Tag Archives: book promotion

The Running Game on Audio

If you’re on the road, cleaning the house, or out in the garden you still need to read a book right? Well now you can download The Running Game as an Audio book. Check out the sample and listen to the wonderful Mil Nicholson as she narrates my paranormal thriller.

http://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/The-Running-Game-Audiobook/B00T82F3S0/ref=a_search_c4_1_3_srTtl?qid=1432565805&sr=1-3

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Anne

I’ve been speaking to author Carmen Stevens who has been telling me about her historical drama Anne.

Anne is set in 18th Century London, one of my favourite periods in history, can you tell us about this time and in particular about the setting for the book?
 I really like this period in English history as well. I myself love England, although I haven’t been there yet. I’m especially fascinated with its history. I’ve also researched England and its history thoroughly, especially for the background of my novel. And from what my research has revealed to me, I believe that 18th century England was either a great time or a bad time depending on one’s social class. If you were first or second class, I imagine that life was pretty good and others treated you with favor and respect. However, if you were third class, I imagine that life was pretty difficult. I have reason to believe that many poor people were homeless or almost homeless during this time, begged for food from those who were better off, and resided in the dirty slums of big cities like London. And this setting is exactly where my titular character, Anne, finds herself in the beginning of the story. By the time she’s twelve years of age, Anne is homeless and alone on the dark side of London, in the slums. Her mother had died giving birth to her, and because of this loss, her father became insane, hated Anne, and treated her violently. When Anne is twelve years old, her father, an alcoholic, kills himself by burning down their home, and Anne is immediately homeless, poor, and alone.
Anne is the star of your novel, she seems a wilful young woman, can you tell us more about her?
 As stated in the previous question, Anne doesn’t have a very good start in life. She knows this, but instead of letting the fact that she’s poor, homeless, and alone get the better of her and make her depressed, she gathers strength from her sufferings and a strong hope for a better life is rooted within her. However, this isn’t to say that Anne is a cheerful, happy person. She gathers strength from her hard life, but that strength is represented in a highly selfish, egotistical manner. Anne’s sufferings have toughened her, but she cares little for anything or anyone besides herself. The opening pages of my novel help to illustrate this further:

Fourteen-year old Anne Falkman had beheld this all through eyes that esteemed the dire need to be firm and strong, haughty and traitorous. She had always espied the world with beautiful eyes that betrayed their attractiveness but clung fast to life itself and the hope for joy that such a thing as fate could someday bring her.

Anne knew this hope by it growing within her like a tree, and the longer that she forgot about it, when she felt it prick her heart again it had grown taller. She had acquired the seed of this hope through the only years of her life that she had ever known, the most unbearable, heart-wrenching years that no one so young should ever have the curse to possess. They were years that had tested her natural endurance and inner strength, but with poor end results. The compassion and kindness born into her had come to terminate long ago as such characteristics had lost their true shine as the conditions of her tragic life had gripped a sick hold onto them. Never was the girl smiling kind thoughts and words to the passersby on the streets and contemplating compassion for the weeping, but why should she? No one had ever really smiled and sent kind, sympathetic thoughts and words her way through the crude journey that fate had propelled her into. No one had ever really stopped to direct their attention to the neglect that was hers every day of her life. Thus, Anne possessed the knowledge that there was no one in the world who she could trust. She had contracted a vulnerable heart that was, in addition to all of the other negative traits that her personality had taken, sensitive not to offensive words and actions but rather to the uncommon airs of ego and vanity. Daily she paid ignorance and rejection toward many and indifference toward all. She had learned to live in no other way than this, and to only keep watch on herself and the sacred will to live for a life that was to bring her happiness and reason.

As a historical character what can modern women take from a woman like Anne?
 Well like I said, Anne is a tough cookie. Even though she’s egocentric and potentially cruel, even, she’s strong, willful, and doesn’t lose sight of her dreams. I think that modern women can really admire these traits in Anne, and learn not to lose sight of their dreams as well.
Is this a story influenced by the classics and if so what books could you liken Anne to?
 I was greatly influenced by Charles Dickens while planning out and writing this book. I’d read a couple of his novels before even thinking of writing a book. These two novels were “Great Expectations” and “Oliver Twist”. In the former book, the protagonist Pip has a humble life and dreams of becoming a gentleman. He also falls in love with the cruel woman Estella, and I definitely believe that Anne was formed from the character Estella’s negative influence. As for “Oliver Twist”, Oliver goes through many hardships himself before attaining a better life. I think I definitely took something from this book as well in forming my novel.
Aside from Anne herself, who are the other dominant characters in the book and what are they to Anne?
 My novel has a great many characters in the forty-some years that it covers. There’s George, a young man who befriends Anne when they’re children and develops feelings for her, but Anne, though she superficially cares for him, is cruel to him and pushes him away. Rad is another young man who falls for Anne, but Anne, though she reciprocates his feelings at least a little bit, cares more for herself and turns her back on him. Madame Button is a malicious French woman who hates Anne for a reason that’s not revealed to readers until a bit later, and tries to ruin her life. Anne fears her greatly. Guinevere is another young woman who comes across Anne and forms a strong friendship with her; Anne loves her just as much. Anne also bears three children: Henry, who is Anne’s foil, a very strong person who also endures much, Lucifer, a very shy, troubled boy with inner demons, and Grace, a spunky, passionate girl who loves Anne dearly and longs to protect her from a certain person. Anne loves both of her boys, but Grace she is afraid of because of a certain incident that happened before Grace was born. These characters are just a few of the many more that my novel contains.
Is there a particular scene you could share with us?
 Sure. In the following extract, Anne is recalling a time in which Madame Button told her all about her parents from the time they decided to elope together to the moment Anne’s mother dies from childbirth:

Anne’s father had been named William Falkman. He had been a common man of low station when he had fallen in love with an Elizabeth McFarkley, a beautiful, loving young woman of first-class society. She had likewise fallen for William, but was constantly harped upon by her egotist, persistent parents, who always insisted that a daughter like theirs was not about to be united with such a “common boy”. William and Elizabeth, however, loved each other too much to know any kind of negativity, and when the verbal harassing of Elizabeth about her love affairs came to a sufficient point, the two lovers finally decided to escape from such pressure, and elope. Elizabeth especially had treasured such an idea, as the love that she had had for William was far greater than was the love that she had possessed for her parents and their constant injustices.

Eloping was a bad decision. The sweet and naive Elizabeth never imagined that her own family would break ties with her because of her personal wants and dreams, but that was exactly what had happened. Elizabeth McFarkley, the gorgeous daughter of a wealthy politician, had made the choice to marry a man of much inferiority, and the consequence was the cessation of any further communication between her family and herself. When the surrounding areas became informed of such a consequence, they were heartily surprised to learn of how indifferent Elizabeth continued to act, in spite of such shame. This was because she finally had what she had always ached and prayed for-the perfect man to be her husband, and there was absolutely nothing in the world that could bring her down. Others did not know this, though, and they talked about Elizabeth secretly amongst themselves, calling her a “thankless, shameful braggart”.

No matter the cold, vulgar thoughts and feelings of these members of society that Elizabeth had grown up with, she and William, after marrying, decided to purchase a large, luxurious house near London. The home was bought with the sale of a number of quaint items that Elizabeth had run away with. As inconvenient as it had been for Elizabeth to run off with such special belongings, she had loved them too much to leave them behind, and furthermore, her intelligence had prompted her to bring them along directly after she had made the decision to elope with William. She had had a certain instinct that had told her that the money produced from the selling of those objects would prove to add up to a sufficient amount of money. As companionable as this house had been for the star-crossed lovers back then, it was the same house that Anne violently abhorred with a fierce retribution that coursed wildly throughout her being, as it had been the nightmare of hell for her, hell produced by the purest paternal abuse of every kind.

According to Madame Button, Anne’s parents had had a flawless first year of marriage, but Anne had already guessed that. She was well aware of the ugly life that she lived and wondered how a person like she, with a pain-filled life, could otherwise have come into the world but with sufficient pain on the part of her parents.

Indeed, the story thus continued. William had not been able to find a doctor in the time before Elizabeth had gone into labor with Anne, even as he had run through the whole of London on the foaming back of a horse. His youthful heart had been filled with terror for his poor wife, who had been screaming and crying in utter anguish for hours from her labor pains. He feared that Elizabeth was too frail to give birth to a child, and those fears were only to be confirmed a couple of hours after William had returned from his harried journey with no success whatsoever.

When midnight struck on that chilly night of April 4, 1754 Elizabeth did, with tears and trembles harassing her delicate body, give birth to Anne. The child, if anything, had appeared to be even healthier than her mother. William had performed the whole delivery of the infant on his own, vacant of the availability of a doctor, or even a midwife. He had certainly performed his best, considering how difficult it had been for him to ignore his wife’s continuum of heart-breaking screams and sobs. They had shattered parts of his heart and perhaps his composition as well, had he not forced himself to concentrate on every particular event that was folding out before his eyes.

When William had returned to Elizabeth after cleansing the baby, he happily announced what gender it was. When she heard that she had given birth to a daughter, Elizabeth smiled laboriously, and then, extending a shaking hand to rest it lightly upon her girl’s head, she turned with tear-filled eyes to her husband, stretching another difficult smile upon her destroyed face. She then began to speak, so quietly at first that William could scarcely hear her.

“W…William, name her…Anne. Anne…Elizabeth. A lovely name…do not mourn for me, darling…Love…Anne. She will be all that you have now. I…I love…you…”

Her last words said, Elizabeth fell instantly against the pillows, throwing a wild look all around her, as if she knew that William would break after she was gone. Plump tears once again began to fall before she slowly sank down into the bed in death. With his great love gone, William screamed a terrible yell of complete agony.

What is your favourite part of the story?
 My favorite part regards the very last scene of the novel, which is quite powerful, I think. It’s also thought-provoking. I won’t say anything else about it because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I recommend people to read this novel and find out what exactly this scene is about.
And finally what is next for Carmen Stevens?
 Right now I’m simply focusing on promoting my novel, though I may write another book in the future. But I try to set aside at least a few hours a week for promoting. I work hard every week and I hope for the best.
You can download Anne from Amazon now.

The Old Spook

I’ve got a spy thriller for you today. Introducing Charles Ameringer’s The Old Spook

 

The spy/thriller The Old Spook is a roman a clef story about a fictional CIA special operations officer (Tom Miller) that takes the reader on a journey of adventure and intrigue during the Cold War. The novel begins with Miller reflecting on his 26-year career of spookery (1951-1977), during which he collaborated with rebel chieftains in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Bolivia; plotted the assassination of Fidel Castro with Mafia dons in Miami; and matched wits with KGB agents in Mexico and Chile. Forced to retire owing to the reduction in force (RIF) of the CIA’s clandestine services in the wake of revelations of CIA “dirty tricks” during the Nixon administration, Miller retreats to his hometown Milwaukee.

But wait! Not ready to call it quits, he draws on his spying skills to set up a one-man detective agency. In his sleuthing, he takes on a missing person case that unwittingly puts him on the trail of a Mafia hit man, which, in turn, threatens to reopen the can of worms about his previous dealings with the Mafia. To avert this problem, the CIA reinstates Miller and sends him packing to Central America to make war on the Sandinistas. There, he builds a secret airfield, clashes with drug lords, and is the victim of a bombing. The man just can’t stay out of trouble. And the reader will enjoy every minute of it.

* * * * *

Three of today’s top action novelists have high praise for The Old Spook. Nik Morton and Frank O’Neill rate it five stars; James Bruno rates it four.

Charles Ameringer is professor emeritus of Latin American history at Penn State University, a former captain in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, and before beginning his teaching career served as an intelligence analyst for eight years with the U.S. Department of Defense.

 

You can download this story from Amazon


Lights Out

Today is the turn of Melissa Groeling who has taken time out to talk to us about her book Lights Out…

So where’s that manuscript you wrote but don’t want anyone to read? Is it back in the bottom drawer of your desk? Maybe in some hidden file on your computer that’s password-protected? Or maybe you haven’t even written it yet—it’s tumbling around and around in your head, banging on the walls of your cranium, trying to get out.

Lights Out was definitely that hidden manuscript for me. I’m not sure why I kept it locked up for so long. I kept trying out different excuses that sounded rational on the surface but deep down, only came across as scared and self-doubting. When certain family members got the word that I had a finished story in the bottom drawer of my desk, it’s perfectly appropriate to say that all hell broke loose.

“How can you have a finished story and not do anything with it?”

“What are you waiting for? Send it in!”

“Don’t make me do it because I will.”

(That last statement came from my mother.)

So in the end, I took out the manuscript, dusted it off, ran it through some serious slicing and dicing and sent it in. Even now that it’s published, it still makes me nervous. I don’t know why. I think all of us have a book we’ve written that completely wrings us out, leaving behind our limp, useless husks. We all have that book that makes us question why we write in the first place.

But we don’t quit, do we?

Because really, what would be the fun in that?

Lights Out Excerpt

This was the core of it. This was where it was laid bare to anyone with the gift of sight. This was where monsters were created, where they destroyed, where they broke the weak. There were no happy pictures here, no fantasies, no dress-up. This was for the ones who knew damn well what they were doing and didn’t care. They didn’t try to hide it with gifts and toys and ice cream. This was where the darkness was, omnipotent and cruel in its entirety and judging by the darker stains on the floor, irregular-shaped, dried, and brown, almost black, very few could harness it. Very few could survive it.

He took an unsteady step back. Teetering on a knife’s edge, he howled, “Ethan!”

Rage pulsed, abrupt and loud, inside of him. He turned in an endless, frenzied circle, the need so great now to find him, to get him away from all of this, to get himself away from all of this that Paul nearly missed the small voice from behind him.

“Hello.”

He spun wildly, almost blind with anger. His finger tightened on the trigger of the gun in his hand and he almost squeezed off a wild shot. Through his reddened vision, he saw the door in front of him, saw that the eye-slot was still open. It was a room full of fairies, the walls painted like a meadow. Little twinkling lights hung from the ceiling and he’d been pretty damn sure that the room had been empty when he first looked inside.

He hit the door with a soft gasp and peered in.

A little girl, no older than nine, sat on the bed, facing the door. She smiled at him, open and trusting. Her big brown eyes sparkled with youth and humor. Her brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail; wispy bangs hung in front of her smooth white forehead. She was dressed like a fairy, complete with shimmery wings, tights, and a dress that shone with blues and violets. The sight of her made him want to fall to his knees, the anger that had nearly consumed him just seconds before, crumbling beneath the weight of this small, fragile creature locked inside of a nightmare. She seemed to ripple as he stared at her like he was looking at her through plastic film. Paul wiped at his eyes, squinting, wondering if perhaps she was nothing more than a hallucination. Maybe she was something that his overtaxed brain had conjured up to keep him from making the wrong move. Her small, slippered feet swung freely above the floor, lightly bumping the side of the bed. The twinkling lights from above illuminated her smooth white arms. Her skin seemed to sparkle.

Fairy dust, he thought numbly.

He started to think that there was something familiar about her but then she asked him in a voice high-pitched, innocent and so fucking young, “Would you like to come in and play with me?”

He had to try several times to find his voice. “Uh, no, no honey, that’s all right.”

“But isn’t that why you’re here?”

He took a painful breath. “No. I’m—I’m looking for someone.”

She gave him a curious look. “Are you playing hide-and-seek?”

Jesus, God. Paul felt like his heart was about to break.

“Kind of. Listen, sweetheart, could you—”

“Melinda.”

“What?”

“That’s my name. Melinda. You can call me Melinda if you want to. What’s your name?”

He swallowed. “Paul.”

She giggled. “Your voice sounds funny. You’re not nervous, are you?”

“I—no.”

She nodded. “Good.”

The look she gave him was heavy and expectant. “If you want to come in, you’ll have to find Uncle Jack so he can unlock the door.”

Paul’s fingers bit into the small mesh screen covering the eye slot. “Uncle Jack? Do you know where I can find him?”

“He’s probably at the silo.”

“The silo?”

“Yup. He always goes there before it gets dark.”

“What’s in the silo, Melinda? Do you know?”

She shook her head. “Only the bad kids go there.”

His heart lurched. “The bad kids, huh?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Why only the bad kids?”

“Because, silly, they don’t follow the rules.”

“What kind of rules?”

She swung her feet harder now. “You have to eat your food, do your chores, smile for everyone, and never, ever run away.”

“Really?”

“Yup. ’Cuz then you go to the silo.”

Paul leaned back, biting his lip. Then he said, “Okay, look, Melinda, I’m going to go to silo, find Uncle Jack and then come right back here and get you out. Okay? How’s that sound?”

A small frown graced her features. “Why?”

“What?”

“You don’t have to get me out. You come in here. I don’t come out there.”

“But—”

“This is where I belong. You leave. I stay.”

He blinked. “But don’t—don’t you want to go home?”

She flinched as if he’d struck her. “Home is bad. I get hurt at home.”

“Don’t you get hurt here?”

She brightened. “Nope. I get lots of ice cream here. Chocolate chip, too. It’s my favorite. I get it all the time because I’m a good girl.”

Her eyes were almost fever-bright as they drilled into his and Paul found himself backing away under the force of it.

He half-stumbled, half-ran back the way he’d come.

“Hurry up so we can play,” followed him down the steps and out onto the porch.

Bile rose in the back of his throat. He leaned over the railing and vomited.

 

Here are the links were you can find out all about Melissa Groeling and her work:

http://www.facebook.com/melissa.groeling

https://twitter.com/#!/stringbean10

http://melissagroeling.blogspot.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H51R2AS

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lights-out-melissa-groeling/1117540680?ean=2940148946137

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/379110

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-lightsout-1369485-235.html

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19270732-lights-out


Save Me


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Title: Save me
Author: Natasha Preston
Genre:NA contemporary romance
Release Date: 7th October

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SYNOPSIS

Tegan Pennells used to care about everything: family, friends, boys, school, and music. But then her dad died and that stopped.

She doesn’t care about her relationship with her mum and sister. She doesn’t care that she’s pushed away most of her friends. She doesn’t care that she lost her virginity to her friend’s brother in the backseat of his car. She doesn’t care that she uses men, or what people think about her friends with benefits agreement with Kai, a guy she met in a bar.

Tegan doesn’t care about the man that received her father’s heart. And she doesn’t want to care about that man’s son.

She doesn’t want to care about anything ever again.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK
Amazon USA
Amazon CA
iTunes

TEASERS

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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UK native Natasha Preston grew up in small villages and towns. She discovered her love of writing when she stumbled across an amateur writing site and uploaded her first story and hasn’t looked back since. She enjoys writing NA romance, thrillers, gritty YA and the occasional serial killer.

CONNECT WITH NATASHA

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

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Cobbled Life

I’ve been speaking with HM Flath and he’s been telling me all about his novel set in Russia. Here’s what he has to say.

1. Cobbled Life is a story about a conscripted soldier in 1908 Russia. How much of this story is fictional and have you used any events from this time, or interpreted other historical accounts that you can tell us about?

Real:

* The Tsar’s desire to modernize and build up the Russian army in 1908 is real as he did not want to be embarrassed in battle.

* The battles on the Eastern front between 1914 and 1915 along the Gorlice-Tarnow line are real.

* The Russian Revolution of 1917 is real.

* The existence of Pokovnik Constantine Vasiletvich Zaharoh is real.

* The description of the immigrant ship and train are real.

* The Flath family settlement in Saskatchewan is real.

* Many of Otto’s personal experiences while in Russia and then also in Canada are real.

* The dates are all real.

Fictional

– The conversations are fictional.

* Some of the characters are fictional, ie. the Pokovnik’s family.

* Clara’s family, the Jungs, and their background contains much conjecture on my part as I had only snippets of information.

Events that are utilized:

-World War I – Eastern front battles

-The Russian Revolution of 1917

* The existence of the Spanish flu epidemic and its consequences

* The Great Depression of the 1930’s

2. Obviously 1908 Russia was a very tumultuous time, what does your leading character Otto, face as he travels on his perilous journey?

Upon entering Russia, Otto was confronted with prejudices of language, ethnicity, cultural and social status which were underlying themes through the whole book. The dramatic tumultuous time for Otto began in 1914 with the outbreak of WWI. He faced danger, the horrors of war and the possibility of physical harm and/or death, loyalty in the face of danger, escape from Russia during the Russian Revolution, the tragic death of his mother and then the difficulties of life as an immigrant during the Great Depression.

3. What type of man is Otto and how does he develop throughout the story?

Otto begins as an immature, inexperienced, nineteen year old who has had a fairly easy life until the time he was conscripted and where the story begins. His character grew much stronger as he lived and learned from personal experiences, from living with the Pokovnik’s family, from

being on the front during WWI, escaping from Russia, immigrating, etc. He grows into becoming a loyal devoted family man – strong and committed.

4. Are there any other significant characters in Cobbled Life you can tell us about?

* Martin is Otto’s father and the man responsible for the first Flaths to emigrate to Canada.

* Constantine Vasilevich Zaharoh, Pokovnik of a cavalry regiment in Russia’s third army, was Otto’s boss and mentor (father figure) for 9 years. Otto went to the battle lines on the Eastern front as the valet to Pokovnik Zaharoh.

* Anya Oleshenko was Otto’s secret love who played a major role in several of Otto’s decisions.

* Clara Jung became Otto’s wife. She provided strength and loyalty to their marriage and family and eventually became the mother to their nine children.

* Gustav Jung, Clara’s father, was a strong, ambitious, solid patriarch of the Jung family whose choices lead to the emigration of that family.

5. What is your favorite part of the story? (You can use a snippet of it if you like.)

There are several. One of my favorite scenes is in Chapter 6 when Otto takes the Pokovnik’s daughter to watch the ice break-up in the spring.

She fell backwards onto the bridge deck and lay there. Otto only had heard a small cry for help and quickly turned his attention to Natalie who was lying on the ground. Instantly, Otto fell to his knees and peered into Natalie’s face. He then sensed another presence. His eyes gazed up and not a foot away, he found his eyes locked to another set of the most beautiful soft blue eyes he had ever seen.

Another of my favorite scenes is found in Chapter 11 when the Pokovnik spoke to Otto prior to their departure for the battle fields.

This is total madness. What is there to gain? A few pieces of land? For whom? We are going to kill each other and for what reason? Because someone else speaks a different language? Because others worship God in a different way than we do? Because others wear their clothing differently? Because others have skin and hair colors that are different from ours? It makes no sense to me, Otto. All that every one of us just wants, is to be happy…… to have a family ……. to be safe ……. to live without fear. Look at yourself and the other two million men in our army …… what do they want? Do they want to lose their lives just because the Tsar wants to prevent Franz-Joseph of Austria from ruling this pathetic piece of ground? Of course not! This is sheer madness. It makes me sick. I have been in battles and I know what is coming.”

6. Who is your target audience – who will love this book and who should read it?

My target audience is anyone and everyone who has emigrated or has family which has emigrated, experienced war, poverty, prejudice and/or bigotry. I especially hope that young people who often don’t appreciate their heritage would read and reflect upon the many messages interwoven in the fabric of the story.

7. What do you want readers to come away with once they have finished Cobbled Life?

I want the reader to leave with an appreciation of their own situation, an appreciation of the Canadian way of life and a debt of gratitude to their forbearers and to those who made Canada, as a nation, possible.

8. What is next for you HM Flath?

I am presently working on a second manuscript. All that I would like to say is that it too, is historical fiction.

 

Download this book now from Amazon


Fallen

I absolutely love it when authors approach me right before they publish. It’s so exciting for them, for me and for you. So today, being the 3rd of October is the official release date of Fallen by Ann Hunter and as well as telling us a bit about the book we have an exclusive sneak peek too. Be the one of the first to read this awesome book.

17-year-old Prince Sylas of Killeagh wants what every one else wants: control over his own life. When he tries to run away from home and escape an arranged marriage, the last thing he expects is to fall in love with a robber in the woods. Hiding behind a mask, the robber girl seems to lead a life of freedom Sylas has only dreamed of. Their adventure comes to an end when the Castle Killeagh guards hunt Sylas down and he’s forced to return home. He convinces his parents to allow him to find the girl again and consider her as a candidate for marriage, but he only has until the next full moon to find her, or all bets are off.

 

 

Death has a name, and it is Crwys. As a ban sidhe, her job is to visit the great houses of The Summer Isle and keen out the living to prepare them for death. King Sionnach has far outlived his days and it is time he cross to the Unliving World. When she arrives, a young prince named Sylas intervenes and offers to go in his grandfather’s stead. This break with tradition, and selfless sacrifice, move Crwys into loving Sylas, who looks so much like a shadow from her past. But when he crosses her to be with his true love, he invokes the wrath of a woman scorned.Rós is just a little, aura-seeing, red hen whose master believes she is chosen by the gods. Her arrival at King Sionnach’s court is insignificant to Sylas at the time, but their destinies are interwoven. Can she help Sylas save himself from the curse Crwys has planned for him? Or will he become a fallen frog prince?A NOTE FROM OUR HERO:

 
“Once upon a time, I fell in love. Madly, deeply. With my whole being. I’d do anything for the girl who robbed me of my heart.
I tried to save her…

 


But Darkness came. The ban sidhe, Crwys, death herself, wants me for her own. She thinks I am someone from her past, and she will not rest until I submit.

 


I have secrets. Some I can barely live with myself for, and every night I dream of two women. One I cannot save, the other I cannot escape….”

Prince Sylas of Killeagh

 

 

WHAT REVIEWERS ARE SAYING:

 
“You expect the author of paranormal books to have a good imagination, but as you will find when you read the story, Ann Hunter’s is exceptional…. All of the characters are larger than life…”
Derek White, Nerd Girl Official Book Blog

“Hunter will have you believing in heroes, once upon a time kind of love, and fairy tales again.”

–P. Gerschler, Afterglow Productions (publisher)

 

EXCERPT:

Sylas stalked the driver of a hay wagon bound for the king’s castle through a tavern. The hay driver took up a seat in a corner with a friend, but the prince boldly sat at the center of the boisterous conversation. Small town gossip had become one of his favorite pastimes while indentured to the blacksmith in Coad. Gossip spread like wildfire. Here was no different.

He kept his covered head low, plunking down a gold coin in exchange for a flagon of mead. He was always sure to wear his gloves and coverings when in public, so as not to startle anyone. Hearing the townspeople prattle on about their daily lives reminded him of his days in the throne room. With a smirk, he leaned back in his chair and croaked softly, “Sylas Mortas.”

No one seemed to hear at first. He casually locked his hands behind his head and croaked again, “Sylas Mortas.”

He repeated it a few moments later. The conversation at a nearby table paused. Sylas listened carefully to the two men sitting there.

“Say, you remember that old legend about Sylas Mortas?” asked the one man to the other.

“What about it?”

“He was a terrible son of a sídhe,” he said with a shiver.

“How do you know? That was nigh eighty years ago.”

Sylas took a slug from his flagon. He spoke over his shoulder. “I heard he killed virgins for fun.”

One of the men at the other table pointed to him. “See? He knows.”

“What does he know?” the other man muttered.

Sylas drank again. “Met him once.”

The two men fell quiet.

The Sylas Mortas,” Sylas croaked a little louder, garnering the attention of other patrons.

“How could you have met ‘im? He’s dead.”

“I know. Bumped into him on my way here. Got lost in the bogloch.”

More of the tavern dwellers turned in their seats. Sylas continued. “He’s not as handsome as the legend says. Then again, he’s been dead a long time. You knew that though. Did you know he escaped?” Sylas tipped his flagon and drained it. He held it upside down over the table and cocked his head as a single drop fell out. He shook the flagon, acting dismayed that it was empty. Someone tossed the barkeep a coin and demanded this poor traveler be offered another drink. When it arrived, Sylas continued.

He placed a hand on his heart, pretending to tremble. “It was awful. Terrifying. The stench of the bog. The hungry, buzzing gnats.” He nodded to one of the patrons. “You ever been there?”

The patron, a fat, squat, balding man, nodded frightfully.

“Well.” Sylas smacked his mouth. “You know how awful it is. That son of a sídhe rose from the water in a belch of green bubbles. He bore his fangs at me. Yes, fangs.”

Gasps rose from the crowd like the sound of waves rushing the beach.

“The legend said he was a handsome lad. Red of hair, face kissed by the sun god. But no longer. Oh, no! He’s green now. Like a frog, and yet… not. Tall as a man, horrific to look at. I saw my reflection in his eyes as he breathed over me with long, yellow nails, and just dripping with spittle from those saw-like teeth of his.” A woman in the background swooned and fainted. Sylas forged ahead, breathlessly. “I begged for my life.” He faked an upsetting sob. Another flagon was presented to him. He allowed his hands to shake. “Do you know what he said?”

Some of the patrons leaned in. Others shook their heads. The woman who fainted received a good fanning.

“He said he would grant me one wish.”

“Is that how you escaped with your life?”

Sylas drained his flagon greedily. “No.”

“What did you do?”

“Too afraid of the price, I asked him only the one thing that came to my mind. What was he was doing in the bogloch?” Sylas said with a tremble.

“And?”

Sylas drummed his nails on the table. “Sick and twisted as he was, he will not show his face in the light. That is why he’s been hiding there for decades. He emphasized the decades bit. “And he will grant a wish to any soul brave enough to seek him in the bogloch, for I did not use mine.”

The patrons hushed.

He had to bite his fist to keep from snorting in laughter. His shoulders convulsed. He hiccuped a breath. Though deliriously silly inside, he appeared to be openly shaken. He knew people appreciated a good story. They paid for the rest of his drinks, consoling him.

He kept an eye trained on the wagon driver who was just as shocked as everyone else. Sylas gripped his final flagon and announced, “The dark prince Sylas Mortas, killer of virgins, does not wish his name to be spoken.” He slammed the empty flagon down a moment later. “For the wishes he grants are closely guarded, stemming from magic deep and terrible. They are not without their price.”

He rose and left, looking for the hay cart outside. When he found it, he hid inside. The driver was not far behind. Sylas smirked as he listened to him speak to someone else. There was fear in his voice, and Sylas knew at once that the driver would run his mouth, eager to tell anyone who would listen of this terrible creature in the bogloch. A bit of theatrics, a portion of truth, and just a twist of the words, Sylas thought, works every time.

 


Dangerous Liaisons

Today I have a book from author Sarah Stuart and what’s so special about this book – well people you can download it free today. The promotion is due to run out soon so grab your copy from Amazon now.

 

Dangerous Liaisons opens when Lizzie inherits a Book of Hours originally owned by Margaret Tudor, James IV of Scotland’s queen. She used it, as people often did in the sixteenth century, as a diary. The queen’s influence on her descendants, her own daughter and granddaughter, and in the twenty-first century, Lizzie, and her daughter Lisette, is the thread that ties the story together.

One reviewer went on:

A real eye-opener into the world of behind-the-scenes London theatre. Poor boy may meet rich girl, but this is no Cinderella story. The determination to succeed is what drives the plot, and the heartbreaking backlash of success is what makes the characters compellingly human. Temptation, loyalty and betrayal…

Another included this:

The truth of who they are and what they do relies on how the dark past kisses the bright future of the theater in Britain and American Broadway… liaisons through love can prove dangerous at any level.

An excerpt, with the kind permission of Amazon, follows:

‘please.’

Who was he to plead conscience, or take the moral high ground? He scarcely knew her he’d spent so much time away from her. He was making excuses for the inexcusable. ‘No.’

Lisette shook his hand from her hair. ‘Leave me scared… stay tired… let Clement down. Concert tours will keep you living in luxury, superstar.’

God, she knew how to hurt, but the tigress was a thousand times more attractive than the supplicant. He pulled her onto the bed and silenced her with kisses… mouth… eyes… ears… neck… When he reached her breasts he tasted blood. Lisette closed her eyes. Tyrone, or someone before him, had been rough, and she feared it now.

‘Lis, a man who loves you won’t hurt you. I was confused, and I behaved the way V… she liked.’ This time he wasn’t using an excuse: he was stating a fact. ‘I’m not confused now.’

Soft breath caressed his cheek but he almost missed the whisper. ‘Do you love me?’

Denying it would frighten her, achieve nothing, and be a lie. He’d loved her from the moment…

 

If you want to know more you can download Dangerous Liaisons for free now, or anytime before midnight PST on Sunday, 5th October from:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00M9CU1Z6


Safe Haven

Safe Haven is a story set before The Running Game. I wrote the story after I published The Running Game as a sort of companion piece, but it is also a great introduction to the feel of the series. This story is available for free from most online retailers including Amazon so if you like what you read please give the full story a go – I promise you won’t be disappointed. And don’t forget you can leave comments and feedback at the bottom of the page.

 

The world was white. So white the dark night couldn’t penetrate the layers of snow suffocating the surrounding forest. Each breath Isobel managed to push out crystallised in the air around her small mouth, sparkling under the moonlight. She pushed forward, the snow swallowing her legs to the knees in hungry gulps. Her hands and feet were numb but her thighs burned furiously with each agonising step.

It was late and she was so very tired. The last night was spent in the back of their Landrover, fighting for space on the backseat with her little sister while their Dad kept watch. It had been a cold, broken night, but Isobel would give anything to be back there now. Anything not to be walking through Red Forest in the middle of December.

She sniffed and looked behind her. Rachel was only six, three years younger than Isobel but at that moment it felt like there was a lifetime between them. Rachel didn’t understand why they were in the middle of the wilderness. She had no idea why they had to leave their mother. She had slept through their uncle running into the cottage, screaming that the army was coming. She had no idea of the danger they were in. Isobel stared at her sister as she struggled in the snow and envied every tiny, oblivious step she took.

Rachel fell and started to cry. She was sobbing for their mum, looking around the expanse of nothing for her. But Isobel knew they would never see their mother again. She took a strong heavy breath, close to tears herself. She wanted to move to help her sister but her legs refused to go back, not after the effort they had put into going forwards.

Instead she called out. “Dad!”

He was ahead of them, scoping out the safety of the forest. When he saw Rachel he hurried back, covering the ground in five easy strides. Despite the cold and fatigue Isobel broke a smile. Her father was the greatest man, he could still do anything in her eyes. Despite the snow sticking to his beard, the creases in his weather worn face, he was still her hero. He lifted Rachel effortlessly into his large arms, brushing the snow from her hair. And that’s when the gunfire started.

“Run! Isobel run!” He screamed.

He grabbed her coat as he ran past, but she stayed, looking through the trees at the erupting lights, as though the night sky had sunk to the earth.

“Isobel!” Her father shouted and she came to her senses.

They were coming! She started to run. Her feet leapt into her father’s footsteps, following his shadow as he weaved through the trees. The foliage became denser, the snow thinner. She found her feet striking firming soil, frozen dirt and icy puddles. She leapt over a ditch and her father caught her. His hand pulled her close and they huddled together into a dug out burrow off the path.

“We need to work together,” he whispered, so softly Isobel thought she was imagining them. “We’re not here,” he told them both. “Say it with me girls. We’re not here.”

Isobel closed her eyes, sinking into the warmth of her father’s wax coat. She reached for her sister’s hand and concentrated. “We’re not here,” she repeated. “We’re not here.” Over and over she focussed on the words, hearing the echo in the baritone voice of her father and the small squeak of her sister.

Time started to twist, the cold subsided and she felt herself floating against the body of her father. The explosions around her, the shouting, the danger, all started to melt away. But the power running over her wasn’t hers, it didn’t even belong to her father. The dominant voice inside her head became her sister’s, small and yet entirely commanding. She focused on it, echoing it as best she could and then she felt herself merge into nothing.

How long had they stayed like that? Isobel had no idea, but when her father broke free of their spell the militia had gone, leaving a stunned silence in their wake. The surrounding trees were torn apart with gunshot. Pieces of bark and bullet shells scattered the ground around them. It had been ferocious whatever had come their way.

“Daddy,” Rachel asked sleepily. “What’s going on?”

Isobel waited. She’d asked the question herself the night before, but she was sure her father wasn’t about to repeat his answer. How could he tell a six year old the truth? That they were caught in the middle of a civil war, insurgents and militia intent on claiming land that never belonged to them? How could he explain to her that these men didn’t care who got caught in the crossfire? That this wasn’t a fight for freedom, or liberty or any sense of lost righteousness? That this was about control and power? How could he tell his youngest daughter that she had never been in more danger, because if they found out what she was, what all three of them were, both sides would lock them away and do all kinds of experiments on them?

“We’re playing a game,” he said, stroking his younger daughter’s hair, while at the same time squeezing Isobel’s hand. “It’s called the Running Game. We have to run and hide, concentrate on not getting caught. Wherever we go, whatever we do we keep moving, counting the exits, planning our escape routes so nobody can ever find us.”

“It sounds like a stupid game,” Rachel said.

Their dad laughed softly. “It does, but you get a prize if you play it well.”

“What prize?”

“You get to live Rachel. You get to grow up, to keep running. You have to keep running baby. Always be ready to run because they’ll always be coming for you. Whatever happens, they’ll always be coming for you.”

“When will they stop Dad?” Isobel asked.

Her father held Rachel close, as though he were protecting her from the next confession.

“They’ll never stop,” he said. “Right now we need to rest. The secret to winning the game is knowing when to run and when to wait. You’re tired. You’ve done so well today. Try to sleep now, we’ll try to get out of the forest in a few hours.”

Rachel was asleep in moments and Isobel had a suspicion her father had put her to sleep using his powers. She snored quietly, looking almost peaceful.

“There’s a lot of ground to cover,” he said to Isobel. “We’re going to make our way south, to S’aven. There’s a man there. A priest called Father Darcy. He’s an old friend. We can trust him. He’ll help hide us until all this is over.”

Isobel nodded, understanding these were instructions, not reassurances. She rolled the name in her head; Father Darcy. She had to remember it.

“Your sister, her powers…” he shook his head and sighed. “If they find her it will be bad for all Reachers.” He turned to her, his eyes warming. “If they find either of you, it will be bad honey. You’re so young, this isn’t the life I wanted for you. You need to be strong now sweetheart, you need to look after your sister. I wouldn’t trust her to anyone else.” He pushed the hair from her face. “My beautiful girl, look at you, you’re so grown up already. You make me and your mum so proud.”

She felt a lump swell in her throat.

“Whatever happens you look after your sister. Can you do that Isobel?”

Her father was a good man and she would have done anything to make him happy. She stared into his dark blue eyes and the look he gave her betrayed everything that was about to come – his death, their journey, her future.

“Can you do that Isobel?”

Would he have asked if he had honestly known what it would mean – what she would do to keep her sister safe?

“Isobel?”

 

This book is available to download for FREE. Get it from Amazon Smashwords or Kobo 

And you can add your book and others in the Reacher series to your Goodreads


Cover Poll – The Unlucky Man

Never judge a book by it’s cover. But what about when that’s all you’ve got to go on? Today we are getting interactive.

Check out this cover from H T G Hedges’ debut The Unlucky Man and tell us – based on this cover alone would you buy the book? Vote below for a chance to win a copy of the book:

 

The Unlucky Man

 

Leave a comment – even a simple hello – and one of you will be chosen to WIN an e-copy of the book on Saturday!