Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Fire and Bone by Rachel A Marks - Excerpt - Giveaway

 
Fire and Bone 
Rachel A. Marks
(Otherborn #1)
Publication date: February 20th 2018
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult



“Gossip Girl meets Percy Jackson in the glitz and grit of L.A….”

In Hollywood’s underworld of demigods, druids, and ancient bonds, one girl has a dangerous future.

Sage is eighteen, down on her luck, and struggling to survive on the streets of Los Angeles. Everything changes the night she’s invited to a party—one that turns out to be a trap.

Thrust into a magical world hidden within the City of Angels, Sage discovers that she’s the daughter of a Celtic goddess, with powers that are only in their infancy. Now that she is of age, she’s asked to pledge her service to one of the five deities, all keen on winning her favor by any means possible. She has to admit that she’s tempted—especially when this new life comes with spells, Hollywood glam, and a bodyguard with secrets of his own. Not to mention a prince whose proposal could boost her rank in the Otherworld.

As loyalties shift, and as the two men vie for her attention, Sage tries to figure out who to trust in a realm she doesn’t understand. One thing’s for sure: the trap she’s in has bigger claws than she thought. And it’s going to take a lot more than magic for this Celtic demigoddess to make it out alive.



Excerpt


LILY

I try to hide my shivering as I wait before the altar, in my position as the Bonding begins. Around me, shadows dance over the cairn walls from the restless flames licking up the ram’s body—the sacrifice on the pyre behind me—and the smell of sweat and burnt flesh smother the smoky air.

The King of Ravens paints an alarming image, standing almost naked across from me on the other side of the blood circle. He wears the corona radiata, the golden laurel-leafed crown, on his head of onyx hair. His short beard is neatly trimmed, combed with lavender oil for the ceremony. His sharp silver eyes study me beneath a heavy brow.

I try not to think about the past. Or future. I try not to think about what those hard hands will feel like on my skin when he seals this Bond.

I study the stone floor rather than look in those metallic eyes. I feel them on me, though, the same way they have been for the fortnight I’ve been here preparing for the ceremony. He hasn’t touched me; he’s only brought me gifts and insisted I sit with him beside the greatfire in the evening before he goes out for his hunt. Sometimes I smell him in the hallway outside my rooms. But he never comes in, thank the goddess. The scent of blood is heavy on him in those moments. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if he’d attempted anything.

After this is done, it won’t matter. My bed will be his. As will my life.

A druid walks back and forth behind me, tossing rosemary and lavender onto the pyre after each stanza of his spell. He calls to the wind from the east, he calls to the waters in the west, and he pulls the spirit of flame and earth into the cairn with us, asking the Penta to approve the Bond set to be made between the two most powerful Houses, as he pleads for a blessing from our mothers, Brighid and Morrígan, and thanks the Cast for their permission to seal the Bond between the two very different powers.

A female druid comes to my side with bowl and brush, beginning to paint my skin in blue woad, tracing patterns of knots and runes across my back, then baring my chest and continuing.

The king’s gaze follows the woman’s strokes, and when she’s finished, he raises his chin at me in approval but says nothing. What does he see when he looks at me? My wild copper hair? My simple features? The awkward birthmark just above my heart? I’m round of cheek and hips and not much of a beauty. But however I look to him, I will belong to him.

Determination is set in hard lines on his face, and I wonder if the torque on his neck is working properly. I can see his dark energy lifting in silver and black curls over his shoulders now. It should be tight inside his skin, as mine is. The iron shackle should be holding it in place so that we don’t harm each other in the first merging, before we can get used to the feel of each other’s powers.

The female druid moves to the king next and begins painting the woad in circles over his torso. The druid chanting behind me recites the final section of his spell, walking the ram’s-blood circle painted on the floor. He holds a rowan stick aloft, flicking rosewater over the king and then me as he passes by, mumbling, “A price paid, a covenant sealed, in earth and blood and ash, in spirit and flesh and fire.”

The price is my will, my soul, in payment for the life of the human prince that I took.

In the center of the circle, between the king and me, is an altar with two bowls set atop, one full of salt, one full of rye.

The iron union dagger rests between them.

I stare at it, imagining the blade cutting into my flesh. And I can’t help when my gaze moves to the king. I want to blink and make this moment a dream, perhaps find myself in the thicket with Lailoken, among the bluebells in the Caledonian wood.

I should run from this son of Morrígan, deny him, deny our mothers, and let the world burn. But my heart twists at the thought. I was running from duty when fate took my heart from me, when the prince succumbed to my fire’s will. It was the childish notion of freedom that tore him from me.

Now it’s time to accept my punishment for allowing the humans to glimpse our world. Time to atone.

The druid’s voice fills the room again. “When moon gives birth to stars,” he says, in a droning hum, flicking more rosewater over us with the rowan stick, “let this Bond be sealed in blood.”

My skin prickles with fear as the king takes the cue, reaching out to pick up the ceremonial dagger by the leather-wrapped hilt. I focus on not moving, not making a sound, as I watch him bring the blade to his chest, tip pricking his left breast. A drop of crimson pearls up at the spot.

With a slow hiss of breath, he cuts across.

Dark blood slides down his abdomen in a thick swath of red. “My blood with yours,” he says. And he turns the knife, holding out the hilt for me.

My hands clench into fists at my side, and I force my shaking limbs to still.

I breathe in slowly again. Then I reach out, taking the ceremonial dagger from him, careful not to touch his fingers.

I pretend not to care about the cage I’m about to be locked in. About the pain in my soul from loss, from the goddess Brighid abandoning me to this darkness, pain from the reality of everything in front of me.

I press the tip of the blade to the center of my chest, the point breaking the skin. I look into the silver eyes of the king in front of me. And consider my fate.

One deep plunge to the heart and the pain will end. One plunge.

One.





About the Author


Rachel A. Marks is a cancer survivor, a writer and artist, a surfer and dirt-bike rider, chocolate lover and keeper of faerie secrets. Her four kids and amazing hubby put up with her nerdiness with tremendous grace, even when she makes them watch Buffy or Smallville re-runs for days on end. She was voted: Most Likely To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse, but hopes she'll never have to test the theory.








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Monday, February 19, 2018

The Witches of Andar by Author Ashlie Harris. Excerpts - Giveaway


The Witches of Andar
by Ashlie Harris
Genre: Fantasy



A trio of An-Kishar witches has unwittingly become involved in a royal coup. After saving the murdered king's son, the foursome takes shelter with a traveling theater troupe, hoping to stay in hiding until the Prince is able to reclaim his throne.

Fight alongside Malinda, Alice, and Justine to rid the kingdom of the dark magic that threatens to run rampant. Venture into the Hanging Ferns Forest, travel with the Thespian Connection, and help unravel the mysteries that lie within the realm of Andar!

"Alice!... You can't slap a Prince!" -Justine; The Witches of Andar- Book 1







Excerpt


Sweeping her graying hair out of her eyes for the hundredth

time, Malinda looked longingly out of the small kitchen

window as she slowly and steadily stirred the small bubbling

cauldron on the fire. Being the castle's head witch did have its

perks- this wasn't one of them.

Being the perfectionist she is, Malinda insisted on making all

of her concoctions herself. She couldn't abide having anyone

else tinkering with her precious ingredients and recipes, not

even Alice or Justine, her two closest friends. Alice didn't

seem to mind her finicky ways, though Justine's curious

demeanor had landed her on Malinda's ugly side on more

than one occasion.

A quiet, respectable witch, Alice Seawall was the matriarch of

the Scotsea tribe. Though it was Malinda who was the head

of the entire coven, the Anu Scotts, Alice acted as executor,

carrying out her many requests. Justine was Alice's protégé,

though a naïve and fanciful one at best.

The Anu Scotts were known as An-Kishar witches (An-Kishar

meaning "the joining of Heaven and Earth") and were widely

sought out over other branches of witchcraft, due to their

peaceful nature and ancient knowledge. Malinda, Alice, and

Justine served King Randir and the entire domain of Andar in

all matters from the trivial to the crucial.

With a few more deft turns of her enchanted ladle, Malinda's

remedy for the King's cousin, the Duke of St. Clair, was finally

ready to bottle. Why he'd asked for a hair enhancement tonic

was beyond her, though. He had locks even some women

were jealous of. But, she had learned early on not to question

royalty. She was especially reluctant to even deal with St.

Clair, but she really had no choice; he was the king's closest

living relative, after all. Corking the intricately inscribed glass

vial, Malinda sent it floating into the next room to land on

Alice's desk.

Looking up from her books and scrolls, Alice eyed Malinda.

"You know," she said, "you could just walk it over here. I'm

only five feet away. Or better yet, take it to him yourself, this

time. I'm not even close to being done transcribing these

spells."

Souring, Malinda replied, "Oh, fine. I'll do it. That

pompous Duke had better just take the bottle and let me on

my way, or so help me, I'll turn him into a... a..."

"A cat-dog?" supplied Alice, not even bothering to hide her

grin.

"Yes, Alice. A cat-dog, so he'll always be at war with himself."

With that, Malinda wrapped her woolen green cloak tighter

around herself and went off in search of the handsome, yet

devilish, Duke of St. Clair.



Excerpt


Raising their hands, they shouted in unison, “Scuto socio!" A

great, golden flash erupted from their palms, drawing

everyone's attention from the drama unfolding between

Justine, Prince Gregdan, and the Duke/King. The crowd

dispersed upon seeing the witches in action. Most feared the

unknown forces behind their magic and others could simply

sense the impending doom.

The shimmering shield spread it’s translucent tendrils until it

was completely encircling all three women. The Prince,

however, seemed to be just out of the spell’s reach. Muttering

another incantation, Malinda nodded her head and the

remaining guards dropped to the ground, completely

paralyzed. Justine, now free of the guards, made a break for

the Prince.

“Stop!” shouted the Duke, red-faced and veins bulging. He

stepped closer to Prince Gregdan so that he was within arms’

reach, and pointed to Justine. “You foolish girl! Do you not

know a losing battle when you’re in the middle of one?”

“The only loser here is you, King Ebrius,” retorted Justine,

filling the title with as much disgust and contempt as she

could muster.

“You would be wise to address me more respectfully, child,”

warned Ebrius. “I may take pity on you yet. I do tend to

prefer a feisty redhead,” he winked and Justine could feel her

stomach churning in response. “Just think,” he said, “like it or

not, I am King. You could be my Queen.”

Being an An-Kishar limited Justine’s knowledge of harmful

spells, but she’d always been good at improvising. She

recalled the incantations she’d been helping Alice transcribe

before their world had been shattered into a million pieces.

Remembering a partial spell, and with more confidence than

she felt, Justine summoned every ounce of her love and anger

and bellowed, “Konfleur aphida!”

Nothing happened and, for a moment, Justine thought she’d

done the spell incorrectly and she feared the consequences if

she had. Just as she began to lose heart, they heard a great

roar. Ebrius, fearing an attack from a large and fearsome

creature, drew his sword, ready to fight. His foe, however,

was not a great beast, but a massive swarm of insects. Every

sort of insect found in the kingdom was present it seemedfrom

the minuscule, crawling Opaci to the intimidating

Vespuns, their black wings, shining in the evening sun. And

their sole intent was to lay siege to the false King.





About the Author

Ashlie Harris is 30 years old and a Stay-at-Home mother of four homeschooled children. She and her husband live in the heart of the Midwest, USA, in a place Ashlie likes to call, "The Land of Corn and Beans". She has lived there all her life but may plan to move North in the near future. A unique childhood and a passion for the written word have served as motivation and inspiration throughout the years. Always the writer, Ashlie can often be found asking inappropriate questions, staring at seemingly nothing for hours on end, and generally being completely socially awkward. Her biggest wish is for people to look past their differences and start treating each other as the one, single race we are- HUMAN.






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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Truth Stone by Author Mike Shelton. One little lie won't hurt. Excerpt - Giveaway


TruthStone
Book 1 of the Truthseer Archives
by Mike Shelton
Genre: YA Epic Fantasy



One little lie won’t hurt.


When fifteen year old Shaeleen unexpectedly is given a TruthStone, every lie she hears or tells causes her immense physical pain. As she struggles to control her new power and curb the pain, she learns a powerful truth that could thrust an entire continent into civil war. She must choose: reveal the truth and stop the pain – or sacrifice her own well-being to protect her kingdom.

For two hundred years the five kingdoms of Wayland have been protected by the stones of power. Now those stones are failing and a darker power is trying to take control. With the help of her brother, Cole and a newfound friend, Orin, Shaeleen sets out to gather and restore the power of all the stones.

But will she succeed before the endless lies destroy her?




Excerpt

As Shaeleen reached the edge of the crowd, an old, wrinkled woman with a gray hood over her hair almost knocked Shaeleen down. The woman fell to the dirt in front of her, and as she leaned down to help the woman, Shaeleen glanced around, trying to figure out where the woman had come from.

“Are you hurt?” Shaeleen asked, kneeling beside the elderly woman.

The woman shook her head and peered up at Shaeleen, her hood sliding back off her hair. Shaeleen gasped and put her hand over her mouth.

“Don’t be afraid,” the woman said in a quiet voice. Her long, white hair hung straight around her slender face, and she peered hard at Shaeleen. But it was the woman’s upswept ears and pale blue eyes—a similar eye color to her own and her brother’s—that clued Shaeleen in on the woman’s heritage. A heritage that Shaeleen had always wondered if she and her brother shared with those from Verlyn—though mixed and weak it would have to have been. Only her eye color was similar to the woman’s, but that was enough to stick out in a nation with predominately brown and green eyes.

The woman was obviously not from the kingdom of Gelena but from Verlyn, an island off the southeast coast of the continent of Wayland. An island where the descendants of elves lived and, if believed, where the magic in Wayland had originated.

Shaeleen’s heart pounded. She’d seen the people of Verlyn from a distance before, but they were usually aloof. The woman’s face held wrinkles that had been chiseled into her delicate features over many years. She lifted up a gnarled hand toward Shaeleen’s cheek, and it took all Shaeleen’s will to not move away.

“What are you doing in the market today, my dear?” the old woman asked, stopping her hand just short from actually touching Shaeleen.

“Buying cloth for my mother, ma’am,” Shaeleen said.

As a man came running up next to them, the woman cleared her voice loudly and seemed annoyed. He moved more quickly than Shaeleen had thought should be possible. The power of speed came from Antioch, but the man didn’t look like he was from there.

“Keeper,” the man said to the woman. His long, brown hair hung down loosely over his brown leather vest and dark green shirt. Next to his leather pants hung a silver sword, on which his hand rested. His blue eyes continued to roam the marketplace.

“We need to leave,” he added. “They have followed us here.”

The woman looked up at the man then returned her attention to Shaeleen. “I do not see any cloth with you, child. Are you sure that is where you were going?”

Shaeleen blushed and felt guilty at lying, something that had lately become easy to do to her father and mother. Without admitting her guilt, she changed the subject by saying, “Let me help you up.”

The woman brought her other hand out from behind her back and placed it in Shaeleen’s outstretched hand to accept the help. As she did so, the woman pushed something into Shaeleen’s palm.

Once standing, the woman brought Shaeleen’s hands together, wrapping both of her own wrinkled hands around Shaeleen’s, squeezing them tight around the object. A soft, green light appeared around the edges of their hands, and something strange and peculiar raced through Shaeleen’s body, increasing her heart rate and stimulating her mind.

“What are you doing?” Shaeleen said as she tried to pull her hands free. But the woman held strong and looked Shaeleen in the eye.

“Take it,” she said, her voice hoarse and low. “You are the one to save all the stones. Their magic is fading. You have been prophesied.”

The man with the sword moved to grab the old woman’s elbow. “Keeper Melindra, we must leave!”

Melindra turned to the man. “We have a few more moments, Galen. You just watch out for trouble.”

Shaeleen couldn’t follow what was going on. What had the man called the woman again?

A keeper!

The only keeper Shaeleen knew about was the keeper of stones from her history books. Shaking her head, she couldn’t believe this crazy woman was one of those keepers. But the woman was from Verlyn, so something was going on that Shaeleen couldn’t quite figure out.

A sound in the crowd alerted Shaeleen, and she turned to look. Through the swarming shoppers in the marketplace, she saw three men approaching. They had the same slender builds and facial features as Melindra and Galen. Shaeleen had never seen so many from Verlyn traveling together before.

The three men were turning their heads from left to right, glancing down each row of vendors, searching for something—or someone. Shaeleen took a step back as she realized they must be searching for Melindra.

The old woman followed Shaeleen’s eyes and then seemed to stiffen. “Go,” she croaked. “Don’t let them see you.”

“But…” Shaeleen tried to speak. Then she felt something in her hand. She had almost forgotten that the woman had given her something. She slowly opened her fingers and found herself looking at a small, green stone. It was beautiful and sparkled in the sunlight, holding her transfixed for a moment. This couldn’t be what she thought it was. That wasn’t possible.

She turned, to give it back to the woman, for she couldn’t accept such a gift, especially from a stranger. But, by the size of it—a little smaller than a chicken egg—she’d guess that her entire family could live forever on its worth, and its value was worth much more than gold or silver if it was indeed what she thought it was. Shaeleen’s mind raced momentarily with the possibilities of wealth it would bring if she could sell it.

But she finally shoved the stone back toward the woman. The old woman pushed Shaeleen’s hand away.

“It is yours now, but not for the riches.”

How could the woman know what I had been thinking?

“I…” Shaeleen tried to speak but felt a tightening of her chest.

“Don’t deny it, child,” Melindra said sternly. “Those types of thoughts will only cause you pain.”

This is crazy. Why did she give me this gemstone? This is…

“Moldavite, a TruthStone,” Shaeleen whispered.

“Hush, child. You don’t want people hearing that, do you?”




About the Author

Mike was born in California and has lived in multiple states from the west coast to the east coast. He cannot remember a time when he wasn't reading a book. At school, home, on vacation, at work at lunch time, and yes even a few pages in the car (at times when he just couldn't put that great book down). Though he has read all sorts of genres he has always been drawn to fantasy. It is his way of escaping to a simpler time filled with magic, wonders and heroics of young men and women.

Other than reading, Mike has always enjoyed the outdoors. From the beaches in Southern California to the warm waters of North Carolina. From the waterfalls in the Northwest to the Rocky Mountains in Utah. Mike has appreciated the beauty that God provides for us. He also enjoys hiking, discovering nature, playing a little basketball or volleyball, and most recently disc golf. He has a lovely wife who has always supported him, and three beautiful children who have been the center of his life.

Mike began writing stories in elementary school and moved on to larger novels in his early adult years. He has worked in corporate finance for most of his career. That, along with spending time with his wonderful family and obligations at church has made it difficult to find the time to truly dedicate to writing. In the last few years as his children have become older he has returned to doing what he truly enjoys - writing!





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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine Bride: A Shanna Hatfield Freebie - Excerpt - Giveaway



Title: Valentine Bride
Author: Shanna Hatfield
Genre: Sweet Romance, RomCom
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR



Two unlikely matchmakers set the stage for love…

Fynlee Dale returns to Holiday to take care of her wacky grandmother. Although it means giving up her dreams of a career and husband, she needs to be there for Grams.
Carson Ford vows to take care of his elderly aunt after buying her ranch. Comfortable with all aspects of his life, his world turns upside down when he meets a woman who's impossible to forget.

They find themselves in the midst of a plot by two scheming old women determined to make them fall in love.
Valentine Bride is a funny, sweet romance given a liberal dose of humor through a cast of colorful characters intertwined around a heartwarming love story.

Buy Link 


Excerpt

Fynlee held back a sigh as she watched the older women, wondering how many calls from the staff loomed in her immediate future. Matilda got into enough mischief on her own, but now she’d be dragging poor Mrs. Beaumont into the fray.

A clearing throat drew her gaze to the brawny man standing beside her, staring at the underwear in her arms.

“Is that a welcoming gift?” he asked with a lopsided smirk.

Heat flamed into Fynlee’s cheeks, making her freckles stand out even more as she hastily looked for somewhere to dump the briefs. With nothing readily available, she wadded them into a lumpy ball and clutched them against her side.

“No, it certainly is not. I don’t think anyone would want these old things, anyway.” Humiliated, she studied the burly, unreasonably attractive stranger. At her five-ten height, it wasn’t often she encountered a man tall enough to make her look up to fully see his face.

A tanned forefinger tipped back the brim of his straw Stetson and Fynlee swallowed hard. Blue eyes sparkled with humor behind thick lashes and a boyish smile added to his considerable appeal. Hints of golden brown hair peeked out from beneath the hat brim.

“I’m Carson Ford. Aunt Ruth asked me to help her get settled.” He held out a work-roughened hand to her.

Fynlee glanced at it, noting a cut across the back of his knuckles and a jagged scar near his thumb. Those hands looked every bit as rugged as the man to which they belonged.

With only a slight hesitation, she reached out and shook his hand, unprepared for the electrical current that sizzled from her fingertips up her arm.

From the way Ruth spoke of her nephew who purchased the ranch, Fynlee assumed he’d be in his fifties. A picture of a pot-bellied, balding man had fit her image of him. She certainly never envisioned the nephew as a young, incredibly attractive cowboy.

Gathering her rapidly scattering wits, she smiled at him. “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Ford. I’m Fynlee Dale. That loony woman with your aunt is my grandmother.”

The sound of his deep chuckle made something softly pluck at her heartstrings. For a brief, fleeting moment, Fynlee toyed with the idea that she’d finally met the man she would one day marry.

Stunned by the preposterous notions swirling through her mind, she took a step back and turned toward her grandmother’s apartment. In her twenty-seven years of living, she’d never seen a man as virile and entirely appealing as Ruth’s nephew, but that was no reason to lose her head.




About the Author

USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”

Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.

Shanna is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, Romance Writers of America, Sweet Romance Reads, Cowboy Kisses, and Pioneer Hearts.

Author Links

Website      Newsletter      Facebook      Pinterest      

Goodreads      You Tube      Twitter      Instagram      Amazon











Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Grim Nora and the Secret of the Skull by Author A.M. Albaugh - Excerpt - Giveaway


Grim Nora and the Secret of the Skull
by A.M. Albaugh
Genre: YA Fantasy
278 pages


When Nora Youngblood’s father dies on her sixteenth birthday, it’s the end of everything she ever knew. But a new journey begins with a skull-shaped pocket watch – the last gift from her father, a professor of archaeology. Where did this mysterious trinket come from, and why would a warlock named Kabos now be hunting her for it?

Nora, now an orphan, finds protection under a wizard named Malachi, his handsome apprentice, Aidan, and a brother she never knew she had. As she learns the truth about her family’s mysterious past, Nora seeks to uncover the secret of the skull, which leads to both a powerful and dangerous weapon. With the fate of the skull in her hands, she’s lured into the hidden world of Dubhgail to combat the treacherous Kabos – who has kidnapped her brother. Can she sacrifice herself to save her brother and her friends?

In this fantasy novel, a teenage girl discovers her magical heritage and soon finds herself facing the might of an evil warlock in another world.


Excerpt


Raynor sat down on the box spring slowly. Eva had died in a car accident, but now Nora was not so sure that it was an accident.

“The car burst into flames,” he uttered. “There was nothing left but ash.”

Nora frowned and sat down next to her brother. “Isn’t it odd that Kabos found this book at Yggdrasil?” she asked. “It just seems like Dad would have taken more care in keeping it a secret.”

Raynor looked at her in astonishment, and nodded in agreement. “Kabos had the book,” he said and scowled. “Then he left it there on purpose for you or Malachi to find.”

“But why?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” he answered.

That night as Nora lay sleeping, a barely audible but distinctly musical sound awoke her. It sounded like piano music, but they didn’t have a piano in the house. It was melodic and melancholic, and as she sat up, she thought she could hear it better. It was Rachmaninoff’s “Elégie in E-Flat Minor”. Feeling as though she had no control over her body, her head began to sway along with the music. She got out of bed, and headed down the stairs slowly. In the middle of the living room was a black grand piano. As she walked around it, she saw her mother in a white night gown. Confused, she wondered if she was dreaming.

Nora was about to sit next to her mother on the bench, when Raynor ran down and yelled from the middle of the steps.

“No! It’s Kabos!”

Nora watched in horror as her mother turned to look at her, and her face and body decomposed before her eyes. She jumped away from the piano, and the piano turned into a black liquid that coalesced and coagulated into a ball. The black ball oozed a man’s head with many sharp teeth, and limbs began to form and grow.

Taking a deep breath, Nora closed her eyes. She stood still and began muttering. Raising her arms, she repeated the lines louder. “Wha hai maru si hnou! Veri ni ma valu.

Aux laudam recidai!” she said.

Raynor ran to her and pulled her away as she watched the dumbfounded face on the black ball begin to melt away. The furniture in the living room caught fire, and the dark

ball tried to amalgamate again, but failed and oozed a tarlike substance all over the floor. The floor and the walls caught fire rapidly.

“We have to get out of here!” Raynor yelled.

“My backpack!” she cried and ran upstairs.

She found her backpack in her bedroom, but on her way out she noticed that the fire had spread. Running back to the stairs as quickly as she could, choking and sweating, she found that half of the stairs was gone.


About the Author

A. M. Albaugh is an award-winning poet and photographer. She studied anthropology and communications with an emphasis in film and television at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Favorite authors include Hermann Hesse, Dostoyevsky, J.R.R. Tolkien, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Lao Tzu, Kurt Vonnegut, Knut Hamsun, and Kahlil Gibran. She also enjoys writing code.



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Barnabas Tew and The Case if the Missing Scarab by Author Columbkill Noonan - Giveaway


Barnabus Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab
by Columbkill Noonan
Genre: YA Mystery/Mythology
Release Date: June 3rd 2017


Barnabas Tew is a detective in Victorian London, although he is not nearly as successful as he dreamed he'd be. In fact, there are times that he fears that he may not be very good at the detecting business, after all.

Everything changes, however, during a visit to the museum, where an encounter with a none-too-friendly mummy whisks Barnabas away from everything he knows. It seems that the Egyptian afterlife is in turmoil and the fate of the entire world is at stake, and Barnabas has been sent for by Anubis, the jackal-headed god of the dead, to save the day.

Barnabas is in over his head but determined to prove himself once and for all. With only his trusty assistant Wilfred at his side, will Barnabas manage to solve the case and save the Egyptian afterlife? Or will the dangerous and unpredictable Egyptian gods get the best of the intrepid duo?


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About the Author

Columbkill Noonan teaches Anatomy and Physiology at a university in Maryland. Her novel, "Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab" was released in July 2017 by Crooked Cat Books, and the sequel, "Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Nine Worlds" is due to be released in Fall 2018.

In her spare time, Columbkill rides her rescued horse Mittens and teaches aerial yoga. To catch up with Columbkill, find her on Twitter or on her website

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Monday, February 12, 2018

The Viking's Chosen by Author Quinn Loftis - Excerpt - Giveaway

The Viking’s Chosen
Quinn Loftis
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: February 12th 2018
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult


His orders are clear: launch a raid against England and bring home the spoils of war. But the prophecy is also clear: General Torben will take a foreign bride—one who is a seer and healer just like his mother. The eldest princess of England is said to be just that…a beautiful, charming, and headstrong woman. But he’s a Viking army general and she’s an English princess—and one who is already promised to the king of Tara.

Two worlds collide in this epic historical fiction centered on an undeniable chemistry that smolders against the odds. Richly written and injected with moments of humor, this action-packed romantic tale will leave you breathless.

Quinn Loftis is the author of twenty novels, including the USA Today Bestseller Fate and Fury.



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Excerpt


“At least he does not resemble the back end of a boar,” Dayna whispered.

I shot my sister a quick nod of agreement and then covertly turned back to peer at my future husband who was currently conversing with my father. After our morning ride, my sister and I had found a hiding spot behind some large drapes just to the left of the room occupied by our guests. It afforded us the surreptitious ability to listen and watch with the two kings interact. Thomas had taken his leave, but not before he informed me of what he thought about our childish behavior. I did not care if I was being childish. I was not ready to meet King Cathal just yet, at least not without a little advance warning of what I would be dealing with.

“You are correct,” I murmured back. “He is not ugly, but his handsomeness is marred by that tight lipped frown. He looks cruel.”

I had been surprised to find that my future husband was not nearly as old as I had thought he would be. If I had to guess, I would put him at eight and thirty, or, at the very oldest, two and forty. His hair was dark, cut close to his head. He had deep green eyes, a hawkish nose, and thin lips that seemed to hold a perpetual scowl. Standing at a little over six feet, King Cathal was lean but obviously muscular. Yes, he was handsome, but the cold, detached look in his eyes ruined any favor I might have found in him.

“Do you think it hurts to hold his face like that?” Dayna asked.

I bit my bottom lip to keep from laughing. “Perhaps he was just born that way.”

“Tis a shame to be so handsome and yet such a pompous ass.”

“Shh,” I chastised. “That pompous ass could have your head if he felt your offense warranted it.”

“Father would not allow me to be beheaded, Allete” Dayna assured me. “I am his favorite.”

I made a motion with my hand to quiet her so we could hear what it was our father was saying to the king of Tara.

“She has to know by now that I have arrived,” King Cathal was saying. His words came out clipped and low.

“Allete tends to have her own mind about things. I am sure she will join us when she is ready,” King Albric said, attempting to placate his irritated guest.

“And who allows such independent thinking?” Cathal challenged. “A woman should know her place.” His pointed look was aimed at the queen who stood quietly next to King Albric.

Allete was sure her mother was going to smack the rude man, but a subtle hand placed on her mother’s wrist held her in place.

“I understand your frustration, Cathal, but please be considerate of Allete’s situation. She is being courted by a man she has never met. She will be expected to leave with that man in a month’s time and travel to a place that is not her home, where she has no friends, no family. She deserves time to adjust.” King Albric, ever the diplomat, attempted to ease his counterpart’s temper. Based on Cathal’s pinched lips, however, his efforts were wasted.

“Could you at least send for her?” The other king asked in a more civil tone. And then added, “Please,” all be it a bit begrudgingly.

I snatched Dayna’s sleeve and gave it a gentle tug, indicating it was time for us to go. Like mice being hunted by a cat, we scurried from our hiding place and snuck to my bedchamber. We had barely made it inside when there was a knock at the door.

“Enter,” I said, attempting to keep my voice from sounding breathless.

Lidia entered. The look on her face was one of trepidation.

“The king requests your presence,” my handmaiden said in a soft voice.

I smiled at the girl. “Chin up, Lidia. All will be well.”

Lidia let out a huff, her manners momentarily forgotten. “You have not met the man. He is positively awful.” Her hand flew to her mouth and her eyes widened. “Forgive my frankness.”

Dayna laughed. “Allete would never punish you, especially not for telling the truth.” She lowered her voice conspiratorially. “We already saw him. We spied on them.” Dayna winked, looking completely unrepentant.

Lidia lowered her hand and made an ‘O’ shape with her mouth.

I straightened my dress and pulled my shoulders back. “Might as well face the music. I doubt he is going to turn around and sail back home without me.”





About the Author


Quinn is an award winning author who lives in beautiful Western Arkansas with her husband, two sons, Nora the Doberman, and Chewy the Cat who thinks he's a dog. She is the author of 17 novels, and 2 novellas, including the USA Today bestseller, Fate and Fury. Quinn is beyond thankful that she has been blessed to be able to write full time and hopes the readers know how much all of their support means to her. Some of her hobbies include reading, exercising, crochet, and spending time with family and friends. She gives all credit of her success to God because he gave her the creative spirit and vivid imagination it takes to write.

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