I heard the words,” Nombuso says. “I saw the moon and sun, and their angel child.”

The slaves glance at one another, overwhelmed by the power of the Prophecy. Then, they turn to the ebony boy wielding a sledge hammer, who eyes approaching slavelords.

About the Author

Nicholas studies ecology, plays chess, exercises and hikes. He writes science fantasy novels and short stories from a variety of genres. He spends his spare time identifying plants and trying to understand humankind’s impact on ecosystems. He lives with himself, barely.

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