Tag Archives: magic

New Release Blitz: Surface Tension by Valentine Wheeler

Surface Tension | Valentine Wheeler

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 17, 2018

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 34,500

Genre: Fantasy, mermaids, sailors, tentacles, romance, magic, scientists, abduction

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Synopsis

Sarai runs away from home to find a new life on the high seas. She’s heard stories all her life of the things that lurk beneath the waves and the people who return to land with fractured memories and strange new scars.

When a storm brings her face to face with a creature unlike any she’s met, she discovers a whole new world under the sea.

Excerpt

Surface Tension
Valentine Wheeler © 2018
All Rights Reserved

The sturdy ship bobbed and shook in the pounding surf, its sails snapping uselessly in the wind without the crew’s firm hand. The three masts swayed and creaked, lines whipping free. Just off the bow on the starboard side, a ridged head broke the surface of the water, eerily still amidst the crashing waves. It cocked to one side, as if considering the scene before it, then slid back below the surface. On the other side of the ship, a forked tail flicked repeatedly, cresting the surface again and again as it circled to port. Another head bobbed up beside it, cutting smoothly through the water, its dark eyes searching.

The captain shouted orders, but his voice was drowned out by the thunder and the pounding of the rain on wood and canvas. He yanked lines, directed sailors, and spun the wheel, darting from disaster to catastrophe, trying to keep his course into the breaking waves rather than letting them sweep up the sides or the stern. But once the mainsail was furled, he grabbed his boatswain and gave up on riding the storm out or using the pounding winds’ power with any semblance of control. Instead, he climbed the rigging, holding tight to the ropes, and spread the word of their retreat. Then he sprinted to the cabin, where he threw open the door and gestured frantically at all the crew near him to come inside, below decks. He watched them scurry toward him, praying they’d make it before they perished like his quartermaster had, lost overboard in the swirling brine.

The boom swung and the main mast shuddered ominously as the wind tugged it first one way, and then the other. Lit haphazardly by one of the few lanterns not yet doused, a lone sailor struggled across the deck from the stern on her hands and knees, battered by the tempest. The rope around her waist had come loose, its waterlogged knot sliding from her hips, and she missed the grab for it before it vanished.

As she skidded along the slick, wet wood, the captain watched, helpless to save her and knowing she wouldn’t make it across the wide expanse of the deck.

The sailor’s small figure slid across the deck on the next swell, fighting for balance and a handhold, any handhold, on the slick wood but failing. The shadowed gazes of the creatures in the water tracked her. When she slammed into the railing and flipped over into the air, her captain’s cry soundless in the din of the crashing waves, the creatures had already disappeared beneath the spot where her body hit the water.

The sailor fought for air, breathing in a cold lungful of mist and burning sea-salt spray as her head burst through the waves. The creature held back, eyes glinting in the lightning flash from below in the dark-green water. The woman’s struggles began to weaken, and the creature inched closer, keeping carefully out of her sight line, an easy dance of fins, tentacles, and long, webbed fingers keeping it still in the rush of the current and the churning sea spray above.

As her movements slowed, the creature licked its lips with a long, black tongue, pointed teeth shining in the brief glimmers of lantern light that found their way through the darkness.

Meet the Author

Valentine is a latecomer to writing, though she’s always been a passionate reader. Through fanfiction, she found her way to an incredible community of writers who’ve taught her to love making stories.

When she isn’t writing, she’s making bad puns, yelling about television, or playing with her small child.

Her life’s ambition is to eat the cuisine of every single country. Find Valentine on Twitter.


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All That Has Flown Beyond is a complex romance

All That Has Flown Beyond

All That Has Flown Beyond by Marina Vivancos

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just like the first book in this series, All That Has Flown Beyond is a complicated and complex narrative which covers a multitude of subjects all wrapped within a paranormal romance.

I’m never sure what I’m going to be reading in the next chapter with this author and here we get taken along a journey of mythology, customs and traditions ranging across Europe and into South America and across the Far East to Japan.

It’s wonderfully lyrical and descriptive, the otherworldly feeling comes pouring out as the story progresses through the shamanic route Kaiyo takes after he’s forced out of the pack he’s always been part of even though he’s not a wolf shifter.

There’s also incredible pain in this book, head the trigger warnings carefully, Marina doesn’t skimp on any of the details as she demonstrates how the black dog of depression controls lives, how it pulls its web over even the strongest of souls.

But there is also much love in this book, even though the romance itself takes some time to return, second chances need to have the necessary payback to make them believable and to get the reader rooting for reconciliation.

All in all, I’m again wowed by the writing talent while being exhausted by the subject matter!

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

View all my reviews

Cover Reveal: Wishes in a Bottle by Allie McCormack

Wishes in a Bottle | Allie McCormack

Wishes & Dreams #1

Publication date: January 15th 2019

Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Centuries ago in plague-struck Italy, Julian DiConti cast a powerful spell in desperation to have the magical power to be able to help his people who were dying in horrific conditions.

The spell goes spectacularly awry, leaving Julian enslaved to a Djinn bottle, bound to grant three wishes to each Master of the bottle until the spell can be broken. More than anything, Julian longs for a normal life – for a home, and a family. After six hundred years, however, he has begun to despair of ever being freed from the spell.

Enter Alessandra Taylor, a young woman who has followed her calling to help others, in the face of vociferous disapproval from her family, particularly her controlling father.

Working at a shelter for battered women, she’s thrilled to meet the reclusive Julian DiConti, whose collection of garments from third world countries has provided funding for shelters across the country.

When Julian turns out to be a Djinn from the old bottle she found in her attic, she hears his story and empathizes with his despair. Although she’s willing to free him, he can’t tell her how.

As time goes by, their initial attraction blossoms into a love that both realize is doomed.

Once she has made her third wish, the magic of the bottle will whisk Julian away and out of her life forever… unless she can somehow figure out how to free him.

But one by one, she’s forced to use the precious wishes to help others.

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Author Bio:

A career medical transcriptionist, Allie McCormack is now writing from home full-time. Allie has traveled quite a bit and lived many places all over the US, and also a year in Cairo, Egypt as an exchange student, and a year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia under contract to a hospital there, plus a short stint with NATO while she was in the Army.

As a single mom, she raised a wonderful daughter who’s recently married and there are plans afoot for grandchildren. A disabled veteran, Allie now lives in the beautiful Sorona Desert in southern Arizona with her two rescue cats and writes full-time.

Truck Stop is her first published novel. It’s being produced as an audiobook with an expected release around early January 2019. Her next romance novel, the first of a four-book paranormal romance series, is planned for release shortly after.

Allie says: “A writer is who and what I am… a romance writer. I write what I know, and what I know is romance. Dozens of story lines and literally hundreds of characters live and breathe within the not-so-narrow confines of my imagination, and it is my joy and privilege to bring them to life, to share them with others by writing their stories.”

You can sign up for Allie’s monthly newsletter and find out about her other upcoming releases and current projects at her website http://www.alliemccormack.com.

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Review Tour: Summerfield’s Angel by Kim Fielding

Summerfield’s Angel | Kim Fielding

SARBBAnner.jpg

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 32,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Meredith Russell
Summerfield_s Angel 400


The Christmas Angel Series

In 1750, a master woodcarver poured all his unrequited love, passion, and longing into his masterpiece—a gorgeous Christmas angel for his beloved’s tree. When the man he loved tossed the angel away without a second thought, a miracle happened. The angel was found by another who brought the woodcarver True Love.

Since then, the angel has been passed down, sold, lost and found, but its magic remains. Read the romances inspired by (and perhaps nudged along by) the Christmas angel through the years.

Whether it’s 1700s England (Eli Easton’s Christmas Angel), the 1880’s New York (Kim Fielding’s Summerfield’s Angel), the turn-of-the-century (Jordan L. Hawk’s Magician’s Angel), World War II (L.A. Witt’s Christmas Homecoming), Vietnam-era (N.R. Walker’s Soldier’s Wish), the 1990’s (Anyta Sunday’s Shrewd Angel), or 2018 (RJ Scott’s Christmas Prince), the Christmas angel has a way of landing on the trees of lonely men who need its blessing for a very Merry Christmas and forever HEA.

Christmas Angel – Eli Easton – Amazon US | Amazon UK
The Magician’s Angel – Jordan L. Hawk – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Christmas Homecoming – L.A. Witt – Amazon US | Amazon UK
A Soldier’s Wish – N.R. Walker – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Shrewd Angel – Anyta Sunday – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Christmas Prince – RJ Scott- Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

After the hard winter of 1888 ended Alby Boyle’s work as a Nebraska ranch hand, he returned to New York City in search of his long-lost family. His mother and brothers are nowhere to be found, however, and after Alby’s years of absence, Five Corners no longer feels like home. His prospects seem as dim as the nighttime alleys.

When Alby pauses to admire an angel ornament in a department store window’s Christmas display, he meets Xeno Varnham-Summerfield. Wealthy, handsome, and enthusiastic, Xeno brings Alby some temporary cheer.

But for Alby to achieve his dreams of love and a real home, well, that may take a bit of holiday magic.

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Dec 2 – Xtreme DelusionsGay Book Reviews, Dec 4 – Cupcakes & BookshelvesSexy Erotic XcitingOpen SkyeMy Fiction NookThe Secret KoLelyana’s ReviewsRainbow Book Reviews, Dec 6 – Mirrigold: Mutterings & MusingsScattered Thoughts & Rogue WordsTwo Chicks Obsessed, Dec 8 – Making It HappenAmy’s MM Romance Reviews, Dec 10 – Momma Says: To Read Or Not To ReadDrops Of InkLillian FrancisWicked Reads, Dec 12 – Megan’s Media Melange, Dec 14 – Bayou Book Junkie, Dec 19 – Bonkers About Books, Dec 21 – MM Good Book Reviews

Author Bio

Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon.

Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

Kim’s novel Brute was the 2013 Rainbow Award Winner for Best Gay Fantasy and tied for fourth place for Best Gay Novel.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat.

This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

Review Tour: Christmas Angel by Eli Easton

Christmas Angel | Eli Easton

CARBBANNER-2

Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Exclusive to Amazon and Available to borrow with Kindle Unlimited 

Length: 25,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Meredith Russell

Christmas Angel 400

Blurb

When John Trent, a dedicated member of the new Bow Street Runners, finds an exquisite carved angel floating in the Thames, he can’t stop thinking about it. He tracks down its creator, a sad and quiet young sculptor.

But neither the angel nor the sculptor is done with John just yet. The blasted angel refuses to leave him be, behaving not at all like an inanimate object should.

Alec Allston is resigned to the fact that his love will ever be a river that flows out and never flows in. All he wanted to do was create a special gift so that a small part of himself could be with his unattainable and noble beloved, always. But when the gift keeps showing back up at his shop in the hands of a windblown and rugged thief-taker, Alec will need to reconsider his conviction that love is destined to remain an ethereal ideal.

This book is one of seven stories which can all be read and enjoyed in any order.

The Christmas Angel Series

In 1750, a master woodcarver poured all his unrequited love, passion, and longing into his masterpiece—a gorgeous Christmas angel for his beloved’s tree. When the man he loved tossed the angel away without a second thought, a miracle happened. The angel was found by another who brought the woodcarver True Love.

Since then, the angel has been passed down, sold, lost and found, but its magic remains. Read the romances inspired by (and perhaps nudged along by) the Christmas angel through the years.

Whether it’s 1700s England (Eli Easton’s Christmas Angel), the 1880’s New York (Kim Fielding’s Summerfield’s Angel), the turn-of-the-century (Jordan L. Hawk’s Magician’s Angel), World War II (L.A. Witt’s Christmas Homecoming), Vietnam-era (N.R. Walker’s Soldier’s Wish), the 1990’s (Anyta Sunday’s Shrewd Angel), or 2018 (RJ Scott’s Christmas Prince), the Christmas angel has a way of landing on the trees of lonely men who need its blessing for a very Merry Christmas and forever HEA.

Summerfield’s Angel – Kim Fielding –  Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Magician’s Angel – Jordan L. Hawk – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Christmas Homecoming – L.A. Witt – Amazon US | Amazon UK

A Soldier’s Wish – N.R. Walker – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Shrewd Angel – Anyta Sunday – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Christmas Prince – RJ Scott- Amazon US | Amazon UK

Excerpt

They reached Green Park and paused at its southern end to take it in. It was surprisingly well-attended. The broad lawn, with its distant view of St. James, was dotted with couples and families who strolled the park’s broad paths in their coats and muffs, furs and tricorne hats, enjoying the unseasonal weather. Many carried lanterns so that dozens of flames danced here and there in the park in spectral fashion.

“Would you care to take a turn around the park?” Trent asked. “Or would you rather head back? You must be tired after a long day.”

“No. No, please. How could we resist a scene like that? It looks like a fairy kingdom. We must walk it,” Alec said with feeling.

Trent gave a low chuckle. He half turned so that he could gaze at Alec’s face. “I’ve noticed you’ve a fondness for the fairy kingdom. Your sculptures have a hint of it.”

“They may do,” Alec admitted. “But—”

The words evaporated when Trent pulled the glove off his right hand and raised the backs of his fingers to Alec’s cheek. “Not too cold?”

How his hand could be so hot was a mystery. Or perhaps Alec’s cheek was just that cold. But the touch seared him. His eyes watered, and his insides swooped as though his heart were a bird diving into the sea. He had a strong urge to lean into that touch. He swallowed, his voice gone.

Trent’s smile faded, and he gazed at Alec so seriously for a moment. Then he dropped his hand. “You’re not too cold to go on?”

“No,” Alec said quietly.

“Then let’s promenade, my fairy prince.”

That was so patently absurd it made Alec laugh and the spell was broken. Trent switched to Alec’s other side and this time he took Alec’s arm without asking. Instead of clasping him above the elbow, he threaded his arm through and wrapped it around Alec’s bicep. It was a more secure hold, and it brought them together hip to shoulder, almost huddled against the chill.

They moved onto a path, Alec’s heart once again thudding heavily, his mind a whirlwind.

He can’t truly be interested in me that way, a voice whispered in his head. Only it was getting harder to believe. Honestly, Alec was less interested in believing it.

Trent couldn’t be interested in him professionally. Alec had never witnessed a murder or committed any crime. And while sodomy was illegal, Alec had never done the act. Surely a Bow Street Runner would not set out to entrap a lonely sculptor who was minding his own business.

No, Trent had found the shop because of the angel. The question was: why had he kept coming back?

He decided to broach the subject because his heart couldn’t take much more of this. And it was awfully hard to stand on one’s principles and reject a thing if one wasn’t even sure the thing was on offer.

“You said you are not married,” he began.

“No. Nor do I ever intend to be.”

“Because your profession is dangerous?” Alec asked, then cursed himself. He was so used to skirting around the subject he found it difficult to get even close without shying away in the opposite direction.

“No,” Trent said, squeezing his arm. “No, Mr. Allston. I will never marry because there will never be a woman I want in that way, and to force one to live with half my affection would be wrong.”

“Ah.”

It was like a dash of cold water in the face, one meant to wake the sleeper. Trent couldn’t be more clear. A trill of fear went through Alec at his boldness, at what he was very nearly saying out loud. He remained silent.

They continued down the path. Trent’s hand was firmer now because Alec’s legs had gotten weaker and he was barely going on. They passed two older gentlemen in black tricorne hats with gold trim, both smoking cigars. They all nodded to one another.

“Pardon me if I’ve offended you,” Trent said after the two men had passed. He sounded worried, and Alec realized he was not as brazen as he appeared.

“No. No… I.” He kicked himself for his hesitancy. He wouldn’t be a coward now, not when Trent had put his neck on the line. “What I mean to say is, I am also far from a Lothario when it comes to the female sex. I’m not made that way. That’s why I… why I have decided to remain unwed. And to dedicate myself solely to my work.”

“You’re talking about a life of celibacy.”

Alec swallowed. As usual Trent’s bluntness was a little shocking. “Yes. It’s not so rare. Those in certain professions—priests, for example—have abstained for centuries.”

“That’s bollocks,” Trent said strongly. “And from what I’ve heard about priests, they’re not as celibate as all that.”

“But… If you can keep your mind pure, surely that’s a state to be wished for. To live for art and higher ideas. Particularly if one’s predispositions are not… are not in the natural way of things. I think—”

“Let me ask you something,” Trent interrupted with a hint of impatience. “Would you find it admirable if a man never ate? So that he became skin and bones and got ill and abandoned his duties? And all the while he looked to the heavens with pious eyes and insisted God wanted him to starve to death because gluttony is a sin. Is that something to be admired? Or would you think he had a bat in the belfry?”

Alec pressed his lips together. “That’s not the same thing.”

“Or what about a man who refused to shit? Just kept it all bottled up inside because he felt it was beneath him?”

“Mr. Trent!” Alec gasped.

“We are physical beings, Mr. Allston. We must eat and shit and drink and move and make love. If you ask me, denying any part of our physical nature is not only a tragic folly, but it’s bound to lead to misery in the end. If you want to be happy in life, honor your physical nature, in moderation, with an eye to not harm anyone else, and, indeed, to do good where you can. Art and the church and politics and the law, they enrich a man’s life, to be sure. But the physical self is the base of well-being.”

Trent talked passionately, and Alec had to admit, he made a good argument. He thought of the way William had spoken about denial of the body’s longings as the highest aim, that purity was the only possible state for a man of elevated consciousness.

Yet now a very unhappy thread of doubt crept in. Did William espouse that course merely to avoid intimacy with Alec? Was it his way of holding Alec at arm’s length? Surely, he wasn’t planning to be celibate with his wife. There were the heirs to secure, if nothing else.

Damnation, he didn’t want to think about William and his bride. Tonight, of all nights, he didn’t want to think about William at all.

“But what if… what if one’s physical self, one’s innate appetites, would lead one to acts which are immoral and illegal? In that case surely it’s better to abstain entirely?”

Trent stopped walking. He turned to grasp both of Alec’s arms, as though he wanted to shake him. But he only held him firmly and stared intently into his eyes.

“Do no harm. Does it harm anyone if two people come together who want each other? If they give one another pleasure and warmth and smiles?”

He made it sound so innocent. “But they arrest men for it. Men have been executed!”

Trent’s expression grew pained. “Well I know it. A fellow I board with, Stockbridge, was caught up in that witch hunt in ’26, poor sod. Before that nobody much cared, then the Reformation societies got it in their heads that London was a pit of wickedness and God would destroy it like Sodom if they didn’t ensure that no one ever had a lick of fun again.”

“I’m familiar with the type,” Alec said dryly. He saw them often on the street corners passing out their pamphlets and raging about sin. “They’re terrifying.”

“They are,” Trent agreed. He sighed and took Alec’s arm again and they began walking. “I don’t know if you’ve heard much about their tactics, but back in ’26 they sent agents provocateurs into the molly houses in Holborn and Moorfields and entrapped men, spied on them. They threatened the younger boys with trial and execution if they didn’t testify against their regulars. It was a bloody rout.”

Trent sounded disgusted. Alec said nothing, but his heart was heavy. This was precisely what he feared.

“But,” Trent said firmly. “They’ve found other bushes to beat, and men have gotten shrewder and more secretive, and there hasn’t been a fuss made in some time. One must be careful, but, for God’s sake, we can’t stop living.”

Alec thought about that. “You see no conflict in breaking the law given your profession?” He asked not as an admonishment, but because he truly wanted to understand this complicated man.

“I’m a great respecter of the law. And there are cases which should be pursued. Children despoiled or forced into prostitution, people injured for the sake of another’s pleasure, rape. But not every law is reasonable or fair. Some things are simply misunderstood, minds blindered by tradition. And I return to my earlier point, do no harm.” He sighed. “I suppose you think me a bloody hypocrite.”

“I don’t think so. Not unless you arrested men for doing what you do yourself.”

“That has never come up, and if it did, I would refuse. Fortunately, Judge Fielding is a practical man. He doesn’t apply himself to the cause of London’s morality. We have work enough with real crimes.”

A family with a pretty, round-faced wife in a bonnet, a pleasant-looking husband, and a boy and girl of around ten approached. They greeted the family and received cheerful salutations in return.

What a strange world it was, Alec thought, with so many configurations. Young and old, large families and small, elderly couples, newlyweds, gentlemen who perhaps were bosom friends but would be horrified at the idea of more. And those who got up to things behind closed doors of which no one was the wiser. He supposed it must be so. He and William had carried on their dalliance, mostly in letters, true, but no one had guessed. And who knew but that the butcher’s wife had been secretly in love with the baker for decades? It reminded him of his shop where shepherdesses lounged on tables next to African beasts and King George in his coronation robes was arranged across from a humble field mouse.

Alec had thought himself a solitary figure, set up upon some high shelf, removed from it all. But here he was.

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About Eli

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Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, and organic farmer, Eli has been an MM romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.

Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particular admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.

In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “Unwrapping Hank” and “Merry Christmas, Mr Miggles”. Her “Howl at the Moon” series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog-shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.

In 2018 Eli hopes to do more of the same, assuming they reschedule the apocalypse.

Her website is www.elieaston.com
You can email her at eli@elieaston.com


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Book Blitz: City of Masks by Ashley Capes

City of Masks | Ashley Capes

Bone Mask Trilogy #1

Publication date: August 14th 2016

Genres: Adult, Fantasy

A noble daughter burdened by power she never sought.

Perched on an unforgiving coast, the city of Anaskar is under threat from enemies within.

Its own royal family feuds over possession of sentient bone masks of power, leaving Sofia Falco, daughter to the city’s Lord Protector, to foil a conspiracy designed to strip her father of both his title and powerful Greatmask.

A bitter mercenary accused of murder.

Yet when disaster strikes, Sofia is forced to flee the palace and into the city where she crosses paths with mercenary Notch. But Notch has his own problems – accused of murder, he must fight to clear his name, all the while hunted by the city’s robed assassins, the very people who are now searching for Sofia.

A young Pathfinder seeking vengeance.

Meanwhile, far across the western desert, Pathfinder Ain must overcome his doubts and leave on a hopeless quest. To restore his people to their rightful home, he must unlock the ancient mystery of Anaskar’s Sea Shrine and the gargantuan sea beast that lurks beneath its harbour. Yet all who have gone before him have failed…

Follow three unlikely heroes on an epic fantasy adventure where the struggle over bone masks of power threatens to tear their city – and kingdom – into shreds.

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Learn more about City of Masks!

What were your cultural influences for the world creation for The Bone Mask Trilogy? Why those?

The main influence was probably Italy for setting it was the coast of Amalfi in particular. The historical city was perched on the coast and actually slid from the mountain into the sea in the 14th Century so there’s a bit of that influence on the city of Anaskar itself.

I also found smaller details from the region fun to incorporate into the setting, particularly the fire-lemon which is similar to limoncello, and a lot of the naming conventions are Italian-influenced with some Latin too. For a quick example, one character is named Lupo which would make his name “Wolf” in English.

I followed such naming conventions throughout the city with people and placenames ─ all save the city itself Anaskar. (It’s not strictly very Italian-sounding because it’s actually a city that has been named by the previous occupants so I didn’t want it to sound too Italian influenced.)

I think Italy has ended up the biggest influence because back in 2011 (when I first had the idea for a city under threat by a sea monster) my wife and I were in Italy and we were immediately smitten by the country ─ it was one of those once in a lifetime trips and I think I was just keen to soak in everything.

City of Masks weaves together politics, history, culture, and the action in this book. What kinds of research influenced the politics of your world?

Thanks! I drew upon monarchies and tribal systems mostly ─ always looking at where power lies in a group, I guess. Is it shared or is it guarded jealously? If it’s disrupted, who takes what is left? Those sorts of questions are fun to explore as a writer.

I remember reading a lot about various royal families who always featured a brother or son (or uncle) keen to knock off a few family members on their way up to the throne. I think it was the shadowy Richard III that I recall the most.

I think all political structures tend to have an undeniable element of personality; the forceful, confident or clever tend to have the ability to direct others, no matter their title or lack of. With the desert-dwelling Medah people, for instance, despite there being multiple elders in the Cloud clan it’s clear that Raila holds the most sway; she tends to command the most respect in the group.

Do you have a playlist that you used while writing City of Masks?

Sort of! Nothing like a specific playlist on Spotify etc, but here’s some of the albums that I remember playing quite a lot during the writing (and editing) of the story:

Pink Floyd – Animals

Prince – Sign o the Times

Killswitch Engage – Alive of Just Breathing

Opeth – Ghost Reveries

Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell

Yo Yo Ma – Silk Road Ensemble

Janko Nilovic – Rythmes Contemporains

Author Bio:

Ashley is an Australian novelist, poet & teacher.

You might have read his epic fantasy ‘The Bone Mask Trilogy’ or maybe you’re familiar with his other work, the fantasy/adventure series ‘The Book of Never.’ Either way, you can read more about his books and get access to giveaways and free books via his newsletter below 🙂

Ashley occasionally dabbles in film, is addicted to 80s cartoon shows and Studio Ghibli films, and finds himself constantly awed by the simple beauty of haiku. He is also convinced that ‘Magnum PI’ is one of the greatest TV shows ever.

Sign up to Ashley’s newsletter for free books and news:

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Find out about Ashley’s fiction:

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Release Blitz: Summerfield’s Angel by Kim Fielding

Summerfield’s Angel | Kim Fielding

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 32,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Meredith Russell
Summerfield_s Angel 400


The Christmas Angel Series

In 1750, a master woodcarver poured all his unrequited love, passion, and longing into his masterpiece—a gorgeous Christmas angel for his beloved’s tree. When the man he loved tossed the angel away without a second thought, a miracle happened. The angel was found by another who brought the woodcarver True Love.

Since then, the angel has been passed down, sold, lost and found, but its magic remains. Read the romances inspired by (and perhaps nudged along by) the Christmas angel through the years.

Whether it’s 1700s England (Eli Easton’s Christmas Angel), the 1880’s New York (Kim Fielding’s Summerfield’s Angel), the turn-of-the-century (Jordan L. Hawk’s Magician’s Angel), World War II (L.A. Witt’s Christmas Homecoming), Vietnam-era (N.R. Walker’s Soldier’s Wish), the 1990’s (Anyta Sunday’s Shrewd Angel), or 2018 (RJ Scott’s Christmas Prince), the Christmas angel has a way of landing on the trees of lonely men who need its blessing for a very Merry Christmas and forever HEA.

Christmas Angel – Eli Easton – Amazon US | Amazon UK
The Magician’s Angel – Jordan L. Hawk – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Christmas Homecoming – L.A. Witt – Amazon US | Amazon UK
A Soldier’s Wish – N.R. Walker – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Shrewd Angel – Anyta Sunday – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Christmas Prince – RJ Scott- Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

After the hard winter of 1888 ended Alby Boyle’s work as a Nebraska ranch hand, he returned to New York City in search of his long-lost family. His mother and brothers are nowhere to be found, however, and after Alby’s years of absence, Five Corners no longer feels like home. His prospects seem as dim as the nighttime alleys.

When Alby pauses to admire an angel ornament in a department store window’s Christmas display, he meets Xeno Varnham-Summerfield. Wealthy, handsome, and enthusiastic, Xeno brings Alby some temporary cheer.

But for Alby to achieve his dreams of love and a real home, well, that may take a bit of holiday magic.

Author Bio

Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon.

Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

Kim’s novel Brute was the 2013 Rainbow Award Winner for Best Gay Fantasy and tied for fourth place for Best Gay Novel.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat.

This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

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