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Friday, August 30, 2013

What will you Sacrifice?

I have the honor of kicking of Jessica Fortunato’s blog tour for her long awaited second novel The Sin Collector: Sacrifice. Some of us have been waiting months and months for this. I got the privilege of reading it before it came out. Here’s what I thought:

Blurb: As an immortal Sin Collector, Liliana lead a transient life of solitude for over one-hundred years. 

Now with a growing family, she has found herself liking normalcy and the façade of being human.  However, when old friends begin to turn up dead, it is clear Collectors are not safe.  The battle that Liliana thought she’d won, has only just begun.

She must save herself, her family, and her friends from the Castus, a fanatical group sworn to eradicate her kind. 

As Liliana travels the globe making allies, and discovering secrets, she soon learns that the threat to her safety is closer than she ever thought possible.

Will she be able to fight her fate, or will she succumb to an ancient Castus prophecy?

I have to say I loved it. Liliana has matured quite a bit as she struggles to protect her new family. The focus of the story is less action but I still needed to keep turning the pages. This goes more into the mystery of Liliana’s past and why she has the ability to see auras. However it’s the small tidbits of prophecy that I find really interesting. Julia is a jewel as always and there is a host of new characters that you will come to love. Then there are the tender moments that brought tears to my eyes. I’m not telling. You’ll have to read it and see.

Don’t worry, I have a little glimpse as a treat for you:

“How long will it take to get to the hotel?” I hollered toward the cabin. 

No one was talking, no one was moving.  My blood froze, and I knew, in my gut, something was wrong.

“Please let it be in here.”  I desperately searched through my bag.  There was one rogue blade, it was bigger, harder to throw, but if there were people out there, I couldn’t miss.  Before I could formulate any type of plan, the tiny voice spoke from the other side of the door.

“Hey, LiLi, it’s time to go.” I smiled at myself in the mirror.  She was smart.  No one would dare call me that, not the nickname Billy used.  She was warning me.  That kid could have a pet lion if she wanted when we were through here.

“Coming,” I shouted.  I slid the knife up my sleeve and emerged to find what I’d expected.  Julia was standing in front of the sofa with her hands up.  A man with dark brown hair had a Castus dagger to Olexanders throat.  The cockpit door was open and I could see the small hole in the windshield of the plane where the bullet had entered and killed the pilot.  Yet, the bloodthirsty way this stranger was glaring at Julia is what strengthened my resolve.   It was the worst possible angle.  I didn’t think I could ever hit the man without risking harm to Julia or Olexander.  My blood boiled and each second dragged on.  The man was young and looked cocky and sure of his ability to kill us all.  Believers, true believers, were always dangerous.  They saw no grey, only black and white, good and evil. 

I had to make the choice for her, and I hated myself for it, but I couldn’t think of any other way.  I let the knife slip into my hand just enough for the man to see it.

“I see the knife in your hand devil, drop it on the floor and kick it away.”

The man spit out the words digging the dagger just a bit more into Olexanders throat. 

“You’ll be coming with me when I’m done with these two. Ariadne is just dying to meet you, Liliana.”

“Can I just say goodbye before you kill them?” I asked.

He looked confused by my request, he was not expecting it, but nodded at Julia who was wide-eyed and staring directly at me.

“Put the knife down first,” he spit out. I let the knife drop by my foot.  I looked into Julia’s eyes, hoping beyond hope she was getting this, and I saw the curiosity reflected in them.  She knew this was not me. I would never give up on her.

“I love you Julia and I believe in your abilities.  Every moment we spent together, especially that day in the woods.” As I said the last word I kicked the knife in her direction, she managed to drop down, pick it up, and throw it directly into the man’s left eye in a matter of seconds.  Olexander kneed him in the throat. The man was writhing on the floor in agony. Olexander rushed to us both. 

I threw my arms around Julia, “You’re amazing, you just saved our lives, but there could be more out there.  I need you safe, just for right now, go hide in the bathroom and lock the door until one of us comes for you.” She looked like she wanted to argue, but conceded and ran to the bathroom.

“What now?” I asked Olexander, who blessedly was unharmed.

He bent down holding the dagger over the man’s good eye. 

“How many are with you?” The man smiled and coughed a little, whatever he had heard about Olexander, he wasn’t scared.  Time was of the essence. 

I was seeing red, seeing it everywhere.  My family, attacked and I was having a very bad day to start with. I stalked over to the smiling man and kicked him until he was on his back. He looked at me and for the briefest moment, his smile wavered.  He knew who I was.

“Hold his neck so he can’t scream,” I said to Olexander. I walked around the side of the man and politely asked Olexander to hand me the dagger.  He looked worried, but did as I asked.  He was bleeding, but not so heavily, that he would pass out just yet.  He wanted to scream, but no sound came out.  I lifted the dagger and drove it through the soft spot above his elbow, it was a technique used in knife combat frequently.  It severed the ligaments and tendons, making the arm useless, and normally left the victim to bleed to death.  The man was going into shock so I needed to move fast. 

“You just tried to kill my family, my child, so I’m only going to ask one more time, how many more are out there?” 

He hesitated, clearly hit by the realization that he was in over his head.  My hand still on the dagger added some pressure. 

“Once I take this out you will bleed to death in a matter of moments, and lose consciousness even faster.  If I don’t remove the knife and you get to a hospital, you could have a chance,” I said calmly and rationally.

Olexander slightly loosened his grasp on the man’s neck.  He was trying to speak, and I leaned my head down to hear him whisper.

“Two more,” was all he could say in short gasps.

“Thank you,” I whispered back, and jerked the knife out of his arm.  Blood was everywhere, and he was most certainly dead.  Olexander released his grip and stood stunned. 

“Are there any other weapons we can get to?” I asked him.

“My gun is in my bag,” he said unsteadily.

I grabbed his face and pulled it close to mine.

“It was him or us.  They came to kill, so I chose us.”

This seemed to snap him back to reality. 

“I’ll go out the front, you go out the back,”  he said.

I picked up the bloody dagger and noticed a small tattoo on the man’s forearm. 

“Olexander, wait,” I said.

There was something familiar about the tattoo but I couldn’t place it.  I yanked my phone out of my boot, snapped a picture, and returned it to the pocket. 

“Lily, what the hell are you doing?”

“Tell you later, time to go.”

Quickly I maneuvered my way through the tiny crawl space under the plane meant for baggage.  I saw the first man waiting, gun drawn, by the SUV Olexander had requested be there for our arrival.   It took me only a few seconds to sneak up behind him and slit his throat.  As he dropped, I heard a single gunshot from the front of the plane.  I edged my way around cautiously, and met up with Olexander who grabbed and held on to me tightly.

“I’ll get the bags into the car, get Julia.”

“Disable the GPS in the truck first,” I hollered back to him.

Want more? Excellent! Get The Sin Collector: Sacrifice exclusively on Amazon. Also, Get The Sin Collector: Thomas for free August 30th to September 3rd.

Or you can enter for a chance to win your very on digital copies of the Sin Collector Series.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Jessica:

Jessica Fortunato writes a rare combination of Paranormal/ Supernatural/ Religious Literary Fiction.  She lives in Pennsylvania with her family, a clumsy black cat, and year round Halloween decorations.  Rarely seen in direct sunlight, reports of Jessica’s vampirism remain unsubstantiated.

 Jessica says she based the heroine of her book, Liliana, on the many extraordinary women in her life. 

The second book of The Sin Collector Trilogy, Sacrifice, is available now August 30th, 2013. 

She hopes that every person who reads the series finds a bit of themselves in at least one of her characters.

When I asked her what made her want to be a writer, she had this to say:

"Everything I write is a tribute to my Grandma, who taught me from a young age the pure magic that can always be found in a book."

Before I concluded the interview, I simply had to ask her the question she imposes on all her readers. What was your first sin?

"That question literally made me laugh out loud," Jessica says, "I guess my first sin was an act of thievery at the impressionable age of six.  I stole a handful of Swedish fish candies from the small store up the street.  I suppose ever since then you could say the sins just keep piling up."

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fangs of the Hellhound

Tales of creepy black dogs, known as hellhounds, have been told across the world and throughout the centuries. The most famous is Cerberus of Greek mythology. This monstrous three headed dog guarded the gates of the Greek Underworld.  He kept the ghosts from escaping their afterlife.  Besides the three head, Cerberus supposedly possessed a serpent’s tale, a mane of snakes, and lion’s claws. He also had the duty of keeping intruders out of the Underworld, but he didn’t do as well as that. Maybe it was his weakness for honey cakes. The Sybil threw a drugged honey cake to him that put him asleep and allowed Aeneus to pass into the Underworld and speak with the ghost of his father.

In Norse mythology Garmr is the hellhound guardian of Helheim (Underworld) and Hel’s pet. It had four eyes and a chest dripping with blood. It could also be appeased by cakes by those who had given bread to the poor. (Seeing a pattern here?) Garmr’s howling signals Ragnarok and it will join with the giants against the gods. Tyr will kill it but will die to the wounds Garmr inflicts.

There is also another type of hellhound referred to as black dogs, who appear all over the British Isles. They are ghostly with glowing eyes, sometimes red, green, or yellow. They are rumored to be associated with the devil, which is probably where the term hellhound comes from. The appearance of the black dog is associated with death.  One of the most famous is the Black Shuck. This creature is known to haunt the coast of East Anglia. It loves to roam graveyards, crossroads, and dark forests. However, it’s what it did at one church in Suffolk that makes this dog famous.  With a clap of thunder it burst through the doors of the church, ran through the body of the church, and killed a man and a boy. It caused the church’s steeple to collapse through the roof of the church (That’s probably what killed the man and boy). It left scorch marks on the door when it left.

The Cŵn Annwn come from Welsh myth. Their name means the “hounds of Annwn” which is the otherworld. They are associated with the Wild Hunt and, supposedly, their growling is loudest when they are the farthest away. As the come closer it grows softer. Creepy, huh? People view them as a death portent as well.

So, most hellhounds are associated with death and/or hell. In A Prescription for Delirium, my hell hounds are werewolves possessed by demons. So, they actually are from hell. There are many more stories of different types of black dogs. You should really check them out.
Do you like reading about the supernatural? Get A Prescription for Delirium for jusr $0.99 today and tomorrow (Thursday and Friday) on Amazon.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

This Week in The Eclipse

So, a couple of news type things this week. I promise to get back to our fun forays into the supernatural world next week.

First, I have completed the first draft of Omega Effect. Woot! I once again defeated the demon of procrastination. Heh. Then I realized that I had too much plot going on for one book. So, it is getting split into two: A Dose of Brimstone and Omega Effect (yes in that order). What does this mean for you and me?

Well for me, I have A SHIT TON of more work to do. For you, it means that A Dose of Brimstone probably won't be out by December. When I release it I can't say at the moment, but I'm hoping it won't be delayed for more that one or two months.

Second, Monday is my birthday. I have survived another year on this crazy planet. In celebration, A Prescription for Delirium will be $.99 on Amazon for August 26th-August 30th. If you haven't got it yet, here's you chance.

That's all I have to announce...for now. But stay tuned for the demon invasion. It's as likely to happen as the zombie apocalypse.

Next Week: Hellhounds.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Cover Reveal: Grimoire Saga by S.M. Boyce

Fantasy & paranormal novelist S. M. Boyce is releasing brand new covers for her YA Fantasy series, the Grimoire Saga. And man, are they visually stunning. Take a look!  
Lichgates (Grimoire Saga #1) Treason (Grimoire Saga #2) Heritage (Grimoire Saga #3) Illusion (Grimoire Saga #4)

Lichgates (Grimoire Saga #1)

Lichgates (Grimoire Saga #1) Fans of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and Eragon will enjoy this contemporary remix of the classic epic fantasy genre
Kara Magari is about to discover a beautiful world full of terrifying things—Ourea. Kara, a college student still reeling from her mother’s recent death, has no idea the hidden world of Ourea even exists until a freak storm traps her in a sunken library. With no way out, she opens an ancient book of magic called the Grimoire and unwittingly becomes its master, which means Kara now wields the cursed book’s untamed power. Discovered by Ourea's royalty, she becomes an unwilling pawn in a generations-old conflict—a war intensified by her arrival. In this world of chilling creatures and betrayal, Kara shouldn’t trust anyone… but she’s being hunted and can’t survive on her own. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows to keep her safe. And though she doesn’t know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing. For twelve years, Braeden Drakonin has lived a lie. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. Though he begins to care for this human girl, there is something he wants more. He wants the Grimoire. Welcome to Ourea, where only the cunning survive.

Grab your FREE copy


Treason (Grimoire Saga #2)

Treason (Grimoire Saga #2)
Kara Magari ignited a war when she stumbled into Ourea and found the Grimoire: a powerful artifact filled with secrets. To protect the one person she has left, she strikes a deal that goes against everything she believes in. But things don’t go as planned.
Braeden Drakonin can no longer run from who—and what—he is. He has to face the facts. He’s a prince. He’s a murderer. He’s a wanted man. And after a betrayal that leaves him heartbroken, he’s out for blood. To survive, both Kara and Braeden must become the evil each has grown to hate.  

Grab Your Copy


Heritage (Grimoire Saga #3)

Heritage (Grimoire Saga #3)
Available Fall 2013
In 2013, the saga continues with Heritage. Kara is forced to face a past she never knew existed, and Braeden must prove his loyalty to the brother who still wants him dead. (Set to release in Fall 2013.)

Bookmark Now


Illusion (Grimoire Saga #4)

Illusion (Grimoire Saga #4)
Available Fall 2014
In 2014, the Grimoire Saga ends with Illusion. Blood is spilled. Love is tested. Loyalty fades. Peace will come at a hefty cost. And in the final moments of the war, both Braeden and Kara must make a heartbreaking sacrifice to win. (Set to release in Fall 2014.)

Bookmark Now

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cover Reveal: Sacrifice by Jessica Fortunato

Sacrifice is the second book in The Sin Collector Trilogy by author Jessica Fortunato.  Also from Fortunato is The Sin Collector, The Sin Collector: Thomas, Steam and the short story Banished which can be found in the Nocturnal Embers Anthology.  She lives in Pittsburgh PA with her family, a clumsy black cat, and year round Halloween decorations.

You can find Jessica:
Find The Sin Collector: Sacrifice, exclusively for Kindle August 30th, 2013!

As an immortal Sin Collector, Liliana lead a transient life of solitude for over one-hundred years. 
Now with a growing family, she has found herself liking normalcy and the façade of being human.  However, when old friends begin to turn up dead, it is clear Collectors are not safe.  The battle that Liliana thought she’d won, has only just begun.
She must save herself, her family, and her friends from the Castus, a fanatical group sworn to eradicate her kind. 

As Liliana travels the globe making allies, and discovering secrets, she soon learns that the threat to her safety is closer than she ever thought possible.

Today only, you can pick up The Sin Collector FREE!  Click Here, begin the journey, and Get Collected.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Where do demons come from?

Cultures throughout the ages have had their versions of demons. In most, demons are the personification of evil, pain, and suffering. They exploit weakness already in man and are said to have many powers that can torment or can allure men.
Ancient Akkadian texts alluded that evil spirits were sent by evil gods. In Persia, the prophet Zoroaster preached about the doctrine of evil. The world was split between an ultimate Good, named Ormazd, and an ultimate evil, Ahriman. Ahriman had 6 archdemons, known as Daevas, to fight Ormazd’s 6 archangels. And, of course, they controlled countless numbers of lower demons.
The Hebrews attributed the “false gods” of other religions to being demons. One particular favorite was Moloch, the devourer of children. Tales said that his follower would place their children on his burning idol and sacrifice them for protection, health, and long life. (Note: I think he will be used in a future book. *Rubs hands together with an evil laugh.*)
The term demon actually came from the Greek term daimon, which means spirit or lesser deity. Many of the spirits resided in the Greek Underworld, a place so frightening to man that they would not even speak the name of Hades, the god of the Underworld. The Romans did what they always did and added the Greek pantheon to their own. So the daimons became daemons.
When Christianity rose, it was in Rome. They incorporated other religions into their own to gain converts. Except, like the Hebrews (since Christianity started as an offshoot of the Hebrew religion), a lot of the deities became demons, especially the darker or “evil” gods. Now, we have a whole hierarchy of demons in hell associated with the Christian religion.

This is just touching the surface. You can find variations of demons in India, Africa, the middle East, Japan, and China. All come with their own special mythos. I guess, all around the world, we have something to name our fears after. Be sure to check out A Prescription for Delirium for some of the demons found in lore.

*This is a repost from my blog tour. The original post is found on Happy Tails and Tales.