Book Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: In the Midst of Magic by Christian Cura


Welcome to the book tour for upcoming fantasy In the Midst of Magic by Christian Cura. Read on for more details and a chance to win some fantastic giveaways!

And if you wrong her, shall she not avenge?

Meet Kara Hartman, a photojournalist who is hiding her magic from the world. Traumatized by her brother’s death, she wants nothing more to do with magic. But just when she thought she could neglect her gift, it becomes apparent that the universe has other plans for Kara. When she discovers that an old foe has broken out of prison, hellbent on destroying her new life, Kara has no choice but to embrace the only power that can stop her.

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GENRE: Fantasy
PUBLICATION DATE: 4 June 2022


Excerpt

John’s gauntlet rattled as he fired into the swirling maelstrom. Dying shrieks pierced the air and corpses littered the ground. The snow beneath the carnage was streaked with crimson. His pulse pounded faster than the bullets streaming from his gauntlet. Sweat trickled down the sides of his face. Armor weighed on him like an anchor. Blood splattered his visor. Who had summoned the demons, and why was the compound under attack? The questions screamed in his mind although there was no time to ponder the answers.

Magical fire and lightning flashed in every direction. Enforcers fought on the ground, in the air, in the towers. Smoke and clouds of flame swelled into the sky.

A proximity warning whined in his helmet, and he turned just in time to see a gargoyle whirling around, its tail clearing a wide swath in its wake. Lunging over it, he aimed and fired, but his gauntlet only clicked harmlessly. He landed in the snow with a grunt. Before he could rip a fresh magazine from his belt, the gargoyle roared and stomped toward him, the ground shuddering beneath its feet. John rolled away an instant before he was trampled. Scrambling to his feet, he summoned a mace then ducked beneath a swiping claw. He bludgeoned the gargoyle’s knee, revolted by the crack of bone. The demon moaned, the disfigured leg buckling beneath its weight. He struck the other knee, and the gargoyle collapsed, its back facing him. Seizing the moment of agony, he pounded the demon’s skull, and it fell sideways with a thud.

John panted as he released his mace and slapped a fresh magazine into his gauntlet. He aimed at the nearest demon, then froze as a burst of static made his ears twitch.

“Sir, did you dispatch a unit of armored vehicles?” an enforcer asked. A cold weight sank in his gut. “No, why?”

“I have a bird’s eye view of a whole caravan leaving the compound.”

What the hell?

“Stand by,” John said.

He cast a Flight Spell and let the sky swallow him as he zoomed toward the hangar in the north. Trundling through a blasted gate, was a train of armored trucks. They were bulky vehicles with tires designed to endure any kind of terrain. The windows were made of bulletproof glass, and machine guns were mounted on the rear of every truck.

But his enforcers couldn’t be the ones driving them because they were all out here fighting. With a growing sense of dread, he muttered, “Magnify and x-ray.”

The nearest truck became nothing but a wireframe as his tactical visor identified five rogues equipped with enforcer armor and weaponry. He scanned truck after truck, all of them occupied with rogues.

His heart sank. How did they get out? Why were they driving away? Didn’t they know the ward would kill them? But ten trucks had already crossed the perimeter where the electrocution ward should have been. Tremors ran up his spine. Someone had tampered with the ward. Someone had set the rogues free while the enforcers were distracted with the demons. But why?

He splayed his fingers, interwove them, then curled them into claws as he turned his palms to face one another. “Elektrios,” he said his voice wavering.

A glowing fractal wove itself into a dome over the whole compound as an unlucky driver smashed into it, the truck exploding into flames. The caravan halted.

Within moments, auras glowed within the remaining vehicles. Although his ward held steady for now, it wouldn’t endure forever, not against the will of fifteen hundred rogues.

John commanded ten enforcers to maintain the ward at all cost, then summoned a squad of fifteen officers to his aid.

Within seconds, they were soaring in a ‘V’ formation over the wilderness, veering south as the stolen vehicles rolled through the forest. Although the enforcers were severely outnumbered, the majority of the escaped rogues hadn’t wielded magic in over a year. Which meant their stamina was gone. That’s why they stole the vehicles rather than flew. That’s why they stole the weapons and armor. That was also the reason why the rogues didn’t want a direct conflict with the enforcers.

Well, too bad. They were getting one.

With both fists punched forward, he flew toward the rear vehicle coming under instant gunfire. Sparks leaped from his armor, and cracks webbed across his visor. The dulled impact of bullets tingled his arms, shoulders, and head. He summoned lightning and struck the rogue behind the machine gun. His body convulsed as wisps of smoke curled in the air. An agonized scream tore through the sky.

The roof hatch sprang open, and a rogue took aim at him.

Evading in a tight corkscrew motion, bullets grazed John’s armor. Lightning jumped from his fingertips, and the rogue screamed. His head disappeared beneath the roof of the vehicle. John accelerated until he was directly above the roof hatch and blasted a steady stream of electricity into the cabin. Orange light flickered from the windows amid a chorus of agonized cries. Bolts of lightning slithered beneath the hood, and the engine burst into flames.

John squinted, turning his face away as a wave of heat enveloped him.


About the Author

Christian Cura is a new author who also has a background in graphic design. He graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Art and Visual Technology. Inspired by the likes of Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and Robert Jordan, it has always been a dream of his to write and publish a novel of his own. In 2019, he achieved that goal with his first book Dreams of Fire. His most recent work, Temple of Ice, is perhaps his most notable achievement, garnering four and five-star reviews on Amazon. He currently lives in Northern Virginia where he continues to write while procrastinating on finding an actual job. When Cura is not writing he can be found creating artwork or getting beaten up at his MMA gym.

Christian Cura | Instagram | Facebook


Giveaway

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Book Trailer Reveal: The Cave of Ruin Arsa by Andrea Matthews


Welcome to the book trailer reveal for upcoming novel The Cave of Ruin Arsa by Andrea Matthews! Available on May 25th!


Ciarán Donnelly is ready to leave his past behind and concentrate on his new life, but his past may not be finished with him. His dreams have returned with a vengeance, and this time they’re telling him Ruadhán, the long-dead priest who entombed him fifteen hundred years before, is threatening to kidnap his unborn twins. Of course, his dream interpretation leaves a lot to be desired, especially when it comes to those he loves.

As if the dreams are not bad enough, his anxiety over them is causing stress on his new marriage, which is the last thing Caitlin needs in her current condition. The twins are on the way, and everyone advises him the dreams stem from his own insecurities over becoming a father. After all, Ruadhán was the chief priest, a member of the high council, loyal to his goddess unto death. What are the chances he suffered the same fate as Ciarán and survived fifteen centuries?

The theory sounds reasonable, and he’s happy to accept it, until Aodhán comes across an empty tomb in the Hills of ár Sinsear that looks as though it may have been occupied at some point. Could Ruadhán have survived after all? And if so, where is he now? To complicate the issue, Aodhán stumbles across another piece of information that could alter the possible meaning of his brother’s dreams. But will Ciarán manage to put the pieces together before it’s too late, or will he lose his family to an ancient adversary?

GENRE: Time Travel / Time Travel Romance/ Paranormal Romance
PUBLICATION DATE: 25 May 2022

Pre-Order Here!


About the Author

Andrea Matthews is the pseudonym for Inez Foster, a historian and librarian who loves to read and write and search around for her roots, genealogical speaking. She has a BA in History and an MLS in Library Science, and enjoys the research almost as much as she does writing the story. In fact, many of her ideas come to her while doing casual research or digging into her family history. She is the author of the Thunder on the Moor series set on the 16th century Anglo-Scottish Border, and the Cross of Ciaran series, where a fifteen-hundred-year-old Celt finds himself in the twentieth century. Andrea is a member of the Long Island Romance Writers and the Historical Novel Society.

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Author Spotlight: Niro J Hayle

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Niro J Hayle‘s story began as a young reader inspired by those creating enthralling worlds, captivating minds with the flick of a page. Spending her nights reading the likes of Neil Gaiman (American Gods), and Terry Pratchett (Smalls Gods, etc!), Hayle found her imagination grew into a gift. Using her writing skill, she has written over twenty-five novels since.


Are you indie or traditionally published? What made you decide to take that route?

Indie. So I can write freely in my own voice!

Tell us a fun story about your publication journey!

It is Niro J Hayle’s dream to release an ethereal series, which is why she had the idea of the Sinzar Chronicles in her fourth year at medical school – another avenue she explored in life before ultimately accepting her true desire: writing.

Sharing a love for real sea creatures and mystical beings, most of Niro J Hayle’s inspiration comes naturally from the extraordinary lives she photographs under the sea and her two beloved cats.

How about a horror story about your author life?

I once loss a 150k manuscript in an old laptop!

What do you think is the best thing about being an author?

Sharing my world with new friends.

Who do you think you inspire? If not, who and what do you want to inspire?

I would love to inspire more people to read fantasy!

What keeps you up at night?

My cat Panda. The thought of her and also the chubby cat herself sitting on my face while I sleep.

What character archetype would you be if you were a character in a book, movie or TV series?

I want to be brave like Eowyn!

If you were a character in a book, movie or TV series, what would be your catchphrase or famous line or popular expression?

My precious

What food or drink best describes you?

Roasted Lamb

If you were cursed to only be able to sing ONE song in karaoke for the rest of your life, what would you like it to be and why?

The Man who can’t be move by the script.

What else do you enjoy doing other than reading and writing?

Diving and playing video games. I still can’t beat the bosses in Dark Souls.

What do you consider as your weakness as a writer, and what have you done to overcome it?

Overaching plot. Get more betas and editors.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Neil Gaiman, Terry Patchett, Kentarou Miura.

Any book recommendations?

Berserk, American Gods, all of discworld.

Anything else you want to tell your fans, our readers, and the writing/reading/blogging community at large?

Come join us indie authors in the dark side, we have cookies and we don’t bite!

“Guard your mortal heart well, Diana. Do not trust the people of Sinzar.”

The Fae Prince’s advice rings in my mind.

But alas, I am the fool who fell in love with the moon.

There is an unspoken rule in Merle; avoid Thornwall at all cost. Beyond that forbidden forest, lies the land beyond the veil, where all manner of faes, elves, demons, and beasts roam. Yet, a night of glitz, mystery and glamour over Professor’s Griffith party is enough to tempt Diana and Lily to approach his mansion at the edge of the wood. The masquerade ball engrossed the sisters in a dream until, tragically, the next morning turned into a nightmare.

Lily is gone!

To Diana’s despair, Lily vanished in the night, as if erased from time. Every record of her sister disappeared into thin air. No one remembered Lily, not friends, not family. No one was looking. No one believed Diana.

As Diana searches for any sign of her beloved sister, another is doing the same. A mysterious warrior named Amaris from a far-off land is trying to find his brother. When they soon realise their courses align, their destinies become forged.

But what dark secret is this sword wielding man hiding? Can Diana trust him?

As the shadows of the Rot from Eirik Bloodhound’s Court of Shadows loom closer, Diana and Amaris begin their mission, risking all for those they hold dear. Their path leads them on a perilous journey across Thornwall, where their love for their family is ruthlessly tested and their wills pushed to the brink.

Little did Diana know, the wheels of fate has been set in motion. Death, love, and betrayal await her in the land beyond the veil. Will Diana ever see her sister again?

Genre: Fantasy
Purchase Links: Amazon


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Book Tour, Review & Giveaway: Of Legends and Roses by Ashley W. Slaughter


Welcome to the book tour for Of Legends and Roses by Ashley W. Slaughter. Read on for details and the chance to win a fabulous giveaway! Oh and stay tuned for the release of the second installment in the series Of Deceit and Snow, which comes out this November!

A realm touched and forgotten by magic.
A young queen orphaned by disease.
A prince after her heart.

Queen Rosemary Avelia knows little about ruling a kingdom, and even less so about the ancient legends of her land. Since no one has been born Talented in centuries, she simply scoffs at the idea of magic. However, when the charming Prince Gryffin Danicio arrives just as her kingdom is under a deadly threat, he shows her that not all kingdoms of the Magian Peninsula have so quickly dismissed the legends of the Talented. Perhaps the Talented should not so easily be forgotten.

Of Legends and Roses is the first book in The Crowned Chronicles, a series following passionate and determined Queen Rosemary as she faces reign, love, the threat of war, and the mystifying world of the Talented.

Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Amazon | Book Depository | Walmart 
Allibris | Indigo | Better World Books | Indiebound | ThriftBooks | Waterstones

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GENRE: YA Fantasy
PUBLICATION DATE: 31 August 2021


Review

You know this kind of story. An orphaned queen with a family and kingdom to look after. The looming threat of war and destruction. Two young men who send her mind spinning and her heart thumping. And ancient magic that’s almost forgotten by time, revealed to be real and brought back front and center. Yeah, I was familiar enough with that kind of story, and my suspicions right from the beginning were confirmed when everything came together in the end. But Ashley’s writing just drew me in.

As familiar some of the story elements were, I thought that the book’s strongest point was its characters. Ashley has a talent for crafting them, and, most importantly, making her readers care about them. A lot of my favorites, in fact, are the minor characters, who, if this were a movie, would’ve had limited to no screen time. That’s where I found the magic in this tale.

Looking forward to joining the adventure in the sequel! And learning more about the Talented, as that seemed to be the promise at the end of the book.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Recommended Listening: As I mentioned in my open call for books to review, I’ll now be adding a song to my reviews! It’ll be one that either sums up the book for me, or what I’d imagine in a trailer were it a movie… or maybe even an original inspired by it 😉

We fight, we fall
Duty calls, it calls
Say we choose
But it’s no choice at all
Duty calls, it calls

NOBLE BLOOD, FLEURIE

About the Author

Ashley W. Slaughter was born and raised in south Louisiana, among sugarcane fields lining the banks of the Mississippi River. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 2018 and worked as a wildlife biologist before pursuing her career as an author. Writing has always been a passion of hers, as shown through her near-to-bursting manila folder of short stories she’d written throughout grade school, and the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed her to rediscover this passion. She enjoys hiking, kayaking, spending time with her husband and pets, and, of course, reading.

Ashley Slaughter
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Giveaway

Want to win this amazing book box containing a “Happy Reading” reusable tote, a Magian Peninsula “MP” plastic tumbler, and an Of Legends and Roses button pin, along with a signed paperback? Then join the Rafflecopter giveaway!


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Author Spotlight: A.J. Calvin

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A.J. Calvin is a science fiction/fantasy novelist from Loveland, Colorado. By day, she works as a microbiologist, but in her free time she writes. She lives with her husband, their cat, Magic, and a fairly large salt water aquarium.

When she is not working or writing, she enjoys scuba diving, hiking, and playing video games.


Are you indie or traditionally published? What made you decide to take that route?

I chose to indie publish for several reasons. First and foremost, I retain control of my work.

I was pursuing the trad route for another series for several years, but grew tired of hearing the canned response of “I have x fantasy projects at this time and can’t take on another.” (The feedback for said series was largely positive, too, so this was frustrating.)

But after doing more research, I’ve learned there are a growing number of trad published authors who are switching to indie for various reasons. The trad publishing world doesn’t seem to be what it once was.

The freedom indie publishing gives authors is incredible, and now that I’ve released a couple books in that manner, I don’t think I’d change it for the world. (And that other series I mentioned above? I’m working on a release plan for it starting 2023.)

Tell us a fun story about your publication journey!

In 2020, I published a standalone urban fantasy (Hunted). It was dedicated to my two best friends.

One of them texted me to tell me she started reading it, and I was excited (and terrified) of what she would think.

A couple days later, I received another message: “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU DID THIS TO ME!!!” I knew immediately what she was referring to… I may have killed off a certain character that happened to be her favorite…

She loved the book, and we laugh about that exchange now.

How about a horror story about your author life?

I wrote a blog about my worst experience about a month ago. Lesson learned: There are scam publishers in the world, and authors need to stay away from them.

This is the link to the blog post here: https://ajcalvin.net/a-cautionary-tale-about-a-vanity-press/

This particular horror story was resolved 2 weeks ago. I’m so glad it’s over!

What do you think is the best thing about being an author?

I love storytelling, and to create new worlds is amazing. When others enjoy immersing themselves in those stories and worlds, it’s incredible.

Who do you think you inspire? If not, who and what do you want to inspire?

I believe I inspired one of my cousins to pursue writing, just by doing so myself.

I’d like to think I can inspire others to share the stories of their hearts. Some of the best books I’ve read are those that don’t fit the traditional mold.

What keeps you up at night?

The voices in my head. By that, I mean the characters from my stories – I’m awake at 3am more times than I’d like to admit, thinking about scenes or passages that I need to update or am planning to write.

What character archetype would you be if you were a character in a book, movie or TV series?

Probably the stubborn skeptic… It’s the scientist in me.

If you were a character in a book, movie or TV series, what would be your catchphrase or famous line or popular expression?

“That’s not how it works…” (One of my coworkers recently told me I say that a lot)

What food or drink best describes you?

I love good home-made mac and cheese (not the kind from a box.) I’m not sure what that says about me, but it’s one of my favorites.

If you were cursed to only be able to sing ONE song in karaoke for the rest of your life, what would you like it to be and why?

Rise Above This by Seether. It’s one of my all-time favorite songs and helped me get through some rough patches in life.

What else do you enjoy doing other than reading and writing?

Hiking, scuba diving, and nature photography

What do you consider as your weakness as a writer, and what have you done to overcome it?

I’m impatient – and not only in my writing. I’ve learned to outline my writing projects before I begin. That process forces me to pause and consider important events/details, and I believe my writing is much better for it.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Dan Simmons, Katherine Kerr, Raymond Feist, Dean Koontz, and more recently, Halo Scot.

Any book recommendations?

Here are my top 5 that I’ve read this year (so far and they’re not in order):

  • The Heartbeat of a Million Dreams by Halo Scot
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Bits & Pieces by Dawn Hosmer
  • The Teeth in the Tide by Rebecca F. Kenney
  • These Violent Nights by Rebecca Crunden

Anything else you want to tell your fans, our readers, and the writing/reading/blogging community at large?

I have several releases this 2022.

  • April 30: The Ballad of Alchemy and Steel (a novella related to The Relics of War series)
  • July 19: The Talisman of Delucha (book 2 of The Relics of War) December, date TBD: War of the Nameless (book 3 of The Relics of War)

In 2023, I plan to begin releasing my 4-book series, The Caein Legacy. In the meantime, I’m writing another series, The Mage War Chronicles. I plan to start releasing those after The Caein Legacy is out. More information about each series is available on my website.

Chosen for advanced training by the god of war himself, Vardak is considered a paragon amongst his people, the Scorpion Men. Yet his position and training come with a cost: He must serve the whims of the god, with no questions asked. Only days after his training is complete, he is sent far away from his desert homeland in order to act as the protector of the Fire Maiden’s mortal daughter, Janna.

Janna has been tasked with the recovery of a magical relic known as The Moon’s Eye, but she has little worldly experience to guide her. The Immortals deem the relic’s recovery imperative, for it alone can combat the rise of the Soulless—those sworn to the fallen, nameless god of death. The Soulless are ruthless and powerful, and eager to wage war upon the land in order to appease the god they serve.

Though Vardak is skilled in battle, he must lead Janna through several perilous areas in order to reach the relic she seeks, pushing his abilities to the limit. Unbeknownst to the pair, the Soulless raise an army and begin their conquest, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Will they secure The Moon’s Eye before all is lost, or will the relic itself prove to be their undoing?

Genre: Epic/High Fantasy
Purchase Links: Book Funnel


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New Release: Sair Back, Sair Banes by Anthony Engebretson


Sair Back, Sair Banes by dark and speculative fiction writer Anthony Engebretson is out now from Ghost Orchid Press! This story was inspired by his fear of large bodies of water, particularly lakes, which gave him a macabre interest in legends and stories about creatures living in them.

You can learn about Anthony and read more of his work via his WordPress blog Raccoon Alley. You can also find him on Twitter at @AnthonyJEngebr1.


A dark shape now stood in those choppy dark waters. A horse. A black one, large as she’d ever seen, with a mane that poured down its neck.

Genevieve hoped a trip to the Scottish village of Fonniskie would help her reconnect. But her vacation turns out to be less than relaxing: the nearby loch holds a dark secret, and Genevieve finds herself haunted by a relentless pursuer whose obsession means he will do anything to possess her—even kill.

Blending ancient folklore with modern alienation, Anthony Engebretson’s eerie debut novella will make you question what it really means to be human.

GENRE: Folk Horror Novella
PUBLICATION DATE: 17 May 2022
PUBLISHER: Ghost Orchid Press

Amazon | Ghost Orchid Shop | Other Retailers


Review

So, Scotland. A dreamy and romantic place in my imagination, with medieval castles and breathtaking scenic spots… and now it has shape-shifting water horses thanks to this novella, LOL. I’m not even quite as enthusiastic to travel there anymore, as I’ve always had a fear of what’s lurking beneath giant bodies of water myself. Nessie’s one thing, I think, because it’s gotten so popular. But traveling to remote places…

I suppose that’s what makes Anthony’s story so effective. You can see it come alive on the pages and easily imagine it happening to you. (God forbid!) And I’m not sure what’s worse – how haunted Genevieve, the protagonist, was after her encounter in Fonniskie, or the way people can get literally, physically stuck on kelpies.

If you’re a fan of folklore and horror, then this read is perfect for you. It’s short but delightful, in the spine-tingling kind of way.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Recommended Listening: As I mentioned in my open call for books to review, I’ll now be adding a song to my reviews! It’ll be one that either sums up the book for me, or what I’d imagine in a trailer were it a movie… or maybe even an original inspired by it 😉


Got a book you’d like me to review or an author you’d like me to feature? Drop me a line! 💕 You can also subscribe to my newsletter for free short stories, special offers, and writing opportunities.

Author Spotlight: Erika McCorkle

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Erika McCorkle is an avid world-builder and consumer of all things fantasy, whether that be books, video games, or anime. She has been developing the Pentagonal Dominion for 22 years and figured it was about damn time to publish her books. She has a Bachelors of Science in Biology and works as a laboratory technician on the graveyard shift at her local blood bank, which qualifies her as a vampire.


Are you indie or traditionally published? What made you decide to take that route?

I’m with Shadow Spark Publishing, an Indie publisher. I chose to go indie because the publisher and other authors at SSP were passionate about my stories regardless of content or word count. I did not see the point in searching for an agent when my stories were wanted there. I’ve maintained a significant amount of creative control over my novel, which features queer and sexually explicit content that a trad publisher would likely try to tone down.

Tell us a fun story about your publication journey!

The best part of publishing has been making the friends I made along the way. I love the community on Twitter. Before we joined Shadow Spark, I was friends with Valerie Storm and A.D. Wills, and we were all supporting each other on our journeys to publication. I was doubtful that all three of us would get in, so when the reveal happened, I was ecstatic.

How about a horror story about your author life?

A book touring service once criticized my cover for having white and “a fairy” on it, even though my book is for adults. They went on to lecture me for paragraphs about how adult books should be dark. They suggested making the white parts black… as if that wouldn’t be a huge insult to me and my artist. Yikes!

What do you think is the best thing about being an author?

The best part is when my stories touch another person’s soul in a meaningful way. When someone gushes over my beautiful characters. When someone cries over a painful scene. When someone wants to toss the book because my villain is so despicable. All these bring me immense, incalculable joy.

Who do you think you inspire? If not, who and what do you want to inspire?

I hope to inspire readers who want a truly unique fantasy experience featuring a world which is striving to bring equality, equity, and justice to all its people. While it starts off with problematic societies, in the end, good shall prevail. I want to show readers what a world of hopes and dreams made real would look like.

What keeps you up at night?

Vampirism. As a creature of the night, this is my playtime.

What character archetype would you be if you were a character in a book, movie or TV series?

The hot and utterly irredeemable villain.

If you were a character in a book, movie or TV series, what would be your catchphrase or famous line or popular expression?

The world shall belong to me!

What food or drink best describes you?

Pina Colada. Adult (alcoholic), fruity, and if you like me, I’m the love that you’ve looked for; Write to me and escape

If you were cursed to only be able to sing ONE song in karaoke for the rest of your life, what would you like it to be and why?

Joke’s on you, I already can’t sing anything at karaoke. My voice is that of a banshee and anyone who hears me sing is the one who has truly been cursed.

What else do you enjoy doing other than reading and writing?

Playing video games, watching anime, playing tabletop RPGs. In all these, though, the common theme is ‘fantasy.’ If I can engage in a fantasy story, I’m all in.

What do you consider as your weakness as a writer, and what have you done to overcome it?

In general, I’d like to become better at writing prose. I feel like my writing is functional, but not yet *beautiful*. I’d like to reach a point where I like my writing for the words, not just the content.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Gene Wolfe, Ryukishi07, Robert Jordan, Ursula K. Le Guin

Any book recommendations?

If you’re tired of the same old stories from trad publishing, read indie. A Sea of Pearls and Leaves by Rosalyn Briar. The Living Waters by Dan FitzGerald. Skein of Fates by Leslie Ann Moore. These are stories that do things and go places trad publishing fears to tread.

Anything else you want to tell your fans, our readers, and the writing/reading/blogging community at large?

My books were written for adults who enjoy spicy content, but also intense fantasy worldbuilding. I would love for you to give my books a chance IF you are into both things I listed. People who balk at sex scenes or who believe worldbuilding should be sparse should think twice before committing. However, if these are things you like? My books are going to rock your world. Nobody does worldbuilding the way I do.

On one of the many planes of the Pentagonal Dominion, priestess Calinthe trades in information, collecting valuable secrets for her demonic employer. Calinthe has a secret of her own: she’s intersex, making her a target for the matriarchal slavers of the Ophidian Plane whose territory she must cross in her search for hidden knowledge. But thanks to her friend Zakuro’s illusions, Calinthe presents as a woman—a comfortable, if furtive, existence in a world determined to bring her to heel.

But when, instead of a mere secret, the priestess uncovers an incalculably powerful artifact, Calinthe finds herself in a high-stakes negotiation with the same matriarchs who sought to enslave her. On the table: Calinthe’s discovery, a charm powerful enough to transform a mortal into a god… against a secret so deadly it could quell all life on every plane of the dominion. If Calinthe plays her cards perfectly, she and Zakuro could escape Ophidia wealthier than either of them ever dreamed possible.

But if she plays them wrong… …she’ll learn slavery in her pursuers’ hands is a fate far worse than death.

Genre: Epic Fantasy
Purchase Links: Amazon


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Author Spotlight: Sakinah Baksh

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Sakinah Baksh is an introverted insomniac of an author who started writing in the heatwaves of Marrakesh, Morocco, after being subjected to book-deprived boredom for several tortuous months. She hasn’t stopped writing ever since. When she isn’t working full time, she usually writes dark, emotional, genre-bending stories, enjoys reading webtoons, and watches anime and Korean or Chinese drama series that mess with her feelings.

Her dream is to connect with the world via her stories, make her readers feel a little less lonely than they were before, and be the best introverted author possible.


What made you decide to publish independently?

Years ago, probably around 2012, I sent out query letters to agents but in the end that method didn’t work for me. I was too impatient and didn’t like the idea of waiting around only to be rejected over and over again because my stories failed to fit a marketable mould. Even if it was the only way to get published, I just wasn’t keen on the idea so I stopped not long after I started. I salute everyone who has the patience and the heart to keep querying.

A while later, I found out self-publishing was a thing and weighed its pros and cons against those of traditional publishing. I liked the amount of creative control offered by self-publishing and wanted to try publishing a novella series that probably wouldn’t have been accepted by traditional publishers anyway due to its length and my writing style. So I decided to become an independent author and I’ve been doing whatever I can to be a successful one in the future.

What has been your most unforgettable experience (good or bad) as an author?

Prior to releasing Don’t Disappoint Me: Volume One, I got a different job and moved to a workplace that was local to me. After I published my first book, I found out a colleague from my old workplace had mentioned my book in the company newsletter which was emailed to everyone working there (over a hundred people, I believe!). Some of my other colleagues bought my book as a result and contributed to the number of sales I had following my first book launch. No matter what happens, I’ll always remember that and feel grateful for their delightfully unexpected support.

Who do you think you inspire? If not, who and what do you want to inspire?

I don’t know if I inspire anyone but I like to write characters with traits that aren’t conventionally acceptable or attractive in the hope that more people relate to them and feel better about being who they are in real life without shame.

Disclaimer: this doesn’t include evil/malicious traits. I don’t want anyone to become like the villains in my stories, even if there’s sometimes a fine line between them and my protagonists. Heh heh.

What character archetype would you be if you were a character in a book, movie or TV series?

I think I’d either be an Outlaw or an Explorer … or perhaps a blend of the two.

From what I understand, the Explorer is a character who tends to be curious, restless, and driven to push the boundaries of the status quo and explore what they don’t know. And the Outlaw often thinks and acts independently, and is usually considered a rebel who doesn’t abide by the demands of society.

What kind of animal character would you be in your story, and why?

Surprisingly, despite my childhood and ongoing fascination with them, the presence of animals in my stories tends to be symbolic. I wrote stories with animal characters when I was younger but most of my new stories don’t really have flesh and blood animals. However my online serial, Darkling, features mythological-type creatures so I’d probably be a werewolf-vampire hybrid.

If you were not doing what you are doing now, what activity or hobby would be keeping you busy?

Alongside reading and watching Asian shows/anime as I do now, I would probably be a lot more active. To be honest, I think I’d be a lot healthier physically if I wasn’t an active writer. I used to enjoy biking to work and I like walking with a set destination in mind so I’d likely cycle a lot and go for walks more often. I also love eating cake so I’d definitely bake more too. Maybe I wouldn’t be much healthier after all. Heh heh.

What do you consider as your weakness, and have you done anything to overcome it?

Following on from my answer above, I struggle to balance my work life, my writing goals, and personal habits that positively affect my physical, mental, and spiritual health. Time seems too short and I don’t always have the energy to maintain that balance. However, ticking off achievements on a list satisfies the high achiever who sleeps in my head so I write checklists daily in my diary to wake them up.

These checklists include small tasks that help me improve myself or aid my overall well being in some way, such as drinking apple cider vinegar or my writing goal for that day. By doing this, I hope to continue my self development and feel great about my progress at the same time, even though I don’t always tick all the boxes every day. It helps me keep track of myself and my habits too, both good and bad!

Anything else you want to tell your fans, our readers, and the writing/reading/blogging community at large?

Hmm … In life and writing alike, a lot of emphasis is placed on perfection. People strive to live or write the perfect story. While I think it’s good to have writing goals and focus on being a better person than you were yesterday, I think it’s also important to take note of two things.

One, you don’t have to do anything to be ‘enough’ and two, it’s impossible to be a perfect person or a perfect writer. So maybe keep climbing up the rope to reach the best version of yourself if you’re not satisfied with who you are at the moment but be careful not to hang yourself with it in the process. 

Don’t Disappoint Me: Volume One

Tiro Kaelyn is the most beautiful person she’s ever seen … with a beautiful heart to match. Vix knows she shouldn’t stalk him. She knows she shouldn’t stare at his pictures on social media. She knows that she shouldn’t follow him online. She knows she definitely shouldn’t stalk him in person at work. But a little obsession never hurt anyone. Until it does. And Vix realises she’s made herself the next target.

Don’t Disappoint Me: Volume Two

Vix has never been known for her beauty. If anything, she’s always been the brains behind the outfit. One of the smartest people in the room. But she’s done something stupid. A mistake that has led her into the hands of someone who has both brains and beauty. Into a fight she’s not sure she can win. And Vix is slowly starting to learn just how easy it is for some people to get away with murder.

Purchase Links: Amazon (both volumes) • Universal Purchase Link (volume one only)


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Book Blitz: Life After A Death by Trina Machacek


Check out this new memoir by author Trina Machacek, Life After A Death.

The Widow Road Is…
Excruciatingly painful, a daily adventure into the unknown.
As exciting as going to the dentist and finding you’ve a second set of wisdom teeth.
THEN…

As the days come and go and go and come things get… What do they get? Easier? Calmer? No. They get weird.

Becoming a one instead of half a twosome is not what you bargained for? You find yourself really alone, a lot?

You need a cheerleader. You need to hear you are going to live again. You need hope.

With all the courage of a kitten coming out of the box for the first time, and seeing the world in a new light, Trina found widowhood wasn’t all that bad. Oh there will be bad. Its life there will always be bad and mad and sad.

That’s exactly when Trina will buck you up with, “you got this.”

GENRE: Memoir / Grief / Humor
PUBLICATION DATE: 3 May 2022

Available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble


About the Author

Born in 1955, married in 1976, widowed in 2018. Trina is finding this last path as another challenge to tackle with all the gusto it took her to start her self-syndicated national newspaper column “Is This You?” when she started it in 2012. Or writing her books, “They Call Me Weener” and “Life After A Death.” Hop aboard her widow train and become, as she says, “The best dang widow on your block.” ‘Course she laughs and points out she is the only person on her one mile square block in Diamond Valley, Nevada. Connect with her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrinaMachacekAuthor


Book Blitz Organized By R&R Book Tours


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Author Spotlight: Candice Zee

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Candice Zee is a middle-grade and YA fantasy writer who first dreamed the idea of The Munchkins as a child while playing make-believe with her brother in Wilkes-Barre, PA. She is an early childhood teacher with an M.Ed. in Elementary Education and has taught for over twelve years in Pre-K, Kindergarten, and primary grade classrooms. Like Casey Munch in her book series, she is passionate about creating a more just and equitable world. She savors vegan food, loves board games and podcasts, relishes horror movies and novels, devours social science nonfiction, spontaneously belts out tunes from musicals, and does some of her best writing while drinking coffee at 1 AM. She lives in Cleveland, OH with her wife Dana and their dog companion Solstice. The Munchkins is her debut novel. More information about her book series and the characters can be found at www.munchkinsbooks.com.


Are you indie or traditionally published? What made you decide to take that route?

indie. I didn’t want to wait to go through the long traditional publishing process and I wanted more creative freedom in designing my book.

Tell us a fun story about your publication journey!

When I first started writing The Munchkins, it was probably back in 2012 or ’13, and it started out just for fun. I didn’t have any intention to publish it, so I wasn’t too serious about working on it, and I’d write bits and pieces here and there. At some point though, I decided it was too good not to publish, and then I got more serious and banged the story out rather quickly. I’d go into a zone and spend whole weekends doing nothing but writing, staying up all hours of the night, only coming up for air to eat (and sometimes I’d forget to eat). I know this sounds cliche, but I felt like something was writing through me. I’d type out the words before I could even think of them. I wrote so much that I actually wrote the first and second book together. At one point I looked at the word count and realized I was well over 300,000 words. That’s when I decided to split it into two different books and write a series.

How about a horror story about your author life?

The biggest horror story I have is realizing how much time, money, and resources go into marketing and publicizing your book when you’re an indie author. I quickly discovered that writing a book is a cakewalk compared to marketing. I come home after work each night and spend hours, often staying up till the wee hours of the morning, just working on promoting and advertising my book. And you have to be careful because I also found there are a lot of scammers out there waiting to take advantage of new authors.

What do you think is the best thing about being an author?

Being able to take characters that you created and fell in love with and bring them to life for the world to see and also have the chance to fall in love with.

Who do you think you inspire? If not, who and what do you want to inspire?

I think I probably inspire my Pre-K and school-age students. At least I work to try to inspire them each day. I hope one day I inspire other writers.

What keeps you up at night?

All the suffering and injustice in the world.

What character archetype would you be if you were a character in a book, movie or TV series?

Probably the idealist or activist.

If you were a character in a book, movie or TV series, what would be your catchphrase or famous line or popular expression?

I’d probably just randomly break out into song since I do that a lot.

What food or drink best describes you?

coffee with soy creamer or a vegan baked good.

If you were cursed to only be able to sing ONE song in karaoke for the rest of your life, what would you like it to be and why?

Wow, that’s hard! Probably something from Les Mis like I Dreamed a Dream.

What else do you enjoy doing other than reading and writing?

I love to go out and eat and find new vegan dishes to try, watch movies (especially horror movies) and stream TV series, listen to my favorite podcast The Majority Report while playing Candy Crush, play board games, do puzzles, sing show tunes, color, and spend time with my friends and my wife Dana and our dog Solstice.

What do you consider as your weakness as a writer, and what have you done to overcome it?

Keeping the word count down! Like I said, I had to split my book up into two books because the word count was so high. But just getting the word count down to a reasonable level for the first book was very hard. I must have gone back through it easily 100 times, spending countless hours cutting material and editing, just to get the word count down. I think that’s the hardest part of the writing process because you have to make some really tough decisions about what stays and what goes, and when you’re so connected to the story and the characters, you want to keep it all but you can’t. I plan to write more succinct sentences and find ways to tighten up the language.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Stephen King, Dean Kootz, John Saul, Margaret Atwood, Naomi Klein, Daniel Quinn, Barbara Ehrenreich, Suzanne Collins, and Brad Warner, to name a few.

Any book recommendations?

I’m reading this book right now called Do Better: Spiritual Activism for Fighting and Healing from White Supremacy by Rachel Ricketts, and it should be required reading given everything that is happening right now in the current political climate, especially with censoring teachers and trying to stop them from teaching kids history and about social justice.

Anything else you want to tell your fans, our readers, and the writing/reading/blogging community at large?

Please support indie authors. Many of the traditional avenues of promotion and publicity are closed to indie authors, so the support you give them helps them so much more and means a lot. If you want to be an author yourself, go for it, and don’t let anything stop you.

Gold Award Winner of Teen Category in the 2021-2022 Reader Views Literary Awards

The Munchkins “has all the “ingredients” for a fantastical, magical, YA story that also caters to adults who absolutely love the Potter-esque world that happens maybe twice in a lifetime.” – Reader Views

Thirteen extraordinary children with mysterious powers.

Their loving and protective father.

And a sociopathic neighbor who knows them better than they know themselves.

When Capricorn Munch and her twelve siblings appear outside a children’s home, no one, including themselves, knows who they are or where they came from. At ten years old they stop aging, as she and her siblings develop powers that gift them with incredible abilities, like healing wounds and manifesting objects. They keep these powers secret and their adoptive father restricts their use. Capricorn strives to live a normal life, blissfully playing with her favorite sisters, witty and bold Allie, empathic and wise Breezy, and giddy and sweet Hazy.

But now a sudden threat has intruded on their carefree lives: Their next-door neighbor, a man who calls himself Big Boss. Capricorn watches fretfully as Big Boss encroaches on her family like a malevolent force, feeding hostility between her siblings and causing them to be reckless with their powers. Capricorn knows Big Boss is plotting something sinister and can only pray it doesn’t end in ultimate doom for her and her family.

Genre: Upper Middle Grade / Young Adult Dark Fantasy
Purchase Links: AmazonUniversal Purchase Link


Got a book you’d like me to review or an author you’d like me to feature? Drop me a line! 💕 You can also subscribe to my newsletter for free short stories, special offers, and writing opportunities.

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