Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Blog Tour l Book Feature: The Banished Lands by Benjamin Mester


THE BANISHED LANDS by Benjamin Mester, Fantasy, 384 pp., $9.99 (Paperback) $2.99 (Kindle)


Title: THE BANISHED LANDS (BOOK ONE)
Author: Benjamin Mester
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 384
Genre: Fantasy

A kingdom in danger. A prophecy that will change everything. But will they understand it in time? The old world is gone, and barely even histories remain. But something from that time is returning. The closing lines of a farewell poem, written centuries ago by the last great king of the age to his slain wife, might be more than just a poem:

The world and all its light shall fade,
I’ll stay with her beneath the shade
And wait until the world’s remade…

Join us in this epic fantasy adventure as three friends plunge into the great mystery of their age, twelve centuries in the making. A mysterious fog blankets the forest just outside the sleepy town of Suriya. A dark plot unfolds as Durian and his friends discover ties between a strange wanderer and the warlike barbarian kingdom far to the north. Are the mysterious things happening in the forest a prelude to invasion? What happens next will propel Durian and his curious friends into the middle of the oldest riddle in the history of their kingdom, a dozen centuries old.
Amazon Link:
https://amzn.to/2vVg2Ew

Other Books in The Banished Lands Series

The Banished Lands series

Dismissing hours as they pass
Soft upon the windswept grass.
The hopes of men have come to naught.
Nothing fair for eyes or thought.

For Sheyla lies on golden plain,
Of Cavanah, the fairest slain;
Who met her last and final day
When all was brought to disarray.

Of gladful things now nevermore –
Now bitter wind, now salty shore.
The peaceful world bound to unrest
And darkness looming in the west.

The world and all its light shall fade.
I'll stay with her beneath the shade
And wait until the world's remade...




Benjamin Mester is native of San Diego but can often be found wandering the woods of northern Minnesota.  He fell in love with language at an early age – the eloquence of poetry or the grandeur of an epic story.  Fantasy is his favorite genre, crafting new and magical places of heroism and adventure.  When he isn’t writing, he’s often taking long walks through nature or wondering about his place in the wide world.

Benjamin is the author of The Banished Lands series.

You can visit him on Goodreads.
 


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Sunset Beach by Christine Donovan #bookblast @cmdonovan


SUNSET BEACH by Christine Donovan, Contemporary Romance, 255 pp., $3.99 (kindle)


Title: SUNSET BEACH
Author: Christine Donovan
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 328
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Until Sarah Kennedy is 17 she spends her summers at Sunset Beach with a close-knit group of friends. They are young, carefree, and just a tad wild—as teenagers tend to be. They share secrets, love, and a deep connection. But that final summer life as the friends know it begins to unravel. Domestic violence plagues one family, one of their group becomes a criminal. Sarah severs all ties with her friends and disappears.

Fifteen years after the summer that changed Sarah’s life forever, she receives a letter about a reunion. Can she bury her fears, curb her anxiety enough to attend and finally unearth who attacked her and changed the trajectory of her life forever? She also hopes to reconnect with the one man she gave her heart and soul too—Jake Ferroli. She wonders if his life faired any better than hers after his family tragedy and his downfall into drugs and alcohol.

Sarah locks down her demons and rents a cottage for the summer. To her surprise Jake is still single and they slowly reconnect. But so does her attacker. He is good at eluding the police. Somehow he has gone on attacking women for fifteen years without so much as being a suspect. Pictures, letters, and threats against Sarah now come on a daily basis. Jake and Sarah hire a private detective and as they get closer and closer to revealing the identity of the perpetrator, he strikes. Can Jake rescue Sarah before their so-called friend rapes her, or even worse, kills her as he did to his last victim?


When he stepped close to her, he could sense rather than see her retreat. Her eyes darted toward the door then back to him, suddenly full of panic. Why? It tore at his heart to know someone or something traumatized her.
“Why don’t you take a seat and relax.” He reached out to touch her arm and she all but flinched. It appeared ever so quickly, but he noticed it. On an exhale, he let his arm fall, frowned at her behavior, and sat down. She slid into the chair opposite him.
“So, tell me why you’re so jumpy? Is it me, or are you always like this?” God, please don’t let it be me.
She shot him a look of disbelief. “I’m not jumpy.”
Clearing his throat, he said, “If you say so.”
“Have you kept in touch with everyone?”
The desperation he witnessed flash in her eyes nearly broke his heart. “Yeah, I have. You know about Drew and Alyssa. Tom’s a doctor. He works at Mass General and he’s still single. Dylan lives in his mother’s old house. He’s a local cop here. Had a nasty divorce a few years back, but I don’t know all the details. I believe he has one kid, a daughter. Mitch is a detective with the Boston Police Department. He married a fellow police officer and they have two kids. Heather married some guy last year, I haven’t met him. Tracy’s single and I think she’s the only one not coming.”
“I had no idea what became of anyone.” Tears pooled in her eyes. “Except Charlotte.” She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “You took me by surprise when I saw you pull up today.”
Exhaling, he said, “Likewise. I didn’t expect you to come after fifteen years of silence.” He ran his hands threw his hair and asked, “Why did you come?”
“I don’t know. I thought it was time.”
She had a strange, vacant look on her face, so Jake decided to drop the subject. He would push for more answers later. And he wanted answers. Something had been eating a hole in his heart all these years, and he wanted to know why.







Christine Donovan is giving away five free e-copies of SUNSET BEACH!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Five winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter
  • This giveaway ends midnight June 29.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on June 30.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Christine Donovan is an International Bestselling Author who writes romance that touches the heart, soothes the soul and feeds the mind. She is a PAN Member of RWA and belongs to Novelist, Inc. and Rhode Island Romance Writers.

She lives on the Southeast Coast of Massachusetts with her husband, four sons, four cats and one spoiled golden retriever. As well as writing contemporary romance, she also writes historical and paranormal. All her books have some degree of suspense. In her spare time, she can be found reading, painting or gardening. She loves to tackle DIY projects.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Coming This Fall - KristaLyn A. Vetovich's Strayed!



STRAYED by KristaLyn A. Vetovich,YA/NA Fantasy


Title: STRAYED
Author: KristaLyn Vetovich
Publisher: Glass House Press
Genre: YA/NA Fantasy

In the struggle between good and evil, humans don’t stand a chance—not on their own.
Which is why, for every living soul, there is a Firn: a spirit assigned to guide and defend humans from demonic spirits like the Aropfain. But earning a place in the fight is a process that requires several lifetimes—of service, experience, and sacrifice.

Having just returned from her most recent life as an Ancient Roman martyr, Anaya is only one step away from achieving that goal. And if she succeeds, she might become the Firn with the most important mission: guiding the human that will either save—or end—the world.

But when she’s paired with the notoriously difficult Jordin, her chances of success suddenly start to slip. Because Jordin isn’t like other souls. He’s strong, volatile—and a prime target for the Aropfain. And he almost immediately falls for an Aropfain ploy that could not only jeopardize his chances of becoming a Firn, but also endanger the entire world.

As his partner, Anaya is the only one who can save him. But will she succeed? Or will she fail—and take the world down with her?

ADD TO YOUR GOODREADS SHELF




CHAPTER ONE

Well, it happened again. I died.
The bloodied sand of the colosseum shivers out of focus as my soul shakes off its physical limitations in favor of a higher vibration. Instead of centurions and weeping family, I’m now surrounded by snowy white noise and quiet.
They came for me at dawn. I can still hear my mother’s sobs. I was only twelve.
I blink the memories away just as a man bends and pulls into view before me, then straightens with a blithe sort of smile. “Welcome back,” he says in an excessively soothing tone. He wears glasses I know he doesn’t need, and behind them, his unearthly blue eyes trace my face, looking for signs of stress.
And it comes back to me like the snap of fingers. An Advokat. Here to help me adjust to the trauma of crossing over from life to death.
Suddenly I wonder how he sees me. Do I have blue eyes now? In life, they were brown, but here in death I’ve always imagined others see me with crystal blue. I guess it would depend on how much they like me. Appearance is entirely based on impression here. We see what we feel. Feelings are real, vision an illusion.
And this Advokat must be new, I realize a moment later. If he’d been here for any length of time, he wouldn’t be using the sappy voice they put on for the newer souls. The ones who don’t understand how it works. He’d know that I’m something of a regular in the transition between life and death—that I’ve lost count of how many of these interviews I’ve had to sit through. I’m sure I know the process better than he does.
Because I’ve had his job before, mastered it long ago.
I skim him, searching the endless trove of memories trying to break through the fog of earthly business still clouding my mind. I don’t remember him. And I can see that he doesn’t know me.
Definitely new. Which means he’ll play the interview by the book. I groan.
The Advokat reaches out as if to comfort me, like my groan was one of anxiety and not disdain. “Try not to panic.”
I resist the urge to roll my eyes and flatten my gaze at him instead. I understand it’s his job to help me recover from the shock of death, but honestly, I’m fine. So I died—so what? There are many things worse than death, and one of them, if anyone ever bothered to ask me, is living. I’m actually thrilled to be back here—and I don’t need an Advokat to counsel me through the transition.
Also, I’m in a bit of a hurry. I have important business to attend to, even higher vibrations to achieve. I’m so close now, and he’s the only thing standing in my way.
I tap my foot and glance around for someone—anyone who might recognize me and give me an opportunity to walk away from this unnecessary formality.
“Everything will make sense soon.” The Advokat’s voice echoes through the white expanse around us. Clearly, all other souls are keeping their distance to allow me to transition without any added shock. Or—I narrow my eyes at the Advokat—he’s followed protocol by requesting they give us space.
And do we ever have it. As far as the eye can see, there’s nothing but static white. But I smile, and my shoulders relax—because this is my true home.
Just the way I remember it.
The Advokat leans into my line of sight. “Do you know your name?”
My smile drops.
In life, my name was Agnes. In this life, anyway.
There have been so many lives, so many names, but between them all, just one feels like home.
When it comes, my voice sounds like a lost, cherished memory. “Anaya.” My first word after death. The truest word I know.
The Advokat smiles and nods. He doesn’t take any notes or write anything down, and I know about that, too. The answers are in his mind, ready when he needs them, downloaded into his head from the source of all truth on the highest plane of vibration there is: El Olam, our master and creator. He sits so high none of us can reach him, above laws and structure. The world is as he makes it, and we are simply stewards of his creation, here to serve.
And today I’ll go one step further in the process of becoming a defender of creation. I’ll become a Firn.
The Advocat, who is becoming more annoying by the moment, interrupts my thoughts with yet another question. “Good. And do you know where you are?”
Where I am? Well it’s a much better place than where I was…
I was in Rome, in the fourth century. I rejected a boy, and he sold me out as a Christian. It took them forever to kill me—first with shame, then with flames. But all I gave them was a blank stare through the numbness. They couldn’t shame me. I wouldn’t burn when they strung me to the stake and lit the fire—even the flames knew not to touch me. But the Roman officer’s sword through my throat did the trick in the end. I was gone before I felt anything. So I guess the joke’s on them. There was darkness, then a burst of light—
And now I’m home, where none of that matters anymore. I’m free here. Because no one can shame or kill the dead. I’ll be safe as long as I stay.
“This is Lemayle,” I say quietly. “The afterlife. The real world.” And I have no intention of ever living again.
He rocks back and grins. “Wonderful!” Then his face stiffens. He swallows and his eyes shake as he looks me over for a second time, now scanning for any truths beneath the surface, anything I’m hiding from him. If souls could sweat, he’d be a mess as he prepares for the most important question of the interview.
I used to have his job, so I know what comes next. My answers from here on out will decide my final destination.
“All right.” He clears his throat. He doesn’t have to. It’s the nerves. I will be his enemy if I answer poorly, but he has to remain objective. He’s a professional, after all, and he doesn’t know whose side I’m on yet—what changes this most recent lifetime might have made in me.
I was martyred, and not all martyrs come back home the way they should. Martyrs go into life as warriors for El Olam’s cause … but don’t always return feeling their suffering was justified. Some turn against him and defect to the one who seeks to depose him.
And me? How do I feel about the suffering I was put through? Have I changed my mind about who to serve? And how dangerous does that make me to the fragile balance of the world? That’s what the Advokat needs to find out.
“Do the names El Olam and Narn mean anything to you?”
Good and evil. That’s what they mean. Free will and slavery. But which is which? Is El Olam good … or is he evil? Are Narn’s plans for less service to living souls and more dominion over them more appealing? Are they justified? No soul chooses evil.
They simply choose what they believe is right.
I hide my laugh with a cough at the tension in the Advokat’s hunched shoulders. If he’s new—and he wants to stay—he’ll need a stiffer a spine than he’s got now. I might as well be the one to give it to him.
I level my gaze at him, eyes wide open to appear just a little less threatening. “Yes. I know them.”
He nods, more rigidly this time, and rubs the back of his neck as he braces for my response to his final question.
“And … your allegiance?”
I stare at him for a long moment, watching the anxiety build behind his bright blue eyes. He doesn’t want any trouble, but his other hand twitches at his side, ready to summon the support of a slightly higher power—just in case I came back tainted.
Just in case I’ve decided I hate the way the world works … and want to serve the one trying to turn it upside down.
“Oh calm down,” I finally chide him. This has gone on long enough to bore me. I have business to attend to, and honestly, after fifty lifetimes, a soul should be able to just skip this process. “I chose El Olam lifetimes ago. I’m bound to be a Firn. This was my last run.”
His whole body wilts as the tension releases. Had I said Narn, the Advokat and I would have had a few issues. Because it would have meant I was a soul with eyes toward flipping the script, turning the world upside down—force living souls to do as we say, and ruling over them as gods.
He’d have had to immediately summon one of Lemayle’s second-highest authorities—a Malekh, El Olam’s archangels—to deal with me. And it wouldn’t have been pleasant. The Malekh don’t like jokes. Most of them, anyway.
“Well that is a relief.” The Advokat’s hand slides from the back of his neck to clutch his chest, steadying the phantom sensation of a palpitating heart.
And I grin, even though I shouldn’t. But what’s the fun in seniority if you can’t mess with the rookies?
“We need as many Firns as we can get,” he admits, “events accelerating as they are.” I perk up at that. Accelerating events is much more my speed—though it gives me less time to meet the final criteria for joining the Firns’ ranks. “The living souls need all the protection we can give them,” he finishes.
I couldn’t agree more. And that’s where I come in—where all the Firns stand and serve El Olam. Without Firns to guide living souls and protect them from temptation and harm, Narn would flip the script. And humans would walk right into their own slavery.
But El Olam won’t allow it.
So neither will I. I’m so close now. Just one step left, and if I impress the Malekh and El Olam enough in my next job as a soul collector, then I’ll become a Firn, and one day I’ll be even more than that. If I perform well enough, I’ll be chosen as the Firn who oversees El Olam’s plan to defeat Narn once and for all. It has to be one of us, so it might as well be me. And I won’t stop until I see it happen.
Meanwhile, the Advokat extends his hand to me. “Best of luck to you. I hope you make the cut.”
I glance at his hand and back up to him. So he really hasn’t heard of me, then. I may not be a Firn yet, but I have made a name for myself as the one to watch for earning the coveted position in El Olam’s plan.
Well, if he hasn’t heard of me yet, he will soon enough.
“Thanks.” With a smirk, I grip his hand and shake it firmly enough to knock him off balance. “But I really don’t need luck.”






KristaLyn A. Vetovich is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter
  • This giveaway ends midnight May 31
  • Winner will be contacted via email on May 31
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!



KristaLyn is the internationally published author of seven books and one short story, including the upcoming Prelude of the Reyn Gayst series releasing in 2018 from Glass House Press. She graduated in 2011 from Susquehanna University with a degree in English Literature and began traditionally publishing her novels the next year. KristaLyn is also a certified health and life coach and enjoys infusing her stories with motivational themes and characters from all walks of life.
KristaLyn lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and their corgi, Jack.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Review: FROZEN, by Christine Amsden


Review: FROZENby Christine Amsden
Release dateApril 11th, 2018
PublisherTwilight Times Books
GenreUrban Fantasy/Mystery
SeriesCassie ScotParaNormal Detective, Book 7

Get your copy on Amazon or Barnes and Noble


Fans of the Cassie ScotParaNormal Detective urban fantasy series will enjoy this the 7th instalment. This time, Cassie is married…but if you think life ends when you’re married, think again, especially in the small paranormal town of Eagle Rock, where everyone seems to have a magical ancestry and magic keeps popping up in unexpected placesIn fact, the magic seems to be getting greaterevery yearwith sorcerers growing stronger and mothers like Cassie channellingmore magic while pregnantThe Magical Underground tries to keep things at baybut sometimes it can get out ofcontrol, like now…

Two people are found frozen to death, a pack of hellhounds has appeared out of nowhere, and there appears to be a sudden outset of suicides. Who or what is causing all these happenings? It is up to Cassie to find out—only, this time, while nursing her baby and managing her new marriage and family life. 

Being a fan of the series and having read all of the previous books, I was happy to find out that the series didn’t end with Cassie getting married in the last book.  It’s not easy solving mysteries and facing dangerous situations in between diapers or arguments with a husband, that’s for sure! I found the story fresh and entertaining, with Cassie’s unpretentious, honest voice shining through the pages. She is both strong and vulnerable, which I love. The writing is engaging, smoothly flowing from chapter to chapter with the “quiet” tone of a cozy mystery. Though the book can be read as a standalone, without the intrusion of too much backstory, I highly recommend reading the books in order for a more satisfying experience.

Reviewed by Mayra Calvani
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my review.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Researching the White Witch by Larry D. Thompson @ldtauthor


Researching The White Witch

My son, Kel, who lives in South Florida, returned from a business trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica, talking about the legend of the WHITE WITCH. His story interested me enough that a few months later we both went to Jamaica to learn more about Annie Palmer, the White Witch,  and, also, about the Maroons. Kel had not stumbled across the Maroon story while he was there, but I did a little
research about the area and learned about them. That trip let me to combine the Maroons with the White Witch to create what is certainly my best thriller to date (bear in mind that I’ll probably say the same thing about my next thriller; such is the nature of a novelist.).

We stayed at the Ritz, which was built on what was once part of the Rose Hall Plantation. We golfed at the hotel course, aptly named “The White Witch.” We toured the Rose Hall Great House where Annie Palmer lived two hundred years before and where she tortured and murdered three husbands and many more slave lovers. We learned that even today the staff in the mansion insists on leaving before dark every evening; for they fear that the White Witch may be out roaming the grounds of her old plantation. However, let me hasten to add that Annie Palmer is only a supporting character in this drama. After all, she died two hundred years ago. Still her legend is strong enough that in my story when a series of murders occur in the Montego Bay area, some with snake knives said to have belonged to the White Witch, it’s only a small leap for the locals to believe, true or not, that the White Witch must be responsible. 

The real story and the conflict that created it is up in the mountains above Montego Bay, a small village called Accompong, the ancestral home of the Maroons (short for Cimarron, or “wild and untamed.). The original Maroons started escaping from their Spanish captors in the early fifteen hundreds, following game trails up into the mountains where they formed villages and lived off the land. When the Spaniards tried to re-capture them, they fought back and soon were going down from the mountains in the dead of night to attack the Spaniards as they slept. They fought for about a hundred years before the British drove the Spaniards to Cuba. The British could not understand how a band of ex-slaves could so consistently beat back the Spaniards until they tried to capture the Maroons. After another hundred or so years, they asked for a cease fire and signed a treaty with Cudjoe, the leader of the Maroons, giving them dominion over the rainforest up in the mountains, provided they would allow the British to raise sugar cane and bananas along the coast. That treaty exists to this day. Only, an American corporation was threatening  to mine bauxite in the Maroons’ rainforest when Kel and I were there. To get to the bottom of the conflict, we drove up a pothole filled road to Accompong and asked for an audience with the Colonel of the Maroons. Surprisingly, he talked to us. Only later did we learn that they did not like strangers in their village, particularly white men. Still, what we didn’t know didn’t hurt us. But it did give me the idea for the story which is really about the Maroons willingness to fight once again for their rain forest. Of course, the White Witch does make cameo appearances throughout the tale, but usually only in the imagination of some other character. 

It was fascinating research that led to a very good thriller. And if you want to see the Maroon/British treaty that Cudjoe signed (with his X because he could neither read nor write), just go on line. The treaty is still there and is validity is still being debated by scholars. 

About the Author

After graduating from the University of Texas School of Law, Larry spent the first half of his professional life as a trial lawyer. He tried well over 300 cases and won more than 95% of them. Although he had not taken a writing class since freshman English (back when they wrote on stone tablets), he figured that he had read enough novels and knew enough about trials, lawyers, judges, and courtrooms that he could do it. Besides, his late, older brother, Thomas Thompson, was one of the best true crime writers to ever set a pen to paper; so, just maybe, there was something in the Thompson gene pool that would be guide him into this new career.  He started writing his first novel about a dozen years ago and published it a couple of years thereafter. He has now written five highly acclaimed legal thrillers. White Witch is number six with many more to come.
Larry is married to his wife, Vicki. He has three children scattered from Colorado to Austin to Boca Raton, and four grandchildren. He has been trying to retire from the law practice to devote full time to writing. Hopefully, that will occur by the end of 2018. He still lives in Houston, but spends his summers in Vail CO, high on a mountain where he is inspired by the beauty of the Rocky Mountains.
His latest book is the captivating thriller, WHITE WITCH.

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