#CoverReveal “Kiss of the Reaper: A Paranormal Fantasy Romance” by Ellis Leigh

Reaper book cover

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Blurb

A paranormal take on a Hades & Persephone type of romance.

There’s this moment when you die.

This final sliver of time when the Grim Reaper comes to lead you through to the other side. When you are bathed in the glee he exudes at introducing another soul to his cold, dark world, and you have a split second of complete and utter fear at what lies ahead. Fear of the afterlife you have no control over. Fear of the Reaper.

But not all deaths end the same way.

And the Reaper isn’t who you think he is.

This is the story of how I died…and how Death himself brought me back to life.

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KISS OF THE REAPER is a standalone fantasy novel that spins off from Ellis Leigh’s bestselling Feral Breed Motor Cycle club paranormal romance series. Readers who have read the FBMC will recognize many of the characters, but you do not have to read FBMC to enjoy this love story between the Grim Reaper and the dead witch he can’t stop obsessing about.

#BookBlitz “Ruins on Stone Hill (Heroes of Ravenford Book 1)” by F. P. Spirit

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Heroes of Ravenford Book 1

Fantasy

What do you get when you mix a novice wizard, a reckless warrior, a sharp-tongued thief, & a saintly cleric? Swords, sorcery, & sarcasm.

They didn’t set out to be heroes, but the little town of Ravenford was in desperate need. Before Glolindir and his friends knew it they were facing fierce monsters, deadly assassins, black mages, cunning demons, powerful dragons, and even the remnants of the dread Thrall Masters themselves. Will they be able to live up to the challenge, or will they fall and leave Ravenford at the mercy of the forces of darkness?

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All of the books in the Heroes of Ravenford series:

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Ruins on Stone Hill

Heroes of Ravenford Book 1

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The Serpent Cult

Heroes of Ravenford, Book 2

An army of darkness. A group of young heroes. A town hanging in the balance.

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The Dark Monolith

Heroes of Ravenford, Book 3

A cult of black mages and demons. The secret to the Thrall Masters’ terrifying power. A desperate race to find it first.

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Princess of Lanfor

Heroes of Ravenford, Book 4

An insane princess who wants to rule the world. A magical artifact of terrifying power. A deadly struggle to possess it.

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The Baron’s Heart

Heroes of Ravenford, Book 5

A brutal murder. A missing heart. A race against time and death.

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About the Author

F.P. Spirit is an avid science fiction and fantasy fan. A Trekkie before it was cool, F. P. became hooked on fantasy the moment he cracked open his first copy of Lord of the Rings. When he is not lost roaming the multiverse of sci-fi and high-fantasy fiction, F. P. is either creating adventures for his roll-playing friends and family or connecting with his mind and body in an attempt to reach that inner spark of spirit.

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#BookBlitz “A Beauty of Magic: The Crystal Ball” by Ronald Gaudamuz

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Fantasy, YA Fantasy

 

Date Published: November 2021

Publisher: Palmetto Publishing

In this humorous fantasy YA adventure, Ian is on a quest to find a crystal ball. He enters a magical realm, encountering fearsome creatures, and a young witch saves his life. She falls madly in love with him and brews a magical love potion. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work as planned; instead, it turns Ian into a woman…with just 90 days to reverse the spell before the change becomes permanent.

Young adult readers and fans of Harry Potter are sure to enjoy this page-turning fantasy adventure.

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About the Author

Ronald Guadamuz is a fantasy author who just released his new book, A Beauty of Magic The Crystal Ball.

 

 

 

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#MiniTour “Blackbird Rising (Harbingers Book 1)” by Jane Wiseman

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Welcome to the mini tour for this stunning new fantasy novel by Jane Wiseman, Blackbird Rising!

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Blackbird Rising (Harbingers 1)

Publication Date: December 2018

Genre: Epic Fantasy/ Mature YA Fantasy/ Coming-of-Age

Minstrel? Spy? Witch? What is Mirin, really?

She’s a young girl. She’s a boy. She loves her sister. She loves a man.

More important, who is she?

The gods have given her a task, to save a realm, to save a queen.

In a brutal world where the young are forced to grow up fast, Mirin’s story is about coming of age too soon, about love and betrayal. It’s about the heavy costs of standing for a cause but standing for it anyway because it is the right. About finding the lost and finding yourself along the way.

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CHAPTER NINE

Playing for Time

By morning, I had a bad case of jitters. I could see Wat did, too. After we breakfasted on some of the scraps we had managed to snag during our march the night before back through the kitchen shed, Wat sat thinking a long time. I tried not to interrupt, although I was itching to do it.

Finally, he looked up at me. “We’ll go in together.” He sounded certain, but his eyes betrayed him. I could tell he was far from certain. Wat’s eyes were a clear azure, like a cloudless noontide sky. But when he was angry or worried, they turned. They became somehow duller and sharper at the same time, as if you were to stare into a pond reflecting a clear noontide sky at the moment a cloud passes over. Or as if you were to sight down the blade of a sword made of fine-tempered steel. As you see, I’d had a long time to study Wat, and at close quarters, too. I knew how to read him, and I read that he was sick with worry.

“How? How will we manage that? Master Charlo is on to you now. He won’t allow it,” I said.
“Probably thinking I’m looking the place over to see what I can steal,” said Wat. “Yes, you’re right. But I’ll manage it.” He summoned up a smile. “You’re modest. You know that? You’re too modest to bathe in front of strangers. I need to be there. That’s what I’ll tell them.” “Will it work?”
“Maybe,” he said. “What if it doesn’t?”

“I’ll create a diversion.” “How in the Nine Spheres will you do that?” The corner of Wat’s mouth quirked up in what passed for one of his enigmatic smiles. But people were starting to drift down the road in our direction. They wanted to be entertained. Wat didn’t answer me. He headed over to our wagon and disappointed them by slapping a large NO PERFORMANCE TODAY sign on the outside of the wagon, and shaking his head firmly at the many who couldn’t read. I wanted him to tell me about his plans, but he wouldn’t talk about it. Instead, he made me go back into the wagon box bed.

“Otherwise every young girl in the Hundred is going to come crowding around to see if she can catch your eye,” said Wat as he shuttered me in. “I look like a girl,” I shouted through the slats.
“I think that may be the point,” he said in a reasonable tone of voice that sent me into a suppressed fury. “You’re not threatening. The mothers don’t fear you’ll run off with the daughters. You’re like a pet. But they can pretend to dream about you. Girls that age. That’s what they do.” He was sitting on the wagon seat, leaning back against the box bed, so we could have a conversation just as if we were face to face.
“No, not today. Sorry,” I heard him call out to someone. “I’m a girl that age. I don’t have thoughts like that.”
“You haven’t had time to. If you were home with your mother, you’d be having them about now.”
“That’s a lie,” I said between gritted teeth. Why was I getting so angry? Maybe so I wouldn’t think about what it would have been like, if I were home with my mother. Maybe because Wat hadn’t bothered to answer my question. “Not a lie. It’s just the truth,” said Wat. “And keep your voice down. Sorry, no performance today,” I heard him call. “How would you know what girls think?” I muttered.
“Oh, I know,” he said. He was infuriating, Wat was. I think he enjoyed it. But he was my master, so I knew not to push him too far. He had never beaten me, not yet. Once he was about to. “Remember your promise to Old Gwen!” I had screamed at him.
“I made her no such promise,” he told me as he circled around to get behind me with the strap he used to hobble Millicent. But in the end, he didn’t beat me. I don’t even remember what I had done to get him so worked up. Probably something dangerous. Every now and again I noticed it. He feared for me. Yet he wasn’t allowed to. That frustrated him, almost beyond bearing.

The time of our summoning drew closer, and the people had all wandered off, so he let me out of the box bed. He still hadn’t told me how he planned to create a diversion. I pulled the Kenning the Juggler costume on again. It was all I could do. The people in the castle would see the boy they expected to see. “We won’t stuff the rags in,” Wat decided, looking me up and down. “They may fall out at the wrong moment, and we don’t want any extra attention. You’ll be fine. You look fine. The servants are not going to be looking too close, down there.”
I turned away to hide my blushing. This part of my costume always made me feel uneasy and wrong. “But when I step into the bath, they’ll notice,” I said, pressing the point.
“They would indeed, but we won’t let them see.”
“How do you plan to keep them from it?” Answer me, Wat. Before he could explain, we noticed Master Charlo shouldering past the guards. He came down the hill toward us.

“Follow my lead,” said Wat to me. I suppressed an annoyed grimace. Wat was always figuring out some plan, I’d have no idea what it was, and I just had to follow along, the instrument the master played upon. “Don’t forget your rebec,” said Wat. When Master Charlo was near enough to speak but not so close that we could give him any vermin or diseases, he addressed Wat. “None of your tricks, young man. Just the boy. I want just the boy.”

Wat bowed to him. Master Charlo reached out his hand to me, then snatched it back. “Come with me,” he said. He turned on his heel and started marching up the hill. With a helpless glance at Wat, I followed the elegantly clothed Master Charlo. But I quickly realized Wat was right behind me. At the gate, Master Charlo turned to me again. When he saw Wat, he frowned. “Fellow, I told you—just the boy. Not you.”

“Good Master Charlo,” said Wat, with another low bow. “My brother is very modest. He is frightened near to death. He’ll not be able to sing.”

It was true. I was frightened, frightened near to death. I didn’t have to act it. “I need to come with him,” said Wat. “At least for the bath and the dressing of him. He hasn’t been parted from me since he was a baby, when we were orphaned.” If Wat thought that heart-tugging story would affect Master Charlo, he was wrong.

“Nonsense,” Master Charlo snorted. “The boy is to come with me. You are to stay.” He looked over at the guards. “See that this fellow remains outside.” Both of them stepped forward. They were very large armored creatures with solid, inscrutable faces under the cones of their helmets. They both carried menacing steel-tipped pikes. Wat simply made another of those obsequious bows. “As you wish, Master Charlo.

“Aedan,” he said to me. “I’ll be waiting here for you, never fear. They’ll send you out to me soon.”
“He’ll sing, or he’ll wish he had,” said Master Charlo. “No one goes against a direct command of her ladyship.” I began to cry. It wasn’t hard to make myself do it.
“What a pathetic excuse of a boy you are,” Master Charlo said to me. “What those girls see in you—”
“Their ladyships?” asked Wat, his voice innocent. Master Charlo gave him a sharp look. “Yes,” he said slowly, with a kind of menace. “Their ladyships.”

“Well, go then, and do your best, brother,” Wat said to me in kind, unctuous tones. “They won’t hurt you. They won’t hurt him, will they? When he can’t? Sing?” he said to Master Charlo. Over Master Charlo’s shoulder, I arched an eyebrow at Wat. He gave me the smallest of shrugs back. We hardly had to speak to each other, Wat and I. That’s how well we knew each other by then, at least where giving a performance was concerned. Really? You’re going for that again? I was saying to him. Might as well was his reply. Might work. Worth a try. Master Charlo’s face clouded up the way the day was clouding up, big thunderheads boiling from behind the castle keep. It’s not going to work this time, I thought. You could fool Master Blue, but not this man.

“Come with me,” Master Charlo snapped. I stepped in behind him and the
guards stepped aside. “Both of them,” he said tight-lipped to the guards. Wat gave me a small sidelong smile as we came through the gates together at Master Charlo’s heels, but when the man turned to make sure we were following him, and probably to make sure Wat was not scouring the place for items to thieve, Wat had made his face as open and sincere and concerned as it was supposed to be. Wat’s ruse had worked again. It really had. Now I did have to act. Act to suppress an admiring exclamation, one actor to another. The fright I felt was too overwhelming, though.

We threaded our way through the castle outbuildings, as before. A patter of rain was starting to fall. I lifted my face to the sky. The rain felt good, comforting somehow, but I knew there was nothing comforting about our situation. Only Wat’s quick thinking saved us this time, as last time, but I knew our luck had to be running out.

Finally we came to an obscure shed with steam rising from its smoke-hole. A woodsy aroma wafted from the shed into the damp air. It reminded me suddenly of home. Master Charlo knocked. A man stuck his head out and glanced at us. “Which one is the boy?”
“Which one do you think?” Master Charlo’s voice was full of exasperation. “Come in, then,” he said to me, and opened the door wide. As Wat made to follow me, he put a hard calloused hand out. “Not you.” To Master Charlo he said, “I’m supposed to bathe one stinking fellow. Not two.”
“This man is his brother, and he says—” Master Charlo began, then clamped his lips together. He turned to the two of us. “The boy is to go in. You may stand outside,” he said to Wat. “I’ll send someone to make sure you don’t wander around. I have things to do.” He stalked off, stopping to talk to another servant, pointing back at us. The other servant, one of the lower-order brown-clad ones, began making his way over to us. Wat looked at the man who was about to bathe me. “My brother is very modest and very frightened. It would be better if I bathe him. You can stand outside.”
“No,” said the tub man.

That was it. There was no arguing with the man. I could see that, and so could Wat. Wat shrugged and turned to lounge against the side of the shed. The servant Master Charlo had sent to watch Wat was nearing. The tub man motioned me inside. I had no choice. Our luck had indeed run out. I went in with him.

There was a large cask steaming with hot water before a roaring fire. I saw stone crocks filled with fragrant soaps and lotions. I saw a suit of clothes, bright and lovely, laid over a bench. I saw large soft towels at the ready. I wanted to get into the cask.
“Put that fiddle down on the bench.” I did so. “Strip,” said the man, “and don’t give me any nonsense about it or I’ll see you beaten. I don’t want to hear about your damned modesty. Just do it. Get in that tub.”

“Will you look away?” I said in a timid voice. He just stood there with his arms folded over his leather apron. “What are you, a little girl? Strip and get in the tub. Don’t think I’m going to touch you. I don’t want your vermin. Leave those silly-looking clothes in a pile over there where I can pole them into the cistern.”
When I hesitated, wondering why he was going to dump my Kenning the Juggler costume into a cistern, he barked at me. “Do it. Do it now.”

Playing for time, I bent down and unwound the yellow cloth from around my tunic and then the cross-gartering from each leg. I dropped the long strips of yellow cloth beside me on the floor. I turned away from the tub man and began to pull the green tunic over my head.
With an impatient grunt, the tub man snatched it from me and threw it to the floor. And then he had the drooping leggings off me. He let out a bellow of surprise. He came at me, and I dodged around the cask of steaming water, trying to knee him in the groin as I darted past him. I missed. That made him angry. He caught up with me. His pig eyes, too small for his lump of a face, were narrowed and glinting. He drew back a meaty fist. There was a scuffle from outside the shed. The tub man and I both whirled around in time to see Wat and the brown-clad servant hurtling through the door and into the shed, falling on the floor and fighting.

“Nine Spheres,” said the tub man. He moved around the cask to pick up his long pole and stood over the two as they rolled and fought, looking for a chance to rap Wat on the head with it. I bent down and lifted one of the stone crocks of soap. I heaved it high and brought it down on the tub man’s skull as hard as I could as he was leaning over the fighters. It barely staggered him, but just enough so that Wat had time to knock the servant to the ground, spring up, and get the tub man by the throat, twisting the man’s leather apron straps tight about his neck. Wat shoved me aside as he hoisted the tub man up by this improvised garrote. “The door,” he said to me over his shoulder. I kicked it shut. When I turned around, Wat had thrust the tub man into the cask, pushing him under the water, holding him down. “Now hand me that pole,” he said.

I stood frozen. I grabbed up the tatters of my clothing and held them to myself.
“The pole,” said Wat. His voice was tense. He bore down on the man in the cask with both hands. Cords of muscle stood out on his arms. Water flew everywhere as the tub man struggled for his life. I reached down with one hand to get the pole, still trying to keep myself covered up with the other. I handed the pole to Wat. He shoved it straight down into the water and leaned on the tub man’s chest with it, keeping the man under. The man thrashed and kicked, but soon weaker. Soon not at all. A stream of bubbles erupted from the water. Then the water was still. “You did well, Mirin,” said Wat, stepping back and casting the pole aside with a clatter.

“You bought me a bit of time.” Still trying to cover myself with my ripped jerkin and leggings, I stood staring in horror at the man in the cask. Wat and I were both soaked, and Wat was breathing hard.
The tub man’s clothes were billowing up to the surface now. “You killed him,” I said. I looked down at the brown-clad servant, who lay sprawled at my feet, his eyes open, his mouth gaped wide. “And him.”

“Yes,” said Wat, not noticing my half-naked state. “Singing is your talent. This is one of mine.”

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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Jane Wiseman is a writer who splits her time between urban Minneapolis and the Sandia Mountains of New Mexico. Her interlocking fantasy series include HARBINGERS (I Blackbird Rising, II Halcyon, III Firebird, IV Ghost Bird), the prequel series STORMCLOUDS (I A Gyrfalcon for a King, II The Call of the Shrike, III Stormbird), the eerie BETWIXT & BETWEEN duology set in the Stormclouds/ Harbingers world (I The Martlet is a Wanderer, II The Nightingale Holds Up the Sky). A tenth book, Dark Ones Take It, is a stand-alone novel about the origins of the series villain. The Harbingers series has a YA-into-NA feel. The other books are many shades darker.

Jane M. Wiseman | Shrike Fantasy Channel | Twitter | Facebook | Blog

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#BookTour “The Resurrectionist” by A.R. Meyering

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Welcome to the book tour for The Resurrectionist by A.R. Meyering. This tale is sure to inspire chills!

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The Resurrectionist “Inspired by the true story of the Burke and Hare murders”

Publication Date: July 3rd, 2020

Genre: Supernatural/ Horror/ Fantasy/ Based on Real Life Characters

Synopsis:

Scotland, 1854

On a skinny, forgotten road in Edinburgh stood a shop without a name—a shop that could be found only if one had previously been led to its door. William, who was blind, rapped his knuckles on the door. The shop owner opens the door and says, “I recognize you. You’re the thief who slithered away while your partner swung by his neck.”

William begs the woman to break the curse that has been set on him that prevents him from dying. The curse, says the woman, cannot be broken, but it can be displaced. Is your death so precious to you that you would destroy one more innocent life to get it? The life of your own child?”

London 1895

In 19th century Scotland surgeon Edgar Price has only days to live. He has become host to a revenant that will corrode both his body and soul. Edgar’s fatal mistake has not only doomed him, but also released six more of these malignant wraiths onto the world. In his remaining time, he has vowed to stop the revenants from claiming other victims. His perilous travels lead him to the Witches’ Wood, a haven for a sisterhood of powerful enchantresses. There he meets Ainsley, who is also racing against the clock to save her life and will go to any lengths to spare the life of her lover Colleen from the grief of losing her. Despite their mutual dislike, Edgar and Ainsley find that the only way to traverse the twisted, otherworldly labyrinths that the revenants have created is to work together. Their mission becomes further complicated when Edgar begins to develop feelings for Fana, the guardian goddess of the Wood in spite of Ainsley’s forbidding warnings to stay far away from her.

Though THE RESURRECTIONIST is a work of fantasy, many of the settings and elements are based on fact. Horror and fantasy intermingle in this novel inspired by the true story of the Burke and Hare murders.

From 1828-29, Irish immigrants William Burke and William Hare were responsible for the murders of sixteen people in Edinburgh. Their methods generally involved luring a victim to Hare’s boardinghouse, where they plied them heavily with alcohol before suffocating them. They were motivated by greed, selling the corpses of their victims to a local surgeon, Robert Knox. Each victim was publicly dissected, and Dr. Knox is largely thought to have been complicit in the crimes.

During their ten-month killing spree, William Hare’s common-law wife, Margaret Laird, was pregnant with their child. Hare was pardoned for his crimes due to his confession and condemnation of his accomplice Burke, who was hanged and publicly dissected as punishment.

After being pardoned, Hare, Margaret, and their infant are thought to have escaped to Ireland. It also has been rumored that William Hare was thrown into a lime pit and subsequently suffered blindness before becoming a beggar. The victims in THE RESURRECTIONIST are also based on real life people.

Reminiscent of Tess Gerritsen’s The Bone Garden, THE RESURRECTIONIST explores a real-life horror story through a riveting supernatural thriller that is guaranteed to hook readers from the very first page.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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A.R. Meyering was a graduate student studying philosophy. She worked as an English teacher in a small town in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. Her dark fantasy novel, Unreal City, won a Literary Classics International Book Award gold medal for YA horror and a Moonbeam Award bronze medal in YA horror. While doing her undergrad in English she studied abroad in Edinburgh, focusing on Scottish occult literature and folklore.

Sadly, A.R. Meyering passed away in 2021.

A.R. Meyering

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#BookTour “Prince of the Fallen (Record of the Sentinel Seer: Book 1)” by M.H. Woodscourt

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Record of the Sentinel Seer: Book One

Adult/Science-Fantasy

 

Date Published: October 21, 2021

Publisher: True North Press

Abandoned in the wilderness as a child, Lekore lives with ghosts and fallen gods. Everything changes when he summons fire to rescue a traveling princess and her entourage. Wounded, he’s brought to a civilization unlike anything he’s ever known.

Caught in a net of silk and secrets, Lekore finds himself ensnared by court intrigue, midnight assassins, and a deviant faction of the Church of the Sun Gods—all hunting his blood and power.

He just wants to find the man who deserted him, until a storm rises out of the north, furious enough to destroy the city and outlying lands. Now Lekore must find the source of its wrath, deep in the wilds of the deadly Lands Beyond, if only he can flee a city that won’t let him escape.

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EXCERPT

“Gods protect me!”

As though in answer to Princess Talanee’s prayer, the flame of the holy torch leapt into a brilliant, churning arc. Intense heat and a deafening roar scored the air near her face. Flames encircled her without touching her skin, then stretched fiery fingers toward the Tawloomez warrior, who cried out as he and his fellows stumbled backward. They turned tail and dashed down the steps as the flames gave chase.

Talanee stood stunned, enthralled by the unending flame shooting up and out from the torch she held in trembling hands. She turned her eyes upward and found nothing but the brilliant sun in its sky to signify divine intervention. Could her prayer have worked? A breeze tugged at her hair, and she glanced down at the battlefield. The arc of fire had reached the bottom of the tower, and all the Tawloomez warriors cowered, corralled within it.

Talanee started down the steps, gripping the torch in her hands as it poured forth the terrible wrath of her beloved Sun Gods.

At the bottom-most step, she stopped. The Kel soldiers had flinched back, even Lord Lieutenant Rez, though he held his sword before him.

A breeze breathed across Talanee’s neck, but the fire of the torch maintained its vigil over the trapped Tawloomez, unerring despite the rising wind that tossed her hair. She resisted the urge to release the blazing torch with even one hand. Her eyes followed the trail of her hair in the sky—and she spotted him.

A figure perched on a ruined wall across from the tower. He was slender, barely a man, with the palest, longest blue hair she’d ever beheld, and eyes of red like all the Kel race, but these eyes blazed as though they held the wreathing fire. A tattered black cloak billowed behind him in the growing windstorm. One arm rose before him, hand splayed.

As she watched, he snapped his fingers into a fist. The fire of the torch died. The wreath of flame wisped into smoke and vanished.

The Tawloomez had seen the young man, too. With a cry, one heathen jabbed his finger toward the stranger. “Akuu! Nu jas Akuu-Ry!”

The Tawloomez stumbled backward, eyes wide, nearly wild, some dropping their weapons. They fled from the young man, racing northwest. One stumbled on grit and struck his knees, then dragged himself upright and sprinted on.

The Kel soldiers, still stunned, didn’t rally to cut off their retreat.

In the ringing silence that followed, Lord Lieutenant Rez dragged long strands of blue hair from his perspiring face as he found his voice. “See to the wounded!”

Talanee released a low breath and let her numb fingers drop the cold torch. Her eyes returned to the young man upon the ruin. His gaze met hers across the wide space. His brow creased, and he threw out his hand as the slap of feet sounded behind her.

She whirled to face a lone, charging Tawloomez, scissor knife in his hand, its several blades glinting under the dazzling sun. Her fingers gripped the torch, prepared to brandish it like her missing sword.

The wind changed direction. The strange young man from the ruin landed on the packed earth beside her, as though he’d taken flight upon the breeze to reach her.

He lifted a narrow, curved sword against the Tawloomez. Metal sang across the air as their weapons struck.

The Tawloomez gritted his teeth and spat out the same foreign phrase, this time like a curse word: “Akuu-Ry!”

The young man took a single step forward, and the Tawloomez’s brown eyes widened, the green paint of his face shimmering as though to reflect his fear.

“Leave, Tauw-Nijar, and I shall not do you harm,” said the young man in lilting tones.

The Tawloomez snarled and threw a long sliver of metal at Talanee. She yelped and tried to dodge as the young man shoved her aside. The tiny, glinting object caught his arm. A hiss was all the noise he made, but he sank to his knees and the sword clattered from his hand.

The Tawloomez sneered and swiped the scissor knife at the boy’s throat, but an arrow pierced his chest before he met his target. He grunted and fell, his swinging arm catching the young man’s shoulder, biting into the flesh in three distinct stripes.

A second arrow sank into the heathen’s chest, and the warrior crashed backward against the white stone stairs. Blood bloomed across his snake-bone necklace and down his front. He offered up a last gurgling breath, then his eyes turned to glass.

Talanee allowed the satisfaction of his passing to shiver across her skin, then she turned to the young man kneeling beside her. He looked up to meet her stare, and for a moment Talanee couldn’t move. His eyes still wielded that strange light like a fire burned within him, yet the clarity there made her feel as though he had stripped her bare to see every thought, every lie, every desire, every fear.

His eyes flicked to the dead Tawloomez. His hand snaked out for his sword near the fallen warrior.

“Don’t touch it. Don’t move.” Rez’s voice rang through the ruins as he raced across the field, red cape flowing behind him, to join Talanee and the strange young man. An archer ran with him, another arrow nocked and aimed at the stranger.

The young man’s fingertips brushed the sword. As Talanee looked on, the weapon vanished. Gone, as though the very air had swallowed it!

The stranger staggered to his feet. His pale hair, long and straight, rippled like water as it settled down his back and against his ankles. He offered a strained smile and raised his arm into the air. The wind howled, drawing his hair into a whirlwind, carrying the scent of wild things. He bounded upward, and the wind lifted him into the sky, above the tower, above the armored soldiers and Sun Priests, above Talanee and the grasslands. He leapt impossibly high and moved away in an arc, as though he could fly.

“Halt!” Rez slowed his pace and came to a stop beside Talanee, eyes lifted heavenward as the archer’s second arrow missed its mark. “By the Sun Gods, what is it we’ve seen?”

Talanee shook her head. “The very will of the Sun Throne, Lord Lieutenant. What else could it be?”

“Was he real?”

Talanee’s eyes lowered as she sought an answer. Blood stained the scissor knife lying beside its dead owner. “I think he was.” She traced a rising sun before her chest. “Sun Gods be praised. I think he was.”

Rez stirred from his watch of the sky. “Should we…try to complete the ceremony again, Your Highness?”

Talanee glanced at the fallen torch. “I don’t think we have to, Lord Lieutenant. The rite was already accepted, or we wouldn’t be alive.” She glanced around for the priests and found several slain, blood staining their white robes, while the rest cowered beneath the carriages. No one protested her assumption.

Next time, the Holy Hakija had better send his Sun Warriors rather than these cowards.

Rez eyed the priests and nodded. “Then we should return to Inpizal, Your Highness. There are wounded to tend, and we must report all that’s happened.”

“Of course.” Talanee stooped to pick up the torch. “The king needs to know. And we should consult the Hakija.” She picked up her hem and glided toward her carriage, where Keerva and her other handmaids huddled inside, waiting. Talanee glanced back toward the tower. Her gaze drifted north, where the young man had vanished in the air.

Would she ever see him again, or had he traveled from the very Sun Throne to aid her and her people?

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About the Author

Writer of fantasy, magic weaver, dragon rider! Having spent the past 20 years devotedly writing fantasy, it’s safe to say M. H. Woodscourt is now more fae than human.

All of her fantasy worlds connect with each other in a broad Universe, forged with great love and no small measure of blood, sweat, and tears. When she’s not writing, she’s napping or reading a book with a mug of hot cocoa close at hand while her quirky cat Wynter nibbles her toes.

Learn more at www.mhwoodscourt.com

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#BookBlitz “Child of Awareness: Book 1 of the Redeeming Grace Trilogy (Usuriel Multiverse)” by Abigail Silver

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I’m happy to share this beautifully illustrated novel, Child of Awareness with you all today! Read on for more details!

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Child of Awareness (Redeeming Grace Trilogy, Book One)

Publication Date: July 2021

Genre: NA Sci-Fi/ Fantasy/ Illustrated

Intended Age Group: New Adult (targeted at 18+)

Gracie’s fire burns holes in the fabric of spacetime. A friendship with her long-dead sister and unsettling dreams can’t penetrate the dark mystery of her father’s past. If her light can’t illuminate the truth, her father and everything she loves may be lost.

Blending science fiction, fantasy, and family drama, Child of Awareness introduces us to the flawed, immortal Usuriel Family. Called a “masterclass in world building,” this sweeping coming-of-age story weaves in themes of loss, belonging, and first romance.

Trigger Warnings:

Mature language, implied sexuality, violence, self-harm, and child neglect

Excerpt

Chapter 1 – My First Heartbreak

The first time I met my father I didn’t know anything about his history. In fact, I didn’t know he existed until I was old enough to read.

As a young child, I knew little outside of the yellowing paint and peeling wallpaper of my mother’s apartment. Occasionally Mother and I traveled to an outdoor park. She’d push me on the swings, a smile on her gaunt face and her dyed blonde hair up in a messy bun. That was rare. More often, my mother slept during the day and didn’t have the energy to take me places in the daylight. Thus, those stained walls contained most of my world.

Not to say that my mother was unloving. Each day she brushed my hair, tutting at how my wavy red strands tangled.

“My hair was just like this when I was a little girl,” she’d say, running her fingers through its silky length. “And so was my nose – covered in freckles, just like yours!” The warm pad of her thumb would wiggle the tip of my nose and I’d giggle. Her smile lit up my whole world. “Ah well, at least you got your father’s eyes.”

“What was my father like?”

A dreamy look would come into her lined face and she’d pull me into her lap. “He’s very handsome. And powerful. I think you’ll like him.” Her arms squeezed me tight. “One day I’ll take you to meet him.”

That day never came.

Like all small children, the rest of my early years have been reduced to a few bright flashes of color and the smell of old tobacco smoke. The last memory I have of my mother, however, has not faded or blurred with age.

I was about five at the time and home alone in our apartment, playing with a stack of chipped wooden blocks. After a time, I rummaged up a bowl of rice crackers from our pantry. I nibbled the edge of one. Stale, but still edible. Standing on tiptoe, I ran the tap into a battered plex drinking cup we kept near the sink. Bringing my prizes with me to the living room, I grinned at my growing block metropolis on the stained rug.

Voices in the hall. My head shot up.

“Stay quiet and…” my mother had said as she walked out the door, waiting as always for me to fill in the end of the phrase.

“Don’t open the door,” I’d intoned dutifully.

With a smile and a kiss on my brow, she’d left in a cloud of perfume and fake fur.

Her instructions had never been tested before. No one ever knocked. The only time the door slid open was at my mother’s palm. To say I was startled at the loud, sudden rapping from the entrance hall is an understatement.

A spooked rabbit, I scurried toward the relative safety of the bedroom. One scuffed shoe caught the edge of my block tower and it fell in a loud jumble behind me.

“Hello?” called a muffled voice through the door.

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Win 1 of 5 Signed Copies of Child of Awareness (US Only). Giveaway closes November 17th/ 12 AM EST

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About the Author

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Abigail Silver grew up in central Pennsylvania but currently makes her home near Charlotte, NC. She shares a humble, one-story abode with her husband, young son, and two fur children. She holds a BFA from Edinboro University in Applied Media Arts. She has been writing novel length work since high school, which was longer ago than she cares to admit. She grew up immersed in her father’s classic superhero comics and his collection of sci-fi thrillers. As an adult, she is an avid Star Trek and Dr. Who fan. When she isn’t reading, writing, or drawing (which is rare) she enjoys blasting music with the windows down on long car trips.

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#BookBlitz “Walnut Street: Phantom Rider (A Botanic Hill Detectives Mystery)” by Sherrill Joseph

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Happy publication day to Sherrill Joseph! Today marks the release of Walnut Street: Phantom Rider, the next Botanic Hill Detective Mysteries novel! Read on for more info and the chance to win a fantastic giveaway!

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Walnut Street: Phantom Rider (A Botanic Hill Detectives Mystery)

Publication Date: November 9th, 2021

Genre: MG Mystery/ Middle Grade (For fans of Nancy Drew type mysteries)

Objects of value have been disappearing from the Mayfield family’s rural California horse ranch. The Botanic Hill Detectives—Moki Kalani, Rani Kumar, and twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt—are hired to come for a week to investigate.

Legend has it somewhere on the Mayfields’ forty-acre property is a long-lost gold mine. It was supposedly staked by thirteen-year-old Ben Mayfield’s five-time great-grandfather, “Papa” Mayfield, in 1875.

Adding to the excitement, a nervous Ben reveals a frightening secret to the detectives. At the ranch, he alone has seen a threatening black-clad figure on horseback whom he calls the Phantom Rider. Who is this mysterious person? Is he responsible for the thefts? Where is the lost gold mine? And what’s going on in the nearby, snake-infested ghost town of Rainbow Flats? The four intrepid detectives aim to find out.

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About the Author

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Sherrill Joseph will be forever inspired by her beautiful students in the San Diego public schools where she taught for thirty-five years before retiring and becoming a published author.

The author has peopled and themed her mysteries with characters after her own responsible, role-model students, of various abilities, disabilities, races, cultures, and interests. She strongly believes that children need to find themselves and others unlike themselves in books if all are to become accepting, anti-racist world citizens.

Her gift of lexical-gustatory synesthesia enables her to bring richer imagination to her writing.

Sherrill is the recipient of two Gold Awards from Mom’s Choice Book Awards, two Gold Awards from Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, three awards from Story Monsters Approved, and numerous other children’s book awards. She is a member of SCBWI, the Authors Guild, and Blackbird Writers. Watch for many more adventures with the Botanic Hill Detectives!

Sherrill Joseph | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Win a signed, personalized paperback copy of Walnut Street: Phantom Rider, some matching book swag (bookmark & sticker), and a $10 Amazon gift card (US ONLY). Giveaway will close on November 12th!

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#NewRelease “Skin of the Sea” by Natasha Bowen

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An unforgettable fantasy debut inspired by West African mythology, this is Children of Blood and Bone meets The Little Mermaid, in which a mermaid takes on the gods themselves.

A way to survive.
A way to serve.
A way to save.

Simi prayed to the gods, once. Now she serves them as Mami Wata—a mermaid—collecting the souls of those who die at sea and blessing their journeys back home.

But when a living boy is thrown overboard, Simi does the unthinkable—she saves his life, going against an ancient decree. And punishment awaits those who dare to defy it.

To protect the other Mami Wata, Simi must journey to the Supreme Creator to make amends. But all is not as it seems. There’s the boy she rescued, who knows more than he should. And something is shadowing Simi, something that would rather see her fail. . . .

Danger lurks at every turn, and as Simi draws closer, she must brave vengeful gods, treacherous lands, and legendary creatures. Because if she doesn’t, then she risks not only the fate of all Mami Wata, but also the world as she knows it.

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