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Excerpt: Meeting the Lightning Goddess
“It’s the round gateway,” I whispered. “The one from Jicho’s vision.” I repeated the boy’s prophecy once more.
“Watch for the round gateway; it will bring you the lightning goddess and her consort.”
Rowan scanned the loop of brightness as it whirled above our heads. “If that’s a gateway, then I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”
Heavy silence filled the central feasting hall. The swirl of light by the ceiling flared more brightly, casting odd shadows onto the tapestries and floor. A charged sense of anticipation hung in the air.
I shared a quick glance with Rowan. Every line of his rugged face was tight with determination.
Light pulsed in the center of the round gateway as a man and a woman tumbled through, landing on the floor in a crouch. Although their backs were facing us, I could still make out some basics about the pair. The woman was tall as me but far more curvy. Her long auburn hair cascaded down her back. The man beside her was broad shouldered and fit with short brown hair. Both of them were wore black body armor like none I’d ever seen before. It appeared not to be flexible. Interesting.
Something twitched behind the woman, and that’s when I noticed it. She had a tail. It was long, black, and covered in some kind of scales. The end was as pointed as an arrow.
In our realm, we did have people with non-human body parts. They were called Changed Ones, and they were the unfortunate results of by brother Viktor’s experiments in combining Casters with their animal familiars. My stomach sank. Was it possible that Viktor had somehow gotten to this woman and her realm?
The man lifted his right arm, and he was holding a severed head in his fist.
Wait, a head?
I rubbed my eyes, wondering if I was seeing things. But once I lowered my hands, the man was still there, his back facing to us. And he still gripped a severed head in his hand. And what a head it was. The thing had the profile of a humanoid pig with green skin and a pair of large curlicue horns growing out of each temple. The man gripped the head by a single horn.
“The good news is, we killed the phase demon.” The man tossed the head onto the floor before him.
“The bad news is, he phased us somewhere before he died,” added the woman. Her tail perked up and tapped her shoulder. The woman looked to the arrowhead end. “What’s up, boy?”
The tail gestured toward me and Rowan as if to say: pay attention; there’s something behind you.
The woman slowly turned around. “Hello there,” she said. If she was shocked to be in a strange place, she didn’t show it.
The man turned around as well. He had mismatched eyes—one blue and one brown—as well as strong bone structure. The pair of us were a study in opposites. I was thin and dark haired, while the woman was curvy with long reddish locks. The man was pale and regal looking. At the same time, Rowan may be a king, but he always looked tanned and rugged.
The woman waved at us. “I said, hello there.”
“Hello,” I replied. “I’m Elea and this is Rowan. Who are you?”
“I’m Myla,” said the woman.
The man gave us a chin-nod. “Lincoln.”
Rowan stepped forward. “Are you a lightning goddess, by any chance?”
“You could call me that,” answered Myla.
I couldn’t help but smile. Jicho’s prophecy was coming true.
Wicked Woods Omnibus Books 1-6
by Kailin Gow
Publication date: February 28th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Young Adult
The Wicked Woods Omnibus contains 6 Full-length novels in the Wicked Woods Series.
It started when Briony had to move to Wicked Woods, Massachusetts to live with her Great Aunt Sophie after her family disappears on vacation. The woods at the edge of Aunt Sophie’s inn is filled with secrets and inhabitants both seductive and deadly. Among them is a beautiful boy name Fallon who saves her one night in the woods. As Briony gets closer to Fallon, she learns he has a secret, as do most of the residents of Wicked Wood.
I can’t believe I read all six books without taking a break from them! I usually don’t like doing that, needing a cleanser before continuing a series. However, there were so many little cliffhangers that I was drawn in.
Briony was a strong female character. She was definitely written to inspire young women. She grew a lot throughout the books. She was loyal, sympathetic, caring, yet fierce. She started out naïve and ignorant to things around her, but she quickly grew into a commanding figure who deserved respect.
I will say that the story arcs bothered me—the whole build up to the end. It got pretty redundant throughout each book. Not my favorite style. As these are for young adult, though, it works. It’s traditional.
Another thing that bothered me was the love triangle. In the first two to three books, Briony doesn’t even hesitate to kiss and be in a relationship with two boys. There are no thoughts of regret or wrongness in that. Almost like it was a reverse harem, when it was not. It made her seem shallow. As the books continued, she finally started to think about how wrong it was. Still, both relationships didn’t seem involved. It was like an afterthought thrown into the story.
Overall, the books are amazing for young readers. There is a lot of action and adventure. A fight between good and evil, and seeing in shades of grey.
Kailin Gow loves things that are edgy, cool, bright, exciting, hopeful, glittery, and jaw-droppingly awe-inspiring. She loves writing, reading, and filming stories about people whose journeys take them beyond their boundaries – physically, psychologically, intellectually, and emotionally to arrive a point and a place of inspiration and hope. Her works have been recognized by the leaders in the industry in book publishing and entertainment to be “innovative” and “disruptive”, earning her awards from ALA, The IBPA, and festivals.
A Study In Shifters (The Adventures of Marisol Holmes, #1) by Majanka Verstraete ~ Blog Tour & Giveaway
A Study In Shifters
by Majanka Verstraete
(The Adventures of Marisol Holmes, #1)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: June 26th 2018
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Marisol Holmes may be the great-great-great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes, but it’s hard to live up to the family name when only one mistake can spell your downfall. After trusting the wrong guy in a case gone totally wrong, Marisol convinces the Conclave, an underground organization of detectives solving supernatural cases, to give her a last chance to prove her worth, and maybe even heal her broken heart
After all, as a half-blood jaguar shifter, Marisol is uniquely qualified to solve this murder—and every scrap of evidence points toward the culprit being a fellow jaguar shifter. But is one of her own people involved, or is this all a ploy to kick Marisol’s mother off the shifter throne?
Then Marisol discovers her best friend, Roan, is missing, and maybe the killer’s next target. The stakes just got higher than political intrigue. Just when things couldn’t get worse, Marisol’s ex-boyfriend-turned-nemesis, Mannix, starts leaving sinister clues for her. Marisol fears this case might be far more personal than she could’ve imagined.
It’s time for Marisol to prove her worth, or her people could fall into chaos while her best friend loses his life.
“Two minutes left.” The smug look had returned to Balthy’s face. He obviously wasn’t convinced I could solve the case in time.
And honestly, I was getting pretty nervous, too. The fact that it took me slightly over ten minutes to figure out a demon was the culprit proved I was still off my game. My focus had suffered drastically during my last mission, and the reason for that had a name.
Just thinking about him put a picture of him in mind instantly. Of his sparkling green eyes that pierced straight into my soul. Of his unruly black hair that sometimes covered his gaze. Of his whiskey-rough voice that promised me things that would never be real… Promises like how he loved me.
And with those words, he’d distracted me, made me bring down the walls around my heart, with the end result that people died. People I cared about.
I shook my head, trying to get rid of the thoughts haunting me, determined not to let feelings get in my way this time.
“Thirty seconds left,” Balthy said in a gleeful tone. “You’re losing your touch.”
The words hadn’t left his mouth before the final pieces of the puzzle clicked into place in my mind. “I’m finished,” I said.
Balthy’s eyes turned into slits and his smile into a scowl as he moved to the door and knocked on it twice. His behavior didn’t surprise me. Balthazar Rollins, snake shifter, Sigil Bearer of the Conclave, and one of the highest-ranked members of our crime-solving institution hated me, my mother, and any non-snake shifter he had ever laid eyes on.
Author Majanka Verstraete has written more than twenty unique works of fiction. A native of Belgium, Majanka’s novels explore the true nature of monsters: the good, the bad, and just about every species in between. Her young adult books include the acclaimed Mirrorland (YA Dark Fantasy) and Angel of Death (YA Paranormal) series of novels. At MHB, Majanka is currently developing a new YA shifter series with a fresh take on fierce female detectives called THE ADVENTURES OF MARISOL HOLMES.
When she’s not writing, Majanka is probably playing World of Warcraft or catching up with the dozens of TV series she’s addicted to.
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(Cinderella Necromancer #2)
by F.M. Boughan
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Purity cannot abide the darkness.
It’s been two years since Ellison defeated her stepsisters and sent her evil stepmother back into the Abyss.
Though she’s learning to control her dark magic and has spent time traveling with Prince William and bringing peace to the kingdom, one fact remains. She is a necromancer and he is a paladin of light. And so, the king refuses to give his blessing for them to marry.
To appease his father, William has begun to avoid her. But when even her younger brother Edward grows distant, Ellison learns her mother’s spirit has been visiting Edward in secret, threatening to overwhelm him with her own loneliness and longing. When Ellison accidentally touches her mother’s spirit, her tainted touch condemns her mother’s spirit to eternal damnation.
Ellison resolves to descend into hell to save her mother’s soul and bring her physical body back to the world of the living. William hopes this good deed will bring Ellison into favor and finally allow them to be wed.
But the journey through hell is fraught with peril. Temptations abound and the demons Ellison sent back to the Abyss are thirsty for revenge.
Evil cannot be defeated without sacrifice—but when that sacrifice means choosing between the ones Ellison loves and her very own life, how far is she willing to go to make her family whole again?
Link to Goodreads:
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If I Knew Then What I Know Now About Writing
You’ve already heard me ramble about this topic prior to the publication of my debut last September… so I don’t have anything new to add in that vein. Go back & read that post! Maybe the host of this blog will even be kind enough to link it here! ;)
So what I’ll talk to you about today instead is “if I knew then what I know now about writing… after publication.” Let’s discuss it in three bullet points!
Well, I stand by my statement. It does not get easier.
Here’s the thing a lot of pre-published writers don’t quite understand, and I speak from experience: Having a book published does not suddenly make you a Magical Dream Author who can wake up at the crack of dawn, sip your English Breakfast tea and munch a cranberry scone whilst Thinking Deep Thoughts, and then glide over to your laptop (or notebook) and effortlessly allow the words to slip from your mind and fingers onto the blank page.
I mean, maybe that’s what happens for some authors. I don’t know for sure. (If that’s you, teach me your secrets, please?!?!)
But honestly, the plain and basic fact is that if you’re a mess of a writer before publication… you’re still going to be a mess of a writer after publication. Maybe even worse, because now, you have the added pressure of another deadline and Actual Readers who are counting on you. Who you don’t want to disappoint. Again… speaking from experience here. o_O
You might have spent years writing book one, but now you have eight months to write book two (this varies, I’m just using this number to make a point). That means that if you spent occasional leisure time writing your novel, working on it here and there when you felt like it… you aren’t suddenly going to have all the time in the world to write the second book. You’re still the same person. You’ll still have to write your next book in those moments, but instead of being relaxed about it, you’ll need to be deliberate. Carve out the time instead of waiting for it to come to you or to “feel like writing.”
You can still be a mess if you want (listen, I’m not giving up my sweatpants and my kitchen will literally never be clean and my characters will never have emotions until the second draft and that’s the way I like it), but you have to be an intentional mess.
Sure, it’s hard. Writing after publication is, in my experience, actually much harder than writing before publication. But if the trade-off is Published Book versus No Published Book… I’ll take being a struggling mess any day.
Though I would like a cranberry scone if you have an extra, please?
About the Author:
F.M. Boughan is a bibliophile, a writer, and an unabashed parrot enthusiast. She can often be found writing in local coffee shops, namely because it’s hard to concentrate with a cat lying on the keyboard and a small, colorful parrot screaming into her ear. Her work is somewhat dark, somewhat violent, somewhat hopeful, and always contains a hint of magic.
The Sign of the Serpent
Wings of Flesh and Bones
by Cathrina Constantine
Publication date: April 13th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
An Angel. A Witch. A Demon. And A Choice.
Creatures from outer realms suck, as any gatekeeper worth their salt will tell you. Welcome to Rogan’s life, an orphaned seventeen-year-old who lives and trains with other misfits under her uncle’s roof, keeping Earth safe from non-human realm jumpers. Rogan’s biggest issue concerns her uncle’s short leash with her freedom—that is of course, until she’s taken by a notorious witch, and her life begins to unravel. Soon, the supernatural beauty discovers there’s a reason her uncle kept such a tight lock on her whereabouts, and that she has more than angel blood running through her veins.
Eighteen-year-old Max is an angel, and Rogan’s mentor and guardian. He’s well aware of her tenacious inability to obey orders, though he also knows she’s a fierce fighter. When he’s involved in a scheme that ultimately gets Rogan kidnapped, he must battle his way back to her in an attempt to save her from the darkness threatening to possess her.
I’m breaking Castle’s rules. Do I care? Not really—not yet.
Rogan’s skin prickled as she snuck through the portal leading to the city, exhilarated to be patrolling on her own for once. She walked along the sidewalk on her way to Pink, a dance club for teenagers. Although, her choice in destination would not involve dancing or enjoying the hyperactive ambiance. No, she was primed and ready to release bottled-up steam threatening her peace of mind. Deviants would be mingling with humans, and she’d be there to put a stop to it.
Crisp autumn air stirred. Inhaling its musky scent, she noticed the lengthening shadows, and prayed to be home before she was missed. I’m seventeen, she thought with pride, a gatekeeper. At least, that was what she’d been training for.
Keeping her eyes peeled for anything out of the ordinary, she tossed her braided hair over her shoulder, catching a few heads turning to look at her. You’d think they’d never seen a girl wearing leather and boots before.
A pungent odor pressed in on her, which stopped her in her tracks. Up ahead, blocking the sidewalk, was a giant of a man. The fortuitous encounter took her by surprise, sending her creepster vibes off the charts. With her legs rooted in a rigid stance, she flexed her fingers. As if the giant had been awaiting her arrival, he approached in a blur of motion, whipping his knuckled fist and clipping her on the chin.
Grimacing, her eyes watered as blood pooled over her tongue. She spat a mouthful onto the sidewalk and moved her throbbing jaw from side to side.
She recognized the Vorg towering over her, jutting his demon chin at a superior angle. To humans, he looked like an unnatural hulk of a man, but Rogan saw past his artificial veneer.
“Had enough, sweetmeat?” His sandpapery voice rubbed her the wrong way.
“Screw you.” Fast as a snap, she jerked her elbow, smashing him in the jaw.
Cathrina Constantine is the Best Selling author of Don't Forget To Breathe. Her book won Readers' Favorite International Book Award for 2015. New Apple Medalist for 2016. Literary Classics Gold Award. Literary Classics Seal of Approval. Her Paranormal Fantasy, Wickedly They Come has been awarded the 5 Star Seal from Reader's Favorite. Tallas from her dystopian series received Literary Classics Silver Award and Literary Classics Seal of Approval.
Cathrina resides in Western New York. I am blessed with a loving family and forever friends. My world revolves around them.
I grew up in the small village of Lancaster, NY, where I married my sweetheart. I'm devoted to raising 5 cherished children, and now my grandchildren.
I love to immerse myself in great books of every kind of genre, which helps me to write purely for entertainment, and hopefully to inspire readers. When not stationed at my computer you can find me in the woods taking long walks with my dog.
by Christina Bauer
(Angelbound Origins 0.5 - prequel novella)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: February 27th 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
An Angelbound Prequel Novella by Christina Bauer
As the High Prince of the demon-fighting thrax, Lincoln knows he must marry for political gain. Not that he minds. For all of his eighteen years, Lincoln’s been bound to his duty. Fighting demons is his life, and he’s never given romance a second thought. Instead, the High Prince lives for the days when he leaves his hidden realm to fight demons on Earth.
Then, everything changes.
Lincoln and his nobles become forced to visit Purgatory, the home of quasi-demons (who are mostly human with a bit of demonic DNA). Here Lincoln spies Myla Lewis, a lady warrior who enflames his heart, ignites his interest, and inspires his respect. Trouble is, Myla’s also a quasi. By thrax law, Lincoln must kill anything demonic—not date them. For the first time in his life, Lincoln wonders if he’ll follow his duty…or heed the demands of his heart.
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Christina_Bauer_Duty_Bound?id=yoAyDwAAQBAJ
I am Lincoln Vidar Osric Aquilus, High Prince of the Thrax. My people are renowned as the greatest demon hunters across Heaven, Hell, Earth, Purgatory, and the Dark Lands. At eighteen years old, I’ve killed precisely one thousand four hundred and thirty-seven demons in hand-to-hand combat, more than any other thrax in history. All of which leads to a single inescapable conclusion.
I can make it through this breakfast with my mother.
At least, I think I can.
“You haven’t touched your eggs, my son.” Mother spears a strawberry off her plate. After many years of maternal encounters, I’ve learned to keep my mouth closed in situations like this one. Mother will bring up her true concerns when she’s good and ready.
In reply, I merely maintain her stare. We’ve an odd relationship, but a close one. We’re both natural schemers, so neither wants to pass up a test of intelligence and charm.
“Perhaps you dislike formal breakfasts,” says Mother as she gestures to my tunic.
“I’m fine with wearing royal garb to meals. Rest assured, all my Batman costumes are safely packed away.” As a child, I fought hard to dress as a human superhero. Unlike demon killing, that was one battle I ultimately lost.
“So you say.” A small smile rounds Mother’s mouth. “Those tunics hide quite a lot.”
“True. I’ve a Bohemian Rhapsody T-shirt on under this thing.”
“I have no idea what that is, but I’m pleased to see you turned out so well.”
This morning, I’m dressed in a velvet tunic, leather pants, and tall boots. Meanwhile, Mother looks regal and lethal in her black velvet gown. She has porcelain skin, delicate features, and an all-knowing glare that reduces hardened warriors to mush.
Needless to say, I’m pleased that her glare has softened. I must remember to work Batman into our conversations more often.
For a few minutes, Mother and I continue our breakfast in silence. It would be pleasant, except for the setting. Our new feasting hall is located in Purgatory.
This place combines the worst of a rundown human suburb with the best of a rotting Dumpster. The sky is constantly cloudy with two types of weather: rainy and about to rain. It’s part of the magic of this realm that the weather is always dreary. Plus, the sky never reveals the sun or moon, and even if it did, those celestial bodies follow different patterns than they do in other realms.
Closing my eyes, I let my thoughts return to the glittering caverns of my homeland. As a rule, thrax live underground on Earth in the realm of Antrum. For some reason, the oracle angel, Verus, has demanded the royal family—and our noble entourage—move to Purgatory for a short period of time. This wasn’t a popular idea, but the oracle’s word is law, so we arrived here three months ago. Until Verus sets us loose, our days will be spent in tents and wooden halls like this one.
I scan the empty benches around me and sigh. It’s hard being separated from the bulk of my people. Quiet breakfasts like this only make things worse. Usually our feasting hall is packed with thrax sharing breakfast at communal tables. However, today Mother insisted on having a family-only morning meal, which in this case translates into me, Mother, and a half-dozen terrified workers. Father should get here any minute now. I can only hope he arrives before Mother’s temper returns.
As if in reply to my thoughts, Mother spears another wilted strawberry with a vengeance. Looks like her temper will resurface before Father does. Bugger.
“You never answered my question,” says Mother. “You haven’t touched your food.” She spears a grape with such force the entire table wobbles.
“Careful there,” I say. “You’ll bring down the roof down.”
“One perk of being queen. I can bring down roofs and no one says a thing.”
At those words, the half-dozen servants in the room visibly shiver.
There’s no question about the general topic of Mother’s angst, either. It’s always the same issue: the House of Acca. That tribe is the largest and most troublesome of all thrax.
At this point, problems with Acca could fall into one of two categories.
One, Mother might be worried about my impending marriage contract with Acca’s most eligible noblewoman, Lady Adair. If Mother thinks there are problems on that front, she would be sorely mistaken. It’s a business arrangement, nothing more. I’d regret that, but I’m a prince. I always knew I’d never marry for love.
Two—and far more worrisome—would be if Mother discovered my ongoing scheme against Aldred, the dreaded Earl of Acca himself. I’ve many issues with the Earl, but my largest is how Aldred keeps leading his warriors into ill-planned demon attacks on the Earth’s surface. Thanks to the Earl of Acca, hundreds of good thrax meet bad ends every week. I meet with the families of the fallen, trying to provide comfort as their worlds fall apart. So many tears and ruined lives…and all so the Earl can prove his so-called prowess in battle.
Even worse, my parents have forbidden me from doing anything to stop Aldred’s bloodshed. Per some ancient treaty, if I interfere with Aldred’s rights to lead his troops, then the Earl has the unmitigated right to execute me on the spot.
And as every royal knows, execution threats and breakfast do not mix well.
Book 1 - Angelbound - is currently FREE:
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Christina_Bauer_Angelbound?id=zDLTDAAAQBAJ&hl=en
Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers.
Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.
Stalk Christina on Social Media – She Loves It!
The She-Wolf of Kanta
by Marlena Frank
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Release Date: April 17th 2018
Legion Imprint of Radiant Crown Publishing
"A pair of yellow eyes caught the moonlight and locked onto hers."
Mercy has always dreamed of becoming a werewolf trapper like her father. In Kanta, one must learn how to survive one way or another. A dark-skinned, blue-eyed young beauty, Mercy understands that she brings out the beast in monsters and men. When a routine werewolf delivery turns into a vicious assault from a pair of human traffickers, Mercy’s life changes forever. Somehow she must endure in a dangerous city where women and werewolves are hunted.
About the Author:
A writer of both fantasy and horror, Marlena’s work is in a smattering of anthologies. Her stories lean toward weird horror, creature horror, and YA fantasy. She typically thinks up strange tales while sipping sweet tea at her Georgia home, listening to podcasts on her hour-long commute, or while reading a good book with her three cats.
Blog Tour Schedule:
Blog Tour Organized by:
YA Bound Book Tours
Slippers And Thieves
We are a group of authors,