Category Archives: Blog

Recommended Reads

Check out this weeks amazing books, as highlighted in my newsletter! As always, clicking on the covers will take you to Amazon.con 🙂

The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives

Nobody said being married was easy, but try being married to a superhero. Not only is there laundry, cooking, and a career to balance, but throw in a few supervillains and your day’s booked.

Ariana, Victoria, and Emma’s men spend more time saving the world than doing dishes. These wives want some semblance of a normal married life, but would settle for an uninterrupted meal together. Besides, how can they compete with saving the world?

When a catastrophic earthquake devastates Shadow Town and crime spirals out of control, it appears the city needs all the help they can get to clean it up. Everyone expected the resident superheroes to save the day, but nobody expected the wives’ help too…

 

The Vampire Diaries: Bennett Witch Chronicles – Egyptian Cat Eye

 

When I traveled to Egypt on a mission to rescue a young witch, I thought it would be nothing more than a simple snatch and grab. Instead, what I found was a vengeful god determined to get the attention of the entire world and a girl who was much more than merely a witch. Add a magical cat’s eye gemstone choker to the mix, and things seem pretty dire. But I didn’t volunteer for this mission just to back down when things look like they’re going to be difficult.
Pulling myself up by my bootstraps, I follow my locator spell to the Pyramids of Giza, and that’s when things get dicey. I know I need to get this witch back to Mystic Falls and the Salvatore Boarding School for the Young and Gifted, but that’s going to prove to be more tricky than any of us were planning on.

ABOUT THE SERIES

With her magic restored, her best friends living happily ever after together as humans, and the love of her life waiting patiently for her on the other side, Bonnie Bennett is not going to just sit around and let her life pass her by. She’s off to see the world! Join Bonnie as she journeys around the globe, encountering supernaturals in the most unexpected of places.

The Bennett Witch Chronicles is a collaborative series within The Vampire Diaries Kindle Worlds. Go to http://bennettwitchchronicles.com for more information.

 

Mad About The Dragon

Love must rise in a desert of adversity…

Maia isn’t your run-of-the-mill lass.

A professional dancer with the Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas, her vision is becoming the most skilled dancer of the troupe. Life might have been easier if she just jumped on the pole, becoming the lascivious focus of randy men, and certainly more lucrative in the short term, but that life wasn’t for her.

When she needs to clear her mind, she collects desert glass in the Mojave Desert. But the desert doesn’t always give you what you want. Sometimes it gives you what you need.

A Red Dragon.

Maia had no idea her strange hobby will bring her face-to-face with a freakishly handsome dragon shifter, an encounter that will turn her world on its head.

From the moment she met Ignacio, she knew she was down for the ride. She’d never met anyone with such fiery passion, mystery, and she couldn’t get enough. Who knew that passion would open the floodgates of love, but may also bring about their downfall?

Mad About The Dragon is the first novel in the paranormal romance, Dragon In My Heart series which is for your enjoyment. If you’re a fan of thrillers, exciting storylines and steamy love scenes, then get your hands on this exhilarating story by Selene Griffin!

** You can also check out, The Dragon in Between a FREE story in the Dragon Heart Series on bookfunnel! **

 

Giveaway

There’s still also time to enter my monthly giveaway.

Just answer the simple question below, to enter (no purchase necessary, answer available in the Amazon look Inside).

Recommended Reads

Check out these recommended reads and deals, as highlighted in my newsletter! Clicking on the covers will take you to Amazon.com.

Mila Young has two books in the Haven Realm series, to share with you: Hunted and Charmed. Each is a fairy tale retelling and can be read as standalone stories.

Hunted

Little Red Riding Hood. Three Big Bad Wolves. A Poisonous Scheme.

Scarlet, a healer, lives nestled in the forest surrounded by humans on one side and wolves on the other. But when a rogue wolf attacks her, she’s rescued by another pack and taken deep into their den to perform her healing magic on an injured Alpha.

The wolves in the forest are under threat from a mysterious affliction, and Scarlet is the only hope they have left. Faced with a mixed pack of threatened shifters, Scarlet must use her wits and magic to survive and unravel the strange affliction now affecting the wolves… All while trying to navigate an overpowering attraction to not just one, but three of the Alphas.

Witches, wolves, magic and love intertwine in an exciting mystery that finds its own, unique, ‘Happily Ever After.’

Charmed

Arabian Nights. Three Dangerously Sexy Genies. A Deadly Sorcerer.

Abandoned by her mother at a young age, and left to survive in the slums of the Utaara, Azar must steal for survival. Sure, a life of crime has no honour, but if it feeds her brother, she’ll do whatever it takes. Whispers speak of a desert cave where the Sultan stores all his treasure. Stealing some jewels is worth the risk to afford the medicine to cure her brother’s illness.

In the depths of the Sultan’s cave, she finds a brass lamp and unleashes three gorgeous genies. Except they are weakened from being trapped in the lamp for hundreds of years, and of not much use. Azar’s plans turn for the worse when they are captured by the Sultan’s evil vizier, who wants the genie’s power to feed his dark magic. Can she defeat the vizier, resist the genie’s allure, and save her brother before it’s too late? Or will they all meet their fate at the hands of the vizier?

Moon Cursed

My name is Charlotte Lear and I didn’t want to be a werewolf. But thanks to circumstances totally beyond my control—okay, mostly—that’s what I am.

Now every month the full moon turns me into a hairy, angry, smelly wolf and all I can do is make sure I’m contained so I can’t hurt anyone else. I’m trying my best to live a normal life (well, as normal as possible when you’re a werewolf and your best friend is dating a vampire).

But when the wolf who turned me insists I go to a mandatory wolf pack meeting, everything changes. Before I know it, a group of militant monster hunters armed with silver bullets has me in their sights. With the help of an annoyingly dogged (but admittedly kind of sexy) werewolf named Raff, I have to stop the hunters before they kill me and every other werewolf they can find.

Moon Cursed is book one of The Reluctant Werewolf Chronicles, a humorous urban fantasy series with suspense and a little bit of romance.

 

Lizard Wizard

What exactly does power mean?

Detective Dexx Colt is finally settling in to the swing of things at the Red Star Division. They’re rebuilding the department after everything blew up. So, he’s excited when they get a bank robbery case. Strange. Right up their alley. No forensics. No break-in. Then, they get a dead body in the same day, and a rash of magickal items wind up missing.

It’s business as usual. And then then local alphas start dropping, falling into coma’s. Is Dexx, the most powerful alpha of the region second only to Chuck, next? When Chuck falls and Jackie, Dexx’s 1970 Dodge Challenger, disappears, all signs point to yes.

How will Dexx catch a killer that steals power and kills shifters with a touch?


 

HIDDEN PROJECT

Please also check out this months new releases in the Hidden Project!

***

Giveaway

As mentioned in my Newsletter, I am now going to run a monthly giveaway that I will only advertise to my newsletter subscribers (some people may chance upon this site and find it, but the numbers who do will be few and far between).

Taken the first book in the Rune Witch Mysteries now has a new prologue. You can check this out here or in the Amazon look Inside.

After you’ve read it, come back and answer this simple question for a chance to win a $25 Amazon.com Gift Card or Paypal Cash (hopefully this will ensure that my readers in every country can be included, if not, please let me know for future reference)!

You can also check out two this post or Magic Book Deals for a Paranormal Romance Book Fair, featuring a $100 Amazon.com Gift Card Giveaway, which is available until 7th February!

Forgotten – Rune Witch Mysteries

Book Three in the Rune Witch Mysteries is out soon, and currently available for pre-order on Amazon. Before it releases, I thought I’d share with you a little snippet:

Chapter One

An air of mystique hung around the medieval ruins, as thick as the shrouding fog.

“You sure about this?” Thomas asked, when I reached out to take his hand.

I nodded, although, I was anything but, and Thomas knew it.

Set amongst rolling meadows, Raglan Castle may not have stood as proud as it once did — the ravages of war and time having taken their toll — but its presence and majesty could never be called into question. As we walked over the stone bridge leading to the castle, I was transfixed by the massive Yellow Tower of Gwent. Five stories tall and surrounded by its own moat, the hexagonal building must have been a sight to behold in its entirety. Even with the sandstone pitted and scarred, the walls missing, and the battlements destroyed, it cut a striking image.

Hand in hand, we entered the main castle through the double-towered gatehouse. Moonlight bathed the craggy, tumble down walls in a silver sheen, and added to the sense that we were stepping back in time… entering another world.

As we stood in the pitched stone court, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. Beside me, Thomas stiffened, ready to fight if the need arose. The castle may be a tourist attraction by day, but by night, the coraniaid roamed the battlements. Once described as a demon plague upon the world, the remnants of their society now hide in the shadows, waiting for revenge.

“Where are they?” Thomas asked.

“Everywhere.”

I took a deep breath and tried to ignore the sinking feeling in my stomach. In the courtyard, we were surrounded… vulnerable. We had to be to entice the creatures out.

A strange scampering sound accompanied the howl of the wind — to the right… another behind. My scalp prickled and my skin crawled.

“Dammit,” I said. “I’ve had enough of games.” I called my magic, igniting the power in each of my twenty tattoos, allowed them to turn me into a human lightbulb. The glow from my body bathed the castle in an indigo light.

A chorus of hoots and shrieks echoed around the court, but the coraniaid stayed hidden.

“There!” Thomas pointed to a bardic figure in the corner.

The ghostly apparition beckoned us before fading from sight. “The guardian spirit of the castle library,” I said. “He watches over his cache of precious scrolls and tomes. He won’t bother us.”

Thomas shook his head. “You sure we want to deal with these guys? There are plenty of other ways we could get what we need.”

Before I had the chance to respond, a creature leapt from his unknown hiding place and landed silently on the floor in front of us. A coraniaid: small, pointed creatures, no bigger than a bwchachod or five-year-old child.

“Whatss do you needs, little witchess?” The creature hissed, as it stared at me with eyes that looked as though they might pop out of its head.

I glanced around the ruins. None of the other coraniaid showed themselves, but they were there, watching and listening. “I’m Summer Daniels,” I said. “Rune Witch of the Ogham faith. I have need of your magic.”

Mocking laughter sounded from every direction. The coraniaid before us bobbed and shook his head.

“We knowss who you are, little witchess. Knowss what you are.” He tilted his head to the side and squinted his eyes, as though assessing me. “I am Moryss,” he said after a moment. “Whyss do you needs our magicss?”

“You can hear any word the wind touches. I need to use your power to hear words spoken long ago. Will you lend it to me?”

“Whyss should we?” Morys said.

My whole plan hinged on the coraniaid hating the Twyleth Teg. They were evil, malevolent beings, who were far more dangerous to deal with than any of the fair folk, but I wasn’t here to make a deal. I was here to offer them something they craved.

I took a deep breath. “Revenge,” I said. “In a time long past, Llefelys and Lludd conspired to destroy your race.”

The castle became a cacophony of caws at the names of their enemies.

Although I knew it to be unnecessary, I raised my voice above the din. “Only a handful of your people remain. To this day, the threat of poisoning hangs over your head.”

“What’ss thiss to you, little witchess?” Morys asked as the sound began to die down.

“I can’t offer to help, and I’m not here to bargain, as I can’t promise you anything. But I can tell you this. The words I need to hear are those of a curse cast by a member of the Twyleth Teg. My goal is to break the spell and thwart its magic. If I’m successful, and I aim to be, then the Twyleth Teg will stand in disgrace. Fear of their magic will diminish, and the power of Gwyn ap Nudd, the son of Lludd and the King of the fair folk himself, may be called into question.”

A susurrus spread around the courtyard as the creatures discussed amongst themselves all that I said. Morys’ ears swiveled moving towards the sounds like a cat’s. Yet, even with the power of my Ailm tattoo heightening the clarity of the noise around me, I was unable to discern their words.

Their discussion continued for a few moments, before gradually fading. A silence fell over the night, and one by one the coraniaid jumped from their hiding place and gathered behind Morys. Some appeared, shimmering into view, as if they’d been standing next to him the whole time. Sixty sets of eyes stared at me and Thomas, unblinking.

For a second, my resolve shook. I wanted to turn and run. My magic was strong, but these creatures were evil. Not for the first time, I wondered if I had made the right decision in coming here. Thomas and I had debated for hours. Mam had outright forbidden it, but she’d lost the right to tell me what to do a long time ago. We needed what they had. How could I hope to break a curse if I didn’t know exactly what the curse was?

Thomas squeezed my hand and I noticed the indigo glow of my magic, reflecting like ghostly orbs in the coraniaid’s eyes. I muted the power still soaring through my veins, but kept it ready should we need to fight.

“Have you made a decision?” Thomas asked.

“We do not believess you, little witchess,” Morys said.

He jumped and landed on the shoulders of a second of the creatures. Together, they moved towards Thomas, before Morys shook his head.

“Humanss have no place in the world of magicss.”

Moryss turned his attention to me. He moved so close, I could smell the decaying scent of flesh on his breath. “And you, little witchess. Whyss would you hurt your own peopless?”

“The Twyleth Teg are not my people.”

I stood indignant at the suggestion, but it wasn’t unexpected. I’d had three months to come to terms with the fact that my father was one of the Twyleth Teg. When Mam had turned up at Christmas and told me of the curse. Of how my father — a member of the Twyleth Teg — had destroyed my family, I’d thought of little else.

“We smells their blood in you. Their magicss on you.”

The coraniaids hissed and stamped their feet. The air became full of menace, but still they held back. They had powerful magic of a nature I’d never felt before. It cut the air like a lightning. Given their numbers they could easily defeat me and Thomas, but they held back. They were tempted to help.

“My father is one of the Twyleth Teg, but he did not raise me, and has no claim on my heart.” I’d said the words in my head over and over, yet it pained me to say them out loud. “His are the words I wish to hear, the curse I wish to break.”

I turned my face and met Morys eye to eye. “You can smell their blood in me, the magic on me. Then you can also smell their curse, and the truth in my words. I will break the curse and with it the magic of the Twyleth Teg.”

Marys flipped off the shoulders of the coraniaid he was standing on, and once again the courtyard filled with the raucous debate of the creatures.

“How do you think it’s going?” I asked Thomas.

“Well, we’re not dead,” he said.

I smiled. The creatures could hear every word we said, but neither of us cared. They would make their own mind up on what to do, and as Thomas said, we weren’t dead. That had to be a good sign.

The noise stopped along with the coraniaid’s discussion. Moryss turned to us once more.

“We do not believess you believess, little witches.” Marys laughed. “But we believess.”

The creatures jumped up and down, hollering and stamping their feet excitedly. Moryss picked a cobbled stone from the ground and blew on it.

A green mist enveloped the stone and seeped into its core. When the stone had completely absorbed the magic and all that remained was a faint glow. Morys stretched his hand towards me. “It is yourss, little witchess,” he said.

Before I could take it Thomas stepped in front of me. “You understand that no bargain has been offered in return? You give this freely. We don’t owe anything in return, and we can’t guarantee breaking the curse will cause any trouble for the Twyleth Teg.”

Morys, without saying a word, once again jumped on the shoulders of another coraniad and walked up to me.

He was a leader, a warrior, a spokesman for his people, and his desire to see the Twyleth Teg knocked down a peg or two overrode every natural instinct he possessed. Every instinct that screamed at him to rip my throat out. I saw it as he looked into my eyes.

I released all the guards I had against my own soul, and allowed him to look at my true nature. I can’t tell you what he saw: resolve, determination, vulnerability.. Who knows, but he smiled, wide and full of the sharp, pointed teeth of a piranha.

“The magicss is freely given, humanss,” he said. “We believess you will makess more troubless than you think.”

***

Other Books in the Series: Taken, Hidden, and Forgotten – all available on Amazon now!

Taken – Rune Witch Mysteries

Have you checked out Taken yet? No? Then, check out the prologue:

Dammit!

An alarm sounded in my head. I froze, although every instinct screamed at me to run. I glanced around.

No one.

The desolate streets rested in the silence of the night. Clouds seeped around the moon like black ink swirling in water. No-one was around, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched. For a second, I felt a little foolish, walking alone through the dark streets at four in the morning. Everyone knows, the worst crimes in a city happen at night, and Cardiff was no exception.

The wind cut through my clothes, sent a shiver down my spine, and whipped my hair around my head. The gwyllgi’s baleful breath carried from the east. I called the magic in my Coll tattoo, sending forth its seeking power to be sure the creature followed and not some human up to mischief. The faint pulse of the supernatural greeted me, malevolent and dangerous.

For hours, I’d walked the streets. My feet hurt, my legs were tired, and, despite the magical wards giving me energy, I was long overdue for a sleep. Not quite the way I planned to welcome my twenty-fifth birthday.

I stepped from the pavement and crossed the road, struggling to keep my speed down. Legend told that the gwyllgi followed lone travellers at night, stalking them; slowly, silently. I didn’t want to run and give him cause to attack. Although, it was only a matter of time before he would.

I paced along the main road. My footsteps echoing in the empty space. A dog barked. The light from a nearby house flickered on. I cursed.

For a time, I carried on through the shadowed streets, measured and paced, despite the cold fingers of dread that inched along my spine. The gwyllgi’s stealthy approach continued at the edge of my senses. I turned off the main road and into Roath Pleasure Gardens.

Despite their name, the gardens were a dark place, and tonight, dark things moved within them. My pupils gathered in the light that seeped between the trees. I strained to see in the darkness. The wind hissed through the leaves, and sent those already turned autumnal orange to the ground.

A thump to the left.

The rustle of leaves.

A bloodcurdling howl pierced the air, too close for comfort.

My heart thundered in my chest.

The howl of the gwyllgi is said to paralyse people with fear, and I admit, my heart nearly exploded at the sound. But paralysed? Not me. Not now.

I gathered the magic of the birch trees, allowed it to refresh my mind and bless my adventure. The strength and power of the oaks soaked into my soul. I smiled. The Dog of Darkness might have thought he was hunting me, but in truth, it was the other way around.

A low growl built behind me. At last! I turned to face the beast. Blazing eyes shone through the darkness; so fiery and red in their intensity, they looked as though they could set the trees ablaze.

The monstrous creature emerged. At first, beyond the eyes, I saw little more than a silhouette. Then, as he grew nearer, his true form became clear: a large shaggy dog, with the bulk of a mastiff and the fierceness of a wolf. He padded towards me on his long limbs. Slather seeped from his powerful jaws, and dripped from his dagger like teeth.

“Nice doggy,” I said, as I edged backwards. The gwyllgi stopped. His ears cocked up, intent and listening.

“You’re a long way from home. Wouldn’t you like to go back? Feel the grass beneath your paws?”

The creature lifted its head and howled. The sound ripped through me, as his menace rose higher and higher.

He charged.

I breathed out, cleared my mind, and called the full force of my magic. The runic tattoos on my arms flared to life. Power flooded into me, and filled me with energy.

I thrust both hands forwards, and blasted the gwyllgi with the controlling power of the Blackthorn tree. He flew backwards, landing on his haunches, and then rose to his paws and snarled. I blasted him again, but this time, he pounced sideways, avoiding the blow. I tried again, volley after volley of power, but each time he was too fast and agile for me to strike him.

After a few moments, I stopped and stared at the beast. He stared at me, curious. He tilted his head to the side, as though assessing me for the first time. I wasn’t like the other humans he’d met, running and screaming in terror. I didn’t look like much, but his nose twitched. No doubt, he tasted my magic in the air.

The Dog of Darkness, the Black Hound of Destiny, the gwyllgi, whatever name you wished to call him by, at heart, he was a predator, and the one thing I know about predators, if you run, they chase.

I looked down and smiled at my foresight to wear running shoes, even though I hated the way they felt on my feet. After one last glance at the gwyllgi, I spun on my heels and ran.

The creature gave chase. I zigzagged between the trees. On instinct, I dodged to the left, and rolled out the way as the gwyllgi leapt through the air, narrowly missing my head. It landed with a skid. Its great paws tore up the grass and created deep furrows in the soft mud.

For a second, cold fear gripped my heart, and my head throbbed with worry, but there was no use thinking like that. Sure, I was in the city, away from the forest and cut off from the deepest well of my power, but in the park, I was surrounded by trees, and as long as I had their magic to call on, the gwglli wouldn’t best me.

I ran to the tennis courts as fast as I could. The creature followed only a pace or two behind.

“Now,” I yelled, as soon as I set foot past the centre mark.

Thomas emerged from his hiding place in the small hut next to the courts.

The gwyllgi turned towards him as he slammed the gate shut. With a new potential target to attack, he ground to a halt. The creature’s red eyes flashed from me to Thomas, and despite the fence between the two of them, the gwyllgi must have considered Thomas an easier target than me. He leapt forwards, snarling, but instead of passing through the chain link fence, as he’d expected to, he was hit by a pulse of energy and flung to the centre of the courts.

“Warded,” I said, although the creature may not have understood the words. “There’s no point making a trap that you can escape.”

The gwyllgi circled the court, before turning his attention back to me. A wolfish smile split his face and exposed his teeth. Then, a gurgling growl built in its chest, and I became sure he was laughing.

“You got this?” Thomas asked, a note of concern in his voice.

“I’d better have.”

I lifted my hands and created a massive ball of energy between them. I filled it will the power of BeitheLuisNion, and Straif, and focused the spell in my mind. When it was as big as the beast, I released its power. An indigo brilliance illuminated the court and encompassed the gwyllgi. The hound growled and strained against the spell, but he was trapped and powerless. Within the ball of light his presence faded, before disappearing completely. As the last vestige of him winked out, and his grumbles no longer sounded in the air, Thomas opened the gate and ran to my side.

“You okay?” he asked, taking me in his arms.

I smiled and rested my head on his chest. “I am now.”

“Let’s go home. I’ll make you a big birthday breakfast, and we can get some rest.”

I sighed. “Sounds great.”

*

I staggered out of the shower and into the bedroom.

“Breakfast’s ready,” Thomas called from downstairs, “I hope you’re hungry.”

“Starving,” I called back.

I quickly towel dried my hair, and was throwing on some comfy clothes when someone knocked. Thomas answered the front door, and muttered a few words, before closing it again.

“Who was that,” I asked when I entered the kitchen a few moments later.

“That was a package for you.” Thomas handed me a big box. “It looks like it’s from the states. Must be a birthday present from your mum.”

“I doubt that,” I said, remembering the cheques I’d received for every other birthday.

Thomas shrugged and placed a big plate of fry-up in front of me. My mouth watered and my tummy rumbled, at the delicious smell of sausages, but my curiosity got the better of me and I opened the parcel.

Inside was a folder of papers. I ignored the card on top, addressed to me in Mam’s handwriting, and instead opened the folder.

I squeezed my eyes shut, unable to believe what I saw in front of me. Tears came unbidden to my eyes. I couldn’t breathe.

“Summer.” Thomas rushed to my side. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

A sudden dizziness swam in my head. “It’s the cottage,” I said. “Nana’s cottage.”

Thomas took the papers from my shaky hand. “I thought you said it was—”

“Sold. That’s what I thought.”

Thomas smiled and clasped my hands in his. “This is good news, right? The cottage is yours. You can go home now.”

Home. I could go home. A place I only dreamed I could visit again. So, why was every fibre of my being terrified at the thought?

***

Like what you read? You can get the rest of the book on AMAZON now! – Also available in Kindle Unlimited!

***

Paranormal Romance Book Fair and Giveaway!

Love Paranormal Romance? Check out these fantastic reads ~~ including my own book, Taken ~~ and enter for the chance to win a $100 Amazon.com Gift Card!!

*** Giftcard giveaway valid from 24th of January to the 7th of February only! ***

Steam Rating: 1 star (clean), 5 Stars (very, very hot)
Steam Rating: 1 STAR

Steam Rating: 2 STARS

 

Steam Rating: 3 STARS

 

 

 

Steam Rating: 4 STARS

 

 

Steam Rating: 5 STARS

 

 

Fantasy Focus: Desert Shaman

For this weeks Fantasy Focus, I would love to share with you a Whisky Witches Supernatural thriller by S.M. Blooding:

Desert Shaman

 

The Whiskeys are growing in power, and they have no idea why.

Paige Whiskey is now the unofficial liaison between the Elder Council and the paranormal community, and she’s been put on a mission for months now to bring more paranormals in. Trouble is brewing on the horizon. Everyone can feel it, but no one has a clue what it might be.

When the regional alpha gets a call from the Utah pack, requesting a trial with Paige, she’s not quite certain what to expect. The only thing she knows for sure is that her family is growing in shifter power and the region needs to more shifters to help counter and control it.

But what she learns in Utah brings the kind of understanding she doesn’t quite know what to do with. The ancients are coming, and they’re using her family to arrive.

***

You can grab a copy of Desert Shaman on  Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks.

SM Blooding lives in beautiful Montana with her Darling Dork, his two girls, Miss Words and Do-It, and Tesla the Ninja Kitty. They play Skip-Bo and Uno a lot, and are quite practiced at surviving ninja-kitty attacks. When they’re not squabbling (loudly) over cards or surviving the claws of the cat, they’re doing arts and crafts or pretending to survive the zombie apocalypse in the woods.

You can find out more about SM through her website, follow her through her Amazon page or on Goodreads, and connect with her on Facebook.

***

 

Fantasy Focus: The Spear of Destiny

It’s been a while since I made a ‘fantasy focus’ post, so thought I would bring it back.

Today, I would love to share with you the first book in the Misadventures of Loren by Ines Johnson:

The Spear of Destiny

Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!

Chivalrous? Nah.

Virtuous? Not since…well, none of your business.

The difference between me and the Knights of the Round Table? I make medieval look good.

Loren Van Alst is an independent, twenty-first-century woman, an accused forger, a suspected thief, and the last descendant of Sir Galahad of the Arthurian court. To claim her seat at the Round Table and protect her newly found family of modern-day witches, she’ll need to convince the current Arthur and his knights to let a woman take the knights’ trials. But things go sideways when a crazed wizard goes on the loose with a magical spear that can strip a witch of her powers. As if that weren’t enough, the clique of mean girls from middle school arrives in Camelot and turn out to be witch hunters.

To safeguard a future she never knew she wanted, Loren will have to evade the hunters, defeat the wizard, capture the spear, and pass her trials. No one ever said becoming a kick-ass heroine would be easy!

Check out this quick snippet:

You can tell a lot about a man by the way he wields his sword.

A man who jabs at his opponent’s body with the tip of his blade using quick, jerky motions? That shows he’s eager and unpracticed. If he gets in any good shots at all, they will likely be a hack job on his opponent’s wrists and knuckles. That kind of action will leave him breathless and his opponent in need of a manicure. Also, he will probably never get asked to spar again after such an impotent showing.

Then there are the ones who come at their opponent’s body with a couple of long, deep thrusts. Those lunges might stem from a flexible groin and fluid wrist action, but that kind of foreplay can be misleading. These types of fighters often exert all their energy at the outset, relying solely on their strength and thrusting power. Then, after a moment of fighting, they roll over on their backs with exhaustion. Yeah, those swordsmen can simply have a seat. In fact, they can go and have several seats.

But the one who can hit all the targets by working his sword hand at just the right speed? The one who knows how to put pressure at just the right angle? The one who can use his blade to slice from the breast to the hip? Oh yeah, that type of swordsman can fill my dance card anytime.

Because that’s what swordplay is: a dance. The movements more intimate than a waltz or a tango or whatever Baby and Johnny were doing up in the Catskills in the eighties with their bodies pressed together, their hips jamming to the music, and their legs and arms slicing into one another.

The opponent facing off against me was proving himself a worthy adversary and a superb dance partner. We faced each other with long swords, my weapon of choice. My stance was open at the moment as I prepared to go toe to toe with him. My weight was evenly balanced, my feet eager to advance. He held steady across from me, waiting to see what move I would make.

I took advantage of his courtesy and advanced. Leading with my left foot, I closed the distance between us. I stepped slightly to the right, to avoid any possible counterattack as I brought my blade straight down to his neck, going for the kill strike and preparing to slice his handsome head off from his lean body.

I feared I’d have to pull back at the last moment and not complete the advance, but he did not disappoint. He met my attack with a wrath strike, stepping off his line and bringing his blade down decisively against mine.

He had a good hundred pounds on me. But swordplay wasn’t won with brute force alone. My thumb met my cross guard as my opponent tried to take control of the situation and pressure me off balance.

Silly boy.

I swiveled my wrist and thrust my sword, aiming for his heart. I knew by now that I didn’t have to take it easy with him, and I was right. He stepped aside at the last minute and I met with air and empty space. I pivoted, sword raised, ready to advance again.

Wide grins slashed at the corners of both our faces. We both breathed hard from the exertion. There was a hitch of desire to his deep voice as he spoke.

“Do you surrender, my lady?”

“No, sir. Not even when I’m handcuffed to a headboard.”

***

The Spear of Destiny is available on AMAZON

You can learn more about Ines, and her other books on her website.

You can also connect with Ines on Facebook and on Twitter.

***

Hidden

Hidden Cover small

 

Book Two in the Rune Witch Mysteries is available for pre-order with a release date of 21st December!

***

One death, one pledge, one price to pay!

There’s nothing better than a walk amongst the trees with the man I love. So, how dare someone disrespect the sanctity of life and my forest along with it!

With the body of a murdered young man placed at my feet, there’s not a chance on Earth, I’m not using all the power at my disposal to find the killer. Even if that means I have to put on hold my quest to discover the magical curse that plagues my family.

I’ll fight to the end to discover the truth, but what do I do when the man I love wants to fight for me?

I’m a pawn in a game I’m only just beginning to comprehend, but I’m not the only one.

***

Here’s a little excerpt for you to enjoy 🙂

As soon as she’d left, I gave Thomas a friendly elbow to the ribs. “Are you going to tell me what the two of you are up to?” I asked.

Thomas pulled me in for a side hug. “I don’t know what you mean,” he said with a hint of mirth in his voice.

“Gwen didn’t ask us to harvest any samples. She’s covering your lie.”

“If you say so.”

I pouted and gave him a mock angry stare. “I will find out what’s going on,” I said.

Thomas laughed. “No doubt.”

“Okay,” said Gwen when she returned with a vial of green liquid. “This is a special blend of willow, fir, and hazel.”

“Hazel?”

“For manifestation.” Gwen handed me the vial and patted my hand. “This is my own special brew. You take it first, Summer, and then, if your memory proves lacking, we can try Thomas. The three of us should sit on the floor together, and then you can draw on the power of all three trees. The potion will project an image of your memory for all of us to see.”

I eyed the liquid suspiciously. Although I had once travelled into Gwen’s head and shared her memories with her, no one had ever looked inside my mind before. At least, not with my knowledge. It’s always possible one of the Tywyth Teg — fairy folk — had sneaked a peak.

“How does it work?” I asked while taking a seat next to Thomas on the rug. “Will you enter my mind?”

“No, no,” said Gwen. “Nothing so intrusive or dangerous. The hazel will allow your memory to manifest itself in the room between us.”

I twirled the vial between two fingers and then looked from Thomas to Gwen and back.

“Drink it down,” Gwen encouraged. “One quick gulp.”

I removed the lid and poured the potion down my throat, almost gagging on the acrid taste that burned my mouth and caused my eyes to water. “Ugh, you could have warned me,” I said to Gwen.

“Warning creates anticipation. Anticipation creates worry. Why create extra problems?”

“Cheers, then, I guess.”

Thomas and Gwen both stared at me as though I might implode at any moment. I ignored their impatient looks and called forth the power in my runes. The symbols of Saille, Ailm, and Coll blazed to life on my arms. I stretched out my hands and made them into a plate before me. A mist swirled above them and formed into a vision of the forest: bright, airy, and full of life. I felt like I was dancing in a dream.

Gwen laughed. “I feel much the same when I visit woodland areas. The cleansing peace of the ancient trees reminds us how small and insignificant we are. Such knowledge washes the pressure of human existence away.”

The image in my hands contained me and Thomas walking through the forest from a third person perspective.

“Connect with memory more,” Gwen said. “We need to see what you saw, not you.”

“You also need to move forward in time a bit. We need to see what happened after we found Lee’s body, not before.” Thomas added.

I connected with my surprise at finding Lee’s body, listened for the roar of an engine and then felt the wind blow through my hair as I chased after Thomas. Then I saw it, the flash of blue. I froze the picture, searching every last detail for something that might help.

“It’s no good,” I said at last. “I just didn’t get a good enough view.”

“Wait,” Thomas pointed at the image. “This is useful. That’s LeMans Blue. It means the car’s a BMW.”

“Seriously?”

Thomas shrugged. “It’s a nice colour.”

“I’ll take your word for it. I think you’d better try.”

“It’s a shame you didn’t see anything else,” Gwen said. “Are you sure there wasn’t something that led you to the body in the first place.”

I thought for a while and remembered the flash of movement, I’d readily dismissed as a bird and completely forgotten with everything that had happened in the time since then.

“There might be something,” I said, and moved my memories back to the time before we found the body. I explored the emotions of the moment. My happiness, the heat radiating through my body at Thomas’ touch, the fluttering in my stomach as I recalled the first time I introduced him to magic, the all-encompassing sense of peace and connection. The viewpoint changed. I concentrated harder, focused on the tightening in my chest, the flutter of my heartbeat. The image swirled to display the flicker of movement from my moment of confusion, then froze.

We had to look closely to spot the large figure. Half the body was covered by a tree trunk, but the remains on display were camouflaged a mottled green and brown, with the texture of bark. Long, droopy arms connected to oversized hands and hung down to the creature’s knees. Its round face was shrouded with long, dark hair, and the only feature on display was a large bulbous nose.

“What is that?” asked Thomas. I shrugged in response and we both turned to Gwen.

“If I’m not mistaken,” she said. “That’s a troll.”

Gathered Magic

Gathered MagicBook Four, the final book in the current Relic Guardian series is now available 🙂

A magical portal. A new World. A price to pay.

‘Hayley Bevan, Magicai, Traveller’. Not something I thought I’d want to be, or even knew existed, but here I am, desperate to come to terms with my new found powers – and all that they have shown me.

Multiple worlds, and magic, everywhere. And all of them are in danger.

My life has changed forever. Yet, the key to my future still lies in my past, and that past is determined to see Sebastian Davenport pay for what he’s done. He’s one mistake away from destroying worlds and I have to stop him.

With Nathan and Zoe to guide me, I’ll face whatever the future holds, but can I face the prospect of losing them, or myself? That’s what it might take to defeat him. I’m not sure I’m prepared to do that – or that I can.

What should I do?

***

Excerpt:

“You said at Tom’s that you could open a doorway to the same location as Davenport’s men.”

“I did,” I said, remembering Nathan’s confusion at my statement.

“Normally, the art of opening doorways is handed down from Traveller to Traveller. I learnt from my father, and he learnt from his father, and so on. My father would open doorways for me, I would step through and learn the look and feel of each location.” Nathan scratched his chin. “Travellers can’t open a doorway to a place they’ve never been shown.”

“Well, that’s ridiculous. If that were the case, how were the doorways opened in the first place? How would new worlds be discovered? Besides, the first portal I opened was to a world I’d never visited, and I opened one to Mount Kailash just using photographs of the area.”

“Hundreds of years ago, there are records of Travellers being able to open a doorway to an unknown destination, but none are known to exist now.”

“Great.” Not only was I an anomaly in the way I came to my powers, but now I was an anomaly in the way I used them, too.

“We can open random doorways without knowing where we’ll end up, but tend to avoid such acts. Who knows what sort of world we’ll end up in, or where in that world we’ll be? As a rule, we stick to creating portals to the worlds we know.”

“Do you doubt I can do it?”

Nathan shook his head. “Not at all. I’ve just never seen it.”

I looked around the cemetery to make sure that no-one was watching. The wind rustled the flowers and the chaffinch watched from the tree, but everything else was silent.

“Then you want me to show you I can.” I raised my hand, ready to call the magic of the ley lines and open the doorway to Davenport’s world, but Nathan stopped me.

“Let’s practise on a few other locations first,” he said.

“Okay, where did you have in mind?”

Nathan shot a blast of energy from his hand. A portal momentarily split the air, before disappearing. “How about there?” Nathan said.

I smiled and opened the portal again. Nathan disappeared into the doorway for a moment, then returned, and shaking his head.

He stood there for a while, a frown on his serious face. He crossed, and then uncrossed his arms. It was hard not to laugh at the clear signs of the fight he was having with himself. After a moment, he shook himself and opened another doorway. Again and again, he repeated the act: he opened and closed a doorway, I opened it again, he popped through, and came back each time with a look of bewilderment.

“It shouldn’t be possible,” he said after I’d repeated the task eight times. “Every time, the exact location.” He paced back and forth, and I could practically see his mind working through unknown implications. “Open one to a random place. Somewhere you’ve never been before, and somewhere you’ve never seen a portal open to.”

I raised my hands and thought about what he’d asked. I stood there, trying to think of where I could open a doorway, but nowhere came to mind. “How about the Clendy Stones back in Switzerland?”

“Have you ever been there?”

“Yes. A long time ago, but I’ve never opened a doorway there.”

“Then, no. You’re over-thinking. Just reach out and open a doorway, don’t focus on a location or a known feeling. Open a random doorway.”

I drew more and more power from the ley lines into me, but try as hard as I could, I was unable to do as Nathan asked.

“It’s no good,” I said, lowering my hand. “I can’t do it.”

Nathan’s reply was to continue pacing.

“Can you?” I asked, frustrated by his actions. “You said it was dangerous.”

With a flip of his hand, Nathan opened another portal. “Done,” he said, then closed it as if it was of no matter. I didn’t doubt that Nathan had done as he’d said, but I did wonder why something so easy for him seemed impossible to me.

I gritted my teeth.

“I think you should open the doorway to Davenport’s world.”

“Now? Don’t you think we should wait for Zoe and Jamie? They should be here any time.”

“Sure. It won’t hurt to make sure you can do it from here. It might be you need to be in the same location as you saw the portal opened from. That’s something we haven’t been able to test.”

“I can do it,” I said, smiling.

 

***

Gathered Magic is currently available on AMAZON, you can check out all the books in the Relic Guardians series on its series page 🙂

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