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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

2014 Hot Calender Reads: September

It's 2014 and we're celebrating with an awesome fantasy themed calendar. This calendar is for the background on your computer and you can get this month's image below.

Each month will feature a different book or series, so if you want to challenge yourself, try reading each book or series that is featured before each month is over. The book for September is Where the Carnies Are by Kayla Curry. She will be giving away a deck of Where the Carnies Are playing cards in the rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Click here to download the full size image. Then set as your background!


Where the Carnies Are

Olive is having a very bad day. She caught her boyfriend cheating on her, she lost her job, and she stumbled into a portal leading to a secret carnival kingdom which she can’t escape. The good news is she meets an eccentric, but stunningly handsome knife thrower. The bad news is she can’t go home for another two months.

The world she lands in is full of sideshow characters, terrifying amusement rides and her biological parents’ past. She was born a carny, but raised as a normal human. Magic lives in her blood, but it hasn’t reached her heart. To find out who she really is, and why carnies are disappearing, Olive must deceive the king with the help of Alex the knife thrower.

Olive and Alex play a dangerous game with their emotions when they decide to have a fling during Olive’s stay. They both lead very different lives and being together would mean one of them giving up the life they've always known.

Tricks and traps are around every corner in this kingdom. Few can be trusted and Olive will need all the help she can get to make it through unscathed.



Author Bio:

Kayla Curry’s creative mind never sleeps. Literally.

As Kayla sleeps, her active imagination keeps up the work by making her dream all night long. It’s those dreams that provide much of the inspiration for her stories.

Her works include Where the Carnies Are, Obsidian (Mystic Stones Series #1), and many short stories.

She lives in North Platte, Nebraska with her husband and two sons and she plans to keep writing and creating for the rest of her life.




Giveaway:
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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pandora #Paranormal Box Set Author Showcase: Riley J. Ford

Happy Release Day!. Pandora is now Live. For our last show case I present New York Times and USA Today best Selling author, Riley J. Ford.

Blurb:
What if you could know exactly what your friends are thinking? High school student Winter Reynolds can, but there's a catch...

She can only read people's thoughts when she's kissing them.

When a member of the track team is murdered, Winter has an opportunity to use her special ability to find the killer. Trouble is, kissing everyone on the track team isn't such a good idea when you have a new boyfriend. Talk about complications!

Should Winter persevere using her secret power to catch the murderer still in their midst, even if it means risking her relationship with her one true love?

Disclaimer: Mild profanity and a graphic murder scene. While humorous, this book also explores the underbelly of teen life. May not be suitable for younger teens.

Excerpt:
 It happens in the movie theater when I finally kiss Ethan Cooper. Her body rocks, I hear him say, except he doesn’t speak. Not out loud, anyway. At first I think it’s someone whispering behind us. Then I wonder if Miranda’s playing a joke on me until I remember she’s sitting four seats away making out with Billy Timmons.
When Ethan’s lips touch mine again and I hear his voice—she needs a breath mint—loud and clear like a TV announcer in my brain, I yank back and stare at him. My neck prickles with fear and my heart pounds hard. What the hell is going on?
“Did you say something?” I ask. I hope he has some kind of ventriloquist powers and I’m not losing my mind.
“Uh, no. I was in the middle of kissing you.” He sort of laughs, his fingers stroking my neck. I pull away and look at the screen. Julia Roberts blathers on about something with her big horse teeth. My heart races uncontrollably, thumping so loudly I can almost hear my ribs rattling, and not because I’ve just kissed the boy who I’ve crushed on since June.
No, it’s racing because something really freaky has just happened—twice—and I can’t deny it.
“What’s wrong?” Ethan asks. I can feel him staring at me in the dark.
“You said I need a breath mint,” I mutter. I wait for him to react. After all, it was his voice I’d heard. It just happened to be inside my head when he said it. But maybe he was playing some sort of trick on me. Maybe I’m mistaken. I sure hope so.
Ethan is quiet for a long moment before speaking. “Uh, I didn’t realize I said it out loud.”
“So you did say it?”
Someone behind us shushes us.
“I must have,” he says. “How weird.”
“Well, thanks a lot for telling me I have bad breath. Makes a girl feel real special.”
“Hey, don’t be pissed. I didn’t mean it in a bad way.”
As if there’s a good way to mean it. I slump down in my seat. Inside I’m actually sort of relieved. Ethan did say it out loud. Not inside my head. Maybe I’m just tired. Or whacked out on soda. All that caffeine can mess you up, especially those huge paper tankers of soda they sell at the movies. I would hate to think I have a mental problem or am crazy or something.
Being a normal girl from Redondo Beach suits me fine, a normal girl about to enter her junior year of high school who is just enjoying her summer. I go to the beach with my best friend Miranda, talk about boys, hit the mall, eat cheese fries with ranch dressing, experiment with different kinds of make-up, and watch TV after dinner. Nothing too out-of-the-ordinary or weird has ever happened to me—unless you count the time I made a half-court throw at a RBHS game and won a hundred dollars and a wheel of Brie. See, being normal is exhausting enough. Definitely no room in my life for being psychic or reading minds!
Ethan pokes my arm. “You okay?”
“What’s good about bad breath?” I whisper, moving my body away from him. My face is hot, stinging with embarrassment. I shouldn’t have had those grilled onions on my burger before our date. What was I thinking? Dragon breath is not an accessory a girl should wear.
“Dude, it’s really no big,” he says. “Just get some gum later, okay?”
More shushing behind us, loudly.
I sit fuming in silence, not knowing if I should get up and leave or what. But then Ethan’s arm snakes slowly around my shoulders and that tingle returns—the one I’ve gotten every time I’ve seen him at the hot dog place where he works at the mall. I’ve spent all summer going there, using every cent of my allowance on corn dogs, hot dogs, fries, mozzarella sticks, and lemonades (and gaining a friggin’ five pounds because of it), just so I could see him. I finally got up my courage to give him my phone number, and he’d grinned and said he would call. He finally did, and now here we are with Miranda and her sometimes-boyfriend sitting four seats away while I try not to breathe oily onion fumes on this hot guy with spiked blonde hair and a nice laugh.
“I’m sorry,” he whispers in my ear. He leans in and kisses me again with those soft full lips that I’ve stared at for so long. His face this close feels nice. He’s so cute. If he doesn’t mind my breath, I shouldn’t either. Okay, Winter, chill, I tell myself. I’ll just go buy some mint gum the second we leave the theater.
Ethan’s lips are warm and moist on mine. I relax against his body. 
What’s her problem? She’s acting so uptight. His voice reverberates through my head again. And it is definitely in my head because his mouth is still on mine!
I didn’t mean to mention the breath, but if she’s gonna be so lame about it, I’ll ditch her after the flick and go find my bros. Who needs this shit? Chicks come into Diggety Dog a dime a dozen, and I can have any of them. There’s always another ho around the corner.
I yank out of Ethan’s embrace, my body trembling. What is happening? His voice was in my brain, loud and clear and unmistakable. Am I losing my mind? I need to know.
“Why would you talk to me like that?” I ask. “It’s rude.” I hope he’ll admit he was messing with me, talking out the side of his mouth or something, joking in a lame sort of way.
“I didn’t say anything.” Ethan’s tone sounds pinched, weird.
“Yes, you did. I heard you say you’re going to ditch me to hang out with your bros, that I’m uptight, that girls are a dime a dozen, and that there’s always another ho around the corner!” Anger seizes me. “Did you just call me a ho?”
A voice behind us hisses loudly, “Quiet!”
Ethan doesn’t say anything. His silhouette is stiff, like a cardboard cutout of himself.
He jumps up. “I’m outta here!” Then he’s gone, loping up the aisle.

About Riley:
Riley J. Ford is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She graduated UCLA graduate with a degree in English and taught at both the high school and college levels for a number of years before turning to writing full-time. Her non-fiction books are used in college classrooms around the country, and her essays have been featured on such websites as MSNBC.com. She is the author of seven fiction books, INTO YOU, a new adult mystery, CARPE DiEMILY, a romantic comedy caper, FIFTY SHADES OF FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, a satire, CIRCUS OF LOST SOULS, a thriller, SIMONE: ADVENTURES IN DATING, a romantic comedy series, JUST US, a contemporary romance, and JUST YOU, a new adult romance. When on vacation, she enjoys running with the bulls in Pamplona and downhill skiing.


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Monday, August 4, 2014

Pandora #Paranormal Box Set Author Showcase: Rebecca Hamilton

Here is another favorite author of mine. Rebecca Hamilton has been amazing throughout this whole project.



Blurb:
Ophelia's been successful at hiding her true identity, until the mark of the serpent appears on her neck—a death sentence, should it be seen by anyone in her town. Hiding the mark might save her from falling victim to the witch hunts of her era, but the scorching sensation it carries can’t be ignored.

When the mysterious Ethan is sent to collect her for a life of something more, she learns concealing the mark is the least of her concerns. She’s destined to do a new task—to join a dark, supernatural world and protect the future of people she may never meet.

What she doesn’t know—what she learns too late—is that her initiation won’t be complete until she kills the man who’s captured her heart.

Review:
I meant to review this a long time ago and seemed to missed it. This is a short novella that takes us into he history of one of the side character fro The Forever Girl. We get to see how Ophelia came to be a part of the court in Damascus. This story is full of chills and heartache. It will keep you on the edge of your seat to find out if Ophelia will make the ultimate sacrifice. I love the different connections between the characters in the world of The Forever Girl Series.

Her Sweetest Downfall isn't a must read to understand the series, but it's a must read because the story is that amazing.

Excerpt:
Night crept over Damascus. After treating the rapidly warming serpent mark with more Cruor blood, Ophelia spun toward the open door. Ethan sat between the frame, his strong shoulders resting back, his face turned to the field where a small red fox burrowed in the dirt. The night breeze wisped through his hair. She set the blankets on the end of the bed and walked over.
“Is it far?” she asked.
“No.” He cleared his throat but didn’t look up at her. “Sorry. For a human, it’s very far, but it won’t be for us.”
Ophelia bunched her fingers together in front of her stomach. “Same as we got ‘ere then?”
“Yes.”
She stepped around, outside, and kneeled in the grass across from him, resting her hands in her lap. “Ethan, if something is wrong . . . ”
“I’d tell you,” he replied, lifting his gaze from a long piece of grass he’d been slipping between his fingers. Moonlight paled his tan complexion and darkened the shade of his jaw, making him appear more defeated than he had hours ago. “The Cruor I mentioned earlier is in the Americas. She’s not expecting us.”
“But I thought—”
“Please trust me.” He stood and dusted off his pants, then leaned his shoulder against the doorjamb. 
She tried for a smile and busied herself attempting to prop up a wildflower that was wilting among the yellow grass. 
When she looked up, Ethan’s expression was gentle. His gaze moved from the small flower to her eyes. There was a brief moment where she wondered if he, like Lady Karina, found her bright, ice-blue eyes alarming. But his express was soft, and her fears quickly melted. He walked behind her, crouched down, and covered her hand with his, his fingertips touching the flower. It revived before her very eyes, and Ophelia leaned her head against Ethan’s shoulder as she stared at the flower in awe.
“Beautiful,” she whispered, wishing she had been destined to be one of the Ankou—to be one of the elementals who revived life and put an end to evil, rather than bring death. 
She told him as much.
He sat back, and she turned around to face him. He was standing now, holding his hand out to her. 
“Come with me,” he said.
He took her hand and they fell through darkness just as they had when he’d taken her to the cabin. When she could see again, her stomach suddenly jolted. She hunched forward, heaving, but this time she did not vomit. She held her midsection until the feeling passed, then dried the moisture from her eyes.
Ethan smoothed his hand across her shoulder blades. “Traveling will get easier with time. By your third or fourth time you shouldn’t feel anything.”
“Why does this keep happening?” she demanded. She could hardly think straight.
“When we travel this way, we are in the in-between. You are suspended from such things as time and space and then thrust immediately back into it. Your system is forced to catch up instantly on arrival. If not for the magic the Ankou are granted, it could kill you.”
Ophelia sighed, nodding. “Where are we?”
Ethan turned her toward a small house and pressed his fingers to his lips.
He led her along the outer walls of the house until they reached a window. Inside, a man and a woman held each other, crying. Ophelia peered around the room, trying to make sense of what she was searching for. She found her answer on the floor. A young man sat, collapsed to his knees, covered in blood.
“What ‘appened?” Ophelia whispered.
“The young man just watched his comrades kill his sister.” Ethan’s voice was tight and his tone clipped. “He was unable to act to save her. He’s returned home to tell their parents.”
Ophelia backed away, shaking her head. When Ethan approached, she pounded her fist against his chest. “Why would ye show me such a thing?”
Ethan didn’t move, even as Ophelia tried once again to push him away. “The young girl who lost her life was a dual-breed. She was only killed because of what she is, and for no greater reason. This . . . this is what we’re fighting for. It is not that I want you in harm’s way, or that I wish for you to become a creature you detest. If I could do this for you, protect you from your calling, I would. But I cannot let my feelings for you sway our responsibility. I am confident you are capable, that you can do this to save the innocents in this world.”
Though Ophelia tried, she could not summon a response. She covered her mouth with hand, her entire body trembling. Could she live with herself, knowing all this, if she didn’t try to help?

About Rebecca:
Rebecca Hamilton is a bestselling Paranormal Fantasy author who also dabbles in Horror and Literary Fiction. She lives in Florida with her husband and four kids. She enjoys dancing with her kids to television show theme songs and would love the beach if it weren't for the sand. Having a child diagnosed with autism has inspired her to illuminate the world through the eyes of characters who see things differently. She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA and has been published internationally, in three languages. You can follow her on twitter @InkMuse

To learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder, please visit the website below.
http://www.autisticadvocacy.org


Pandora comes out Tomorrow!
Why Wait?
For Kobos, Nooks, iPads, and NOW Kindles Pandora is available for Preorder!

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Pandora #Paranormal Box Set Author Showcase: Samantha LaFantasie

Here is an awesome new find. She's also a part of Pandora!

Blurb:
There’s something that lies within my memory. Hidden in the dark. Something that can kill me and those that I love. But I was in an accident, covered in mystery and deception. And my memory…was lost. There are those who want me to remember. I don’t trust them. And those I do trust…are fighting for me to forget.

Elsabetha Ellery wants to get her memory back, even if it kills her.

After waking up in a hospital with no memory, Elsabetha quickly learns those who claim to be her friend are anything but. And those who are her true friends keep themselves unseen.

Stuck with piecing together her broken memories alone, Elsa struggles with having faith in those she trusts and heeding the warnings of the dangers in recovering her memory. Ignoring them, she faces heavy consequences. Ones she doesn’t see until it’s too late, and a life is lost.

Review:
This is a very well written mix of Science Fantasy. I don't see these very often, but when I do, I'm usually pretty pleased. This novella didn't disappoint.

We start with Elsabetha as she wakes up with pieces of her memory missing. As she struggles to regain what was lost, she must traverse through a treacherous game of intrigue, not knowing who to trust and who her enemies are. I loved the way Ms. LaFantasie pulled us in on Elsabetha's journey, feeding us small bits as the story progressed. I love Elsa's determination to recover her memories and her quick thinking and instinct.

And, oh the ending, what a surprise! I'm so glad the second book has been released. I don't have to wait to find out what happened.

Pick this book up. Science Fantasy is a rarity that should be explored more.

Excerpt:
ALL AT ONCE, THE weight and darkness lifted. I sucked in a deep breath, sitting up in the cloudlike bed. Immediately, I found that abominable man staring out the window. I left the bed, fueled by anger. 
I approached, stopping before I got too close to strangle him. “What the hell did you do to me?”
“What was necessary to keep you here … and safe.”
“According to who?” I snapped.
“The man that loves you and would turn this world upside down if it meant keeping you safe.” He sounded despondent, continuing to stare out the window.
“I’ve got news for him–if he even exists–keeping me prisoner and taking my memories from me isn’t love, it’s torture. If he really loved me, he’d be here and I would have answers. Besides, now I’m getting a headache.” A throb started at my left temple and pulsed through my head.
“He loves you more than he loves his own people. That’s why your father was angry. As soon as your relationship was discovered, he disowned you and refused to listen to any reason. Even when he was told the truth about you. You must have thought the man who loves you was worth it, at one point.”
“He—he’s Nepherium?” 
“Yes,” he said, barely above a whisper.
“I guess that makes sense,” I said. 
He turned to me with eyes wide, full of questions. 
“My dad said I was mixing blood with them. He was in such a heated rage I barely understood what he said. But there’s more that I need to know.”
“What’s that?” he asked.
“Why would my lover want me to forget him?”
“He hoped that while you couldn’t remember, you’d stay alive. He could protect you and finish the mission.”
The way he looked at me, pulling me in, made me weak in the knees. 
“And how would he feel about the way you’re looking at me?” I asked before I could stop the words.
He blinked away, turning his attention to the window before sighing and taking a seat in the shadowed chair.
I pushed further. “Or about knocking me out before bringing me here?” 
He leaned forward on his knees, covering his face with his hands. “I’m …” 
I waited a few seconds for him to continue. When he didn’t, I wondered if I heard anything at all. “What?”
“You have to understand, for him, he’d move the moon and stars to keep you safe. He did the only thing he could to save your life.”
“And you? What is your place in all of this? Why did you give me a ring to cover up a strange tattoo? Why can’t I see him?”
“I’m your partner. It is my job to protect you. I can’t answer the last one.”
“Can’t or won’t?” I retorted.
“Pick one,” he snapped. 
“You told me if I thought I could kill you, you’d let me, because you deserved it. What did you do that would warrant me killing you?”
“Please understand, this is more difficult than giving simple answers to your questions. It’s far more complicated.”
I smiled at him, because it was the only thing I could do with his ridiculous beating around the bush. He sat up, seemingly disarmed by my small action.

About Samantha:
A Kansas native, Samantha LaFantasie spends her free time with her husband and three kids. Writing has always been a passion of hers, forgoing all other desires to devote to this one obsession, even though she often finds herself arguing with her characters through much of the process. She’s primarily a fantasy writer but often feels pulled to genres such as sci-fi, romance, and others.
Among her writing credentials, she’s a board member of the Kansas Writer’s Association and has founded her own critique group, lovingly named, The Fighting Hamsters.
Samantha loves to take time to enjoy other activities such as photography and playing her favorite game of all time, Guild Wars 2.



Want more from Samantha? Keep up with her at any of her digital hangouts.

You can find her presence on
Author Central:
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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Pandora #Paranormal Box Set Author Showcase: Peter Dawes

One of my favorite authors is joining me in Pandora! Peter Dawes. He's decided to stop by and share some insight into the world of vampirism.

Ask a Vampire – Turning Celebrities

Today, on a special guest blog rendition of ‘Ask a Vampire’ I have been asked to field a question on vampire turnings. Oh heavens, you thought to ask me about the subject? Well, this should be fascinating.
Dear Vampire Flynn,
I know you’re not the biggest fan of people, but haven’t there been celebrities you’ve wished could be immortalized? Literally. Like, for instance, I’m a huge Doctor Who fan and keep thinking David Tennant would make a fantastic vampire. Or maybe I just want him to live forever. One of the two. Anyway, tell us who you would turn if you were given the opportunity.
William D,, Las Vegas, NV
Well, William, I have to say that you have epitomized what I have come to expect from humanity. While some of you, I am certain, would do the noble thing of assuming one should preserve a great scholar or brilliant artist, those who would actually have a say in the matter would probably reduce the dark gift down to vapid starlets. I shall attempt to contain my shock for the remainder of my response.
Now, while I was not certain who Master Tennant was prior to fielding your question, an internet search suggests you are already wasting the opportunity. For one, it would appear his demise has already taken place. And secondly, he seems to be a race of creatures that live on by adapting their appearance and taking a new form. What in the heavens he would do with vampire immortality defies my understanding, doctor or not, especially considering he is not human. But you inquired as to my tastes and so, I shall give them to you.
I cannot say there is any celebrity I would take on the task of mentoring. Could you imagine accommodating the egotism of somebody who might have a more inflated sense of self-worth than I do? Considering becoming a vampire seems to amplify that which we were as humans, I can already foresee the demands. Certain types of humans to feed on with particular blood types. Ones who only consume organic goods and exercise twice daily and have a beauty regiment rigorous enough to make Patrick Bateman seethe.
Please, count me out of that. They would not live past their first month and that would tend to betray the purpose of turning them in the first place, would it not?
Immortality is something not to be offered lightly. And by that, I mean I do not intend to slice my wrist open for somebody simply because they know how to pretend better than I do. Could you imagine the competition while we were out hunting? Or the insufferable method acting I might be subjected to in the process?
I need enough pampering on my own, thank you kindly.
So, William, perhaps you might experience the immortal kiss yourself and be in time to rescue whomever Master Tennant has become by the time you are ready to form your own branch of the bloodline. I shall stick to being the star of my own show in the meanwhile.
Perhaps you might try persuading Peter. He does have a soft spot for the medical profession.
Best Regards,
Flynn
***
Ask a Vampire, and other columns featuring the characters of The Vampire Flynn Series can be found on the Vampire Flynn website. If you want to learn more about Flynn, he can be found in the book EYES OF THE SEER which is available for a limited time in the Pandora box set.

Blurb:
It all started with a murder. Two victims lay dead at the hands of Peter Dawes, but what laid in wait for him was not the sound of sirens or the banging of a gavel. It would turn a doctor into a killer and a man into a monster.

Follow Peter as he exchanges his blood-stained clothing for tailored suits, his scalpel for fine-crafted daggers, and is reinvented as the newest vampire-child in a coven of decadent sophisticates. He even takes on the name ‘Flynn’ – a child of red – in honor of his new-found devilish side and to further distance himself from his human past.

For four years, Flynn embodies every bit the bloody immortal he was sired to become. Under the reign of his maker, Sabrina, he establishes a reputation as the most feared assassin to ever terrorize the covens of Philadelphia. But the surefooted-steps and quick hands that make him a virtuoso when it comes to killing humans and vampires alike are attributes of the mortal destiny which haunts him even beyond death. And despite all efforts, Peter’s humanity is not as dead as some would prefer.

On the verge of completing their vie for power, Sabrina’s ‘dark-killer’ will suddenly find himself wrestling his devotion to his mistress when an impish sorceress named Monica awakens the hidden powers he was destined to possess. In this world of macabre and shrewdly practical immortal beings, will Flynn’s supernatural gifts be used to orchestrate the wicked deeds of his maker? Or can the cold-blooded nature of a vampire be warmed by the compassion of a Seer?

Review:
The Good:

The Vampires: If you have read my blog (http://noreecosper.blogspot.com/2012/...) about vampires you know I am wanted to see vampires as monsters depicted in novels again. Or if they want to hold onto their humanity, I want to see a struggle. This book gives me both is spades. Though the vampire mythos is standard, because they are depicted as monsters makes it even better.

Voice/Writing Style: One word comes to mind: elegant. It flows so easily that my eyes devour the next sentence and the next. I can never call my style elegant, but I truly admire those that can achieve this.

Characters: This was defiantly a character focused story and not plot focused. Every character is well defined, even the tertiary characters. I could see their own motivations and. even though the story was in first person, I felt that each character acted like they were the hero in their own story. Peter takes me down to the pit of depravity and then brings the light with his quest for redemption. Monica was sassy and smart and I loved Robin.

Point of View: The story is really a psychological journey of Peter, so I like that is is written in first person. I takes so deep into Peter that we can feel his struggle. Though, i'm a big fan of First Person anyway.

Themes: This book really explores humanity, and the struggle of one's self. Peter struggles reconciling the man and the monster throughout most of the book. Also, on a more subtle level is the question of freedom. Are you responsible for the deeds you have done if you were manipulated? The author presents both of these theme beautifully.

Action: Vampires fighting vampires. Let me just say that this is not a book you should let your kids read. It is dark and it is violent. I love it.

The Bad: I really don't have much to say about this. Yes, the beginning started off a little slow, but it built up to the end, which was well worth it. When I got to the last few pages I wanted more.

Overall: You should buy this book! Seriously this is a hidden jewel that needs more

Excerpt:
“So, he speaks to himself now as well. Your descent into madness is almost complete.”
I turned my head at the sound of Michael’s voice, seeing him standing behind me with his hands tucked inside the pockets of his fine linen pants. The regal, pompous bane of my existence was clad in a suit, his hair tied back again as though the Victorian era came and departed while leaving him behind. “I’m sorry,” I said. “Was that directed at me?”
Michael raised an eyebrow. “I don’t see who else I would be talking to, unless you have imaginary people to accompany the voices in your head.”
I shrugged and looked back toward the wall. “Doesn’t matter either way. I plan on ignoring them now.”
“You don’t have the resolve to accomplish that.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You’re weak. I’ve known that from the start, when you were writhing on that bed like we’d set you on fire. And you have been slowly unraveling ever since.”
“Oh, I see,” I said, smirking. The mocking tone had finally found me on a night I was not apt to endure it. Pivoting to face him fully, I folded my arms across my chest. “So, I take it that you rose and immediately became the king of all vampires.”
“I didn’t scream like a stuck pig.” He crossed his arms behind his back in return and walked two, measured paces around to my side as if sizing me up. “Utterly useless,” he repeated, eyes surveying me from head to foot. “Nothing more than a deathless mortal. You will be nothing but a burden to this coven for all of your short, miserable existence.”
“You have a lot of room to talk, you reject from an antique store.” I shook off a wave of irritation as it surfaced. “You call me a madman? Well, what does speaking with a madman make you?”
Michael huffed. “As if your words could wound me. You are no better than our prey, Peter the Blind.”
I felt my fangs start to peek from their hiding place, and clenched my jaw to hold them back. “I’m going to love having a new identity and telling you to shove that pet name up your ass.”
“A new identity?”
I stepped closer to him. “Yes, I’m choosing another name. Figured it’d make for a good change of pace.”
“So we can mock another moniker instead?” Michael smirked.
“No, so I can show you just how little you actually know about other people. You’re nothing more than an arrogant prick.”
He laughed and I saw his fangs slumbering inside a sea of porcelain. “Bold words for an ignorant neophyte afraid of his own shadow. Do you think me just weaned from my mother’s breast? I have lived for many years while you have barely left a footprint on this mortal coil.”
The corner of my mouth curled. I closed our distance with another stride. “How old does that make you, then?” I asked.
Michael’s blue eyes steadily held mine behind the sunglasses. “One hundred and one years, with thirty-two mortal years prior to that.”
An eyebrow rose in defiance. “And in all those years, you never checked the calendar?” Tension filled the space between us. “You look like you haven’t left the last century.”
“And you speak as though you were not educated in this one.”
“You don’t know anything about me,” I spat.
“Allow me to enlighten you,” Michael said, his smirk growing until it enveloped his countenance. His words dripped with malice, smugness evident in everything from his expression to the posture he assumed. “I can tell you have no clue what you are now. That you have no notion of what it is to be an immortal despite what others have attempted to teach you, and as such, do not deserve that title.” He paused. “I can tell one other thing, too.”
“Oh?” I asked. I held his gaze and reciprocated it measure for measure. “What would that be?”
Michael’s grin broadened. “That I have a coward of a being standing before me, not having the strength or the genitalia to keep his mortal girl happy. Little wonder she sought greener pastures. I would have as well.”
The anger bubbling up inside me burst into a glorious spectacle of fist meeting face. I punched Michael across his jaw before he could dodge the blow, sending him sprawling onto the floor. Blinking in surprise, I glanced quickly to my hand, but had no time to process what had just occurred. Michael came to his feet, blood running from a cut on his lip, and hissed at me with fangs elongated.
He wished a fight?
I hissed in return, more than willing to oblige.

About Peter:
Peter Dawes is the author of The Vampire Flynn Series, published by the micro-press Crimson Melodies, and the upcoming historical fantasy release, Death Spell. His serial story, “A Maker and His Child” appears on the BloodTideZine website and short “Lost Highway” has been featured in the Nocturnal Embers anthology, also by Crimson Melodies. While primarily a novelist, he has also contributed to the story cycle Red Phone Box, and has several novellas in the works. Always working on something new, Peter leaves it up to the reader to decide if it’s by sunlight or candlelight.

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Pandora #Paranormal Box Set Author Showcase and Hot Calender Reads: Noree Cosper

August is a special month for me since I was born it. So, I'm starting August off right and offering you a great calender with yours truly!
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A Prescription for Delirium (Van Helsing Organization #1)

Demons, werewolves, possessed bikers, madness spreading like a virus, and a revenge that has waited for over 500 years. What more could Gabby look for in a vacation spot?

Ninety years ago, Gabriella di Luca promised to protect the family of her dying lover. She failed to keep that promise. She was too far away to stop the devil that murdered the eldest Van Helsing son. Years later, Gabby learns the devil has resurfaced. She arrives in Hampton, TX, determined to stop the devil before it can lay a bloody hand on the remaining three brothers.

However, madness is spreading through Hampton. She suspects the devil is using this madness to test a drug which has a side effect of demonic possession. Gabby rushes to end the source of the madness only to fall victim to it. For a woman cursed with eternal life, dying is no threat. However, Gabby must stop the devil's plot or risk losing her most precious possession: her mind.

Excerpt:
He dug a cigarette out of a wrinkled pack. The lighter clinked open and made several click sounds before a flame flared to life. The world around me dimmed. Tendrils of darkness stretched out from his shadow, consuming all other light.
“I hope you don't sleep with the night light on,” he said.
“What the fuck?” the woman said.
“Stay where you are,” I called to her.
“I can smell the rage on both of you.” Tattoo’s voice floated around me. “I think I’ll be taking an added bonus home.”
I froze, trying to pinpoint him, but it proved impossible to do through all the yells of the bikers and the scrambling. The crack of a gunshot blared ahead of me. The flash of light lasted less than a second before the dark swallowed it. The wind ruffled my hair as the bullet passed close to me. I jerked back, and my hand brushed against leather behind me. Damn, he moved fast. I leaped forward and stumbled over a body on the ground. My knee jarred as it caught the brunt of my fall.
Tendrils, colder than ice, wrapped around my ankles and wrists. The weapons slipped from my numb fingers, but I didn’t hear them hit the ground. The bonds lifted me into the air and threw my back against the wall of the motel. My arms were pulled above my head, yanking the right one out of its socket. I screamed as pain raced through my shoulder. I twisted my other arm, trying to slip it free, but the bonds held me tight. 
My heart sped up, and my throat began to close, making my breath come in small gasps. I had to calm down. I stilled and closed my eyes. What good were they at the moment? I inhaled, counting to ten before releasing, and rubbed my fingers together, relieved when they began to tingle.
Tattoo’s body pressed against mine. His hot breath on my face reeked of tobacco and just a hint of sulfur. Most people missed the sulfur, but I’d been in this position before. This is where they became cocky. 
“So, sweetness, Why are you hunting us?” he asked. “And what are you gonna do to make up for it?”
Sirens wailed in the distance, cutting through the panicked voices. The blackness faded, and the night returned to normal. Tattoo stood a few feet in front of me, inhaling the last few drags of his cigarette as he stared off in the direction of the sirens. He blew the fumes into my face, and I coughed, squeezing my eyes shut for a second. I started when he stumbled into me. He staggered back with a moan, his hand going to his lower back, and he spun to the mystery woman behind him. The woman stepped back in a fighting stance with a smirk.
“Don’t forget about me, asshat,” she said.
“Bitch!” Tattoo said. “You’ll pay for that.”
“You gonna make me ugly?” Mystery Woman asked.
A growl rolled out of the Tattoo’s throat and he lunged at her. The woman moved to the side and held her foot out. Her leg came up in an axe kick that hit the back of the demon's head as he bumbled forward. My bonds disappeared and I dropped to the ground. I landed on my feet, swallowing a whimper as I jarred my shoulder.
Tattoo backed away from both of us with a scowl on his face. “This isn’t over.”
He ran for his bike with his lackeys bumbling after him, at least the ones who could move. I gathered my weapons, fumbling with one arm as I tried to sheathe them. The woman chased after the bikers but stopped short when pock face raised the gun at her. He held her there until Tattoo disappeared down the road in the opposite direction of the sirens.
“Do you even know how to use that?” I moved up behind the woman, holding my useless arm to my body.
“S-stay where you are,” he said.
The woman moved, but I grabbed her arm. She swung her head in my direction with her eyes narrowed. Pock-face hopped on his bike and started it up.
“He’s not the demon, and a rather pathetic biker,” I said. “Too easy for you.”
“And I’m supposed to listen to the masked avenger because?”
I blinked for a moment at her odd comment. “Do you wish to get arrested?”
She mumbled.
“Grab your gun, and let’s go.”
I led her through a hall that cut between the front of the motel and the back. No one followed us. The bikers were too busy trying to get themselves out of this mess, and the other guests didn’t want to get involved. The door to my room clicked shut behind her and I flattened her against the door with my knife to her throat.
“If you move anything but your mouth, I will bury my blade in your neck,” I said. “Who do you serve?”

A Prescription for Delirium is a part of Pandora!
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The Flower of Hell (Short Story Companion to A Prescription for Delirium)

Gabriella devoted her eternity to carrying out her vengeance against demons. As she pursues her latest prey she stumbles across another hunter. To Gabby, Dimitri is an unneeded distraction, but he attracts her like no other man has for centuries. Will this hunter unlock the feelings she’d buried long ago or will he just open her up to more heartache? Can Gabby protect both of them from the demon stalking the Paris streets?

This is a short story companion to the Van Helsing Organization series.



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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pandora #Paranormal Box Set Author Showcase: Rainy Kaye

About a month ago, I had the honor of participating in the Summoned Blog Tour for Rainy Kaye. Well, the book was so good, I'm going to showcase it again! In case you haven't picked it up yet (Why not?) Summoned is a part of Pandora!


Blurb:
Twenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally. Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker.

Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well. When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can’t tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn’t the type to tolerate secrets.

Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl’s ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming—the wish that will destroy him.

A dark twist on genie folklore, SUMMONED follows a reluctant criminal as he unravels the mystery of the paranormal bond controlling him.

My Review: 
First of all. I am glad to see books out featuring Arabic lore. There is a wealth of great material for stories there that is untapped. This story focuses on djinn, or genies as most people know them. However, if you think this is going to be anything like I Dream of Jeannie or Disney's Aladdin, you will be very mistaken.

This book is filled with violence, sex, and a mystery that keeps you reading until the end. At first I was really questioning why Dimitri had no power, but I'm really satisfied with the answer at the end. Dimitri himself was just awesome. He attitude and quips had me laughing aloud throughout the entire book. And at the end I had some real Damn? Really? Moments.I loved how everything snapped together. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Kaye's work.

Excerpt:
I dislike having to murder someone. Kidnapping is worse. At least when I setup a kill, I know what’s coming. No connections, no honesty, no surprises. Everything I say and do are just steps to luring in my victim. Once the victim falls right into the trap, the next move is swift: crushed windpipe, fatal concussion, or a good ol’ fashioned headshot.

Kidnapping, on the other hand, is a little trickier. First, the victim has an opportunity to respond. I don’t like this. Sometimes they cry. Sometimes they manage to alert the authorities. And sometimes they escape, usually by inflicting bodily harm on me.

Dead people don’t retaliate. Kidnapped ones, well, they’re a little more . . . lively.

The second major difference between killing and kidnapping is my conscience. I get in and out with a kill. We have no chance to bond.

Abductees require a little more one-on-one. As much as I try to keep the switch turned off, I can’t help but listen to their pleas and demands. And I usually realize I’m a jerk.

That’s exactly where I find myself one late afternoon in June. I prefer doing this at night, but moreover, I would prefer not doing this at all.

Instead, I have a belligerent nine year old girl sitting in the passenger seat of my Honda Accord, shackles on her wrists and ankles and a small stuffed bunny on her lap. She’s eying me in a way that makes me self-conscious. Like I’m the bad guy.

Probably because I am the bad guy.

About Rainy:
Rainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the mean time, she blogs at RainyoftheDark and writes paranormal novels from her lair somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona.

A Few Words from Rainy about her stories:
I write dark, gritty paranormal/Urban Fantasy novels--for grown ups. This means there will be sex, violence, and bad things happening. No one is sweeping anyone off their feet but, if they're lucky, they just might come to their senses at the end.

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