Thursday, 31 August 2017

Flower Predictions by Lilliana Rose


Fantasy/Romance
Date Published: August 2017

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Thinking Triena would be safer without him, Braklen leaves her. Now a wanted criminal, Braklen puts as much distance between him, Triena and the Queens by taking up a job on a smuggling ship. He throws himself into his work to forget about the guilt building inside of him for leaving Triena as well as the love he has for her.

Triena is alone, her rabbit stolen from her, and the Energy is behaving in unexpected ways making it difficult for her to predict the future. Her love for Braklen is strong and she sets out to find him, while trying to keep away from the Queens. With no other option she takes passage with Captain Ri who forces her to use the Energy for his own benefits.

Will she be able to find her beloved rabbit, and Braklen, before the Queens find and destroy her?


Other Books in the Flower Readings Series:


Flower Readings, Book One
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Published May 2017

Triena lives on an outback moon earning a living by offering flower readings for customers. Cast out from the Queens, the Energy Readers, Triena wants to return, but the only way to do that is to kill Braklen and use his energy to look into the future.

Braklen, a Peacekeeper with the Queens, arrives at the Triena’s Tea House. He doesn’t realize the danger he is in when he sits down for a flower reading.

Triena sees her chance to kill Braklen by using the potency in flower buds. The Energy guides her hand, and instead, the suppressed feelings toward Braklen surface.

Can she kill the man she loves?


Excerpt

Braklen looked down into the bowl full of gray something that was meant to be food.
“I wouldn’t eat that, man,” said a fellow evening-shift worker sitting opposite Braklen.
Despite the warning, Braklen dunked a spoon into the thick broth. “Can’t be too bad.” He spooned the greasy liquid with gray floating bits into his mouth. He choked.
The other man laughed, slapping his hand down on the metal table. “You’ll get used to it.”
Braklen coughed as the last of the liquid went down. “Tastes like jet fuel.”
“Wouldn’t put it past the cook to put some in. He probably thinks that it’d give us a boost to work harder.”
“How can you eat it?” Braklen’s spoon was poised above the liquid, but he couldn’t bring himself to take another mouthful. This was a long-haul flight and the bowl of slop was the only thing to eat. He’d just finished a twelve-hour shift in the engine room trying to repair the electronics in the backup system that were so worn out and old, it should’ve been thrown out instead. It was the first ship that accepted his qualifications as a mechanical engineer. He’d boarded, wanting to get as far away as possible from Triena.
His heart lurched, skipping beats, then contracting, causing pain to spread out across his chest. He knew he shouldn’t have boarded, or left her unconscious on the ground. But, since the chip had been deactivated, there was no point hanging around. She didn’t really want me there, not really.
The guy shrugged his shoulders, scrapping the last of the broth onto the spoon and delivered it into his mouth. “I’m already pretty thin. I’ll fade away if I don’t eat.”
Braklen laughed. “Hasn’t anyone complained?”
His men put up with a lot when he was in charge but he would’ve had an uprising if they’d ever had this food from the galley. Emptiness clawed at his gut at the reminder he didn’t command a unit of Peacekeepers anymore. Worse, he was now a wanted man.
He’d contemplated taking Triena with him, turning her in to the authorities and begging to be reinstated. But, much as he wanted his life back, that wasn’t an option. It was clear he’d been set up, a pawn for them to use to get to her. She’ll be better off without me. Safer without me.


About the Author


Lilliana Rose enjoys creating worlds for her characters to play in and fall in love. Check out more of her work, www.lillianarose.com

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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Battle Born : Defiant by Cyndi Friberg


Sci-fi
Date Published: August 2017

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Rivals, enemies, lovers, Jenna and Drex are soon all three. She wants him, nearly as much as she resents him, so how can they ever hope to build a future together? Jenna has good reason to despise all Rodytes, but that doesn't keep her from longing for Drex, thinking of him night and day, and finding incredible pleasure every time they touch. Still, happily ever after is built on trust, and Jenna will never trust a Rodyte.
Drex is determined to prove to Jenna that he is different. He never expected to find a mate, so he refuses to let her slip away. He will court her with ruthless patience, wear down her emotional defenses until she understands that she is the most important person in the universe to him. But hostilities between humans and the battle born are rapidly escalating and the couple keeps getting caught in the middle. Can they overcome their pasts and focus on the future or will the conflict consume their love?

Excerpt

Her easy dismissal of something so vital, unleashed his predatory instincts. She only shrugged away his interest because the pull hadn’t yet engaged in her. Once his taste spread through her mouth, her body would ache with need and her blood would sizzle through her veins, “pulling” her toward him. In ages past, any Rodyte male would have tossed her over his shoulder and escaped to some private location where they could fight this out in bed.
“This is about so much more than children.” Stalking toward her with obvious intent, he spoke in a low, almost menacing tone. “Once a Rodyte male has found his mate, she becomes the most important person in the universe. Protecting her, providing for her, and pleasuring her are all he can think about. Why should I ignore what every cell in my body is demanding?”
She backed up, fear flickering through her gaze. “If you touch me, I’ll scream.”
“You have nothing to fear from me.” But he kept right on coming, only stopping when her back pressed against the wall. He placed his hands on either side of her head, caging her with his big body. “Breathe in my scent, let it wash over and sink into you.”
“This is pointless.” She sounded a bit more assertive now, but her lips trembled. “I don’t feel what you’re feeling.”
“Not yet,” he whispered as he lowered his head. She jerked her face aside, so he kissed her cheek and jawline. “Kiss me, Jenna. See if my taste excites you.”
“No,” she said firmly. “I don’t want to be excited by anyone right now. I—”
He turned her head and cut off her words with his mouth. Her lips pressed together, unmoving and unresponsive. His instincts demanded that he open her mouth and stake his claim with the thrust of his tongue, but she’d likely bite him if he forced this on her. Besides, he wanted her wild and willing, not resentful and resigned.
“What are you so afraid of?” he whispered the words against her stubbornly closed mouth. “Nothing is more natural, more fulfilling, than touching and being touched by your mate.”
Her hands came up and shoved against his chest. “Back off. Now!”
“Kiss me once, and I’ll let you go.” He brushed his lips over hers, coaxing, teasing.
“No means no, asshole.” She brought her knee up hard, barely missing his crotch as he quickly turned away.
With an exasperated sigh, he pushed off the wall and motioned toward the door through which they’d escaped. “Enjoy the party.”

About the Author

Anything-but-Ordinary is Cyndi's creed and her writing reflects her dedication to the concept. She writes in a variety of genres, but she seems happiest in outer space. Her books frequently appear on Best-Seller lists, and TAKEN BY STORM was named Best Fantasy/Science Fiction Romance of the year by Romance Reviews Today.

She lives in Colorado with her high school sweetheart turned husband of many years. With a pampered cat curled on the corner of her desk, she dreams of fascinating worlds and larger than life adventures -- and wouldn't have it any other way!

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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Melvin the Sad... (ish) Robot by Joshua Margolis



Children’s book
Date Published: 11/1/16
Publisher: Mascot Books

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Melvin is known for being a sad…(ish) robot. But, as he finds new friends and experiences, he may just figure out how to be happy…(ish).




About the Author


Joshua Margolis is a sculptor, photographer, and author from Oakland, Ca. His work has been featured in many galleries and studios. He was the de Young Fine Arts Museum artist in residence for the month of July 2014, where he brought his monsters and robots project to sculpted life. Melvin the Sad…(ish) Robot is the first story of its kind to incorporate Joshua ceramic sculptures into a real world setting, creating a unique visual narrative.

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Monday, 28 August 2017

Just Off the Path by Weston Sullivan



Fantasy
Date Published: September 5, 2017

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Hansel never asked to be a hero. He never wanted to fall in love with Rapunzel, Queen of the East. He didn’t ask to be raised by Gothel the Wretch, and he certainly never wanted to be credited for her arrest. But more than any of that, Hansel never wanted to lie: but he did. He lied about everything. He thought that he was done with it all when he and his sister Gretel retreated into the woods to reclaim their land, but he should have known better.

Years later, Rapunzel’s guards knock at his door, and they say the words he hoped that he would never hear: Gothel has escaped. As he and Gretel take refuge inside Rapunzel’s castle in the eastern capitol of Hildebrand, Hansel is thrust back into everything he never wanted in the first place: his lies, his legend, and his lust. In the wake of it all, he knows that Gothel has escaped to finish what she started. She is out to make sure that the Sleeping Beauty never wakes, and that Grimm suffocates under her blanket of thorn and vine. In order to find Gothel and save the kingdom, Hansel and Gretel must look for fact in a land of fairy-tale by following a trail of grisly murders, a girl in a red cape, and a powerful little man who can’t stand the sound of his own name.

As they search for answers, Hansel finds that he isn’t the only liar in Grimm, and that there may be a traitor among them of royal proportion.


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Excerpt

The winter storm began with a scream that split the trees. It echoed throughout the woods and birds fled into the sky, disappearing like smoke behind gray clouds. Hansel looked off in the direction of the disturbance—but it was silent again. There was something menacing about the renewed absence of life that hung over him. He strung his bow, keeping it close to his side, and surveyed the area around him. He was met only with the familiar stillness of the trees and dead foliage beneath.
“We should go,” he said, trying to disguise the urgency in his voice.
His sister, Gretel, hesitated. “Someone screamed.”
“I know,” he said. “That’s why we need to go.”
Gretel scanned the tree line and ran her fingers through her hair. Grabbing her hand, Hansel pulled her in the direction they’d come from. The woods were dangerous, especially on the cusp of winter. They were close to the Southern Thickets—the part of the forest overrun with briar and weed, where all of Grimm’s most dangerous creatures lived—and Hansel knew that if someone was screaming, they had a good reason.
They made their way back to The Path in silence. Hansel was wary of crunching leaves under his boot, afraid to wake the forest. Seconds after they turned around, he felt something whiz past him on both sides of his head. He hoped they were fireflies, bustling about the tops of trees, cutting through the coldness that crept over them. He followed the sparkling speckles with his eyes. They moved with purpose, cracking branches and creasing clouds, spinning wildly. Hansel was probably the only person in Grimm who was ever disappointed to see a flock of fairies, but fireflies meant it was summer, and he longed to see summer again.
Before they blinked out of sight, they spoke to him. Tens of wistful, unison whispers in his ears said: Help…the girl needs help. Hansel looked at Gretel, wondering if she heard them, too. He didn’t have to ask. She bounded back in the opposite direction and drew the skinning knife she kept sheathed at her waist. Hansel cursed, taking off after her. No sooner than he’d kicked off the ground, another mortifying scream shook the woods. He followed close behind Gretel, dodging trees and leaping over the underbrush. There was a third scream, and then a fourth; louder and closer than any before.
He didn’t know what to do. As they ran, the woods shrank around them until the sun no longer broke through the gaps between the trees. Hansel knew they were going to die. No one made it deep into the thickets and lived. It was home to godless monsters; giants, goblins—the creatures of the dark who scarcely bothered with humans, until they were crossed. Hansel struggled to keep up with his sister. Where he was cautious, she was fearless, and where she was cautious, he was safest. He looked up and was surprised to see hundreds of fairies lighting their path. Each second, more poured in from the sky until there was an army over them.
Gretel stopped abruptly, causing Hansel to trip and roll a few steps downhill. He didn’t think long enough to register pain. As he found his footing, Gretel climbed down the incline and stood beside him. His first instinct was to go back the way they’d come, but he was awestruck. They stood on the threshold of life and death, where the woods became the Southern Thickets. It was like a scar across the ground, stretching from one end of the world to the next, a final warning to those brave enough to pass into the curse. Even the fairies were still, their glow dimmed by the wicked magic ahead.
Hansel was relieved to see that there were no longer trees; they’d been replaced by a wall of bramble, too large and thick to allow passage. They were surrounded by the purplish-blue tint of twilight, thorns as sharp as daggers to their throats in front of them and crooked, mossy trees behind them. Once, when Hansel lived in the city, he’d visited his parents’ corpses in the graveyard. They were buried in a public sepulcher maintained by the city to ensure that if a family was unwilling or unable to buy a plot for their deceased, their corpses wouldn’t be left to rot and attract the attention of wildlife. Standing just before the thickets reminded Hansel of that day—the day when he stood at the maw of death and was so close he could feel himself slipping away.
Gretel looked behind them. Hansel hoped she’d given up, and maybe she had. He almost smiled. But one final, thankless cry echoed past the briar, stirring the fairies. Gretel squinted, determined. That scream, Hansel knew, was the epitaph on their gravestones. The fairies swarmed them, and he was swallowed in a rainbow of color, cascading like a waterfall upon him. He couldn’t see anything but the swirling light of the fairy flock, spinning faster and faster around him, tugging at his shirt and creating a whirlwind. He felt weightless. His stomach churned and he felt dizzy. When the fairies cleared, he could see why—he was high in the air, flying over the Southern Thickets.
For a moment, he forgot about the screams and that he was headed into danger. He was soaring. Gretel was flying just below him, her arms spread wide, her hair flailing. Seeing Grimm from the air was both breathtaking and appalling. He expected to see the land as it once was, alive and vibrant. Instead, it was a sickly beige with winter and the end of the curse. The world around them was devoid of life. Most of the animals had fled years earlier, knowing the world was about to change, and those that remained were tucked safely away somewhere beneath them.
The thickets looked exactly as he’d always imagined. From above, he saw nothing but briar and bramble etched across the uneven terrain. They gained speed, and the cold air blasted his cheeks. He was grateful to have the cold in that moment to waken his senses and remind him that he was still alive, that he and Gretel were in danger. He sucked in a breath as they flew farther away from home, and against the still-setting sun that formed the silhouette of a castle, jagged and broken. The Sleeping Castle—he knew it from legend—the home where the rightful royalty of Grimm still rested, dead to the world but not in definition, suffering eternally at the hands of a vengeful witch. All he could make out was one tower, freed from the clutches of the thorn like the arm of an old beggar, trying to hoist himself out of the darkness. The top of the tower stuck at a point against the sunlight like a bony finger fighting for liberation.
It felt like they were flying only moments before he felt himself descending. Hansel looked below. There was a tiny clearing in the briar—a hole in the patchwork—and inside that hole he saw a spot of red. His eyes widened when he realized what was happening; it was a little girl, and she was running for her life. Sooner than he anticipated, the fairies dropped him and he fell into the clearing. They placed Gretel gracefully on the ground next to him and charged back up into the sky in one harmonious motion, disappearing into the briar. The girl stared at them in wonder, Hansel standing close to Gretel. It was suddenly dark, and Hansel knew it was because they were in a place so sinister that even the sunlight refused to pass through. The girl Hansel had seen from the sky was covered in bloody scratches, as if she’d been running through the thorns. Her face was dirty and streaked in muddy tears. She tried to speak to them, but she was silenced by the rustling of the vines behind her.
She yelped, running to them for help. Gretel took her in her arms and cupped her hand over her mouth, quieting her. Hansel trembled, pulling the bowstring back so far he worried it would snap. The figure of a large man appeared on the other side of the curtain of briar, causing the girl to cry harder. He made his best attempt to look imposing, but he was frightened. The man stepped into the clearing, dressed all in black, his hood casting a shadow over his face so that all Hansel could see was a pair of dull, white eyes. At first, Hansel thought the red-orange coating on the figure’s machete was rust, but as the man moved closer, he recognized it as the color of dried blood.
“Who are you?” Hansel asked.
It was like standing in front of death itself—silent, ominous, and terrifying.
Hansel stood rigid, his arrow pointed at the man’s chest. He hated the idea of killing someone, but he knew that his bow would take action before his head did if it was given the opportunity. The man’s chest rose, fell, but didn’t rise again. That was when Hansel knew it was time to let go of the string. It was too late. The hooded figure leaped out of the way just before the arrow left the bow, and as Hansel went to re-string it, he disappeared back into the thickets. Hansel stretched his bow into a V and focused his aim, in case the man returned.
Gretel helped the girl to her feet. “Are you all right?”
She wore a bright cloak that canvassed her body like a suit of armor, bright yet all-concealing. Hansel didn’t know what to make of her. She embodied adolescence, but exuded effortless maturity as if at war with herself. Wine and wildflowers protruded from her basket, peeking surreptitiously back at him. She was a walking contradiction, and that made him anxious.
“I think so,” the girl replied, using her cloak, which was made of some sort of fabric that Hansel couldn’t name but knew was expensive, to wipe her face. “Thank you for saving me.”
“Who was that man?” Hansel asked.
The girl hesitated. She stepped beside Hansel and followed his gaze out into the thickets.
“He was no man,” she said. “He was a wolf.”
“A wolf?” Hansel asked.
She nodded. “He walks like a man, but he’s a wolf, I swear to it. He tackled me back there and started sniffing me and snarling like a beast. His breath smells like dung and whiskey. It frightened me, so I ran off.”
Hansel and Gretel exchanged looks. Gretel furrowed her brows, dumbstruck.
“But why did he come after you?” Gretel asked.
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?” Hansel asked. “How do you not know? Do you find you’re often being chased by hooded man-wolves, or is today a special day?”
The girl seemed put off by the question. “Do you normally fly with the fairies?”
“Of course not,” Hansel said.
“So today must be special for all of us,” she said, slyly.
Gretel broke the tension. “What’s your name?”
“My name’s Ceara,” the girl replied with a smile that soured Hansel’s mood. She spoke to no one in particular. “But some people call me Little Red Cap because of my cape. It’s made of the finest silk in the East.” She offered the tail of her cape to them.
Gretel reached her hand out and felt the fabric, rubbing it between her fingers. “It’s lovely,” she mumbled.
“My gran made it for me when I was younger. I was always running about in the woods and she worried I would get lost. That’s why the cape is red…I’m easier to spot that way.”
Hansel dropped the bow to his side. It just so happened that he and Gretel knew quite a bit about being lost in the woods.
“Do you know how to get back to The Path from here?” he asked Ceara.
The Path was the clearest, safest route through the woods. It was a trail worn in the grass by the boots of travelers and kings alike; a clear, oppressive force that divided Grimm into four regions. The Path was the safest, most direct route to any place in the entire kingdom.
Ceara’s smile faded. She wiped the tears from her face, using her cloak to remove the dirt from her cheeks. “Of course I do,” she said, gesturing toward the vines. “It’s just a few steps this way.”
“You mean through the thorns?” Hansel asked.
She rolled her eyes. “Unless you plan on asking the fairies for another lift, there’s really no other way.”
“I thought it was impossible to pass through the thickets.” As he spoke, he stared at the thorns. He imagined slicing his leg open, or accidentally impaling himself. He squirmed.
Ceara giggled at him. “Just because the whole kingdom says it’s impossible, doesn’t mean it is.”
Gretel laughed at him as well, shrugging as she passed him. Ceara parted the vines carefully and let Gretel pass through. After Gretel disappeared into the thickets, Ceara held the vines apart for him. “Go on.”
Right then, Hansel knew he wasn’t going to like Ceara.

About the Author



Weston Sullivan lives and writes in Tampa, Florida. He spends his days splitting time between writing, a full time job, and studying for his degree in Creative Writing from the University of South Florida. He enjoys everything related to storytelling, including film and theater. He likes to read all genres, from contemporary fiction to classic favorites such as Faulkner and Woolf. After he finishes his undergraduate coursework and continues to build his career as an author, he plans to attend graduate school in New York City.

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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Entombed by Ruth Parker


Romantic Suspense
Date Published: 8/17/17

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It’s hard being the daughter of a serial killer. Especially when your father has a lot of sick, twisted fans…

Camille West is the daughter of the infamous Body in the Barrel Killer, the maniac who entombed his victims in large steel barrels after days of torture. When she reluctantly returns to her hometown to take care of her ailing mother, there is a surprise waiting in her new house.

A barrel. A body. And a promise.

Camille has worked hard to forget her small hometown and the stain of her father’s crimes. But someone out there never forgot her…

If that wasn’t enough, her old flame Jake Musgrove is still in town, now working as a private investigator. His smirk and arrogance are a big part of why she fled her small town ten years ago.

Jake has screwed up pretty much everything in his life, but his biggest regret is how he let Camille walk away. Now that she’s back, he refuses to lose her again. He’s got to put it all on the line to protect her, but the killer is getting closer and he’s got to figure out who it is before Camille is entombed…

This romantic suspense novel is a page-turning standalone with an HEA and no cliffhangers.


About the Author


RUTH PARKER lives in Los Angeles, in a house covered in toddler handprints and cat hair. She has a crippling addiction to diagramless crossword puzzles, Forensic Files and John D. MacDonald novels. Send help. And pencils.


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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Turning in Circles by Michelle Buckman



Young Adult / Southern fiction
Date Published: April, 2017

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Savannah and Charleston, two sisters living in a small Southern town, have always been close. They've shared everything with one another...until Dillon, the one boy in school who's bad news, sets his sights on Charleston. As she's drawn down his dark, destructive path, Savannah panics, knowing this isn't a relationship destined for anything but trouble.

She turns to her lifelong best friend, Ellerbe, for help, but there's a shift in their relationship. The connection they've shared is taking a turn toward something more, something deeper. And Savannah isn't sure she's ready for a romance while trying to save her sister.

As Savannah's foundation begins to crumble, every decision becomes an unchangeable step toward an outcome that could have tragic repercussions.


Excerpt

I took a deep breath, breathing in the smell of the earth, the sweat of the horses, and distinctive smell of cotton balls hanging from plants in the sun. It relaxed me and made talking seem right. “I’m worried about Charleston. I think she got a second detention on purpose.”
“Why would she do that?”
I hesitated, wondering how he might react, but plunged into it. “I think she has a thing for Dillon Smith; she got detention again so she could see him. From what I hear, he’s always in detention.”
“Dillon. Huh.”
It wasn’t quite the reaction I expected. More of a thinking-it-over response instead of the disgust I felt.
I slumped in my saddle. “Well, I can’t believe it. Dillon. Ugh. He’s… well, you know. Remember what he wrote on the gym wall?”
Of course Ellerbe remembered it. Everyone had seen it. It didn’t bear repeating, but being a guy, Ellerbe had laughed it off like most of them.
“Can’t say I’d want him for a brother-in-law anyhow.” His face remained serious. Serious. Like that might happen.
“You don’t think… oh, my gosh, she couldn’t possibly let it go that far. Why did you even have to suggest it?”
He laughed at me. “You’re so gullible. It’s just a school thing. She’ll be over him as soon as the next guy whistles at her.”
I so wanted to believe that. “You think?”
“This is Charleston we’re talking about.”
That was the end of discussion for him. He didn’t understand the implications of it all. His eyes played over my face, and I knew he was laughing at me for being so worried.
He pushed Snow into a trot. “Come on. To the creek.”
Ellerbe’s answer to every problem in the world—ride!
I sighed, thinking maybe he was right. Charleston could be pretty fickle. Maybe it was nothing to worry about.


About the Author


Michelle Buckman is the award-winning author of seven novels. She is an international conference speaker renowned for her dynamic discussions on writing and faith, and loves to join in school and book club discussions as well. She was born in New York and raised in Canada, but has lived in the Carolinas most of her life. Walking on the each is both her inspiration and her favorite pastime.

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The Seeds of Dissolution by William C.Tracy



Science Fiction / Fantasy
Publisher: Space Wizard Science Fantasy
Date Published: November 2017

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On a bright August day, the sun disappears.

Sam van Oen barely escapes freezing to death in his house, as his watch stops and fire ceases to burn. He is pulled into the Nether—a nexus between ten alien cultures—where he meets Rilan and Origon, two maji who can control the musical foundation of the universe. While coping with anxiety attacks prompted by his new surroundings, Sam must learn to hear and change the Symphony, and thus reality, in order to discover what happened to his home.

But more freezing voids like the one that started his journey are appearing, and Sam’s chances of getting back are fading. The Assembly of Species is threatening to dissolve and the maji are being attacked by those they protect, while rumors grow of an ancient, shape-changing species of assassins, returning to wage war.

The Dissolution is coming.


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About the Author


William C. Tracy is a North Carolina native and a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy. He has two self-published novellas available: Tuning the Symphony, and Merchants and Maji, both set in his Dissolutionverse. The Kickstarter for the first novel, The Seeds of Dissolution, will run in August/September 2017.

He also has a masters in mechanical engineering, and has both designed and operated heavy construction machinery. He has trained in Wado-Ryu karate since 2003, and runs his own dojo in Raleigh. He is an avid video and board gamer, a reader, and of course, a writer. He and his wife also cosplay, and he has appeared as Tenzin, Jafar, and in several steampunk outfits.

In his spare time, he wrangles three cats and a bald guinea pig, and his wife wrangles him (not an easy task). They both enjoy putting their pets in cute little costumes and making them cosplay for the annual Christmas card.


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Friday, 11 August 2017

Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer

~ Release Day Blitz ~
Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer
12th August, 2017


Long before the times of Draupadi and Sita
Immortalised in the hymns of the Rig Veda
But largely forgotten to the memory of India
Is the Warrior Queen with an iron leg, Vishpala

Brought up in the pristine forest school of Naimisha, Avishi reaches the republic of Ashtagani in search of her destiny. When Khela, the oppressive King of the neighbouring Vrishabhavati begins to overwhelm and invade Ashtagani, Avishi rises to protect her settlement. But peril pursues her everywhere.
Separated from her love, her settlement broken, with a brutal injury needing amputation of her leg, can Avishi overcome Khela?


Read an Excerpt

“I am the Queen! This will be my throne!” The seven-year-old chirped leaping from the middle of the porch towards the broken mortar which served as a mock throne. “You will be my guard!”
“Guard?” the man pondered scratching his unkempt beard. 
“No.” He shook his head and smiled seeing her indignant eyes. “I will be the Queen’s elephant.” He beamed.
Sukratu stepped out of the house to see his daughter in action, perching herself on the tramp Loha’s back, pretending in all earnestness that he was her elephant. He smiled and was about to set out for his duty as the night guard of the King. A sudden lightning appeared in the eastern skies. Sukratu had barely walked a few paces when a deafening thunder made him instinctively turn towards home. He heaved a sigh, finding Loha shielding the girl as if he would, his own child. 
“Father, don’t go.” The girl pleaded. 
Sukratu smiled and shifted his gaze towards the sky. He saw dark clouds loom over the city. The monsoon winds had started to make their presence felt. He had to reach the palace soon. “Isn’t my little Queen brave?” He called out. 
The girl nodded. He saw the fear fade. From her eyes. From her heart. She knew she was the queen! Pride filled his heart. His mind ached to stay home but duty beckoned. Tearing his gaze away from the one he treasured the most in his life, braving the drizzle that would soon turn into a storm, he unwillingly walked towards the King’s residence. Sukratu’s house was in the third ring of the concentric structure of Vrishabhavati. In the centre, was the structure, that served as the residence of the king and as the centre of all trade activity of the city. Here no wealth or goods could change hands without the king’s knowledge and approval. The residences of the noblemen formed the two rings around it. The guards and soldiers forming the outermost circle with the citizens living around them. 
As per the protocol, Sukratu approached General Ugra’s residence quite ahead of his reporting time— an hour before the moonrise. He walked into the empty courtyard. But the rain made it impossible for him to stand there any longer. He knocked at the giant wooden door fervently. The doors creaked as a strange woman clad in a dark indigo garment opened them and glared at him with a frown on her forehead. 
General Ugra, Sukratu knew was never faithful to one woman. His superior’s romantic exploits were not his concern either. But something about the woman at the door disconcerted him. “Please let General Ugra know that…”
“He has already left for the palace!” The woman frowned before attempting to shut the door. 
“What? How ca…” Sukratu’s words hung in air as the door slammed on his face and the woman disappeared from his line of vision all of a sudden. Something did not feel right. He knocked at the door again. Firmly this time, as though seeking answers. Any change in the reporting time would have been announced the day before and he remembered that nothing of the sort had happened. His knocks went unanswered. Frowning and muttering under his breath, Sukratu hurried towards an empty cowshed three houses away from Ugra’s place hoping to catch his companions who he knew would be equally surprised. 
The first to arrive was Khela, the eighteen-year-old guard, holding a metal shield above his head. The newest addition to the King’s guard, Khela was related to General Ugra and Sukratu felt that his position in the King’s guard was largely a result of undue favours that Ugra showered upon an otherwise impudent boy. 
“Sukratu! By the great Varuna, I should have come to you earlier!” Khela hurried towards him. Pausing for breath, he added. “Our platoon has been given a relief tonight! It was a sudden decision and I personally informed all the others.”
“Relief for tonight? That happens only when…”
“Our guarding hours change from night to day!” Khela completed in a hurry. “Now, come with me.” He turned towards the western direction and the javelin he held started to sway dangerously and came close to grazing Sukratu’s arm. 
The older guard’s instincts made him dodge the cut. “Where?” Sukratu hissed, visibly annoyed, first with the fact that he was kept in dark about the change in guarding hours and then about Khela’s irreverent behaviour. “And watch who your weapon hurts, boy.”
Khela shrugged and changed the position of his weapon. “We are now going to the place.” He winked, stretching his hand in the direction. “Follow me, this is the only night we get to have some fun.”
Sukratu did not move. The place he knew implied the tavern where wine was served. “We cannot drink tonight, Khela. When do we have to report tomorrow? By sunrise?”
“You ask too many questions. The rest of us are there too!”
“That does not answer my question.” 
“Well, I don’t know, and I don’t care to. The palace is paying for the wine. Are you coming or not?” 
The last sentence sounded more like a threat than an invite. Sukratu had all the mind to give the youth a piece of his mind and storm back home. His daughter would be overjoyed to see him before she went to sleep. It gnawed at Sukratu’s heart every day to leave her under the care of Loha— the tramp who had begged him for shelter about six months ago and then became a part of his life. The girl liked him instantly and had begged Sukratu to let Loha live with them and he, despite his misgivings about the tramp’s origins and his unkempt appearance, could not refuse his only daughter. Over time, Sukratu felt grateful for Loha’s company. Now his daughter did not have to be all by herself every night. The guard’s home would have been unguarded if not for that stranger. Sukratu brushed aside these thoughts and had almost decided to go home when the thought of meeting other senior guards and clarifying the confusion struck him. He followed Khela’s lead, making no attempt to hide his displeasure. 
When they reached the tavern, Sukratu to his dismay, found many of his brothers in arms deeply drunk. “When did they reach here and when did they…”
“Quite some time before. I just forgot to tell you in advance!”
Sukratu’s eyes scrutinized the men and women of the tavern who were serving wine to the guards. There were no other citizens or travellers in the tavern. 
“Just for us, the whole night!” Khela said as if reading his thoughts, bringing him an earthen goblet. 
The older guard accepted the goblet taking his first sip with a sense of foreboding. 
“Where were you all the time, old friend?” The voice belonged to Tunga one of the senior guards in the platoon. 
The grin on his friend’s face brought a smile to Sukratu’s lips. “Tunga, what is this about the sudden change in our guarding hours?” 
“The King… that imbecile, has finally remembered that we are human too!” Tunga guffawed, emptying his goblet, waving vigorously at a woman of the tavern who obliged with a seductive wink. 
She approached them, skilfully distributing her attention between both the men, winking at Tunga and pouting her lips at Sukratu. Her brows rose at Sukratu’s filled cup. “Don’t keep the Sura nor this Sundari waiting, my love...” Serving Tunga his wine, she placed her fingers upon Sukratu’s shoulders, digging her nails into his skin for a moment locking her gaze with his and turned around swiftly, letting her light upper garment rest on his face for a fleeting moment. 
It was a wilful invitation and Sukratu knew it. His attention though was caught by the colour of the garment. The Indigo hued garment! All the women of the tavern wore clothes of the same colour. So did the woman he saw in General Ugra’s house! Was Ugra at home while the woman lied that he was at the palace? If the General and the whole platoon of the night guard were lying down drunk, who was minding the security of the King? Sukratu looked at the rest of the guards. No one seemed sober enough to talk. The only sober man Khela had disappeared!
“By the great Varuna!” Sukratu exclaimed aloud and rushed out, pushing the woman who tried to stop him away. 
He raced to the King’s residence, as fast as his legs could carry him. The huge wooden gates of the structure were closed and secured from inside. The rain lashed drowning his cries. Misgivings regarding the King’s welfare made him shudder. He had to meet General Ugra. Something told him that the General had his own reasons to send the whole platoon of guards to enjoy a drunk night. He was a guard who had sworn to protect the King with his life. The general owed him an answer. Sukratu rushed to General Ugra’s house determined to confront him. 
That, Sukratu realized was the biggest mistake of his life. 
At the gates of the general’s residence he saw a familiar figure hurrying out of his house, a heavy bundle on his shoulders. “General Ugra!” he called out, feeling relieved. 
The figure started, and the bundle fell to the ground. Sukratu came to a sudden halt as he realized it wasn’t a bundle after all, but a blood-drenched corpse. A stroke of lightning from the sky revealed the face and the very familiar greying curls. Sukratu froze for a long moment before he could speak.
 “K... King...”
Something hit him on the head even before he could utter the name. Sukratu staggered, reeling at the impact, clutching at his long sword in a vain attempt to defend the next move. 
“Finish him!” The General shout behind him. 
Before he turned around, Sukratu felt the cold metal tear into his back. Lightning struck revealing the contours of the person. Khela! The javelin stabbed him again. Thunder drowned his screams. Falling to the ground with the weapon still stuck to his back, Sukratu lifted his sword and managed to slash Khela’s palm though the latter, unlike him was vigilant and alert. Crawling away from the menacing duo, knowing very well that he could not last more than a few moments, Sukratu’s thoughts, went to his innocent daughter. She would now languish as an orphan remaining in dark about the monsters who killed her father. Or would they kill her too?
Sukratu would never know. 


About the Author:
Saiswaroopa is an IITian and a former investment analyst turned author. Her keen interest in ancient Indian history, literature and culture made her take to writing. Her debut novel Abhaya, set in the times of Mahabharata was published in 2015. Avishi, her second novel set in Vedic India explores the legend of India’s first mentioned female warrior queen Vishpala.
She holds a certificate in Puranas from Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. She is also trained in Carnatic Classical music and has won a state level gold medal from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. 





Too Beautiful For Words by Ronald M James



Mystery, Detective
Date Published: July 2017

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Private Investigator, Sammy Shovel, finally gets the client of a lifetime and rushes to claim his jackpot, but he soon discovers—wealth and pearl coincide.

Beloved Golden Opportunities, CEO, Joel Ceja, is found murdered one foggy morning. Three months after Joel’s death the police are stumped, they still have no clues to his murder. Golden Opportunities’ employees feel they’re being stonewalled and decide to hire Shovel to assist the police. Sammy accepts, figuring it was nothing more than a local homicide.

However, in no time at all, he’s mired in international quicksand filled with a worldwide assassinations ring—and he wants out. But greed overcomes his common sense.

He runs from firefight to firefight to get to the truth, but his adversaries dupe him time and again.

You may deceive Sammy—some of time. But when he put's it altogether—run bother, run for we all know Sammy’s a shoot first and ask questions later type a guy.


About the Author


Ronald M. James was born during the great depression, and as a toddler watched WPA men build a new street, from his home’s big front window. His playmates were a red rider wagon, a small black satchel and rocks. By using his imagination he had conversations with mythical street workers that bloomed into fashioned fantasies by age four. He used cardboard boxes to create fun spaces for his neighborhood playmates to enjoy and he kept telling stories all through high school. In college he abandoned writing and studied architecture. James had a successful architectural career and retired, however he wanted to keep his creative juices fluent, so he returned to his childhood story telling days and joined a writers group.

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Thursday, 10 August 2017

Vishwamitra by Dr. Vineet Aggarwal

Vishwamitra by Dr. Vineet Aggarwal
Indian Mythological Fiction
~ Book Blitz ~
11th August, 2017


When Satyavati, wife of Rishi Ruchik, exchanges with her mother the magic potion for bearing a child, they change not just their children’s destiny, but also the history of mankind. Born of this mix up is Vishwamitra, the son of a Kshatriya, who strives to become a Brahmarishi—the ultimate and most powerful of all Gurus.

Vishwamitra is the powerful story of a brave but stubborn, haughty yet compassionate, visionary king of Aryavarta who not only acquires material wealth through military conquests but also becomes one of the most well-known sages of all times.



If you like… Then you will enjoy Vishwamitra

  1. If you like to read about India's rich, ancient history, in an easy to read manner, you will love Vishwamitra
  2. If you have ever wondered if the ancients had any knowledge of space & science, you should check out Vishwamitra, the story of the man who created an entire new star system!
  3. If you like reading romance, take time to check out this unlikely love story between a human and an Apsara! Did you know Vishwamitra & Menaka lived together for ten long years?
  4. If you like reading stores that inspire -  check out Vishwamitra, the story of an ordinary man who even dared to challenge the gods!
  5. If you have liked any retelling of India's original epic Ramayan, you should check out Vishwamitra -  the story of the man who became the guru of Rama, the Scion of Ikshvaku!


    About the Author

    Dr. Vineet Aggarwal is described by many as a doctor by qualification, manager by profession and artist by temperament. Born in a family of doctors, he successfully completed an initial stint with the family occupation before deciding to venture into pharmaceutical management and currently pursues writing and photography as a passion.

    He is the author of popular online blogs ‘Decode Hindu Mythology’ and ‘Fraternity Against Terrorism and Extremism’ and the author of books ‘Vishwamitra – The Man who dared to challenge the Gods’ and ‘The Legend of Parshu-Raam’







    Flygirl by R.D.Kardon

    Commercial Fiction/Historical Fiction/Womens Fiction Date Published: January 15, 2019 It’s 1997. Women...