Tag Archive | fantasy

The Green Scroll by I. V. Phillips

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Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Date Published: 03-18-2017

THE GREEN SCROLL CoverFiery fissures close, and thick descending clouds dissipate, revealing the heavenly skies of Wanderamid, and its neighboring worlds. Nevertheless, evil lurks amid the celebration of sustained existence. A demon known as, Lepper, discerns one whose blood runs through pulsating veins, like his own. It provokes his diabolic interest to heighten, and motivates him to search for this individual. He embarks on his pursuit by going through electrifying portals, no longer accessible to mortals, ever since Wanderamid’s crystal ball was placed back to its rightful place, in palms of stone.
Emera, Wanderamid’s powerful witch, finds out about her son’s imminent transformation. His demonic fate leaves her in grave disbelief. She has no notion where he could be, and unaware that he is the purpose for a demon’s hunt!

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Excerpt:

The peephole’s first vision was that of a man sitting beside an old woman, seemingly ill, and oddly grinning down at her, while she, surprised, looked up at him.

“Why did you come back?” she asked sadly.


“You don’t seem at all happy to see me, Mother. I wanted to make sure you were on your way to the heavens you’ve always dreamed your ‘spirit’ would rise up to.” He smiled with his arms raised high.


“I’m not departing any time soon, my son. It’s only my weakness increasing. I’ve always wished the same for you too, but you chose to accept eternity in the deep depths of ….” She turned her head away, unable to finish.


“You can’t even say it.” He chuckled. “Use ‘eternal flames’, or ‘darkness’, Mother! Can your cracked old lips say those words instead?”


She forced herself to see his red glaring eyes again, and when she did, she reminisced about the day she had given birth to him. If only he had not chosen to welcome his demonic inheritance.


“I tried to save you… both of my sons. I would have given my life.”


“Hmm,” his voice murmured, unimpressed by her boring statement of unconditional love. “Daeg is not as I. He has more of your soul… your ‘pathetic’ soul. Besides, when death finds him, he will be shunned out from any ‘darkness’ and rise up to your precious heavens!” He laughed. “On the other hand, you saved Father! Be glad for that! You turned his soul to be weak as yours with your ‘love’—and now he’s dead!”


Tears escaped her solemn stare.


“I’ve prayed that my boys would find someone to love them as much as I did your father. He loved me the same, yes, but he was not weak. His love was strong. That’s how he became free from the temptations with the dark world.”


“I don’t have any storage for sympathy; Mother,” he replied, “and I don’t have a heart to share with anyone.”


“How can you say such a thing? You have a heart. When you were born… you had a heart. I felt it beating… and nurtured it,” she said, even though he was visibly dispassionate.


“Oh, I will deceive someone, with my fake heart, and she will bear my child. That child will follow me after choosing my ‘gift of eternal darkness,’ and then walk beside me.”


Even to imagine that as her unborn grandchild’s fate sickened her more, as she lay in a fragile spell.


“Please—don’t encourage an innocent child to a life of despair,” she pleaded. “If you can do anything for me, I beg of you, grant me that.”


“I’m your son! You didn’t steer me your way!” He glared at her ferociously.


“Your father and I both gave our sons love. What you boys choose will be your destiny. It’s not up to me, although I tried my best!” she cried.

 

 
The Author:

I.V. Phillips Author PhotoI. V. Phillips has always been fascinated with the paranormal. Her supernatural beliefs inspired A New World Fantasy Novel Trilogy.
Born and raised in New Jersey, she now resides in Florida.

Website

 

 
 

 

Books I Read in April ’17

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Flash Point

by C.L. Schneider

34390986An amazing start to a new series by C.L. Schneider.

I loved the multi-dimensional characters, the humans, the dragons and the half human/half dragon like Dahlia. Dahlia is a strong and complex female character, and completely believable.

The plot was original and well thought out. The story is fast-paced, easy to read and kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this outstanding series.

 

Slated for execution, shapeshifting assassin, Dahlia Nite, flees her world to hide in the human realm. As payment for the shelter they unknowingly provide, Dahlia dedicates herself to protecting humans from what truly lives in the shadows. Moving from town to town, she hunts the creatures that threaten an unsuspecting human race; burying the truth that could destroy them all.

But the shadows are shifting. The lies are adding up. And when Sentinel City is threatened by a series of bizarre brutal murders, light is shed on what should never be seen. The secrets that have kept humanity in the dark for centuries are in danger of being exposed.

Wrestling with a lifetime of her own deceptions, Dahlia investigates the killings while simultaneously working to conceal their circumstances. But with each new murder, the little bit of peace she has found in this world begins to crumble. Each new clue leads her to the one place she thought to never go again. Home.

Flash Point is the first book in The Nite Fire Series.

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Crimson Moon

by Sherri A. Wingler

34322812This superb start to a new series is a fun, and easy to read, book.

It’s loosely based on the Red Riding Hood fairytale, but so much better.

Sherri A. Wingler brought her characters to life and I joined Red, Grey and Wolf on their journey to ‘grandma’s house’.

The booked grabbed me on the first page and held on to me right to the end. Now I can’t wait to read the next book and find out what happens next to Red, Grey and Wolf.

 

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

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

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The Gallows Novels Box Sets (1-3 & 4-6)

by Sharon Stevenson

Twins, Shaun and Sarah are as different as chalk and cheese, but both are demon trackers.
Shaun is more of a loner and doesn’t like his job, while Sarah jumps in with both feet and gets the job done, while still finding time for her friends. The story is told from their points of view which, in my opinion, gives more of an insight into their individual characters.

Demons, vampires, werewolves, witches and fairies… this series has them all!

The books are fast-paced, easy to read, and enjoyable. I originally bought book 1, but having read that, bought the box set 1-3 followed soon after by the second box set (books 4-6).

 

Book 1
19-year-old twin demon trackers Shaun and Sarah Gallows are used to running into trouble – mostly the kind with fangs – but while Sarah embraces her powers to their fullest extent, trusting her instincts implicitly, Shaun distances himself from his abilities and can do little more than despair at his sister’s reckless nature and idly back her up.

When they come across 17-year-old Melissa Carling, a demon tracker who’s been torturing innocent super-naturals, they know they have to stop her. Sarah is desperate to punish Melissa for what she’s been doing but Shaun’s instant attraction to the girl points to a soul-mate bond stronger than anything he’s ever had to fight before…

Book 2
Twin demon trackers Shaun & Sarah Gallows are getting used to dealing with supernatural threats…

Six months after Sarah’s reckless choice, she is struggling to deal with what she has done and trying to find a way to break free from the demon bond she has made. She finds out the vampire lied about his maker and she’s faced with more difficult decisions.

Clueless to what his sister is going through, Shaun has been spending time in White Oaks on the pretence of training with his parents. He’s determined to find out who Elle’s working for, and he’s thinking about asking her out, maybe.

A new threat surfaces in White Oaks and the twins have to neutralise it before things get out of hand, and before the Council find out. It would just be another day’s work, if Shaun wasn’t being accused of murder and Sarah wasn’t being driven to distraction by her demon…

Book 3
Shaun & Sarah Gallows are demon trackers, hunting down and dispatching supernatural threats by order of their Council.

A few months past their twentieth birthday, Shaun takes Elle to Shadows Grove to check out the site of the brutal murder he’s become obsessed with. The ill advised trip starts unlocking his own past and the mystery of his destiny begins to unravel.

Sarah realises she needs to train Ray to keep him safe. When her mother finds out she took him on a job, she gives Sarah an ultimatum that forces her rethink their relationship.

Book 4
Twin demon trackers Shaun and Sarah Gallows are used to dealing with supernatural threats but what happens when that threat comes from within?

The twins are in the middle of a murder case when Shaun is captured by werewolves. Suddenly his future as a tracker is in question. Faced with the choice of remaining as he is and continuing to serve both the Council and the Seelie Court, or becoming a werewolf powerful enough to be an Alpha and gaining a life with a mate he is already attracted to, Shaun is conflicted. His werewolf curse was corrupted after he was ravaged in battle and now a witch has removed the corruption. He has days before his first shift takes all choice away from him and he becomes wolf. Can he make his decision in time, or will it be taken out of his hands?

Meanwhile Ben has come back into Sarah’s life and is attempting to prove he has changed. She isn’t sure if she can trust him but when it comes right down to it she may have no choice. When she is marked for death she must find a way to defeat a demon and avoid being dragged to hell without the use of her physical fighting skills. Her demon bond might be the key to her survival, but can she trust War to look after her best interests when he could have her to himself in hell?

Book 5
Twin demon trackers Sarah and Shaun Gallows are used to taking out supernatural threats…

Sarah is determined to take on powerful vampire Red Carling, even if she has to work with his crazy daughter Melissa to get the job done. Together they set off to seek out the witch who made him, heading into White Oak’s one and only vampire brothel.

Shaun spends time with Teri to find out what his purpose is as the Seelie Knight. He lets slip that Roman is missing and the pressure is then on to find the Darklands fairy, heightening when Teri demands her necklace back in an attempt to find her ex-boyfriend herself. To top off his growing list of problems, his sister expects him to work with Ben to take out Red Carling’s vampires.

When Flicky accidentally summons a demon while trying to help Sarah’s best friend Dev, her confidence is shattered and her nerves shot. The twins need her magic for the big fight but she’s not so sure she’s up to the task.

Sarah knows it isn’t going to be easy but she also knows they all need to work together to get through this. It’s time for the most powerful vampire in town to eat stake.

Book 6
Shaun is suspicious that something mysterious is going on in Ravenstow and as he gets closer to uncovering the identity of the tracker who wiped Sarah’s memory, his destiny also becomes clearer.

Sarah is struggling with Ray’s extended absence. Spending all her spare time with Dev and exhausting all avenues to track her missing fiancé, she begins to let him go, angry that he hasn’t contacted her or explained himself.

Meanwhile Ray is enduring the torture of being joined with a demon to become the man he believes Sarah needs him to be. He is determined to make it through his change, but will Sarah still be waiting for him when he makes it back to her?

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Hereafter by Terri Bruce

 

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy/Paranormal
Date Published: January 9, 2014

 

Why let a little thing like dying get in the way of a good time?

Thirty-six-year-old Irene Dunphy didn’t plan on dying any time soon, but that’s exactly what happens when she makes the mistake of getting behind the wheel after a night bar-hopping with friends. She finds herself stranded on earth as a ghost, where the food has no taste, the alcohol doesn’t get you drunk, and the sex…well, let’s just say “don’t bother.” To make matters worse, the only person who can see her—courtesy of a book he found in his school library—is a fourteen-year-old boy genius obsessed with the afterlife.

Unfortunately, what waits in the Great Beyond isn’t much better. Stuck between the boring life of a ghost in this world and the terrifying prospect of three-headed hell hounds, final judgment, and eternal torment in the next, Irene sets out to find a third option—preferably one that involves not being dead anymore.

 

Hereafter is on sale – just 99 cents! – until May 15th (and then returns to the regular price of $4.95)

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Excerpt:

“Come.” Samyel gestured, indicating that they should follow him. “We must go.”

“Go? Go where?” Irene asked.

“Away. Inside. Or they will see.”

“Who will see what?”

The dark glasses revealed nothing as he stood impassively for a moment. “Everyone.”

Samyel was attracting a lot of attention. The crowd moving around them was giving him a wide berth, and he was the focus of a lot of strange looks, which just confirmed that he wasn’t dead—people could see him. Irene knew that it looked like a seven-foot tall man in a trench coat and dark glasses was talking to himself in the middle of the sidewalk. It wouldn’t be long before the cops came to investigate.

Irene gestured for Samyel to lead the way. “Fine. Let’s go.”

Irene heard another choke of protest and glanced at Jonah. There was a silent exchange of mouthed words, pantomimed gestures, and angry, exaggerated looks.

“Don’t be crazy,” Jonah hissed. “You can’t go with him!”

“You’re the one that always wants to stop and talk to every weirdo we meet,” she countered.

“And what do you mean ‘you’? We’re both going.”

“Uh uh,” Jonah said. “This is your idea. If you get murdered, I’m not saving you.”

With an exasperated look, she motioned for Jonah to follow and set out after Samyel, who was nearly out of sight. Jonah reluctantly followed. Irene gave him a wry look as they trailed, side by side, a few feet behind Samyel. “You know, at some point, we’re going to have to talk about your propensity for picking fights with people bigger than yourself.”

“What’s propensity?”

“A really bad habit that you should stop.”

Jonah’s expression turned unreadable for a long moment, as if he was debating with himself, and then he looked away, stuffing his hands in his pockets and bowing his head to stare at the sidewalk as they went.

“I’ve changed the password, by the way, so you can’t do that again,” he said darkly.

She grabbed his arm, pulling him to a halt. “Jonah, listen to me. It’s not that I don’t appreciate you trying to protect me. I do. Even when it’s annoying and misplaced, like with Ernest. You’re the bravest, sweetest guy I’ve ever met, but I’m dead. You’re not. I’m already probably going to Hell for dragging you along on this adventure. Don’t add being the cause of your death to my list of crimes, okay?”

The tips of his ears had turned pink and his head was down, shoulders hunched. Then, to her surprise, he suddenly looked at her, his eyes inquiring as he searched her face. She didn’t know what he was looking for, but he was gazing at her so earnestly that she blushed.

 
The Author:

Terri Bruce has been making up adventure stories for as long as she can remember. Like Anne Shirley, she prefers to make people cry rather than laugh, but is happy if she can do either. She produces fantasy and science fiction stories from beautiful Downeast ME, where she lives with her husband and multi cats. She is the author of the paranormal/contemporary fantasy “Afterlife” series, which includes Hereafter (Afterlife #1) and Thereafter (Afterlife #2), and several short stories in various anthologies.

 

 

 

The Spoils of Allsveil by S.N. McKibben

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Title: The Spoils of Allsveil
Author: S.N. McKibben
Genre: Fantasy, Romance

 
spoilsofallsveil_cover_final_400x600Murder. Marriage. Forgiveness. The kingdom of Allsveil is the chessboard, and the royals are the pieces.

Two noble families meet in a whirlwind of battle, conquest, hate, and passion.

When a neighboring army conquers her home, Princess Alexia is forced to marry her father’s murderer, Darrin, the new king’s young prince. While Alexia grapples with revenge and flirtation, finding her own strength in the process, the new king, Goththor, seeks forgiveness from his queen and from himself. Two generations learn that the game of chess is nothing compared to the game of love and forgiveness…

Play chess with a princess…get your copy today!

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The Author

picSlave to a 100 lbs. GSD (German Shepard) and a computer she calls “Dave”, you’ll often see her riding a 19 hand Shire nicknamed “Gunny” to the local coffee shop near the Santa Monica mountains.

Stephanie reads for the love of words, and writes fiction about Dark Hearts and Heroes revolving around social taboos. When ever asked, she’ll reply her whole life can be seen through a comic strip ~ sometimes twisted, sometimes funny but always beautiful and its title is adventure. Come play!

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Top 10

What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?

Oh! I love talking about my mentors. Okay here goes:

  1.     Jim Butcher – Dresden Files
  2.     Kim Harrison – Hallows Series
  3.     Les Edgerton
  4.     The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  5.     The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
  6.     Kris Michaels
  7.     Patricia A. Knight
  8.     Marilyn Lakewood
  9.     Elizabeth SaFleur
  10.     Carolyn Jewel – My Immortals Series
  11.     Megan Derr

 
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Elfin Nights by Brantwijn Serrah

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Genre: Fantasy Erotic Romance
Series: Chronicles of the Four Courts, Book 2
Date Published: May 1st, 2017
Publisher: Champagne Book Club

 

Elfin Nights Cover Final 600 x 900A fae Knight’s life belongs to the monarchies, but for Finn of the Morrigan, his life comes second to his heart. And his heart belongs to his ladies.

The changeling princesses of the Springtime elves share a unique bond with their Knight—a bond that must remain perfectly secret. When the Queen of the Elves discovers their passionate love, she curses and exiles Finn from the elfin lands forever. With their guardian sent away to a lifeless wasteland, the royal changelings have no defense when the unseen enemies of the Four Courts attack, and the House of Elves falls.

To save his loves, Finn will need to break out of prison, undertake a perilous journey across the lands of Thairy, face wicked creatures, rogue Knights, and one of the most dangerous monsters in the fae world.

The enemy will soon learn what it means to provoke a true Son of War.

Amazon

 

Excerpt:

“Finn.”


I spun at the note of dread in Nineva’s voice. Her eyes gone wide, she stared at me. The flower dropped from her fingers, unnoticed. “You have to go back,” she said in a harsh whisper. “Back home…to the apartment. You have to go now.”


I tightened my arms around Neri. “What do you mean, lass? I don’t aim to go anywhere until you and Nerissa are well!”


“We will be fine, our Knight! In Tír na nÓg we will recover, but you must go!”


Neri twitched in my arms. Whatever spooked Nina, she caught onto it now too, and she turned her face up to me. “Finn, she is right! You must go, quickly, before—”


I glanced up, distracted from her by a sudden discordant hum, somewhere up above us. It drew my focus for a brief instant, but then seemed to fade.


“I’m sorry, milady,” I mumbled. “What did you say?”


“Finn, please!”


Nina was practically shouting at me, and Nerissa’s fingers grasped at my collar. I blinked at them, confused. Then the damned humming snagged my attention again. I glanced up and around in agitation.


“Can you stand, Neri?” I asked in a low tone. I eased her down to her feet, all the while keeping an eye on the sky. The sound never increased in volume, but all the same it intensified. My instincts bristled along the back of my neck. Sidling a bit to keep both girls behind me, I sunk into the simmering heat of my magic, letting it bubble and boil up through my limbs. Ready for attack.


“Girls,” I murmured, hardly noticing Neri’s small hands tugging at my arm. “When I say so, you must go back through the circle and close it.”


“Finn, no!” Neri squeaked. “Ignore them! She is distracting you!”


“Knight, you must run!” Nina pleaded. “Please, you must!”


“We’re about to be ambushed,” I explained. The humming surrounded me. It resolved itself, turning into…


Buzzing.


“Wasps,” I grated, and I whipped around to shoo the princesses back through to Connlas Hall.


I realized then that I’d been trapped.

 

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Brantwijn Serrah

100_1651When she isn’t visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends. She can’t handle coffee unless there’s enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours pencilling naughty, sexy illustrations in her secret notebooks.

Brantwijn has two romance series currently in-progress with Champagne Books. She’s also had short stories published in several small press anthologies. She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work. Her short stories and audio readings occasionally pop up her Website.

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The Wizard Killer by Adam Dreece

wizard killer bannerSeries: The Wizard Killer
Author: Adam Dreece
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic, Fantasy

Season 1

 
Season 1A world once at the height of magical technology and social order has collapsed. How and why are the least of the wizard killer’s worries.

Leaning my bloody head against the back of the crashed levitating carriage, I flex my cramped fingers. With a renewed grip on the mana-pistol, I steal a quick breath. The others better wake up fast, otherwise we’re all going to burn.

Written using a binge-TV show model, Season 1 contains 20 pulse-pounding episodes, and is an all new side to best-selling YA author, Adam Dreece.

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“Madmax meets Lord of the Rings” – Goodreads.com

 

“…an intense action movie-style romp through a wonderfully detailed fantasy world. I freaking LOVED this story! I loved the cinematic feel, I loved the action scenes, I loved the characters. It is like Harry Potter meets Die Hard” – M Bybee, WereBooks.org, 5 Stars

 

“…imaginative and compelling series that is quite difficult to stop reading. Dreece knows exactly how to build and then neatly tie up each episode, while leaving the reader wanting more…. highly recommended.” – Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite, 5 Stars

 

Season 2

 
Season 2Kill me with a floating city? You got my attention. But then steal from me and try to burn me alive? You got me thinking.

I think I’m going to find your yigging, walking carcass and introduce it to two friends of mine: pain and vengeance.

By the way, I borrowed a lightning rifle. Don’t worry, I’ll return it… empty.

See you soon,
The Wizard Killer

Season Two kicks everything up a notch with 22 all-new, action-packed episodes!

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Excerpt #1:

      We step out of the bar and into the blinding, dusty outdoors. The sky’s got a familiar red haze to it. My fingers start rubbing together like they’re pulling on a fishing line with an unwilling memory on the end of it.
      There’s about two dozen people walking about, all of them dressed up beyond what I’d expect for an outskirts town. Most of the women have shiny dresses and parasols, and most of the men long coats and hats. Either this place is rich in something, or it’s got a secret that some pay handsomely for.
      Glancing about at the two-storey buildings and dirt-road nature of the town, knots start to form in my stomach. I’m not sure if I’m paranoid, or I remember something, but I’ve got a bad feeling about the place.
      I nudge the sheriff and point at the red haze. “What’s that?”
      He gives me a wide-eyed glare. “You stupid or something?”
      I frown at him.
      Leaning in, he whispers. “It ain’t smart to bring up the affairs of wizards and the like.”
      I’m tempted to ask something else, but am interrupted by the image of a floating city being built. Mana leaks… it’s one of the things that can lead to this haze, I remember. Looking again, my stomach turns as I’m sure there’s something far worse going on than building a floating city.


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Excerpt #2:

      The sunlight from the door stops two feet into the room with no rhyme nor reason. Stepping into the room, I close the door and take my hat off.
      I stand quietly, listening to the creak of the floorboards under me, waiting for my eyes to adjust. The room seems barren, except for a counter a few feet away.
      “Gah… that sound.” I put a finger in my ear and give it a good shake.
      A silhouette appears behind the empty counter. “These are dangerous times,” it says, the voice soft and melodic.
      The head turns and I’m thrown off. It’s like staring at a star-filled night sky.
      Swallowing nervously, I nod. “You’re the last of the free librarians I take it.”

 

 

The Author

 
Adam DreeceAdam Dreece kicked off his indie author career with his best-selling steampunk meets fairy tale series, The Yellow Hoods, which struck a chord with kids 9-15 and adults. After four books in the series, the former software architect put out two more young adult books, the post-apocalyptic fantasy book The Wizard Killer – Season One, and then his science fiction novel, The Man of Cloud 9. The first two novels in The Yellow Hoods series, as well as The Wizard Killer, have been finalists for Book of the Year awards from the Independent Author’s Network.

When he’s not working on his next book, Adam can be found giving talks at schools, libraries, associations, as well as comic-con type events like CalgaryExpo and FanExpoCanada on subjects from how to get one’s ideas out and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone, to how to give a successful book signing.

Along the way, Adam has faced many challenges, including working around his Dyslexia (reading and writing disorder), and needing to be ruthless with his time and energy in face of his severe asthma and chronic abdominal scar pain. He’s become an inspiration to some, and a symbol of tenacious hard work to others.

He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his wife and children. He is an active online mentor at adamdreece.com, and is a busy public speaker, panelist, and author in Canada and the Pacific Northwest.

Website * Newsletter * Facebook *  Twitter
Instagram * Youtube * Goodreads * Amazon

 

Excerpt:

      Holding the orb tightly up to my chest, I wait, my heart pounding. It feels like each thought of mine is fighting through a raging river to get heard, and the river’s growing.
      My eyes dart about, waiting for the inevitable. Everything’s quiet.
      I scream as something slashes my leg. Falling to the ground, I drop my pistol and put a hand over the bleeding wound. It’s like someone’s put warped mirrors all around me, making the whole world look weird.
      I rub my blood hand on the orb. “That’s got to count for something,” I mutter.
      The orb pulses twice as I get slashed again, this time from the left and right.
      I feebly lob the orb into the air. My heart sinks as nothing happens, as it falls towards the ground. But then it turns, arcing up, and vanishes.

 

 

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Elsekind by Celeste Hollister

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 Title: Elsekind
Author: Celeste Hollister
Published: April 20th, 2017
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Genre: YA Fantasy

 
ElsekindKex Mardugal is half human, half something… Else. With her dark skin and wild eyes, humankind considers her a soulless abomination. In the face of prejudice, Kex has carved a place for herself in human society. She earned the rank of King’s Champion, securing a position of strength within her homeland.

This attracts the attention of an inscrutable sorcerer who entreats Kex to join his party of warriors to fight against an enigmatic evil threatening to overtake their world.

But conflicts within the party undermine their ability to work together. All the while, their enemy, a strange and powerful demon, steadily gains strength, commanding deadly storms and legions of curselings to spread its blight across the land.

As an Elsekind, Kex discovers that she alone can define her code of honor in order to fight against the monsters of the world.

Amazon Paperback | Black Rose Writing | GoodReads

 

Excerpt:
Kex and Hailan
      Kex curled her knees tight against her chest. She breathed in slow, deep breaths. Her weapon felt cold beneath her palm. Rough boards rasped against her cheek as she pressed her face to the floor. Muffled footsteps approached – barefoot, if she had to guess. She tightened her fist around the weapon and waited. The angle was wrong, but she was too small to overpower him in a close fight. She would rely on quickness and the element of surprise. He would never think to find her here.
      Her pulse quickened as the footfalls paused. The door opened on a well-oiled hinge. A sphere of lamplight revealed two hairy ankles, and – just as she hoped – two naked feet. Kex drew a breath and waited.

      Closer, she thought.. Come closer. I dare you
      Lamplight and legs loomed nearer but still out of reach. The lamp’s handle squeaked as he set it upon the table. Then he turned and shuffled forward, giving her an unpleasant glimpse of his toenails. Inches away, then half-inches, then precisely where she wanted him.
      Kex lashed out, stabbing down into the top of his foot. He howled and hopped – as she hoped – and she kicked out, her heel connecting with his ankle, knocking his other foot out from beneath him.
      He scrabbled to his side, quick for his size, but by then she had used his own leg to haul herself from beneath the bed. She vaulted astride him, pressing her weapon to his freshly-shaven throat.
      “Where is it?” she hissed.
      Eyes wide, he glanced from her to the weapon pressed into his neck.
      “Oh, by the Saints,” he moaned.
      She bore down, sinking it deeper into his skin. “I asked you a question.”
      He stammered, then refocused. “Is that a fork?”
      “Aye.” The skin blanched around the tines as she leaned her weight into it. “I can make you bleed with a fork.”
      “I think you already did,” he whined. She noted that he lay very, very still as he said, “C’mon, Kex, what’s this about?”
      She narrowed her eyes. “Don’t play around, Hailan Chase. You know well what I want.”
      “Nope.” Hailan carefully shook his head. “Not me.”
      “I may not kill you with this,” Kex said through her teeth. She bore down enough to make him squirm. “But I will maim you – four perfect little cuts – and everywhere you go, from this day forward, everyone will know that Lady Kex took you down with a utensil.”
      “Oh,
Lady, is it?” Hailan said.
      “Don’t change the subject,” she said. “Where is my book?”
      “Hmm… Book?”
      “The Codex, damn it. Where is it?”
      Hailan raised his hands. “Xylo has it.”
      “Your sister?” Kex clicked her tongue.
      “She’s awful clever.”
      “She’s eight.”
      Kex felt his weight shift. She knew this maneuver. If he thought he was going to roll her, she had to ensure he was too frightened to try. She flicked her wrist, caught the fork with her left hand, and positioned it above his eye.
      His dilating pupils told her all she needed to know. He wouldn’t be moving. He might not dare to breathe.
      “It is my Mother’s book,” Kex said. “I want it back.”
      Hailan swallowed several gulps of air. “She’s a curious girl, my sister. You’re the only Elsekind she’s ever seen.”
      Kex hissed through her teeth. Hailan cringed.
      She said, “Xylo’s seen Alusians.”
      “That’s different,” he said. “You’re different. I mean, not
different, not like Halfkin different, but you’re not the same.” He moaned. “You know what I mean.”
      Kex eased back but kept the fork pointed at his face. Yes, she knew what he meant. All too well.
“With my permission, Xylo may borrow any object in my possession. But you will not take them without asking. Nod if you understand.”
      Hailan nodded. He looked like he might be sick.
      “Go now and fetch it back,” Kex said. She got to her feet and moved to the door. “I will meet you and Aralund on the pitch in one half hour.”
      Hailan massaged his neck. As she opened the door, he said, “Kex, I was only playing.”
      Though she saw his sincerity, she could not afford to soften. She said, “I know that. Which is why you I leave you unharmed.” With a smirk, she added, “Well. Mostly.”

 

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The Author:

Celeste HollisterCeleste Hollister is a novelist, a mom, a travel writer, and willing cat minion. She writes books for people who struggle with racial identity and LGBT+ representation. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in writing, taught in urban schools for a decade, and lived in South Korea for a year. She loves wine, cookies, traveling abroad, and fanfiction. Currently, she lives in San Marcos with her lovely boyfriend and fabulous daughter.

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