Tuesday, 25 April 2017

ANZAC Day


Here in Australia it's ANZAC Day. The one day of the year when we all gather to remember the solemn sacrifice of our service men and women in the First World War, and other subsequent conflicts.
For Aussies - and our Kiwi mates across the Tasman who served alongside us - it's a sacred day.
Lest we forget.
As a historian and teacher who's taken classes of students to visit the battlefields and grave sites of the Australian fallen, I've never ceased to be moved by the sight of so many young men who died to protect the lives of men, women and children in a foreign country.
They believed it was the right thing to do.
Thanks to them, my country enjoys freedom and at peace.

In BloodGifted, Book 1 in my Dantonville Legacy series, I try and portray the horror of the Western Front as seen through my MC's eyes - Doctor Major Alec Munro.
Unfortunately, after editing, it didn't make the final cut.
So here is the deleted WWI scene.
Enjoy 😊
* * *
     Becoming a vampire hadn't been my choice. It had occurred in the last days of the First World War. I'd enlisted in 1916. Doctors were in great demand and so I was shipped directly to northern France to the 3rd Australian Field Hospital at Abbeville. It was close to the frontline. Several of the Dominion troops - Australian and Canadian battalions - were sent here to defend the area around Amiens and the town of Villers-Bretonneux from a German offensive.
      That's where I met Owen Dantonville, the leading physician, a tall, thin man who appeared to be roughly the same age as myself - late twenties. What struck me were the strange colour of his eyes; a deep shade of lavender.
     He welcomed me warmly the day I arrived. We soon became friends.
     So many wounded were coming in, there weren't enough medical staff to deal with them all. There hadn't even been time to unpack before I was ushered into the operating theatre, or rather, the makeshift tent that passed for one.
     Unlike myself, Owen had signed up in 1914. As he'd enthusiastically told me, 'I have to be in it!' worried it would be all over by Christmas and he would've missed the adventure of his life....
     It was the Big Push early in 1918 that brought us the worst casualties. The constant noise of the shelling and witnessing the mechanical slaughter of mates, drove some men over the edge. We named it "Shell Shock" and no one knew how to treat it. The ambulance drivers exhausted themselves running a constant relay between our hospital and the trenches of Amiens, bringing back more wounded than we could accommodate. I persuaded one of them to take me to the front so I could see for myself what the soldiers babbled about in their delirium.
     What I witnessed there horrified me.
     Spring in Picardy was ice and mud in equal proportions. Men stood ankle-deep in putrid water, in which floated the bodies of field rats infested with lice, and the decomposing remains of German soldiers whose rotting corpses were used to prop up the ramparts.
     My stomach heaved and my knuckles burned with how hard I had them clenched at the outrage that coursed through me.
     'How can men be asked to endure this?' I said to my driver.
     'Shhh! Not so loud, major.' He glanced around. 'We're not allowed to say anything to affect the morale of the men.'
     I shook my head. When would this pointless slaughter end?
     I helped carry some of the wounded into the ambulance and we drove back to the hospital. Along the route I tried to picture how this part of France must have appeared before the war.
     The once picturesque town of Villers-Bretonneux had almost disappeared beneath the massive German mortar barrage. Quiet wooded groves and quaint villages were reduced to ravaged skeletons of what they once had been.
     We fought to protect the people and in return they looked after us. I'd overheard some of our men considering the possibility of remaining behind after the war to help the villagers rebuild. Countless numbers of our men were already permanent residents. Their bodies lay in the newly established cemetery where once fertile fields had stood.
     My heart ached.





Wednesday, 19 April 2017

It's Sneak Peek Time Again - Terens




This week we go back in time to Roman Britain.

The year is AD 261, and a young Sextus Terentius Varro, later known as Terens, has been given his first military assignment.
The scene takes place at the Varro villa outside the Roman legionary city of Eboracum (York) in the north of Britannia, two years before the tragic event that changed his life forever.


Sextus Terentius Varro adjusted his sword belt and glanced at his reflection in the bronze mirror. It’d been a while since he’d worn anything else but his equite toga, and it took getting used to seeing himself in uniform again, this time as tribune - tribunus equitus.
He should be grateful.
His father had paid a lot of money, and favours too probably, to purchase his commission into the XX Victrix. It had been his old legion, as he never tired of reminding his son.
Sextus rolled his eyes. If they were expecting him to be anything like his father, they were in for a surprise. He was nothing like his pater. Which is why he wasn’t surprised to learn the unit he was assigned to was sending a detachment of troops to some god-forsaken outpost on the Wall.
He was sure his father had had a hand in that.
Yeah, he should be grateful.
‘I don’t want you to go!’ His little sister Tia, latched onto his waist, one hand dangling her favourite doll. At eight years of age, she was still too innocent in the ways of the world to know why he was being sent away.
He crouched down to peer into her eyes, large dark brown ones like their mother’s. They’d begun to fill with tears. ‘Hey, you won’t miss me. You’ve got Julia here,’ he indicated her doll, ‘and Tadius and Saena,’ children of the household slaves, ‘to play with.’
Tia sniffed and wiped her nose with her sleeve. ‘I ‘spose. But you tell jokes and make me laugh when Papa is so serious.’
Yeah, and didn’t he know it.
If not for their mother telling him otherwise, he would’ve sworn Father had been born wearing a frown. It had etched permanent lines onto his brow. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen him smile.
‘Tell you what. What if I promise to send you a joke every week?’ At least her laughter would cheer up the dreary place.
‘Promise?’ Her sweet face lit up as if he’d just given her an armful of Saturnalia presents.
‘Make sure they’re clean ones.’ His mother, Cornelia, stood outside his room, the morning sunshine creating a halo around her dark curls. Her smile alone could lighten any dark mood.
He’d often wondered if she wasn’t a demigod, for how else could she have put up with the dour, austere man she’d been wed to.
‘Mother.’ He raised her hand to his lips and kissed her fingertips.
She smoothed his hair from off his forehead. ‘Oh Sextus! I’ll miss you, but your father’s right. This commission will do you a world of good.’
‘Nothing like fighting barbarians to make a man of me, right?’
She sighed, and beckoned to one of the slaves hovering nearby. ‘Take Tia to her lessons.’
Tia blinked away more tears and crushed her face to her brother’s, giving him a long, wet kiss on his cheek before running from the room, the slave traipsing after her.
He remained crouched a little longer, his gaze following her out. It would be at least a year before he’d see his little sister again.
‘Your father means well for you, Sextus.’ Cornelia seated herself on the edge of his bed and smoothed her long, light woollen robe over her knees. ‘This last year, you’ve been idling, with no sense of purpose in your life, drinking too much … and saying things best kept to yourself.’
He threw his head back and glared at the red-coloured ceiling. Okay, so he’d said some stupid things but it’d been enough to get a reprimand from the chief magistrate of the city.
‘I was drunk.’
‘That’s no excuse. If you had been anyone less than Gnaeus Terentius Varro’s son, you could have been executed!’ She closed her eyes and covered her hand with her mouth as a shudder racked her body.
Sextus’s heart lurched. He threw himself onto his knees at his mother’s feet and grasped her hand in his. ‘Mother, please …’
‘Your father loves you. Don’t ever doubt that. He called in a lot of favours to protect you and get you out of the city. And whether you like it or not, Postumus is emperor of Britain and Gaul. Gnaeus has sworn his allegiance. Do not endanger us, Sextus, I beg you.’ Her voice shook.
That broke him. Sextus hung his head as a pang of guilt gripped his heart.
Her eyes glistened as she lifted his chin to meet her gaze. ‘You always were an impetuous child; acting before thinking. Isn’t it time that changed?’
He hated to admit to it, but this time his abandoned carousing and loose tongue had endangered those he loved most in the world, and no damn emperor was worth that.
May the gods curse them all!
He kissed her cheek then stood and reached for his helmet on the table by his bed.
‘Let me do that.’ Cornelia placed the helmet on his head and fastened the strap beneath his chin, her hand lingering there as if reluctant to let go.
‘I’ll do you proud. I promise.’ And unless any of the fickle gods decided to have sport with him, Sextus Terentius had no intention of breaking his word.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Do Your Characters Have A Family Tree?

Tolkien did it, CS Lewis did it and various other authors do it, too.
In the back of their books they add all these interesting little tidbits to draw readers even deeper into their imaginary worlds. Things like a glossary, which lists a brief biography of all their characters; detailed maps of their fantasy worlds and, at times, even a genealogy.
I love genealogies.
Books series' often go through a range of characters, sometimes over generations, so seeing them all presented on one chart is a great reminder of their relationship to each other as the stories progress.
I created one for my Dantonville Legacy series and it was included as part of the back matter in the first paperback edition of Book 1, BloodGifted, but it was harder to do in the digital version, and so it didn't go in.
But, here it is now and I've included an updated version with characters from the 2nd and 3rd books.


If you want to find out more about these characters, you can start the series here - Amazon

Monday, 3 April 2017

Friday Fragment - A Dantonville Chronicle: Luc and Judy's Story

Recently, I've had requests from readers to provide the backstories of some of the other characters in my Dantonville Legacy series, and I couldn't think of anything more fun.
So, here's the first one: Luc and Judy's first meeting.

Enjoy!


‘Wait for me here, I won’t be long,’ my father said before he turned and went to the door, muttering , ‘I don’t want him to see you.’
‘Him? Who?’
He left me alone in the front reception room of the palatial residence in Vaucluse he’d asked me to drive him to - wondering who on earth he was referring to. It certainly wasn’t a house call - he’d left his medical bag on the back seat of the car.
I glanced around. It was a pleasant room: cream-jacquard wallpaper and beige carpet. Several leather-upholstered armchairs were arranged round a coffee table on which sat a small marble bust. Bookshelves lined the walls the spaces between each interspersed with potted ferns on metal stands. Large bay windows looked out onto a gravelled front drive and the tree-lined lane beyond. A few straggly bushes poked their branches above the windowsill, their dry branches scratching against the panes in the wind. Pity they weren’t roses. Roses would've looked lovely, I thought. It only heightened my sense of unease at my father’s parting words.
After running my finger along some of the books, and even perusing a few, I became curious about the rest of the house. My father didn’t say how long he’d be. I glanced at my watch - he’d been gone nearly fifteen minutes.
No one in the hallway as I peeked out the door. Quiet too. And the servant who'd let us in was nowhere to be seen.
Should I call out?
Sunlight streamed in through the coloured-glass panels in the front door, illuminating the dust mites that flitted through the air and landed on the painted images of dragons, griffins and other mythological creatures that ran like a dado along the length of the walls. It was unlike any decoration I’d ever seen. Whoever lived here must have a sense of the gothic, I thought, and wondered if I’d encounter a suit of armour somewhere in a secluded corner.
To my left a grand staircase led to the upper levels of the house, and past that were other rooms, their open doors giving a glimpse of what lay beyond.
My curiosity was piqued. Would it do any harm to have a quick look around while I waited?
The clack of my footsteps on the tiled floor was magnified in the overwhelming silence, and my heart pounded at the fear I might be taken for an intruder. I stopped and considered going back. Father could appear at any moment and I doubt he’d be happy if I wandered off. Yet he didn’t say how long he’d be.
Only a quick look. 
Eight steps and I was admiring a spacious dining room. The long glass-topped table could have seated twelve. Organza curtains flapped in the breeze whispering through the open French doors. I glimpsed pink camellia bushes and a paved path ….
‘Would you like to see the garden?’
My heart flew into my throat and I spun around. Everything around me faded as I focused on the tall, stunning fair-haired man who approached me.
His eyes were the exact shade as mine: lavender.

*Start the series here - BloodGifted, Book 1 in the Dantonville Legacy Series eBook 
                                                                                                                       Paperback

Friday, 31 March 2017

Enjoy a Deleted Scene From BloodGifted.

For all my Dantonville Legacy fans here's a deleted chapter from the first book in the series, BloodGifted. It didn't make the final cut, as the book was already well over the word limit I'd set for myself.
The scene takes place in Jenny's house right after Laura walked out on Alec and Matt in the cafe, the day after she and Alec had met.

Enjoy ☺️💕🌸


Jenny

     ‘Stupid men!’ After walking out on Matt and Alec, I made my way to Jen’s place.
     It wasn’t far, only two blocks from the cafe in a quiet, tree-lined street halfway down a steep hill. It was part of a group of lovely century-old sandstone cottages that had escaped the bulldozer in the late nineteen-sixties, when almost all suburban councils were in a frenzy to demolish the old in their haste to construct modern apartment complexes - like mine.
     They got more rates that way.
     I knocked on the familiar glossy blue front door.
     ‘I was about to call you.’ She stood back to allow me to enter, her head cocked to one side as I strode past. ‘Uh oh. I know that look. Man trouble?’
     ‘You have no idea.’
     ‘Kitchen,’ she ordered.
     We strode down the long, book-lined hallway, past the poky bedrooms and into the open living area that was Jenny’s favourite part of the house - her sunny kitchen. I knew it almost as well as my own - welcoming, comforting and far away from the strange, new and dark world Alec represented.
I went straight to the kettle and switched it on.
     ‘That bad, huh?’ She leant against the sink and watched silently as I fetched a tin of tea bags from the cupboard and slammed it on the bench. She rescued the mugs I was reaching for before they met the same fate.
     ‘Laura, hon, tell me.’
     ‘Bloody men!’
     ‘What else is new?’
     Good point. Settling me in a chair, she finished making the tea and placed a steaming cup of Earl Grey into my hands.
     ‘Matt’s angry.’ Misery coated my voice, and as much as I was able, I told Jenny about the new man who’d entered my life - Alec Munro-‘He’s … a family friend … on Aunt judy’s side’ -the meeting in the cafe and my parting words. ‘He nearly started a punch-up in the cafe.’
     Jenny whistled and gave me an incredulous stare.
     My stomach churned at having to avoid the words “vampire”, “blood”, “magic rings” or that Alec was a murder suspect. Yet how could I reveal all that? The biggest secret of my life and I couldn’t share it with my best friend.
     Life had taken a turn for the worse but I promised myself that one day she would know all.
     ‘That’s the action of a man guarding his property,’ she said shaking her head.
     ‘I’m nobody’s property!’
     ‘Men don’t think that way, hon.’
     ‘Tell me about it.’ I gulped down my tea wishing it were something stronger.
     ‘From what you told me, your aunt’s asked you to take her place at this event, this Alec guy as your escort, right?’
     ‘Uh huh.’
     ‘It has to be a Dantonville and you’re the only one available?’
     ‘Y-e-e-e-s.’ Technically true.
     ‘And Matt’s not happy.’ She leaned forward and braced her arms on the table. ‘Describe this Alexander Munro.’
     ‘About one-eighty-centimetres - taller than Matt - lean but muscular, broad shoulders, dark hair.’
     ‘Eyes?’
     I really didn’t want to answer that, but I did. ‘Violety-mauve.’
     ‘You mean lavender? Like yours? That’s incredible.’
     ‘Mmmm.’
     ‘Okay … age?’
     ‘Um … twenty-nine.’ I nearly blurted out Alec’s chronological age.
     Jenny’s eyes never left my face. ‘Laura, on a scale of one to ten, level one being, let’s say bad teeth, no lips, scrawny body, to ten being a regular hottie male-model-make-women-salivate type of guy. Where would you place this Alec Munro?’
     Because I didn’t answer straight away, Jen gave me her suspicious look: lowered head, raised eyebrows and pursed lips.
     ‘Eleven.’
     At that, she threw her hands in the air and rolled her eyes. ‘Oh hon, wake up and smell the testosterone! Of course Matt’s reacting, what did you expect? First you tell him you have to meet this guy alone, then accompany him to some plush event where he’s not invited and this morning you’re meeting him for coffee - again - alone. No wonder he bolted down there as soon as he woke up and read your note!’ She looked at me as if I was an idiot. ‘Especially if this Alec looks like, you know, a hottie from heaven.’
     ‘Oh Jen! I was hoping I was wrong, but hearing you say it….’ I buried my face in my hands.
     ‘Tell me, hon, did this guy try to come on to you, you know, hold your hand, lock eyes …? And did Matt see any of that?’
     What the??? ‘I know what coming onto me means. I’m not stupid!’
     ‘No you’re not, Laura, but you can be so naive sometimes it worries me.’
     Blame my emotional stuntedness on my weird genes. I sighed. ‘Alec did take my hand to apologise for - the inconvenience, but that was before Matt showed up.’
     ‘How soon before?’
     I chewed on my lower lip and shook my head. ‘I’m sure he didn’t see anything, and I took my hand away as soon as I could.’
     ‘Honey, Matt’s a detective. He has the eyes of a hawk.’
     I groaned. Lowered my head and banged it lightly on the table. It seemed the most sensible thing to do.
     Jenny’s hand patted the top of my head. ‘Want my advice?'
     I nodded into the table.
     ‘Reassure him. That’s what he needs to hear from you. This Alec Munro’s an unknown and Matt’s worried. Tell him you love him and that you’re only accompanying this guy to do your aunt a favour. After this, you’ll never see him again. Right? End of problem.’
     If only it was that simple. How could I tell her that I’d be seeing Alec for the next fifty years - twice a week?
     Jenny gazed at me, expectant. ‘Laura, this shouldn’t be a problem, you know, unless…?’
     ‘Unless what?’ My head shot up.
     ‘You feel something for this other guy,’ she said softly.
     In that sunny kitchen, a cold chill crept its way up my spine. I was fond of Matt, no, I loved him … I was sure of it. The fact that Alec was beyond good looking had nothing to do with it.
     Then why did my stomach flip when Jen mentioned his name?
     You’re being ridiculous, Laura. I gripped the tea cup and brought it up to my lips. Blast, it was empty. ‘No, I’m not doing that to Matt - ever.’ I rose from the table and rinsed the empty cup in the sink. Jenny’s silence sent an arrow through my heart. ‘Sorry Jen. I didn’t mean that the way it came out.’
      'S’okay, and I don’t blame you. Just don’t make the same mistake I did.’
     Jenny knew the heartache of falling for another man - two weeks before her wedding. The fact she’d broken off the engagement, married the other guy who'd then promptly left her when she found out she couldn’t have kids, was testament to her following her own heart.
     ‘Did you?’
     ‘Still can’t answer that.’ Her usually lively eyes turned sad and I couldn’t bear to see that.
     ‘Ball gown,’ I blurted out.
     ‘What?’
     ‘I need to buy a ball gown.’
     ‘You’re going then?’
     ‘I have to.’
     ‘Okay, but if I can have the last word here? Matt is crazy about you. Rang last week sussing out whether he had a chance. He was worried that you’d hold back because of the age gap between you. I told him to go for it; that he’ll always look older because of your funny DNA. That’s all he needed to know.’
     I was speechless.
     ‘And - did he?’ she asked.
     I nodded. ‘Last night - in the car - coming home.’
     ‘Well then.’ And that was it, her final word. ‘You’d better go and buy that dress. Wish I could join you. Unfortunately,’ she pointed to the pile of marking stacked high in the laundry basket next to the table, ‘got to get them done by Monday.’
     ‘No worries, Jen. I came at short notice anyway.’
     She saw me to the door, and after a peck on the cheek, ‘Make sure you tell me everything afterwards,’ I left to scour the shops to find something suitable to wear to a vampire ceremony.
     Perhaps I should ask the shop assistants? 

Want to read the entire book? Get it here - Amazon eBook Paperback
 

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Meet Historical Novelist, Mirren Hogan

Mirren Hogan is celebrating the release of her new book Night Witches. Here's a bunch of things you probably didn't know about her.

Mirren Hogan lives in NSW Australia with her husband, two daughters, dog, cat, rabbits and countless birds. She has a Bachelor of Arts (English/ history), a Graduate Diploma of Arts (writing) and a couple of degrees in education. She writes fantasy, urban fantasy and science fiction, as well as historical fiction.
Her debut novel —Crimson Fire— was released by in October 2016.
Burning Willow Press will be releasing Nightmares Rise – co-authored by Erin Yoshikawa – on April 8.
Mirren also had several short stories published and has co-edited two charity anthologies; for breast cancer research and Plan Australia.




1. What was the last book you read? Calamity by Brandon Sanderson.
2. What is your favourite movie? Back to the Future.
3. Where's your favourite place to write? On the couch.
4. Which book/s have influenced you the most? All of them. Every book has something offer, including ones I didn't like. 
5. Name 4 foods you eat regularly? Cheese, chocolate, pizza, toasted cheese sandwiches.
6. Favourite place to be? Home
7. Favourite TV show? Anything DC or home reno.
8. What is your favourite colour? Blue.
9. Who is your favourite author? I have too many to name.
10. Last thing/person that made you laugh? My dog.



Nadia Valinsky was a student teacher in Moscow until Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Determined to defend her people, she joins the Air Force; where the famous aviator Marina Raskova is recruiting women for three fighting regiments. After rigorous training, and in nothing more than canvas and wood biplanes, Nadia and her friends are sent to the front line, where they'll become the legends history calls The Night Witches.
 

Get it here: Amazon 

                     Nook

                     Kobo

                     Indigo

                     Book Depository

You can connect with Mirren Hogan on her Author Page






 


























Wednesday, 22 March 2017

***Giveaway Time!***

As many of you know, my Dantonville Legacy series has recently had a cover-makeover, which means that I still have a whole lot of swag left over featuring the old covers, such as this T-shirt and paperbacks.


So, I'm running a flash giveaway!

HERE'S HOW TO ENTER:

The rules are simple, and based on some lovely feedback I've had from my readers recently.
Just tell me:
WHICH MEMBER OF CLAN DANTONVILLE YOU'D LOVE TO SEE FEATURED NEXT IN HIS/HER OWN BOOK?

You can answer this question both here (on my blog) and on my facebook page.

The T-shirt is a size 14-16(AU) so whether you like a snug fit or loose, it should fit most bodies. Get it for yourself, a relative or friend and come join the Clan Dantonville family.
Since I have several old-cover paperbacks to off-load, I'll throw in a second prize winner, as well. They'll be able to choose which of the old-cover Dantonville Legacy paperbacks they'd like to add to their collection, or perhaps even start a new one.



RULES:

The Giveaway starts TODAY and ends Monday March 27th (AEST).
All comments are to be left either on my blog or on my facebook page. Bonus points for anyone who leaves comments on both sites, and I'll enter your name TWICE for a double chance to win.

I'll announce the winners as soon as the contest closes and it'll be up to them to contact me to claim their prizes.

Good luck!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Crimson Moon: New Release By Sherri Wingler

Meet my dear friend, and fellow fantasy author, Sherri Wingler, whose new release, Crimson Moon, will have you turning the pages into the small hours of the night.

Sherri Wingler is the author of The Immortal Sorrows and The Dark Woods series. She lives and works (way more than full-time) in Indiana.
Sherri shares her home with her husband, Steve, too many rescued kitty cats, and one co-dependent Shih Tzu named Spanky. When she isn't writing, or working in the real world, her spare time is spent raising money and awareness for animal charities, in the hopes of saving at least a few little critters.
Sherri is currently hard at work on her next book.



In the old days, people whispered about the wolf, said he came only at night, and only by the light of the full moon. They locked their doors and huddled close to their fires, safe in the knowledge they could prepare for his coming. The truth is, no one is safe, because the wolf walks in the skin of the man. Always.

Harlow Hayes is a runaway, thief, and failed Southern belle. Forced to grow up fast after what her mama delicately referred to as, ‘the incident,’ she learns the hard way not all strangers are kind, real monsters hide in plain sight, and family can be found in the most unexpected places.
Harlow Hayes is about to meet the Wolf.



Get it here: Amazon

Connect with Sherri Wingler on - Facebook  Twitter  Website



Saturday, 4 March 2017

Let Me Introduce Epic Fantasy Author, Niki Livingstone

I'm the author of the Epic Fantasy series, Theia's Moons and the short story A Web Through Time, which will be published in the Anthology, Shattered Time
I also manage the blog, Create.Be.Imagine and just recently began my Book & Art Dragon blog. 
My dad says I began reading as young as three years old and I haven't stopped reading and writing since. 
Today, I live in Utah with my partner, our four children and two over sized cats, but dream of one day living on a beach, where I can spend my days dazzling the world with my imagination. 
I enjoy a whole variety of things, including reading stories that keep me on the edge of my seat, having late night talks with my handsome fireman, creating dysfunctional and funny children, all the while making sure they become functional adults, having happy/crappy time at the dinner table, playing in the dirt in hopes to create a bountiful garden and sitting quietly on my back porch, sipping coffee and watching the sun wake up the world.

 Eyes Wide Shut


Sometimes the ones closest to us are the ones to fear the most.
The battle of the sky people ended years earlier and the dwindled population of the moon Esaki cleaned up their world, slowly beginning to enjoy life once again.
Malkia was chosen as the new leader of her town and with the help of her friends, they built it into their sanctuary, grateful they had another chance at life. However, after all these years, impending danger was drawing near and they had no choice, but to decide to face the barbarians or run for their lives.
Malkia and her people travel through their broken and deserted world to escape the savages, hot on their tails. Their adventures collide them with the mystical creatures from ancient tales, place them in the path of uncertain death, and remind them they were never alone in the universe.
Life is not what it seems and as their eyes are forced open to the truth, the world as they know it crumbles beneath their feet.

Buy links: Amazon Smashwords Nook  iBooks

 

Enyo's Warrior


Malkia's face became flushed with anger, as her rage began to build.

Her father had stepped over a line that could not be erased and as she examined the gruesome scene, she cried out in frustration.

Settling into her new home, Malkia now knows the unvarnished truth, or so she believes. The malicious murders in Domesca's boundaries, Mataya's disappearance, and the sudden change in Dario's behavior have her second guessing what she thinks she knows.
As she is forced to face more evils and life-altering lessons, she wonders if she ever knew any truth about her life.
Embarking on her new journey, she quickly realizes the war she witnessed on Esaki, is nothing compared to the bloodshed and atrocities she will partake in, as Enyo's Warrior.

Buy links: Amazon Smashwords iBooks Nook  

Connect with Niki Livingstone here: Facebook 
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                                                           Amazon author page 
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Thursday, 2 March 2017

Meet Sci-Fi/Fantasy Author, Jason Crawford


Jason P Crawford was born in Louisiana in 1981. His writing career began in 2012, when he sat down for some "writing time" with his wife and sister-in-law. He has always been fascinated by the magic in the real world, leading him to focus most of his efforts on urban fantasy and science fiction.

In addition to publishing his own work, he has spent time as a freelance writer, preparing articles and ghost-writing for others. Besides Chains of Prophesy, Jason has completed The Drifter, a story about gods walking in the world of men, as well as Dragon Princess, describing the Princess Amalia Therald's true heritage and her struggles to live up to it.

His life life as a husband, father, and teacher (as well as hardcore gamer) have opened up and nurtured a wealth of imagination and given Jason a tendency to flights of fancy, and those flights give rise to his work.

Samuel Buckland is a young man who has it all and is planning for the future. Gregory Caitlin is a businessman and politician. He has designs to bring hope back to a world in need...and he'll be damned if anyone gets in his way!
When the two cross paths, even the angels tremble.
An ancient magic has been rediscovered. Sam must overcome his lack of faith and accept his destiny, or the world he knows will suffer the consequences.
A skeptic who must harness the powers of demons and genies. A zealot who has begun to walk a darker path. Bound together by a stolen secret.
Can any of them escape the Chains of Prophecy?
 
The first novel in the Samuel Buckland Chronicles, Chains of Prophecy is a fast-moving, compelling story that explores the grey line between good and evil, right and wrong. Fantastic creatures combine with all-too-human failings to produce a story that is both spellbinding and relatable. Fans of Supernatural or Constantine will especially enjoy this book!

Get it here: Amazon Amazon author page  Smashwords


Connect with Jason P Crawford on: Facebook 
                                                          Website 
                                                          Twitter 
                                                          Independent Author Network Page

Meet Fantasy Author, Kade Cook

Kade Cook is a semi-retired IT Professional turned author with her book, GREY, a fantastical journey that she began writing in the winter of 2015. 
GREY is now completed and is the first published novel in The Covenant of Shadows trilogy. 
Born and raised as a 'Maritimer' through and through, she will always be at home around good times and kind hearts, proud to be a daydreamer with a story to tell.


All the truths of her life were born from the promise of a lie.
A lie that could change everything.
Gabrian Shadwell studied hard and kept her nose to the grindstone in order to live the successful and full life that most humans strive for. The problem is, she isn’t exactly human.
After protection wards and cloaking spells that were cast to suppress any evidence of magic that may be running through her veins begins scratching it way through the surface, Gabrian fumbles with the unnerving discovery that she now can see hazy energy fragments emanating from her clients bodies. What is even more shocking is that she yearns to devour it. Her all so perfect and straight forward life as a normal mundane human is just a façade and coming to an end. Who she truly is are the things that spine chilling nightmares are made of.
With no possible way to return to the simple life she once knew as an oblivious human, she struggles to concede to the fact that the calm reality of her world has shifted; it is now crawling with Borrowers, Mages and Shadow Walking-beings. But Gabrian’s unyielding thirst for knowledge pushes her to dig her claws in and gain control over her gifts as an energy-lending Borrower as it is essential for her to survive and earn her place amongst them.
Her chaotic journey of self-discovery takes her from the pan and throws her right into the fire when the tainted eyes of the self-righteous Elders in the realm turn against her and the silken tongued devil that lurks within the darkness of the realm seems to be the only thing with an empathetic concern towards her; for a price. Her soft hearted will combats with her logical inner voice about who is really telling her the truth. She tastes the sweet and sours of deception in the air from both sides but still she must choose which force will reign over her freedom and thus deciding how tight her shackles will be to the path that she will walk upon.
It is an inner battle that she must fight in order to uncover the ugly answers that she seeks and along the way, Gabrian will fall face first into an important and absolute truth: sometimes the only difference between a Borrower and a Vampire is hope.

Buy links: Amazon 

                  Kobo  


Connect with Kade Cook here: Website  Goodreads Twitter 

 

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Meet Children's / Young Adult Romantic Fantasy Author, Erika Szabo

Erika became an avid reader at a very early age, thanks to her dad who introduced her to many great books. 
Erika writes alternate history, romantic fantasy, magical realism novels as well as fun, educational, and bilingual books for children ages 4-12 about acceptance, friendship, family, and moral values such as accepting people with disabilities, dealing with bullies, and not judging others before getting to know them.


 Look, I Can Talk With My Fingers is available in English and Spanish. This book is about respecting and accepting people with disability.
Pico, The Pesky Parrot, is an illustrated bilingual book that delivers an important message to children, not to judge anyone before we get to know them.
A Basketful of Kittens is a beautifully illustrated children’s book about a heartwarming adventure and how to deal with bullies.
Asthma Relief introduces traditional and alternative treatments as well as Grandma’s remedies to ease asthma symptoms.


Buy links: Bilingual Childrens Books



 Protected By The Falcon

Love, ancient tribal legends, secrets, time travel and magical powers collide in a compelling fantasy series, hailed “Original, Mystical and Unique.” Morana waited centuries for the chance to reunite with her beloved Joland and gain the power to rule the ancient clan that still exist hidden among us with its strict hierarchy, deadly rules and traditions. Ilona doesn’t know that she was chosen to stop Morana’s evil plan. She doesn't know about her heritage besides legends and rituals when begins to remember her mother’s instructions concealed as rhymes and is unaware that her pleasant life as a doctor is about to change and she will be thrown into a dangerous world filled with secrets. The discovery of her healing power and ability to freeze time is exciting and frightening. A sinister man appears, and Ilona connects his presence with the series of mysterious deaths around her. She has been in love with her unsuspecting best friend, but she’s drawn to the stranger that appears in her dream and confused by the sudden magnetic feeling. 
“Original, mystical and unique; in fact it's so original I have nothing to compare it with.” -Miss Devora 
 “I could feel and visualize what was happening as if I was right there.” -Lauren Sloan

Buy link: Fantasy Novels 



Monday, 27 February 2017

Meet Indie Author, Debbie Mamber Kupfer

Debbie Manber Kupfer grew up in London and lived in Israel, before somehow ended up in St. Louis, where she works as a puzzle constructor and writer. She lives with her husband, two children, and a very opinionated feline. 
She is the author of the P.A.W.S. Saga and has short stories in several anthologies including Fauxpocalypse, Shades of Fear, Sins of the Past, and Stardust, Always. 
She also created the puzzle book, Paws 4 Logic together with her son, Joey. She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!

From Book 1: When Miri receives a silver cat charm from her omama, Celia, on the night before Celia dies she has no idea that the charm holds a secret, a powerful magic that saved her omama’s life and is about to make Miri’s a whole lot more interesting.

Join Miri on a mysterious and supernatural journey with her new friends, members of an underground St. Louis society known as the Partnership for Animagi, Werewolves, and Shapeshifters, better known as P.A.W.S.

Buy it here - Amazon 

Connect with Debbie Mamber Kupfer here: Website 
                                                                     Facebook 
                                                                     http://www.twitter.com/@CiciCat42 
                                                                     Amazon author page 
                                                                     Goodreads 
                                                                     Youtube Release Part blog for UMBRAE 

 

Sunday, 26 February 2017

My Favourite Word is Gossamer? What's Yours?


Have you ever had a favourite word? One that transports you to another world, or another place? 

Mine is Gossamer. 

Not only does it roll beautifully off the tongue, but it conjures images of a dew-laden cobweb glistening like a multi-faceted jewel in the early morning light. 
Or (and here my inner child skips forward) a vision of fairies, trailing delicate patterns of quicksilver as they dart in and out of moonbeams on a warm summer's evening.
The world around me fades away, and I'm transported elsewhere.

Words are magic. And like a conjurer, writers use word-sorcery to paint pictures of what only our minds can see.
Did you know that the ancient Anglo-Saxon word for storyteller was Wordsmith? 


As valuable as blacksmith or swordsmith, storytellers - or Bards, as they were known (that's writers in today's language) - were regarded as craftsmen and believed to weave words together to create magic.
From a peasant's lonely hut to the great halls of kings, ancient bards would open their Wordhoard - collection of words they'd committed to memory - and spin tales of great heroes, like Beowulf the monster slayer, St George and the dragon, or local tales they'd heard in their travels re-imagined and recited to a new audience.

In the dead of winter, people gathered together around the welcoming warmth of a fire in their chief's great hall to listen to the bard, as an icy wind piled snowdrifts outside.
How easily they could hear the cry of a monster in the howling wind beyond the safety of their timbered hall's walls as the bard told the story of the evil dragon Grendel; of goblins that stole children in the night; of elves and water sprites that beckoned to the unwary, dragging them down to a watery grave.

Have I conjured up images in your mind?
Then I've done my job.

I'm a wordsmith.