Tag Archive | Excerpt

Great Summer Reads Countdown Blitz 2017

Day 6:
Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend, Book 2 by Cheryl Carpinello

summer 17

 

Even the Goddess doesn’t know who will Live or Die

 
Guinevere Dawn of Legend Cover FINAL FB“Think before acting,” her father always warned. But Princess Guinevere is ruled by her heart. Her betrothal to King Arthur has not changed this.

When Guinevere and Cedwyn’s latest adventure takes a dangerous turn, they find themselves embroiled in a life-or-death struggle as foretold by Merlyn’s Goddess of the Stones Renegades—foiled in their attempt to kidnap the princess—steal the children of Cadbury Castle to sell as slaves.

Guinevere and Cedwyn vow to rescue the children, but a miscalculation puts them all in more danger. The plan quickly unravels, and Guinevere’s impassioned decisions come crashing down as Cedwyn chooses to turn his dream of becoming a knight into reality.

Will their courage be strong enough to survive, or will one make the ultimate sacrifice?

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Excerpt:

1. The Goddess Speaks:

      Many trials await the two of you. Perhaps the hardest are the ones you will have to endure alone.
      “You, Guinevere, will find yourself lost. You—who are destined to be a great queen—will have to traverse a journey of immense pain and self-doubt. You must let your inner feelings guide you. The journey will be hard and painful. You must summon the courage of your soul to sustain you.
      “You, Cedwyn, faithful friend of the princess and the queen. Your journey may be the hardest of all. You will be sent far from those you serve and love. Your duty will demand that you see this most difficult journey to its end. Whether it be death or life for you will depend upon many things. Your courage must also come from deep within your soul for one so young. Your love of family and friends must be great. But greater still must be your loyalty to the knight’s duty. For your knight’s vow comes soon. You must embrace it. You must defeat the temptations to turn aside for your own safety.

 

 
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Author Picture 500x500I’m a retired high school English teacher. A devourer of books growing up, my profession introduced me to writings and authors from times long past. Through my studies and teaching, I fell in love with the Ancient and Medieval Worlds.

Now, I hope to inspire young readers and those Young-at-Heart to read more through my Tales and Legends for Reluctant Readers set in these worlds.

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Harmless by Katherine Dell

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Title: Harmless
Author: Katherine Dell
Genre: Paranormal Thriller

v2Cover_300_394x600Be careful what you wish for.

After moving from Vancouver to isolated Hazelton, BC, high school senior Rachel Barnes hopes she’ll finally find closure and a sense of direction after tragedy has torn her family apart. When she and her friends discover the old spirit box her grandmother gave her, they see it as a chance to wish their troubles away. But the Great Spirits—deer, crow, bear, and the mythical wendigo—give away nothing for free.

So instead of worrying about fitting in and finding a boyfriend, Rachel finds herself in a race to control the malevolent spirit who’s taken up residence in Mason Allen, who she fears and craves in equal measure. What began as a harmless game forces Rachel to confront her past—and offers her a future she never imagined.

Step into a reality that is not as it seems in Book 1 of the Harmless series.

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Excerpt:

      I watch as Julie fills the mugs with water and puts them in the microwave. When they’re done, she plunks a tea bag in each and brings them over to the kitchen table. Sitting with a huff, I plunk myself down on a chair. Wrapping my fingers around the steaming cup of tea, I breathe in deeply. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the same effect as that mist. My problems are all still here.
      “Thanks, Julie.”
      “For the tea? No problem.”
      “No, for not leaving.” I drown my tea bag with my spoon, pushing it to the bottom. “I just invited people over for some drinks and cards and . . . that happened!” I motion to the box laying open in the living room.  “You guys are never going to want to hang out with me again.”
      “I wouldn’t say that. Sure, this is probably the strangest thing any of us has ever seen, but we all like you. Hey.” She gives my shoulder a little push. “Don’t frown too much. You’ll give yourself wrinkles. You’re too pretty for wrinkles. On a different note, I guess we know that wishing box works. I can’t wait for mine to come true. Could you imagine?”
      “Why? What did you wish for?”
      “For a new community center,” she says. “One with a gym, and a games room, and a place to take classes and work out and stuff. I’ve been on the committee at school for it for, like, two years. It doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to happen.”
      I know the project she’s talking about. My grams dragged me to a craft sale at the community center once. The building looks like it’s made entirely out of school portables, like a patchwork quilt. The town has been raising funds for years to build a new one. It’s just one of the many projects Julie gets involved in around here. That’s why she’s a lifer. She loves this town. She’s never going to leave it.
      Julie’s watching me over the rim of her cup. “So what was your wish?”
      I let the waiting air in my lungs huff out. “I wished that . . . that I knew what I wanted, and that I’d find it here in Hazelton.” Saying it out loud doesn’t sound as awesome as it did in my head. The look on her face makes me wonder if my best friend just found out what a nut bar I really am.
      “I like it,” she says finally. “I hope you find whatever it is you’re looking for too.” She sounds convincing. Thank God. I don’t know what I’d do without my rock.
      “Do you want me to call my mom and ask her if I can stay over? Or you could come stay at my place if you’re too creeped out to stay here alone.”
      She knows what I’m thinking without me saying a word. “It’s okay. I’ll be fine.”
 I’ll be no more screwed up than I already am.
      “Okay. I’ll at least help you clean up a bit.” She puts her mug in the sink before going to the living room. I see her hesitate for a second before bending down to sweep the carved animal pieces back into the box. “The wendigo piece isn’t here.”
      “Don’t worry about it. It’s probably under the couch. I’ll find it later.” Maybe it’s best if no one else but me touches the box from now on. “Do you want me to take you home?”

 

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About the Author:

Katherine Dell is a young adult fiction author fascinated by the supernatural and the stories that surround them. She began her writing endeavours in 2011 when she wanted to reinvent herself from her previous career as an event planner. When she’s not writing, she can be found in cold hockey arenas sipping coffee, working on her tan at little league games, or trying to keep her dog out of her many gardens. She lives with her husband, two boys, and fur babies, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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Q & A’s with Katherine Dell:

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Harmless?

Rachel, Mason, and Nate are my main characters.Rachel, is a disconnected teen who’s trying to find direction after her brother’s death and parents divorce.

Mason is complex. He’s sweet at times and a total jerk at others, but I can’t help but love him! Even though his actions can be erratic and harsh, his reasons for doing horrible things will pull at your heart strings.

And Nate… Nate is perfect. He’s patient, caring, and has seemingly no anterior motives other than to be a good person. All my readers love Nate. Did I mention he’s also gorgeous.

 
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

My favorite character by far is Mason. I think because he’s such a true reflection of an ambiguously moral character. And I think people gravitate to that. Mason does horrible things in the story, but you can’t help but sympathize, and reason with his actions. He’s the bad guy you hate to love.

 
What do you do to unwind and relax?

I camp, I garden, I spend time with family and friends. One of my favorite places to go to relax is the interior of BC. It’s some of the most beautiful country on earth.

 
How to find time to write as a parent?

I’m lucky enough to be able to stay home, so when my kids are at school, I can write. That’s if I don’t get too distracted with other things, like beautiful weather. September to February are probably my most productive months for writing.

 
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?

In general, I’m more on a pantser than a planner, but I do outline a little. I figure it’s good to know what general direction the story is going, but I like to let my characters take it where they may.

 
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

Dreamer, storyteller, nature lover, mom.

 

Beyond Reason by Kat Martin

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Title: Beyond Reason
Author: Kat Martin
Genre: Suspense, Thriller

Beyond Reason wburst_372x600New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin raises chills as danger stalks a woman determined to make it in a man’s world…

Five weeks ago Carly Drake stood at her grandfather’s grave. Now she’s burying Drake Trucking’s top driver, and the cops have no leads on the hijacking or murder. Faced with bankruptcy, phone threats and the fear of failure, Carly has to team up with the last man she wants to owe—Lincoln Cain.

Cain is magnetic, powerful, controlling—and hiding more than one secret. He promised Carly’s granddad he’d protect her. The old man took a chance on him when he was nothing but a kid with a record, and now he’s the multi-millionaire owner of a rival firm.

But Linc’s money can’t protect Carly from the men who’ll do anything to shut her down, or the secrets behind Drake Trucking. If she won’t sell out, the only way to keep her safe is to keep her close . . . and fight like hell.

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Excerpt:

      The clerk walked up to the counter, gray-haired and slightly bent. Daisy Johnson had worked at the sheriff’s office since Linc was a kid.
      “Well, if it ain’t Lincoln Cain,” she said. “I saw in the paper a few years back you’d bought the old Blackland Ranch, but last I heard, you were stayin’ out of trouble.”
      Linc grinned. The old woman was a pistol. “I do my best, Miss Daisy.” He turned. “This is Carly Drake, Joe Drake’s granddaughter.”
      “Hello, Daisy,” Carly said. “It’s nice to meet you.”
      “You, too. Your granddaddy was a real good man.”
      “Thank you. Yes, he was.”
      “We need to talk to the sheriff about the Hernandez murder,” Linc said.
      Daisy’s face wrinkled into a frown. “Bad business, that. I’ll tell Sheriff Howler you’re here.”
      The shuffle of boots drew their attention. “No need, Daisy–I got eyes.” Howler ambled out of his office, tipped up his chin as a signal to Linc. “You want to talk, you and the little lady come on back.”
      Linc caught the stiffness that crept into Carly’s shoulders. Looked like Joe’s granddaughter was going to get along with the sheriff about as well as Linc and her grandpa had. If they weren’t there to find a killer, he might have smiled.
      They followed Howler into his office and he sat down in the chair behind his desk. “What can I do for you?”
      Carly spoke up. “I want to know what you’re doing to find the men who murdered Miguel Hernandez.”
      Howler leaned forward across his desk. “Don’t get yourself in a fret. We’re gonna find ‘em. Just takes time. This ain’t San Francisco, little lady.” He flashed Cain a sneer. “It ain’t Dallas, neither. Our deputies have been out there asking questions, following up leads. But nobody saw nothin’ and there ain’t no sign of the truck.”
      “What about the crime scene?” Linc asked. “Surely some kind of forensic evidence turned up where the body was found.”
      Howler shook his head. “Just because you spent time behind bars, don’t make you an expert on the law.”
      Linc ignored a shot of irritation. He and Howler had a history and it wasn’t a good one. His gaze went to Carly. No surprise in those big blue eyes. Clearly, she had done her homework before he’d shown up for yesterday’s meeting. She knew he’d been in prison but instead of disapproval, she was glaring at the sheriff.
      “There’s no need for you to be rude, Sheriff Howler. Mr. Cain asked you a question that deserves an answer. I’d like to hear it myself.”
      Howler grunted. “Truth is, we didn’t find much of anything. The morning Hernandez’s body was discovered, it had rained off and on during the night. Any DNA evidence was washed away.”
      Linc thought of the detective he had hired. He wanted answers. He didn’t figure he’d get them from Howler and so far he was right.
      “Who found him?” Carly asked.
      “Man and his wife driving back to Dallas from a visit to their folks in Texarkana. They’d pulled off to the side of the road to let their dog out to take a leak. Dog must have scented the body on the other side of the road. Hernandez had been dead a while by then.”
      Carly glanced away.
      “What’s the coroner give for time of death?” Linc asked.
      “Between eleven and one a.m. You can talk to Doc Bradshaw yourself if you’d like.”
      “Consuelo said she got a phone call from Miguel about eleven,” Carly said. “He was fueling up at a truck stop a few miles south of Dallas. He told her he’d be home a little after midnight.”
      “Seventy miles to Iron Springs from Dallas,” Linc said. “No traffic that time of night. Looks like the coroner got it right.”
      The sheriff picked up a pen on his desk and began to click it open and closed. “I know you want those bastards caught and so do I. But standing here jawing about it ain’t gonna help. I need to get back to work.”

 

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About the Author:

Martin Kat - Credit Juan CarlosKat Martin is the New York Times bestselling author of sixty-five books across multiple genres. Sixteen million copies are in print and she has been published in twenty-one foreign countries, including Japan, France, Argentina, Greece, China, and Spain. Her books have been nominated for the prestigious RITA award and won both the Lifetime Achievement and Reviewer’s Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews.

A resident of Missoula, Montana, Kat is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She and her author husband, L.J. Martin, spend their winters in Ventura, California. She is currently writing her next Romantic Suspense.

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Punk by Lex Grootelaar

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Title: Punk
Author: Lex Grootelaar
Genre: Coming of Age

punkShort and entertaining, “Punk” pushes both the rules of writing and the dominant ideas and expectations of our society. Thrown into the world of punk rock in the early 1990s, this novel follows the intertwining lives of a wandering reject and the people he meets as he learns of his fathers’ unexpected death. It explores themes of social structure and religious indifference through the eyes of this disenfranchised man living from one high to the next. The story takes place over a few hot summer days in Edmonton, Alberta.

This coming-of-age story, although set in the 90’s, is still very relevant to today. It explores a quest for God without religion. Written with bursts of stream-of-consciousness and first-person narrative, “Punk” is simultaneously an urban existential fiction and a mystery novel.

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Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

I awoke cold on the shoulder of a highway. I had no idea how I got there. As the song goes, I found my mind in a brown paper bag—only this wasn’t the sixties, and the bag was clear, not brown. My life felt like a cliché as I found myself in this shoulder—this ditch. I slowly stood up. A semi-truck whirled by sending up a dirt cloud. I choked. To complete the cliché, I held out a thumb: the one that had been broken the year before when I fell out of a bar. The cars flew by and filled the air with exhaust. I smiled beside myself. Beside my life. I smiled at all the self-destruction, the missed opportunities, the lust, and the indulgences… All the indulgences. The thought carried as the wind blew. Finding my sunglasses in the high grass, I put them on hiding my bloodshot eyes and, hopefully, the haggard sketchiness that those eyes contained. As I looked at the empty eyes of drivers passing me on their way to work, my sympathy was with them. What day was this? What month? What year? When did the bender start? When would it finish? Finally, a car slowed as I gazed up at the sun just showing itself.


Running to the car on the shoulder, I attempted to piece together what happened the night before. Did my run-in with the Afeller boys go amiss? Their punk rock band was becoming so big—and with it, lots of new characters were on the scene. Did I offend some white-top? Something about his mother, I’m sure. The car put on its hazards as the driver opened his window and gestured me over. I ran my hands over my patched black jeans. I guess they didn’t offend; nor did my red and blond Mohawk that I never wore up.


I opened the door and peered in. The man was fortyish. He looked like a family man in his suit and tie. I smiled, knowing I was everything he wouldn’t want his children to become. And yet he offered me a ride.


“Hey there. You from the city, or some drifter?”


“Neither. I’m not from this city, nor a drifter. I’m a man of the land with nothing but my good sense to guide me through waters deep and quick.”


“Son, I’m not some girl at the bar, I’m the man driving you back to the city. So save the bullshit. Do you want some coffee? I have a thermos. You must drink coffee?” The man smiled as he passed over a thermos and a small brown disposable cup.


“Thanks. I know you’re not a girl at the bar, so I will put away my charm—and yes, I drink coffee, but only when I smoke. And I seem to be out,” I said as I lazily checked my black leather jacket and found nothing but an empty pack.


“You’re a drifter then; smoking’s a dying pastime. A losing battle.”


“Then you don’t partake?”


“Lucky for you, son, I’m also a dying breed.” He pulled out a silver case full of long cigarettes.


“Thanks,” I said as he passed me the case.


“You have a name? A real name? I offered you my smokes and my coffee; least you can do is give me a name.” I lit the cigarette and sipped the coffee.


“A real name, eh?” I took a long drag. “Clark. Clark Kent,” I smiled at him.


“Superman, eh? Fully able to fly, but stuck in an ‘85 Toyota, smoking my cigarettes, drinking my coffee and dressed in a fashion that I take it Lois Lane picked out?”


“Yeah, she’s a great dame.” I kept trying to remember what had happened last night.


“Humph. Where in the city are you going? Or should I just shoot for the downtown homeless shelter?”


“Mid-city would be good. I just need to get to my bike. It’s in a garage I rent with the money I make saving the world and all.”


“What were you doing on the side of the road? Good old Lex Luthor leave you high and dry?”


“If you must know, he attacked me with kryptonite and took my cape. I wouldn’t need the lift if I had the cape. You should know that.”

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I started writing at a very young age but soon was more consumed with women, drinking and smoking. It was only when I realized that vice doesn’t lead to virtue that I left childish things behind me and found myself back into the realm of writing, work, and love. It was in that aspect that the words started to flow. I have spent the past few years at study, spending my summers at work fueling aircraft for Alberta forestry, when I can break away I travel with my lovely and brilliant spouse.

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The Goddess’s Choice by Jamie Marchant

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Title: The Goddess’s Choice
Series: The Kronicles of Korthlundia Book 1
Author: Jamie Marchant
Genre: Epic Fantasy

GodessChoice-683x1024_400x600In a world where the corrupt church hides the truth about magic, the fate of the joined kingdom falls on the shoulders of two young people from opposite ends of the social hierarchy.

Crown Princess Samantha’s life begins to fall apart when she starts seeing strange colors around her potential suitors. She fears that she’s going insane–or worse that she’s defying the Goddess’s will. Robrek is a lowly farm boy with incredible magical powers. He has been biding his time waiting to get revenge on those who call him a demon.

Thrown together by chance, they must overcome their differences to fight their common enemy Duke Argblutal, who, with dark magic, is slowly poisoning the king’s mind and turning him against his own daughter. Time is running out for those chosen by the Goddess to prevent the power mad duke from usurping the throne and plunging the joined kingdoms into civil war.

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Excerpt:

“Let us be painting your face tonight, Your Highness!” Ardra begged, in her north Korthian accent. Samantha’s maid was as small and slight as the princess herself and had hair so blonde it was almost white.

“Yes, Your Highness,” Malvina chimed in. “Lady Shela’s maids said just yesterday we couldn’t possibly know our business ’cause you never wear paint.” Malvina, more of a typical Korthlundian woman, was tall and broad and not nearly as pretty as Ardra.

“Lady Shela,” Samantha snorted in disgust. Shela wore so much paint she resembled some ghastly sea creature. Samantha knew she wasn’t pretty, but she was fond of the freckles that speckled her nose and thought the emerald green brilliance of her gown set off her white skin and auburn hair beautifully. Besides being appallingly uncomfortable, paint would absolutely spoil the effect. The princess gestured toward the huge portrait that covered one wall of her bedchamber. “Do you think Danu wore paint?”

Malvina shrugged. “The Princess Danu was said to be a powerful sorceress, Your Highness. She probably didn’t need to wear paint to attract men.”

Samantha laughed bitterly, as she thought of the army of men waiting below. “I wish not wearing paint was all it took to scare them off. They say Danu never married, and see how happy she is.”

Samantha yearned for Danu’s freedom. The long-dead princess was laughing as she galloped across the fields. Danu’s auburn hair flew out behind her in the wind. The stars on the forehead and chest of her horse shone against its gorgeous coat. Samantha loved this painting, which was just as well because it was bolted to the wall and couldn’t be removed without tearing her chambers apart. She’d decorated the rest of her bedroom to match. Tapestries of horses covered the walls. Her dressing table, armoire, and large four-poster bed had horses carved into the woodwork. A quilt, embroidered with horses and stars, was spread over the bed. The mantle over her fireplace sported figurines of horses in gold, silver, jade, crystal, and precious stones. Every new ambassador added to her collection.

**Don’t miss The Soul Stone: Book Two in The Kronicles of Korthlundia series!**

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About the Author:

Jamie MarchantJamie began writing stories about the man from Mars when she was six, and she never remembers wanting to be anything other than a writer. Everyone told her she needed a back up plan, so she pursued a Ph.D. in American literature, which she received in 1998.

She started teaching writing and literature at Auburn University. One day in the midst of writing a piece of literary criticism, she realized she’d put her true passion on the backburner and neglected her muse. The literary article went in the trash, and she began the book that was to become The Goddess’s Choice, which was published in April 2012.

Her other novels include The Soul Stone and The Ghost in Exile. In addition, she has published a novella, Demons in the Big Easy, and a collection of short stories, Blood Cursed and Other Tales of the Fantastic. Her short fiction has also appeared in the anthologies–Urban Fantasy and Of Dragons & Magic: Tales of the Lost Worlds—and in Bards & Sages, The World of Myth, A Writer’s Haven, and Short-story.me. She claims she writes about the fantastic . . . and the tortured soul. Her poor characters have hard lives.

She lives in Auburn, Alabama, with her husband and four cats, which (or so she’s been told) officially makes her a cat lady. She still teaches writing and literature at Auburn University. She is the mother of a grown son.

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The Sweetheart Kiss by Cheryl Ann Smith

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Title: The Sweetheart Kiss
Author: Cheryl Ann Smith
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Pub Date: May 9, 2017

9781601837394_400x600Jess Lucas works hard at the all-female PI firm Brash & Brazen, and after a brush with death, she’s determined to play hard too—preferably with a certain detective on the Ann Arbor police force…

Jess was stuck at a frenemy’s wedding, playing bridesmaid in a mustard-yellow monstrosity, when chaos erupted. First the bride’s ex tried to stop the wedding. Then someone really put a damper on the big day by sending a bullet through a stained glass window and into one of the groomsmen. At least her ugly dress came in handy to stop the bleeding . . .

While the poor guy is rushed to the ER, Jess gets grilled by a gorgeous cop who’s not thrilled to learn she’s part PI and part pit bull. But he has to admit she’s highly observant . . . and he observes that she’s pretty hot, too.

The thing is, Jess was walking up the same aisle as the victim, and Sam suspects she was the real target. It’s more than professional duty that makes him want to protect her—if he doesn’t arrest her first for interfering in his investigation . . .

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Excerpt:

      There was one thing guaranteed to get Jess Lucas through a wedding that she didn’t want to be in, with a bride she intensely disliked, and a headache that had spiked through her skull the moment she slipped the hideous bridesmaid dress over her head: Alcohol.
      The crystal clear liquid called to her with a sweet siren song from within the bottom of her oversized tote bag. There had been speculation among her friends that Amelia Earhart— and aircraft—could be found in the tote along with Bigfoot and extinct dodo birds, if the right team of explorers took on the search. Laying that rumor to rest would have to wait until she finished soaking her throbbing brain with fermented potatoes and ethanol.
      Jess was certain a quick dash into the changing room wouldn’t be noticed as the groom hadn’t yet taken his position at the altar. Maybe the clueless sap had wised up and was now making a run for the Ohio border.
      No luck. She caught a glimpse of him talking to the minister and smiling. She didn’t know him well, but felt sorry for the guy. He was so dumbstruck by love that he couldn’t see past the big teeth and enhanced breasts to the character within his future wife.
      But that wasn’t Jess’s problem. The ceremony was not to start for three minutes and she was quick, despite a slight buzz from previous liquor shots. Without any impediments to block her path, she could get to the bride’s room, down the 1.5 ounces of vodka left from a raid on the minibar during a trip to Vegas last summer, and be back in line before anyone noticed her missing. She just had to shake off groomsman number three.
      She’d brought a variety six pack of those little booze bottles, knowing that in order to survive the wedding of Mandy Mae Smith—soon to be Jones—she’d need liquid courage.
      Not much of a drinker, she’d managed to chug three bottles already, but her duties had kept her from the fourth.
      The white crinoline along the bodice of the wide fifties-prom-dress inspired bridesmaid dress was already rubbing off the top layer of skin on her left arm pit. By the time the evening came to a thank-God-it’s-over close, she intended to be ripping drunk and naked with a groomsman in a vestibule closet somewhere. After all, wasn’t a single woman entitled to be cliché at least once in her life?
      “Ready?”
      “Er, what?” Jess looked way up at tall groomsman number three,
      Dodger Drake. Yes, that was his name. His fake tanned orange face grinned down from a foot above her, his teeth so white that she became convinced he ate, slept, and probably had sex while wearing teeth whitening trays.
      “It’s time to line up,” Dodger said and his gaze dipped unapologetically to her modest cleavage pushed up under her chin by the bone-corset bodice of the dress.
      Gawd, she hoped that Dodger was a nickname and not some sick joke his parents had heaped on their innocent baby to toughen him up on the playground.
      By the way he was measuring her cup size, he was clearly angling to be her next sexual misadventure. Heck, her first sexual misadventure. She was too smart to jump into anything without weighing the pros and cons beforehand.
      For the last several very long weeks, she’d been weighted down by gloom over a very serious health scare. After getting good news, she’d taken a look at her life and wasn’t happy with what she saw reflected back at her.
      Outside of work, she’d been kind of going along without much purpose. Her social life was boring and she hadn’t had an adventure since she and her friends had been kicked off a bus and almost eaten by buzzards.
      She was healthy now. It was time to start living.
      Perhaps she should do something reckless.
      She’d have to make a plan.

 

 

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Author Bio:

Smith, Cheryl AnnCheryl Ann Smith became hooked on romance at age fourteen when she stayed up all night to read The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Her own writing journey happened much later, when one afternoon she ran out of books and decided to write her own. Previously, she has published five sexy Regency novels and one novella with Berkley in her School for Brides series.

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Mental Damnation: Reality by Konn Lavery

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Title: Reality
Series: Mental Damnation Part 1
Author: Konn Lavery
Genre: Epic Dark Fantasy

konn-lavery-mental-damnation-realityHaving her family murdered by the humans during her people’s banishment from the surface world, Krista and her only friend, Darkwing, struggle to remain alive. The pair of reptilian street scum live in their newfound home, the City of Renasence, dictated by a fascist military known as the Renasence Guard. The two find themselves at odds when Krista puts her faith in the Five Guardians’ goal of unification, while Darkwing chooses to stand with a notorious gang, the Blood Hounds, who are known for their anarchist views.

This divide in their friendship forces Krista to persist on her own as the Five Guardians become crazed from an unknown disease – Mental Damnation. After their infection, the Guardians develop a bizarre interest in her, claiming they must reap her innocence for their newfound master, the Weaver.

With a military dictatorship, politically-driven gangs and their guardians infected and on a hunt for her, Krista has limited options for survival: Does she fend for her life in the City of Renascence, against menacing forces, or risk leaving everything behind and enter the uncharted realm of the underworld?

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Excerpt:

The strange male and Krista paused simultaneously, listening to the noise. Once the roar faded, the Corrupt continued to squirm. Krista suddenly realized that he was trying to crawl off of her, but his hands and feet had been cut off. Blood oozed from his limbs and smeared onto Krista. The Corrupt was essentially defenseless, so she calmed down – a little bit – and tried to work with him to get him off her.

Krista managed to roll the Corrupt to the side and he attempted to scurry away, but without hands and feet, he stumbled back to the ground whining, moving like a newborn calf.


A second male leaped from the higher rocks and landed with a heavy thud, raising dust. He threw a spear at the bleeding Corrupt. The weapon soared into the air, piercing through his victim’s skull and pinning the Corrupt to the ground.


Krista looked at the newcomer, mesmerized by his physical appearance. Muscles bulged on his shirtless torso. His skin was peach-toned, something Krista had never seen before.


What is he? she wondered, eyeing the male from his feet to his head.


The male’s five-toed feet were clad in sandals, with leather wrapped around his ankles. He wore a green kilt and several sheathed weapons strapped to his bare chest, which was marred by numerous jagged scars. His right hand had a cloth wrapped around it, and a ring flashed on his left.


He had a tail similar to Krista’s but with no scales. His brown scalp-feathers were plucked on the sides, leaving the remaining long feathers tied into a ponytail running down to his shoulder blades. Like hers, his eyes glowed, but they were bright white, not nearly as vibrant, and had green irises.


The male’s light skin and unusually flat facial structure called up flashbacks to the human raiders of Krista’s childhood.


He’s like a cross of humans and my people. I’ve never seen anything like it before!


The male walked over to the dead Corrupt and pulled his spear free from the body, then kicked it over the rocky edge. He kept his gaze on the rocks, watching the corpse fall into the fog.


Krista could hear the body tumble down the mountain, until the sound faded. Now that his back was facing her, she could see his spine was covered in light grey scales that came up to his neck. Krista was frightened by the peach-skinned male and kept motionless. She was uncertain whether he was a friend or a foe, or what she should do.


He’s going to notice me eventually. She waved nervously. “Hi.”

 

 

Giveaway

An original and out of print Mental Damnation t-shirt
A signed copy of the Mental Damnation: Reality novel
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About the Author:

konn-laveryKonn Lavery is a Canadian horror and dark fantasy writer who is known for his Mental Damnation series. The second book, Dream, reached the Edmonton Journal’s top five selling fictional books list. He started writing fantasy stories at a very young age while being home schooled. It wasn’t until graduating college that he began professionally pursuing his work with his first release, Reality. Since then he has continued to write works of fiction ranging from fantasy to horror.

His literary work is done in the long hours of the night. By day, Konn runs his own graphic design and website development business under the title Reveal Design. These skills have been transcribed into the formatting and artwork found within his publications supporting his fascination of transmedia storytelling.

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Q&A with Konn Lavery:

Mental Damnation: Reality is filled with glyphs, icons and illustrations, who did the artwork for novel?

All of the artwork was done by myself. Writing and drawing have been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. After high school I learned graphic design at a college called Edmonton Digital Arts College. There I learned a lot of the tools, theories and techniques to get into the graphic design industry.

What made you want to take on this extra task?

I am a huge fan of transmedia storytelling. RPGs (Role Playing Games) have been a huge inspiration to my fantasy stories and I admire their manuals for the backstories, drawings, graphics and glyphs that are scattered throughout the pages. With my writing, I wanted to reflect that in the novels themselves.

How else does having a graphic design background help your writing career?

It has helped drastically. I don’t have to outsource the skills to format books in print and ebook formats. Nor do I have to contract someone out for novel covers, posters, banners, promo material or marketing swag. Learning graphic design has given me a special skillset to aid in marketing myself as an indie author. In addition I am a freelance graphic designer/web developer, which provides immense flexibility with my writing compared to a 9-5 job.

Back to the Mental Damnation artwork, why did you approach the novel with the style that you did?

The artwork takes a lot of inspiration from ancient civilizations such as the Mayans, Aztecs and Egypt. I wanted to include artwork for the novel but I didn’t want to go with super realistic renderings of characters or scenes found within the novel. You see that style a lot with fantasy book artwork. Readers interpret characters differently and the abstract approach allows for their imagination to still interpret the characters as they see fit.

The novel’s heaven and hell concepts pull a lot from religious mythology and it made sense to have the artwork reflect this inspiration too.

What about the glyphs found in the novel?

The glyphs do follow a code that can be interpreted into English. The decoder hasn’t been published anywhere, most likely saving that for the last novel, Mortal, so it gives the readers some bonus content in the previous books.

You mentioned transmedia storytelling, what else do you do besides artwork to accompany the novels?

In a perfect world I would expand into film and video games to really embrace the transmedia storytelling experience. The reality of that is you can only do so much on your own with your skill base and with a limited budget.

I did branch off into audio with my stand alone novel, Seed Me, which features a compilation score written by a number of musicians, including myself. Seed Me was an experiment to try entirely new things with my writing and bonus material, so I explored music. The score was well received with readers who admired the creepy atmosphere the music provided when reading the novel.

Do you have other transmedia storytelling ideas in mind?

Of course, I have plenty of ideas but so does everyone else. Unfortunately it always comes down to time, resources and solid effort. Realistically I would say the next closest thing on the horizon is an audio book and another score related to Mental Damnation.