Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Lost Eye of the Serpent by Jeremy Phillips + Bonus Short Story & Giveaway

The Lost Eye of the Serpent

Jeremy Phillips

YA Mystery
Limitless Publishing
August 6, 2016

Buy Link: Amazon

It may sound crazy, but Jonathan Delacroix is certain his sister Rose really is Sherlock Holmes...

Girls are not detectives. But in the summer of 1893, in the small western town of Hope Springs, Rose Delacroix is bound and determined to prove them wrong. When the famous Emerald Serpent Jewels are stolen from the Delacroix family hotel and the blame lands solely on her older brother Bill, Rose recruits Jonathan as her Watson-like counterpart to solve the case.

Proving your brother innocent is difficult when the evidence keeps stacking up against him...

Before Rose and Jonathan can properly start their investigation, another robbery is committed. The rusty revolver purported to have once belonged to Wild Bill Hickock has been stolen from the general store and found hidden amongst her brother's belongings. With Bill in jail, and the owner of the Serpent Jewels planning to sue the Delacroix hotel, Rose knows she has to find a lead, and soon.

Bonus Rose Delacroix Short Story

Rose Delacroix Versus the Box
By Jeremy Phillips

Rose Delacroix sat on a stump in the bare and dusty yard behind the Delacroix Hotel, staring at a metal box sitting on another stump, a few feet away from her.  She regarded the box with an ever-increasing intensity, not sure how to proceed.  Time was very short, and she wished that she had more of it available to her right now.

“Whatever am I going to do with you?” Rose said to the box.

The box didn’t look like much.  It was the size of a shoebox, but constructed of solid steel, with tight, straight corners.  Its only visible feature was a place for a key to fit, in the front of the box. Really, it seemed simple enough.  But looks, as Rose knew very well, are often deceptive.

In her hand, Rose held a couple of metal clips from out of her hair, clips which she had straightened out to use for this particular purpose.  Except, it hadn’t worked yet.  Rose approached the box again, the box which had at first glance appeared to be so simple, and yet had thwarted all of her prior attempts at entry.

Rose shook the box, which was deceptively heavy in addition to being deceptively difficult to break.  Something solid thunked around inside of it.  Whatever it was, Rose meant to have it out of that box, and soon.

Drawing a deep, calming breath, Rose tried once more to pick the lock on this thing.  The books she’s been reading, the Sherlock Holmes mysteries in addition to other lesser Detective tales, always make this seem so simple, don’t they? 

Using one of the hair pins that she had straightened out, Rose carefully massaged the top of the lock, to where she believed the pins that she needed to trick ought to be.  She could feel the pins moving, so that was good.  With a second hair pin, she applied a constant pressure on the bottom of the lock in the hopes of popping it open, when the pins were all equally deceived into believing that the proper key had been applied into the keyhole.

After another long effort, she stopped again.  What time was it getting to be, now? 

Really, she needed to pop this lock open.  She needed, rather desperately, to know what was inside of this thing.  All of her logic told Rose that whatever was inside of this deceptively secure box, was of vital importance to her investigation.  Even as she sat there in this yard, monkeying around with this locked box, her brother Jon was confronting the box’s owner.  Jon needed her, and he needed her now, not whenever it was that she managed to finally get this thing open.

Perhaps the problem was too obvious.  This box, which she had confiscated, perhaps inappropriately, from its hiding place in a guest room of the Delacroix Hotel, belonged to a man who liked to think of himself as the world’s greatest “cracksman.”   This was a term that Rose had only recently learned, but which referred to the man’s impressive ability to break into locked safes.  Given the great trouble that this person had managed to cause to Rose and her family in the last few days, he had a point concerning his abilities, after all.

Rose took a moment, and tried to think about the problem logically.  She had in her possession the small personal safe of a man who considered himself to be the greatest safe-breaker in the world.  It only stood to reason, that the security on the safe of such a person would defy any normal attempts at lock picking. 

Really, attempting to pick the thing was ridiculous, given the fact that she was an amateur at this sort of thing in the first place.  Rose was self-taught, having only popped a few locks around town during her free time when no one was looking, to see if she could do it.  To Rose’s way of thinking, skills such as lock picking were just the sorts of things that a self-styled Detective simply ought to know, after all. 

Not that everyone was likely to understand this.  She put this into the same category of small-minded thinking as seemed to possess most people that she met, the same type of small-minded thinking which implied that, given her status as a female, she was simply incapable of actual logic thought.  Or much else, either.  This was in the category of things that she simply refused to agree to wholesale, in other words.

Turning the safe around and looking into the keyhole with the aid of the heavy summer sunlight, Rose suddenly understood the problem more fully.  The lock itself seemed to run deeper than most locks did, and what’s more, there appeared to be pins on the right interior side of the lock too.  Those extra pins were placed at a different angle than were normally seen, in all of the others locks that Rose had encountered around the town of Hope Springs.  This was actually a rather extraordinary lock, which would take a rather extraordinary key.  It was a lock the likes of which Rose had never encountered before.

Given enough time, Rose was fairly sure that she could have broken the lock anyway.  It would require another hair pin, and perhaps another hand too, to apply pressure to the lock with the tension wire while she worked at the pins from two different angles at once.  But, time was something that she simply didn’t have much of.  This was going to require a different approach.

Rose placed the box back on the tree stump, then went into a large work shed, which was attached to the barn in the family’s back yard.  She returned a minute later with the heaviest wood chopping axe that she could find, and took a mighty swing at the top of the metallic box.

The first blow did nothing but mildly dent the box, causing it to bounce a foot or so up into the air with the force of her assault.  A second and third blow did little more.  But on her fourth attempt, after getting a reckless running start at the metal box from the other side of the yard, Rose managed to lodge the blade of the axe into the top of the steel box.  Rose’s arms were feeling sore already, from the exertions of trying to break this thing.

It was almost comical.  The axe was now lodged directly into the lid of the steel box.  Feeling her anxiety increase, Rose wondered what time it was now getting to be.   She wondered how things were going for Jon, who was even now confronting the burglar…a man who, the night before, had proven that he was not above pulling a gun on her brother.  He might not be above murder, even.

With great effort, Rose was able to pry the axe blade back out of the top of the box.  This left a large cut along the middle of the lid of the thing, but she could still not get to the contents of the box, or even really see what those contents were, rolling around inside of that damned box.

Rose set the box up on its edge.  This time, it would have to work.  She stepped back again, hefting the axe up over her head.  She stepped back farther, and farther yet.  An absurd feeling came over Rose, as though she were a baseball player up at bat, facing the third strike in the last inning of a tight game.

Well, and wasn’t that pretty much what this was, after all?  How much time did Jon really have, facing off with that criminal?  This was her last inning, and what all was on the line?  Only the freedom and future of her other brother, Bill, who had been framed for two robberies and one attempted murder that he didn’t commit.  Oh, and the possibility of the entire Delacroix family losing their ownership of the Delacroix Hotel to another criminal, and being kicked out into the streets of Hope Springs in the summer of 1893; there was that minor detail, too.  Only those things.  And Jon.
Steadying herself, Rose took a deep breath.  In her mind’s eye, she imagined the cut that she would have to inflict to make this thing happen.  She’s read someplace about the power of the mind, the power to make things happen by carefully visualizing them, first.  This was something she believed in wholeheartedly.

The blow would have to be perfect.  It would have to land squarely on the edge of the lid, to exactly where the hinge must be.  Only that.  Or else, perhaps she could go over to the Blacksmith’s shop and see if he couldn’t pop the thing open for her somehow.  But there would be a lot of questions asked, then.  And a lot of precious time wasted.  She thought again of Jon, headed over to the Bromwell Hotel, across the street.

With a cry, Rose ran wholeheartedly up towards the box, to where it sat there on the tree stump.  She brought the axe down with all her might, producing a bone-jarring ringing in her hands clear up to the shoulder, an ear-cracking SMACK when the unstoppable force of her axe came down on the immovable object of the steel box’s lid…and then the miracle happened.

The blow was perfect, more perfect than seemed fair.  The hinge of the box gave way, and the contents of the box flew everywhere, scattering around to land everyplace on the dusty ground.
Rose quickly rushed around the yard, ignoring the ringing pain in her arms, picking up the box’s former contents and placing them back in the now-broken box. 

There was a little leather pouch full of lock picks, proper ones, made of some fine thin steel that Rose had never seen before.  These she would keep, if things turned out as she hoped they might.  There was also a collection of paper money and coins.  And there, sitting separate and apart from the rest of the stuff, was a round object about the size of an apple.

Quickly picking the object up, Rose examined it closely. 

After a few moments a large smile came across her face, as she realized what the object in her hand was…and what it meant, for her and her all-consuming Investigation.  This was becoming like a Sherlock Holmes story after all, Rose thought, which filled her with excitement and a powerful sense of adventure, although she might not have admitted this to anyone, perhaps not even to her twin brother John.

Holding on to the object and rushing out to Main Street, Rose found herself running as quickly as she could to go help her brother.  Yes, this might help fix things.  It might help fix things very well.

About the Author

My first novel will be available on September 8th, 2015. It's a Young Adult fiction story called: My Buddhist Christmas.

Author Links:

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Friday, October 21, 2016

The Teen Wytche Saga by Ariella Moon

Welcome to Ariella Moon, author of The Teen Wytche Saga!

Halloween Top Ten List Featuring the Characters From The Teen Wytche Saga

Evie O’Reilly’s Top Five Things To Do On Halloween

1. Visit a Pumpkin Patch. Hay rides! Fields of plump pumpkins. I am so there!
2. Carve Jack O’Lanterns. This tradition totally came from the Irish, only they carved turnips because Ireland didn’t have pumpkins, and they placed a burning ember instead of a candle inside the turnip. Go Irish!
3. Trick or Treat. Okay, fourteen is pushing the envelope a little age-wise. Maybe I can tag along with Zhù and his little sister. Or dress up Baby. No one can resist a cute dog in a costume. I just can’t let Baby have any chocolate, because it is deathly toxic to dogs.
4. Ask Jordan to the Halloween Dance. Because he has always been the one, despite our falling out. But first, I have to…
5. Stop Parvani From Casting a Binding Love Spell On Jordan. I sure hope Salem can help. Will help. I mean, she’s the school Goth, and everyone is afraid of her…including me.

Salem Miller’s Top Five Things To Do On Samhain (Halloween)

6. Create a Beloved Dead Altar. Use a black tablecloth. Include photos of loved ones (human and pets) that have died, and candles (preferably black), to light in their honor. Decorate with autumn flowers and leaves.
7. Concoct Hot Mulled Cider. Combine ½ cup brown sugar, 2 quarts apple cider, 1 tsp. whole allspice, 1 ½ tsp. whole cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, and orange slices. Place spices in a tea strainer. Cover and cook on low setting.
8. Correct Everyone’s Pronunciation of “Samhain.” This Celtic festival name should be pronounced SOW-wen or SOW-ween. Also known as Halloween or Hallowmas. My ears bleed every time someone says, “SAM-hane.”
9. Perform an End Bad Habit Spell. Write down on a piece of paper a bad habit or problem that you wish to end. (I want to stop being so jealous of my sister, AKA “The Golden One.”) Recite: On this Samhain (or Halloween) night, Rid me of this baneful blight. Be gone (bad habit), from my sight. I welcome instead, love and light. Then, (with parental okay) burn the piece of paper. Make sure none of the burning ash escapes and burns down the neighborhood. The next morning, bury the cold ashes away from home. Be sneaky.
10. Prevent Parvani From Casting a Binding Love Spell On Jordan! Doesn’t Parvani understand karma??? 

***Whew, Salem, I hear you on #8. I get sick of people correcting my pronunciation of SOW-wen to tell me it's actually SAM-hane. Seriously it happens every year. ~Kimber***

Teen Wytche Saga by Ariella Moon

Genre: Young Adult Sweet Paranormal Romance

Praise for The Teen Wytche Saga:

“Spell Check is a great story for the young adult or the young at heart. I enjoyed the vicarious experience of falling in love, dealing with secrets, and working out best friend issues.” ~ Long and Short Reviews

"A fantastic YA paranormal read, reminiscent of the film "Practical Magic"! Spell Struck combines quirky but fun teen characters dealing with new schools, romance, and family problems, with magic, and more serious topics like suicide and kidnapping."
 ~InD’tale Magazine, Crowned Heart review

“Edge of your seat? Check. Magic around every corner? Check. Teen angst? Check. Unputdownable? Definitely. Quick tip-make sure you read the first three books before starting Spell for Sophia. They provide a ton of great backstory and will make everything a lot more understandable, and without a doubt enhance your enjoyment of this book as well as the entire series.”
~Carra at Making It Happen blog

The Teen Wytche Saga Books by Ariella Moon:

Book One: Spell Check
Book Two: Spell Struck
Book Three: Spell Fire
Book Four: Spell For Sophia

Where friendship, first love, and magic collide. 

Series Summary

The Teen Wytche Saga by Ariella Moon

Think magic will solve your problems?
Bring you love? Cure you? Protect you? Help you find someone who is lost?
Think again.

In The Teen Wytche Saga, a shape-shifting spell book upends the life of each girl who possesses it. Passed among a group of disparate teens, the rebellious book morphs into a new system of magic as it aligns or opposes the girl entrusted to safeguard it. The girls soon discover…

Magic tests friendships.
It hisses, chirps, stinks up the room, backfires, and explodes! Magic forces you to make tough decisions. Shatter limitations. Discover your true self.

And you thought navigating high school was tough.

Read how it all began…
Spell Check (The Teen Wytche Saga #1)

Two girls, one guy, and a spell book — what could possibly go wrong?


Bullies. A secret crush. A traitorous friend.

First year of high school isn’t supposed to be an emotional minefield. A photojournalist father isn’t supposed to die in war, and no one should cast a binding love spell on her best friend’s secret crush. And yet…

Halloween looms and so does the anniversary of Evie’s father’s death. She needs to pull herself together or she’ll lose her position as Yearbook Photo Editor. Even worse, Evie will lose Jordan, her secret crush, if she can’t stop her friend Parvani from casting a love spell on him. Despite a falling out, Evie never forgot Jordan. Now they are lab partners and the chemistry between them definitely sparks. Parvani possesses a brimstone-hissing spell book and plans to cast the spell by Halloween. To save Jordan, Evie must join forces with Salem, the school goth.

The clock is ticking. Can Evie get her mojo back in time to check this spell?

About ten minutes into class, while Mr. Esenberg wrote on the board, I heard Jordan slide his feet under my desk. My breath wedged in my throat as the tips of his size nine high-performance sneakers nudged the heels of my shoes. Could the girl in front of me hear my heart thudding? Should I move my feet forward?
My feet tingled and refused to move. A blush blazed across my cheeks. I struggled to pay attention to Mr. Esenberg without making eye contact. Forty minutes passed, the bell blared, and I had no idea what had transpired. Hopefully, my notes will make sense. I think I took notes.
Jordan slid his feet back and thudded his book closed. We both bent down and reached for our backpacks. His leaned against mine. Our hands brushed and our heads were so close I could smell his herbal shampoo.
Students walked past us. I’m sure some of them were talking to each other or flipping open their cell phones. But it all faded away along with the smell of chalk, highlighters, and sweat. Everything receded except the warmth of Jordan’s skin, his cinnamon gum-scented breath, and the heart-stopping rush sprinting up my arm.
We jerked apart. Seeing Parvani in the doorway looking hurt and shocked snapped my senses into hyper focus. Conversations sounded extra loud. Colors seemed too bright. It felt like a movie had started, full blast, in a hushed theater.
For more excerpts, or to purchase books in The Teen Wytche Saga:

About the Author

Ariella Moon draws upon her experiences as a shaman to create magical Young Adult fiction. The Teen Wytche Saga is a series of sweet contemporary paranormal romances. Her Two Realms Trilogy is a medieval Scotland and Fairy fantasy adventure series.

Ariella spent her childhood searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia. Extreme math anxiety and taller students that mistook her for a leaning post marred her youth. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. She lives a nearly normal life doting on her extraordinary daughter, two shamelessly spoiled dogs, and a media-shy dragon.

Ariella loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at:

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Halloween Top 10 Lists - The Legend of the Pumpkin Thief by Charles Day + Giveaway

Halloween is rapidly approaching. Author Charles Day of The Legend of the Pumpkin Thief is here today with not one but three top 10 Halloween lists!

Favorite Halloween Costumes
4-Darth Vader

Favorite Halloween Candy
1-Reeses pumpkins
3-gummy bears
5-milky way
6-sour patches
8-Reeses pieces
9-candy corn

Favorite Halloween Movies or Books
3-Nightmare before Christmas
4-Halloween 2
5-The Shining
6-The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
7-Monster House
9-All Stephen King books
10-All R. L. Stine Books

The Legend of the Pumpkin Thief

Charles Day

Middle Grade Paranormal Horror/Mystery
October 18, 2016

As the townsfolk sleep, something creeps into the neighborhood. Hidden in shadows, its presence is as old as time itself, its intent not born of goodness.

Nick, a teenager who fancies himself a detective, wakes to find his carved masterpiece missing. Now a mystery is afoot, and Nick has his first assignment, to find out who or what is snatching up the town’s pumpkins and why.

Unfortunately, as with all great detectives, obstacles stand in Nick’s way—the neighborhood bully and his cronies, and the strange old lady and her dog who share the run-down house at the end of Nick’s block. As Nick investigates, an urban legend unravels . . . .

The Legend of The Pumpkin Thief.

Nick fears the legend as he embarks on the most dangerous adventure of his young life. Collecting clues, getting ever closer to the true nature of evil, he learns that curiosity comes with a high price.

About the Author

Charles Day is the Horror Writer Association’s Mentor Program Chairperson, Co­-Chair for the NY/LI Chapter, and a member of the HWA Library committee. He is also a member of the New England Horror Writers Association, the American Library Association, and the Young Adult Library Services Association.

He is also the Bram Stoker Award® nominated author of the YA novel, THE LEGEND OF THE PUMPKIN THIEF. He’s also published his first adult novel DEEP WITHIN and the first book in his Adventures of Kyle McGerrt trilogy, a YA western heroic fantasy, THE HUNT FOR THE GHOULISH BARTENDER, and his first co­authored novel with Mark Taylor, REDEMPTION

His forthcoming publications and projects in development for 2014 include a comic book series
based on the ADVENTURES OF KYLE McGERRT trilogy, his first middle­ grade series, THE

On the publishing business side of things, Charles is the owner of Day Media and Publishing in New York, which houses the successful imprints, Evil Jester Press, Evil Jester Comics, and Hidden Thoughts Press (mental wellness collections,)

He’s also an artist and illustrator, who is passionate about creating the many characters he’s brought to life in his published, or soon to be published works. You can find out more about his upcoming writing projects, check out his illustrations and art, or find out what he’s cooking up next with that evil dude­in­the­box, the evil Jester, by visiting his Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/charles.day.92


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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Skye by Kimberly Loth - Excerpt & Giveaway

The Dragon Kings, #4

Kimberly Loth

Publication date: October 19th 2016
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Rowan Winters is completely in love. With a shifter dragon.
But the drop-dead gorgeous Skye only thinks of Rowan as her best friend. But when she turns up in his room in the middle of the night in tears, he yearns to do whatever he can to help her. Even if that means running away and letting his family think he’s dead.
Skye’s entire world turns upside down the day her scales turns black. She knows she’ll have to flee to find answers. But she wasn’t planning on Rowan coming too. She just wanted to say goodbye. He is so eager to help that she can’t leave him behind even though she knows she’ll never be able to love him in return.
Together, they fight off murderous dragons and uncover sinister plans. But can they find the answers Skye so desperately seeks? And can Rowan sacrifice everything he knows to win her heart?


Skye was a coward. She knew that, but she couldn’t bring herself to stay and watch Sid and Aspen commit suicide. There was no way the council would allow Aspen to become queen.

Not to mention that then Skye would have to know the exact moment when she died, because anyone who pledged loyalty to Sid would die the second he did. No, running away was better. She should have enough time to get to her parents before death came. She’d able to say goodbye.

This was her fault. Pearl had told her to keep Aspen safe. Instead she’d gone and made everything worse. Maybe if she’d kept Aspen at home, Sid would’ve been fine.

If she’d never given Sid that damn loyalty seal, she wouldn’t be this close to death. She wasn’t sure what she was thinking at that time. Part of her thought he’d make it. Another part didn’t care whether she lived or died. It wasn’t like she’d have much of a life anymore.

When Sid became King she found Everett and begged him to remove the seal that marked how much she loved him. He did and now she longer had a swirl of gold on her ankle. But Everett warned her there would be a price to pay. She gladly paid it at the time, but but she hadn’t expected to feel so empty.

For a half second she thought about heading to Everett’s instead of her parents. Maybe he could remove the loyalty seal before she died. She shook her head. How cowardly of her. The price would not be worth it. That was for sure.

She was only fooling herself though. She would make the same decision if given the choice. Aspen was the only way they could possibly survive. When Skye dropped Aspen off , there were three possible outcomes. One, she and Sid would die and all those with loyalty seals would as well. Two, Helios, the final dragon that Sid needed to secure all the loyalty seals got to him before the council had a chance to killed him. Or three. Aspen could be become queen. She’d have to convince the council that she should be queen and pass the queen’s tests She hoped Aspen could do it.

She felt her wings tiring. This could be the beginning of her death. She hadn’t known anyone who had died because of the loyalty seal and didn’t know how it worked. She spotted a lake below her and decided to stop and get a drink. She had to make it home.

Skye landed a little rougher than normal. This had to be the end. She staggered over to the water and took a deep drink. The water sparkled under the full moon. Skye stretched her wings out and swiveled her neck around to scratch her nose. She froze. Her wing was no longer silver.

This must be part of her death. Or at least that was what she tried to convince herself of. Adrenaline coursed through her veins and she no longer felt tired. Dragons didn’t change color before they died. In fact dragons never changed color. Except when they became king. Then they turned black.

Skye spun neck around the other direction. It was more than her wings that had changed. Her whole body was now a deep coal black.

This was impossible. There was no way she could become king. Sid was king. Unless he died. Then someone else would take his place, but that someone had to be a full royal dragon and male. Of which she was neither. There had to be some huge mistake. This had to be a dream. She stuck her head in the cold water and came out again. Still black. This wasn’t possible.


That stupid prophecy.

The one that said three kings would rise. The one that said they could come from other races. But she was still female. Something was definitely wrong. She was also still very much alive. She couldn’t go see her parents now, not like this. No, she had to go see the one dragon who could explain how this happened.

She wracked her brain trying to think of everything she’d learned about the prophecy. She loved history and so she studied a lot, but this baffled her. Nothing in the prophecy said anything about a girl. She’d spent hours listening to Everett’s boring details about the prophecy, yet he hadn’t mentioned that females could become kings. He was so in for it.

Author Bio:
Kimberly Loth can’t decide where she wants to settle down. She’s lived in Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Utah, California, Oregon, and South Carolina.
She finally decided to make the leap and leave the U.S. behind for a few years. After living in Cairo, Egypt for 2 years, she's decided to go to the Far East and currently calls Shenzhen, China home. She loves romantic movies, chocolate, roses, and crazy adventures.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Fall Into Cash - $250 Giveaway

Yay! It's finally fall-- my favorite time of the year! I just wish my trees dropped money like the one in the graphic. I'd wouldn't mind raking leaves as much ;)

Fall Into Cash 2016

Fall Into Cash $250 Giveaway
October 15th to November 15th

  Enter for your chance to win a $250 Amazon Gift Code or $250 in Paypal Cash. Thanks to this awesome group of bloggers and authors who have joined with me to bring you one fabulous prize!!

Sponsor List

Giveaway Details
$250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 Amazon.com eGift Card Ends 11/15/16 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or gift codes via Amazon.com. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  

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Sci-Fi & Fantasy Book Party

Welcome to the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Party!

Welcome to the genreCRAVE Science Fiction and Fantasy $1200 Giveaway! We have something really exciting set up for you. First, some KILLER Science Fiction and Fantasy books at a steal, and after that, a chance to enter our $1200 Gift Card Giveaway! Read on for more information, but first, check out the books from our sponsors at the link below!


Here are a couple of sneak peeks!
Ambassador 1: Seeing Red

I had never been on first-name terms with the president, but while I sat there trying hard not to succumb to jet-lag, he chatted about my father, whom I had just visited, and who had finally retired from Lunar Base to his native New Zealand. Sirkonen opened the drawer of his desk and took something out, which he flipped across the gleaming wooden surface. I could do nothing but catch it. A datastick. I turned it over. The black plastic cover reflected the sunlight.

“What’s on it?”

“You might find it useful. Think of it as some . . . personal advice, from me to you. We’ll talk about it later, when you return for your first briefing.” He shut the drawer with a thud as if closing the subject.

This was highly irregular. “Mr President, can I ask—”

He shook his head, and offered me a drink—Finnish vodka, best in the world, he said. While he poured, his hands trembled.

I should have insisted that he tell me what was wrong, but who was I? An unimportant, sending-out-our-feelers type of diplomat, expendable and twenty years his junior. Not the type of person to draw attention to his problems—with alcohol or otherwise.

We made a toast. The heavy scent of the vodka did nothing to improve my alertness.

“Mr Wilson, when you come back in six month’s time, you must present your report to the general assembly. We need to know in detail what sort of regimes we’re dealing with.”

I didn’t understand why he spoke in such empty generalities; I wondered when he was going to open that folder on his desk and sign the contract. Nicha, my Coldi assistant, was waiting in the foyer. We had a whole heap of work to catch up on. I was annoyed that Sirkonen had changed our meeting time at the last minute—the original meeting had been scheduled for tomorrow morning.

Sirkonen stopped speaking.

I stared at him, realising with embarrassment that I’d been off with the fairies. Was I meant to have said something? Was I breaking rule number one of the diplomatic circle: never show any sign of sleep deprivation?

An attack of dizziness overtook me. My vision wavered, as if the world were painted on a silk flag that flapped in the wind, and all the furniture was rimmed in a red aura. “Mr President, I’m—”

I just managed to put my vodka down. The glass hit the wood with a soft clunk, the only sound in the frozen silence.

There was a small sound from outside, a click.

As if stung, Sirkonen turned to the window; his eyes widened.


The president opened his mouth, but a sharp crack interrupted his words.

Releasing Rage
She stepped into the firewall square. The door behind her closed and she authorized the interior door to open.

A buzz swept over her. No, not simply over her. Into her. She gasped, her inhalation of air drawing more of this unknown presence inside her.

It was too much, almost suffocating. Joan swayed, lightheaded. “Do not faint. Do not faint,” she repeated to herself, closing her eyes.

The rolling under her feet gradually stopped. She opened her eyes and wished she hadn’t. Crimson spray covered everywhere she looked. Gore was splattered into the farthest corners, hanging from the ceiling. Cleaner bots scrubbed the walls and floor.

This was why she felt dizzy, she reasoned. She smelled and sensed this butchery.

C899321, the being she had been told was responsible, stood in his uploading dock, a cable inserted into his nape, his towering form naked, covered with blood, his long black hair dripping with it.

He turned his head, locked his gaze with hers and she sucked in her breath. There were worlds of agony, of rage, in those bright blue eyes. This was no rational, logic-driven cyborg. This was a man, an animal, crazed by bloodlust and pain.

“They thought to pacify me with the use of a human female?” he thundered, his deep gravelly voice clawing across her skin, awakening parts in her she didn’t realize slept. “I’d kill you before I allowed you to touch me.”

This insult didn’t hurt her the way he’d intended. Joan knew she wasn’t the slim tiny female males desired. She was solidly built, good breeding stock, as her mother had once said.

She discarded his words and focused on the torment in his tones. He hurt. Horrifically. Her fingers twitched, the urge to reach out to him, to comfort him, tremendous. Judging by the flex of his powerful biceps and thigh muscles, by the anger radiating from him, he wouldn’t appreciate that response.

He also wouldn’t listen to any command she issued. A reprimand, verbal or physical, would add to his hostility. Some being had already tried to restrain him and failed. The reportedly unbreakable wrist and ankle cuffs attached to the frame of the uploading dock had been shattered, rendered useless.

Joan discarded four solar cycles’ worth of theory on how to handle malfunctioning cyborgs, realizing now that the academy experts knew nothing.

Her late father, however, had taught her how to deal with wild beasts.

“I would never touch you without your permission.” She lowered her gaze, showing submission, recognizing C899321 as the dominant male he was. He’d seek to harm any aggressor, to protect himself and his territory. If she wasn’t female, she suspected she’d already be dead.

“I also would never hurt you.” Joan stuffed a couple of cleaning cloths into her pockets and dropped to her knees, into a puddle of red. The moisture soaked through her flight suit. “I’m here to serve you, to clean you.”

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Empower by Ashley Stambaugh - Excerpt

The Collide Trilogy, Book Three

Ashley Stambaugh

New Adult Urban Fantasy/Suspense
Clean Reads
October 5, 2016

Amazon | B&N

You have to have the dark to see the light.

Over a month has gone by since Melina won her internal battle between good and evil. She and the elders have been vigilantly waiting for Maura and Adelia to enact their plan, but there have been no signs of them anywhere. Then one day, Melina sees a Noxin demon lurking behind an old building. As more and more demons start to appear around town, she begins to worry that their plan may have already been put into play.

While Melina tries to figure out what the demons are up to, she starts to notice a sudden increase in her negative emotions, which in turn seem to be amplifying her powers. At first, she likes how strong it makes her feel. But when she realizes that her newly acquired demon powers are the cause of her sense of empowerment, she wants nothing to do with it. Even though she has reversed her demon powers to do good, she still sees them as coming from an evil source and fears that by using them the evil she fought so hard to overcome will rise up in her again.

But as the demon activity increases, and the people in her town, including all the people she cares about the most, start to display strange and violent behavior, Melina finally understands that if she wants to stop the demons and help her friends, she must embrace not only the good in her but also the bad. Because the only way to truly empower herself is by finding a way to use them together.


            She turned to look at the front of her store and saw that the huge front window had been completely busted in, allowing the chilly winter air to blow right through the room. The rest of the store wasn’t in any better shape. Broken glass, splintered wood, and burnt, ripped up books and paper covered the entire floor. She felt like she should be having déjà vu, seeing as how her store had been destroyed by Noxin demons before, but there was a difference this time. She didn’t have her friends to help her pick up the pieces.
            Before she was able to get teary-eyed again, she heard footsteps coming from behind her. She turned around and saw that Walter was back, and he had Phinneas, Cecil, and Helene with him. They all nodded at Henry, who nodded back at them, and then they all returned their focus to Melina.
            “Hi,” Melina said as she gave them all a slightly confused look. “What are you all doing here?”
            “I thought it was necessary to tell them what’s happening with you,” Walter said.
            Melina pulled her robe a little tighter around her and turned her gaze down to the floor. She wondered if they were disappointed in her for not telling any of them sooner.
            “Melina,” Phinneas said as he took a step toward her. “None of us blame you for feeling the way you do. The fear you have of your anger and of your demon powers is completely valid. But it’s nothing to be afraid of, or ashamed of. I’ve told you before, not everyone is all good or all bad. We all have good and evil in us.”
            “Yes,” Melina said as she nodded her head. “I remember you saying that. But then you also said that we just have to choose which one is going to win, and I chose good.”
            “And I’m so glad you did,” Phinneas said. “But just because you chose good and were able to reverse the demon powers to use them for good, doesn’t mean that the bad aspects of the demon powers aren’t still a part of you, too.”
            “Melina,” Walter said as he took a step toward her. “To truly embrace all of your powers, you must accept not only the good aspects of them but also the bad. I can only imagine how strong it must make you feel when your emotions amplify your powers, but instead of fighting them and trying to stop them, feel all of those emotions and use them in a good way. Use them to empower yourself.” He paused for effect and then continued. “You have become a force to be reckoned with. You just need to learn to accept them and then control them.”
            Melina’s eyes were filled with tears again. His words reminded her of what Lee had told her—that she needed to accept all of herself. She knew they were both right, but she still couldn’t let go of her hesitation and fear.
            “But what if it makes me susceptible to being taken over by evil again?” She bit down on her lip as she stared over at Walter with eyes full of distress.
            He gave her a reassuring smile. “I know you’re scared, but I also think that you know, deep down, that you’re not going to be taken over by evil again. This is just how the demon powers are going to work in you. We all experience negative emotions, Melina. But it's what we do after the emotions arise that matters. We can act upon those negative feelings and let them control us, or we can feel them, acknowledge them, but then choose not to act on them. And instead of letting them control us, use them as motivation for something good.” He was silent for a moment then said, “You have to have the dark to see the light.”
            Melina sat quietly as his last words sunk in. She had never thought of it that way, but he was right. She had both light and dark in her, just like everyone else, but she just needed to make sure that her light always shone brighter.

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About the Author

Ashley Stambaugh grew up in a small town in Illinois where she and her two siblings created some of the best memories playing on their family’s farm. She stayed in the southern region of the state to attend college where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and also met her husband.

Now, she and her husband live in central Illinois and spend their time creating new memories with their two rambunctious boys. She also enjoys reading, taking long walks, and finding great bargains. When her sons are a little bit older, she has a great desire to travel with her family. Oh, and she also has a slight obsession with chocolate.

When she’s not busy chasing after her two young children or losing herself in a good book, you can find her curled up on her couch with her laptop, writing.

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