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Call Your Steel by G.D. Penman

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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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Excerpt:

 

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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October 10 – 31, 2017

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September 20 – October 15, 2017

 

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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Transcending Fire by Casey Moss

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Title: Transcending Fire
Series: New World Bikers Book 1
Author: Casey Moss
Genre: MC Romance, Dystopian, SciFi

 
Guest Post by Casey Moss:

The story’s journey

      This erotic, futuristic, dystopian story based around different motorcycle gangs has had quite a journey to get to this point. Today I’m sharing the two-plus-year jaunt this book went through to find a home. Luckily, it finally has!
 
Transcending-Fire-evernightpublishing-AUg2017-3D-eReader      I started writing this story in the spring of 2015 for a special line (a series based off of fairy tales) at another publisher. While doing some research, I found some interesting tales that immediately piqued my imagination, and the contact person at the publisher chose one from a list I’d submitted. When I started writing my version, the story just flowed out of me. I absolutely loved it! Then, when I was ready to submit, I reached out to the publisher to make sure I had all my ducks in a row and was told they’d closed that line and no longer were accepting submissions for it. Needless to say, I was pretty bummed. I took some time to put the story through another draft, expanding it twenty thousand words or so. In the beginning of 2016, I submitted it elsewhere and a couple weeks later, I learned that publisher was closing. So I withdrew it from that submission process and off it went to yet another publisher. After some lackluster communication on their part, and even though they were interested, we discussed my ideas for the “series” and then came to the conclusion that the “series” wouldn’t be a fit. I say “series” because I have the outlines for book 2 and book 3 done, but not the stories yet, and that didn’t fit their guidelines. They wanted all the books up front, and I don’t know how long it’ll take to write the next ones, so to be fair, we passed on each other. That was early summer 2016.
 
      To say I was disappointed in the whole submission process would be an understatement. I really liked this story, but I had a slight fear of putting it out there again. I put the story to the side, and after about a year and making sure it was still pretty, I sent it to Evernight, where it found its home. Even with all the trials the manuscript went through, I still love this story. It’s one of my favorites that I’ve written, and one that I didn’t get tired of during the editing process either. Yay! LOL!

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Here’s a brief blurb: A man dealing with an Earth in chaos. A woman from an alternate universe hoping to find her destiny. Two motorcycle gangs and a real bad ass who wants to ruin everything.
 
What’s not to like?
 
Now, without further ado, here’s the information about Transcending Fire…

—•—

 

TF-by CM-2kx3k_400x600Hunter Macario wants one thing—a place to belong. When given an opportunity to solidify his position in the Devil’s Thunder MC, he takes it.

Dragon’s Clan member, Safaia King, believes she’s found the man from her people’s legend and her dreams. She has one goal, even if he’s in a rival club—to make Hunter hers and keep him safe so he can fulfill their destiny.

After Hunter makes a huge mistake, he’s sent to where Safaia lives—an alternate universe called The Den. In this new world, sex, battles, and secrets abound. Hunter must survive The Den to right some wrongs or else he could lose everything he’s ever gained, including his home and Safaia’s love.

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Excerpt:

      The flames’ mesmerizing dance, the macabre song created by the crackles and pops, and the smell of death kept Hunter frozen to his spot. He wanted to help, knew he should pick up a bucketful of water or a hose and join the fray, but his immobile legs wouldn’t budge no matter the commands his brain sent them.
      There must be something in the smoke making me high. Either I really can’t move, or I’m losing my fucking marbles.
      He tried again to step forward, but still couldn’t.
      Ah, shit. I’m dreaming. Must be it. At least I hope that’s it.
      As if in answer to his thoughts, the world around him seemed to slow, become more surreal than it already was. The noises minimized into silence, yet people still rushed around him as if he were invisible, their mouths moving without voices emanating from them.
      Straight ahead, Hunter caught glimpses of a woman appearing and disappearing amongst the club members running back and forth in front of her. The ebony-haired beauty didn’t move. She stood there with a smile curling her lips.
      A hot, lusty bolt of desire surged straight to his cock. Yet beneath the instantaneous sensation lay something deeper. Dreaming or not, Hunter couldn’t quite put his finger on what he felt, but words like “connection” and “destiny” wisped across his mind.
      Their gazes locked. The lady winked and disappeared.
      The compound, except for the fire, was as it should be—club house, church, garage, barracks, factory, and some ancillary buildings—but the sky wasn’t gray. The constant hum from all the robotics and other machinery functioning in the city wasn’t present. He’d grown so accustomed to the white noise, the sudden silence almost hurt.
      Hunter shook his head, ran his palm over his face. Nothing seemed right anymore. The sky. The sounds. Even the air he breathed was different—lighter … less polluted.
      No one came up to him to check on him. Nobody questioned why he wasn’t helping.
      They all acted like he didn’t exist.
      Maybe I really don’t exist here. Maybe I’m still back in one of those foster homes and my life in Vegas has only been a fanciful dream.
      Nah. I’ve gotta be dreaming. I gotta…
      “Wake up, Hunter.”
      A weight bore down on Hunter’s shoulder, gripping his muscles like a pneumatic clamp.
      Even in a hazy state of mind, his instincts took over. Years of martial arts training had him shrugging out of the hold and spinning into a neutral stance, ready to defend and attack if need be. No matter what home he’d ended up in, he had always requested lessons. The type of discipline never mattered. The fact that he was learning a skill and had something of his own no one could take away from him had been all that’d counted.
      “Hey, boy.” Screw, an aging man, whose favorite way of dressing his scrawny body happened to be denim overalls, a bandana around his head holding back his stringy gray hair, and nothing else, held up his hands. “You know I’m a lover not a fighter.” He chuckled. “Too old and creaky to scuffle anyhow.”
      Hunter blinked. Gone was the blue sky and fire. The mechanized hum had returned as had the obsidian night. He stared at the head mechanic and lowered his arms. Last thing he’d ever want to do was harm the man he viewed as a father figure. “Screw. What? What’s going on?”
      “You tell me. You’re the one out here in your birthday suit.”
      “Birthday suit?” He glanced down at himself. Sure enough, he stood naked in the middle of the compound. “What the hell?”

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About the Author:
 
casey mossCasey Moss delves into the darker aspects of life in her writing, sometimes basing the stories on reality, sometimes on myth. No matter the path, her stories will take you on a journey from the light-hearted paranormal to dark things unspeakable. Casey’s passion lies in darker fiction. Her stories fall under the categories of horror, paranormal, suspense, thriller and urban fantasy. Sometimes there’s a blending of those genres in one story. Sometimes there are romantic elements within the books — be sure to note the rating. Some of the stories are even set within her home city of Las Vegas. But if she’s done her job right as an author, all the stories should set you on edge, leave you craving and wanting to explore more of the dark. What waits around the corner? Come explore…

Not in the mood for dark? Looking for romance and steamy sex? Check out Casey’s alter ego, C.R. Moss.

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Sandgirl’s Dream by Chrissy Moon

author pic with sandgirl kitHi, everyone! I’m Chrissy Moon, and I am very excited to tell you about my fourth novel release, my first in two years!

It’s called Sandgirl’s Dream, and it’s the sequel to my teen fantasy book, DayDreamer. Written as a standalone, it can definitely be read without reading its predecessor.

What was really fun for me in the creation of this book was taking the main characters from DayDreamer and rounding out their personas. I crafted layers to their backgrounds as well as that of their parents, and it can get pretty intricate. There’s so much selfishness and jealousy in Greek mythology that I pretty much had this vast playground to work with.

I have to say that this book isn’t as happy-go-lucky as DayDreamer. It’s still suitable for teens and pre-teens. It’s still devoid of cursing, adult situations, and drugs, and still has an overall light and sometimes funny tone to the narration. But this time around we see that some of our main characters aren’t always perfect or even good, which makes them a little more complete in my eyes.

As always, I enjoyed writing about Kayla’s adventures, and I hope you have fun reading it!

 

Sandgirl’s Dream

Moon-God-2-SANDGIRL-Cover-Final-A17-year-old Kayla lives in a town of cryptic identities, old mythological family backgrounds, and hundreds of secrets. Like most teens in Idyllwild, California, Kayla is Lyzicc – a human-looking child of two mythos beings, and a generation away from the darkness and magic of ancient lore.

Her mother, a former siren who sang men to their death – as well as her father, Der Sandmann of folklore – are inexplicably sucked into a sand sculpture one morning, leaving Kayla worried and confused.

Hale, the boy she’s seeing, and his fraternal twin, Collin, invite her to stay with them in their vast underground kingdom during her parents’ absence.

Added to this is an estranged best friend, an adopted little sister with a secret even she doesn’t even know about, a possibly-insane mythos grandfather (Father Time), and the fact that her new boyfriend’s mother wants to kill Kayla because of an ancient pact, you can bet her junior year in high school will finish with heartache, enchantment, and maybe even love.

Release Date: October 26th, 2017

Excerpt:

      One of the biggest slaps to the face that afternoon was that, after my parents’ disappearance and learning they were probably just taken by relatives for an emergency meeting, and after the mind-numbing education of the difference between Hades and the Ante-Kingdom, we still had to go to school. Well, at least according to Hale.
      At this moment though, I was experiencing a different sort of challenge. I was struggling with that uncomfortable question we all have to face at some point in our lives.
      Which direction should I burp in?
      I didn’t see a whole lot of solutions to my little problem, but I’d just have to improvise.
      We’d stopped by a fast-food place on the way to school when we saw that we probably wouldn’t get back in time for lunch. Feeling especially thirsty and hungry that day, I asked for an extra large soda, and to show off in front of the guys, I finished it in less than 5 minutes.
      I don’t know what in the world made me think that guzzling down a carbonated, sugary beverage at the speed of light would impress them. I don’t even think they noticed, so all it really did was make me terribly uncomfortable for my first class of the day, which was fifth period.
      Anyway, to make matters worse, I wasn’t in Government anymore with Howard Strayke, a great teacher and friend who couldn’t care less if you talked while you worked or cussed out loud, since he himself had been known to drop f-bombs during lectures. That semester had ended and my many classmates and I were now in Economics. There was a teacher shortage so we had to merge into one giant student lump for that class.
      I didn’t have anything against the idea of an economics class. I understood that it was important to learn how to handle money, or something. But my econ teacher was Mr. Jolston, and he was the opposite of Mr. Strayke in so many different ways.
      First, he was one of those teachers who was so strict and controlling, he wrote everyone’s names on their test sheets and gave them to us that way, instead of passing out blank test sheets and have everyone write in their own name, like we’d all been doing since we were kindergarteners. He was the kind of teacher who would tell us where exactly to place our backpacks and what items were allowed on our desktops. When we raised our hands to participate in class, our arms had to be sticking straight up with our hands flat and not curled, and our other arm had to be on top of our desks.
      Collin got in trouble when he flat-out asked the teacher, “Will we also need your express written consent to scratch our own butts?” Only he used a more colorful word in place of butts. Mr. Jolston had kicked him out of the class for the rest of the day, but as far as the rest of us in class could tell, that was more reward than punishment.
      Little bubbles of air kept wiggling up my throat every couple minutes as I sat in class now, trying my best to look like I was paying attention. So far, I’d been successful in swallowing these belches away, but they kept coming back with a vengeance. At times like this, I was very happy that I was in the back where at least not everybody in the junior class could see me or in this case, smell me.
      Still, there was someone sitting directly in front of me and kids sitting all around me. Mr. Jolston managed to fit about 40 desks inside his room and have ample space between rows, but as I’ve learned, regurgitated air that contained the combined smells of cola, hot dogs, and stomach acid can unfortunately travel pretty damn far.
      “Now, it seems as though nobody discussed the subject of investment to my satisfaction in yesterday’s homework. I won’t lie – I’m disappointed. To highlight this matter for you all, I’ve made another work sheet for homework tonight, and this time I want more discussion from each of you.”
      There were a lot of groans, which made Mr. Jolston frown, and at that point, the groans promptly stopped.
      I put my head down on the table and released a tiny burp toward the floor, figuring that was the only place it would remain undetectable. I waited a few moments, my ears sticking out like antennae, listening for sounds of disgust from the people around me. Satisfied that I hadn’t been found out, I slowly picked my head up and tried to pay attention in class.
      Oh god. Another little gas bubble was already shooting its way up my esophagus.
      “Ms. Isbethrie?”
      God, no. Not now.
      He nodded at me, which for him was almost the same thing as a smile. He didn’t have a reason to hate me yet, as I don’t typically mouth off to a teacher unless I have a perfectly good reason to. “Mr. Howell doesn’t seem to know, so I’m hoping you can save the day. What’s the difference between a bond and a share?”
      I immediately glanced at Miran Howell, who looked flustered and a little embarrassed. Miran was super nice and extremely cute, but he had some days that made you think he’d fallen out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down.
      Of course, I had my dull moments, too.
      “Uh…a bond is something that you…get…from a bank. Like a loan?” I tried to swallow down a burp, praying I would at least be half-correct in my response. More importantly, I hoped Mr. Jolston would take his eyes off me and leave me to belch in peace.
      I heard a laugh being stifled, and looked out of the other corner of my eye to see Ellington stuff his fist in his mouth, trying not to crack up. Then he shot his hand up in the air to volunteer to answer the question.
      Mr. Jolston sighed. Ell was definitely brilliant, close to genius I’d say, but our teacher didn’t like him because of his tendency to cause trouble. He didn’t like any of the guys, to be honest. If I were fearless, I would tell Mr. Jolston to stop picking on the guys just because he was jealous that he was obviously never cute, popular, or maybe even liked very much at all.
      I watched Mr. Jolston’s inner turmoil as he apparently struggled with the choice of letting Ell answer the question correctly, or torturing more students who obviously didn’t know the difference between a bond and a freaking share. After a moment, he sighed again and said,       “Yes, Mr. Burke?”
      Ell put his hand down. “A bond is when the government borrows money from you. It can take up to 30 years but you will get your money back regardless. A share is when you invest in a company, so the money you get depends on how well the company does, which is obviously riskier than a bond.”
      Mr. Jolston pursed his lips together in acceptance. “Thank you, Mr. Burke.” He walked around for a moment with his hands behind his back. “I think it’s pretty obvious that most of you are not learning anything or living up to your potential. Now, listen carefully, class. Do a lot of reading tonight in your textbook and convince me in your homework that you understand the review questions at the end of the chapter.” He paused to look at Miran, then glared at me. “This means you, Ms. Isbethrie.”
      I nodded and opened my mouth to respond, but a deafening belch punched out of me instead.
      Everyone laughed. I put my hands over my mouth and gasped, looking at Mr. Jolston and terrified as to what he was going to do. “I’m sorry! I meant to say, yes…Mr. Jolston.”
      His head moved a little bit as if he’d chuckled, but it didn’t show in his face. “Thank you for that…enlightening speech, Ms. Isbethrie.”
      I bit my lip and slouched down in my seat. When all eyes were off me, I grew bold and looked up at Hale, but as usual I could only see the back of his blond head. I wondered how this little incident would affect any future conversations about me that he would have with his friends.
      Hale’s friend: Hey, Hale. I want to tell you about my new girlfriend. She has almond eyes, soft brown skin, hair that smells like a summer breeze, and a singing voice that’ll knock your socks off. Aren’t you seeing a new girl too? What’s she like?
      Hale: Oh, you mean Kayla? She’s real gassy. Thanks for asking.
      So many times I wished I were more feminine – shorter, for starters. Being clumsy didn’t help either. I’ve seen those dainty girls who walked around school as elegantly as if they were accepting an Academy Award. Tripping on your own feet and falling butt-first on the cold hard ground wasn’t quite the same.
      And lastly, this gassy stuff has got to go. I’ve had enough of it. My mom used to tell me it was my food choices that did it.
      Oh. My mom. I missed her already.

 

DayDreamer

DAYDREAMER cover smallKayla’s sixteen and a half. And she’s Lyzicc. That means her birth parents are ancient mythos creatures who’ve been hiding out on Earth. She has no idea who they are. All she knows is that she has a strange new power that shows her the daydreams of others. Two of the cutest guys in school are competing for her attention. Hale is Lyzicc and is pretty tight-lipped about his background. Collin comes from a family whose dark obsession with the Lyzicc Community keeps Kayla guessing about his true intentions. Join Kayla as she hunts for the truth about herself and tries to survive high school at the same time!

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Author Bio:

Filipino American Chrissy Moon is passionate about learning languages, American history, and ancient civilizations.

A mom to a grown son as well as an 8-year-old son, Chrissy loves absorbing stories of all kinds, whether they’re from television or video games, and ranging greatly in genre.

Referred to as ‘bubbly’ by her author pals, she loves reading her friends’ fiction books as well as nonfiction related to women’s rights and civil rights.

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Chrissy Moon has written two adult novels and her short stories are included in a number of anthologies.

The Bends by Bart Hopkins

 

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Title: The Bends
Series: Kane Montgomery #1
Author: Bart Hopkins
Genre: Supernatural Thriller

The Bends Cover ebook 8-21-17 (3)_375x600Marathon is a quiet little Texas town, and it’s getting quieter. Kids are vanishing, disappearing like tumbleweeds in the desert wind.

Somebody—or something—is taking them.

Action. Adventure. Romance. Suspense. The Bends is a supernatural thriller rollercoaster ride!

Recommended for Fans of Blake Crouch, Stephen King, J.A. Konrath, and Dean Koontz

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Excerpt:

 
      “Sheriff, look at this,” Deputy Tom Slidell called out. He reached down and checked the body for a pulse. It was purely force of habit—no life could possibly remain in the bloated corpse in front of him.
      “Rattlers, Tom?”
      “Yeah, Sheriff … looks like she stumbled on a whole nest of ‘em.”
      “Hmm.”  Sheriff Bigsby eyed her body—puncture marks riddled the exposed flesh. He’d seen plenty of snakebites in his time—it was Southwest Texas after all—but this was the most vicious attack in his memory. “Sons-of-bitches were really ornery with her,” he remarked, pushing his mustache down thoughtfully with his thumb and forefinger. Tom knew that meant he was deep in thought and stood patiently at his side.
      The two of them wandered over to the truck in a comfortable silence. They’d been working with each other for a couple of decades, and Sheriff Bigsby had been friends with Tom’s father. They were, in their way, like an old married couple. An old married couple with matching mustaches and uniforms.
      “That’s a mess,” Tom said, looking inside the cab. Internal organs were splashed around the dashboard and seat like an abstract mural.
      “Yep,” Bigsby replied.
      “Hmph,” Tom grunted. “Don’t smell too nice, either.”
      “Nope,” Bigsby agreed.
      They stood together, each man lost in thought. The sheriff stroked his mustache again.
      “That’s the third one this year,” Tom remarked.
      “Yep.”
      “Same area, too,” Tom added. “Maybe there’s a connection.”
      Sheriff Bigsby raised an eyebrow and looked sideways at Tom. He’d been thinking the same thing. “Two times could have been a coincidence…”
      “But three—”
      “Three doesn’t smell right,” the sheriff finished for him. He squatted down and pulled a telescoping rod from his shirt pocket. Extending it, he poked around the inside of the truck. A flicker caught his eye. He reached in further, leaning the edge of his hand against the doorframe for support. Pushing from side to side, he was able to wiggle the object over without touching it.”
      “GPS,” Tom said.
      “Yep.”
      “Hmph,” Tom grunted.
      While they watched, the screen flickered to life … then turned off again.
      “Never trusted them things,” Tom said.
      “Me either,” Bigsby agreed. He brushed his fingers across his mustache again and thought about the three accidents they’d had along that part of Big Bend. He looked at the GPS. Then he looked at the truck again. For a second, he wondered if … maybe…
      “Oh, hell…”  He shook the thought out of his head. “Let’s get our guys out here and get this stuff collected up for the next of kin. After the forensics guys get done with it.”  He squinted and looked at the GPS—felt drawn to it—sort of wanted to touch it.
      “You got it, boss.”  He radioed in the sheriff’s request to the dispatcher, who arranged everything.
      The sheriff shook his head yet again. “Let’s get back to the SUV, Tom. We’ll wait for the forensics boys there.”

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About the Author:

bart hopkinsBart Hopkins is originally from Galveston, Texas, but has lived all over the world during his 22 years in the Air Force.

He was born in the middle of the 1970s, owned an Atari, and loves 80s music. He can use a card catalog like nobody’s business.

Now, Bart likes to travel, enjoys pretending he’s a photographer, and shares as much time as possible with his beautiful wife and three awesome children. They own a Westie Yorkie named Lulu … or maybe Lulu owns them.

Subscribe to Bart’s newsletter for updates on new releases and giveaways. For a limited time, you can download a copy of DEAD ENDS free when you subscribe!

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Guest Post by Bart Hopkins:

Something Interesting That Has Happened To Me

During the first nineteen years of my life, I really didn’t leave Texas. I didn’t know if I was missing anything in the big, wide world because I didn’t know any better, and my imagination was always running wild. After a year in college, I decided I was tired of the grind of working full-time and going to school, so I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, and fled the scene.

During the next (almost) twenty-three years, Mother Air Force sent me to many places. Nine of those years were overseas, eight being in Germany and one in South Korea. It was an amazing experience for this poor kid from Texas, and I just stumbled into it, like so many things in life … accidental.

Germany is centrally located to dozens of beautiful European countries. I visited some amazing places like Spain, Italy, Turkey, Croatia, Belgium, Czech, and France. I kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland. Swam in the cold waters of the Aegean Sea between Santorini and Kameni during a boat tour. Watched the Olympics in England. And, in “I’m your biggest fan” fashion, I staked out Bono’s house near Dublin, but only met the security guards … Bono was out of town, or so the security dudes told me. Probably just wanted to get rid of me. I didn’t know Enya lived nearby, or I would have visited her ridiculously huge house (castle), too.

Every now and then one of these places pops up in my writing. I penned a short story set in Budapest called Closing Time … a funny and creepy story about getting caught up in the thermal baths, after dark. How much of that story is true, and how much is fiction?

Now I’m back in Texas, I have more time to write, and I’m hoping I can connect with a lot of people who enjoy reading and escaping into the pages of a fun story. Or maybe you’d like to talk about Europe or writing or a dozen other things, and if so, I’m here for you, just a few clicks away.

  • Bart

 

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Evidence is Lacking. But I Still Hope

by Joan Enders

 
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cover smallJoshua Henry Bates, a young teacher of a country school, wonders if there will be more to his life. Yes, there are summers away from the farm, attending the University of Utah, dancing at Saltair, watching pictures shows, and eating ice cream on bone dry days.

In his journal he questions his future. He finds a young woman to love, but she is an ever-mutating mystery. His job seems to be a dead-end. His parents need his help more all the time.

Josh tries to change his life: cooling the relationship with his girlfriend, teaching in a new school, and registering for service in the American Expeditionary Forces.

Still, Joshua is filled with self-doubt. Will Josh marry the girl? Will he find a dazzling life mission? Will he be victorious in war? Each chapter contains one to thirty primary sources from the life of this young man drafted as a doughboy in the Meuse-Argonne Campaign.

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 Praise for the book:

”If you have ever searched for your own history, or a way to bring
history to life, this book is a masterpiece.”
Kelly Milner Halls, author of Saving the Baghdad Zoo

 

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Author Bio:

authorJoan Enders lives in Washington State with her husband Jerry, and loves the Pacific Northwest! For 28 years she taught literature and research skills in school libraries to middle and high school students, and advocated for full-time school librarians in every school. She was a recipient of the American Library Association’s Frances Henne Award for library leadership.

She loved her jobs, often to distraction. Once Joan stayed so late at the school library that the custodians waxed the floors, unaware that she was still upstairs. She crept out the least sticky exit. Joan now teaches librarians on webinars. When not teaching she administers the local Family History Center for FamilySearch International. She enjoys peeling back the research onion for students and adults. That was the motivation for her first book, which replicates her most popular inquiry lesson for U.S. History students and teachers. Joan speaks in her community, for professional organizations and at genealogy conferences.

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Top Ten List:

Joan’s Favorite Things

  1. Baby heads…so soft and sweet smelling
  2. Hummers sipping at my Hot Lips salvia
  3. Glendalough, Ireland
  4. Cruising…anywhere
  5. Road trips with my sister
  6. Popcorn and movies with the hubby
  7. Finding the perfect word
  8. Stars so bright they look like they can be touched
  9. Ocean waves at night
  10. Research (Okay.  I said it)!

 

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Legacy of Evil by Sharon Buchbinder

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Title: Legacy of Evil
Author: Sharon Buchbinder
Series: Hotel LaBelle Series Book 2
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: October 13, 2017

One battle, one outcome. Who will win? Good or evil?

perf5.000x8.000.inddWhen a wild mustang is shot in Montana, renowned horse whisperer and telepath, Emma Horserider, is called in to calm the herd and find out what happened. Once on scene she is almost killed by a bullet-spewing drone, and calls her black ops brother for back-up.

Emma’s help roars into her life covered in tattoos and riding a Harley. Remote viewer Bronco Winchester takes the assignment because he is ordered to, but he wonders what type of assistance, his boss’s sister needs. That is until he sees Emma, a valiant Warrior Woman proud of her Crow heritage.

Posing as a married couple, Emma and Bronco go undercover to infiltrate and stop a hate group. Both are anxious enough without the now growing attachment they feel for one another. When the lives of many are on the line, they are not sure if they will live or die—let alone have a chance at love.

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Excerpt:

Prologue
Wild Mustang Ranch, Montana/Wyoming Border

Emma Horserider pressed the gas pedal of her battered pick-up truck like a NASCAR driver in a dead heat with the devil. She hoped no mountain goats decided to go for a walk in the middle of the road winding around the side of the rocky cliff. She didn’t have time to stop and wait for the stubborn beasts to decide if they would charge her truck or get out of the way. She was on a mission to protect the horses she loved and help to keep them unfettered by human saddles and reins.

The call from Margie Hunter, the long-time director of the Wild Mustang Ranch, had been frantic, almost incoherent, “Terrible. Slaughtered. Horses panicked. Get here fast!”


A lump rose in her throat, and tears threatened at the recollection of Margie’s grief-strangled message. She shook her head.


“None of that nonsense, Horserider. Marines don’t cry.
Semper Fi!” As she shouted out the last words with a defiant whoop, she rounded the last bend in the road. Stunned at seeing the gates closed, she skidded to a halt in front of the white truck with the ranch logo parked dead center in the way. A string bean of a man in a worn Stetson, boots, and shearling vest leaned against the hood of the vehicle, a shotgun cradled in his arms.


“Holy crap.” She’d never seen anyone bearing arms out here, much less standing guard. Things must be even worse than she thought. Grateful she’d brought her trusty Mossberg, Emma rolled down her window.


“Thank God you’re here, Miss Emma.” Ralph, the director’s aged right hand man removed his hat and dragged the sleeve of his red plaid shirt across his pleated brow. “This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” The creases on his sun-weathered face deepened. “We have no idea how it happened. No one’s been up here except the employees.” He pointed at the video camera mounted on the gatepost. “Nobody came through this gate last night.
No one.


“Let me get in, see what’s going on.”


Shoulders sagging, he nodded and opened the gate. “Talk to them, Miss Emma,” he called as she drove through. “They trust you.”


Much as she kept her gift under wraps from the outside world, here in this equine sanctuary, everyone knew of her special bond with the animals. Her ancestor, Beautiful Blackfeather, would have called it horse medicine. Her brother Bert called it telepathy, in keeping with his work as Director of Homeland Security’s Anomaly Defense Division. No matter what other people called this ability, Emma had been born with an unbreakable sacred bond with horses, one handed down through generations of the Crow or Absaalooke people. When old age, sickness, or injury carried a mustang away, it was hard on the entire herd. But…


Death by violence?

 

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Author Bio:

sharon-buchbinderSharon Buchbinder has been writing fiction since middle school and has the rejection slips to prove it. An RN, she provided health care delivery, became a researcher, association executive, and obtained a PhD in Public Health. When not teaching or writing, she can be found fishing, walking her dogs, or breaking bread and laughing with family and friends in Baltimore, MD and Punta Gorda, FL.

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Guest Post by Sharon Buchbinder:

Five Things I’ve Tried but Will Never Do Again

While I have more, for this post I decided to go for some of the most ridiculous ones.

1. Rock wall climbing: Every year on my birthday, I try to do one thing that scares me. When I turned 60, I decided to try rock wall climbing. We belonged to a fitness center with a big one and those little kids were like armies of spider. Easy, right? After brief instructions, I harnessed up, put the climbing shoes on and began hauling myself up the wall. At the end of what felt like climbing Mt. Everest, I looked down to see I’d made it up one story. Slid down the rope and slunk out the door.

2. The Blue Man Group: In Las Vegas we were convinced this was a MUST SEE ACT. It’s not—unless you’re a 10 year-old boy and enjoy fake vomiting and wearing ponchos for the seats in the splash zone.

3. Cutting my Bangs: One time I became very frustrated with my bangs. It was late at night. I was annoyed. I had a pair of sharp scissors. Ever see Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda? Like that, only shorter and more crooked.

4. Owning a Boat: My husband came from a family that was active in power boating. His dad had boats, until he decided to do his own (terrible) repairs and disconnected the flying bridge and fell off the ladder. We decided if we were boating, we’d do better, get someone to maintain it for us. That’s good until you’re in the middle of a harbor with a bad cell connection trying to reach Sea-Tow for the third week in a row. Now we fish with a captain and he owns the boat.

5. Driving Cross-Country with a U-Haul Filled with Cats: Yes, you read that correctly. FULL OF CATS. A dozen (12) to be exact. You see, my husband and I had this crazy hobby, breeding and showing cats. When we moved from Albany, NY to Chicago, IL, there were no cat moving services, so we had to do it ourselves. We also had two dogs. To give the cats room for litter pans, food and water, we arrayed show cages on the walls of the truck. We also put a blow-up mattress between the cages so we could take turns driving and nap. As my husband took a nap, we had a massive jailbreak and twelve cats running around in the back of the van, along with some pretty excited dogs. Yeah, that was fun.

I hope you learned from my experiences—and had a chuckle or two.

 

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Necromance by Armand Rosamilia

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Title:
Necromance
Author: Armand Rosamilia
Genre: Supernatural Horror

 
Necromance print_424x600My name is Cheri Rose Thorne.

I spend my life hunting Vamps and Fiends and killing them, but my main goal has always been to destroy my evil father while keeping my sisters at bay.

Sex, drugs and rock and roll keep me going. Oh, and killing things.

This supernatural horror thriller will keep you turning the pages. I promise.

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Excerpt:

 
Bad Omen

I knew why I’d been drawn here the moment I saw him across the dance floor, his eyes trying to keep pace with the sweaty women surrounding him. I hoped he wouldn’t know who or what I was until it was too late.

My name is Cheri Rose Thorne, and that is my real name. Long story short: my father is a necromancer and my mother was a stripper. Combine the magic and the body and you get moi.


I’d only been in Florida for twelve hours before I sensed him. They can’t help it or even know they’re doing it. Unfortunately, I can’t stop myself from getting what I call ‘The Itch’; it starts behind my ears and runs up into my head and down my spine, as if I had stepped in a field of poison ivy, and the closer they are the more intense it becomes. The good thing is I always know I’m close because it suddenly stops and calm washes over me and then it’s just a matter of time to figure out who it is and how close I am.


This guy would have been easy to spot, even if I didn’t have senses; he was dressed like he was an extra in Scarface, with slicked-back hair and sun-kissed skin. His eyes were the real giveaway, the color of the ocean a hundred feet from the club and darting furiously around him for his next victim. He was tall and built and, despite his tired wardrobe of beige suit with matching Capezio shoes and white tie, he was good-looking.


Yeah, he was hot and he knew it. Most of the time these guys are average at best, but they use their powers to deceive women into thinking they are amazing. This one wasn’t using anything but his natural charm on the dance floor and that made him dangerous. Who knew what trick he had up his sleeve? It didn’t matter to me. Good-looking or not, I had to take care of him.


The fact that this one was hot was just a perk of the job, because, before it was all over, I’d probably sleep with him. I knew it and he was about to know it.


I took my time getting near him, preferring to lazily circle around him, ignoring the men who offered to buy me drinks or wanted to chit-chat while staring at my nice and natural boobs. I knew I was dressed to kill and that sometimes becomes a distraction. I remember this one time in Baltimore… well, that’s a story for another time.


I moved from the bar to his left to the one directly behind him, casually watching him the entire time out of the corner of my eye. I didn’t know how long he’d been here and if he’d chosen someone yet. I didn’t want to turn around, after ordering a Jaeger-Bomb, and find out he’d left in a hurry.


“Hi, can I buy you a drink,” some random jerk asks me, blocking my view.
I looked him over quickly and then pushed him to my left. “I’m a lesbian.”


“Cool.” That seemed to get him even more excited.


I looked him in the eye. At six foot, I’m a tall drink of water and this guy was at least three inches shorter than me. I looked down into his eyes, I should say. “I’m not interested. Please go away.”


“One drink won’t hurt,” he smiled hopefully.


“Last chance to get lost,” I sneered. I don’t like to be mean and don’t like to draw attention to myself, but that’s exactly what I’d done. I moved away from him but it was already too late. My mark had seen me and was staring as I went to the bar and ordered that Jaeger-Bomb.


“My name is Michael.”


I looked to my side to see that the jerk trying to buy me a drink was still there. Just my luck, I can’t shake this idiot. “What part of get lost are you not getting?”


He actually laughed at that. “I get it. You’re a tough chick who dresses provocatively and gets off on shooting guys down. I’m cool with that. I’m guessing your mother never hugged you?”


“What?” I had to ask. This jerk was asking for a beating.


“Women fall into two categories for me, those that hate their mother and take great pride in shooting guys down, and those that hate their father and take great pride in finding jerks to sabotage any relationship they have. I’m thinking you’re the former?”


“I’m thinking you’re a douche-bag.” I grabbed his junk and squeezed, smiling as his eyes bulged and he strained to get away from me. “Last warning and I am not kidding.”


“All you had to say was no thank you,” he managed in a whisper.


I released his paltry manhood and grinned. “No, thank you.”


He tried not to rub himself or cry, which I respected, as he walked quickly away toward the bathrooms.


I turned and, sure enough, my target was gone. The group of women dancing around him had dispersed and a new group was shaking it to a lame techno beat.

 

 

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About the Author:

Cthulhu and MeArmand Rosamilia is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he writes when he’s not sleeping. He’s happily married to a woman who helps his career and is supportive, which is all he ever wanted in life…

He’s written over 150 stories that are currently available, including horror, zombies, contemporary fiction, thrillers and more. His goal is to write a good story and not worry about genre labels.

He not only runs two successful podcasts…

Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast – interviewing fellow authors as well as filmmakers, musicians, etc.

The Mando Method Podcast with co-host Chuck Buda – talking about writing and publishing

But he owns the network they’re on, too! Project Entertainment Network

He also loves to talk in third person… because he’s really that cool.

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Guest Post by Armand Rosamilia:

Necromance: Creating A Memorable Character

The original concept for Necromance was six sisters, all with different powers, going against their ruthless father. I envisioned sisterly arguments and funny moments dredging up their past together. I wanted them to be related but at one another’s throats for an added conflict in the story. Who cares about siblings that get along, right?

But as I started to flesh out the sisters in my head I hit a wall. With so many points of view I was afraid the story would get watered down. The reader would need a cheat sheet to follow along as they helped one another doing battle with their father and his demonic henchmen.


Then it hit me… what if the sisters, except for one, were in league with dear old daddy?


It made perfect sense.


I began pouring my energy into creating Cheri Rose Thorne, the main character in the story. I wanted this to be personal. Get inside her head and her head only.
First person POV seemed like a great idea at the time. It offered so many challenges, though. With only being inside one character’s thoughts and only being able to see what she saw, it meant the comings and goings of her sisters and others would go unnoticed unless she was with or around them.


I think the challenge was worth it once the story was completed, and it led me as a writer to really challenge myself to make sure it all made sense in the end.


Cheri became not only the main focus of the story but a character I enjoyed writing. She’s arrogant and scared, tough and weak, focused and worrying she’s doing the wrong thing at times. She’s so much more than a cliché hot chick with a gun you see in movies and read about too much.


She’s also not shy about her sexuality. Even though her life has been hard, fraught with battles that are supernatural and otherworldly, she can still have a good time with men and women. She has a sexual appetite. Something as small as all of her sisters trying to kill her, sent by a maniacal father, isn’t going to stop her from downtime and fun.


Along with her not just being a super warrior, I wanted her to have normal problems. Just like everyone else. Too often I’d read about these super people who conveniently had endless cash at their fingertips and could spend it freely without recourse.


Cheri Rose Thorne spends most of her off-time from killing Vamps and Fiends trying to scrape up a few bucks for the next meal or a gallon of gas to take her to the next adventure.


Normal life getting in her way was another memorable character trait I had fun with.


What other things make Cheri memorable to the reader?


I guess you’ll just have to read it for yourself.

 

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