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Book Blitz: Lady of Sherwood

Lady of Sherwood
Molly Bilinski
(Outlaws of Sherwood #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 24th 2017
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult

Robin of Lockesly was neither the son her father wanted, nor the daughter her mother expected. When she refuses an arranged marriage to a harsh and cruel knight, the deadly events that follow change her destiny forever.

After a night of tragedy, Robin and the few remaining survivors flee to Nottingham. With a newfound anonymity, they start to live different lives. There, she and her band make mischief, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. But charity isn’t the only thing she wants–she wants revenge.

As the sheriff draws his net closer, Robin’s choices begin to haunt her. She’ll have to choose between what’s lawful and what her conscience believes is right–all while staying one step ahead of the hangman.

Lady of Sherwood is a unique young adult retelling of the beloved Robin Hood legend. Filled with action and romance, this new series follows a teenage heroine through her fantastic, yet dangerous adventures.

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EXCERPT:

Other girls—some of the youngest ones from the kitchen—came from the brush. Smoke clung to them like a shroud, and tears had run in rivers down soot-stained cheeks. Ginny, the youngest at six, ran to Jemma and attached herself like a limpet to the older girl’s legs.

“Where is everyone else?” Robin asked, glancing between them and then back at the flaming manor. “Where is—where’s—” Her face heated even as the rest of her body grew chilled, and she stuffed her first in her mouth to muffle her scream.

“We are the only ones.”

Robin looked up at Kitty, surprised to find herself on her knees in the damp grass. She curled her shaking fingers into fists, and then rested them on her thighs. “How—what happened?”

“That man,” the girl went on, absently twisting her skirt in her hands. “The one who’d been courting you… he came for you in the night. When he couldn’t find you, he gathered everyone in the great hall.”

“Except you lot?” Jemma inquired.

“He was hurting her.” Kitty’s eyes took on a glossy quality. “He had Maggie by the hair, and he was hurting her. She had Ginny behind her, protecting her. I—I hit him over the head with a candle stand.”

“We went through the old tunnel,” another voice piped up. Maggie slipped her hand into Kitty’s. “Me and Kitty and Ginny.”

“And my—my mother?” Robin took a deep, shuddering breath.

“She kept her secret. We heard ‘im, shouting. He wanted to know where you was.” Ginny, this time. She wandered away from Jemma, and Robin opened her arms for her to nestle into. She’d helped Jemma look after the younger servants on the sly for years. Whether they’d been orphaned at birth or left to the streets, Jemma had brought them each back to the manor, and she’d given them a home and a hope the rest of the world didn’t offer. “She didn’t tell, Robin. She didn’t tell him where you was.”

“I heard Charlotte say you were gone,” Maggie said quietly. “She’d gone to your mother’s chambers to tell her. Miss Jemma was gone, too, and so was your bow.” She shrugged, a delicate lift of her shoulders. “We all thought you had gone to the field.”

“And she said nothing?” Robin’s heart beat hard against her ribcage.

“Lady was very brave,” Ginny murmured.

“She was,” Robin agreed. “Like you are. You all.” She looked at each of the other girls, who stared back, clearly waiting.

It hit her then—they were waiting for her. With the only survivors of the manor in front of her, and her mother dead—God rest her soul, God hold them all in His hand—it occurred to her in that moment. She was the Lady of Lockesly.

 

Author Bio:

Molly is a 2013 graduate of William Smith College with a bachelors in chemistry. She puts her science powers to use by day and is a novelist by night (and weekend…and any five minutes she can find). When she’s not writing or working, she’s scoping out coffee shops, exploring her new city (Buffalo, NY), taking day trips to Canada, and putting together puzzles.

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Book Blast: Elsekind

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Title:   Elsekind
Author:  Celeste Hollister
Published:  April 20th, 2017
Publisher:   Black Rose Writing
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Synopsis:  Kex Mardugal is half human, half something… Else. With her dark skin and wild eyes, humankind considers her a soulless abomination. In the face of prejudice, Kex has carved a place for herself in human society. She earned the rank of King’s Champion, securing a position of strength within her homeland.
This attracts the attention of an inscrutable sorcerer who entreats Kex to join his party of warriors to fight against an enigmatic evil threatening to overtake their world.
But conflicts within the party undermine their ability to work together. All the while, their enemy, a strange and powerful demon, steadily gains strength, commanding deadly storms and legions of curselings to spread its blight across the land.
As an Elsekind, Kex discovers that she alone can define her code of honor in order to fight against the monsters of the world.
Amazon Paperback | Black Rose Writing | GoodReads

Excerpt from Elsekind by Celeste Hollister:
Kex and Hailan
            Kex curled her knees tight against her chest. She breathed in slow, deep breaths. Her weapon felt cold beneath her palm. Rough boards rasped against her cheek as she pressed her face to the floor. Muffled footsteps approached – barefoot, if she had to guess. She tightened her fist around the weapon and waited. The angle was wrong, but she was too small to overpower him in a close fight. She would rely on quickness and the element of surprise. He would never think to find her here.
            Her pulse quickened as the footfalls paused. The door opened on a well-oiled hinge. A sphere of lamplight revealed two hairy ankles, and – just as she hoped – two naked feet. Kex drew a breath and waited.
            Closer, she thought. Come closer. I dare you.
            Lamplight and legs loomed nearer but still out of reach. The lamp’s handle squeaked as he set it upon the table. Then he turned and shuffled forward, giving her an unpleasant glimpse of his toenails. Inches away, then half-inches, then precisely where she wanted him.
            Kex lashed out, stabbing down into the top of his foot. He howled and hopped – as she hoped – and she kicked out, her heel connecting with his ankle, knocking his other foot out from beneath him.
            He scrabbled to his side, quick for his size, but by then she had used his own leg to haul herself from beneath the bed. She vaulted astride him, pressing her weapon to his freshly-shaven throat.
            “Where is it?” she hissed.
            Eyes wide, he glanced from her to the weapon pressed into his neck.
            “Oh, by the Saints,” he moaned.
            She bore down, sinking it deeper into his skin. “I asked you a question.”
            He stammered, then refocused. “Is that a fork?”
            “Aye.” The skin blanched around the tines as she leaned her weight into it. “I can make you bleed with a fork.”
            “I think you already did,” he whined. She noted that he lay very, very still as he said, “C’mon, Kex, what’s this about?”
            She narrowed her eyes. “Don’t play around, Hailan Chase. You know well what I want.”
            “Nope.” Hailan carefully shook his head. “Not me.”
            “I may not kill you with this,” Kex said through her teeth. She bore down enough to make him squirm. “But I will maim you – four perfect little cuts – and everywhere you go, from this day forward, everyone will know that Lady Kex took you down with a utensil.”
            “Oh, Lady, is it?” Hailan said.
            “Don’t change the subject,” she said. “Where is my book?”
            “Hmm… Book?”
            “The Codex, damn it. Where is it?”
            Hailan raised his hands. “Xylo has it.”
            “Your sister?” Kex clicked her tongue.
            “She’s awful clever.”
            “She’s eight.”
            Kex felt his weight shift. She knew this maneuver. If he thought he was going to roll her, she had to ensure he was too frightened to try. She flicked her wrist, caught the fork with her left hand, and positioned it above his eye.
            His dilating pupils told her all she needed to know. He wouldn’t be moving. He might not dare to breathe.
            “It is my Mother’s book,” Kex said. “I want it back.”
            Hailan swallowed several gulps of air. “She’s a curious girl, my sister. You’re the only Elsekind she’s ever seen.”
            Kex hissed through her teeth. Hailan cringed.
            She said, “Xylo’s seen Alusians.”
            “That’s different,” he said. “You’re different. I mean, not different, not like Halfkin different, but you’re not the same.” He moaned. “You know what I mean.”
            Kex eased back but kept the fork pointed at his face. Yes, she knew what he meant. All too well. “With my permission, Xylo may borrow any object in my possession. But you will not take them without asking. Nod if you understand.”
            Hailan nodded. He looked like he might be sick.
            “Go now and fetch it back,” Kex said. She got to her feet and moved to the door. “I will meet you and Aralund on the pitch in one half hour.”
            Hailan massaged his neck. As she opened the door, he said, “Kex, I was only playing.”
            Though she saw his sincerity, she could not afford to soften. She said, “I know that. Which is why you I leave you unharmed.” With a smirk, she added, “Well. Mostly.”

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About the Author:
Celeste Hollister is a novelist, a mom, a travel writer, and willing cat minion. She writes books for people who struggle with racial identity and LGBT+ representation. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in writing, taught in urban schools for a decade, and lived in South Korea for a year. She loves wine, cookies, traveling abroad, and fanfiction. Currently, she lives in San Marcos with her lovely boyfriend and fabulous daughter.





Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • $20 Amazon gift card.
Giveaway is International. Ends April 24th at 11:59 PM EST

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Posted by on April 21, 2017 in Author, Books, Literary, Promo, shopping, Writing

 

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Sale: The Gatekeeper Trilogy

The Gatekeepers Trilogy: Books 1-3
by Eva Pohler
Genre: YA Fantasy
A young adult fantasy about the ancient gods in modern times.
A teen becomes entangled with the gods of Mount Olympus when Thanatos,
the god of death, wants to meet her. He makes a deal with his father,
Hades, to go to the upperworld. The deal requires that a murder be
avenged with the help of his sisters, the Furies.
Part paranormal romance and part adventure story, this trilogy follows
Therese’s adventures as she struggles to overcome challenges by the
gods her in her quest to become like them.
This series was initially written as a trilogy and can end with the third
book, or you can keeping reading through all six. This box set
includes the first three books only. Follow Therese’s adventures as
she strives to become a goddess in the ancient Greek pantheon.
**On sale for .99!!**
Books in the trilogy:
The Gatekeeper’s Sons
Book 1
Dive into a world in which the ancient gods of Greek mythology are real.
Part paranormal romance, part epic urban fantasy, the first in this
bestselling young adult series is the teen novel mythology lovers
have been searching for:
Fifteen-year-old Therese watches her parents die. While in a coma, she meets the twin
sons of Hades—Hypnos (the god of sleep) and Thanatos (the god of
death). She thinks she’s manipulating a dream, not kissing the god of
death and totally rocking his world.
Than makes a deal with Hades and goes as a mortal to the Upperworld to try
and win Therese’s heart, but not all the gods are happy. Some give
her gifts. Others try to kill her.
The deal requires Therese to avenge the death of her parents. With the
help of Than’s fierce and exotic sisters, the Furies, she finds
herself in an arena face to face with the murderer, and only one will
survive.
FREE AT ALL RETAILERS!!
The Gatekeeper’s Challenge
Book 2
Thanatos and Therese’s addictive love and adventure story continues in this
second book of Amazon bestselling author Eva Pohler’s epic young
adult series.
Ten agonizing months have gone by since Therese faced off against her
parents’ murderer at Mount Olympus, and she suspects Thanatos’s
absence is meant to send her a message: go on with your life. She
tries to return Pete’s affections even though her heart aches for
the god of death, but when Than shows up to take her hamster’s
soul, she becomes infuriated when he says he’s “been busy.” In
cahoots with her new friend, who’s gotten in with the Demon Druggies
at school, Therese takes a drug that simulates a near-death
experience, planning to tell Than off so she can have closure and
move on, but things go very, very wrong.
Eventually she learns Than has been busy searching for a way to make her a god,
and he’s found it, but it requires her to complete a set of
impossible challenges designed by Hades, who hopes to see her fail.
The Gatekeeper’s Daughter
Book 3
In The Gatekeeper’s Sons, Therese and Thanatos, the god of death, met
and fell in love. In The Gatekeeper’s Challenge, they did everything
they could to be together, even break an oath on the River Styx. But
the Olympians don’t tolerate oath-breakers.
In this third book in the saga, The Gatekeeper’s Daughter, Therese may
have finally succeeded in becoming a goddess, but if she wants to
remain one, she’ll not only have to discover her unique purpose, but
also make some allies among the gods. Artemis sends her on a
seemingly impossible quest across the world, while Than searches for
a way to appease Ares. To make matters worse, her baby sister’s life
depends on the outcome of her quest.
The Gatekeeper’s House
Book 4
The Gatekeeper’s Secret
Book 5
The Gatekeeper’s Promise
Book 6

Amazon * B&N * Apple * Kobo * Google+ * Smashwords








Eva Pohler is the Amazon bestselling author of The Mystery Book
Collection and three series for young adults: The Gatekeeper’s Saga,
The Purgatorium Series, and The Vampires of Athens. Her books have
been described as “thrilling” and “addictive.” A
Kirkus reviewer said of The Gatekeeper’s Sons that it was “sure
to thrill Hunger Games fans.”
A reader herself, Eva writes in multiple genres, but all of her stories
blur the line between reality and fantasy, truth and delusion, and
draw from Eva’s personal philosophy that a reader must be lured and
abducted into complete captivity in order to enjoy the reading
experience.




 
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Posted by on April 20, 2017 in Author, Books, Literary, Promo, shopping, Writing

 

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Cover Reveal: Crazy in Love

CRAZY IN LOVE
by Crystal B. Bright
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pub Date: 10/17/2017
Back on top . . .
R&B singer Chantel Evans had it
all, until the Princess of Love Ballads lost everything. First, a
very public betrayal by her lover and the death of her mother lead to
a career-ending mental breakdown. Then, at the same time, her
attorney makes off with all her hard-earned fortune. The only chance
she has of resurrecting her career is in the recording studio her
mother left in her name . . .
When struggling country star Truman
Woodley has his recording duet with a sultry young singer fall flat
at Chantel’s studio, Chantel is faced with a rare second
chance—until Truman’s vindictive ex-girlfriend turns the pair’s
sparkling debut into grounds for a custody battle over their son. But
Chantel has discovered more than sweet vocal harmony with Truman.
She’s found something worth fighting for. And when Truman surprises
her with a kiss after a live television performance, the whole world
will find out just what it takes to be crazy in love . . .
Buy Links:
Crystal Bright graduated with a
B.A. from Old Dominion University with a major in Creative Writing, a
minor in Communications, and an emphasis on Public Relations. She
earned her M.A. from Seton Hill University in Writing Popular
Fiction. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Chesapeake
Romance Writers.
Author Links:
 
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Posted by on April 13, 2017 in Author, Books, Literary, shopping, Writing

 

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Cover Reveal – The Final Book: Gods

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About the Author:

Sean William Hammond is the author of The Final Book: Gods and The Mixtape Manifesto: A Pop Culture Confessional. He is also a freelance writer contributing to music zines, adventure and lifestyle magazines, and new media technical websites across the world. On his official website, SWHammond.com, you’ll find a mix of his articles, essays, and personal memoirs that encompass pop culture, politics, relationships, and thoughts on life.

SW’s writing style, particularly within his commentary, is often compared to Chuck Klosterman with countless references to pop culture, especially music. Hammond’s honest approach creates an easy camaraderie with the reader, then tests the boundaries with sensitive subject matter. Philosophy, ethics, and virtue continually square off against an instantaneous hedonism celebrated throughout society—with Hammond in the middle, struggling to keep his head above water.

SW’s fictional writing makes a conscious effort to blend perception, rumor, and fact leaving the reader to question reality. His stories are often rooted in truth, taking place in historical settings or by playing on modern headlines, making use of common and relatable themes to drive home critical points about the human condition. Though grand, epic, and futurist, the backbone of his novels hinge on basic principles of morality, or lack thereof.

Hammond has a unique background as a music and sports industry professional. He has worked in the Commissioner’s Office of Major League Baseball as a Marketing Coordinator, was an Assistant of Arizona Operations in the Kansas City Royals farm system, and operated Spring Training stadium audio for the Los Angeles Angels. He is also credited as a Marketing Representative for Sony Music Entertainment, a Senior Tour Manager for the Vans Warped Tour, and an intern at WAR Records / United Interests Management.

Born just outside of Denver, CO in 1983, Hammond hasn’t settled down much since. Aside from Colorado, as a child he also lived in Maine, California, and Utah. As an adult he returned to Colorado and Utah, also adding Arizona and Nevada to the list. He has visited 49 of the 50 states, vowing to make it to Alaska one day soon. Seemingly only content while in motion, Hammond’s dream is to one day own a catamaran and sail it around the world. He currently resides in Las Vegas, NV studying philosophy at UNLV. Hammond has never been married and has no children.


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Title:  The Final Book: Gods
Author:  SW Hammond
To Be Published:  June 13th, 2017
Genre:  Fiction / Science Fiction / Mythology / Visionary & Metaphysical
Recommended Age:  16+
Content Warning:  Historical battles with swordplay and the violence / gore of war
Synopsis:
In the beginning there was love. The Goddess of Life in an elated romance with a beloved mortal. Her sister killed him. Their combined actions ripping a hole in destiny and plagued mankind with an age of unprecedented corruption, vicious holy wars, and religious absolution.
Though long forgotten by the mortals they serve, Zeus and his Pantheon continue to foster and protect mankind which is tearing itself apart—but even God isn’t infallible. After failed diplomacy, the King of the Gods is left with no choice but to take the persona of a modern man—the famed genetic scientist Dr. Hork. In an effort to preserve the future by reshaping the past, Dr. Hork uses Project Genesis—the transfer of consciousness—to send subjects back in time. However, not without devastating failures. Subjects of the experiment wreak havoc upon humanity until a familiar character is reborn to correct the course.
Reincarnated and ready to fulfill his true destiny, Joshua Bach is the catalyst the Gods have been waiting for—and Dr. Hork’s final beacon of salvation. Ferociously idealistic, the free-spirited young man struggles to come-of-age in a time and society ruled by money and corruption. Under the wing of the Gods, Josh rediscovers his purpose, along with a love that can only be considered timeless.
This epic blends human history, ruthless mythology, science fiction, and the supernatural to tell a love story of the future—bringing Gods across all faiths down to earth in the modern age and within your reach.


Excerpt From Chapter 23 – Transmigration – The Final Book: Gods
          “Seriously though, Billy. What’s going on? Unless you’re looking for a space monkey, what do you need me for?”
          “Give yourself some credit. I just thought you might like to come along for the ride. Unless this sort of thing is in Milan or Dubai, Pom could care less. Plus there’s someone there I want you to meet. Or rather, who wants to meet you.”
          Josh twisted his brow with confusion but remained quiet allowing William to elaborate.
          “Her little joke, attending the Space Symposium. She’s a longtime friend.”
          “So what, you’re setting me up?”
          William roared with laughter. “No, not that! She’s…she’s a very interesting woman. I told her how you and I have been spending a lot of time together, talking philosophy. We’ll just grab a drink after and say hi.”
          “That’s fine… But I still don’t get it.”
          William tried to explain. “She sees the world in a very unique way. I thought you might appreciate that. No big deal.”
          “Okay,” Josh agreed, feeling there was more to the story. “Let’s hope I don’t disappoint.”
          “Oh and, Josh”—William looked over at him—“let’s keep this between you and I. It’s nothing underhanded, just avoiding unnecessary trouble. Ana and I have a bit of history, which Pom is fully aware of, but it will always be tender… No sense in stirring the pot.”
          Josh remained silent, uncomfortable with William’s request. He didn’t like the thought of lying to Pom, as she and he had become quite close, just as he and William had. Also William’s infidelity irritated him; he couldn’t understand how someone’s eye would be able to wander with a woman like Pom at home. But, most importantly, he was disappointed that William placed him in the middle. Regardless of William’s affairs, Josh didn’t want to be an accessory to something that could potentially upset Pom.
          “I know what you’re thinking,” William said, “and it reaffirms my decision for you to meet Ana. I know you’ve grown close with Pom. I also know you’d do things differently than me, and that’s why I’m proud to call you my friend. But life isn’t so cut and dry, Josh. Temptation isn’t your vice…” He paused as he tried to conjure up the appropriate words. “Without Ana, we wouldn’t have our amazing daughters who have had a tremendous impact on the world. I’m not exaggerating when I say that those girls have changed the lives of millions of people. The world is a much better place because of my weakness. Yes, that came at the expense of Pom, but what’s the greater good? What’s most important?”
          William had never opened up to Josh about his personal affairs and Josh wasn’t quite sure how to respond. He felt tremendous objection with William’s rationalization of his actions, but didn’t want to outright judge the man.
          “I don’t know, Billy,” Josh began. “Honesty is usually the best policy. It sounds like you’re justifying poor judgment by the serendipitous outcome of superb offspring… I mean, what if your children with Ana grew up to be heinous, or even normal. Would those ends justify the means?”
          “Well, that’s the odd thing about destiny: it’s inevitable,” William replied. “Those girls had to be born, they were needed. Destiny exploited my weakness, a character flaw of mine, in order to put forth what the world needed.”
          “Wow,” Josh said, taken aback by William’s explanation. “You’ve done a lot of great things, Dr. Hork, almost other worldly things. But you’re speaking as if you’re chosen. The odd thing about destiny isn’t that it’s inevitable, but it’s that we don’t know what it is. It’s not like we have a map or checklist of the future.”
          “But what if you did? What if you did know your destiny? Would that still make my actions dishonorable? Knowing the outcome of the greater good?”
          Josh turned to look out the window. “You’re suggesting that you have a crystal ball and there’s only one way to do things. That almost makes it worse. Knowing your destiny and still not finding an honorable or honest solution with Pom to achieve the same outcome.”
          William remained quiet, allowing Josh to explain himself.
          “Destiny is an excuse for poor actions,” Josh continued. “It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. You believe in your destiny, so therefore you actively seek it out, and it eventually becomes you. By adding the ‘cosmic mystical’ element, you relinquish accountability and responsibility. You just blame your actions on the gods. It was their will for you to sleep with that woman, not yours.”
          “How would one honorably explain conceiving a child with another woman?” William asked, looking over at him out of the corner of his eye.
          “That’s my point—you can’t now. Honesty has to start from the beginning. If you knew that infidelity or flesh of another is your vice, perhaps you shouldn’t have married. It’s selfish, Bill. You placed your desire—your ‘destiny’—above your wife.”
          There was a long pause.
          “Who’s to say you couldn’t have had those amazing daughters, who changed the world, with Pom?” Josh added.
          “Their mother for one,” William quickly replied. “Those girls aren’t great because of me, it’s because of Ana.”
          Josh was silent, still looking out the window to avoid William’s eyes.
          “You’re right, though,” William muttered. “I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t handle things properly. I hurt Pom, and I’ll always feel terrible for it. I wish I had as much wisdom at your age…”
          Josh sighed. “Billy, I wasn’t trying to insult you. You and Pom have your own relationship and arrangement. I don’t know the complexities and it has nothing to do with me… I just don’t like being put in the middle.”
          “Fair enough,” William said as he stared blankly through the windshield. “Sometimes I forget who I’m talking to. Someone who actually practices what they preach… Speaking of preaching, I guess you’d have to believe in God to believe in destiny, then?” He eased the conversation away from his personal affairs but was enjoying Josh’s thoughts on morality.
          “Abstractly, destiny’s just a really fortunate excuse for a lot of people to do a lot of bad things. That’s the problem with man mingling with Gods, or religion.”
          William was intrigued. “Explain.”
          “Beyond diminishing personal accountability, an unintended consequence or not, once you cut through all of the ritual and teachings, the bottom line is that religion completely devalues life. The entire premise of there being something after this world inherently makes the existence we’re currently living less important or less precious. With the promise of something more after life, something greater, it makes death much easier to accept.”
          “Interesting observation.”
          “A religious authority, priest or bishop, can paint the picture of a glorious afterworld and use that to manipulate followers into either being good to one another, or to wage horrific wars. If you die along the way, which we all will one day, that’s actually a good thing because now you’re home with God. And who doesn’t want to be with God?” Josh said sarcastically.
          “Why do you think people go along with this notion?”
          “They’re seeking a cause and effect to existence, an explainable reaction. They try to understand unfathomable things that happen during life, creating reasons to justify man’s relevance on a cosmic level—usually by attributing their lives to a larger concept such as religion or destiny. The only way to ease the guilt of bad decisions, things that can’t be reversed or reconciled here on Earth, is to atone to an unearthly being. The thought of being completely insignificant in the universe is more difficult for the human mind to accept than a utopia governed by a bearded man in the clouds.”
          “So I take it you don’t believe in God, then?” William cocked his head with the question.
          “I’m not foolish enough to say that. I can tell you with all certainty that I don’t believe in any religion operated by a mortal man, but I’m wise enough to say that I don’t know about God. I’m able to admit that I don’t understand. My mind is completely open—literally anything is possible because I have no way of knowing one way or another.”
          “Without God or a greater purpose, what’s the point of getting out of bed?” William pushed.
          “By having tremendous value and respect for the life you currently have,” Josh replied. “By understanding that being alive is completely unique and precious—something to be worshiped, to be celebrated. Our singular personal existence in the vast universe is so rare, so exponentially unlikely, that it shouldn’t be wasted by lying in bed. You won the lottery just by being born.”
          “That’s a pretty sober way to look at things. Uncomplicated.”
          “I think that’s a big problem with religion as we have it, it’s been manipulated into a tool of social control and discipline rather than a source of profound thought on the human experience. When did the belief of God become synonymous with marriage or shellfish, even goodwill or war? God doesn’t have anything to do with those things.”
          “Or interchangeably he has everything to do with all things…” William added.
          “Right. And that’s a completely valid argument as well,” Josh agreed. “But remember that slippery slope because you can’t pick and choose God’s miracles. If he has everything to do with all things, then he’s then equally responsible for healing the sick as he is for murders at an elementary school shooting.”
          “What do you think, Josh?” William questioned him intently. “Do you think God has something to do with the murders of children?”
          Josh took a deep breath and tried to articulate an answer. “No. My vision, or ideal of what God is or would be, wouldn’t be involved in that. I feel that God is removed from our daily activities. I see him as a creator and protector of humanity, but not as a personal babysitter. While he may have given life, he’s not in control of my soul or who I am. I don’t feel he has any interest in or control over my personal ‘destiny,’ though I’m sure he wishes general goodwill to everyone—like a father wishing his sons the best in life, though boys can still grow up to become murderers and rapists… I don’t know what God is…” He then hesitated. “I’m not sure if he’s from the ‘other side’ or if he’s just from another world… Maybe that’s one in the same? I don’t know, I see him being more human than a fairy tale. He couldn’t have been perfect if he created us in his own image.”
          William let out a wild grin and found a bit of humor in Josh’s comment on perfection. His approval encouraged Josh to keep going.
          “You know how history tends to paint a glorious picture of the past, elevating certain battles or men above the rest—like our founding fathers? Somehow the realism of them as humans, with all of their many imperfections, mistakes, and outright terrible deeds have been lost over time? I think that’s happened with God exponentially over the thousands of years. We choose to only remember the good stuff.”
          “Your God sounds pretty down to Earth,” William said, as he continued to smile. “He could be living among us and we wouldn’t even know.”
          Josh smiled back. “Of course. Or, you know, we could have evolved from sludge… Here’s one thing I don’t get about modern religion. God has helpers—angels, right?”
          William nodded.
          “So basically the whole monotheism and polytheism is pure semantics. Everyone knows Zeus was king, or the Abrahamic God is big chief god, so what’s wrong with showing his helpers, Poseidon or Gabriel, some appreciation? All of the religions have ‘angels’ or saints that perform the same functions as the Greek and Egyptian ‘gods,’ yet it was worth killing everyone and decimating cultures over that nonsensical subtle difference.”
          “Religion isn’t about logic, it’s about faith.”
          “I guess that’s my problem. I have an unwavering belief and faith in life. I think God does, too—that’s why he bothered creating it.”
          “The end doesn’t justify the means…”
          “Exactly. Faith is an awesome thing, having belief in something is powerful and unifying. However, when that faith is tied to an organization that is responsible for millions upon millions of deaths throughout history, the little bit of good they do does not outweigh the bad. It has nothing to do with forgiveness or reform, some things just simply can’t be undone. Faith and ideology are not justifiably worth dying or killing over, and I’ve never understood how someone can convince themselves that it is.”
          “What could be more honorable than dying for God?” William asked.
          “Are you serious?” Josh scoffed. “God doesn’t want you to die for him, that’s not why he made you. That’s like fucking to preserve virginity. He didn’t create humans so they would kill each other over abstract concepts. Dying to protect life—the thing God created—or fighting against the oppression of the inalienable rights of life, I’d consider that much more honorable.”
          “Kind of like our government, then.”
          Josh rolled his eyes. “If you believe in the liberation of oil fields and other strategic resources, sure. The government doesn’t care about life unless it can tax it. Our government took a crafty lesson from religion. It has exploited the fundamental concept of freedom to propel its own agenda. Instead of using the word ‘god’ like religion does, they just insert the word ‘freedom’ and the propaganda is the same.”
          William chuckled. “You don’t believe in government or religion… What’s left, anarchy?”
          “As soon as any organization—religion, government, corporation, nonprofit, or a person starts to manipulate their own beliefs to acquire power, conceal motives or agendas, lie, threaten, oppress, condemn—it’s corruption, Bill. I can’t support an institution that’s lost its virtue.”
          “The picture of young Joshua Bach is becoming a bit clearer,” William remarked. “Such principles aren’t going to make life easy.”
          “Tell me about it. I’m basically thirty years old and can barely support myself. I can’t stand our financial system… Do you know how hard it is to not have a cent of debt to your name? The bank isn’t my master. I refuse to be a part of an institution that is more concerned with share prices than the product they’re creating or service they’re providing.”
          “That’s noble, but not entirely realistic.”
          Josh raised his voice. “Why not? All it takes is for people to stop believing. Just as religion can’t exist without faith, neither can our system. If people, one by one, no longer allowed their good intentions to be exploited, no longer fed a system that was corrupt and broken—it would vanish. It can’t operate unless people believe in it and perpetuate it.”
          “I suppose that’s easier to say if you have nothing to lose.” William paused. “If you had a business, house, family—established roots into the system, it’d be harder to turn your back on it.”
          Josh was silent for a moment, then continued. “I agree. You know the types of things I think about? I’m afraid that I’m too poor to fall in love. Not only would I have to fully step into the corrupt system—meaningless job, underwater mortgage, vehicles with an expiration date—but if we decided to have children, I’d have to bring them into this cycle. I wouldn’t be able to afford a private school or tutors, so they’d be educated by one of the world’s most mediocre school systems—by design—that teaches them just enough to get by, so they can find another meaningless job and start the process all over again with their children. It’s so complacent. Everyone knows it’s wrong, everyone knows it’s broken, but no one has a gun to their head. There’s no immediate threat, so no one does anything. It’s a slow cancer. As soon as it gets bad enough to take action, it will be too late.”
          “You do have your freedom,” William’s tone was hollow. “What if your child breaks the cycle? It just takes one—Spartacus.”
          “Why can’t I be the One? Why my son? Why always the next generation?”
          William looked over at him out of the corner of his eye. “You speak of revolution, my boy.”
          “Billy, I don’t want to wage a war… I just want reform, an awakening. Has mankind always been so dishonest and self-serving? When did prophets become profits?” Josh said with bitterness.
          Another long pause filled the traveling automobile, as Josh looked through the window at the city streets intently with a grave scowl.
          William finally broke the silence. “I got you pretty worked up, didn’t I?”
          “I’m not asking for perfection, Bill. You and Pom are a perfect example. Mistakes were made, intentional or not, but at some point you had to be honest with one another. You had to agree on the future you wanted to create together and put the past behind you. You had to do what was right for your children, and I’m sure it was hard. I’m sure it still is. But look what you’ve done. Things at one point were broken, and you fixed them. I don’t know the young William Hork, but I know the man next to me now and there’s no one more honest and virtuous. You’ve matured into an individual with compassion, foresight, strength, experience and wisdom. You’re not perfect, but you’re damn close. I want that. I want that for man, for society. I want humanity to mature into what I know it can be.”
          William looked over at Josh and without question saw the man he once knew over 2,000 years ago. Sitting in his car beside him was the spitting image of the young Israelite with his soul on fire. His bleeding heart and passion had been masked by the youthful exterior, but there was no denying the complete transmigration of Lesous Nazareth into Joshua Bach. The young man’s words, his conviction, and his virtue made it clear to William that the second coming was upon him and that Lesous was finally ready to fulfill his destiny. 
          “I don’t know what to do, Bill.” Josh’s tone had become disheartened. “I don’t have a bottomless playbook full of answers, but you know when something is wrong or when it is right. The truth is absolute. It’s like the weather—you can’t control or manipulate truth. It just is.”
          William smiled as he pulled into the entrance of the Broadmoor Resort, where a parking valet waited. “I think Ana will be quite pleased I brought you. Long overdue.”
          Josh let out a deep breath of air, trying to calm himself. “I’m sorry, Dr. Hork. I usually don’t get so riled up, I prefer the rhetorical debates.” He then smiled. “I hope I didn’t offend you. You know how much I think of you and Pom.”
          William laughed. “Offend?  Josh, my boy, I feel as though I’ve been searching for your honesty for millennia! I enjoyed every word and know there was no malice behind it.”
          “I respect you. Pom, too. I just don’t want anything to mess that up.”
          “A man of conviction,” William said. “I crossed the line by trying to cover my own hide and you corrected me. I admire that. Not many have the gumption to speak up…to not allow someone to stand in the way of doing the right thing.”


Giveaway Details:


There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • 3 signed hardcover advance copies of The Final Book: Gods.
Giveaway is International. 
Ends April 19th at 11:59 PM EDT

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Posted by on April 13, 2017 in Author, Books, Literary, shopping, Writing

 

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Book Blitz: Lurking in the Mind

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Title:  Lurking in the Mind
Editor:  Jaidis Shaw
Published:  April 4th, 2017
Publisher:  CHBB Publishing:
Genre:  Horror, Paranormal
Sometimes the most horrifying monsters live within us.
What horrors lurk within a broken mind when left unattended? From alternate personalities to figments of the imagination, our stories will give you a new outlook on the complexity of the human mind. Follow our authors into the madness … if you dare.
Disclaimer: While the stories within this anthology are works of fiction, some very real mental disorders, fears and/or characteristics are discussed. Stories may contain sensitive topics such as depression, suicide, self-harm, split personalities, schizophrenia, and more. Please be advised.
Stories featured in this anthology include the following:
“Twisted” by Jaclyn Osborn
“Lonely Hearts” by Amber Hassler
“When Emily was Here” by Kathy-Lynn Cross
“Postpartum” by Savannah Rohleder
“The Creep” by E.M. Fitch
“Blind Justice” by Jaidis Shaw
“Tortured Minds” by Gina A. Watson
“Lauren” by Jacqueline E. Smith
“Verity Incognito” by James William Peercy
“Gethen” by Liz Butcher
“Starved” by Ace Antonio Hall
“When I met Hannah” by Shelly Schulz
“Did You See Evelyn Today?” by Kelly Matsuura
“North Side Asylum” by Lily Luchesi
“Obsession” by M L Sparrow
GoodReads | Amazon
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Giveaway Details:

There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

  • $10 Amazon Gift Card from Jaidis Shaw
  • Winner’s choice of one ebook by Jaclyn Osborn
  • An ebook copy of Cemetery Tours by Jacqueline E. Smith
  • An Unseen Series swag pack from Kathy-Lynn Cross (US Shipping)
  • Signed copy of Of the Trees by E.M. Fitch and a $10 Starbucks gift card (US Shipping)
  • $5 Amazon gift card from Amber Hassler
  • An ebook copy of Stake-Out by Lily Luchesi and a mini swag pack (Int Shipping)
  • An ebook copy of Insignia: Southeast Asian Fantasy and Insignia: Asian Fantasy Stories by Kelly Matsuura
Giveaway is International. 
Ends April 10th, 2017 at 11:59 PM

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Posted by on April 4, 2017 in Author, Books, Kindle, Literary, Promo, shopping, Writing

 

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Book Blitz: The High Road

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Title:   The High Road
Series:   Spellkeeper Flight, Book 1
Author:   Ken Hughes
Published:   November 12th, 2016
Publisher:  Windward Road Press
Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Synopsis:   Enter a world of gangs, vigilantes, and magic that’s powerful enough to kill.
Mark has never been the survivor his friend Angie is, but when he rescues a mysterious belt from the flames, it’s a decision that changes his life for good. As the two tap into the secret of gravity-controlling magic, they realize the reason Angie’s family tried to destroy the belt. Flying comes at a cost, to their lives and their sanity.

Fighting back against a street gang with a vendetta, Mark begins to sense that death waits around every turn. Soon he and Angie come face-to-face with the true danger: hidden masters of other magical forces. The keepers of power want the secret of flying, and they’ll destroy anyone who gets in their way.

The High Road is the first book in a trilogy of street-level urban fantasy adventures. If you like heart-pounding suspense, comic-book energy, and Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, then you’ll love Ken Hughes’s gritty, magical series.


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Excerpt from The High Road by Ken Hughes:
Mark rose upward, floating, like a dream. His feet reached down for the ground of their own accord, but found only empty space.

Upward, forward. The dark shapes of branches met him, scratched along him, as he fended them off with a forearm, hugging the satchel closer, his fingers tightening on the belt within —

What the hell is happening? Where will I stop?

With a shock of fear he grabbed for the branches, but his fingers only closed on twigs that rustled and snapped in his grip. The black sky yawned above. He tried to reach down after the trees as they dropped away below, but he could only thrash his arms, couldn’t lean back when he hung weightless in the air.

I must be fifteen-some feet up—more each second! In the next instant he tried the only thing he could think of: he let the satchel go and bent his knees to tense for the fall.

Except he didn’t fall, he kept rising. He could see the satchel beside him, floating upward on its own. “No no no—” He thrashed in space and stared helplessly around… and his breath caught at the sight.

The branches below were a sea of shadows ruffling in the breeze from behind his back, a breeze that ebbed away into stillness even as he noticed it.

But the wind hadn’t faded, he could see that from the trembling wood still passing by below… because he was being carried within the current now, still rising and floating across it. He gazed around in the gloom: beyond the faint trees and rolling hills of the park just below, the crystalline grid of city lights began to spread before him; the streets’ night-thinned rumbles and honks filtered up to his ears with clearer tones than they ever had down at street level. Even the smells were different, cleaner, at this distance from the ground. He looked down again, to the scattered lamplight along the park’s walkways. Was that a couple walking along?

A rumble of far-off thunder snapped his mind back. The satchel was floating away.
No! He flailed and strained in the air, and managed to snag it again. The damn belt had broken gravity—he clutched it and gasped out “Zha-Daruath!” but this time all the words triggered was a faint tingle.

—A wave of cold washed that tingle away as he stared at the ground, whole stories below him and still shrinking. What if saying those words really had brought him down, all at once?
Or, what if nothing brought him down? More and more of the city drew back around him. Moonlight filtered from above, leading upward forever, forever. His heart hammered. Behind him, the endless black storm bore in, ready to swallow him up. He might as well be naked in the sky.

This can’t be happening! How can Joe Dennard have something that makes you fly… and how could I be so stupid as to grab it and get trapped.
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About the Author:
Ken Hughes lives in Los Angeles and has worked as a technical writer for missions to Mars and the governing body of the Internet (ICANN). He writes paranormal thrillers and urban fantasy, and has been known to argue over the difference between the two in his blog, http://www.KenHughesAuthor.com.
His novel Shadowed was nominated for a Global Ebook Award. The series he’s launching with the upcoming The High Road is meant to prove one thing: how writing a thrilling cliff-hanger for heroes who can fly takes writing to a whole new level. (Don’t get him started on puns.)








Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • An ecopy of The High Road
Giveaway is International.
 Ends December 20th at 11:59 PM

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Posted by on December 16, 2016 in Author, Books, Kindle, Literary, Promo, shopping

 

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