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Saturday Spotlight

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The 12 Terrors of Christmas
by Claudette Melanson

 
36383570Award-winning author Claudette Melanson offers eleven new and original stories to make your skin crawl at any time of the year. This horror anthology also includes an original short by Amazon International Best-Selling Author, Lynn Lamb, titled “Bring Me Flesh and Bring Me Wine.” A special bonus story is also included by Melanson, “Mislead,” previously published only on the Halloweenpalooza blog. Grab a cup of cocoa and make sure the windows and doors are locked tight as you settle in by the fire to enjoy these tales of terror, but be warned…locks have never succeeded at keeping Santa from gaining entry. If you enjoy a slice of horror with your holiday cheer, this collection of Christmas horror shorts will satisfy all your dark cravings during the holidays…and beyond.

Terror One: Who is Santa really? Does something sinister lurk beneath the red suit and apple-cheeked visage? More importantly, what does Santa want for Christmas?
Terror Two: It is said that every wish bears a cost…even a wish of good intent. What do Detective Talbot and his son, Mallory, stand to lose when the pair seek to right a wrong on Christmas Eve?
Terror Three: Christmas can be a time for great joy…but also for heart-wrenching regret. Can the magic of Christmas Eve turn back the clock before time runs out for Morana and her family?
Terror Four: Snow falls white and clean, seeming to purify the small town of Moon, Pennsylvania, but the woods behind Vaughn’s home have taken on a sinister cast. The snow keeps falling in record-breaking depths, but does evil lay hidden beneath its seemingly-innocent luster?
Terror Five: As his elves scurry to fill the toy orders for the busy season, unknown terror creeps toward the workshop intent on releasing an evil meant to cancel Santa’s yearly deliveries forever.
Terror Six: A well-meaning elf casts a spell which could inadvertently reveal the dark truth about Santa’s workshop and its inhabitants. The world’s children may end up paying a terrifying price, proving that the path of good intention oftentimes does indeed lead to hell.
Terror Seven: A scary twist on a classic Christmas poem
Terror Eight: Santa’s sleigh plummets to the ground, tearing all hope of a merry Christmas to bits and pieces. Will the elves be able to employ enough magic to stitch together some sort of solution? Or will their efforts only deliver greater horror and loss?
Terror Nine: Trinette is preparing to celebrate her first Christmas in love. Her boyfriend says he found the perfect gift for her, but beneath the shiny red paper and ribbon lies a secret he’s kept hidden during all the months of their courtship…
Terror Ten: The world’s population explosion means business is booming at Santa’s workshop, with the need to expand making a difficult excavation below the permafrost necessary. But the elves should use caution lest they dig up an evil best left buried.
Terror Eleven: A special holiday treat for Maura DeLuca fans! Riptide ended on a happy note, but how did Maura’s extended family celebrate Christmas? Could it be that the holiday didn’t quite play out the way the vampires planned?
Terror Twelve: It’s a dangerous time to call oneself a non-believer. Those who scoff at Santa’s existence are melting all over the world. But could the benevolent head elf turn out to be the murderer?

Vampires, ghosts, demons, elves, werewolves, serial killers and a rampaging Krampus are just a few of the monsters creeping amongst the pages of The 12 Terrors of Christmas. Are you brave enough to venture inside to experience the flip side of the typical Hallmark-themed Christmas?

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My Review:

A wonderfully creepy take on Santa… and Christmas.

I enjoyed these 12 dark and disturbing stories that explore a less than jolly side of the holiday season.
The short stories include zombie elves, were-deer and vampires to name but a few, and many of the tales were interlinked which added to the interest.

This is a well-written and descriptive anthology, and an entertaining read.

 

The Author:

Claudette MelansonClaudette Melanson writes dark fantasy in Kitchener, Ontario with seven bun babies: Tegan, Pepper, Butters, Beckett, Sansa, Daenerys, & Caramel. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a BA in English, BS in English Education and an MA in Literature. Harboring a deep admiration of vampires since the age of five left her with the desire to eventually become one, and now fuels the creation of her favorite paranormal characters. She hopes to one day work full time as an author, since there are many, many stories playing out inside her head.

In her very scant spare time, she enjoys watching Japanese Anime and reading vampire stories…along with other genres of great fiction, as well as riding every roller coaster she encounters in both her hometown and away at signings. An advocate for good health and ketogenic eating, her favorite foods are bulletproof coffee, cashew-flour crust pizza and treats made with xylitol and almond, coconut or cashew flours.

Future dreams include a cabin boasting a roaring fire, isolated inside a snow-filled wood in the Yukon—the perfect writing spot—and the completion of dozens of future novels and stories. A Rabbit Rescue fanatic and loving bunmom, she also hopes to help rescues all over the world save many innocent lives.

In her spare time–what’s that???–she loves to watch anime, game the XBox 360–especially Silent Hill Games, read great works of fiction & play with the bunnies. Coffee Lover, occasional blogger, Keto eater & movie watcher.

Her first novel, Rising Tide, was the winner of the Gold Medal for YA Mystery in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Competition. Her second, Undertow, took Honorable Mention, for YA Horror the same year for Readers’ Favorite. Rising Tide was also the medalist winner for New Apple’s Summer Ebook competition.

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Saturday Spotlight

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The Coven Heir
by Lily Luchesi

 
41573098The Dark never dies.

One year after The Company of Clan Munro was defeated, things in the UK Coven are settling down, and also beginning to be shaken up.

The Princess, Harley Sinclair, is building her potion business and planning a wedding to James Quigley, while still taking lessons from her father, the Coven King.

Her younger half-brother, Nick Smith, is moving to London with three friends … including Roger Ainsley, the son of the former leader of the Dark.

When a mysterious stranger appears back from the dead, his words of warning of another Dark Clan rising might change Nick and Harley’s lives forever.

There’s a deathwitch in the Coven, and she has her sights set on the Princess.

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My Review:

In the second book of The Coven Series, we rejoin Harley and her friends as they move on from school to adult life, and the storyline matures alongside them.

Harley is still the main character, but we get to know more about Bane, Nick, Roger and Daria as they play larger roles in this story.

The non-stop action keeps you turning the pages, as you wonder what will happen next and how Harley and co. will respond.

I love Harley, she is inspiring, badass, and definitely not a quitter!

 

The Author:

lilyluchesiLily Luchesi is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing. She also has short stories included in multiple bestselling anthologies, and a successful dark erotica retelling of Dracula. She is also the editor, curator and contributing author of Vamptasy Publishing’s Damsels of Distress anthology, which celebrates strong female characters in horror and paranormal fiction. She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she’s not writing, she’s going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga. And drinking copious amounts of coffee.

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Time Will Tell by Les Lynam

TimeWillTell

 

…Before You Leap

Before You LeapBook 1

Two teens from two centuries apart, one the direct descendant of the other. Einstein’s Theory didn’t cover THIS relativity.

Sean Kelly considered himself an average 16-year-old, living in an average neighborhood in a small University town. Nothing too exciting ever happened in Grover’s Corners, Missouri; some might even label it boring. His ordinary life was disrupted when a distant relative dropped by at the beginning of his Junior year in high-school. A distant relative from the 23rd Century.

Two 16-year-olds in a time machine. What could possibly go wrong?

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My Review:

A well-written and humorous read.

The characters were brilliantly described, completely believable and come alive as you read.

I loved Sean’s reaction to the science behind time travel, which was interesting and not overly complicated.

Ther was no great cliffhanger at the end, but it was left open for another book, which I’ll be more than happy to read

This book was so much more than your typical sci-fi/time-travel novel.

 

…Saves Nine

Saves NineBook 2

Sean Kelly and LX travel back one more generation to the year 1969. The question is: will either teen know how to ‘make the scene’ in the sixties? Can they blend in with the other teens in tiny Mercer, Iowa; including Sean’s dad? When they return to 1995, both of them have regrets about the past.

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My Review:

Wow! Amazing! I loved this book!

If you read and enjoyed …Before You Leap read this! In my opinion, it’s even better.

The plot is fascinating and the writing outstanding.

The characters from book one continue to develop, and the characters new to this book are well fleshed out.

How the author keeps all the toing and froing between different times straight in his mind while writing it so that it’s completely understandable for the reader is beyond me.

I can only hope that Les Lynam can also travel through time so that the next book in the series will be waiting for me when I finish this book yesterday!
(He couldn’t – I had to wait)

 

…In One Basket

In One BasketBook 3

After her relocation from 1969, Jane joins LX and Sean in an attempt to kidnap a clone from the Schattenwelt space station in the year 2169. Sean is shocked to find that he has already been there twice, but even more surprised by the team leader.

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My Review:

Another great, fun-filled book from Les Lynam !

Having read the first two books of the series I was looking forward to reading …In One Basket, and I was not disappointed.

The book follows on from where the second book ended and I was pulled straight back into the story.

My old friends Sean, Jane/Kate and LX are back and better than ever, and I loved the surprising development of Steffi’s character.

It was an exciting and enjoyable read, filled with non-stop action and unexpected twists!

 

Meet The Author:

Les LynamLes Lynam (1954- ) was born in Creston, Iowa, into a farming family which also included an older brother and two older sisters. The family farm was near the tiny community of Corning, Iowa, (birthplace of Johnny Carson).

After graduating from Corning High School, he attended Central Missouri State University (renamed University of Central Missouri in 2006), graduating in 1976 with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications.

After a short, mostly unsuccessful, attempt at running a print shop, he refocused and returned to a life of studies at the University of Missouri. He received an M.A./M.L.S in 1986 and began a new career as a librarian at Ward Edwards / James C. Kirkpatrick libraries at UCM. He took an early retirement on December 31, 2012 to pursue his lifelong dream of writing Science Fiction.

His premier novel, “…Saves Nine”, was first published in 2014 with hopes and dreams of many more to come. His favorite sub-genre of Science Fiction is Time-Travel, with Martian Colonies a close second.

He has one son and three grandchildren.

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Gazelle in the Shadows by Michelle Peach

Gazelle in the Shadows

Gazelle in the Shadows is a new political thriller by Michelle Peach. The novel takes place in Syria and is largely based on the authors real life experiences.

“For many years, I have wanted to write this book. The story is largely based on my life,” says Michelle Peach, author of Gazelle in the Shadows. “Although a majority of the novel is entirely true, there are parts that are fictionalized.”

 

Gazelle in the ShadowsIn the mid 90s, Elizabeth Booth, a young British college student studying Arabic at Durham University, travels to Damascus to immerse herself in the Syrian language. Taken aback by the generosity and kindness of the people there, she easy slips into a life in the ancient city. She has friends, her studies, and even a handsome boyfriend. But things aren’t always as they seem. Soon, in a world where mistrust and disloyalty are commonplace, Elizabeth finds herself navigating a web of lies, betrayals, and a murder involving MI6, deadly terrorist factions, and the shadowy Syrian secret police.

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Excerpt:

From the Prologue –

When I traveled to Syria as a Durham student in 1992, I knew very little about the country. From the onset, I was overwhelmed by their welcome. But the longer I stayed in Damascus and especially when I started working for Dr. Andrew Rathmell, as his Arabic translator and assistant researcher, the more I understood of Syria’s tumultuous and violent history. At the time, Hafez al-Assad, the President of Syria since 1971, was at the height of his autocratic power and the country was in a state of relative calm since the end of the Gulf War in 1991. His vast security apparatus was evident on every street corner whether army, police or civilian informants. My travel guide dedicated an entire page to the various types of mukhabarat, secret police, present in the country but also reassuringly wrote that Syria was a “safe” country for travelers. Not so obvious was the fear, paranoia and suppression which his people lived under…

 

Praise for Michelle Peach’s Gazelle in the Shadows:

“Compellingly realistic and packed with both psychological and physical action, Gazelle in the Shadows adds an extra layer of cultural understanding to its espionage thriller theme.”

-D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

 

“Peach integrates myriad plot developments into her exciting and ambitious work … The central conceit is both original and compelling.”

-BookLife Prize

 

“Michelle Peach brings Syrian culture and cityscapes to life with her descriptions and characters… the author is able to accurately capture a specific moment in Middle Eastern history that still has ramifications on modern-day Syrians. For those looking for a glimpse into new cultures with a taste of a spy thriller, Gazelle in the Shadows will both warm your heart and send shivers down your spine.”

-Red City Review

 

“Gazelle in the Shadows is both a coming of age story and a reflection of life in the looking glass world of Hafez al-Asad’s Syria. While told through an intensely personal lens, Michelle’s story provides a sideways look at a Syria that is now gone but also hints at some of the underlying factors that contributed to the country’s ongoing agonies. The book is an unusual combination of bittersweet student memories, geopolitical machinations, and “factionalised” adventures; well worth a read.”

–Dr Andrew Rathmell, Author of Secret War in the Middle East: The Covert Struggle For Syria 1949 -1961

 
 

About the Author:

Michelle Peach - Author HeadshotMichelle Peach graduated from Durham University in 1995 with a B.A. in Arabic with Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. During 1992, she spent her second year of college studying abroad at the Arabic Teaching Institute for Foreigners in Damascus. Since then, Michelle’s love for Syria has never been far from her thoughts. When the unrest began in 2011, her determination to start writing Gazelle in the Shadows intensified. “I was distraught and appalled by the suffering of the people and by the destruction of its historical sites in Aleppo, Palmyra, Bosra, Homs, Damascus and elsewhere. I know that many will not have the opportunity to see the sights of Syria due to the ongoing conflict, but I hope that through my story readers can enjoy the cities, landscapes and culture of Syria.” Gazelle in the Shadows is set to be released in September 2018, published by IngramSpark.

Michelle lives in Atlanta, GA. She is a stay-at-home mom, married with three children.

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Saturday Spotlight

Northern Witch by K.S. Marsden.jpg

 
Winter Trials and Awaken
Books 1 & 2 of Northern Witch by K.S. Marsden

 

Winter Trials

Winter Trials

 
With Midwinter just around the corner, Mark’s Nanna decides that it is time he learnt more about his family heritage. Learning witchcraft shouldn’t be too difficult, right?

Balancing school, magic, and the distractions of the gorgeous new guy, should make this a very interesting winter.

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Winter Trials is available for free – at this time

 

 

 

My Review:

Winter Trials is an entertaining quick read, and a great start to the series. It’s a sweet and spooky short story, with a lot of content – action, danger, and romance!

The book is well written and the author breathes life into the characters.

We get to know Mark (and his friends), as he begins learning witchcraft from his Nanna, the head of a coven, and meets Damien, the gorgeous new boy at school.

With the support of his best friends, Harry and Sarah, and his nanna’s coven, Mark tries to help Damien overthrow the demon which wants to possess him.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and moved straight on to book 2, Awaken.

 

Awaken

Awaken

 
Mark has everything he ever wanted. He is training to be a fully-fledged witch; and he is dating the hottest guy at school.
But events from last winter have set things into motion that he is not prepared for.

Witches, demons, and danger come together to prove that this… this is only the beginning.

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My Review:

The second book of the series picks up where book one finished. This book has a darker feel to it than the first.

Mark has a hard time coping as his boyfriend is possessed by a demon that causes trouble as it gets a stronger hold on Damien. Misunderstanding causes a rift between Mark and his friends, Harry and Sarah. On top of which, the other students and residents are scared of him, as they think he’s using dark magic.

All in all an exciting read that doesn’t let up until the last page – which left me wanting to know more!

 

 

The Author:

35486042_602790366769190_1403381745084006400_nKelly S. Marsden grew up in Yorkshire, and there were two constants in her life – books and horses.
Graduating with an equine degree from Aberystwyth University, she has spent most of her life since trying to experience everything the horse world has to offer. She is currently settled into a Nutritionist role for a horse feed company in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

She writes Fantasy stories part-time. Her first book, The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter #1), was published in January 2013, and she now has several successful series under her belt.

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The Christina Lafage Chronicles

The Christina Lafage Chronicles

 

Widdershins

Book 1

WiddershinsWiddershins introduces a strong female character in the horror genre-Christina Lafage, an eighteenth century French girl who sells her soul for the fierce power of the black arts. Christina’s world is filled with spell casting, black magic, distant lands and intense power. The story unfolds with Christina’s introduction into the black arts by a mysterious benefactor that she meets in a wooded grove. This benefactor, Madame Duchamp, takes Christina under her wing and teaches her to use the powers of the occult and bend the laws of nature to her will as they provide spells and services for the wealthy aristocrats of Paris. At first she struggles with her newly acquired power and with her own feelings of doubt and apprehension until a grave situation forces her to conquer fear and doubt. Christina’s power continues to grow and explodes into an electrifying series of events that lead her to Egypt where her power is put to the ultimate test.

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Solitary Fire

Book 2

Solitary FireSolitary Fire continues to follow Christina Lafage along the left handed path to Vienna where wealthy nobleman, Paul Mrzak promises her and Madame Duchamp unimaginable riches and a string of affluent clients at his castle in Hungary. Paul’s castle offers much intrigue and deception that feeds Christina’s own suspicions about Paul’s true motive behind his generous invitation.

Christina’s power continues to blossom and fascinate the nobles of Paul’s court, who flock to her for all manners of occult services. But it is Paul’s own request and the promise of a substantial fortune that lead Christina deeper into the black arts where strange visions and feelings of destiny haunt her dreams. Meanwhile, Paul’s plan begins to unravel, bringing sinister secrets to light, however it is not only Paul harboring secrets as Christina confronts her master, Lucien, about her intensifying visions. Can the intimacy that she and Lucien have come to share prepare Christina for the whole shocking truth?

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Path of Shadows

Book 3

Path of Shadows

 
Christina Lafage has mastered the Black Arts, but there are those who seek to destroy such power and still others who covet it. No quarter is given to any rival or the secret society sent to destroy her as she hones her craft and strengthens her power. The opportunity to possess a precious artifact that can awaken her memories of past lives and the fall from paradise presents itself to her, but also raises the stakes for her enemies.

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Author Information:

3115889Eve Lestrange lives in a quiet suburb where haunting visions and dreams visit often. After a determined yet frustrating career as a musician with The Empire Hideous, she turned to writing as a more desirable creative outlet. Eve loves the creative control that writing gives her but it is a deep and passionate love for music that ignites her imagination and plants the visions that ripen into imaginative tales. Whether poetry, short story or novel there’s always some inspiring music playing when she is writing. Eve has always been drawn to writing – first to poetry, then to short stories and finally to novels. Writing gives her the creative freedom to explore whatever macabre phantoms descend upon her imagination. Eve mostly enjoys writing horror stories that take place in a historical setting, as she has a deep interest in history and archaeology.

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Lightning Crashes and Golden Ashes

by Valarie Savage Kinney

Picture1

 
***Brand New Release***

41075791The Dealanach Anáil were being hunted.

The ancient race of giants with a talent for breathing golden lightning are being slaughtered throughout Scotland. Aurelius had hoped his infant daughter would not inherit his superhuman traits, but in this regard he was disappointed. There is no safe place to hide her in 18th century Scotland, so Aurelius takes his child to the only place he knows the hunters will not find her: hundreds of years in the future, to America.

Copper has grown into an angry young woman. Once she comes into her powers, she unleashes a torrent of fury on innocents. In her wake lies a trail of death, covered in golden ashes.

When the father who abandoned her returns – along with a sister she never knew existed- sparks fly.

But their personal feuds must be set aside when they realize the terrible truth: once again, the hunters have found them

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About The Author:

Picture2

 

Valarie Kinney is a writer, fiber artist and Renaissance Festival junkie with a wicked caffeine addiction. She resides in Michigan with her husband, four children, and two insane little dogs. Author of Heckled, Slither, Just Hold On, and the Secrets of Windy Springs series, as well as short stories included in various anthologies.

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My Review is on its way – I’m about 50% through and enjoying it immensley!