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Spotlight: Erinland

Erinland
by Kathryn Berryman
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Two troubled young adults find themselves key players in a deadly game
that spans the 21st century and the Viking Age.


Amy, finding it difficult to ‘fit in’, becomes increasingly obsessed
with the virtual reality game Erinland. The VR characters and the
mist of Erin begin to invade Amy’s dreams and her waking moments.
She finds herself drawn into Erinland in 9th century Ireland. Amy
becomes part of this mystical world as she joins in the struggle to
defeat the Viking raiders.
Richard has a complicated home life and feels he doesn’t belong anywhere. A
series of events finds him desperate and living on the streets, where
he finds himself dragged into 9th century Norway by a Viking warrior.
Richard finds acceptance with the Vikings and joins them on a
colonisation raid to Ireland.
Kathryn is a Sydney author whose interest in history and mythology was the
catalyst for her debut novel Erinland to become a reality.


An adventure in the modern and ancient world, where the central
characters seek acceptance and self-belief, the ‘players’ in
Erinland find themselves in very different roles from their everyday
life. Choices they make could mean the difference between life and
death, with the consequences of these decisions reaching into their
‘real’ lives.
Written in the Fantasy genre, Book I bridges the ages, drawing on
contemporary life and 9th Century history to create an authentic
experience for the reader. A visual writer, she explores the
mythologies of ancient Norway and Ireland, giving a tangible view of
everyday life and the impact of the Gods in these two
cultures.
Kathryn is married with three beautiful daughters. Amidst busy family life,
she studied at University to become a Primary school teacher. When
she is not teaching, she loves to write and dabble in other creative
pursuits such as painting and drawing. She and her husband hope to
realise their dream and move to the country one day – soon.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!
Excerpt:

Chapter 1

The Beginning

The wind of the boglands howled, shrieking with the voices of tortured souls entwined with the steaming peat.

‘We must protect the chalice and the sacred writings!’ cried Niamh of the Golden Hair. The sound of her command­ing voice reduced the sound of the wailing wind to a frustrat­ed whisper. The woman wheeled her powerful steed around and galloped off towards the distant bog lights, leaving a flurry of mud in her wake.

The sign had come. Tadhg the great warrior knew that Niamh of the Golden Hair would only appear if the sacred relics were in danger of being destroyed and absorbed into the dark culture of the barbarians. He had to go to the Abbey and protect the sacred objects from defilement. A primal howl made him spin around to see the brutish face of his aggressor. Metal clashed against metal, war cries wailed, flesh and bone hacked until Tadhg fell on the battlefield.

‘AAARGH!’ Tadhg gasped, fighting for air as he sank to the ground, choking in the mire of mud and blood. Clasping his cleft sword, his breath came in ragged gasps then finally faded. Tadhg’s face and body contorted, shimmering as he slowly grew fainter and seeped into the boglands. It had been his battlefield and now it was his final resting place. A huge Viking towered over Tadhg, howling triumphantly. The howling continued until the whole scene faded to grey.

Niamh of the Golden Hair’s face popped onto the computer screen. Her serene voice came out of the speaker. ‘Erinland is at risk of disappearing. The chalice and writings have fallen victim to the barbarous Vikings. You have lost another incarnation. Be careful, small one.’

Amy grabbed the sides of the computer screen and shook it savagely. ‘Bloody hell, this virtual reality world is driving me crazy! I’ve lost another incarnation. Useless Irishmen, no wonder the Vikings invaded them. Stupid bloody Vikings, stupid Tadhg! Sacred objects? Yeah right, Niamh of the Golden Hair. What a load of horse crap! Tadhg needs a good kick up his hairy butt.’

‘Amy Bradshaw, stop that language at once! What do you think you’re playing at? I do my best to raise you to be a lady! Why do you think I send you to that expensive private school? Not to learn language like that! You’re a disgrace. When is the last time you brushed your hair? This bedroom is a garbage dump!’ The last word came out as a hiss.

Amy jumped at the sound of her mother’s voice. She thought her mother was in the kitchen washing up after dinner, totally out of earshot.

Amy’s mother continued with the tirade as Amy cringed on the bed. ‘Anyway, you are supposed to be doing your homework, not surfing the net. You’re banned from the computer for a week, it is only to be used for homework. Oh, and I’ll be super­vising you, so don’t get any ideas!’ she exclaimed.

Amy had to think of something quickly. ‘But, Mum, this is homework. In History we are learning about Vikings and how they were forced to migrate and invade other lands. It’s really interesting. We have to research their culture, art, and craftsmanship and what influence it had on the places they conquered,’ cried Amy. ‘I was researching,’ she added, trying to sound as indignant as possible.

Amy’s mother looked at her suspiciously. ‘Researching?’ she said a little more calmly. ‘Then why did I hear all that yelling and screaming?’

Amy thought she could sense a crack in her mother’s armour. She decided to weave a bit of truth into the lies—half-truths usually had a ring of plausibility to them.

‘Well … We have to go onto a virtual reality site to give us a hands-on view of life in Viking times. We make a village and even get to design our own Celtic jewellery!

On the virtual reality site, we learn how to simulate Viking warriors sparring with each other. I was yelling at the warriors fighting!’ she said.

‘You know about this, Mum! Mr Lord gave us the website details in our history class today, and I gave you the permis­sion note last week. Remember? Anyway, you can ring him if you don’t believe me.’ Amy uttered these last words in an almost accusing tone.

Her mother’s expression softened, slightly. ‘Oh, I see. Well … I suppose if it’s for school … But you know, I might just contact that Mr Lord. This research seems to be encouraging a bit too much passion in you. Now get to bed before I change my mind, and don’t forget to clean your teeth.’

Amy snapped off the computer and stomped off to the bathroom. At least she had fooled her mother into thinking that she was concentrating on her school work, which couldn’t be further from the truth. And she could still play Erinland without her mum knowing what she was doing. I could even buy one of those VR headsets to make the game more real. I bet Mum wouldn’t even work out that I had it! I wonder … She would probably find out sooner or later but it would be worth it, Amy thought absently as she spat the slimy residue of toothpaste and saliva down the sink.

She rinsed her mouth and splashed her face with cold water, staring hard at her reflection in the bathroom mirror. It wasn’t a bad face. Not too pretty, but not too ugly either. She imagined herself in ancient Erin fighting at Tadhg’s side, away from the bitchy girls at school with their bitchy texting and sniggering behind their hands. School. God, Amy hated school. School, no way! But talking to gods and minor deities? Protecting ancient manuscripts and chalices from the Raiders? She could live with that. She might even be a goddess herself! Niamh of the Golden Hair? No … Amy of the Spotty PJs! Yep, that would be fun. No bullying, no one to nag me to death, and I wouldn’t even have to clean my teeth, she silently told her smiling reflection.

‘Night, Mum,’ Amy called out.

‘Night, Amy. Lights off, straight to sleep now,’ replied her mother, almost back to her normal self. Amy was tempted to wait until the house was quiet and play online again, but contented herself with the major win over her mum. She had to admit that she was becoming a bit obsessed with the virtual reality world. At least in Erinland she had some control. In her ‘real’ life she had no control. She didn’t have any friends. Not even one. The ‘lovely private school girls’, as her mother called them, were proper cows.

Her fascination for the virtual reality game was starting to worry her though. Not only was it taking up all her spare waking moments, but she was starting to dream about it too. The mists of Erin were invading her slumber. Tadhg spoke to her, whispering of the beauty of ancient Erin. His voice was like a bubbling stream, hypnotic and fresh, but it had an underlying strength that commanded respect. The words he spoke weaved a tapestry of images of the heroism of battle and the struggle to save the holy relics from the barbarians.

As Amy jumped into bed and pulled the doona up to her chin, she didn’t notice the dark shadows gathering in the corner of the bedroom. She switched off the bedside lamp and closed her eyes. Her mind was still racing, an adrenalin high, mentally logging past fatal mistakes and planning future strat­egies for her next session in Erinland.

God! Why can’t I sleep? she moaned to herself. Oh well, I’ll have to say some prayers, that always puts me to sleep. She sighed deeply and started to pray, mouthing the words absent-mindedly. But her mind was still awash with thoughts of ancient Ireland, craggy mountains covered in moss and mist, and boglands, full of treacherous sinkholes and mystical beings. She found herself praying to the Holy Bogg Demon and Our Tadhg instead of the usual Christian deities. Finally, she drifted off to sleep. She was in Erinland, dreaming of the moist, green land and the heroes that fought and died for their cause.

Then a curious thing happened. The shadows in the corner of her room began to gather and become a dense black mass drifting slowly towards her bed. It exuded a pungent smell. The scent was intoxicating, causing her to sink into a deeper slumber. A draught stole its way through the open window, bringing a heavy mist into her bedroom. The mist twisted with the shadows, creating an energy that was concen­trating itself above Amy’s sleeping form. She stirred slightly in her sleep, as if she sensed another presence.

Sensuously, swirling tendrils of mist played around Amy’s feet, massaging her like hundreds of tiny pulsating fingers. They beckoned with a silken touch and oppressive sweetness to slide into the suffocating decay of the boglands. She felt herself being wooed by an unseen presence. Heavy blackness descended and she felt herself being sucked into the soft, moist peat. She waited, not daring to breathe.

‘Follow me,’ the fetid gurgle bubbled up from the depths of the bog, making Amy’s head swim. There were other sounds too. Guttural voices and desolate moaning swished around the room making her feel nauseous. ‘Follow me,’ intoned the voice, as old and enduring as granite, yet with enough venom to become a deadly, scorching lava. The compulsion to obey was almost overpowering. Yet fighting deep within Amy’s psyche was a strong urge to reject the evil command and to emerge out of the blackness into the clean, bright light.

The fear and desolation she felt was tightening its grip. Gone was the sensuous feeling of massage; now all she could feel were icy fingers grasping at her neck and torso pulling her down into the bog. The guttural voices became louder, drowning out all other sounds, making her blind with fear. Amy violently shook her head trying to rid herself of the evil sensation but the movement increased the demon’s hold on her.

A vague speck appeared in the distance, something resem­bling a light. Amy concentrated on the light and tried to block out the voices. She continued to concentrate, trying to force away the panic that shrouded her. She repeated to herself, ‘Look at the light, the light is my salvation.’ These words became a kind of prayer as she repeated them constantly.

Gradually, the tendrils of mist and the icy fingers lessened their hold. Amy chanted the words louder and with every fibre of her being. Finally the grip became a grasp, then it vanished. The voices trailed off, dissolving into an eerie wind—the catchcry of the boglands. A shrill sound, like the neigh of a horse, lingered then died away. Amy thought she heard the sound of a horse galloping in the distance.

She opened her eyes. Her face and body were dripping from the exertion of her experience. She got out of bed for a drink of water and it was then she noticed something strange. A faint glow emitting from the corner of her bedroom. It was coming from her laptop. The glow started blinking in a staccato rhythm, gaining brightness. Amy stared hypnotically into the strobe. The glow grew larger and brighter. An elec­tronic surge overflowing from the monitor and onto the floor. The tide edged its way across the carpet and came to rest at Amy’s feet. It started to rise from the floor, undulating and pulling, crashing against itself like a deadly rip in the ocean. Gradually the atoms composed themselves into the recognis­able form of an old woman.

The old woman looked like those Amy had seen on park benches, the kind that carried all their belongings in a couple of shopping bags. They were usually dirty, drunk, and abusive. This woman was approximately 160 cm tall; her hair was dark brown and it seemed to be caked in mud and dead leaves. Her skin was grey and very lined. Her unblinking eyes were dark brown. She stared at Amy steadily. The woman wore a simple brown tunic. It was well worn and patched in several places. Her hands were large and her nails were ragged and putrid. These hands had seen some very hard work in their time. She had an overall earthy smell, giving the impression of an ancient relic. For one so dishevelled, the old woman seemed to radiate a strength which commanded respect from those in her presence.

‘Oh … my … god … shit!’ yelled Amy.

‘Be still! You shall not profane the higher power in my presence! Profane with your tongue no more, lest you block your path to the highest power,’ replied the old woman. ‘Ditto what I said before. Who are you?hissed Amy.

The old woman spoke, ‘Do not be afraid, small one. You are not in the land of the walking shadows. Your destiny weighs heavier than that. I am Heiran, Cailleach, or wise old woman.

‘I am old. I am as old as the earth, and older than mankind. I have come in many forms and returned many times through the ages. I have been ridiculed and even killed in ignorance, yet all who have known me have been made richer by my passing.’

The old woman’s clear eyes continued to stare into Amy’s. They bored into her thoughts, exposing her soul. Amy franti­cally backed towards the bedroom door. ‘Mum!’ Amy yelled. ‘Mum, Mum, Mum!’ Amy thought she might be asleep or hallucinating. She had heard of this sort of thing happening before. Her friend at school had a psychotic episode after taking some illicit drugs. She thought she could see spiders coming out of the walls. She ended up curling herself in a ball in the corner of the classroom screaming. But Amy had never touched any kind of drugs.

‘Your mother can’t hear you,’ said the old woman.

‘Mum! Mum, please come, I need you, I am so scared!’ Amy screamed.

‘Your mother cannot hear you,’ the old woman said calmly. ‘She has not been chosen by the Niamh of the Golden Hair. She is to remain on this earthly plane.’

Amy winced at the mention of the name ‘Niamh of the Golden Hair’. An unbelievable thought occurred to her. ‘No … no,’ she whispered.

Amy looked more closely at the woman. Bloody hell, this old bag is straight from the virtual reality world! Thinking quickly, she lunged towards her laptop and snapped off the ower switch. The computer sputtered, the light extinguish­ing with a visual ‘pop!’ Amy turned, satisfied that she was once again by herself.

Heiran stood peering at Amy with a quizzical expres­sion. She wasn’t going anywhere. ‘Child, why did you still the droning creature? Killing the droning creature will not rid you of me. It is a portal to Erinland. Do not be foolish, small one! I have come to you for a purpose. I am the messenger of Niamh of the Golden Hair. She is the mystical mistress and hand­maiden of the highest power. She has sought you out. Your strength is known to the Lady. She has witnessed your battle with the evil Bogg Demon. You have been tested and have overcome its tempting advances. You have proven your worth to the Lady. The darkness in your soul has succumbed to the clean brightness of the highest power, this time.’

Amy stood still, disbelief washing over her. She wondered how the old woman, the Cailleach as she called herself, knew about the nightmare she just had. Her skin crawled at the memory of the stinking, suppurating bog; the invisible icy fingers clutching and dragging her down into a world of darkness and evil. An involuntary shudder racked her body.

The old woman continued, ‘Tadhg the great and noble war chieftain is closely acquainted with you. You and the droning creature have sent him to his death many times by the steel of the Vikings’ blade. Now he has come to his last incarnation. If he dies and the sacred relics fall victim to the barbarians a final time, our way of worship and our way of life as we know it will be drowned in a black tide of paganism.

‘The holy objects must be saved and hidden, so that future generations can realise the dedication of the faithful. Their beauty must be emulated and revered as a mere shard of the glory of the highest power—that which you call God. Even now there is another from your world who is being wooed by the Raiders. Time is running short!’ cried the old woman.

‘But it’s only a stupid virtual reality world, it’s not real. It’s not my fault!’ Amy cried. She ran across the room and reached for the door handle. Heiran raised her hand. From her stubby dirt-grained fingertips came a light so dazzling that Amy’s eyes watered trying to fight the glare. The light sparked, crackled, and twisted past her to the door handle where it fastened itself—a supernatural forcefield that no human could break.

Be still! You cannot run from your fate. Face your destiny, lest it follow you until the end of your incarnations, festering and growing like a great mortal wound. The highest power will buoy you and deliver you to your fate.’ The dark eyes bored through Amy, compelling her to obey the Cailleach.

Amy put out a tentative hand. She brushed Heiran’s hand with her fingertips. Vibrant, glowing warmth flowed from the Cailleach, swamping Amy’s body. The force sent her body into spasms as her heartbeat quickened, blood pounding in her ears. She squeezed her eyes shut and cried out for her mother.

‘Amy? Amy, is that you? I thought I heard you calling.’ The far-off reedy voice of her mother tried to puncture the veil of energy with intermittent stabs. Amy tried to speak. When she opened her mouth, nothing came out. She could hear her mother speak again but her voice trailed off.

Then the blackness came. Amy was sucked and pummelled through a tunnel of rushing air as though in the slip-stream of some giant racing force. The air was dry and electric and Amy could feel sparks fly from every shaft of hair on her body.

Gradually, the wind died down and she thudded onto her back into a soft, mushy surface. Amy opened her eyes. Directly above her was the majestic form of a white stallion. Its barrel chest overshadowed her as it snorted and pawed at the ground, spraying tiny smuts of peat into Amy’s face. Steam rose from the beast’s body as he danced and wheeled, eyes rolling back and ears flattening against his head, shrieking a terrified neigh. Just below his forelock in the middle of his forehead was a protrusion that looked like a horn. Amy had heard of the fabled unicorn and its magical powers. She realised she was face to face with a legend. Well almost face to face. She dragged herself out of the mud and shook off the bog water, evading the powerful thrashing hoofs of the unicorn.

‘Greetings, small one.’ The musical voice came from atop the unicorn. Amy gazed at the dazzling brightness and saw a lovely woman astride her steed. Her face had the translu­cent glow of a deity, and her skin was unlined and beautiful. A crown of gold was on her head. A halo of golden tresses wound around her head and trailed down her back. She was dressed in a flowing garment of mauve silk which was richly decorated with intricate gold and silver constellations. The garment fell around her and trailed to the ground. The Lady looked not much older than Amy herself, but her eyes beheld a wisdom and grace belonging to an ageless soul.

The Lady sat effortlessly atop her substantial steed, con­trolling it with a subtle movement of a leg, a gentle verbal command, or the brush of a hand. Amy could see no tack whatsoever on this ‘horse’ and stood in awe at the Lady’s obvious power and control over it.

The Lady spoke, ‘They call me ‘Niamh of the Golden Hair’. My messenger, Heiran, has transported you here with the help of the ultimate power. She has performed her task well. She has other duties. She will leave us now.’ Amy turned to see that the old woman was gradually fading to grey, dissi­pating into the atmosphere. A faint smile played on Heiran’s lips and then she was gone. ‘Please don’t leave me,’ Amy pleaded. ‘I need you to get home!’ Her eyes darted from side to side, taking in her surroundings like a trapped animal. A feeling of panic was rising from the pit of her stomach, causing her throat to constrict. She realised she was in boglands, probably in ancient Ireland … straight from the virtual reality world, in Erinland … oh shit!

The large, spongy, and uneven surface of the bog looked treacherous to the uninitiated. Amy could see small bodies of water, sinkholes, between the drier hummocks. She saw tracks made from planks of wood and thin branches meandering their way across the soggy mass. Amy wondered what they were for. She wondered if she should run away. Where would she go? How could she get home? She was cold and covered in bog water and a bloody great unicorn was standing over her. ‘Shit! Shit! Shit!’ she hissed.

The Lady’s voice demanded her full attention. ‘Are you willing to help regain the sacred objects from the barbar­ians and transport them to a safe place, yet to be ordained? The war chieftain Tadhg is depending upon you. You are responsible for his last incarnation. He is a fearless warrior with unmatched integrity and the will to lead his followers to victory. It is written that one will come with strength to match that of our greatest warrior and together they will lead us to victory and cleanse Erinland of the barbarous intruders. I believe you are the one,’ said the Lady.

‘Amy of the droning creature,’ she continued, ‘behold your brother, Tadhg, who is bound to your soul.’ Slowly, the Lady spread out her arms. Gradually, a shimmering mist rose from the bog. The mist moved, darting in front of Amy’s face making her eyes smart. The mist increased in size, brightness, and form to become a tangible, living, breathing human being.The young man now standing before Amy was shorter than some boys in her class at school, but he boasted a powerful physique. He had long, thick, curly black hair which was held at bay by a piece of leather thonging tied around his forehead. His neck was thick and powerful and his muscles rippled as he shrugged his body, stretching his limbs like a beautiful butterfly emerging from a chrysalis.

Tadhg was dressed for battle. Covering his body was unusual armour. It was cloth, but it was stiffened with a tar or a pitch-like substance. The armour was padded and layered to absorb the shock of the heavy weapons of his foe. Amy could see the slashes and dents in the surface as if it had been bludgeoned with some heavy instrument, wielded by someone with incred­ible force. In his hand Tadhg held a heavy sword that looked sharp and lethal but well worn, as if it had hacked many a limb and thirstily let litres of blood from the veins of its opponents.

Tadhg spoke, ‘Amy of the droning creature, I know you well. Come forward and witness your handiwork. My body is young but well used and greatly scarred. See the great wound that my enemy hath wrought. This is the wound that would claim me for the land of the walking shadows. See how it grows and festers, as our enemy’s reign over this fair land. Will you let them plunder and kill all in their path, or will you draw on your deep well of strength and aid me and my followers?

‘Answer me. The evil forces are gathering power. The Bogg Demon grows restless, there is one from your land who is being wooed by it. Hasten with your answer, little sister, time is very short.’

‘No!’ Amy screamed, shaking her head. ‘I don’t want to be here anymore, please let me go home! I don’t believe this is happening! I really do not believe this is happening. Please, let me go!After a long silence Tadhg continued bitterly, ‘Make no mistake, little sister, this is no dream. This is real. You are here. By your rebuff you have foresworn me to eternal damnation. My soiled soul will never know true fulfilment. I can never attain the pure white light or see my father’s face. With your turning away, I have failed the task appointed me. The sacred objects and all they stand for are lost forever,’ he gasped.

A look of pain crossed Tadhg’s battle-stained face. ‘Aahh, the burning, it begins again. My wound is growing. See the gore rising, ready to burst forth from the banks of my flesh. I feel myself slipping … slipping into the land of the walking shadows. Alas, I have failed! The Bogg Demon awaits my soul for eternal torture. Farewell, Amy of the droning creature, my death be on your head. Farewell my Lady, Niamh of the Golden Hair,’ he whispered.

Amy watched as Tadhg writhed in agony. The great wound gushed blood and putrefied; hundreds of tiny maggots crawled in it, feasting on his flesh. The stench stung Amy’s nostrils as she felt the bile rise in her throat. It was as if the cycle of decay had hit the fast forward button as Tadhg’s body disintegrated before her. She knew that she was witnessing something real, something she apparently had control over. She wanted desperately to stop it. ‘My Lady!’ Amy screamed. ‘Please help me!’

The Lady looked steadily at Amy. ‘Are you resolved to assume this task appointed you and help the noble war chieftain?’ she said.

‘Yes, yes, I’ll do anything, just make it stop!’ Amy cried.

The Lady slowly replied, ‘It is up to you to halt the cycle, child. Listen with your heart and you will know the answer.’

Tadhg, close to death, had fallen into the mud succumb­ing to the loss of blood and the bitterness of his failure. His life force was barely hanging on. Amy could hear a dull roar building up in the distance. It seemed to be resonating in the depths of the bog. She instinctively realised that the Bogg Demon was gathering force, ready to usurp and conquer Tadhg’s soul.

She concentrated inwards, blotting out the horror that was before her. But there was no answer, only the sound of her terrified heart. Amy concentrated harder. She was close to despair when a voice inside her head said, ‘Look to the bog. A herb growing at your feet is Tadhg’s salvation. It is the herb used by the druids, it will restore the war chieftain.’ Amy fran­tically grabbed for the plant at her feet. As she ripped the roots from the sodden peat, she noticed that the herb was bathed in a bright light giving off a brilliant, shining, living aura. A beautiful chant, more like a prayer, came drifting from the air around her:

All hail thou holy herb vervain

Growing on the ground

On the Mount of Calvary

There thou was found

Thou helpeth many a grief

And staunchest many a wound

In the name of sweet Jesu

I lift thee from the ground.

Amy stood up, a bunch of the herb clutched in her right hand. Her strength and confidence seemed to return, getting stronger by the moment as she held the holy herb. ‘Game on!’ she muttered to herself, and then turned to the Lady. ‘Let’s see how far this stuff gets Tadhg in his last incarnation!’

 

Author, Books, Editing, Kindle, Literary, Promo, shopping, Uncategorized, Writing

Nightlord Series Tour & Giveaway

Sunset
Nightlord Series Book 1
by Garon Whited
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Eric didn’t ask to be a vampire. In fact, he didn’t even believe in them.
Then he meets a beautiful woman, wakes up with a hangover, and bites
his tongue with his own fangs.
Which pretty much settles the question.
Now he’s trying to hold down his day job while learning the rules of the
Undead — the most important being that bloodthirsty urges and
predatory instincts are a real bitch.
Upside;
Eric has the beautiful Sasha to teach him the ropes, including the
magic he’ll need to survive.
Downside;
they’re being hunted by members of the Church of Light, who are
determined to rid the world of vampires.
When Sasha is killed, and Eric is thrust into an alternate world in his
quest to avenge her death. There he becomes a Nightlord, fights a
dragon with the help of his magical steed, Bronze, and upchucks a
sword named Firebrand.
But things get really interesting when Eric finally finds Tobias, head of
the Church of Light. Soon Eric finds himself at the center of an epic
battle at the literal edge of the world in a fight to keep a terrible
darkness at bay.
“When you fall off the Edge of the World into hordes of demonic Things from
the Outer Darkness, you really start to wonder about your life
choices.”

–Eric, part-time undead, expectant father, and short-term astronaut.
Shadows
Nightlord Series Book 2
I’ve awakened in a stone box about the size of a large coffin… I’m
filthy, everything aches, and, by the various so-called gods, I smell
awful.
I’ve woken up in worse places.
Hmm. What does that say about my life choices?”
Eric, amateur magician, part-time vampire, and accidental king.
It’snot easy, being King. Especially when you’ve got an allergy to
sunrise and sunset, a fire-goddess for a mother-in-law, demonic
adversaries, random assassins, and a basement full of insecurities to
cope with.


Add to that his daughter, the fire-priestess/princess, a couple of
lightly-deranged professional magicians, a whole city full of
wizards, and enough squabbling princes to resemble a kindergarten
argument.
It’s enough to make a man want to just go home.
Luckily for Eric, he has the world’s fastest pet rock, a smart-mouthed sword,
and a horse that not only understands him, but likes him anyway.
An awful lot of young ladies seem to be up all night, wandering around
the halls on the off-chance they’ll bump into the King when he’s
in the mood for a snack. Since when did I become sexy? And why didn’t
anybody warn me it was going to be work?”

Eric, elder geek and occasional idiot.
Orb
Nightlord Series Book 3
We all have inner demons. We fight them all the time. Some of us achieve
inner peace by coming to terms with them.
But how do you come to terms with inner demons that tear free and become
outer demons?


Eric has been a vampire for nearly a century, and his demons are more than
metaphors. While they controlled him, he was the Demon King. Now he
has to avoid the monsters in his own mind, as well as angry nobles,
fanatical religions, assassins, magi, other vampires, criminal
organizations, and the neighborhood gossip.
He wants two things: To find Tort, and to have someplace to call
home.
It may be too much to ask.
Knightfall
Nightlord Series Book 4
It’s not easy, being King. You can’t always rule a kingdom and still do
what needs to be done.
Eric–or King Halar, also known as the Demon King–has more than enough
problems without the crown.


But quitting the job of King isn’t easy, either–unless you want to be
beheaded. Most people regard that as an unsatisfactory way to quit.
Even vampire lords tend to be cautious about guillotines. A King who
loses his head has a real problem… or none at all.
It’s time to sort some of these problems out, settle a few more, and kill
the rest.

But at what cost?
“Knightfall” is the fourth book of the “Nightlord” series. It picks up
exactly where the previous book, “Orb,” ends, and carries
on with an adventure of epic proportions!
Garon Whited was supposedly born in either 1969 or 1970; the original birth
certificate is suspiciously unavailable and other records do not
agree.
After spending some years in college playing with computers, he finally
joined a radical group of jellyfish herding nomads. Having fought
zombie dolphins, quasi-corporeal spirits, and brain-sucking mole
rats, he is uniquely qualified to write fantastic fiction. His
subsequent attempts at professional salsa repairman and ley line
salesman met with similar success. He claims to live in Texarkana, on
Earth, but people have been known to disagree.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!
Author, Books, Writing

Romance on the High Seas: Release Tour

ROMANCE ON THE HIGH SEAS
SEVEN SWASHBUCKLING PIRATE ROMANCES BY
SEVEN PIRATE WENCHES:
Katherine Bone
Jennifer Bray-Weber
Barbara Devlin
Chloe Flowers
Danelle Harmon
Amanda Mariel
Kamery Solomon
PREPARE TO BE BOARDED.
If you love historical romance, pirates, adventure and thrills, you’ll love this
7-book set by these award winning and best selling pirate romance
authors!
The Pirate’s Debt by National Best-selling Author Katherine Bone:
An earl-turned pirate is ordered by his benefactor to find an
adventurous young runaway and return her home.To do so, he must
retrieve her without being discovered by the most ruthless pirate
hunter on the seas: her brother.
Dead Man’s Kiss by Award Winning Author Jennifer Bray-Weber:
Eight weeks. That’s all pirate captain Valeryn Barone has to escort a
tempting naturalist untouched across the Caribbean or face the
gallows. Can he resist the beauty who’s fallen for him? Does a dead
man walking even have a chance?
The Black Morass by USA Today Bestselling Author Barbara Devlin:
In exchange for a chance at redemption and pardons for his crew, Jean
Marc Cavalier accepts a pact that could result in liberty or death,
if only he can survive the terms, but at least he will be free.
Pirate Heiress by Award Winning Author Chloe Flowers:
Captain Conal O’Brien has already lost control of his ship to the most
unlikely band of pirates sailing the seas. If he’s not careful,
he’s going to lose his heart to a notorious lady pirate
determined to destroy both.
My Lady Pirate by NYTimes Bestselling Author Danelle Harmon:
The sea delivers a handsome castaway to Pirate Queen Maeve Merrick’s island. But her
handsome prisoner harbors secrets dark enough to change the fates of
nations and threatens their new found love.
Captivated by the Captain by USA Today Bestselling Author Amanda Mariel:
What happens when an American shipping company heiress crosses
paths with a pirate? Can two people whose life paths are at odds find
common ground?
Carried Away by Kamery Solomon:
After falling through time and being forced to join a pirate crew, Mark
Bell falls in love with his fellow time traveler, Samantha. She’s a
woman he can’t have, though. Will their presence in the past alter
the future they know and love?
Katherine Bone
National Bestselling Historical Romance Author Katherine Bone has been
passionate about history since she had the opportunity to travel to
various Army bases, castles, battlegrounds, and cathedrals as an Army
brat turned Officer’s Wife. Who knew that an Army wife’s passion for
romance novels would lead to pirates? Certainly not her rogue, whose
Alma Mater’s adage is “Go Army. Beat Navy!” Now enjoying
the best of both worlds, Katherine lives with her rogue in the south
where she writes about rogues, rebels and rakes, aka pirates, spies,
the Royal Navy, and duty, honor, and country and the happily ever
afters every alpha male and lady deserve.
As an Army wife raising four children, romance helped Katherine weather
loneliness. Now she hopes to pay it forward, to ease readers’
burdens by taking them on a swashbuckling, adventurous voyage into
historical romance and beyond.
Chloe Flowers
A Parrothead at heart, Chloe’s love for pirates began with Peter Pan
and continued with Pirates of the Caribbean and ghost stories about
pirates from the Outer Banks. She listens to Celtic music while she
writes. When life gets too serious, she reads Calvin and Hobbes
comics. She lives in Ohio with her tall, dark and handsome husband,
three children and two rambunctious dogs, Indiana and Luke, who are
named after her two favorite action heroes.
Descended from a family of cooks and gourmet chefs, Chloe is a true foodie and
along with working for fortune 500 companies in marketing and
teaching MBA students strategic marketing, she also ran a gourmet
cookie company. Cooking for a crowd runs in the blood, so her fridge
is always full. She deals with stress by baking pies (just ask her
college roommates what it was like for them around exam time).
Her idea of a perfect day? Sailing on the Caribbean with her family, sun
in her face and wind at her back, and finishing the day in the
kitchen making a fab gourmet meal and sipping a glass of wine.
The Pirates & Petticoats Series is about spunky heroines and the
scoundrels who love them.
Jennifer Bray-Weber
Award-winning author Jennifer Bray-Weber is a proud native Texan. She is a married
domestic goddess/beach bum with two beautiful daughters. Holding two
degrees, one is Music and Video Business, the other in Liberal Arts,
she has been able to express her creative thinking through countless
questionable, often hilarious, life experiences.
Her interests include writing, reading, traveling (what she likes to call
“research”), horseback riding, scrapbooking, shopping,
relaxing at the beach, and dares.
Join Jennifer’s mailing list for sneak peeks, excerpts, and free
giveaways.
Barbara Devlin
USA Today bestselling, Amazon All-Star author Barbara Devlin was born a
storyteller, but it was a weeklong vacation to Bethany Beach, DE that
forever changed her life. The little house her parents rented had a
collection of books by Kathleen Woodiwiss, which exposed Barbara to
the world of romance, and Shanna remains a personal favorite. Barbara
writes heartfelt historical romances that feature flawed heroes who
may know how to seduce a woman but know nothing of marriage. And she
prefers feisty but smart heroines who sometimes save the hero, before
they find their happily ever after. Barbara earned an MA in English
and continued a course of study for a Doctorate in Literature and
Rhetoric. She happily considered herself an exceedingly eccentric
English professor, until success in Indie publishing lured her into
writing, full-time, featuring her fictional knighthood, the Brethren
of the Coast.
Danelle Harmon
First published in 1991, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author
Danelle Harmon has written sixteen books, with many distributed in
various languages throughout the world. She and her family make their
home in New England with a menagerie including four dogs, an Egyptian
Arabian horse, and pet chickens.
Amanda Mariel
USA Today Bestselling author Amanda Mariel dreams of days gone by when
life moved at a slower pace. She enjoys taking pen to paper and
exploring historical time periods through her imagination and the
written word. When she is not writing she can be found reading,
crocheting, traveling, practicing her photography skills, or spending
time with her family.
Kamery Solomon
Kamery is not the person who grew up dreaming of the day that she would
clutch her very own novel to her chest, tears brimming over the rims
of her eyes as she thought about how she’d written it herself,
finally! In fact, anything remotely like that didn’t even happen
until she was actually holding her first book in her hand, amazed
that she’d written it and wondering how on Earth she’d managed to do
it when it hadn’t ever occurred to her to write one until months
before. Surprisingly, though, it was just what she never realized she
loved doing.
When starting out in life, Kamery had (and still has) big dreams to
perform on Broadway. She loves music and acting very much, while she
and dance have a love/hate relationship; she would love to do it and
every form of dance decides it hates that about her, haha! The one
constant she always had between the performing world and the book
world were the stories, tales that transported her to other worlds
and made her feel like she really could do anything. Finally, she
decided she wanted to do that for someone else and sat down to write.
It’s been a few years since she held that first book, realizing that she
really liked writing and wanted to do more, but the love that
blossomed in that moment has only grown. Currently, Kamery works from
home in Arizona, while taking care of her two adorable kids, a girl
and a boy, and talking her sweet husband Jake’s ear off about the
insane amount of characters in her head who are ready to fight to the
death for a chance at their own novels. It truly is a wonderful life!
It’s a Treasure Hunt!
Grand prize: Kindle Fire, carrying case, $20 Amazon gift card, wine charms,
coasters, a Root candle, Pirate bandana, playing cards, autographed
copies of pirate romances by the authors of the boxed set, and other
booty! Valued at $175
Runner up Prize: Various signed books, $20 Amazon Gift Card and some
nautical fun pirate booty!
To WIN THE GRAND PRIZE: Read the short 200 word story. One
line of the story will be revealed on the Romance on the High Seas
page on each blog on the tour. At the end of the tour, simply answer
the question: “What started it all?”
Find links to all the blogs HERE!
Ahoy me treasure hunting hearties! Your treasure hunt word or phrase for this blog is:
“hear me tale” 
Grand Prize!
Runner Up Prize!
Author, Books, Kindle, Promo, Writing

Spotlight: Xander’s Tangled Web

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Xanders-Tangled-Web
Title:   Xander’s Tangled Web
Author:   Susan A. Royal
Published:  April 26th, 2016
Publisher:   MuseItUp
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Synopsis:  After a late night visit to Battington’s marketplace, Princess Mena vanishes without a trace. Merchants are frantic, because King Leander has called for a curfew and postponed the Spring Festival until further notice. Certain his former constable is the man for the job, the mayor hires Xander to investigate, hoping he can solve the mystery in a hurry so things can go back to normal.
But Xander’s not so sure that’s possible, because there’s romance involved, and he knows when that happens folks who are normally very sensible seem to lose all reason. In addition to sorting out truths, half-truths and outright lies, he must deal with gypsies, love potions and an illegal moonshine operation before he gets to the bottom of things.

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpt from Xander’s Tangled Web by Susan A. Royal:


“Out of my face, you mangy beastie!”

    The rumbling bass voice came out of nowhere. Xander jumped like he’d been scalded. Up at first light and on the road soon after, he’d dozed off and allowed Quep’s reins to go slack. The shaggy little pony wandered over to the side of the road for tender shoots of grass growing there.     “Look at you, riding along with your nose stuck up in the air like royalty.”

    Xander squinted in the direction of the voice and spied a man dressed in raggedy brown homespun who blended with the landscape like a toad on moss. Arms crossed and lips pinched together tightly together, the man stared back at him.

    “Sorry, Frawl.” Xander yanked on Quep’s reins. “You’re out bright and early. Are you on your way to Battington?”

    “Aye, I have pressing business.”

    “Is that so?” Xander couldn’t begin to imagine what kind. It was a well-known fact that his second cousin once removed avoided anything remotely connected with work.

    The other man fished in his pocket and brought out copper coins. “Where d’ye think? I’m on me way to Battington to spend an afternoon at Ardley’s tavern. What about you?”

    “I’m going to town as well, to pick up supplies and catch up on all the latest.”

     Frawl flashed a grin. “Since we’re both headed in the same direction, how about you let me ride along? I can fill you in on all the tittle-tattle.”

    Xander ground his teeth. So much for a nice, quiet trip. “Sure. Come on.”

    As big around as he was tall, Frawl grunted and strained a bit before he managed to climb astride the pony. “You heard the latest?”

    Xander shook his head. “Reckon not. I haven’t been to market in a fortnight. Suse and I live so far out we never get any news, unless a bird happens to fly by and share.”

    “Unless a bird…?” It took a moment or two, but Frawl finally realized Xander was joking. After he stopped laughing, he pulled out a checkered rag, wiped his eyes and blew his nose. “You do have a quick wit.”

    “Well, are you going to tell me or not?” Xander was less inclined to believe hearsay than most, but he did have a weakness for listening.

    “Aye, I’ll begin at the beginning.” Frawl chuckled and rubbed his hands together. “Of late, some of the royalty has been frequenting the market more often than normal. Not, as you might believe, for fresh blue milk or a rare piece of fairy silk, though I have been told the merchant in the big corner stall with all the fancy notions has some in his possession so fine he swears the cloth will float…”

    “Get to the point, will you?”

    “Pardon, I digress.” Frawl cleared his throat. “Now, where was I?  Oh yes. It turns out it wasn’t just any royalty, but one of old King Leander’s daughters. Princess Mena herself. Anyways, word went round she was after a good apothecary. Reason being, she wanted to purchase a spell.”

    “But why come to Battington market?  Why wouldn’t she ask her father’s sorcerer instead?”

    “Turns out, she didn’t want just any old spell, she wanted a love potion. When she showed up at Mercury’s shop, he was nervous enough. After he found out what she fancied, it near did him in. Everyone knows love potions are dicey at best. Sometimes they work and sometimes not. There’s always the chance some poor unfortunate soul could end up turning into a tree toad.”

 

Susan-Royal
About the Author:
Susan A. Royal takes her readers on adventures to other worlds where anything can happen and frequently does. She shares a 100 year old house in east Texas with a ghost who likes to harmonize with her son when he plays guitar. She writes SciFi/Fantasy with action, adventure and liberal doses of romance. She is currently working on the third in her time travel series, It’s About Time. Look for her books at MuseItUp/Amazon/B&N.
Want to know more? Visit susanaroyal.wordpress.com or susanaroyal.moonfruit.com for a peek inside this writer’s mind. You never know what you’ll discover.





 

 

 

 

 

Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
-$25 Amazon gift card and copy of Xander’s Tangled Web
Giveaway is International, Enter Here!

 

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Books, Free, Promo, shopping

Free Kindle Fire HD

kindle-fire-hd-6

Hi, everyone! I wanted to remind you that Kate’s raffle is still open for entry. The grand prize is a new Kindle Fire HD 6.6, second prize is your choice of one of Kate’s four novels (in either digital or print format). I’ve entered as many times as rafflecopter would allow and can’t wait to see who wins. Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Books, Literary, Promo, shopping, Writing

Contests and Raffles

In honor of my client Kate’s latest raffle (I’ll put the link at the bottom of the post) I thought that I would touch on the use of contests, giveaways, and raffles as part of an author’s brand.

Everyone loves freebies and if printing bookmarks or ordering pens just isn’t your thing, then sponsoring a giveaway can be a great way to drum up interest for your book. If you have any local events, be sure to mention the raffle in promotional materials or ads. Otherwise, post links to the raffle on each of your social media sites and encourage participants to share with their followers and friends. Kate is currently hosting a raffle for a free Kindle Fire HD. The second prize option is one of her books, either printed or in ebook format. If you can’t afford a flashy grand prize, no sweat. Contests are all about getting further exposure for you and your book.

Here’s the link for Kate’s raffle. Good luck, everyone!

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