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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Book Review: Double Vision: (Vista De Lirio Mysteries Book 1) by Elizabeth Hunter

Double Vision: (Vista De Lirio Mysteries Book 1)
by Elizabeth Hunter
April 19, 2022
Pages: 316
Desert sunshine casts the darkest shadows.

Successful realtor Julia Brooks moves to the quirky neighborhood of Vista de Lirio in the California desert and meets a riotous cast of eccentric characters. But her semi-retirement is spoiled when she finds the body of the neighborhood lothario dead in the kitchen of her brand new listing. Even more complicated? She also meets his ghost.

Double Vision is all new paranormal women’s fiction and the first book in the Vista de Lirio Mysteries from USA Today Bestseller, Elizabeth Hunter, author of the Glimmer Lake series, the Elemental Mysteries, and the Irin Chronicles.

As Hunter dives into a new supernatural world in Palm Springs she once again has brought a series that middle-aged women can relate to and appreciate. Julia Brooks is a 51-year-old woman who had a small brush with death that pushed her to semi-retire and move to Palm Springs. She is living in the guest house of her ex-husband and business partner as well as his husband, kids and pets which provides all kinds of humor, strangeness, and fun. On one of her first nights with them she attends their monthly Sunday night dinner parties which is more party than it sounds where she encounters an eccentric bunch of people including some ghosts. As part of her semi-retirement, she has one listing in Vista de Lirio, and when she goes to check it out, she receives the shock of a life time.

Hunter develops believable, relatable and lovable characters in this fun series that will keep you guessing and laughing.

Getting 5 sheep 





Denise B

About the Author:
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Elizabeth Hunter is a contemporary fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance writer. She is a graduate of the University of Houston Honors College and a former English teacher. She once substitute taught a kindergarten class, but decided that middle school was far less frightening. Thankfully, people now pay her to write books and eighth-graders everywhere rejoice.

She currently lives in Central California with her son, two dogs, many plants, and a sadly dwindling fish tank. She is the author of the Elemental Mysteries and Elemental World series, the Cambio Springs series, the Irin Chronicles, and other works of fiction.

Exclusive Excerpt: Harmony of Fire (Alice & Owen Book 1) by Brian Feehan

Harmony of Fire (Alice & Owen Book 1)
by Brian Feehan
June 28, 2022
Berkley
The riveting first novel in a brand-new paranormal romance series by debut author Brian Feehan, son of legendary #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.
 
The We—beings who existed long before humans ever did, filled with powerful magic—walk among us. Owen and Alice are both etherealists—rare humans born with magic who are targets for those We that wish to take it from them. At nine years old and against her will, Alice’s soul was tied to one such powerful and evil We. She escaped and was trained to be a weapon so she might one day break the bond and safely return home. Everything is going to plan…until she meets Owen.
 
Owen is a musician who is trying to outrun his past while keeping those around him safe in an increasingly dangerous world. Owen keeps them on the move until a band of hunters crosses their path. Owen must go home—a place he swore he’d never return to—and seek protection from the We who could destroy them. And then he meets Alice. Only through finding each other do either Alice or Owen have a chance of survival.

HARMONY OF FIRE – Exclusive Excerpt
“Alice, listen to me.” Father Patrick abandoned his search of the street and turned around in the driver’s seat to look back at her. “You and I can go into that house right now, your parent’s home. We can simply scoop them up and then disappear.”

Never taking her right eye away from the scope, Alice’s left eye focused on him. Father Patrick had been in his mid-thirties when he served Grace Cathedral, not more than a few miles from where they were now. He held scars on all ten of his fingers from the day that had changed both of their lives forever. And for sixteen years, despite being a pacifist, Father Patrick had never abandoned her. They had traveled most of the world together, so when he spoke, she felt the weight in the question like a building coming down over her heart.

“We have the skills, and the contacts, to take you and your family out of this country. We walk in there, convince your mother, your father, and little sister to get in this car, right now, and we go. You can have your family back. You don’t have to kill Kerogen. The relic you wear keeps the bond covered, and the rest is simply outsmarting him. As you said, he doesn’t have friends to help find you, and the world is a vast space. We can do it. You can have your mother and father back today, now. Right now.”

Alice stared at the good Father as every muscle and cell in her body shouted out with pain and ice. It hurt. Hurt more than the pain she had come to live with. It hurt in a way that crushed her soul into small pieces.

“Oh, Alice, it's ok. We can do this.” Father Patrick said as he opened the center console, pulling out a fresh white tissue. “Here, you’re crying.” He reached as far back as he could.

It hurt to move, even as Alice set down the lethal weapon and gathered her will. One hand wiped away the tears that had slid down to her chin. Then she reached forward and took the tissue from his weathered, scarred hand. The white cloth smashed in between hers and his.

“I can’t. I can’t do it. Father, they had a service and buried me, and you know it. Right now, they aren’t in danger. But if I take them. If I change their life like my life has been changed, then all three of us will be hunted forever. Because, if I stop going after Kerogen, I know beyond a doubt, Kerogen will come after me. He will never stop because he owns me.” Alice’s left hand touched her collar bone and slid across the faint crisscrossed lines that lay there. “Kerogen has a plan once my power stops growing. He will need everything I have to give if he wants his soul to break into heaven, and we both know it. He won't ever stop or let me go.”

Alice held his gaze. The depth of his blue eyes held the weight of the earth.

Can’t you see, they buried me years ago, they had to let me go and start over. You’re asking me to go in there and break them just as he broke me. I can’t offer them anything but pain.

“Alice, you can have it all. A simple life in a fishing village, or live on a mountain top. You could meet a man and start your own family.” Father Patrick stopped talking as Alice let go, the white tissue still in his hand, taking on a symbol of surrender she could never accept.

“I’m broken, Father. Kerogen broke me on that day when we sang together; he tied our souls in a way I can’t escape. I don’t get to have a family, a husband and partner I call my own. I’ll never be a princess with a normal life. I don’t even understand what that would look like anymore. I just need to fix what he did to me. Break the bond and send his ass to hell. Just look around. I don’t belong in this place. There is no little white cottage for me. No ivory tower, no picket fence. Father, you did your best to save my soul, but I’m broken, and I won't stop until Kerogen is dead.”

Excerpted from Harmony of Fire by Brian Feehan Copyright © 2022 by Brian Feehan. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

About the Author:
Brian Feehan lives in his mind, creating vibrant characters who tend to talk very loudly and far too often. When real life comes knocking, it is likely to be the love of his life, Michelle, or their son Dylan. Together, they live on the northern coast of California, which is quite different from any other part of California.

Brian is fascinated by both the written word and learning new subjects. He is always up for a laugh, a game, or a drink with friends and family. He is also the son of #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan, who started his training to become an author before he was old enough to walk.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Excerpt: Her Dark Reflection (The Dark Reflection #1) by Hailey Jade + giveaway

Welcome to my stop for this gorgeous dark fairy tale retelling by Hailey Jade called Her Dark Reflection! Read on for more info and a chance to win a great giveaway!

Her Dark Reflection (The Dark Reflection #1)
by Hailey Jade
June 15, 2022
Genre: Dark Fantasy/ Dark Romance/ Fairytale Retelling
Midnight Tide Publishing
“They called me the Whore Queen. Some even called me the Evil Queen.
But they could call me whatever they wanted. I was still queen.”

Rhiandra Tiercelin hungers for power and her charm has always been her sharpest weapon in hunting it. So when a brutal attack leaves her physically scarred, desperation drives her to make a deal with Draven, a magic-wielding stranger who is inexplicably compelling and definitely dangerous. She knows she can’t trust him, but he when he offers to make her a queen, the temptation is too enticing to resist.

Armed with a glamoured face and an enchanted apple, Rhiandra is determined to scheme her way into a crown, even if it means risking the deadly punishment for unsanctioned magic use. But Draven is playing a bigger game, and she is just one piece on the board.

Can she keep her wits about her long enough to uncover his secrets, or will he lure her down a path she will come to regret?

Her Dark Reflection is the first book in a new dark romantic fantasy series perfect for fans of Raven Kennedy, Jennifer Armentrout and Sarah A. Parker. If you like cunning, ambitious heroines, morally ambiguous men and romance that toes the line between love and hate, then you’ll love Hailey Jade’s dark reimagining of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
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Chapter One
The Winking Nymph was always flooded with patrons after the Burnings.

The atmosphere wasn’t the same as it would be on a busy night at a regular tavern; the dim lighting fed rather than banished the shadows, encouraging them closer, leaving pockets of space where patrons could lurk without being recognized. Men – and the occasional woman – drank, sometimes in groups, but for the most part they didn’t engage themselves with singing bawdy songs or telling dirty jokes. Perhaps the place was debauched enough on its own and so they didn’t feel the need.

Women drifted in and out of the shadows, flirting with the light as it caught on their spangled wrists and ankles and throats, and at the front of the room a beautiful redheaded girl sang with a voice as sweet as sun-warmed strawberries. It was going to be a big tipping night; the city was beginning to bulge with visitors attending the treaty celebrations, and the moon cycle holiday had beckoned them all to the streets, thrilled by the morning’s violence and drunk on bloodlust.

I was eager to get out on the floor, but Madam had saddled me with initiation duties, so I was instead lingering in a corner by the bar, doing breathing exercises with the novice.

Aalin’s perfume was thick, a ghastly confection of jasmine, violets and something sugary that made my head ache. I could pick a new girl a mile away – they wore thick makeup obscuring their faces, chains and sparkles everywhere one could hang a jewel, and gowns in gaudy colors that revealed more than they concealed. They thought they were channeling desirability, but in reality, all the decoration was just a screen to hide their nerves behind.

I was long past those sorts of naïve assumptions. I’d worked at the Winking Nymph long enough to know that calculated vulnerability earns more than donning the generic armor of maisera. Aalin wasn’t ready to hear that, though. That night she just needed to feel like she belonged, and all that perfume was a part of the uniform.

‘They’re just men,’ I soothed as she chewed on her lip and smoothed her dress over and over again. ‘And they’re mostly drunk men. They want to be pleased. And they’ll be excited to see a new girl.’ I tucked a lock of wiry hair back into her updo.

‘I don’t think I know how to be sexy,’ she admitted in a small voice. ‘I thought I did, but now that I’m standing here…’

Continue reading...
About the Author

Website-AmazonHailey Jade has tried to quit writing, but alas, the characters who live in her head will not stop yammering. She’s hoping that building them ink-and-paper homes will make them pipe down long enough for her to get some sleep. She likes creating fantasy worlds populated by complicated, morally-grey characters who try to resist their attraction to other complicated, morally-grey characters, but who inevitably fall in love, because everyone needs a Happily Ever After.

Hailey has completed a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Teaching at Flinders University, and spends her daylight hours trying to convince reluctant teenagers to love books. She lives in regional South Australia with her partner, bouncy baby boy, and feline overlord.

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@haileyjadeauthor @rrbooktours @midnighttidepublishing #rrbooktours #herdarkreflection #darkfantasy #darkromance #darkfairytale #fairytaleretelling

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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Excerpt: Rogue (Talisman, #6) by Tam DeRudder Jackson + giveaway

Rogue (Talisman, #6)
by Tam DeRudder Jackson
June 28th 2022
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Baz Cormac never intended to be a rogue, but fate had other ideas.

Being forced to pledge loyalty to the evil Morrigan is its own kind of hell. So when Baz discovers the lie she’s used to keep him and his band of rogues under her power, he concocts a plan to force the goddess’s hand, which drops him in the center of a cosmic tug-o-war. No matter which way he leans, someone is going to lose—and it looks like that someone may be Baz.

A talisman fights her fate…and her fatal attraction.

Delaney Ferrell has spent her life trying to live down her uncle’s choice to turn rogue. As a warrior-talisman hybrid, she’d done her best to serve the warrior community as a protector. But a cryptic letter sends her to an abandoned home where she encounters a lone rogue with fighting skills no rogue should possess. Instead of killing her, he kidnaps her and takes her to his lair. He presents a terrible danger to the community, one she must neutralize.

So why does he have to be so damn charming?

Discovering Delaney is his fated mate throws all of Baz’s plans into chaos. And when the goddesses come calling, Baz has to choose between a rogue’s freedom and a talisman’s love.

Will they have a chance at love, or will they be torn apart?

Book 1
$.99

EXCERPT
The low rumble of a pickup pulling into the house next door brought Baz out of the barn to investigate. He’d managed to convince Rory and Jaime to take a little vacation to Vegas, hit a couple of strip clubs and casinos he knew rogues liked to frequent, and see about adding some new recruits to their little band. They could consider their trip a working vacation.

In the month they’d been away, he’d put his construction skills to work with his supernatural speed and stamina. With the exception of leveling the gravel on the floor of the barn, he’d finished his project in record time. Or perhaps in the nick of time if someone was looking to move in next door. He’d kept a close eye on Ian McCloud’s place, but until today, he hadn’t seen any activity there. Not a family member, not a realtor, not a curious someone looking to take advantage of an empty house.

He made several forays over to McCloud’s in the dead of night, looking to see what it was about the man that had the goddess’s interest. As a fighter, Ian McCloud was unremarkable from other warriors Baz had met on the battlefield. He knew the man was a widower with a small child, and that wasn’t all that attention-grabbing either. So why had the goddess keyed on him? Nothing Baz found in or around McCloud’s house had given him a clue.

The truck’s engine revved once before the driver shut it off. Simultaneously with the slamming of the truck’s door, the hair all over his body stood at attention, like a shock of static electricity zinged over him. Whoever was visiting McCloud’s house on this soft twilight evening was a member of the warrior community. Baz summoned his claymore to his hand and soundlessly made his way around the back of the neighboring property to investigate.

Whoever was visiting knew the place well. A beauty of a three-quarter-ton crew-cab pickup with a gleaming forest green paint job was parked on the tarmac in front of the double door of the garage behind the house. Through the glass of the outer back door, he could see the heavy oak inner door was wide open. The visitor was someone who wasn’t worried about being caught inside.

He debated cornering the warrior inside the house, but decided to wait from his place of concealment in the trees bordering the backyard. Though he’d been inside the house himself on more than one occasion, chances were whoever was there knew the place better than he did. Safer to wait and see who and what the person was and determine the level of threat. That the visitor was a threat he had no doubt. The hairs on his forearms and the back of his neck had remained standing ever since he’d heard the man cut the engine to his truck.

The truck was a beauty. His eyes strayed to the back door, and he wondered how much time he had to check it out. Taking a chance, he sheathed his sword in its scabbard on his back and vaulted through time and space to land on the driver’s side. He ran his hand along the paint of the fender and appreciated the tread on the tires. Though the truck was immaculately clean, whoever owned it used it to work—or play. He squatted low and checked out the suspension, confirming his suspicions that the truck was someone’s toy.

A quick glance inside the cab had him doing a double-take. He chuckled to himself. As close as the driver’s seat was pulled to the steering wheel, it was obvious the warrior who owned this rig was trying to make up for something he lacked. Baz adjusted his own package, and grinned. At six feet three with a wingspan to match, he could easily outmaneuver a warrior who had some distance to make up to reach six feet.

A sound near the back door sobered him up quick. He scanned the area for cover, sighting no bushes or flower beds or other hiding places near the house. Before he could visualize himself back to his hiding place at the back of the yard, a woman stepped through the door and pushed a key into the lock. With a flick of her wrist, she tested the handle and nodded. And stilled.

Time moved in slow motion as Baz catalogued the woman’s features. Long waves of chestnut-colored hair flowed over her shoulders to the middle of her back. Her orange T-shirt showed off toned shoulders and arms and a nipped-in waist where it was tucked into her jeans. Her jeans covered the sweetest ass he’d ever seen, rounded and perfect. Athletic. His hands itched to touch her. The dark navy wash of her jeans made her legs appear endless, and he wondered how they would feel wrapped around him. Before he could appreciate more of her, he caught the flash of a claymore as she summoned it to her hand the second before she faced him.

“Who are you, and what are you doing here?”

He’d expected a scream. Instead, the woman’s soft alto washed over him, momentarily disarming him. That and the intensity of dark chocolate eyes in a perfect heart-shaped face. The last of the sun’s rays slanted off her sword, bringing him back to himself. This gorgeous woman was a warrior, a serious threat.

“I could ask you the same question.”

About the Author:
Tam DeRudder Jackson is the author of the paranormal romance Talisman Series and the contemporary romance Balefire Series. Her favorite “room” in her house is her back patio where she dreams up stories of romance and risk. When she’s not writing her latest paranormal or contemporary romance, you can usually find her driving around with the top down in her convertible or carving turns on the slopes of the local ski hill. The mom of two grown sons, Tam likes to travel, attend rock concerts, watch football and soccer, and visit old car shows with her husband. She lives in the mountains of northwest Wyoming where she spends most of her free time trying to read all the books. Her TBR piles are threatening to take over her office, and she’s fine with that.

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Friday, June 24, 2022

Book Review: Black Wings, Gray Skies (Black Hat Bureau - Book 4) by Hailey Edwards

by Hailey Edwards
April 16, 2022
Pages: 259
Black Hat Bureau, Book 3
Monsters with a taste for children are nothing new, but fairy tales never mentioned this nightmarish predator. Rue has her hands full tracking the creature hunting the streets of Charleston, but a call from home divides her attention—and her loyalties.

A stranger has come to Hollis Apothecary, asking questions that prickle the hairs on her nape, but she can’t abandon the victims based only on a bad feeling. The pit in her stomach only grows when the stranger takes a hostage and makes his demands. He wants to talk to Rue, face to face. Or else. What he has to say will change her life, and her perception of her past, forever.


One thing that can be said about Rue is that her life is never boring. Something supernatural is taking kids in Charleston and Rue’s team is called in to hunt the creature killing kids and put it down. Rue takes the safety of all of her team both with Black Hat and at open very seriously and her attention is split when she gets a call from the shop that stranger has been asking questions and looking for her.

Rue has a hard time accepting help and feels that it’s her mission in life to take responsibility for those in need, especially Colby. While in Charleston hunting monsters something strange starts happening, and Rue is determined to get to the bottom of it because safety for her family comes first. The more time Rue and Asa spend together the harder it is to hide the fact that she is in love with him and no matter how hard she tries to run from it she just can’t. The rag tag team of Rue, Asa, Clay and Colby warms my heart and I look forward to seeing where this group ends up when it’s all said and done.

Review: Black Hat, White Witch (Black Hat Bureau - Book 1)
Review: Black Arts, White Craft (Black Hat Bureau - Book 2)
Review: Black Truth, White Lies (Black Hat Bureau - Book 3)

Getting 5 sheep





Denise B
About the Author:
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I was one year old when the movie The Dark Crystal hit theaters. I was five when Labyrinth was released. Other favorites of mine include The Last Unicorn, The Hobbit, Flight of Dragons, and Nausicaa. Those are the movies and cartoons that shaped my childhood. I watched them until my parents begged me to stop, and then I waited until they left the room before I hit play one last time.

The movies, the stories, were pure fantasy. I didn’t realize as a small child that those worlds were impossible to visit. I just assumed I hadn’t found my way in yet. I wanted to pet a unicorn. Heck, I wanted to ride one. I wanted a chance to snatch a dragon’s scale and learn what magic it held. I wanted my own sword, which resulted in my parents installing a lock on the silverware drawer. Something about thou shalt not skewer thy baby brother…

I also had a huge crush on Jareth, the Goblin King from Labyrinth. My parents discouraged this obsession as well. Something about thou shalt not bargain away thy baby brother in exchange for a hot boyfriend…

I know what you’re thinking—my parents never let me have any fun. Okay, and that maybe I had an unhealthy fascination with all the ways I could rid myself of my annoying little brother.

But the truth is, those movies kick-started my imagination, and my love of all things fantasy. So it’s strange to think, looking back, that I fell into reading crime and mystery instead of fantasy or paranormal novels. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I stumbled across Darkfever by Karen Moning and became hooked on urban fantasy. From there, I rediscovered my love for the fantasy genre and all its enticing new subgenres.

I gobbled up paranormal romances—J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark, and Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld. I devoured all flavors of urban fantasy from Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files to Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series.

Really, it wasn’t until after I read Darkfever that I got that tickle in the back of my mind that maybe I could write a book. All those years of reading crime and mystery, and the thought had never occurred to me. But after glutting on fantasy and paranormal romance, I began having ideas for my own worlds and characters. It was so unexpected I didn’t know what to do.

So I sat down. And I started writing.

Six years later, here I am. I still write fantasy and paranormal stories. I still read them too.

I have been told my tastes are limited, but there I must disagree. My tastes are specific, yes, I will admit that. But no other genre has as much variety as fantasy. No other genres encompass witches, vampires, wizards, demons, werewolves, angels, gods and goddesses, creatures of myth and folklore, humans, mermaids, mermen, and every other creature you ever promised your little brother lurked under his bed.

Not that I ever told him monsters were waiting for him to use the bathroom so they could grab him and drag him into their underground lair, because that would be wrong. What? Okay, so maybe I hinted at monsters. A little. And okay, one time I hid under his bed and grabbed his ankles then giggled like a loon while he screamed.

I couldn’t sit down for a week after Mom caught me.

I feel I should add here that my parents had no sense of humor. But I’m happy to report they have much improved since I hit my thirties and stopped tormenting my brother…for the most part. I think giving them a granddaughter probably helped too.

I’m sure you can guess what my daughter’s favorite genre is. Yep. Fantasy.

I guess some things really do run in the family.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A Portrait of Death (The Versipellis Mysteries Book 1) by Rhen Garland + giveaway

Review coming in a few days. The reviewer loves this story!

A Portrait of Death (The Versipellis Mysteries Book 1)
by Rhen Garland
July 12, 2021
Genre: Historical Supernatural Mystery
A Victorian house party, a supernatural mystery, and two very special investigators.

England
1899

Immortal detectives Elliott Caine and Abernathy Thorne have spent centuries searching through time for the reincarnations of their murdered wives. As their quest continues, they use their many lifetimes of knowledge to solve Gothic mysteries that can be unsettling, and sometimes terrifying.

Never before have they been faced with a case like this.

The great and the good are gathered for the social event of the season, but the evening comes to a horrifying halt when the mutilated remains of two men are discovered artistically displayed in the portrait gallery. As Caine and Thorne begin their investigations, they uncover more than the usual murderous web of intrigue, espionage, and treason.

An ancient evil is stalking ever closer, intent on finding that which they seek.

Where does the mysterious agent Versipellis fit into the case? And who is the shadowy figure watching Caine and Thorne with such interest?

Find out who, when, why, what, and how in this very Victorian murder mystery; the first instalment in a new Gaslamp fantasy series that drips with elements of Gothic mystery, historical urban fantasy, and rather a lot of blood as we follow the exploits of immortal Victorian detectives Elliott Caine and Abernathy Thorne in the latter stages of the Victorian world.

"As soon as you start reading, it gets you hooked, and you just can't put it down."

"Wonderful twists and turns in the story line kept me wanting to read what happened next."

"A great debut novel from an author with an amazing imagination." - Katylou 1966


Book One: A Portrait of Death ~ Excerpts
New York
Tuesday 10th September, 1889
7:05pm
The horse drawn hansom cab slowly made its way along the city crescent, the cab’s curtained windows the passenger’s only protection from the worst of the New York weather.

The fog’s oily thickness dulling all sound of the vehicle’s traces as its icy fingers plucked at the exposed neck of the shivering cabby.

There was a sharp thump from inside the cab as the fare indicated their desire to stop. The cab slowed to a halt and a dark figure wrapped in an Ulster, and carrying a Gladstone bag alighted and paid the driver. As the cabby touched his hat and left, their fare paused to look up at the small, well-lit

airship passing overhead, the fog muffling the amplified message about the efficacious properties of Wolverstone’s Miracle Liver Pills. The figure pulled their black felt hat down over their eyes and turned their attention to one house in particular before quietly making their way down the narrow alley that ran to the back of the building; there were many things they had to arrange for the evening ahead, it simply wouldn’t do to have the lady of the house know they were there just yet!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Without effort, they lifted their victim and went through the door, closing and barring it behind them. Beyond the door lay a tiny courtyard, leading to three small rooms and the stairs to the second floor.

They would miss this place. It had served them well for many years, but now it was time to bring their carefully crafted plans to fruition. Entering the left-hand room, the figure paused in front of a large, ornate iron-bound chest,

covered with carvings of Ouroboros; snakes eating their own tails…the symbol of eternity. Lifting the lid with one powerful arm, the figure carefully placed the corpse into the lead-lined cavity. Taking a deep breath, the killer caressed

the dead face: stroking the curve of the jaw, the shape of the nose and ears, smoothing the hair…

Then the killer rose and began to smooth their own face in the same manner. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, their face was replaced by that of their victim.

The killer groaned as their body adjusted to the height and weight of the corpse in the chest, their spine cracking and shortening as they changed to resemble the object of their many months of study.

The transformation complete, the figure stood in the centre of the little room. Their clothes, now far too big for their new form, slipped to the floor as they looked in the polished brass mirror to judge their final appearance. An exact replica of the shell in the chest looked back. The physical change was always swift, but the memories of their victim would take a little longer to appear in their mind.

They were now perfectly placed for their plans to succeed!

Very little could stop them now—except, perhaps, him!

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9:10pm
Lord and Lady Scott-Brewer sat in the library, partaking of one of their favourite pastimes; namely the character assassination of anyone they perceived as their social inferior. On this occasion it was of course Lady

Ellerbeck who bore the brunt of the onslaught, although “that jumped-up opium-pusher Draycott” came a pretty close second.

Lady Scott-Brewer was bemoaning the loss of three pounds and ten shillings to “that wretched American gel”, regardless of the fact that Lady Ellerbeck had actually been born in Surrey. While she complained, her husband fiddled

with his amethyst cufflinks and looked at the door that led to the Great Hall, trying to work out where the entrance to the servants’ quarters might be.

Lady Scott-Brewer, through some sixth sense brought on by many years of dealing with her husband’s little peccadilloes, snapped sharply, “None of your nonsense tonight, Barty!”

Lord Scott-Brewer visibly jumped. “My dear Rowan, I don’t know what—”

“Don’t lie to me, Barty, I know you!”

Her husband, catching the hard gleam in her eye, turned his gaze on the floor. “I’m sorry, my dear, I – I can’t explain why—”

“I know why,” Lady Scott-Brewer snapped bitterly. “The familial habits of a lifetime!”

She stood up and her corsetry creaked alarmingly as she towered over her thin little husband. He jumped to his feet, looking at her with something approaching terror. “My dear, are you all right?”

Lady Rowan sniffed with displeasure. “I am retiring to our suite.”

Lord Scott-Brewer looked flustered. “But my dear, the supper! It would be unpardonable to retire now!”

Lady Scott-Brewer glared at her husband of nearly thirty years with a look which combined dislike, distaste, and disgust. Many people in their inner circle would have dismissed it as her usual expression when observing her

husband. “I find the offerings of this weekend both dull and unappealing! Why Lady Marmis invited us to endure hideous modern caterwauling is beyond me. Opera at a weekend house party!” Her strident voice made her husband

cringe but she ignored him. Indeed, she continued robustly in the same vein. “I will not tolerate the alleged musicality of that person Sibelius, nor the pagan mewling of that modern creature, Giselle! Kindly inform anyone who asks that I am retiring for the evening.”

With this complete denunciation of the weekend’s entertainment, Lady Scott-Brewer swept to the door. As she reached the threshold, she turned and again addressed her husband. “And you know how I feel about alcohol, Barty. Not one drop!” With this final thrust, Lady Scott-Brewer and her formidable bust glided from the room.

As her husband sat alone at the green baize table, he was reminded that he and his wife were not been the only people in the library. Two tables of guests had eavesdropped from a distance, and had decided almost as one that it would be seemly to retire to the saloon to await the supper gong.

As the eight lords, ladies, clerical personages, and assorted others rose from their seats and made their way out of the library, they did not look at Lord Scott-Brewer. It would not have done to acknowledge his presence after

observing such a public set-to with his wife.

As the day guests disappeared, Lord Scott-Brewer sat in thought, staring at his short, stubby fingers. After a few moments had passed and all sound of his fellow-guests had faded, he lifted his head. Anyone who knew him would have been shocked at the change. The timid, henpecked little husband had disappeared, replaced by a sly, cunning man.

He got to his feet and walked towards the bar. With a mutinous expression, he picked up a tumbler and poured a generous double from a cut-glass crystal decanter. Replacing the stopper, he lifted the lid of the ice bucket and used the sharp ice pick to tap off some slivers of ice for his drink. He swallowed a large mouthful of whisky, and as he looked down at the large silver tray with its matching ice bucket and glittering ice pick, a thought slithered snakelike into his mind. Putting down his drink, a smile twisted his face as he lifted the ornate, vicious implement and turned it in his hands to catch the light.

Perfect!

About the Author
Rhen Garland is the author of the The Versipellis mysteries - a series of Gaslamp Fantasies set in the late Victorian, early Edwardian era that follow the adventures of immortal detectives Elliott Caine and Abernathy Thorne as they search through time for the reincarnations of their murdered wives...and solve a few murders along the way.

I live in Somerset, England, with my book illustrating, folk-singing husband, approximately 5000 books, an equal number of ancient movies, and a large collection of passive-aggressive Tomtes. My achievements are more from the school of life, rather than that of College or University. My early years choice of reading material was rather suspect for my age. The first Agatha Christie I ever read was "By the Pricking of my Thumbs" when I was nine years old; a child of that age reading and enjoying a murder mystery about a child killer explains a great deal about the type of novel I write today.

When I was diagnosed with CFS at the age of thirty, I realised that I could either go mad staring at four walls all day, or I could try to apply what little parts of my brain still worked and have a bash at writing a murder mystery set in the 1920's...things didn't quite turn out the way I'd planned!

I thought when I finally started writing that my books would be genteel "cosy" type murder mysteries set in the Golden Era (I love the 1920's and 30's for the style, music, and automobiles), with someone being politely bumped off at the Vicar's tea party and the corpse then apologising for disrupting proceedings. Instead, the late Victorian era came thundering over the horizon armed with some fantastical and macabre plotlines and a complete refusal to accept the word "no"; it planted itself in my stories, my characters, and my life, and would not budge.

I watch far too many old school murder mystery films, TV series, and 1980s action movies for it to be considered healthy. No one will play movie quizzes with me anymore...further evidence of a misspent youth!

I love the countryside, Prosecco, tea, the cocktail hour (the pinnacle of the civilised world!), and the works of Dame Ngaio Marsh, Dame Gladys Mitchell, John Dickson Carr/Carter Dickson, Dame Agatha Christie, Sir Terry Pratchett, Simon R Green, and David and Leigh Eddings.

My books are Victorian in era, messy in their murders, creepy in their otherness, and will make you double check the windows are all locked before you go to bed. What's not to like about mysteries with a touch of Grand Guignol?

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Thursday, June 23, 2022

Cover Reveal + New Release: Kestrel's Dance by Misty Massey

Kestrel's Dance
by Misty Massey
June 24, 2022
Kestrel, the pirate who can whistle up the wind, returns in book two of the Mad Kestrel Series. Captain Kes will defy the king, gamble with her friends' lives, and run the risk of capture by evil mages to get her hands on the magical knowledge so long denied to her.

Kestrel, the King's Privateer, is preparing to wait out the annual storm season when she receives an unexpected royal order to capture and deliver a rare creature for the king’s menagerie. Before she can weigh anchor, news reaches Kestrel of a long-ago friend in desperate need of help—in the opposite direction of her assigned voyage. In addition, her ship may be haunted by something big, loud, and terrifying.

Before Kestrel can plot a course, she crosses paths with an enigmatic dancer who offers an enticing bargain: sail her home to the Continent, an ocean away, and she'll reveal the mysteries of magic Kestrel has longed all her life to know.

The temptation of answers endangers her crew and might ruin her privateer status. Worse, taking on this passenger could thrust her into the clutches of the ever-watchful Danisoban mages who lie in wait for her to make the perfect mistake.

Every decision is fraught with danger. Each wrong turn may mean her death or the death of her crew. And Captain Kestrel can walk away from none of them.


About the Author:
Misty Massey is the author of Mad Kestrel, a rollicking adventure of magic on the high seas, and the long-awaited sequel, Kestrel’s Dance. She is an acquisitions editor for LoreSeekers Press, and is currently accepting submissions. When she’s not writing, Misty plays Malibu, the cheerful, sun-drenched cleric, on the Authors and Dragons podcast sister show, Calamity Janes.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Circle Of Roses (The Mystery of Frankenstein's Bride Book 3) by Martha Wickham + giveaway

Circle Of Roses (The Mystery of Frankenstein's Bride Book 3), Martha Wickham, horror, novel
by Martha Wickham 
Date Published: 06-24-2022
Genre: Horror, paranormal mystery, ghosts, short story
35 pages
Stopping the unstoppable is what Rose Cortez does best.

Terra, Frankenstein's ex, is using the old electric machine to bring the dead back for fun now. After running into zombies her old psychic Rose must do something about the machine Frankenstein's Bride can't give up. Is there a way to get the machine away from her and her terror of lurking zombies? Rose and her band of psychics find out when one of them is found dead.

Rose is a powerful psychic detective and ghost hunter. Revenge is what she wants after the death one year ago of her husband. Now her psychic comrade is dead too and she's had enough. Terra's second life can't last forever. The way to stop her is not so easy!


Excerpt
Fern was excited as she wanted to start immediately. “I’ll be there first thing in the morning!”

***

As soon as Rose opened the doors to the shop the next morning, Fern arrived with boxes of things she needed for readings. She started calling herself a psychic reader and ghost buster and had cards made up. Within a few days, her business was booming, and the other two psychics joined the team. Rose kept her eyes open for Terra and her zombies but didn’t see any until one evening when she and Fern were alone in the shop and they heard a moan and then a dog barking. “I’m sure I heard a zombie,” Rose said. “What has Terra been up to?”

They ran to the window and looked out. There were three long-dead zombies walking down the street to Terra’s house. The two of them looked at each other, then ran into the bathroom and locked the door. “I’m gonna get to the bottom of this,” Rose whispered.

“How can I help?” Fern asked.

“This will be more difficult than a reading. They must be destroyed. Do you know how to kill zombies?” she asked.

“Yes, just shoot them in the head,” Fern answered.

Rose nodded. “Terra won’t go easy. I want to get that galvanism machine from her. It’s in her shed right now, but this will take more than one person. Maybe Lily and Violet will help.”

“And you can’t just call the police. They won’t believe you.”

“When I looked at her through the window the other day, she was different. Old and deader looking. Who knows how long she will last undead?”

“She can’t be that hard to destroy, then,” Fern said.

“I’ll see what my crystals can do. If anything.”

***

The three zombies sat in Terra’s backyard. Her galvanism machine was plugged into her backyard outlet as her creepy old mansion did not have a garage. The zombies then approached the machine and one of them bent the wire back that conducts electricity. Terra did a back-bend and her face wrinkled. “You stupid heap!” She stood up and straightened the wire. Looking a little younger, she brushed the zombies away from the machine as her long gray hair blew in the wind. The neighborhood dogs were barking now and she rolled her eyes.

“Maybe I should lock this thing away,”she said to herself. Then to the zombies, “Curiosity killed the cat! No, I think I’ll lock you away.” She grabbed a pole and started pushing them toward the shed but the zombies managed to grab it out of her hands. They began to hit her with it until she backed into the shed and then they locked her in!

Terra flipped on the shed light, trying to think happy thoughts. She sat down and remembered things about her childhood. Like her father cutting down the Christmas tree and ice skating with her cousins while her mom watched. Thoughts of fireplaces and hot chocolate always warmed her. Zombies were afraid of fire, not her. The fear made her realize the zombies obviously knew her weakness. They could kill her with the machine or by leaving her in the shed.

She created them hoping they would be like Frankenstein, but they never were. Frankenstein was evil at the start. There would never be another. She heard the zombies shuffle away and wondered, How long will I last?

The Mystery of Frankenstein's Bride Series by Martha Wickham, horror
Terra is the bride of Frankenstein, but the title does not stay. She becomes a free spirit. As the story of her afterlife changes some things can only get better. There's spooks, spectres, Frankenstein's, and who knows what dark forces lurk? How many haunted
honeymoons will there be?

About the Author

Twitter
Martha has studied writing with Writer's Digest. She is the author of many short stories and books and still likes getting writing prompts.






GIVEAWAY

RABT Book Tours & PR

Post-Apocalyptic author Jaydeep Shah: Who would like to live in your fictional world? + giveaway

The world of Boondocks is indeed a world full of horror where a very few people would find it to be cool to live. However, the world is getting excited as the story progresses, and you would find it entertaining to survive the doom. Since the beginning of the story, the characters struggle to survive from some type of evil. As the story progresses, the evil begins to spread its terror. First, an enchanter named Dansh who wants to bring the strongest churel (witch) of ancient era, Dali, back to life. When she finally makes her way back to life, another demon, an immortal rakshasa named Sekiada returns to conquer the earth with the force of his thousands of demons.

The protagonists, Rahul and Elisa, struggle to stop the demons before they could enter the city and spread their terror around the nation. To stop them, they ask for help at a local police station. Soon, the commandos reach the border of the desert to help police officers stop the demons from entering the city.

If you are a daredevil person, you would love to live in the fictional world of Boondocks as you may find many opportunities to take risks and be a part of a mission to end the demons before they could bring the doom to end the humanity.

You would also like to live in this world if you are a person looking for an experience to witness live necromancy, black magic, and resurrection ritual. Also, if you are a true fan of horror and want to see a ghost and some other demons live around you. Haha!

You will enjoy the world if you like to travel, meet new people, and learn about various cultures. Also, if you like to stay in unity especially when people around you need your help.

That was all. I hope you enjoy exploring the world of Boondocks.

Thank you so much, I Smell Sheep, for having me as your guest for today. It was really fun to speak about the world of Boondocks: An Asian Evil Apocalyptic Thriller. I hope all of you enjoyed reading the post. Have a great year ahead!


Boondocks: An Asian Evil Apocalyptic Thriller
(Survive the Doom Book 1)

by Jaydeep Shah
June 9, 2022
Genre: Apocalyptic Thriller
Publisher: Rage Publishing
ISBN:9781734982657 (eBook)
ISBN: 9781734982664 (Paperback)
ISBN:9781734982619 (Hardback)
ASIN:B096WRWG1D
Number of pages:383 pages
Word Count: 74,668 words
Cover Artist: bookcoverzone.com
They believe it is only about defeat and escape.

Little do they know; it is something more than that. It is about the rise of the dead and the world’s destruction.

Lost in the desert of Rajasthan, India, Rahul and Elisa learn the truth about a wicked wizard named Dansh and some enchanters performing resurrection rituals.

Though they try to stop him, Dansh knows black magic and they find him a challenging adversary. Even worse than him, Rahul and Elisa soon discover that the churel named Dali has returned. Soon, the King of the Underworld, an immortal rakshasa named Sekiada, will make his way to the earth with the force of his thousands of fallen angels to conquer the world.

Rahul and Elisa must find a way to stop them and save humanity.

Terror inflames the nation. The country’s best commando, Aarav Singh, and the best local police officer, Arjun Rawat, reach the city’s border near the desert with the force of gifted soldiers to commence battle against evil. They turn the border into a battlefield to prevent the demons from entering the city.

The apocalypse is struggling to reach its highest peak as the Asian evils slowly spread across the nation: churels, rakshasas, pishachas, daayans, shaitans, and many more hair-raising bloodshed lovers.

Rahul must find a way to murder the immortals: the wicked wizard, the king of the Underworld, and the strongest churel of all time, and Elisa must gather her own courage to battle the demons, especially one of the immortals, to prove women are not weak.

Welcome to the world of horror, where the characters play games of deceit and betrayal to achieve their goals, and the demons enjoy slaughtering the humans.

The end is near. Or it’s just the beginning!? Dare to witness the apocalypse, but only if you are comfortable with bloodbath and barbarity.



About the Author:

Jaydeep Shah is an avid traveler and the author of gripping horror, thriller, and romance stories. As a bachelor’s degree holder in Creative Writing, he aims to entertain as many as people he can with his stories. He is best known for Tribulation, the first book in the “Cops Planet” series.

In addition to those books, The Shape-Shifting Serpents’ Choice, Jaydeep’s first young adult flash fiction written under his pen name, JD Shah, is published online by Scarlet Leaf Review in their July 2019 issue. Currently, he’s endeavoring to write a debut young adult fantasy novel while working on a sequel to his first apocalyptic thriller, Havoc.

When Shah is not writing, he reads books, tries new restaurants, and goes on adventures.