Enjoy an #excerpt of the #fantasy novel BLOOD BOND

Today is Friday, and while I usually host a guest author, I didn’t have one lined up for today. (Any authors who want to be featured, check out this post from last week.) About 5 months ago, my latest fantasy novel was released. If you haven’t bought your copy of Blood Bond yet, check out this excerpt and then pick up your copy on Amazon.

Excerpt

As Soren walked, he noticed a brown dragon sitting apart from the others. The last time he had seen Barth was when the dragon had thrown him off his back before Blinking. Remembering that horrible feeling of falling, he clinched his fist and stalked over to the brown dragon. Barth regarded him coolly as he approached.

“You! What the…why did you do that?”

“You were making a mistake,” Barth said, calmly.

Soren paced in front of him, waving his hands as he spoke. “You couldn’t have told me that and then landed? Instead, you threw me off your back while we were in the air! I could have been killed!”

“And yet, here you are.”

Soren took a deep breath and another. “What if Dex didn’t save me?”

“Then neither of you would have had to worry about the Blood Bond,” Barth said with amusement in his voice. His eyes focused on Soren and when he continued, he tone was serious. “You and Reddex share a Bond that is stronger than any I have seen. I knew he would save you, just as I knew you were acting out of anger. It would have been a mistake for you to leave. Do you regret choosing to stay with him?”

“No.” Soren sighed. “I don’t regret it.”

“Well, there you are. Perhaps you should be thanking me instead of being angry.”

Soren threw his hands up in the air and stalked away. Now he was more annoyed than he had been after dealing with the General. He didn’t want to return to Camden. He needed to work out his frustrations. He spied a rake leaning against a nearby building. Grabbing it, he returned to the place where Dex had originally landed. Though the dragon never complained about sleeping on the rough ground, Soren began clearing the area of rocks. Dex would probably point out he had been sleeping on them for the past week without a problem, but he needed something to do and removing the rocks and sticks, so they didn’t jab the dragon as he slept seemed the perfect distraction. As he worked, he considered erecting a tent nearby but dismissed the idea. He knew he too would probably be sleeping on the ground. He had become accustomed to sleeping against Dex. He found he slept better that way.

As he continued to clear the area, sweat dripped down his face. The manual labor felt good. What felt even better was to be out of the city. There was no chance he would be bombarded with questions out here or that anyone would doubt his observations. His thoughts went back to his report on the advancing army. He knew what he had seen. The cloaked figure was a woman.

“What are you doing here?”

Soren froze at the sound of a voice he hadn’t heard in years. His hands gripped the rake handle until his knuckles were white. He turned slowly. The man stood with a saddle thrown over one shoulder. His hair and beard were streaked with grey. A brown leather apron covered his clothes. The look of disgust on the man’s face was one he had seen thousands of times.

“Hello, father.”

His father dropped the saddle to the ground and took a step toward him. “I might expect to see Jerrick here but not you.”

His father could always tell them apart. He didn’t move as his father approached. He saw his father’s eyes travel down his face to the mark on his neck.

“What’s that?”

“Nothing.”

Soren didn’t see the fist coming. It slammed into his jaw. Pain exploded across his face. He fell to the ground. He lay on his back, slowly bringing his hand to his mouth. He wiped away the blood. Anger coursed through him, and distantly he heard Dex calling to him.

“You don’t speak to me like that.” His father placed his foot on Soren’s shoulder, pressing down until he had him pinned to the ground. He leaned over him, applying a little pressure. “The mark?”

Soren grunted as his father increased the pressure. “It’s so they can tell Jerrick and I apart.”

“They?”

“The King, his men.”

“Ah. I see.” His father glanced up, his eyes widening.

Soren heard the wings. The ground shook as Dex landed. His father took a step back, releasing the pressure on Soren’s shoulder. He backed away as the red dragon advanced. Soren climbed to his feet, placing his hand on Dex’s flank. His father’s eyes flickered to him.

“You don’t belong here,” his father said. “Nothing good will come of this. And soon you will be the cause of another death, and they’ll know it.”

Book Blurb

Man severed the alliance with the dragons fifty years ago. But now an invading army marches north destroying everything in its path. The dragons believe only together can the invaders be defeated. They need an emissary.

Womanizer. Drunk. Failure. Soren is many things. A leader isn’t one of them. But, Dex, the dragon who saves him from a cliff, believes different. Thrust into an adventure he never wanted, Soren’s life changes forever when during a battle Dex’s dragon blood mixes with his blood creating a mystical blood bond – forever linking them.

As the bond strengthens, Soren must decide whether to return to his old life or accept the bond and embrace his role in the battle against the invading army.

***

You can read the first chapter here or another exciting excerpt here. Or stop reading snippets and get the whole book here on Amazon.

 

Today’s Featured Author – Pat Bertram

Please welcome author Pat Bertram to my blog. Her book Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare came out in August 2017. Here is an excerpt from it.

Excerpt

I didn’t want to kill Grace—it was her idea. I’ve literarily massacred hundreds of thousands of people, so it shouldn’t have been difficult to do away with one petite older woman, but the truth is I couldn’t think of a single reason why I—or anyone—would want Grace Worthington dead. Though most of us humans frown on murder, we do grudgingly admit some folks are so villainous they need to be eliminated, but no one would consider Grace a villain. She is charming, kind, with a smile for everyone, and the ghost of her youthful beauty is still apparent on her lovely face.

Besides, killing a friend is a good way to lose that friend, and dance class would not be the same without Grace.

I was still trying to make up my mind about killing Grace when several of us dancing classmates met for lunch. After nibbling on salads and sandwiches, we rose and gathered our belongings. I’d hung my dance bag on the back of my chair, and I yanked the bag with more force than I intended. The bag swung out and narrowly missed hitting Buffy Cooper, a tanned, elegant blonde a couple of years older and a couple of inches shorter than me.

Buffy deadpanned, “I’m not the one who volunteered to be the murder victim.”

That cracked me up, and right then I decided I had to follow through with the project. I mean, really—how could I not use such a perfect line?

I turned to Grace. “How do you want me to do the deed?” Since she’d initiated this lethal game, I thought it only right that she got to choose the means of her demise. So much fairer than the way life works, wouldn’t you say? I mean, few among us get to choose our own end. Life, the greatest murderer of all time, chooses how we expire, whether we will it or not.

Grace laughed at my question and said she didn’t care how she died.

But I cared.

Death is often messy — and smelly — with blood and body wastes polluting the scene, and I did not feel like dealing with such realities, especially not at Madame ZeeZee’s Dance Academy.

***

So begins the story of Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, my sometimes amusing, always suspenseful novel about fun and murder at an adult dance class.

Even though it took me a long time to decide to write Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare (as I said, “killing off one’s friends a good way to lose those friends,” and I don’t have any to lose), and even though it took even longer to actually sit down and write the book, the writing itself was easy. I used whatever happened in class for inspiration, and if that failed me, I asked one of the characters what she would like to do, and if that failed, I wrote me writing the book. That was fun!

I hope you enjoy the story as much as I did.

Book Blurb 

Killing friends is a good way to lose friends, even if the murder is for play. When Pat’s adult dance classmates discover she is a published author, the women suggest she write a mystery featuring the studio and its aging students. One sweet older lady laughingly volunteers to be the victim, and the others offer suggestions to jazz up the story. Then the murders begin. Tapped by the cops as the star suspect, author Pat sets out to discover the truth curtained behind the benign faces of her fellow dancers. Does one of them have a secret she would kill to protect? Or is the writer’s investigation a danse macabre with Pat herself as the bringer of death?

About the Author

Pat Bertram, a native of Colorado, is looking for adventure in whatever comes her way, most recently, dance classes and hiking in the desert. In addition to Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels: Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of the non-fiction memoir Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”

You can find out more about Pat on her blog.

Pat’s books can be found on Amazon.

#NewRelease – THE LOST by Cindy Cipriano

Author Cindy Cipriano released The Lost: Book Three of The Sidhe on May 19. Check out the excerpt below.

Excerpt – Prologue 

“I beg of you. Please don’t do this,” cried the frail man. He was gaunt and looked as if he hadn’t slept in months. “I’ve changed, give me another chance.”

“I’m in no position to judge you. Nor can I give anyone anything,” said Finley.

His gaze traveled over the man’s hunched shoulders to the green sky, searching, as always, for any way out of the Void. Finley had hoped he’d leave the Void before he had to push the next depereo into the Underworld. He always hoped this, but to no avail. There was always another depereo.

“Please, please,” said the old man, clasping his hands in front of him as if in prayer.

It wore on Finley when the depereo were awake, begging for mercy. Their pleas made his task more difficult. And, it was harder for him to forget about them after he sent them to the Underworld. Finley rubbed the bridge of his nose, wishing again for a way out.

“May I go then?” the old man asked, looking at Finley with hopeful, teary eyes.

Finley looked down at the shriveled old man. He looked like someone’s kindly grandfather. He wondered what the man could have done to wind up here.

How dangerous could this old man be?

An odd feeling traveled through Finley’s veins.

Compassion.

The feeling disappeared as suddenly as it had arrived, leaving Finley with his constant companion.

Desperation.

Finley reminded himself that the choices this depereo had made during his life had brought him here. Like the depereo who came before him, this Sidhe’s evil ways had put him onto the path that led straight to the Void. This man was already dead. His eternal fate had already been decided. Finley was just tasked with delivering the sentence.

I should have used the club like Sun showed me.

“To make sure they’re unconscious,” Sun had explained.

Finley wondered what had happened to Sun. Was his friend all right after his return to the Realm of Man?

No matter, Sun was better off. He had to be.

“May I go?” the man repeated, dusting grains of blue sand from his palms.

“There’s nowhere to go,” said Finley. He pulled the man to his feet effortlessly, as though he weighed nothing. As though the man was nothing.

Just as I am nothing.

“Please, don’t,” begged the man. “I have money. I will give you anything you want. I’ll do anything you ask.”

“Don’t you understand?” asked Finley. “I have no control over any of this. There is no bargain that can be made. I’m condemned. Just like you.”

“But, I am powerful. I can get you out of here.”

“No one can get me out!” yelled Finley. Of all the things the depereo said to him, that was the worst. If a depereo couldn’t change their own fate, how did they think they could change his?

The man stared at Finley, curiously. “How can you bear this?” he asked a touch of pity in his voice.

“I can’t,” said Finley. He shoved the man hard through the gash in the large black boulder then turned away. Finley walked back to the blood-red forest with the man’s horrified screams ringing in his ears.

Book Blurb

Calum Ranson is now closer than ever to finding his lost cousin Finley: he knows where he is, he just doesn’t know how to get there. Stuck in the Void between the world of the living and the Underworld, Finley needs to get home soon before he is changed forever. It’s up to Calum and his friend Laurel to figure out how to free him.

Adding to the challenge, Calum can no longer turn to his other cousin and best friend, Hagen, who has become mysteriously close to one of their school’s biggest bullies, Riley Sloan. Why has Hagen suddenly started treating Riley as his girlfriend when she used to be his enemy? And can Calum succeed in saving Finley without Hagen’s help?

From studying to school dances, field trips to first kisses, the third book of the Sidhe depicts a typical middle school experience, peppered with magic, faeries, and truly heroic deeds.

About the Author

Cindy Cipriano lives in North Carolina with her husband, son and their 27 pets.

 

Not really. Just three dogs who think they are children and three cats who think they are raccoons. It only seems like 27. Cindy enjoys spending time with her family and the avoidance of cooking.

 

Cindy credits The Sidhe series to an idea that came to her when she was a small child during, “one of my many “time-outs.” The characters, particularly Uilleam, were born out of her curiosity about what might be found underneath one of the tiles in the floor. It is for this reason she encourages all writers to record everything because, “There is no such thing as an ordinary life. Each of our lives are filled with stories begging to be told.”

***

You can find out more about Cindy on her website.

You can purchase The Lost on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.

Authors needed for Friday Featured Author spot

wantedAre you an author looking for some additional publicity for your latest book?

I host guest authors every Friday – any genre, both traditionally and self-published.

The post can take one of three formats: author interview, book excerpt or a guest post on any aspect of writing, publishing, or book marketing.

Sign up is on a first-come-first-served basis, though I do have a few Tuesday openings to accommodate special requests for dates related book tours, book releases or cover reveals. (Click the Featured Authors link to check out past authors.)

I have a few dates in April as well as all of May (and beyond) open.

If you are interested, send me a message along with any date requests, and we’ll take it from there.

Check out these past authors.

Guest Post – Candy Korman The Mary Shelley Game (thriller)

Excerpt – Louise Wise Eden (sci-fi romance)

Interview – Connie B. Dowell The Orchid Caper (humor/young adult)

 

Excerpts from Books Released in 2016

In 2016, I hosted 52 authors on my weekly Featured Author spot (to sign up for 2017, contact me) and quite a few more authors for book tours or new release announcements. Since I hope many people received new tablets or e-readers this past holiday season, I thought I would post some excerpts of the books that came out in 2016.

I have sorted them by genre and included just the first few paragraphs of the excerpt. If it intrigues you, read more by clicking the link. A link to purchase the book is included with the rest of the excerpt. Please enjoy! (And if you are an author and want to be featured, please let me know!)

Fantasy

Elves: Battle at Baader Hill by Danny Williams

Aken slipped out from behind the hedge. He felt naked as only intermittent darkness cloaked his movement. He wondered if going in a straight line would be better or trying to sneak to the objective by going from shadow to shadow. Just then a figure moved out from the hedge and he came face to face with a mercenary. But the flickering firelight revealed him to be a boy about his own age. Fear and surprise glistened in his face. For a moment Aken thought he recognized him as one of his school friends “Kill him!” buzzed Merlin’s voice in Aken’s head.

Aken’s sudden reaction to Merlin’s orders to draw his sword prompted the other boy to action. He pulled his own sword and swung it overhand in an attempt to cleft Aken in twain. Fortunately, Aken was quick to mostly block the blow with his own blade which caught Aken on the top of the head with enough force to draw blood. The pain was sharp and at the same time terrifying because there was someone at arm’s length trying to kill him. Aken swung his sword in a clumsy arc that glanced harmlessly off of the boy’s padded shoulder. Blood trickled down Aken’s face from the cut on his scalp; his breath was heavy and fast. Aken blocked another wild swing from the boy and countered with a slash that counted. Aken had swung this sword hundreds of times in practice and it had never felt like it did when the sword cut through actual flesh. The boy let out a scream as the blade cut into his neck, but not deep enough. Aken knew that all the commotion was sure to flush the other mercenaries. (To read more, click here.)

The Circle of Candles by Jessica Rowan

circle-of-candlesGrey wasn’t a young dog. That’s not to say that he was old, certainly not, but he frequently nodded off in front of the television, his joints ached a little more than he would have liked and he definitely preferred to sleep uninterrupted through the night. None of this would stop him from protecting Amy, of course. Nothing would ever stop him from protecting Amy.

So when this not-young but certainly-not-old dog was roused in the middle of the night, he felt just a little bit grumpy. He pulled himself up out of his basket to pace the attic room, tail moving low and slow. He pressed his nose to the wooden floor and sniffed back and forth, casting a furtive glance at the bed. Amy was fast asleep as usual, her tousled hair escaping in blond curls from the top of the duvet, her breathing deep and regular. (To read more, click here.)

Paranormal Romance

Ariel: The First Guardian by Sydney Scrogham

I never wake up and think today’s the day I’m going to get dumped.

February wind chills my shoulders, and I tug the pink and blue patterned quilt snug around me and keep walking. The quilt is soft under my fingertips, smoothed from years of rubbing in my mother’s absence. One of the pink polka dot squares is frayed and flapping free.  I could wear a coat, but it’s a jab against my father to sneak out in just a quilt. He thinks he can control me, but he can’t. He especially can’t control who I’m going to meet. Ryan, a.k.a. saintly pastor’s kid, is the first human being to make me feel like I’m made of more than slime.

The trail under my feet is brown and well-worn from countless walks to the river.  Yellowed grass struggles to survive on either side of my path. My knee-length floral print dress ripples around my legs and my exposed skin prickles where the wind bites. I hate flowery anything. Just seeing my reflection in clothes so feminine puts cinderblocks in my lungs. But this was mom’s hand-me-down. I wish she could’ve met Ryan. He’s reserved his whole day for me today. I can’t stop the stupid smile that smooths over my mouth. Maybe I’ll get kissed for the first time—but do I really want that? (To read more, click here.)

Romance

After the Pain (Latter Rain Series Book 1) by Adrienne Thompson

ATP2_smMy tea cup rattled on its saucer at the sound of his voice. I didn’t dare look up at him as I set the cup down and forced myself not to rush to him and wrap my legs around his waist.

“Thank you, August. Want some tea?” Ms. Dorcas asked.

“Yes, ma’am, I’d love some,” he replied, and then he did something that made my entire body stand at attention; he sat right next to me on the loveseat. From that point on all I could do was sit there and remind myself to breathe as my body temperature began to slowly rise. I shoved my unsteady hands under my thighs and fixed my eyes on the floral-patterned rug beneath my feet. I could smell his sweat, a scent that was beginning to become both familiar and appealing to me, and though I kept my eyes away from him, the image of his face dominated my thoughts. (To read more, click here.)

Science Fiction

Hero, Book 1 of The Hero Rebellion by Belinda Crawford (Book 2 came out in 2016)

It was windy on the foredeck, and cold, but the air smelled like freedom and Fink was warm against Hero’s back.

The ruc-pard purred, a rumble that vibrated from his giant chest into hers, and all the way down to her toes. She snuggled deeper into the hollow between his fore- and mid-quarters, enjoying the feel of his thick winter coat. Golden-red and silky, she sank into it, the hairs brushing her bare arms with every giant breath he took, the longer, coarser hair on his ruff tickling her cheek. Fink’s black, hairless tail wrapped around them both, the heavy weight of it draped across her feet, warming her toes.

Lazy images swam through her mind, carried on the distinct pink and mawberry of Fink’s thoughts – the taste of them sweet, the touch of them a soft fizz winding through her brain. She might have stopped and played for a moment in his memories, if the huge skytowers of Cumulus City weren’t spread across the horizon. (To read more, click here.)

No Net by Noah Nichols

NoNetFCTo her, the glow of the screen was intoxicating. Undeniably addicted, she was glued to her phone almost like an infant would be to its mother’s breast. Anyone who became attached to their device of choice simply couldn’t detach the way a child could. It was a phenomenon that truly overtook the lives of the vast majority.

Twenty-eight-year-old Scott Hadaway was presently being ignored by his mildly younger wife, Gwen, who was comfortably tucked in bed, blissfully unaware of anything in three-dimensional space. Digitally, mentally, physically, and spiritually, her entire being belonged to the black mirror.

“I just don’t understand how you constantly have to have that thing right up to your face,” he said angrily. (To read more, click here.)

Suspense

Jilo by J.D. Horn

“Thank you, Pastor,” Jesse’s mama said, placing her hand on his shoulder. Pastor Jones looked at her, Bible still held high, seeming to deliberate whether or not he should shrug her off and carry on. “I do so appreciate you coming out today,” May added in a sincere tone. Jesse knew his mama, though, and despite her calm demeanor, he knew she’d heard enough. The preacher had been given more than enough time to speak of wheat and chaff and wise virgins with well-trimmed wicks. The look on her face was the one she used when placating anyone in authority—usually the buckra, but occasionally one of their own. “We need to be getting the babies and the old folk out of the sun before one of them falls ill.”

The young man searched her face for a moment, then acquiesced. “Thank you, sister,” he said, taking a step back from the head of the grave. (To read more, click here.)

A Flash of Red by Sarah K. Stephens

afor-front-cover-comp-high-resAnna’s heart skipped a beat in a wave of involuntary fear. There were only two eggs in the refrigerator.

Five minutes before, Anna came down the stairs, perfumed and fully dressed, ready to begin her day. She would make pancakes for her husband, who was still asleep in their bedroom. She would wash fresh raspberries to put on top. She would lay the table with care. All of this to set a pattern of comfortable predictability for Anna, ensuring the day would unfold in a way she could control. But now, everything was skewed by yet another ordinary situation somehow turned inexplicable in Anna’s life. Or at least she preferred to see these blips in her daily horizon as having no reasonable explanation, because the most reasonable explanation of all was unacceptable.

She’d checked last night before going to bed–everything she needed was there. A full carton of eggs, their twelve white orbs nestled neatly in the divots on the side of the refrigerator door. Anna always took them out of their cardboard container after returning from the grocery store and moved them lovingly to their designated place. So where had they gone? (To read more, click here.)

Historical Romance

The Judas Pledge by Margaret Brazear

Her plan was put on hold indefinitely when one morning a messenger arrived on horseback asking to see Richard.  The man seemed to be in a panic and Bethany ordered refreshments for him, but he refused to tell her his message; that was for His Lordship’s ears only.

A few minutes after he had gone, Richard came to join his wife in their bedchamber where she sat on the bed, wondering why the messenger had been so secretive. Her heart sank when she saw he was buckling a sword at his waist.  He strode across the room and took her face in his warm hands, then they dropped to her shoulders and he lifted her to her feet.

“King Edward is dead,” he announced. “Jane Grey has been proclaimed Queen in London.” (To read more, click here.)

Historical Novel

Trade Winds to Meluhha by Vasant Davé

trade windsSwells higher than a man’s height rocked Captain Paravar’s ship. His sailors sniggered as Sam sat at the base of the mast, gripping it like a child hugging its mother. Although he was used to the howling desert winds, he had never heard such ominous rumbling every time the lightning stabbed the darkness. The waves slapped the vessel whose woodwork screeched eerily, making Sam wish he could shut his ears just like his eyes.

Had fate saved him from execution only to drown him at sea? (To read more, click here.)

Young Adult

Ignominy – Chapters of Chargin by MRoyale

Chagrin – The intense feeling of mental unease, as of annoyance or embarrassment, caused by failure, disappointment, or disconcerting events.

When Mr. Aggressive met Ms. Passive (Ace and Ms. Phoenix), it was an all-out get-down-with-ya-bad-self smoking and drinking, do-not-tell kind of party. Soon thereafter, Roxie was born. She was a tiny, sick looking baby at the time of birth. See, Ms. Phoenix hardly ever took care of herself during her pregnancy. How could she?  Especially with all of the mental, emotional, and physical abuse she tolerated from Ace. She barely ate and never took her prescribed prenatal vitamins. She refused to receive the proper medical care she needed when she was pregnant. Ms. P seemed to be hiding bruises and ugly black eyes, under huge designer sunglasses, from all the doctors—knowing that they would alert authorities. Soon thereafter, an unplanned Alex was born. (To read more, click here.)