#ReleaseBlitz “Insidious Scars” by Natalie J. Reddy

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Happy publication day to author Natalie J. Reddy! Just look at this beauty! Read on for more info about Insidious Scars (Scars of Days Forgotten #5)!

Psst! There’s also a giveaway!

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Insidious Scars (Scars of Days Forgotten Series Book 5)

Publication Date: May 17th, 2022 🎉

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Romance

This is what she’s been training for…

Jyoti has felt like an outcast all her life. Living among Psi with extraordinary power can be isolating and dangerous when you have no power of your own. But in weakness there is strength, a strength Jyoti’s mother has been training her to use to her advantage. When rumors of war begin circulating, Jyoti is offered an opportunity to help protect her people. However, it would mean giving up what she loves most. But when she finds out about a weapon that could cause the destruction of all mankind, she begins to question everything, even her own heart.

What do you do when protecting the greater good means you’ll lose everything you love?

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About the Author

Author

Natalie J. Reddy is a Canadian Author who spends her days trying to escape reality by making up stories about the characters in her head.

Natalie realized at an early age that she had a passion for storytelling and that passion followed her into adulthood. There is nothing she loves more than to be pulled into a fictional world whether it’s in her own writing or the writing of others. Natalie is the author of the Scar of Days Forgotten series, a New Adult Urban Fantasy series with characters who have supernatural abilities and dark and sometimes unknown pasts to overcome.

When she’s not writing, Natalie can be found having all sorts of real-life adventures with her husband and daughter or curled up with a good book and a cup of tea.

To keep up to date on upcoming books, subscribe to Natalie’s newsletter at nataliejreddy.com

Natalie J. Reddy | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

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Giveaway will be open from today until midnight EST on May 21st!

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#CoverReveal “Sword of Darkness (Vigilant Book 3.5)” by L.M. Preston

The Vigilant, Book 3.5

YA, Urban Fantasy

Date Published: 07-08-2022

Publisher: Phenomenal One Press

 

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Reece had a thirst for the adrenaline rush that came with taking risks.

He’d avoided paying the price for most of his push of the envelope until he met one person that used his lust for fast cars, wicked weapons, ditching school, and beautiful girls to trap him in the most seductive ways.

Someone he least expected put her life in danger to save him from himself, and he wouldn’t waste her sacrifice. Reece would use the anger fueled by the strikes to an innocent to start the beginning of the turn of justice that will change the course of his life. He hoped his family could forgive him for the deal that put a target on their heads.

Read other books in the Vigilant series: Insatiable Darkness, Caged Fire,
Unbreakable Darkness, Scepter of Fire, Break the Darkness, Rebel of Fire,
Sword of Darkness, and Blade of Fire (end of 2022).

~~~

About the Author

L.M. Preston, a native of Washington, DC. An avid reader, she loved to create poetry and short-stories as a young girl. She is an author, an engineer, a professor, a mother and a wife. Her passion for writing and helping others to see their potential through her stories and encouragement has been her life’s greatest adventures.She loves to write while on the porch watching her kids play or when she is traveling, which is another passion that encouraged her writing.

 

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#CoverReveal “Asbury High and the Captivating Cruise (Asbury High Series, Book 6)” by Kelly Brady Channick

Asbury High Series, book 6

 

YA Cozy Mystery

Date Published: 05/29/2022

Publisher: Purple Milk Publishing

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Carly, Maddie, Pilot and Cornelious have been waiting forever for their Seniors Only Cruise. After three years of solving crime in their small town, this trip is the relaxing break from Asbury they need. Dreaming of all the fun and drama-free adventures in store for them, the gang settles in for a calm summer cruise.

Soon after departing, things don’t go quite as planned. With strange, new additions to their itinerary, Asbury’s favorite sleuths detect something is amiss. When violence breaks out, Cornelious turns to the captain who quickly reassures everyone aboard. After all, what reason would the crew have to mess with a group of teenagers? Adding to their troubles is Cornelious’ cousin Dane, whose feelings for Maddie have only grown stronger.

Excited to be away from his father and finally dating Maddie, Cornelious tries to ignore his cousin as his insecurities fester. After a stirring revelation from Dane, Cornelious retreats from his friends and finds solace in the ship’s jolly Captain Dex. At the same time, Carly, Maddie and Pilot begin to suspect the crew, believing there’s more than meets the eye with this cruise. Frustrated by Cornelious’ withdrawal, the gang doubles down on their efforts to discover the crew’s motives. Pulled into a dangerous game of who to trust, the gang is determined to find the truth—and mend their friendship.

With relationships called into question and stunning secrets exposed, the gang faces their biggest obstacle yet—trust. Can Cornelious trust the captain more than his friends? With their peers placing blind trust in the crew, can the gang convince them otherwise, before it’s too late? Or are Pilot, Carly and Maddie just overreacting? With constantly changing itineraries, a scheming crew lurking behind every door, a happy-go-lucky captain refusing to dig deeper, and lifelong relationships put to the test, can the gang rekindle their relationship with each other and figure out what’s really going on?

~~~

About the Author

Growing up just over the bridge from Ocean City, NJ in Upper Township meant discovering plenty of fun places to both read, write, and run around outside like a maniac. For as long as she could remember, Kelly loved making up stories, and leaving her listeners/readers on the edge of their seats.

After graduating from Ocean City High School, Kelly accepted a basketball scholarship to Holy Family University, in Philadelphia. Upon graduating college, Kelly continued to live in Philly, teaching for four years, and meeting the love of her life during a snowstorm. In fact, it was her awesome husband who encouraged her to pursue her writing–Yay, Ryan!

Before writing page-turners however, she taught first, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade — like a dessert menu, she simply had to test them all out. But her favorite job is the one she’s now doing full time: writing.

As her first published work, the Asbury High series has been brewing since she was 18, and has something for every type of reader–go ahead take look for yourself! If you love mysteries, you’ve found your new favorite author. Kelly loves to craft whodunit mysteries, leading readers through various twists and turns filled with red-herrings, hidden clues, and more peculiar characters than a reality show. As an athlete, she hopes that the importance of teamwork and overcoming adversity, is also quite clear in her writing

Kelly lives in South Jersey with her handsome husband, energetic baby boys, two cookie-stealing dogs, and an awfully smart cat. If you want to know when Kelly’s next book will come out, please visit her website at http://www.kbchannick.com, where you can sign up to receive emails providing updates for new releases, or contact her directly, as well as win fun giveaways, and receive up to date news.

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#BookTour “Vagrant (The Vagrant Chronicles #1)” by Janet Post & Gabe Thompson

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I’m pleased to share with you the book that started it all, award-winning novel Vagrant, the first novel in the Vagrant Chronicles. Read on for more info!

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Vagrant (The Vagrant Chronicles #1)

Publication Date: December 2016 (First Edition)

Genre: YA Dystopian/ Sci-Fi

Publisher: Tell-Tale Publishing

Logan Hall is a Vagrant, one of the disenfranchised living beneath the mega city of New Washington. The Vagrants have to hide from the Company who is rounding all of them up and shipping them to newly discovered planets to work in the mines. That’s what happened to Logan’s father.

Shayna is one of the privileged. She has a chip, a credit disc, and lives in a shiny stainless steel and glass high-rise above ground. Shayna is allergic to corn so she is one of the few above ground people who is not stoned on Sopore. Sopore is a drug found in genetically altered corn. It’s in almost all food. The Vagrants know about Sopore and avoid it.

These two teens from wildly differing environments meet by accident and fall in love. Logan will stop at nothing to rescue his friend Raj, captured and sent to the moon. Together, he and Shayna will follow his dream of finding his father who was sent to work in the mines of Gliess 67.

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Excerpt

Logan opened the heavy door to the cold locker slowly and peered out. It was night. He knew only a skeleton crew manned the morgue at night because there was a shortage of qualified help in the cities. There was a shortage of trained workers all over the world. Ever since John Demaris discovered what he named the warp drive after the hyper drive in Star Trek, and space travel to far worlds became a reality, the government had been rounding up every able-bodied man on the planet and shipping them off-world to work the mines of faraway galaxies. That’s where Logan’s father was. He’d been caught and shipped off to what the Mole People called Planet 666, Gliese 667, a brown planet with enough water to maintain life and lots and lots of gold.

“Come on,” he said to Raj. “We have to make the pickup in five minutes.”

They found hospital scrubs in a cupboard and put them on. Dressed like every hospital employee, the two boys slipped through the dark hallways of the hospital, took the stairs to the ground floor and then ducked outside. Logan led the way around the building to the alley in the back and the row of garbage containers behind the Emergency Room. He shoved Raj behind one marked with a red biohazard tag and squatted down to wait.

“What’re we waiting for now?” Raj asked.

Logan took out half of a cigarette and lit it with a match he took from a plastic bag. He inhaled deeply and Raj shook his head. “Why do you do that?”

“Cause my dad did. He loved a good smoke and so does I. It’s relaxing to me. I get pretty cranked runnin’ through the tunnels and you need a calm head about you to survive.”

The glass doors of the ER slid open with a sucking sound and Logan peaked around the edge of the trash container and there she was . . . his angel.

“Wow!” Raj breathed. “What a dynamite chick.”

“Don’t even look at her, mole. She’s so far above us, she don’t even exist. She’s a vision, an angel from above.”

“Well, your angel is toting a white plastic bag. Is that our package?”

Logan nodded. When Raj leaned across Logan to get a better look, he accidentally shoved Logan who reached out to catch himself from falling on his face and banged the edge of the container. The angel gasped and looked right into his eyes.

She was so beautiful. Her long black hair swung over one shoulder when she bent over to look at him through the clearest brown eyes Logan had ever seen. They were filled with the innocence of the protected, a girl who had never eaten roasted rat or run for her life into tunnels so deep beneath the city you encountered an even worse nightmare, the Worms. And then it hit him. Her pupils were small, her gaze focused. Unlike the majority of the people who lived topside, she looked straight.

“Who are you?” his angel asked.

Logan stood up and brushed the top layer of filth off his borrowed scrubs. He straightened his back and shoved a lock of dirty blond hair out of his eyes. “I’m Logan. I come from down there.” He pointed to his feet then grabbed Raj by the shoulder. “This is my little buddy, Raj.”

She backed up rapidly still clutching the white-plastic bag. “You’re one of them? You live underground?”

Logan thrust his well-developed chest out and lifted his chin. “Yeah, we’re not animals you know. We’re people, too.”

Shayna Nagata was in shock. All her life she’d been bombarded with horror stories about the people who lived underground. The homeless, the poor, the mutated animals no one wanted would come out of the manholes at night and feed on the children of the rich and privileged. Her parents had drummed it into her head. Never, ever, ever talk to anyone you think does not belong above ground. They have no chips. They have no credit and no job. They kill people like her and steal children away to feed on under the earth.

She reached out a shaking hand and touched his arm. It was thick and corded, not like the soft white arm of her father who was a lawyer. “You’re real.”

“Yeah, I’m real and you’re not stoned. What’s wrong with you?”

She backed away again clutching the plastic bag. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Your eyes, doll, you’re not bombed, stoned, high on drugs, you’re not sedated.”

Then she understood. “I can’t eat corn. It gives me bumps.”

The larger boy who said his name was Logan laughed and elbowed his smaller friend. “She’s gotta be the one person topside besides the doctor that ain’t zonked. How funny is that?” He turned back to her and she noticed his blue eyes were clear, his gaze sharply assessing, and he was laughing at her because she was different.

“It’s not my fault.”

And then he smiled and she noticed how white his teeth were. He even had big eye teeth and two crooked ones on the bottom. Everyone she knew had perfect, white, dental implants or veneers.

“I’m allergic.”

“So you can’t take the drug. Your life must be really weird.”

She shrugged. “They try to give me pills. I don’t like them.”

The entire population was addicted to a drug called Sopore. Sopore was a sedative genetically bred into corn by the chemical giant Monsonta. Corn, corn syrup, corn flour, corn starch, corn everything was in all the food. Shayna couldn’t eat it so she had to eat special food her mother bought. Her parents tried to feed her the pills prescribed by her doctor to make her like everyone else, but she didn’t like the way they made her feel, so she spit them out when no one was looking.

Available on Amazon

About the Authors

Janet Post

Janet Post

I’m the daughter of a Marine Corps colonel. I lived the military life until I got out of high school. At that point I was a wild child. I got married and moved to Canada where I lived up the Sechelt Inlet, the scene for Spellcast Waters. I lived in a log cabin, with wood heat and a wood cook stove fifteen miles by boat from the nearest town. I’ve moved a lot. Between the military upbringing and just rambling around the country, I’ve moved 40 times.

I lived in Hawaii and worked as a polo groom for fifteen years. I love horses and I paint, and I write. Now I live in the swampland of Florida with too many dogs and my fifteen-year old granddaughter. Life is beautiful. Live in the moment.

Gabe Thompson

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My mother and I started writing young adult and action novels together about five years ago. We work well together because we share many of the same interests. I have a degree in journalism and currently teach middle school in Jacksonville, Florida where I live with my wife and twelve-year old son.

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#BookSale “When the Children Come (Children of the Eye Book 1)” by Barry Kirwan

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Nathan, emotionally scarred after three tours in Afghanistan, lives alone in Manhattan until New Year’s Eve, when he meets Lara. The next morning, he notices something strange is going on – a terrified kid is being pursued by his father, and a girl, Sally, pleads with Nathan to hide her from her parents. There is no internet, no television, no phone coverage.

Nathan, Lara and Sally flee along the East Coast, encountering madmen, terrorists, the armed forces, and other children frightened for their lives. The only thing Nathan knows for sure is that he must not fall asleep…

Praise for When the Children Come…

A fantastic and original premise…flashes of Stephen King and MR Carey.” Tom Witcomb

A nicely taut thriller, with a Lee Child feel to its staccato writing and strong action sequences, and a high concept stretching the novel into true science fiction territory.” Amanda Rutter

Not just a page-turner – all in all a fabulous novel, which I was sad to finish.” Loulou Brown

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~~~

#BookTour “A Friend Like Filby” by Mark Wakely

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Welcome to the book tour for A Friend Like Filby by Mark Wakely. Read on for more details!

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A Friend Like Filby

Expected Publication Date: December 6th, 2021

Genre: YA/ Young Adult/ YA Contemporary/ Time Travel

George has been fascinated with the idea of time travel ever since the unexpected death of his mother when he was ten, and hopes someday to find a friend like Filby, the forever loyal friend of the time traveler in the 1960 movie The Time Machine. George’s two closest high school friends, Dave and Nancy (nickname Onion), struggle at times to understand his odd obsession as they deal with issues of their own both in and out of school. The story takes place during the three friends’ tumultuous senior year from beginning to end, with a major realization in store for George on graduation day.

“Mark Wakely weaves an unusual tale with characters that are both emotionally and psychologically rich…The story is told from George’s perspective and in a first person narrative voice that is as clear as it is compelling. The prose is beautiful and evocative at times and I enjoyed the author’s peculiar turn of phrase, the humor, and his knack for vivid descriptions…It is a delightful read.” – Readers’ Favorite

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About the Author

Author

Mark Wakely has held a lifelong interest in all things science-related, dating back to high school when he won the Bausch & Lomb science award in high school. Mark holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and is a college administrator at prestigious Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois. He lives in a nearby town with his wife and three children, and is an avid reader and amateur astronomer.

Mark Wakely

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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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#Excerpt “Rebel of Fire (Vigilant, Book 3)” by L.M. Preston

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Vigilant, Book 3

 

YA, Urban Fantasy

 

Date Published: 10-08-2021

Publisher: Phenomenal One Press

Who knew that taking a job at a High School Newspaper would weave Rei into an underground news operation? She’d stupidly sacrificed her family and was blackmailed into becoming a member of a Vigilant operation to save the unsuspecting human population in what most thought was Newport, RI. Rei was no longer living in ignorance, but knowledge came with a price. Love wasn’t an emotion she could give into when the ransom of her family’s life was at stake. Asher was sent to help her, but she felt he was sent to ensure she paid the debt owed in order to save her family. Rei didn’t relish being held hostage by Megan and her puppets or being thrust into interfering with a war instigated by magical beings, and their fight to control humanity. Rei had no idea how she could create a diversion that would save her, destroy an unimaginable evil, and teach her to love – again. Read other books in the Vigilant series: Insatiable Darkness, Caged Fire, Unbreakable Darkness, Scepter of Fire, Break the Darkness.

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EXCERPT

Chapter 1

Rei smelled blood. The metallic taste was in her mouth, enveloping her senses. Sirens blared, but the throbbing in her head hurt so bad she didn’t have the will to wake up fully. She had to open her eyes. The accident. Her last thought before being suffocated by the chilled waters beneath the bridge where they’d crashed was that her sister, EmVee was thrown from the van. Her brother hit his head. Dexter was drowning. Her mom and her twin brother, Reece… what happened to them? It was her fault. She had to save them, get them away from here. She struggled and jerked, feeling like she was fighting to get out of the suffocating waters of the lake.

“Ah!” She fought the pain that coursed through her entire body and pushed herself up. Rei’s trembling hands braced her on the hard cot in what appeared to be the inside of an ambulance. Rei willed her body to move.

She tried to open her eyes. One was bandaged closed, but the other was slightly crusted but opened. Rei’s vision cleared. She raised a hand to the gauze covering her head. Everything on her hurt, but suddenly, an energy she couldn’t explain rushed through her in waves, dulling the pain, giving her focus.

“They are on us!” a gruff curse came from a medic near the light from a window. The ambulance sharply whipped from side to side.

Rei slid off the hard bed, and her knees buckled when she hit the floor. “God! Ah.”

She willed herself to stand and pushed her back up against the wall, wincing at the burn in her side and on her head.

The crouching medic held on to a looped strap in the corner of the ambulance van. The medic pointed a gun through the broken glass window of the back-double doors. Several pops sounded, and the doors flew open. Someone was shooting at them? At an ambulance? Why? Rei crawled backward, grimacing at the pain.

“I can’t die today.” Rei searched for a weapon, anything she could use. The bed slammed to the opposite side of the ambulance then surged at her. Rei dropped to the floor, barely in time to keep her head attached to her neck.

The medic yelled a name, maybe the driver’s – Rei didn’t know. The medic fired at what sounded like a motorcycle gang outside. She could hear the revved-up engines in succession.

A huge explosion from a building or something shook the vehicle. It caught the wind from the blast and reeled forward. Rei’s petite form was jerked against the small cabinet of supplies then fell backward, striking her throbbing head against the metal back wall of the ambulance. The motorcycle riders didn’t relent though.

The medic shot several rounds from the gun he thrust forward. The back door flung open then closed then open again. The shots didn’t stop them. The dark smoke from the motorcycles kicked up. They swerved from one side to another behind the speeding ambulance as if setting up for another attack. A blue, glowing whip snapped through the opened door and wrapped around the medic. He fought against the weapon around his neck and braced himself by a foot against the wall within the cab of the ambulance. His fingers wrestled with it as it tightened.

Rei could have sworn his hands turned to claws as he tried to rip the glowing blue whip’s tail from his neck. The medic roared. His teeth even appeared to grow into sharp points that protruded from his mouth. Rei gulped back the putrid taste of vomit as she held tightly to a small hook in the middle of the wall. She must be hallucinating.

“Grrrr.” The medic released an inhuman sound before the whip yanked him out of the cab of the ambulance.

She had to be dreaming. Rei felt nauseous. This couldn’t be real – could it? What kind of medicine did they put her on? Rei shook her head. She felt clammy, sweaty. She had to get out of the ambulance.

She blinked through her blurry vision while searching for a weapon. She crouched lower, wondering how she would get out of this alive.

Rei glanced at where the medic had fallen before he was snatched from the vehicle. His gun would work. There it was in the corner. She scrambled on her hands and knees to the tossed handgun. She remembered her father’s summer hunting trips and wished she’d paid attention when he told her how to shoot a stupid gun. Rei fumbled with the weapon, vaguely remembering how to fire it. She couldn’t make out what was behind the smoke from the ambulance.

Then two of the bikers appeared within the sway of the smoke they kicked up. One of them, in a black leather suit and helmet that covered his head, gave a hand signal to another. Rei squinted her eye and swore the bike resembled her twin brother Reece’s motorcycle. It had to have been stolen or a replica. Rei didn’t care. She wasn’t going with anyone without a fight. She pulled the trigger, bracing for the kickback of the weapon and – nothing. All of the bullets were gone.

The ambulance rocked to the left and up into the air. “No!” Rei was thrown against the door frame. The bed slammed the wall then rolled toward her. She kicked it away. It launched out of the door. The impact of the ambulance hitting something hard bounced it down and then up. She went flying, mid-air, and fell on the side of the breathing machine. She fell forward. Every bone and muscle on her body throbbed. Smoke and dust from the collision curled around the high blood-red moon Rei focused on trying to fight the throbbing of her head. A motorcycle guy climbed up into the cab of the ambulance.

Rei’s vision grew hazy. She fought to stay coherent, but the ache drumming into the back of her head traveled to her eyes. Rei tried to stand, but gravity sucked her down.

Someone caught her.

“I think she’s okay.”

Rei stumbled into the abyss of darkness once more.

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Other Books in the series

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About The Author

L.M. Preston, a native of Washington, DC. An avid reader, she loved to create poetry and short-stories as a young girl. She is an author, an engineer, a professor, a mother and a wife. Her passion for writing and helping others to see their potential through her stories and encouragement has been her life’s greatest adventures.She loves to write while on the porch watching her kids play or when she is traveling, which is another passion that encouraged her writing.

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#BookBlitz “The Storm of Storms (Juche #3)” by Adria Carmichael

Juche copy

To celebrate the release of The Storm of Storms, book #3 in her YA Dystopian saga, Juche, Adria Carmichael is giving the first two installments away for FREE! From September 14th to the 18th, you can download The Demon of Yodok and The Weeping Masses on Amazon for zero dollars!

Juche part three - eBook - CopyThe Storm of Storms (Juche #3)

Publication Date: September 15th, 2021

Genre: YA Dystopian/ Survival

A highly addictive Young Adult Dystopian Survival Saga that will keep you glued to the pages.

Nari’s shocking revelation in the watermill changes everything in an instant, and Areum is once more faced with an impossible decision. Will she betray her sister in order to save her life, or support her and let her die? In the midst of this struggle, the storm of the century hits the camp, and life goes from hard to impossible overnight. Areum slowly comes to realize there is only one way to ensure their survival.

To escape!

But how can they escape from an escape-proof prison camp? And even if they would get past the ferocious dog patrols, the machine gun-equipped guard towers and the electrified barbed wire fence… will she be willing to condemn everyone they’re leaving behind to an inescapable end through torture and death?

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The Demon of Yodok (Juche #1)Juche part one - eBook - Copy

JUCHE [dʒuːtʃe]

Just when Areum, daughter of a privileged family in the totalitarian state of Choson, thought she was free from her personal prison, her world collapses around her as her family are taken away in the middle of the night to a hell-like camp in the mountains where people who have strayed from the righteous path are brutally re-educated through blood, sweat, tears and starvation.

There she has to fight for survival together with the family she hates and is forced to re-evaluate every aspect of her life until then – her deep resentment toward her twin sister; her view of her father in face of the mounting evidence he is a traitor with the blood of millions of fellow countrymen on his hands; and even her love and affection for the Great General – the eternal savior and protector of Choson, whom she had always considered her true father.

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The Weeping Masses (Juche #2)Juche part two - eBook

Areum’s hopes to be set free from the brutal political prison camp holding them is crushed, and the heinous assault on her sister plunges her into a state of shock and horror… and puts her on a collision course with her family. All hope seems to be lost. Just when she is about to give up, however, a disturbing revelation is made… and as the evil of the camp is given a face, Areum finds a new purpose to keep fighting.

Revenge!

But first they need to survive, and with the constantly harshening conditions and her family being targeted from all directions, daily life in Yodok turns into a never-ceasing fight to evade imminent doom.

On top of everything, an impossible tragedy strikes Choson, and the unquestionable truth Areum has built her life around is challenged to its very core.

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About the Author

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Adria Carmichael is a writer of Young Adult Dystopian fiction with a twist. When she is not devouring dystopian and post-apocalyptic content in any format – books, movies, TV-series and PlayStation games – she is crafting the epic and highly-addictive Juche saga, her 2020 debut novel series that takes place in the brutal, totalitarian nation of Choson. When the limit of doom and gloom is reached, a 10K run on a sunny day or binging a silly sitcom on a rainy day is her go-to way to unwind.

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