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Friday, June 30, 2023

Excerpt: Dragon Springs & Other Things: A Short Story Collection: Book I by Raven Oak

by Raven Oak
June 1, 2023
206 pages
This debut collection by multi-award-winning author and artist Raven Oak brings together fantastical stories from the past ten years of her career, ranging from gothic and urban fantasy to post-apocalyptic and steampunk tales.

You’ll find coffee-drinking ghosts, ever-changing faces, elemental spirits who both protect and harm, assassins, magical pockets, and snarky creatures in these ELEVEN fanciful fictions. Dragon Springs & Other Things contains SIX never-before seen stories for your enjoyment, including two stories featuring fan favorite character, Ida, from Oak’s Boahim Trilogy.

STORIES INCLUDED: Mirror Me, Water the Fire, Alive, Learning to Fly, The Drive to Work, The Ringers, Cookie Man, Amaskan, Peace Be With You, Friend, The Snark, and Dragon Springs & Other Things.

Excerpt from “D.E.A.T.H.” from Space Ships & Other Trips: A Short Story Collection Book II by Raven Oak – 7/1/23

"Explain to me why I've been called in, let alone at 3 A.M. on Christmas?" The words tumbled from me as my office door bumped my heels. Carla, the new Q.A. detective, already sat beside my desk. What a day for the new job trainee to show up.

My captain, a gruff donut-eating stereotype, stood nearby, his foot tapping to the holiday carols that streamed from the ceiling.

Great. Work before sunrise and being assaulted by the reminder I was working a holiday. "So what's up, Cap? Sev omega?" I asked as I slid into my chair.

He cleared his throat noisily, and I made a quick effort to tuck my blue shirt into my cargo pants. So much for making an impression on the rookie.

Carla frowned. "Is omega the most severe a bug can get?"

"Yeah, omega means end game. It means we could be out of a job, so if you're called in on a major holiday during a month where the program shouldn't be running, it's time to sit down, shut up, and get to work."

I hadn't meant for the words to cut sharp, but it was 3-freaking-o'clock in the morning. Not even the coffee was running, let alone my brain. The sharpness of my captain's stare made me shudder like I was still a rookie in the police academy. What had our death machine done now?

"I don't wanna hear anything about how inconvenient this is since we've gotta stiff in the morgue. Evidence files have been sent your way," he said as he sipped his coffee.

Where’d he get coffee?

“Carla's our new rook, so she gets the first question. What are the rules for running the program?"

Carla's cute brown bob bounced too much for early morning., as did her voice as she spoke. "D.E.A.T.H.'s algorithm is inactive in December and within two weeks of any major holiday worldwide, sir. It also won't target anyone under the age, thirty? It shouldn't be active today as it is Christmas. The program also takes into consideration a person's age, temperament, altruistic affairs—”

Captain Williams waved a stubby hand at her. "Good enough. So tell me why D.E.A.T.H. was activated last night and targeted a 25-year-old woman as she lay on her couch? I've got everyone from the mayor to the U.N. on the line demanding answers. Figure this bug out."

Definitely severity omega.

“We’ll get right on it, sir," I said as I leaned closer to my computer. In a flash it scanned me, and the Seattle Police Department's logo brightened my screen.

The captain left, but before I could do more than open a file, Carla frowned. "I don't know how much they told you about me, but I don't know a ton yet about the Quality Assurance side of this job—I’m going to night school for that—but I've been on the force in homicide for the last five years."

"Welcome to the largest program in the world. It'll be baptism by zeroes and ones for you. Ask questions as you have them."

"Kirkley, how often do you work holidays?" she asked.


Her brows furrowed as she contemplated this. "Never-never?"

"Look, no one wants to worry about population control, and who wants to lose someone on a day of celebration? D.E.A.T.H. makes things easier for the world by doing the job no one wants—choosing who dies each year. But there're rules to it, as you so nicely stated. In the years I've worked here, D.E.A.T.H.'s never killed anyone unintentionally. The code base is solid."

Carla ran a hand through her hair, where it lingered on the right-hand side.

"You won't find it," I said.


"The chip. It's embedded too deep. Removing it requires brain surgery, but all of this should've been covered in your welcome packet."

Her cheeks flushed. “I—I didn't read it all yet. I figured I had a few more days’ vacation...."

I nodded. "So here's the TL;DR: for you.”

“The what?”

“TL;DR;? Too-long; didn’t read. Sorry, sometimes the old phrases pop up in my vernacular. Anyway, D.E.A.T.H. aka the Destruction of Earthly Adults at Top Health—"

"Is that really what it stands for?"

"Probably. It's not important. When scientists eradicated disease and aging, life was good for a spell. Population exploded, and then resources dwindled—”

"Until war broke out and everyone suffered. Yeah, I got that part, Kirkley."

"Don't interrupt. Anyway, everyone came together through the U.N. and W.H.O. and agreed to the program's creation. 'For the betterment of humankind,' they said. So now, everyone has a numbered chip in the brainpan. Twelve times a year, the algorithm looks at people's lives and decides whose number's up. Our job's to keep the program free from bugs and problems introduced by the progs."

"Progs? Programmers, right?"

"Yep. This job's unlike anything you've ever worked. Not only are we responsible for finding bugs, but we investigate any deaths bounced up to us from beat cops, regular detectives, and the medical examiner. If it reaches us, they suspect a problem with the code rather than a homicide or scheduled death."

I walked her through login and showed her where to access the evidence reports.

"Let me guess," she said as she opened a file. "Read these and report back ASAP."

"Now you've got it." I opened the program as well as my standard testing scripts. While my computer was busy doing its job, I'd be checking who made changes last and when. But first, it was time for some coffee.

About the Author:
Multi-international award-winning speculative fiction author and artist Raven Oak (she/they) is best known for Amaskan’s Blood (2016 Ozma Fantasy Award Winner, Epic Awards Finalist, & Reader’s Choice Award Winner), Amaskan’s War (2018 UK Wishing Award YA Finalist), and Class-M Exile. She has more than a dozen short stories published in various anthologies and is even published on the moon!

Raven spent most of her K-12 education doodling stories and
500-page monstrosities that are forever locked away in a filing

Besides being a writer and artist, she’s a geeky, disabled
ENBY who enjoys getting her game on with tabletop games,
indulging in cartography and art, or staring at the ocean. She lives in the Seattle area with her partner, and their three kitties who enjoy lounging across the keyboard when writing deadlines approach. Her hair color changes as often as her bio does, and you can find her at

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Excerpt: The Demon’s Fire (Blood Coven Series Book 2) by T. M. Smith

The Demon’s Fire (Blood Coven Series Book 2)
by T. M. Smith
May 26, 2023
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-3695-0823-2
Number of pages: 437
Word Count: 117,584
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
When fire meets ice, romance sizzles.

He’s not her type at all…

The commander is a barbarian. Despite a sexy smile and hot body, nothing can smooth the brute’s ragged edges. Besides, demons need a daily dose of sex. Skyler Maxwell has no intention of becoming a food source.

She’s not his type at all…

The chief legal officer of the Alliance is a buttoned-up, prissy human with frost in her veins. But Kole is stuck playing tour guide for her while she’s on his realm. He was ordered to “play nice.”

Together, Skyler and Kole are fire and ice…

She has a bullseye on her back, and the animus demon is her best chance to stay out of the line of fire. Trapped in a hostile environment, they survive mystical monsters and treacherous attacks. Despite the perils and their differences, their romance ignites, proving fire and ice sizzle.

Kole sheathed his blade, turned, and offered Skyler his hand. When she placed her pale, trembling fingers in his palm, he drew her close to his body. She raised her chin to stare into his fire-gold eyes.

Kole bent toward her, his lips drawing nearer. When his mouth brushed hers, rather than push him away, she opened to him. Kole’s lips pressed hard against hers, his tongue thrusting inside, his exploration wild, hungry.

Skyler gasped, shocked by either the kiss or her response. Her knees weakened, her hands resting on Kole’s warm chest for support. Short bursts of electricity flowed into her, eliciting soft moans as he pulled her tighter against him, his arousal a hard prod at her belly.

When he withdrew, he met her gaze with confusion. He cleared his throat.

“Choose, Chief Maxwell. Dermott or me?”

About the Author:

After retiring from my career as a teacher and principal, I settled in to write something more creative than lesson plans on split infinitives and inner-school memos on noise in the hallway.

Vampires, demons, elves, mages, and other magical beings keep me awake at night with their tales of love and adventure. Taking great interest in their lives, I began a paranormal romance series with alpha males who aren't always nice and females who have no problem keeping them in line. The Firebrand is the first book in the Blood Coven Series.

Here are more orts, scraps, and fragments from my life. (Thank you, Virginia Wolf and Shakespeare.) I moved from sunny Las Vegas to the less-than-sunny Pacific Northwest. Here I have adventures with my daughter, son-in-law, and two granddaughters who also moved to the area. I also enjoy my membership at Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network (BARN), a local organization that supports the arts and offers classes and events in eleven different studios. It was at BARN where my critique group began. With equal time given to in-depth comments on each other's works, snarky remarks, and laughter, we have now been together over five years.

When fire meets ice, romance sizzles.
The Demon’s Fire by T. M. Smith

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Cherish Lively’s My Secret Obsession Podcast

This is the official launching of Cherish Lively’s My Secret Obsession Podcast. If you enjoy listening to novels, stop by the podcast and listen to Lexi Wells: Gift of Sight, a psychological thriller that will make your pulse race as Lexi goes on the hunt for a serial killer.

 Join the Podcast

Apple Podcast

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Lexi Wells: Gift of Sight
by Karen Tjebben
June 26, 2023
Genre: GenreParanormal, Supernatural Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Lexi never considered her gift of sight anything but a curse until she is lured to a murder scene by a young, dead girl. Detective Evan Steele doesn't like working with others, especially ones who ruin his crime scene. Going against his gut and logic, he teams up with a medium who challenges everything he ever believed. Together they must stop the serial killer that is terrorizing New Sainte.
Kindle Unlimited

About the Author

Cherish Lively invites you to indulge in your secret obsession as she reads thrillers and spicy romance that will get your heart pounding with chills and thrills.


Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Book Review: Shadow Rider by Christine Feehan

Shadow Rider (A Shadow Riders Novel)
by Christine Feehan
June 28, 2016
The #1 New York Times bestselling “queen of paranormal romance” (USA Today) is back with a sexy series starring a Chicago crime family that hides a dark, mystical secret...

Whether it’s fast cars or fast women, Stefano Ferraro gets what he wants. When he’s not fodder for the paparazzi, he commands Ferraro family businesses—both legitimate and illegitimate.

While their criminal activity is simply a rumor yet to be proven, no one knows the real truth. The Ferraros are a family of shadow riders capable of manipulating light and dark, an ability Stefano thought ran in his family alone—until now…

With little left to her name, Francesca Cappello has come to Chicago in hopes of a new life. She wasn’t expecting to attract the attention of a man with primal hunger in his eyes, driven to claim her as his to protect and to please. And if he discovers her secret, it could ruin her...

Geno is the cousin to the notorious Ferraro family whom we have seen in the other books in this series. He, as well as his Ferraro cousins, are shadow riders, meaning they are able to move very quickly through the tubes of the shadows. Essentially they are able to turn into shadows and quickly move anywhere shadows are. The Ferraro family, as well as their cousins, get justice for people who have been hurt by child predators and human traffickers. They are a crime family but they find and kill child predators and human traffickers, which makes them the good guys in my book.

When Amaranthe is picked up by Geno and his crew, he thinks she's there to assassinate him but she's hiding a huge secret and isn't sure who she can trust. Her cover is she's a ballet dancer and she can play the sweet, innocent, small woman when she has to, but underneath all that facade is a strong woman ready to pounce on her target. But is Geno her target? Geno feels something for her right away and because a Shadow Rider can feel their mate because their shadows are attracted to each other, he knows he isn't going to be able to hurt her in this interrogation which puts him in danger. So when he brings in some of his crew to interrogate her, she panics and does what she's been trained to do, which almost kills her and Geno.

After they both recover, she finally tells him the truth and they start working together to find out who is killing people close to his family. This was a great murder mystery, I had no idea who was doing the killing or why until the reason was revealed. I have been loving this series since the very first book and this was no exception. I liked that we got to see all the Ferraro siblings and their spouses from the past books and had a chance to watch Geno and Amaranthe slowly get more comfortable with each other. Both Amaranthe and Geno have had hard lives. Amaranthe was adopted by the council when her parents died when she was young, she wasn't shown love or affection but she was trained to be a very lethal shadow rider. Geno had to take over his family's business at a very young age when something bad happened to his parents. So these two really needed each other.

There was so much action in this book and I love watching these lethal shadow riders do their thing. If they have you in their sights, there's no getting away from them. You can't hide from them, because as long as there's a shadow, they can get to you.

I give this book 5 sheep!

Mary Kirkland
Dark Thoughts Blog

About the Author:
I write every day and have done so since I was old enough to pick up a pen. (I spent a lot of time getting in trouble at school for writing instead of doing the things I was supposed to do.) Once I create my characters, I try very hard to have them react to situations as they really would. Sometimes I have preconceived ideas of what I would like them to do, but they don’t mind me, because it would be out of character for them. They take on a life of their own. Sometimes when I throw difficult situations at them in the hopes I’ll get a certain reaction and they don’t do what I want, I complain bitterly to my husband and he laughs at me. Still, it is important to me to have them be real, not perfect people, so they make mistakes we lesser mortals might make.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Excerpt: Nicholas Eternal (The Wayward Saviors, #1) by Kim Conrey + giveaway

Nicholas Eternal 
(The Wayward Saviors, #1)
by Kim Conrey
June 27th 2023
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy
“The diverse cast of characters…will impress fans of paranormal fantasy sagas, such as Kim Harrison’s Hollows series, as the potential for future storylines seems virtually limitless.” —Kirkus Reviews

Nicholas Theodoulos is an immortal savior in desperate need of saving. All the power, wisdom, and even the favor of the gods is not enough when 1,700 years of heartache have left marks on his soul. But Noory Abramson, a streetwise woman with a sacred tattoo and a touch of grace, steps from the shadows, not knowing if she’s arrived in time to save him or end him for good. With a heart grown as heavy as his, either fate might do.

When Noory observes Nick grieving over the body of a young girl in a deserted Atlanta alley, she isn’t sure whether he is friend or foe. However, she quickly realizes his special powers to rescue children and rain down vengeance on those that harm them may be the only thing that can help her when one of her charges, sixteen-year-old Grace, goes missing from the local homeless shelter. Soon, Nick discovers Noory has secrets of her own: one that might lead him to redemption, and possibly love, for the first time in his painful existence.

In their world, a gift looks a lot like a curse, and Noory must reach Nick before his gift consumes him.
sale for $1.99 for a limited time only!

Nick leaned on Noory as alcohol emanated from every pore. “It’s gone on forever, you know.”

“What has?” Noory asked.

“Me, saving them. Sometimes not. I’m exhausted, Light.” He looked at her with a sad smile.

“Light? You know my name means light.”

“I do. I can see it, too. It’s like a soft glow,” Nick said, passing a hand over her head to indicate an aura around her. Noory wondered if he could see anything else about her but didn’t dare ask. She was suddenly afraid to know.

“Now,” she said, “how could it have gone on forever? You don’t look like you’re much older than me. You’re what? Thirty?”

Nick laughed as he failed typing the pass code to get into his penthouse. “Third time’s a charm,” he said. The door gave a soft click, and Noory helped him inside.

She looked around at the open space and large windows framing the Atlanta skyline as the city lights twinkled in the night. The place was all polished dark wood floors and leather furniture, but she didn’t see any pictures of family or friends. She led Nick to the couch, and he fell onto it as she sat down beside him. He looked at her.

“Do you hear them, too?” he asked.

“Who?” Noory thought she saw a glimmer of hope in his whiskey-brown eyes.

He placed his hand on the top of her head, warm and strong, if a little clumsy. He ran his fingers down the length of her hair, past her cheek, her neck, and dangerously close to her breast. The look of hope was replaced by desire for the briefest of moments before she marked the instant he withdrew back into himself. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” Nick exhaled and sank deeper into the couch. She watched as his eyelids grew heavier.

“You’d be surprised what I’d believe, Nick.” She leaned over and gently brushed the thick brown hair from his forehead. As she did, her sleeve fell back from her wrist, revealing a small tattoo of an “X” with a tiny hook on the top right corner. Nick’s eyes opened wider in recognition before they rolled back into his head, and he began to softly snore.

Noory passed her fingers across the tiny hooked “X” and wondered if he had really known what it meant but doubted he would remember seeing it in the morning.

About the Author:
Kim Conrey is the author of the sci-fi romance series Ares Ascending and the urban fantasy series The Wayward Saviors. She's also the recipient of the Georgia Author of the Year Award for Romance. When she's not working on her next book, you can find her trail running or cosplaying as a Box Hero Wonder Woman in Atlanta's Dragon Con Parade. She also writes about living with the misunderstood condition of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Her stories and essays have been published in regional and local press as well. In addition, she serves as VP of Operations for the Atlanta Writers Club and collaborates on the Wild Women Who Write Take Flight podcast. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

To learn more about my books (including trigger warnings under "Kim's Books") signup for my newsletter, and more, visit:

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Runners (A Misnomer Crew Story Book 1) by Justin Hale + giveaway

Runners (A Misnomer Crew Story Book 1)

by Justin Hale
June 27th 2023
Genres: Cyberpunk, Science Fiction
A high octane, cyberpunk thrill ride that will have you hanging on to the edge of your seat!

On the planet Nera, a world of towering metropolises powered by nano technology and controlled by corporations, Mr. Zan and his misfit crew have trained for five years to be Omegas, the greatest and most elusive assassins on the planet. However, disillusioned with their mission, they went rogue and killed their handler, Nancy. Now, they run guns to survive, while racing to stay one step ahead of the living Shadows that hunt them. After a tragic, traumatic attack, Zan and his crew find themselves on the outs with Dietrich Boateng, one of the most powerful men on the planet.

But when Dietrich suddenly risks everything to warn them of a new, dangerous threat, events are set in motion that threaten to spiral out of their control. To make matters worse, Deputy Marshal Akira Sudo is hot on their trail, after a coverup leads her to believe that there is more to this case than meets the eye.

If they can complete Dietrich’s mission, they might secure the tools they need to survive the next Omegas that show up to exact revenge. If they don’t, they might not survive to see tomorrow. For fans of Neuromancer, Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, and Altered Carbon, this action-packed, dystopian Sci-Fi romp will leave you breathless and wanting more!

About the Author:
Justin Hale is an author who lives in the Bay Area of California with his wife, Candy, and crazy dog, Maya. He is originally from the small, coastal city of Brunswick, GA and is a diehard Georgia Bulldog football fan. After suffering a mental health crisis, Justin left his full-time job, using his recovery time to finish and release his debut novel, RUNNERS. In his free time, he enjoys video games, watching pro wrestling, and making his wife laugh.

Justin first wanted to be an author at seven years old. He participated in a class project to write letters to The Polar Express author Chris Van Allsburg. The project was to draw a picture of what the students thought Chris Van Allsburg looked like and to write him a small message. Justin drew a grey version of Frankenstein’s monster, writing “I didn’t know what you looked like, so I drew you as Frankenstein[‘s monster], because he is weird and so are you.” His teacher was not impressed, but the experience made him interested in becoming an author, even if it would take 30+ years to arrive at that goal.

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Sunday, June 25, 2023

To Trust and Protect (Claimed: Owen and Caitlin) by Christina Mattingly

To Trust and Protect (Claimed: Owen and Caitlin)
Christina Mattingly
May 1st, 2023
Genre: Shifter Romance
Owen is a wolf shifter who works as a deputy and paramedic in the small mountain town of Pinehurst. He wants to find the right mate to share his life with but is happy to take things slow.
Caitlin is hiding from her abusive ex-mate when she meets a guy who seems like he’s too good to be true, but she’s willing to try being in a relationship with someone who just wants to keep her safe and make her feel loved and valued.
What they don’t know is the past Caitlin is working so hard to heal from isn’t as far away as she thinks… and it’s threatening to burn down the life Owen and Caitlin are building together.

Note from the author:
This book contains dark themes that may be disturbing to some readers, including stalking, assault, kidnapping, sociopathy, domestic partner violence, pregnancy loss, and abuse (mental, physical, emotional, sexual, and financial).
The consensual spicy elements of the book also contain MFM scenes, degradation, choking, and impact play.
Please be kind to yourself and be aware of your triggers.

About the Author:
Christina Mattingly enjoys spicy romance novels with strong characters and phenomenal world-building.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Gaze Long Into the Abyss by Dalan Musson

From acclaimed Marvel’s Studio screenwriter comes a gorgeous debut, Gave Long Into the Abyss! Check out the new release and be sure to grab your copy today!

Gaze Long Into the Abyss
by Dalan Musson
June 18, 2023
Genre: Apocalyptic Dystopian
In Gaze Long into the Abyss, acclaimed Marvel Studios screenwriter Dalan Musson plunges us into a vivid but desolate world: An apocalypse has snatched away most of humanity; the ragged, remaining few are picking up the pieces. Was it the Rapture as revealed to St. John, or some other calamity of biblical proportions?

The Kid hears his calling: to find the source of the evil, and put an end to it. He seeks out the help of the Old Man—who, in his own time, traveled to the ends of the Earth and back, in his own vain quest to save the world. Together, they set off across a grim landscape populated by survivors turned brigands, bandits, and exhausted warring factions—all of them looking for answers that may have vanished when their loved ones did.

Written in spare, haunting prose that recalls Cormac McCarthy, Gaze Long into the Abyss is a classic tale of redemption and damnation, told by one of the foremost action-adventure craftsmen at work today.

Order Your Copy!

About the Author:
Dalan Musson is a former independent-circuit professional wrestler whose screenwriting credits include Marvel Studios’ The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. This is his first novel.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Excerpt: The Springfest Sprint (A Faetales Novelette, #1) by Georgie Monroe + giveaway

The Springfest Sprint (A Faetales Novelette, #1)
by Georgie Monroe
Publication date: June 23rd 2023
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Tradition can really put a damper on wanderlust.

Ember has come of seelie age, however, the spirited heir of the Spring Fae Court hasn’t chosen a mate yet. Per the court’s ancient custom, it’s time for her to run the Springfest Sprint! The males are ready to claim their mates, and many have their sights on the elusive princess. But she’s got a plan…

Hide until this nonsense is over.

It’s not foolproof or typical of the feisty fae, but it’s better than getting bound to a terrible kisser, a pompous bragger, or really… anyone. When she runs into a male who ruins her hiding spot, she has to decide if he’s an enemy or ally.

If you’re looking for plot, setting, and action, with a touch of dark romance and steamy moments, all packaged in a two hour read, then welcome to the Springfest Sprint! Tropes you will find: forced proximity without decent clothes, spicy faerie fae, secret royalty, mate race, fight against tradition, enemies to lovers, misunderstood hero, fae/faerie lore, polyamory, fated mates, fun best friend, and lots of sneaking around.

With my mother’s announcement, I start out at a slow pace past the attentive hunters. The other prey falls behind me like I’ve started a human jogging club. When we squish together to enter the rocky ravine, and females crunch together, arguing for more space, I’m even more appreciative that I shoved my way to the front. As soon as we pass through, I yell, “Good fortune to those who wish for it,” and dash left toward the river, listening to the others mumble and clop noisily in all directions. Twenty flutters into my sprint, silk tangles around my quick legs and I halt too late, tumbling to the forest floor with a screech as my wings try desperately to break free from the bindings. “We’re not meant for running,” I grumble, staggering to my feet. Especially not in too-long panels of silk.

My knees leak crimson, and I shake my head. Bleeding will not help me hide. I need to get to the water. Tying the silk panels together, I fashion something close to a silky diaper—maybe that will deter the hunters as well—and get back to my escape plan. Has it been forty flutters or forty-five? I finally find what I’m looking for, leaping from rock to rock as I close in on the river.

Some don’t pay attention to our territory, leaving it to the work of the gentry and army, but I studied these woods and this stream until it formed a detailed map in my mind. Now, I move closer to what I can only hope will hide me well enough for the others to be claimed first. It’s definitely been fifty flutters, and I waver between sticking to the trees and underbrush so I have coverage or dashing along the rocks so my steps are silent.

A distant scream stops me in my tracks, and then a jumble of yelling takes over. I run with renewed fervor, sticking to the coverage of trees, because whatever scuffle is unfolding won’t last long enough. A buzz of wings sounds and I throw myself against a tree, trying desperately to ease my heaving lungs. The sound halts, and a tree branch creaks to my right. This is where someone who was panicking would run, but I’d be caught four steps into a sprint. I dig my fingers into the bark and slowly blow out the air from my burning lungs. There’s another buzz, and for a moment, I hope they’ve flown away, but one speaks.

“Have you seen Quartz?” Stone has to be only a tree over. Too close.

“Nah. My eyes are set for one.” Jasper’s voice makes me grit my teeth. Go, please. Leave.

“That little tart is trouble, and you know it.” Stone’s voice is quietly conspiratorial.

Hey. I cut my eyes in his direction, but don’t dare to move.

Jasper chuckles. “It’s worth it.”

I roll my eyes. That says a lot. Not she’s worth it, but it—my title and status. That’s all Jasper has ever been interested in.

“Well, I doubt the little princess would have made it this far already, nor would she come here. Too close to mud and stream muck for her precious self.”

I can count myself fortunate that Stone isn’t interested, though it’s hard for me to stay still instead of turning around and giving him the what for, the peephole.

“You’re probably right. Maybe she’s in the fields.” Jasper gives a disgruntled hum, and two sets of wings flutter off.

I rescind the peephole insult. Stone can lure Jasper away anytime. Keeping still and calm for another long moment, I listen to the sounds of the forest: birds, distant buzzing, and there are definitely moans coming from the west. Two are out of the game, it seems.

Pushing off the tree, I step into a run, wincing at the slight crunch of last year’s plant remains between the clumps of fresh growth. The creek comes into sight and I grin. Then I screech as I’m tackled, landing hard amongst a bed of daffodils.

About the Author:
Georgie Monroe is an author of sassy erotica romance. Born on the southern east coast, she's a firm believer that mac and cheese solves nearly any problem and that spring weather means the day's outfit will consist of seven layers. She's terribly optimistic and will douse anyone around her in "it's going to work out" sparkles. And she loves to write all the juicy parts of relationships between a variety of people so that her readers can enjoy stepping into the lives of fun, sexy, and sometimes highly flawed people who deserve a well-earned happily ever after.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Shifter Romance: Battle Within (Claimed: Emma & Ryder) by Christina Mattingly

Shifter Romance Fans!

Battle Within (Claimed: Emma & Ryder)
Christina Mattingly
Publication Date: October 26, 2022
Genre: Shifter Romance
Emma, a sound mage, needs to get away from her fast-paced life as a magical nightclub owner in the city, so she decides to visit her brother’s small mountain town for the winter. After years of living without long-term commitments or consistent relationships, she’s ready to settle down and find something real.

After finding herself in her roommate’s bed, what she thought was a one-night stand turns into a big mess when she discovers Ryder’s wolf imprinted on her, irrevocably claiming Emma as his. He’s just the kind of guy that she could see herself settling down with, but Ryder doesn’t want anything to do with a relationship with her.

His wolf’s possessive nature won’t let Ryder leave her alone so she can move on, but with Ryder pushing her away at every turn, their relationship seems doomed to fail before it’s ever had a chance.

Note from the author:
This book contains dark themes that may be disturbing to some readers, including stalking, assault, kidnapping, sociopathy, domestic partner violence, pregnancy loss, and abuse (mental, physical, emotional, sexual, and financial).
The consensual spicy elements of the book also contain MFM scenes, degradation, choking, and impact play.
Please be kind to yourself and be aware of your triggers.

Amazon (Kindle Unlimited)

About the Author:
Christina Mattingly enjoys spicy romance novels with strong characters and phenomenal world-building.

TV Show Review: Black Knight (Netflix)

Black Knight (6 episodes)
May 12, 2023
Director: Jo Ui-seok
Writer: Jo Ui-seok
Genres: Drama, Sci fi, Action, Adventure
Network: Netflix
Cast: Kim Woo-bin, Song Seung-heon, Kang Yoo-seok, Jo Ui-seok, E Som

Based on the webtoon of the same title by Lee Yun-kyun, it depicts a dystopian future where extensive air pollution has become a huge problem after a comet destroyed most of the world and forced the people who are still alive to depend on elite delivery drivers for survival.

"In 2071, extreme air pollution has turned the majority of the Korean peninsula into a wasteland after a comet wiped out all but 1% of its original population, who live in segregated districts based on their social status. They are also required to wear respirators and rely on the "Knights," specialized delivery drivers, to provide them with the supplies (especially fresh oxygen) they need to stay alive. One day, a legendary knight called '5-8' meets a boy named Sa-Wol, who wishes to become a Knight just like him, and decides to train him so that he can accomplish his dream in the dark and dangerous world that they live in."

The Delivery men 

My husband and I binged Black Knight. Full of action...every episode has a massive martial arts fight scene. The best part, you get the story from start to finish. No waiting for another season. The show is dubbed in English. It is a drama and gets a little dark and violent at times. I've noticed K-dramas don't shy away from killing characters the heroes desperately try to save...their villains are evil through and through, with no redemption arcs! But they also mix in over-the-top silly humor too. Your emotions will be all over the place...which makes for an entertaining ride.

And if you need another reason to watch... look at The Black Knight, deliveryman 5-9. The names come from the district they serve and their rank.

4 1/2 "Delivery" Sheep


Monday, June 19, 2023

Book Review: Northranger by Rey Terciero (Author), Bre Indigo (Illustrator)

by Rey Terciero (Author), Bre Indigo (Illustrator)
June 6, 2023
Publisher: HarperAlley
In this swoony and spooky teen summer romance graphic novel set on a Texas ranch, sixteen-year-old Cade Muñoz finds himself falling for the ranch owner’s mysterious and handsome son, only to discover that he may be harboring a dangerous secret.

Cade has always loved to escape into the world of a good horror movie. After all, horror movies are scary—but to Cade, a closeted queer Latino teen growing up in rural Texas—real life can be way scarier.

When Cade is sent to spend the summer working as a ranch hand to help earn extra money for his family, he is horrified. Cade hates everything about the ranch, from the early mornings to the mountains of horse poop he has to clean up. The only silver lining is the company of the two teens who live there—in particular, the ruggedly handsome and enigmatic Henry.

But as unexpected sparks begin to fly between Cade and Henry, things get…complicated. Henry is reluctant to share the details of his mother’s death, and Cade begins to wonder what else he might be hiding. Inspired by the gothic romance of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and perfect for fans of Heartstopper and Bloom comes a modern love story so romantic it’s scary.

I haven't read Jane Austen's novel Northanger Abbey, but I know the plot. Rey Terciero's young adult graphic novel version is a clever, insightful, and entertaining retelling. (I use these three adjectives often when reviewing YA stories... based on my experience as an adult and parent, these are the trifecta of a great YA story.)

I easily got caught up in Cade's wild and macabre imagination even though I knew where the story was going, lol. Northanger is well-written, with lots of drama and comedy.
Favorite quote:
Cade: "Garage? More like murder barn."
The author weaves fiction with a relatable coming-of-age story of two teens from different backgrounds and addresses some serious and very real subjects young folks deal with. These kinds of stories show kids they aren't alone in their struggles and teach compassion and understanding to others who might not have experienced them. In the author's note at the end, Tericero shares his personal connection to Cade's character.  

graphics from publisher

Bri Indigo's artwork is clean and expressive. They have a style that balances age appropriateness for the younger end of the demographic while also appealing to older readers. I loved the monochrome palette color choice. It complements the story's tone and characters without overshadowing it. Kudos to the publisher for pairing the story with the artist.

I read Northranger in one sitting! Request your schools and local libraries to put Northranger on their shelves.

5 "Salvador Dali" Sheep


About the Author:
REX OGLE is an award-winning author and the writer of nearly a hundred children’s books, comics, graphic novels, and memoirs—most notably Free Lunch, which won the ALA/YALSA award for Excellence in Non-Fiction.

Born and raised (mostly) in Texas, he moved to New York City after college to intern at Marvel Comics before moving over to DC Comics, Scholastic, and Little Brown Young Readers. As an editor, he championed over a dozen NY Times Bestsellers and worked on (and often wrote) major brands such as X-Men, Justice League, Star Wars, LEGO, Power Rangers, Transformers, Minecraft, Assassin’s Creed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Neil Patrick Harris’s Magic Misfits.

Rex has written under a lot of pen names, including Trey King, Honest Lee, and Rey Terciero (a nickname given by his Abuela, being Español for “third king,” which is apt since Rex is Latin for “king,” and he is the third “Rex” in his family).

Now, Rex lives in Los Angeles where he writes in his spare time—that is, when he’s not outdoors hiking with his dog Toby, playing MarioKart with friends, or reading.

About the Illustrator:
Greetings! I'm Bre Indigo! It's lovely to have you here, thanks for visiting.

I'm a queer black artist based in SoCal. As someone who identifies as Agender, you may use any pronouns when addressing me. I'm a lover of salmon sashimi, astronomy, good coffee, Star Trek, face kisses, sun naps as well as my partner Tami, and fur babies Riley and Zelda.

☆ ☆ ☆

The purpose of my creative career is to bring people together and nurture a healthy community around my creations. I love to tell stories of gentle boys, strong girls, the great folk in between and those outside completely. I want to bring attention to the humanity and different forms of love we have in us as human beings.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

WIP It Real Good: Urban Fantasy Author Kharma Kelley + giveaway

This is a snippet from my WIP (work in progress) and follow up to my latest urban fantasy novella, THIEF OF HEARTS. Here in this scene, Gemma’s partner, Max, may have to choose between life and devil. And what use is a lothario from Hell if he can’t sate, I mean, save his succubus?

“Oh, Max...,” Gemma lamented. “What have you done?”

A rumble ripped through the clouds and Ari walked through a portal that manifested before them. He focused on Max immediately and clasped his hands in front of him. “Well, you rang?”

Max’s eyes widened in shock at the demon’s arrival, almost speechless until the urgency of the situation nudged him. “She’s really weak and no one at Pandora Ops is strong enough to feed her. If something isn’t done fast, she’ll die. She’s bleeding out. You have to help her.” Max stepped aside as Ari stared at Gemma laying quietly beside him.

“What is it she got herself into now?” Ari bent down and pulled her eyelids open, her face glistening with sweat. “I’m glad you called me. She’s wounded pretty bad. Nearly mortal.”

Max could’ve sworn the demon held a smirk of amusement.

Gemma mumbled against him. “I rescind your…”

He scooped her up into his arms and whispered. “You didn’t summon me, so you can stick that rescindment up Stellina’s ass.” Ari cleared his throat. “Come, my sweet succubus.” His bright eyes glowed with mischief. “Let’s get you well and back on these streets fighting baddies.” A sinister grin blossomed on his face before turning around and flashing out with her.

Max, now alone breathed a sigh of relief. Then, his phone buzzed.

It was Stellina.


Kiss of the Fallen
by Kharma Kelley
September 18, 2018

Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance 

Publisher: Wicked Bayou Press
ISBN: 978-0-9981573-5-1
Number of pages:250
Word Count: 70K
Cover Artist: Kharma Kelley
The night has a new ruler...

Sooner or later, Mr. Darkness comes for all of us…

At least, that’s what Tristan Castilion, a celebrated Commander of the Vampire Royal Guard, believes. A centuries-old vampire, he just wanted to be left alone. He wanted nothing to do with the war brewing among all the supernaturals and had grown tired of fighting for a lost cause.

Sucked into one last mission from his vampire government, Tristan soon finds himself in the middle of a dark conspiracy within the vampire ranks and a beautiful, half-naked demon chained to his bed.

She is every vampire’s fantasy and nightmare…

Zoë is a Black Blood Slayer—legendary demons bred to do one thing: kill vampires. A true ruler of the night, she's forced to keep her lethal wiles at bay in order to uncover the truth, creating an unlikely partnership with Tristan.

The Night Has a New Ruler…

Her blood is spiked with a desire he longs to tame, but if he does, he could be six-feet under; this time forever. But with both of them on the run and all hell breaking loose, how can he be sure she wants him to love or to destroy?

Fans of Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dannika Dark and Patricia Briggs will enjoy this non-stop action story featuring a badass heroine of color. It’s like Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and a Thriller had a ménage à trois of angry sex, then spawned this book!

Tristan no sooner entered the foyer of his home when he heard the rustling of metal upstairs and bared his teeth to attack. His gun drawn from his holster, he snarled at the thought of someone invading sanctuary. Someone had the gall to invade his home after the shit I've been through today? His body tense, he leaped to the top of the stairs, checking around the hall until he focused on his bedroom door closed with light shining under from under it. His senses still buzzing from the alcohol, he paused to get his bearings, letting the adrenaline stomp down his buzz. Ready to eliminate the threat, Tristan kicked down his bedroom door. With his gun drawn, he froze as his eyes met with the stark, violet eyes of a woman on his bed.

His mouth gaped open as she pulled against the glowing chains that were shackled to her wrists and ankles, the metal brushing against the bare flesh of her stomach, and lace-covered breasts.

Her abundant auburn hair cascaded down her back as she struggled to get to her knees as she faced him. She was breath-taking among the black satin of his bed and Tristan's eyes lingered over her from the full pout of her lips all the way down to the lacy black triangle at the meeting of her thighs.

Okay...It isn't his birthday...and what was in that fucking drink?

Her scowling face was less than pleased at Tristan's ogling. She pulled against the chains with a loud clink that brought Tristan back to earth.

"Take this off of me now!" Her eyes were thin slits as she glared at him.

Tristan moved closer to her, looking around the room for anyone else that decided to drop in on him. The only anomaly there was the woman wearing nothing but strange chains and underwear on his bed. His gun still drawn and aimed at her, he finally responded. "Who the hell are you?

And why the hell are you here? I didn't order a blood-bag stripper."

Zoë sneered at him viciously. "I'm not a stripper, you asshole! Now turn me loose or I'll rip your heart out!" She barked out through gritted teeth.

Tristan gave her a smirk. "Woo hoo, strong talk for a woman who can't move three inches from where she is." He chambered a round in his gun. "Now I'll ask you once more. Who the hell are you?"

He paused as she suddenly took a deep breath and inhaled him and the air around him.

"Damn it," she cursed under her breath as she realized what he was. Her senses reeling, she desperately tried to focus on her lucidity as her body primed itself for the hunt. NO! Not until I find out why I'm here in this jerk's room, she pleaded with herself. Focus. Focus. But it was too late. He was so close now, so very tempting and her body would not listen to reason. It was the nature of her kind, and yet she despised herself for it.

Tristan tried to shake the cloudiness from his head as he stared at her. All he could think of was ripping that delicate fabric from her body and plunging deep into her, then sinking his fangs into her lush, radiant skin and sampling her life force. He moved closer to her as she leaned back against the bed, her ethereal eyes seductive and enchanting. Tristan stopped at the edge of the bed, nothing but the iron rail to stop him from moving even closer.

But something in the back of his mind urged that it wasn't right. The need to sate himself with her made him want to tear the heavens down just to have her. This maddening, clawing sense of urgency that was so hot, it threatened to burn away all sense of reasoning. Even his stopping against the railing made his body burn for her. An insatiable need to taste her, to take her, as some unknown force drove him to her like a rabbit in a snare. The feeling was so innate and primal, Tristan could eagerly walk through all the flames of hell just to taste her now. It was what some would call, pure insanity.

He lowered his gun.

She crooked a finger to him to come closer and he obeyed, moving to the side of the bed, finally dropping his gun to the floor. Reaching for him, she closed her mouth on his, pressing her body against him. Tristan growled at her bare olive flesh rubbing against the folds of his clothes. He could feel all of her now as if there were no clothing between them. It made his body rigid, and throbbing. Never had he wanted to be inside someone with every fiber of his lost soul with such a hunger. Her full lips plundered him, greedy and lustful. He was already painfully erect, pulling at his coat to remove it as her mouth assaulted him in the most sinful way possible.

Zoë, you have to get a grip. She called within herself, as her tongue darted into his mouth, brushing against his fangs. He had the metallic taste of blood on his tongue as if he just came from feeding. The ripple of his flesh beneath his clothes begged her to strip him to see all of the sinew he hid from her gaze. When his erection poked against her stomach, she groaned at the promise of it. Every molecule in her body was honed to seduce him. To take him and make him hers...

The bastard deserves to die. He had just fed, probably off a human. Kill him now!

She shook her head, trying to dismiss the huntress in her clawing to get out. If she let it take over, this vampire was as good as dead. If she would reject it, the enthrallment would tear her soul to pieces. But this was not a 'stake the vampire, ask questions later' kinda situation. He's the only one who could help her out of the chains and probably out of this mess she somehow found herself in. She hated to admit it, but she needed the stupid vamp.

Just a little more, then you can kill him. Bite him!


Hissing, Zoë broke away, pushing him away from her. "Get away damn you!" Tristan shook the haze from his head as he saw her writhe on the bed in pain. His bedroom suddenly filled with the tortured screams of the woman as she convulsed and shook on his bed. He started to reach for her, when he saw her back as she pressed her stomach against the bed, screaming. Then she collapsed.

He went cold at what he saw.

Tristan stepped back as he saw the elaborate tattoo on her back. Wings were so beautifully crafted, one would have sworn the black feathers on her bare skin were actually real. But he knew exactly what those wings represented.

Oh, fuck me!

They were the symbol of the clipped wings of the league of angels who chose to fall to protect mankind.

Vampires were never at the top of the food chain, as much as they'd like to think so. They also had slayers; stronger and more gifted than any Buffy or Van Helsing a human could conjure up in their fantasy world.

They, and they alone were the true rulers of the night.

Black Blood Slayers, demons that had the power to lure a vampire from miles away if they chose. They could draw anything without a soul and bend some of those creatures to their will.

The supreme angels of death to vampires and the lesser demons on earth. They were beautiful, cunning, and absolutely lethal. Vampires unfortunate enough to encounter one did not live to talk about the experience.

And here was one, right in his bed.

Yeah, the night just keeps getting better.

About the Author:
A Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy author, Kharma Kelley has been enamored with all things that go "bump in the night" for who knows how long. She truly believes that finding humanity and beauty in some of the most seemingly unconventional places is part of the romantic psyche to her. A big fan of the Big Easy, Kharma tends to weave her proud Cajun heritage and values into her books. She enjoys reading other urban fantasy and romance novels and is the founder of the Inclusive Romance Project--an online community and mentorship for romance writers of marginalized identities.

"One Wild Ride!"
The night has a new ruler. Vampires better run & hide. She commin' for dat ass!
KISS OF THE FALLEN is a urban fantasy romance. HEA guarantee!
#paranormalromance #urbanfantasy #romance #indieauthor #writingcommunity

Tour Giveaway
1 Signed Print Copy of Kiss of the Fallen
4"I support Indie authors" stickers
1 "Bite Me" Vampire Unicorn 3" sticker
a Rafflecopter giveaway