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Guitars and Cages

Guitars and Cages Blog Tour

Title: Guitars and Cages

Author: Layla Dorine

Genre: gay fiction, urban drama, contemporary, M/M fiction

Length: Novel

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

The future for the Guitars and Cages world

Greetings. Thank you for such a warm welcome, it’s a pleasure to be here, and a little surreal too. I never imagined I would be doing a blog tour or being given so many wonderful opportunities to talk about the Guitars and Cage’s world and what in store for it now that the book has been released. When I started, I never imagined that there would be a second part of the story, but after I reached the final chapter, all of the characters were still loudly telling me that they had much more that they wanted to share.

In fact, there’s so much more that, after writing almost 85,000 words of the second novel, there is a third book in the planning stages. Right now, the second book will give readers a greater insight into Cole, while still being very focused on the core group of Asher, Conner, Morgan, Alexia and Rory. I’ve also had the chance to show Asher interacting with his son, and taking some steps towards making amends with Eve. Asher’s father will also make an appearance in this book, so readers will have the opportunity to see if he’s as horrible he’s been made out to be. Right now, it’s looking like the third book will be Alexia centric, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself in making notes. I never know what they might tell me after everything unfolds in the second book.

In addition to the second book of the Guitars series, I’ve also written two other novels that have been accepted for publication by Wayward Ink that are both in the early stages of the editing process so I won’t give their names right now as they just might change. I will say that one of them kick starts with an arranged marriage, and the other focuses on a rock and roll band that is on the cusp of breaking out of the bar scene and making it big. I’ve always got some kind of writing project going on and am focused at the moment on finishing the first draft of a dirt bike themed story with more steamy bits then I’ve ever written before.

Excerpt

“You know what? Sometimes it is. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, Conner, but sometimes you need money faster than you can earn it honestly. I hadn’t planned to fight anymore, but Kimber ditched Rory with Morgan, like for good, and the bar is struggling. The taxes are due and the only goddamned home Morgan, Alexia and Rory have is over that bar. I knew I could make enough to help Morgan pay the taxes until he got things settled at the bar again. That’s the only reason I took that fight tonight.”

“You know what, I can understand that. What I don’t get is how you go from fighting to ending up cuffed and blindfolded with that guy pawing you like a bad prom date.”

“I’m one of the guys Catfish took a liking to. He’s been after me for months to work for him as his bodyguard. What that really means is I’d be hired muscle and a personal fuck toy. I would have said yes to the bodyguard if the rest didn’t come with it, but Catfish don’t want one without the other, and every time I’m with him, it’s just…”

I let out a shuddering sigh and hung my head.

I felt Conner’s hand on my arm, and he used his other hand to brush my hair back from my eyes. “Do you know that whenever you don’t want to talk about something, you try to use your hair as a wall?”

I glanced at his face, and then down again. “Yeah.”

He slid his hand beneath my chin and raised my eyes so I was looking at him. “I’m not judging you. I want you to explain it to me so maybe I can understand what you’re thinking when you go there.”

“That’s just it,” I said low, but I knew he could hear me. “He doesn’t judge me, he doesn’t think my scars are hideous, he doesn’t think I’m stupid because I don’t read so good and I didn’t finish high school. He doesn’t expect anything more from me than to be who I am, and when I need it most, he’s the only one who ever tells me I’m worth anything, or that he wants me around. I hate that I love it when he touches me, that it feels good even when he hurts me. I didn’t say yes to being his bodyguard because I knew if I did, I’d never leave. If I let him give me everything he’s promised, there would never have been a chance at walking away.”

Conner put one hand on my cheek and caressed it, while the other kept me from looking away. “You’ve always wanted more than to fight and play your guitar, haven’t you?”

I swallowed hard. “Yeah.”

Synopsis

Asher Logan is a bartender and a pretty wicked guitar player, when he isn’t wrecking his hands fighting in a cage. With a past he keeps hoping to outrun, Asher’s been on a downward spiral for longer than he can remember. When his sister-in-law leaves Rory, his eight-year-old nephew, in his care, Asher is forced into two things he’s never been good at: sobriety and responsibility. As he struggles to care for Rory, his own life begins to unravel.

When Asher’s brother, Alex, turns up, presenting as a girl and announcing her new name is Alexia, it further complicates matters, as does the arrival of his new neighbor, Conner. Both, in their own way, compel Asher to look at his own closely-guarded views on sexuality.

Guitars and Cages by Layla Dorine

When the siblings’ older brother, Cole, reacts violently to Alexia, Asher is placed squarely in the middle of a family conflict which compels him to confront who he pretends to be versus who he really is.

Asher must choose who to trust and who to finally walk away from.

Buy Links

Don’t miss the Wayward Ink Publishing Tickle Me Pink Sale – 25% off all list prices!

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/guitars-and-cages-by-layla-dorine/

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Guitars-Cages-Layla-Dorine-ebook/dp/B00YWD9PVQ/

Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/Guitars-Cages-Layla-Dorine-ebook/dp/B00YWD9PVQ/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Guitars-Cages-Layla-Dorine-ebook/dp/B00YWD9PVQ/

Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/Guitars-Cages-Layla-Dorine-ebook/dp/B00YWD9PVQ/

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-guitarsandcages-1838198-341.html

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/guitars-and-cages-layla-dorine/1122098430?ean=9781925222463

Book Trailer

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize: $20 WIP Gift Card and 1 ebook copy of Guitars and Cages

About the author

LAYLA DORINE lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.

Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.

Layla Dorine can be found at:

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005197938547&fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/layladorine

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/layladorine/

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The Cortlandt Boys

Today I have an exclusive extract from Laura Vanderkam and her book The Cortlandt Boys.

 

She watched a detective snap pictures and a truck carting the county’s mobile crime scene trailer pull into the parking lot. Soon, though, she was shivering too much to stand there, so she went inside to grab the coat she’d left in her room. As she put it on, she looked at Janie’s collage, sitting on her bedside table.

She looked at the white house. She looked at the baby.

“Oh my God,” she said to no one in particular. She felt her heart beat a little faster. It was the baby in the Curtis Inn. Janie had known the baby was there.

Of course, as she thought about it, she realized that made no sense. How could a 7-year old know about a 10-year-old crime? Still, it was an utterly intriguing idea: a body buried around the time of the championship game, a body hinted at by this little witness that no one believed. It was an idea that twisted the story of the Cortlandt boys in ways Max knew her editor would find difficult to resist. Any chance you could uncover an unsolved violent crime? She texted news of the discovery to his cell phone. This could be even better than the Friday Night Lights boys robbing a bank. With this dark addition, she could see her story splashed even more prominently across the cover of Sports. To be sure, it was awful to imagine a tiny body hidden under the room where she’d been sleeping. But then again, Max always did like a story.

The Cortlandt Boys is available on Amazon. ( http://www.amazon.com/The-Cortlandt-Boys-Laura-Vanderkam-ebook/dp/B00R8I2672# )

Laura Vanderkam is the author of the novel, The Cortlandt Boys, and several non-fiction books, including 168 Hours (Portfolio, 2010), What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast (Portfolio, 2013), and the forthcoming I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make The Most Of Their Time (Portfolio, June 9, 2015). She blogs at www.LauraVanderkam.com.


The Feast: A Parable of the Ring

Today I have an exclusive character interview with Virginia from The Feast – check it out.

Virginia, you’ve just got married, what’s married life like?

I was so in love and swooning in the beginning. Really. I’d waited so long, and Richard, he’s the best man a woman could have. It was only after we decided to have kids and I couldn’t get pregnant that things got hard. Before that, everything was perfect.

And your husband, what’s he like? Is it easy being married to him?

He is a perfect man and doesn’t stay angry long, well, expect for when it comes to not having a baby. Richard is pretty serious by nature, but is also very loving and romantic. He doesn’t complain about the meals I cook him, and he doesn’t push me to do things I’d rather not do, although this presents a problem for me when something really needs to get done, and, for whatever reason, I don’t want to do it.

Do you think you’re a good wife?

Mostly. I waited a long time to get married, but I still get wrapped up in the single life and what “I” want. This proves to be a problem sometimes. Richard is more giving and more appreciative. I love that about him.

What about children, that’s next on the cards isn’t it?

Yes, and it’s proving to be a real burden. We’ve waited five years and have done all the possible tests with no results. And now I’m finding it difficult to consider that there might be another option. I’m pretty stubborn and like to do things my way. Again it’s the “single” mentality. We are considering adoption, but are unsure if we should adopt a baby or an older child, or even a child from another country. And there’s so much paperwork! So much to do!

What would children bring to your life?

I have always wanted a baby, not just to prove that I can be a great mother, but because babies bring joy into your life unlike anything else. (At least, that’s what I’ve heard). Richard would make a great dad, and I would try to make a great mom. I worry more about myself than I do about him. I also think a child would bring some closure; some kind of healing to my heart. I don’t know, but I have felt this empty space in my heart that only a child would be able to fill.

Do you think adopting a child is going to be the same as having your own child?

No I don’t, at least, not at first. I mean, I have always wanted to carry a child. I have always wanted to feel the child growing inside of me. That would be missing entirely if we adopted. And, like I said, we may not even be able to get a baby. The wait for a baby is so much longer than if we adopted an older child, but then, what about all of the problems an older child might carry with them? Of course a baby could be born with problems, too. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it wouldn’t be the same to adopt a child, but I am hoping that the love will come later, and that, in the end it really won’t matter how the baby or child came to us.

How difficult is it for you and your husband to pursue having a family?

We have both waited so long, so I don’t think it’s really hard, just time consuming. We both work full-time, too, but I have already decided to stay home with the baby or child as soon as we have him or her. And that’s the other problem. What sex do we choose? I often get so stressed out that I forget the value of the five stones that God gave me. I forget that he has provided a way for me, and my husband, to work through our individual goliaths and the goliaths we experience together.

What if it doesn’t happen? Would it be so bad for you both to just be a duo family?

I would be sick at heart. I don’t know if I would be able to go on without a child. Just the two of us? Sure I could be happy, God would want me to say that I could still be happy, because, in the end, it’s His will after all, but I don’t know. I love Richard with all my heart and soul, but a baby would make everything complete.

Do you feel you are being neglected or punished by God?

Sometimes. I’ve gotten mad at him and even yelled. Sometimes I punish him by purposely forgetting He is there, or placing my duties at Just Desserts above Him. But I know in my soul that whatever I go through just strengthens me, if I let it. I know that God is in charge anyway, and that everything in my life that occurs will only help me to be a stronger woman. But I have to remember what He has taught me and rely on Him to get me through what comes.

Tell me about the five stones? What are they? How does it work?

 The five stones were gathered by me, from God, in the first book, “Conquering Your Goliaths: A Parable of the Five Stones.” Each one came individually and I was prompted by God to use them and to learn of their strength and power. The stones are: Listening, Trust, Optimism, Tenacity and Constancy. The basic idea behind the five stones is that I turn my heart and soul to God and learn of Him so that I might then get through the obstacles, goliaths if you will, of life. One of the stones, for example, is trust. Now trust is quite an interesting stone because it turns white when I’m listening to God and black when I’m not. And if I’ve really turned His voice off, I might just find the stone of trust making its way through my sofa cushions or the bottom of my car. No kidding. That stone can move if I don’t listen.

What would you like others to take away from your story?

 I want them to see that I am a regular person, who struggles with life just as they do. I might be a fictional character made up by Kathryn Jones, but, and this is a big BUT, I want readers to see that they can overcome any and all of their goliaths. I want them to see how God can help them to overcome. I want them to know that even though the stones are physically fictitious, they are true spiritually, where truth really counts, and where growth of the spirit can occur. Bottom line: Whatever you are personally going through at this moment, God is there.

Download the book now!


The Unlucky Man – Halloween Special (2)

Here’s another taster of dark thriller The Unlucky Man by H T G Hedges. Don’t scare yourself silly now.

Once, long, long ago, when the world was still young, the beast had stalked its surface and hunted beneath the heat of the sun and the cold of the moon. Its shadow had been cast long over the face of the world and it had known no boundary, its only compulsion was hunger, its only desire to consume.

And then Man came. At first the beast was wary of this new creature, so alike the other beasts it had hunted and yet so different. It watched as Man developed, became increasingly complex, increasingly able, increasingly hungry; and it saw in Man something of itself. And Man fed the beast.

Swiftly it came to realise that, in their actions, these new people could revere the beast, make it strong. With every base action, the beast was worshipped, strengthened, confirmed and it knew in Man a power like no other it had ever known before, and exulted in it.

As the years passed, many came to understand the beast and to fear it and they built fires to keep out his dark and huts to shut out the night. They daubed symbols on the walls of their caves and shunned the dark places of the world. They huddled in the light as their holy-men chanted and burned spices and wove twigs and painted their faces and did everything else they could think of in the hope of keeping it at bay.

Later, they built churches and consecrated the ground and built stronger walls of stone and slept with lights burning to keep out the cold winds of the dark on which the voice of the beast might still be heard. And some of their measures worked and some did not.

There were others though who welcomed the beast with open arms. They worshipped it, built their own churches of bone and blood in its honour, long halls of painted skulls and sharp spikes within which were carried out dark acts in its name that fed and nurtured its dark soul.

To these people the beast was generous, granting them power and dominion, bought at a price, over their peers. Many was the village sheltering in the dark forests of the old world as the shadows lengthened, shutting out the night with candles and lanterns safe behind heavy shutters and doors locked and bolted whilst the tall castles of those who had thrown in their lot with the darkness loomed terrible above them and the night echoed with the screams of those giving their lives in honour of the beast.

In this way, the beast was kept strong without the need to hunt and feed for itself and less and less did it venture abroad beneath either sun or moon and in this lay its undoing. As time passed the beast became ineffable, a thing of legend, an idea out of nightmare, out of superstition. Still fed, bloated on the

supplication of dark deeds, it crawled into the dark like a bulbous fat spider and slept, safe in the knowledge of its own never-ending superiority.

For a long, long time it slept, and when it awoke it was alone.

The world had changed, Man had changed. No longer did it worship the beast for the beast had become a part of its own consciousness. The dark acts of Man were now simply that and no longer an offering to the old dark god. No longer was it fed.

When it emerged from the dark it found it no longer had substance, could no longer rend and tear and alter the minds of men save those already disposed to hear it. For an age it crawled the surface of the earth searching for a way to return to what it once was until at last, defeated, it slunk into the deepest, darkest hole it could find and in the shadows waited sullenly in a state of hibernation for the world to change once more.

As it slept the shadows grew long and deep around it.

Download the book now!


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.

 


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


Presence (Phillip Brunn Stories Book 1)

Let’s start the week with an interview from B D Fiala who is talking all about Presence, the first book in his Phillip Brunn series.

You write a series of short stories about Psychologist Phillip Brunn, can you tell us a bit about Phillip and the type of man he is?

Phillip is basically a lost soul. He is still trying to cope with the fact that he lost his job and his marriage, even though it happened almost two years before the story begins. He is doing what a lot of people do when they can’t deal with reality; they look for refuge in drinking and that’s what Phillip does as well.

Phillip encounters a ghost in your first story Presence, how does this affect Phillip?

It scares him, but he tries not to think about it as he keeps thinking about his past more than about his present. This ghost is not the first he encountered and it reminds him of tragic events that happened couple years before the story begins, but they are not completely revealed to us and we learn about them as the story progresses. He doesn’t seem to understand what exactly is going on and even though he is skeptical about ghosts, he feels that there is something there and that there is something strange going on.

Where is your story set, what is the feel of the location?

Story goes on mostly in England and also some other parts of Europe like Prague (some parts have not yet appeared in the published material). It goes on in everyday environment, there are no old abandoned houses or anything cliché like that. Everyday homes by everyday people who for some reason encounter the unexpected and disturbing events and Phillip ends up looking for explanations.

Are there any other characters in the story that are important to Phillip and can you tell us about them?

There is Lisa. That would be Phillip’s ex-wife and probably the only important person to him even though his agent and his assistant seem to care about him since they regularly take care of him and help him get out of trouble. Lisa is special for Phillip, she is the love of his life and she is gone, out of his life for good. Phillip has a hard time accepting that.

Presence is a short story rather than a full length novel, why did you write it this way and what do you think makes it better than reading a full length novel about Phillip Brunn?

There are two reasons. Number one is that I am an impatient person and since I decided, after a few years of preparation, to finally start writing and publishing stories online, I simply could not make myself wait until I finish a full length novel. Writing a short story each month and publishing it right away seemed like a better idea. Also, the reader gets to read a part of the story (depending which part he stumbles on over the internet) and he has a chance to decide whether to read the rest or not. I guess I’m saving money for someone who decides to give it a go but then realizes the story is not for him, so he doesn’t have to pay $5 for a novel, but instead pays $0.99 for a part of the story.

Do you ever plan to write a full length novel, featuring Phillip Brunn?

So far I have five stories planned and I intend to finish them. It’s possible that there will be additional stories in the future, so a novel is a possibility as well.

Outbreak is book 2 of your Phillip Brunn series, where he is encountering more ghosts – without giving any spoilers how has Phillip changed in this later novel?

Outbreak is setting up the rest of the story. There’s less ghost action perhaps and more meeting some new characters and starting certain subplots. Phillip realizes that being a paranormal investigator is a job that he has to do in order to make a living. He doesn’t really change his opinion, but he accepts the situation he is in.

What is your favourite part of the series so far (feel free to use a snippet)?

I like the general idea that was the basis for the series. The ideas is that I am trying to find a different answer to the most common question every man asks himself: ‘’What happens after death (if anything)?’’. Even though I’d describe myself as agnostic atheist, I am proposing an idea of an afterlife that people might find intriguing. I find it intriguing, but I don’t want to say anything more, just read it and wait for it to develop.

There are five books due in the Phillip Brunn series, when is the next book out?

The idea is to publish a book a month. ‘’Presence’’ came out in August, ‘’Outbreak’’ in September, so the new book named ‘’Voice’’ is coming out in October. ”Frequency” will follow in November and the grand finale ”Collision” is due around Christmas.

And finally, after Phillip Brunn what is next for B D Fiala?

I am writing a Sci-fi novel that goes on in the future, on a colonized Earth like planet. It’s called ‘’Brand New Earth’’ and it’s a story about a small tribe that is trying to survive deep in the woods, as far away from other people and Earth’s old technologies as possible. Of course, things are never that simple, and people are more or less always driven by the same needs, a need for love and a need for power and consequently end up fighting wars and suffering because of it.

I am also developing ideas for three different novellas, writing poems and trying to find someone who would like to draw a comic based on some of my crazy ideas, so if someone happens to be reading this and wants to collaborate, look me up as I’d be glad to hear from you. I am open to different genres, but I would like to work with someone who draws fast since ideas seem to be coming to me on a daily basis.

All in all, I’ve got a lot of creative work in front of me that I’m looking forward to.

In the end, I wish to thank you for this interview and wish you luck with your web page!

You can pick up the first and second book of the series here: http://www.amazon.com/Presence-Phillip-Brunn-Stories-Book-ebook/dp/B00MHYJHE2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1407473449&sr=8-2&keywords=b.d.fiala

Or add the books to your Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8440690.B_D_Fiala

 


The City of the Mirage

It’s the end of the weekend and today we’re featuring author Jerome Brooke who has kindly taken the time to answer some questions about his book The City of the Mirage.

 

 

I think with any fantasy novel setting is always important. Can you describe to us your world and the influences you have had in creating such a place?

My Dark Empire of Astarte is set in the Multiverse. We live in a Cosmos that is one among many. Over the eons our children will sail to the stars and seed them with life. Astarte is one of the last born on our world, Sol III. She is the Great Queen, and is worshiped as a goddess in her realm.
We sometimes speculate that our reality is only one plane of existence – a cosmic cluster of galaxies. We also ask – where is everyone? A civilization should expand and fill the galaxy. Are we the very first, with a cosmic destiny?

What type of character is Astarte?

I wanted someone who was unlike the usual hero armed with a sword, with our own conceptions of right and wrong. She can be cruel, a “Dark Lord.” Her story is a Dark Fantasy. She has lived for eons, and seeks mortal lovers to amuse her. That is, she seeks to find a warrior to make her life interesting for a time. She needs a hero to fight and conquer for her entertainment.

The Conqueror is an ally to Astarte what is their relationship like?

The Immortal Astarte is a really Older Woman. The Conqueror is repelled by her savagery. However, she is powerful, and passionate. She gives him fine garments to wear, and delights to see him triumph in battle.

She is proud of her lover, and delights in war as a way to excite her, and as a cure for boredom.

A lot of people are put off by huge fantasy books, but The City of the Mirage is quite short for an epic fantasy – is it still packed full of adventure (and can you tell us some of the things that happen).

The hero is one of an Archetype. His adventures are akin to those of Beowulf. He leads her army into battle, and displays the valor expected of a hero. He also is handsome, and women respond to his valor and battle scars in an atavistic fashion (an instinct?).

The novel appeared as a serial in a magazine. Each chapter can be read as a separate, like the Conan or Sherlock Holmes tales. There were at one time long and short versions, and it all depends of what publishers will like and buy.

Astarte is obviously a name taken from Greek mythology, are there other Greek influences?

In the Empire, people wear garments like those of the classical world. These are tunics and capes, and loincloths. The weapons and armor are also taken from the eras of Rome and Sparta, and the Teutonic tribes. I imagine the same for the Conan and Gor series.

Are there any films or books that you would say are similar to The City of the Mirage?

I use the Conan and Gor books as a model. The Conan stories can be read alone, but share the same age and world. They have elements of a novel or saga. The same is true for the many books and stories of the Dark Empire of Astarte series, and also my other related series.

What is your favourite part of the story?

The final battle to serve Astarte is one I like. The enemy lord is beheaded, and his head is placed on a pike. The lips of the man still move, as if animated by an otherworldly vitality.

The City of the Mirage is part of a series called The Dark Empire of Astarte Collection, how many books are in this series and how many (include titles) are available to readers.

Under various pen names I have hundreds of books, stories, poetry chaps, collections and anthologies. The F&SF is mostly under the Jerome Brooke byline. There are 15 books on Amazon in the series (search under Brooke Dark Empire). However, there are related spin offs and related books and series.

How big is this series going to be and where do you hope to go with it?

I like the universe I have created for Astarte, and I issue new editions or revised versions as time permits. However, I am working on new unrelated series – series that are much more popular. So, the adventures of Astarte may or may not continue.

What about Jerome Brooke – after The Dark Empire what’s next for you?

I am writing the newer Kitti Katzz series, a series of sexy stories that are much more popular with readers than my F&SF. For example, I have recently put out a collection of “Sister Wives” books written as Kitti Katzz. Another resent series is my “Ladyboy and Her Girlfriend” books. Other like sets are ones that focus on Boss Ladies, Fantasy Maids, Uncensored Case Sexology Studies and so forth.

Another related series are the “Sister Severa” and “Mother Superior” series written as Juliet Baranne. Still another recent series is my Voodoo books of paranormal genre written as Joan Barron.

I am able to write the Kitti Katzz books quickly, and they are usually more popular among readers than the F&SF. However, The F&SF has some appeal to some readers, so I may do more if time permits. I live in Thailand, and have a family here. These are unsettled times, in this Kingdom of Siam.

 

You can download this book here from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/City-Mirage-Empire-Astarte-Collection-ebook/dp/B00JEVEDS6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411169996&sr=8-1&keywords=city+jerome+brooke

And read more from Jerome Brooke: http://runesofthebard.wordpress.com/


Tim On Broadway

Today I have a great interview with Rick Bettencourt who is talking about his latest novel Tim On Broadway.

 

So Tim on Broadway is your new novel, can you tell us a bit about it?

I’d be happy to. First off, thank you for having me. It’s a real pleasure to be here. (You are most welcome).

Tim on Broadway: Season One is a funny yet emotional journey about an overweight, twenty-something, gay virgin who his obsessed with getting tickets to see his favorite performer. When the book opens, we learn Tim has been fired from his job at a grocery store for sexually harassing an employee. As we read on, we discover it takes two to tango.

Tim on Broadway is a journey of self-discovery. It’s about believing in yourself in order to succeed in both love and life.

I had a lot of fun writing it. I hope that comes across the page.

You originally released Tim on Broadway as a series, what made you want to do it this way and what was the response you got from your readers?

The story reminded me of a TV show—like maybe Glee or The Office but made for HBO. I thought what better way to compliment that than to release it in episodes. It’s now available as one volume/novel—thus the “full season” in the title. The episodes started in June of 2014. The first being completely free, and still is. The initial episode is about one-third of the story, much more than the typical ten percent a reader would get from downloading a novel’s sample on Amazon.

Each week I released a new episode. After the sixth and final episode, the entire novel came out in one full volume.

The response I got was excellent. People felt that getting a decent chunk of the book for free allowed them to test the waters before committing. It’s done fairly well. I’m pleased.

Since then, Tim on Broadway has been picked up by Beaten Track Publishing—a boutique publisher in Lancashire, England—and on September 15, 2014 the full season was released in paperback.

Tim, from your blurb, sounds a bit of a… well dare I say it loser. Can you tell us a bit more about him and why you decided to write a character that wasn’t tall dark and handsome?

I like my stories to have an element of truth to them. None of us are perfect. I find it hard to relate to flawless characters whose only issue is finding true love or buying the right shirt to compliment his bicep cleavage. Blah! Boring! We all have problems—whether we’re a bit overweight, shy or have a crooked nose—it makes us unique. We can relate! I don’t think Tim’s a loser at all. He’s loveable, fun, quirky and a romantic at heart. He’s just like you and me.

But have no fear. While Tim may not be the conventional hero, there’s still plenty of “eye candy” for readers to ogle over.

If you were trying to describe Tim on Broadway what books, or films, or TV shows would you compare it to?

A reader recently compared Tim on Broadway to Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City. I love Maupin, so I took this as a huge compliment. In regard to film, I’m a Bette Midler fan. The creation of my character Carolyn Sohier was inspired by Bette and her film The Rose. There’s The 40-Year Old Virgin for obvious reasons. And, as I mentioned earlier, Glee or maybe The Office might be a good television show comparison.

The book is set in Broadway, following a theatre obsessed Tim, how much research did you have to do into the setting and into the theatre, or was this something that you have an interest in yourself.

I’m a former actor. I went to NYU for theatre and had a few bit parts here and there in the industry. Nothing huge. My biggest claim to fame was having a walk-on role in a TV show filmed in Seattle, which starred James Earl Jones. I was a thug in a police station. We used an old elementary school for the set. It was fun, but long hours.

I was also a big, purple pill in a pharmaceutical commercial. And my car got more airtime in a Massachusetts Lottery bit than I did.

I’ve always been fascinated by showbiz. But one important thing I discovered in struggling to make it as a performer was that I didn’t really like it! I know. Big lesson. But I learned that I was more comfortable behind the scenes and less in the spotlight. I would rather be at the canteen talking to the other actors and crew than to be in front of the camera. I also liked watching the actors interpret their lines. That’s how I turned to writing.

Your back catalogue mainly stays in the genre of gay romance, when you write are you intentionally targeting a gay audience or do you feel the books are accessible to a wider audience?

It’s funny you should mention that. While my books involve gay characters, most of my readers are self-described as straight. I write what I know. I am openly gay, but I like to cross genres and do so by being true to myself and realistic. I think that doing this is also being true to my readers.

One reviewer of Tim on Broadway said it best. “You don’t have to be a Broadway fan (or gay) to appreciate it.” We’re all passionate about something in our lives. And we can all relate to Tim’s plight.

As a writer of gay fiction this must be a really exciting time for you. I can’t think of a time when gay romance has been so popular, but also culturally there are some big steps being made in history for gay rights. What do you think work like yours contributes to our society and do you feel that there is a bigger, more open minded reader base ready to pick up your work?

I write because I believe stories involving gay characters need to be more in the public eye. How many bestsellers have you seen primarily involving an LGBT life? While the LGBT community has made great advances over the last few years, there are still children being disowned from their families because of who they are. That’s just wrong. I believe the more realistic our lives are portrayed, the more likely the acceptance. We’re really not all that different. It doesn’t matter who somebody can love.

I think every author has a character, or a scene, or something about their book that is there personal favourite. What is your favourite bit in Tim on Broadway?

Oh, it’s got to be the shower scene. About half way through the book, Tim finds out that other men shave their private parts and he never has. He figures that maybe doing some “manscaping” will help him get lucky. It’s a very funny scene.

So Tim on Broadway blog tour is happening now. Once it is done what is next for Rick Bettencourt?

Right now I’m writing the second season of Tim on Broadway. Plus I have a Christmas story coming out around Thanksgiving time. I also have the prequel to Tim on Broadway, which is about the diva who Tim is infatuated with in Season One. So, keep in touch. The best way to follow me is to get on my mailing list. I’m forever writing to my readers, getting their feedback and giving them little freebies here and there.

 

So you can read more about Rick Bettencourt and his work (and his dog) here: http://rickbettencourt.com/

And you can download Tim On Broadway now from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L5AYW3A?tag=writincom02-20


Mexican Radio and Other Short Stories

This week I’ve been chatting with Jaysen True Blood and he has been telling me all about his book of short stories. Here’s what he has to say:

 

 

Mexican Radio and Other Short Stories is a real mix of genres, is there a running theme or style that unites each story?

Not really. I am a “stream of consciousness” writer.

This book is in two volumes, should the stories be read in order and how are the volumes different to one another?

The only stories out of order in the book are the westerns, and I didn’t realise it until after publication. Other than that, the others that are part of a series are all in order. But as a whole, the stories can be read in any order.

So let’s pick your favourite of the short stories – tell us a bit about it.

I would have to pick the title story, “Mexican Radio”. I had the silly song running through my head when I began and thought: “wouldn’t this make a great story? Then, I put the main character in the most impossible position I could-a staged prison break that he uses to his own benefit, and that of the female lead. Although there are so many excellent stories in these two books.

Who is your favourite character in all of the stories and what sets him/her above the others?

I would have to say either Fancy Marsh or Guy Marlowe. Fancy, because he carries a buffalo gun and knows how to use it, and Guy because he is fast with both guns and at cards.

What locations feature in your stories, are they based on real places?  

Most of my stories could be located anywhere, except a few sci-fi, but I do mention L.A., Baton Rouge, and a few other US cities, but there is only one-the historical fiction piece-that is based solely on fact…with conjecture mixed in.

Overall how many stories feature in each volume and how big on average is each story?

Book 2 has 23 stories and the Book 1 has 14.

Who is your target audience for Mexican Radio and Other Short Stories?

Anyone who likes a good story and loves adventure, no matter where the action takes them.

So you have your favourite but is there a particular scene you can show us from any of the stories?

As I raised up out of my hiding place in the backseat, she looked in the rear view mirror. As I scooted to a position right behind her, she thrust her can of mace in my face and commenced to sprayin’. I bellered in pain and surprise. Even though she was chokin’ on the mace herself, she didn’t let up until I knocked it loose from her grasp.

“Are ya stupid?!?” I exclaimed, eyes, nose and throat burning as if I’d swallowed a match and splashed gasoline in my eyes.

(From “Mexican Radio”)

And finally what is next for Jaysen True Blood?

I have two novellas, “Bad Company” and “The Faust Syndrome”, due out in a couple months and am working on a third. I also have another collection in the works.

 

You can download Mexican Radio and Other Short Stories now from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Mexican-Radio-Other-Short-Stories-ebook/dp/B00FLL00GM/ref=la_B00IUNJWFI_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411485010&sr=1-4