PROMO: In Light’s Shadow

Promo

In Light's Shadow - Warren Rochelle

Warren Rochelle has a new MM alternate history fantasy out: In Light’s Shadow.

Gavin Booker, a school librarian, leads an orderly, normal life. Work, jogging, friends from work, his son every other weekend. Gavin is also a secret. He is a hybrid, or part-fairy, and in the Columbian Empire, hybrids are under an automatic death sentence. Magic is illegal. So is loving another man, another capital crime. Fairies are locked away in ghettoes, magical beasts, such as gryphons, unicorns, and pegasi are kept in zoos.

Also in zoos: werewolves and other wers, centaurs, and Cheshire cats. The others, the tree and water spirits, the talking beasts, fauns, and the rest, are in hiding. This is the world in which Gavin grew up. He survived, thanks to his mother. He can never forget he is different: ministers preach against people like him constantly; hating the other is a part of every school’s curriculum.

But now, things are changing fast, and apparently, for the worst. Earthquakes, volcanoes, killer storms. The medicine Gavin takes to suppress his body’s glowing, isn’t working. The spells cast by his doctor, a witch, are losing their power. If anyone finds out what Gavin is, he is dead. Under threat, the Empire always goes after its marginalized people. Can Gavin survive the common catastrophe? Will he ever recover from losing the boys he loved? Can he find the fairy man who has haunted his dreams all is life before it is too late? Can his scarred heart ever heal?

Warnings: Suicide (off-stage), suicidal thoughts and suicide attempt, and self-harm

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Warren is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Excerpt

In Light's Shadow meme - Warren Rochelle

The name on the sign by the empty cage read Equus caballus malum. No government-authorized sign would ever have any reference to human for a centaur. His mother had taught him the other name that morning beneath the Big Trees.

A pair of golden gryphons, also with clipped wings, and as unhappy looking as the pegasi, were in the next cage.

“There are supposed to be two silver gryphons, too,” Gavin said, after he read the sign. “I guess they are hiding in that cave in the back. Maybe the female is sitting on her eggs, or nursing her cubs.”

Latisha just nodded and tightened her grip on his hand. God only knows what her parents told her before this field trip.

The werewolf was next, sitting hunched over a rock in its forest habitat. It was an eastern red werewolf, with intensely blue human-like eyes. Listed on the sign in front of the cage were instructions for identifying werewolves in human form, and ways to protect oneself from such monsters.  Canis lupus malum, evil wolf

The werewolf seemed even sadder than the rest of the Bestiary’s denizens. It hadn’t looked up, no matter how loud the kids ahead of Gavin and Latisha had been, or how many faces they had made. But it did look up just as Gavin got to the cage and stared at him with those very bright blue eyes. Human eyes. Homo sapiens lupus. Gavin froze.

“Mr. Booker?”

He didn’t answer Latisha at first. Instead, Gavin watched as the werewolf, shaking its big shaggy head, came slowly over to the corner of the cage where they stood. Its eyes were focused intently on Gavin. It jumped on its hind legs, its big paws only separated from Gavin’s face by the glass.

“Help me, please, fairy, help me. They won’t me let change. They make me take drugs,” it said in a rough voice. “I need to change. Get me out of here.”

“I’m not a fairy. Shut up,” Gavin snapped back.

“Mr. Booker? Look, the silver ones came out,” Latisha said. She was staring at the gryphon cage. She turned when the werewolf asked again for the fairy to get him out. “Mr. Booker? What’s it talking about? What fairy?” Latisha asked, looking back and forth between the silver gryphons and the werewolf. The silver gryphons ran back in their cave.

“Not a fairy? Look at your hands, fairy,” the werewolf hissed.

Gavin dropped Latisha’s hand and looked at his own. The tips of all his fingers glowed, a faint, faint yellow glow, as if he had dipped them in fluorescent paint. He quickly slid them into his pockets.

I took the pills this morning. This shouldn’t be happening. Suppress, suppress, suppress.

“I’m not a fucking fairy,” he yelled at the werewolf who only growled and snarled in return. He looked quickly around the Bestiary. Was there anybody who’d hear him yelling?  What was he thinking? Thank God nobody but Latisha was anywhere near Gavin and the werewolf.

Latisha stared at Gavin and the werewolf. “You aren’t supposed to say that word; it’s not nice. Mama told me so. What fairy is it talking about?”

Gavin took a deep breath. Seeing the fear in the little girl’s face, he spoke slowly, in as even and as calm a tone as he could muster. “I don’t know what fairy it’s talking about. There’s just you and me and we’re certainly not fairies.” The glowing had stopped, he felt it. He took a deep breath. “I’m sorry I got upset—that thing upset me. Your mother is absolutely right; you shouldn’t say that.”

“Fairies are bad, too,” Latisha said. He could guess what she was thinking.  Latisha was remembering what she had been taught in school, the same things he had been taught in kindergarten and first grade, in Sunday school, and all the way through high school and college. Never mind the ads on TV and that radio that played over and over. The government made sure the lesson got through, that it was repeated over and over so no one could ever miss it. Even the youngest knew what the warning signs were, what to look out for. And what to do if they saw glowing people.

For your country and your Emperor, for God, for your family and friends, and because Jesus loves you: call the police. Just hit the big blue star on the nearest Automatic Reporting Machine and start talking. If you don’t know how to use the phone or the ARM, or neither is nearby, find the nearest normal adult and tell them. Normal people, good people, do not glow.

“Fairy, please. Help me.”

Gavin ignored the werewolf.  “It’s not supposed to talk to us. Let’s go find Mr. Phillips and the rest of the class.”

Latisha nodded and reached for his hand. They walked away quickly, not looking back.

The werewolf yelled. “Fairy, help me, please!”  Then it howled. They walked faster, Latisha looking over her shoulder.


Author Bio

In Light's Shadow - Warren Rochelle

Warren Rochelle lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his husband and their little dog, Gypsy, after retiring teaching English and Creative Writing at the University of Mary Washington in 2020. His short fiction and poetry have been published in such journals and anthologies as Icarus, North Carolina Literary Review, Forbidden Lines, Aboriginal Science Fiction, Collective Fallout, Queer Fish 2, Empty Oaks, Quantum Fairy Tales, Migration, The Silver Gryphon, Jaelle Her Book, Colonnades, and Graffiti, as well as the Asheville Poetry Review, GW Magazine, Crucible, The Charlotte Poetry Review, and Romance and Beyond. His short story, “The Golden Boy,” was a finalist for the 2004 Spectrum Award for Short Fiction.

Rochelle is the author of a book of academic criticism, Communities of the Heart: the Rhetoric of Myth in the Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin, published by Liverpool University Press in 2001. Other articles and book reviews on science fiction and fantasy have appeared in various journals, including Extrapolation, Foundation, North Carolina Literary Review, and the SFRA Review.

Rochelle is also the author of four novels: The Wild Boy (2001), Harvest of Changelings (2007), and The Called (2010), all published by Golden Gryphon Press, and The Werewolf and His Boy, published by Samhain Publishing in September 2016. The Werewolf and His Boy was re-released by JMS Books in August 2020. His first story collection, The Wicked Stepbrother and Other Stories, was published by JMS Books in September 2020. His second collection, To Bring Him Home and Other Tales, was published in September 2021, by JMS Books. A stand-alone story, “Seagulls,” was released by JMS Books in September 2021.

Author Website: https://kingdomofjoria.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://facebook.com/warrenrochelle

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://facebook.com/warrenwriter

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/WarrenRochelle

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/38355.Warren_Rochelle

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://limfic.com/WarrenRochelle

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PROMO: First Born Sons

Promo

First Born Sons - Vincent Traughber Meis

Vincent Traughber Meis has a new LGBTQ+ contemporary literary book out (gay, trans FTM, bi, gender fluid): First Born Sons. And there’s a giveaway.

A group of coastal California residents battle wildfires, racism, and their own demons in five distinct narratives set in late 2019 and 2020.

The book is populated by a cast of diverse LGBTQ+ individuals who struggle to find love, comfort, and fulfillment. As the novel progresses, characters interact across the separate narratives and are brought together for a birthday and a disastrous Black Lives Matter demonstration.

A man returning to the horrors that made him leave Mississippi, a blind gay man flirting with love, an FTM transgender starting hormone therapy, a woman struggling to protect her sons from her husband’s surge to right-wing politics, and a teenager with two gay dads searching for his Black surrogate mom paint a disturbing tableau of modern-day America.

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Giveaway

Vincent is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Excerpt

First Born Sons meme

1 Fire
August 2020

Each step took him closer to safety, one uncertain foot in front of the other, his biceps straining as he shifted the heavy load in his arms. On either side of the unpaved road he traversed, thick groves of redwoods towered above him and the forest air wrinkled with dust and heat and smoke, causing his useless eyes behind dark glasses to burn. But his legs knew the way, knew the number of steps to the nearest house. If the neighbors weren’t there, he would have to make it all the way to the main road and hope for a passing car to pick him up.

A gust of hot wind rushed through the trees, and he heard the snap of a branch, followed by a thump on the ground. He picked up his pace, his breathing growing heavier, sweat trickling down his sides. He shifted the load again and hugged the equipment to his chest, things he couldn’t leave behind, the tools of his trade, his work, his life.

A few minutes earlier he had been in a groove at the desk in front of the window, headphones on, crafting a set for an upcoming Zoom dance party called Apocalypse. Making a killer set was essential for people unable to go out, afraid of the virus, surrounded by wildfires, and bored with political discourse. They longed to dance, move their bodies, get their sexy on even if it was in a little Zoom window. With outlets of entertainment shut down, people spent excess income on pricey headphones and ear buds. He took that into account as his fingers danced over the knobs and levers, adjusting everything by sound and feel, pumping up the bass to shake their brains, rattle their hearts imprisoned in ribcages of discontent.

His goal was to make them feel something, and he hunted for songs allowing extreme panning, mixes that bounced the sounds back and forth from ear to ear, playing with space and width as the music traveled through their heads. Getting them on their feet and shaking their asses made him happy, gave him a reason to go on when the darkness around him pressed in.

The odor of burning, pungent and slightly sweet, had wafted in the open window, filled his nostrils, and snapped him out of the trance he fell into when manipulating pitch, timbre, texture, volume, and duration, pushing one up, another down. He removed the headphones and through the lingering pulsation in his ears heard the incessant chirp notifications from his phone. Five messages. They all told him the same thing. The fires were getting close. Get out. He unplugged his headphones and the controller from his laptop, gathered everything in his arms, felt his way to the door, and negotiated the steps to the ground.

A car approached, still a couple of hundred yards away, and his panic subsided. As it was the last house on the road, someone had to be coming for him. He breathed easier, and the playlist returned to his head, the order and choice of songs. The gravel crunched under his feet to the beat of the extended dance mix version he had found of the R.E.M. song, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” a trite but obvious choice for the set. The car got closer. He tilted his head. Though his ears recognized most of the cars that came down the road, this one was different, heavier.

The vehicle stopped. Two doors opened, and the sounds of unfriendly steps, the vibration of danger ground toward him. Two men, he guessed. His spine tingled with the all-overs as Granny used to say.

“Stop right there!” a man shouted. “Put your shit on the ground and raise your hands.”

The command brought a brutal end to the tunes in Lamar’s head like a needle scratching across a record. “What? Who are you?” Lamar continued his trudge forward.

The two cops turned to each other with confused expressions. The older officer with a thick mustache that hid his upper lip on a round face and a rookie who looked as if he spent way too much time admiring his blond good looks in front of the mirror at the gym unsnapped their holsters and put their hands on their guns. The senior cop growled, “I said stop. On your knees.”

Lamar’s spirit tumbled into a muddy hole of fear. It had been four years since he had nearly lost his life, attacked by men with guns and robbed of his laptop with all his stored music. This time his files were backed up, but he wasn’t about to lose the couple of thousand dollars’ worth of equipment in his arms without a fight.

“I don’t know who you are.” A murder of crows cawed a bitter song high in the trees above them. They could see what he couldn’t, looking down on the classic scenario of a Black man facing the police with their guns drawn, barking orders that made no sense.

“Stop where you are. Are you deaf?”

The birds cawed panic and flew away.

“No, but he’s blind,” said a voice from behind the officers. The younger one swirled around and pointed his gun at a man walking up the road. Byron’s long hair blew wild in the wind and his beard was thick from not shaving since the beginning of the shutdown. He liked to joke that he now looked like the Unabomber. When Lamar hadn’t responded to his call, he had rushed out of the house in a dirty T-shirt and sweats and jumped in his car, a disheveled cavalry to the rescue.


Author Bio

Vincent Traughber Meis grew up in Decatur, Illinois where he got his start writing plays for his younger sisters to act in for a neighborhood audience. He graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans and worked for many years as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area, Spain, Saudi Arabia and Mexico, publishing many academic articles in his field.

As result of his extensive travels and time abroad he published a number of pieces, mostly travel articles, but also a few poems and book reviews, in publications such as, The Advocate, LA Weekly, In Style, and Our World in the 1980’s and 90’s. He finally arrived at his true writing love: novels and short stories.

Five of his six published novels are set at least partially in foreign countries and his book of short stories focuses on countries around the world. Several of his novels have won Rainbow Awards, and his most recent novel, The Mayor of Oak Street was awarded a Reader Views Silver Award. He has published short stories in a number of collections and has achieved Finalist status in a few short fiction contests.

When he’s not writing, he works in the garden and travels with his husband. He lives in San Leandro, California.

Author Website: https://www.vincentmeis.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/vincent.meis

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/vincenttraughbermeis/

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/convince415

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vincentmeisauthor

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5755735.Vincent_Meis

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00J7YZQU4

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PROMO: Sundowners

Promo

R.L. Merrill has a new MM paranormal romance out: Sundowners. And there’s a giveaway.

Vampire Creed Lowell drifts from town to town working with the elderly as a night nurse and looking to avenge his harrowing past. His youth and vitality make him a favorite of his patients and his gifts bring them peace. At long last he’s arrived in the place where he hopes to find the truth about those who betrayed him…but first he finds an unexpected love with a man who might understand him—or end him.

Grad student Roman San Angelo is struggling to handle his courses, teaching schedule, and research for his dissertation on an obscure cult. He spends every spare moment with his beloved yet demanding grandmother Frances who’s recently moved to an assisted living facility—and he’s fascinated by her night nurse, who is able to bring out the inner light which had faded during her battle with dementia. Something about Creed doesn’t add up, however, Roman finds himself fighting an undeniable attraction. His concerns multiply when Roman discovers a connection between Creed and a bizarre series of vampire-wannabe assaults in the area. A moment of weakness leads to a night of passion between them, and the promise of something more, and yet Roman can’t shake his concern that Creed is not what he seems.

Creed knows better than to bring a mortal into his world, even one who could help him find the link between the pack of violent vampires preying on the people of Santa Cruz and Creed’s past. When he discovers Creed’s secret, Roman is ready to step outside his comfort zone and accept everything a life with a vampire entails, and when Creed disappears, Roman will go to the ends of the earth to find the man who brought the light back to his grandmother and the warmth back to his own heart.

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Giveaway

R.L. is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Excerpt

Sundowners meme - R.L. Merrill

Chapter One

Creed

January

“Well, Mr. Lowell, I think we have everything we need. Your references all check out, and you passed your background check. Can you start on Friday?”

What a relief! I smiled and leaned against the wall of my dingy hotel room. Thank goodness for excellent references. I inhaled the combination mildew/chlorine smell caused by the permanent dampness from the ocean and the indoor swimming pool below my room, glad . This was the break I needed, or my current accommodations would soon go from bad to worse.

“Thank you, yes. What time does the evening shift start?” I kept my fingers crossed while I waited for the answer.

“Six o’clock. Just come to the front desk and our evening supervisor will get you set up. Lexi’s great. She’ll show you the ropes.”

“Wonderful. Thank you for this opportunity.”

“We should be thanking you, Mr. Lowell. You’re overqualified for the position, and we’ve had a difficult time keeping our evening staff. I hope this works out for the both of us.”

I thanked Yvonne, the Human Resources director, once more before disconnecting. Then the victory dance commenced.

“Did you hear that, Rhonda? We’re in!”

My red Doberman rested her jaw on her paws and made an old lady noise, indicating that she’d rather be napping than dancing.

I would not be thwarted, however. I danced a West Side Story routine across the room to the kitchenette and reached into the fridge with panache. There was one last bag of A-positive that I’d been sipping on since arriving in Santa Cruz, and now I could finish it off since I’d have a steady supply in just two days’ time. Not that I needed much—especially not when I was working—but it was important to never let my energy stores deplete. It affected my judgement and my ability to do the work that was so desperately needed.

I did a spin and a box step before kicking my leg out, and throwing my arms back in a layout. Hopefully I’d find a patient who knew the old dances at Puesta Del Sol, my new place of employment. They were the most fun to work with.

I reached into my lone duffel bag, which contained seven sets of scrubs, a suit, three white t-shirts, a pair of jeans, a Harvard hoodie, two pairs of shoes, and a small photo album that contained cherished pictures of my parents and younger siblings. The rest of my belongings and resources were hidden in pre-paid storage facilities around the country for when I got desperate…or had to run.

My family was all gone now. My little sister was the last, and she’d passed away four months ago according to the hometown newspaper in Macon County, Georgia. I read every copy that I could get ahold of through the local libraries. The internet had been such a great invention. Even though I hadn’t been home in nearly forty years, I’d managed to keep tabs on everyone. They’d all lived mostly happy, satisfying lives and died of natural causes at advanced ages, which was the best I could have hoped for.

But now that I had no worry of repercussions for my family, I could finally seek out the truth.

Puesta Del Sol was hopefully the end of the line. The last assisted-living home where I’d worked in Albuquerque had led me here, to Santa Cruz, California. “Go west, young man,” turned out to be the advice I’d needed all along.

I was determined to find those responsible for sending me on this decades-long exile. It wouldn’t be long now. It was time to set things straight, and it seemed fitting to be back near where it all started.

March 2019

Two months later, the trail of promising leads had gone cold. Still, I loved my new life in California. I was surrounded by a competent and diverse staff at Puesta Del Sol that knew how to run a place of healing and hope with patients who were happy and well cared for. And I loved Santa Cruz. It was almost enough to make me consider letting go of the past.

What a great place for a guy like me. It was easy to fit into the college town that was also a magnet for transients, tourists, and folks who were followers of alternative lifestyles. Not only were there practitioners of Eastern religions and schools of thought, but also those who claimed to be creatures of the night, a holdover from the vampire craze that swept the area after a hit movie in the ’80s made them cool. I occasionally even found folks who didn’t mind a little role play.

My love of music meant I was a frequent guest of The Catalyst, a large music venue, bar, and eatery located downtown that drew fans from all over the Bay Area. One night they’d feature punk, the next rap, and sometimes even classic rock bands made their way to the club.

Tonight was a perfect opportunity to blend in as a lineup of alternative bands from the eighties was playing. I’d worn my black suit, skinny tie, and black Dr. Martens. I’d even slicked my dark auburn hair back and donned black eyeliner for the hell of it, the makeup highlighting my eyes, so blue they made people stop and stare. Of course, the rest of the package could also be to blame for that. My pale, freckled skin fit the role of a night walker perfectly to round out the look.

I made my way through the crowd to the bar and ordered a beer. A willing playmate soon appeared, and the game was on.

The young man, dressed in a velvet waistcoat and ruffled poet’s shirt, saw me approach the bar and immediately perked up. I took a swig of my beer and nodded at the Goth. When I moved away from the bar, I felt him at my back as I headed to a dark corner. Once there, I leaned against the wall and waited.

The young man approached with a sly smile, and I took it as an invitation. I reached for his shoulder, turned him around slowly, and pulled him back against my chest, enjoying the way his body fit against mine.

“I have your permission?” I whispered in the young man’s ear. “I promise you’ll enjoy it.”

The young man turned to face me and his eyes widened in surprise. “Here?”

I smiled at him and ran a finger down his neck, enjoying the way he shivered. The energy from his excitement would have been enough to nourish me, but I was feeling greedy tonight.

“Yeah, just um, be safe about it.”

I bathed him in a wave of calm. The manipulation of energy was effortless for me now. “You’re in good hands, my friend.” I turned him around and stopped him when he went to loosen his belt. “Relax, I’ve got you.”

I slid his long curly blond hair to the side. I had ways of making the experience pleasurable, so I poured energy into giving this guy one helluva good time, one he’d remember for years to come. He just wouldn’t remember that a vampire sank his teeth gently into his neck and took sustenance from his body.

Give unto them what they require.

Take only what you need to survive.

I would never forget what I’d been taught.

“Blessed be.”

After a few sips, I felt my playmate shudder against me and let out a satisfied moan. A few more pulls and his body tensed, gasped, and shuddered once more. It was nice to know I hadn’t lost my touch.

It had been a long time since I’d chanced feeding in public, but I felt safe here. Santa Cruz had welcomed me with open arms, and I wanted to stay.

The young man raised his arm and cupped the back of my head. He pressed his ass back against me, and I knew it was time to end this tryst.

“Thank you,” I whispered against his ear, and then pressed a kiss to his neck.

“I should be thanking you,” the guy said. “What’s your name?”

I disappeared into the crowd before the young man turned to look, and I was out of the club before he could wonder what happened.

I rarely drank blood—it was an infrequent need to maintain my existence as long as I had plenty of human energy to manipulate—and I always made sure my partner enjoyed it. But the act often left me feeling…empty. I worked hard to help others live a more satisfying life, and after all this time, I sometimes resented that I couldn’t pursue happiness of my own. I would have loved to take that young man home and enjoy more than just an Exchange. Someday I would find…someone. But not until it was safe. Not until I’d done what I came here to do.


Author Bio

“With a strong plot, an expertly crafted cast of supporting characters, and deep empathy, Merrill’s novel will keep readers hooked.” —Publishers Weekly review of Typhoon Toby.

Whether she’s writing contemporary romance featuring quirky and relatable characters or diving deep into the paranormal and supernatural to give readers a shiver, R.L. Merrill loves creating compelling stories that will stay with readers long after. Winner of the Kathryn Hayes “When Sparks Fly” Best Contemporary award for Hurricane Reese, and a Foreword INDIES finalist for Summer of Hush, Ro spends every spare moment improving her writing craft and striving to find that perfect balance between real-life and happily ever after.

She writes diverse and inclusive romance, contributes paranormal hilarity to Robyn Peterman’s Magic and Mayhem Universe, and pens horror-inspired music reviews for HorrorAddicts.net.

You can find her connecting with readers on social media, advocating for America’s youth, raising two brilliant kids, or headbanging at a rock show near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area!

Stay Tuned for more…

Author Website: https://www.rlmerrillauthor.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/rochellerlmerrill

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/rlmerrillauthor

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/rlmerrillauthor

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rlmerrillauthor

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9828914.R_L_Merrill

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/r-l-merrill/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/R-L-Merrill/e/B00PI6Q1LI

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PROMO: Veggie Burgers To Go

Promo

Veggie Burgers to Go - Karenna Colcroft

Karenna Colcroft has a new MM paranormal / urban fantasy romance out, Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat book 2: Veggie Burgers to Go. And there’s a giveaway.

A member of Boston North Pack is attacked by humans who say they were hired by a shifter. The same night, Melia, the wolf who changed Kyle Slidell, returns to Boston. The pack suspects Melia of arranging the attack, but Kyle believes someone else is behind it. He just doesn’t know who.

The following day, at the regional Alpha gathering in Pennsylvania, Kyle finds his answer. Saul Hughes, another Alpha, has a long-standing grudge against Tobias, Boston North’s Alpha and Kyle’s mate. Believing Tobias and Chal Torres, the other Boston-area Alpha, are both too weak to rule packs, Saul wants to take control of Boston North and City Pack. But no one suspects how far he’ll go to get it.

Warnings: References to sexual assault; on-page gun violence

About the Series

When Kyle Slidell moved to Boston, MA for work, he didn’t expect to develop a Massachusetts-sized crush on his neighbor, Tobias Rogan. After watching Tobias with occasional hellos for a few months, Kyle is thrilled to learn that Tobias is into him, too.

But Tobias isn’t what he seems, and neither are most of the rest of Kyle’s neighbors. Kyle finds this out too late, when one of the neighbors turns out to be a rogue werewolf who attacks Kyle. And it turns out Kyle’s other neighbors are also werewolves, Tobias is their Alpha–and now Kyle is a werewolf too, and Tobias’s mate! But, being as stubborn as he is, even in wolf form vegan Kyle refuses to eat meat.

The werewolf world is not a calm place, as Kyle learns. Some local wolves have a grudge against Tobias. And Tobias has attracted attention beyond the Boston limits from those who want to make sure he never poses a threat to them. Together, Kyle and Tobias build a life together while fighting to protect their pack and each other.

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Giveaway

Karena is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Excerpt

I showered first, hurrying down the hall and back with one of the extra-large towels I’d found in the closet in our room wrapped around my waist. While Tobias was out of the room, I sat on the edge of the bed and looked out the window. I wasn’t sure what to wear on the first official day of Alpha-Con, so I wanted to see what he put on first.

By the time he returned from his shower, clad in a towel similar to mine, the noise in the hallway had died to nothing. “I think everyone else has gone downstairs,” he said. “Why are you still in a towel?”

“I’m waiting for my Alpha to order me into some clothes,” I replied.

He rolled his eyes and dressed in khaki slacks and a green button-down shirt I didn’t remember ever seeing him wear. He usually chose jeans and T-shirts. Or the denim cut-offs he’d worn most of the summer. I’d brought a royal blue shirt and grey slacks I generally wore to work. Taking Tobias’s lead, I put those on and we went out to the hall.

Only Suzannah hadn’t gone downstairs yet. She stood outside our room, arms folded, looking like she was close to tears. “Did something happen?” Tobias asked her.

“The Alpha of the Erie Pack happened.” She didn’t sound close to tears. She sounded pissed. “Homophobic piece of shit that he is. He stood here lecturing the pack members he brought with him about why they should avoid you two. I’d rather not even say the rest of the crap he spewed. Then he pretended he hadn’t noticed me standing here and asked what it was like being in a pack ruled by the weakest Alpha in North America.”

Tobias rested his hand on her shoulder. “Let it go, Suz,” he said quietly. Suzannah took a deep breath. “We can’t afford to be in conflict with anyone else here. You understand that, don’t you?”

“I understand.” Suzannah spoke in a monotone. “I don’t have to like him, though.”

“No, you don’t,” Tobias agreed. “Just avoid him as much as you can.”

His hand shook slightly when he took it off Suzannah’s shoulder. He was at least as pissed as she had been, which explained the amped-up compulsion. He would hide it better, of course; that was what alphas did. They didn’t display any sign of emotion if they could help it. I would have to persuade him to talk about it later on, when we had some time alone. Otherwise he would hold it in and explode at a time when it might not be warranted.

The three of us went down the front staircase. The closer we went to the first floor, the louder the shifter hubbub became. I wasn’t sure how many packs were in the northeast, but from the sound of it there had to be close to a hundred shifters gathered in the dining room and parlor. And kitchen, we discovered when we reached the first floor.

Basically, people were everywhere. Zane stood in the hallway at the foot of the stairs, acting as a traffic director, though I would have thought he’d have assigned that job to his assistants. “Good morning,” he said with a broad smile. “You three are the last down. We have a buffet set out on the kitchen island. Take what you like, eat where you like, and then we’ll all go downstairs.”

“We’re meeting in the basement?” Suzannah shuddered. Since she’d been kidnapped by Art, she could barely tolerate places without windows.

“The house is built into a hill,” Zane replied. “A slight one, but enough to allow the rear of the basement to open into the back yard. There are plenty of windows in the room where we’ll be meeting. It’s just the best room for meetings, since it’s large and soundproofed. Noise from outside or elsewhere in the house won’t distract or interrupt us. Don’t worry, it isn’t like a typical basement room. You aren’t the only wolf who becomes slightly claustrophobic, Suzannah.”

Her eyes widened. She obviously hadn’t expected the Arkhon to know that much about her. Neither had I, and I suspected even Tobias was surprised.

Then again, the Alpha of a pack often knew what his pack was thinking and feeling. It was part of the magic that made him Alpha. Given that, it made sense that the Arkhon would have that power with all wolves under his rule.

For Zane, that would be an awful lot of wolves. I couldn’t imagine being responsible for so many and having all their thoughts rolling around my brain. I struggled sometimes just with the mate bond Tobias and I shared.

Zane winked. “Arkhons know everything. Go have your breakfast, you three. I’ll see you downstairs. Tobias, your pack’s status is first on the agenda.”

“What about my mate?” Tobias tensed as he asked. I didn’t know whether anyone noticed except me.

“We will address that.” Zane’s attempt to avoid answering was paper-thin. “I’m not certain when yet. Probably toward the end of the day.”

Right. That way, when all the homophobes flip out, it’ll be easier to contain them.


Author Bio

Karenna Colcroft

Karenna Colcroft lives just north of Boston, Massachusetts, and has been in love with the city since childhood, though she has yet to encounter any werewolves, vampires, or other paranormal beings in her travels. At least none that she knows of. Though since in her non-writing life, under another name, she offers services as a channel and energy healing practitioner, it could be said that she herself is a paranormal being. The jury’s still out on that.

Karenna is a polyamorous, nonbinary human who splits time between the home she shares with her husband and the one she shares with her committed partner. She also has two adult children and a bonus son, three grandchildren, and two and a half cats. (Half in terms of time the cat lives with her, not in terms of the cat itself…)

Find out more about Karenna online at http://www.karennacolcroft.com or https://www.facebook.com/KarennaColcroft. You can also sign up to receive a free short story, and be added to Karenna’s mailing list, at https://karennacolcroft.com/get-your-free-short-story/.

Author Website: https://karennacolcroft.com

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Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Karenna-Colcroft/e/B0031HAOUK

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PROMO: Mystic Guardian (Audiobook)

Promo

Mystic Guardian Audiobook - Mary Rundle

Mary Rundle has a new mm paranormal romance out in audiobook format, Blackwood Pack, Book 9: Mystic Guardian.

The Blackwood Pack saga continues…

This is part of an on-going series by Amazon International Bestselling Author, Mary Rundle – catching up on previous titles is advised. Readers of previous books will enjoy meeting old friends once more as the pack does what it does best ̶ caring for one another and helping shifters everywhere.

Carson never dreamed his six bothers would get their fated mates before he did and now, hanging on with the barest of hope he’d be next, he ends up devastated when it doesn’t happen. Unable to cope with seeing so many happy couples around him at the pack house in California, he accepts a job offer in France, intent on building a new life—only to discover the Fates have not forgotten him at all.

After graduating from university, Remy, a low-level warlock leaves the world of magic behind, believing there’s no place in it for him. Encouraged by his parents, to accept a job offer at the Chateau des Flammes winery, he begins working for Arthur MacDùghlas, the dragon shifter owner, finally finding a place for himself in the world.

Happy with his new position, Remy’s life abruptly changes when his parents unexpectedly die and he becomes the guardian of his three younger brothers. Muddling through the unexpected role of fatherhood, he finally finds his footing until…his life is upended once again when Carson, his fated mate arrives on his doorstep.

Shocking surprises, treacherous plots, an action-packed rescue, and many unexpected twists and turns make this passionate love story by Mary Rundle impossible to put down once you’ve read the first page.

Get It On Amazon/Audible


Giveaway

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Excerpt

Mystic Guardian meme - Mary Rundle

Heading down the stairs, he listened to the ringing, hoping Henri wasn’t under a truck fixing something or other. “C’mon, Henri, pick up!” Someone had it out for him—it was the only explanation he could come up with. He made a mental note to check on who’d left recently—or had been fired.

“Bonjour, Mr. Marchant.”

“Oh, thank the gods!” Remy exclaimed. It seemed luck had not deserted him. “Henri, Fionn MacDùghlas is arriving today and I need you to pick him up at the airport. He’s coming in on a private jet.”

“Oui, Mr. Marchant. When will he be arriving?” asked Henri.

“In less than two hours. Can you do it?”

“Oui, it’ll be tight but I will make it.”

“Good…oh, and you better take the SUV. I’m not sure exactly how many will be with him but I know there’ll be at least one other.”

“Yes, sir. I’ll call when I have picked them up.”

“Thanks, Henri. Drive safe.”

“Always, sir.”

After ending the call, Remy pocketed his phone before stopping in the kitchen to give his brothers a kiss good-bye. “You guys be good for Mrs. B. today,” he warned them, heading for the back door.

“Don’t you worry, Remy, the boys and I will be fine,” Mrs. Beasley said, her voice following him out.

Shutting the door behind him, Remy stopped, sniffing the air. Satisfied, he hurried to his car, climbed in and headed down the service road that would lead him to the winery.

“Sonofabitch!” he muttered, pressing down on the accelerator. Jerking the steering wheel back and forth, Remy tried to avoid the deep ruts left over from the last rainstorm. Making another mental note to have Jules regrade the road, he finally skidded to a stop in front of the building housing the fermenting tanks.

As the dust settled around the car, Remy climbed out, walking over to the locked door. Entering the security code, he waited until he heard the click, then entered, finding Pierre waiting for him just inside. “Did you check the security video, yet?”

“Oui, but there’s nothing.”

“Nothing? You didn’t see who did it?” asked Remy.

“Non,” Pierre answered, “because the video was black. There was nothing on it.”

“How can that be? Did we lose power last night?” asked Remy.

“Not that I can tell. There aren’t any records of alarms last night,” Pierre said. “And the cameras were running but someone blocked the lenses.”

“Fuck! So it must be an inside job if someone knew where the cameras were located.” Heading towards the fermenting room, he said, “Show me what you found.”

“I didn’t see anything out of order until I walked over to this first tank,” Pierre said, gesturing towards a big steel tank just inside the doorway. “When I opened it up to check, I found out it had spoiled—then I saw these,” he said, pointing to a few bugs at the base of the tank. “It’s the same for the next two. That’s when I called you.”

“You didn’t check any others?” asked Remy.

“Non,” Pierre said, “I waited for you.”

“Okay.” Remy walked over to the fourth tank, finding the same bugs on the floor. “Shit! Check this one.” Then he continued down the line finding three more that also had evidence of tampering. By the time they were through checking the rest, Remy counted seven tanks that were contaminated; the wine in them a total loss. “Damn!” he murmured. Standing back, he stared at the crime scene—something wasn’t adding up. Walking up to one tank, he squatted, picking up one of the bugs and rolling it between his fingers. Then laying the palm of his hand on the side of the tank, he closed his eyes, unleashing his other senses to explore. The shock zapping through his hand caused Remy to fall backward, landing on his ass. Holy fucking shit! No wonder the security video was black.

“Hey, what happened? Are you okay?” asked Pierre, offering a hand to help his boss up.

Rising, then brushing off the back of his pants, Remy answered, “Yeah, thanks. Hey, check that tank’s electrical, will you? Make sure there isn’t a short.”

“Sure. What do you want to do with the wine in the seven tanks?”

“Dump it,” Remy ordered, “it’s no use to us. But before you do that, show me the security video from last night.”

Pierre grunted, leading the way back to his office. “The only possibility I came up with was someone put a black cloth over the cameras.”

“Every one?” asked Remy. “What about the ones outside? Did you check those?”

Nodding, Pierre sat down at his desk, pulling up the camera videos on his computer monitor. “See, the cameras are working perfectly,” he said, watching the screen.

“What time did they go black?” asked Remy.

“When the shift changed…2 a.m.”

Remy examined the videos and wasn’t surprised at what he saw, especially after what happened back at the tank. “Okay, I’ve seen enough,” he said, heading towards the door. “I’ll be in my office. I’ll be tied up for most of the day, but I want the guards doubled from now on.”

“I’ll see to it,” Pierre replied, rising from his desk.

Climbing the wooden staircase to his office above the winery tasting room, Remy was deep in thought about what he found. Then sitting down at his desk, he swiveled his chair, his eyes looking out over the vineyards as his mind mulled over a mess of conflicting ideas. Was my instinct right? This was a personal attack meant to cause me harm…especially since it was done on the day the new owner was arriving. It was an easy conclusion to jump to but it didn’t explain the other times. But then, what about what I sensed? That certainly leads to me as the target. And I didn’t find it at the other crime scenes so whoever it is must be targeting me. The question is, why?


Author Bio

Mary Rundle logo

A few years ago, I wrote my first book, Dire Warning. Readers loved it and I was on my way to chronicle the Blackwood Pack, seven brothers who are gay wolf shifters in search of their fated mates—stories about love at first sight with twists and turns, angst and humor, romance and adventure and, of course, happy endings. Since then, the pack has expanded, allowing more stories to be told and different paranormals to be included. The series has become, as one reader described it…an “Epic Saga.”

Now, eleven books later, Blood Prophecy, has just been published. I love the M/M paranormal genre because it gives my imagination a lot of territory in which to roam. My mind can really run wild and come up with some amazing stuff when it doesn’t have to stay inside the box. My story ideas come to me as if they were being channeled by my characters, all of whom I love (except for a few villains). They are eager to recount their lives, loves and adventures, and are not reluctant to let it all out when it comes to revealing steamy details. My writing style is free-wheeling and uninhibited and my readers tell me they love it that way; that it makes them feel like they’re right in on the action and a member of the Blackwood Pack.

I live in the Northeast and love the beautiful change of seasons, my husband, and our quirky calico cat, though not necessarily in that order. I read a lot (good for the mind) and love gardening (good for the soul). And I’m always happy to hear from my readers and can be reached through Facebook, my private Facebook Group, Twitter, Instagram, or my website.

Author Website: https://www.maryrundle.com

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Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Rundle/e/B0763CDQQ6

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PROMO: Conspiracy

Promo

Conspiracy - M.D. NeuM.D. Neu has a new gay sci-fi book out, A New World book 3: Conspiracy. And there’s a giveaway.

A little blue world, the third planet from the sun. It’s home to 7 billion people with all manner of faiths, beliefs and customs, divided by bigotry and misunderstanding, who have been told they are not alone in the universe. Anyone watching from the outside would pass by this fractured and tumultuous world, unless they had no other choice.

It’s been a little over a year since Todd Landon’s life changed with the arrival of the Nentraee. Continuing his duties as Special Envoy for Terran Affairs, Todd finally feels at home with the aliens; gaining more responsibility and influence with both races. Plans are underway for two Interplanetary spaceports and additional solar exploration. It’s an exciting time for both the humans and the Nentraee.

Not everything is as perfect as some hope. Speaker General Mirtoff and Vice-Speaker Mi’ko of the Nentraee are worried that the Liberi Dei plot additional terrorist attacks and may have inside help. Threats are clear, but who can they trust? Could Todd be helping them unknowingly or worse covertly? Will these new space endeavors continue to bring the human and the Nentraee together or will a conspiracy hiding in the shadows fracture an already shaky alliance?

Warnings: Depression, Grief, Guns, Hate Groups, Past Trauma, Racists, Language, Death of a character and graphic violence

Get It Here

About the Series

A little blue world, the third planet from the sun. It’s home to 7 billion people with all manner of faiths, beliefs and customs, divided by bigotry and misunderstanding, who will soon be told they are not alone in the universe. Anyone watching from the outside would pass by this fractured and tumultuous world, unless they had no other choice.

Todd Landon is one of these people, living and working in a section of the world called the United States of America. His life is similar to those around him: home, family, work, friends, and a husband.

Mirtoff Esmi is the first of her clan to be the Leader of the Nentraee. Her sole focus is to find them a home before their fleet of ships can no longer carry the last survivors of their dead world. With her brother, niece, and Faa (her companion animal) supporting her, she carries the weight of her world on her shoulders.

Mi’ko Soemu remembers the Nentraee home world for both its failures and its triumphs, which is why he holds the position of Vice-Speaker, and supports the efforts of the Nentraee Leader. He is a father and husband first, and will do what he needs to ensure his family and his fellow nentraee are safe and make it to a new world.

These three beings hold the weight of two civilizations in their hands. Will they be able to bridge the gap for both the Humans and Nentraee, amongst mistrust, terrorist attacks and personal loss? Will this be the start of a new age for both species or will bigotry and miscommunication bring these two people to their knees and final end?


Giveaway

M.D. is giving away ten ebook copies of Book 1 in the ‘A New World’ series: Contact via Amazon:

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Excerpt

Conspiracy meme

Prologue

Doctor Lupu leaned forward, his eyes meeting each of those assembled. “Martha’s death at the hands of those alien devils had been a tragic loss. But we must remember she never wavered from her goal of stopping the Nentraee and gaining their technology to usher in a new age for humankind.” He grumbled with a heavy Moldovan accent. He wasn’t happy with how his jowls wobbled as he spoke; with the help of his wife he had been losing weight, but the kilos didn’t seem to come off as quickly as they went on. The weight and his jowls reminded him of his father. The man was an uneducated farmer who died at the end of a bottle.

I’ll never be him. I’m better. He was a godless man unworthy of God’s love.

A large monitor displayed different faces. Human faces. This meeting was for only those most loyal to the cause and to the Liberi Dei. To God.

Most of the world’s major religious groups were represented in Liberi Dei. Those that mattered, anyway. They couldn’t succeed without a unified front, putting their differences aside for the greater good. God himself called these men and women together.

“Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism—we have people of every faith.” Doctor Lupu pointed to each of the members on the screens. “We’re not an isolated group; we’re everywhere.” He pounded his hand on the table. “Those sinners and collaborators, like Todd Landon and Greg McNeil, can’t stop us.” He made eye contact with each member on each screen as he talked. “We won’t stop until we rid our solar system of Nentraee filth.”

A quick red flash on his monitor let him know the security software created by his friends in Silicon Valley worked.

He glanced up to the ceiling. This room, like all the rooms those assembled were in, held no distinct features. If someone became compromised, there would be nothing for them to describe, no locations to be disclosed, no secrets lost. The nondescript space, implemented by Martha and maintained by Doctor Lupu, proved a wise safety measure.

Doctor Lupu faced the monitor again. “Giving those tall, devil-eared, bumpy-foreheaded demons Mars is not acceptable—we drove the Nentraee from Earth. We can drive them from Mars, from every planet. God promised us domain over not only this world, but our solar system, and we will dominate what is ours. We’re Liberi Dei, and we won’t be stopped or put down like animals.”

Nods and mutters of agreement came from the faces on the monitor.

“Now, my friends, be watchful.” Doctor Lupu wheezed through his words. “God will be sending us more people to join our crusade. Seek them out, but be wary. If Martha taught us anything, it’s to be cautious and look for the right opportunity. One will present itself. God will soon show opportunity to us, especially now with the rush to expand humankind’s presence in space. Our enemies won’t be able to control everything, and then we will attack.”

They’d answered his summoning from all over the world, from all walks of life. After the attack at the United Nations, more and more people didn’t want the Nentraee on Earth. The people had heard God’s call, and the members of Liberi Dei were there to answer, waiting to round up the next group of holy fighters. The loss of Martha was tragic, but what she created lives on and more and more people will answer her challenge.

“Now let us adjourn,” Doctor Lupu finished with a satisfied nod.


Author Bio

M.D. Neu is an international award-winning inclusive queer Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Alfred Hitchcock, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Rice, and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.

Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.

When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric his husband of twenty plus years.

Author Website: www.mdneu.com

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/mdneuauthor

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/Writer_MDNeu

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormdneu/

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Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/m-d-neu/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/M-D-Neu/e/B076FK1S14

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PROMO: Cover Reveal! Sundowners

Promo

R.L. Merrill has a new MM paranormal romance out: Sundowners. And there’s a giveaway.

Vampire Creed Lowell drifts from town to town working with the elderly as a night nurse and looking to avenge his harrowing past. His youth and vitality make him a favorite of his patients and his gifts bring them peace. At long last he’s arrived in the place where he hopes to find the truth about those who betrayed him…but first he finds an unexpected love with a man who might understand him—or end him.

Grad student Roman San Angelo is struggling to handle his courses, teaching schedule, and research for his dissertation on an obscure cult. He spends every spare moment with his beloved yet demanding grandmother Frances who’s recently moved to an assisted living facility—and he’s fascinated by her night nurse, who is able to bring out the inner light which had faded during her battle with dementia. Something about Creed doesn’t add up, however, Roman finds himself fighting an undeniable attraction. His concerns multiply when Roman discovers a connection between Creed and a bizarre series of vampire-wannabe assaults in the area. A moment of weakness leads to a night of passion between them, and the promise of something more, and yet Roman can’t shake his concern that Creed is not what he seems.

Creed knows better than to bring a mortal into his world, even one who could help him find the link between the pack of violent vampires preying on the people of Santa Cruz and Creed’s past. When he discovers Creed’s secret, Roman is ready to step outside his comfort zone and accept everything a life with a vampire entails, and when Creed disappears, Roman will go to the ends of the earth to find the man who brought the light back to his grandmother and the warmth back to his own heart.

Universal Buy Link


Giveaway

R.L. is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Excerpt

Chapter One

Creed

January

“Well, Mr. Lowell, I think we have everything we need. Your references all check out, and you passed your background check. Can you start on Friday?”

What a relief! I smiled and leaned against the wall of my dingy hotel room. Thank goodness for excellent references. I inhaled the combination mildew/chlorine smell caused by the permanent dampness from the ocean and the indoor swimming pool below my room, glad . This was the break I needed, or my current accommodations would soon go from bad to worse.

“Thank you, yes. What time does the evening shift start?” I kept my fingers crossed while I waited for the answer.

“Six o’clock. Just come to the front desk and our evening supervisor will get you set up. Lexi’s great. She’ll show you the ropes.”

“Wonderful. Thank you for this opportunity.”

“We should be thanking you, Mr. Lowell. You’re overqualified for the position, and we’ve had a difficult time keeping our evening staff. I hope this works out for the both of us.”

I thanked Yvonne, the Human Resources director, once more before disconnecting. Then the victory dance commenced.

“Did you hear that, Rhonda? We’re in!”

My red Doberman rested her jaw on her paws and made an old lady noise, indicating that she’d rather be napping than dancing.

I would not be thwarted, however. I danced a West Side Story routine across the room to the kitchenette and reached into the fridge with panache. There was one last bag of A-positive that I’d been sipping on since arriving in Santa Cruz, and now I could finish it off since I’d have a steady supply in just two days’ time. Not that I needed much—especially not when I was working—but it was important to never let my energy stores deplete. It affected my judgement and my ability to do the work that was so desperately needed.

I did a spin and a box step before kicking my leg out, and throwing my arms back in a layout. Hopefully I’d find a patient who knew the old dances at Puesta Del Sol, my new place of employment. They were the most fun to work with.

I reached into my lone duffel bag, which contained seven sets of scrubs, a suit, three white t-shirts, a pair of jeans, a Harvard hoodie, two pairs of shoes, and a small photo album that contained cherished pictures of my parents and younger siblings. The rest of my belongings and resources were hidden in pre-paid storage facilities around the country for when I got desperate…or had to run.

My family was all gone now. My little sister was the last, and she’d passed away four months ago according to the hometown newspaper in Macon County, Georgia. I read every copy that I could get ahold of through the local libraries. The internet had been such a great invention. Even though I hadn’t been home in nearly forty years, I’d managed to keep tabs on everyone. They’d all lived mostly happy, satisfying lives and died of natural causes at advanced ages, which was the best I could have hoped for.

But now that I had no worry of repercussions for my family, I could finally seek out the truth.

Puesta Del Sol was hopefully the end of the line. The last assisted-living home where I’d worked in Albuquerque had led me here, to Santa Cruz, California. “Go west, young man,” turned out to be the advice I’d needed all along.

I was determined to find those responsible for sending me on this decades-long exile. It wouldn’t be long now. It was time to set things straight, and it seemed fitting to be back near where it all started.

March 2019

Two months later, the trail of promising leads had gone cold. Still, I loved my new life in California. I was surrounded by a competent and diverse staff at Puesta Del Sol that knew how to run a place of healing and hope with patients who were happy and well cared for. And I loved Santa Cruz. It was almost enough to make me consider letting go of the past.

What a great place for a guy like me. It was easy to fit into the college town that was also a magnet for transients, tourists, and folks who were followers of alternative lifestyles. Not only were there practitioners of Eastern religions and schools of thought, but also those who claimed to be creatures of the night, a holdover from the vampire craze that swept the area after a hit movie in the ’80s made them cool. I occasionally even found folks who didn’t mind a little role play.

My love of music meant I was a frequent guest of The Catalyst, a large music venue, bar, and eatery located downtown that drew fans from all over the Bay Area. One night they’d feature punk, the next rap, and sometimes even classic rock bands made their way to the club.

Tonight was a perfect opportunity to blend in as a lineup of alternative bands from the eighties was playing. I’d worn my black suit, skinny tie, and black Dr. Martens. I’d even slicked my dark auburn hair back and donned black eyeliner for the hell of it, the makeup highlighting my eyes, so blue they made people stop and stare. Of course, the rest of the package could also be to blame for that. My pale, freckled skin fit the role of a night walker perfectly to round out the look.

I made my way through the crowd to the bar and ordered a beer. A willing playmate soon appeared, and the game was on.

The young man, dressed in a velvet waistcoat and ruffled poet’s shirt, saw me approach the bar and immediately perked up. I took a swig of my beer and nodded at the Goth. When I moved away from the bar, I felt him at my back as I headed to a dark corner. Once there, I leaned against the wall and waited.

The young man approached with a sly smile, and I took it as an invitation. I reached for his shoulder, turned him around slowly, and pulled him back against my chest, enjoying the way his body fit against mine.

“I have your permission?” I whispered in the young man’s ear. “I promise you’ll enjoy it.”

The young man turned to face me and his eyes widened in surprise. “Here?”

I smiled at him and ran a finger down his neck, enjoying the way he shivered. The energy from his excitement would have been enough to nourish me, but I was feeling greedy tonight.

“Yeah, just um, be safe about it.”

I bathed him in a wave of calm. The manipulation of energy was effortless for me now.  “You’re in good hands, my friend.” I turned him around and stopped him when he went to loosen his belt. “Relax, I’ve got you.”

I slid his long curly blond hair to the side. I had ways of making the experience pleasurable, so I poured energy into giving this guy one helluva good time, one he’d remember for years to come. He just wouldn’t remember that a vampire sank his teeth gently into his neck and took sustenance from his body.

Give unto them what they require.

Take only what you need to survive.

I would never forget what I’d been taught.

“Blessed be.”

After a few sips, I felt my playmate shudder against me and let out a satisfied moan. A few more pulls and his body tensed, gasped, and shuddered once more. It was nice to know I hadn’t lost my touch.

It had been a long time since I’d chanced feeding in public, but I felt safe here. Santa Cruz had welcomed me with open arms, and I wanted to stay.

The young man raised his arm and cupped the back of my head. He pressed his ass back against me, and I knew it was time to end this tryst.

“Thank you,” I whispered against his ear, and then pressed a kiss to his neck.

“I should be thanking you,” the guy said. “What’s your name?”

I disappeared into the crowd before the young man turned to look, and I was out of the club before he could wonder what happened.

I rarely drank blood—it was an infrequent need to maintain my existence as long as I had plenty of human energy to manipulate—and I always made sure my partner enjoyed it. But the act often left me feeling…empty. I worked hard to help others live a more satisfying life, and after all this time, I sometimes resented that I couldn’t pursue happiness of my own. I would have loved to take that young man home and enjoy more than just an Exchange. Someday I would find…someone. But not until it was safe. Not until I’d done what I came here to do.


Author Bio

“With a strong plot, an expertly crafted cast of supporting characters, and deep empathy, Merrill’s novel will keep readers hooked.” —Publishers Weekly review of Typhoon Toby.

Whether she’s writing contemporary romance featuring quirky and relatable characters or diving deep into the paranormal and supernatural to give readers a shiver, R.L. Merrill loves creating compelling stories that will stay with readers long after. Winner of the Kathryn Hayes “When Sparks Fly” Best Contemporary award for Hurricane Reese, and a Foreword INDIES finalist for Summer of Hush, Ro spends every spare moment improving her writing craft and striving to find that perfect balance between real-life and happily ever after.

She writes diverse and inclusive romance, contributes paranormal hilarity to Robyn Peterman’s Magic and Mayhem Universe, and pens horror-inspired music reviews for HorrorAddicts.net.

You can find her connecting with readers on social media, advocating for America’s youth, raising two brilliant kids, or headbanging at a rock show near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area!

Stay Tuned for more…

Author Website: https://www.rlmerrillauthor.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/rochellerlmerrill

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/rlmerrillauthor

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/rlmerrillauthor

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rlmerrillauthor

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9828914.R_L_Merrill

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/r-l-merrill/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/R-L-Merrill/e/B00PI6Q1LI

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PROMO: Save the World

Promo

Save the World cover

Other Worlds Ink has a new book out in the hopepunk cli-fi Writers Save the World anthology series: Save the World. And there’s a giveaway.

Climate change is no longer a vague future threat. Forests are burning, currents are shifting, and massive storms dump staggering amounts of water in less than 24 hours. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see a hopeful future.

We asked sci-fi writers to send us stories about ways to save the world from climate change. From the myriad of stories we received, we chose the twenty most amazing (and hopefully prescient) tales.

Dive in and find out how we might mitigate climate change via solar mirrors, carbon capture, genetic manipulation, and acts of change both large and small.

The future’s not going to fix itself.

About the Series:

“Writers Save the World” is an annual hopepunk anthology from Other Worlds Ink, featuring hopeful stories by sci-fi writers about ways to solve the world’s problems.

Universal Buy Link | Liminal Fiction |  Goodreads


Giveaway

Other Worlds Ink is giving one lucky winner their choice of $25 Starbucks GC or a $25 donation to the Sierra Club in the winner’s name:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47244/?


Excerpt

Save the World Meme

No one ate for a full day. At night, they sat around their fires and counted the stars, their boats bobbing in the quiet, dark waters. No electricity was permitted. The drones were shelved. The holo-projectors unplugged. Even the radios were shut off. The next morning, they washed in the invigorating cold of the ocean, and beat their bodies with branches.

This was what Edgard instructed. And what Edgard instructed, everyone obeyed.

The waters seemed bright that morning, despite the depths below. Small dots of sea foam dotted the surface, reflecting the eager light of the new day. The weather was calm, and the ocean peaceful. It was an auspicious morning.

Jason leaned against the rails, elbowing between his crew mates as everyone shuffled for the best view. There was laughter and chatter, some singing, a few rude jokes. The ocean was alive that morning, all the ships of the tribe lining up, energy buzzing across the wide decks.

Then the drumming started, and silence fell. People leaned forward, craning necks.

The canoe emerged from between boats, paddled by a small crew, its painted bow slicing through the water. At the front was Edgard, standing tall. Jason felt someone nudge him, and as he looked over at Amelia, she nodded at the cloak draped over Edgard’s shoulders. The Thunderbird.

The canoe stopped, and Edgard placed a hand in the water. As he rose, he started to sing, lighting a bundle of dried cedar, and waving the smoke over his harpoon. He removed the muscle-shell hooks and wrapped them in cloth, tied rocks around the yew shaft, and placed it in the water. As it sank, his song ended. Edgard turned to face the ships, opened his arms wide, and smiled.

The crews erupted.

It was done.

The harvesting was complete.

—From “Thunder on the Ocean,” by Christopher R. Muscato


Author Bio

Gustavo Bondoni is novelist and short story writer with over three hundred stories published in fifteen countries, in seven languages.  He is a member of Codex and an Active Member of SFWA. His latest novel is Lost Island Rampage (2021). He has also published three other monster books: Ice Station: Death (2019), Jungle Lab Terror (2020) and Test Site Horror (2020), three science fiction novels: Incursion (2017), Outside (2017) and Siege (2016) and an ebook novella entitled Branch. His short fiction is collected in Pale Reflection (2020), Off the Beaten Path (2019) Tenth Orbit and Other Faraway Places (2010) and Virtuoso and Other Stories (2011).  

J. Scott Coatsworth lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine. He devoured her library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were. He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends. A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is a full member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and the head of its self-publishers committee.

Rachel Hope Crossman is an ex-fry cook, ex-substitute teacher and retired Montessori teacher. Her childhood year in Athens, Greece left indelible imprints of olive groves, pomegranates and the sparkling, turquoise blue of the Mediterranean upon her mind. She is the author of SAVING CINDERELLA: FAIRY TALES & CHILDREN IN THE 21ST CENTURY, (2014) The Apocryhile Press, which examines the world-wide Cinderella story as an archetype and explains the symbolism of rings, knives, birds, pumpkins and more. Her personal heroes are Harold (and his purple crayon), Peggy Hill and Nancy Pelosi.

Jana Denardo is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her.

Derek Des Anges is an emerging cross-genre author working in London, who consistently fails to stick to a single format or genre but does at least really consistently write about the queer experience (or some of them, anyway). He’s into fungi, industrial and experimental music, and trying to avoid the climate apocalypse actually flooding his flat too many times, because he has far too many books to consider moving out.

CJ Erick’s stories have appeared in anthologies from WMG Publishing, WordFire Press, and others. He won the FenCon short story competition in 2015. He writes in multiple genres, publishes novels in a space fantasy series, and dabbles in poetry. He’s an MFA student in creative writing at Lindenwood University, and an editorial assistant for the Lindenwood Review. He lives in Dallas area with his wife and their rescue superhero dog Saber-Girl, calls his sourdough bread starter “Ursula” (K. Le Guin), and cooks crazy-good Cajun food for a Midwest Yankee.

J.G. Follansbee’s short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including Others Worlds Ink’s Fix the World. Other publications include Bards and Sages Quarterly, Children, Churches and Daddies, the collection Still Life 2018, and the speculative fiction anthologies Satirica, After the Orange, Spring Into SciFi 2019, Rabbit Hole II, and Sunshine Superhighway. He is the author of the series Tales From A Warming Planet and the trilogy The Future History of the Grail. He has won several awards in the Writers of the Future contest, and he was a finalist in the inaugural Aftermath short story contest. He also has numerous non-fiction book credits. He lives in Seattle.

Geoffrey Hart: Startled by an aggressive dictionary late in her pregnancy, Geoff’s mother was delivered of a child with a precocious antipathy towards users of words. Over time, he transformed this antipathy into a more functional, if equally passive-aggressive, editorial career. After nearly 35 years, the flame burns brightly as ever, leading to an errant, semi-evangelical career ranting against the evils of words from pulpits at any editing or technical writing conference that will have him, seeking new recruits for his cause. In his spare time, he roams the globe, entertaining locals with creative and unrestrained interpretations of their linguistic conventions. He also commits occasional fictions, and has sold 46 stories.

M. J. Holt lives with her husband on their 60-acre family farm with many animals on a peninsula in Puget Sound. She is horrified that the entire world isn’t working to decrease pollution of all kinds. When she was a teenager, she and her mother sat under an ancient crabapple tree and read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Her mother told her that future generations would pay the price for the sins of past generations. That price has increased and now several generations later, some not yet born, will pay the price. Lightning struck that crab tree decades ago. It grew on land her great grandfather bought in 1892. Her great grandmother farmed the land and had the current house, started in 1900, built. The farm passed to her grandfather, and then to her mother. She lives in that house amid the surviving bits of her ancestors’ lives. This generational continuity informs her fiction. Her crime thriller novels, The Devil’s Safe (2021) and its sequel Making Angels (2022) can be found on Amazon. Recent short stories have appeared in the anthologies Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day: An Anthology of Hope, Low Down Dirty Vote Volume II, Alternate Theologies, and her poetry may be found in the poetry anthologies 300K, Timeless Love, and other periodicals. She earned separate undergraduate degrees in History and English Literature, and a Masters in English Literature. She is a member of SFWA, MWA, and other writing organizations.

Jennifer Irani lives and works in southern California. Her story, “Graft,” was inspired by the recent fires in California, Greta Thunberg, and generation Z. A version of this story first appeared in Writing in Place: Stories from a Pandemic. Her work has been published in the anthology Dove Tales Empathy in Art: Embracing the Other. She has published essays in Orange Coast magazine. Her essay, Regeneration, received honorable mention in the Writers Challenge 2021 on Medium.com. Her poem, “Cool Colors Warm the Soul,” was selected for the Connecting Through Color, Art and Poetry exhibit. She is a member of Barbara Demarco’s Literary Posse. 

Andrew Rucker Jones was born and raised in Falls Church, Virginia. No muse heralded his birth, and he has not been writing novels since he was in diapers. He received his Bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University in mathematics with minors in computer programming and German. He has always loved reading, so when the time came to choose a new career after twenty years in IT (programmer, system administrator, manager), he decided writing looked like fun. If only it paid. He now lives in Mannheim, Germany, with his Georgian wife, who actually earns money, and their three children, the eldest of whom also earns more than he.

Micháel McCormick likes to write stories in his Batman pajamas. He and his wife also enjoy travel, hiking, Tai Chi, and perplexing cats. They split their time between Saint Paul, Minnesota and Lake Superior. Mike’s work has appeared in Arcanist, Daily SF, DreamForge, Frozen Wavelets, Grievous Angel, Metastellar, Talking Stick, and elsewhere.

Christopher R. Muscato is an adjunct history instructor and writer from Colorado, as well as the former writer-in-residence for the High Plains Library District. He has published over a dozen short stories and is thrilled to be a part of this project.

Masimba Musodza was born in Zimbabwe, and has lived most of his adult life in the United Kingdom. His short stories, mostly in the speculative fiction genre, have appeared in periodicals and anthologies around the world. He has written two novels and a novella in his first language, ChiShona. His collection of science-fiction stories, The Junkyard Rastaman & Other Stories, was published in 2020. Masimba also writes for stage and screen.

M.D. Neu: Growing up in an accepting family. internationally award-winning author M.D. Neu always wondered why there were never stories reflecting our diverse queer society. Surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, he decided to change that and began writing, wanting to tell epic stories that reflect our varied world. When not writing, M.D. Neu works for a non-profit in Silicon Valley, and travels with his husband of twenty plus years.

Jennifer R. Povey: Born in Nottingham, England, Jennifer R. Povey now lives in Northern Virginia, where she writes everything from heroic fantasy to stories for Analog. She has written a number of novels across multiple sub genres. Additionally, she is a writer, editor, and designer of tabletop RPG supplements for a number of companies. Her interests include horseback riding, Doctor Who and attempting to out-weird her various friends and professional colleagues.

NRM Roshak is an award-winning Canadian author and translator. Their stories have appeared in various anthologies and magazines, including Galaxies SF, Daily Science Fiction, and Future Science Fiction Digest, and has been translated into several languages. They live in Ontario, Canada, with a small family and a loud cat.

Holly Schofield travels through time at the rate of one second per second, oscillating between the alternate realities of city and country life. Her stories have appeared in Analog, Lightspeed, Escape Pod, and many other publications throughout the world. She hopes to save the world through science fiction and homegrown heritage tomatoes.

Lisa Short is a Texas-born, Kansas-bred writer of fantasy, science fiction and horror. She has an honorable discharge from the United States Army, a degree in chemical engineering, and twenty years’ experience as a professional engineer. Lisa currently lives in Maryland with her husband, two youngest children, father-in-law and cats. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association and a Futurescapes 2021 alumnus.

Heather Marie Spitzberg is an environmental author, scientist, and lawyer who lives in New York’s Hudson River Valley with her family. Her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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PROMO: Sapphire

Promo

Sapphire: Home and Abroad

M.D. Grimm has a new MM fantasy book out, Stones of Power book 8: Sapphire: Home and Abroad.

The Dark Mage, Lord Morgorth, and Aishe of the Ravena Tribe, are to become bondmates.

Morgorth is equal parts nervous and excited. He wants to unite with Aishe in the sacred dialen ceremony, to proclaim their devotion to the world, to show everyone that Aishe is his equal and deserving of respect. After all they’ve survived together, why shouldn’t they make the cosmic promise before friends and family? But duty must often come before pleasure. When Morgorth’s estranged mentor, Master Ulezander, comes to him with a time-sensitive mission involving a major stone of power, Morgorth has little choice but to acquiesce.

Aishe knows his mate struggles with the revelation of his true destiny, after a lifetime of defining himself as the future Destroyer of Karishian. All he can do is reassure Morgorth that being the Savior is a far better fate for both of them. But as Morgorth and Aishe leap through worlds and dimensions in pursuit of a stone of power, more pieces to the puzzle of Morgorth’s destiny are revealed. And they form an image of sacrifice and tragedy.

The dark cloud of an ancient enemy looms ever closer, and the path to becoming the Savior might prove more monstrous than that of the Destroyer.

About the Series:

Lord Morgorth is a dark mage on the planet Karishian. His peers consider him a villain, but there is more to him than they choose to understand. Cursed by a dark destiny and tormented by painful memories of the past, Morgorth struggles to find his place in the world. Far from innocent, Morgorth has teetered between embracing his destiny and fighting against it his entire life. A decision that is made easier when Aishe comes into his life. Aishe is a creature of the forest, a warrior and healer. He has the moral compass that Morgorth needs, and Morgorth gives Aishe the companionship he craves. Together, they forge ahead, weathering the storms and fighting the enemies fate puts into their paths.

However, their greatest enemy is not a living being, but gemstones infused with deadly power. They are addictive, seductive, and completely treacherous. Morgorth hates them and is determined to find and imprison all of them. But he soon realizes they are keys to a greater power. He learns his destiny is not all he thought it was. And an even greater enemy stirs in the darkness. Enter the world of “The Stones of Power.”

Universal Buy Link


Excerpt

Sapphire Home and Abroad meme

Morgorth stepped forward and stretched out his arms. He murmured a series of words under his breath and an opaque pinprick of light appeared. I stepped a bit closer, fascinated. The pinprick grew into a swirling, pulsing liquid silver gateway. It was beautiful and ominous. It made no sound, and yet gave off pressure that I felt against my body, and the hair on my arms stood on end.

The few trees bordering the clearing creaked and groaned as they bent away from the portal. I didn’t hear anything—not birds or squirrels, not deer. Nothing was near us, and the poor, stationary trees were doing their best to also get away.

Morgorth fisted his hands and widened his stance, still muttering. His skin glowed, and I silently shifted to his side. His eyes were a burning amber, his expression set in stubborn determination and intense concentration. Sweat slid down his face. The portal pulsed a bit faster, the beat knocking against my ribs. What was he doing?

Then the silver gained a bluish color before darkening to mossy green. Morgorth grunted and lowered his hands, though his magick still glowed.

“Take my hand,” he said in a stiff, strained voice. “And hold on tight, to both me and your bow.”

I swallowed hard and took a deep breath. I clung to my bow as I took his outstretched hand and pressed to his side. His skin was hot to the touch but not burning.

“What can I expect?” I asked.

“Discomfort and weirdness,” he said with a hint of a smile. “Just don’t let go.”

“Never.”

Then Morgorth ran and yanked me with him. We dove into the portal without hesitation, and he was right about the discomfort and weirdness. It wasn’t the emptiness of teleportation nor the whiplash of magickal speed. Morgorth charged through the swirling green, dragging me along. The green slipped over my skin and hair like cold putty and tried to capture my feet in its murk. It seemed to last forever but I was certain it was only a moment or two. Then we were somewhere else.

I caught my breath and stumbled forward, still clinging to Morgorth. He didn’t let go either, his magick still at the surface. He took a cloudy crystal from one of the many pouches at his waist and bent to place it at the base of the portal.

This time, I heard his word of magick.

“Lelleknau.”

Words of magick were supposed to be nonsensical, something each mage created for themselves. It was personal, each new word linked to a spell and used for nothing else. It took both words and hand flourishes for a mage to cast a spell or secure an enchantment. It was different for magick healers like myself. It wasn’t so much magickhealers used, it was our life essence, gifting a part of ourselves to our patients. Give too much and it could kill us. The missing part of our essence would replenish over time, faster if we were happy and balanced.

To open a portal and redirect it was remarkably heavy magick, and my mate never ceased to leave me in awe of his abilities and his continual growth in both strength and intelligence.

“Will the crystal leave the portal open?” I asked.

He nodded. “Only on this side, though. We don’t want anyone or anything following us.”

“I doubt any of Vorgoroth’s creatures want to follow.”

Morgorth shrugged and straightened. “I don’t want to take the chance. And I wasn’t just thinking of my minions.”

He was thinking of our guests. Probably about Lyli.

I sighed. Yes, that girl was fearless and far too curious for her own good. And wherever Lyli went, Olyvre wouldn’t be far behind. Then Elissya would also come.

“This will also prevent any of the creatures here of getting inside. The crystal is also a shield.”

“Clever.”

“Draining,” he said with a sheepish grin. His magick settled into his core, causing his eyes and skin to lose their glow. “It won’t hold for long. In and out, no sightseeing.”

I snorted and glanced at our surroundings. “I don’t think that will be a problem.”

A thick, dense jungle surrounded us, and I was only now noticing the oppressive heat. My skin broke out in sweat and my clothes soon stuck to me in the most uncomfortable way. I exhaled sharply and let go of Morgorth to wipe at my brow.

“Aye, in and out, please.”

Morgorth grimaced as well and readjusted the bag.

“I hope you can track the bloody thing.”

“I don’t sense magick like on Karishian so it shouldn’t be a problem to open my third eye and spot the box. And if for some reason that doesn’t work, I can always try to meditate and find its aura and track it back to its location.”

“Wouldn’t the box shield the stone’s power?”

“Its power but not its signature. According to Melondia, the box doesn’t have enough layers to truly block it. Think about the layers of Geheimnis. A mage could use their third eye but not spot the stones I have in the tower because the barriers are too thick.”

I nodded, and he closed his eyes. This place did feel… empty. Magick was everywhere in Karishian, in the land, the water, in the creatures. In the sky and in the clouds, and in the sun. In the air itself. I didn’t like it here. I shuddered and fingered my bow. The familiar texture of the wood soothed me just enough to unclench my muscles.

I kept an eye on our surroundings as Morgorth once again called to his magick.


Author Bio

M.D. Grimm Logo

M.D. Grimm has wanted to write stories since second grade (kind of young to make life decisions, but whatever) and nothing has changed since then (well, plenty of things actually, but not that!). Thankfully, she has indulgent parents who let her dream, but also made sure she understood she’d need a steady job to pay the bills (they never let her forget it!).

After graduating from the University of Oregon and majoring in English, (let’s be honest: useless degree, what else was she going to do with it?) she started on her writing career and couldn’t be happier.

Working by day and writing by night (or any spare time she can carve out), she enjoys embarking on romantic quests and daring adventures (living vicariously, you could say) and creating characters that always triumph against the villain, (or else what’s the point?) finding their soul mate in the process.

Author Website: http://www.mdgrimmwrites.com/

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001710645622

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4574220.M_D_Grimm

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/m-d-grimm/

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/m-d-grimm/

Author Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/M.D.-Grimm/e/B00I0KZMY6/

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PROMO: Bed of Rose and Thorns

Promo

Bed of Rose and Thorns - Lee Hunt

Lee Hunt has a new dark fantasy/fairy tale out: Bed of Rose and Thorns. And there’s a giveaway!

Sir Ezra is an Elysian Bell; he has a frightening potential that he keeps hidden deep beneath tight layers of steel armor. He secretly loves a dark Queen whose touch would mean his death.

Banished for brutally slaughtering the Prince of Erle and husband to the Queen, Sir Ezra can only dream of seeing her again. Every night, his soul travels to distant lands, remembering the Queen, her deep convictions, brilliant mind, unending work, hidden loneliness, and a single night of horrific bloodshed.

Recalled to the Queendom after eleven years, Ezra hopes to catch at least a fleeting glimpse of the woman he was sacrificed for. Instead, he finds a nation in rebellion and the Queen to be an elusive phantom. His only friend, Sir Marigold, challenges his presence and tells him that he is not needed in the capitol. Looking for both the truth and the absent Queen, Ezra finds only more secrets and enemies.

Ezra’s armor is dented, scarred, and ruined by friend and enemy alike; his secret potential is about to become unbound.

Amazon | Universal Buy Link


Giveaway

Lee is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47240/?


Excerpt

Bed of Rose and Thorns meme

A man alone, thirsty, falls asleep.

***

“Where am I?” asks the man. He seems to be bobbing high in clear aquamarine water. All he can see is a vast expanse of ocean and a clear crystalline structure that floats nearby. Something seems familiar. He had been in a desert, travelling with friends, but now he swims upon an endless ocean.

“Have I been here before?” he asks. The tug of oceanic currents and the endless blue horizon pull on some memory . . . something important.

“You are in the sea of Eydos,” says the crystalline structure. It has been floating toward him, quietly, its approach, until then, unnoticed.

“And you are an iceberg,” the man says, smiling, unconcerned, unsurprised by the nearness of the mountainous structure. He does not know what Eydos is, but he thinks he may recognize this vast icy creature. Something tells him that he may have seen her before, though his memory is as difficult to make out as a words written on water.

The iceberg shakes from side to side, creating little ripples and dancing waves. “I suppose that I am.”

“Your sides are so smooth,” says the man. “I like you.”

The iceberg shakes again and glides right up beside the man. He floats high enough in the water that her ripples of laughter do not threaten to drown him. “You are brave, aren’t you?”

“I am not afraid to look upon that which I like. And say so.”

“Look down then, man, and tell me what you see.”

The man dives down a few body lengths, searching. When he resurfaces, he is smiling even more widely than before. “You go down and down, out of sight, beyond light and reckoning.” He shakes his head at her. “Most of you is down below, unknowable. How vast are you?”

“Never ask a lady her size,” the iceberg says, creating even bigger waves as she shakes the waters, laughing. “My size is my depth, and my depth is my size.”

“Well, I like it. I am just a man. Not vast or mysterious like an iceberg.”

“An amusing man, I think,” replies the berg.

The man asks, “Where are you going?”

“On currents that are my own, on purposes that are my own, for reasons that are my own.”

“I don’t know what I am doing here or where I am going,” says the man.

“Typical,” replies the iceberg lightly. “Most do not.”

The man, swimming hard beside her, says, “You are certainly moving fast through this ocean.”

“Indeed,” says the iceberg. “I am an agent of my own destiny.” After a moment, she adds, “If you come around back and swim in my eddy, you will be pulled along. You can rest while we talk.”

The man looks at the smooth surface of the iceberg. “Can I not just slide up onto you and rest there?”

“No!” says the iceberg, firm. “I am hard and cold. I would burn you. If you touch me, you will be undone.” Her voice softens as she adds, “It is nice in my eddy. Swim there, man.”

He shrugs and does as she says.

“Oh, this is nice,” says the man. “I can look at you and talk at the same time.”

“Glad to help you do two things at once,” giggles the iceberg, making tears of water jiggle and parade.

And they talk on through the day, the man endlessly curious about the magnificent creature of the waters.

***

“I love you, iceberg,” declares the man.

“That’s nice, but you don’t even know a tenth of me.”

“Good point,” laughs the man. “I need to dive deeper.” He takes a deep breath and dives into the dark again.

Missing completely the iceberg’s cry of “No!”

The water starts at a clear color, or is it green? Then it turns light blue, and then to deeper and darker shades. The man pushes and kicks, fighting his buoyancy, feeling the weight of water build and build, following the clean lines of ice down into oblivion.

Heavy, crushing pressure begins to squeeze him. It is like the weight of memory, everywhere pushing, everywhere trying to change and deform him from his human shape, trying to make his courage fail and shatter his hope. But he loves the iceberg and he needs to follow her down.

At the utmost point of indigo darkness, he finds a new light. It shines from a clear chamber in the ice where a figure waits. Lungs bursting, he pushes deeper, drawing level to the translucent walls and the woman who lies inside.

She is naked but for her long, tawny hair. Like a lion’s mane, it frames her long, pure face and spills over her delicate, perfect shoulders. She looks at peace. Her eyes are closed, but she is smiling.

This is the heart of the iceberg, the man thinks, in the crushing pressure of the deep. So beautiful.

Then he sees that she rests upon a bed of long, sharp thorns.


Author Bio

Lee Hunt

Born with only one working lung and having had the last rights read to him and dying of an influenza related viral pneumonia, 25-year-old geophysicist Lee Hunt experienced several near-death dreams. The power of communication and the need to both understand and be understood was at the heart of each. He had already found that nothing was more important than being able to cross the distance between people.

Lee’s interests are eclectic. He is an Ironman Triathlete, hiker, traveler, and an enthusiastic sport rock climber. Lee also continues to work as a geophysicist on Carbon Capture and Sequestration projects, and is a writer for BIG-Media.ca.

The dream of understanding and being understood has never left his mind, and Lee continues that in his works of fiction through metaphor. His works include The Dynamicist Trilogy, Last Worst Hopes and Bed of Rose and Thorns.

Author Website: https://www.leehunt.org/

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100052376555360

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/DynamicistAuthor

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1196106.Lee_Hunt

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/lee-hunt/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lee-Hunt/e/B082YFTMCK

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