Monday, May 27, 2024

The Evorath Trilogy by Joseph P Macolino


The Birth of Death
The Evorath Trilogy
Book One
Joseph P Macolino

Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Free Dragon Press LLC
Date of Publication: August 11, 2016
ISBN: 978-0997883800
ASIN: B01K9PRWQA
Number of pages: 377 pages

Book Description: 

Clues that lead deep beneath the surface.  Rituals to summon an ancient power. 

In a world filled with magic, can good stop a hungry evil? 

Lieutenant Artimus Atyrmirid feels unsettled. As a talented archer and head investigator for the kingdom, the pragmatic elf tries to brush aside the flaws others claim are infiltrating his picture-perfect realm. But he senses a shift when a breakthrough in a bizarre kidnapping case puts him face to face with a devilish villain.

Mage Savannah Sylvanas is on a personal quest for justice. Delighted to be assigned to the rangers’ top investigative squad, the former druid drives herself hard to impress her new leader. And she’s horrified when their venture into an abandoned dwarven mine ends with half the team’s minds corrupted by a lurking darkness.



The Rise of Yezurkstal
The Evorath Trilogy
Book Two
Joseph P Macolino

Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Free Dragon Press LLC
Date of Publication: July 11, 2023
ISBN: 978-0997883824
ASIN: B0C6JRCBV4
Number of pages: 394 pages

Book Description: 

A year ago, he was forced to retreat. Now he’s back for revenge. Will the people of Evorath be able to stand against his terrifying new power?

Yezurkstal is more determined than ever to reshape the forest of Erathal in his image. He’s done hiding and ready to lead the dark elves to build a new empire in Erathal. His plan is guaranteed to succeed after he creates a spell to lure unsuspecting humans into his army.

Evorath's heroes are once again called upon to fight. With new allies joining the cause, they unite to stand against the rising evil. But as Yezurkstal's power increases, time is running out, and the challenge is greater than ever before.

Will Yezurkstal and his undead army prevail over the heroes of Evorath or has he finally met his match?

The Rise of Yezurkstal is the thrilling second novel in the Evorath epic high fantasy series. If you enjoy reading about characters everyone loves to hate, mythical creatures, and fantasy worlds, you'll love Joseph P Macolino's epic fantasy adventure.



The Battle for Erathal
The Evorath Trilogy
Book Three
Joseph P Macolino

Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Free Dragon Press LLC
Date of Publication: February 20, 2024
ISBN: 978-0-9978838-4-8
ASIN: B0CNHHS4FH
Number of pages: 319 pages

Book Description: 

He just wanted to enjoy this time of peace. But when a familiar evil is unleashed upon the forest of Erathal, will anyone be safe?

Enjoying the time without strife, Irontail works to spread peace and unity throughout the forest of Erathal. Organizing the first ever Festival of Gratitude, he finally feels he is fulfilling his calling as the leader of his centaur village. But his plans are once again hijacked when a familiar villain escapes from imprisonment.

The felite warrior, Tel’ Shira, joins Irontail and the other heroes of Erathal as they plan their counter-offensive. But even her gift of foresight is not enough to prepare her for the upcoming battle against this malevolent foe.

With the future of Erathal on the line, will anyone survive to tell the tale?

The Battle for Erathal is the thrilling conclusion to the Evorath epic fantasy trilogy. 

If you like expansive world-building, heart-pounding battle scenes, and heroic ensembles, you won’t want to miss Joseph P Macolino’s epic fantasy adventure.



About the Author: 

Joseph Macolino has a passion for nature, philosophy, and all things fantasy. An unwavering Christian and self-declared anarchist, he dreams of a future human society where people can truly cooperate and voluntarily exchange ideas, goods, and services. When he’s not writing Evorath, he’s likely outside gardening, spending time watching a show with his family, or reading a book on philosophy.

Considering himself a lifelong student of humanity, Joseph enjoys meeting new people and being exposed to new perspectives. He believes each person’s unique gifts can help contribute to stronger communities and hopes his work encourages others to embrace their gifts. Find out more about him at his website.

https://evorath.com/ 

https://www.facebook.com/Evorath

https://www.instagram.com/evorath/   






Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The Heart of Chenoa by Creole Noir #MagicalRealism



The Heart of Chenoa
The Black Dove Legacy 
Book One
Creole Noir 

Genre: Magical Realism, YA, Coming of Age
Date of Publication: June 2, 2023
ISBN:  979-8396415935
ASIN: B0C6VYSPF1
Number of pages: 275 pages
Word Count:  44,953
Cover Artist: Creole Noir 

Tagline: Everyone knew she was the belle of the ball, and it was hard to imagine anyone ever taking her crown away from her.

Book Description:

The Heart of Chenoa is a heartwarming tale about a young woman's courage to leave her abusive boyfriend and start a new life in a new town. Along the way, she finds a group of misfit friends who become like family to her, including the inseparable siblings Brooke and Jerald, and the popular but conflicted JC, who harbors a secret love for Jerald. As they navigate high school drama and personal trauma, they come together to seek revenge against a conniving classmate, and ultimately learn to embrace their unique gifts and find strength in their bond.

The story explores themes of love, friendship, betrayal, and redemption as the characters navigate their way through the ups and downs of life. Brooke's premonitions and Lucille's powers add a touch of magic to the story, while Jerald learns to control his trauma-induced alter ego. Ultimately, they discover that they have grown and evolved in unexpected ways and that their bond is stronger than anything life can throw at them.


Excerpt:

Amidst the sprawling fields of Chenoa, a small town nestled in the heart of the Texas, a tale of resilience and friendship unfolds. At its core lies the story of a young woman named Indigo, whose journey from darkness to light weaves a tapestry of courage, love, and the transformative power of friendship.

Indigo had known no other reality than the one she shared with her abusive boyfriend, Troy. The shackles of fear bound her tightly, choking the life out of her dreams. But one fateful night, fueled by a flicker of courage ignited deep within her heart, she made the decision to break free.

With nothing but a few belongings and a trembling resolve, Indigo set out on a journey to start anew in a town where nobody knew her name. Chenoa welcomed her with open arms, offering sanctuary from the storm that had raged within her for far too long.

As Indigo tentatively navigated the unfamiliar school of her new home, she stumbled upon a group of misfits whose warmth and acceptance enveloped her like a comforting embrace. Among them were Brooke and Jerald, inseparable siblings whose laughter echoed through the halls of Chenoa High School, and JC, whose inner turmoil simmered beneath his charming exterior.

Together, they formed an unlikely family, bound not by blood but by the unbreakable ties of friendship and shared experiences. Each member of their motley crew bore scars of their own, but together, they found solace in the company of kindred spirits.

As high school dramas unfolded and personal traumas resurfaced, Indigo and her newfound companions stood united against the tide of adversity. They rallied together to seek justice against a conniving classmate, their bonds growing stronger with each shared victory.

But beneath the surface of their idyllic friendship lay secrets waiting to be unearthed. JC harbored a love for Jerald that dared not speak its name, while Brooke's premonitions whispered of futures yet to unfold. And in the shadows, Jerald battled with the demons of his past, struggling to tame the beast within.

Yet through it all, they clung to each other, their hearts intertwined in a tapestry of love and loyalty. As they confronted their deepest fears and embraced their unique gifts, they discovered that strength lies not in solitude but in the unbreakable bonds of friendship.

In The Heart of Chenoa, amidst the Spanish moss trees and the whispering winds, Indigo and her friends learned that the greatest battles are fought not with fists but with hearts open wide. And as they embraced the magic woven into the fabric of their lives, they found redemption in the unlikeliest of places: within themselves, and within the hearts of those they held dear.


About the Author:

Creole Noir is an author who has a passion for writing stories that not only bring suspense, but also delve into deeper themes of social justice and class disparities. His debut novel Cry of the Black Dove follows London and her friends as they embark on a mission to get revenge after being wronged by those in power. Creole hopes his work will help readers think about these issues and the marginalization that often follows. Outside of writing, he enjoys hosting a podcast with Kinky Boots. Creole currently lives in Tyler, Texas where he obtained an Associates degree in General Studies from Tyler Junior College before engaging in healthcare labor such as caregiving and teaching life skills. He now writes full-time.

Keep in touch with Creole Noir's work by following him on Instagram or checking out his podcast. He loves hearing from readers about their favorite stories and characters. With Creole Noir’s vivid imagination and captivating voice, each of his novels will keep you hooked until the very end.

Keep in touch with Creole Noir via the web:






Thursday, May 16, 2024

Susanna Strom's Author Journey #PNR #Shifter #FatedMates


I was destined to become a romance author. When I was a kid, a local TV station showed an old black-and-white movie about King Arthur. I was swept up by Guinevere and Lancelot's forbidden love. At the end of the movie, when she renounced their relationship and entered a nunnery, I was horrified. Love stories require happy endings. I wrote a strongly worded letter of protest and mailed it to the local TV station. What I hoped to achieve is beyond me, but even as a child, I wanted to go on record as a true believer in the happy ever after.

Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I wrote stories. Most of them were pure wish-fulfillment. My heroines were kidnapped by aliens, carried off by pirates, or fought Nazis. Eventually, college, graduate school, marriage, and motherhood sidelined my creative writing. I always meant to get back to it someday, but real life kept me busy and I procrastinated. After my children grew up and left home, I had a come-to-Jesus moment. If I wanted to be a writer, I needed to get cracking. No death bed regrets about unfulfilled dreams for me.

I joined writers groups and studied craft. It took a few years and a lot of trial and error to figure out the writing system that works with how my brain is wired. (A big shout out to Becca Syme, who introduced me to Cliftons Strengths. Without her, I’d still be a wannabe author.) I discovered that I’m an intuitive/discovery writer. I have to live the story along with my characters in order to see what happens next. No outlines or plotting, no character sketches, no beat sheets. Attempting to outline shuts down my creative muse. 

When I start writing a new book, everything I know about that story would fit on a note card. It’s like taking a leap of faith into the dark. Yet this system always works. My intuition knows what to do before my conscious mind does. My mantra is “my back brain will provide” and I move forward in faith that the story and characters will come.

After I finished the first draft of my first novel, I looked at my favorite author’s copyright page. I hired her developmental editor and cover designer, women I’m still working with. I’m an indie author, but I signed a contract with a digital distributor that allows me to have my books available both wide and in Kindle Unlimited. 

I write what I love—steamy paranormal and post-apocalyptic romance. Right now, I’m getting ready for the release of my first enemies-to-lovers story, Marked Under the Midnight Sun. I’m also working on the fourth book in my Black Rock Guardians series, Beneath a Shifter’s Sky. I’m living my dream.

Marked Under the Midnight Sun
Black Rock Guardians 
Book Three
Susanna Strom

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Cougar Creek Publishing, LLC
Date of Publication: May 21, 2024
ISBN: 9781960382092
ASIN: B0CKKXFYFC
Cover Artist: Lori Jackson 

Tagline: He was loaded for bear. And he still wasn’t ready for her… 

Book Description:

Viggo

I do jobs no one else in my pack can do. Dirty jobs.

Like kidnapping Liv Hagen.

I didn’t want to do it. I was just following my alpha’s orders.

I never thought my bear would think she’s ours.

But there’s no way I can keep her. The consequences are too dire.

So, when the time comes, I’ll have no choice but to surrender her to fate.

Even if it kills me…

Liv

Kidnapped, held captive, and used as a bargaining chip against the Black Rock Guardians.

Yeah. Seems about right for my luck.

But if the big, bad bear shifter thinks I’m going to submit to his—or anyone’s—will, he’s got another thing coming.

Which is why I’ll just have to ignore my attraction to the sexy jerk. It’s probably Stockholm syndrome, anyway.

I mean, it’s not like he’s my fated mate or anything… right?

Marked Under the Midnight Sun, Book 3 in the Black Rock Guardians Series, is a lightly angsty, enemies to lovers paranormal romance with plenty of spice and tense moments, and just the right amount of suspense, action, and adventure. Download today and get ready for the supernatural romance you didn’t know you needed.

Amazon     Kobo     Apple     BN     Books2Read      

Excerpt:

Liv huddled next to the campfire, a flimsy Mylar sleeping bag wrapped around her shoulders. Soaking wet, her cheeks flushed scarlet from the frigid air, the human was in trouble. The sun had dipped below the horizon and the temperature was plummeting.

I glanced at my shivering captive. “Gimme your coat, dress, and boots.”

“What?” she sputtered. “Dude, I’m not stripping in front of you.”

My lip quirked. Nobody but this feisty, gotta-be-freezing-her-ass-off woman would dare call me dude. Most pack mates cringed in my presence, and referred to me as Mr. Creed, or sir.
Not Liv.

“You’ll never warm up if you spend the night in wet clothes.” I pointed at the sticks wedged into the ground next to the campfire. “I’ll put your things close to the flames to dry out.”

“Forget it.” She yanked the emergency sleeping bag up to her ears.

I bit the inside of my cheek. I never got a good look at her body underneath the sodden down parka, but her legs were shapely and I bet her figure matched.

What the hell am I doing?

Was there any thing more pointless, more self-destructive than being attracted to the woman I’m turning over to my heartless alpha?

Time to shut this shit down.

I stepped toward her and deliberately shaped my features into an intimidating scowl.

“You telling me you’d rather freeze to death than take off your wet clothes?”

She didn’t answer, probably realizing how foolish she’d sound if she said yes.

“My orders are to bring you safe and sound to Medved. I can’t let you get hypothermia.”

“And a flunky like you doesn’t dare disappoint his alpha, right?” Scorn dripped from her voice.

“That’s right.” No point in taking offense when she spoke the truth. I lowered my chin and put command into my voice. “So either you strip or I’ll do it for you.”

Color returned to her cheeks in an angry flush. “Try it, buddy, and you’ll lose a hand.”
I could easily overpower the mouthy woman and peel her clothes off. Grizzly shifter versus human? Hell, no contest. Liv wasn’t stupid. She had to realize how powerless and vulnerable she was. Still, she jutted out her chin, and her pretty brown eyes shot sparks.

Rubbing the back of my neck, I debated how to handle the insolent human. I’d ripped her away from everybody and everything she knew. Her next few days were bound to be rough, especially if she shot off her mouth in front of Medved. Why not cut her some slack? If she saw me as a reasonable man, she might be more willing to listen when I warned her to mind her manners in front of my alpha.

“How about I turn around and look the other way while you undress?” I proposed.

The fingers clutching the top of the sleeping bag had turned bone white, and she trembled from the cold. “Fine,” she said reluctantly. “Do it.”

I put my back to her. “Just don’t get any crazy ideas about picking up a branch and clobbering me.”

She snorted. “We’re in the middle of godforsaken nowhere.” I heard rustling as she dropped the sleeping bag and shed her wet clothes. My imagination filled in the details as I imagined her naked behind me. “Even if I managed to knock you out, where would I go?”


About the Author:

Susanna loves to read―and write―stories full of complex characters who find love, hope, and connection while navigating through an exciting and dangerous world. Susanna lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and two very spoiled cats.






Susanna’s Stormers, Facebook Readers Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1572291033136914 







Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Guest Blog- Bound Across Time by Annie R McEwen #ParanormalRomance


A writing career isn’t the lounge-chair-on-the-beach endeavor some people make it out to be. It contains equal parts worry, exaltation, hard work, and more worry. There are few pursuits that can capture my attention enough to both give me a mental vacation and restore my creative energies. Researching and constructing period clothing is one.

If you ask me to describe the first historical garment I created, I’m afraid I can’t. A Medieval nun’s habit for a high school play? A 16th century Persian outfit for a RenFest? Whatever it was, it launched a decades-long fascination.

Period clothing is an affective experience, involving all my senses and firing my imagination. With every thread-wound button I make and the feather I tilt just so in my cap, I wander the streets of London when Shakespeare was alive and the (first) Globe Theatre was still standing. In circa 1901 mourning attire, I attend a funeral and then recover in a Suffragette tearoom. In mid-1700s Creek Indian clothing, I argue with a Scots trader in North Florida who won’t give me a new knife in exchange for the deerskin I’ve cured. On the promenade in 1820 Brighton, I blush deeply under my straw bonnet brim when a certain gentleman gives me a smile. My drop spindle creates yarn from raw wool, as I sit and spin in my 10th century Anglo-Saxon costume.

Go on, pick an era and place…I’ve probably got the outfit. I won’t say I’ve never purchased something, but ninety percent of what’s hanging in my wardrobe or packed in a tower of hatboxes in my bedroom was made by my own hands.

The historical clothing I make and the historical fiction I write are two sides of the same coin. Historical garmenture, for me, is a tutorial in the people and times about which I write. Clothing from the past—whether Victorian corsetry or Jacobean embroidery—always makes it into my books.

My paranormal romance, Bound Across Time, features CeCe, a hardline paranormal denier who falls in love with an 18th century ghost. Her first clue that Patrick, the handsome man she’s just met in a castle tower, isn’t from the Here and Now is his clothing: loose linen shirt, coarse wool breeches, knitted hose, and leather shoes with buckles. Over the course of the novel, clothing—his, hers, theirs, on, off—is an extended metaphor for impossibly different worlds trying very hard to mesh.

Some of the historical clothing I’ve made is on my website: www.anniermcewen.com. While you’re there, Subscribe to my once-a-month, always entertaining, and sometimes completely lunatic e-newsletter. In love and corsets, I am…ANNIE

 

Bound Across Time
Book One
Annie R McEwen 

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Ghost Romance
Publisher: Harbor Lane Books
Date of Publication: May 7, 2024
ASIN: B0CV4RPDDX
Number of pages: 324

Tagline: In a castle on the shores of the Irish Sea, she’s met the love of her life. Clever, witty, strong, fiercely attractive.  What’s the catch? He’s a ghost.

Book Description:

Historian CeCe’s dream job in a Welsh castle goes sideways when she’s ordered to ditch the history and lead ghost walks. That’s the worst of her worries until she meets Patrick: strong, handsome, irresistible…and dead since 1761.

Desire and hope flare in Patrick’s heart when CeCe touches him while, for CeCe, Patrick is everything. But she’s in the bright world of the living while he’s trapped in the shadows. 

Loving a ghost is deadly business. Patrick and CeCe struggle to outrace fate as it hurtles them toward disaster. Can the ancient riddle of an Irish seer save them? The spells of Welsh witches? 

Or can powers CeCe didn’t even know she possessed bridge time and defeat death?

Book Trailer: https://shorturl.at/ajuE0


Excerpt from Bound Across Time, by Annie R McEwen

You’re an idjit, Patrick. Death was always too good for you.

He should have gone slower with her, no doubt about it. He was a lout, a brute, to startle her so thoroughly, and that was never his intent. He could have—no, he should have—whispered, or moaned, or shimmered from a distance. Instead, he was hasty.

Hasty? He was a burning brand of desire. Who could blame him after two hundred-fifty…how long had it been? He’d lost count of the years.

That was still no reason to be an imbecilic knave, popping up like codswalloping Punch on a puppet stage while wearing the same filthy linen he was tipped overboard in when the Earl didn’t have the decency to give him a proper burial. At least the sea water had washed away the blood.

His honor, his common sense—perhaps they’d washed away as well. Within reach of this woman, he could remember nothing he’d learned of subtle romance and courtly manners. All he could think of was making her his, now until the end of time.

What an embarrassment he was, to his sainted mother, to his upbringing, to the gentleman he was reared to be. An embarrassment to every Irish bard who ever sang songs or wrote poems about women who were doves, and lilies, and other things he couldn’t remember.

He did remember that they were fragile and easily startled. Easily driven away.
Next time, I will be slow. I will slowly and gently explain things to her. Unusual things. Highly unusual, uncanny, frightening, nigh incomprehensible things.

Sure, now, Patrick, me boyo, that’ll be a stroll along the banks of the Shannon.

By the right hand of God, but she was beautiful. Slumbering on the stone floor, her skin smooth ivory but gilded, as though the sun had kissed her once and then fallen in love, unable to leave. She’d lost her cap, and her hair—rich, deep brown and burnished with red, like brandy—tumbled around her neck and shoulders. Her sun-brushed skin, high and perfect cheekbones, the delicate slant of her eyes, the plump swell of her breasts above the top edge of her bodice, the curves of the body he could imagine pressed to his own aching and lonely one…

Beauty itself, she was, not only of body but of mind. In the weeks before she’d seen him, he’d watched her exercise that beautiful mind among the slower thinkers of the Castle, who doubtless envied her. She was stubborn, spirited, and quick-witted—he liked that.
He crouched over her crumpled form, not touching, only taking in her scent. Rose attar and mint—he liked that, too.

The only thing he didn’t care for was the name she went by, See-see. What sort of name was that? It was something you called a canary. He would never call her that, not when the French name with which she’d been christened was just like her.

Céleste, meaning heavenly.

She was waking now. He rose and backed away. Time for him to depart, as he must, and breathe a prayer. Not for himself, there was no point to that. If God had ever listened to him, he wouldn’t be where he was, and he deserved no better. His prayer would be for her, the angel who defied or escaped God’s curse to light his endless night.

Come back, Céleste Gowdie. Please come back.




About the Author:

Annie R McEwen is a career historian who’s lived in six countries, under every roof from a canvas tent to a Georgian Era manor house and driven herself to work in everything from a donkey cart to a vintage Peugeot. For her, it feels perfectly natural to create stories of desperate love and powerful secrets in faraway times and places.

Winner of the 2022 Page Turners Award, Genre (Romance) Category, Annie also garnered the First Place 2022 RTTA (Romance Through Ages Award from Romance Writers of America; Post-Victorian to WWI Category), the 2023 MAGGIE Award, and the 2023 Daphne du Maurier Award. Her Regency murder mystery “Death at Dunarven” appears in the 2024 Murder Most International Anthology. 

Annie’s books are published by Harbor Lane Books (US), Bloodhound Books (UK), and The Wild Rose Press. When she’s not in her 1920s bungalow in Florida, Annie lives, writes, and explores castles in Wales. 









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Monday, May 13, 2024

The Crystalline Crucible by Adam Rowan


The Crystalline Crucible
Adam Rowan

Genre: New Adult 
Publisher: Spinning Monkey Press
Date of Publication:  May 14, 2024
ISBN: 9798985769562
ASIN: B0CXYM3R8B
Word Count: 90000 

Tagline: Treasure comes in many forms

Book Description: 

Maxwell Jacobs, a neurodivergent 21-year-old with a passion for knights, Tetris and cheese sandwiches, harbours an audacious dream-to become the greatest treasure hunter in England. 

His chance comes with The Crystalline Crucible, a treasure-hunting contest promising untold wealth and answers to the world's biggest secrets. However, Max's mission gets off to a rocky start when he's arrested for breaking into a museum in search of a clue. His fear of leaving his hometown, Stapleford, his cynical best friend, Rosie Shaw, and his clumsy, awkward nature only serve to complicate things further. Overall, his prospects seem dim. 

That is, until Max crosses paths with Khalil Ahmed, a former criminal seeking redemption and quick cash. Despite their differences, their shared desperation draws them into The Crystalline Crucible. Together, they'll decipher cryptic clues and embark on an epic nationwide adventure, with high stakes and a singular goal: to find treasure!

Amazon      Books2Read     BN     Smashwords     Amazon UK     Apple

CHAPTER 1: THE WOOLLY MAMMOTH THIEF

In the seven-decade-long existence of the Nottingham Natural History Museum, no break-in had ever occurred until five a.m. on one fateful Saturday. The trespasser’s name was Maxwell Oscar Jacobs, a local retail worker. In his spare time, he enjoyed playing Tetris, doing crossword puzzles, and—his preferred pastime—a spot of treasure hunting.

With a stone he’d found on the pavement, Max had smashed the museum’s back window and climbed into it by balancing on a rubbish bin. Shortly thereafter, he padded warily through the geology exhibit surrounded by models of Earth, not enjoying the experience in the slightest. Surveillance cameras mounted above on the wall scanned him, but he dearly hoped the authorities hadn’t been dispatched to arrest him. They shouldn’t be. After all, he hadn’t poured chocolate milk on the power box outside for nothing.

Max was twenty-one years old, rather tall with stick insect limbs. Bright blond hair and a poorly cut fringe topped his head. He wore a grey Cookie Monster hoodie, straight-legged jeans, Mickey Mouse socks and a cheap, halfbroken children’s watch with coloured numbers. He also wore blue trainers with the shoelaces undone and carried a Tony the Tiger rucksack in which to store the mammoth tusk he was after. To top it all, he had a scabbard that held a broadsword called Fleshrender, Max’s favourite possession.

Pacing along, he thought passingly that he should have dressed the part more and put on a ski mask. His heart pounded as he passed by the dinosaur exhibit, unease assailing him. It was too late to go home at this point. He just had to find the mammoth tusk before daylight.

He gathered himself, drew his sword and focused on not tripping while he navigated through the dark, winding corridors. Even the smallest of noises made him jump—broadsword at the ready—as he crept through the empty halls.

With the lights off, the museum was practically a haunted house. While he tiptoed into the zoology section, glimmering rays of moonlight streamed in through the windows, falling gently over him. Shadowed model animals lined the walls, felt rabbits and plastic spiders sitting on table displays. A frightening bear stood with its paws raised and its sharp jaws wide open as if
ready to pounce on him at a moment’s notice. Max’s eyes widened, but within seconds he discerned to his relief it was just taxidermy.

At last, the mammoth appeared behind a red security barrier not far away. With every muscle tensed, he gazed in awe at its gigantic figure. But his jaw dropped as he realised, despite how carefully he had planned this mission, he’d forgotten one crucial part: how to extract the mammoth tusk out of the skeleton. It looked like it’d been screwed in tightly. Should’ve
brought a screwdriver. Oh, bother.

Pushing his shoulders back, he sheathed his weapon, strode right up to
the mammoth and peered at the display label. It read:

This woolly mammoth skeleton was discovered in 1925 by a team of esteemed archaeologists in rural Devon. It was the first almost entirely preserved specimen ever uncovered in England. It is a relic of priceless historical value. DO NOT TOUCH.

Deciding to disobey and wrest the tusk out, Max stepped over the maroon rope that encircled the mammoth and wrapped his hands around it. Like Arthur pulling the sword from the stone, there was nothing else to do but pull really, really hard.

After counting down from three, he tugged the mammoth tusk towards him with all his might. It took a few tries, but finally the tusk separated from the woolly mammoth skeleton with a nasty crack, and he fell on his backside.

Yet before he could rejoice, he heard the sound of a creak.

A door opened across the room.

“PUT YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR BACK! LAY DOWN ON THE GROUND!”

Max turned around and scrambled to his feet, mouth wide open. Police with intimidating weapons emerged out of nowhere, swarming him. He gaped at the approaching horde before looking back down at the tusk. This couldn’t be happening.

The thought crossed his mind to run. But what was the point? There were too many police. He was toast!

He dropped the mammoth tusk on the floor and unsheathed his sword.

“Listen, this is all a b-big misunderstanding,” he stuttered.

“NO MISUNDERSTANDING!” a second officer yelled, a woman in a navy tunic with a bulletproof vest. She inched over to him. “HANDS BEHIND YOUR BACK NOW!”

Max stared at the police, aghast. They think I’m a criminal. How ridiculous. I’m just an innocent treasure hunter!

“Let me e-explain. It’s v-very, very important for you to let me eexplain,” Max stammered.

He pointed his sword at them threateningly, before spotting a paunchy man who held what looked like a laser pointer and was aiming it at him.

Max swung the sword around as a warning. “Please. If you’d just give me a second to clear this up, I’m sure that—arghhh!”

His words cut out with a bloodcurdling scream. Electricity surged through his body. The red dot he’d seen on his chest hadn’t been from a laser pointer at all, but a taser. Limbs spasming, Max fell onto the floor and crumpled into a ball as the police closed in on him.

About the Author: 

Author Adam Rowan’s passion for writing began in childhood, although he admits his early attempts were far from perfect. After a hiatus during his teenage years, Adam rediscovered his love for writing in his early twenties and has been dedicated to improving his craft ever since. In 2022, MotherButterfly Books published Adam's first novel. His second book, The Crystalline Crucible, is published by Spinning Monkey Press and is inspired by his experiences growing up in England. When he's not immersed in the world of writing, Adam is an electronic musician and avid film fan. With the support of his family, Adam continues to pursue his writing dreams, understanding that patience is key in the journey of creating a book. 



Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/3w3uH0d 



Wednesday, May 1, 2024

The Divine and Deadly by Taylen Carver #ContemporaryFantasy


The Divine and Deadly
Magorian and Jones
Book Five 
Taylen Carver

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Publisher:  Stories Rule Press
Date of Publication:  April 18, 2024

ISBN: Amazon 9781779432049
ASIN: B0CQ98S9GK
Number of pages:  220 
Word Count:  81,000 words
Cover Artist:  Dar Albert

Book Description:

The old gods have arrived, ready to punish humans and Old Ones with tribulations that resemble hell on Earth.  

Magorian, the world’s first modern wizard, and Dr. Michael Jones, failed to stop the Siren, Aurelius, from summoning the old gods.  Now the world is reeling from the destruction that Agrona, God of Slaughter and Carnage, is hailing down upon every mortal, no matter what their race.

Magorian and Jones must find a way to send the old gods back to where they came from before their ways crack open the world and destroy everyone upon it, both human and Old Ones.

The Divine and Deadly is the final book in the urban fantasy series, Magorian & Jones, by Taylen Carver.



Praise for the Magorian & Jones Series:

1.0: The Memory of Water
2.0: The Triumph of Felix
3.0: The Shield of Agrona
3.1: The Wizard Must be Stopped!
4.0: The Rivers Ran Red
5.0: The Divine and Deadly

Plenty of exciting twists and turns.

Feel the tingling of danger, the aha's of escaping death, and the excitement of magic.

I loved this and will continue on with the series.

I’m a sucker for wounded, conflicted heroes, and Jones was just that.

I loved it; a magnificent first book in this really different new series.

Will definitely look for further books by this author and series.

Fast paced, exciting reads you won't want to put down!

I'm overjoyed to be back in this amazing world building series

I highly recommend this series to all who love fantasy with a twist, adventure, surprises, and the occasional human, aside from one of our human heroes of course

story manages to be more intimate than ever

This book gets dark and gritty right from the beginning and does not shy away

the kind of story that will drag you in and keep you reading

Well paced, good balance between action and character development

Such is the joy of reading the works of an excellent writer with a great imagination and the ability to tell an absolutely fascinating story.

Excerpt: Chapter One

I have watched hundreds of humans suffer through their transformation from human to Old One.  Some say I am an expert in this, but I would dispute that.  I don’t think there are any experts.  Too little is known about the transformation process for anyone to claim the status.  The experience I have lets me ease my patients’ agony a little, and avoids harming them in the process. But no skill of mine changes the course of the transformation by a single micron.

I watched Henry Magorian writhe and twist on the bed I stood beside, reviewing my uselessness, and finding it ironic that I was so helpless.  Henry was Benjamin Magorian’s older brother, and a slimey wretch of a man.  Yet he was my patient. I was required to give him the best care possible.  His family had flown us out to Montreal from Toledo, Spain, on a private and very expensive jet, for this purpose.

Pain is pain.  I hated seeing the man claw at the expensive sheets, the tendons in his neck and wrists standing out like ships’ hawsers.   He wore only boxer briefs and his entire body was bathed in sweat.  He had been sweating for hours, now.  We had changed the sheets twice.
I made myself look away.  Watching him helped no one.  I put the stethascope on the tray table the family had thoughtfully provided and looked at Jaimie.

She held her hands out over Henry’s body, just above the thrashing shoulders, concentrating on whatever information travelled through her palms.  I wasn’t certain what she could detect, for the mystery of fae magic was not readily shared by any of them.  

Jaimie wore her thick pale hair up in a pony tail at the back of her head, which allowed her pointed ears to be seen.  Normally, she was careful to drape her hair over her ears when among humans, but we’d long since passed that consideration.  We’d been in this room for nearly thirty hours, and members of the family had stopped stepping in to check on their cousin/uncle.  

She held her flawless face in a stiff, neutral expression.  She was not allowing herself to show how worried she was.  But I’d had seen too many transitions.  I was worried myself.

“He’s fighting it,” I said.

Jaimie looked up, then back down at her patient.  “Yes.”  

It was the first time either of us had said it, although I think we’d both guessed as soon as we’d walked into the elegant pale blue and cream room.  The family had bundled all three of us, including Ben, onto a jet on standby at Toledo’s small private landing field, the moment Henry Magorian had shown the first signs of transition.  It had taken nine hours to reach Montreal, plus an hour at either end for local travel and ten minutes of lightning-speed packing.  

So we had first seen Henry over eleven hours after he had begun transitioning, and we’d been here, save for small cat naps in the bedroom next door, for thirty hours.  

Forty hours, more or less, and he still showed no physical changes.  

Henry kicked and moaned, then curled up into a tight ball.

“I can take away the pain. A little, at least,” Jaimie said.  Her voice was strained.  She had slept less than I.  Fae could reduce pain by breathing in bad humours—which was not a medieval conceit for them.  It wasn’t as effective as an angel breathing on the patient, but it did work.
“You know the danger in that.”  We’d both learned that reducing the pain too much let the patient relax.  The transition required that they move, so that the metabolism was elevated, allowing the organs to evolve.  The extreme fever was another function of the transition. It was the mechanism that changed the patient’s DNA expression, the key to the transition.  Lowering the body temperature could suspend the transition, too.  

Jaimie put her fingers to her temples.  She had no medical training in her human history. She had been a soldier in the British army.  It was only her transition to a fae that made health work feasible.  She was less used to watching a patient suffer than I, although she would always find it stressful, no matter how used to it she became.  We all did, despite a hardening of one’s empathy once exposed to too much of it.

“He should have changed by now.”  Her voice wavered.  “I don’t know of anyone taking this long.”

“I have seen some cases last this long,” I said grimly.  I didn’t add the remainder of that statement—that everyone who had fought their transition for this long did not survive.  Jaimie didn’t need that additional worry.   It was quite likely she was well aware of this statistic.  I just didn’t want to bring it to the forefront of her thoughts.

“Is there anything else we can do?” Her wonderful silvery eyes were red-rimmed, but still worth staring into.  Even after thirty hours of hard work and worry, even wearing the travel creased clothing she’d arrived in and slept in, she looked wonderful.  

I pushed away the betraying thought and tried to find an answer to her question, for the fear in her voice was real.  It wasn’t fear of death.  She had been a soldier and now was a fae who dispensed magical healing.  She was accustomed to death.

I knew the source of her fear.   This was Henry Magorian.  Ben’s brother.  Jaimie did not want to let Ben down.  She wanted to save Henry for him.  

So did I, even though I had learned to loathe Henry not long after meeting him.  

I’d sent Ben out of the room hours ago.  His pacing and his unhelpful suggestions, along with his anxious questions every time Henry moaned or moved, had not helped either Jaimie or I concentrate.  As far as I knew, Ben was in the next room and, as it was two in the morning, Toledo time, he was probably sleeping, even though bright summer sunlight streamed through the windows.  

It was eight in the evening, Quebec time, on a blazingly hot day, but none of the external weather reached us, for this house had a controlled environment kept at a pleasant twenty-three degrees with just the right degree of humidity.  The window of the room we were in had remained closed and sealed against the heat outside. The view from the window was magnificent, for the house stood high upon the exlsuive Summit area, with a jaw-dropping view of the Old City and the St. Lawrence river twinkling on the horizon.

The Magorian family could afford the luxury of whole-house environmental controls, just as they could afford private transatlantic flights, and bribes to ease an Old One through two nations’ customs and immigration border checks.

Ben had insisted that they make the arrangements to bring Jaimie into the country.  He had argued that Jaimie could help Henry as much as I could. The family, desparate as they were, had complied, although I had no idea what it had taken to make it happen.  Canada was particular about who they let into their country, especially when it came to the Old Ones.  Unlike Spain, Canada had so far refused refugees, although there were many unofficial refugees flooding across the Canada/United Stated border.  Canada was not xenophobic, though.  It was the first country in the world to acknowledge the Old Ones legally.  

Here, Old Ones were not automatically considered “dead” after turning.  They were in a legal limbo, still, but the assets they’d held as a human, and might acquire as an Old One, were also held in legal stasis, rather than passed onto heirs.  It was a half-step toward giving Old Ones full citizenship, or at least residency, and the rights and obligations that came with it.  The government was still arguing the point in Ottawa.

 But Jaimie, despite a lack of indentity documentation, had merely received a nod of acknowledgement from the customs official who had stamped Ben’s and my passports.  I had spotted a photograph of Jaimie attached to his clipboard.

She stared at me now, hope showing in her eyes, as I appeared to be thinking of another way to save Henry Magorian.  

I desparately wanted to come up with a solution.  I wanted her to look at me with relief and gratitude.  I wanted her to….well, that was never going to happen.  But still, I wanted to please her.

So I made myself consider every single possibility.  What had we not done for this horrible man?  What else could we try?

I stared down at his curled up body.  If he continued to fight the transition, it would not end well.  Did he know that?  Did he resent the idea of becoming an Old One so passionately, that he was putting up this marathon resistance?

That gave me an idea.  I looked at Jaimie.  “It’s a long shot.”

“I don’t care.”

That was exactly what I had expected her to say.   “That thing Ben did, in New York, with the proto-wizard?”

“The mind meld?” She didn’t smile at the pop culture name we’d adopted for whatever it was that Ben had done to the man, as she usually did.  She was a huge Star Trek fan, which I found, well, illlogical, given her former profession.  Or perhaps that was exactly why she liked the show so much.  A professional soldier would appreciate a peaceful utopia.   “What of it?” she added.

“If he could reach Henry, he could tell him to stop fighting the transition.”
Jaimie looked down at Henry, who certainly couldn’t hear us now.  “Do you think he doesn’t already know that?”

“He quite likely does know that.  But Henry likes to get his own way.”  He’d fooled Ben into signing over his portion of the family inheritence because he didn’t like Ben’s choice of lifestyle.  “If Ben could appeal to him, let him see…”  I made myself say it.  “Let him see that if he doesn’t let this happen, he’ll die.  Henry’s sense of self-preservation might kick in.”

Jaimie pressed her lips together.  She hadn’t met Henry, but I’m sure Ben had shared with her the reason why he had to rely on his income as a wizard, when his family was so well off.

“I’ll go and get him,” she said.  “A long shot is better than the nothing we’ve got without it.”



About the Author:

Taylen Carver is the pen name used by best-selling author Tracy Cooper-Posey. 

As Taylen Carver, she writes contemporary, epic and urban fantasy stories and novels.  As Tracy Cooper-Posey, she writes romantic suspense, historical, paranormal, fantasy and science fiction romance, plus women’s fiction. She also writes science fiction, including best-selling space opera, under the pen name of Cameron Cooper. 
 
She has published over 180 titles under all pen names since 1999, been nominated for five CAPAs including Favourite Author, and won the Emma Darcy Award. She turned to indie publishing in 2011. Her indie titles have been nominated four times for Book of The Year. Tracy won the award in 2012, a SFR Galaxy Award in 2016 and came fourth in Hugh Howey’s SPSFC#2 in 2023. She has been a national magazine editor and for a decade she taught romance writing at MacEwan University. 

She is addicted to Irish Breakfast tea and chocolate, sometimes taken together. In her spare time she enjoys history, Sherlock Holmes, science fiction and fantasy and ignoring her treadmill. An Australian Canadian, she lives in Edmonton, Canada with her husband, a former professional wrestler, where she moved in 1996 after meeting him on-line.









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