*Promo post* A Jar of Dreams by Clarissa Cartharn

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Jarofdreams coverTitle: A Jar of Dreams

Author: Clarissa Cartharn

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release date: July 16th, 2015

Length: 258 pages

Blurb: When Eric Tanner, an assassin, is targeted to be murdered by his former employer, he seeks refuge in the house of a blind woman, Anne Mullen.

Eric knows how to live in silence. He’s done it all his life. So when he discovers Anne is blind and living on her own, he thinks this would be his perfect hideout.

But then he makes the mistake of his life. He forms an attachment to her. And for a man in his profession, such attachments are a weakness. Now, he must do everything he can to protect Anne from the world he’s come from.

Author bio

Clarissa Cartharn picture [466173]Clarissa Cartharn has always had a deep love for language. Her pursuit of it has led her to attain a BA majoring in English Language and Literature, sought a career in English teaching for six years before finally becoming a lawyer. But when she took up the pen, she realised what she was really desiring for was the cathartic release of her wild imaginations via writing.

Clarissa is interested in learning new languages and is currently on a quest on conquering Mandarin Chinese.

Links: 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YHNOZVQ

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25629216-a-jar-of-dreams

Website: http://clarissacartharn.wix.com/clarissacartharn

Reader Group: http://eepurl.com/btEKh1 

jar of dreams teaser

EXCERPT

CHAPTER 1

“Hey, Ricky!” shouted out an eighteen year old boy as he goose-stepped his basketball opponent. “This way! Come on, man!”

Eric dribbled the ball, darting a quick glance at Jamal. He made to dash with the ball towards the basketball hoop and then cunningly shot it over to Jamal. Cries mingled with cheers as Jamal raced over to shoot, skillfully dribbling the ball between and about him.

Eric took deep rapid breaths as he tiredly placed his hands on his hips, watching his friend take the glory of shooting yet another goal for the team. There was something about Jamal that told him he would get far from being just the poor homeboy playing on rugged community basketball courts.

His eyes caught sight of a girl across the courts. Her long golden curls fluttered in the breeze as she stood watching them from the other side of the street. He didn’t think he had ever seen her before. He smiled shyly. He would definitely have remembered her if he had. How could anyone forget those beautiful sharp features and blonde locks? She seemed a dream plucked out of a fairytale book. She didn’t belong to a city like Camden, New Jersey.

Even at a distance, he could feel her eyes peeled keenly on the boys playing on the courts. Who was she interested in? Jamal? A sudden pang of jealousy speared through his heart. It felt strange. He had never been jealous of his best friend. Not even when his school coach picked Jamal over him to play for their school team. Was he being too petty?

He wondered if he should go and talk to her. Perhaps, a conversation with her would heal the wound he felt inside of him. Perhaps, talking with her would lift her mysteriousness. Hell, he might even discover she is unlikeable and just another dumb, blonde chick with too much time to spend on herself and none at all for anyone else.

He threaded his fingers through his hair. Who was he kidding? He needed courage to speak to a girl like her. The way she looked, she could most possibly be the most popular chick in high school. And he, Eric Tanner, had yet to catch the eye of any popular girl at all. The only reason he had even scored dates with Bree Hadden and Diane Farnum was because their friend, Hayley Bradberry needed to double-date with Jamal.

“Hey! Did you see that?” Jamal swung an excited arm over his shoulders.

“What?” Eric asked, hesitantly breaking his gaze away from the girl.

“You didn’t see that?” Jamal said with disbelief. “That thing I did? On the hoops… like this.” He re-enacted his winning shot.

Eric nodded, glancing to and fro between Jamal and the girl. What if she never came back? I would never know. I should take my chance.

“Where are you, man? You ain’t even listenin’,” Jamal complained. “You okay?”

“Yeah, yeah.” He shook his head. He had to face it. He simply didn’t have it in him to strike a random conversation with a strange and beautiful girl. And if he asked Jamal to do the deed, there was likelihood he would lose her to him. Not that Jamal was to blame. Jamal just had that charisma he would probably never have.

“There’s something wrong, is there? Someone do something?” Jamal asked seriously, his brow frowning with concern.

“No, no, I just-” He stopped short, his eyes narrowing, focusing angrily on the three boys gathered around the girl.

“What is it, Ricky?” Jamal asked, noticing his sudden change. He turned to find out what had invoked that anger inside him. “Those boys?”

Eric didn’t answer, observing them closely. His feet moved involuntarily towards the girl. But when she fell to the pavement, he sprinted out of the court with Jamal racing after him.

“Eric, don’t get involved!” Jamal warned.

I already am. He pressed his lips tightly and closed in on the boys. “Hey, get away from her!” he screamed, his fists clenched together with rage.

They looked over at him and laughed.

“Stay out of our business, white boy,” one said with a nasty grin.

Eric glanced down at the girl whimpering on the craggy and dirty pavement and her humiliation incensed him. But they were three boys and he was just one. He needed to be smart.

“Leave her alone,” he said, raising his palms up in submission. “I don’t want any trouble. She’s just a girl. You don’t need to do this, man.”

“Is she your girl?”

“No,” he said cautiously.

“Well then, what are you so worked-up about? We’re just having some fun.”

“Yeah, fuck off,” said another. “It ain’t your business.”

He stepped forward stubbornly. “I’m not going anywhere. Leave her alone.”

“Oh, yeah yeah.” The leader smirked. “I get you. You’re trying to impress the girl. But, you see, I saw her first. So I get to play with her first.”

“You’re such a nasty piece of work, Denzel,” Jamal said from behind Eric. “Does Denzel Washington know you fucking up his reputable name? He might sue you.”

“It ain’t my fault if my momma loves Denzel Washington.”

Jamal clicked his tongue. “Boy, Denzel, if you are as bad as this now, I hate to see you when you’re all grown up.”

Denzel clenched his teeth and made to charge at him.

“Hold on there,” Jamal warned, waving his phone at Denzel. “I just called the cops. They will be here anytime soon.”

“I don’t believe you,” the boy minced menacingly.

“It’s your choice.” Jamal shrugged nonchalantly.

Denzel shifted uneasily and with uncertainty.

“Jamal! Ricky! You guys okay?” one boy called out from the edge of the courts.

A group of young boys had gathered behind him, watching them intently.

“You sure you want to take on all of us?” Jamal sneered.

Denzel backed away. “I’ll see you again, white boy.” He waved his finger threateningly at Eric.

Eric watched him walk away before rushing over to the girl.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

The girl was sobbing, scrambling on her hands and knees.

“Hey, it’s fine now,” he said softly. “They’re gone now. Here.” He offered his hand to help her up but she continued to cry, crawling about the path.

He frowned curiously.

“What’s going on?” asked Jamal, watching the girl with as much inquisitiveness.

“Here, let me help you up.” Eric bent down and touched her back lightly.

She flailed her hands at him, and cowered from him. “Don’t touch me,” she growled. “Don’t touch me!”

Her face was directed at them, but her eyes weren’t focused, wandering aimlessly between him and Jamal.

Jamal crept low and waved his hands before her. She didn’t react.

“She can’t see,” he mouthed silently at Eric.

Eric glanced up at her deep blue eyes. He didn’t care that she was blind. She was beautiful. And her eyes were gorgeous. They were clear as the sea would be on a calm day. He wanted nothing more but to drown in them if he could.

“We are here to help you,” he said softly again. “Those boys who tried to hurt you… they’ve gone.”

“Who are you?” she asked with a tremble in her voice.

Eric paused. He was never easy at introductions. Especially when he was as attracted as he was now to her.

“I’m Jamal,” Jamal said quickly. “And this here… I mean, the guy sitting next to you…”

She let out a snort. “You know I’m blind.”

“Uh…,” Jamal hesitated.

“Is it okay if I touch you to help you up?” Eric asked. “What’s your name?”

“Anne… Anne Mullen.”

jar of dreams teaser 2

*Promo with excerpt* LINK by D.A. Karr

LINK, by D. A. Karr, is a sci-fi thriller set in the year 2800, in a future apocalyptic world. It is suspenseful, intriguing, and action filled. Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler fans will enjoy reading this book.

LINK FRONT COVERTitle: LINK

Author: D.A. Karr

Genre: Sci-Fi thriller

Release date: December 8th, 2014

Released by: Racehorse with Magic Shoes Digital Productions 

Length: 270 pages

Blurb: Space Time, 2800, Earth
As the Earth shifts on its axis, mankind is caught in a war of survival and time. Imprisoned in this time war, Captain John Garrick and the N.S.T.E.A. Phoenix becomes a pawn between technology, humans, and what’s left of civilization.

However, no amount of careful planning can prepare the time jumpers for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. As the N.S.T.E.A seals a deal to deliver time technology to the notorious outlaw, Menser, Garrick plots to undermine the N.S.T.E.A. Technology becomes the enemy and time an illusion as Phoenix’s crew prepares for the inevitable – a fight to the finish.

The future can be uncertain, then again, it could be the time jumpers last. Garrick doesn’t live by its rules, and he knows one thing is for sure: kill or be killed. Tick, tick, tick…timeliners never die. They never leave. 

Reviewed by Readers’ Favorite:

As the Earth shifts on its axis, all the continents either divided into small islands or converged into desert or ice. Humankind is caught in a war of survival and time. 

Captain John Garrick of the Phoenix ship is a time enforcer at the National Space Time Enforcement Agency. He discovers that the N.S.T.E.A has sealed a deal to deliver time technology to the notorious outlaw, Menser, in exchange for Charles Ramsey, the ousted ex-president of the United Sectors. 

Garrick plots to stop the deal from being carried out, and he and the Phoenix’s crew prepare for the inevitable fight. 

LINK has a classic sci-fi theme of good guys versus bad guys… If you’re a fan of Battlestar Galactica, LINK definitely has some of its great panache which makes it enjoyable.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Link-D-Karr/dp/150042014X/

About the Author:

D.A. Karr has been writing books and screenplays for the last ten years. Her experience and employment includes firefighting in the U.S. Forest Service, law enforcement, IT engineering, and several years with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center San Diego (SSC San Diego). She has a Master’s in software engineering.

D.A. Karr enjoys writing in a variety of genres including sci-fi, thriller-mystery, historical fiction, and screenplays. She is the author of several books including LINK, The Legend of Pendyne, and The Racehorse with Magic Shoes.

To learn more, go to http://www.racehorsewithmagicshoes.com/

Connect with D.A. Karr on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DAKarrRHWMS

EXCERPT:

Garrick and Farber were knocked off their feet, sending them rolling against the control panels. Hanging upside down, Garrick crawled along the panels on his hands and knees pulling himself up to reach the docking clamp releases. Farber slid against the jump-bridge when it skidded into the missile stacks.

Garrick shouted over the groaning and falling debris, “One docking clamp is still locked.  Get out of here!”

Farber desperately yelled, “I’m not leaving you!”

Farber crawled to the control panels, grabbing onto anything he could. Garrick grasped a piece of metal plating in one hand, and took a last swing at the clamp, while Farber beat the clamp with his fist.

Garrick shouted at A.L.I.S., “Link out!”

A.L.I.S. whirled around Garrick and Farber lifting them into her energy fields just when the AKasZ blew from the docking clamp. Imploding in a fire storm, a distortion rift tore a hole in space itself as a river of gas, and radiation streaked by in ribbons. A wave of energy engulfed the hull of the Phoenix, rocking it back and forth.

Fighting the pull of the wormhole, ships in the vicinity snapped their clamps, and were thrown around like toys, smashing against each other. Then the wormhole folded into itself, sucking the burning AKasZ with it, crushing it in its wake.

The rest of the fleet settled either on top of each other or against the perimeter fencing giving the appearance the shipyard was attacked by a round of RZaR Shadow missiles. The AKasZ was nowhere to be found.

Phoenix, stunned by the blast, drifted helplessly, sizzling, discharging energy from its hull. Several nearby N.S.T.E.A. gunships bore down on the wounded vessels with gun ports open. The gun towers swung their cannon torrents side to side, searching for the intruders.

One smaller fleet gunship flew up to Phoenix near the bridge section off the port wing and surveyed the damage. Its running lights signaled Phoenix for a status. Phoenix flashed back an answer. Then the gunship veered off. Phoenix powered up and silently moved to the edge of the perimeter surrounding the shipyard, waiting.

 

**BLOG TOUR** ~ I’ll Sing for my Dinner, by BR Kingslover (includes chapter 1 excerpt)

Blog Tour Banner I'll sing for

 
 
 
SYNOPSIS:
When Cecily Buchanan walks into the Roadhouse Bar and Grill and offers to sing for a meal, ex-Marine Jake McGarrity can’t say no. Some say Jake is too soft hearted for his own good. But letting  the waif with the cover girl face and the voice of an angel walk away would be more than he could stand. Cecily’s sweet nature, bubbly personality and obvious talent endear her to everyone she meets, and Jake soon knows his heart is lost. But Cecily has secrets and won’t talk about her past, one so dark that she has  nightmares and clutches a knife while she sleeps.
When those who are chasing her close in, she faces the decision of whether to run again, or to trust her life to the cowboy who has taught her the meaning of love.
Warning: This novel contains a dark subplot concerning previous abuse/rape.
Purchase
Links:

Amazon *  SMASHWORD * KOBO * iTunes

Teaser 1 I'll sing for

 
  Chapter 1
 
Jake
A pickup truck pulled up in front of the bar and stopped. It looked like Luke Sowers in the driver’s seat. The door on the other side opened, but I couldn’t see who got out. Then the truck pulled out again, the tires throwing gravel, and sped off.
 
What was left, standing in the parking lot, looked like a hippie. A girl, with a backpack and something else. She shouldered the pack, picked up what I now could see was a guitar case, and headed for the door. Apparently, she was a hitchhiker and he dropped her off at my place. Thanks, Luke.
 
Making her way through the door, she came straight toward me instead of taking a seat at one of the tables. The sign by the door said ‘Seat yourself,’ so I wondered what in the hell this was all about.
 
Stopping in front of me, she looked up into my face and asked in one of the most beautiful voices I’d ever heard, “May I speak to the owner, or the manager?”
 
The voice was a surprise, like a flower blooming in the desert. Her face was a shock. For all the grime, she was beautiful. Not pretty, but the kind of beauty you see on the covers of magazines. Long stringy greasy hair fell past her small breasts. She was thin, too thin, with a look in her gray eyes I hadn’t seen since coming back to the States, a combination of shell shock and hunger. The overall impression she projected was fragility. She came up to about my shoulder and I wasn’t sure she was old enough to be in a bar. What in the hell was she doing hitchhiking alone?
 
“I’m the owner, and the manager,” I replied. “I’m Jake McGarrity.”
 
“I’m Cecily,” she said. Turning, she looked around the room. The Roadhouse is a pretty typical bar with a bandstand at the end opposite the door and an area cleared for dancing. It was six-thirty in the evening, and we had two families with kids, about half a dozen couples, and two groups of four cowboys, all eating dinner. On a Wednesday night, that was pretty good. On a weekend, we did a lot better, and lunch was usually packed.
 
Turning back to me, she licked her lips and then said, “You have live music in here.” It was a statement, not a question. I nodded. The bandstand with the microphones and amplifiers made that pretty obvious.
 
“We have a band start at nine on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights,” I said.
 
“Do you ever have live music for your dinner guests?”
 
I gestured to one of the speakers on the wall. “We use canned music.”
 
“Mr. McGarrity, I don’t have a red cent to my name, and I haven’t eaten in two days,” she said. “I’ll play for your guests in exchange for a meal.”
 
My God. The raw, naked hope in her face was almost too much for me. My eyes blurred a little bit. People tell me sometimes that I’m a soft touch. I figure that charity never hurts the giver. I was going to feed her. There was no way I was going to turn someone away after they approached me like that.
 
“What kind of music do you play?” I asked.
 
She shrugged. “I can play anything. For dinner music,” she gestured toward the customers sitting at the tables, “something soft and relaxing, loud enough to be noticed, but not so loud that people can’t carry on a conversation. People’s behavior is different with live music, you know.
 
They stay longer after they finish their meals and order more drinks.”
 
In addition to the beauty of her voice, her accent was cultured. This girl was raised with money, or at least well educated. And she hadn’t been on the streets long enough for her vocabulary to degenerate. She didn’t even speak like a normal kid.
 
I took a deep breath, and then she said in a rush, “Let me just play a couple of songs. Okay? Before you decide. Please? And then, if you don’t think it’s a good idea, I’ll go.”
 
Go where? Go out and stand beside the highway with her thumb out? Just the thought of her hitchhiking, getting in strangers’ cars and ending the night raped and dead in a ditch, scared the hell out of me. If I read about her in the newspaper tomorrow, I’d never be able to forgive myself.
 
Nodding, I said, “Let’s hear what you’ve got.” I pulled a menu out from under the bar and  pushed it across to her. “Give me your order, and you can play until your food is ready.”
 
Looking down the menu, she raised her head. “I don’t want you to think I’m taking advantage. Could I get the baked flounder and a salad? Is that too much?”
 
“What kind of dressing on your salad?” I answered.
 
“Oil and vinegar, or Italian. Something like that.”
 
“Put your backpack over there,” I said, pointing to a corner behind the bar and off to the side of the kitchen door.
 
She dropped the pack there, and as she passed me, I got a whiff of her. She and her clothes hadn’t been washed in far too long. Taking her guitar case up to the bandstand, she pulled out a beautiful Martin D45 with an electronic pickup. She could hock the guitar for enough money to get anywhere in the country, and eat well besides. The way she handled it, I had a feeling she’d starve to death before that happened.
 
Plugging into an amp, she checked the tuning on the guitar, flipped on the power, and hit a note. She turned the volume down, pulled a stool up to the edge of the bandstand and sat down.
 
I watched as she fitted finger picks on her right hand, and I wondered exactly what I was about to hear. All of her movements were efficient, practiced. She had played for audiences before, and she didn’t show a shred of nervousness.
 
I went and turned off the canned music and nodded to her. Most of my customers glanced her way, and some turned and watched her. Everyone was curious. I knew all these folks, and they were good people. Unless she sounded like a tortured cat, they would be polite.
 
And then she started to play. I recognized the tune immediately. Segovia, played on a steelstring guitar. As she promised, the music filled the room, but it was quiet enough that it wasn’t intrusive. I listened in astonishment as she flawlessly negotiated the complex piece of classical music. When she finished, she moved right into a Frank Sinatra tune, and from there a song off an old Mason Williams album. She hadn’t been bragging when she said she could play anything.
 
“You’re going to screw up your reputation as a hard-boiled ex-Marine,” Kathy said with a chuckle when she brought Cecily’s meal from the kitchen, startling me out of some kind of trance I had fallen into watching Cecily play.
 
“At least she’s paying for her meal,” Kathy continued. “Normally you just feed down-and-out vets who offer nothing but a hard-luck story.”
 
“I don’t have a need to impress people with what kind of hard-ass I am,” I told her. “Too many of the guys I knew like that got their asses shot off trying to be a hero.”
 
I waived Cecily over, and she came to the bar and perched on one of the barstools. She ate slowly, carefully chewing small bites. That about broke my heart. She was used to being hungry, and knew wolfing it down might cause her to be sick.
 
“Would you like something to drink besides water?” I asked.
 
She gave me a startled look, then looked at the taps and bottles lined up behind the bar. “A glass of white wine would be nice,” she said. “Do you pour a sauvignon blanc by the glass?”
 
Where in the hell did this girl come from? And what happened to her to put her in this kind of personal hell out on the Colorado plains? I poured her wine and set it down in front of her. She swirled the wine in the glass, smelled it, and took a sip. That earned me an even more startled look.
 
“Is this really what you normally pour as bar wine?” she asked, her eyes wide.
 
“It’s what I pour for dirty, starving hitchhikers who play Segovia on fine, vintage guitars,” I answered. The fact that she recognized the quality of the bottle I’d opened for her told me volumes as to how she used to live.
 
She blushed. “Thank you.”
 
“Do you sing?” I asked.
 
“Yes. Is it all right if I sing?”
 
“Do whatever you like. From what I’ve heard so far, you’ve got more than a meal coming if you want to keep playing. I’ll pay you fifty bucks to play until eight.”
 
More customers had come in, but none had left. When she walked back onto the stage, everyone quieted and looked toward her expectantly. She started picking an intricate tune that settled into Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right. She opened her mouth, and at the first note every other sound in the bar stopped. Even the noises in the kitchen stopped.
 
She sang in a strong, clear, pure mezzo-soprano, dropping into the contralto range on the tag line of each verse. Finishing the song, she immediately launched into Joni Mitchell’s Chelsea Morning, sung soprano, and followed that with Loretta Lynn’s Coal Miner’s Daughter, her voice taking on a twang that would make any hillbilly proud.
 
On Chelsea Morning, she took the notes on the words ‘heard’ and ‘pipes’ so high that I nervously glanced at my glassware.
 
Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning
And the first thing that I heard
Was a song outside my window
And the traffic wrote the words
It came ringing up like Christmas bells
And rapping up like pipes and drums
 
Her voice was flawless, with no reaching for notes, either on the high or low end of any register in which she chose to sing. I had never heard anything like it in my life.
 
Kathy, my assistant manager, took a glass of water up to the stage around the fourth song and set it next to her on the floor. Two songs later, one of the cowboys came over to the bar.
 
“Have you got a bowl or something, Jake? She should have a hat or something. You know, something people can put tips in.”
 
“Why don’t you loan her your hat, Mel?” I asked him with a grin.
 
“Hell, Jake, she probably wouldn’t want to touch the money after it sat in my sweat all night,” he said, grinning back at me. I had to admit, the battered lump of felt sitting on his head had seen better days.
 
I went back to the kitchen and got a bowl. When I handed it to him, he dropped a dollar in it, then walked back to his table. His friends also dropped money in the bowl, and he took it up and set it on the stage in front of her.
 
She smiled at him without missing a note. A thousand-watt smile that made him blush.
 
She played almost solid for over an hour, transitioning from folk to country, to gospel, to blues, even including a Billy Holiday song and a couple from Barbra Streisand. Her vocal range was incredible as she moved effortlessly from soprano to contralto. I don’t know how many people in a cowboy honky-tonk bar would recognize a classically-trained voice, but I did.
 
When she finished, I handed her fifty dollars and said, “If you want to come back, I’ll pay you a hundred dollars a night to play and sing between six and eight. Five nights a week, Wednesday through Sunday.”
 
“Seriously?”
 
“As serious as a heart attack,” I said. “Do you know where you’re going to spend the night? There’s a motel just a block down. It’s not fancy, but it’s clean.”
 
Looking at the money in her hand, she said, “I can’t afford a motel. I have a sleeping bag. I’ll find a place to crash.” She glanced over her shoulder at the cowboys who started her tip collection. From what I’d seen, she did pretty well on tips. “Maybe someone will offer me a bed.”
 
That did it. I had seen women in Afghanistan who had fallen so far that they were willing to sell their body for a scrap to eat or a warm place to sleep. Every protective instinct I had leaped up and opened my mouth.
 
“You can stay at my place,” I said.
 
She looked at the tattoo on my forearm, then back up to my face. A smile crooked the corners of her mouth, but it didn’t change the sad look in her eyes. “I’ve never slept with a jarhead before.”
 
Shaking my head, I said, “That’s not what I’m offering. You can stay in my spare room. It has its own bath. And you can do some laundry.”
 
Looking down at herself, she murmured, “That would be nice.” Raising her eyes to my face, she seemed to study me. “Mr. McGarrity, you’re too nice for your own good. How do you know I’m not a drug addict that will cut your throat and clean you out before morning?”
 
“I don’t sleep that heavy,” I said. “I’ll take the chance. As for being too nice, I’m not. No one has ever taken advantage of me twice.”
 
I asked Kathy to cover the bar until I got back. Grabbing her backpack, I said, “Come on, I’ll take you over there.”
 
“Don’t you have to work?”
 
“I’ll drop you off and come back.”
 
We went out to my pickup and I dumped her pack in the back. She brought the guitar inside with her, settling it on the floor and holding the neck of the case between her legs.
 
“That’s a nice guitar,” I said.
 
“It was my twelfth birthday present.”
 
“It’s a D45, isn’t it? Rosewood?” I asked, referring to the guitar’s body.
 
“Yes.”
 
The last time I’d seen an older D45 on sale of the quality she was playing, the shop was asking twelve thousand dollars. Someone had loved her to give that to a twelve year old.
 
“Do you play?” she asked. “You seem to know a lot about guitars.”
 
“Yes, but I’m light years away from your class. I have a D35 at home. My brother’s band is our standard house band. They’ll be playing tomorrow night.”
 
“Do you play with them?”
 
“Sometimes. He and I started the band in high school, and he kept it going when I joined the Marines.”
 
She nodded. We rode in silence for a while, then abruptly she said, “Mr. McGarrity, if anyone ever tells me that chivalry is dead, I’m going to send them to the Roadhouse Bar and Grill. It’s been a long time since anyone was this nice to me.”
AUTHOR  BIO:

 

BR Kingsolver is the author of the Telepathic Clans series (The Succubus Gift, Succubus Unleashed, Succubus Rising, and Succubus Ascendant) and Broken Dolls, a paranormal thriller as well as the contemporary romance Trust:  a truly modern romance, and the upcoming I’ll Sing for My Dinner. I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, among  writers, artists and weird Hispanic and Native American myths and folklore. 

 
I’ve lived all over the U.S. and earned a living doing everything from making silver and turquoise jewelry, to construction to computers. I currently live in Baltimore and Albuquerque.
 
AUTHOR MEDIA  LINKS:
 
Email:
brkingsolver@yahoo.com
teaser 2 I'll
 

 

*Promo* Avenger Mine (The Kataran Series #2) by T. M. Slay

Avenger Mine is book 2 of the sci-fi fantasy series, The Kataran Series, following Guardian Mine. Written by T.M. Slay and published by Fantasy Publishing, this new series makes for a very promising one… “Step into fantasy and leave ordinary behind”!

Avenger Mine - 4 purpleTitle: Avenger Mine (The Kataran Series #2)

Author: T. M. Slay

Genre: Sci-fi, fantasy

Release date: March 16th, 2015

Released by: Fantasy Publishing

Length: 430 pages

Blurb: Jackson, The Avenger. Alone most of his life, people feared him more than appreciated his psychic abilities; abilities that had kept their race safe for more than three hundred years. No one understood the pain and the solitude that came with being a Mind Bender. He saves who he can, and kills those who try to stop him. His world is black and white. Simple. Until now.

Marilena has no one to turn to. Swept away from her home world as a child, she’s lived in hiding with her parents most of these years. And now, the enemies who forced their flight to Earth have come…and are searching for her. Dare she trust the Kataran Warrior who swears her enemies are his? Where has he been until now, and why is he so interested in her psychic ability?

Jackson has been fighting this war for most of his life, and has been an interrogator for even longer. Marilena is a skilled psychic too and understanding her position in this war is proving to be one of the most difficult missions of his career. Is Marilena working with the Skimtar? Jackson isn’t sure, but he intends to find out, and first he has to find a way into her mind…

About the Author:

Avenger Mine - 4 purple author picRaised all over the United States, I decided to settle back in my home state of Louisiana.  A large immediate family of 7 (5 children) and an extended family of well over 20, I never have far to look for inspiration.  With a love of reading instilled in my very DNA by both my grandmother and my mother, we have a combined library of well over 5,000 books.  Of course, that love of reading had to give way to a love of writing. 

Once my characters jump into my head, they won’t jump out until they make their way to the page.  It’s a glorious and annoying problem to have all at once.  I hope you’ll get to know them as well as I do in my Kataran Series, my Atlantean Series, and a few stand alone books, all to be published in short order!

LINKS

Author website: http://www.tmslay.com/

Publisher website: http://www.fantasypublishingllc.com/

Amazon Paperback

Amazon Kindle Edition

Kobo ebook

Excerpt from Chapter 18

Standing in her room, Mala looked herself over in the full length mirror. Anxiety swirled in her chest, but it was time. If there ever was a time, it was now. Before her mother died, they had gone to a leather-smith, and with silver thread that Mala had pulled from the earth, she and her mother had made several garments. This had been one of them. Her dad had been a Guardian, and he was partial to black. Knowing that he would never see another Katara in his lifetime, he allowed her the luxury of wearing his colors, symbols, and weapons. As his only child, and one of their ancient days, her father tended to give her most of what she asked for. She strapped on his wrist cuffs and his knives.

The rest of her clothes weren’t traditional, but they had gotten used to making their own traditions after the first one hundred years. She wore a thin, black, long-sleeved shirt under a black leather vest. The lapels were painstakingly stitched with the symbols of her father and his father before him. It also fit tight, like a second skin. Katara females didn’t normally dress like this, but things had been changing on Xan even before the attack. The breathable, snug fabrics allowed for better movement. The pants were the same. Soft leather, worn from hundreds of years of wear. Mostly in private, for the Roma tribes were very fussy about such tight clothing. But it didn’t stop her from training with her father. Her boots, now they were all Mala. Black leather, of course, with a four inch heel, and a silver zipper up the inside of the leg, straps and buckles up the outside of her leg. Damn, they were sexy. Now her five foot ten inches would be a six foot two inches, and she could look that smug Katara straight in the eye.

It had been a long time since she dressed in this manner. But there was something about it. It was like coming home. A light brush of silver eye-shadow, matched the solid silver of her eyes. She knew they were different, that’s why she hadn’t even shown them to Jackson yet. His were the perfect Katara eyes. Hunter green shot through with stars of silver. Hers were just silver, even the pupil. They scared most people who saw her without her contacts. But tonight she would need all the edge she could get. She was going to be facing down some of the most well trained and feared Kataras ever. They had not only survived, but struck out in their own war. And Jackson led them. He had his own weaknesses, but she imagined they were nothing compared to his strengths.

Grabbing the thick bunch of silver strands in her hair, she braided them separately, leaving the rest of her black hair in a cascade of silk down her back. They were only collecting the team, if she had been expecting a war tonight, all of her hair would either be braided, or at least in a ponytail. Hair in the face, was not the way to fight a bunch of Skimtar who were trying to kill you. However, not looking might work too. Never having seen a Skimtar before, she might would rather be blind. God, what was she doing––thinking of fighting the Skimtar, war, and killing. It was crazy! She had officially lost her mind. Yup. She was headed for the loony bin. Only they would be really freaked out when she didn’t age for the next hundred years or so. Damn. Wasn’t there anywhere a crazy person could be committed in peace? Sighing at herself, she figured not. Might as well face this now.

One last look at herself in the mirror, and she hardly believed she was the woman staring back at her. She could have been her mother. Except the attitude. That was all her dad. She felt them, their presence in the air around her, expecting something else. She didn’t quite know what, but right now, it didn’t matter. Her curves were the full curves of a woman set on a tall body that made them look leaner than they actually were. Of course, all the black helped, but it was still nice to know she had this body hiding under the layers of conservative clothing. This look was not Roma. But it was Katara, at least the Katara she and her mother had created. And the two seemed to war within her.

But in this moment she could do nothing less than close the door to the Roma within her, and open the long closed door of the Katara instead. Instantly, The Universe responded to her. The air swirled around her like a small whirlwind, blowing her hair out and away from her shoulders. She took a deep breath as though for the first time, and colors jumped before her eyes––bright hues that she had never known existed in her modest bedroom. The elements glowed for her, called to her; she could feel the earth beneath her feet and its elation at her sudden awakening. It was a rebirth of some kind; The Universe within her was budding like a flower in the spring. Had she ever felt this before? Maybe, a long time ago, but never to this magnitude. Was it the effect of the Torta, or having Jackson so near? With one last, last glance at herself, she walked out of her room, knowing Jackson wouldn’t be long.

Maybe simply having another Katara around was some sort of trigger to the power within her. Electricity crawled up her arms, like ants over her skin, feather-light, but obvious in its arrival. Jackson. So, he had called his power too, and was waiting on her.

“I do not know that I want my men to see you looking like that.”

“Like what? A Katara? Isn’t that what you’ve been reminding me I am? How I should talk, think, dress, act?” She knew there was attitude in the swing of her hips. What could she say? She was feelin’ it. Another deep breath and the elements literally sang to her. She approached Jackson and his scent surrounded her; it had become an element all its own. Walking around him, she reached out, tracing the line of his shoulder with one hand, feeling their combined powers sizzling between her fingertips and his hardened body. She’d never felt so alive or emboldened. She wanted to rip open his deep purple tunic and rub her hands over his skin. Universe, she could imagine the rush of power that would come from actual skin to skin contact!

She watched a muscle in his jaw twitch when she ever-so-lightly ran a fingernail over the nape of his neck to cross over the hard expanse of the second shoulder. He actually growled. The sound emanating from somewhere deep inside.

*Promo with Excerpt* Twisted by Lola Smirnova

Inspired by real life events, Twisted is a fascinating story of vulnerability, courage and the art of making a living in the sex trade…

Twisted Lola smirnovaBook CoverTitle: Twisted

Author: Lola Smirnova

Genre: New adult, suspense thriller

Release date: January 26th, 2014

Release date: Quickfox Publishing

Length: 316 pages

Blurb: Back in the 90’s, the corrupt post-Soviet Ukraine with its faltering economy, is thrown into a devastating depression. Times are hard. Opportunities are scarce.

Three young and eager sisters – Natalia, Lena and Julia – dream of a better life and weigh their options: do they stay and struggle like their parents, or join scores of their compatriots in the sex trade in glittering western European cities, who earn in a night what they’d take several months to earn at home? Naive and tempted by the allure of ‘quick’ money, the girls set off on an adventure that changes their lives forever…

For sensible, resilient and calculating Lena and Natalia, the transition to the underworld of Luxembourg’s deceptive champagne bars is eye-opening, but smooth. But for fragile, brittle Julia, haunted by a childhood assault, the change is more than just vocational. Struggling to adapt, she turns to alcohol and drugs, exposing herself to increasing danger and depravity; and, ultimately, betrayal, when a deceitful client, who claims to love her, drugs her and cleans her out.

Despite her sisters’ best efforts to intervene, she finds herself in Istanbul – culturally a world apart – in an attempt to make back the money and self-respect she’s lost. Vulnerable without the protection of Luxembourg’s champagne bars, she descends into a hell of drugs and high-risk sex until, at the novel’s terrible climax, a kidnapping, brutal assault and one-sided justice system lead to her imprisonment and a threat of deportation.

How will Natalia and Lena save Julia? 

Twisted is available for sale on Amazon in ebook and paperback.

Twisted is the first book in the trilogy. The second book Craved will be released soon. 

Praise for Twisted:

“A gripping and mature story deftly woven by Lola Smirnova, “Twisted” is the kind of suspense novel that will linger in the mind and imagination long after it is finished and set back upon the shelf… “Twisted” introduces an extraordinarily gifted author to an appreciative readership looking eagerly toward her next literary effort.” – Midwest Book Review

“Charged with some disturbing sexual scenes (including rape), the book manages a steady, readable flow as it shines a light on the multifaceted world of the European sex trade.”
 – Kirkus Reviews

“Smirnova takes us on a philosophical and pseudo-psychological pilgrimage through the sexual underworld as Julia, in first person narrative, describes her struggling introduction into a profession where she can ply the only skills currently marketable.” – 5 star review from Readers’ Favorite

“I highly recommend ‘Twisted’ to open-minded readers who aren’t afraid of a little blood, sweat and semen. It’s sure to shock and surprise you, with both its storyline and its literary value.” – 5 star review from Red City Review

“In the meantime, Smirnova hopes that Twisted will raise awareness to the problems of the sex industry… Kudos to Smirnova for an outstanding job achieving that goal!” – 5 star review from Pacific Book Review

“While the subject matter does not make for a light read, a breezy writing style and Julia’s willingness to fully and shamelessly lift the veil on her controversial lifestyle makes an irresistible combination.”


About the Author:

Aspiring author from Ukraine, Lola Smirnova loves twisting a suspenseful tale through the dark lens of realism around the sexual underworld, so clocked in secrecy and shame. Lola’s work is inspired by real-life events and is meant for the open-minded readers who are not afraid of a little blood, sweat and semen.

Her debut novel Twisted was released in 2014. The book placed as Honorable Mention in General Fiction Category of The 2014 London Book Festival’s Annual Competition.

Whether you prefer to slide your finger across a touchscreen or turn a paper page, Lola’s thrilling tales will surely shock and surprise you, with both its storyline and its literary value.

Now living in South Africa, Lola is about to release her second novel – a sequel to Twisted – Craved, which proves just how many fascinating stories she has to share about the ordinary women in the global sex industry.

You can contact Lola via twisted@lolasmirnova.com

To learn more, go to http://lolasmirnova.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BookTwisted

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

Excerpt – Chapter One

‘Sag es!’ he screams at me.

The heavy motorcycle helmet is so tightly strapped to my head that I can hear the blood rushing through my ears. The smell of stale sweat reeks from the worn padding inside it. I struggle to swallow. A drop of spit runs down the ball gag that has been shoved into my mouth, then down my chin, and drips onto the couch beneath my knees. My shoulders are screaming from the pull of the handcuffs, which force my hands together behind my back.

He stands in the middle of the small and gloomy room and I can see the outline of his large body. Two bloodshot eyes are firmly fixed on my exposed nipples. A fleshy tongue slides backwards and forwards through the gap in his teeth. He licks the sweat off his lips, moans, and starts rubbing his groin, rocking his wide hips back and forth. He increases the pace, while his moans get louder and louder. Next, he stops abruptly, moving his eyes from my chest to my face, scowls, and takes a few menacing steps towards me. I shrink instinctively, tensing my body …

I know him. Don’t be scared Jul. He’s a bit strange, but a harmless motherfucker.’ That is what my sister, Natalia, managed to whisper in my ear half an hour ago, before I followed this freak, with the brain bucket in his hand, upstairs.

Natalia and I were sitting at the bar counter when he walked in. He didn’t even have a drink; just stepped in the door, looked around, stopped his stare at me, and mumbled, ‘I want you. Let’s go.’

It’s time to work!’ teased Natalia. Her naughty look followed us all the way up the stairs.

‘Sag es!’ the crack-head screams again, which I think means ‘say it’ in Luxembourgish or German.

He grunts, and with a wild thrust shoves his hips right into my face. He doesn’t even bother to take his jeans off. A quick unzip and he pulls out a flaccid penis, puts one foot up on the couch and starts violently pumping it, so close that his clenched palm is punching the helmet. Lucky for me the visor is shut.

I sigh deeply and try to shift on the couch to get rid of the cramps, which start crawling up my legs and back.

A bit strange? Come on, Natalia! You could call him anything – cracked, insane, alien on Earth – but hardly ‘a bit strange’!

I glance at the half-empty bottle of champagne seductively chilling in the ice bucket. If I’d known what Natalia had meant by ‘a bit strange’, I would have finished it before he handcuffed me and shoved the damn ball into my jaws.

‘Sag es!’ brings me out of my thoughts again.

I peep at his red face … What the hell does this crack-head think he is doing? I wouldn’t even call it masturbation! He tortures his penis in a spasmodic exertion. The awful tongue tossing in his distorted mouth, the dark brown hair stuck to the film of sweat on his broad brow, and the whimpering noises coming out of his fat body make a disgusting spectacle.

‘Sag es!’

According to the instructions he gave me before we started this session, I was supposed to say ‘I love you, I forgive you’ through the gag.

I wonder what my seventh-grade teacher would say if she walked in the door right now? She always believed in me and encouraged: ‘You are going to come out on top, Julia … ‘Good shot, Anna Ivanovna. You were pretty close!

He shuts his eyes and wrinkles his forehead in concentration. Frustrated, he drops his limp penis and squats next to the small table in the centre of the room. He pauses only to wipe the trickle of sweat from his forehead. Then he quickly snorts the line of blow on the glass table, and doesn’t get up for a while, staring deadpan at the wall.

Hey, fat boy, get on with it so we can have some time together after this. I think I deserve a little pick-me-up for my efforts here.

I wonder what could possibly have happened to turn his grey matter inside out like this. A few hours later, when I kick my ‘labour hour’ around with the girls, they will tell me some rumours about him having had a motorbike accident. Apparently, he was riding ‘under the influence’ with his fiancée in tow. She died there on the street, in his arms, in a puddle of mud. With the last beats of her heart, he stared at her wide-open eyes, full of terror, and at her bleeding lips that breathed in agony: ‘Please, baby, I don’t want to die.’

I shudder. I don’t know if he was injured in the accident, but after this short time we’ve spent together I can assure you that his brain was nowhere to be found after that crash.

‘Sag es!’

Yeah, whatever …

He finally comes back to the couch, pulling and beating his poor half-dead cock in front of my plastic shield. I try to say what he demands – anything to get this over and done with, and me out of here – but ‘I love you’, that forms beautifully in my throat, dissolves into an incoherent mumble as it hits the ball.

His small eyes devour every inch of my naked body, which is truly just skin and bone with boyish nipples where there are supposed to be breasts. The only reason why any man would choose to fuck me (aside from being a paedophile, of course) would be my big blue eyes and long blonde hair.

‘Sag es!’

His whole face is scrunched up in an ugly leer and his bottom lip is quivering as he makes a weird whining noise.

Oh please! Don’t tell me you are going to cry now! Pathetic, sick, even disturbing, but not just ‘a bit strange’, Natalia?!

He keeps on yanking and jerking and thrusting like a maniac – harder and harder. He’s going to pull that thing off if he doesn’t stop!

‘Sag es! Sag es!’ he whines over and over, then forcefully flips the visor up and pulls the bottom of the helmet so close that his soft crotch hits my face. I shut my eyes a second before the first squirt of semen hits them.

It’s over’ slips with warmth and ease into my head, then streams down through my body, echoing the semen on my face. My eyes are closed but I can still hear him sobbing, sniffling and mumbling.

I can’t believe this fucker just ruined my make-up!

All I’ve got from this pathetic episode is an experience I will never be able to share with my grandchildren and €60 with no promise of a tip.

*Promo with Excerpt* Haggart’s Dawn by Martyn J. Pass

Haggart’s Dawn is Martyn J. Pass’ latest release. It has a great fantasy plot, with some strong characters for the reader to really get behind. After fighting enemies of the King for many years, Haggart and the Captain are now living in peace, but rumours begin to change all this. Is it possible that someone they once believed to be dead is now back, and wanting revenge….

And, for this week only (Mon 16th – Fri 20th March), it is FREE on Amazon UK and Amazon US. (Please note that the price will be subject to change after Friday 20th).

After having Martyn’s ‘The Wolf and the Bear’ on my reading list, I am also excited to say that Haggart’s Dawn has also been added.

Haggart's Dawn Cover CTitle: Haggart’s Dawn

Author: Martyn J. Pass

Genre: Fantasy

Release date: March 12th, 2015

Length: 243 pages

Blurb: A vision of the future shows war is coming to Ulfwen. Can Haggart and the Captain discover the truth before it is too late? Or will their world end in fire as the dead return to avenge themselves? 

Haggart and the Captain fought the enemies of the King for most of their lives before being pardoned by those who overthrew him. After retiring to run an Inn out on the northern borders, strange rumors reach them – rumors of a terrible catastrophe ahead and those who listen to them are fleeing north. The Council is worried and Hunters are seen abroad, tracking down Summoners – those with the power to manipulate the very world around them, and murdering them in cold blood. 

Unable to live a life of peace after years on the battlefield, they set out at once to discover the truth behind these strange events. They soon realise, however, that someone from their past, someone they believed to be dead, has somehow returned. With him come machines far more terrifying than anything they’ve seen before and destroying them becomes their only hope of stopping him from taking over their world. 

Can Haggart and the Captain act in time to stop him, or will the dead be summoned to life again to exact their revenge upon the living?

Bio of Martyn J. Pass

Martyn J. Pass was born in Lancashire, England and is a tradesman in Metal Work. His first book, ‘At The Dawn Of The Ruined Sun’ was written in 1999 as Martyn was reaching the end of his time in High School. It was first published in paper back by the time he’d left. It tells the story of several friends trying to survive in a world where adults have been killed by a deadly plague. Set primarily in the UK, this book precedes the ideas of many films and books that would go on to follow an uncannily similar story line. 

Several years later, Martyn wrote alongside his brother, Dani, to create the crime thriller ‘Waiting For Red’. Stepping away from Science Fiction for a spell, this novel follows the exploits of Ben and Spiff; notorious criminals who follow very different paths that cross with bloody and explosive results. 

Martyn returned to Sci-Fi in 2013 with the release of ‘Soul At War’ published in Kindle format. This is the first title in the John Shap series, following the exploits of Lieutenant John Shap who finds himself drawn back into a war he neither wanted nor believed in. Only a request from a friend to find his son carries him back to the battlefields of deep space and into some of the fiercest fighting he has ever seen.

The Wolf And The Bear‘The Wolf And The Bear’ was published through Kindle in May 2014 and tells the story of Alex Hogg, a girl on a quest to find a relic in the cursed city of Glass and Bone. Bear, a Dalesman, offers to be her guide and together they head south, discovering that a man from Bear’s past has plans of his own, plans to rebuild the old world – even if it means destroying the new.

Speaking in 2014, Martyn said “For me, character wins over plot. That’s not to say plot doesn’t matter, but people want great characters they can relate to. A story with a poor plot can be carried by outstanding characters who ‘steal the stage’, but a great plot with poor characters is doomed before it begins. My writing is readable because I start every novel with a hero or heroine people can get behind and then I just write down what they do. The plot follows right behind them without me even trying. That means that what you read is what the character wanted you to read, not necessarily what I wanted you to read. Sometimes they even surprise me!”

Excerpt from ‘Haggart’s Dawn’ – by Martyn J. Pass

Raiders,” said the Captain whose voice was suddenly drowned out by the screams of the villagers and the clatter of steel on steel as they crested the slope. “Talbert, stay with Lorrie. John, to the left on the rise, Haggart with me.”

Talbert muttered something but it was lost in the noise. Haggart jumped down from his horse and quickly unfastened his saddle bags and let them drop to the floor. In a few moments he’d put on his armour and helm and was back on the horse and riding alongside the Captain.

Circle around and come from the east,” said the Captain. “I’ll meet you in the middle.”

Haggart wheeled the horse to the right, leaping over a fallen lean-to and spurred the animal faster around a burning barn. As he hit the turn he saw someone, there was a flash of pink skin in the corner of his vision and he changed course, bearing down on the rapist before he had time to realise what was happening. His sword cut through the air and came down on him in a blur, slicing deeply into his chest with a spray of blood and fingers where he’d attempted to fend off the strike with a feeble hand.

He sped on, seeing that the Captain was already ahead of him on the main pathway into the village. When he reached half-way he turned and charged down two more fighting over a young woman whose clothes hung off her in tattered shreds. The first was crushed under the horse, the second had time to draw his sword and swing for him. Haggart had no room to turn but he felt something in the air suddenly whip past his ear and the raider collapsed with an arrow embedded in his neck.

Go right!” yelled the Captain as they met in the middle of the village. Haggart pulled on the reins, feeling the wind cool his sweating brow through the slits in his helmet and he saw that at the end of the path a defensive line was being formed.. They rallied behind their leader – a short, fat man who was struggling to close a clasp on his stolen armour that bore the sigil of the Council City Guard. Haggart adjusted the straps of his shield and drove his mount forward, leaning into the wind and settling into the saddle with the muscle memory of twenty years of cavalry warfare. With a roar he charged the line, finding its weak spot and hacking the scalp from the nearest raider in an arc of blood, bone and brain-matter. He sped onwards and turned as the Captain passed him to charge the rear of the line. His axe found its target, cleaving the skull of their leader in two and causing the remaining few to break ranks and run for it. Haggart gave chase immediately, killing two and maiming another before returning to the Captain who had called John down from his vantage point on the ridge.

Building by building, let’s make sure they’re dead. I’ll take the left, Haggart, you take the right. John, keep an eye out here with the horses, kill anything that tries to escape.”

Yes, Captain,” he replied.

Haggart, sweating and sore but still alive with the thrill of battle, cleared each building as quickly as he could. He found many of the villagers hiding inside and they screamed when they saw him silhouetted in the doorway, his sword dripping with blood. In the next two huts he found nothing but bloody corpses and looted rooms but in the last, a white-washed two-storey house, the rest of the village children were being protected by the Farmer and his wife.

Come any closer and we’ll butcher you, you scum!” he yelled when Haggart managed to force the door open.

I’m no raider,” he said, taking off his helmet. “We saw the fires and came to help. Are there any more?”

I don’t know,” the Farmer replied. “We’ve been hiding the little ones in here the whole time. It was the only thing I could think to do.”

You’ve done well. Me and my friend are clearing out the last of them. Their leader is dead. Wait here until I return.”

Haggart left them, closing the door behind him and meeting the Captain on the pathway.

Anything?” he asked.

The Farmer and his wife are in there with as many children as they could save. There are a few more in that house there. The rest are dead. You?”

Nothing but meat in those.” A maimed raider was crawling across the muddy ground, moaning and bleeding heavily from his cloven shoulder. The Captain strode over to him and placed his boot on his back, pushing him deeper into the bog.

Rapists and murderers,” he cried. “Thieves and scum. Not even fit to burn lest the rest of us breath your foul stink.” The wounded man squirmed under his foot, trying to claw air into his lungs. Haggart plunged his sword into the back of his neck and he went still.

What did you do that for?” asked the Captain. “Mercy is too good to be wasted on them.”

I have no time for suffering – my own or another’s. There is enough evil in the world without adding to it. Let’s…”

A scream tore through the silence of the village and his heart froze.

Lorrie!”

Her horse was rearing when they found her. One of the raiders was wrestling with the animal’s reins trying to rip them out of Lorrie’s hands and she was swinging her sword wildly but ineffectively. He managed to tear them from her and he yanked the horse downwards, grabbing her arms and pulling her off the animal. She hit the ground hard and the air was knocked out of her lungs. Seeing his chance he hitched up her robe and pinned her to the floor. John crested the hill and raised his bow, planting his first arrow in his shoulder whilst he ran and the force was enough to send him sprawling across the ground. John’s second arrow pierced his skull and left him twitching helplessly where he lay.

Lorrie – where’s Talbert?” cried Haggart as John swept her up in his arms. She was weeping hysterically, unable to answer. There was no need – he came swaggering along the road, his crossbow on his shoulder, laughing.

I got one!” he said.

Haggart ran to him, launching his fist into his stomach. Talbert doubled over and vomited.

What the hell were you thinking?” he yelled. “Why did you leave her alone?”

I…”

Haggart, seething with rage, came back to Lorrie who was sobbing into John’s shoulder. The Captain had retrieved her horse but the one with their equipment was gone.

Find it,” barked Haggart as Talbert got unsteadily back on his feet. “Or your life won’t be worth living.”

He got his breath back and turned away in search of the horse, his face still a livid red colour.

Let’s head back and see if these people need any more help,” said the Captain. Haggart, still boiling with anger, managed to nod and led his own sweating mount behind him. When they returned, the survivors were just starting to gather in the centre, already picking through the rubble for their belongings or trying to put out the fires that destroyed them. The Captain approached the Farmer who looked pale and weary as he stared at the devastation.

Is that all of them?” he asked nervously. “Are they dead?”

We think so,” replied the Captain. “Though it would be wise to be on your guard. Do you have any idea where they came from?”

One of my farm hands says he’s seen them before, gathering at some caves to the east. You’ve done more than enough for us already, we’ll deal with them,” the Farmer said, though it was clear that such a task was beyond them.

We’ll go and look,” said Haggart, putting his helmet back on. “You’ve suffered enough today.”

Aye, we will,” agreed the Captain. “In the mean while, two of our friends will deal with the dead and help you bury your own.”

Thank you, thank you so much. If you hadn’t been passing by…” The Farmer began to sob and the Captain put a gentle hand on his shoulder and assured him it would be okay.

Search the raiders,” he said to the others. “Pile up their gear in the middle of the village and give these people the first choice. After that take anything you think is valuable to us, then burn the bodies outside the village and help them bury their own. Understood?”

Aye,” said John. Lorrie was calmer now but refused to let go of John for the time being. Haggart didn’t think it was a bad thing. Then they led their horses back towards the path and turned them eastwards, feeling their sweat cool upon their backs as their breathing calmed a little.

Raiders and bandits. Under the King this would have been dealt with severely,” said the Captain. “This Council has a lot to answer for, leaving these people defenceless and their borders unchecked. Remind me, Haggart, what did we fight for again?”

It does make you think, doesn’t it? But the older I get the more I realise that it’s just a great big wheel that goes round and round. Nothing really changes. Remember how we took back Barahad one year only to hand it back during peace talks the year after?”

Aye, I remember that one,” said the Captain, laughing. “Didn’t we take it back again the year after?”

We certainly did.”

We rode in from the west and cut off their rearguard. Twice if I recall.”

General Kazak led the infantry charge the first time, remember? Grizzled man with grey hair and a bald patch. Always used to twitch when he gave commands.”

That’s the one.”

The first time we rode in hard, struck their rear lines and harassed their reinforcements until they pulled out.”

The second,” said the Captain, gesturing with his fist, “we punched straight through their pikemen before they had chance to form ranks. We were behind that hill for most of the battle. What a stupid place to put a fort. No killing grounds and too many places for us to hide in, no wonder it kept changing hands.”

The good old days, eh?” said Haggart.

The memory always tastes better than the deed I say.”

Their horses stepped deftly over a patch of broken wall and began to climb a long sloping hill that led up to the mouths of the caves that were hidden in the shadow cast by the setting sun.

Going back to what you were saying, I’ve heard that they’re even demolishing the old Forts and outposts now, using the bricks to build better housing. Back in the old days those were places to flee to in danger. Now where will these people go? They’re isolated, cut off from the help they need. Any common raider will probably love the Council now, their life is so much easier.”

Well, there’ll be a few less of them to worry about in a minute. Look up there,” said the Captain, pointing upwards.

Haggart saw that thin wisps of smoke were wriggling out from the mouths of the caves and escaping into the evening skies.

Nothing like secrecy,” said the Captain, sniggering.

They set off along the path, stopping just before the plateau that marked the entrance to the cave. A raider was gutting the body of a recently slaughtered goat and when he looked up he dropped the carcass and shouted back over his shoulder to someone just inside the mouth of the cave. He was soon joined by three more, clubs and swords in hand and they stood in a line, waiting for them to attack.

I love a warm welcome,” said the Captain. Then, turning towards the raiders he said: “We’ve killed your friends. Now we’re going to kill you.”

You’re welcome to try,” said the butcher whose hands were still bloody and Haggart could see them trembling as they gripped their feeble weapons.

We won’t be trying, I’m afraid.” The Captain climbed down from his horse and tied it to the nearest tree. Then, taking a firm grip of his axe, he pulled his visor down and began walking towards them. His armour rattled and clanked as he walked, each footstep sounding more and more terrifying as his tall form cast a deathly shadow over them.

Haggart followed, still wielding the sword and shield of Alfred Dern which glittered in the sunlight. The nearest raider stood his ground bravely enough but the one who’d been cleaning his kill, realising the cave was on a high shelf with no other exit than through them began to stumble backwards. When the Captain’s axe disembowelled his friend, he soiled his pants.

*Promo with excerpt* Noise by Brett Garcia Rose

NOISE, by Brett Garcia Rose, is a thriller/mystery centering on a deaf character’s search for his missing sister. It’s short, violent, but ultimately it’s about love. Noise was published in June 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

noise book coverTitle: Noise

Author: Brett Garcia Rose

Genre: Action adventure, mystery, thriller

Release date: June 17th. 2014

Released by: Velocity Imprints

Length: 147 pages (Kindle edition)

Blurb: The world is an ugly place, and I can tell you now, I fit in just fine.

Lily is the only person Leon ever loved. When she left a suicide note and disappeared into a murky lake ten years ago, she left him alone, drifting through a silent landscape.

Or did she?

A postcard in her handwriting pulls Leon to the winter-cold concrete heart of New York City. What he discovers unleashes a deadly rage that has no sound.

A grisly trail of clues leads to The Bear, the sadistic Russian crime lord who traffics in human flesh. The police—some corrupt, some merely compromised—are of little help. They don’t like Leon’s methods, or the mess he leaves in his wake.

Leon is deaf, but no sane person would ever call him disabled. He survived as a child on the merciless streets of Nigeria. He misses nothing. He feels no remorse. The only direction he’s ever known is forward.

He will not stop until he knows.

Where is Lily?

Praise for Noise:

A staggering, compelling work of fiction…mind-blowingly perfect. It has everything. Exquisite details, world-weary voice, and people worth knowing. It is truly amazing!” – MaryAnne Kolton, Author and Editor of This Literary Magazine

Strong, compelling, raw and human in the best sense. Beautifully written.” – Susan Tepper, Author of Deer and Other Stories

Perfect, compact and explosive, closing with the gentlest word.” – James Lloyd Davis, Author of Knitting the Unraveled Sleeves

Wow. Beautiful and wonderful and sad and real.” – Sally Houtman, Author of To Grandma’s House, We . . . Stay

Frighteningly good.” – Meg Pokrass, Author of Bird Envy

Superbly explosive. The rage escalates and careens out of control. Amazing.” – Ajay Nair, Author of Desi Rap

About the Author:

brett garcia rose headshotBrett Garcia Rose is a writer, software entrepreneur, and former animal rights soldier and stutterer. He is the author of two books, Noise and Losing Found Things, and his work has been published in Sunday Newsday MagazineThe Barcelona ReviewOpiumRose and ThornThe Battered SuitcaseFiction AtticParaphilia and other literary magazines and anthologies. His short stories have won the Fiction Attic’s Short Memoir Award (Second Place), Opium’s Bookmark Competition, The Lascaux Prize for Short Fiction, and have been nominated for the Million Writer’s AwardBest of the Net and The Pushcart Prize. Rose travels extensively, but calls New York City home. To learn more, go to BrettGarciaRose.com, or connect with Brett on TwitterFacebook, and Goodreads.

https://twitter.com/BrettGarciaRose

https://www.facebook.com/brettgarciarose

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8307465.Brett_Garcia_Rose

http://www.brettgarciarose.com/

Excerpt:

Twenty-Eight

The sounds I cannot hear: The whistle of the hammer as it arcs through the air. The wailing of pain and the begging of The Bear. The dripping of blood from thawing meat onto the wet concrete floor. The beautifully crude threats.

My own hideous voice.

I drag The Bear into a walk-in freezer by the hook sunk through his shoulder and toss him into a corner on the floor. When I reenter the freezer, dragging the oak table behind me, The Bear is hard at work on the hook, trying to muscle it out, but it’s sunk deep, through the tendons. Hope is adrenaline, fear masks pain, begging helps no one.

I yank him up by the hook and then hold his hands outstretched, one at a time, as I nail his wrists to the table with railroad spikes. I put all of my 240 pounds behind the hammer, but even so, it takes several swings. His body shakes, the nails sink further into the wood, his face is pain. He screams, but I cannot hear.

The building above burns a deep blue hue with my smuggled-in accelerants.

The sound of the hammer into The Bear. The pain in his eyes. I have never seen so much hatred. It is beautiful to me, to reach this center, this uncomplicated base, to disassemble the past and honor a new history. It is another film, also homemade and rough, an overlay, an epilogue. The Bear is broken but I have spared his face, and to see those eyes, that is what I needed; to see his hatred flow into me, my own eyes sucking down the scum like bathtub drains. His life whirls into me and I taste the fear, the hope, the sharp sting of adrenaline pumping and the reeking muck of despair. His pain soothes me, a slow, thick poison. We will all die.

I know it now; I am a broken man. I always was. I imagine Lily watching me, Lily keeping score, making lists, balancing all. As a child from far away, she was the queen, even more so than her mother. But she didn’t survive. The world was not as we had imagined, not even close. The world is a cruel, bastard place, Lily cold and lost somewhere, me hot and bleeding and swinging my hammer. Life as it is, not as we wish it to be.

The sounds I cannot hear: The laughter of the watchers. The groan of my sister as The Bear cums inside of her, pulling her hair until the roots bleed. The Bear screams and shits himself inside the dark freezer. Lily’s wailing and cursing and crying. I scream at The Bear with all my mighty, damaged voice, swinging the hammer at his ruined hands, hands that will never again touch anyone. Lily at the end, beaten and pissed on and begging to die.

Lily is dead. I am dead. It will never be enough.

I remove the stack of photos from my wallet that I’d printed at the Internet café a lifetime ago and place them face down on the table in front of The Bear. I draw an X on the back of the first photo and turn it over, laying it close to the pulp of his ruined hands.

The Bear offers me anything I want. An animal can feel pain but cannot describe or transmit it adequately. The Bear both is and is not an animal. I lack hearing, so the Bear cannot transmit his experience to me unless I choose to see it. His pain is not my pain, but mine is very much his. I swing the hammer into his unhooked shoulder, and then I draw another X and flip another photo.

His lips move, and I understand what he wants to know. Five photos.

In my notepad, I write: you are a rapist fucking pig. I put the paper into the gristle of his hands and swing the hammer against the metal hook again. It’s a sound I can feel.

Anything, The Bear mouths. He is sweating in the cold air of the freezer. Crying. Bleeding.

In my pad, I write: I want my sister back. I swing the hammer claw-side first into his mouth and leave it there. His body shakes and twitches.

I turn over his photo and write one last note, tearing it off slowly and holding it in front of his face, the handle of the hammer protruding from his jaw like a tusk. You are number four. There are a few seconds of space as the information stirs into him and I watch as he deflates, the skin on his face sagging like a used condom. He knows what I know.

I turn over the last photo for him. I turn it slowly and carefully, sliding it toward him. Victor, his one good son, his outside accomplishment, his college boy, the one who tried to fuck him and they fucked my sister instead.

I remove another mason jar from my bag, unscrewing the metal top and letting the thick fluid flow onto his lap. I wipe my hands carefully and light a kitchen match, holding it in front of his face for a few seconds as it catches fully. He doesn’t try to blow it out. He doesn’t beg me to stop. He just stares at the match as the flame catches, and I drop it onto his lap.

The Bear shakes so hard from the pain that one of his arms rips from the table, leaving a skewer of meat and tendon on the metal spike. I lean into his ear, taking in his sweet reek and the rot of his bowels and, in my own hideous voice, I say:

Wait for me.”

*Promo w/excerpt* A Veil of Glass and Rain: Special Edition by Petra March

A Veil of Glass and Rain:Special Edition (A Touch of Cinnamon, #1)Title: A Veil of Glass and Rain: Special Edition

Author: Petra March

Genre: Contemporary romance, New Adult, erotic romance

Release date: January 12th, 2015

Length: 196 pages

Blurb: “Delicate and resilient. Like you.”

Brina and Eagan meet for the first time when she’s nine and he’s fourteen. They like each other from the very beginning, though their bond isn’t immediate, but it grows over the years. What links them is the fact that their parents are photographers and are extremely devoted to their work and to each other; so much so that both Brina and Eagan have to learn how to take care of themselves from a very young age. Despite their differences, age, gender, nationality – Brina is Italian and Eagan is American – they find comfort in their growing friendship.
Then Brina becomes a teenager, and her feelings for her friend start changing and deepening. New desires stir within her. As soon as Brina realizes how those feelings complicate her friendship with Eagan, she runs away from him.
A few years later, Brina is twenty and Eagan is twenty-five, they find one another once again.

(Recommended for ages 18+, due to sexual content and language).

About Petra March:

Petra March (aka Petra F. Bagnardi) studied Screenwriting and History of American Cinema at UCLA and NYU. Presently, Petra keeps traveling and dreaming through her novels. Her characters are deeply in love with Europe and the USA, just like Petra is.

authorpetramarch.weebly.com

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23777138-a-veil-of-glass-and-rain

www.facebook.com/AuthorPetraMarch

www.goodreads.com/author/show/8509799.Petra_March

Retailers’ Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Veil-Glass-Rain-Special-Cinnamon/dp/1507500556/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1421211260&sr=1-1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-veil-of-glass-and-rain-petra-march/1121004831?ean=2940046490633

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/veil-glass-rain-special-edition/id955516701?mt=11

EXCERPT A Veil of Glass and Rain:Special Edition, by Petra March

A stolen kiss…

[…]I was wearing a yellow sundress and clutching the handle of my guitar case. Eagan offered to carry it for me, but I shook my head, for he was already bearing the weight of his huge backpack.

A part of me was glad he hadn’t been able to hear me play. The piece I had chosen was an acoustic cover of one of my favorite rock songs. The acoustic version was utterly sentimental; it expressed perfectly the way I felt about Eagan. After my performance, all my professors and fellow students admitted that they’d never heard me play with so much feeling. I wasn’t certain I wanted Eagan to discover that part of my soul yet.

We embraced awkwardly. I noticed that his eyes were red and tired. I also remarked that he was tanned and that he smelled good, as always. Of course, I didn’t reveal my sentiments.

It was a bright summer day. We went to a park, we sat, we didn’t talk much. After a while, Eagan lay back and fell asleep.

I watched him rest for a few moments, then I reclined alongside him. I placed my body very close to his, so that I could feel his heat through the thin cotton of my dress. His handsome face was turned toward me and his lips were slightly parted. Flecks of gold dotted his beard stubble and his dark blond hair.

I braced one of my hands on his arm and the other one on his muscled chest, then I leaned toward his face, keeping my eyes open. I let my mouth linger over his and breathed his breath then, finally, I whispered a kiss across the side of his mouth, then I licked his upper lip. I waited. He didn’t stir. So I closed my eyes and brushed his lips with mine once more. I became greedy. My tongue pressed between his parted lips and stroked his tongue once, twice and then again until I moaned and an unbearable ache surged between my legs.

My fingers gripped his sweaty T-shirt. I kept kissing Eagan until he groaned softly in his sleep.

“I love you,” I murmured against his lips.

I moved away from him. I forced myself to stand, I grabbed my guitar case and I left.

On the bus, I kept licking my lips; I tasted him, the salt of his sweat, and a hint of cinnamon.

(A Veil of Glass and Rain: Special Edition, by Petra March)

*Book Blitz w/excerpt* Valentine’s Day is Murder by Carolyn Arnold

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Valentine's Day is Murder Final FrontTitle: Valentine’s Day is Murder

Author: Carolyn Arnold

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Book Synopsis

Jimmy finally takes a vacation–and a chance on love–only to be abducted. His female companion originally thinks he had cold feet about their relationship, but Sean and Sara know there’s more to it. Jimmy isn’t the type to just up and disappear, let alone leave a lady stranded.

Setting out on their private jet, Sean and Sara reach the tropical paradise of Ocho Rios, Jamaica with sightseeing as the last thing on their minds.

With a gold coin being their initial tie to Jimmy’s kidnapper, Sean and Sara even speculate about the involvement of pirates. Yet as the hours pass, and there’s no word from Jimmy’s captors, Sean and Sara will need to figure out the real motive before it’s too late.

With help from their friend, Adam, back in Albany, the pieces come together and not a moment too soon.

Strap in for an adventure that will take you to the beautiful island of Jamaica and have you wanting a piña colada.

About the Author

Carolyn Author PhotoCAROLYN ARNOLD is the bestselling author of the Madison Knight series, the Brandon Fisher series, and the McKinley Mysteries. Her love for writing dates back to her teen years, but her passion was reignited in 2006 when a fellow employee said “tell me a story.” Since then Carolyn has never looked back.

Her writing has since been compared to New York Times Bestsellers such as JD Robb, Mary Higgins Clark, Sue Grafton, Michael Connelly, Tess Gerritsen, and more.

Carolyn was born in 1976 in a rural town of Ontario, Canada, and she currently lives with her husband and two beagles in a city near Toronto.

For more information on the author visit https://carolynarnold.net/

Amazon – http://ow.ly/G4Yl6
Amazon UK – http://ow.ly/G4Ynv
Barnes & Noble – http://ow.ly/G4Ype
iTunes – http://ow.ly/G4Yqv
Kobo – http://ow.ly/G4YrU

Excerpt:

Chapter 4

Pineapples & Alibis

“There was no answer in her room. She may be out by the pool.” The front desk clerk lowered the phone’s receiver and gestured toward a wall of windows that faced a pool, and, beyond that, the sea.
“Thank you,” Sean said.
“No worries.” The clerk smiled and flipped some papers over that she had been working on when they had approached her to call up to Meredith’s room.
Tourists, clad in bathing suits in a spectrum of colors, dotted both the poolside and the beach. It had Sara wishing all she and Sean had to do was enjoy the scenery.
The sun was beating down, the warmth all-encompassing, but thankfully, the humidity wasn’t extreme. Sara still wished to slip out of her dress to reveal the bikini she wore underneath. The thought of the rays kissing her skin was almost too much to dismiss from her mind.
She scanned the horde of vacationers and spotted Meredith lying out on a lounge chair. She sat up as if she sensed Sara watching.
“There she is, Sean.” Sara nudged her head toward Meredith.
“She doesn’t look too upset, does she?”
Sara put a hand on Sean’s shoulder. “We’re not going to assume she’s behind this.”
He stayed put. “She’s not behind this and yet she’s new to his life and he’s never gone missing before.”
“We promised on the flight we would give her the benefit of the doubt, unless something came up to convince us of her involvement.”
“I’m starting to rethink that decision.”
“If Jimmy trusted her—”
“Yes, then we should too.”
“That’s right.” Sara pressed her lips, hoping she conveyed more conviction than she felt at times—this being one of those times.

RELEASE DAY BLITZ w/Giveaway & Excerpt: Cursed by Fire by Danielle Annett

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RELEASED TODAY JAN 28TH 2015: CURSED BY FIRE – DANIELLE ANNETT

Cursed by Fire

BLURB

It has been six years since the Awakening and peace in Spokane, Washington is still tenuous at best. The vampires and shifters are all vying for control of the city and the humans seem to be the ones suffering the consequences, or so it seems.

Aria Naveed has spent the last two years of her life fighting to make the many wrongs of the world right, but soon finds out that the humans aren’t as weak as they appear and may be a more terrifying foe than any of the other races combined.

When a stranger rolls into town with trouble on his heels, Aria finds herself trapped in the middle of a battle that could cost her more than she has bargained for as a fight for justice turns into an unexpected fight for her life.

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Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20564142-cursed-by-fire?from_search=true

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Buy links:

iTunes/iBooks : https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/cursed-by-fire/id958444099?mt=11&uo=4

HTML iTunes Linke: <a href=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/cursed-by-fire/id958444099?mt=11&uo=4” target=”itunes_store”>Cursed by Fire – Annett, Danielle</a>

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Cursed-Fire-Blood-Magic-Book-ebook/dp/B00QKYB57M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1421730354&sr=8-2&keywords=cursed+by+fire

BN nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cursed-by-fire-danielle-annett/1121069648?ean=2940046513417

GooglePlay: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Danielle_Annett_Cursed_by_Fire?id=AsQmBgAAQBAJ

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/cursed-by-fire-2

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/510139

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Behind the scenes look at how Cursed by Fire’s cover came to be:

http://youtu.be/0NpvNlsUzCI

Embed code:

Giveaway:

Print copy of Cursed by Fire and 3 e-copies

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Danielle Annett

Cursed Fire Danielle Annett

Danielle Annett is a reader, writer, photographer, and the blogger behind Coffee and Characters. Born in the SF Bay area, she now resides in Spokane, WA, the primary location for her Blood & Magic series.
Addicted to coffee at an early age, she spends her restless nights putting pen to paper as she tries to get all of the stories out of her head before the dogs wake up the rest of the house and vye for her attention.

You can learn more about Danielle on her website at Danielle-Annett.com or follow on on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDaniel&#8230; and on twitter @Danielle_Annett

Website: http://danielle-annett.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Danielle_Annett

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7771866.Danielle_Annett

EXCERPT:

The light began to fade from his eyes as I crawled across the floor in an effort to reach my father. My nails were raw and bloody as I struggled to carry myself closer to him, digging into the rough wooden floors with each drag of my body.

“I’m coming,” I panted in between breaths. “Just hang on, Papa, I’m coming.”

I woke gasping for breath, drenched in a cold sweat, clutching the hilt of my dagger as if my life depended on it. I frantically looked around the room in search of our attacker while also taking stock of any injuries. I was perfectly whole.

“It was just a nightmare,” I told myself, though that did little to ease the ache in my chest over the remembered pain. I miss you so much.

Rubbing my hands over my face, I pushed back the wet, loose tendrils of hair that had escaped my braid during my fitful rest and returned my dagger to its resting place beneath my pillow. Taking another deep breath I registered a hint of smoke.

Shit!

My eyes roamed over the room, frantically looking for the source of fire.

You have got to be kidding me!”

I untangled my body from the sheets, tripping and falling into a heap on the floor before I was able to crawl out of my covers and retrieve an old shirt. I frenziedly swatted at the bedroom curtains with the old t-shirt but the flames continued to rise. Deciding there was no other choice, I ripped the curtains from the window and rushed to the kitchen.

Throwing the curtains into the sink and turning the faucet on all the way, I watched as the flames were snuffed and steam began to rise. The curtains ruined.

Turning the water off, I allowed my body to slide down the smooth wooden cabinets until my bottom met the cool tile floor. I folded my arms across my knees and rested my forehead against them. Closing my eyes I took several deep breaths, my heart still racing from the effects of the recurring nightmare. This was getting out of hand. I had thought the nightmares were fading, but something was bringing the memories back with a screaming vengeance and this was the third time this week they’d plagued me. I missed my parents but it’d been over six years now. They weren’t coming back and I needed to let it go. My subconscious needed to let it go and I needed to let Daniel’s death go. Not the case, no, I wouldn’t let that go. But his death was affecting me in ways I couldn’t allow to continue.

I breathed deeply in an effort to calm my nerves. Small tremors racked my body, the nightmare had shaken me more that I’d like to admit. My skin was covered in a fine sheen of sweat. A physical reminder that I needed to relax before I accidentally caught something else on fire.

Q/A with Danielle

How did you come up with the idea for this story?

I’m not entirely sure to tell you the truth. I think when I decided I wanted to write something this story just popped into my head because it was one I wanted to read myself. Overtime it took shape and changed drastically but the idea itself more of less popped in out of nowhere.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find my inspiration at the Library. There is something entirely exciting about walking through a room filled with books and looking at all of their covers that just inspires you to write more.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Finding the time to write is difficult. Between my day job, my blog, my home life and beautiful daughter, it all adds up. Time is something I definitely wish I had more of.

What are your current projects?

Currently I’m working on Book 2 in the Blood & Magic series, and a side PNR project that is just beginning to take shape.

Tell us about your first book. What would readers find different about the first one and your most recent published work?

I don’t have any other published works.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Not particularly. If there is a message in my book then it is coincidence. I’m a story telling and don’t really look to add special messages in my writing but I do think Cursed by Fire may have developed one, can you guess what it is?

Does music play any type of role in your writing?

Music is HUGE. I tend to assign a song to every scene. Music makes you feel something and I want my book to make my readers feel something as well. Music for specific scenes allows me to strive to draw that emotion into the scene.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your life?

No. Everything in Cursed by Fire is entirely fictitious.

What books have influenced your life most?

I feel like I should list the classics here but truth be told, Urban Fantasy novels such as those by Ilona Andrews and Patricia Briggs have inspired me to want to become a writer. Additionally, On Writing by Stephan King has been an extremely helpful tool in developing my craft.

Are there any new authors that have grasp your interest?

Yes. ML Brennan is not completely new but is newer and has caught my attention. Additionally, Sherry Palmer who wrote Life with Charley. Something completely outside my genre scope but so touching has grabbed my attention and held on tight.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I hope you love my story as much as I loved writing it.

How can readers discover more about you and your work?

They can visit my website, www.Danielle-Annett.com and follow me on twitter @DanielleCRomero

Do you have a special time to write? How is your day structured writing-wise?

So not structured at all. I fit in time to write whenever I can. Sometimes I write all day and sometimes I don’t write until the weekend rolls around, every day changes.

Why did you choose to write [genre] stories?

I chose to write Urban Fantasy because its what I enjoy reading most. There is something about fantasy creatures living in todays society and dealing with everything it brings.

What is for you the perfect book hero?

My perfect book hero is someone you can relate to. Someone who goes above and beyond to help others but is not all that extra ordinary. I want to feel like I can be that person.

When you start a book, do you already have the whole story in your head or is it built progressively?

It starts progressively. I typically outline first but even my outline changes as I go. Cursed by Fire went through four different outline revisions and three major rewrites.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing passively about two years. I was just playing around with an idea and slowly it began to take shape. Only within the last year have I taken my writing seriously though and really buckled down to finish a book.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

That’s tough, I suppose when I typed THE END. That was when I felt accomplished enough to say, I’m a writer.

List three books you have recently read and would recommend.

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

The Kraken Kong by Meljean Brook

Archangel’s Shadow by Nalini Singh

Tell us something that people would be surprised you know how to do.

I crochet. I feel like it is a grandmotherly habit but I learned when I was young and recently finished a baby blanket for my niece.

Will you write more about these characters?

Yes. I have four books planned so far for this particular series.

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