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Saturday, April 20, 2024

PROMO: Soft Lies & Hard Truths


California Heart Series, Book 3

 

Contemporary Romance

Date Published: 04-17-2024

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press


 

Heartbroken and mortified by mean-spirited taunts and social media pictures of her looking like a hot mess at her ex-boyfriend’s wedding, Leah James decides to accept her friend, Miguel Montoya’s, offer to take a road trip to their hometown of Santa Lorena.

Miguel, ex-Marine turned fitness trainer, is done pretending that he doesn’t have strong feelings for Leah. From the moment he laid eyes on her, he knew she was the one, and now this trip provides the perfect opportunity to take their relationship to the next level.

Will shocking lies, deceits, and half-truths dampen the fiery sparks of passion that ignite when Leah and Miguel are forced to share a cozy honeymoon cottage, or will they overcome their fears and build a brighter future based on honesty and love?


About the Author

Dalia Dupris has been a book lover as long as she can remember. Dalia’s BA in English Literature from UCLA and Master’s degree in Social Work, from the University of Southern California, in addition to years of experience as a licensed psychotherapist, contribute to her creation of relatable and complex characters.

In her spare time, she enjoys bike riding along the California coast with her husband, and hiking with her daughter. She loves hearing from her readers. Their words of encouragement inspire her to continue creating memorable characters, who will make you laugh and cry and keep rooting for them until the very last page. Subscribe to her website for a chance to learn more about Dalia and her books.

 

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Friday, April 19, 2024

Blog Tour: The Cyclopes' Eye

 




YA Dystopian, Soft Sci-Fi

Date to be Published: 04-09-2024

Publisher: NineStar Press


 

First they came for his sister’s eye. Now they’re coming for his. And what’s even worse is he deserves it.

Henry has never had anything good happen to him, period. Full stop. That’s why, after school, he’s going to put on his big-boy pants and confess his love to his best friend—because the universe owes him one, dammit, and he needs a win.

But maybe doing it on Drill Day wasn't the best idea—the one day a month that healthcare conglomerate Axiom infiltrates schools across America to select a new candidate to give up one of their eyes, for... research? And if this Drill Day is anything like the last, Henry will never get a chance at a good life. Especially if his past keeps threatening to eat him alive, and especially if his old ways of keeping the darkness at bay refuse to work anymore.

 



Excerpt

This isn’t what I signed up for, but that seems to be a common thread in my life these days. So, sure, universe, you do you. Pile something else on top of the mess.

I can’t see straight, for starters. I’m on a bus from hell, and everything’s a blur, and I don’t know what’s worse—keeping my eyes open to watch the world zip by, or squeezing them shut and letting my stupid, stupid imagination do the work. When I close them, every bump in the road feels like I’m being launched into space, so maybe for now I’ll keep them open. But both options are awful. Both are making me sick.

I’ve been on the verge of puking all morning, and nothing seems to help. Especially not this driver. Some tragic car accident blocked the route we normally take, so we had to go on a long detour. And now that we’re running behind, the driver’s been speeding and turning corners like this is a rollercoaster and not a school bus.

Oh god, do not think about rollercoasters right now, Henry.

No, this is just a bus. A bus. Sure, we’re going well above the speed limit, but at least not, like, a thousand miles an hour.

Okay, calm down. What are the facts? Think of what’s around you. The bus is almost at full capacity today, with only one person missing: Judith, who’s been home from school. So, if she’s not here, that means there are eighty-eight people around you.

God, that’s so many.

No, that’s not so many. That’s a normal amount, Henry!

Okay, eighty-eight people, plus me, is eighty-nine. Double that, and we get—take your time, Hen; use your fingers if you have to—a hundred seventy-eight. There should be a hundred and seventy-eight eyeballs on this bus…except we know there are five patched kids on our route this year—six if we count…well, no, she’s not here. A hundred and seventy-eight, minus five stolen eyes, equals a hundred and seventy-three.

Wait, what about the driver? Is that why he’s driving so crazy, because he’s an eye short?

I glance up to the mirror above him to double check—only I can’t tell because he’s wearing sunglasses. Even at six-thirty a.m., the California sun is blinding. But that’s all right; I don’t need to know.

A hundred and seventy-three. That’s how many eyes are on this bus.

One.

Seven.

Three.

Slowly, the breaths come. My lungs expand, and the nausea begins to fade. It helps, knowing a simple statistic like that. But it’s weird, and if people knew I counted eyeballs in my head, I would die. Actually curl up and die.

Or maybe everyone does that in secret. Maybe everyone is a secret freak like me.

A loud screech. My head plows into the seat in front of me. Ow!

The driver slammed on his brakes! As soon as I realize what’s happened, anger builds in my chest. What in the actual fuck is this fucking driver doing? He’s trying to kill us! I want to scream my head off, scream until the windows shatter. Until this guy’s ears explode, because screw him!

But I won’t. I never scream when I want to. Not anymore. Instead, I sit on my hands and start to count eyes again, while Ilet the world shift back into place. 

All around me, people are moaning and groaning.

“Dude, what the hell?” someone shouts.

I look over, and the girl across the aisle is rubbing her neck, her eyes closed and mouth downturned in obvious pain. The girl next to her has her head between her legs. At first, I think she must be as sick as I was feeling, but she starts searching around for something on the floor and finally retrieves her phone. When the screen lights up, there’s a giant spiderweb of cracks across it.

Slowly, the bus lurches forward, and I no longer feel like screaming. The anger is abating, and I feel it morph into something closer to pity as I remember for the hundredth time what today is: Drill Day. If the driver doesn’t get us to school on time, he’ll be accused of trying to help us escape. He’ll get his eye taken out.

I can’t be mad at him for saving his own ass, even if it means ushering me to what very well might be my own demise.

Oh god. I feel a gurgle deep in my stomach. And so it begins. Again.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel at least somewhat nauseated on most Drill Days. I definitely was last time. I could have puked when Judith’s name was called. I’m surprised I didn’t.

The memory of her walking up to that stage and standing up there, crying, is burned into my brain—only parts of it are fading. The most important parts, like what exactly her face used to look like with two eyes. I remember they were beautiful. I remember the color. But I can’t picture exactly what she looked like. It’s only been a week, and it’s like she’s been eyeless our entire lives. A better brother would remember. A better brother wouldn’t have let it get taken out in the first place.

At the very least, a better brother would have listened to her this morning when she said she had something important to tell me. I was too preoccupied with other thoughts, already fighting the nausea well before I got on the bus.

“Yeah, I know,” I yawned. “Drill Day.”

“Obviously, I don’t mean Drill Day,” she sighed. “I mean, yes, it’s Drill Day-adjacent, but—”

“Jude, I’m gonna be late. You can regale me later, okay? ”And like the asshole that I am, I opened the door and left.

My own twin sister, recovering from surgery, was trying to tell me something important. Yet I couldn’t give her the time of day.

Classic Henry. 

Ugh, I really do think I’m about to barf—and it’s my own fault. My own stupidity. It’s not Drill Day or the bad driving, really. Those are just exacerbating it. When it comes down to it, I’m the source of all my misery—and one of these days, I’ll learn that lesson.

But not today. After school—assuming I don’t get my eye taken out—I’ll be reading a poem, out loud, in Ink Stain, the creative writing club at school. But it’s not just the public speaking—which I do get nervous about. Mostly, it’s because the poem I have planned isn’t just any old poem. It’s the single piece of work that will determine the trajectory of the rest of my life.

Judith would call that turn of phrase a little…dramatic. But she’s not here right now, and I can confidently say that it will determine the rest of my life. That’s why I couldn’t listen to her this morning, I was too busy trying not to freak out—which is going really great for me currently.

It’s not just any old poem. It’s intended for one of my best friends, Sam, who’s also in Ink Stain. Over the last few months, something has changed, and I started getting feelings for him. Awful, huge feelings I’ve literally never experienced before, that make me imagine a wedding and kids? Disgusting.

Maybe a rational person would tell him in private or even just keep it to themselves. Wait until those feelings go away. But not me! Apparently, I have a death wish. Either that, or I’ve convinced myself big romantic gestures, like reading somebody a poem in front of all your friends, works in the movies, and so it has got to work for me.

I’ve never done anything so brave or grand in my life. I have always, always taken the easy way out of things, like any cowardly lion. It’s just more comfortable to sit quietly in the shadows.

But here’s the thing: I don’t want to be a coward my entire life, and I think if I do something big and grandiose like this, then maybe the universe will throw me a bone and give me something good for once. And I want my first something good to be really, really good.

And Sam would be amazing.

Could it backfire, and I’d lose one of my best friends in the world? Obviously. Which is why I’m currently fighting with my entire being to not puke on this bus right now as we take yet another turn at the speed of light. It’s probably my imagination but we practically tip over and swipe into a car before we straighten out.

Someone nearby starts to laugh and shouts, “Sick, bro!”

The rest of us groan.

A few minutes later, we pull into the parking lot, and I realize I’ve managed not to spew this entire ride. I take a deep breath, proud of my small accomplishment. I could have puked, like, twenty times, but I haven’t!

But wait, we’re barely slowing down. Apparently, just because we’ve reached our destination doesn’t mean this ride from hell is over.

We hit something—a speed bump, I realize—and boom, liquid sloshes the back of my mouth, the strong taste of bile percolating across my tongue. It burns as I swallow it back down. And this is just the first of three bumps.

I get that it’s Drill Day, and I get that we need to be at school on time, but this is outrageous. Moronic, actually. There’s no need to risk our lives anymore; we’re literally on school property now. 

Judith is the opposite of me—much braver, much more direct—and while I stew in shock and indignation again, she would have gone up to the driver by now and had a word with him. Shut this down the first time he took a fast turn.

But she’s not here, 

and we’re about to hit the next bump. I jump to my feet so the impact on my stomach is lessened, holding my breath and bracing for impact. It helps, I think. I don’t feel as bad as I did the first time.

When we’re over it, I’m suddenly very aware of myself and how I must look, having jumped up like this. I’m in one of the middle rows, and I can feel everyone’s eyes on the back of my head. Since Judith isn’t here, I have the seat to myself, which is a small blessing. But now I almost wish I had her here making fun of me because this is worse, feeling like the entire bus is pointing at me.

I hate attention. I hate causing a scene. I hate being noticed. And I’m very, very aware that, right now, that is exactly what’s happening. I’m also noticing how sweaty I am. My face is either ghost white or bile green. Or beet red. All three?

A part of me knows they can’t be looking at me any worse than they usually do, though. Poor Henry with his one-eyed sister. Poor Henry with his drunk of a dad. Poor Henry with his convict of a mother.

I think about reaching down to my thigh to catapult me out of this moment, the tangle of cuts and scars I could squeeze and knead like dough so the jolt of hurt would replace this ache of embarrassment. But I can’t. Not here.

We take the third speed bump slower than the last two, but I still feel touch-and-go. At this point, the best option is to just get out of here as fast as I can. Since I’m already standing when we pull into the parking spot, I don’t wait for all the people in front of me to get off first. I march right on up to the front like I own this bus. And you know what? For right now, I do, fuckers.

“You in a hurry or something?” asks the driver. He removes his shades to reveal two very intact and very brown eyes. His fist is wrapped around the lever to open the door, but he’s not opening it.

I wasn’t expecting this, and with each second, my blood feels thicker and thicker, like sludge. I mumble something about a test I have to study for.

“One day you’ll realize life’s about more than school,” he says, believing, I’m sure, that he’s being very profound at six-thirty.

I just nod and smile, hoping my face doesn’t betray my anguish.

He smirks and finally pulls the lever, and the door squeaks and sighs as it opens. I jump down the stairs, and I must go a little too fast because there’s no way I can hold it in anymore. I’ve got to puke, and I’ve got to puke now.

I race around to the front of the bus, shielded on all sides by other buses that I really hope are empty, and let it go.

It’s so painful coming up, like someone is stabbing me. My eyes flutter open and closed as it comes pouring out, and it’s like I’m watching myself in stop motion. It forms puddles around my feet. Some of it gets on my shoes.

It’s hot and gross, and some of it sprays up into my nose, which might make me puke more. I try to be quiet so nobody will hear me, but the bus engine is so loud that it probably doesn’t matter. Or maybe that’s delirious thinking. Maybe the driver is watching from his window right now. But if anybody does come over to see, they don’t wait around long enough to say anything.

A minute later, when I’m sure it’s all out of me, I feel light, free. Empty. I think this might be the best I’ve ever felt in my life. Maybe I can read this poem today. Maybe Sam will respond the way I want. I should puke more often.

Everything in me goes still and quiet. It’s almost like I’m floating through fog as I wind my way through the maze of buses all parked in a cluster. I’m so light, it feels like a dream. Like I’m not real. Is this what it’s like to get high?

As soon as I round the last bus, I come down.

If getting sick was a dream, reality is not worth waking up for. The nightmare of my life is as bleak as it’s ever been.

Ah, yes, here we are. Drill Day.

Across the parking lot, a few hundred feet away, is the entire student body—two thousand of my peers. They’ve been rounded up like cattle in front of school, their incessant chatter like primal, god-fearing cries for help before being led to slaughter. And just like real cattle, they know there’s no escape.

But at least the cows get to die before their mutilation


About the Author

Jeffrey Haskey-Valerius works in healthcare by day and writes weird fiction and poetry by night. His shorter work has been featured in numerous literary journals and has been nominated for prizes, including Best of the Net. He currently lives in the Midwest with his unbelievably handsome and perfect dog, and also a human whom he loves. The Cyclopes’ Eye is his debut novel.

 

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Twitter: @jeffreyhvwrites

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Thursday, April 18, 2024

PROMO: Return of the Shadowlord

 

Orb Of Zorn, Book #2


Fantasy

Date Published: 04-19-2024


 

When the Shadowlord steals part of the orb of eternity, his power surges. He has unleashed a mighty host of orcs and trolls and acquires an invaluable new henchman in Borg Bearslayer. Young Elcon goes through a battery of new trials and tribulations and is tested by powers he never imagined. Only by forging an alliance with the gray elf, Rowena Ravenwill, the brash dwarf Brom, and the last of the great swordsmen of the western realms does he stand a chance against the Shadowlord.

In this sequel to The Heir Apparent, a gloomier dawn emerges, and stakes are much higher for the young mage. The boundaries are blurred even further when the Walszman encounters the witch-like Lef Sagori. Will he succumb to the dark side of magic or will Elcon add great new deeds to his Van Zorn legacy?


About the Author

Before his words found their way into print, John snapped the Eyesore of the Week for the Queens Ledger. His stories, essays, and articles have appeared in over 50 journals worldwide. His newest book Return Of The Shadowlord (Orb Of Zorn #2) is AVAILABLE for PRE-ORDER. John is also the author of the novels, The Heir Apparent (Orb Of Zorn #1), The Acolyte And The Amulet (Nebilon #1), Quest For The Hope Box (Nebilon #2), Beyond The Vicious Vortex, Shades of Luz, Disposable Heroes, and From Here To Burmidia.

 

Contact Links

Website

Facebook

Twitter

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Instagram: @johngorman12

 

Purchase Link

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PROMO: Arcane Kiss

 

Alternative Universe, Paranormal Women’s Fiction

Date Published: Apri 12, 2024

 

 

Kurt Briggs has a spirit link to a tiger Familiar that gives him superhuman abilities, but when his father is murdered, the military veteran becomes a target for terrorist sorcerers. Alone, Kurt finds he's no match for the witch and her shape-shifting polar bear. He turns to Arcanist Genevieve Reyes for help in fighting the killers' spells.

As Genevieve and Kurt hunt the terrorists, shared danger leads to shared desire. But they soon realize Kurt's passion for Gen weakens his control over his cat. The consequences could be deadly for them both. Genevieve is attracted to Kurt's animal sensuality, but she knows she may be in as much danger from his tiger as she is from the terrorists.

Even if Kurt and Gen manage to stop the terrorists, their evil sorcery may trigger a witch hunt that could mean the destruction of everyone with magical Talent -- including Kurt and Genevieve.




EXCERPT


The tiger bounded toward him in a blur of striped fur and powerful muscle. Kurt Briggs braced himself as the big cat reared to thump huge paws down on his shoulders. Somehow he managed not to fall on his ass, though eight feet of cat made an awkward dance partner. Rumbling, the beast touched a cool, damp nose to Kurt’s.

“Hi to you, too, Stoli.” Kurt dug his fingers in thick reddish gold fur to give his Familiar a scratch.

Golden eyes narrowed in feline ecstasy and Stoli chuffed a greeting. The tiger dropped to all fours again, and turned toward the lake with a flick of his striped tail. Kurt strolled after him across the thick grass.

Through the trees ahead Kurt spotted the flickering glint of afternoon sunlight on water -- the spring-fed lake that lay at the heart of Briggs Feral Sanctuary. Another tiger lounged in the shallows, six hundred pounds of stripes, attitude and luminous golden eyes.

Dave gave them a lazy blink, indolent as a pasha. And like a pasha, he apparently had a harem -- or at least a gang of devoted fans. Ten female volunteers clustered just outside the enclosure fence as close as they dared get. Dressed in shorts, hats and T-shirts with the BFS lion logo, they all wore grins of anticipation as they waited for him to do something amazing. Or, knowing Dave, inappropriate.

Stoli catapulted off the bank, sailed through the air, and landed on the other cat with a huge splash. The volunteers fled the arcing water, yelping and laughing.

Dave roared, batting at Stoli’s nose with sheathed claws. “Back off, Tigger! Do I look like fuckin’ Pooh Bear to you?”

Stoli raced off, chuffing like a giggling ten-year-old who’d pranked his brother. Which was exactly what he was. The two cats had been littermates before they’d melded with their human partners. Otherwise they couldn’t have shared an enclosure. Their fights would have been real.

“You’d better run, asshole! I’ll turn you into a rug!” Dave flopped back down in the water with a huff of feline disdain. “The crap I put up with.”

Kurt’s grin faded. Dave did indeed put up with a hell of a lot. A year ago he’d been Dave Frost, a member of Kurt’s Arcane Corps unit -- a tall, lanky blond with a wicked sense of humor. But that was before Dave had died, leaving his soul trapped in the body of Smilodon, his Familiar.

Another man might have surrendered to bitterness and grief for his lost humanity. Dave taught himself to talk by making the air vibrate with magic instead of human vocal cords. Now he was building a thriving career as a YouTube smartass.

“You got me all wet,” a blonde volunteer complained, pretending to pout as she pulled at her soaked shirt.

The tiger gave her a toothy grin. “My pleasure.”

“Ladies, quit flirting with the wildlife and finish cleaning the enclosures.” Kurt put a little subsonic rumble in his voice. Dave wasn’t the only one who could manipulate sound with his magic. “We don’t want BFS to smell like the world’s biggest litter box.”

“Killjoy,” Dave complained.

“You heard the man.” Karla Morgen, the volunteer coordinator, made a shooing gesture at the women. “The poop won’t scoop itself.”

“You know,” Kurt told Dave as the volunteers scattered, “you couldn’t be any more a ham if you were Porky Pig.”

“How else would I bring home the bacon?” Dave flicked a paw, and an invisible snare drum banged out a rimshot.

Kurt laughed. “You’re getting scary with the magical sound effects.”

“I live to terrify. Speaking of performances, how many tickets did we sell last night? Looked like every inch of the arena bleachers had somebody’s butt on it.”

“Pretty much.” BFS’s Feral 101 show was designed to educate sanctuary visitors about big cats. They’d livened it up with a demonstration of Feral abilities, but the material had still been as dry as sawdust -- until Dave had taken the emcee job in his capable paws. “We brought in five thousand in ticket sales and donations, plus another thousand for selfies and souvenirs.”

And they needed every dime. Keeping fifty-nine exotic cats fed and healthy wasn’t something you did on a shoestring.

Dave gave him a smug smile. “I has skillz. I also has half a million followers.”

“You’re just lucky they don’t know what an asshole you are.”

“I’m a tiger. We’re supposed to be assholes.”

Movement across the lake drew Kurt’s attention. In the next enclosure, a lion came to the water’s edge, accompanied by his two lionesses. Staring at the tigers, the Familiar roared.

 

 

About the Author

New York Times best-selling author Angela Knight has written and published more than sixty novels, novellas, and ebooks, including the Mageverse and Merlin’s Legacy series. With a career spanning more than two decades, Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine has awarded her their Career Achievement award in Paranormal Romance, as well as two Reviewers’ Choice awards for Best Erotic Romance and Best Werewolf Romance.

Angela is currently a writer, editor, and cover artist for Changeling Press LLC. She also teaches online writing courses. Besides her fiction work, Angela’s writing career includes a decade as an award-winning South Carolina newspaper reporter. She lives in South Carolina with her husband, Michael, a thirty-year police veteran and detective with a local police department.

 

Contact Links

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Publisher on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok: @changelingpress

 

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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

PROMO: Sleeping Dragon

 

Dark Fantasy, Paranormal Women’s Fiction, LGBTQ

Date Published: April 19, 2024


 

Youltan lives a life of obligation and service, a slave to the desires of others, harnessing the strange and powerful chaotic energies known as Ice Magic. After a final betrayal by the people he protects, he finds himself transported to the one being who holds the key to his freedom.

The wards tattooed across Garyn's back ensure his total compliance, trapping him in his own form of slavery, until one of the traitorous Mages, the kind that devised this tortuous penance, is placed in his prison. Now manipulating his way to freedom rules the sex-shifting dragon's mind.

Garyn never expects Youltan to willingly sacrifice so much for a person he barely knows. Nor does he expect to find the a core of passionate heat that exists deep within Youltan's soul. The fight for survival takes on new dimensions and strains the very threads of their honor and morality.

But what would you expect....when you prod a Sleeping Dragon?

 



EXCERPT

 

Feet braced apart, arms extended to their maximum length, he stood and waited. There was nothing in his mind; his world was a blank slate, waiting to be filled, waiting for the agonizing pleasure… and the horrific pain.

Slowly, it began, drawing its energy from the very earth on which he stood. Pulsing writhing ropes of energy, of magic, of power, twined around themselves as they sought a rod, a bearer for their might.

Around his ankles they looped, slowly, like some starving creature seeking sustenance. And what they found seemed to please them, for they began to roll up the length of his body. Faster and faster they twined, their colors the brilliant blue that exists in the heart of every fire, the icy white of the coldest glacier, a sharp glaze of power blinding all who dared watch this spectacle.

Up around his knees they crept, gaining confidence and speed with every second. On and on, around his waist, over his chest, across his shoulders until his head jerked back as if snapped by some unknown entity.

Blood-red lips parted, a scream locked within a frozen throat, and a fall of silver white hair blew madly around his form in a wind created by power and magic. Bright lavender eyes snapped open to reveal luminescent sparks of pure white that illuminated those strange orbs, the eyes of an alien-one, and the eyes of the demented.

Then the power seemed to lash out at its conduit, raising him to his toes as wave after wave of pure energy penetrated his body, gained a purpose, grew in its strength.

His body arched, his arms flying above his head as the sheer strength of the thing that possessed him brought him to his toes, building and building until his whole person was one shining, glowing being that seemed almost too beautiful to view, yet too sinister and compelling to look away from.

Suddenly, a cry erupted from his throat, loud, agonized. The cry echoed over the land as the very earth began to quake beneath his feet.

His piercing scream startled the onlookers, the curious who had gathered to view this unusual feat, to watch what both heaven and hell had wrought and then left to travel this land that they called their own.

But they were too stunned to look away, transfixed.

As he continued to scream, cry after cry of ecstatic pain, the energy that converged on his body began to coagulate, to meld into one large beam of power.

Still screaming, he forced his arms toward the pulsing dome that surrounded the land, the thing that honor and history demanded he tend to, no matter the cost.

His sudden silence was almost as unnerving as his screams had been, as the world seemed to hold its breath in anticipation, as the tension built around the young man, as the very gods seemed to tremble in fear.

Then, as the tension built to a plateau, then nothing. Soon the people began to breathe easy, thinking the show was over, then one final high-pitched scream exploded from his mouth.

And with that cry, a monstrous beam of light and power leapt from his body. Blue, silver, white, it all mended and swirled as warring colors shot from his body, his eyes, his mouth, following its given path, striking the shields with an audible crash that almost sounded like the shrieking cry of pure crystal shattering.

His body gave way in the face of such a massive energy burst, but the power would not let his body fall. It supported him, swirled around him almost lovingly, then began to drain the very life force from his body.

Head tossed back to its farthest, hair whipping around that face, obscuring its near beauty from the frightened yet silent watchers, his body bowed and his knees bent as he fought to retain some of himself from the hungry energies that sought to leach his very essence from his body.

Trembling and panting, he whimpered once as the beam began to lose its brilliant illumination, then faded altogether, growing weaker and weaker as the conduit struggled to reclaim part of himself from the massive outpouring of power.

Then, suddenly, almost as if it had never been, the beam of light dispersed, exploded into a million glittering sparkles, before disappearing cleanly from sight.

With a groan, the conduit dropped to his knees, his body falling backwards as all the energy seemed to leave with the passing of the beam.

He knelt there, supple body bent backwards, breath struggling in his chest, as his strange, lavender eyes drifted shut.

Then, as he took his first full breath, the watchers were amazed to see a shadowy mist exhaled into the brilliant heat of the day, a breath that seemed as cold as the arctic islands they once harnessed to create that shield that protected them from the evils of the outside world.

Then his whole body began to spasm.



About the Author

Stephanie is a USA Today Best Selling, multi published, multi award-winning author, Master Costumer, handicapped, wife and mother of two.

From sex-shifting, shape-shifting dragons to undersea worlds, sexually confused elemental Fey and homo-erotic mysteries, all the way to pastel-challenged urban sprites, Stephanie has done it all, and hopes to do more.

Stephanie is an orator on her favorite subjects of writing and world-building, a sometime teacher when you feed her enough tea and donuts, an anime nut, a costumer, and a frequent guest of various sci-fi and writing cons where she can be found leading panel discussions or researching varied legends and theories to improve her writing skills.

Stephanie is known for her love of the outrageous, strong female characters, believable worlds, male characters filled with depth, and multi-cultural stories that make the reader sit up and take notice.

 

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Publisher on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok: @changelingpress

 

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Blog Tour: The Torch: Rising Darkness

 



Young Adult - Sci-Fi / Fantasy

Date Published: September 18, 2022

 

 

"He wanted more power, and more control. When I was with him, that seemed to be his main goal."

"What other power was there?"

"Oh, more than you could ever know."

 

 



PROLOGUE

 

The man sat patiently upon his throne-like chair—formidable to all who dared enter into his dark splendor. The throne, as he called it, was supported by a raised platform, several stairs leading up to it. Shrouded in pitch black robes, he appeared only a silhouette—his red eyes striking fear into anyone who was brave enough to peer into them. The circular room had no windows. Massive clusters of blood diamonds gleamed furiously on the walls, glistening in their geometric designs. Two doors stood in front of him, though they were merely vague outlines in the darkness.

Any minute now, he thought.

Just then, the doors in front of him swung open, revealing his most trusted assistant. The assistant reached the stairs to the throne and bowed.

“Arise,” spoke the voice upon the throne, gazing down upon the man.

“My Lord,” said the assistant. “They are ready.”

“Excellent,” said the man upon the throne.

His voice was a deathly calm, almost as if a cat was purring just before it devoured a bird. The assistant knew this, and he knew what the cat’s true temper looked like—and he knew to avoid it with his life.

“Bring me my hunters,” said the man on the throne.

He gleamed at his assistant, drilling him with a red stare of menace as the assistant arose and left the room hastily, not speaking a word—not daring to stoke the fire of a temper that would burn him alive—the stalking cat that would pounce out of the shadows.


About the Author

Bertrand Coruscare's first novel, Rising Darkness, is the beginning of the epic "The Torch series." Lover of the mysterious, the heroic, and the refined, he fills his days with dark stories, warm drinks, and a touch of sarcasm.

Bertrand resides in the Pacific Northwest, where he is pursuing a degree in English. He often wanders the ancient forests of imagination, guided by ambition, that azure flame.

 

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