Tag Archives: historical fantasy

Blog tour: Chaos In Milan by Edale Lane

Chaos In Milan | Edale Lane

Night Flyer #3

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Release Date: December 22nd, 2020

Length: 83,986

Cover Artist: Enggar Adirasa

Buy Links: 

Amazon eBook | Amazon Paperback

COVER Chaos in Milan

Blurb

When chaos strikes at the heart of Milan, it is up to Florentina’s alter-ego the Night Flyer to stop it. As Florentina and Madelena’s love deepens, so does the well of danger surrounding them.

The race is on to discover the mysterious Shadow Guild and uncover who is behind the deadly rampage, but Florentina’s mission is threatened by a gang of assassins. Can the Night Flyer prevail, or will Maddie’s love be ripped from her arms?

Chaos in Milan is the third book in Edale Lane’s Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy.

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Excerpt

Madelena found herself winded by the time they departed an old dirt road to traipse through knee high grass to the dilapidated wood-plank structure with an obvious hole in its roof. She was indeed thankful for the sensible shoes. Once inside, she set down the bag containing their lunch and wineskins, and settled herself onto a wooden barrel to catch her breath. The scent of rotting hay permeated the space which offered an abundance of natural light through the open double doors, cracks between siding planks, and the gap overhead. Cobwebs draped the corners, and dry balls of petrified horse manure littered the earthen floor.

Her initial excitement was rekindled as she beheld Fiore change into the black silk tunic and tight leather trousers that never failed to kindle her passion. She brimmed with anticipation while Florentina laced the soft-soled footwear over the bottoms of her leggings. With no need of a mask and cowl, Maddie enjoyed a full view of her face and long brunette braid.

Eyes glowing, Maddie purred, “Seeing you in that attire takes my breath away and inspires me to… well,” she added blushing. “I promised to let you work.”

Florentina flashed her a grin. “Happy to please you, my dear.” Then she proceeded to race toward a reinforced portion of the rear wall and up it, running one, two, three vertical steps up the planks followed by a backflip, landing on her feet in the powdery dust. Maddie’s eyes flew wide as she had not imagined such a feat was even possible.

She witnessed Fiore scale ropes up the sides of walls, swing from one to another, hang upside-down with her ankle wrapped in a cord, and run, hop, leap, and climb over every inch of her lair. Observing the tall, lean frame of her children’s tutor pass from one athletic exploit to the next with the dexterity and strength of an Olympian set her heart racing with desire, but also terrified her. Maddie knew that she would do these same exercises at great heights and risk to her person. A fall here may hurt a little, but a fall from a three-story building… don’t think about it!

After a bit, a sweaty Florentina, breathing heavy from her exertion, walked over for a sip to drink. “Mi Tesoro!” Maddie exclaimed. “I knew you could do things, but you are truly magnificent. How did you ever-”

“Practice,” Fiore answered as she wiped her face with a cloth. “Much practice and determination.”

Next, Florentina withdrew her multi-fire crossbow from her shoulder bag. “You invented that,” Maddie said as a half statement, half question.

Fiore nodded. “It was Master Leonardo’s idea, in a way,” she replied with a shrug. Florentina then fired off eight shots in rapid succession at eight separate targets situated around the barn. Some were painted circles, others sets of clothing stuffed with straw, and a few burlap sacks filled with sand that hung from cords. Fiore retrieved her bolts and reloaded the weapon.

“You hit every one!” Maddie gushed in amazement.

“Yes, but I’ve practiced with these marks for months,” the skilled vigilante replied as though unimpressed with herself. “Moving targets or hitting them while I’m running is more difficult.” Florentina pushed the burlap sacks so that they each started to sway in different directions and at varying speeds, then raced across the barn, pivoted, and began to fire. She first shot at the moving targets, then fired at the dummies as she ran traversed the dirt floor. “See,” she said, motioning as she skidded to a halt in front of Madelena. “I hit that one in the knee—I was aiming for its shoulder. And that bag?” she motioned. “I was supposed to strike the green circle, not just anywhere on it.”

“But still,” Maddie replied in amazement. “You hit every target, even if not in the spot you intended. That is quite astonishing.”

Florentina smiled, bent down, and placed her lips to Maddie’s. “Grazie,” she said. “Now, I want to show you something new,” she announced, a twinkle in her bright, tawny eyes. Madelena stood and followed Fiore over to where she had set her bag; the barrel was getting uncomfortable, anyway.

Fiore withdrew a polished wooden case, set it on a rickety work table, one of the few excuses for furniture in the barn, and opened it with care. “I found these when I went into the Oriental shop to acquire more opium.”

Maddie frowned. “I didn’t know you use that drug.”

“Oh, I don’t,” Fiore assured her. “Only for medicinal purposes and to subdue city watchmen without causing them any actual harm.”

“I’ve been in that shop,” Madelena commented. “They have some unusual merchandise and a few very popular items. I purchased one of those painted silk fans that are in fashion.”

Florentina nodded. “They have nice things.” Then, from the plush black velvet interior of the box, she retrieved a silver five-pointed star about three inches long. The edges appeared sharp and Fiore held it judiciously in her gloved hand.

“What is it?” Maddie asked.

“The shop owner didn’t know,” Florentina answered with a sly grin. “But I had read about these in an obscure book on Oriental weapons. It’s a Chinese throwing star. There are five in the set.”

“A throwing star,” Maddie echoed as she moved in for a closer look.

“The Spaniard threw a knife at me in the Pantheon,” Fiore recalled. “Throwing-knives are deadlier, can do more damage than these, but it is a skill that is difficult to master. With the star, I have five small blades rather than one longer one with which to hit my target. They are good to distract or throw a foe off balance. Strikes to the eye or weapon hand are debilitating and may take an enemy out of the fight. Because the tines are short and cannot penetrate deep into flesh, only a strike to the big artery in the neck or severing the windpipe in the throat can kill. I think these will prove quite useful, but I’ve only been practicing with them for a few weeks.”

With admiration and anticipation oozing through her voice, Maddie sang, “Show me.”

Florentina removed all five stars from the box and positioned herself in the middle of the barn. “Stand behind me,” she instructed as she lifted one from her left hand. “I’ve had no teacher to instruct me, so I had to guess as to how to throw them. I have developed three techniques, hoping to perfect at least one.”

Maddie withdrew, studying her partner’s every move. Florentina gripped the object horizontally in a curled hand with her thumb on top and her forefinger beneath it. Rotating her upper body from the waist, she drew her right arm back then spun, releasing the small weapon with the motion a child may use to toss a pie pan. The star whirled through the air at an astonishing speed until it lodged into the shoulder of one of the dummies. Florentina frowned. “A nuisance hit.”

“But you hit it!” Madelena exclaimed. Florentina continued to practice the move, thrusting at different targets and from varying angles, collecting the projectiles once all five had been expended.

“Semi-successful,” Fiore admitted. “Another way I have tried is a basic overhand throw.” She demonstrated by taking a star in her right hand, holding it vertically, and throwing it as one might a ball, rock, or piece of fruit. Her first attempt landed low on the target, so she adjusted the second by releasing it sooner, gaining better results. After dozens of pitches, Fiore returned to Maddie’s side. “The third method I’ve been trying is trickier, but has far greater potential. I’ll be at this a while if you want to curl up and take a nap.”

“What? And miss witnessing an act no Milanese woman has ever seen?” Maddie exclaimed. “But if you will point them in that direction,” she indicated, “I’ll sit back down over here for a while.” On impulse, she leaned in and kissed Fiore’s lips before retreating to her stool.

She has so much focus and intensity, Maddie contemplated. She is like a force of nature.

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About The Author

AUTHOR PIC - Chaos in Milan - Edale Lane

Edale Lane is the author of an award-winning 2019 debut novel, Heart of Sherwood. She is the alter-ego of author Melodie Romeo, (Tribute in Blood, Terror in Time, and others) who founded Past and Prologue Press.

Both identities are qualified to write historical fiction by virtue of an MA in History and 24 years spent as a teacher, along with skill and dedication in regard to research. She is a successful author who also currently drives a tractor-trailer across the United States.

A native of Vicksburg, MS, Edale (or Melodie as the case may be) is also a musician who loves animals, gardening, and nature.

Social Media

Author Website: https://pastandprologuepress.lpages.co/

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

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

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

Author Instagram: http://instagram.com/melodieromeo

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15264354.Edale_Lane?from_search=true&from_srp=true

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/?s=Edale+lane&search_type=authors

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/?s=Edale+lane&search_type=authors

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07GRFPDRZ

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New Release Blitz: Valhalla by L.A. Ashton

Valhalla | L.A. Ashton

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 31, 2018

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 17,900

Genre: Valkyrie, WW II, Norse Mythology, gay, historical fantasy

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

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Synopsis

Sakuma has served as a Valkyrie for centuries, smoothly escorting thousands of souls to the grand halls of Valhalla. While the world tears itself apart during WWII, he is summoned to retrieve the soul of a fallen Japanese soldier, Ishii Hiroshi. To Sakuma’s surprise, Ishii refuses his invitation to eternity.

The two meet again and again as the war repeatedly sends Ishii to death’s door, and what should have been a fleeting encounter becomes something much greater for the both of them.

Sakuma is determined to give Ishii the reward he so deserves, but Ishii’s stubbornness may condemn him to an eternity outside Valhalla.

Excerpt

Sakuma stared down through the floor, past his feet, through the crack in his dimension. Beyond the collisions and splits of galaxies, Earth’s thrumming pulse called to him. There lay his charges—the human souls he would collect so they might rest easy in Valhalla.

He felt the tug in his chest, the pull of someone destined for his collection, and spread his wings wide before plunging through the rift that linked their worlds. With wings tucked at his sides, stars became burning streaks of light. The universe blurred and twisted, an orb of hazy blue its only clear constant.

Earth had erupted into a time of war, and Sakuma and his fellow Valkyrie labored for the sake of human souls. They saw the hidden crevices and shadows of war no one wanted to see. The world wilted before their eyes, and the bloodstained present turned the future bleak, and dark. But they also saw triumph, and sunrise after sunrise starting the day anew. They saw the look on every soldier’s face as they realized death wasn’t the end.

It was worth it.

Sakuma punctured Earth’s atmosphere, and the smells of the lands and seas gusted against his face. His eyes softened at the reflective sparkle of the ocean; it was a beautiful sight, an unchanging thing that rose and fell under the press of the moon rather than the press of humanity.

The ground approached fast. Sakuma felt the tremble of the soul before his eyes could discern who it belonged to, but then—yes. Sakuma’s wings flared outward, body halting so immediately it dissolved the idea of impossibility.

Tanks, empty bullet shells, and discarded guns were strewn across the ground. Machines and bodies littered the battlefield as if they carried the same value. The acrid stench of gunpowder resisted the wind and hung in the air, a trail left in the wake of Axis and Allies. Sakuma looked down at his charge. The man stared up at him, eyes wide and unblinking. He was bleeding, his uniform more crimson than not, and he shook with such ferocity that Sakuma could hear it in his breaths.

Sakuma knelt down and offered his hand. The man blinked, his lashes coercing loose the tears still clinging to his eyes.

“You’ve done well,” Sakuma told him. He held his outstretched hand steady as his wings flapped at his back. “Let’s take you away from this.”

The soldier gawked at Sakuma’s wings before bringing his eyes down to the offered palm. He immediately grabbed hold, the sensation firm and warm against Sakuma’s skin. Good. He’s ready.

Sakuma curled his fingers around the man’s hand and lifted. As the soldier rose, the flesh of his hand fell away and lowered to the ground. What was left gripping Sakuma’s hand were tendrils of light in the purest, lightest blue.

Strings of energy knit together to form fingers, and arms and shoulders wound away from the confines of a body to become iridescent limbs. Sparkling light ghosted from the soldier, lifting past his body as his human form sighed its last breath. The human didn’t notice the transition. He only smiled, and that smile was lit with the radiant energy of life. Sakuma grabbed his other hand to steady him, and there was a discernible purr of peace.

Sakuma spread his wings, took a breath, and shot them into the air.

He kept his eyes up as they sailed through the Earth’s sky and broke through the seal of the atmosphere. But once they were careening through space, breaking apart time and dimensions, he liked to watch their faces.

Every man thought he knew true beauty. And then every man saw the infinite expanse of space, and they realized they’d been wrong.

Gas, dust, and rock were turned perfect and ethereal in the silence of space, backlit by millions of stars. Galaxies wound into spirals, blues warmed into reds around a sun, purple and green congealed in overheated leftovers of a supernova.

Sakuma watched the faces of the humans he brought, their newly transcendent form experiencing their first taste of eternity.

Eventually, he left them at the gates of Valhalla. There they could take the seat reserved for them—a place promised to true warriors for the rest of time.

Hands now freed, Sakuma turned to gaze into the black. Somewhere beyond that void, there was a pulse. Another life had found a heroic end. Sakuma smiled, spread his wings, and plunged back toward Earth.

Meet the Author

L.A. Ashton is an LGBT+ author writing LGBT+ fiction. They enjoy rock music, traveling, and anything else that adds color to their daydreams.

They believe in the healing properties of art and of having a cat firmly stationed on one’s lap.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr


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Release Blitz: Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch

Salt Magic, Skin Magic | Lee Welch

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 78,000 words approx.

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Blurb

Lord Thornby has been trapped on his father’s isolated Yorkshire estate for a year. There are no bars or chains; he simply can’t leave. His sanity is starting to fray.

When industrial magician John Blake arrives to investigate a case of witchcraft, he finds the peculiar, arrogant Thornby as alarming as he is attractive. John soon finds himself caught up in a dark fairytale, where all the rules of magic—and love—are changed.

To set Thornby free, both men must face life-changing truths—and John must accept that the brave, witty man who’s winning his heart may also be about to break it. Can they escape a web of magic that’s as perilous as love?

***

Excerpt

Thornby was walking along the moorland path, calm as you please, nose in the air, apparently admiring the autumn colours in the distant oaks in the park.

“Stop, Lord Thornby! I want to talk to you.”


Thornby walked faster, slight limp becoming more pronounced.


“Stop, I say!”


John felt in his pockets for his vials and pouches, then changed his mind and simply put on speed. He’d come to this remote part of the grounds in the hope of a rest. He’d not slept much last night with the walls of Raskelf muttering and whispering, and the antiquities from Egypt shrieking muffled curses from the other side of the corridor.


The thought of Thornby had kept him awake as well; so resistant to the Judas Voice—that had given John an unpleasant moment—and so unapproachable, with that aristocratic hauteur you could never breach. And so strange. Why did the man wear such peculiar clothes?

Today it was tight black pantaloons and a high stock that would have been fashionable forty years ago. And over this bizarre Regency costume was a rusty black greatcoat with wide cuffs, and a tricorn hat that would have looked well in the previous century.

And, yes, Thornby was handsome—heart-stoppingly so—with arrogant grey eyes, a mane of brown hair that almost reached his collar, and a preposterous red mouth. He was tall and thin and carried himself like a fencer. There was, too, something whip-taut about him, some unbearable tension that made you feel he might lash out. Or suddenly kiss you.

Thornby had looked John up and down when he was introduced, finally unbending so far as to give John a slight inclination of the head. And John’s mouth had gone as dry as if Thornby had extended one of those elegant white hands and given his balls a gentle squeeze.

It was tiresome, really. It made it so much harder to concentrate. He must make sure he didn’t allow his attraction to the man to cloud his judgement. Possibly Thornby was using a glamour spell. John couldn’t sense one, but sometimes by their very nature they were difficult to detect.


So, he mustn’t think about how good it would be to slide his fingers inside Thornby’s old black pantaloons, how good it would be to taste his lovely mouth, and wipe that damned snooty expression off his face. If John had been in London, he would have gone to one of the houses that catered to men of his taste, and tried to forget about it.

Here in the middle of rural Yorkshire it was far too dangerous to approach anyone, and in any case, farm lads were not his type. He’d simply leave as soon as he could tell Catterall he’d done his best.

They walked in single file for perhaps five minutes. The path smelt of rotting leaves, and a biting wind began to make its presence felt as they crossed into an open piece of moorland.

Splashes of muddy water were spotting the back of Thornby’s coat. John used the close proximity to feel for magic. Like last night at dinner, he could sense nothing emanating from Thornby. There was certainly no demon reek, so Thornby probably wasn’t a theurgist, or if he was, he was a very fastidious one.

But then Thornby didn’t feel like a materials man either, and John could generally recognise his own kind. So, how had Thornby broken those charms?

Now John was closer, and had longer to concentrate on Thornby alone, he thought there might be something magical, at the very edge of his awareness, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. Most magicians used demons or materials, but there were other ways, so perhaps Thornby used some unfamiliar method.

John charged his ward stone, and put it back in his pocket. He patted his bag of salt and checked his Gelomorous twine and the demon trap, just in case. Whatever spells Thornby cared to throw at him, he was ready. In fact, he was almost looking forward to a fight.


They reached an open place a hundred yards from a small pine spinney. The dark trees were contorted sideways as if fleeing the icy wind. The sun, behind its grey pall of cloud, was beginning to set. Thornby suddenly stopped and swung around.


“Well, Mr Blake? I suppose you’d like to explain yourself?” Thornby’s chin was up, beautiful mouth curved in disdain.


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“Magic, folklore, dark deeds, and hot romance combine in this wildly enjoyable, inventive story set in a lovely alt-Victorian Gothic world. More please!”

—KJ Charles, RITA™-nominated author of THE MAGPIE LORD and SPECTRED ISLE

“Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch is the sort of book you want to read again the moment you reach the end. Beautifully written, with a romance that is by turns sweet and scorching, it belongs on the keeper shelf of any lover of paranormal historical.”

—Jordan L. Hawk, author of the WHYBORNE AND GRIFFIN and HEXWORLD series

 

Author Bio

 

Lee Welch wrote her first book aged seven (a pastiche of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) and first had an idea for an m/m romance aged twelve. She loves books and comics, and when she’s not writing, she’ll probably be reading.

Her favourite authors include Ursula Le Guin, Graham Greene, Linda Medley, Dylan Horrocks and KJ Charles.

By day, Lee works as an editor and business communications adviser, mainly persuading people not to say ‘utilise’ when they mean ‘use’. Her job has led her to work in areas as diverse as mental health, nursing, accident prevention and the criminal justice sector.

Lee loves to hear from readers. You can find her at:
www.leewelchwriter.com
Twitter: @leewelchwriter
Facebook: www.facebook.com/leewelchwriter

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