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Wolfmoon Series by Nikki Broadwell

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Series: Wolfmoon
Author: Nikki Broadwell
Genre: Fantasy Romance



Book 1
Nikkicover1_375x600Is magic gone from the world? Was it ever here? Read Moonstone and you might just believe in magic again! Fans of Juliet Marillier’s ‘Daughter of the Forest’ series will find themselves right at home.

Finna is pregnant and proud of herself for being strong enough to kick out the father of her child. But when her absent mother shows up and tells her that her baby needs to be blessed by the moon goddess to keep her safe, Finna’s newfound confidence disappears. The Otherworld her mother describes sounds tantalizing. And by the time Finna discovers the truth it is too late. Her only hope is to make it out alive.

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Book 2
willowbook2_375x600Maeve’s dreams are waking her in the middle of the night. And consulting a psychic does little to help. But when a shipment of paintings arrives in the gallery where she works her mind really begins to unravel. What she sees in one of those paintings has to be an hallucination. How could she be seeing herself running with wolves in the background of a landscape simply hanging on the wall? Little does she know what lies ahead.

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      The psychic’s eyes turned glassy and unfocused as she picked up Maeve’s hands. Maeve heard the words, ‘lifeline,’ ‘love affair,’ ‘trip,’ but her eyelids refused to stay open. The last conscious thought she had was how hot Gertrude’s hands were–from that moment on it was as if she was in a trance or asleep. As she dozed she heard the slap of cards being placed on the table, Gertrude’s indrawn breath. Something happened, a sound or a clap that brought her back to consciousness. Gertrude’s eyes were wide and frightened but a split second later she smiled.
      “Thank you,” she said, rising from the chair to usher Maeve out.
      “But wait—what happened?”
      “There is darkness in your future.”
      “Darkness? What does that mean?”
      “I told you everything during our session. You will remember.”
      “But I don’t remember anything!”



Book 3
RavenKindle_386x600A cold and callous tyrant has taken over Otherworld leaving death and destruction in his wake. The only hope is a prophecy written centuries before. But the woman named hasn’t a clue. How can a green girl from the States come to grips with a destiny she didn’t even know existed?

Maeve is oblivious of all of it as she travels to Scotland. All she can think about is her boyfriend, Harold who she left behind. But what lies ahead includes him too, and will take both Maeve and Harold into a dangerous world they could never have imagined.

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      When the soft breeze touched her cheek, Maeve breathed deeply, savoring the sweet scent riding the air.
      The druid touched her arm, pulling her attention away from the pastoral scene. “You have been summoned here to restore the balance.”
      “Me? What do you mean?”
      “You are part of an ancient prophecy, Maeve—I witnessed the ceremony to name you. Not name you in the way you imagine, more like naming the force you would become—a blessing bestowed by the moon goddess.”
      “This is a dream—I mean it has to be, doesn’t it?”



Book 4
FaeryKindle_375x600Maeve and Harold are about to be tested. Between the birth of their baby girl and Maeve’s obsession with the faery known as the ‘love talker’ lie many twisted paths. When the elven queen becomes part of the equation it takes more than love to reweave what’s been unraveled. A Fae civil war brings Harold’s alter ego, King Kenneth MacAlpin, to the fore, possibly ruining Maeve and Harold’s relationship forever. Danger abounds, bringing with it hard decisions and possibly death.

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About the Author:

author-nikki-broadwellI graduated with a BA in art and English from Sonoma State University in California. I’ve been an avid reader since I first learned how and a writer from my early teenage years on. I’ve had several art related businesses, including greeting cards and more recently a silk painting business. When I began to write in earnest I put aside the art, concentrating only on the writing.

I’ve traveled a lot over the years, finding inspiration wherever I go. Scotland holds a special place in my heart, hence the setting for “The Moonstone”. I had to make a 4th trip there to do research as I was putting the book together!

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Q&A’s with Nikki Broadwell:

What can we expect from you in the future?

I am keeping up with several series—the 5th in my Summer McCloud ghost mystery series is in progress, I’m considering a 3rd coyote book, (shape shifters) and my time-traveling witch series is just taking off—2 is nearly completed and it leads into a third.

Do you have any side stories about the characters?

I have interviews with the characters from Moonstone. Will be sharing on my blog, www.nikkibroadwellauthor.com –click on blog at top of page.

Describe your writing style.

I write from the seat of my pants—no outlines. This has worked for me through 17 books, the one I’m working on now the first exception. I usually begin with a sentence that comes to me—like: ‘beware of darkness’. Kind of like a writing prompt. The characters usually take over sometime around page thirty.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I like to drink wine, I walk with my dog, I do yoga—I also enjoy watching sci-fi and fantasy series on TV and, of course, I love to read!

What kind of world ruler would you be?

Diplomacy first, good education with low costs, and healthcare for everyone. Jails would still exist but there would be less people in them because of services provided for rehabilitation and education—EPA and environment would be top priorities. Those in the highest income bracket would pay higher taxes to pay for these services for less wealthy individuals.


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The Achlivan Cycle by Cloud S. Riser

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Series: The Achlivan Cycle
Author: Cloud S. Riser
Genre: SciFi, YA Romance



Book 1

Displaced 1400x2100_400x600Chevelle Donahue thought going into work would be just like any other boring day at the mall. Sure, there was her annoying co-worker Wicken Sanders, and a promotional visit from teen heartthrob Timber Hudson, to watch and keep her entertained. But who was she kidding? Working retail was lame no matter what happened. A terrorist attack changes everything – an attack from aliens of all things. The patrons are given two options: comply or else. Complying means giving in to a new set of rules and changing her entire life. “Or else” means she has no chance of going home again. She must figure out the truth behind why the aliens are holding everyone hostage. In doing so, she risks her chance at freedom – but by the time she learns what’s really happening, she might not want it.

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I DON’T KNOW what I was thinking when I chose to escape through the hallway instead of face my enemy. Was I afraid for my life? You bet, but it was more than that. I guess I would have rather been shot down trying to be free than taken hostage. In the end, my actions didn’t seem to make much of a difference in my fate.

The first thing I had to do was push Chevelle out of my mind. Was I disappointed she decided to not come with me? Yes. Did I understand why? Definitely. She was scared. We all were. I had to respect her decision to stay behind and face whatever was ahead of her. Maybe she ended up making the better choice, maybe she didn’t. If I thought too much about her while I was trying to get away, I know I would have caved and gone back to her. I love her. Leaving her behind was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Somehow, I thought if I could get free, that would be the best way to help her.

The halls behind the stores at the mall would make a great setting for a horror movie. The ceiling wasn’t tiled over like the rest of the mall, so if you looked up, you saw all of the insulation and pipe work. Fascinating stuff, let me tell you. The halls themselves had some of the rust from the pipes overflowing onto them, so they have bizarre red tentacles splaying over the sheetrock. That’s not the scariest part, though. No, that award goes to the trash chute. It’s about the size of an elevator and would be a fantastic place to dump bodies. I certainly was always extra aware of where I placed myself anytime I went to throw any garbage away for the store.

My plan was to see if I could get to a stairwell. I figured that since the power was off that meant the cargo elevator would be out of order. Stairs were always the best bet. From there I could get down to the garbage incinerator which was close to a massive truck loading center. Easy, right? Wrong.

The back halls were a lot like a maze. It’s hard to tell just where you’re going with the lights on. With the lights off, it’s even worse. My cell phone put off a good amount of glow for me to work with, but it didn’t hit the higher points of the halls where the signs were. This of course meant I had to work off of memory. I’d been back there enough times to have a good idea of what I was doing, but the adrenaline of the situation was more or less blocking my better judgment and memory. If anyone had asked me my name, I probably wouldn’t have been able to answer, I was that freaked out.

My hands were shaking; my entire body was shaking, and sweating. So badly in fact, that my cell phone fell out of my hands and broke apart. The thing was always a piece of junk anyway.

I got down onto my knees and frantically started to search for the pieces, the darkness enveloping me, suffocating me, and making my isolation complete. If the battery had only popped out of the device, I could fix it and get moving again. My fingers had just wrapped around the casing of the phone when I heard solid footsteps coming my way from in front of me. Then I saw the glowing blue light and the ghostly thin face of its carrier.

Get up and run, or stay and forfeit. Neither option sounded all too great. I’m not a quitter, but I’m also not a coward. If I thought I stood a chance in a fight against the guy, I would have plowed through him, stolen his light, and bailed. The thing is, I’ve never been a fighter. Sure, I come across as tough, but I like to use my brain over my brawn any day. Why? Because it’ll keep me alive longer.

Plus, the guy was pointing a gun at me.

As much as I want to say I’m a noble hero, willing to die for my cause, and all that poetic stuff, I’m not. People who aren’t afraid of death really have a lot of guts, let me tell you. They also believe strongly for whatever they’re dying for. It wasn’t my time. There was a lot I still needed to do, and one of those things was protect Chevelle.

I placed my hands up, staring into the eyes of the man in front of me. There was a softness in his gaze, and that made me a little less afraid. But then I noticed how tall he was. Like, he had to be at least eight-foot-five, and skinny. Lean muscle covered his body, but I’m pretty sure I was wider than he was all the same. It wasn’t normal, natural or…human.

He flicked his fingers upward and I stood. Then he circled around me like some kind of bird of prey, nodding every so often. Cuffs appeared in his hands like magic. Yeah, those were for me.




Book 2

Invited 1400x2100_413x600It’s been three months since Chevelle Donahue, Wicken Sanders, and Timber Hudson were taken from Earth by the Achlivans – an alien race kidnapping humans in the name of preserving as much of Earth as possible before it is destroyed.

Wicken has been sold to another alien race – The Gorgachan – and their way of life is no where near as peaceful as the Utopia the Achlivans have set up. While he tries to figure out a way back home to his beloved Chevelle, he is caught in the middle of a fight that shouldn’t involve him.

Meanwhile, Chevelle and Timber work together to find a way to bring Wicken back home again, along with how they can save their families back on Earth. Someone on the Achlivan ship is working against them and their happily ever after. Timber and Chevelle must choose between their own desires and doing the right thing – and each must prepare to give the performance of their lives if they’re going to survive.

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Book 3

Sheltered 1400x2100_400x600The exciting conclusion to the Achlivan Cycle!

Timber Hudson must come to terms with the loss of his family and friends while at the same time being tasked with his greatest challenge: saving humanity from becoming mindless drones. It’d be a lot easier if Rumor would keep her nose in her own business and in prison where it belongs.

Meanwhile, Chevelle and Wicken must choose sides. One offers them the chance to rebuild Earth from the ground up, and the other will return them to Sanctuary to be with their family and friends. Neither choice is as black and white as it seems.

And all must face great dangers.

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About the Author: 
CloudCloud S. Riser is a Minnesota native. She has lived in Minnesota her whole life. She will probably remain there for her whole life too. The mother of The Squid, Skyscraper, and two cats, her life is definitely never dull. An adventure she braves with her husband. In order to stay sane, she creates massive amounts of fiction which she has decided to share with the rest of the world for the simple reason of: she is a storyteller.

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Of The Divine by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes


Title: Of The Divine
Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy

BookCover_OfTheDivineHenna is one of the most powerful sorcerers in the Order of Napthol, and her runes ’s runes tell her that the future of Kavet is balanced on the edge of the knife. The treaties between Kavet and the dragon-like race known as the Osei have become intolerable. The time has come for the royal house to magically challenge Osei dominion. Prince Verte, Henna’ lover, is to serve as the nexus for the powerful but dangerous spell, with Naples–an untested young sorcerer from the Order of Napthol–a volatile but critical support to its creation.

Amid these plans, Dahlia Indathrone’s arrival in the city shouldn’t matter. She has no magic and no royal lineage, and yet, Henna immediately knows Dahlia is important. She just can’t see why.

As their lives intertwine, the four will learn that they are pawns in a larger game, one played by the forces of the Abyss and of the Numen—the infernal and the divine.

A game no mortal can ever hope to win.



“You cannot live your life as a slave to those who have gone before,” Verte replied. “You need to let the living and dead alike move on.”

Wenge glared up at him. Verte paused, keeping his stance and expression neutral as he raised magical shields against a possible attack.

“You don’t know where the dead go,” Wenge accused. “We talk of the realms beyond, of the Abyss and the Numen, but no one really knows for sure what happens once our shades pass out of the mortal realm. What if we just go screaming into the void? What if—”

Verte took the man’s frail, trembling hand in his own. He wished he could use his magic to urge him to keep moving, but Wenge’s decision whether to demand a trial or to take the brand willingly needed to be made without magical coercion.

“Even the royal house, with all our strength and training and resources, does not practice death sorcery. Maleficence or not,” Verte said, hoping the words would pierce the man’s sudden anxiety, “if you continue to let your power use you this way, it will kill you before the year is out. Of that I am certain.”

Wenge’s body sagged. He waved a hand next to his face as if to chase away a buzzing fly—or in this case, a whispering spirit. He flinched at whatever the ghost said, then muttered, “I do not know what to be without it.”


Amelia Atwater-Rhodes will be awarding a limited edition print copy of the book *U.S. only* to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Author Bio:

AuthorPhoto_OfTheDivineAmelia Atwater-Rhodes wrote her first novel, In the Forests of the Night, when she was 13 years old. Other books in the Den of Shadows series are Demon in My View, Shattered Mirror, Midnight Predator, all ALA Quick Picks for Young Adults. She has also published the five-volume series The Kiesha’ra: Hawksong, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and VOYA Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror List Selection; Snakecharm; Falcondance; Wolfcry; and Wyvernhail.

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Interview with Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Hi Amelia, thank you for joining me here on Rainne’s Ramblings.
Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself and your background. Have you always wanted to be a writer? (And was there a particular moment you thought, ‘I can do this!’?)

I grew up in small-town Massachusetts, specifically Concord. I am very close to my family and they’re all great readers, so books have always been in my house and I’ve always loved reading. Since literacy was so respected in my household, it probably isn’t a surprise that I started telling my own stories as soon as I could talk and started writing them down as soon as I knew how. There was never a moment when I decided I wanted to be a writer– I started publishing when I was a freshman in high school, so by the time I was at the “deciding” phase of a career, I had been doing so for a few years already.

As for the “I can do this” moment, that came when my friend Sarita read one of my books (I had written five or six at the time, after many other experiments and false starts) and told me, “This is good. You should get it published.” Looking back, I don’t know why exactly Sarita’s words had the impact on me they did; many of my friends also wrote, and we had all been sharing books with each other for years and encouraging each other. Maybe it was because Sarita didn’t write, and wasn’t part of that circle of close friends, that her encouragement more? Just as likely, it was because I was thirteen and had no idea what a long-shot publishing was! She suggested it, and it seemed like a good idea at the time…


Do you have a writing routine?

I used to say no to this question– until recently, I always wrote when the mood struck me, wherever I happened to be. These days, I’m busier than fourteen-year-old or even twenty-two-year-old me could ever imagine: I teach full time, maintain a home with my partner, and have an almost 3-year-old daughter. That means, if I want to write at all, I need a routine.

[Ironically, I was interrupted just then by my daughter waking from her nap.]

I continue this post from my weekly writing group, which is the only time of the week (Wednesdays from 6 to 9 pm) where I have babysitting and set aside three hours specifically to write. My other regular work time is about 4am until either 5:45 on weekdays (at that point I need to get ready for work) or until my daughter wakes up in the morning.


Are there any particular places that help you get the creative cogs turning?

Most of the time, my primary writing space is a square of kitchen counter, where I prop my Surface on top of an empty canister of matzo meal (when that gets recycled, I’ll find something else) to raise it to eye level while I work either standing or on a stool. In the past I’ve set up fancy office spaces, but these days I need to admit that the kitchen is where I’m most productive.

Outside that, I’m a fan of my local Starbucks and similar establishments. I like being surrounded by people doing things, and external noise and distraction to keep my world from being too quiet.


What can we expect from you in the future?

I wish I knew for sure!

Well, Mancer 3 is definately coming out next summer. I gather people worry about that a lot when a fantasy trilogy begins or is at its middle (the second book just came out this fall), but the third book is complete and even all the most major rewriting has been done. So, Mancer Three: Of the Mortal Realm comes out next.

After that, I haven’t decided yet. Return to young adult? I have a couple stories there I feel like I abandoned when I jumped ship to publish Mancer. That said, I also have another story in the same world as Mancer that’s caught my imagination, and a futuristic sci-fi novel complete in its messy first stage I’m wondering if I have the nerve to tackle revisions for.

I suppose I need to decide soon, don’t I?


What is your biggest fear?

I suppose I need to go with the obvious for this one: these days, my biggest fear is the one that I think afflicts most parents: something happening to my daughter. I don’t consider myself an overly anxious or overprotective parent, but there’s always a “what if?” at the back of my mind, and my active and vibrant imagination is not my friend in these cases.


Your book is being made into a movie, what music would you use as a soundtrack?

To be honest and practical, I would probably defer to someone who makes those kinds of decisions professionally, since I am not up to date on my music and wouldn’t know how to pick good music for a movie.

On the other hand, approaching the question in the spirit in which I imagine it was intended: I would definitely want some Dar Williams, since that was some of the music that inspired it. I think I would want to find a place for “Hotel California.” It isn’t obviously tied to the book, but the surreal desperation of it was an inspiration for parts of the trilogy. Then again, I also listened to a lot of Puddle of Mudd while revising, and I’m not sure that would match the rest of the songs at all…

Okay, I’m going back to my first answer: I know nothing about music. I should defer to the professionals.


What are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?

The easiest part is the fact that, unless you’ve signed a specific contract, as a writer you get to make your own schedule. It’s up to you to set your own goals and deadlines, to decide if you’re in the mood to “go to work” or stay in pajamas all day or be lazy and binge-watch Netflix.

The hardest part is the fact that, unless you’ve signed a specific contract, as a writer you get to make your own schedule. It’s up to you to set your own goals and deadlines, to decide if you’re in the mood to “go to work” or stay in pajamas all day or be lazy and binge-watch Netflix.

Wait, didn’t I just say that?

Yes, I did. Being a writer is a very personally-motivated career. Even if you do publish, once that contract is over, nothing is assumed. It’s up to you to make the decision again and again to do the work– or not. That’s wonderful and difficult at the same time.


Can you tell us  anything about any of your current work(s)-in-progress?

For National Novel Writing Month this year (November 2017), I’m working on a story I call Ice House, which focuses on the Osei. These dragon-like creatures are enemies in Mancer Two: Of the Divine, powerful creatures who claim dominion over the vast oceans and therefore over the critical trade routes that connect the island nation of Kavet to the rest of the world, but they aren’t simple beasts or evil overlords. They have their own complex culture, and the events of the Mancer books affect them too– especially after their high queen is savaged by a demon in the Kavet skies.


Which, if any, of your personality traits did you write into your characters?

In the Mancer Trilogy, Book Two in particular, the obvious answer to this question is not correct. Maddy, the mother of a two-year-old, is not based on me, nor is her child based on mine; in fact, both were first written in 2006, years before I considered having a child.

Naples, the young sorcerer, has some of the bad luck I had with relationships through my own young adulthood (though my choices were never quite as bad as his). Verte, prince of Kavet, has some of my constant feelings of responsibility, and Henna has my love for a challenge and my drive to achieve all that I can and constantly experiment and learn more. Cadmia, from Book One, has my love of learning and endless curiosity. Hansa embodies many of my early angst about my sexuality and the tension of being in the closet.

In other words, a lot of them have little bits of me.


What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Once you get past the basic things I do to survive– I teach, I read, I enjoy cooking when I have time– I also like to paint, and to garden. My goal is to have as many different types of edible foods in my .25 acre yard as possible. I enjoy drama when I have a chance, though I have fewer opportunities to direct plays now that I’m no longer in college. I’m also a big fan of dismantling things to try to figure out how they work.


If you could travel to any time in history, when would you visit?

After deeply considering this question as it’s been asked in blog posts this month, I have come to the conclusion that I don’t think I should be time traveling. You see, I’ve seen enough time-travel shows and read enough time-travel books that every time I think of a time I would like to visit I also imagine all the ways it could go terribly wrong.


Optimist or pessimist?

That depends on the day, and the context. I’m a believer in, “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” I tend to come up with contingency plans and worst-case scenarios and be strangely surprised when something not-horrible happens. That said, I’m also a romantic and like to dream of the best-case scenarios, too, and I like to assume the best from people unless I have proof of bad intentions.


I wish I could tell my younger self…

Any really good advice I could offer, my younger self would probably just reject. My younger self made a lot of crazy and often ill-advised decisions. That said, my younger self also had the nerve to come up with a madcap plan to publish a book, and she was successful, and that has defined my life since.

Maybe my younger self knows what up better than I do myself?


You’re stranded on a desert island and you can take three people who would they be and why?

I suppose that would depend on how likely I am to be rescued, and how long I’ll be there. If I’m stuck there forever until I died, I might want to choose people the world would be better off without even if it made the rest of my time less pleasant. I wouldn’t want to bring anyone I like into that situation with me.

If I know I will be rescued, I would want people whose company I enjoy and whose skills could help us survive well. I would definitely bring my friend Karl, for his genius, his ability to improvise, and his Boy Scout skills. Between the two of us, I bet we could rig some things to make this island a fantastic place to spend a vacation. I think my friend Bri would also prove handy in the wilderness. Even though she’s from Alaska, not the tropics, I’m sure she has some useful skills. Finally, I would bring… hmm, it just occured to me that you never specified real people. If I can bring fictional people, I’ll add Elizabeth Swan to the mix. After all, when stranded on a deserted island, who more useful than a pirate king?


What three words would others probably use to describe you?

According to the people sitting at the table with me:

“Well, focused… but maybe that’s not the right word right now?”

“For the purpose of this question, does ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ count as one word or three? Does it accept quoted parameters? Because that’s important.”

Since he was the only person who hadn’t suggested a word, I then interrupted the leader in my writing group (on the first day of NaNo) to ask him for a word to describe me, and the look he gave me is worth a thousand, and none of them are nice.


Thank you very much for your time, Amelia, and best wishes for NaNoWriMo!

Thank you! Happy November, happy National Novel Writing Month!


The Children of Clay by Ono Ekeh

children of clay bannerSeries: The Children of Clay
Author: Ono Ekeh
Genre: Urban Fantasy, SciFi

The Clay Queen

Book 1

TheClayQueen-f_400x600With her armies defeated, Queen Nouei’s enemies march north to capture her. The earth god’s only hope is to alter history before they arrive. To become stronger she must restart her divine journey by reincarnating as Bridget Blade. But what if Bridget doesn’t want to be a god?

All Bridget wants is a simple life with love and family. But she is confronted by a destiny she doesn’t even understand and burdened by powers and impulses she struggles to control. Bridget must choose a path that leads her to Nouei or, must force the Queen to settle for Bridget’s modest ambitions.

Two women, two destinies, one life. Who will prevail?

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      There are two and only two gods, Ryna—pronounced Rhee-nay—the sky god and creator of all, and myself, Nouei, the earth god, the primordial clay. I am the fabled demiurge. I am eternal, indestructible, but not immutable. I have no powers of my own except what I receive from Ryna—but Ryna has no outlet for her powers except in me.
Ryna sees in me, a slave, and she, my benevolent mistress. I see in her my mother, and me, her child, though she recoils at the thought. “We are of different natures,” she insists. She is being, and I am matter.
      The Jaru mock me and my subjects because I do not fit their idea of a god. They say I am just like them: human, weak, fragile. Why must it be said to be so? Why is it that you are not like me, gods? Yes, I hunger and thirst, for I am human. I crave touch and warmth. I fear the dark, the pain, and the suffering. But how does that make me any less a god?
From where I sit, it is now four thousand years into the future from your present. The earth has been devastated by human hubris and, I shall confess, by my failure to broker peace. But that was two thousand years ago (from my present) and now, as my self-induced penance, I must bear in my bones the poison of the earth in order to preserve the very humans who mock me.
      The Jaru, the Fenti, and others say I am a pathetic god. They laugh at the modesty of my temple. I like my temple. It is magnificent and befitting a god.
      Even now, they march up north to demand that I kneel before the image of Ryna. They have every right to, because for the fifth time, by Ryna’s aid, my people’s military has been decimated and many of the Low Country have abandoned me to worship Ryna. The Jaru march north, converting my people along the way. In a fortnight, they will arrive here at my temple gates.
      Ryna controls time. It is in her power as the Almighty. I, on the other hand, am pure passivity. I am only what I am made to be. I take powers from whomever or whatever will offer them to me. I can absorb pain, fear, love, joy, hope, poison, anything—except evil. Evil is nothing and cannot exist.
      I have set myself against Ryna for ages upon ages, and in each cycle, I am forced to return to my eternal state of passivity until she reanimates me. Except now.
      After so many eons, I have finally absorbed the power of time.
      There are two ways to see time. One, Ryna’s way, is to perceive it as a linear progression toward the future. I cannot plan for the future, for I cannot see it. I see time the other way, the way it was not meant to be seen. I perceive time laterally, sprouting out of the present.
      While Ryna marches forward, I march sideways.
      And so now I write my story. Not the story of how I became a god, for I am and always will be one. But of how Ryna will recognize me as a god and must then receive me and love me as her child. My writings are hidden from Ryna. This is my prerogative. As long as I write my present and its possibilities, I write the future. If I finish telling my story, a story that spans from your present to three thousand years into my future, if I finish that story, a seven-thousand-year story, before the Jaru arrive at my temple in a fortnight, I will have won the race, for I will have changed the past before they get here. They will arrive to find me more powerful than they ever imagined.
      Ryna animates me, but I animate potentiality.
      I have three secrets.
I created the Selites, my pure children who preserve the pure passivity of the demiurge. Every time I am returned to my primordial state and Ryna begins again, they preserve the history of my existence, and I am thus no longer tabula rasa.
My second secret is that before my story is done, I will have created a new god. With her by my side, Ryna will no longer have the power to dispose of me as she wills. She must meet me as an equal.
      I do not wish to speak ill of Ryna. There is no one I love more. Every dawn, my heart skips when I see her in the horizon, staring in wonder and fascination at the children of men. I have tried to emulate her in everything I have done. Everything but one. As desperate as I am for worship, I will not reap men’s souls to satisfy my thirst. I strive to inspire all humanity to love me, and it is only when the intransigent are left that I will unleash my sword as he who will force the rest to bow before me.
      I digress.
      The Jaru march north.
      I must begin my story if I am to rewrite seven thousand years of history before they arrive.
      I begin with the marriage of two parallel worlds. One is a world of pure randomness—a zero-probability world. The other world is one of pure definitiveness, one-hundred-percent probability, where all that is probable… is.
      This is my third secret. I have splintered the world out into all probable configurations. Ryna sees only absolutes. I see only probability. There is one absolute world—and a million probable worlds. Her world is somewhere on the spectrum of worlds. I don’t know which one it is. I only know it is not world zero or world one hundred. I begin with these.
      I am Nouei, and this is my opening gambit.


Clay to Ashes

Book 2

ClaytoAshes-f_400x600Bridget Blade is both a god with an insatiable desire for love and adoration and a human plagued by insecurities, fears, and anxieties. Unaware of her true divinity she longs for the kind of love and a happy family she’s never had. Her husband, Jeremy, though, seems more interested in turning her into a research project that he can commercialize.

When Bridget discovers her new abilities she revels in the discovery that she is a god. But her new powers attract unwanted attention and Bridget must fight for her independence and survival.

But when survival means giving up the adoration she craves Bridgett must confront the desires that drive her. Does she want freedom or does she want adoration? She can have one or the other, but not both.

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      Sister Vesta Kaypore ran down the stone hallway as fast as she could, her footsteps resounding in her ears. The dormitory doors to her right blurred until she arrived at the infirmary at the end of the hallway, where Bridget Blade lay unconscious as she had for the last four months.
      “In there, Sister.” Brother Juan, a fellow member of the Order of Ryna, opened the door for her. The room was brightly lit by the midday sun, with a mild breeze carrying moist, earthy scents from the woods behind the monastery.
      Sister Kaypore gasped as she moved her fellow Ryneans out of the way.
      A man brandishing a knife stood over Bridget’s bed. With the gleaming blade grasped in a reverse grip, he pointed it downward over her chest, while he pressed his other hand flatly between her breasts. He’d dragged off her covers and hospital gown, exposing her upper torso, which was honeycombed with black scars from skin graft surgeries she had undergone as the result of radiation burns.
      Sister Kaypore clutched her hands to her heart in compassion for the man. Tear stains traced channels from his unblinking eyes as he scanned the room, staring at each sister and brother present as though daring them to interfere. His eyes brimmed with fresh tears as thick wetness ran from his nostrils. This was a man maddened by grief, probably having lost family in the tragedy months ago during the Miracle of the Sun here at the monastery. Since the radiation discharge and stampede that followed, thousands of mourners had traveled to the monastery to pay their respects to the dead. Many had become disruptive, some even violent.
      Bridget’s part in all the events was a carefully guarded secret. The Order knew. The French, U.S., and Chinese governments all knew enough, as did the Vatican. Many people were present when Bridget was rescued from an electromagnetic field that she likely generated, and also when she appeared to emit ionizing radiation from her body. She was too much of an oddity to keep a secret forever, although most of the people present had been discreet about the information so far—most, but clearly not all.
The shutters had been ripped off and the window panels shattered. A grappling hook attached to a climbing rope hung from the frame, next to an overturned IV pole.
      The room was quiet and still. It was as though Sister Kaypore had walked in during a natural pause in the activity.
      “Who are you?” she asked, keeping her voice as calm as she could.
      The man’s hand trembled. “I lost everyone. My father, my mother, my cousin, my sisters.” His eyes watered. “My sister, Zanel, was crushed. Her head was smashed in. My mother just died from her injuries… all because of this stupid religion.”
      All six sisters and brothers attending to Bridget had backed off to the edges of the room. Sister Kaypore took a step into the buffer zone between them and the assailant.
      “Don’t come any closer. I’ll kill her.” His tears streaked down his face.
      “Why her?” Sister Kaypore asked. “Why not me, or Brother Juan here, or Sister Mascomb?” She pointed at Bridget. “Why her?”
      “I have friends. I heard talk. They said there was a witch in here that you’re protecting. She caused all this. Why would you protect her?”
      “Does she seem like a witch to you? Look at her! Does she look like a witch?” Sister Kaypore took two more steps.
      “I will kill her. I don’t want to harm you.” He raised his hand, holding his palm outward in Sister Kaypore’s direction. “Why is this religion like this?”
      “Your family worshiped Ryna? Why not you?” she asked. “Did you leave the Faith?”
      “I chose to follow Thysia,” he said with force. “That’s a religion that makes sense. It’s why no one wants to follow your cursed religion any more. Don’t come any closer!”
      “I don’t think you came to kill her.” Sister Kaypore walked confidently to the bed and stood across from him. “Put the knife away. If you really wanted to kill her, you would have done so already.”
      “I came to kill the witch.”
      “No, you came because you want answers.”



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About the Author:
onoOno Ekeh is a fifth generation android whose initial programming has exceeded its original boundaries resulting in a self-conscious, fully functional, quasi-human life form. He is married to a wonderful human woman and has four amazing kids. He is interested in religion, politics, science fiction, writing, food, mathematics, and other things.

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Organized Crime Queens: The Secret World of Female Gangsters

OCQ--Final Front_424x600From the bizarre world of female Japanese motorcycle gangs to the historic rise and fall of London’s Forty Elephants, the history of female organized crime is both fascinating and strange. These are the stories, both true and legendary of the female crime bosses that broke the mould of feminine gentility. This is The Secret World of Female Gangsters.

Most of society thinks of women as the gentler sex, the sex with more compassion and empathy, not prone to violence. The truth is history, and current events, are littered with stories of violent women who do whatever it takes to get what they want; women who either revel in, or accept as needed, whatever acts of torture, murder and depravity that are required to achieve their goals. We’re not talking about mundane psychopaths that kill their children and their husbands; or homicidal maniacs that kill randomly without purpose, other than for some sexual or psychological gratification. We’re talking about female organized crime bosses, leaders of highly structured, often successful criminal organizations.

Most everyone knows about the high profile male mobsters; people like Lucky Luciano, Myer Lansky, Bugsy Segal, Arnold Rothstein, and Al Capone: men who became legends, rightly or wrongly, due to the public’s insatiable appetite for literature, movies, and television stories based on their lives. But what about their female counterparts, they definitely existed and still exist. Their stories are both fascinating and cautionary. Their histories provide an alternative perspective on the equality of the sexes; everything has a price. We are talking about smart, capable, talented, ruthless women who under other circumstances might have become leaders in either business or politics; women who demanded respect, loyalty and a big payday; or else.

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Forty Elephants

The Female Gang That Terrorized London

The idea of a gang of highly intelligent, dangerous, wild living, independent criminal women led by an extraordinary individual who thought she was the reincarnation of some Amazon Queen is unusual, if not unique. In today’s society Alice Diamond might have become the CEO of a major multinational corporation, or perhaps the Prime Minister of England, but in the early twentieth century, ruthless women of ambition, strength, and intellect were not given access to the educational and leadership avenues available to men.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from the tale of the Forty Elephants it’s that denying access to opportunity based on bias, prejudice, or preconception will ultimately bite society in the ass, extracting a larger price than if opportunity was provided to all. On the other hand, there are individuals and groups of males and females who refuse to work within the confines of society to create change and prefer a self-indulgent, nihilistic pursuit of self-gratification and interest.

The Forty Elephants, also known as the Forty Thieves, were an all-female gang of criminals that operated in London from the 1700s up until the 1950s. They reached their heyday in the years between WWI and WWII under the leadership of twenty-year old Alice Diamond, also known as Diamond Annie, due to her penchant for wearing diamond rings that she often used as a weapon. More than one assailant lost an eye or suffered severe physical injury from one of her namesake fashion statements.



What’s Your Poison? How Cocktails Got Their Names

WYP-Final FrontWhy do we call mixed alcohol drinks “cocktails”? How do they get their exotic names: names like the Singapore Sling, Screw Driver, the Alamagoozlum, the Angel’s Kiss, the Hanky Panky, the Harvey Wallbanger, Sex On The Beach, the Monkey Gland, the Brass Monkey, the Margarita, the Japalac, the Lion’s Tail, and many, many more? Who makes up these names, where are they invented, why, and how do you make them? These questions will be answered in “What’s Your Poison?” by exploring the incidents, people, and places that prompted the creation of these exotic concoctions.

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The Jack Rose

A Bald Gambler, A Corrupt Police Detective, A Murdered Casino Owner, And A Dash of Applejack

New York City, July 16, 1912, it’s a hot steamy afternoon. Four men wait under the awning of the Hotel Metropole located at 147 West 43rd Street. The hotel is a five story brick building on the corner close to Times Square. A sign above and to the side of the canopy over the entrance tells visitors they’ve arrived at the famous Metropole, the first hotel in New York City with running water in every room, home to gambler Nicky Arnstein, Fanny Brice’s lover and ultimate second husband, Bat Masterson, ex-western lawman, now New York City sports’ writer, and Herman Rosenthal, bookmaker and illegal casino owner.

The four men milling about outside the hotel are not out of place on the busy street. They’re wearing summer weight suits suitable for the weather. Jacob, Whitey Lewis, Seidenschner wears his usual cloth flat-cap, while Francisco Cirofici, aka Dago Frank, Harry Horowitz, aka Gyp the Blood, and Lefty Louie Rosenberg, all wear straw boater’s, a popular male fashion statement of the time.

These men are all members of the Lennox Avenue Gang led by Harry Horowitz and controlled by Zelig Harry Lefkowitz, aka Jack Zelig, head of the Eastman Gang. The Lennox Avenue group could be considered the prototype of the more famous criminal gang known as Murder Incorporated.

As Herman Rosenthal exits the front door of the Metropole the four men surround him, draw their guns and fire. Gambler Herman Rosenthal is shot dead in broad daylight on a crowded New York street. As Rosenthal lies bleeding on the pavement the four men scramble to the waiting car provided by Baldy Jack Rose, the man who hired them to murder Rosenthal on orders from crooked NYPD Lieutenant Charles Becker.

Baldy Jack Rose was born Jacob Rosenzweig in Poland in 1876. His family immigrated to America and at the age of four Rosenzweig was stricken with typhoid leaving him with alopecia universalis, a condition causing all his hair to fall out. Cruel classmates teased Jacob giving him the nickname Baldy, an apparent prerequisite for a life of crime as all the gangsters in this tale seem to have colourful monikers, and Baldy Jack Rose seemed appropriately fitting for a hairless young criminal.

Baldy spent his early years in Connecticut where he grew up to be a gambler, boxing promoter, and founder of a minor league baseball team, The Rosebuds, not the toughest sounding name for a sports team owned by the man that became embroiled in one of America’s most infamous murders. If not for being overshadowed by Lucky Luciano’s bloody rise to power, the Rosenthal murder might be regarded as New York City’s most infamous gangland murder.

After moving to New York City, Rose opened an illegal casino called The Rosebud. It wasn’t long before it became an underworld hangout, especially favored by the Eastman Gang headed by Selig Harry Lefkowitz, and its offshoot the Lennox Avenue Gang led by Harry, Gyp The Blood, Horowitz.



Beating the System

BTS-Final Front_402x600It’s been said that gambling is a tax on the dumb; that may be overly harsh, but the fact is, most gambling venues are designed to guarantee you lose. It doesn’t matter if it’s horseracing, lotteries, casinos, or the annual state fair. As soon as you plunk down your dollar you’re a loser. Those milk bottles at the bottom of the pyramid you’re trying to knock down are filled with lead, and that basketball net that looks so close you can’t miss, is actually oval not round, and barely big enough for a ball to pass through.

Most people like to take a chance every once in a while; maybe they’ll get lucky. It’s a kick, a lark: an afternoon’s entertainment. They know when to walk away… others don’t… some can’t. For them it’s a drug, a search for an unattainable high. Deep down they don’t even want to win. It’s sad. It’s pathetic is what it is.

You see these sorry souls at the track, at the casinos, or anywhere there’s a game of chance. They’ll bet on horses, dogs, camels’… even killer roosters. It’s nuts I know, but their addicts, they’ll bet on people, and that’s the worst bet of all. Gambling is for suckers; that’s why gamblers don’t gamble, they fix the game, and even then, it doesn’t always work.

Horse racing is advertised as the sport of kings. Sure, if that’s what you want to believe. I was a jockey, it was my job, but I made my living as a fixer. You want to know what really goes on behind the scenes. You want to know what horse racing is really all about. Then come a little closer, cause I got a story for you.

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Be Careful Who You Screw

Joey Pines kneels on the bathroom floor of the Juanita Bar on the outskirts of Detroit. Pee is trickling down Pines’ soiled jeans pooling on the floor around his knees. Blood runs down his face from where Ronny introduced his nose to the Mexican’s Smith and Wesson. The guy is scared, scared to death, scared because in the next few seconds a decision had to be made. Does Joey Pines end his days on the bathroom floor of Juanita’s third-rate bar, or does he live another day so he can screw somebody else? Whatever happens, he’s never going to screw Ronny again.

It all started three days earlier when Ronny fixed the fifth race at Motor City Downs. Fellow jockey, Angel Morales, came to him with a deal. Juan Carlos Perez, a local drug dealer wanted to expand his operation. He was already supplying jockeys with various illegal pharmaceuticals for weight loss and entertainment purposes, so why not expand into the gambling business. Perez supplied the money, and Morales supplied Ronny. It was an arrangement made in hell.

The fifth race at Motor City Downs seemed like the perfect initial foray for Perez. All the jockeys in the race were paid their five hundred bucks and given the order of finish for the first three horses. Other than the first three places, jockeys could do what they wanted but those first three horses had to finish in the correct order for Morales, Perez, and Ronny to collect on the trifecta. This wasn’t rocket science.

Everyone was on board but Ronny had his doubts about Pines, who was a known shithead and drug addict. Someone had seen Pines slip the valet what looked like cash, probably for a bet. If Pines was betting on the race, was he betting the trifecta, or was he betting on himself? Nobody knew for sure. Before the race Ronny warns him.

“You understand what you have to do? Your number can’t be on the board. You fuck us over and finish in the top three… you’ll be in the ground before the sun comes up.”

“Don’t worry, I got it.”

As the horses were being loaded into the starting gate Ronny turns to Pines one more time. “We good?”

Pines nods, “I got this.”

The starter rings the bell and the gates fly open. Coming around the first turn Ronny is on the outside of Pines, they’re in sixth and seventh places respectively. Ronny looks over at Pines and sees him pull up his sleeve. The prick has a machine. Before Ronny can do anything about it he hears the buzz, and Pine’s horse takes off leaving Ronny and everyone else in the dust. They get to the finish line and Pines finishes second. The horses that needed to finish one, two, three, finish first, third, and fourth. The bet is busted. The son-of-a-bitch screws Ronny and friends. He doesn’t even collect on his own bet because he came in second instead of first. Pines is laughing and making fun of the other jockeys who all had bets on the race, figuring it was a sure thing.



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About the Author:
jerryJerry Bader is author, publisher, and Senior Partner in MRPwebmedia.com. He has written twelve hybrid graphic novels (including “The Method,” “The Comeuppance,” “The Coffin Corner,” and “Grist For The Mill”), thirteen children’s books (including “Two Dragons Named Shoe,” “The Town That Didn’t Speak,” “The Bad Puppeteer,” “The Criminal McBride,” and “Mr. Bumbershoot, The Umbrella Man”), three marketing books, and several novels and biographies including “The Fixer” and “Organized Crime Queens.”

The graphic novels are unique in that they are designed as screenplays with accompanying storyboard panels to give the reader an enhanced experience akin to reading like a movie producer. Watch for new releases as they come available!

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Call Your Steel by G.D. Penman



Title: Call Your Steel
Author: G.D. Penman
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Azure Spider Publications
Publication Date: October 15, 2017

In the sky above there was no sun.

call-your-steelFor millennia beyond reckoning the Eaters of the Gods ruled over this sunless world, waging their secret war on each other through their Chosen, mortals granted a fraction of the Eaters in human powers in exchange for a life of servitude. Kaius counts himself among their hallowed ranks, devoted entirely to his brutal duties. Lucia is no more than a travelling minstrel, albeit one who found herself in the very worst place at the very worst time. How could mere mortals like them stand up against the vast alien power of the Eaters of the Gods?

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Malius called his own steel, it rippled out from behind his back and engulfed him, settling into the familiar pointed visor over his face and a long straight sword in his hand. His voice came out of it, echoing ominously in the manner associated with the Chosen, “Repetition of the Forms is for these amateurs.” he gestured to his trainees, “Let us see if you can score a touch on me.”

They bowed to each other politely, eyes never leaving one another, then they moved blindingly fast to close the distance between them. In the beginning they were striking at each other tentatively. Neither was pressing their luck, both obviously had a wary respect for the other’s abilities.

Enhanced by the uncertainty of their years apart. They began to fall into a rhythm, parrying and swiping at one another, never over-extending or taking risks. Malius spoke softly, over the clatter of steel normal hearing would not have detected it.

“I hope you understand exactly how much I have done for you. Back when you were first selected for service I had to argue with the other Marked to get you a decent posting away from the city. I had to fight every year to keep them from recalling you. They thought that it was spite, that I held some grudge against you from your training but the truth is you do not belong in the city Kaius.”

They broke apart and circled each other slowly, legs crossing behind one another as they side-stepped. Then for an instant Malius called speed to close the distance and his strikes came in a shimmering flurry.

Kaius stopped thinking and kicked out under Malius’ relentless hammering strikes. The older man leapt back out of reach and set his blade in a high guard, leaving his legs conspicuously open to attack, he started speaking again as he probed Kaius defences with feints.

“You don’t belong in the city. You were born out in the dark and that is where you find your comfort. I saw that from your very first day here. You flinched from the light that the other children were drawn to like moths. I saw your purpose back then. I could see you raised up to the rank of Marked without you challenging my position here. No matter how skilled you were with the steel. How clever you were in your studies. You would never be a Master. Because that would trap you here with the civilised people.”

Malius spun forward and when he came around to strike he had a sword in each of his hands, he used them together, one striking after the other, calling strength and shattering the rhythm of defence.




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Author Bio:

g-d-penmanG.D. Penman writes fantasy fiction. He lives in Scotland with his partner and children, some of whom are human. He is a firm believer in the axiom that any story is made better by dragons. His beard has won an award. If you have ever read a story with monsters and queer people, it was probably one of his. In those few precious moments that he isn’t parenting or writing he continues his quest to eat the flesh of every living species.

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Guest Post by G.D. Penman:

10 Fun Facts About Call Your Steel

• Number 1: You Are What You Eat
The Eaters of the Gods are firmly in charge in the world of Call Your Steel. Their relative strength and the elemental powers that they claim dominion over depends on which of the nightmarish alien gods they snacked on before recorded history began. All of the surviving Eaters worked together to kill what is now known as “The Blacksmith” so that is why all of their minions can call on the power of steel to protect and arm them.

• Number 2: Rule 63 is Alive and Well
In the first draft of Call Your Steel, Kaius’ was female, but because the protagonist of my other books Heart of Winter and The Year of the Knife was a woman, I decided to switch things up a little and let a man experience all the joy of sexual harassment at the hands of his crusty old boss instead. Since sexism isn’t relevant in Call Your Steel, there wasn’t any specific gender coding to any given roles.

• Number 3: Let Me Get This Straight
There are no heterosexual characters in Call Your Steel. Not one. Kaius is our Asexual protagonist and everyone else is either gay or somewhere on the bisexual/pansexual sliding scale like Lucia. You can pretend that they are straight if it makes you feel better, or write fanfiction about it, hell you could write your own book with straight people if you want.

• Number 4: Everybody is a Rockstar
In the world of Call Your Steel, Kaius is a minor celebrity among the nobility because of his selection as one of the Chosen of Negrath. Out in the darklands where most of humanity subsists, a travelling minstrel like Lucia is one of the most exciting things to happen all year.

• Number 5: Kicked in the Ghuls
Named after the traditional Arabic monster that H.P. Lovecraft drew on to create his cannibalistic subterranean beasts, the Ghuls in Call Your Steel actually display some of the physical symptoms of long term cannibalism, including the beginnings of an outbreak of kuru!

• Number 6: Meet the Eaters
The four surviving Eaters all have faintly significant names. Negrath is named after Lovecraft’s Shub Niggurath. Vulkas is named after Vulcan, the Roman god of metalworking. Walpurgan is named after Walpurgisnacht, the “Witches’ Night” of myth. Ochress is named after the sandy colour, to signify his connection to the sea without getting too obvious about it.

• Number 7: Sing Along
The editor of Call Your Steel originally asked for me to write out the lyrics to the songs that Lucia sings. After receiving an email full of my appallingly rhymed lyrics, the subject was never broached again.

• Number 8: Political Writing
Call Your Steel is set in a dystopian autocratic society that the heroes want to overturn and replace with a fairer system of government. So, politics do creep into things a little. Having said that, please don’t assume that the character’s politics are mine or that the outcome is what you think it is going to be. There are subtle hints dotted throughout the book that the ending of this story is different from what it might first appear.

• Number 9: Firstborn
Call Your Steel was the first full length novel that I ever wrote and it took me years before I got the confidence to submit it, so by the time that it had finally done all the rounds of being submitted and returned and all the rest it had been so long that I barely remembered parts of it. It was full of surprises.

• Number 10: Apex Predators
The ecology of the world of Call Your Steel is totally different from earth due to the lack of sunlight. Insects have come to the fore, while mammals have died back. The apex predator out in the desolate darklands are actually owls which have grown to an immense size thanks to their ideal adaptation and a little help from Walpurgan.


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Kane – The First Blood Son by Carol McKibben


Title: Kane – The First Blood Son
Author: Carol McKibben
Series: Prequel to The Snow Blood Series
Genre: Paranormal Fiction
Publisher: Troll River Publications
Publication Date: October 1, 2017

Kane de Medici’s thirst for knowledge leads him into the dark vampire world.

kane-the-first-blood-sonKane de Medici’s thirst for knowledge leads him into the dark world of vampirism. Working as an apprentice to the great master, Leonardo da Vinci in 1503, he encounters Brogio, one of Florence’s most wealthy bachelors. Their growing friendship coupled with strange events lead him to uncover Brogio’s inconceivable secret. Brogio is a vampire, the very first vampire.

Kane’s quest for endless learning has him propose that the vampire “turn” him so that he can become Brogio’s first vampire blood son. Reluctantly Brogio agrees, but Kane’s uncontrollable blood lust unleashes a plague upon the world.

This Snow Blood Series Prequel will delight fans of this beloved family of vampires.





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Author Bio:

carol-mckibbenCarol McKibben was a magazine publisher for 20+ years. Carol writes from the heart of a dog’s eyes. Her books help support her dog rescue efforts and focus on unconditional love. Carol, her lab Thor and Siberian Husky Ty are currently working on new adventures.

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Dream Casting:

Picture1Kane – The First Blood Son is the prequel to my Snow Blood Series.

This is the model that I used for Kane. Handsome, don’t you think?

Let’s play a game. Post the face of a man that you think is beyond handsome.



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