Tag Archives: fantasy

Cover Reveal: The Wolf and the Sparrow by Isabelle Adler

The Wolf and the Sparrow | Isabelle Adler

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Cover: Natasha Snow

Release Date: November 25

Available to Pre-Order at NineStar Press from November 22

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Blurb

Derek never wished to inherit his title as a result of a bloody battle. With the old count dead and the truce dependent on his marriage to the rival duke’s son, Derek has no choice but to agree to the victor’s terms in order to bring peace to his homeland.

When he learns of the sinister rumors surrounding his intended groom, Derek begins to have doubts—but there can be no turning back from saying I do.

After the death of his wife, Callan of Mulberny never expected to be forced into another political marriage—especially not to someone like the new Count of Camria. Seemingly soft and meek, it’s only fitting that Derek’s family crest is a flighty sparrow, worthy of nothing but contempt.

Another war with the seafaring people of the Outer Isles looms on the horizon, and the reluctant newlyweds must team together to protect those caught in the circle of violence.

Derek and Callan slowly learn to let go of their prejudices, but as they find themselves enmeshed in intrigue fueled by dark secrets and revenge, their tentative bond is all that keeps their world—and their lives—from plunging into chaos.

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Series Review Tour: Druid’s Curse by Shae Balik

Druid’s Curse | Shae Balik

Cover Artist: Harris Channing

Overall Heat Rating: 4 flames

PLEASE NOTE: Although each book in this series focuses on a different couple, to best enjoy the overall story arc, these books SHOULD be read in order.

Series Blurb

Ancient Druids, who monitored the Veil for centuries, curse a band of marauding Vikings. Now immortal and shifters, the cursed men must protect today’s Druids from Unseelie minions, allowing them to continue the rituals that protect all of humanity.

FOR BLURBS AND DETAILS OF BOOKS 1 – 5 CHECK OUT THIS POST

 

Mind Over Matter

Druid’s Curse #6

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Blurb

Who would have thought there was something more horrifying than an indoor boy being forced to live in the Amazon? Yet, there was. In fact, the more descriptive word would be mind-numbingly terrifying. That it was brought into his life by a drop dead gorgeous man claiming he was there to protect Wylie, only made everything that much more surreal.

Since the first druid came into their lives, Fritjof prayed he would never meet the druid that was destined to be his fated love. He knew that emotion would always lead to devastation and heartache. He’d seen it, experienced it, when his mother disowned him for not being able to save his father.

But what happens when the Fae goes after someone they both love? Will they be able to find a way to trust in each other? Are some things impossible to overcome or is it Mind Over Matter?

Tears of Life

Druid’s Curse #7

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Amazon UK

Blurb

Mingus had one true love in life, animals. None of them were off the list, although, if he were completely honest, his favorite was his cat, Pretty Baby. He never imagined one day he might have to put someone else first. Not just anyone, but the man who has stolen his heart.

For centuries Oluf has dreamed of finding the one destined to be his. He’d even anticipated the need to woo him by becoming a chef. After all, according to his mother, the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach. What he hadn’t expected was that he would come in second to a cat with sharp claws, who seemed to enjoy using people as her personal scratching post.

As Mingus, Oluf, and their friends get closer to Samhain, the Fae will try to stop them using everything at their disposal. It means finding a way to work together, even if it takes shedding a few Tears of Life to do so. But in the end, will the fate of the human world come down to a cat?

Mending the Rift

Druid’s Curse #8

Release Date: October 31, 2019

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Blurb

The END is NEAR!

The Fae must be defeated if Brandr and Logan hope to find their happily ever after. Only by working together will have any chance of Mending the Rift and saving humanity.

The end would be upon Brandr and his friends soon. The only question, would Brandr be able to find his fated one in time? He feared he was too late when he arrived to find the field empty. Then the Veil opens again and hell rains down upon him as the Unseelie pets attack. But when Brandr was too injured to move, the Druid he was destined to claim as his own flees in terror. Talk about demoralizing.

That did not happen. Not even in some weird fantasy could Logan have imagined that a dead man could come back to life. And he had definitely been dead, since Logan had to put his head back on his body. But when he was faced with the truth, that the man was immortal, Logan has to admit to being…intrigued.

But as Samhain draws closer, the danger around them increases as the Fae converge. The Fae must be defeated if Brandr and Logan hope to find their happily ever after. Only by working together will have any chance of Mending the Rift and saving humanity.

 

About the Author

Best Selling author of the Cedar Falls Series, Paranormal War Series, and Miracle Series, Shea Balik has always had a vivid imagination with stories running around in her head. Often her stories are taken from observations of other people with her own spin.

Traveling is one of her favorite ways of fulfilling her passion of people watching. You never know, one day you may spark her imagination for her next book.

Whether at home or traveling she is usually in front of her computer writing or curled up with a good book.

You can stay up to date with everything Shea by following any or all links below:

Social Media

Website | BookBub | Facebook | Twitter

Instagram | Amazon Author Page | Bookstrand | Smashwords

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win:

1st Prize – $25 Amazon Gift Card

2nd Prize- One (1) ecopy of each of The Druid’s Curse Series

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Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

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Release Blitz: The Shoreless Sea by J. Scott Coatsworth

The Shoreless Sea | J. Scott Coatsworth

Liminal Sky #3

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Publisher: DSP Publications

Release Date: Tuesday, October 15 2019

Word Count: 131K

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner | Amazon | iBooks 

Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

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Blurb

As the epic trilogy hurtles toward its conclusion, the fight for the future isn’t over yet. It could lead to a new beginning, or it might spell the end for the last vestiges of humankind.

The generation ship Forever has left Earth behind, but a piece of the old civilization lives on in the Inthworld—a virtual realm that retains memories of Earth’s technological wonders and vices. A being named Lilith leads the uprising, and if she succeeds in setting its inhabitants free, they could destroy Forever.

But during the generation ship’s decades-long voyage, humanity has evolved. Liminals with the ability to connect with the world mind and the Inthworld provide a glimmer of hope. They’ll have to face not only Lilith’s minions, but also the mistrust of their own kind and persecution from a new government as homotypicals continue to fear what they can’t understand.

The invasion must be stopped, the Inthworld must be healed, and the people of Forever must let go of their past and embrace what they’re meant to become.

 

Excerpt

Kiryn Hammond-Clarke floated in the darkness of space, stars he’d never seen in person twinkling against the velvety black depths.

The voice came to him from out of nowhere. “Can anyone hear me?”

In his dreams, he could hear. Like when Belynn let him ride in her mind.

The voice repeated, sounding stretched and thin. “Is anyone out there?”

In the distance, a single star glowed brighter than all the others, though it was still just a small golden dot.

Kiryn reached out toward the light, his hand naked to the cold of the void.

Ice crystals formed on his arm, hardening it in place. The cold reached into his bones like knives of frozen glass. It raced up his bicep, the burning cold fire of the void.

He snatched back his arm, but he was too late. The freezing grip reached his heart, and he screamed silently—

Kiryn awoke with a start, sitting up in bed in his dorm room drenched with sweat. He ran his hands through his dark hair, letting them come to rest clasped behind his head.

First Light flashed past in the trees outside his window, brightening up the room.

The world was utterly silent.

The silence, his constant companion since birth, was particularly soothing after his rude awakening. It wrapped itself around him like a blanket, a suit of armor, a barrier between him and the hustle and bustle of the outside world.

Between him and emotion.

He held his arm out for inspection, half expecting it to be blackened by the void. Instead, it looked perfectly normal. Warm and tan, halfway between his mothers’ sepia and white skin tones.

He shivered at the memory.

The bed moved under him, and his date from the night before sat up, his mouth moving soundlessly.

The man was handsome, a Thyrean sent to the university at Micavery for his higher schooling—long limbs, blond hair shaved short, warm brown eyes.

His name was Dax. Or Zack. Or something.

Kiryn’s lipreading was decent, but he hadn’t bothered to spend too much time learning this one’s name. Dax or Zack hadn’t seemed to mind much.

Kiryn pointed at his ear and shook his head.

The man’s mouth closed, and he blushed. “Sorry. I forgot.”

That one was easy enough to read.

He grabbed the piece of cotton paper and a pencil Kiryn kept at his bedside just for that purpose and scribbled something out longhand, then handed it over to him.

It’s Dax. And are you okay?

Kiryn stared at him. Did you just read my mind? Maybe there was a little Liminal in him. He laughed, wondering not for the first time what it sounded like from the outside. It felt clunky and awkward on the inside.

He sighed and took the paper and pencil.

Dax’s hand lingered over his for an extra second before letting go.

Bad dream. Class in fifteen minutes. He hesitated, then scribbled, Dinner?

Dax took the paper, and a grin lit up his face. His eager nod needed no translation. I work at the hatchery until six. Meet me there?

Kiryn nodded and grinned.

Dax slipped out of bed and pulled on his trousers and white shirt, the V-neck showing off his chest to perfection.

Kiryn sat back with his hands behind his head, admiring the view.

He leaned over, kissed Kiryn on the cheek, and mouthed, “See you.”

When Dax left, Kiryn grabbed a change of clothes and headed down the hall to the dorm bathroom. He hopped into the shower, using the aromatic red berry soap bar his mom and mamma had sent him from the Estate. The smell transported him, and he closed his eyes and imagined himself standing among the long, even rows of red berry vines that arched across the hillsides.

His parents worried about him, out here alone, but it was Andy who had insisted he go.

When Kiryn had been born congenitally and profoundly deaf, Andy and Shandra had learned sign language from the world mind in vee.

There were so few other deaf people in Forever. So few like him.

The day before he was set to leave for university, to catch the public wagon headed for Darlith and then Micavery, he’d had a huge panic attack.

His parents had sat him down along with his sister, Belynn:

“I’m scared. Why do I have to go away?” He was fidgeting, nervous.

“You have to go. There’s nothing here for you.” Andy indicated the Estate, where the family had built a thriving agricultural business on the backs of Trip’s and Colin’s earlier work.

“You’re here.” His hands signed it while his knee bounced up and down.

Andy shook her head. “This is our place. You need to go.”

He flushed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I was such a burden.”

“No.” That was emphatic. “That’s not what I meant. We don’t want you to get trapped here, working on the Estate for the rest of your life. There’s a whole world out there for you to explore.” She looked up at Shandra, who nodded.

“I’ll go with him,” Belynn said and signed it at the same time, but he could hear her inside his head too.

Mom could do that, too, of course, but she had to touch him to do it.

“You’re not ready.” Shandra glared at Belynn and shook her head.

“I’ve been with Kiryn in every vee class since I was born. I’m only two years younger than he is. Let me go with him to help.”

Kiryn frowned. He wasn’t sure he wanted his little sister tagging along after him, cramping his style. If he decided to go.

Belynn’s hand found his, palm to palm, and he could feel her emotions. We can take care of each other. That thought was private, just for him, inside his head.

Maybe so.

Andy looked at Shandra. “They could take care of each other.” She echoed Belynn’s thought and touched Shandra’s hand. Something passed between them.

Shandra looked at him and then at Belynn, uncertainty clear on her face. “We could… try it.”

Belynn squeezed his hand. “Yes!”

“For a semester.” Andy kissed Shandra on the forehead.

Kiryn thought about it. It would be nice to have someone close by, just in case. Someone who really knew him. “Okay.” And it would be a lot less scary.

Now he was here, and Belynn wouldn’t be far behind.

Where are you, big brother? Belynn’s insistent voice.

I’ll be back in a minute. He pulled the towel from its wooden peg, dried off his hair and shoulders.

A couple of the other guys in the dorm, Stave and Trevor, waved on their way to their own showers. Cute as hell, but straighter than the old antenna on Micavery’s village green. Well, except when Stave got drunk on red berry wine….

Kiryn grinned. He pulled on his trousers and shirt and padded back to his room. Belynn was waiting for him on his bed. “How did you get in?” he signed.

They touched palms, the emotions flowing between them and synching.

“Easy. Aric at the front desk is a sucker for a pretty girl.”

“Like I said, how did you get in?”

She stuck out her tongue at him. “Come on. We’re going to be late.” She tugged him off the bed, and Kiryn barely had time to grab his carry sack before she had him out the door and down the hall.

Books one and two are on sale

Humankind is on its way to the stars, a journey that will change it forever. Each of the stories in Liminal Sky explores that future through the lens of a generation ship, where the line between science fiction and fantasy often blurs.

At times both pessimistic and very hopeful, Liminal Sky thrusts you into a future few would ever have imagined.

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The eBook for book one in the Liminal Sky trilogy, The Stark Divide is just 99¢, and book two, The Rising Tide is $1.99 at all vendors.

The Stark Divide Buy Links – 99¢

Dreamspinner | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

The Rising Tide Buy Links – $1.99

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About The Author

J. Scott Coatsworth

Scott lives between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.

He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

A Rainbow Award winning author and Science Fiction Writer’s Association (SFWA) member, he runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction reflecting their own reality.

Social Media

Author Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ/

Giveaway

Scott is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour, along with three eBook sets of his Oberon Cycle trilogy. For a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:

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Release Blitz: Lunar Shadows by Nem Rowan

Lunar Shadows | Nem Rowan

Series Blurb

Witcheskin and Rough Sleepers, both set in the Lunar Shadows verse, are two very different but closely entwined stories set in the lush wilds of rural Wales and the harsh gritty inner city of South West England.

Two very different main characters and two very different mysteries to be solved. Both are a blend of horror, urban fantasy and LGBTQ+ romance, with colourful supporting casts and complex villains whose motives are driven by their basic human natures.

They have own-voices trans and queer representation, and both books are standalones, but set in the same universe.

Witcheskin

Lunar Shadows #1

Witcheskin Cover Tour

Original Release Date:  February 25th 2018

 Buy Links:

JMS Books: https://www.jms-books.com/romance-c-29_105/witcheskin-p-2852.html

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Witcheskin-Lunar-Shadows-Book-1-ebook/dp/B07VX526CV/

Add To Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36629813-witcheskin

Blurb

Following the disappearance of his father, keen photographer Owen returns to the Welsh village where his parents grew up to live with his mother and her boyfriend. Despite being born in Wales and having been raised in England, Owen feels like an outcast, and the villagers are unfriendly.

He soon discovers an epidemic of cattle mutilations that have been spreading through the countryside like a rash and, determined to discover the cause, he takes up his camera and starts snapping pictures.

While pursuing the mystery, he meets Maredudd, an old friend of his parents of whom they had never spoken, and Owen can’t help but feel drawn to him. Maredudd seems to know more about the mutilations than the other villagers are willing to admit, and even more about the supposed death of Owen’s father than his own mother does.

Maredudd shows Owen things he never thought possible, and Owen soon finds himself at the centre of the kind of folk tale only his father could dream of.

Excerpt

Maredudd rubbed my knuckles with his other hand. “Relax. There’s nothing to worry about.”

“But what if someone sees?”

“Sees what?” he asked, his smile morphing into a mischievous grin. I stared at him, exasperated.

“You know… Sees us holding hands…” I whispered, even though there was no one around to hear our conversation.

“So what if they do? We’re not breaking the law. I like holding your hand. Nobody is going to stop me from doing that, especially if you like holding mine in return.” He raised his eyebrows at me, and I couldn’t very well argue with that.

“I do like holding your hand,” I mumbled, feeling stupid. We had stopped at the bottom of the beach, and the tide was lapping at the sand, gushing up to meet our toes. I contemplated taking my boots off.

When I turned to look at him, he had moved closer, and I drew in a sharp breath, aware that he was now right against my side. I could feel the front of his hard torso touching my arm, his body heat comfortable, and gentle despite the blazing sun overheard. His eyes, like green lanterns that seemed to give off light of their own no matter the shadow upon his face, peered right into my own, and I was so astonished, frozen to the spot, when I should have known what would come next. He lowered his head, brushed his nose against mine as though asking permission. My chest was rising, and falling heavily, heart throbbing, lungs puffing, my throat contracting as I swallowed.

I wanted it desperately, but I couldn’t lead when I was so shy, and untouched, afraid of embarrassing myself, and anxious that someone would see us out here. His eyes half-closed, and I thought he would move away. My hand immediately gripped onto his tightly, squeezing it in my grasp in a silent bid to tell him not to. The whole world began to slide and melt out of my consciousness, and we were the only people left, isolated except for the soundless surf that flowed towards us rhythmically. Finally, I felt his lips pressing to mine, and that electricity that had crackled earlier suddenly became a shower of lightning. Like a developing storm, the clouds rolling, and thunder tolling, I let go of my emotions, abandoning the fear I was clutching at moments before.

Rough Sleepers

Lunar Shadows #2

RoughSleepers Cover Tour

Blurb

Leon, drag performer and club owner, is attacked by a werewolf one night and loses an arm—and more, after massacring his club guests. Now homeless and tormented by nightmares, he runs away from everything he knows.

Eventually, he meets Ceri, who invites Leon to live with him above a shop owned by a woman who lost her husband and son to a werewolf attack. She and Ceri are still hunting the unknown perpetrator, and Leon gladly lends his own assistance, eager to atone for his bloody past in the hopes he might one day be able to have a home and family again…

Excerpt

Tacked to the wall above him was one of the flyers from The Murderess Club; I spotted the neon writing in a split-second. My eyes lit up when I saw it and I hurried over, reaching to pull out the pin and take down the dog-eared piece of paper. There was a photo of me on the front in one of my Mardi Gras outfits, a huge plume of feathers splaying from the headdress and my body clad in a glittering, shimmering dress of rainbows. I looked young, happy. A couple of queens that had been my friends were either side of me in the photo, all of them dressed up and cheering.

I remembered this flyer; it was for the Pride celebration we had a couple of years back. Diana Princess was at my shoulder, her mouth open in a cry of glee. My teeth clenched together and the muscles in my forehead became tense as a lump formed in my throat, the horror of what I did to her replaying in my mind. All of them were gone. Every person in the photo was dead, except me.

This flyer was a relic from a time long since gone. It was all I had left of my old life, and yet just to look at it was enough to cause unfathomable heartache.

“Leon?” Ceri’s voice answered beside me. I looked round to find him still kneeling, peering up at me over his shoulder.

“I’m sorry, I can’t stop it,” I whimpered as I clutched the flyer to my chest. The tears started to pour from my eyes in streams and for the first time in a very long time, I was unable to stop myself from weeping.

“What’s wrong? Leon? What’s wrong?” He got up and came towards me, his expression beseeching and worried.

“They’re all dead,” I choked. The tears were dripping from my stubbled jaw, plopping on the front of my thick coat and planting themselves there like twinkling gems.

“Who?” he questioned as he stood face-to-face with me, and I allowed him to take the flyer from my fist. He examined it, staring down at the people on the front, before looking up at me again. “Is that you by there?”

I nodded, my mouth pressed into a tight line as I wiped at my dripping face with my sleeve.

“I didn’t even realise. You looked so different. Beautiful,” he murmured as he looked down again. “I mean—I mean, you are beautiful, now. I mean, beautiful, in a different way.”

“Really?” I sniffed, unable to believe anyone could find me beautiful when my eyes were puffy, and my cheeks were red and glistening with tears.

He nodded, and when he smiled, it was a fond one. His hand reached into his pocket, rummaging around until he found a pack of tissues, ripping it open and offering one to me.

“Thanks,” I mumbled as I used it to carefully dab at my eyes.

“You do that like you’re wearing makeup,” he remarked with a cautious chuckle, and I laughed, too, which seemed to reassure him.

“Yeah, I guess it’s a habit I learned.” I smiled finally.

“You know what you said to me the other night?” he murmured, keeping his voice low even though it was unlikely that the others would be able to hear our conversation. “Those rules apply to you, too. You got that? I know I was a bit of an asshole before, when we first met. I didn’t mean it. I don’t like seeing you upset. If you want to talk, we can talk, okay?”

“Okay,” I agreed, glancing down as he pressed the flyer back into my hand.

“Oh—and one more thing. Unfinished business from the other night,” he whispered as he moved closer to me, and when he tilted his head to kiss me, I let him.

About The Author

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Nem Rowan lives in Sweden with his wife and their girlfriend. He loves reading non-fiction and is fascinated by True Crime and unsolved mysteries, especially missing persons cases and serial killers. Nem is also well-read in mythology and folk tales, particularly British and European folklore. He is a huge fan of Horror movies and Retrowave music.

Nem started writing when he was 11 years old and since then, he’s never looked back. Romance has always been his favourite genre after inheriting a box of Mills & Boon novels from his grandma, but being a Horror fan, there is always some way for him to work in a bit of that to make sure things don’t get too mushy.

Social Media

https://nemrowan.com

https://instagram.com/nemrowan

https://twitter.com/MrNemRowan

 Giveaway

Win one of two e-book packages of Witcheskin & Rough Sleepers by Nem Rowan

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1

Review Tour: Shinigami by Xia Xia Lake

Shinigami | Xia Xia Lake

Takamagahara Monogatari #2

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Release Date: October 1, 2019

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 71,440 words /220 pages

Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Add on Goodreads

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Blurb

Nothing is what it seems.

A coming of age love story between the heir of the richest family in the Land of Yamato and an orphan. The human world meets the yōkai world in a power struggle for the fate of Fujiwara no Hirotsugu.

While he battles to find his own path in life, Hirotsugu finds solace in a boy who will first become his secret friend, then his salvation, then, as they become adults together, the love of his life.

The story is set during the Nara period of ancient Japan and will expand over a period of 25 years (715-740).

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Excerpt

Chapter 1: Kagerō

Kagerō: The quivering appearance of the mist rising from the hot surface of the ground”

On the day Fujiwara no Hirotsugu was born, Mount Kasuga was covered in golden shimmering kagerō rising from the ground to cloak the mountain in mist. The uguisu sang from dusk until dawn, and a crane appeared in the palace garden and didn’t leave for five days.

It was late May, close to the final days of planting the rice. These were the days when finishing the paddy field work was paramount, lest next year’s crops be affected. Yet in celebration of Hirotsugu’s birth, his father, Umakai, sent an order to his bailiff to decree half a day off for all workers. Servants from the palace went down the mountain to offer rice, fish, and sake to the poor in Heijo-kyo.

Gifts poured through the gates for weeks, coming not only from the greatest families living in the land of Yamato, but also from as far away as Silla and Tang. Even the old Empress Genmei, who had no love for the Fujiwara clan, sent Hirotsugu a gift fit for royalty: a sword replica modeled after Kusanagi the Grass Slasher, the sacred imperial heirloom of the Yamato Emperors. Since it was forbidden for anyone except the reigning monarch and the High Priest of the Ise Grand Shrine to lay eyes on the real Kusanagi, no one could actually tell how good the replica was. But neither could they deny that the sword Hirotsugu received was of exceptional workmanship and extraordinary value.

The greatest gift of all came from Hirotsugu’s grandfather, Fujiwara no Fuhito. The leader of the Fujiwara clan made a secret pact with Crown Prince Obito that on the day Hirotsugu turned twenty, he would marry Princess Abe, Prince Obito’s firstborn child.

Upon Hirotsugu’s birth, the Fujiwara clan made great plans for his future, and I watched from my throne of skulls behind the kagerō veil and laughed and laughed and laughed.

SPRING

Chapter 2: Uguisu

Uguisu: The Japanese nightingale

In spring, nature was at its most beautiful at dawn, when Amaterasu’s robe touched the hills and dyed them red, and the blooming cherry trees turned a vibrant pink. Hanging from the eaves of every Fujiwara castle were tendrils of purple wisteria, their blooms awakening to welcome the Sun Goddess. The white clouds above resembled boughs of cherry flowers.

When night approached, the birdsong gently shifted from cheerful to forlorn. The uguisu went to sleep in its pot-shaped nest, and the brown-feathered night thrush—recently returned from wintering in Tenjiku—took its place and claimed the night. Now and then, a deer would call and a fawn would answer back.

The day Hirotsugu was born, a young god wandered up and down the high-forested slopes of Mount Kasuga, tired from the day he’d spent blessing the fields and the future harvest. He would have gone home to Mount Kurama in Kibune, but something was amiss with the yōkai living on Kasuga and he’d come to investigate.

At twilight, he found a group of kodama and an old kappa gathered underneath the budding leaves of a giant plum tree, transfixed by its beautiful red blossoms. When he entered the clearing, they were trying to touch the blossoms, but as soon as a hand came close, the tree would raise its branches out of reach.

“Don’t touch it,” the god commanded. His voice was calm, but it came like the snap of a whip and took them out of their reverie. “It’s a ghost tree. It’s not really here.”

The kodama stumbled backward, frightened.

“When did it appear?” the young god asked.

“This morning, Inari-sama,” the kappa answered. “When the baby was born.”

“Baby?” Inari frowned. “Come closer, child, don’t be afraid. Which baby do you speak of?”

Kogitsune

Takamagahara Monogatari #1

It’s a 40-page short story and is FREE on Smashwords.

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About the Author

Xia Xia Lake is an Otaku & Slytherin that used to cosplay at every comic con she attended until a kid asked if he could take a picture with the “old lady.”

She decided a couple of years ago that she wanted to spend her free time writing stories and partying with vampires.

She lives in Transylvania with her fiancé and is a big fan of Romanian cuisine.

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Book Blast: The Killing Spell by Shane Ulrrein

The Killing Spell | Shane Ulrrein

Publisher: Deep Hearts YA

Cover Artist: Story Perfect Dreamscape

Heat Rating: No sexual content

Length: 57,000 words/236 pages

It is a standalone book.

Buy Links

Deep Hearts YA | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble

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Blurb

The Killing Spell is a new young adult fantasy novel that tells the story of Edward Peach, a fourteen-year-old wizard who gets accepted into a prestigious all-boys boarding school for wizards and falls in love with another boy.

Edward and the other boy soon realize their attraction for each other, immediately causing controversy in the academy as the first students from feuding houses to come together, especially in a school where house rivalry can end in murder.

Edward’s new relationship puts him to the ultimate test as he must risk being with the boy he loves even at the cost of his own life!

Excerpt

Chapter I
Accepted

Accepted.
That’s what the letter said. At that moment, I felt a sudden chill go up my spine. I pretended to smile as Mum and Dad became so overjoyed that their little wizard was being sent thousands of miles away to study magic at an exclusive boarding school.
I swallowed hard. Please don’t make me go, I thought.
I took another look at my letter. “Highly prestigious,” “well-accredited,” and “very sought-after” were the different qualifiers used to describe their piss of an academy. There were portraits in a brochure, mostly in sepia-tone black and white, of their most famous students, yet I didn’t recognize any of them. The more I looked at all the rubbish they’d sent me in that big yellow envelope, the more I wanted to vomit.
Accepted.
Everything had been arranged: the meeting place in the Aradian port-city of Navona, our guide who was to see us at the harbor three days from now and take us to the school, and three free tickets for the next available ship from England to Aradia. The whole lot, including my school uniform, was all-expenses paid.
Seeking to break the jovial mood that’d taken over my parents at the breakfast table, I told them that I wasn’t going to that school.
“Not going?” Mum asked me wide-eyed. “Why? This is the opportunity of a lifetime! A prestigious school, fancy uniforms, and a better life for all of us! Are you going to sit there and tell us that you don’t want what’s best for your family?”
Yes, I was, I told her. I wasn’t going and that was the end of it.
My parents then began to lecture me, whilst I kept buttering my toast, about how they never had an opportunity like this when they were my age and how I’d be letting down several generations of our wizard-family if I didn’t go. Dad was especially determined because both he and Granddad got rejected from that school numerous times.
Despite my pleas, my constant whinging, and even throwing a teary-eyed wobbly like I used to do when I was a tiny tot, I was going to that ugly academy. Mum said my name, middle name and all, and insisted that I get packed.
“We’re leaving tomorrow,” she said. “End of discussion.”
And without another word, I stormed into my room, slamming the door after me, and buried my face into my pillow.
Accepted.
It wasn’t fair! Other kids would be pretty chuffed about going to such a distinguished wizard-school, but not me. This sort of thing should’ve gone to those who needed it or wanted it more. Instead, I was the one who got…accepted.
I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be part of the “next generation of great sorcerers,” nor follow in my father’s or grandfather’s footsteps like other wizards my age. I just wanted to be me. I didn’t want to leave my mates or live away from home. What’s more, I’d be going to a foreign country where I didn’t know anyone, much less the language they speak.
Things were much simpler and I was a lot happier before I got that stupid letter!
Accepted.
I didn’t want to study in some shite academy, the name of which I couldn’t even pronounce from the brochure and where mobile phones were prohibited. All I really want to do is enjoy life, hang out with my friends, and go to the beach to listen to its lush, serene music. Yet more than anything, I wanted to do nothing. That’s what I desired most. I simply wanted to do nothing, yet my parents, on numerous occasions, would never hear of it.
I began thinking about turning Mum and Dad into frogs or making them both disappear, but I really didn’t want to do any of that. Deep down, I don’t believe in using magic to hurt or endanger the lives of others. To me, magic was a beautiful yet mysterious thing that was all about me and always brought happiness to everyone. I loved magic, bloody lived for it, but hated the idea that someone could use it for evil when it could be used for good. Not to mention, the last time I’d made my parents disappear, they simply found their way back afterward.

About the Author

Shane Ulrrein is a life-long storyteller and first-time LGBT author currently living in Orange County, California, USA, who one day dreams of leaving his home in sunny Southern California for the wet, dreary weather of England.

He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in music composition in California State University, Fullerton and is a proud member of the LGBT community. In his spare time, he likes to draw, read, and write music that he hopes someday will be heard in all the great concert halls in the world.

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Blog Tour: Into The Deep by Amara Lynn

Into The Deep | Amara Lynn

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Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Universal Link

Length: 45,000 words approx.

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Blurb

Luck has never been on Lamark’s side.

After his father’s untimely death, the new captain casts Lamark off the ship, leaving him in a dinghy in the middle of the ocean. Lamark is sure his life is over.

In a stroke of luck, Lamark encounters a merman, who saves him from drowning and brings him to a deserted island. Lamark quickly learns that on this mysterious island, not everything is as it seems, and danger lurks in every nook. This island may very well be the death of him.

Adventure, romance, and maybe some swashbuckling await Lamark, so long as he’s not too lily-livered to venture into the deep…

Into the Deep is a 45k pirate fantasy adventure novel with a heavy helping of slapstick comedy and a sweet, steamy m/m romance.

***

Today I’m delighted to welcome Amara Lynn to the blog with an interview about her latest release Into The Deep.

As one might be able to tell from the blurb, Lamark is cursed with bad luck! Much of the inspiration for Lamark came from Jack Sparrow, however, I also wanted to create a character that was relatable and different from Jack.

One of the first things I decided was that Lamark was the epitome of a horrible pirate. You may recall the famous line from the first Pirates film: You are by far the worst pirate I’ve heard of. That was the biggest inspiration for Lamark.

While Jack was a horrible pirate, and a bit clumsy, it’s obvious that he actually knows what he’s doing (some of the time anyways). With Lamark, my goal was to make a pirate that was not only a horrible pirate, but also a definition of irony. In that spirit, one of the first things I decided was he couldn’t swim.

So now we have this klutz of a pirate, who can’t swim, who can’t do anything right. This made for some very fun and interesting situations!

When creating my characters, I also like give them some of myself. I find that it makes them easier to get into when writing, and makes them more relatable for my readers. I’m also not a very coordinated person, so writing a clumsy character was easy for me. I also decided Lamark should look a bit plain, so he has brown hair and eyes (more brown eyed characters!).

Another major theme of the book that many people may be able to relate to is dealing with the loss of a family member, as Lamark loses his dad at the beginning of the story. I drew on my own experience for this as well.

But sad bits aside, I give Lamark some reprieve from his misfortunes in the form of a beautiful merman to keep him company! To counter the constant trouble Lamark gets himself into, I wanted to have a sweet romance that was light-hearted and pure (but also steamy!) for readers to sink into.

I hope you’ll enjoy this fun adventure with my clumsy pirate boy and his merman!

***

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About The Author

Amara Lynn has always been a quiet daydreamer. Coming up with characters and worlds since childhood, Amara eventually found an outlet in writing. Amara loves anything to do with pirates, villains and superheroes, and angels and demons.

Amara is addicted to music and gets the most inspiration from moving songs and lyrics. When not writing, Amara usually reads, listens to podcasts, watches anime, plays a video game here and there (but mostly collects them), and takes way too many cat pictures.

Amara is non-binary/enby and queer and uses they/them pronouns.

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