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Curse of the Blacknoc Witch by Tori V Rainn (Book Showcase)

Page Count: 162 pages
Cover Design: Abigail Owen

 

Be good, or the Blacknoc Curse will come for you.

Samuel dreamed of being a lot of things, but a monster trapped in a forest realm never entered his mind. The Blacknoc Curse wasn’t supposed to be true, only a children’s story meant to persuade them away from evil. Yet, here he was tasked with hunting cursed kids. There’s nothing left for Samuel except the horror surrounding him.

Layla, a young girl tormented by the same curse, is dropped into the terrifying forest every night, running from the monsters intent on taking her life. She meets Samuel and vows to save all the children, especially Samuel, from their torment.

Working together can they defeat the Blacknoc Curse?

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I crouch down next to the girl, careful not to touch her. “Look. You’ll be okay as long as you stay with me.”

She sniffles and cups her face. “This can’t be happening.” She wipes a tear off her cheek. “The legend of the curse is really like what my great-aunt said.”

I stand and pace. My monster self cannot be still when on constant alert. “It’s all true. A real cesspool of teeth.”

“When I woke back in my room, the scratches on my skin from last night were still there. Grandfather thought I’d done it to myself. I told him what happened, and he didn’t believe me.”

“He won’t be able to help anyway.”

She moans, and I stifle a grunt. There I go again with my optimism. As long as I am cursed to this flesh, there just isn’t any room for the stuff. But I can’t avoid the truth of her fate.

I kneel to her level. “What’s your name?”

“Layla Marlowe.”

I smile. A fitting name for a gorgeous girl. “Layla,” I repeat, as if the name carries me back to a reality where humans live in harmony away from monsters. I hurriedly add, “Nice to meet you.” Then I remember our situation. My comment is inappropriate. There’s nothing nice about the forest. Social etiquette must have died along with my soul.

“And you?” She looks up at me with a curious gaze. “Do you have a name?”

It’s been so long since I’ve heard my name. Who said it last? Josh? Pa calling me to supper? I stop to think for a second and then allow it to roll off my tongue.

“Samuel Fawcett.”

She hugs her knees, leaning forward, dangerously near my barbed hands. “What a keen name for a monster.”

An odd musk from between the trees reaches me. The stench of fear grows potent as low branches snap. Someone small and clumsy runs toward us.

I leap up. “We need to go now.”

 

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About Tori V. Rainn

Tori V. Rainn is a Texas-based fantasy novelist who is on a lifelong mission to inspire her readers through the power of imaginative storytelling. During her creative journey, an array of her short stories have been showcased in various online zines. It all started when she took a writing course at Writer’s Village University, which earned her a Creative Writing Certificate. The moment she penned her first story, she knew writing was her ultimate calling and greatest passion.

When she isn’t crafting thrilling plots, you can find this avid video gamer watching her favorite shows, collecting unique knives, or going on meditative walks in the heart of nature. She is also a chocoholic and tea aficionada with an unquenchable sweet tooth. Above all else, Tori enjoys spending quality time with her loved ones.

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The Trapper by Ellie Douglas (Book Showcase)

They can’t run. They can’t hide. Danger is around every corner, waiting for them.

Chased into the Tongass National Forest by their father and left for dead, adolescent Blake Stevenson and his younger sister Kitty fight for their lives in extremely terrifying conditions.

Lurking in the trees is a hunter and experienced trapper, and he isn’t just hunting animals. Troy Cage is extremely dangerous, cruel, and clinically insane. His traps are everywhere, he’s everywhere, and he won’t stop until he finds them. And it’s what he’ll do with them when he finds them that’ll make them scream bloody murder.

He’s not the only one hunting the kids, for the forest is home to many dangers; wolves, bears, fallen trees, the nasty elements, and many hidden traps.

On the brink of starvation, hypothermia, and a brutally cold winter, how will they survive?

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“I have to find my sister. He could have shot her, too. Will you help me find her, please?” When he didn’t answer, Blake asked again, and he instantly regretted it when T.C. lashed out and thumped him across the mouth with a closed fist. Blake was sure he’d loosened a tooth. He wanted to spit the blood out but was too afraid to. He swallowed hard and coughed back the urge to puke.

“I told you to shut up. I didn’t go looking for some kid—not my job. You can find her yourself. If I let you. If ya ask me again, I’ll string you up by your balls and gut you like a pig.” T.C. slammed the door on his way out of the room, leaving a bewildered Blake to figure out what he’d done to deserve such ill treatment. His twelve-year-old brain thought he would have been better off dead. It was his determination to make sure his sister was alive and not dead at their father’s hands that helped him to recover. His focus was on finding her. He hoped that people were out looking for him and his sister, but he hadn’t much hope for that. In the time he’d been with T.C., he had heard no choppers, no police dogs, nothing. Which made him question just where the hell he was.

 

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This was an amazing read! Ellie quickly made it to my favorite author’s list. From beginning to end, The Trapper was a captivating tale of trial and triumph, intrigue and suspense. Well Done!
 
EroticNovelsOrg:
First, this needs to be adapted into either a movie. It was amazingly powerful and endearing. Extraordinary visually descriptive. I felt every bone breaking punch, branch, twig; even when winter arrived, I could feel how cold things got for those kids, and the breath out of their very mouths. It gave me goose bumps. What those children experienced is unbearably well told. As a parent, you want your children safe, unharmed, in a world where they can play and learn and grow. In this story, you follow Blake and his little sister Kitty into one hell of a roller coaster ride of survival. It plays on your mind, grabs at your heart and pushes you into a world so vividly well imagined. That you fear for your own kids’ safety.
I could hear every creepy noise, alarmingly well. What this author does is something I’ve not seen for a very long time. The way she writes captures you and holds you on every page, you actually feel your own heart racing against an invisible clock. Breathtaking, scary, heart pumping action, never a dull moment. Every page held my attention. I remember when I read Hannibal Lector and felt those similar emotions. This book evokes those emotions by taking you hostage along with those kids, turning this into a survival of yourself as much as it is for them.

All three of the characters are more than just three dimensional, they are so believable, so much so, that I had to pinch myself. Right down to the location of where this book is set, everything just felt unbelievably real. The antagonist, T.C. He is something from nightmares, yet one can’t help but feel sorry for him, for what he went through and how he became to be such a horrific monster.

Don’t pass this one by, it is a and unusual psychological horror tale, terrifying you at the edge of your seat, action packed and yet heart-warming, that will leave an everlasting impression. You’ll scream, your eyes will bud tears, you’ll jump with joy, you’ll hit something with frustration; when I say it evokes emotions, it really does.

 

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Ellie Douglas, born and raised in New Zealand. A graduate of Massey, is a freelance graphic artist, spent 10 years working with Autistic Children, and has done some overseas traveling. She is a member of NZSA and SpecFicNZ.

Ellie went into motherhood, with four children, including one set of non-identical twins. Ellie was able to dive right into her creative side. She started out as a freelance graphic artist, and to this day she still creates award-winning professional pre-made book covers.  During her designing of book covers she would write, sparking her inner desire to be an author.  Writing more and more until she finished her first novel, Zombie Dogs.

Ellie has two brothers, one younger, one older, both of whom she adores dearly. Ellie is a very warm, fun-loving, friendly, generously giving woman, she’s mysterious and enjoys keeping the suspense going.  She is hard-working, loyal and very down to earth.

I suggest you bookmark her site, and join her emailing list, because believe you me, you’re not going to want to miss out on her novels.

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The ‘A Futuristic Fantasy’ Series by Jim Proctor (Author Showcase)

Jazeen is a prisoner—not in a jail or a dungeon, but in her own home. Her parents, guilt-ridden since the death of their oldest daughter, have taken overprotective to the extreme, never allowing her out of the house except to attend school. 

Trapped and frustrated, Jazeen only wishes to be free. When a familiar bird taps on the metal of her balcony, compelling her outside to investigate, she’s hit by an almost jealous yearning when it spreads its wings and soars away. Despite knowing her mother would disapprove, she climbs onto the railing, staring out at the vastness of the stars. It’s then she hears it… the thrum of an airship. 

Mistakenly under the impression Jazeen is about to jump, the eccentric airship pilot throws her a rope. In an act of defiance… or perhaps desperation… she grabs it and climbs onto the ship’s deck, sending her life in an entirely new direction. The dangers of the world, once no more than vague concepts, suddenly become very real. 

Thrust into a reality where magic isn’t make believe and witches do exist, Jazeen isn’t sure if she has what it takes to protect her newfound freedom, but she isn’t about to give it up without a fight.

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Nineteen-year-old Jazeen Florence wants to become a witch, but finding a willing teacher is nearly impossible. Angus, her fiancee and a powerful wizard, refuses to teach her. His one and only student tried to kill him and Jazeen a year ago. That’s his excuse, anyway.

Jazeen’s frustration grows as her efforts to learn on her own prove fruitless. Then, while visiting an old bookstore, the shop owner gives her a special book he says will teach her witchcraft, and her world is forever changed. As her magical power grows, her relationship with Angus becomes strained as he watches Fate pull her toward a dark and dangerous destiny where life and death are the stakes.

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The Best Man Plan: A Boots And Bouquets Novel by Jaci Burton (Book Showcase)

New York Times bestselling author Jaci Burton kicks off a dreamy new series with a sweep-you-off-your-feet friends-to-lovers romance.

Three days before Erin Bellini’s wedding, her fiancé breaks up with her–in an email! Hurt and embarrassed, she decides to have a fling with veterinarian Jason Callum, who’s both the best man and the hottest guy she knows. But Jason wants a lot more than just a one-night stand with the woman he’s cared about for years. So he’s taking things slow. And hot. And showing Erin what real love can look like.

Suddenly Erin finds herself spending a lot more time with Jason than she intended.  Feelings she never planned on having again are wrapping around her heart, refusing to let go. Erin isn’t sure she can trust her instincts, though. After all, she made a terrible choice with her ex-fiancé. But Jason intends to convince her that he’s the best man for her, and that what they have together is a real love that will last forever.

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(Preview courtesy of Jaci’s Website)

Chapter One


Erin Bellini shouted out from her office at Red Moss Vineyards.

“Mom. Have you talked to the caterers?”

Her mother didn’t respond right away. It was her most annoying quality. While she waited, Erin jotted down several things she needed to remind her bridesmaids about. Her two sisters were onsite so she had them covered, but she made a note in her planner for the rest of the bridesmaids.

Erin’s mother, Maureen, made an appearance in Erin’s office. “You don’t need to yell at me, Erin. You could have just sent me a text. And yes, caterers are confirmed. Which I already told you this morning.”

“Right. You did. For some reason I hadn’t checked it off the list. Sorry.” She typed an X in the spreadsheet on her laptop as well as marking it off on the page in her planner. She looked up at her mother. “And my dress is back from alterations, right?”

“It’s in your closet.” Her mom made that face, the one where her lips went straight and her eyes narrowed and you knew you were being scrutinized. “You’re not getting nervous, are you?”

Erin smiled and took in a deep breath to center herself. “I never get nervous. Because I have everything organized. In my planner. In my spreadsheet. In the notes on my phone.”

Her mother smiled. “Right. Yes, well that’s you, honey. I’m going out to the vineyards to check on your dad. Call if you need me.”

“Okay.”

She should call Owen, her fiancé, to make sure he remembered he had to pick up the tuxes. Or maybe she should call Jason, Owen’s best friend and the best man. Owen was always scattered and busy and he’d likely forget. Thankfully he had her to organize everything for him.

She picked up her phone and found Jason, then pressed the call button.

“Busy here, Erin.”

She shook her head at Jason’s gruff brush-off. They’d grown up together, had known each other forever. “I need you to pick up the tuxes.”

“What?”

“The tuxes, Jason.”

“I’m knee-deep in cow shit right now, Erin. You don’t mean now, do you?”

“No. I mean tomorrow.” She heard mooing. “You delivering babies?”

“Pregnancy checks.”

“Oh. Cool.” Jason was a large animal vet, so he was always on the run. He was part of a practice in town, but he also worked the local ranches.

She was scrolling through her e-mails when she saw one from Owen. Huh. That was odd. Owen never e-mailed her. He either called or texted. She frowned and clicked on it.

“I thought Owen was doing the tux thing,” Jason said.

“Owen is likely up to his elbows in hops or wheat or whatever it is that brewers do. Or he’s making sure the brewery won’t go up in flames without him when we’re on our honeymoon. You know how he is.”

“Fine. I’ll handle it. Anything else?”

“Yeah.” She was trying to concentrate on Owen’s e-mail and forgot she was on the phone with Jason.

“Erin. Anything else?”

Her blood went cold. Everything in her went cold, despite the warm May day.

She read the e-mail again. It was a breakup e-mail. Two days before the wedding, and Owen was breaking up with her.

“In a freaking e-mail? He’s breaking up with me in an e-mail?”

“Who’s breaking up with you?” Jason asked. “Owen is?”

She was getting married in two days. Correction. Apparently she was not getting married, because exactly two days before their wedding Owen had broken up with her. Via e-mail.

She felt dizzy and sick to her stomach. She leaned over and put her head between her legs.

“Erin. Are you there?”

“Did you know about this?” she asked, trying not to faint or throw up.

“Hell no, I didn’t know. Did he call you?”

Erin straightened, the dizziness making her feel as if she’d just downed a bottle of Bellini’s best prosecco in one gulp.

Two days. They were getting married in two days. This had to be a mistake. But as she looked at the e-mail again, the word “mistake” was written in the same sentence as the words, “us getting married.”

“Ahhhhhhhhh!” she screamed, long and loud, then yelled, “That sonofabitch. I will kill him. He broke up with me in an e-mail, Jason.”

“He didn’t,” Jason said. “Are you sure?”

She straightened, shoving her laptop as if somehow that was the same thing as slapping Owen. “Oh, he did. And I’m sure. I can read a damn e-mail, Jason. I gotta go.” She ended the call and stared at her lists, tears pricking her eyes as the future she’d envisioned with Owen dissolved right in front of her.

All because of an e-mail. An e-mail! How could he be so cold?

“I will kill him. I. Will. Kill. Him.”

She was breathing too fast and she knew it. She was going to hyperventilate if she didn’t calm down. She pushed herself out of her chair and forced herself to pace the floor of her office, centering her breathing, holding the tears back, resisting the urge to crumple on the floor and sob like a baby.

How could he do this to her? To them? They were perfect together.

Oh, no. She would not cry. Not over him.

Want to read the entire first chapter?
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The Unexpected Inlander by Kellyn Thompson (Book Showcase)

Agent Christopher Rockford has been the best assassin in the agency for eight years, and he loves his job. He loves his solitary lifestyle. He loves keeping the world safe by getting rid of anarchists who threaten their orderly society. He loves his comfortable life as a member of the wealthy Coastal upper class.

But in pursuit of a target, he meets Jenna, a mysterious civilian who belongs to society’s lowest and most shunned group. Meeting her is a life-changing experience. She makes him feel for the first time, and he is instantly captivated.

She boldly stands in the face of everything he has ever known and was taught to believe. He begins to see the world through her eyes, causing him to question his job, his lifestyle, and The Order he so obediently serves. It’s not long before he can’t imagine his life without her.

There’s just one problem: He knows she would leave him if she ever found out about his job. He knows this because he asked her how she felt about assassins in their government, and she was utterly disgusted with the idea, even though she believes their existence is just a myth.

As their relationship grows and intensifies, he knows he cannot keep the truth from her for long.

But Jenna has her own secrets to keep.

Set in an orderly world of near-perfect surveillance, genetically modified humans, and extreme socioeconomic divide, The Unexpected Inlander will take you through Chris’s journey of self-discovery and learning that change begins within.

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With his phone still set to alert him when Adam moved, Chris decided to go to a bookstore he had seen the previous day. It was just beyond the Coastal District but still in walking distance. As Chris left the familiar blocks he had walked with Jenna, the tension in the atmosphere increased. Even in the Coastal District, the air and attitude were more uptight and anxious than anywhere on the Coasts, but citizens looked at him more suspiciously here, and their clothes were noticeably ragged and worn. The officers walking among the citizens were constantly checking hands and bags. Chris also noticed that officers here carried a baton in addition to a firearm. At one corner was a group of riot police with helmets and shields.

Everyone walked swiftly and kept to themselves. Several people bumped into him without apologizing. One citizen tried to reach into one of Chris’s pockets when he bumped into him, but Chris blocked his arm before he could do it. An officer saw the incident and immediately arrested the man, who argued, “He can afford to be robbed.” The officer, without any acknowledgement to Chris, put the man in handcuffs. Chris kept walking without looking back. He heard the man say “Coastal scum” and spit on the sidewalk, earning him another citation from the officer.

He reached the bookstore, and an officer at the door pointed to a sign, which reminded citizens that no bags were allowed in the store, to keep their hands where the officers could see them, and specifically for Coastals to keep their hands out of their pockets. Chris nodded to the officer to acknowledge that he saw the sign and walked into the store. The clerk at the register did not acknowledge him, continuing to frown as she stared out the window. The store was small and had a rank smell to it of old water damage that had never completely been cleared away. There was only one other customer in the bookstore, a Coastal, and he looked nervous in the unfamiliar territory. He smiled at Chris and greeted him in the Coastal custom, grateful to see a fellow Coastal.

Chris probably had more books in his own house than were on the shelves in this bookstore. Education was strictly enforced in The Sectors, and everyone was taught reading and writing in the emerging Common Language. But books were strictly censored, and most Inlanders worked for most of their waking hours and thus did not have time to read. All the books in the store were in the Common Language. When he saw one he had not read before, he took it off the shelf. It was used, as all the books in the store were, but it did not look like it had ever been opened.

Chris took it to the counter, and the clerk scanned the book without looking at him or saying a word. She flipped through it and stopped at a page. It had a note in the margin written in a language she did not recognize. Chris saw that it was written in Spanish, but he did not have a chance to read it before she marked over it with a thick black marker and threw the book in the trash can. Still without meeting his eyes, she waved him away, indicating he needed to choose another book. He did, and this time she scanned it, flipped through it, took his card, charged him, and put the book on the counter for him to pick up—all without looking at him or speaking to him. He took the book and left without acknowledging her. The other Coastal in the store quickly got a book and caught up to Chris walking on the street, staying a few paces behind him. When they got back to the blocks where more Coastals were, the man said, “Have a good day,” to Chris and walked away with ease. Chris got lunch to take back to his hotel room, and he resumed his position on watch.

 

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A few things about me:

  • Yes, Kellyn Thompson is a pen name. Why? Because I write non-fiction science articles and am into SciComm, for which I use my given name. I thought it would be best to keep my fiction writing separate from the non-fiction science writing, ergo I used a different name when I decided to write fiction.
  • I do love writing (hence my first blog post, titled, “Why I love writing“), but I hate writing about myself. Maybe this blog will help me on that front. But I much prefer the solace I find in the objectivity of science or the dreamy unreality of fiction.
  • I reside in the great Pacific Northwest in the United States.
  • I have a dark sense of humor. My whole family does.
  • I need at least two cups of coffee to get going in the morning. It’s not a good idea for me to try to do anything substantial before finishing that second cup.
  • I love animals and biology and the magic (er…science) of life in general and, of course, books and cats.
  • I loooooooove being dramatic in my fiction writing, haaaaate being dramatic in real life.
  • And, finally, in case it’s not obvious, I am very new to blogging–Thank you for your patience! and any tips you have 🙂

 

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