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Book Release: A Cut Twice As Deep (plus giveaway)

ACutTwice

Congratulations to Wendy L. Anderson on the release of her Viking adventure, A Cut Twice As Deep! If you enjoy Norse mythology, you will love this!

Read on for an excerpt and a chance to win a paperback copy of the book!

A Cut Twice As Deep Final Front CoverA Cut Twice as Deep

Publication Date: October 7th, 2020

Genre: Viking Adventure/ Sisterhood/ Romance

The bond between sisters is one forged in blood and fire. Twin sisters, Liana and Deirdre were inseparable like the two halves of a double-bladed axe, making the pain of having to leave each other a cut twice as deep. Their father, Gorsedd Gunnarson, King of the great country of Svartur Rokk, did not care about twin bonds or his daughter’s preferences and severed the pair with a single blow. Both Liana and Deirdre have been sold to the highest bidders for ships, weapons, and alliances. For Gorsedd Gunnarson these are very profitable and advantageous marriage arrangements, but the twin sisters would be torn from each other lives and sent to lands far apart forever!
Liana is forced to leave her childhood sweetheart and marry a stranger. Sweet, timid Deirdre would be wed to a Viking warlord. One would leave her home on a ship and the other on a horse. Both would travel great distances to new lands. Given no choice but to embrace the lives planned for them, they find that the future holds more than they could ever have suspected. In a land where blood and ice reign, danger and betrayal war with love and hope, as they fight to find happiness in a ruthless world ruled by the sword and axe.

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Excerpt

Liana recalled with great detail, the smoky room, and the flickering torches in iron sconces on the walls. Remembered the smell of sweaty men, oiled leather, damp fur, wood smoke, and roasting meat. Heard the rattle of sword and thump of drinking horns and the pounding of eating knives on the worn, beaten tables. Shadows crouched in the dark corners of the hall. She could see clearly in her mind’s recollection, how her father had suddenly stood after eating and drinking for hours and raised his large drinking horn on high. He smoothed his hand over his long greying blonde beard, straightened the black bear fur cloak on his broad shoulders, and roared for silence. As all eyes trained on King Gorsedd, the conversation and laughter quieted.

“This night!” Gorsedd Gunnarson’s deep voice boomed out and the men stilled to listen. “We celebrate!” The men roared in response and then quieted.

“Raise your mead horns and drink to my daughters!” The men raised their horns and cheered loudly sloshing mead on the tables and over their hands.

This was strange behavior coming from their father and Liana and Deirdre exchanged surprised glances as they moved slowly toward the front of the room. Pulled forward by this uncustomary sentiment, their father had their full attention.

“Tonight!” Gorsedd boomed again, waiting for the men to quiet down and regain everyone’s attention. “We celebrate the betrothal of both my daughters! Drink to our good fortune! SKOL!

All eyes turned to stare, and the men drank to Liana and Deirdre.

“Skol!” they all shouted then quieted as Gorsedd began to speak again.

“For my eldest Liana, I have arranged a marriage contract with Tiernan Lachlan of Lochlannach and Kearn Mac An-Bharain of Noreg for Deirdre.”

He gestured toward strangers in the hall and bellowed.

“Welcome men from Lochlannach to Svartur Rokk my great mead hall where the warriors are more skilled at sword and drinking! These men will be taking Liana across Loch Indaal to marry Tiernan Lachlan!”

Loud cheers rang out and the men raised their drinking horns in salute, sloshed mead into their mouths, and banged their daggers on the tables.

Both Liana and Deirdre stared in wide-eyed shock at their father with their mouths falling open. This was the first time they had heard this news, and both girls stood stunned, disbelieving their ears. They turned and looked at each other, terror written on their identical faces. The men at the tables murmured and some continued to cheer, a few fell to grumbling.

Deirdre staggered in disbelief and her frightened gaze stayed fixed on Liana while she slammed down the pitcher of mead she had been holding onto the nearest table. Her furious gaze flew back and forth between their father and Deirdre.

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About the Author

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Wendy L. Anderson is a Colorado native and mother of two boys. A devout reader of the classics, fantasy, sci-fi and historical fiction, she has decided it is time to write down the fantasies from her mind. Writing about everything from fantastical worlds to the stuff of her dreams she takes her stories along interesting paths while portraying worlds she sees in her mind’s eye. Her goal is to deviate from common themes, write in original directions and transport her reader to the worlds of her creation.

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Cover Reveal – Awaken the Three

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If you haven’t heard about the Highglade Series yet, check out the cover for Awaken the Three by D. L. Jennings, a must read for Fantasy lovers who love imaginative new worlds and epic adventures!

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Awaken the Three (Highglade #2)

Expected Publication Date: August 11, 2020

Genre: Fantasy

Beyond the Wastes of Khulakorum, a storm is rising . . .

The Shaper of Ages is gone, and along with her, the Breaker — yet gods are not the only threat to the peace of the living.

Aldis Tennech, the once-great general of the armies of Gal’dorok, finds himself in exile. His only hope of reclaiming glory lies in the hands of a self-proclaimed emperor, and the unearthly powers that put him there. Meanwhile, improbable alliances are forged in the north as unexpected enemies rear their heads and threaten ruin-with a single thread in common, connecting them all.

In the sequel to his award-winning novel Gift of the Shaper, D. L. Jennings once again brings to life an epic tale of war and chaos as earthly armies fight for otherworldly prizes. Ancient powers lying dormant must be called upon, bringing strength to those who need it and conquest to those who seek it; battles will rage and cities will fall, but only the most desperate or reckless would seek . . .

. . . to awaken the three.

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Gift of the Shaper (Highglade #1)

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For thousands of years, the Breaker of the Dawn has been locked away in the ethereal plane of the Otherworld. Now, a young blacksmith’s apprentice finds himself trapped in a war between the noble Athrani, a subset of humanity gifted with the ability to transmute matter, and the malevolent and powerful Khyth, who seek to free the ancient god from his prison.

When his father, Olson, is kidnapped, Thornton Woods and his childhood friend, Miera, must leave their small village of Highglade to find him. On their way, they are joined by Ynara and Kethras, cat-like humanoids called Kienari, who use their skills as hunter/trackers to follow Olson’s trail. When it comes to light that one among them possesses the key to the Breaker’s release, Thornton and his friends must defy the might of the Khyth as armies on both sides collide in pursuit of the ultimate prize.

Gift of the Shaper chronicles the epic struggle between the existing forces of good and evil, with both sides vying for control of the key that unlocks the Otherworld. The very powers of creation and destruction hang in the balance, and only a heroic effort by Thornton and Miera, backed by the power of the Athrani, can possibly stop the Khyth from unleashing ruin — and the Breaker — upon their world.

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About the Author

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Once again, D. L. Jennings, who won the “Beverly Hills Award for Fantasy” in 2018, brings life to an epic tale of war and chaos as earthly armies fight for otherworldly prizes. Reminiscent of Game of Thrones, AWAKEN THE THREE is a riveting page-turner, and a must-read for fantasy readers who want to escape to a different world, time and place ruled by other-worldly beings. It’s the perfect book to escape from the anxious times of our COVID-19 reality.

D. L. Jennings is a fourteen-year active-duty veteran of the United States Air Force, serving under the Air Force Special Operations Command. In 2005, he earned his associate degree after graduating at the top of his Korean class at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California, and earning the Korean Consul General’s award for excellence. He is a graduate of Bellevue University in Nebraska, earning a bachelor of science degree in security management in 2008. He finished writing his debut novel, GIFT OF THE SHAPER, which won the Beverly Hills Book Award in 2018 for Fantasy, while serving on his ninth combat tour. He has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as well as several countries in Africa. When he is not reading or writing epic fantasy, he enjoys traveling, listening to ‘90s punk, and watching Ohio State football. Jennings lives in South Florida

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Blog Tour – Forgotten Magic (plus giveaway)

ForgottenMagic

Welcome to the blog tour for the final installment from the Magic Underground trilogy, Forgotten Magic! Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win a paperback copy of the book!

Forgotten Magic Book Cover

Forgotten Magic (Magic Underground #3) Publication Date: May 2020 Genre: Anthology/ Fantasy/ Magic Publisher: Magical Mayhem Press For the last time, these heroes, witches, wizards, vikings and more will put it all on the line. No quest is too dangerous. No monster be it a dragon or something cuddlier with teeth is off-limits in the epic conclusion to the Magic Underground Trilogy. Stay tuned for details. Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

The Ones Who Choose by C. S. Johnson

Before I’d left to return home, Ai started talking to me about the Bloodmagic. After I’d rescued him from the tower, I had taken him down to the caves. I’d settled him in one as best as I could, and then faced the cave entrance, keeping a lookout for Aiden. I was more concerned for Aidan at first; I didn’t know if he was coming or not. There was a good chance that when Ai was taken, the Community Elders would find a way to keep everyone in the tower until they had answers. As much as we were both in this together, I didn’t know what to expect now that we’d accomplished something this big. But as Ai kept talking to me, and considering his talk of condemnation, I began to ask Ai questions. It didn’t take us long to talk about Bloodmagic. “Bloodmagic is their word for the sacrifice,” Ai said. “What?” My head snapped to look at him, as if to make sure he wasn’t trying to fool me. Instantly, I regretted my action, seeing his mangled body and the sad condition it was in. That was part of the reason I’d offered to stand watch in the caves, keeping my focus on the entrance. While I did not want the Community Elders to find us, and although I was watching for Aidan, I did not want to look at Ai too much. He made me feel uncomfortable. Ai slumped beside me, looking out toward the cave entrance. The last of the sunlight was gone, and the temperature dropped. Ai did not seem to notice, even if he was nearly naked, with only a thin cloth around his loins. “They call humanity’s curse ‘Bloodmagic,’” Ai said. “That is their name for it. I don’t think they like to think about it much.” “If this is why you’ve been hurt, they probably don’t like to think of it,” I said. I glanced at him quickly, before reverting my eyes back to the cave entrance. “This is terrible.” “It is,” Ai agreed. “But it is like I told you before. All of my suffering is your suffering.” “That’s not right.” He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. I have been alive for nearly a century, thanks to the Bloodmagic, and this is just the way things are. That is why I would prefer that you return me to my tower room.” “What?” I gasped at the remark. “No. Why would you want that?” “The Community won’t survive long, Skyla,” Ai said. “Without the Bloodmagic Covenant, the full effects of suffering will return to your friends and family swiftly and mercilessly. They will suffer, and in their suffering, they will make others suffer more. They might even begin to enjoy hurting others if we don’t hurry.” “But you will suffer if you return,” I said. “And I will make you suffer, too. I don’t want that. Can’t something else be done about the Bloodmagic?” “There is nothing that can be done about human nature,” Ai said quietly. “We are prone to self-destruction, and we live in a world where pain and suffering are constants. All the countries and nations of the world have wrestled with this question, and in the end, all of the pain still exists. Many tried to fix the problem and only made it worse. “So they decided to try something else. And it works.” He reached up and touched the shard on his forehead, the one what was darkening along with the sky. “If I am not returned, the suffering will only increase, and you will see people at their very worst. Every evil, selfish, and ignorant thought will manifest into danger and disaster. I’ve been able to hold off their degeneracy for a long time, and without me, they will exponentially become violent and careless.” “Surely we still have some more time to stop them.” I put my hands together, trying to think of something else. “Maybe it is a matter of education. The adults here are smart. They’ll be able learn how to deal with the pains our Community has.” Ai shook his head. “You don’t understand,” he said with a sad sigh. “But you will, once you see it. You must promise me you will not forget me when you do, or you could be at risk, too.” From that moment, we lapsed into silence, and I was grateful. I shivered as we sat there, but I didn’t think it was because of the chill in the air.

Available on Amazon! Authors:

Melinda Kucsera, Joynell Schultz, Lee French, H.B. Lyne, Raven Oak, L.C. Ireland, Alesha Escobar, Tiffany Shand, C.S. Johnson Anela Deen Erik Kort Devorah Fox Stephen Wallace Gwendolyn Woodschild Leah W. Van Dinther Barbara Letson C.K. Rieke William C. Cronk, Majanka Verstraete Toasha Jiordano H.M. Jones Krista Ames A.R. Johnston

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Release Day Book Blitz – To Wake The Dead – plus Giveaway

ToWaketheDead

Join us in wishing author Sarah Lampkin, a very happy book birthday! Today marks the release of To Wake the Dead, book #2 in her Dead Dreamer series! Read on for more details, and an exclusive excerpt from the book!

Psst!!! There’s also a giveaway bundle! Make sure you enter below!

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To Wake the Dead (Dead Dreamer #2)

Publication Date: October 8th, 2019 (Today!!!)

Genre: NA Fantasy

Publisher: The Parliament House

Brenna Whit teeters the line between the living and the dead. Now that she’s back for her sophomore year at Nephesburg College, she’s determined to focus on the waking world. But when her own soul is trying to kill her and a new Dead Dreamer is fighting for power, Brenna is dragged back into the world of the dead.

The Gatekeepers are doing everything they can to restore the power they once held over the town of Nephesburg. With a mysterious set of twins arriving in town to help them prepare, Brenna must decide what’s important: continuing to hide her secret or reveal herself and fight for what she believes is right. The decision could end up leading to a permanent death for Brenna so she must choose wisely.

Classes have begun…
The battlefield is set…
Let the fight for the Fade begin.

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Excerpt

“Who wrote the laws saying that doorways must be sealed? Who told you to create another one of you?”

“The church.”

“Why?” He was silent. For once, he had no answer. He merely stared at me not blinking or unwavering as his eyes locked on mine. I thought I had him; nowhere in the Bible did it say to interfere with the dead or the other side. In fact, the Scripture scorned it. If I remembered correctly, that would border on witchcraft and necromancy, which was forbidden. So, if Wilson were the type to follow the Bible no matter what, then these questions just pushed his logic out the window. Even if the church said he had to do those things, who was to say they were right?

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To Dream is to Die (Book #1)To Dream is to Die.v2

Eighteen-year-old Brenna Whit is entering college as a freshman and starting to meet new people, but she hides a dark secret. Because of an accident that happened three years ago, her spirit wanders the Fade whenever she falls asleep. It’s something she wants to keep hidden from the world, but when she sees someone watching her in spirit form, she fears the secret’s out. With new friends, possibly new enemies, school, and a new crush, Brenna has too much to worry about for just her freshman year of college.

Perfect for those who enjoy Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural!

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We’re giving away To Dream is to Die AND To Wake the Dead!!! Click the link below to enter!

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About the Author

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A native of Richmond, Virginia, Sarah Lampkin is a 2015 graduate from Lynchburg College [University of Lynchburg] with a master’s degree in English. Since graduation, Sarah now lives in Northern Virginia working in the IT field as a Technical Writer while continuing her research for her graduate school thesis. When she isn’t working, Sarah continues her Celtic mythology research and Gaelic studies, while working on the Dead Dreamer series.

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Blog Tour – The Onyx Crown

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Front CoverThe Onyx Crown #1

Publication Date: January 27th, 2019

Genre: Fantasy/ Adventure

The Onyx Crown is an exciting foray into the world of African fantasy. From the searing heat of the desert to the vastness of the savannah, it tells the story of three children–Sania, Gesi, and Jorann who grow up in a pre-medieval era of wars and successions, not fifteen years after the greatest king in the history of the continent has been deposed and assassinated. They must overcome the traumatic circumstances of their birth as well as many dangerous trials to fulfill the destiny bestowed upon them as infants. Can mere children use their courage, wits, and uncanny abilities to defeat legendary warriors, entire tribes, provinces, and kingdoms–allowing them to lead the worthy to the greatest prize of all, the Onyx Crown?

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Excerpt

The Equinox Hunt was the once-every-ten-moon foray into the chakkha, or jungle, made by only the most celebrated hunters of the Nabii tribe of Numeria. It’s primary purpose was to keep the beast population to manageable levels, and stop them from foraging into the grasslands, but had long ago become a reliable way to create fortune for some Nabii tribesmen (simply called ‘the Hunters’), and their families.

Although wealth and riches beyond all imagination could be found beyond the gates of the chief Nabii citadel, Abir City, if the Hunters knew where to look, for most families it was more likely that they would return to the gates destitute, starving, and missing several family members.

K’Nan knew this as well as anyone. He knew he was looking at mostly dead men. Damn men are such fools, he thought. Most of these hunters were already successful enough to provide for their families, own property, perhaps even bribe for themselves a pathetic position on the council. Success was never enough, and, in fact, it spurs on the hunger drive for more success.

This time, he th ought, things just may turn out differently for them. Why he had decided to lead the Hunt this year was a puzzle even to himself.

He knew better than to rely on the nonsensical rumors that had been trickling out of the wilderness for the last year and a half. Tales of mythical beasts and fearsome fighters attacking the Numerian migrants seemed just that, more myth than reality, except…

Except he’d also dreamt of them for the last ten years of his life. He could probably count the number of peaceful nights he’d slept in that time quite easily if he stopped to think about it. There damned sure hadn’t been many.

How could he sleep? The unimaginable horror of some of the things he’d seen during those dreams weren’t easy to forget—man-eating beasts, blood thirsty warriors, and infants dying in the wilderness.

It was this last dream, the one about three infant children that spurred him toward the savannah. The innermost reaches of the savannah were referred to as the chakkha—the destination of the Equinox hunters, the Win-Daji.

“Why does it bother you so much?” he said to himself. “It’s just a dream like any other, and those other three are long lost now.”

And yet here he was. All because of a dream.

He shook his head at himself. “When will you finally give up hope?”

The winds started blowing even more briskly now, bringing a mini-sandstorm to the town gates. Instinctively, everyone covered their eyes and faces, through conditioning more than fear.

It was apparent that they were in no danger from sand this far from the wilderness, but hiding from it was a habit both born and bred in them from childbirth. Heat can indeed kill you, but in the wilderness you learn to fear the sand much more than the heat.

Luckily for the Win-Daji, the summer had not begun. In the summer, sandstorms morphed from deadly catastrophic—it was widely known that the one approaching would last for many months and be one of the hottest ever recorded.

The hunter talking with the sentries now was unique enough to catch K’Nan’s interest. This man was tall and pale-skinned (a rarity this far south) with a scar leading from the corner of his left eye to his left ear, a love kiss from a Deluthian rhino most likely, K’Nan’s imoya, or spirit, told him.

He wore his hair in the traditional Nabii tribesman style, shaved on the sides with a strip of hair about two inches high down the middle. On his hip he carried a crescent sword, very worn and very menacing, and two bows slung carelessly across his back.

Tied around his left thigh was a two-cubic-long dagger with a polished bone handle covered with notches. This man has done some killing, thought K’Nan, and without a doubt not confined it to beasts.

Whatever he was arguing with the sentries about must’ve been important. Gradually all of the other Win-Daji and Halanbi moved closer to them to listen in. Some were nodding and raising their weapons. Every now and then there’d be a little shout of encouragement from the group. Meanwhile the guards were shaking their heads all the more emphatically.

K’Nan ended his reverie and motioned his two companions, Semri and Semarion, to follow him down the rocky path toward the gates. The steadfast twin brothers hastily complied.

They had fought and hunted with him the better part of the last five years and were two of the only people he felt he could really rely on, despite the fact that they were not full-blooded Numerians. So, he’d asked them to accompany him, without telling them the true reason.

What are you so worried about? He asked himself. Aren’t you K’nan the Savage Slayer, a legend in all three territories of the savannah, defender of the Numerians, the scourge of all Panthia? How many countless men have died under your two-bladed spear, deservedly all?

How many beasts have you saved these wretched villagers from? You’ve dined with tribal chieftains between both seas, shared their spoils, and bedded their daughters. How could a life as full as yours end so quickly? Have you forgotten what the prophetess told you?

Now Available on Amazon and for Nook!

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About the Author

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Alan Hurst is an author and entrepeneur. Hurst who spent most of his childhood reading Asian wuxia fiction, Marvel comics and encyclopedias is delving into trilogy territory with THE ONYX CROWN. He briefly studied religion at Harvard. Later, he settled in Washington, DC where he founded a software consulting firm, hosted the Urban Nation Radio podcast, and occasionally played the World Series of Poker. When not writing or enjoying time with his family, he prefers to take his Ducati motorcycle out for the occasional spin!

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Blog Tour Schedule

April 29th

Reads & Reels (Guest Post) http://www.readsandreels.com

Audio Killed the Bookmark (Excerpt) http://audiokilledthebookmark.wordpress.com

Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks (Excerpt) https://quirkycatsfatstacks.com/

Cup of Books Blog (Review) https://cupofbooksblog.wordpress.com/

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April 30th

Triquetra Reviews (Excerpt) http://www.triquetrareviews.blogspot.com

Didi Oviatt (Excerpt) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

Sophril Reads (Excerpt) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com

Just 4 My Books (Excerpt) https://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com

May 1st

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Interview) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

Breakeven Books (Guest Post) https://breakevenbooks.com

Cup of Toast (Interview) https://cupoftoast.co.uk

May 2nd

I Smell Sheep (Review) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

B is for Book Review (Guest Post) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Jessica Rachow (Review) http://jessicarachow.wordpress.com

She Marie Blogs (Excerpt) https://shemarieblogs.com/

May 3rd

J Bronder Book Reviews (Excerpt) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/

Misty’s Book Space (Excerpt) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

The Speedy Reader (Review) https://speedyreadercom.wordpress.com

Banshee Irish Horror Blog (Excerpt) www.bansheeirishhorrorblog.com

The Faerie Reviews (Excerpt) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

 

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adventure · blog blitz · fantasy

Fantasy Blog Blitz with Giveaway

The OnyxCrownBlitz

To celebrate the release of Alan Hurst’s debut novel, The Onyx Crown, we are having a week-long book blitz! There will be an exclusive excerpt reveal, and a chance to win a digital copy of the book at the bottom!

Front CoverThe Onyx Crown #1

Publication Date: January 27th, 2019

Genre: Fantasy/ Adventure

The Onyx Crown is an exciting foray into the world of African fantasy. From the searing heat of the desert to the vastness of the savannah, it tells the story of three children–Sania, Gesi, and Jorann who grow up in a pre-medieval era of wars and successions, not fifteen years after the greatest king in the history of the continent has been deposed and assassinated. They must overcome the traumatic circumstances of their birth as well as many dangerous trials to fulfill the destiny bestowed upon them as infants. Can mere children use their courage, wits, and uncanny abilities to defeat legendary warriors, entire tribes, provinces, and kingdoms–allowing them to lead the worthy to the greatest prize of all, the Onyx Crown?

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onyx crown poster - savannah

Excerpt

For the next few days, the three of them did virtually everything together, including games, horse riding, and spear training with the First Knight, who seemed to be getting sterner and tougher on them with every lesson. The First Knight, whose given name was Jorell Boro, was famed throughout the fourteen provinces as one of the best living warriors of all time. He’d made his name fighting for the upstart Regent Okon in his war of usurpation against the High King Toloron.

After Toloron was defeated, the regent rewarded Boro with the titles of First Knight of the Crown, Protector of the House of the First Prince, and the moniker “the Bloodless Death,” because supposedly his bladed spear could kill a person so quickly and with such precision that they would be dead before any blood was even visible.

Okon, along with the ruling conclave, also granted a treaty to Pala Jorell’s home kingdom of East Rhydor, including a guarantee that no Numerian troops would invade as long as the East Rhydor king or his son, the prince, were in power.

The First Prince had asked Pala Jorell to begin instructing Zadeemo in the ways of knighthood, and also Gesemni himself, most likely reasoning that Zadeemo would need a sparring partner when the First Prince was absent.

The First Knight had been reluctant to train a “commoner” in the higher arts of warfare but, at the insistence of both the First Prince and Zadeemo, had relented. Still, one could tell he took The Onyx Crown -26- great pains to make sure that Zadeemo understood some of the finer points of the moves he instructed, while not deigning to help Gesi.

Luckily for Gesi, he had tremendous aptitude and seemingly a womb-borne comprehension of instinctual combat. As such, he rarely needed the extra tutoring that Zadeemo couldn’t seem to do without. On this day, the two of them were instructed for quite some time on hand-spear counters, an ancient method of grappling that involved an unarmed warrior wresting the control of spears and other long objects away from their adversary. It was an extremely rough and unpolished method of fighting, and the First Knight took the better part of the morning explaining it to them.

Finally, the paladin suggested they work the puzzling elements out with a few rounds of sparring. Boro handed him a bladed spear and marked out a circle four en-yawo in diameter with his carving knife. Zadeemo was given a pair of lyocell gloves, which felt like silk but were made from the toughest fibers in existence. These were to be used to protect his hands from blade cuts.

Gesi shifted nervously. Always when they’d fought before they’d both been armed. Oddly, there’s a certain amount of safety involved when two weapons compete against each other. But with Zadeemo being unarmed, Gesi felt he’d have to be very careful. He was also very conscious of Zoe sitting on her tilbury, watching them both amusedly.

“Engage!” The First Knight’s voice rang out through the square as the boys stepped into the circle. Zadeemo immediately lowered his stance, thrusting the heel of his boot inside Gesi’s left calf to disrupt his balance, simultaneously snatching at the bladed spear handle.

Shuffle-stepping to counter, Gesi twisted the blade ninety degrees, forcing Zadeemo to withdraw his hands. He knew he was supposed to be nothing more than a punching target for Zadeemo, but in situations like this, his stubborn, competitive imoya always got in the way of things, and yes…he also wanted to show off a bit in front of Zoe.

Surprisingly, Zadeemo must’ve anticipated his counter because he nimbly moved to his left, crashing his knee into Gesi’s right thigh and causing him to grimace. Ducking underneath the spear, Zadeemo swung his right elbow fiercely into Gesi’s solar plexus. The few servants and townspeople who were looking on cheered loudly, including Zoe.

At that second, he felt like he was going to black out. Zadeemo may have been slower than a stuck rhino, but he had strength far beyond what most twelve-year-olds could muster.

Instinctively, he twisted his bladed spear to block the next grasping move he felt was coming, slid his left knee under Zadeemo’s right, and reverse-swung the spear in a sweeping arc toward Zadeemo’s chest. The cheering stopped, followed by a deathly silence as Zadeemo crashed down to the dirt awkwardly. Everyone was staring at Gesi. Some looked angry, some fearful, some puzzled. Even he didn’t know how he’d won.

*Available Now*

Amazon | Nook

For your chance to win a digital copy of this exciting new fantasy, click the link below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

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Alan Hurst is an author and entrepeneur. Hurst who spent most of his childhood reading Asian wuxia fiction, Marvel comics and encyclopedias is delving into trilogy territory with THE ONYX CROWN. He briefly studied religion at Harvard. Later, he settled in Washington, DC where he founded a software consulting firm, hosted the Urban Nation Radio podcast, and occasionally played the World Series of Poker. When not writing or enjoying time with his family, he prefers to take his Ducati motorcycle out for the occasional spin!

Alan Hurst | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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book blitz · fantasy · romance · time travel

Promo Blitz & Giveaway – Reflected Destinies

Reflected Destinies

Laura is happy and content, she has a new boyfriend and loves her job teaching primary school pupils in London.  But when she inherits a rundown house from a stranger on her 30th birthday, memories of her prom night come flooding back, memories of a scary encounter and an antique mirror in the very same house.


Laura visits the house with all its secrets and as she unravels the clues she reveals the biggest secret of all: her own destiny.  But how can you change the future if it’s already written in the past?

Get your copy here.

Meet the Author: Florence Keeling

Florence Keeling adopted for her pen-name her Great Grandmother’s name, chosen because of the shared birthday of April Fool’s Day.  She is married with two teenage children.  Born and raised in Coventry, England she now lives just outside in Nuneaton.  Reflected Destinies is her first novel.

Florence Keeling also writes for children under the name of Lily Mae Walters.

You can connect with the author on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

To win a signed copy (UK only) or an ebook, enter here.

(This opens up a Rafflecopter entry form)

Giveaway* 
1st Prize – Signed copy of Reflected Destinies  (UK Only)
2nd Prize – E-copy of Reflected Destinies  (International)

*Terms and Conditions –You are only eligible to win the signed copy if you are in the UK. Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

army of authors · blog tour · fantasy · steampunk · YA

Army of Authors Blog Tour – Raquel Byrnes

The Tremblers

by Raquel Byrnes

 

Weapons of Light & Power

“A soldier leaned out the window, taking aim at Charlotte. A frisson of energy pulsed from the weapon, barely missing her. She screamed, flailing.

Ashton flipped the rocket ignition on the power cycle and the force of the thrust slammed him against the seat as he shot skyward toward the roof. Pulling his tracer gun, he fired blindly at the building. The soldier dove for the floor.” ~Ashton Wells, The Tremblers

Creating the weapons for my YA Steampunk novel, The Tremblers took me on a fascinating path. The invention of destructive devices was vexing and addicting all at once.

Weapons of light — Tracer Guns are the weapon of choice for the soldiers of the Peaceful Union. Powerful blasters that syphon the glowing purple energy from the massive Tesla Domes caging the city-states are feared by the average citizen. Constantly recalibrating to the dome’s pulse, they are outlawed to everyone but the soldiers of the government.

Charlotte is a tinkerer and inventor. The daughter of a renowned soldier and chemist, her weapons needed finesse. I designed the metal spheres of her Shrieking Violet grenade to cluster together like a flower. Its shrill screech disables her enemies while a curtain of magenta gas shields her escape.

The outlaws and Lawmen of Outer City favor guns and pistols of the old world. Sheriff Sebastian Riley’s revolver helped him to rise to power among the pirates and pioneers of the sky settlement.

Another daunting tool as the Lightning Stick. Capable of lashing whips of energy. Used by the ruthless Lawmen of the floating ports, Charlotte learns of its devastating effects while trying to flee with Ashton.

However, it is the power and might of the Peaceful Union Aero Squad that strikes fear into the heart of every citizen. Their searing lamps and concussion bombs send rioters scrambling. Creating airship battles and designing the infamous rebel ship, The Stygian, was great fun! Myself the daughter of a military man, I grew up visiting airshows and sitting at the controls of massive machines of war.  I wanted to bring that fascination and awe to the Blackburn Chronicles.

If you love mechanica, mayhem, and monsters, then check out The Tremblers and Wind Reapers. The link to Amazon is here, and the book is also available now via other retailers.

For more about the author, check out her author page here.

Thanks for reading 🙂

book news · fantasy · on sale · paranormal · recommended · YA

It’s deal time

An author friend of mine, A L Wright, has a special offer to share, but be warned – it’s time-sensitive, so you’ll need to act quickly. It’s on sale at only 99 cents for two days only – Today, April 12th &  tomorrow, 13th.

Hartman House

Imagine a house that is a safe haven from witch hunters and werewolf or vampire slayers. Where any mystical being could live, safe from the threat of the outside world. The Hartman family were themselves witches and had always tried their best to protect their own, and to protect other magical beings as well. To do so they built a large mansion on the edge of New Orleans and spelled it to conceal any magic.

The spell on the house also kept the wolves from needing to turn on full moons. And kept the vampires from needing to feed on human blood. With such powerful allies living among them, they could create search and rescue teams to help bring in those who were being hunted.

And with so many successful rescues in recent times, the leaders of Hartman House needed to find the secret to the spell over the house. The same spell whose secret had died with the last of the Hartman’s fifteen years earlier.

After losing her only friend, young witch Rodelle is rescued and taken to Hartman House:a safe haven for all supernatural beings.

The Hartman family was famous for their wizardry, always trying to protect their own – and other magical beings as well. A place where mystical beings live, the House is protected by powerful magic.

After Rodelle meets the handsome vampire, Dreven, she is immediately and inexplicably drawn to him. But it soon turns out that they have a history – and that danger is lurking right around the corner, ready to claim them both.

With both powerful allies and enemies at play, can Rodelle and Dreven discover the secrets of their past?

To get your copy, follow this link to Amazon on the specified days. You won’t regret it. Here’s what reviewers have said already:

  • In this paranormal romance there’s no time to stop. It’s a fast, gripping, story – that has it’s fun side too.
  • It opened with a breath-catching chase scene and moved quickly into something I couldn’t put down.
  • The story presented a different take on the usual fantasy creatures  – very imaginative and exciting!

If you do grab a copy – and at this amazing price, why wouldn’t you? – please consider leaving a review after reading. Reviews keep authors writing!

 

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

blog tour · book launch · fairytale · fantasy · YA

Book Review: Happily

Happily

by Chauncey Rogers

If the shoe fits, wear it.
If it doesn’t, make it.

Laure is a teenage street urchin just trying to get away. Where the rest of the world sees an enchanting love story, Laure sees royal incompetence and an opportunity to exploit it. She’ll have wealth and a way out of a life she detests, if she can only manage to hoodwink the royal family and survive to tell the tale.

Publication Information:
Title: Happily
Author: Chauncey Rogers
Pages: 299
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Genre: YA (MG-friendly) Fantasy/Fairy-Tale Retelling
Buy now on Amazon, read the Goodreads‘ review or check out the author’s website.
 The author – Chauncey Rogers – has provided a series of blog posts for the tour. Here, he talks about Romance in the world of storytelling. Take it away, Chauncey!

What is Love? – Romance in Storytelling

Thank you for hosting today, Lynne! I’m excited to be on your blog!

Love and romance. I suppose they aren’t the same thing, are they? They’re really not even very close to being the same thing. Sure, if we put them in a Venn-diagram their circles would overlap, but there’s still plenty of those two subjects that don’t touch.

But today we’re going to try and talk about both (briefly) and their importance in storytelling.

First, a bold statement: love is in every good story.

Now, normally I shy away from superlatives like a cockroach shies away from the light, but what the heck? I’ll just throw caution to the wind and say it again.

Love is in every good story.

This probably isn’t all that revelatory, if we think about it. A story needs strong emotions, and love not only encapsulates many strong emotions, but can also be twisted into other strong emotions (like jealousy or hatred) through the course of a story.

Romance, on the other hand, isn’t in every story. Just most of them. And the term romance is applied to a wide number of things—innocent hand-holding among grade school students, candlelight dinners, risque liaisons, and much more.

When authors need characters to be motivated by something, love and romance become quick go-to answers. Should they always? No. But love and romance shouldn’t be brushed aside in stories, either. Both are tried and true plot devices with long histories in storytelling, and both are fairly universal to the human condition.

I’ve certainly relied upon love and romance in my own storytelling. My debut novel, Home To Roost, was about a rooster who felt love for a little girl and romantic feelings for a hen. Those emotions did very different things to the rooster, but I won’t spoil it here.

But what about love in Cinderella? Cinderella goes to the ball, dances with the prince, and homeboy is like, “Don’t know that girl’s name or face, but I’m totally gonna marry her. Once I find her, of course.”

Of course.

Seems like romance, but maybe not even that. For those who enjoy the notion of ‘Love At First Sight,’ it’s pretty much perfect.

And what of love? Cinderella’s father loved her (in most versions). The wicked stepmother’s behavior could perhaps be in part explained by an unhealthy type of love for her own daughters over her stepdaughter. In the 1950 Disney animated version, the king’s controlling love for his son and practically uncontrollable love for his unborn grandchildren push him to host the ball and institute the search for Cinderella.

I think it’s useful to differentiate between the two, but I’ll admit that it can be hazy. Ultimately, though, they both not only occur heavily in storytelling—in some ways they’re what storytelling is all about. Powerful emotions, and the crazy things they make us do.

Do you need to have a romantic love plot line in the stories you read, or are you glad to take a break from it every now and again? Let us know in the comments!

Day 8 of 13 of Happily’s Release Blog Tour. See the full schedule here.

***

Thanks, Chauncey. You make some excellent points, and I find myself agreeing with you despite not being much of a romance reader – or writer – myself. Readers want emotion, and while love may be considered the most positive emotion available to a writer, it also has some very dark shades that make it appropriate for all genres and all styles.

So, now it’s time for me to put my money where my mouth is.  I couldn’t recommend this story without reading it myself – which I did, and I can happily say it’s a cool way to spend a few hours. (See what I did there? 🙂 Sorry, couldn’t resist!)
My Review:
4/5 stars

You’d be forgiven for thinking this is a regular take on the Cinderella story, because it is so much more than that. To start with, Laure, the main protagonist, is not a substitute for Cinders in any way. That job goes to someone else, which then frees Laure up to be the feisty, no-holds-barred girl that she is.

Life hasn’t been kind to Laure. As such, she feels she is due some recompense – and she’s not averse to taking whatever she can, whenever she can – by taking, I mean stealing. Yep, Little Miss innocent she is not!

When one of her exploits backfires on her, she has to flee the scene (but not after causing quite a scene) and return to find the stolen money later on. Luckily, the money is still there, but so is the person whose cart she derailed and sent crashing into the moat. Watching her from a  distance, Luc follows her home – to a dilapidated ruin where she sleeps on the concrete floor. He surprises her when she wakes and demands she pay him back – one way or another.

He’s determined to take her to the Palace and out her as a thief. But, when they hear the King’s decree calling all women to try on a glass slipper – the one whose foot fits will marry the prince – Laure decides this is her chance and they head off to check it out. If there is even the remotest chance the shoe fits, then great wealth could be hers – and she’d be able to pay Luc back. Well, sassy she might be, but the girl dreams big too.

She’s not alone, however, the whole of Éclatant has turned up. Yet none are successful, including Laure, which leads to an idea to make the shoe fit. With Luc as a willing cohort, they begin their quest, encountering an old witch-like woman and a den of thieving bandits until they reach the war-ravaged neighbouring country of Galamonte where their plan takes shape.

The two warm to each other throughout the journey; Laure’s pessimistic outlook softens and, inspired by Luc’s caring and considerate nature, the idea of helping others, most particularly the residents of Galamonte, actually appeals to her. Even at her lowest point, when she contemplates giving up, her thoughts turn to the good she could do if she were to marry the prince.

The story is packed with humour (generally wit and sarcasm from Laure), fascinating and realistic characters (maybe with the exception of a raving lunatic for a King whose endeavours need to be seen to be believed), great world-building (the settings of Éclatant and Galamonte are well-drawn and believable) and, lest we forget, a budding romance.

An enjoyable, cleverly written and amusing story, that goes to prove you’re never  too old to enjoy a fairytale 😉

 

Author Bio: 

Chauncey Rogers was born in Arizona, and since then has hopped back and forth between the mid-western and western United States. He married in 2012 while attending school in Utah. His favorite movie since he was three is Jurassic Park, and he wishes very badly that Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster were real, though he doesn’t believe in them as much as he used to.
In March 2017, he published his first novel, Home To Roost. In October 2017, he published Cleaving Souls.
He currently lives in Kansas City with his wife and two children.

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If you choose to grab a copy of Happily – and why wouldn’t you? – then please consider leaving a review once you’ve read it. Reviews keep authors writing!

Thanks for reading 🙂