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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Book Review: Wolf Untamed (SWAT Book 11) by Paige Tyler

Wolf Untamed (SWAT Book 11)
by Paige Tyler
November 24, 2020
Print length: 304 pages
Updating suggestion…

The guys in the Special Wolf Alpha Team (SWAT) are hotter than ever.

SWAT werewolf Diego Martinez was on a mission to save lives when he walked into the hostage situation—he didn't expect to find a newly turned teenage werewolf and the kid's fiercely protective mother. For Bree Harlow and her son, Brandon, Diego is a godsend, and not just because he saved the day.

Bree has spent the years since her divorce trying to do her best by Brandon. But lately the boy who used to tell her everything has been keeping secrets. In the face of all the bizarre things happening at home, there's something about Diego that Bree can't resist—especially when he's able to explain Brandon's new abilities.

But the hostage incident was just the start in a wave of violence that no one can explain, and when Bree and Brandon are caught in the middle, Diego will do everything in his power to protect the family he wants as his own.

"SWAT is hot hot hot!"—Kerrelyn Sparks, New York Times bestselling author

"Paige Tyler's SWAT series hits all the right marks, blending steamy paranormal fantasy with modern-day realism."—Larissa Ione, New York Times bestselling author

Eleven books in and Paige Tyler has not lost the magic with the SWAT series! There’s a character for every reader and then some!

SWAT member Diego finally gets his own book! Diego can read hostile situations better than his teammates, and he has a knack for being able to talk down most of the dangerous people he comes across. It is what makes him essential as the team’s negotiator. And it is how he meets Bree and her teenage son.

Diego and Bree made such a good couple. I loved how grounded both characters were and how both were naturally nurturing and caring of each other and of Brandon, who happens to be a werewolf. Diego helped Brandon transition into his new life as a beta, all while he was falling for Bree and helping his SWAT team deal with an increasing number of calls for help kept the book at a brisk, intense, and interesting pace. There’s a buildup to something bigger in the plot, and I’m excited to see where this new threat takes these characters and the series.

Wolf Untamed is the first SWAT book to have the influence of the spin-off STAT series woven throughout it and it made a difference. The influence is subtle, but it’s there, and I like the fact that there could be cross overs and team-ups in either series. Without spoiling anything, I will say that the shocking discoveries made a few books back has opened up the SWAT team’s world to a whole new realm of possibilities and threats. And potential mates. It will be interesting to see if any of the remaining SWAT members get paired up with an unusual mate.

All in all, I would say that Wolf Untamed keeps longtime fans interested while getting new fans excited for what’s to come. Can the book be read as a standalone? Sure. But this series deserves to be read from the beginning and in order for maximum enjoyment.

Reviews of books 1-10

Rating: 4 sheep





Adria @ Adria’s Musings and Reviews
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About the Author:
Website Facebook Twitter 
Goodreads
Paige graduated from The University of West Florida with a degree in education in 2000, but decided to pursue a full-time career as a writer in 2004. Since then, she’s written over fifty books in several genres, including paranormal, contemporary, western, sci-fi and erotica. She loves writing about strong, sexy, alpha males and the feisty, independent women who fall for them. From verbal foreplay to sexual heat, her stories of romance, adventure, suspense, passion and true love will leave you breathlessly panting for more. 

She and her very own military hero (also known as her husband) live on the beautiful Florida coast with their adorable fur baby (also known as their dog). Paige graduated with a degree in education, but decided to pursue her passion and write books about hunky alpha males and the kickbutt heroines who fall in love with them.

When not working on her latest book, Paige enjoys reading, jogging, P90X, Yoga, Pilates, going to the beach, watching NFL football, watching movies and hanging out with her husband (not necessarily in that order!)

Monday, November 23, 2020

Nothing Good Happens After Midnight A Suspense Magazine Anthology + giveaway

THE SHOCKING STORY BEHIND “CELL PHONE INTOLERANT” 
By Kevin O’Brien

“I am not worthy!” 

That was the first thing that went through my head when the wonderful folks at Suspense Magazine asked if I’d like to write a short story for their thriller anthology edited by Jeffery Deaver, NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

They mentioned that the other authors writing tales of terror for the anthology would be Linwood Barclay, Joseph Badal, Rhys Bowen, Heather Graham, Alan Jacobson, Shannon Kirk, Paul Kemprecos, Shannon Kirk, Jon Land, John Lescroart, D. P. Lyle and Hank Phillippi Ryan.

I make a pretty good living as an author. When people ask me what I do, I tell them: “I write scary thrillers, the kind where someone says at some point, ‘The call came from inside the house!’” If I’m with a friend when such an inquiry is made regarding my occupation, I depend on them to pipe up: “He’s a New York Times Bestselling Author.” That’s what friends are for.

At the same time, I suffer from imposture syndrome whenever I’m on a panel or lumped together with a group of big name thriller writers. I remember being on a panel with one of the aforementioned authors and some other heavy hitters, and as we were being introduced, I thought: “I’m going to make an ass out of myself in front of these superstar authors.” I imagined audience members asking each other later: “Who was that author who was babbling incoherently and then fainted?”

So, I was pretty flattered—but intimidated—to be on this list of authors. I wasn’t sure what kind of story to write for NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS AFTER MIDNIGHT. Then it dawned on me. Amid all the tales of terror woven by suspense experts in this anthology, I could do something kind amusing—with mild suspense and a little O. Henry twist in the finale.

So I went out for a walk, hoping for inspiration to strike.

But I live in a very trendy neighborhood of Seattle. So instead of being inspired during my constitutional, I was just frustrated at having to step aside for all the cell phone absorbed idiots who didn’t know how to share the sidewalk with others. In one busy block, I passed about sixty people—some walking alone, some in pairs, some walking dogs and some in groups. All of them were looking at their phones. I didn’t pass a single person without a phone. I was the only one. It was very Orwellian. I started to laugh. And it was okay to laugh insanely, because no was looking up from their phone to notice me.

I think this is what’s happening in most big cities—and in Seattle, especially, because of all the techies who live here. Unfortunately, that just increases the odds of running into rude cell phone users.

He’s in the men’s room, talking on the phone while at the urinal next to me. She’s in a movie theater, texting in front of me during a very emotional moment of the film. He’s twittering while walking his dog and letting the leash stretch across the entire sidewalk so I can’t pass. She’s a millennial mom on a crowded sidewalk, blithely pushing her child in a stroller as if it were a battering ram while she gazes down at her phone. He’s shirtless in a locker room, taking a selfie in the mirror by the showers while I’m there toweling off. And that’s not even taking into account all of the people who text and drive.

The locker room incident really happened to me not long before Suspense Magazine contacted me about writing a story for NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS AFTER MIDNIGHT. I remember confronting Mr. Selfie: “Do you mind not doing that? I have no clothes on…”

“I’m not taking your picture!” the guy countered.

“There are signs everywhere saying you’re not supposed to be using cell phones in here.”

The guy looked at me as if I were utterly insane.

I thought about that incident while I was out on my constitutional, dodging so many cell phone users on the sidewalk. It occurred to me: Wouldn’t it be great if you could invent a device that would shock a rude cell phone user—and put their phone out of commission?

That was the inspiration for my short story, Cell Phone Intolerant.

And I have to admit, writing the story was quite therapeutic. I was also somewhat inspired by a classic old Twilight Zone episode starring Burgess Meredith as a myopic bookworm, “Time Enough at Last,” written by Rod Serling (from a short story by Lynn Venable).

In fact, when I read an advance copy of NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS AFTER MIDNIGHT, I felt like I was reveling in a marathon of Twilight Zone classics I’d never seen before. My fellow authors have helped create a wonderful smorgasbord of suspense. I hope my Cell Phone Intolerant is worthy of a place among these brilliant stories.

So, call a friend and tell them about NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS AFTER MIDNIGHT. Just be careful where you use your cell phone.


Nothing Good Happens After Midnight
A Suspense Magazine Anthology

November 17, 2020
338 pages
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Edited by Jeffery Deaver
with stories by Jeffery Deaver, Joseph Badal, Linwood Barclay, Rhys Bowen, Heather Graham, Alan Jacobson, Paul Kemprecos, Shannon Kirk, Jon Land, John Lescroart, D.P. Lyle, Kevin O' Brien, Hank Phillippi Ryan

The sun sets. The moon takes its place, illuminating the most evil corners of the planet. What twisted fear dwells in that blackness? What legends attach to those of sound mind and make them go crazy in the bright light of day? Only Suspense Magazine knows…

Teaming up with New York Times bestselling author Jeffery Deaver, Suspense Magazine offers up a nail-biting anthology titled: “Nothing Good Happens After Midnight.” This thrilling collection consists of thirteen original short stories representing the genres of suspense/thriller, mystery, sci-fi/fantasy, and more.

Readers’ favorites come together to explore the mystery of midnight. The ‘best of the best’ presenting these memorable tales, include: Joseph Badal, Linwood Barclay, Rhys Bowen, Jeffery Deaver, Heather Graham, Alan Jacobson, Paul Kemprecos, Shannon Kirk, Jon Land, John Lescroart, D. P. Lyle, Kevin O’Brien, and Hank Phillippi Ryan.

Take their hands…walk into their worlds…but be prepared to leave the light on when you’re through. After all, this incredible gathering of authors, who will delight fans of all genres, not only utilized their award-winning imaginations to answer that age-old question of why “Nothing Good Happens After Midnight”—they also made sure to pen stories that will leave you…speechless.

Contents: 
INTRODUCTION By Jeffery Deaver 
12:01 AM By Alan Jacobson 
Cell Phone Intolerant by Kevin O’Brien 
All Aboard by Hank Phillippi Ryan 
Gone Forever by Joseph Badal 
Night Shift by Linwood Barclay 
Midnight in the Garden of Death by Heather Graham 
The Sixth Decoy by Paul Kemprecos 
A Creative Defense By Jeffery Deaver 
After Midnight By Rhys Bowen 
Easy Peasey by John Lescroart 
TONIC by D. P. Lyle 
Tonight is the Night by Shannon Kirk 
ATM By Jon Land 
Review From Publisher's Weekly:
Most of the 13 all-original tales in this superlative anthology are unified by strange or unpleasant incidences occurring after the stroke of midnight. In contrast, Alan Jacobson’s thrilling “12:01 AM,” about a kidnapper patterning himself after a serial killer on death row, defies the perception that nothing good happens after midnight, as does John Land’s “ATM,” a redemption tale of a young man sent on a series of vague quests to improve people’s lives. Of special distinction are Linwood Barclay’s sublime nail-biter, “Night Shift,” about a newspaperman trying to stop a late-night caller from going on a killing spree, and Kevin O’Brien’s “Cell Phone Intolerant,” a darkly amusing vigilante tale of an anti–cell phone zealot whose crusade to punish inconsiderate people has shocking repercussions. Other standouts include Heather Graham’s disquieting spine-chiller, “Midnight in the Garden of Death,” in which high schoolers spend the night in a cemetery, and Deaver’s supernatural gothic, “A Creative Defense,” which underscores the power of music. This volume is guaranteed to keep readers burning the midnight oil well into the wee hours.
Goodreads-Amazon
Additional Praise:
“Something very good happens after midnight…just pick up this brilliant book and be transported—and very afraid!”
—Peter James, UK #1 Bestselling Author of the Detective Superintendent Roy Grace Series

“NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS AFTER MIDNIGHT is a treat—dark, chilling, and delicious. Grab it.”
—Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award-Winning Author of The Dark Corners of the Night

“NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS AFTER MIDNIGHT proves that the witching hour still has the power to haunt in this suspenseful collection of stories by luminaries in the literary world. Inventive, twisted, and downright chilling, here is an anthology to be savored—well past midnight and into the dead of night.”
—James Rollins, #1 New York Times Bestseller of The Last Odyssey

“This anthology showcases some of the best talent in the thriller genre—or in any genre. Whether quirky or creepy, each story displays the talent and uniqueness of its author. And since all are so good, this collection is a delightful read.”
—Sandra Brown, #1 New York Times Bestseller of Thick as Thieves

“If you like intrigue and suspense, you’ll love this salmagundi of tense tales from some of today’s short story masters. This book is guaranteed to keep you awake until midnight and beyond.”
—Steven James, Bestselling Author of The Bowers Files

“Nothing Good Happens After Midnight is loads of fun. The stories from this lineup of all-star authors are a blast to read, with plenty of neck-snapping twists and heart-stopping thrills that will keep you turning pages way past the title’s witching hour.”
—Boyd Morrison, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

“Readers rarely get a gift such as this—a superb collection from the giants of mystery and suspense.”
—Robert Dugoni, Bestselling Author of the Tracy Crosswhite Series

“Midnight is the magic switch. Safe becomes dangerous, good becomes evil, quiet turns raucous. When the clock strikes twelve in NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS AFTER MIDNIGHT, a talented crew of writers unleashes a maelstrom of thrills so intense, you will never sleep again. Unputdownable!”
—K.J. Howe, International Bestselling Author of SKYJACK

“NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS AFTER MIDNIGHT is a treasure chest of novelties, curiosities and gems. From Kevin O’Brien’s ‘Cell Phone Intolerant’ to Shannon Kirk’s ‘Tonight is the Night’ and Jon Land’s surprisingly heartfelt ‘ATM,’ you’ll never step outside at night in quite the same way.”
—Joseph Finder, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Nick Heller Series

About the Authors
**scroll through the slideshow to find out more about the authors!!** 


Giveaway 
$20 Amazon giftcard, Hardcover Copy of Nothing Good Happens After Midnight – 1 winner each! 
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway! 

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Excerpt: Night Watch (Soul Reader Book 1) by Annie Anderson + giveaway

by Annie Anderson
November 17, 2020
190 pages
Waking up at the foot of your own grave is no picnic... especially when you can't remember how you got there.

Cursed with powers she can't name, Sloane Cabot has vowed to catch the Rogue who turned her into a monster and killed her family. Too bad a broodingly hot mage is bound to keep her on the straight and narrow.

Whether she likes it or not...



Playlist 


EXCERPT: 

“Thomas warned me about this, you know,” Bastian began, his voice pitched low, his booted feet striding close but not piercing my bubble.

I kept my gaze latched onto his feet and refused to look up. If I caught sight of his neck, of his blood pulsing in that lovely vein, I’d lose it. I wasn’t hungry yet and I wanted to keep it that way.

I cleared my throat, an action that took far too much effort and hurt for some reason. My throat was dry. Why was it so dry? “Warned you about what?”

“He said that, in time, I would want to be bitten. That the thought of you hungry or in pain would make me want to serve myself up so you didn’t suffer. That it was dangerous and blissful and would likely cause you to leave us.”

His feet moved closer, piercing my bubble. The heat of him washed over me, even though he was a few feet away.

I shook my head, which I instantly regretted because blood loss was a thing and I was losing a lot of it, the healing process taking far too long. Booth must have hit an artery.

“I don’t want to be tied to anyone. I don’t want a home. I don’t want friends.” It was a lie—a whole mountain of lies—but it was the truth, too. I didn’t want a tie to someone who was going to leave me. I didn’t want a home if I was going to lose it. I didn’t want friends that would die on me.

“Too bad.”


About the Author:
Annie Anderson is a military wife and United States Air Force veteran. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she is a southern girl at heart, but has lived all over the US and abroad. As soon as the military stops moving her family around, she'll settle on a state, but for now she enjoys being a nomad with her husband, two daughters, an old man of a dog, and a young pup that makes life... interesting.


Giveaway

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Black Friday Reader's Catalog with 2020's popular books!

Check out the Black Friday Reader's Catalog with 2020's popular books!

USA Today, NYT, and Amazon Bestselling authors with B-I-G discounts.

Sales last all week!

Take a look at the catalog - - >

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Saturday, November 21, 2020

Excerpt: The Eulogimenoi Series by Maria Vermisoglou + giveaway



Beware the Violet (The Eulogimenoi Series Book 1) 
by Maria Vermisoglou
October 31, 2019
379 pages
Genre: YA Fantasy
Discovering supernatural creatures are real is one thing but learning I have powers and learning to use them is quite a feat.
My name is Violet Webb. I live in a small town that nearly worships Halloween but I hate it. I can't wait until I graduate and get as far as I can from that silliness.

Everything changed when I followed the white rabbit. I ended up in a Realm full of vampires, fairies, witches and every creature possible.

Oh, Did I mention Jacques?
The hot shapeshifter with the French accent that makes me see rabbits everywhere?

Now what?

Some bloody lady of Fate gave me a prophecy to get home. The only problem is that I must defeat the darkness before it swallows both of our worlds.

Can I go through without making the ultimate sacrifice?

Book Trailer: 


Excerpt:
“Under the violet sky, I wonder what my life would be like.
In a world where no monsters exist and no evil creatures with red eyes terrify us.
I wish my power was strong enough to make it come true.
I can see a witch, a fairy, and a vampire with a ghost among them for good company.
All together they join powers, and those with red eyes perish once and for all.”

The Shifter's Revenge (
The Eulogimenoi Series Book 2) 

Series Trailer: 

Father Dearest (The Eulogimenoi Series Book 2.5) 

Book Trailer: 


About the Author

Librarian. Reader. Writer. Reviewer.

Maria Vermisoglou is an International Bestselling fantasy author and she loves throwing her heroes into impossible situations. She draws inspiration from books, travels and...the ceiling. (So, blame the ceiling!)

She started writing 4 years ago when an idea came to her. That idea started all...
When she's not writing, she loves a good riding on the fantasy dragon but a book can also be exciting along with a cup of tea.
She's currently residing in Crete as a librarian, battling monsters and supernatural creatures from overcoming the world.

In July 2018, she was nominated as the second place winner in the First Annual Indie Awards as the Favourite New Female Author.

Giveaway 
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway! 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Excerpt: The Time Gatherer by Rachel Dacus + giveaway

The Time Gatherer
by Rachel Dacus
November 10th 2020
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Traveling in time he found love. And became a target.

Young George St. James doesn’t know how to unfold the wings of his gift, but a timegathering medieval monk and a 23rd century geneticist can put him on the right track. He learns the genetic nature of his ability. He finds that his destiny is to nudge history in the right direction. Unfortunately, it brings him enemies. The Optimalists are a secret society that wants to change the genome, get rid of the timegathering gene, and control humanity.

Brother Bernardo shows George how to use his ability and counsels him on its purpose. He takes George to Philadelphia in 1776, as the American colonists hesitate to sign a Declaration of Independence from England. He wants to inspire George as a timegatherer move the Colonists to act.

George struggles to thwart the Optimalists and evades their attacks. But love unexpectedly arrives to divert him from his goal. Beautiful, talented 17th century painter Elisabetta Sirani is destined for an untimely end. Passionately determined to save her, George changes history in the service of love—but it may cost him his future.

“A fine tale of time travel, romance, and adventure” ~ Reader review.

THE TIME GATHERER is the second book in the spellbinding Timegathering Series that began with THE RENAISSANCE CLUB. Plunge into a suspenseful story of love and adventure tangled up in history!


EXCERPT:
Her hand was limp in his, and her eyes had ceased to move under closed lids.

“Elisabetta?”

He couldn’t take a breath until she took one, but her breathing was shallow and slow. George finally inhaled, a lump in his throat. But he couldn’t allow the tears. Not yet. Not while she lived.
A single window above her bed let in a feeble shaft of light, but not much air. The stone walls oppressed him. This backward place. If only he could have transported his beloved to the airy apartment he lived in, four hundred years in the future. She could have recovered there. No one could get well in this backward century.

He had offered to take Elisabetta with him, knowing that she would die of this unknown disease. In his time, they might have been able to cure her, but she’d refused. He wouldn’t force this brilliant young painter to leave everything she’d ever known when that might ruin her and disturb history.

This was all his fault. If George hadn’t allowed his teenage passion for rock and roll to lead him to an even deeper passion for delving into history, he might not be sitting in this stone-walled room in the seventeenth century, keeping vigil at the bedside of the only woman he would ever love.

He could jump right now to the future and ask Dr. Zheng for another remedy, but since this one had gone so wrong, the next cure could be worse. And he couldn’t leave Elisabetta alone now.

About the Author:
Website-FB-TwitterRachel Dacus writes about love, history, art and adventure, with a touch of the supernatural. Her newest book, THE TIME GATHERER, is Book 2 in the Timegathering Series. Her novel THE INVISIBLES is a story of sisterhood and sacrifice, set in a haunted cottage on the Italian coast. In her first novel, THE RENAISSANCE CLUB (Book 1 in the Timegathering Series), a 17th century genius artist meets his superfan from the future. Dacus has published four poetry collections and many anthologies. Her most recent collection is ARABESQUE. She lives in Northern California with her husband and a tiny but mighty Silky Terrier. She's a member of the Women's Fiction Writer's Association, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Authors18. Learn more at racheldacus.net.

GIVEAWAY!
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Interview: YA Horror Author James J Crofoot + excerpt

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
To tell you the truth, I put a lot of thought into my stories, sometimes being very methodical. I write down what I want to say in one or two tries. And then other times I need to let the characters take over. It depends on how long I’ve been writing. Usually, after an hour of writing, that’s when the character’s take over.

Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
I have published these books before, about six years ago. I’m just getting back into it and these books are how I’m doing it. the first time I had it on amazon I received over forty-five five-star reviews. “Climax after climax…”, “Plot twist after plot twisted…”. I sold quite a few of these in the past and now they’re fresh again. So, read and enjoy!

Have you written any other books that are not published?
Why, I’m glad you asked. In addition to the two other books published in this series about Thomas’ adventures I have two more waiting to be published. Those I think I’m going to get an agent for. They’re about a Demon princess who starts out avenging her torture at the hands of another demon. In this first part, a fairy kills and a demon lord is banished to Oblivion for a hundred years. The stories go on from there.

Pen or typewriter or computer?
Pen and computer. At first, I write things on paper, sometimes two drafts. Then I’ll go to the computer and type it in. Then, sometimes, just sometimes-I start typing and the words simply start to flow and there it goes. I love these times most of all.

Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I write. I write pretty good stories; some say awesome stories. I love to write and know people are enjoying my work because I have been writing since I was about five years old. It’s in my soul. All this said and done. The thing I want the most? For my readers to tell their friends how much they enjoyed my writing. So curl up on that rainy day and get a cup of hot chocolate, or coffee, or tea. Most of all. Enjoy. Enjoy.

The Journeys of a Different Necromancer (The Locked Door Series Book One) 

by James J Crofoot
August 2, 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
72 pages
ASIN: B08FCKJK5D
Number of pages: 100
Word Count: 20k
Thomas learned more than he bargained for from the dark mage in the obsidian tower.

Thomas wanted to learn to read and write things only Xavier the Necromancer could teach. But Thomas learned much more. He learned to raise the dead. Then, with his knowledge, he set out for the distant sea.

Along the way, he made an army, encountered a dragon, and fought thieves by the score. But, could he continue to use the knowledge Xavier gave? Could he hold to his teacher's views that all people were self-centered, greedy, and jealous of him for being so much better?

Could he return to the obsidian tower to live a life where the world was locked out, where his teacher had kept all life away to simply be left alone? Where no one ridiculed and beat him for being different? Could he return to a life where only the undead, his risen, kept him company?

 
Excerpt 
“I was with Xavier,” Thomas replied. With head bowed, he stared at his stew, sensing he would not be allowed to eat. 

“Who?” His mother’s voice. Her angry, high-pitched voice. 

Thomas looked up at his father to see a pipe halfway to a gaping mouth. “Xavier, you know, he lives in the tower. He wants to teach me to read and write. He wants me to be his apprentice.” 

His mother sat down and stared at him. 

“He’s got lots of books, scores of them. He showed me a book with lots of animals in it.” 

His da sat back in his chair, silent. His mum folded her hands in her lap, also silent. 

“Think of it,” Thomas continued excitedly. “Think of the things I could do if I could read. I could go and work for the prince in Targon, I could see the whole kingdom.” 

“Go to bed, Thomas,” Da said. 

The boy gazed down at his untouched food. It smelled good and looked even better, but his father had spoken. Thomas got up and climbed the ladder to his loft. Deep into the night, even after his parents stopped their whispered arguing, he lay in bed thinking of the map Xavier had shown him of the kingdom. He would find a way. He would be…what word had Xavier used? Necromancer. He would be a necromancer and he would see the whole kingdom. 

* * * * 

In the morning, Thomas awoke to the smell of porridge. Having had no dinner the night before, he hurried down the ladder. There he found his da already eating. His mum ladled his share into a bowl and then got some for herself. 

“We’ve decided you may learn to read and write. None of that dark stuff, though. You hear? No digging up of graves,” his da said. “We want more for your life, Thomas. Now then, what does this friend of yours want in return? We can’t afford to pay anything. I suppose he mentioned a price.” 

Thomas looked at his mum as she sat down. She folded her hands in her lap and remained quiet. 

“He said it would cost nothing. He just wants someone to teach. Xavier said he’s getting old and just wants someone to pass on some of ’is…” Thomas paused trying to remember the word. “…knowledge.” 

Da wiped his mouth with his sleeve. “Then we’ll give it a try. Only til ’arvest, though. You’ll be needed in the fields then. Anything after that and we’ll see.” 

A month and a half, Thomas thought excitedly. I have a month and a half! 

“No good will come of this,” his mum remarked. “Mark my words, that man never did any good for anyone.” 

Thomas finished his breakfast in a gulp and got up to run from the house. He stopped just outside the door to pick up his favorite stick and heard his da say, “I want better for him, Sonya. This life is no life for my son. He’s smarter than this.” 

* * * * 

A month passed and Thomas studied. He studied geography; the world turned out to be a lot bigger than he imagined. He learned arithmetic, how to count to a thousand. Then moved on to reading and writing, eight to nine hours a day he went through the books and scrolls. On the second and third floors of the tower stood skeletons of various animals, there he learned science, anatomy, and biology. 

The fourth floor, however, Xavier said he needed to learn a good deal more before being ready for that. 

“The villagers are shunning me,” he said to Xavier one day after learning the word. “They whisper about me whenever I pass. Even my friends. Yesterday I waved to them and started walking, to tell them what I was learning, and they turned their backs and ran away.” 

Xavier looked up from the book he held. “People, for the most part, are very small-minded. They shun what they do not understand or things that are different.” 

“Was that the way it was with you when you first started studying to be a necromancer?” 

“People always thought me to be a little different. Look, Thomas, you will see more, you will do more, than they can imagine in their empty heads. You will learn to create life from death.” 

Thomas thought about these words for some time. He wanted to do more than just plant and harvest. He wanted to travel this world, especially the sea to the west, to see more than just this tiny village too small for a name. He decided he liked being different. He was already learning more than they ever would. Did not that make him better?

About the Author:

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James J Crofoot started working at 11 years old and never stopped. He’s been a sailor in the U.S. Navy, worked in video tape production, made money investing in stocks, and traveled throughout the US as a truck driver and an army brat. He’s been to all four corners of the US and to the top of every major mountain range in the United States.

Through it all, writing has been his first love, companion, and constant friend.

He has so many stories to tell, he plans to spend the rest of his life writing.

Born in Germany he currently resides in the "Great Mitten" that is Michigan. He resides with his insane family consisting of his sister, two spoiled but loving nieces, a brother in law, and two dogs.

He hopes you’ll enjoy his books while sipping tea, coffee, or cocoa on a rainy day.


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Excerpt: The Damned Society: Smoke and Mirrors by L. J. Elliott + giveaway

The Damned Society: Smoke and Mirrors
by L. J. Elliott
November 17th, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Lexia Luccen is a seventeen-year-old girl with a fiery power that is slowly destroying the last fragments of her sanity. Having lost her abusive father, Lexia is left scarred from the way he treated her and by the grief of his death. When she accidentally uses her ability to create a devastating explosion that takes many lives, she is moved from her life of solitude into the hectic youth facility that is Lucida.

Lucida is no ordinary youth facility. It is a secretly run technological agency for supernatural wayward youth, set up to teach them how to control their abilities after they have caused disturbances in society. These youths think that once they have been reformed, they will be freed. However, the truth is a very different story.

Lies, love, and more death await Lexia at Lucida, and she soon realizes that this facility is not quite what it seems. Now she knows she must make a choice: does she finally give up to the darkness that slowly consumes her—like her father did—or does she follow the firestorm that runs through her veins and for once in her life, battle for something?

Time is running out. Lexia needs to make her decision fast, before Lucida makes it for her.


EXCERPT: 
Prologue 
The smoke built around me with speed, carrying a taste of destruction as it vaped through my senses. The air gushed past my skin, getting heavier in pace with each breath I took. The smell of burnt paper lingering as it flowed around in the destructive zone that I was creating. I had never lost control like this before, yet at the same time, had never felt so happy about it. My mind was not instantly filled with regret or sadness at the fact I had let my power control me. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I was glad because it was the thing that ultimately helped me out in the end. For once, we had partnered up and were working together. I had never felt such strength from it before. It didn’t hurt, it just felt like it was a part of me now and like my power had momentarily become one with my soul. I closed my eyes and let the solidarity marinate in every moment we bonded together as I knew the feeling would not last forever and so, as I clenched my fists and the energy poured out of my body, for once in my life, I had no regret about harming something or about letting go of control. My mind and soul were finally free. 

One 

“Here we go again.” The words flew out of my mouth effortlessly as I heard my bedroom door crash open. My aunt entering the space with another look of determination to get me out of bed, crinkling her aged face. It was another episode of, Do What I Think Is Best For My Niece, Even If It Is Not. I threw my blanket over my head just as the morning sunlight bathed my room with a pool of golden radiance as my Aunt Sylvia stormed her way in and drew back the curtains almost viciously. Something she had begun doing every morning this past week to try and finally get me out of my selfcreated blanket cocoon. Instead of being happy another morning had dawned upon me, I dreaded entering the real world. As the golden shimmer poured through the cracks of my blanket, I wanted to hide further under my white cotton shield and just dissolve away into my mattress. “Aunt, get out. I want to sleep,” I grumbled from under the covers, even though I had a feeling it was going to be a waste of words today. I had pulled this trick too many times already. The game that was hiding away from my problems. “Come on,” Sylvia groaned back in her familiar stressed tone as I heard her feet shuffle across the wooden flooring and stop beside my bed. I dug further under as she suddenly tried to tug away my blanket and the sunlight spilled in even brighter around the space, projecting her shadow onto the floor with its illumination as my eyes started to peek through the cracks. “You are going to college today whether you like it or not. Now come on, you can’t afford to miss another day.” Silence lingered for a few moments before I felt a hand latch around the fabric above my head. The Damned Society 12 “Lexia, you are seventeen, not seven. I’m not playing this game anymore.” She tugged at the blanket edges even harder to try and snatch it away and after a few more annoying moments of fighting to stay hidden, she sadly succeeded and my barrier flew to the ground. I hissed like a vampire as the brightness that surrounded the room hit my eyes. I sure felt like one of late, seeing as neither my skin nor my eyes had seen the light of day since I had locked myself in my room for so long. Three weeks now and counting. The only times during that period that I did leave was when Sylvia left for work, after giving up on trying to get me out of bed. I would scuttle to the bathroom and then the kitchen to stock up on some food, with my blanket wrapped around me, continuing to be the shield that repelled away my reality. And it had been working—I wasn’t thinking of anything. However, given how oddly stern she seemed this morning compared to other attempts this week, I really did have a feeling my time of hiding from reality was up.

About the Author 
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Lotté Jean Elliott is an author from North-Eastern England. She began as an avid reader before she picked up a pen one day and started to use her imagination to create a new universe, just like her favourite fictional ones.

Through literature, she saw a whole new world open up, and she has not stopped diving into the deepest parts of her mind ever since.

When she isn't writing novels, poetry, or screenplays with her sister Francesca, Lotté loves nothing more than to find inspiration for life through art films, music, exploring museums, and language learning. She loves to explore the deepest meaning behind things and gain new perspectives of the world in which we inhabit.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Interview: YA Fantasy Author Jared K. Chapman + giveaway

What can you tell us about your new release, 2HVØRHVNØT: To Have Or Have Not?
The numeronym title 2HVØRHVNØT came to me in a serendipitous moment while driving with my family. I remember thinking about To Be or Not To Be, while pondering the idea of the Haves and Have Nots. Seeing the numeronym appear in my head, I envisioned it as a defaced identification tattoo on a wrist of someone oppressed by the government. The whole story developed from trying to figure out how that would have happened.

2HVØRHVNØT: To Have or Have Not is a fast-paced, genre-bending murder thriller set in a dystopian future where the superpowered Mighty oppress the powerless Citizens. Mario’s identity tag is 24VØR4VNØ, but he defaced it when he was a kid to spell out the numeronym To Have or Have Not, after the Mighty took away his parents and left him to raise his younger sister Zelda. The whole story takes place from 5:46am to 8pm in a single day, starting with Mario waking up late for work.

As he waits in line, he has no idea his boss is dead, and an adjudicator named Tanalia, who is one of the telepath-seer monks that police Fellowship City, is on her way to arrest him for the undetected, grisly murder.

The book is split into three parts with Mario being the primary protagonist of part I. However, in part II, his sister’s adventure begins as she searches for her brother in a city besieged by a monstrous killer.

This book combines some of my favorite things to read: science fiction, fantasy, superpowers, post-apocalypse, dystopia, and horror. There’s also elements of romance and suspense, and it is littered with subtle pop cultural references and social commentary throughout. I write what I want to read (or watch). My hope is that others like what I like, because I’ve got a whole world I’m building, and I’m ready to entertain.


What or who inspired you to become an author?
In third or fourth grade, I wrote and drew a short little story that our school published for books to sell to parents. I remember seeing my work in print and thinking it was the best thing ever. From then on, I knew I wanted to be published again someday. I wrote my first novel in sixth grade, which was some sci-fi fantasy Star Wars/Star Trek mishmash that I have no idea if it was any good or not, as it was never returned to me from a classmate reading it. I’m not exactly sure what or who inspired me to become an author. I just remember those two moments vividly in my memories.

That being said, I read a lot of Stephen King from the age of 10 on, as well as Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, and others throughout high school. I think they inspired me to continue my dream. However, one of my biggest supporters was my adopted grandmother Bibby (we adopted each other, as she was my cousins’ grandmother). She always encouraged my writing and was so proud when I won awards for a poem in high school and short story in junior college. I wish she could be here today to see that I’ve finally become a published author, something she always knew I had in me, even when I didn’t.

What's on your top 5 list for the best books you've ever read?
My tastes change with the seasons, so my top 5 today may not be the same the next time I’m asked. So, with that caveat in mind, here are today’s top 5 in no particular order: Kurt Vonnegut’s Slapstick, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide series, and Claudia Gray’s Star Wars: Lost Stars. By the way, this is really hard to limit myself to 5 books. I chose these, because I could read them over and over again. 

Say you're the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
If I could have any guest to be on my show, I’d want my first guest to be Stephen King. However, I would love to have both Stephen King and George R. R. Martin on the same show talking about their writing styles, but that’s not what was asked, so I’ll get back to the question at hand. 

The first thing I would ask Stephen King is how. How is able to produce so much? What does an average day look like for him? How can I become more like him?

What's your favorite thing about writing?
I love world-building. I’ll formulate the world I want to write in, creating its rules, customs, and history. I strive to produce vibrant, colorful worlds filled with interesting characters. I’ll spend weeks planning the world out and mapping it, so I know where everything happens, before I even put pen to paper to write one story. I believe that a fully fleshed out and compelling world is not restricted to only one kind of story. While my first story is technically a murder thriller, I could just as easily write a political espionage or a hard science fiction technothriller in the world I created. Seeing the endless possibilities in something I thought of and how others respond to what I’ve created are my favorite things about writing.

What is a typical day like for you?
I’d like to say, “I wake up before morning and watch the sunrise, have a light breakfast and begin to write,” but that would be very far from the truth. I work better at night, so I tend to stay up late and sleep in later than I should. My wife goes to work and leaves me with our three-year-old, who sometimes falls asleep with me and other times makes me get up to make him breakfast. I have an 18-year-old and 16-year-old also living at home, so sometimes I can get them to watch their little brother, so I can do some writing or other book-related function. I can usually get some things done while the 3-year-old is having quiet-time after lunch, and then it’s much more difficult until he goes to bed. Then, depending on my wife’s work schedule, we may watch a little TV before she goes to bed and I go to work on my laptop trying to write before falling asleep and starting it all over again. Although I can’t wait for COVID to be over, so I can go back to having more time to write without distraction, I truly enjoy this time I’ve been able to spend with my family.

What scene in 2HVØRHVNØT: To Have Or Have Not was your favorite to write?
There are so many favorites, but I cannot say anything about them, or they would spoil one of the twists. I loved writing the twists. They seem to just come out of nowhere and I hope that’s the experience the reader gets.

So, my favorite scene I can safely not spoil is the very beginning and its reprise. I love the interaction between Mario and Zelda. It’s short and sweet, and really shows who they are with one another. The first time we see it from Mario’s perspective, but in the second part of the book when Zelda becomes a primary protagonist, we get her take and it spins it a little bit. I like how Mario thinks about her and she thinks about him, and neither realize truly what the other is thinking.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
When I became a dad I said, “You can’t be a dad without getting a little snot on your shoulders.” I think I live my life by that philosophy. There are always consequences to our actions, and if we don’t act, there is no possibility of a positive consequence. I think Yoda’s “Do or do not. There is no Try,” is also something that influences me in the same way. It encourages me to push and make it happen, being positive about who I am and what I can do. I have a little sculpture of that on my desk, so I can look at it and be inspired. This is the way. 

2HVØRHVNØT: To Have or Have Not
by Jared K. Chapman
Sept 8, 2020
Genre: YA, Dystopian Superhero Fantasy, Horror, LGBT 
492 pages
Welcome to Fellowship City, where the Haves are super-powered, and the Have-Nots are just like you.

The Mighty have all the wealth, fame, power, and superpowers, but even they are subject to the monastery’s control. To maintain peace, telepathic monks see into the past, present, and future to police the other Mighty and the minority of powerless Citizens, who have nothing but their identity tags tattooed on their wrists.

Twenty-year-old Mario lives with his kid sister in one of the many camphouses on the island south of the city. Unlike the other citizens he stands in line with every morning waiting to be bussed to work, he actually likes his downtown job and the Mighty restaurateur who employs him.

At least, he did.

This morning, the grisly, undetected murder of his boss changes everything. In a flash, Mario becomes the primary suspect and must race against time to prove his innocence in a world that oppresses the powerless.

Part READY PLAYER ONE. Part DIVERGENT. Part MINORITY REPORT. Totally Superpowered! 2HVØRHVNØT has fast-paced action, suspense, horror, and mature themes that are sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats.


Book Trailer: 

Excerpt #1:

But I’m fast for a man in a black suit, he chortles at the thought. All these other workers, leaving their camphouses now and taking their sweet ass time as they stroll toward the bus stop, are probably looking at me and thinking, glad I’m not that guy.

Ahead of him, he glimpses an older woman with salt and pepper brown hair tied up in a bun with white lace, walking at a steady pace. As he closes in on her, he recognizes the stereotypical black and white uniform of a French maid she’s wearing. 

She must work for some richy-rich Mighties up in Emerald Hills, he thinks, a little jealous. They love dressing up their workers in crazy shit like that. I’m surprised she’s living in the WPC and not in the Normal slums with all the other preferred workers. I bet it’s a new gig, and she’ll be moving on up real soon.

He often ponders what life might be like if he lived outside of the WPC, wondering if a place in the Normal slums (or what the Mighty call southside ghetto) would truly afford more freedom at all. 

Having to wear a ridiculous outfit just to land a cushy job up there might not be worth it though, he thinks, loosening his collar and adjusting his necktie, as his short-lived jealousy fades away.

He hurtles by, startling her. 

She jerks out her earbuds and yells, “Watch out!”

He waves his hand in the air without looking back or slowing his gait. At the next block, he jumps up and high-fives the Luxuria Street sign.

TWWWIIIIIINNNNGGG

“Stupid kid,” barks the lady.

He laughs, picking up his pace, trying to cut ahead of the many people leaving their homes for their 7 a.m. shifts.

Come on. Come on, he thinks, racing forward, trying to ignore the soft rumbling of a crowd.

The noise builds, rising into a voluminous cacophony of chatter, as he crosses Tristia Street. He can no longer ignore the sound of the gathered mass of people waiting in the bus line, not moving an inch. 

“Son of a bitch!” he exclaims, zipping by people of all shapes and sizes, costumed and uncostumed.

In the distance, he spots a lone bus exiting Olum Bridge toward Citizen Way. He bolts toward the front of the line, passing a myriad of glowering faces. The weight of their judgment does nothing to slow him down.

“No cutting!” a woman’s voice shouts, but he disregards her and runs faster. The crowd’s murmurs merge into some foreign-sounding condemnation where the words are unintelligible, but the tone is clear. 

“I’m sorry,” he apologizes, galloping past the gawking onlookers. “I need to get to work. I can’t be late!” 

No one is fooled by his lip-service apology, but they do understand his dilemma. Not that his boss will. He’s not the most forgiving about tardiness, and the recent promotion from the kitchen to the dining room floor would likely be the first thing on the chopping block. 

I don’t want to be back in the kitchen all the time, he thinks. Or worse. It could be a lot worse.

His eyes lock onto the bus, as it creeps toward the bus stop. He rounds the front of the line, maneuvering through the crowds of other workers to inch closer to the door of the bus before it burps to a halt. He grins ear to ear. 

Mere steps away from the doorway, his smile rips from his face in a sudden jolt of panic, as a massive reptilian tail drops in front of him like a boom barrier at a railroad crossing. 

“Where do you think you’re going?” the guard inhumanly snarls.

 

About the Author
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Jared K. Chapman is an author, filmmaker, and educator.
He is a native Californian who spent his formative years at school in frigid Alberta, Canada with his father and summer vacation in arid central California with his mother. He holds degrees in psychology & religious studies and is currently a doctoral candidate studying the social psychology of extreme groups. He lives in a little oasis just east of Los Angeles with his wife and three sons. 2HVØRHVNØT is his debut novel.

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