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text 2017-08-18 14:05
Feature Friday for Alex E. Carey's Fire's Love with Interview, Excerpt and Guest Post

 

Today for “Feature Friday” let us welcome the awesome Alex E. Carey with her book Fire's Love, the first book in the Elemental Series.

We will have info about the book and author. Plus we have a interview with Alex, a great excerpt from the book and a guest post from her as well.

Make sure to check everything out and go and show her some love and add her books to your TBR ;) 

Happy Reading :) 

 


 

Fire's Love

 

Kira thought she was leaving her demons behind when she left for college. She quickly discovers demons are everywhere, and can be good or evil. Not only are they real, but they’re protecting her; that is, except for the ones who want her dead. Kira's parents want to reveal things about who she is, but a strange phenomenon prevents them from explaining. Before they can try again, her mother and brother die and her father disappears. Afterward, Kira finds a mysterious book in her parents‘ belongings. Although the book confuses her, it comforts her too. She's sure it holds the answers she seeks. One of Kira’s new friends, Lowell Hew, is also an earth demon named Ulric the Wolf Thief. Lowell tries to help Kira solve the mysteries involving the book, her parents, and the elements they wanted her to know. Although Lowell has a crush on Kira, he’s not looking for a relationship, or so he keeps telling himself. Meanwhile, Lowell introduces Kira to his best friend, Pyre, a fire demon with a fiery temperament and a troubled past. Pyre closed off his heart years ago, while deep inside he yearned to belong. For Pyre, learning to love again comes with tremendous risk, especially when the girl he loves is human, and his best friend has thoughts of his own. Things go well until an eerie presence threatens Kira and her new friends, and they can only speculate as to who it may be. While her friends protect her and try to uncover the enemy’s identity, Kira must adjust to the challenges of being human with demon friends. Will she bask in the warmth, or be consumed by the flames of Fire’s Love?

 

 

 

Buy Links

 

   

Other books in the series 

 

Earth's Embrace (Elemental Series Book 2) by [Carey, Alex E]

 

 

Water's Reflection (Elemental Book 3) by [Carey, Alex E]

 

 

Hello Alex. Thank you for taking the time to stop in and chat with us, it is great to have you. 

 

 

 

Thank you.  It’s my pleasure.

 

 

 

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I’m friends with several authors who write in multiple genres.  They are a great group and many have become dear friends.  Mainly, we share each other’s work, encourage and motivate, and sometimes read for each other.

Jenny Burke writes The Dragon Dreamer series about a young dragon who makes an unlikely friend in a wise octopus named Scree.  It’s a beautiful story for all ages.  We met a couple of years ago and have been great friends since.  We bounce ideas off each other and encourage each other.

Another dear friend is Dianna Wyles.  She writes children’s books that can also be enjoyed by adults.  She is a photographer and uses her photos in her Hearts Blessings book series to complement her uplifting poetry.  She also includes a seek and find activity — find the hearts in nature.  They’re beautiful books.  I pull them out when I need some motivation.  She frequently shares my book information with others or opportunities with me.  She also helps me to stay positive and focused.

Heidi Angell is an author of paranormal/fantasy suspense, children’s books and more.  Her sons like to share bookmarks with their classmates, so I was happy to send her some along with some free books.  They fell in love with my stories and tell their friends.  Heidi has a podcast where she reveals “unboxings” when she receives mail and is an avid supporter of indie authors.

Tim Hemlin is a talented author of mysteries and a YA paranormal novel released this year, called Son of a Kitchen Witch.  He and his wife, Valerie, are very supportive of other authors and love to share our news with their readers.

I recently was fortunate to be included in an author team organized by Books Go Social.  There are eleven of us in the group and we’ve all become good friends as well.

Daccari Buchelli writes YA fantasy fiction and just released the revised edition of Phoenix, the first novel in his Peradon fantasy series.  He is so supportive of the entire group and is always offering tips and motivation for each of us.  He  came up with the idea to do an anthology of samples of some of our work called, Tales of the Fantastic.

David Gilchrist is the author of The Redemption of Wist series.  He has published three books in his series and has another releasing in September.  David is always positive and upbeat.  You can count on him for a kind word, writing tips and sharing information he knows we all want to hear, such as someone looking for a book to read and review.

Grant Leishman is a multi-genre author with several books to his credit.  He writes YA fantasy, religious humor/satire, and paranormal and romantic suspense, including his Second Coming trilogy.  He helps to keep us all motivated, is dedicated to sharing information about our books on all his social media and website, and encourages us to keep following our dreams.

Nyasia A. Maire is the author of The Heretic’s Child, a wonderful fantasy story about the Rememberers, who collect and preserve the memories of dying humans, and a menace that is killing their overseers, the Cybele.  Nyasia constantly shares information about our books, offers advice, and shares opportunities to get our books into venues, such as the Pipe & Thimble bookstore in Lomita, CA.

Caitlin Lynagh is the author of Anomaly: The Soul Prophecies with more coming in that series.  She is a biologist and a wonderful writer of YA paranormal romance.  She is sweet and kind, and always offers encouragement and praise.

Kim Ross is an author of fantasy and speculative fiction.  She’s published several short stories in a variety of publications including Novascapes, Sproutlings, and Three Drops from a Cauldron.  She is ready with a reply and humor when any of us in the group need feedback.

There are many others I haven’t mentioned here who are just as supportive.  Chris Walters, Tammy Berg, Kimberly Grell, CK Dawn, C.D. Gorri — oh gosh, I could go on.  Each of them are supportive in various ways, but all are encouraging and happy to work together to further our careers and become better writers.  We believe in supporting each other, whether by giving our opinions on a blurb or chapter, sharing writing tips, events and news, etc.  The main thing is that you have someone else who understands what you experience — whether it’s a need for motivation; dealing with writer’s block; looking for cover designers, editors, or other professionals; or commiserating over a drop in sales.  I give back to them by sharing their news, reading and proofing whenever they need an opinion on something, giving encouragement and motivation, and anything else i can do.  Together, we will succeed.

 

 

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

That’s a good question, and a bit of a tough one.  Like many writers, my budget struggles to stay in the black, so I do as much for free as I can.  i majored in English in college, but one of the best investments has been in publishing and marketing courses by Mark Dawson and Nick Stephenson.  They are great guys, very personable, and eagerly share advice in the course and in their Facebook communities.

Another excellent investment has been with my street team — Alex E. Carey’s Elemental Elite.  I have such a wonderful team of people who are friendly, encouraging and who go out of their way to share my book information with their friends, libraries, book clubs and more.  They keep after me, wanting to know when book #4 in my series will be published (coming soon in 2017 if all goes as planned), which motivates me to keep writing.  They get a free signed paperback copy of my first book, Fire’s love, with bookmarks and swag.  The members who are actively supportive — whether by sharing posts on social media, keeping me informed of events, supporting me at events I participate in online, and hopefully by leaving reviews, etc. — continue to receive free books and swag.  My team will also have the first opportunity to receive ARC’s and new releases.  The cost of print books and swag,  plus the shipping, has been a worthwhile investment to further my success.  Their support and encouragement is priceless!  They’ve all become very dear to me and like my extended family.

 

What is the most challenging thing about writing for you?

Time.  Always!  Balancing working my “day job”, writing, reading, family time, promotion, social media, and other activities is difficult.  I tend to get immersed when I write, and overlook reading and other things.  I will suddenly realize I haven’t checked email or Facebook messages in several days; or I’ll remember I promised to read a book for someone.  Yes, I have a huge stack of books I’ve promised to read.  Or I need to vacuum the carpet — but what’s one more day?  There are books to be written or read.

 

How do you select the names of your characters? 

I start by searching for names with certain meanings or significance in some way.  My three main characters are Kira, Pyre, and Lowell.  For Lowell, I looked up names that had “wolf” in their meaning.  Lowell means “wolf” and “beloved”, so I liked that.  The word pyre means “a heap of combustible material”.  That pretty much describes Pyre in a nutshell.  I got the name Kira from a Japanese anime show I used to watch.  I also try not to choose a name that has been used frequently. 

 

 

 

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

 

That’s an interesting question.  I think most everything boils down to time for me.  I’m about experiences in life.  If you want to become a better writer, you need to practice, or maybe you need to take a course.  That may involve money, but it definitely involves time.  Time you spend taking a course is time you don’t have for someone or something else.  I took dance for over twelve years, and I still enjoy it.  I stay in practice whenever I can, but unfortunately, I don’t have the time to spend on it as much as I used to.  I guess you could say that’s one thing I have given up or sacrificed to dedicate more of myself to my writing.  One thing I would not sacrifice is my family, and fortunately I don’t have to.  My mother and brother are completely supportive and work with me.  My mother helps with proofreading, editing, publishing and anything else I may need.  They both have come up with suggestions for scenes, and they always assist when I have a book signing event.  Spending time with them in collaboration makes up for anything I have sacrificed for my writing.

 

 

This was fun, again thank you so much for taking the time to chat. You rock! 

 

 

 

The last scene in Chapter 4 - Getting Answers and Proving One’s Self

 

The next afternoon, Lowell and I went to the library to study together. “I forgot one of my books in my room,” Lowell said after searching through his bag. “You can borrow mine.” “Thanks, but I need my notes too.” “I’ll go with you. We can study in your room instead.” “No, I don’t want to study there in case my roommates return. They’re loud and distracting. I’ll be right back. You don’t need to come with me.” “I can either go with you to your dorm or stay here and endure the glares from your jealous admirers. Frankly, they’re a little scary when they travel in packs.” When we reached Lowell’s room, he stood still outside the door, huffed, and rubbed his forehead. “What’s wrong?” I asked. He shook his head and set his jaw before opening the door. “How many times must I tell you not to enter my dorm when I’m not here?” Lowell asked. Pyre leaned against a wall with his arms crossed. The sight of him took my breath away, but then he spoke. “I don’t take orders.” “Why are you here?” “We’re supposed to train, remember?” “Oh, right, I forgot. Kira, I’m sorry.” “No problem. We can study another time.” “Why don’t you come with us?” Pyre made a rude face, and I raised my brows at him before responding to Lowell. “I don’t want to intrude.” “It’s no intrusion. Besides, my other friends will be there, so you can meet them.” “In that case, I’ll go.” “Good. Let me put my books away and change clothes, and then we’ll leave.” “Hn.” Pyre grunted and rolled his eyes. Lowell frowned at Pyre and left the room. Pyre stared at me intensely as though searing a line into my soul. My eyes wandered around the room, and I pretended he wasn’t there, but I failed. I tried not to meet his blue eyes or imagine how his smooth, black hair would feel if I ran my fingers through it. I mentally slapped myself to regain my senses. Why is he staring at me? I get it, he doesn’t like me. He doesn’t even know me, but still he doesn’t like me. So why must he stare at me? “Why does Lowell talk to you?” Pyre asked. “Um.” I studied the ceiling and walls, unaware how to respond. “You’re a weak and worthless human with no special abilities. Why does the Wolf Thief talk to a weak human?” He circled me once before facing off with me, eye to eye, only slightly taller than myself. “How should I know? Why don’t you ask him yourself?” “I did. He says he likes you, and you’re a good friend, but I bet you did something to him.” “You said there’s nothing special about me.” “Doesn’t mean you didn’t do something to him.” “Why are you talking to me if I’m such a weak and worthless human?” He frowned and grew quiet. Seems he doesn’t have a real reason. “I feel something strange toward you.” He examined me from head to toe. “What kind of strange feeling?” “I’m not sure, but I don’t like it.” “You’re the one who mentioned it.” “So?” He asked. “So if you don’t like it, you shouldn’t have said anything.” “You’re the one who asked why I was talking to you.” “Only because talking to someone who doesn’t like me is weird.” “Then maybe I’ll leave if it’s so weird.” He stepped toward the door. “Maybe you should.” “You want me to go.” Pyre squinted at me with suspicion. “That would be great, thank you.” “You manipulated me into saying I’d leave. I’m not going anywhere. You go.” He planted his feet and gestured toward the door. “I’m nothing special, but I manipulated you? How embarrassing for you. And I don’t take orders either.” I confronted him with my arms crossed and stomped my foot. “Hn.” He made a face at me and disappeared. Lowell entered the room in time for the door to slam shut behind Pyre and held up his hands in a silent question. “Don’t leave me alone with him again.” “What did he do?” Lowell groaned, convinced he wouldn’t like my answer. “He creeps me out, and he’s rude. Not to mention obnoxious.” Lowell laughed when I finished. “And here I thought you two would be such good friends.” His voice oozed with sarcasm. When I only raised an eyebrow at him, he said, “Let’s study since he’s gone.” A thunderous knock suddenly shook the door. Lowell opened it to reveal a furious Pyre. “Are you ready to train or not?” Pyre yelled. “Yea, I guess.” Lowell winced as he looked at me, and I nodded that I understood. “Then come on. Leave the human.” “The human doesn’t want to go after all.” I stuck out my chin and glared at him as I stomped past them and out the door. “The human isn’t allowed to go!” Pyre yelled. “The human doesn’t care.” I called back over my shoulder. “The human needs to keep her mouth shut.” I whirled to confront him again. “The demon needs to stay away from the human.” “The two freaks need to stop making a scene.” Lowell stepped between us and gestured with his head to the people gawking at us. “What’re you looking at?” I yelled. The people hurried away from us. I glanced back at Lowell, but Pyre already left. “Keep him away from me.” “I’ll do my best. We’re going to Caedmon’s apartment this weekend. If Pyre’s there, it’s not my fault. I better go with him now though.” “Fine. I’ll see you tomorrow.” I stomped off toward my dorm ranting in my head about demons. Infuriating, obnoxious, insane, devilishly handsome demons.

 

 

 

I am often asked if there’s a message I would like to pass on to my readers. I do have some, but for this post, I want to focus on one specific issue. I write strong female characters, probably because I’m a strong female character, and I see more women who need to be strong as well. I come from a long line of strong women. Being strong doesn’t mean being rude or arrogant. To me, it means knowing who you are and what you stand for, what you’ll accept, and what you won’t. I’m also a bit shy and quiet in a crowd, which isn’t a weakness. Actually, it’s a strength and enables me to write good characters, because I’m a good listener. Teens these days are under pressure to have sex way too soon or before they’re ready. The lead female character in my book is sixteen when she begins college, and turns seventeen in October. She’s never had a boyfriend or been worried about it. Life isn’t about getting or keeping a boyfriend, regardless what your peers say. It’s about knowing who you are. When you do, you’ll know what you have to share, and you’ll find the right person. They’ll come to you naturally without any pressure or forcing it. Yes, by all means date, and if you are ready for the next level of a relationship, that’s YOUR choice, no one else’s. If the guy pushes you into it, either way, he’ll probably be gone the next day. Yea, that’s probably something your mother would say. I’m only twenty-five, not that much older than high school teens. Know what? She’s right. (To my own mother, yes, I actually said those words.) Still, I have another issue on my mind. My mother home schooled me until college, so this issue was a bit of a shock to me. When I started working, I met people younger and older, but I was used to age differences. The part I wasn’t used to was the people, most of them female, many of them younger than myself, who had an abusive relationship with a romantic partner. I couldn’t understand why a high school girl, for example, would date a guy who physically abused them. When I asked, they replied that this is how it is in the real world and you have to accept it if you want to have a boyfriend. I was horrified, not because I believed them, but because they believed it. Before I go any further, I will say that women these days are more capable of defending themselves from an attack than in the past. We are more educated as to what to do in a scary situation. The first question is, if faced with an attack by a stranger, whether we remember the training. The second question is, if the attacker is someone we have feelings for, what will we do? Additionally, it’s important to recognize that abuse happens to men in relationships too. When I started dating, my mother told me something that stuck with me. Although we had a great bond and relationship through the teen years, I probably wouldn’t have admitted it at the time. She said our lives are open books, and we are the writers. People we meet or become close to are the characters. Some of those characters will be villains who should be defeated, or left behind. Some chapters would be happy, fun, peaceful and full of hope. Others, would be sad and have some grief, pain or disappointment. Everyone makes bad choices or has regrets, but unlike the books an author writes, those bad choices can’t simply be edited out of your life’s book. Either way, the pen belongs to you. Make sure you write your book. Don’t allow someone else to do it for you. Yes, there will be some pain in life, whether it’s losing a loved one, fighting cancer, or worrying about bills, etc. Those are inevitable, unfortunately, and part of life. Allowing someone to abuse you, whether verbally or physically - I’m talking forced sex, black eyes, broken bones, hospital visits - is not meant to be part of life. Don’t accept that from anyone or for any reason. No one was born or deserves to live that way. You aren’t a whipping post. Don’t be their tool. If someone truly loves you they will build you up, grow your confidence, and they will never intentionally hurt you. It’s your book, and the characters in it are your choice. If you find yourself with someone who only wants to hurt you or make you feel inferior, kick the loser out of your book That person doesn’t belong there. I grew up with an amazing, supportive family, not that we didn’t have our own issues. I understand a lot of people don’t have that. Many people overcome whatever isn’t perfect in their lives. People from lower income families “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”, go to college and make a good life for themselves. People with disabilities of some sort go on to achieve great things in careers and life. Some people have to overcome the people closest to them putting them down or discouraging them. Whatever you have to overcome, work for it, do it, follow your dreams. Will you fail? Who knows? You’ll be able to say you went for it, and you won’t grow old and bitter because you never gave it a shot. Moreover, you will have taken control of your life and not let someone else destroy it or you. Why give someone else control over your life when theirs is a mess? Write your own book. Make it long and full of everything a life should be. Remember, no one was born to be someone else’s tool.

 

 

 

 

 

           

Alex E. Carey was born in Texas and majored in English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  When she started college, she planned to be a dance teacher or an archaeologist.  Kira’s story came to her during her first semester of college.  Alex scribbled stories in between classes and ideas continued to flow for more stories and characters.  She soon realized she was meant to be a writer.  She is now the author of three published novels in the Elemental Series.  She is currently working on the fourth book in the series, as well as other short stories and novels in progress.

            Alex studied dance since the age of four.  She took classes in several dance forms and enjoyed them all, but her favorite was modern/contemporary.  She still loves dance and stays in practice when not working or writing.  She believes in tolerance and acceptance and feels strongly about equal rights for all.  She is passionate about issues involving women, children, the elderly, animals and the environment.

            Alex enjoys a variety of books and genres, but her favorites are paranormal and fantasy.  She reads a variety of authors and has many favorites including Emily Dickinson, Kim Harrison, Stephen King, Rick Riordan, Edgar Allan Poe, J. K. Rowling, and William Shakespeare.

            When not at work on her latest book, she enjoys reading, walking trails, gem mining and spending time with her family and their three dogs.

 

Links

 

Website *** Facebook *** Twitter *** Bookhub 

 

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/feature-friday-alex-e-careys-fires-love-interview-excerpt-guest-post
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text 2017-08-17 13:05
Blog Tour : Sin Eater by Alesha Escobar and Samantha Lafantasie with Excerpt and Giveaway

 

Today’s stop is for Alesha Escobar and Samantha Lafantasie’s Sin Eater. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 


 

 

 

 

Aria Knight has an unusual set of skills: she will hold back the hounds of Hell so you can fly toward the Pearly Gates, and she will wipe your slate clean so that you don't become karma's bitch...for a price.

A Sin Eater has to make a living in today's world somehow.   But when she's called in the dead of night to perform her rite for a recluse billionaire, she stumbles upon a murder scene, and the evidence points to her.   In an attempt to clear her name and uncover the true culprit, Aria is forced to team up with a private investigator who's possessed by three spirits, and a handsome wizard who would rather see all Sin Eaters like Aria go extinct.   Aria knows her job is never easy, but now it's become downright deadly.   SIN EATER is the first book of the Aria Knight Chronicles by USA Today bestselling author Samantha LaFantasie and Alesha Escobar, author of the bestselling Gray Tower Trilogy.

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Aria would die tonight. If Hessa didn’t unlock her damn door and let her in, that would certainly be the case. Aria’s back stiffened when she heard the faint but distinctive howls from the Hounds of Hell. Their shrieks always struck her as a cross between wolves wailing at the moon and jackals whining into the night. Hessa finally opened the door and stood at the threshold, sizing her up and taking a long drag from her cigarette. A tear, mingled with ruined mascara, trailed down her cheek. “Thanks for coming, Aria. This was the last thing Mom asked for, so…” “I understand. May I come in?” Aria nearly knocked her over trying to slip inside. The howling grew louder. They were down the street, and Aria’s time was running out. “Yeah.” Hessa rolled her eyes at Aria’s terse attitude, but she’d do the same if she could hear what came their way. “You should place a ward around the house.” Aria speed-walked down the hall. “Okay…” Hessa’s voice trailed off. She wished she had been called sooner. If the hellhounds made it to the dead woman before she did, then she’d have to watch them tear the old woman’s soul to shreds before dragging her off to the abyss. Aria wrinkled her nose at the smell of wet fur and garbage. A small dog somewhere in the house barked a few times. As if drawn like a magnet to metal, she guided herself to the last room, toward the deceased. A short, white-haired woman in a long-sleeved gown lay in repose on a bed. Her arms were crossed just below her chest, with her hands meeting in a clasp. Aria’s lips pressed into a thin line. She didn’t have time for this. She had told Hessa over the phone not to move or position the body. She quickly took the dead woman’s right hand and extended it, placing it to her right side. She did the same for the left hand, so that nothing sat on or near the deceased’s chest. She felt the moment Hessa cast her warding spell around the house. It felt like a stab of tension in her chest, the same type people felt when walking downstairs and missing a step. “What was her name?” Aria asked, when Hessa joined her in the back room. She needed to know this in case she needed to grab the spirit’s attention. “Lora.” “Beautiful name. Do you have the bread?” Aria grabbed a rickety stool from the left corner of the room and brought it over. She sat down next to the bed. The hellhounds circled the house, probably salivating over their prey. Aria could hear their gleeful snarls at the prospect of devouring another soul. If she weren’t careful, they would tear into her as well. It wasn’t unheard of for them to go after sin eaters. Hessa jabbed her cigarette into an ashtray on the nightstand and then unraveled a fresh-baked loaf of bread. Steam rose from the bread, and Hessa used the towel that was covering the small loaf to protect her hands as she transferred it to her mother’s chest. As a sign of respect, and also as a way to mark the beginning of the Final Rite, Aria inclined her head in a slight bow, mentally offering up an ancient prayer of blessing. She was the very last call, the end of the line for many. Probably in some ancient desert Monastery or buried in the Vatican archives, there was a dusty old manuscript with a footnote, speaking of the loophole offered by sin eaters. Most would ask for her if they couldn’t reach a priest, or as extra “insurance” after receiving Anointing of the Sick. Aria raised her right hand, palm facing forward, revealing the birthmark that identified her as a sin eater. She lowered her hand, but kept it suspended in mid-air just above the bread. She already felt the pulsating power of the S-shaped mark on her hand that begged to let the flame emerge. It happened whenever she began a sin eating ritual, and the first time her birthmark erupted into a large flame, she fell on her ass and tried to smother it with a handkerchief. Not exactly a move that would instill confidence in a client entrusting their loved one’s soul to her. The flame meant there were sins that needed to be ripped away from a penitent Lora and passed on to Aria instead. Lora’s soul would be free to throw off any shackles burdening her and find peace, and Aria would know that she helped guide someone to paradise. There were also the perks of increased longevity for Aria, youthful appearance, and extra cash. Witching families paid well for this gig. “Once I begin,” Aria said, watching the flame on her palm subside, “don’t interrupt the process.” She decided not to mention that hellhounds would make their way in within the next few minutes, seeking Lora’s soul. Aria turned her attention toward the bread resting on Lora’s chest. She reached over with her right hand and took the small loaf, biting off a large piece and chewing it. The bread was plain and slightly salty, but what really made an impression on Aria was the rush of mystical energy that filled her from head to toe. All of her physical senses were amplified in that moment. The lights in the room looked brighter, the color of Hessa’s green dress and auburn hair were more vibrant, and the scent of wet fur and garbage returned with a vengeance. And so did the howls of the hellhounds. Aria almost felt buzzed by the sensations, but she had been sin eating for a long time, so she knew when to shove them aside and get to work. She motioned toward the nightstand. “The wine, or beer, please.” Hessa blinked a few times in astonishment, probably wondering if her mother’s final request was some elaborate practical joke. With a little hesitance, she leaned over and grabbed a cup. She handed it to Aria and backed away, conveniently close enough to the door just in case she didn’t like what would happen. Aria held the cup with a steady hand just above Lora’s chest. Inclining her head in a gesture of respect once more, she brought the rim of the cup to her lips and drank. The beer traveled down her throat; it was cool and spritzy, with a surprising richness in body and a malty flavor. Now Aria’s spiritual senses were heightened. A burst of light temporarily blinded her, and when her view came back into focus, she saw Lora’s soul standing next to Hessa. Silver speckles of light adorned the elderly woman’s white hair, and her face appeared thirty years younger than that of her corpse. Aria grinned when she saw that Lora chose to wear a yellow evening gown reminiscent of the starlets of Old Hollywood. Lora made a sweeping gesture with her hand, showing off her lean frame. “If I have to go, why not in style?” “Agreed.” Aria took a final swig from the cup and placed it aside. Hessa raised an eyebrow, and her gaze went from Aria and then across from her, where from her perspective, she was talking to an invisible person. “Aria? Is it working?” “Shhh.” Aria kept her gaze on Lora. The entire room quivered as the hellhounds broke through Hessa’s protective ward, but only Aria felt it. Barking erupted in the hallway, but this wasn’t the yapping of the little dogs in the house. Hessa couldn’t hear it, but Lora and Aria did. Lora’s expression fell, and she floated across the room, through her bed and body, and stood next to Aria. “I’ll make it, won’t I? I know I’ve done some things terribly wrong in my life, but I’m a believer. Would’ve told Hessa to fetch the Padre, if my lungs hadn’t given out on me, but she knew that I also wanted her to call for one of you when it was my time to go.” Aria stood and placed her hand on Lora’s shoulder. After imbibing beer or wine in her ritual, she could see, hear, and touch souls. “Of course. I won’t let anything bad happen to you.” “Shit.” Hessa chuckled as she slipped another cigarette into her mouth and lit it with a snap of her finger. “If I’m forking over five hundred big ones for a dramatic act, I’m gonna be pissed.” A gray portal that looked like a whirlpool of storm clouds appeared right behind Hessa. Lora stepped behind Aria, grasping her shoulders with trembling hands. “Please, don’t let them get me!” Aria cleared her throat. “Hessa, you might want to step aside.” The other woman turned around, and upon seeing nothing out of the ordinary behind her, faced Aria and shrugged. “Okay, are you for real?” “Too late.” Aria raised her right hand, letting her birthmark bring forth the flame that had ignited earlier. In an instant, two hellhounds burst through the portal and passed straight through Hessa. She went rigid and let out a shriek. The cigarette fell out of her mouth and onto the floor. “Oh my God! What was that? What just happened?” Hessa frantically patted her chest and torso. When smoke began rising from the floor, she screamed again and grabbed a nearby towel which she used to smother the flames from the carpet where the cigarette fell. Aria ignored Hessa’s plea to stop the ritual. She wouldn’t, and she couldn’t. Besides the fact that she promised to help Lora, she now had to deal with two large, black, salivating hellhounds bent on dragging Lora’s soul away. Their red eyes glowed with malice as they circled Aria and Lora. They had come for souls many times, and most of those times, sin eaters like Aria had repelled them. She swore to herself that tonight would be another victory. As if reading her thoughts, the hounds unleashed deafening barks that echoed throughout the room. Hessa couldn’t hear them, but she did gag at the pungent odor that filled the bedroom. Aria wanted to vomit in response to the smell, but she quelled the unease in her stomach and swept her flaming right hand in an arc. A fiery circle enclosed itself around Aria and Lora. “This penitent is under my protection,” Aria said in a clear voice. “She will pass on to the light, and I will bear the darkness.” One of the hellhounds blew an ice-cold breeze toward the fiery circle, while the other opened its mouth and made a sucking motion. Lora squealed when an invisible force lifted her and started pulling her toward the hellhound. Aria grabbed hold of Lora. “Uh, I don’t want to rush your spiritual enlightenment, but now’s a good time to let go of those vices.” She doubted Lora wanted to be swept away because she kept the flaws that had entrenched themselves in the depths of her being. Lora gritted her teeth. The icy wind whipped her white hair in different directions. “I…don’t know if I can!” No shit. This wasn’t like giving up ice cream or chocolate for Lent. If Lora couldn’t, or rather wouldn’t, peel away the slivers of corruption that still clung to her, then the hellhounds would claim their right to her and clamp down with their hungry mouths and drag her away. “Lora, whatever’s in there trying to stick around, don’t give in to the idea that you can’t defeat it. We’re weak, yes, but you know what’s stronger?” Lora looked over at Hessa, her daughter, and her expression of fear softened. The old woman’s grey-blue eyes shined, and a sense of confidence took hold of her. She turned and met Aria’s gaze. “Love. True Love’s light.” Aria used her flaming hand to brand the “S” symbol, the same as her birthmark, onto Lora’s forehead. In that moment, they were bound together, and small black specks, the remaining sins and darkness in Lora, floated out of her and went straight into Aria. The old woman had finally let go of what held her down. The hellhounds let out disappointed howls. They backed away with indignant whines. With a few threatening snarls, they turned and jumped back into the gray portal and disappeared. Once the portal faded, Aria released Lora from her grasp. The elderly woman slowly faded, but she wore a grateful smile. She was finally moving on to her next journey--sans the hellhounds. “Thank you, my dear,” Lora said right before she completely disappeared. Aria nodded in response. Her throat was on fire and her hands felt numb. “Can I come in now?” Hessa’s voice carried from just outside the room. Aria rolled her eyes and sighed. “Yes. It’s done.” Hessa stumbled back into the room, trying to hide her shaking hands by smoothing her green dress, which had now lost its vibrancy. She placed her hand over her heart and eyed her mother’s body. “Whatever passed through me,” she said, taking in a deep breath, “it was horrible. But I felt Mom’s presence, and I just knew she was here.” “She was, and now she’s moved on. She’s fine now.” Seeing Hessa’s affection for her mother ignited a twinge of jealousy in Aria. She wished she had something like that with her mother, but the woman gave her up when she was just a baby. She had been told that her father, whoever he was, had passed away before she was born. She had always wondered if her mother, a witch named Clare, didn’t want her because she was born with the mark of the sin eater, or, if there was more to the story. Hessa shook her head, still in disbelief at what she just experienced. She reached into her ample cleavage and pulled out a wad of cash. “I felt Mom right next to me, I swear it. I guess you earned this, honey.” Ew. Sweaty boob cash. Aria pinched the roll of money and slipped it into her leather jacket pocket. “Thanks. You can call and have the body picked up now.” She nodded. “Will you do me when I die?” “Yes, good night, Hessa.” She acquired most of her clients through word of mouth or by them sitting through a sin eating ritual as a witness. Most of the world had forgotten that her kind even existed. She left the room and headed down the hallway, but paused when the other woman called out to her. “Does it hurt when you do that?” Aria turned and shook her head, her long, dark, wavy hair moving back and forth. “Does it hurt when you do your type of magic?” Hessa’s eyebrows rose together in an expression that told Aria that she understood. “But, how come there aren’t more like you?” Aria shrugged and gave a confused look, though in truth, she’d known the answer for over sixty years. Most of her kind had decided that they would rather die than go on absorbing the sins of a mankind that thought throwing innocent people into death camps was a good idea, or slaughtering innocents by the millions was acceptable. There were a few hundred sin eaters in the world, and only a handful left in the United States. She was the only one she knew of in Miracle Falls, California. “Goodnight,” she said again with a little more agitation in her voice. The Final Rite had exhausted her, and the last thing she wanted to do was recall memories of the 1940’s. As she went down the steps of the front porch and headed toward her car, she slipped her hands into her leather jacket pocket. A biting chill hung in the November air, but what caused a tremor in her fingers and her body to shudder was the effect of the ritual. It tired her out, making her feel like an athlete who had just passed her peak and was about to head downhill. She knew of only one solution to that. She shoved those thoughts aside and concentrated on what she could attain immediately. She wanted a big ass glass of wine. She needed her nice, warm bed. And then, she needed to magically be prepared in the morning to serve as nanny to a mind-reading ten year old, and her awkward older brother who probably knew more about human history and magic than most scholars in the world. Joy.
 
 
 
 
I’m a caffeine addict and chocoholic who enjoys reading and writing engaging stories, loveable (and not-so loveable) characters, and expressing my creativity daily. I write fantasy with intriguing characters, action-packed scenes, and always throw in a good dash of humor and romance.
Science Fiction and Fantasy are my favorite genres, but I also adore the classics (Shakespeare, Dante Alighieri, etc.) and I have a soft spot in my heart for Victorian poetry. You can geek out with me all-day every day over these
Some of my favorite contemporary fantasy authors are George R.R. Martin, Robert Jordan (rest in peace), J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher (Dresden Files made me love Urban Fantasy), and Ilona Andrews among others. I enjoy movies and shows like Sleepy Hollow, Supernatural, Arrow, The Flash, The Avengers…there are too many to name!
I want to read more comics and graphic novels, please shoot a recommendation or two my way (I LOVE the Hellblazer comics, by the way).
Please don’t be a stranger–I want you to kick up your feet, sip your coffee (or tea) and join in on my weekly rants, discussions, and updates.
 
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text 2017-08-16 13:05
Blog Tour: Erinland by Kathryn Berryman With Excerpt and Giveaway

Today’s stop is for Kathryn Berryman’s Erinland. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

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Two troubled young adults find themselves key players in a deadly game that spans the 21st century and the Viking Age.

Amy, finding it difficult to ‘fit in’, becomes increasingly obsessed with the virtual reality game Erinland. The VR characters and the mist of Erin begin to invade Amy’s dreams and her waking moments. She finds herself drawn into Erinland in 9th century Ireland. Amy becomes part of this mystical world as she joins in the struggle to defeat the Viking raiders.   Richard has a complicated home life and feels he doesn’t belong anywhere. A series of events finds him desperate and living on the streets, where he finds himself dragged into 9th century Norway by a Viking warrior. Richard finds acceptance with the Vikings and joins them on a colonisation raid to Ireland.

 

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Chapter 1

The Beginning

The wind of the boglands howled, shrieking with the voices of tortured souls entwined with the steaming peat. ‘We must protect the chalice and the sacred writings!’ cried Niamh of the Golden Hair. The sound of her command¬ing voice reduced the sound of the wailing wind to a frustrat¬ed whisper. The woman wheeled her powerful steed around and galloped off towards the distant bog lights, leaving a flurry of mud in her wake. The sign had come. Tadhg the great warrior knew that Niamh of the Golden Hair would only appear if the sacred relics were in danger of being destroyed and absorbed into the dark culture of the barbarians. He had to go to the Abbey and protect the sacred objects from defilement. A primal howl made him spin around to see the brutish face of his aggressor. Metal clashed against metal, war cries wailed, flesh and bone hacked until Tadhg fell on the battlefield. ‘AAARGH!’ Tadhg gasped, fighting for air as he sank to the ground, choking in the mire of mud and blood. Clasping his cleft sword, his breath came in ragged gasps then finally faded. Tadhg’s face and body contorted, shimmering as he slowly grew fainter and seeped into the boglands. It had been his battlefield and now it was his final resting place. A huge Viking towered over Tadhg, howling triumphantly. The howling continued until the whole scene faded to grey. Niamh of the Golden Hair’s face popped onto the computer screen. Her serene voice came out of the speaker. ‘Erinland is at risk of disappearing. The chalice and writings have fallen victim to the barbarous Vikings. You have lost another incarnation. Be careful, small one.’ Amy grabbed the sides of the computer screen and shook it savagely. ‘Bloody hell, this virtual reality world is driving me crazy! I’ve lost another incarnation. Useless Irishmen, no wonder the Vikings invaded them. Stupid bloody Vikings, stupid Tadhg! Sacred objects? Yeah right, Niamh of the Golden Hair. What a load of horse crap! Tadhg needs a good kick up his hairy butt.’ ‘Amy Bradshaw, stop that language at once! What do you think you’re playing at? I do my best to raise you to be a lady! Why do you think I send you to that expensive private school? Not to learn language like that! You’re a disgrace. When is the last time you brushed your hair? This bedroom is a garbage dump!’ The last word came out as a hiss. Amy jumped at the sound of her mother’s voice. She thought her mother was in the kitchen washing up after dinner, totally out of earshot. Amy’s mother continued with the tirade as Amy cringed on the bed. ‘Anyway, you are supposed to be doing your homework, not surfing the net. You’re banned from the computer for a week, it is only to be used for homework. Oh, and I’ll be super¬vising you, so don’t get any ideas!’ she exclaimed. Amy had to think of something quickly. ‘But, Mum, this is homework. In History we are learning about Vikings and how they were forced to migrate and invade other lands. It’s really interesting. We have to research their culture, art, and craftsmanship and what influence it had on the places they conquered,’ cried Amy. ‘I was researching,’ she added, trying to sound as indignant as possible. Amy’s mother looked at her suspiciously. ‘Researching?’ she said a little more calmly. ‘Then why did I hear all that yelling and screaming?’ Amy thought she could sense a crack in her mother’s armour. She decided to weave a bit of truth into the lies—half-truths usually had a ring of plausibility to them. ‘Well … We have to go onto a virtual reality site to give us a hands-on view of life in Viking times. We make a village and even get to design our own Celtic jewellery! On the virtual reality site, we learn how to simulate Viking warriors sparring with each other. I was yelling at the warriors fighting!’ she said. ‘You know about this, Mum! Mr Lord gave us the website details in our history class today, and I gave you the permis¬sion note last week. Remember? Anyway, you can ring him if you don’t believe me.’ Amy uttered these last words in an almost accusing tone. Her mother’s expression softened, slightly. ‘Oh, I see. Well … I suppose if it’s for school … But you know, I might just contact that Mr Lord. This research seems to be encouraging a bit too much passion in you. Now get to bed before I change my mind, and don’t forget to clean your teeth.’ Amy snapped off the computer and stomped off to the bathroom. At least she had fooled her mother into thinking that she was concentrating on her school work, which couldn’t be further from the truth. And she could still play Erinland without her mum knowing what she was doing. I could even buy one of those VR headsets to make the game more real. I bet Mum wouldn’t even work out that I had it! I wonder … She would probably find out sooner or later but it would be worth it, Amy thought absently as she spat the slimy residue of toothpaste and saliva down the sink. She rinsed her mouth and splashed her face with cold water, staring hard at her reflection in the bathroom mirror. It wasn’t a bad face. Not too pretty, but not too ugly either. She imagined herself in ancient Erin fighting at Tadhg’s side, away from the bitchy girls at school with their bitchy texting and sniggering behind their hands. School. God, Amy hated school. School, no way! But talking to gods and minor deities? Protecting ancient manuscripts and chalices from the Raiders? She could live with that. She might even be a goddess herself! Niamh of the Golden Hair? No … Amy of the Spotty PJs! Yep, that would be fun. No bullying, no one to nag me to death, and I wouldn’t even have to clean my teeth, she silently told her smiling reflection. ‘Night, Mum,’ Amy called out. ‘Night, Amy. Lights off, straight to sleep now,’ replied her mother, almost back to her normal self. Amy was tempted to wait until the house was quiet and play online again, but contented herself with the major win over her mum. She had to admit that she was becoming a bit obsessed with the virtual reality world. At least in Erinland she had some control. In her ‘real’ life she had no control. She didn’t have any friends. Not even one. The ‘lovely private school girls’, as her mother called them, were proper cows. Her fascination for the virtual reality game was starting to worry her though. Not only was it taking up all her spare waking moments, but she was starting to dream about it too. The mists of Erin were invading her slumber. Tadhg spoke to her, whispering of the beauty of ancient Erin. His voice was like a bubbling stream, hypnotic and fresh, but it had an underlying strength that commanded respect. The words he spoke weaved a tapestry of images of the heroism of battle and the struggle to save the holy relics from the barbarians. As Amy jumped into bed and pulled the doona up to her chin, she didn’t notice the dark shadows gathering in the corner of the bedroom. She switched off the bedside lamp and closed her eyes. Her mind was still racing, an adrenalin high, mentally logging past fatal mistakes and planning future strat¬egies for her next session in Erinland. God! Why can’t I sleep? she moaned to herself. Oh well, I’ll have to say some prayers, that always puts me to sleep. She sighed deeply and started to pray, mouthing the words absent-mindedly. But her mind was still awash with thoughts of ancient Ireland, craggy mountains covered in moss and mist, and boglands, full of treacherous sinkholes and mystical beings. She found herself praying to the Holy Bogg Demon and Our Tadhg instead of the usual Christian deities. Finally, she drifted off to sleep. She was in Erinland, dreaming of the moist, green land and the heroes that fought and died for their cause. Then a curious thing happened. The shadows in the corner of her room began to gather and become a dense black mass drifting slowly towards her bed. It exuded a pungent smell. The scent was intoxicating, causing her to sink into a deeper slumber. A draught stole its way through the open window, bringing a heavy mist into her bedroom. The mist twisted with the shadows, creating an energy that was concen-trating itself above Amy’s sleeping form. She stirred slightly in her sleep, as if she sensed another presence. Sensuously, swirling tendrils of mist played around Amy’s feet, massaging her like hundreds of tiny pulsating fingers. They beckoned with a silken touch and oppressive sweetness to slide into the suffocating decay of the boglands. She felt herself being wooed by an unseen presence. Heavy blackness descended and she felt herself being sucked into the soft, moist peat. She waited, not daring to breathe. ‘Follow me,’ the fetid gurgle bubbled up from the depths of the bog, making Amy’s head swim. There were other sounds too. Guttural voices and desolate moaning swished around the room making her feel nauseous. ‘Follow me,’ intoned the voice, as old and enduring as granite, yet with enough venom to become a deadly, scorching lava. The compulsion to obey was almost overpowering. Yet fighting deep within Amy’s psyche was a strong urge to reject the evil command and to emerge out of the blackness into the clean, bright light. The fear and desolation she felt was tightening its grip. Gone was the sensuous feeling of massage; now all she could feel were icy fingers grasping at her neck and torso pulling her down into the bog. The guttural voices became louder, drowning out all other sounds, making her blind with fear. Amy violently shook her head trying to rid herself of the evil sensation but the movement increased the demon’s hold on her. A vague speck appeared in the distance, something resem¬bling a light. Amy concentrated on the light and tried to block out the voices. She continued to concentrate, trying to force away the panic that shrouded her. She repeated to herself, ‘Look at the light, the light is my salvation.’ These words became a kind of prayer as she repeated them constantly. Gradually, the tendrils of mist and the icy fingers lessened their hold. Amy chanted the words louder and with every fibre of her being. Finally the grip became a grasp, then it vanished. The voices trailed off, dissolving into an eerie wind—the catchcry of the boglands. A shrill sound, like the neigh of a horse, lingered then died away. Amy thought she heard the sound of a horse galloping in the distance. She opened her eyes. Her face and body were dripping from the exertion of her experience. She got out of bed for a drink of water and it was then she noticed something strange. A faint glow emitting from the corner of her bedroom. It was coming from her laptop. The glow started blinking in a staccato rhythm, gaining brightness. Amy stared hypnotically into the strobe. The glow grew larger and brighter. An elec-tronic surge overflowing from the monitor and onto the floor. The tide edged its way across the carpet and came to rest at Amy’s feet. It started to rise from the floor, undulating and pulling, crashing against itself like a deadly rip in the ocean. Gradually the atoms composed themselves into the recognis¬able form of an old woman. The old woman looked like those Amy had seen on park benches, the kind that carried all their belongings in a couple of shopping bags. They were usually dirty, drunk, and abusive. This woman was approximately 160 cm tall; her hair was dark brown and it seemed to be caked in mud and dead leaves. Her skin was grey and very lined. Her unblinking eyes were dark brown. She stared at Amy steadily. The woman wore a simple brown tunic. It was well worn and patched in several places. Her hands were large and her nails were ragged and putrid. These hands had seen some very hard work in their time. She had an overall earthy smell, giving the impression of an ancient relic. For one so dishevelled, the old woman seemed to radiate a strength which commanded respect from those in her presence. ‘Oh … my ... god … shit!’ yelled Amy. ‘Be still! You shall not profane the higher power in my presence! Profane with your tongue no more, lest you block your path to the highest power,’ replied the old woman. ‘Ditto what I said before. Who are you?’ hissed Amy. The old woman spoke, ‘Do not be afraid, small one. You are not in the land of the walking shadows. Your destiny weighs heavier than that. I am Heiran, Cailleach, or wise old woman. ‘I am old. I am as old as the earth, and older than mankind. I have come in many forms and returned many times through the ages. I have been ridiculed and even killed in ignorance, yet all who have known me have been made richer by my passing.’ The old woman’s clear eyes continued to stare into Amy’s. They bored into her thoughts, exposing her soul. Amy franti¬cally backed towards the bedroom door. ‘Mum!’ Amy yelled. ‘Mum, Mum, Mum!’ Amy thought she might be asleep or hallucinating. She had heard of this sort of thing happening before. Her friend at school had a psychotic episode after taking some illicit drugs. She thought she could see spiders coming out of the walls. She ended up curling herself in a ball in the corner of the classroom screaming. But Amy had never touched any kind of drugs. ‘Your mother can’t hear you,’ said the old woman. ‘Mum! Mum, please come, I need you, I am so scared!’ Amy screamed. ‘Your mother cannot hear you,’ the old woman said calmly. ‘She has not been chosen by the Niamh of the Golden Hair. She is to remain on this earthly plane.’ Amy winced at the mention of the name ‘Niamh of the Golden Hair’. An unbelievable thought occurred to her. ‘No … no,’ she whispered. Amy looked more closely at the woman. Bloody hell, this old bag is straight from the virtual reality world! Thinking quickly, she lunged towards her laptop and snapped off the ower switch. The computer sputtered, the light extinguish¬ing with a visual ‘pop!’ Amy turned, satisfied that she was once again by herself. Heiran stood peering at Amy with a quizzical expres¬sion. She wasn’t going anywhere. ‘Child, why did you still the droning creature? Killing the droning creature will not rid you of me. It is a portal to Erinland. Do not be foolish, small one! I have come to you for a purpose. I am the messenger of Niamh of the Golden Hair. She is the mystical mistress and hand¬maiden of the highest power. She has sought you out. Your strength is known to the Lady. She has witnessed your battle with the evil Bogg Demon. You have been tested and have overcome its tempting advances. You have proven your worth to the Lady. The darkness in your soul has succumbed to the clean brightness of the highest power, this time.’ Amy stood still, disbelief washing over her. She wondered how the old woman, the Cailleach as she called herself, knew about the nightmare she just had. Her skin crawled at the memory of the stinking, suppurating bog; the invisible icy fingers clutching and dragging her down into a world of darkness and evil. An involuntary shudder racked her body. The old woman continued, ‘Tadhg the great and noble war chieftain is closely acquainted with you. You and the droning creature have sent him to his death many times by the steel of the Vikings’ blade. Now he has come to his last incarnation. If he dies and the sacred relics fall victim to the barbarians a final time, our way of worship and our way of life as we know it will be drowned in a black tide of paganism. ‘The holy objects must be saved and hidden, so that future generations can realise the dedication of the faithful. Their beauty must be emulated and revered as a mere shard of the glory of the highest power—that which you call God. Even now there is another from your world who is being wooed by the Raiders. Time is running short!’ cried the old woman. ‘But it’s only a stupid virtual reality world, it’s not real. It’s not my fault!’ Amy cried. She ran across the room and reached for the door handle. Heiran raised her hand. From her stubby dirt-grained fingertips came a light so dazzling that Amy’s eyes watered trying to fight the glare. The light sparked, crackled, and twisted past her to the door handle where it fastened itself—a supernatural forcefield that no human could break. ‘Be still! You cannot run from your fate. Face your destiny, lest it follow you until the end of your incarnations, festering and growing like a great mortal wound. The highest power will buoy you and deliver you to your fate.’ The dark eyes bored through Amy, compelling her to obey the Cailleach. Amy put out a tentative hand. She brushed Heiran’s hand with her fingertips. Vibrant, glowing warmth flowed from the Cailleach, swamping Amy’s body. The force sent her body into spasms as her heartbeat quickened, blood pounding in her ears. She squeezed her eyes shut and cried out for her mother. ‘Amy? Amy, is that you? I thought I heard you calling.’ The far-off reedy voice of her mother tried to puncture the veil of energy with intermittent stabs. Amy tried to speak. When she opened her mouth, nothing came out. She could hear her mother speak again but her voice trailed off. Then the blackness came. Amy was sucked and pummelled through a tunnel of rushing air as though in the slip-stream of some giant racing force. The air was dry and electric and Amy could feel sparks fly from every shaft of hair on her body. Gradually, the wind died down and she thudded onto her back into a soft, mushy surface. Amy opened her eyes. Directly above her was the majestic form of a white stallion. Its barrel chest overshadowed her as it snorted and pawed at the ground, spraying tiny smuts of peat into Amy’s face. Steam rose from the beast’s body as he danced and wheeled, eyes rolling back and ears flattening against his head, shrieking a terrified neigh. Just below his forelock in the middle of his forehead was a protrusion that looked like a horn. Amy had heard of the fabled unicorn and its magical powers. She realised she was face to face with a legend. Well almost face to face. She dragged herself out of the mud and shook off the bog water, evading the powerful thrashing hoofs of the unicorn. ‘Greetings, small one.’ The musical voice came from atop the unicorn. Amy gazed at the dazzling brightness and saw a lovely woman astride her steed. Her face had the translu¬cent glow of a deity, and her skin was unlined and beautiful. A crown of gold was on her head. A halo of golden tresses wound around her head and trailed down her back. She was dressed in a flowing garment of mauve silk which was richly decorated with intricate gold and silver constellations. The garment fell around her and trailed to the ground. The Lady looked not much older than Amy herself, but her eyes beheld a wisdom and grace belonging to an ageless soul. The Lady sat effortlessly atop her substantial steed, con¬trolling it with a subtle movement of a leg, a gentle verbal command, or the brush of a hand. Amy could see no tack whatsoever on this ‘horse’ and stood in awe at the Lady’s obvious power and control over it. The Lady spoke, ‘They call me ‘Niamh of the Golden Hair’. My messenger, Heiran, has transported you here with the help of the ultimate power. She has performed her task well. She has other duties. She will leave us now.’ Amy turned to see that the old woman was gradually fading to grey, dissi¬pating into the atmosphere. A faint smile played on Heiran’s lips and then she was gone. ‘Please don’t leave me,’ Amy pleaded. ‘I need you to get home!’ Her eyes darted from side to side, taking in her surroundings like a trapped animal. A feeling of panic was rising from the pit of her stomach, causing her throat to constrict. She realised she was in boglands, probably in ancient Ireland … straight from the virtual reality world, in Erinland … oh shit! The large, spongy, and uneven surface of the bog looked treacherous to the uninitiated. Amy could see small bodies of water, sinkholes, between the drier hummocks. She saw tracks made from planks of wood and thin branches meandering their way across the soggy mass. Amy wondered what they were for. She wondered if she should run away. Where would she go? How could she get home? She was cold and covered in bog water and a bloody great unicorn was standing over her. ‘Shit! Shit! Shit!’ she hissed. The Lady’s voice demanded her full attention. ‘Are you willing to help regain the sacred objects from the barbar¬ians and transport them to a safe place, yet to be ordained? The war chieftain Tadhg is depending upon you. You are responsible for his last incarnation. He is a fearless warrior with unmatched integrity and the will to lead his followers to victory. It is written that one will come with strength to match that of our greatest warrior and together they will lead us to victory and cleanse Erinland of the barbarous intruders. I believe you are the one,’ said the Lady. ‘Amy of the droning creature,’ she continued, ‘behold your brother, Tadhg, who is bound to your soul.’ Slowly, the Lady spread out her arms. Gradually, a shimmering mist rose from the bog. The mist moved, darting in front of Amy’s face making her eyes smart. The mist increased in size, brightness, and form to become a tangible, living, breathing human being.The young man now standing before Amy was shorter than some boys in her class at school, but he boasted a powerful physique. He had long, thick, curly black hair which was held at bay by a piece of leather thonging tied around his forehead. His neck was thick and powerful and his muscles rippled as he shrugged his body, stretching his limbs like a beautiful butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. Tadhg was dressed for battle. Covering his body was unusual armour. It was cloth, but it was stiffened with a tar or a pitch-like substance. The armour was padded and layered to absorb the shock of the heavy weapons of his foe. Amy could see the slashes and dents in the surface as if it had been bludgeoned with some heavy instrument, wielded by someone with incred¬ible force. In his hand Tadhg held a heavy sword that looked sharp and lethal but well worn, as if it had hacked many a limb and thirstily let litres of blood from the veins of its opponents. Tadhg spoke, ‘Amy of the droning creature, I know you well. Come forward and witness your handiwork. My body is young but well used and greatly scarred. See the great wound that my enemy hath wrought. This is the wound that would claim me for the land of the walking shadows. See how it grows and festers, as our enemy’s reign over this fair land. Will you let them plunder and kill all in their path, or will you draw on your deep well of strength and aid me and my followers? ‘Answer me. The evil forces are gathering power. The Bogg Demon grows restless, there is one from your land who is being wooed by it. Hasten with your answer, little sister, time is very short.’ ‘No!’ Amy screamed, shaking her head. ‘I don’t want to be here anymore, please let me go home! I don’t believe this is happening! I really do not believe this is happening. Please, let me go!’After a long silence Tadhg continued bitterly, ‘Make no mistake, little sister, this is no dream. This is real. You are here. By your rebuff you have foresworn me to eternal damnation. My soiled soul will never know true fulfilment. I can never attain the pure white light or see my father’s face. With your turning away, I have failed the task appointed me. The sacred objects and all they stand for are lost forever,’ he gasped. A look of pain crossed Tadhg’s battle-stained face. ‘Aahh, the burning, it begins again. My wound is growing. See the gore rising, ready to burst forth from the banks of my flesh. I feel myself slipping … slipping into the land of the walking shadows. Alas, I have failed! The Bogg Demon awaits my soul for eternal torture. Farewell, Amy of the droning creature, my death be on your head. Farewell my Lady, Niamh of the Golden Hair,’ he whispered. Amy watched as Tadhg writhed in agony. The great wound gushed blood and putrefied; hundreds of tiny maggots crawled in it, feasting on his flesh. The stench stung Amy’s nostrils as she felt the bile rise in her throat. It was as if the cycle of decay had hit the fast forward button as Tadhg’s body disintegrated before her. She knew that she was witnessing something real, something she apparently had control over. She wanted desperately to stop it. ‘My Lady!’ Amy screamed. ‘Please help me!’ The Lady looked steadily at Amy. ‘Are you resolved to assume this task appointed you and help the noble war chieftain?’ she said. ‘Yes, yes, I’ll do anything, just make it stop!’ Amy cried. The Lady slowly replied, ‘It is up to you to halt the cycle, child. Listen with your heart and you will know the answer.’ Tadhg, close to death, had fallen into the mud succumb¬ing to the loss of blood and the bitterness of his failure. His life force was barely hanging on. Amy could hear a dull roar building up in the distance. It seemed to be resonating in the depths of the bog. She instinctively realised that the Bogg Demon was gathering force, ready to usurp and conquer Tadhg’s soul. She concentrated inwards, blotting out the horror that was before her. But there was no answer, only the sound of her terrified heart. Amy concentrated harder. She was close to despair when a voice inside her head said, ‘Look to the bog. A herb growing at your feet is Tadhg’s salvation. It is the herb used by the druids, it will restore the war chieftain.’ Amy fran¬tically grabbed for the plant at her feet. As she ripped the roots from the sodden peat, she noticed that the herb was bathed in a bright light giving off a brilliant, shining, living aura. A beautiful chant, more like a prayer, came drifting from the air around her: All hail thou holy herb vervain Growing on the ground On the Mount of Calvary There thou was found Thou helpeth many a grief And staunchest many a wound In the name of sweet Jesu I lift thee from the ground. Amy stood up, a bunch of the herb clutched in her right hand. Her strength and confidence seemed to return, getting stronger by the moment as she held the holy herb. ‘Game on!’ she muttered to herself, and then turned to the Lady. ‘Let’s see how far this stuff gets Tadhg in his last incarnation!’

 

 

   

 

   

Kathryn is a Sydney author whose interest in history and mythology was the catalyst for her debut novel Erinland to become a reality.

An adventure in the modern and ancient world, where the central characters seek acceptance and self-belief, the ‘players’ in Erinland find themselves in very different roles from their everyday life. Choices they make could mean the difference between life and death, with the consequences of these decisions reaching into their ‘real’ lives.   Written in the Fantasy genre, Book I bridges the ages, drawing on contemporary life and 9th Century history to create an authentic experience for the reader. A visual writer, she explores the mythologies of ancient Norway and Ireland, giving a tangible view of everyday life and the impact of the Gods in these two cultures.   Kathryn is married with three beautiful daughters. Amidst busy family life, she studied at University to become a Primary school teacher. When she is not teaching, she loves to write and dabble in other creative pursuits such as painting and drawing. She and her husband hope to realise their dream and move to the country one day – soon.

Links

 

Website *** Facebook *** Twitter *** Amazon *** Goodreads

 

 

 

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Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!

 

 

 

 

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/blog-tour-erinland-kathryn-berryman-excerpt-giveaway
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text 2017-08-15 13:05
Blog Tour: A Desolate Hour by Mae Clair with Giveaway

 

Today’s stop is for Mae Clair ’s A Desolate Hour. We will have info about the book and author, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 

 


 

 

Sins of the past could destroy all of their futures . . .   For generations, Quentin Marsh’s family has seen its share of tragedy, though he remains skeptical that their misfortunes are tied to a centuries-old curse. But to placate his pregnant sister, Quentin makes the pilgrimage to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, hoping to learn more about the brutal murder of a Shawnee chief in the 1700s. Did one of the Marsh ancestors have a hand in killing the chief —the man who cursed the town with his dying breath? While historian Sarah Sherman doesn’t believe in curses either, she’s compelled to use her knowledge of Point Pleasant to uncover the long-buried truth. The river town has had its own share of catastrophes, many tied to the legendary Mothman, the winged creature said to haunt the woods. But Quentin’s arrival soon reveals that she may have more of a stake than she realized. It seems that she and Quentin possess eerily similar family heirlooms. And the deeper the two of them dig into the past, the more their search enrages the ancient mystical forces surrounding Point Pleasant. As chaos and destruction start to befall residents, can they beat the clock to break the curse before the Mothman takes his ultimate revenge? . . .

 

 

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Buy Links

 

Amazon *** Apple *** B&N *** Google *** Kobo

 

 

 

 

 

Mae Clair opened a Pandora’s Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back. Her father, an artist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her to create make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer nights beneath the stars. Mae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Wherever her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with conflict, romance and elements of mystery. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about writing, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.

 

Links

 

Website *** Twitter *** Facebook *** Amazon *** Goodreads

 

 

 

     

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

 

 

 

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/blog-tour-desolate-hour-mae-clair-giveaway
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review 2017-08-14 15:36
Review: Molten Dusk (The Norse Chronicles #3) by Karissa Laurel
Molten Dusk - Karissa Laurel

 

While recovering from a devastating betrayal, Solina becomes increasingly drawn to Thorin as he helps her hunt down Skoll, the mythical wolf who vowed to kill her. If she can find and destroy the beast, she’ll bring a swift and brutal end to her enemies’ schemes. But nothing ever goes as planned in Solina’s strange new world.

During her search for Skoll, Solina uncovers a plot to unleash a battalion of legendary soldiers and launch an apocalyptic war. Before she and her allies can locate the fabled army, several ghosts from her past return to haunt her. Solina must fight for life and the fate of the world, or her hopes for love and a peaceful future will go up in flames.

 

 

This book, or the entire series is a perfect mix of ancient Norse mythology and our modern day world. I mean seeing the God of Thunder tumbling with a cellphone is actually pretty funny thing to see. If you have not read the previous book this review might spoil some things for you, I highly recommend them. This is the third and final book in The Norse Chronicles and it was bittersweet, epic and everything I hoped for. But since this is the final book and it is hard to review it without spoiling too much, I will keep it short. Everything we learned so far and everything that happened in previous book will come to a conclusion in this book, everything comes together and plays out pretty nicely. I just wished being the last book it would have been a bit longer to avoid the little bit of a rushed feeling towards the end. That is my only minor complaint about this book, that we don’t get enough of it. Solina still struggles with the revelation of Val and what he really was up to in the last book and really I was too. Val was one of my favorites and it really hit me hard. But Solina does come to term with a lot of things in this books, and grows quite a bit. But don’t get me wrong she still has plenty of moments where she just runs out to save the world without thinking it through, which of course leads to bigger danger. She gives Thorin a run for his money in this book that is for sure. But I think that is just Solina and something that will never change. I also really enjoyed that she has the chance to reunite with some familiar faces.

Thorin, he really shines in this book. We also get to see a lighter side of him, He opens up more and we learn more about him and his history. It is pretty clear how he feels about Solina and what he is willing to risk to keep her safe.

Skylar, I love this girl. I want her to be my best friend for life. She really is there for Solina and I adore the friendship they have. Of course we see other familiar faces we learned to love throughout the series, some struggle and need to find a new foothold in this book. We also gain some new allies... or do we? And of course we never really know who to trust anymore after the next book. Over all this a great book with lots of action, humor and some romance and some pretty awesome twists that will make you dizzy. But the ending will leave you really satisfied even when you know you will miss some of your favorite characters with the end if this series.

I rate it 4 ½ ★

 

Some of my favorite Quotes

 

“Enjoy her while you can, God of Thunder. The wolf will kill her. She will die, in the end.”

***

You’re right. I can do better. Move your Royal Norseness. Boy Thunder. Lord of the Rain Dance…”

 

***

“Pain exists to remind you you’re alive and have a soul. You’ve come all this way because you’re fighting for something, not because you’re looking for an excuse to give up.”

***

“I thought I was a strong man, Sunshine. I never knew a little thing like you would be the death of me.”

***

 

 

*I received a free copy from the publisher and chose to leave a voluntary review. Thank you!*

 

 

 

Will be available August, 23, 2017

  

 

 

 

 

Karissa and Bonnie

 

 

Karissa lives in North Carolina with her kid, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky named Bonnie. Some of her favorite things are coffee, chocolate, and super heroes. She can quote Princess Bride verbatim. She loves to read and has a sweet tooth for fantasy, sci-fi, and anything in between. Sometimes her husband convinces her to put down the books and take the motorcycles out for a spin. When it snows, you'll find her on the slopes.

 

Links

 

Goodreads *** Facebook *** Website***Twitter***Pinterest

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Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/review-molten-dusk-norse-chronicles-3-karissa-laurel
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