Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Bleaklisted Books by David M. Brown & Donna Brown - Excerpt & Giveaway

Today I'm excited to share the teaser tour for The Bleaklisted Books by David M. Brown and Donna Brown. This is humorous non-fiction for every cat and animal lover. The Bleaklisted Books releases December 1st!

My mini-irons,
I urge you to embrace the goose-spell of Animal Farm and you will find sanctuary when our difficult war is over. I will add, of course, that given that conquering the world means a long, long, long, long, long war, I will permit you to read another book every now and again.

Just remember which books are bleak-listed; e.g. Barry Potterer, 100 Years of Silly Tudor, Prude and Perjury, The Hungary Olympic Games, The Chronicles of Nerdia and Of Mike and Ben.

In the meantime, here is a list of books I have vetted and will reconsider for approval if the appro... apprap... proper changes are made. Read this manyule carefully mini-irons.

Your Cat-tain
Charlie Brown

US Amazon | General link (diverts to relevant Amazon) | Goodreads


What happens?

Some spy is told to carry out an assignment in East Germany to uncover a double agent but he falls for someone prior to this and love ultimately messes the operation up.

Reason for bleaklisting?

Proper spies don’t fall in love. Wimps they are!

What should have happened?

Eric is sent on an exclusive mission into East Germany to assassinate a double agent. Before setting off he is approached by an air stewardess named Fiz who fancies him but he turns her down. She does warn him that it’s cold in East Germany and gives him some cough syrup.

Suspicious of the bottle labelled poison with a skull on it, Eric tosses the syrup and completes his mission. When he returns home to England he has a runny nose and is coughing a lot. Fiz realises he has seen through the poison expertly disguised as cough syrup and she runs away. She is shot and killed by a traffic warden who believes her car is parked on double yellow lines. Eric ends the novel by nipping to the pharmacy for some genuine cough syrup.

Special instruction

Make available at MI5, MI6, CIA, B&Q and M&S and rename The Spy Who Came Home with a Cold.

Mr B compares the stories

Dear me, Charlie, I thought you’d like John le CarrĂ©’s 1963 Cold War Novel. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold does deal with Communist East Germany where Alec Leamas is sent, under the pretence that he is defecting, and with the intention of locating Mundt, suspected of being a double agent. Alec has a romance with Liz which ultimately throws a spanner in the works. There isn’t anything about cough syrup thankfully and as with Charlie’s other efforts, this one is likely to disappear into the ether. My apologies to Mr le CarrĂ© for this despicable alternative to his story.

About the Authors: 

Donna: Donna is a longtime book lover and sometime book reviewer and has devoured books from
an early age. She writes short (or long) stories as and when inspiration hits and is married to fantasy author David M. Brown (Fezariu's Epiphany, A World Apart). She was also co-contributor to David's book, Man vs Cat, a humorous look at life with six rambunctious rescue cats.

Donna has lived in many different areas of the UK over the last 30-something years but has remained in Yorkshire for the past decade. She ardently disputes the misnomer that 'It's grim up north'. You can find Donna on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Goodreads, or visit her and her husband's shared blog: B-Lines and Felines.

Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram 

David: David Brown could be considered a fantasy fanatic, especially since he has spent the last 10 years developing a 47,000-year history for his fictional world of Elenchera. When converting his obsession into literary form, David commits himself to a rigorous writing and editing process before his work can meet his approval. Combined with the critical eye of his wife and a BA Hons in History and English, David's dedication leads him to his goal of inspiring readers through heartfelt stories and characters.

Although David is inspired primarily by fantasy fiction, he also finds his muse in the form of anime, world cinema, history, and biographies. His own books, Fezariu's Epiphany and A World Apart, combine aspects from worlds both old and new into compelling tales of a world not soon forgotten., David himself certainly does not lack a spirit of adventure; in fact, he left his job in 2007 in order to spend a month travelling. Second only to meeting and marrying his wife, David counts this as one of the most amazing experiences of his life.

Feline Central

$20 Gift Certificate for Amazon or B&N & paperback or audiobook of Man vs. Cat (INT)
Ends December 16th.

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Friday, November 28, 2014

Anomaly by Tonya Kuper - Review & Giveaway

Schrodinger's Consortium #1

Tonya Kuper

YA Urban Sci-Fi
Entangled Teen
November 25, 2014

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Reality is only an illusion.
Except for those who can control it…

Worst. Birthday. Ever.

My first boyfriend dumped me – happy birthday, Josie!- my dad is who knows where, I have some weird virus that makes me want to hurl, and now my ex is licking another girl’s tonsils. Oh, and I’m officially the same age as my brother was when he died. Yeah, today is about as fun-filled as the swamps of Dagobah. But then weird things start happening…
Like I make something materialize just by thinking about it.

When hot badass Reid Wentworth shows up on a motorcycle, everything changes. Like, everything. Who I am. My family. What really happened to my brother. Existence. I am Oculi, and I have the ability to change reality with my thoughts. Now Reid, in all his hotness, is charged with guiding and protecting me as I begin learning how to bend reality. And he’s the only thing standing between me and the secret organization that wants me dead…

My Review: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

Anomaly is an interesting, fun read. Full of science, action, and humor, this is a fast-paced novel with a rather original plot line. I think it's safe to say there was never really a dull moment during this story.

I loved Josie. Super smart, sassy, snarky, and a self-proclaimed dork, she is one of the best heroines I've come across this year. You can get an idea of her personality from the book blurb. Yeah, every scene from her POV reads like that. Josie is a quick learner and quick on the uptake,,, no one needs to explain anything to her twice.

Love interest/protector Reid is also quite smart, strong, and completely devoted to Josie. He carries some secrets as most male protags do, and these secrets complicate his relationship with Josie. Though he is supposed to be her teacher and protector, of course he falls hard for her. Reid's sidekick Santiago provides lots of humor when things get dicey.

I enjoyed the plot, it was different from others in the genre. While I loved the geek references, after a while they got a tad annoying... but that's Josie-- she is obsessed with geek culture. The relationship between Josie and Reid was sweet and I liked them as a couple. POV shifts between the two, so the reader has much more info than we'd receive from just one POV. The ending made me a touch sad, but I can't go into the 'whys' without spoilers. Overall this is an enjoyable read with a great female main character.

About the Author

Tonya Kuper's debut, ANOMALY, the first in the Schrodinger's Consortium young adult scifi trilogy, releases November 2014 by Entangled Teen. She lives in Omaha, NE with her two rad boys and husband, is a music junkie, and a chocolate addict. Star Wars & Sherlock fan.

Author Links:

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Possession by Annie Oldham - Excerpt, Guest Post & Giveaway

Song & Shadow #1

Annie Oldham

YA Paranormal
October 31, 2014

Amazon * B&N * iTunes

Constance Jerome wants nothing more than to make it through her senior year of high school without being noticed. But when her mother drops the world's biggest bombshell, flying under the radar just isn't in the cards. It turns out Constance is a necromancer—one of the few who can travel the realms of the dead.

Apparently it runs in the family. And now there's a threat coming: another necromancer with plans to disturb the living and the dead, and Constance and her mother are the only ones who can stop him. If only they knew who he was. Or what exactly he was up to. A quiet senior year isn't an option, and Constance must race to stop a high school apocalypse before the balance between the living and the dead is overturned.

Guest Post by Annie Oldham

Reliving High School

I don't know about you, but I had a great high school experience (and to those of you still in high school, I hope it's treating you right). I wasn't the most popular girl in school, but I found my niche and had a good group of friends, and we lived it happily.

Posession has been my first contemporary young adult novel, and so the theater of high school definitely needed to feature in, but I didn't want it to be the entire focus of the story—after all, most high schoolers have lives outside of school. It was this juxtaposition of life at high school and what goes on outside it and how the two worlds collide that made writing Possession a lot of fun for me.

The typical high school requirements are there—the jocks, the mean girls, the wall flowers. But there are also the nice kids. Then there are the social classes that indelibly exist no matter which high school you visit. Mixing that with a heavy dose of the paranormal—paranormal that isn't taken for granted across the board; only a select few are in on the secret, but everyone is affected—was fun. I know for a lot of people, high school seemed just a little surreal, maybe just a little paranormal, and so literally adding the paranormal worked in an extra layer to the high school story.

Constance is one of those girls that just wants to be left alone and graduate in peace so she can really start her life. But she finds out she's a necromancer—she can travel the realms of the dead—and suddenly her life is turned upside down as she tries to navigate the murky waters of high school and this creepy new power. I love putting characters in unexpected situations. Constance is the last person you'd expect to take something like this on, but watching her embrace it is great, as is watching people both rally around her and regard her as something suspicious or dangerous.

That's what high school—and real life for that matter—is like. We have choices every day about what goes on around us and whether we'll rise to what's been given us or if we'll founder beneath it. Fiction can help us make sense of that, and it can sure be entertaining along the way.


Constance remembered what her mother said: it was a mistake bringing life back. But wasn’t it a mistake to mess around with death at all? How could anything good come from it? She saw the way her mother had looked the past week. She was exhausted and worn too thin. And who enforced the rules anyway?

And she needed to know.

She needed to know if what her mother was saying was true—if Biscuit and the duckling were just those flukes that sometimes happen because life is unpredictable, or if there was something more to their existence. Constance needed proof, and if she had done it once—and it wasn’t a fluke—then she should be able to do it again.

Her spade struck the box, and she used her fingers to edge around the lid and pry it off. She sat back on her heels. Maggots were crawling over the bird’s feathers.

She reminded herself that she needed to know.

How did she even start? What had she done with the duckling years ago? She forced herself to look at the tiny body and the spindly legs, and tried to ignore the white worms destroying the small form. She had felt so sad for that duckling, had wanted to return it to its family. But what had she actually done? Her hands hovered over the shoebox. She couldn’t bring herself to actually touch it, but as her hand lingered, the shadows made a film around the edges of her vision. She shook her head, trying to clear her eyes, but they pressed in even more deeply. Did she have to sing? Should she have brought one of the candles? Her mother had said something about using both of them together. But she didn’t know anything. All she knew was that she needed to know if this was who she was supposed to be.

As she stared at the bird, the wind floated over her arms and hands, and then the breeze kicked up, pulling her hair out in tendrils. She imagined the bird as it must have been in life: sandpipers scurried along the ground, their toothpick legs moving so quickly they were a blur. As she stared at the bird in the box, the shadows seemed to play tricks on her. Her vision blurred and doubled and then tripled, the outlines of the ground hazy in all the ways her vision had refracted. She shook her head, and when she did, her eyesight was back to normal.

The wind ruffled through the bird’s mangled feathers, and Constance was just about to put the lid back on the box, ready to be done with this perverse experiment, when it happen.
The bird’s eye opened, and where there should have been a glassy, ink-drop eye there was a maggot. And then the bird blinked.

Constance’s hand flew to her mouth, the bile rose in her throat, and she wheeled backward, falling back into the grass. Her lungs wanted nothing more than to force her vocal chords into a scream, but she swallowed it down. How would her mother like this, if she saw it? Here Constance was bringing something back to life—that is what happened, right?—when really the only thing she had been taught so far was never to do that.

Her chest heaved for a few moments, and then she crawled on her hands and knees to the box.
 She had to make sure.

The bird’s head rested feebly on the cardboard, and it could do nothing more than blink at her, maggots inching their way across its decomposing flesh. And then her heart plummeted. It was now alive when it was supposed to be dead. She had done this; she had made this monstrosity. Tears pricked her eyes. It had been easy—was it supposed to be this easy?—to just bring it to life. Now she had to send it back, and that was going to be hard. Her stomach heaved as she grabbed a heavy rock from the rock bed and raised it over her head. As it came smashing down, the tears poured down her cheeks, and she had so many thoughts racing through her head that she couldn’t untangle them all until one finally threaded its way to the forefront.

She would go along with her mother on this necromancy thing, but she could never, ever tell her about tonight.

 About the Author

Annie adores writing and reading YA novels. She grew up with an insatiable desire to read and then came the insatiable desire to write. Annie has been blessed to have both of those in her life.
Away from her writing, Annie is the mother of the most adorable girls in the world, has the best husband in the world, and lives in the hottest place in the world (not really, but Phoenix sure feels like it). She loves to cook, sing, and play the piano.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Blog Tour: Undead Obsessed by Jessica Robinson - Guest Post & Review

Undead Obsessed
Finding Meaning in Zombies

Jessica Robinson

Nonfiction/Pop Culture
Publisher: Booktrope
October 31, 2014
Cover Artist: Greg Simanson


Jessica Robinson's obsession with zombie films started when she was in junior high. Horror films are a great lens to examine concerns society has about modern science. Let’s face it, when it comes to horror movies, science has a bad reputation. Blind ambition, experimental serums, and genetic experiments are often blamed for the giant monster terrorizing the city or the reason aliens are taking human prisoners or the cause of the dead rising from the grave to consume living flesh.

Using film, literature, and interviews with experts, Robinson examines how zombies portray real-world fears such as epidemics, mind control, what may or may not exist in space, the repercussions of playing God, and the science behind the fears. Robinson's goal is to explore how zombies become a metaphor for our fears of science and what could happen if science gets out of hand.

Guest Post by Jessica Robinson

Surviving the Apocalypse

The best defense against zombies is avoidance, and doing the opposite of everything I have ever seen in a zombie films.  After the apocalypse, I’m going to become a hermit, allowing no one but my family and close friends into my shelter—assuming they haven’t been bitten.  Everyone else will be shot on sight. 

However, once I find shelter, I’m not going to board up the windows and doors.  According to Night of the Living Dead, that’s an incredibly ineffective way to keep the creatures out.  Plus, I wouldn’t be able to see anything coming.  No, I’ll probably just booby trap the land around my house—maybe dig some holes, put out some bear traps and snares, or other things to entangle zombies.  I wouldn’t even have to camouflage them.  The zombies wouldn’t know what they are.  After the creatures are trapped, I will dispatch them at my leisure.

I also plan on avoiding other humans at all costs.  Again, in pretty much every zombie film you watch and The Walking Dead TV series, they are just as dangerous—if not more so—than the undead.  With zombies, you at least know that they want to kill you and eat you.  The humans, their motives are a bit more covert.  Best to avoid them all together.

I’m also going to make sure I have a bunch of supplies stockpiled in a safe place.  In any zombie film you watch, attempting to get supplies from the store opens you up to a slew of attacks—from both the undead and the living. 

Stay alert, stay alive.

My Review: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

Undead Obsessed is an interesting, in-depth look into zombies in popular culture. I admit, I'm a huge zombie fan, find everything about them fascinating. In this book, Ms. Robinson takes the reader on a journey to learn about all aspects of zombies, from science to religion to outer space.

Many zombie movies and books are discussed in depth to the point that even if you haven't seen them, you won't be lost. The author also takes a look at the popular TV show, The Walking Dead.

Ms. Robinson really did an impressive amount of research in the creation of this non-fiction book. I enjoyed her trip to the water treatment plant and the veterinary center. Undead Obsessed is well-written and engaging. It read like an intimate conversation with the author. I really enjoyed this book, though I will admit there were a few sections that I skimmed through just because I got a tad tired of the long film recaps.

If you like zombies, then this is a must-read. If you want to learn about zombies, again a must-read. If you want to survive a zombie apocalypse... well you have a lot of planning to do...

About the Author

Jessica Robinson is an editor by day and a zombie-killer by night (at least in her books). Since the first time she watched Night of the Living Dead, she has been obsessed with zombies and often thinks of ways to survive the uprising. In addition to her nonfiction book, under the pen name Pembroke Sinclair, she has written YA novels about zombies and the tough teens who survive the apocalyptic world. She has also written nonfiction stories for Serial Killer Magazine and published a book about slasher films called Life Lessons from Slasher Films.

You can learn more about Jessica by visiting her at 

Calling all Zombie Apocalypse Fans!

You know you've thought about it.  You know you've planned it out. How would you survive the zombie apocalypse?  I’m un-dying to know!  Send your essays (500 words or less) or videos to pembrokesinclair[@]hotmail[.]com or use the contact form at .  Please don’t send attachments.  I won’t open them.  Please paste your story or link directly in the body of the email or the contact form.  Thanks! 

Terms:  Sending your stories/videos to Pembroke Sinclair/Jessica Robinson gives her permission to post them on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media sites (including, but not limited to, Google+, Goodreads, etc.).  You retain copyright, but give her permission to share with others for no compensation.  This is totally voluntary on your part.

You warrant that you are the sole owner of the work or have been assigned exclusive rights to the work; that the work is original and that no part was taken from or based on any other literary, dramatic, or musical material, or from an film or graphic arts, except identified in writing by author; that the work does not contain any material of libelous, pornographic, or obscene nature.

You agree to hold Pembroke Sinclair/Jessica Robinson harmless and indemnify her against any claim, demand, action, suit, proceeding, or any expense whatsoever arising from claims of infringement of copyright or proprietary right, or claims of libel, obscenity, invasion of privacy, or any other unlawfulness based upon or arising from the publication or any matter pertaining to the work.

Submission of your work means you agree to these terms.  Pembroke Sinclair/Jessica Robinson reserves the right to decide what will be published on her blog and other social media sites and has the right to refuse any work.

Cover Reveal: Skateboard Xombies by Ace Antonio Hall - Excerpt & Giveaway

Welcome to the cover reveal for YA horror novel Skateboard Xombies: Search for the Crystal Coffin. This is the first book in a five-part series of Kindle singles.

Skateboard Xombies:
Search for the Crystal Coffin

Ace Antonio Hall

YA Horror

On a normal school day in Lunyon Canyon, California, teenage necromancer, Sylva Fleischer, bickers with her teacher in class over an unfairly graded paper. But when the principal announces that all teachers should lock their door and not let any students leave class, the entire school is trapped in a world of terrifying zombies that not only bite with their teeth, they bite with their minds.

Since all life on Earth faces extinction at the hands of the perilous undead, a guardian of a secret society of vampire monks saves Sylva, her friend, Half-Pipe and her family, and lead them to an alternate world. And that's when the real terror begins ... on a planet full of every imaginable type of undead creature that ever lived ... Including those telekinetic zombies!

Praise for Ace Antonio Hall and Confessions of Sylva Slasher: 

"As I say on the front cover … A treat for Buffy fans–but 100% Ace Antonio Hall's own twisted vision. Breathes new life into the living dead; run, don't shamble to get a copy." 
Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author, Robert J. Sawyer

“In a vast sea of zombie tales, Hall's tale is more than a cut above. He brings the entire genre to heel and treats us to one Hell of a ride.”
Art Holcomb, Editor-in-Chief, Andromeda Entertainment


ONE WAY OR ANOTHER (teenage kicks)

HoloBleet - @sylvaslasher. Entry 526: I still dream about my sorta-kinda ex, Brandon. Even though he's dead, his words live on in my heart. This is what he said to me: “You see, it was like my soul was suddenly driven with the sole purpose to branch out of my body and touch yours. I don’t know, it probably sounds stupid to you, but I swear it was like our spirits were made in heaven. Yeah, as one entity and somehow when they came down to Earth, were separated until that first moment our eyes met—mine and those precious silver eyes. That day my whole life made sense.”

I woke up wishing dreams never ended. #RIPBrandon

601 ReBleets, 11,493 Followers

Monday Morning, 7:52

“IT'S KIND OF LIKE THE HUNGER GAMES,” I said, as the morning sun slept lazily behind the dark storm clouds, “except instead of the survivor winning a chance to live, they earn a chance to die.”
“Sylva, whoever invented those bloodthirsty games are crazy,” Half-Pipe said, looking back at me with a dubious smirk, “I don't care how you twist it, the Blood Bowl sounds major morbid.”
Katja Andersdotter, known to everyone as Half-Pipe, was the most opinionated person I knew. She got her name because one day her father beat her with a broken sink pipe after his routine field trip to the all-night bar. He started calling her that ever since just to see her cringe. She was out of school for two whole weeks that day he put her in the hospital and the next time I saw her, she was a vampire, or so 
I thought. I'll explain what I mean by that later.
Half-Pipe zipped backwards toward the high school steps on her kickglider and spun the hovering skateboard into a killer switch front blunt trick. Her kickglider did an air-grind down the rail to the bottom of steps and she abruptly stopped throwing one foot down, the other foot hovering four inches above the ground on her board.

Most people think her name's Half-Pipe because she's so good doing skateboard tricks on the half-pipe ramps. I know better. She likes the name, now; says it gives her strength.

“You finally nailed the landing,” I said, smiling.

What are you talking about, Sylva?” Half-Pipe said. “I nailed it just last week.”

When? I don't remember.”

You weren't there—you kept blowing me off, working on that cosmology paper for our necromancy class. I nailed it right outside Ohana Gardens all by my lonesome with no one to distract me.”

Then that doesn't count if no one saw it.”

Does, too.”


Wanting to outdo Half-Pipe, I pushed my kickglider out in front of me, flipping the board three-hundred and sixty degrees to do a heel flip and ollied (jumped hands-free) over the fourteen steps. While in the air, I decided to grab the tail of the board with both hands, blindly reaching behind my back with my front hand. Upon landing, I swooshed to a ninety-degree stop beneath our holographic school sign, which hovered ten feet above my head, reminding parents about a Tuesday P.T.A. Meeting, red neon lights flashing against the gray skies.

That's was pretty gnarly,” Half-Pipe said. “No one does a Bloody Dracula better than the one and only Sylva Fleischer!”

I pulled my shades out of the side of my backpack and slipped them on. “You weren't too shabby, yourself,” I said, and skated off alongside our football stadium toward the main building. I loved seing the blue turf on our football field. Grass looks so better blue, than green, I thought.

Half-Pipe caught up with me. “Did you tell your mom yet that you're quitting raising the dead?”


Well, I'm glad Emily taught me everything she knows about preparing the grave and stuff. I'll be able to help out when you're gone. But ... who would do the raising? No one else in the Ohana is a necromancer.”

I didn't say anything—didn't care as long as it wasn't me.

Then,” Half-Pipe began, “you didn't tell her you were moving out and getting your own place, either, huh?”

I shook my head. “Can't ever find the right time to do it.”

Why move out when you have everything you want at home with your family? They love you, and never treat you mean. I wish I had it that good.”

They don't pay attention to me when I'm home. Trust me, they're not going to miss me. Besides, I know that once I'm on my own, this void inside of me will be filled. Something's missing, and I think I need to be more independent to find out what it is.”

Why quit raising the dead? You're so good at it. Is it because of what happened to you at the D.T.'s?”

I don't want to talk about it,” I said, and sped up. 

About the Author

Ace Antonio Hall is an actor, former music producer, and ‘retired’ educator with accolades as a Director of Education for the Sylvan Learning Center and nearly fifteen years experience as an award-winning NYC English teacher. He has a BFA degree with a concentration in screenwriting and has published poetry, short stories and fiction in magazines, anthologies, newspapers and novels.
Inspired by his father, Chris Acemandese Hall, who penned the lyrics to the Miles Davis jazz classic, “So What”, sung by Eddie Jefferson, and his sister, Carol Lynn Brown, who guest starred in the 1970’s film, “Velvet Smooth”, Ace spawned his creativity into developing the beloved but flawed teen character, Sylva Slasher.
Ace was the Vice President of the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society (2009-2011), and continues to head the Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror (ScHoFan) Critique Group as Co-Director of critique groups within the society. He is also a member of LASFS and the International Thriller Writers.
On April 14, 2013, Montag Press published his YA zombie novel Confessions of Sylva Slasher. His next release, Skateboard Xombies, is coming out later this year, and he has already begun working on Skateboard Xamurai for the third installment in his Sylva Slasher series.

Looking for some zombie gear? Check out Ace’s Zombie Pop Shop!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Book Blast: Winter Wolf by RJ Blain - Excerpt & $100 GC Giveaway

Winter Wolf

Winter Wolf
(Witch & Wolf Book 2)

R.J. Blain

The Hunted Wizard
When Nicole dabbled in the occult, she lost it all: Her voice, her family, and her name. Now on the run from the Inquisition, she must prove to herself—and the world—that not all wizards are too dangerous to let live.
The savage murder of a bookstore employee throws Nicole into the middle of Inquisition business, like it or not. Driven by her inability to save the young man’s life, she decides to hunt the killer on her own. Using forbidden magic to investigate the past, she learns that the murderer is in fact a disease that could kill the entire werewolf race.
Forced to choose between saving lives and preserving her own, Nicole embraces the magic that sent her into exile. Without werewolves, the power of the Inquisition would dwindle, and she could live without being hunted.
Nicole’s only hope for success lies in the hands of the werewolves she hates and the Inquisition she fears, but finding someone to trust is only the beginning of her problems. There are those who want to ensure that the werewolves go extinct and that the Inquisition falls.
But, if she fails to find a cure, her family—including her twin sister—will perish…


Almost everyone in the store had a phone. Dormant devices, from reading lights to mobile chargers, littered the tables. One woman, browsing books nearby, had four battery-powered devices in her purse. One was a phone, and like mine, it hungered. Its need was strong; its battery waned to the point of failure.
If I wanted, I could charge it for her.
No one would notice if I did. Maybe the woman would wonder how her phone hadn’t died before she got home. It only had a few minutes left. It’d take me all of ten seconds to fix it for her. If I did, I wouldn’t be so aware of it. But to do so, I’d have to touch her—or her phone. Some things I could manipulate without having a direct conduit, but cell phone batteries were tricky, greedy things.
I cringed a little, setting the thriller book down. I picked up the next nearest title. I flipped it over, not reading the text on the back. Did I dare? Out of the corner of my eye, I watched the woman browsing through the books. All it would take was a few seconds. I could charge it without her noticing.
That was one thing I was actually good at.
I put the novel I held down and wandered to the same table, careful not to look at her. Book by book, I investigated the titles, circling to where she stood.
“You’re Nicole Thomas, aren’t you? The actress. You’re her.” My quarry appraised me with a pleased expression.
People normally recognized the mainliners, people with beautiful faces and voices to match, people who didn’t avoid crowds.
In short, people other than me.
I met her gaze, abandoning my perusal of novels. “I am,” I replied, wincing a little at the sandpaper-rough quality of my voice. At least I hadn’t been reduced to a whisper—yet. My fatal flaw was my rough, grating voice. Chronic laryngitis did that to a person. It ruined careers, as it had mine, though I hadn’t quite given up on being an actress. I’d already lost the ability to sing.
I wasn’t going to let a stupid disease take everything away from me.
The woman smiled, not seeming to mind talking to someone who sounded more like a zombie than a human. “You’re taller than I expected. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
She thrust out her hand.
We shook.
I left her phone alone.
“They keep putting me next to giants,” I quipped. It was true. When I did manage to get on the silver screen, I worked alongside actors easily a foot-and-a-half taller than me. “It’s a pleasure to meet you too.” I matched her smile. She didn’t tell me her name, and I didn’t ask for it.
It took all of my will not to fiddle with her phone. All it would take was a murmured word and a thought, and it’d be done. It would have been easy to charge the battery when our hands had been clasped together, but I hadn’t dared.
If, sometime later, she noticed her phone had magically been charged—literally—she might remember me. She knew my name.
And in true cowardice, I couldn’t bring myself to help her. If she connected the strange behavior of her phone with me, she might tell someone. If she did, I’d be as good as dead—or worse. I had dabbled in the occult, and the occult had dabbled back, and there were those who didn’t like when that happened.
The last thing I needed was them finding me.

Author RJ Blain
Author R.J. Blain

RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning. When she isn't playing pretend, she likes to think she's a cartographer and a sumi-e painter. In reality, she herds cats and a husband. She is currently on a quest for a new warrior fish. In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Should that fail, her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until she is satisfied.

Favorite Books & Series In no particular order: Anne McCaffrey's Pern Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar & Gryphon Series Jim Butcher's Codex Alera & The Dresden Files Brandon Sanderson's Elantris Patricia Briggs' Alpha and Omega, Dragon Bones, & The Mercy Thompson series Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time

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