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Nov 29, 2013

Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis

There are worse things than death, worse people too.

The "talk" was bad enough, but how many teens get told that they're a goddess? When her mom tells her, Persephone is sure her mother has lost her mind. It isn't until Boreas, the god of winter, tries to abduct her that she realizes her mother was telling the truth. Hades rescues her, and in order to safely bring Persephone to the Underworld he marks her as his bride. But Boreas will stop at nothing to get Persephone. Despite her growing feelings for Hades, Persephone wants to return to the living realm. Persephone must find a way to defeat Boreas and reclaim her life.

Download Persephone on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Smashwords and Musa.


Excerpt


The branch crashed in front of me, scraping my legs. I ran for the parking lot as fast as I could. The frost closed in, surrounding me. I’d never been claustrophobic, but as the frost cut off my escape path with a solid white wall, I panicked.

Fog rolled in, like cold death, cutting off my view of the park. It curled around me, brushing against my face, arms, and legs. I turned back to the tree and ran faster, my dress tangling between my legs as the fog and icy wind blew against my skin.

The parking lot is the other way! my mind screamed. The other way was cut off by a mountain of ice. I felt as if I was being herded. By ice?

I slipped on the icy ground, falling face first into the frost. Ice crept up my toes and along my legs. I thrashed and screamed. I felt the fog becoming a solid mass above me, pinning me to the ground. The ice piled around me. Am I going to be buried alive?

I dug my nails into the frigid snow in front of me and tried to claw my way out of the frosted death trap. I was so panicked I didn’t feel it when my nails broke against the impenetrable wall of ice, leaving red crescents of blood welling up on sensitive skin. An hysterical sob worked its way out of my throat as I gouged red lines into the ice. The ice was above my knees, snaking its way up my thighs. I shivered.

Shivering’s good, I reminded myself. It means your body hasn’t given up…yet. The cold was painful, like a thousand little knives pricking my skin. A violent tremor went up my spine, sending waves of pain through me.

“Help me!” I screamed, knowing it was futile. I was going to die here.

Except I couldn’t die. Could I? Mom said I was immortal, but was that all-inclusive? Did I have a weakness? Was snow my Kryptonite? If I got hurt, would I heal or would I be trapped in an injured body in pain forever?

I suddenly didn’t know if immortality was a good thing or a bad thing. The cold hurt. I was kicking, screaming, and clawing my way out of the frost, but for every inch I gained a mountain piled around me. I thought I heard a man’s laughter on the wind, the sound somehow colder than the ice freezing me into place.

The ground before my outstretched hand trembled. The shaking increased. The earth lurched beneath me. The surface cracked and the sound was so loud that for a moment all I could hear was high-pitched ringing in my ears. The ground split into an impossibly deep crevice. My voice went hoarse from screaming as I peered into the endless abyss, trapped and unable to move away from the vertigo-inducing edge.



Find more from Kaitlin on her website, Twitter and Facebook

Nov 27, 2013

Shadows of the Realm by Dionne Lister

Bronwyn and Blayke are two strangers being drawn into the same war. Their world is facing invasion from the Third Realm. While they move unknowingly toward each other, they are watched, hunted, and sabotaged. When the Dragon God interferes, it seems their world, Talia, will succumb to the threat. Can they learn enough of the tricks of the Realms before it’s too late, or will everything they love be destroyed?



The young Realmists’ journey pushes them away from all they’ve known, to walk in the shadows toward Vellonia, city of the dragons, where an even darker shadow awaits.

Download Shadows of the Realm, the first book in the The Circle of Talia series, on Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and Smashwords. It's only 99 cents for the next two weeks!  


Prologue


In a lonely brick farmhouse a child named Blayke slept under cosy blankets. He dreamt of splashing in warm summer puddles. His nostrils filled with the scents of grass and earth.

He reached dirty fingers into a puddle at his feet and tried to grab a slimy frog. The touch of his fingers on the water sent the frog dashing away, chased by the black clouds racing across the surface of the water, mirroring the sky.

Thunder boomed again and again. Thick clouds marched to its beat, effortlessly smothering the sun. Blayke’s fingers sank further into the darkening puddle until his fingers touched something rough and icy — too large to close his hand around. Blayke tried to let go of the object but his hand was stuck. Adrenalin flooded his body. He tried to shake the object loose, but to no avail.

Fat pellets of water erupted from the sky, soaking him in seconds. He looked up, squinting his eyes against the pouring rain. He bit his lip against the urge to cry. Every instinct told him to run. Thunder closed around him; lightning struck meters from the quickly expanding puddle. Blayke leaned back, twisting his whole body in a vain attempt to break free. Sweat from his exertion mixed with the rain on his face.

His palm peeled away from its anchor, leaving layers of skin behind. Blayke fell back, landing with a splash on the sodden earth. He stared at his bleeding hand, what had happened?

The ground vibrated beneath him, the tremors matching the slow and powerful rhythm of the thunder. The puddle boiled, bubbles of mud bursting to the surface, contaminating the balmy air with stagnant wafts. Blayke scurried away from the deepening water on hands and knees. He scrambled to rise but the jerking earth toppled him.

He was now at the edge of the seething pool. He watched the water drain away into the ever-growing cracks forming around its edges – the unseen depths hungrily sucked the liquid, draining it as quickly as the sky could dump it there.

The earth gave a final, violent tremor. An ebony creature surged forth amid the cacophony of trembling earth and breaking sky. It towered menacingly over small boy and tall trees alike.

The giant creature’s bellowing screams assaulted Blayke. He huddled on the ground, gasping for breath. His bleeding hand throbbed, and the beating rain stung the back of his neck. Blayke scrunched his eyes tight, and prayed to every god he had ever heard of to make everything disappear; the rain, the thunder, and the monster. Fear of impending death made him cry.

Rain battered him, but the earth ceased shaking. The creature’s commanding voice replaced the primal screams that made the downpour seem a whisper. “I have come to take you. Look at me and behold your destiny.”

Blayke lifted his head against all will and instinct, compelled by immense power within the voice. A colossal black dragon stood close, too close, dwarfing the small human as an ancient oak does an ant. The creature stared at Blayke with penetrating silver orbs.

The boy’s eyes, once fixed on the nightmare, could not move. So this was it, his death was here, so soon. How could that be? Tears flowed again as he realized his short life had existed just to fill the belly of this dragon, a special dragon no doubt, but still a dragon. Blayke took comfort in the warmth of tears that mixed with the rain on his face, as the giant creature reached toward him with massive claws.

It snatched Blayke, with one swift and powerful gesture, and thrust him into a mouth full of sword-sharp teeth.

Blayke woke screaming, feeling as if he were choking on his own blood. Arcon ran to Blayke’s room, arms raised, ready to fell any intruder who would dare harm his boy. Relief at the absence of an attacker was short-lived as he tried to sooth his terrified nephew. Blayke sobbed in his arms as he described the nightmare in vivid detail. Arcon knew this was a prophetic dream, marked by the Dragon God no less.

The dangerous and terrifying times foretold by the First Circle were nearing, and his nephew’s nightmare confirmed the worst. Arcon, one of the most powerful Realmists ever to have lived, and member of The Circle, prayed they would be given more time to prepare; their lives, and all life on Talia, depended on it.

Blayke eventually fell asleep and his uncle retired quietly to his study, where a hot cup of tea and mesmerizing flames in the hearth could not dilute his fears — the evil they had banished over a thousand years ago would return; it was already on its way.



Find more from Dionne on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

Nov 25, 2013

When the Hero's Away, the Dragon Will Play

A guest post from Jason Halstead. 

It was about this time in 2012 when I decided to take a chance and write a traditional fantasy book called Child of Fate. I assembled a cast of characters that were part imagination and part remnants of time spent playing Dungeons and Dragons as a kid. The real D&D, with paper, pencils, and dice. It also required lots and lots of soda and pizza so our character sheets could end up spotted with grease stains.

Child of Fate climbed slowly but steadily up the charts until in early 2013 it exploded and was selling like crazy. I was quick to use this as a springboard and wrote the sequel, Victim of Fate, early in 2013. Silver Dragon followed and the trilogy continued to perform very well. Unfortunately, a trilogy ends at three books but I still had more stories to tell.

That meant I had to start a new series about those characters. The new series was longer and dealt with established characters coming to terms with their rise to fame and power, as well as the repercussions of what happened to them in the Blades of Leander trilogy already. The new series was called Order of the Dragon, and it began with Isle of the Ape and then continued with Chasing the Dragon and Sands of Betrayal. And now, as of today, I'm excited to announce that it's completed with the release of Dragonlady.

But does that mean that this foray into medieval fun and games is over? Well, read the book and find out! Order of the Dragon is completed, but there's always opportunities for more adventures to spring up at any time.

With the Order of the Dragon in retreat Alto's thoughts turn to home and his future with his betrothed, Lady Patrina of Kelgryn. But the future, once a shining light guiding him through a dark tunnel, has grown cloudy with indecision and confusion.

One last torch in the darkness remains, directing him to revisit some of his darkest times and put to rest the ghosts of his past. The ghosts he finds are more than memories, they've been given flesh and blood and are reaching out from beyond for him.

Defeated but not destroyed, the silver dragon has been watching and waiting. Her plans, years in the making, are coming to fruition. Only one man dares to defeat her, but Alto is the man she waits for so that she may spring her trap and rule from her mountain throne forever.


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To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Nov 22, 2013

Demon's Doorway by Glenn Bullion

Alex has a good life. Being a unique half demon, he's used his powers to conquer feral vampires, the darkness inside him, and help ghosts in need. But there's one more challenge that will be his strongest. Marrying Cindy, the love of his life.

Jack has been cursed by a witch's magic for two hundred years. Unable to sleep, unable to die, his only hope for peace lies with young Kevin, a pure witch.

Kevin has his own problems. Controlling the forces of magic is only the beginning. He's lost, unsure of himself, trying to find his place in the world. Now, a man named Jack is asking him to perform magic he didn't even know existed.

A wedding, a witch that needs guidance, an invulnerable man with anger issues, and a new threat, with evil intentions. Four-hundred-year-old vampire Victoria may finally be in over her head.

Download Demon's Doorway on Amazon and Smashwords.

Excerpt


The timing couldn’t have been better. Alicia was finally alone. She sat on the edge of a table, not far from the buffet, with her legs crossed, watching everyone around her. Kevin understood Jack’s comment about her being proud of her legs. She was stunning, and could only imagine how she looked in a pair of shorts.

She didn’t see him as he approached. He could introduce himself to her. His mind was blank, but they did have Victoria and Alex in common. Certainly some topics of conversation would pop in his head.

She ran a hand through her short hair and smiled at someone across the room. Even her smile was beautiful. Kevin felt his confidence slipping. He tried to hold onto it before it left, but it was no use. It ran through his fingers like water.

He veered off, taking another angle and walking straight for the buffet table. It was all but deserted, and he grabbed a paper plate to not look like an idiot.

Although it was probably too late for that.

Closing his eyes, he tried to keep calm. Every terrible thought came, one after another. Jack was probably belly-laughing at his expense across the room. If Alicia truly was watching him, she either felt he was a coward or a pig.

He absentmindedly put a tiny amount of food on his plate. He wasn’t hungry at all, but couldn’t drift through the buffet line empty-handed. The staff smiled politely at him, and he returned the gesture.

“The ham is good,” a voice said next to him. “Have you tried a piece of the wedding cake yet?”

He turned his head, and there she was. Alicia stood mere inches from him, with her own paper plate. She was smiling at him, waiting for an answer. The problem was her smile seemed to do something to Kevin’s brain, and he’d already forgotten what she asked.

Something tried to form in his mind, but it wasn’t words. His stomach dropped when he realized what it was.

“Baby powder.”

Alicia wrinkled her nose. “Uh, excuse me?”

He looked up at the staff, most of whom had gathered along the wall, no longer needed in the kitchen.

“Does anyone have a pen I could borrow?”

A kind woman handed him a pen, and Kevin set a napkin on a bare spot on the table. He scribbled in the witch’s language, the letters and words coming naturally.

Chili powder. Olive oil. Baby powder.

That was it. Another ingredient in what was becoming a spell-tease. Whenever a spell completed in his mind, he would immediately know what it did. That knowledge still eluded him.

Alicia giggled quietly next to him, looking over his shoulder. “What is that?”

Kevin glanced at the partial spell. To any non-witch, their language looked like strange hieroglyphics, random lines and pictures.

“Uh…something very cool and mysterious.”

“Ooh. So, you’re a cool and mysterious guy?”

“Not really.”

She laughed, an intoxicating sound. “I saw you at the church, sitting next to Victoria.”

“Yeah. That was me. I was sitting to her left.”

He wanted to slap himself. He could only wonder what ridiculous thing he’d say next.

“I was in front. I was the maid of honor.” She glanced down at the table. “I was also the best man. It was a little weird.”

Kevin picked up on a detail. Maybe talking with Jack was rubbing off on him.

Alicia was just as nervous as he was.

His confidence tried to return. It wasn’t back completely, but ever so slightly, like he fed it some of his magic water.

“I think everyone here knows who you are. You’re Alicia, right?”

“That’s me. But everyone calls me Leese. Only my brother calls me Alicia.”

He held out his hand. “I’m Kevin.”

She smiled again as they shook hands. He wished she’d stop smiling. It was distracting.

Leese scanned the dining room. People had started to leave, but there were still plenty left having a good time. They had their choice of places to sit.

“You want to grab a table?” she asked. “I think we’re the only two eating.”

“Yeah, that sounds great.”

They found an empty table off to the side, away from the action. Kevin could see out the doorway and through a window that it was night out. The events earlier in the day seemed like a lifetime ago as he sat across the table from Leese.

“Is that all you got?” she asked, nodding at his plate.

He looked at his randomly-thrown-together food, and pushed it to the side.

“I’m not hungry at all. I only went to the buffet because I was too nervous to walk up to you.”

She smiled, and pushed her food away as well.

“I only got food to talk to you. I was wondering if you even noticed me.”

“Oh, believe me, you were noticed.”

She turned red before gesturing across the room. “So, you’re a friend of Victoria’s?”

He spun in his chair to see the vampire and Jack still sitting, laughing and talking. Actually, she was the one laughing, Jack was more sneering.

“Yeah. She’s the only person I really know here. I only met your brother once.”

“Are you two…?”

He finished her question, laughing at the thought. “A couple? No, no way. She’s a little too old for me.”

“Yeah, just a little.”

At that moment, they both knew. It wasn’t much of a stretch to make. They both knew Victoria was a vampire, and they knew each other knew.



Find more from Glenn on his website and Facebook

Nov 20, 2013

The Blemished by Sarah Dalton

"It all comes down to one simple fact - the Children of the GEM are perfect. We are the ugly and imperfect. We are the Blemished." In a world filled with stunning clones Mina Hart is Blemished. Her genes are worthless and that takes away her rights: her right to an Education, her right to a normal life and her right to have a child. Mina keeps a dangerous secret which she never thought she could share until she meets Angela on her first day at St Jude's School. But their friendship is soon complicated by Angela's adoptive brother Daniel. Mina finds herself drawn to his mysterious powers and impulsive nature. Then there is the gorgeous clone Sebastian who Mina is forbidden from even speaking to... The Blemished is a frightening take on a fractured future where the Genetic Enhancement Ministry have taken control of Britain. It will take you on a ride filled with adventure, romance and rebellion. A beautiful world comes at a price...

Download The Blemished on Amazon, Amazon UK and Smashwords.

Excerpt


I entered the classroom. It felt wrong. The chairs were arranged differently – pushed together into a circle. The rest of the Blemished girls stood around unsure of where to sit and why the strange arrangement. In the centre of the circle was a single chair as though one of us would be the focus.

“Everyone take a seat except Miss Hart.” Mrs Murgatroyd’s voice made me jump. There was a hard edge to it, even colder than usual. I shivered. “Miss Hart, I believe there is a place for you in the middle of the circle.”

With shaking legs I stepped through a gap between two chairs and made my way to the centre. I turned and eyed each of my classmates in desperation while Mrs Murgatroyd looked down at me with a strangely tense smirk on her face. It was as though she was mentally battling with an inner conflict. It made her look frightened and cruel in equal measure. With my chest feeling tight and my breathing coming out in rasps I took my seat in the circle. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Angela’s concerned face.

“For today’s lesson I needed an example, which is why you see Miss Hart at the centre,” said Mrs Murgatroyd as she slowly walked around the outside of the circle. “Today’s lesson is about boys. You see, there are some among you who seem to have had some experience in this area. Isn’t that right, Miss Hart?”

“I… I… suppose,” I stuttered.

I tried to rein in my emotions, to concentrate and be in control. I couldn’t use my gift in front of all these people. It would be too obvious. I glanced down at my hands hoping that she wasn’t going to beat me in front of the class. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Billie shaking her head and remembered what she had said in the garden.

“Angela Dixon?”

“Yes, Miss,” Angela replied with a shaky voice.

“Tell the class how a good Blemished girl should behave around members of the opposite sex,” Mrs Murgatroyd instructed.

“Not to look at them directly. Modestly,” Angela recited.

“That’s correct.” Mrs Murgatroyd never stopped her laps of the chairs with slow paces and her hands folded behind her back, the picture of control. “And why is that?”

“Um, we don’t want to give them the wrong idea,” Angela replied quietly.

“That’s correct,” said Mrs Murgatroyd. “You are not here to mate. Your genes have been proven unworthy. You are here as servants to the GEMs, which is your rightful place. And if you are lucky and behave appropriately for a Blemished then you may even get a job. Now Angela, could you tell me one more thing? How should a Blemished girl behave in the company of a male GEM?”

“W… we shouldn’t talk to them. Or look at them. Unless we are spoken to,” she answered quietly.

“Excellent,” Mrs Murgatroyd said. “Now, class. I would like you to answer together. Should you talk to a GEM boy?”

“No,” said the class in unison.

“Should you reveal your hair to a GEM boy?”

“No!”

I didn’t join in the chant. At this point the tears began to roll slowly down my cheeks and my lips trembled so badly I couldn’t open them.

“Should you let a GEM boy touch you?”

“No!”

“And how about you, Miss Hart? Should you let any of these things happen?” Mrs Murgatroyd moved into the centre of the circle and bent low to speak to me. I felt her hot breath on my cheek.

I shook my head feebly in answer.

“Yet you did. Didn’t you?” She yanked at my headscarf and began to unwrap my hair. Her pointed nails scraped on the back of my neck and her rough fingers pulled my head back and forth. “Do you think you are better than everyone else in this room?”

“No,” I said hoarsely. I could barely see through my tears now. I shut my eyes against the stares of my peers.

“Then why do you act like it?” she said cruelly. She grabbed my hair and pulled my head back. “You bring everything on yourself, Miss Hart. When will you learn your place?”

On the last word she yanked my head back even further and pulled a pair of scissors out of her jacket pocket. The rest of the class gasped. I stared at them – wide-eyed. For a horrible moment I thought she might stab me, but then she did something almost as awful. With a ghastly smile on her face Mrs Murgatroyd cut chunks out of my hair; big, uneven, ugly chunks. I watched in horror as the long strands fell to the floor.



Find more from Sarah on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

Nov 18, 2013

The Gatekeeper's Sons by Eva Pohler

In this first book of The Gatekeeper’s Saga, fifteen-year-old Therese watches her parents die. While in a coma, she meets the twin sons of Hades—Hypnos, the god of sleep, and Thanatos, the god of death. She thinks she's manipulating a dream, not kissing the god of death and totally rocking his world. Unused to attention from anyone—god or mortal—Thanatos makes a deal with Hades and goes as a mortal to the Upperworld to try and win Therese's heart, but not all the gods are happy. Some give Therese gifts. Others try to kill her.

The deal requires Therese to avenge the death of her parents. With the help of Thanatos’s fierce and exotic sisters, the Furies, she finds herself in an arena face to face with the murderer, and only one will survive.

Download The Gatekeeper's Sons  for free on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, SonyKobo and Smashwords.

Excerpt

Whether McAdams injured himself in one of her traps or in some other way, he was nevertheless injured, and this added to Therese’s overall optimism as she scrambled beneath the cliff edge with her arms full of rocks the size of softballs. The noise of the falls thundered as she neared them and the spray hit her bare skin and chilled her, a relief after the sweat she had worked up from building her traps in Demeter’s woods.

“How long till nightfall?” she asked Than in her mind. It seemed like hours had passed, and yet the sun still bore down on them high in the sky. “Wait a minute. We never left Olympus, did we? The sun always shines, right?”

If Than answered her, she could no longer hear him this close to the crashing falls. She hadn’t thought of that! How would she make it without him?

Unlike Than and the other gods, she had no powers of telepathy and could not be sure if voices in her head were inspirations or delusions. She almost turned back. In fact, she changed her mind five or six times and nearly wore herself out beneath the cliff edge with indecision. At last she decided it was her best chance of survival to go on with her plan. “I can’t hear you anymore,” she prayed. “But I’ve decided to go on anyway.”

She reached the falls and found a hidden grotto behind the roaring water, but if McAdams came this way to her decoy camp, she would have no advantage for attack. Although there were many little nooks and crevices back here that she could climb onto, she would be open, visible, and vulnerable to his retaliation. She dropped her rocks in a heap, set down her fruit, and looked around.

At the furthest lip of the grotto on the outer edge of the falls, she found a nook way up high that just might work. If McAdams came through the grotto, she would see him, and she would be above him, with gravity on her side. She would also be hidden until he reached the point where she stood now. It also seemed, from down here, anyway, that she might have a view of the deeper canyon in case he came that route. The trick would be hauling the rocks and fruit up the steep wall nearly twenty feet to the nook. First she would try it empty-handed to see if it was possible.

Now that she couldn’t hear Than, she felt really anxious that McAdams could be coming around the corner for her at any moment, and this anxiety caused her to tremble more profoundly than she had before. The trembling made climbing up the nearly vertical wall very difficult. She used her fingers to find places in the wall to grip, and she fished around with her feet for footholds to support her weight. One false step meant falling to her death at the bottom of the canyon.

Dirt from the canyon wall got into her mouth and crunched in her teeth when she clenched them. She ran her tongue around her teeth, trying to wash it out, and she spit and gagged. She reached for another rock, keeping her mouth closed this time, breathing through her nose. A fingernail broke at the tip as she clung to another ledge, but that was the least of her worries.

Thankfully, there were plenty of strong footholds within reach of one another. When she made it to the nook, she found it was actually a cave that tunneled back into darkness. While she was glad to have all this room to store her things and move around, the unknown darkness added to her anxiety. Stop it, Therese! McAdams was the only threat worth fearing right now, she reminded herself. She walked over to the furthest edge and saw that she could indeed see most of the lower canyon from here. This just might work. There were even a few loose boulders she could move, though barely and straining with all her might. Maybe if she scooted them to the edge and found something to give her leverage, she could launch them from the nook. She needed a branch or heavy stick, but there were none around. Would her sword work, or would the rock break it? She unsheathed the sword and tested it, gently at first. The blade gave. It was too flexible. She’d have to find something else. She returned the sword to its sheath.

The sheath! It was light, but it was solid and firm. She unbelted it from her waist and tested it out. It would work! This could be her saving grace! She looked around for other such boulders and found four more loose enough and light enough for her to drag to the edge of her cave.

She re-belted her sword and sheath and climbed back down, quickly but carefully, to carry up her bundle of fruit between her teeth. Then she took the empty shirt back down and filled it with six of the softball-sized rocks. Any more than that might throw off her balance too much or be too heavy and slip between her teeth. She’d have to make a third trip down for the remaining six. She hesitated. If McAdams spotted her, she’d lose the element of surprise. Was it worth getting the remaining rocks? She decided to go for it.



Find more from Eva on her website, Twitter and Facebook

Nov 15, 2013

The White Aura by Felicia Tatum

How do you live with the gut clenching truth that the one you love will die if you meet them? Twenty year old sorcerer Scott Tabors is learning how. After seeing seventeen year old Olivia Whitehead outside of a coffee shop, his heart will never be the same. He longs for her, he wants her, and he knows she will be his. They are heart mates. …but due to a curse on his family, he can’t meet her. Not yet. So for now, he visits her in her dreams. Her dreams where he can tell her everything but his name.

Olivia Whitehead is a typical junior in high school. She and her best friend are having the time of their lives, but she can’t help but notice the changes happening to her. Especially the changes in her heart after she begins dreaming about a mysterious dark haired young man. But what will happen when the school heartthrob decides he wants Olivia? Will she realize the dream man is real or will she move on? 

The White Aura is the first book in The White Aura series. Download it for free on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.

The wind is blowing just enough to ruffle my hair. “Hello?” I call timidly. Nothing. It’s completely silent out, not even birds are chirping. I glance around and walk forward. My arms are wrapped around the front of me, not for warmth, but for comfort. I know I’m dreaming, but this is still kind of weird. I see a deer to my left, just watching me. She’s beautiful and majestic. She starts to come towards me the moment I wish I could pet her. My hand slowly reaches out and touches her course coat. Huge brown eyes look into mine, there’s no fear.

“You’re beautiful,” I whisper.

“So are you,” a deep voice says from behind me.

I turn violently, scaring the deer off into the trees. Mr. Sexy is standing five feet in front of me. Jeans and a fitted white t-shirt clothe his fit body.

“You’re here.”

“Of course I am, where else would I be?”

“I thought…well I wasn’t sure if this was our dream or just mine.”
“It’s ours Livvie, it’s ours. Always ours.”



Find more from Felicia on her website, Facebook and Twitter

Nov 13, 2013

Collide by Shelly Crane

Sherry has always known there was something out there.

She's eighteen, works for a tabloid newspaper in Chicago, and has a brother, Danny who is a lazy mooch. They live a pretty normal, dull life. Then the moon disappears. People start to go missing only to reappear later...but different. Sherry has an abusive ex-boyfriend who shows up on her doorstep and claims to be one of these beings.

He's no longer the same person in that body.

He tells her he has come to protect her and her brother and takes her underground, against her will, to save her. There they meet others like them. She begins to unravel the truth about Merrick, about what he's really doing here, about the way he looks at her, about the crazy new dangerous world they live in. Can he convince her that he's here to help? Will she like what she finds when she opens up to the truth? Will he be the one to love her when everyone else has failed her?

Will he be able to protect her?

Collide is currently free to download on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes.

Excerpt


“I was lying,” he confessed.

“It’s ok, Merrick. I get it. I’m sorry, I just...I just can’t handle it when people are upset with me and I can’t fix it somehow. I’ll stay out of your way, ok.”

As I hopped down from the counter and turned to leave, he grabbed my wrist and my skin immediately began to tingle.

“You’re so blind,” he breathed, shaking his head.

“I’m sorry?”

He steadied himself, took a deep breath, and then let me have it, all the while, keeping my wrist in his overly warm, shaky, gentle grasp.

“I did lie. I don’t like you, Sherry. I...I love you.” I heard my breath falter, but he continued. “I can’t touch you because it drives this body insane.” He was barely speaking, breathing the words as he leaned closer to me. “My skin... tingles and I can barely breathe, which you’ve noticed. I can’t explain it. I know you’ll probably hate me now when I tell you this, but I couldn’t help it. Sherry, I watched you, too. The first time I saw you was when you were little, when Danny was born,” he smiled while remembering “you were so protective of him. I enjoyed it, I thought you were my little helper, but over the years, I never stopped watching. I split my attention in half and took my full focus away from my charge, your brother. I felt so protective of you. Somewhere along the way it stopped being just protective. As you got older and I saw the person you were, the kind of woman you were, it became something else. I fell in love with you and kept watching and protecting you even when you were on your own. After I came here, when I saw you in your driveway...” He shook his head, his eyes closed. “I’m so sorry. I know what you must think of me, but all this time as a guardian I’ve never broken the rules, never gotten involved when I shouldn’t. I know it doesn’t matter, I’m not human, but I...just can’t let you sit there and think that I hate you when the opposite is true.”

It was all true, not a lie in the mix, which meant he did love me.

I couldn’t move or speak. Shock overtook me, as did those smoldering green eyes. He reached out and cautiously, gauging to see if I’d flinch, ran his free fingers down the inside of my elbow to my wrist. The goose bumps came and he looked at me for indication, good or bad? I had none to give him.

I was the one confused now. How could this perfect, selfless being love me, especially if he watched me over the years with my worthless life and pointless existence? I was short and awkward in my own skin. My lousy apartment had no real friends to fill it. My stupid job. My weirdo parents who didn’t even love us enough to stay with us. My horrible judgment I pounded into my brother's head.

How did I always gauge every situation so wrong?

I realized I was panting. He looked worried, but I couldn’t stop. The hot tears spilled over and I wanted to run so he wouldn’t see, but then I guessed he’d seen it before, hadn’t he? He’d seen it all.

The tears overtook me and a low sob broke loose. I pulled my wrist free and ran to my room, too embarrassed to face him after I’d thought so many horrible things about him, but he somehow was there again, already in my room waiting for me. He reached for my arm, butretracted before he touched me.


I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Sherry. I shouldn’t have said anything. I didn’t want to hurt you, that’s the last thing I ever wanted to do. Please don’t cry because of me.


Wrong. All wrong.

“I don’t hate you,” I squeaked. It was all I could get to come out.

He thought I was mad because he watched me against my will, without my permission, without his call’s permission. But no, it was because I was embarrassed for being lame and not doing something more with my life. To have something for him to see that was worth something and not just embarrassment.

For some reason, I needed him to comfort me again, even after this, I was surprised that I wanted him to.


I’m sorry. Forgive me, Sherry. Just forget I said anything, all right? I’ll never bring it up again and I’ll stay away from you as much as I can. I promise. I’m so sorry.


He started to leave, maneuvering around me. I reached for his shirt in one swift movement, pulling my face into his chest. He seemed surprised, but not as reluctant as usual, as he let me and even wrapped his warm, strong arms around my shoulders. He continued out loud.

“I never watched when I shouldn’t have. When Matt and you...your showers, among lots of other things, I always tuned out. I know I don’t deserve it, but...please forgive me, Sherry. I never wanted to hurt you.” I felt one of his hands slip to the small of my back and to my utter embarrassment, my heart rate picked up and I felt a little sigh release from my lips.



Find more from Shelly on her website, Facebook and Twitter

Nov 11, 2013

Everville: The City of Worms by Roy Huff

College freshman Owen Sage has just started to understand the darkness trying to overtake Everville and the earthly realm. With the help of The Keeper and the Fron army, Owen has managed to buy some time, but new problems have already emerged, new secrets need to be revealed, and the race against time to stop Them from conquering both dimensions has only just begun. The Keeper, Owen Sage, and his friends at Easton Falls University must now battle threats from within. To do it, they must reunite with familiar creatures and join forces with new ones as they navigate their journey to the truth that awaits them in Everville.

The City of Worms is the second book in the Everville series. You can download it on Amazon, where it will be FREE November 14-18!


Excerpt


As he turned the first few pages of discolored notes, doodles, and other markings that he had scribbled on the margins, ‘Ubaloo’ was written at the top of the second page. Next to the word were small drawings of creatures that looked like tiny people, sketches of a humanlike race with perfect musculature, warriors who would intimidate even the bravest of men — that is, if they weren’t a mere twelve inches tall.

More notes were written below the images, foreign-looking letters and shapes. Next to the markings were etchings of the Fwaylan, ferocious doglike animals that resided in The Valley of Darkness.

Cleophas thumbed through the pages and skimmed the words he had written down so long ago. The notes were full of guesses and disconnected theories, but there was one common thread: there was an apparent convergence in Brackenbone, the land of the Ubaloo. It was a place the sketches depicted as one of the eight surrounding lands of Everville and a few days journey west of the Deep Woods, which was connected to The City of Worms across the vast expanse.

Cleophas turned the page. Stuck in the center was an old photograph of Dala. He pulled the photo free, and as he did, his eyes drifted sideways while he reminisced on some of the wonderful moments they had shared together. The shock of her passing had long ago given way to a resolute determination to give her life meaning. Even now, his face exuded a clear focus, undeterred by the reminder of her death or the current situation with Dante, who had been in a coma for the last couple of weeks. His eyes returned to the photograph before he put it back in its previous resting place and stood up from his kneeling position.

Meanwhile, in the brutal desert above the land of the giants, Oldrik, The Keeper who had betrayed Everville, paced back and forth as he pondered his options.

Elmer, one of Oldrik’s three Fron followers, standing at attention said, “Oldrik, what do we do now?”

“Let me think,” Oldrik replied.

“What are we going to do? What are we going to do?”

“I said let me think.”

Elmer plopped down on the ground in frustration, only to snap back up a few moments later. The intense sunlight scorching the ground made it unbearable. “Ouch!” was the word that escaped his lips as the rest of his body shot into the air. The Fron winced as the searing hot dirt burned his rear end. Nickelsized, fluid-filled blisters formed on the portions of Elmer’s thighs that weren’t covered by cloth.

Oldrik continued to pace a few minutes longer, ignoring Elmer’s painful lapse in judgment, and then he spoke.

“The Keeper and Owen’s stupidity will be Everville’s undoing. We must journey to the Dark Forest and discuss the matter with Them,” Oldrik said while thrusting his long wooden stick into the ground, searching for a hollow spot.

“Let’s do it! Let’s do it!” Elmer said as he limped along, unable to hide his injury.

“Yes. Let’s do it!” said Calvin, the other of Oldrik’s Fron followers. With those words, Oldrik’s rod found a weak spot, and the ground engulfed them as they collapsed into the land of the giants.

Oldrik managed to find his footing, and then took notice of the absence of the giants that were supposed to inhabit the area. “Let’s get moving,” he said as he picked Elmer up by his collar and helped him to his feet. Oldrik himself, however, was tired and slow, as were the rest of his followers.

Portions of the walls were covered in patches of faintly luminescent insects that lit up sections of the caverns. These were followed by areas of complete darkness, which lasted tens of seconds, and as they made their way through the underground passageways their skin darkened and shriveled. The brief periods of darkness made their physical changes appear more apparent with each revelation of glowing light. The Fron that followed Oldrik had started to lose the vibrant appearance that their species was known for, and Oldrik himself began to look more tired and aged than a typical Keeper. Despite their sluggishness and disturbing transformations, they continued for hours, and before long they had made substantial gains in their distance.

From atop the stairwell in his Everville workshop, The Keeper looked down at Sako’s assistant Toe and began to speak. “Oldrik and the others have abandoned us. Even now they are conspiring against us. They are misguided and will likely fail, but we can’t afford to ignore them.”

“So what can we do?” Toe said as he looked up at The Keeper.

“We will do what we have always done, and what we will always do. We will seek the truth, and the truth will guide us to the answer. It pains me to see Oldrik and our fellow Fron, whom we have known for ages, fall for the deceit that is the great lie. It’s an internal struggle that we all face, a battle from within that never ceases to rage. At any moment, we can allow ourselves to believe the falsehoods that are spread by our adversaries and the fabrications that Them have convinced even their own kind to believe. It’s this lie that has led to the creation of Them, and it is this lie that has convinced Them that we are the enemy.”

The Keeper turned and looked through the portal wall. He watched from a distance as Oldrik and the others transformed from their previous state into disgusting, hideous creatures.

The Fron who walked alongside Oldrik shrank and shriveled. They looked at each other in dismay as the final consequence of their betrayal manifested itself. Each of them stared with horror at their hands, which had begun to throb. After expending a surprising amount of effort due to the agony, they held their hands in front of their faces and watched as their fingers grew in length and narrowed in width while the tips pulsated
and enlarged to the size of large grapes that looked as if they were about to explode. Sharp nails grew several inches from their now engorged fingertips, and slime oozed out of their pores and began to wrap around their bodies. They writhed in pain as the same thing happened to their feet. The process, which had started off slow, had gradually accelerated and was now almost complete.



Find more from Roy on his website, Twitter and Facebook

Nov 8, 2013

The Dragon Empire by Heather McCorkle

On Yacrana dragons are the advanced species. But advanced doesn't always mean civilized...

There's trouble in the Dragon Empire, the kind that could start a war between dragons and the races of people. Hidden factions of dragons believe they should rule the lesser races, not simply stand aside and allow them to develop as they will. Having lived so long in peace, the Emperors turn a blind eye, many oblivious that such attitudes even exist.

Despite being only an architect class, emerald dragon, Grendar is willing to risk banishment and death to stop that which his rulers refuse to see. The hope of peace lies not within the scaled breast of a dragon however, but within the hands of a group of people. But if the hidden factions have their way, these people won’t live to fulfill such a destiny. With a reluctant seer at his side, Grendar must leave his precious Empire for the outside world to save those that will one day save his kind.

Download The Dragon Empire on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


Excerpt


What he was seeing could be the death of him, he knew, yet Grendar couldn’t look away. The undergrowth that had been hampering his progress through the jungle no longer seemed thick enough to conceal him. His hearts pounded and his throat constricted. What if they saw him? The human guise he was wearing wouldn’t exactly protect him, not considering what they were doing.

Through the ferns and palm fronds he could see them: four dragons the color of a starless night sky. At over twenty feet from hindquarters to nose, they were twice Grendar’s size. They gleamed in the tropical sun, their obsidian-colored scales contrasting with the bright blood on their long snouts and claws. On the beach before them was the source of all that blood. The partially eaten bodies of several people lay scattered about the sand like tortured and discarded dolls. The biggest dragon—one Grendar knew well—held a body beneath one of his massive forelegs. He reached down and tore a chunk of flesh from it, scarcely chewing before he swallowed. Both the sight and sound made Grendar flinch, the motion feeling foreign in a human body.

A breeze blew off the ocean, its salty essence tainted with the reek of carrion and death. Bile stung the back of Grendar’s tongue and nausea rolled through his stomach. People were protected, and for good reason. To kill one, let alone eat one, went against the creed of the Dragon Empire. Such a thing would get a dragon banished.

This morning it had seemed like an excellent idea to fly to the distant Breekay Islands and practice his human transformation spell. What with finals coming up at the end of the year and all. Now it seemed like the worst idea he’d had in a long time. He shivered in his borrowed skin and prayed that they wouldn’t smell him.

Not far beyond the black dragons, a ship lay crumbled against the jagged rocks that littered the bay. So the dragons hadn’t killed the people, they had found them. That didn’t make it much better. Their barbaric behavior was still unforgivable.

He started to shake, his nerves making it even harder than normal to concentrate and hold himself in a human body. Losing the form now, here, would make too much noise. Panic seized him and he jumped, hitting his head on a palm tree. Leaves rustled overhead, drawing the attention of the black dragons. Grendar ducked as low to the ground as he could get. He could turn invisible, but if he spoke the words to the spell aloud, they would know exactly where he was. Not to mention, he couldn’t do two spells at once. The transformation spell was hard enough to maintain.

“Quiet! I heard something,” the biggest of the four said.



Author of the paranormal Earth-conscious channeler series: Born of Fire (FREE novella), The Secret of Spruce Knoll, Channeler's Choice, Rise of a Rector, the historical fantasy, To Ride A Puca, and the epic fantasy The Dragon Empire. Heather also has stories in the following anthologies: In His Eyes (FREE) and Winter Wonders. You can find her on her blog or website.


*** Today is the last day to register for the 30 Day Novel workshop that will give you all the tools and tips you need to write your novel faster and better than you believed possible --- and have so much fun you'll make monkeys in a barrel jealous. Sign up today. ***

Nov 7, 2013

Only a Couple Days Left To Join my NaNoWriMo Workshop!

Registration for the 30 Day Novel Workshop closes soon so sign up today and get day-by-day and step-by-step video tutorials and tips for writing your NaNoWriMo novel. You can follow the videos at your own pace and will have access to all the videos through the end of the year. In addition to the free workbook, there are resource guides and special bonuses to help you achieve your NaNo goals!


Check out the FREE intro videos here. They'll only be available for a couple more days! 

With the 30 Day Novel Workshop you'll get:
  • Daily tutorial videos targeted to fix any problems arising with you novel, and speed you past creative blocks into a whirlwind of creative brainstorming.
  • Practical, easy tips and tricks you can apply IMMEDIATELY to make your plot rock and your characters connect with your reader.
  • Blueprints, workbooks and resources you can turn to for help with specialty scenes -- how to write sensuous love scenes, how to build suspense, the special rules to follow to write exciting brawls and battles -- and much more.
Not doing NaNo? This is still a great resource for anyone dreaming of writing that novel someday! 

Nov 6, 2013

Daughter of Nothing by Eric Kent Edstrom

Few people even know that the Scion School exists. Tucked away on a private Caribbean island, the school is host to thirty-six exceptionally gifted students, all orphans. They train and study every day to prepare themselves for an immense responsibility, to lead humankind back from the brink of extinction.

At least, that’s what they’ve been told.

Among the thirty-six is Jacey, 17, one of four Scions in the Eagle class. She is the favorite of the 93-year-old headmaster, Dr. Carlhagen. But when Jacey overhears a conversation between a strange visitor and one of the school’s first graduates, she learns a stunning fact about her future. One that Dr. Carlhagen has kept from all the Scions.

Following the cryptic clues given to her by the school’s AI professor, Jacey races to untangle the truth of who the Scions are, and what the headmaster really means when he says they are bound for a great destiny.

Daughter of Nothing, first in The Scion Chronicles, is available in ebook and paperback. You can download it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and iTunes.

Excerpt


The girl waved for Jacey to stop, which was very strange. Belle had done so much to avoid Jacey that something had to be wrong if she was waving Jacey down. Maybe she had sprained an ankle or something.

Jacey almost kept going. But if Belle was truly injured . . .

She left the path, picking her way through the jagged rock and Turk's Head cacti. "What's wrong?"

Belle faced her, hands on her hips. The glove tucked in her waistband caught Jacey's attention. And where was the glass object she'd been carrying?

Belle pointed at Jacey. "You're what's wrong."

Jacey sagged. "Did you really wave me over just to insult me?"

Belle looked past Jacey.

She turned to find two boys from Vaughan's Nine standing behind her. Horace, a tall, rail-thin boy who rarely spoke, and Kirk, his exact opposite, short, squat and thickly muscled.

They took position to block her way back to the main path.

"What's going on?" Jacey demanded. The menace in Kirk's eyes sent a chill over her skin.

Belle clasped her hands before her and strolled forward. "You asked Sensei the other day when you were going to be punished. And I know you were denied your virginity examination. At least I don't think Wanda lied about that. I'd like to help you with at least one of these problems."

Jacey's blood froze and she backed away. The boys took hold of her arms.

"I figure we have a few options," Belle said, stepping closer. She smiled, showing an even row of perfectly white teeth. Jacey had never seen Belle smile before, and it sent another shiver over her skin.

Belle stepped even closer, so that her shadow fell over Jacey. "Kirk could deliver the punishment. Blow for blow, the exact punishment Vaughan received." She tapped Jacey's ribs and the side of her head to show the spots the kicks would land.

"But no. That would break your ribs and skull. You might even end up in a coma." She caressed Jacey's forehead, face full of mock concern.

Belle's fingers slid from Jacey's temple down to the waistband of her running shorts. She pulled it down an inch on one side. "The virginity test . . . I'm afraid that's not my area of expertise. Though I'm sure Kirk here might be willing to try."

Jacey acted without thought. She may never have learned kung fu or muay thai, but she had studied ballet for years. She kicked, wildly. Belle threw up her arms, which absorbed most of Jacey's attack. But the strike drove her back.

The boys still held Jacey in their steely grips. Horace swept her feet from under her, slamming her flat on her back. Jagged rocks bit into her flesh, forcing a cry from her lips.

Kirk swung a leg over her and in a second wrapped her in a jiu-jitsu submission hold. Jacey struggled to breathe. The blue sky overhead started to blacken.

"Don't knock her out," Belle said in a singsong voice that reminded Jacey of Mother Tyeesha. An evil version of Mother Tyeesha. "Without pain there is no punishment. Isn't that right, Jacey?"

Belle held a jar. She brought it close so Jacey could see what was inside.

A shaddle spider. The tan arachnid was two inches long from the back legs to the probing front ones. Yellow markings, like slashes, crisscrossed its back.



For more from Eric, visit his website, Twitter and Facebook.



*** Time is running out to register for the workshop that will give you all the tools and tips you need to write your novel faster and better than you believed possible --- and have so much fun you'll make monkeys in a barrel jealous. Sign up today. ***

Nov 5, 2013

Time Is Running Out for the 30 Day Novel Workshop!

Registration for the 30 Day Novel Workshop closes soon so sign up today and get day-by-day and step-by-step video tutorials and tips for writing your NaNoWriMo novel. You can follow the videos at your own pace and will have access to all the videos through the end of the year. In addition to the free workbook, there are resource guides and special bonuses to help you achieve your NaNo goals!


Check out the FREE intro videos here. They'll only be available for a few more days! 

  • Daily tutorial videos targeted to fix any problems arising with you novel, and speed you past creative blocks into a whirlwind of creative brainstorming.
  • Practical, easy tips and tricks you can apply IMMEDIATELY to make your plot rock and your characters connect with your reader.
  • Blueprints, workbooks and resources you can turn to for help with specialty scenes -- how to write sensuous love scenes, how to build suspense, the special rules to follow to write exciting brawls and battles -- and much more.
Not doing NaNo? This is still a great resource for anyone dreaming of writing that novel someday! 

Nov 4, 2013

Fey Touched by Erin Zarro

Two sisters.

Asha is the Queen of the Fey, genetically engineered immortal humans who feed on human souls to survive. But she’s running from her people. When she is found by her enemy, one of the Hunters of the Fey, she expects to die. Yet he’s oddly intrigued by her, and Asha finds herself falling in love with him, hoping she can find safety and the home she’s been seeking. Then she’s kidnapped, and everything changes.

Fallon is a Hunter. She’s looking for her long-lost sister, using an addictive drug to search through the stream of time. Her addiction leaves her dangerously exposed to her enemies but, consumed by her search, she doesn’t care…until her fellow Hunters start dying from a mysterious illness. She is torn between duty and desire, and must find an answer before they all die.

What Fallon doesn’t know is that Asha might just be the key to saving them all, if only she can find her.

And time is running out.

PLEASE NOTE that this book contains explicit language, explicit sex, and graphic violence and is not suitable for those under 18.

Fey Touched is available on Amazon. You can find more from Erin on her website.


*** Time is running out to register for the workshop that will give you all the tools and tips you need to write your novel faster and better than you believed possible --- and have so much fun you'll make monkeys in a barrel jealous. Sign up today. ***

Nov 3, 2013

Only A Few Days Left To Join The 30 Day Novel Workshop!

Registration for the 30 Day Novel Workshop closes soon so sign up today for day-by-day and step-by-step video tutorials and tips for writing your NaNoWriMo novel. You can follow the videos at your own pace and will have access to all the videos through the end of the year. In addition to the free workbook, there are resource guides and special bonuses to help you achieve your NaNo goals!


Check out the FREE intro videos here. They'll only be available for a few more days! 

  • Daily tutorial videos targeted to fix any problems arising with you novel, and speed you past creative blocks into a whirlwind of creative brainstorming.
  • Practical, easy tips and tricks you can apply IMMEDIATELY to make your plot rock and your characters connect with your reader.
  • Blueprints, workbooks and resources you can turn to for help with specialty scenes -- how to write sensuous love scenes, how to build suspense, the special rules to follow to write exciting brawls and battles -- and much more.

Nov 1, 2013

The Lie by Holly Hudspeth

Twenty-eight year old Skyy Huntington recently inherited a house and a good sum of money from her deceased grandfather. Soon after she relocates to Marblehead, MA to move into the new house, her world gets turned upside down when she encounters a mysterious entity in the cemetery while visiting her grandfather's grave.

Skyy's reality as she knows it ends once she discovers that the supernatural world is real, something she's always been interested in. She's afraid to tell anyone, even her lifelong best friend Christian Vane.

As she tries to discover more about the entity, she learns about a family lie that's been kept secret for centuries that all started within Countess Elizabeth Bathory's castle walls.

She soon finds herself immersed in a world of darkness and magic, good and evil, as she begins to form friendships with the most unlikely of people, and finds romance when she least expects it!

The Lie, which is the first book in The Skyy Huntington Series, is available on Amazon. You can find more from Holly on her website, Twitter and Facebook