Review of “Fighting Faete: Beyond the Veil, Book 5” – Elena Kincaid, Maia Dylan, & Sarah Marsh

~~ BOOK FIVE ~~

Be Warned: menage sex (MFM), anal sex, double penetration

 

Darkness is coming to both sides of the Veil

Katrina was born to fight. She had earned her position as Beta through blood and battle and shed do anything to protect those she cares for, but being a hardened warrior comes with sacrifices. The aftermath of her kidnapping has her fighting harder than before, even with herself.

Aeron and Alak had always known their service to the Goddess Rysanna came with a heavy responsibility, one they easily accepted. Years later, with a battle for the ages looming, a beautiful golden cougar brings all of their seemingly forgotten instincts to the surface. Will their fiery mate fight their fate, or will she embrace the gift bestowed upon them?

As the trio struggle to find their path, dark emerging forces would see both the human and Fae realms fall into despair. Finding love can sometimes be the simple part … but for some, accepting it isnt always easy.

 

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~~ Excerpt ~~

 

With one pass of Aeron’s magic over her clothing, the seams melted away, and he gently dropped the scraps to the ground, leaving Alak’s arms full of warm, golden, naked skin. Alak placed a kiss along her shoulder, up to her neck, while Aeron did the same on the other side. Their mate’s arousal was all that was important right now, and Alak could think of nothing else but ensuring her pleasure.

“Just so you both know … our argument isn’t over,” she said, her words coming out in short pants in between kisses Aeron and Alak were delivering.

“I’d expect nothing less from our delectable dragon,” Alak teased back.

“Are you mocking me?”

Alak saw the tiny smirk at the corner of her mouth, and he pulled her chin towards his own lips before looking straight into her golden eyes. “Never,” he said, and then he kissed her with everything he had building up inside of him. His passion, his frustration, his longing, and finally, with all the loneliness he and his brother had endured over their long lifetime. To be High Dorum was the greatest honor the Goddess could bestow upon her children, but it set them apart from the rest of their people. They’d almost lost hope for a mate of their own, for how would one female hold the strength to equal theirs? But the Goddess sees all her children, and she must have known that this remarkable woman was just out there, waiting for Aeron and Alak to follow the path that led to her. Now it was up to them not to screw it up.

“Do you want us, Katrina?” Alak finally pulled back from her lips and whispered his question, as if afraid in this moment that she would deny them all what they so desperately needed.

“I do,” she replied without a single hint of hesitation in her voice.

Alak carried her to the master bedroom in their suite with Aeron following closely behind. When they reached the king-sized bed, Katrina lowered herself down the length of him and then positioned herself on her back in the center of the bed. A golden goddess, holding him in place as he gazed upon her in fascination. She stretched out her arms and beckoned them to join her. Finally, he snapped out of his daze, and he and Aeron continued undressing. He loved the little hitch in her breath as they revealed themselves to her, her gaze roaming over their bodies, seemingly greedy to take them in. Alak ached for her. He grabbed his length and slowly stroked, and the sight of her little pink tongue darting out to wet her perfect lips made him groan out her name.

“Katrina, are you wet for us, mate?”

“Yes, do you want to see?” she purred, legs falling gracefully to each side.

“You make my mouth water seeing you ready for us,” Aeron said, his voice strained with desire. “I’ve thought of this moment many times since we met.”

Alak knew all too well what his brother was feeling in this moment—the same kernel of hope was beginning to burn bright in his own heart, that this glorious woman would make their lives complete. He followed Aeron onto the bed and stretched out beside Katrina while Aeron knelt by her feet, his hand slowly stroking along her calf.

“I think it’s time we quenched our thirst, brother,” Aeron said.

 

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(review request submitted by Elena Kincaid for an honest critique)
 
Elena, Sarah, and Maia always create stories that pack a punch, but this one actually started off with a punch thrown. From the get-go, they demonstrated the strength of Katrina. Throughout the story, Kat’s skill on the battlefield was never lacking. She never doubted her abilities. The only time she questioned herself was in the love department. Luckily for her, she found TWO men who showed her love, fought by her side, and didn’t treat her as a lesser being. WOMEN, shifter or normal, are strong. Elena, Sarah, and Maia allowed our strength to shine. 
 
These three authors also developed male counterparts who were just as fierce as their lady love (Kat) but also had a soft, romantic side as well. Whether you are a man or woman, sometimes all you want is love and acceptance. They each found that — together. 
 
In between the exceptionally written love scenes, readers will take the journey to the Shadow Realm. We will meet grotesque monsters who will make your skin crawl as you read about their decomposing bodies. 
 
I truly believe everyone will fall in love with Kat and her two magical mates (Alak and Aeron). Readers will also love the comedic moments woven in the plot.
 
 
My favorite scenes:
 
Alak and Aeron saving Lady Corrine from the beastly clutches of the Dy-son. (In case you might not know, that’s a vacuum cleaner.)
 
The men’s reaction to witness a mechanical bird (airplane) take flight. 
 
 
Humor, passion, fight scenes, shifters, and more made this a magically, memorable read! 
 
 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:❤❤❤❤1/2

 

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CHECK OUT THE ENTIRE SERIES TODAY! 

 

BOOK ONE

Amazon (US)   Amazon (UK) 

Amazon (CA) Amazon(AU) Bookstrand 

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BOOK TWO

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Evernight Publishing SiteAmazon (US)  

Amazon (UK) /Amazon (CA)

 

 

BOOK THREE

Amazon – US  / Amazon – UK / 

Amazon – CA / Amazon – AU / 

Evernight Publishing Site

 

 

BOOK FOUR

Evernight Publishing Site

Amazon US  / Amazon CA

Bookstrand

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BUY BOOKS 1-5 NOW WITH THE LINKS BELOW! 

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Author Showcase – CJ Matthew (A Major Affair: The Colonel’s Daughters quintet, A Novella, book 1.5)

 

A novella: short steamy contemporary romance set in Hawaii.

Major Edmund Quinn, WSO F-15E Strike Eagle
The dream mission: spend a week of leave snooping around a luxury Kauai resort, enjoying all the amenities, then report back to a skeptical investor. 

DeAnna Drake, middle manager of a Waikiki resort
The nightmare mission: spend a week snooping around a luxury Kauai resort, enjoying all the amenities, then hijack their secrets for her employer. 

Two novice corporate snoops who never expected to fall in love, or to discover that love changes everything. 

 

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~~ EXCERPT ~~

Major Edmund Quinn sat perched on a barstool in his favorite Goldsboro, North Carolina pub, nursing a lukewarm beer. Damn it. No need to rush home to an empty apartment. The minute he and pilot Steve Shorner, former drinking buddy, former boon companion, and now absentee roommate, had finished for the day, the smitten flyer took off like he’d hit the afterburner.

Studying the faces around the pub, Quinn narrowed his eyes. If he wanted company, why not call one of the women he’d met last weekend?

Quinn’s phone buzzed. Or, maybe one of them was calling him. He tapped the screen. “Hello?”

“Eddie?”

Nobody called him Ed, Eddie or Edmund except his family. Sounded like his younger sister. He checked Caller ID: Olivia.

“Hey, peanut.” His evening perked up. “How are you?”

I’m fine.” Uh oh. Clearly someone in his baby sister’s wide circle of family and friends wasn’t fine. “Did you get my email?” she persisted.

“Haven’t been home yet.” He braced himself. “What’s up?”

“I’m worried sick about DeAnna.”

“Who?” Quinn knew he’d made a mistake the instant the word left his mouth. There was a loud, exasperated huff through the phone.

“You know very well who. DeAnna. My sorority big sister at UNC? My bestie ever since. Her phone goes straight to voice mail. I used to get long chatty emails. Now I’m lucky to get a pitiful paragraph. I need to know exactly where she is. That she’s really and truly okay. You gave me your solemn promise you’d help.”

I did? “And I always keep my promises to you, don’t I?”

“Well, so far.”

Shit, was that a sniffle? “Ollie honey, tell me what you want me to do.”

“I’m pretty sure she’s in Hawaii. You need to help me find her.”

“Olivia. I will keep my promise. However, you need to remember I have a day job. It’s not as a private investigator.”

She giggled. “I know. You work in the back seat of an F-15. The best Weapons System Officer, WSO in the entire—”

His phone chimed with an incoming call. “Ollie. I’ve got to take this. Call you right back. Pinky swear.”

“Okay.”

He heaved a sigh of relief. What did Olivia think he could possibly do? Reading the new ID, his mouth spread into a grin. Frank Whitney, a fellow WSO stationed at Mountain Home AFB.

“Hey, Whitney, what’s up?”

“Quinn, my man. How much leave you got left? I need your help.”

“Where?”

“White sand beaches, beautiful women in string bikinis, and all the single malt scotch you can drink.”

“Damn. How many bodies are we burying?”

“Would you believe, it’s a favor for my old man?”

“That helps.”

“I need you to spend ten days in Hawaii with me. On a secret spy mission for Dad.”

“Are you punking me?”

“No joke. Piles of dollars at stake. Dear ole Pop has zero sense of humor when his money’s involved.”

“Got the leave. Listening.”

“The old man’s considering a huge investment. Needs to choose between two Hawaiian hotel chains. The one he doesn’t choose to rescue could be forced to close one of their island hotels. I’m rooting for Dad to resuscitate the one called Fragrant Gardens of Kauai Resort and Spa. So that’s where you and I are going.”

“Doesn’t your dad employ minions for this shit, like pro spies?”

“Sure he does. They’ve already started looking at both locations. Haven’t been able to get much in the way of on-the-ground due diligence. To get the straight scoop, Dad decided to embed non-employees. Us. We’ll look around, help him determine which location to invest in.”

“It’s not the best time for me. Shorner just got back—” Quinn signaled the barkeep for another beer. “When does your father want us there?”

“This weekend.”

Quinn groaned.

“Don’t forget,” Frank said, “beautiful women in bikinis. All expenses paid.”

“Seriously?”

“Sure, those beaches are crawling with—”

“Space-A to Hawaii is a nightmare. Expenses paid? You’re serious?”

“As a heart attack. Repeat: the old man doesn’t screw around. He’ll spring for airline tickets, room, food, drinks, and expenses. His staff even made up a stupid-man’s questionnaire. Fill in the freaking blanks.”

“I’m in. Thank him for me?”

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CJ Matthew contact links

Website
Twitter
Facebook
Amazon author page
Goodreads author page

 

 

Dolphin Shore Shifters series

Blood Tide

Risky Tide

Dangerous Tide

Lethal Tide

Toxic Tide

               Fatal Tide (TBA)          

 

Paladin Group series

Deadly Reboot

Survival Reboot

Maximum Reboot (TBA)

                                                       

Colonel’s Daughters quintet

A Major Affair (novella)

A Major Seduction

Compromising the Captain (TBA)


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Author Showcase / Interview / Review – Andrew Cull (Knock and You Will See Me)

Welcome, Andrew Cull!

 

 

  1. For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?

(Andrew) Hi there! Thanks for having me. I’m a horror writer and feature director. I started out writing and directing in the theatre while I was at Uni. From there, I moved to writing for TV and film. I returned to directing in 2007, when I created the Louise Paxton mystery for YouTube. Following on from that, I wrote and directed The Possession of David O’Reilly. Recently, I’ve written my first novel, Remains, four novellas, and a new feature film which I’m hoping to get my teeth into soon.

 

Based on actual events, THE POSSESSION OF DAVID O’REILLY is a terrifying supernatural shockumentary about a demonic presence in a young couple’s home in London.

US – Amazon Link

 

UK – Amazon Link

 

 

(KAM) Oh my goodness gracious, this trailer scared the $#*! out of me! 

 

 

  1. All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.

(Andrew)  I think I’m really lucky when it comes to writer’s block. It’s not something I tend to suffer from. In fact, I often have too many ideas and not enough time to write them all! But, if I ever get stuck plotting or find a scene’s giving me problems I take a train journey. By the time I’m half an hour into the journey I’m normally filling my notepad with thoughts and ideas about how to move forward or what to write next.

 

 

  1. Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(Andrew)  I’m primarily a horror writer. I believe that horror is much more effective if it’s believable and so my stories tend to be grounded in reality, sometimes focusing on urban myths and legends. I’ll always choose suspense over gore. I’m a huge Hitchcock fan.

When I’m not writing I’m a big gamer. I’m a screenarcher, which means I shoot the worlds and characters of video games. I have a Flickr page with all my screenshots on it.

flickr link

 

I also study Taekwondo and try to fit in some reading. I’m almost always the last person to watch any given horror movie as I have trouble finding the time to fit everything in! I’m still trying to find time to watch Get Out!

 

 

  1. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

(Andrew)  All my friends and family know I’m a writer. I’m very lucky in that, even through the tough times (and there have been plenty) they’ve always been very supportive of my work. I’ve never had anyone suggest I give it up and do something else.

I think if you’re a writer you should be proud of it. Success shouldn’t be something measured in book sales or income. Every day you sit down to write you’re a success.

 

~~ Another short story to check out! ~~

Print Length: 23 pages

 

That summer should have been filled with laughter, with slip n’ slides in the yard, lazy afternoons lying watching ice cream clouds swirling through the blue sky, melting in slow motion. I watched a plane rising high above our house. From the ground it looked completely still, as if it hung suspended in the air, a model on a string. I wished I was on it, I wished I could escape. I was seven and that was the summer death stalked our home.

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  1. Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.

(Andrew)  That is a tough question. It’s an eclectic list. OK, here goes…

 

10. Koji Suzuki

9. Arthur Conan Doyle

8. Roald Dahl

7. H.P. Lovecraft

6. Chuck Palahniuk

5. JG Ballard

4. Richard Matheson

3. Shirley Jackson

2. Stephen King

1. James Ellroy

 

 

  1. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?

(Andrew)  I’d really like to direct an adaptation of my forthcoming novel, REMAINS. I’d cast Gillian Anderson in the lead. I wrote the novel with her in mind. She’s fantastic, one of my all-time favorite actors.

 

 

  1. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(Andrew)  I’m working on a new horror feature script, a new novel and a number of shorter stories. One of them is a new novella based in the same town as HOPE AND WALKER.

Print Length: 29 pages

 

“We were both 10. But he was dead. And I sat drawing him.”

Em Walker is just like any other 10-year-old girl growing up in the small, outback town of Hope. That is, except for the fact that her Dad runs one of the town’s two funeral parlours, and the dead have just started speaking to her…

When Hope is rocked by a terrible crime, Em, stubborn, scared of spiders, and with a temper that’s likely to get her into trouble, will find herself thrust into the middle of a dangerous hunt for the truth.

“Being scared’s good,” Grandpa Walker had told me once. “Stops us from doing stupid things.” 
It hadn’t stopped me.

 

Praise for Hope and Walker:

“An exceptional short story.” – Frank Michaels Errington.
“Andrew Cull proves himself.” – Eddie Generous, Unnerving Magazine.

 

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  1. Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?

(Andrew)  My novellas are available exclusively through Amazon at present. When REMAINS is released, it’ll be available worldwide through most bookstores. There’s no a specific order to read my stories in at present, although some of the characters from my books will cross paths in the future. I’m probably the worst person to ask about which story to read first as I’ll always recommend the one I’ve just finished. That’s always the one I’m most excited about. I would say though, that if you pick up any of my stories I’m very grateful to you for doing so, and I really hope you enjoy the book. Thanks for checking out my work.

 

 

  1. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?

(Andrew)  I’m always open to anyone who’s read my stories or seen my movies getting in touch. I love to hear what people make of my books and films. I can be contacted via my Facebook page, my Twitter, or directly via email. I try to reply to all the messages I receive. Sometimes it takes me a while, especially if I’ve got my head down on a project, but I do get around to all of them eventually.

Website Link

 

 

  1. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

(Andrew)  Well, I’d like to say thanks for hosting me and reading my work. It was great to talk to you!

 

 

 

~~ Closing remarks ~~

First, I would like to thank Andrew Cull for partaking in this interview and for inviting me to read Knock and You Will See MeIt will haunt my dreams, much like Ellie’s dad haunted her and her children. 

Continue reading below to catch a sneak peek of  Knock and You Will See Me and to read my full review on this nightmare-inducing tale. 

 

 

Now, lets check out the frightfully good read….

Print Length: 77 pages

 

“We buried Dad in the winter. It wasn’t until the spring that we heard from him again.”

Knock and You Will See Me is a new ghost story by award winning writer-director Andrew Cull.

When grieving Ellie Ray finds a crumpled, handwritten note from her recently deceased father, hidden behind the couch, she assumes that her middle boy, Max, left it there. It has a single word written on it: WHY. But, as more and more letters begin to appear throughout the house, Ellie and her three boys will find themselves dragged into a deeply sinister mystery surrounding her father’s death.

“Dad? I looked down at the scribbled note in my hand, at the words torn into the paper. What had started as a whisper had grown louder, more desperate. The words had been screamed onto the page. Dad? Please. What’s going on?”

 

 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)

 

When I was much younger, I was captivated and freaked out by two blockbuster movies — The Sixth Sense (1999) and the original Flatliners (1990). The very notion someone could see dead people, the dead could interact with the living, scared the daylights out of me. This gift of seeing, hearing, or interacting with the dead was frightening, much like Knock and You Will See Me. 

When we bury a friend or loved one, we hope he or she is going on to a better place. Our wish is for their suffering to be finally over. If that’s not the case, it makes you rethink dying and those we’ve buried. Also, if Death comes after you or someone you love, who can really sleep soundly at night. 

Eerie notes, knocking noises, maggots, and black ooze would be enough to send chills down anyone’s spine but Andrew took it a step further. He tapped into the unknown and brought the boogeyman to Ellie Ray’s door… literally. She fought it. Her children fought it. In the end, I didn’t feel like their story was truly over. Death never goes away; therefore, I can see why Knock and You Will See Me didn’t end with a typical conclusion. 

Some readers might be hoping for a more complete ending. Actually, I was expecting more as well. I tapped more than once on my kindle thinking this can’t be the end. It didn’t feel like it should be the end. Yet, it was over… for me. For them, their nightmarish tale continued on. Maybe in another tale? We shall see. 

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Author Showcase / Interview & GIVEAWAY CONTEST – Simon Lindley (Mannethorn’s Key: Book One of the Key of Life Trilogy)

Welcome, Simon Lindley!
 
 

  1. For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?

(Simon) I got the bug early. My first literary work, The Magic Skates was picked up by my elementary teacher. I was six. First gold star! That was it. Hooked. The problem that accosted me later was that although writing fiction, especially fantasy, turned out to be my lifelong calling, the realization also struck me that I wasn’t very good at it. So somewhere between age six and fifty-one I broadened my writing abilities. I’ve written about a dozen books but I wouldn’t put any of them ‘out there’. I refer to them as my ‘growth phase’, which is a euphemism for working at sucking less. Mannethorn’s Key was a culmination of over a decade’s worth of work. I’m proud of it. It’s my first work that I feel has earned a place in the literary ether.

 

 

  1. All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.

(Simon)  I am not so much cursed by the block as I am the Mull. I am a muller. I write a paragraph, analyze it, read it back, demand that it speaks to me, write a fake following paragraph just to coax it, and then delete it and rewrite it. I never have a block. In fact, at times, I’ll write 10,000 words in a single shot. My issue is that I will then spend four weeks mulling over it.

 

 

 

  1. Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(Simon)  I love writing epic fantasy. For me, no other genre provides more firepower for my imagination or lets me fully immerse myself while writing. It delivers the palette to create a unique world that doesn’t limit the scope. As George R. R. Martin proved, it can be terribly dark, vulgar, violent and sexual while still world building. Besides, there’s a lot of mutants, vampires, zombies and dystopian futures out there, according the number of scribes chronicling such tales. Don’t get me wrong. Some of the best books produced this decade are in those sub-genres. I have read some brilliant works, and many are far beyond my writing and imaginative abilities. However, I believe there is still a place and a desire from many readers for the epic.

 

 

I am also a huge fan of science fiction but I’m not that smart. To write really good sci-fi these days requires, in my humble view, a commanding grasp of physics and science. In fact, many of the best writers in the genre are brilliant physicists.

When I’m not writing I’m hiking in the alpine, crooning in the basement while playing my guitars (badly), outside chopping wood, or building very questionable additions onto our house in the Rockies.

 

 

  1. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

(Simon)  They do now! It’s funny. I’m the reverse of that, I guess. I’ve played the corporate game. I was a newspaper publisher and, for a while groomed for upper management with all the ‘perks’. I walked away. It was killing me both spiritually and physically. I’m a fortunate man because I had the choice to do so but it’s been a struggle nevertheless. I am both a musician and writer. That’s what I put ‘out there’. Yeah, I picked some real winner careers for making the big bucks but it is what I love. Friends and family have been incredibly supportive and believe in what I’m doing.

(Kam) I’m thrilled you have a solid support team behind you. 

 

 

  1. Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.

(Simon)  Yeah, I’m with you on that one. There are so many amazing writers. However, I have my all-time favorites, no doubt. Stephen R. Donaldson was a genius with the Thomas Covenant series, really launching the dark, introspective side of fantasy. David Eddings has been a huge influence. Tolkien, well – we can just leave it there. Terry Brooks, Robin Hobb, Raymond Feist, Isaac Asimov, Piers Anthony, and I quite liked the Runelord series by David Farland. The first books of Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind were stellar but then I just got bogged down – or they did. Still, they impacted my own writing, no doubt, even if it was just to remind me to treat the reader with respect and keep the story moving.

 

 

  1. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?

(Simon)  Wow. That’s a tough one. I would have to say the Belgariad series by David Eddings would make my dream list. However, it is so painful to watch great books get butchered by the movie industry. The first three LOTR’s were done reasonably well. I won’t talk about the Hobbit. Let’s not speak of Eragon.

If it was done right, with a great screenwriter, it would top those that have preceded it. The most unsung face for a wizard has to be Tommy Lee Jones. He would make a perfect Belgarath! Maybe Mr. Ratcliffe could launch a new career as Garion??

(Kam) Eragon, I actually loved the movie. Never read the book but the movie wasn’t half-bad. 

 

 

  1. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(Simon)  Ha! No, let’s be open and avoid any covert ops. I have two buns in the oven. The first, of course, is the sequel to Mannethorn’s Key, called Outworlder. I have the full plot of the trilogy laid out and have penned about a third of Book Two already. It’s slated for a winter, 2018 release. My other project is one that I am quite excited about, an urban fantasy entitled Gaia’s Assassin. It’s dark, a bit dystopian, but I feel it’s quite unique from the work we’re seeing in the genre.

(Kam) Can’t wait to check them out! 

 

 

  1. Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?

(Simon)  Mannethorn’s Key is my debut work. You can find it on Smashwords, Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and in many fine bookstores. The book is out in both ebook and paperback editions.

 

 

 

  1. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?

(Simon)  I am always excited to hear from readers. They can contact me through my website ,  Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, or at AllAuthor. 

 

 

  1. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

(Simon)  Remember the internet when the vision was about freedom and access? I know – I’m dating myself – but we are at that point again with literature. At our doorstep is the opportunity for a diverse voice unlike any time in our history. For the first time, you, the reader can access independent bloggers, reviewers and authors in a way that was unfathomable a decade ago. Keep it that way. Support new authors. Write a review, and buy your books from alternatives that support a free and open marketplace of ideas, not a monopoly that ends them. Sure, we don’t all have the marketing and editing resources of the big boys, but that’s why we have sites like this to help you discover the gems.

Thank you for supporting indies like me, along with independent blog and review sites.

There. That’s my plug. Thank you for reading!

(Kam) And thank you for giving me and our lovely visitors the chance to get to know you a wee bit better. Also, I appreciate the opportunity to host you and this amazing, generous giveaway.

FYI: Any reader would be lucky to have Mannethorn’s Key so, if you want to add this epic fantasy novel to your library, stick around for more details! 

 

 
  
 

Ladies and Gents, I hope you enjoyed my interview with Simon Lindley. Now lets discuss the giveaway!

Prize up for grabs — A KINDLE COPY of the Mannethorn’s Key: Book One of the Key of Life Trilogy.

To enter the contest – Leave us a comment below. Say howdy, leave a smile/heart, or ask a question.

One entry per person. International residents are welcomed to enter, too! 

The contest will end Friday at 11:59 p.m., central time. On Saturday, I will select a winner, post their name on a comment, and be in contact with him or her  SO……. have your settings open to receive messages or follow the comment thread and be ready to give me or Simon your kindle email address. 

 

Thank you and Good luck.

 

~~ PRIZE! ~~

TWO WORLDS. TWO SPIRITS. ONE POWER.

At the end of an age, a Bearer wielded the Key of Life and ended Dragon’s Rule. Such powers and heroes, long dead or lost, must again be raised and found…

Algarth Willowbrow is about to gamble everything. His once-powerful Order is in ruins, and he faces an unwinnable battle to save his life and his people. In a last, desperate attempt, he lures his arch nemesis deep within his keep, hoping to utilize him and reclaim a long-hidden magic, powerful enough to save the world – or destroy it.

Bartholomew Waxman, former derivatives broker extraordinaire has gambled everything – and lost. Bankrupt, unemployed and divorced, his only hope for salvation is to try and rebuild his self-inflicted shattered life. But at his first job interview, he is grabbed by a spell and thrust into the netherworld of Between. There, he is groomed to wield a power so vast that it will decide a world’s fate.

The land’s only hope is the reluctant and unprepared Bartholomew, the wizard Algarth whose powers are gravely in doubt – and the Key of Life, with its true power hidden from all.

Delve into the beginnings of a vast fantasy epic that embraces a man, a wizard and a world seeking redemption.

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EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER SIX, MANNETHORN’S KEY:

 

The wind picked up with a sudden, icy bite. He smiled and ended his melody. The gust had not originated from the waning heat of the departed sun or the hills beyond. It was born from a Seether landing on the road ahead.

Behind three of the wolf boars who had taken position directly in front of the cart’s path, dust and gravel churned up from the flaps of massive, leathery wings. The stranger saw nothing but the black silhouette of a two-legged beast towering twice the traveler’s height. It blotted out the early stars; the only discerning features were its yellow phantom eyes, now assessing its prey.

The Seether spoke, snakelike, assuring its hunters, “Itsss a wizzard! It bearsss the mark. But itsss magic iss ussselesss. Rip it to piecesss!”

The wolf boars were ecstatic. A meal was coming sooner than expected, but only the three who stood ahead of him on Ferryman’s Way advanced.

The wizard stood silent with eyes focused on the road ahead, as if his enemies were invisible.

Slowly, cautiously, the entire pack tightened its noose. The three forward gained courage as they sensed no meaningful defense from their prey, saliva dripping from their muzzles.

The stranger remained motionless, the only tension was in his fingers, taut about his staff, knuckles white.

“Ghaawww!” The wolf boars attacked, lunging for the quick kill, one for the stranger’s neck, the other for the legs, with the last to rip open his abdomen and feast on his guts.

The wizard’s arms rose just as the wolf boars leapt – and the air cracked.

A soundless percussion reverberated out from the crowd of odd company on Ferryman’s Way. The attackers momentarily hovered in the air, frozen in the eerie wave of dark power. The remaining wolf boars looked on in confusion and fear, but they too were frozen in the vile energy. The ground underfoot and surrounding fields along the roadway trembled, and the boulders in the fields glowed with a fiery tinge as if ignited to life.

A second passed, and the night awoke anew, the spell over. Three wolf boars lay dead only inches from the traveler’s bare feet; their bodies twitching and bellies split open, blood spilling from their wounds in great black pools, reflecting the resplendent stars above.

“By the Grail! He wieldsss the Han! He isss one of usss!”

The traveler under the cowl grasped the staff and the harness of his wagon but remained ominously silent.

“My lord, forgive uzzz. Why hide your Order?”

The stranger spoke. “I answer to no subordinate. Am I your Lord, Seether?”

“You wield the Han, my Lord. Yesss,” it replied.

“Good. Then answer me this. Are you the Seether of the conquered Plains, keeper of the Map of Ismantrutna?”

“Yesss, Lord. Do you ssseek the power over the Zzzhin puppetsss? It showzz uzzz all the ancient HanZzzhinSsshasss. I keep it ssssafe.” From a pouch strapped to the creature’s barreled chest it produced a scroll in its clawed grasp.

“How is it that you approach an unknown enemy carrying such a valuable relic and take no precautions to ensure your master’s property remains safe?”

“I. I –”

“Just as I suspected. Mindless beast. Must we Mil-HanFanthas and the Hanlord do everything ourselves? Give it to me.”

“I will take you to it, Massster. I am the keeper of the map.”

“Not anymore.”

“Have you permisssion from Hanlord Grailborn to take the Map from me, my Lord?”

The stranger paused. “Here is my permission.”

He raised his arms, staff held high overhead, and to the dismay of the remaining pack, the wizard let loose the dark Han magic upon the night once more. With a look of satisfaction, the wizard forever released the wide-eyed Seether and his wolf boars of their duties.

 

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Author Showcase – G. E. Stills (Micca’s Wrath)

Volume 4 in the Demon Slayers series!

For the 18+ reader: Strong language and descriptive sex scenes: M/F/M and F/F 

When Kiya declines to let her join the demon slayer team, Micca is crushed. When an old high school friend walks back into her life, joy envelops her. She moves in with Kevin and Dale then enrolls in college. She meets and becomes great friends with, Trisha, the woman who lives in the apartment across the hall from her. Micca soon becomes the happiest she has ever been. Three people, Kevin, Dale and Trisha become the most important people in her life. She falls deeply in love with all three of them. 

But happiness seldom lasts forever. Micca is a witch and the mortal enemy of demons. One of them finds her and plans turn her world inside out before taking her life. 

 

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Micca is far from innocent and pure. Instead she is brazen and rebellious, as Kevin will soon find out.

Micca sighed at the feeling of crisp coolness pressed against her skin. She opened her eyes and gazed out on the unfamiliar room. She was in a strange bed as well. Rolling to her back she gathered the cool satin sheet around her neck and gazed up at the antique white ceiling. Micca slowly became aware of her surroundings. With this awareness came the knowledge that with the exception of her panties, she was naked. Glancing to the foot of the bed she saw her top and shorts were folded neatly and rested on the top of a dresser. There was a nightstand composed of the same light-colored wood as the dresser on one side of the bed and a white leather chair. On the other side of the bed was an armoire, again constructed of the light-colored wood. “Nice,” she breathed. “Nothing but the best for you, huh Kevin.”

The bedroom door cracked open and an eye peered in. She chuckled. “I’m wake.”

The door opened wider and Kevin strolled into the room. He wore a collared pull-over shirt and blue jeans today. He carried a cup of coffee in his hand which he held out to her. Micca sat up ignoring that the sheet fell away with her actions exposing her breasts. “Bless you,” she said and accepted the cup. “I’m sorry I fell asleep last night—”

“Yesterday was a long drive. You needed rest.”

“Is it safe for me to assume you carried me in here, undressed me, and put me in this bed?

“Yes.”

“And did we?”

Kevin grinned. “No, your good virtue is intact.”

Micca snorted. “My good virtue was gone long ago. Back when we were in high school. If I remember right, you were one of the ones who helped me remove it.”

Now it was his turn to snort. “If you’re waiting for me to apologize for that you’re going to have a long wait.”

Micca took a sip of her coffee and he continued, “I do have a confession to make.”

“And that is?”

“I snuck a peek and I love you’re blue landing strip.” His grin reminded her of a naughty little boy peeking in his dad’s nudie magazines.

“Thank you. Now I need to ask you something.”

“Okay.”

“Did Dale help you carry me in here and undress me? Did he also look at my landing strip?”

Kevin cocked his head. “Would you like it if he had?”

“Maybe I wouldn’t have minded,” she blurted unthinking, then quickly tried to change her words. “I mean no. I feel uncomfortable enough that you’ve seen me I should be mortified at the thought both of you had.”

“But you aren’t mortified, are you? You like him, don’t you?”

She didn’t answer.

“That’s what I thought. Well he likes you as well. He told me so.”

“Kevin, I do like him, I like you as well. There’s one big difference.”

“And that is?”

Shamelessly she said, “I didn’t last night but this weekend is just started. Before it is over you and I are going to fuck at least once.”

Kevin grinned and stood from the chair he sat in. “I didn’t know what you wanted but there’s yogurts and bagels out in the kitchen.”

“Is Dale here?”

Kevin paused at the door. “No, he had some errands to run this morning. He’ll be back later.” Kevin continued out of the room.

Micca folded back the sheet, grabbed her empty coffee mug from the nightstand and followed him wearing nothing but her G-string. She padded into the kitchen and Kevin turned. His jaw dropped open when he saw her.

“It’s time I stopped pretending to be bashful and innocent and be my slutty self. Kevin, you know I’m no virgin what you should know is I’ve partied a lot. I’ve been with more than one man in a single night, in the same room. I’ve been with women too. On occasion I’ve been with more than one at the same time. Do you still want to have sex with me?”

He crossed from the coffee pot to stand in front of her. Taking one of her cheeks in each of his hands, he tilted her face up and pressed his lips to hers. “Yes,” he answered when he ended the kiss. He slapped her ass and pulled out a chair for her then took her coffee mug.

While he refilled it, he asked. “So are you trying to tell me you wouldn’t mind a threesome?” He crossed back to the table with two coffee cups and set hers in front of her. He pulled out a chair and sat then waited for her to answer.

“That is for you and Dale to discuss and decide. I’ll only say this, I’m open to it if you two want to share me and can avoid the drama of two men being jealous of each other. I don’t do drama well.”

 

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A Witch and Her Dragons: Volume 1 

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The Spreading Evil: Volume 2

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Seattle Bloodbath:Volume 3 

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Brief hiatus……

 

For the rest of the month, there will be no new posts. 

For my devoted visitors and for those viewing this site for the first time, please note reviews, book promos, contests and interviews will return in April. 

 

Take care, 

Kam

 

 

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Author Showcase – Tricia Copeland (Deepest Scars)

  ~~ A sweet, fun romance about how love heals.~~

“He jests at scars that never felt a wound.”
― William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

A new job, new city, and new friends seem like the perfect solutions for healing Zack’s broken heart. A fiery red-head, with passion for all of his favorite activities couldn’t hurt either. She seems perfect for him, and he’s immediately drawn in. The romance blossoms, but Zack is side-swiped when he learns she’s hiding things. Is the relationship worth salvaging or do her scars run too deep? Don’t miss Zack’s story in this Being Me series stand-alone companion novel!

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“So, we didn’t get to catch up today. How was your Fourth?” Mitchell asks as I slide my backpack over my shoulders.

“I was working.” We walk out of the physical therapy room, dodging incoming patients.

“Did you even get to see fireworks?”

“No, we had a couple injuries, so I was there till late.” I find my keys and sunglasses in a side pocket of my bag.

“You’ve got to get a better job, so you can have a social life.” Mitchell shakes his head.

“Are you kidding? I’m living the dream. Fame and fortune.”

“Right, well”—he offers his palm out to me—“I’ll catch you next time.”

“Yep.” I shake his hand and slide my sunglasses on. Stepping through the sliding doors the sun sears my skin, and I wonder if I’ll ever get used to it. Heat rises off the pavement, and hot wind engulfs me as I cross the parking lot. A volleyball rolls out from between two cars. I dip and scoop it up with one palm. Scanning the rows, I spot an open trunk and jog to it. I stop a couple feet from a girl rummaging in the back of a small SUV. “You lose this?” I hold the ball at arm’s length.

She glances at me and then back to her open car. “I’d lose my head right now if it weren’t attached.” Her accent is melodic, almost twangy, and I note her New Jersey license plate. Running her hand through her thick red hair, she turns to face me. “Thanks.”

“No problem.” Ball extended, I take a step closer to her. “You play?”

Her eyes land on mine and then cut to my chest where my ID card hangs. Grabbing the sphere with both hands, she tosses it into her SUV. “Yeah.” Shaking her head, she fishes in the closest bag.

“Me too. There’s a league at the JCC if you’re interested. That’s the—”

“I know what the JCC is.” She spins to face me.

I take a step back. “Okay, I wasn’t… I just thought—”

“What? Since I have out-of-state plates, I’m fresh meat? A new chick to take out once and never call again?”

“Whoa.” I raise my palms. “I was just returning the ball.” Shaking my head, I turn and walk away. I should have known. She’s the redhead I saw with Lydia and Rose in the cafeteria. They hate me. Why? I have no clue. I accepted an invite to hang out with them my first week on the job. We’d spent three hours at a bar, them spouting off all the hospital gossip. Drama isn’t my thing. I’d been nice about it, nodding and agreeing where appropriate. The next time they asked me to join them, I had volleyball, fortunately for me, as I am horrible at lying. The third and fourth times, I had a string of twelve-hour shifts and declined them again. They have been shooting daggers and giving me the cold shoulder ever since. I’m not sure what to do about their hostility. Mitchell said to ignore them, but now they’re bad-mouthing me? I’m barely at the hospital two days a week, and they think they know me?

“Hey.” I hear her call out and turn around. “I’m sorry about that. Thanks for saving my ball. This is my first day at work, I moved here two days ago, and everything is out of control. Lydia and Rose said that you…” Shedding her sunglasses, her eyes cut to the pavement and back to my face.

I shake my head and shrug. “That I did what exactly? Did they mention how long they’d known me? I moved here a month ago and only hung out with them once.”

“Oh.” She looks to a passing truck and then back up at me. “They were trying to help, I think.”

The sun has my skin flaming. “We good?”

“Yeah, thanks again.”

“No problem.” I resume my path, hoping my reply wasn’t too rude. She lashed out at me first though. Plus, with the twelve-hour shift and heat, I was done.

***

“Zack, my man!” Rabbi John greets me by gripping my hand and bumping his shoulder to mine the next night at the JCC gym. “Wasn’t sure you were going to make it.”

“Traffic was bad. How’s the count?” I ask as I secure my laces.

“Good, Kara from team two is sick, but Liz showed up, so we’re good to go.”

“Liz?”

“Redhead, said you invited her?” His eyes grow large as if to urge me to remember.

“Long red hair?”

“Yeah, red, it’s back, so maybe? You want to switch to be on her team?”

I shake my head.

“Okay, well I won’t ask about that then.” He looks back to his clipboard.

“Yeah, you don’t want to know.” I pat him on the back and, eyes focused on the floor, make my way to our court.

Jeff approaches. “Who’s the chick?”

“What chick?”

“Redhead. John said you invited her.”

“Don’t know her.” I throw my bag on the stands and retrieve my ball. “Let’s warm up.”

 

Copyright 2018 Tricia Copeland All Rights Reserved

 

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Get the first book in the Being Me series FREE on your favorite reading platform!

IS THIS ME? (Being Me Book 1 –Free on all platforms)

 

Amazon http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00YIABVKG

iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/is-this-me/id1118070449?mt=11

B&N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/is-this-me-tricia-copeland/1122161771?ean=2940153040332

KOBO https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/is-this-me

 

Tricia Copeland grew up in Georgia and now lives in sunny Colorado with her family. Her novels include the award nominated contemporary romance series, Being Me, Best Book Award finalist urban fantasy series, The Kingdom Journals, Lovelock Ones, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller, and Drops of Sunshine, a YA paranormal novella. Find Tricia and her books at www.triciacopeland.com or on your favorite social media.

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Join Tricia’s newsletter for links to her free ebooks to read more today! Newsletter Link

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Do you want to meet Tricia Copeland? Here’s how! 
 

Join bestselling authors of contemporary and paranormal YA fiction and more at the Holiday Inn Tanglewood in Roanoke, Virginia on April 7, 2018 from 10am-4pm. This is a FREE event for readers!

Enjoy an afternoon of books, giveaways, and more as you get the latest releases from your favorite authors and discover new voices!

Want to know more about our venue in beautiful Roanoke, VA? Visit their website to map your route or book a room.

Holiday Inn Tanglewood

**For more information about the event and to stay up to date about authors attending the even, visit the EVENT’S WEBSITE.**

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Author Showcase – Tricia Copeland (Lovelock Ones)

Jema and Troy mange semi-normal lives at the Port Orford Naval Base despite global warming and mandatory genetic typing. With the threat of a second worldwide flu epidemic, their parents send them to a remote desert community. Jema’s sister contracts the virus, and Jema and Troy must decide whether to compromise the group to save one. Can Lovelock develop a cure in time to avoid mass casualty? As the political stage shifts, who can be trusted?

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Part Two: Bred One

 

Chapter 1 – Troy

“I’m never going to get this.” I let the bow fall to my side.

“Mark.” Jema used my Lovelock name. “I’ve been doing this for ten years. You’re not going to be perfect in a couple of months. It’s muscle memory, just like with football. You’ll get it.”

We’d been practicing for almost three months, both shooting and adapting to our community names. I called her Cleo about sixty percent of the time and hit the center target only one in ten.

“But for you it’s like breathing, Cleo.” I forced out her new name, trying to make the switch in my psyche. She would always be Jema to me.

“Have you never had to work at anything?”

“Yeah, this.” I held up the bow and arrow.

She kicked at the sand under her feet. “Maybe I’m not a good teacher. I just remember how my dad taught me. Think about it like throwing a football. You aim and then release, right?” Cocking her arm back, she faked a throw.

I dropped the bow. “If you put your arms around me like this.” I took her hands and wound them around my waist, so our lips were inches apart. Even in the dim light, I could see her cheeks flush. I loved feeling the warmth from her face. One day I would get up the courage to kiss her again.

Backing away, I lifted the bow and drew the string and arrow to my ear. “Twenty more and then we’ll run.”

“Might help if you use your night goggles like the rest of us.” Her voice trailed off as she walked away.

Swish. I let the arrow fly and fitted another on the string until my quiver emptied. I jogged to collect the arrows and turned to scan the area for Jema. I grabbed a bag and headed to her. “Commander Butler will be happy.” I held the open sac out to her.

“It’s a big one. It will have to hold him till we’re back.”

“You’d think he’d get tired of these.” I synched the bag closed.

“He loves rabbit.”

We walked to the blacktop, and I set the bow on top of her catch. Bumping her shoulder, I faced into the wind. “You ready for this?”

“You beating me again? Never.”

“No, tomorrow.” I pumped my knees up and down in place a few times.

“Yep.” She started a slow jog beside me.

“Not nervous?”

“Always nervous. I hate that it has to be a different place every time.”

“Yeah, and this is the farthest west we’ve been since our marrow run.” I shook my head, clearing the image of the dead soldiers from my brain.

“I do not like that the rendezvous is half an hour from the border.”

“Butler says they’re tightening security.”

Beside me, Jema’s shoulders trembled. “I feel like General Zhou is waiting for us at Port Orford.”

“Yeah, I can see him sitting at your kitchen table, wondering where you went.” I elbowed her, and she jumped to stay in stride.

“Fine. Whatever. Make fun of my nightmares.”

“At least you don’t dream about punching the commander every night.”

Hitting the one-mile mark, my body slid into the familiar rhythm. I watched Jema out of the corner of my eye. She’d become comfortable with our pace after three months of training. Thinking back to our first days in exile, I chuckled at how I pushed her to run. After our rogue mission, we switched to a night work schedule with the rest of the security and supply teams. Waking at 1600 every evening, we ate supper with the community and started our workday. The acquisitions training included physical conditioning, weapons drills, tactical maneuver and psychological warfare study.

Even though the other supply teams switched out, Cmdr. Butler sent Jema and me on each of the last two monthly restocking runs. The next supply run was scheduled for the next day, and we were, again, on the roster. I think Butler tried to keep us busy, so we didn’t plan any tangent missions. Besides being hungry all the time and the lack of friends, cave life wasn’t too horrible, considering marshal law had been issued in the states. At least they’d upped our food portions after we each lost four pounds the first month. Still, it’d taken another month to get my body to stop signaling the need for food.

At the three-mile point, I swirled my finger in the air, and we looped around to head back to the cavern. In addition to the team training, Jema and I ran just before dawn each morning. Then, we showered, and went to sleep just as the rest of the community members started their workday. Mom didn’t like seeing me for only an hour a day, but I appreciated the space from her. Jema and I roomed with the security team, and we had bunks beside each other. This arrangement counted as another plus in my head. Rooming with your mom at eighteen just wasn’t cool.

Nearing the cave we slowed our pace and walked to cool down. Taking in the last few breaths of open air, I snagged the bag with the rabbit and caught Jema’s hand. She smiled and squeezed my fingers, and I wondered if she wanted to kiss me too. But it might’ve made things weird if I pushed beyond our friendship, so I stayed my course.

Inside we dropped the night’s catch in the kitchen, showered, and joined the rest of the community for breakfast. Then, Cmdr. Butler briefed us in the command room, and we made our way to our darkened dorm.

“You ready, Mark?” One of our supply run leads, Garrison, caught up with me in the washroom.

I stood up straight. “Yes, sir.”

“Better not let that brunette mess with your head. I need you sharp tomorrow.” Chuck, the other team leader, pointed at me.

“Cleo? We’re not together. You know that.”

Chuck shook his head. “Commander wants you guys focused.”

I turned to face him. “We are. We’re just friends. We make a good team.”

“It’s more than just your life out there.” Chuck pushed his finger into my shoulder.

I straightened my spine and leaned towards him. “I know, dude.”

“Hey.” Garrison slapped my arm and turned to face Chuck. “Mark and Cleo are solid. They know what they’re doing.”

“Okay, if you say so.” Chuck swung his towel over his shoulder and walked away.

I held my hand out to Garrison. “Thanks, man.”

He clenched my palm. “I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t been on the past two runs with you.”

I hated people doubting my skills. “Well, keep spreading the word. Mark and Cleo are the real deal.”

 

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About the Author

 

Tricia Copeland grew up in Georgia and now lives in sunny Colorado with her family. Her novels include the award nominated contemporary romance series, Being Me, Best Book Award finalist urban fantasy series, The Kingdom Journals, Lovelock Ones, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller, and Drops of Sunshine, a YA paranormal novella. Find Tricia and her books at www.triciacopeland.com or on your favorite social media.

Website Link

Facebook Link/

Instagram Link

Twitter Link 

Pinterest Link

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YouTube Channel Link

 

Join Tricia’s newsletter for links to her free ebooks to read more today! Newsletter Link

Goodreads Link

BookBub Link

Smashwords Link

Authorgraph Link

Amazon Author Page Link

 
 
Do you want to meet Tricia Copeland? Here’s how! 
 

Join bestselling authors of contemporary and paranormal YA fiction and more at the Holiday Inn Tanglewood in Roanoke, Virginia on April 7, 2018 from 10am-4pm. This is a FREE event for readers!

Enjoy an afternoon of books, giveaways, and more as you get the latest releases from your favorite authors and discover new voices!

Want to know more about our venue in beautiful Roanoke, VA? Visit their website to map your route or book a room.

Holiday Inn Tanglewood

**For more information about the event and to stay up to date about authors attending the even, visit the EVENT’S WEBSITE.**

 

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Review of “Love, Second Time Around: A Summerfield Village Sweet Romance” – Penny Appleton

Can Maggie Stewart find love, second time around?

Maggie Stewart is a retired environmentalist, working to preserve the heritage of her little English cottage in Summerfield village. Her children have grown and she’s content to ride horses in the countryside and enjoy her retirement.

Except she needs money for her renovations – and she’s lonely.

When she joins her old environmental team to go up against an oil company intent on destroying a pristine Scottish river, Maggie finds herself working in opposition to a man she once loved from afar, many years ago.

Idaho ranch owner Greg Warren is rich and entitled, with a dark past that he hides behind a professional smile. But inside, he struggles with loneliness after the loss of his wife and the rage of a wild daughter who won’t let him move on.

Love blooms as Maggie and Greg take a chance on a new start, but can they find a balance between the two worlds they inhabit?

In this sweet romance, set between the English countryside and the wide expanse of the Idaho plains, can Maggie and Greg find love second time around?

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It’s dawn and raining hard on a Thursday in Summerfield, but my garden robin is an optimist. He pours his liquid song from the top of a birch tree, telling the world it’s spring, even as leaves blow wildly across the lawn.

I smile and check that the back door and windows are locked as I walk through my cottage. A faint aroma of toast lingers in the warm kitchen, and my big Aga stove purrs quietly as it adjusts the central heating. 

As I pass the breakfast bar, I touch the photos of my wonderful children hanging on the wall behind. Samantha, grinning at Luke on their wedding day, and Harry, surfing with friends. I pause to look more closely at the lovely one of the three of us laughing together, Mother’s Day two years ago, with glasses of champagne in our hands. Happy days, indeed.

I check the dining area next to the kitchen, the center of so much of our family life. I remember Harry, aged nine, sitting at the old oak table, his legs curled around the chair, busy drawing monsters. I look up at the collection of antique milk jugs on the top shelf above, each a chipped and lovely treasure, discovered in Oxford flea markets with my daughter, Sam.

But there’s no time for memories now. I check my watch again, switch off the light, and go into the sitting room.

Like many old English cottages, the front door opens into this living space opposite the narrow staircase, but I don’t use it much. The back door is nearer to the garage and a much better place for storing coats and boots, muddy from walking the fields in the early mornings.

It’s getting lighter outside and I cross to the window that looks out onto the driveway. It’s still raining, and there’s no sign of the taxi. It’s not late, and there’s plenty of time, but I’m eager to get going. I feel a pitter-patter of nerves and breathe, exhaling deeply. I know it will be okay, but this is the first conference since my retirement last year, and I want it to go well. As much as I love this cottage, it needs a lot of upkeep, so I need the work.

My familiar leather briefcase, raincoat, and overnight bag wait on a chair by the door. There is nothing left to do, so I straighten the cushions again and re-fold the throws on the two soft couches. The logs are stacked in the big, open fireplace and the kindling is laid, all ready for when I get home.

I love this room on wild winter nights, all curled up and cozy in the firelight. My Moroccan rug covers half the floor in a palette of reds and blues against a pattern of gray, polished flagstones. The low oak coffee table has two neat piles of books and the latest Horse Magazine that I’m looking forward to reading when I get back. I’m excited about this trip, but no matter how many times I leave, I always want to return to Square Cottage.

Headlights flash across the wall, and a white taxi turns through the gray dawn into the drive. I open the front door and wheel out my bag, eager to get going.

“Taxi to Oxford Station?”

“Morning, Jim.” I smile as he climbs out of the driver’s seat and touches his cap. He takes my overnight bag. “What’s with the cap-touching formality?”

“Just practicing to be the Summerfield taxi driver of choice, Maggie.”  

“Good job, but you’re the only Summerfield taxi driver.” I chuckle as I turn back to ruffle my fingers through a bowl of rose potpourri by the door. The scent of summer fills the air, and I know it will linger in the cottage until I get back. Grabbing my raincoat and briefcase, I pull the front door shut behind me, duck my head, and hurry through the rain to the taxi.

“Early start?” I brush water droplets off my suit as Jim reverses into the lane. My friend Selena waves from her bedroom window above The Potlatch Inn next door, and I wave back with a smile.

“You’re the first today,” Jim says, “but I had a terrible one yesterday. 3:00 a.m. to central London for the Eurostar.”

I make sympathetic noises and turn to look back at Square Cottage as we drive away. It’s three hundred years old with ashen stone walls and a darker gray roof rising to a central chimney on the top. It looks like a cottage teapot without a handle or a spout.

I fell in love with it when we first looked over the gate–Samantha, Harry and me, a little family in need of a home. The cottage was run down and broken. Patching it up took all my savings, but in rebuilding it, we became even closer, and together, we turned it into our family home. Those were happy years, and now that the children are grown up, I’m content living here on my own.

Most of the time.

Jim peers at the road ahead through the driving rain. “Excuse me for not talking, Maggie. The bends are slippery, and wet leaves are everywhere.”

I nod and relax with the swish-swish of windshield wipers and faint music from the radio. From the back seat, I can just see my reflection in Jim’s rearview mirror. My hair is shoulder length and still my natural corn-blonde color, with a bit of professional help. It’s twisted into a smooth chignon today.

The executive businesswoman, professional but not distracting. Good enough. I comb the soft wisps around my face with my fingers and check to see that I’m wearing both earrings. A lesson learned from the past – hurrying out the door, juggling two kids and a demanding job.

I stare out at the rain-drenched fields passing by. Soon we’re into Oxford and pulling onto the station forecourt, where Jim helps me with my bags.

“Have a good trip, Maggie.”

A chilly wind blows across the station as Jim waves from the driver’s window and pulls out into the early morning traffic. I pull my raincoat tighter around me. There’s just enough time to buy a newspaper and a coffee before the train pulls in on Platform 7.

It’s busy, but I find my reserved seat quickly, take off my coat, and settle into my seat. A shrill whistle echoes along the platform, and the train slides out of the station exactly on time. As we leave the suburbs of Oxford, I drink my coffee and look out at vivid green fields with cows and horses by the edge of the river. There are boats moored under the willow trees, their branches trailing in the current.

Rain slashes diagonally across the windows as the train gets up to speed. I read the news headlines, but I’m distracted. There’s so much riding on this conference.

Just after Reading station, the train slows down.

After a few minutes at this reduced speed, it stops completely.

My heart beats faster, and I keep looking at my watch. The minutes tick by faster as the train finally begins to move again, but creeps along by inches.

I turn to the lady next to me. “Any idea why we’re going so slowly? I didn’t see anything on the train app.”

“Something to do with the flooding. I did this journey earlier in the week, and we went at a snail’s pace. Could be a while.”

I try and stay calm, but I can’t miss that flight.

Finally, we pull into Paddington. The doors unlock and I half-jog across the station, dragging my wheelie bag. I make it to the Heathrow Express to find a line of frustrated people and a Cancelled sign. I don’t wait to see what the problem is, I just turn and puff my way to the station entrance, where black London taxis crawl in and out like ants. I join the funnel of commuters and finally make it to the front of the line.

The price to Heathrow makes me wince, but there’s no alternative. My anxiety rises and rises as the taxi inches out of the city and onto the motorway toward the airport. My calm day has fallen apart. I’m disheveled now, my hair and makeup no longer perfect. The rain and wind and running around have flushed my cheeks, and my hair is flyaway. I do my best to touch it up in the back of the cab.

When we arrive at the airport, I thrust money at the driver and sprint to Check-in, making it just before it closes. Of course, there’s a long security line, and I shift from foot to foot, trying to calm my breathing.

Come on, come on or I’m still going to miss the flight.

Cell phone and laptop out, liquids in their plastic bag. I take off my coat and suit jacket and slip them into the tray. Counting precious seconds, I silently plead with the security guy to ignore my shoes.

“Shoes off,” he says.

“Final call for the remaining passenger on flight BA1434 to Edinburgh. Your flight is ready to depart, and all other passengers are waiting for you.”

I run to the gate, blushing as I dash into the cabin. I’m the last to board, and the attendant closes the door behind me. I’m out of breath, flushed, and flustered.

So much for my careful planning and preparation.

I look down at my ticket. Window seat, 12A. Thank goodness it’s quite near the front, so I don’t have to walk the whole length of the cabin in embarrassment.

A man stands in the aisle, stowing his bag in the overhead locker. I wait to squeeze by and he turns as he closes it.

“Thank you.”

I glance up. The man smiles down at me with dark, intelligent eyes behind stylish, black glasses. He’s tall with close-cropped silver hair and a strong, close-shaven jawline. He wears a charcoal business suit expertly tailored to his athletic frame, and he smells of pine forests after rain.

My eyes widen. I take a breath, but suddenly, there’s not enough air.

Greg Warren.

I freeze, my eyes locked on his face.

“Hello, Maggie,” he says, in the beautiful American voice I haven’t heard in so many years.

 

Continue the journey in Love, Second Time Around by Penny Appleton. Available on Amazon in ebook, print and Large Print editions.

 

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)

 

Young or old, everyone deserves a chance at love and I am thrilled Penny Appleton focused her love story around two individuals with a few extra years under their belts. These added years also meant they had a bit more baggage than most young, budding romances do such as prior spouses and full-grown kids.

As much as I love rekindled relationships, I somehow didn’t fully embrace this couple. I felt as if Maggie loved the Greg she knew from the past and those memories clouded her judgment of him now. He didn’t show her the appropriate amount of attention she deserved when she flew all the way to Idaho for him. Plus, I couldn’t shake the feeling he really thought a woman’s place was in the kitchen. And, there’s the conversation between Barb and Maggie. Barb’s description of Greg nagged at me through the rest of the story. Barb: “But Greg was hard to live with at times. He can have flashes of temper and lay down the law as if he’s Moses.”

I know Greg and Maggie were not getting any younger but, no matter the age, there’s something to be said about getting to know your potential spouse before you pledge your undying love. Making sure you’re truly compatible.

Now for more positives: Penny described both England and Idaho so beautifully that each sounded like a wonderful place to visit. I also appreciated the bit of history she weaved into the storyline: Wolf Recovery Program, Nez Perce (Native Americans), and Native American Heritage Day (day after Thanksgiving). It’s always nice to learn something new.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)

Score: ❤❤❤

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Penny Appleton is the pen name of a mother and daughter team from the south-west of England. We both enjoy traveling and many of the Summerfield sweet romance stories contain aspects of our adventures. We both enjoy walking in nature, and a gin & tonic while watching the sun go down.

Some of our favorite romance authors include Danielle Steele and Nora Roberts, plus we love The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCulloch, as well as Jane Austen and Stephenie Meyer. Our favorite movies include Legends of the Fall, A Room with a View, and The Notebook.

We are good friends … although sometimes we want to strangle each other! Family relationships are at the heart of our books.

You can find all the books and sign up to be notified of new releases at: www.PennyAppleton.com 
or check out my pictures on Facebook.com/PennyAppletonAuthor

 

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Author Showcase / Interview / Review – A. A. Medina (Siphon)

 

  1. Welcome, A. A. Medina! For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business? 

(A. A. Medina) To start with the basics, my full name is Adrian Alexander Medina. I was born and raised and still reside in Phoenix, Arizona with my lovely wife, Samantha, our cats, Ishtar and Monkey, and our puppy, Sansa.

As far back as I could recall, I leaned toward the creative side. Whether it was drawing, music, or writing; however, I never really focused on one. To make a long story short, after my father (somewhat abruptly, i.e. long story) passed away in October of 2012, it was like getting hit by a train while skipping nonchalantly in an open field. Weak analogy, but I hope you get the drift.

After the shock and awe and soul-crushing nature of the loss, I reflected on my life and realized I was kind of just floating along. Sure, I played and wrote in bands, we played lots of shows and released albums, but my heart was never truly “in it”.

I don’t remember my thought process at the time, but I decided I wanted to focus the rest of my life on storytelling. I knew – being a person that easily jumps from one idea to the other without completion – that if I didn’t find a way to light the proverbial fire under my ass, I would let that decision fall through the cracks when the next shiny thing came along. So, I enrolled in school, figuring the hard deadlines and financial burden could be that fire.

Many things about the craft I could have learned on my own, but what the school did teach me was a deadline oriented work ethic and a sense of community and networking. That is where I met my business partner for Aphotic Realm Magazine, Dustin Yoak.

@DustinSchyler (Twitter)

@AphoticRealm (Twitter)

 

We graduated in March of 2017. Overall, I think my plan worked out.

(Until the debt cripples me)

 

 

  1. All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.

(A. A. Medina) First, I just try to push through it with force.

If that doesn’t work, I go on a walk or bike ride and try to work it out in my head.

And if that doesn’t work, I’ll usually keep the document/notebook open next to me while I do something mind-numbing like chores around the house or videogames and if something comes – and idea, scene, piece of dialogue, or otherwise – I’ll jot it down.

 

 

  1. Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(A. A. Medina) I like to try my hand at everything, but much of my stuff falls into the “Transgressive” genre. Looking back, there are a lot of crime and/or thriller elements to my stories.

When not writing, I’m usually working on Aphotic Realm. When I’m not doing that, I’m reading or playing games with the wife and friends – both video and tabletop. And if I’m not doing that, I’m being an utterly useless sack of garbage on the couch.

(Kam) It sounds like you lead a busy, fun life. Congrats! 

 

 

  1. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

(A. A. Medina) If they didn’t know before, they do now due to social media. Many say it is a fitting path for me, many say they’re proud, but most just reply, “That’s sweet, dude.”

 

 

  1. Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.

(A. A. Medina) I, as well, have a long list. However, I’ll just keep it to my recent favorites. I tend to consume mostly science fiction, with that said, my two current favorites are John Scalzi and James S.A. Corey (technically three because James S. A. Corey is two people: Daniel Abraham & Ty Franck). I haven’t read anything I haven’t loved by them in the recent years.

 

 

 

  1. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?

 (A. A. Medina) I love this game!

I’ll choose Siphon since this is why I’m here to begin with.

First, I think Dr. Gary Phillips should be played by Gary Oldman (circa 1998). That man can transform into any character almost flawlessly. I would like to see Wendy Carter played by Sharon Stone (circa 1990). Francis could be played by Rip Torn. And Snowflake could be played by Kate Beckinsale (circa 2003).

Could you tell I’ve never thought about this?

If it were a current production let’s say, respectively, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Alison Brie, still Rip Torn, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

(Kam) Siphon definitely left a lasting impression on me. (Review posted below.) 

 

 

 

  1. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

 (A. A. Medina) Besides a bunch of things over at AphoticRealm.com, I am outlining what you could call the spiritual successor of Siphon. I don’t want to release the actual title just yet.

 

AphoticRealm.com

Book_Skull

 

Our Approach

First and foremost, we are here for the love of the craft. In addition, there are a lot of young, talented writers that struggle to find a home in a very competitive market. We wanted to provide such a home and from that desire, Aphotic Realm was born.

Our Story

Adrian and Dustin met during their studies at Full Sail University and quickly gravitated towards each other due to their similar tastes in dark fantasy, humor, sci-fi, and more. A short time later, they were critiquing each other’s work and collaborating on projects. After graduation, they decided to combine their talents to form Aphotic Realm.

 

 

  1. Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?

(A. A. Medina) You can find Siphon on Amazon and all those other places people find books online. But, if you really want to be a winner, you’ll buy a physical copy from HinderedSoulsPress.com

I don’t have too many stories floating around, but that will change soon.

 

 

  1. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?

 (A. A. Medina) You can follow/contact me on Twitter: @UglyByProxy

 

 

 

  1. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

(A. A. Medina) Check out AphoticRealm.com where we have some upcoming publications and online stories by a plethora of amazing authors! Go to HinderedSoulsPress.Com and pick up everything in stock and if it is not in stock, email them and complain.

I hope everyone who read, or plans to read, my work enjoys it.

Thank you for your time!

 

~~ Closing remarks ~~

And thank you for joining me here today.

Folks, now for the grand finale….

Let’s check out Siphon, the story that will creep you out (but in a good way). 

 

THERE IS AN URGE INSIDE YOU…

Dr. Gary Phillips, the resident hematopathologist at Claybrook Medical Center, is a lonely man struggling with the duress of an all work and no play lifestyle.

Burdened with an unhealthy infatuation with his co-worker, a burning disdain for his boss, and an abusive relationship with his grandfather, Gary just can’t catch a break.

That is, until a workplace accident ushers in a bizarre, but empowering experience that evokes a new sense of self, forcing repressed memories to surface while encouraging him to pursue his fantasies with unconventional methods.

 

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Excerpt from Chapter Three

 

I was exhausted. It was about the time I would usually lay my head in my arms and close my eyes to kill a few hours. The centrifuge hummed and I turned off half of the overhead lights. It gave the room a warm, soft, luminescent glow. Instead, I hustled.

When handling sensitive material—blood in glass tubes and crucial information about the livelihood of people I’d never meet—I knew I had to work slow, careful, with grace, without shaky hands, with a keen eye and a sharp mind. So, there I am, excessive fatigue and under the influence of downers. And jittery from the uppers.

Amid retrieving multiple vacutainers from the refrigerator, I dropped one. It shattered, and chilled blood oozed onto the dirty linoleum floor.

Cursing through my clinched jaw, I squeezed the bridge of my nose and accessed the damage. I slid the other two vacutainers I was holding into my lab coat pocket and reached for the paper towels. Quilted. I knelt to clean it up, but then something happened.

I leered at the human oil crawl toward me. In that moment, my mind was empty. Not a loss-for-words empty or nodding-off empty. But, empty. No worries, no feelings, no opinions, no identity. No longer was I tired, but I was not awake either.

A comfortable void.

Nothing mattered. Not I or anyone else. I wasn’t sure how long I must’ve been on my knees as I gazed at the pool of vital, room-temperature fluid. My mind was a dark abyss, my body was a barren cavity. I’ve heard of out-of-body experiences before, but I’d never experienced one myself. I, or – for lack of a better word – my soul, watched as my body was taken hostage by another being. A stronger being. A godly being. And then it pulled me back in with it.

The stillness was broken and the vacuum was filled as I jolted back into my body, yet I was still unable to move. My eyes forced to fixate on the blood that had started to congeal. At first, the voice was just a whisper. It was confident, omnipresent, and not after long did it feel like a loudspeaker was installed inside my skull. A mantra, it repeated:

 

                                        There is an urge inside you…

                                                   … which cannot be satisfied…

                                                                  … with conventional methods.

 

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(review request submitted by the publisher for an honest critique)

 

Whether you label Dr. Gary Phillips a psychopath or sociopath, everyone who reads Siphon will agree Gary is a total whack job. There were a few scenes, so vividly written, I actually felt the urge to vomit. Example: Consumption of blood is gross enough but swallowing vaginal blood and getting aroused by it simply made me want to hurl. Other sections involving blood, gore, and violence were also very descriptive and thus showed the true depth of Gary’s warped mind. 

Despite the grotesque content, I have to commend A. A. Medina on creating a story that came alive on the pages even as characters were falling prey to Gary’s delusional mind. 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)

Score: ❤❤❤❤

 

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