up, thinking inside the terms of adulthood and my choice of study and career, but lately, as I release that imagination again, to give me new worlds and characters to explore, the unicorn is returning as well.
If you’d ask me to pick my favorite creature of myth a few years ago, the choice would have been an easy one. Witches, with their elemental powers born from the earth. They are conduits for nature’s awesome, and perfectly observable, raw magic. Witches are the closest thing we have to being possible, being real, in that regard.
Now with the years creeping up on me, I’d go a different route. Vampires.
They are immortal and at a time when getting myself out of bed each morning reveals a new ache or pain, I’d certainly appreciate the lack of cellular degeneration. Their lasting youthfulness could also fix what is wrong with my reflection in the mirror these days. Can’t you imagine it? No need to waste buckets of money on cosmetics, dental work, fad diets or medical expenses. That alone would have me greedily sucking down the nearest cup of platelets! While in my very own castle, of course.
Alex Owens is the Author of Dark Destiny. You can find out more about Alex here!
Beylin Callaghan belongs to the Brotherhood, an elite band of crow-shifters. His job is to escort souls from one life to the next, while wiping their memories for a fresh start in a new life. But he’s keeping a secret and her name is Pia. He’s loved her for eons, but in this lifetime she doesn’t remember him… yet.
Cassiopeia “Pia” Alexander is floundering. Her love life is non-existent and her only joy is her job as an Animal ER Nurse. Rattled by her crazy dreams—they’re too real to be just her imagination—and being stalked by a big, black bird, well, those things aren’t helping either.
Fate is tossing Beylin and Pia together once more… or is it something far more sinister?
Blog Tour ~ Beyond Death
Author: Deb McEwan
Dates: 22nd of May ~ 2nd of June
Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours
What really happens when we die? Twenty-something Claire Sylvester is about to find out.
The morning after the best night of her life she is taken before her time.
Claire is suspended in her mysterious new world. She watches as the secret lives of those she loves unravels, and sadistic villains are punished on the road to their own personal hell.
All the while a higher authority ponders her ultimate fate.
More than Claire knows depends on her actions and those of the unlikely partner who accompanied her on her journey.
What will be her final destination?
Beyond Death – a supernatural thriller of love and loss, deceit and revenge, with a little romance and humour.
Following thirty odd years in the British Army, Deb and her husband Allan decided to become weather refugees and settle in Cyprus.
Throughout her life Deb has dabbled with writing. Her first book was ‘Reindeer Dreams’ – a quirky rhyming Christmas story for children featuring Barry the reindeer and his family. Her first grown-up books about aliens and unearthly spiders could be explained as off the wall. The Afterlife trilogy came next with a few ‘Jason the Penguin’ books in between.
The first book in the current series ‘Unlikely Soldiers’, is set in 1970s Britain, with others to follow through the decades.
Deb now spends her time writing, working part-time, avoiding housework and playing tour guide along with Allan. She tries to keep the pounds off by playing netball and long-distance walking.
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Review for Beyond Death
Rating: 5 stars
I always love a story that shows us the afterlife. It’s exciting and it’s like someone allows you to see around the bend without going around it. Well beyond death doesn’t disappoint.
It’s written in third person, for me I do love first person but I understand why the author wrote beyond death in third person. The story is told mostly through the eyes of Ron & Claire both killed in a car accident. For Claire it wasn’t her time but the angels can’t put her back so she stays in Limbo with Ron until they decide if she should go to heaven or hell. In the meantime Claire and Ron get to visit earth as often as they like.
This part of the story I loved. I think its human nature to wonder when you die who would go to your funeral? who cries for you? Imagine actually getting to see it all. Claire and Ron do but with it comes secrets they never knew and revelations that shake them. We see how so many things are connected and how one action has a knock on effect. How each choice we make has a consequence whether it be good or bad.
This story made me think about life and regrets and getting to do things over again. It visits the idea of rebirth along with heaven and Hell. We see the good and evil and ones who are remorseful for their actions.
But the fun side is how Ron & Claire get to play detective and alter their families’ lives from the grave. How sometimes when you think someone had to have been watching over you, to survive somethings in life, well maybe someone was. I hope the duo will continue to work together, in book two. 🙂
Overall this was a very unique story that was easy to read. While it will make you think about life it will also entertain.
This is such a hard one for me! I write about so many that to pick one is such a difficult task, but it’s the challenge I’ve been set, so here goes. I think I’ll have to go with Shifters as I’ve been writing about them a lot lately, and I love my hot Wolves. They’re strong but also have flaws, like most of us, well mine do anyway. I know I have many. They are also loyal and will fight to the death to protect those they love. They also allow me to let my imagination run wild with their supernatural abilities, in essence, a writer’s dream.
I enjoy describing their transformation, the sensations they experience in beast form, their attraction to their soulmate, and a host of other things. Basically I just love them. I particularly enjoy it when they meet their match in a mate. When they’re used to being Alpha, in charge all the time, and issuing orders, it’s nice to have someone stand up to them, and sometimes bring them to their knees by love alone. A big gruff Shifter being soft, sensual, and loving makes me all gooey inside, basically I’m a hopeless romantic. However, I also love my fight scenes and relish the times they have to dole out justice to the baddies. I write as much detail into those as I do any other and sometimes I get a wee bit carried away and have to go back and tone it down a bit. I have a tendency to be a little bit too gory at times, so I do have to amend it before publishing.
All in all, I love Wolves because they give me the scope to do with them what I want, and that’s just the way I like it. Plus, they are hot! What’s a lassie not to like?
Ava K Michaels is the Shade: A Wolf’s Hunger Alpha Shifter Romance. You can find out more about Ava here!
Will the cure be worse than the disease for Alpha, Shade Shawcross?
Shade Shawcross is the proud Alpha of the Silver Lake Pack. He thinks he’s suppressed the abnormal Hunger that’s consumed him. He’s wrong. His two best friends, and Betas, know what’s going on and are determined to help their Alpha.
Shade reluctantly agrees to embark on a search for the cure. The three friends scour the Pack’s newly digitized Archives, and all are shocked at what is revealed. Once his Wolf takes over, Shade is forced to succumb to the calling of the Goddess’ gift: his soulmate.
With his mate on the run from her Alpha, Pack, and her father, Shade finds the path to his mate far from smooth. Add to the mix a trio of brothers seeking revenge against Shade for a slight against their scheming sister Shade once bedded. The situation becomes explosively dangerous.
Can Shade keep his mate, and his Pack safe? Or will fate deal him a hand full of death and destruction?
Shade: A Wolf’s Hunger Alpha Shifter Romance from New York Times Best Selling Author, A K Michaels. A thrilling paranormal romance filled with hot Alpha males and fiery females, excitement, and adventures galore.
When the moon and the sun Are joined as one, From tears of strife, from the bitter ashes, From sorrow and from rageThat what was once partedShall again be one.
First Captain Vanyar: Disgraced. Outlawed. Haunted by the chilling murder of his own men, he is consumed by guilt and knows he can never find redemption for his crimes. The most talented Shape-Shifter ever born, only he can save Princess Iyumi from a Witch’s evil, and help her find the child of prophecy. But his Atani brothers, seeking justice for the slaying of Vanyar’s unit, plan his private execution against the King’s orders.
Princess Iyumi: She is the legendary “She Who Hears”, the voice of the gods, and the gods’ chosen tool. Only she knows where to find the child spoken of in the ancient prophecy, the child who will unite two feuding countries and protect the world of magic from obliteration. Caught between two warring men, only her love is hers to give, to offer to the only man she ever wanted.
Prince Flynn: Despised by his own people, cruelly abused by his father, he fights to hide his magical gifts from those who would slay him for possessing them. By blood and by fire, he gains a terrible power, and condemns his own soul. He must find Princess Iyumi and the child, and bring them to his father’s mistress, the Red Witch. Or the only people who ever mattered to him, his mother and his sister, will die.
About the AuthorA. Katie Rose is a workaholic living in San Antonio, Texas. With her day job as a photographer, she writes in what little remains of her spare time. She enjoys long walks, reading (when possible), watching movies, red wine, and drinking beer around a fire with friends. Among her extracurricular activities, she rides her horses and rescues cats.
A Colorado native, she earned her B.A. in literature and history at Western State College, in Gunnison, Colorado. Her first novel, In a Wolf’s Eyes, was published in April of 2012. Her second book, Catch a Wolf, was released in July, 2013. The third of the series, Prince Wolf, was released in May of 2014. The Unforgiven was published in March of 2015. Book Four, Under the Wolf’s Shadow was published in June of 2016. She is busy working on the fifth of the Saga of the Black Wolf series, The Kinslayer.
Blog Tour ~ The Blood of the Infected Series
Author: Antony J. Stanton
Tour Dates: 15th – 19th of May
“Once Bitten, Twice Die” by Antony J. Stanton
The end of the world was just the beginning.
A cure for dementia has disastrously failed. Patients are left crazed, infectious and enraged. The ensuing carnage quickly spreads the disease, and civilisation is decimated.
On London’s outskirts a military base shelters some survivors. The soldiers within must battle against the infected who now roam unchallenged. Tensions are high, relationships fraught, death commonplace.
But if they thought the end of the world was bad enough, their troubles have only just begun…
An ancient menace has long existed in secret alongside humanity – a vampire clan, which has recently encountered the soldiers. Now is their time to emerge from the shadows. First though they have to overcome their own problems. They too have to fight for survival against the infected, and they violently disagree on their approach towards the humans.
Hostilities are rising. It’s only a matter of time now…
Book two from ‘The Blood of the Infected’ series: “Once Bitten, Twice Live”
When death is the best option, survival is no longer enough…
With a growing realization that their continued existence bestows upon them a debt to humanity, the survivors look to create a cure for the insanity that has brought civilization to its knees. But that only encourages disagreement and infighting, and comes at a heavy price, bringing various shocks and surprises.
Tensions amongst the vampires are escalating, jeopardizing the very existence of the clan itself. A battle for supremacy seems inevitable and their future is in the balance. How far will Farzin go to achieve his aims – domination of the vampires and humans alike? And how terrible will his vengeance be against any who stand in his path? Their interaction with the humans threatens to increase and not necessarily for the benefit of either group.
Meanwhile the wrathful infected grow ever hungrier…
When every day is a struggle to stay alive, survival of the fittest is never guaranteed.
Book three from ‘The Blood of the Infected’ series: “Twice Bitten, Twice Die”
When there’s no one left to hear you scream…
Deaths amongst the survivors are occurring at an unsustainable rate. Numbers are rapidly dwindling. Morale is plummeting. Soon they will be beyond salvation, yet their real task has only just begun. But will anyone remain alive to complete it? Nothing could have prepared the soldiers for what lies ahead. If they thought life was brutal already, they had absolutely no idea…
The vampires are in disarray. Their relationships are becoming blurred, confused and violent. A titanic clash between soldiers and vampires seems imminent but no one’s survival is assured.
In a world where life is unpredictable, the threat from the infected suddenly becomes even more unexpected and menacing. Hostilities are inevitable. Only one thing is certain: there will be blood!
“Once Bitten, Twice Die” is the debut novel from Antony J. Stanton. The book is the first of ‘The Blood of the Infected’ series, in the ‘post-apocalyptic action thriller’ genre. Stanton was born in London in 1970. Even as a child he always dreamed of becoming a published author, and he started to write a book. But, having watched the film ‘Top Gun,’ he was swayed into a becoming a military pilot. After no more than a glancing blow of a career in the British Royal Air Force he decided that his long term future lay elsewhere and he became a commercial pilot and remains thus to this day. Hence much of this trilogy was written all around the world, generally at unsociable times when jet-lag meant that normal people were asleep.
During a holiday with three friends, a bet was made amongst them. Each had a task to fulfil within the year – Stanton’s was to write a book. A little late, but five years on and his challenge has been completed. Three times.
His period spent in the RAF helped him write the military survival aspects of this book, and a kidnapping incident in Kazakhstan and shooting in Ghana, amongst other ‘adventures’, provided him with a dark well of experience to draw from. Life is, after all, one big adventure. A combination of the aforementioned, along with his love of the darker sides of literature, and the results are this novel and the next two in the trilogy.
And all it took was the impetus of a friendly challenge to spur him on to his creative dream… He still lives in South London and is very much looking forward to watching his friend fulfilling his part of the challenge: demonstrating his (not-so) newly acquired break-dancing skills, surely a sight to behold
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Taken from “Once Bitten, Twice Die” …
This is the end.
The thought was only fleeting. In reality the end had been and gone a long time before. Sinna had warned him not to do anything stupid, but here he was fighting for his life. What he really should have done was to just give up and let Death claim its prize. If he had known what the future held in store for him he may well have accepted the inevitable. He may have sought a more agreeable means of dying; something a little less brutal. Perhaps something that did not jeopardise the lives of others. Had he been aware that he himself was soon to become a vicious murderer he might not have battled quite so hard. But Abbott was not gifted with foresight. At that moment all that consumed him was trying to stay alive just a little longer. Besides, what kind of death can any one person choose for their first experience of it?
His aggressor advanced with surprising vigour. Abbott was forced back onto the table. He was fit, well-trained and considerably larger than the other. Nevertheless, he found himself unable to contain the onslaught, the triumph of wrathful incognisance over strength and experience. Only certain kinds of demise permit the luxury of reviewing your existence as it flashes in front of your eyes in glorious Technicolor. Some keep you fully engaged and struggling for salvation until the very end. In such cases even a brief perusal of your life in black and white is asking too much. Abbott’s situation fell firmly into the latter category.
He frantically grasped the lunatic’s forearms. His assailant however possessed unnatural surges of power dredged up from his inner demons. A trail of phlegm and a guttural snarl escaped his lips. Hands clawed and teeth snapped. He lunged repeatedly at Abbott’s face. He was virtually within reach now. Abbott dodged his head to the side with a grunt. He tried to get a knee under his attacker’s body but the man was writhing too much. It was just not possible. Yet without doing so he knew he would not be able to hold him off much longer. His strength, along with his hope, was fading fast.
Abbott was flecked with spittle. The stench of warm, rancid breath was overpowering as their heads slowly came together. Some of the man’s teeth had rotted and fallen out leaving open sores in blackened gums. His face was mottled with an unhealthy, purple tinge. It was covered with scabs and flaking skin. Red lines like those of a habitual drinker covered his cheeks. His eyes were bulging and blood-shot, and darted about as though without focus. Yet the most chilling factor was the absolute lack of perception. The pupils were dilated and blank like those of a shark. It was as though he was just lashing out blindly. If the eyes are a window to the soul, then these particular portals looked out onto a vista of pure hell. And then there was the rage; unprovoked yet wanton and plentiful. There was just an overpowering urge to kill.
Abbott’s arms burned. His attacker still showed no sign of tiring. If anything he grew even more frenzied and ironically that may have provided an invaluable reprieve. Death took a reluctant step back and waited, denied its reward for now. As the man thrashed about there was a loud crack. The back legs of the table splintered. The pair were sent tumbling. Abbott hit the floor hard. Pain shot through his shoulder and he was winded but he managed to slip a leg between the two of them. Deftly he launched the man over his head, slamming him against the wall. This was his moment to save himself. This was his one chance to live. If the other reacted more quickly then he would surely be dead. He rolled and scrambled to his feet grabbing at whatever he could reach – a heavy, pewter candlestick discarded nearby. He swung as his opponent started to rise. It struck with a thud across the temple. The force jarred right up through Abbott’s arm, but somehow his adversary did not go down. As he leapt, Abbott backed up and swung, again and again.
Each blow solidly found its mark leaving deep, red gashes. The man sagged to his knees, a trail of blood at his nostril. He flailed forwards with an enraged gargling as the liquid dripped from his chin. Abbott struggled to maintain balance. He desperately hit out once more and cracked the skull right on the top. This time it made a different sound, more hollow and decisive.
This time the candlestick embedded itself.
This time the man went down.
Abbott sank to the ground. The body lay at his feet with one leg twitching, disturbingly. A small pool of viscous blood gradually took shape around the head forming a macabre halo. Abbott gulped down air as his hands started trembling. He was in an upstairs room with bookshelves lining three of the walls. The house was identical to all the others in the street and presumably in most this would have been a bedroom. However the owners of this one, almost certainly dead – or worse – had turned it into a reading room. The shelves were made of cheap, knotted pine and books were lying on the veneer flooring, torn and discarded. He noticed that only one tome remained standing – the Bible.
As he sat trying to regain composure, the violence of the confrontation made it hard to focus. He found himself fixing on irrelevant details, a mist enshrouding his mental faculties. He looked around vaguely for a matching candleholder, as these would probably have come as a pair. The random notion surfaced that it was just like a scenario from Cluedo; Colonel Mustard, or in this case Sergeant Matteo Abbott, in the library, with the candlestick. He wondered again where Sinna was as he should have arrived a long time before. It was most unlike him to screw up. Only now did he start to appreciate that something had gone badly wrong.
Blog Tour ~ Hell Holes Series ~ (What Lurks Below & Demons on the Dalton)
Author: Donald G. Firesmith
Genre: Science Fiction /Paranormal/Fantasy
Dates: 1st – 12th of May
Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours
When hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appear overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, they threaten financial and environmental catastrophe should any more open up under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline or any of the many oil wells and smaller pipelines that feed it. An oil company sends a scientific team to investigate. But when the geologist, his climatologist wife, two of their graduate students, a local newspaper reporter, an oil company representative, and a field biologist arrive at one of the holes, they discover a far worse danger lurks below, one that threatens to destroy all of humanity when it emerges, forcing the survivors to flee south towards Fairbanks.
When hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appeared overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, geologist Jack Oswald picked Angele Menendez, his climatologist wife, to determine if the record temperatures due to climate change was the cause. But the holes were not natural. They were unnatural portals for an invading army of demons. Together with Aileen O’Shannon, a 1,400-year-old sorceress demon-hunter, the three survivors of the research team sent to study the holes had only one chance: to flee down the dangerous Dalton Highway towards the relative safety of Fairbanks. However, the advancing horde of devils, imps, hellhounds, and gargoyles would stop at nothing to prevent their prey from escaping. It was a 350-mile race with simple rules. Win and live; lose and die…
A geek by day, Donald Firesmith works as a system and software engineer helping the US Government acquire large, complex software-intensive systems. In this guise, he has authored seven technical books, written numerous software- and system-related articles and papers, and spoken at more conferences than he can possibly remember. He’s also proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the Association of Computing Machinery, although his pride is tempered somewhat by his fear that the term “distinguished” makes him sound like a graybeard academic rather than an active engineer whose beard is still slightly more red than gray.
By night and on weekends, his alter ego writes modern paranormal fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and mystical gemstones. His first foray into fiction is the book Magical Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore written under the pen name Wolfrick Ignatius Feuerschmied. He lives in Crafton, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky, and his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs, cats, and birds.
His magical wands and autographed copies of his books are available from the Firesmith’s Wand Shoppe at: http://magicalwandshoppe.com.
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Hell Holes: What Lurks Below
Excerpt – In The Hole
“Professor, take a look at this,” Mark said, squatting down and pointing at the nearest mound of dirt. He held his hand a few inches over it. “There are small holes, and I can feel gas escaping from them. That’s weird; it should be freezing, but it’s actually warm.” He leaned over and sniffed the air just above the hole. “Jesus, that reeks,” he cursed as he stood up and rubbed his eyes.
I reached down. There was a surprisingly large flow of gas coming out of the hole. I looked around at all of the other mounds of dirt dotting the ice on which we were standing. “Shit,” I exclaimed. “We’ve got to get the hell out of here.”
“Why?” he asked with a confused look on his face. “We just got here.”
“Prudhoe Bay natural gas is about three fourths methane. One eighth is ethane, propane, and other heavier hydrocarbons, while the remaining eighth is carbon dioxide. I’m not worried about the methane and ethane; they’re lighter than air and will drift up and out of the hole. But carbon dioxide, propane, and hydrogen sulfide are all heavier than air and build up in low areas.”
“Like the bottom of this hole,” Mark said as the nature of our danger dawned on him.
“Like the bottom of this hole,” I agreed.
Although I was breathing rapidly, it was becoming increasingly harder to catch my breath. Both were early signs of carbon dioxide poisoning. Meanwhile, my eyes were really watering, my nose was running, and my lungs were starting to burn. Hydrogen sulfide combined with the water on their moist surfaces to form hydrosulfuric acid. I had a dull headache and was becoming increasingly nauseated. Worse, the stench of sulfur had begun to disappear: a classic symptom of hydrogen sulfide poisoning. “We have to head back up and strap on oxygen tanks and full face respirators before we come back down.”
“Okay, Professor,” he replied, looking at me with concern. “You’re definitely not looking so good.”
Weak and increasingly clumsy, Mark had to help me reach the rope and secure it to my climbing harness. Then he said into his walkie-talkie, “Angela, there’s hydrogen sulfide and excessive carbon dioxide down here, and we need to get out of here right now. It’s made the professor sick, so I’m sending him up first.”
“Understood, Mark,” Angie replied, her voice indicating her concern. “Is he ready?”
“Yes, all hooked up,” Mark replied.
A second later, the rope began pulling me up. It sped faster and faster until I was practically running up the side of the hole. Soon, I was up to where the permafrost gave way to damp dirt. I slipped going over the boundary, and the rope dragged me face first over the short muddy slope. Bill helped me climb over the ridge of dirt surrounding the edge and unhooked my climbing harness.
Coughing and unable to catch my breath, I stumbled into Angie’s arms. The caustic gasses at the bottom of the pit had set off one of my ordinarily rare asthma attacks, leaving me gasping for air. I fumbled through my pockets, found my rescue inhaler, and had to give myself three puffs before my breathing became easier. Meanwhile, my eyes were still burning and watering so heavily that I heard rather than saw Bill throw the end of the rope back into the pit and use the winch to lower it rapidly into the hole. After helping me wipe the mud from my face, Angie wrapped me a bear hug, totally heedless of the muck she was transferring to her own face and clothes.
“It’s down,” Jill said, her voice amplified through our walkie-talkies.
Bill stopped the winch, and we waited for Mark to tell us when he was ready to come up.
“Okay, I’m ready,” Mark said. “Bring me up.”
Bill restarted the winch, and the rope began winding itself back around its spinning shaft.
Feeling stronger, I let go of Angie and turned back towards the pit so I could watch Mark being raised over the edge. It was at that moment, through eyes still somewhat blurry from tears, that I saw Kowalski. He was standing near the edge of the hole, a few feet downwind so that the smoke from his cigarette wouldn’t bother us. He took a final puff and carelessly flicked the still smoldering butt into the pit.
“Stop!” I croaked, my voice raspy and painful from coughing.
Kowalski turned towards me, and our eyes met. Unaware of what he’d just done, he was completely confused by the expression of horror on my face.
After seconds that seemed to stretch into eternity, the cigarette butt tumbled past Mark and eventually reached the depth where the concentration of methane and hydrogen sulfide reached explosive levels.
the literary asylum
Angel of Death and Souls, A Novel
Infinite Pathways Press
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Kevin O'Leary Reviews Every Issue of Uncanny X-Men from the 1960s to the Present
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Fantasy Author Kyra Halland
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