Cover Reveal in #ParanormalRomance: A Demon’s Embrace by @CeliaBreslin

Hi Everyone!

The December holidays are almost upon us and I’m in the writing cave preparing the next Cupid Dating Agency story for release. I can’t wait to share Zara and Stryker’s story with you. In the meantime, you, my Dear Readers, get to see the cover first! Designed by the fab Brantwijn Serrah. Enjoy!
xo,
Celia

She believes him the enemy. He’s determined to prove her wrong…

A DEMON'S EMBRACE BOOK COVER

Title: A Demon’s Embrace
Series: The Cupid Dating Agency
Author: Celia Breslin
Genre: Adult, high-heat paranormal romance
Release date: Soon! December, 2020

Former relic-hunter and soldier for Hell, Stryker spends his days of redemption running a holiday store in a cheery little town in the California wine country. He’s not complaining. The gig puts him across the street from his one and only heart’s desire—a blue-eyed angel with a clever brain, a hot bod, and the wickedest right hook this side of Heaven. Too bad his delectable Angel Cake won’t give him the time of day.

Warrior-class angel and restaurateur, Zara keeps busy designing interesting foods and beverages for the eateries and gym she owns with her celestial teammates. She certainly has zero time or interest in the annoyingly sexy, darkly bronzed demon who drove her bonkers for eons while working for the other side.

But then a freak storm complete with hell beasties rampages their hometown, and God and the cupids order the pair to team up to investigate. Frustrating news for Zara. Fantastic for Stryker. His new mission? Show his feisty angel their partnership is meant to extend far beyond this one job for Heaven…

 

Tranquilli Bloodline: Cocktails, Appetizers, & a Chat with Carina & Alexander

Hi Everyone! It’s Nanowrimo month, and I’m in the writing cave working on my third Cupid Dating Agency story, yay. For the blog today, I have a vampire character interview for you, plus recipes for a cocktail and an appetizer. Also, my Tranquilli Bloodline vampires have been on a month-long tour via Silver Dagger Tours, so be sure to check it out and enter my e-gift card giveaway (ends 11/7!). Details below the chit-chat with Carina and Alexander. Enjoy! 🙂
xo, Celia

Tranquilli bloodline series book covers

Tranquilli Bloodline Series:
A Chat With Carina and Alexander, by Celia Breslin

“Hi Everyone! Celia here. Author of the Tranquilli Bloodline Series. My lovebirds Carina and Alexander have agreed to sit down and chat with me for a rare interview. Let’s get started, shall we?”

I smile at Carina and Alexander, who are seated across from me on a loveseat. “Hi, guys! Thanks for joining me on the Champagne blog.”

Carina grins. “Our pleasure. We always like hanging with you, Celia.”

“Aw, thanks! Easy first question: can you tell us where you’re from and what you like and dislike about your home?”

Alexander looks over the top of his sunglasses and nods at Carina.

She smirks at him than turns her attention to me. “Right, well, I’m originally from Italy. I moved to San Francisco when I was very young and that’s the place I call home. I love the weather, especially the fog, and there’s pretty much nothing I dislike about it.”

“How about earthquakes?” Alexander asks.

“Oh, yeah, hate those.” She strokes his arm. “Your turn.”

Alexander removes his shades and spears me with his sexy smoky blues. “I’m from San Francisco and like Carina, I’m a fan of the fog. For obvious reasons.” He winks.

I laugh. “Of course, being a vampire, fog is your friend. So…do you guys have a refuge? Some place you like to go to get away from it all? Where is it and why do you go there?”

“My refuge is wherever Carina is.”

“Aw, my man.” She kisses his cheek. “Ditto the love, but also, my dance clubs are our favorite retreats. I opened both my clubs, Haven and Destiny, so both humans and the preternatural community would have a safe place to party. No discrimination allowed. Everyone is welcome as long as they understand love is love is love. Bullies get bounced.”

I nod. “Sounds great. I guess this means you dance to relax right?”

“Yes,” they say at the same time.

I nod again. “I can see how that would be a great release after fighting evil all day. Speaking of your battle against Team Evil, is that what motivates you in life? What is your life dream and what do you do to make your dreams come true?”

A dark expression crosses Carina’s face. Alexander wraps an arm around her shoulders, holding her close. “Easy, baby,” he whispers, as power vibrates the air between us, and Carina’s dark chocolate eyes take on an eerie glow.

After several seconds, Carina sucks in a breath and exhales it slow. “Had to ask the tough ones, eh, Celia? Protecting my family and my friends is my top priority. And always will be. It’s my dream to keep them all safe. I’ll face down every single one of our enemies and take out anyone who dares hurt them.” Suddenly, she grins, and a fireball appears above one palm. “Thanks for the handy power, by the way. It rocks.”

I lean back in my chair, relieved the tension has dissipated. “Speaking of your enemies and your powers, anything or anyone standing in the way of happiness right now? And can you also tell us a little more about your abilities? Same question to you, Alexander.”

Carina closes her hand, snuffing out the fireball. “Our enemies are many. Currently, a bunch of bad vampires have issues with my relatives. I’ll need to take care of these pesky fangy troublemakers. As for my abilities, well I can burn vampires. I’m also strong, fast, agile. Can chat with my vampire family in my head. Pretty good with a sword too, thanks to my mentor Jonas’s training. Your turn, Alexander.”

Alexander kisses her cheek then cocks his head at me. “My favorite ability is telepathy. Being able to talk to Carina mind to mind. As a vampire, I’m powerful, quick, and generally deadly. I’m fairly good at playing piano, too.”

“Good?” Carina scoffs. “You’re freaking fantastic.” She glances at me. “Next question?”

They are so cute together, I almost forgot this is an interview. “Hm, how about sharing your favorite and least favorite memories from childhood? And your biggest fears?”

Carina rolls her eyes. “Always with the dark stuff, Celia. Sheesh. Favorite childhood memory is flying with Jonas when I was a little kid.” She gives me a disgruntled scowl. “My least favorite would be the one where I witnessed a murder. While the victim was holding me in his arms. Yeah, not fun. And biggest fear?” She exchanges a long look with Alexander.

I suspect they’re chatting mind to mind, then Alexander says, “Our biggest fear is losing each other.”

“And the darkness destroying our loved ones,” Carina adds with a grimace. “Not that I’ll ever allow this to happen.” Once again power floods the room, raising the hairs on my arms.

“Thanks for answering the tough questions. I’m sure the readers appreciate it. Let’s end on a happier note, shall we? What’s your life motto? And are you happy with the person you are today?”

Alexander chuckles and dons his sunglasses, looking like the sexy rockstar he is. “Definitely happy. Carina makes me a better man. And vampire. My life motto would have to be ‘Love is the best medicine.’”

“Ohhhh, good one,” Carina says, patting his knee. “I’m happy, too.” Then she leans forward, gazing at me with eyes gone vampire black. “My motto is more a warning: The Chosen One is here to stay. Bad, little vampires beware.”

(Character Interview, copyright 2020, Celia Breslin, all rights reserved.)

Carina’s Halloween Cocktail and Snack

Carina Tranquilli, the star of my Tranquilli Bloodline series, owns two dance clubs and has been known to mix a wicked cocktail. Here’s one of her favorites, plus a savory appetizer she likes to eat with it. Enjoy while watching your favorite spooky movies or reading a spooky tale…

The Bloody Carina
* 1-2 oz. vodka (optional)
* 4 oz. tomato juice (Carina prefers V-8)
* ½ – 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce (Carina makes her own!)
* dash of celery salt to taste
* pepper to taste
* Tabasco to taste
* dash of lemon juice
* twist of lemon as garnish

Pair your tasty beverage with Deviled Eggs. Carina likes Mary Nolan’s recipe on the Food Network

* 6 hard-boiled egg yolks (set aside egg-white halves for later)
* ¼ c mayo (Carina uses Vegenaise for an egg-free, dairy free option)
* 1 tsp vinegar
* 1 tsp yellow mustard (or to taste. More, if you like it tangy like Carina)
* 1/8 tsp salt (optional in Carina’s opinion)
* black pepper to taste
* smoke paprika for garnish

Mix. Dispense into the egg white halves. Eat!

Sale!

Haven (#1) is on sale for 99 cents on Amazon.

Free Read!

Vampire Code, a prequel short story starring Jonas, The Executioner is free on Kobo and Champagne Books.

Tranquilli bloodline series tour graphic

Series Book Tour & Giveaway!

Visit the Tranquilli Bloodline Series Silver Dagger Book Tour to read excerpts from all three books and enter Celia’s e-gift card giveaway!

About the Series

The Tranquilli Bloodline is an urban fantasy vampire series with high-heat romantic elements, and starring San Francisco dance club owner Carina Tranquilli. Hot, undead musician Alexander is her love-interest. Over the course of the series, Carina transforms into a kickass warrior while wading through abundant family drama, battling assorted enemies, and, of course, falling in love.

Spooktacular Spotlight on #NA #PNR: Ghost Guardians by S. Peters-Davis

Hello Dear Readers, This is the last installment for this year’s Bewitching Spooktacular Tour and Giveaway extravaganza. Today, S. Peters-Davis shares her New Adult Paranormal Romance and a piece of flash fiction. Be sure to enter her gift card giveaway, too. Enjoy!
xo, Celia

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Ghost Guardians book cover image

Title: Ghost Guardians, 1
Author: S. Peters-Davis
Genre: Paranormal Romance,
Suspense-mystery, New Adult
Publisher: BWL Publishing, Inc.
Release date: September 2020
Kindle ISBN: 978-0-2286-1492-0
Print ISBN: 978-0-2286-1494-4
# or Pages: 162
Word count: 65k
Cover Artist: Michelle Lee

Bri intends to work for her father, but ghosts, an old high school flame, a downtrodden best bud, and a deceitful tormenter play havoc with her future.

Bri’s intent—to work for her father, but ghosts, an old high school sweetheart, a downtrodden best bud, and a deceitful tormenter play havoc with her future.

Kyle broke it off with Bri before college but realizes he still harbors unrequited feelings for her. Then he discovers Bri’s ability and wants to keep her close, not just for himself, but as an asset for Spectral Paranormal Investigations.

Ghosts rely on Bri, Kyle confuses her, the best bud requires stability, and the bully deserves a punch in the face until they join forces on a mission to rescue the paranormal—those spirits left behind. Murder, mystery, and mayhem abound…in ghost-form.

Amazon | BooksToRead

EXCERPT

“He-e-e Ha-a-a.” Max cackled like a wild man as the boat veered off, rooster-tailing water spray and slamming turbulent waves into the raft.

Trembles shook my hands and body. What the hell is wrong with him?

I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths to relax. Warm tingles thrummed against my sternum from the quartz on my necklace, giving me a heads-up that my ghost friends were near.

“He’s gone, little missy,” Martin said. “Off to the other side of the lake.”

Gloria’s fingers clasped the stone through her blouse. “Is your stone vibrating like mine? I touched it, thought of you, and here we are.” She stared at me.

I climbed the ladder and sat across from them, stretching my legs in front of me for the warm sunshine. “I’ll have to try touching my stone and thinking of you. See if I can call you to me.”

She nodded then turned to Martin. “When’s the last time we sat by water?” Gloria slid her body closer to him.

“Now, girl, don’t you be gettin’ any crazy ideas.” He chuckled and wrapped his arm around Gloria’s shoulder then turned his attention to me. “We want answers about what happened. Neither of us remembers it, nothing other than a truck rammed into the back of the Olds. It scared the heck out of us, so we turned off the main road and drove down a dirt path into the woods, hoping to hide. Then we saw lights coming fast behind us.”

“It’s a constant loop we live over and over, ending with the truck following us and crashing into the back of the car. The sound is like a grand clap of thunder.” Gloria sniffled, but there were no tears. Ghosts didn’t cry real tears. Martin rubbed her back.

“We blackout or something.” Martin looked across the water but seemed unfocused. “I wake up outside the car, and a few minutes after, Gloria is beside me. We got stuck next to the Olds, doing the same thing over and over.”

Apparitions didn’t usually possess recall of being stuck in a loop. They simply lived it over and over as if for the first time, every time. What was different for these two? Maybe our crystal connection brought the change in their loop and opened their acknowledgment to it?

“I’ve got a friend coming to stay with me. He’s got mad internet skills. I think he can help research, figure out a few things. Maybe find out who followed you and why.”

A boat motor revved behind me, I folded my legs to my chest, preparing for impact.

“Kyle, wanna ski?” Max hollered. He zipped past and stopped next to Kyle’s dock.

Kyle stared in my direction and waved, and I waved back. Max sneered.

How long was Kyle out there? All he saw was my backside while I chatted with Martin and Gloria. When I turned around to pick up where we left off, Martin and Gloria had disappeared.

 

Flash Fiction by S Peters-Davis

Spirited Wishes
(Includes characters from Ghost Guardians)
By S. Peters-Davis

Kyle tapped on the walk-out sliding glass door, and I waved him in. He wore a black cape and had slicked his blond hair back. His big smile showed the vampire teeth capping his eye-teeth.
“Ahhh, Count Kyle, let’s eat, I’m starving.” My stomach growled as if on cue. “Pizza, beer, and Gramps’ Halloween cupcakes.” I swept my hand toward the goods.
“What is that?” Kyle pointed at the strange, ancient-looking glass jar candle on the coffee table as he removed those crazy teeth.
“Doesn’t it look spooky and old? I found it in Luke’s room. He brought some things with him when he moved in.” Luke, my best friend through school and college, was now more like my brother. I flipped the gas on for the fireplace, and Kyle dropped onto the couch.
“Man, it’s pretty crappy outside. Hardly any kids came for candy. The rain just won’t quit.” And to prove it, lightning shocked the sky, and reverberating thunder shook the windows.
“It’s a dark and spooky night.” My voice trembled in an eerie laugh.
Kyle uncapped the candle and lit it.
A woosh of wind gusted through the room, the electricity went out, and the candle flame flared tall. A chill swept across the room, even though the fireplace cranked out heat.
“Who calls upon me?” A plume of gray smoke rearranged, forming into a haggard elder woman with a bent nose, bushy brows, and unsettling sharp teeth exposed by her thin-lipped grimace.
Kyle and I glanced at each other, our wide-eyed gaze matching.
“Is someone here, Bri?” Kyle reached for my hand, not gifted with the ability to see spirits like me.
“Yes, and I believe that candle brought this upset woman here.” I stared at the woman, her face wrinkling as if angered.
She scoffed, “As if you didn’t know I’d arrive to grant you a wish, but understand with that wish comes sacrifice. I take something in return.” She scanned the room and drifted down the hall.
Kyle squeezed my hand. “You appear concerned. Is she still here?”
“She just wandered out of the room.”
“Should I call for back up?” Kyle let go of my hand to grab his cell phone from his pocket.
“I’m sure the gang is busiest on Halloween night wrangling ghosts, don’t you?” We worked for S.P.I., Spectral Paranormal Investigations, and I mostly guided ghosts into the light while Kyle kept me grounded.
“Is this woman good or evil?” Kyle pocketed his cell and rose from the couch. “Do we need supplies?”
I shook my head, not understanding what this freak show might have in store for us. “Whatever you do, don’t speak a sentence with the word ‘wish’ in it. Got it?”
“Like, I wish—”
Before Kyle finished, I slapped his mouth to stop him. “Not one word,” I whispered. The scary spectral suddenly stood beside Kyle.
“Fine specimen.” She eyed him. “He’ll do in a pinch.” Her body shook from the eruption of a guttural chuckle.
“We don’t require your services, whoever you are. Please go back now.”
“Are you making a wish for me to leave?” Her eyes widened as her tongue slid out and licked over snarling lips. Her hands reached for Kyle.
“Don’t touch him,” I screamed.
Kyle jerked back, stumbling over the coffee table and nearly sprawling into the fireplace. He jumped up fast, shaking his hand. “Damn, burnt my fingers.”
The woman shot out a horrifying cackled, creating a wave of goosebumps down my spine. “I’m taking him.” A wind gusted me aside, and Kyle froze in place, only his wide eyes scanning the area in front of him.
“I said, don’t touch him!” I pushed my way through the gale of air, chanting protection mantras for Kyle and me.
The woman melded into another image—a human-sized grub worm, pustules coating its wrinkled skin, and it moved in front of Kyle. The worm opened along its center, showing grizzly insides lined with pointy teeth. It shuffled closer to Kyle.
Kyle’s eyes moved wildly.
I grabbed the sage and lavender smudge pack I’d forgotten to use before Kyle arrived, lit it, and waved the smoke as I ran toward the entity. “Archangel Michael, I call upon you to take this entity of darkness where mother earth and father sky can best direct its beneficiary properties,” I repeated three times.
As my words ended, a hole opened beneath the vermin, and boney hands reached out and grabbed the lower section of the grub, hauling it down into the fires.
I stood between the entity and Kyle.
His arms slid around me, drawing me back as if he had an inkling of what happened in front of me.
“You’re back, unfrozen.” I entwined my fingers with his.
He kissed the side of my face from behind my shoulder and whispered, “What just happened?”
The grub disappeared, screaming in a high-pitched shrill, and in a stinky puff of smoke that sounded like a nasty belch, the flooring settled back in place as if nothing had occurred.
“All I can say is the spectral turned into something else, supernatural. I don’t know about dark entities, other than ghosts. This thing wanted to eat you, Kyle.” I turned toward him inside his arms. Our lips met as tears rolled beside my nose, leaving a salty taste as I pulled away. “I didn’t know if I could stop it.” My stomach dropped. The thought of losing Kyle ran rampant through my head.
“You called in Archangel Michael. Impressive.” He smiled, showing his even teeth. “You know more than you think when it comes to stuff that goes bump in the night.” He kissed me again, taking his time, and I let him. Then he asked, “So, can I say the word—”
“—wish? Yes. Let me do it for you. I wish we were in bed, right now.”
Kyle lifted me into his arms, carrying me toward the bedroom.
“Wait!” I dropped to my feet and ran back to the coffee table, capping the candle. “No more mishaps, not while I have my way with you.” I grinned.
Kyle grabbed my hand and rushed me toward the bedroom. “I believe that’s my wish, not yours.”

 

S Peters-Davis author photo

About S Peters-Davis

S. Peters-Davis writes multi-genre stories, but loves penning a good page-turning suspense-thriller, especially when it’s a ghost story and a romance. When she’s not writing, editing, or reading, she’s hiking, RV’ing, fishing, playing with grandchildren, or enjoying time with her favorite muse (her husband) in Southwest Michigan.

Twitter | Facebook | BWL Author Page | LinkedIn

Spooktacular Giveaway

S. Peters-Davis’s giveaway: $20 Amazon Gift Card

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Spooktacular Spotlight on #ParanormalRomance: Rise By Moonlight by @nancygideon

Hi, Everyone! Halloween is almost here, can you believe it? This means the Bewitching Spooktacular Tour and Giveaway is drawing to a close, so be sure to enter the giveaways! Nancy Gideon is here today with her paranormal romance and a list of her favorite Halloween things. Enjoy!
xo, Celia

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Rise By Moonlight book cover image

Title: Rise By Moonlight
Series: By Moonlight
Author: Nancy Gideon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release date: 8/3/20
ASIN: B08DKGQV9G
# or Pages: 273
Word count: 88k
Cover Artist: Patricia Lazarus, Lazarus Art

Max and Charlotte return for the explosive conclusion of the “By Moonlight” series . . . and the stakes have never been higher!

He’s the Promised One

A Mobster’s attack dog turned legitimate business powerhouse, Max Savoie is the reluctant leader of New Orleans’ shapeshifter clan. They’ve kept to anonymous shadows, working and living unnoticed by the human world until their new Shifter King’s past draws dangerous outsiders who threaten all.

She’s the Protector

A fiercely determined NOPD detective, Charlotte Caissie has sworn to defend her beloved city and her unborn child from both criminals and otherworldly factions at war. While standing boldly at the side of her mate/husband, secrets from the past return to shake the foundation of her beliefs.

They Have a Problem

Walking a marital tight rope between opposite worlds, Max and Cee Cee’s paths place truth and trust at odds when outside threats force enemies to become allies. The time to take a stand for their family and their future is at hand. Time to rise together for the survival of all they love!

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EXCERPT

Max hadn’t visited that dark portion of his past for a very long time. Why now? Because of the life his mate carried? Or were the dangerous shadows of unfinished business reaching out from a swampy grave, a reminder of things he’d rather forget?

A rocking chair’s familiar creak. He tensed and twisted anxiously in the throes of his dream. Icy fingers of caution and loss clutched his chest as eyes darted behind closed lids. Unable to deny his desire to look again upon the worn elegance of his mother’s features, he faced his dread the way he’d addressed his life, with a cautious, reluctant need to know the truth . . . of who and what he was.

Shadows, like those long-ago secrets, hung thick, revealing little of the dark head bent over the child Marie Savoie held in arms both protective and comforting. Max wished she’d look up to feed time-starved memories, craving the gentle curve of her smile and loving warmth in her gaze. He settled for the steadying croon of a voice from the past.

“What is it, Max? Another bad dream? They can’t harm you.”

As much as he loved her, then and now, he’d never quite believed that assurance. Bad things existed beyond the rusty gate imprisoning his youthful curiosity within their overgrown yard for the first five years of his life. He knew because he was one of them, a child of the unnatural world. All he’d wanted was to find his place within it. But his mother had hidden that knowledge from him, just as she’d kept the outside away for as long as she could.

“Mama, what’s wrong with me?” that small voice sobbed.

The rocker continued to complain as she stroked the child’s black hair. Her tender gesture failed to calm either boy or the man he’d become.

“Nothing’s wrong with you, Max. You’re perfect. They just don’t understand, so they fear you. That’s why you must be careful to never let them see the truth.”

“What truth?” he’d pleaded. “Mama, tell me!”

Low and soft, Max repeated from where he watched, decades away, “Mama, tell me.”

She brushed a kiss across the top of the child’s flushed brow then slowly straightened, turning toward Max Savoie, a surreal voyeur from the future she’d never see. Her gaze swam with tears like liquid silver before flaring bright, then hot.

Then red.

“Max,” she crooned, “you’re just like me.”

 

Halloween Favs List by Nancy Gideon

It’s Halloween Party Time!

October brings out the party animal in me!

I can’t help it . . . from the extensive decorating (too many orange tubs to count!) to the ghoulish appetizers (including skull Jell-O molds!) . . . I love it all!! But for sake of space, I’ll condense my bump in the night and howl at the moon passions into a list of favorite things.

Favorite childhood scare: Bella Lugosi’s Dracula

Favorite type of shapeshifter: Wolf

Favorite Halloween movies: Wolf, Ernest Scared Stupid, Hocus Pocus, Halloween 2019

Favorite costume from childhood: The front half of a donkey

Favorite scary place: The Myrtles Plantation outside New Orleans

Favorite scary book: Stephen King’s The Shining

Favorite paranormal TV shows: Supernatural, Penny Dreadful (first 3 seasons), Night Gallery, Kolchak the Night Stalker

Favorite otherworldly passion: Collecting Tarot cards

Favorite Halloween candy: Snickers

Favorite Halloween decoration: my animated/lighted Halloween village, now with over ten buildings and graveyard!

And my other favorite . . . Halloween music videos! For your grim enjoyment, shiver your way through my Halloween Video Playlist on YouTube

Have a Boo-fully scary (but safe!) holiday

 

About Nancy Gideon

Nancy Gideon is the award-winning bestseller of over 70 romances ranging from historical, Regency, and series contemporary suspense to dark paranormal and horror, with a couple of produced screenplays and non-fiction writing books tossed into the mix. Newly retired from 20 years as a legal assistant, she feeds a Netflix addiction along with all things fur, fin, and fowl, and dotes on her grandguy. She’s also written under the pseudonyms Dana Ransom, Rosalyn West, and Lauren Giddings.

Website | Amazon | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Spooktacular Giveaway

Nancy Gideon’s giveaway: Collector edition of By Moonlight over-sized paperback which includes complete copies of the first three books in the “By Moonlight” series: Masked by Moonlight, Chased by Moonlight, and Captured by Moonlight. Personally signed for winner!

Enter the Bewitching Spooktacular Rafflecopter giveaway.

Spooktacular Spotlight on #YAFantasy: The Genesis of Seven by @saramschaller

Hello, Dear Readers! We’re starting this week with a young adult fantasy from author Sara M. Schaller. Be sure to enter her giveaway for a fab prize pack, too. Happy reading!
xo, Celia

The Genesis of Seven by Sara M. Schaller book cover image

Title: The Genesis of Seven
Series: The Empyrean Trilogy
Author: Sara M. Schaller
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Designs by Seraphim
Release date: 7/7/20
ISBN: 9781732516205
ISBN: 9781732516212
ISBN: 9781732516229 – ebook
# or Pages: 368
Word count: 87k
Cover Artist: Sara M. Schaller

In the beginning he was one of us.

Eighteen-year-old Jordan Conway has always wanted to help people, but helping seven archangels to achieve their divine duty was never quite what he had in mind…

When Jordan is entrusted by the head nun of his orphanage to deliver a mysterious backpack to a New York City address, he comes unexpectedly face-to-face with Archangel Gabriel. Their acquaintance fast uncovers a labyrinth of secrets that connect Jordan’s once-normal life to an ancient heavenly prophecy. Now, he must help Gabriel to reunite the archangels before evil forces grow too strong.

Soon, Jordan and Gabriel find themselves on a divine quest across the globe, while deep in the pits of Hell, Satan plots his return to earth. To gain control, however, Satan needs the powerful prophetic objects locked safe inside Jordan’s backpack—and the devil will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

With that notion threatening his only family and the safety of his newfound friends, Jordan must do whatever it takes to protect the ones he loves and help the archangels succeed. If that means sacrificing all he thought he knew to go to war with the devil himself? Bring it on.

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EXCERPT

“Run!” Sister Helen shouted.

Somehow, my body obliged. My legs carried me down the alleyway, past dumpsters and trashcans. At the street, I stopped briefly to figure out where to go next. I glanced at the paper and realized I had a bit of distance to cover. The address was near Central Park, but the orphanage was in the opposite direction. In fact, the orphanage wasn’t even in Manhattan. There wasn’t time to figure out a route though. At the sound of running footsteps, I looked over my shoulder and saw two men dressed in black fast approaching.

Without a second thought, I broke into a sprint and headed right.

I’d never been chased in my life and soon realized I was the worst person for it. I kept running straight for blocks. Not once did I try to evade my chasers. I was merely in flight mode, running forward without a thought of where I had to go. The backpack hit my shoulders every time I moved my legs, creating a rhythm my heartbeat began to mimic. I was scared senseless, had no idea what to do, and was weighed down by the duffel bag, which gave me a weird, galloping stride.

As I raced on, some unknown part of my brain took over and told my legs to veer left into an alleyway. My chasers passed by, unsuspecting, though they soon backtracked and followed. At that point, my run became a series of quick turns and dashes through side streets and alleys in an attempt to evade them.

Breathing hard, heaving the cursed bag, and almost tripping over my own feet, I came to a standstill in front of a chain-link fence. Did this seriously have to turn into some iconic movie chase? I groaned as I sized up my new enemy, wondering why I never took gym class seriously. Surely, completing the rope climb—something I’d never successfully achieved—would come in handy right about now.

At the last second I decided to backtrack, but the two chasers blocked my path. One was a big, burly man, and the other was the second guy from the subway, who was much taller and leaner than his accomplice.

Frustrated, I ran up to the fence and swung my duffel bag through the air. It landed surprisingly safe on the other side of the chain-link barrier. Without a moment’s hesitation, I ran and jumped at the tall gate, latching onto it with my hands. Flashbacks of the rope climb came to mind, and I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. In a struggle, I scrambled up as my chasers approached.

By some miracle, I made it to the top, and I was preparing to swing my leg over and ring that fictitious bell when a hand gripped my ankle. When I looked down, a menacing skull tattoo met my gaze.

 

The Genesis of Seven by Sara M. Schaller book cover image

About Sara M. Schaller

Sara M Schaller is a paralibrarian, publishing professional, and young adult author. She lives in Colorado with her mom, dad, brother, and four furry canine siblings. Sara loves the world of pop culture and the performing arts, so when she is not reading or writing, she is either watching movies and shows, attending conventions, or going out to see live performances. She likes to write stories for all ages in the fantasy genre, and her writing usually contains elements of speculative fiction and features a large cast of characters. Sara has a Bachelor’s degree in English, Art History, and Religious Studies from the University of Denver, and a Master’s degree in Publishing from Pace University. For five years, Sara worked as a graphic designer, and her creativity in design carries over into other areas of her life like writing. You can visit her online at http://www.saramschaller.com.

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Sara M. Schaller’s Giveaway

1 Grand Prize Pack: Backpack to match the main character’s, Necklace to match the main character’s, Signed Hardcover, Bookmark, Set of Book Pins with Pen, Passport with Sticker Sheet

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Spooktacular Spotlight on #ParanormalRomance: Hidden Gypsy Magic by @TenaStetler

Happy Friday, Dear Readers! Let’s kick off the weekend with a paranormal, mystery romance from Tena Stetler, as well as her thoughts on Halloween. Be sure to enter her gift card giveaway, too. Enjoy!
xo, Celia

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Hidden Gypsy Magic by Tena Stetler book cover image

Title: Hidden Gypsy Magic
Series: A Witch’s Journey
Author: Tena Stetler
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Mystery
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Release date: 9/28/20
ISBN: 978-1-5092-3256-7
ASIN: B08FXBNLW5
# or Pages: 330
Word count: 85k
Cover Artist: Kristian Norris

The consequences of awakening hidden gypsy magic could forever alter life as they know it!

The Salem Wildlife Sanctuary is Gwen Taylor’s life work. Her Irish Gypsy heritage provides a hidden talent she uses to help the creatures under her care. But even her magical skills can’t help new rescues in dire need of veterinary care.

The opportunity of signing on as the vet for Gwen’s sanctuary dropped into Brock Scutter’s lap after he expanded his practice to include wildlife. The personal attraction he and Gwen experience is undeniable the more their professional and personal lives collide.

Touring the only “non-haunted” house in Salem they both feel a spark of magic. A trip to his family’s cabin uncovers a heritage he didn’t know existed. If they want a future together, it means facing the consequences of awakening hidden Gypsy magic and a race against the clock to correct past wrongs.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

EXCERPT

“This house may not have a history of magic, but I’d bet it’s magical. You’re going to put an offer in. Right?”

“As I said before, it may be completely out of my price range.”

“I have a feeling the house has been waiting for you.” Gwen flung her hand to her mouth, her face flushed, and her gaze swiveled to him. “I don’t know what made me say that.”

Looking thoughtful, he grinned. “Since the day I stumbled upon Pepper’s secret — then discovered that you and I share the gift or curse of gypsy blood, things have been different—” Pausing, he shoved his hand in his jean’s pocket and jingled the change in his pocket. “I’ve been different. It’s as if knowing magic exists awakened something in me.”

“Join the club. Years ago my best friend Pepper made a believer out of me. In fact, there were times I wished—never mind. Whether it was my outlook or as you said magic awakened. But to be fair, I’ve always had what I called a sixth sense with animals, attuned to their feelings, almost their thoughts, fears, that kind of thing. Pepper called it my talent. But as we became close, I noticed other abilities… you’ll think I’m crazy.”

“Try me.” He moved closer to her and the front door banged open. Quickly he rushed to the top of the stairs.

 

Halloween Article by Tena Stetler

Do you have a fear of Halloween?

Then you suffer from Samhainophobia.

I don’t fit in that category! Do you?

Today Halloween is attracting adults in a masquerade type atmosphere, much like Mardi Gras. Their costumed antics mock, challenge and tease the mysterious, possible malevolent forces of the night. The otherworld becomes our world on this night of enchanted possibilities and transcendence. Are we reaffirming death as a part of life in an exhilarating celebration of magic for an evening? Or like me, just enjoying the air of celebration on a night the veil between the living and dead is purported to be the thinnest. Every year with the help of my hubby, I decorate our house to the hilt on the first day of October and revel in Halloween décor the entire month.

Did you know Jack-O-Lanterns originated in Ireland? People placed lit candles inside hollowed out turnips to keep away spirits and ghosts on the Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween) holiday. Boy, did we do a role reversal on that aspect of Halloween. Instead of chasing the spirits away, we tend to invite them in.

Most present day Halloween traditions are traceable to the ancient Celtic day of the dead. Halloween consists of mysterious customs, but each has a history, or at least a story behind it. Take wearing costumes, and roaming from door to door demanding treats. This behavior can be traced to the Celtic period and the first few centuries of the Christian era, when it was thought that the souls of the dead were out and about, along with fairies, witches, and demons. Offerings of food and drink were left out to placate them. As the centuries wore on, people began dressing like these creatures, performing antics in exchange for food and drink. This is where the practice of trick-or-treating began. To this day, vampires, witches, ghosts, and skeletons are among the favorite costumes.

Our Halloween also retains activities from the original harvest holiday of Samhain, such as bobbing for apples and carving vegetables, (pumpkins) as well as the fruits, nuts, and spices for cider associated with the day. Although at my house, hot chocolate is pretty popular, since Halloween almost guarantees the first snow of the year.

Happy Halloween!

 

About Tena Stetler

Tena Stetler is a best-selling author of award winning paranormal romance with an over-active imagination. She wrote her first vampire romance as a tween, to the chagrin of her mother and the delight of her friends. Colorado is home; shared with her husband, a brilliant Chow Chow, a spoiled parrot and a forty-five-year-old box turtle. When she’s not writing, her time is spent kayaking, camping, hiking, biking or just relaxing in the great Colorado outdoors.

Her books tell tales of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them. Travel, adventure and a bit of mystery flourish in her books along with a few companion animals to round out the tales.

Web Site | Blog: Authors’ Secrets | Tena Stetler’s Say What Blog | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Amazon Author Page | Newsletter | Pinterest | Instagram | Triberr | BookBub | Tumblr

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Tena Stetler’s giveaway: $15.00 Amazon Gift Card

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Spooktacular Spotlight on #Paranormal #WomensFiction: Midlife in Mosswood by Louisa West

Hello My Dear Readers! The month is half over, can you believe it? The Halloween Spooktacular Tours and Giveaways continue with a look at Louisa West’s new release in paranormal women’s fiction. Be sure to enter her giveaway for an e-book pack, too. Enjoy!
xo, Celia

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Midlife in Mosswood by Louisa West book cover image

Title: Midlife in Mosswood
Author: Louisa West
Genre: Paranormal Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Louisa West
Release date: 9/30/20
ASIN: B087KYLF3N
# or Pages: 170
Word count: 50k
Cover Artist: Louisa West

She thought the thriller part of her life was behind her. But when the man she’s falling for has a sinister secret, she’s no longer sure whether he’s a trick or a treat.

Rosemary Bell is a witch for Halloween… and every other day of the year. And that’s not even the weirdest thing about her life. Her ex-husband is a turtle, her daughter Maggie’s new best friend is an imaginary kangaroo, and the guy sleeping on her couch is a King—as well as her fated lover.

Just as she’s starting to fall for Declan, Rosie gets spooked by a revelation that leaves her wondering whether she is really meant to be his Queen. And as a new houseguest quickly proves, promises don’t always mean forever. When a sexy choir girl arrives in town with her eyes set on Rosie’s King and crown, she will have to decide for herself what her destiny is, and soon.

Struggling between caring for Declan and caring for herself, Rosie has better luck advising her friends what to do about their love lives than tending to her own. But when Maggie goes missing on All Hallow’s Eve, Rosie is forced to admit that jealousy’s a witch – literally!

The Good Witch meets Hocus Pocus in this short novel about stepping into new shoes, choosing who you’re going to be, and never letting fear decide your fate, even on Halloween.

Jealousy’s a Witch is the second book in the heartwarming new Midlife in Mosswood series by Louisa West. Available exclusive to Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

EXCERPT

The sounds of the hot summer afternoon seemed dulled by the arrival of Tammy. She looked sheepishly between Declan and Rosie, her knuckles tight around the laundry bag of clothes she held like Santa Claus’ sack over one pudgy shoulder.

“I hope I’m not imposin’,” she said softly, even though it was clear that she knew she was. “Only that…well!” Unshed tears suddenly welled in her eyes, and she tried a combination of blinking and fanning her wedding-ring devoid hand in front of her face to stop them from falling.

Declan looked from Rosie to Tammy and then back again, as though trying to weigh up how useful he might be in a situation like this versus how much damage he might cause by way of a poorly timed and probably inappropriate joke. “I think I better check on the painting crew,” he murmured, rubbing the back of his neck as he took off for less emotional turf.

Rosie crossed over to the table, set down the potato salad she had been carrying. “Why don’t you have a seat and I’ll pour us some lemonade,” she suggested. Tammy nodded mutely, swiping at the tears now streaking down her face. Two sips of lemonade seemed to give her the confidence she needed to carry through with the story.

“I’m so sorry to barge in on y’all like this,” she sniffled, “but I didn’t know where else to go.”

Rosie thought back to the day Tammy had rolled up to the cottage as part of Prissy’s entourage. She had seemed like the only genuine woman out of the three. Rosie had felt terrible when Tammy had seen her husband Terry making a pass at her the day he’d come out to the cottage to ‘offer his services’ as a handyman. She hadn’t seen her since that day, but it didn’t look like things had improved for her any.

“You don’t need to apologize,” Rosie told her, “so let’s get that out of the way right-quick. We’re havin’ a cook-out, and you’re officially invited.”

Tammy offered a weak smile in return, sipping her lemonade. “Thank you.”

Rosie smiled back. “You’re welcome. Now,” she added, glancing up at the cottage. “I feel duty-bound to tell you that at any minute we’re likely to be infiltrated by a rush of starving teenage boys, an Irishman with a huge appetite, a girl who can put away three hotdogs in one sitting, and a turtle that—”

“—a turtle?”

“Long story,” Rosie grinned.

 

What is Paranormal Women’s Fiction, Anyway?
A conversation with Louisa West.

Buffy. Sookie Stackhouse. Elena Gilbert. Bella Swan. If you know one or all of these characters, then there’s a pretty good chance that you like to read paranormal romance. These women range between being kick-ass, plucky, and just plain special—but there’s another thing they all have in common: really hot supernatural love interests. I’m the first to admit that there’s nothing I love better than a Buffy re-watch, or curling up with a Charlaine Harris novel to whittle my time away in a land where Eric Northman exists. But as I get older (sigh), I find myself wanting more out of my paranormal romance.

I want to relate.

I want to feel as though my real-life struggles of bills, and raising a child, and the body-image issues I have are real for the characters I’m reading as well. I want to be able to laugh because I’m not the only one who has problems with her neighbors, or can never fold a fitted sheet (that’s another kind of witchcraft, friends!), or because sex after twenty can sometimes be a little awkward and hilarious at the same time. Life after 35 just gets even more real. At best, you start thinking about long-term plans for your retirement. At worst, you need to be careful about how many cups of coffee you have before you drive to the grocery store fifteen minutes down the road.

Paranormal Women’s Fiction is a rising genre thanks to the collective efforts of a group of women known colloquially online as ‘The Fab13’. The genre touches on what it’s like for ‘mature’ heroines to get by in a modern world, with all the hurdles that life throws in their paths. These women are dealing with issues like divorce, potential homelessness, toxic relationships, and other really gritty, grown-up stuff. But the sparkling platter that these themes are served on comes in the form of literal magical circumstances, witty one-liners, love interests that are hotter than Hades and women who are empowered to not only move forward but to do so while coming fully into their own power.

Typically, the heroines of these books are over forty. It’s kind of that golden age where you’ve lived enough of life to know what’s what, but also you’ve seen enough to know that you just don’t have the time or energy to put up with any more crap from anyone. It also means that you’re probably not as perky or unwrinkled as you once were (if you are, leave your skin-care and exercise routines in the comments below!). For me, reading these books and getting to know these women who not only face who they are but fly that Older and Fabulous flag proudly has been an absolute joy.

So it made sense that my next series would be written in the same vein.

The main character in my Midlife in Mosswood series is Rosemary Bell, a thirty-nine year old mom who finds the courage to finally leave a toxic relationship. While she’s petrified of starting over again, Rosie and her young daughter Maggie soon settle into the slow rhythm of life in a small town. Rosie is resilient hard-working, and desperate to raise her daughter right. She’s also emotionally damaged, untrusting, and determined to hold everyone except Maggie at arm’s length. Throughout the series Rosie must face not only her past with her ex, but also her family history. She learns how to be a better mom, and how to navigate the challenges of living in a small town when you’re obviously different and more than a little out of your depth. And she also finds a way forward for herself, finding out that she’s actually a witch and that there’s possibly and handsome Irish witch King in her future.

The Paranormal Women’s Fiction genre has set up new expectations for books about older women written by older women. I’m thrilled to be part of it!

 

About Louisa West

Author by day, Netflix connoisseur by night.

Louisa likes Pina Coladas and gettin’ caught in the rain. Determined to empty her brain of stories, she writes across several genres including fantasy, speculative fiction, contemporary and historical fiction, and romance.

She lives in Mandurah, Western Australia, and drinks more coffee than is good for her. When she’s not writing or researching projects, Louisa enjoys spending time with her family, and Harriet The Great (Dane). Hobbies include playing video games, watching copious amounts of tv, and various craft-related initiatives.

She strongly believes that the truth is still out there.

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Louisa West’s giveaway: 1 ‘Midlife in Mosswood eBook pack including a copy of New Witch on the Block (book 1) and Jealousy’s a Witch (book 2)

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Spooktacular Spotlight on #UrbanFantasy: Double Alchemy by @SusanMacNicol7

Hi Everyone! The Halloween Spooktacular Tours and Giveaways continue today with a look at author Susan MacNicol’s MM Urban Fantasy. Be sure to enter her giveaway for a gift card and a book from her backlist. Enjoy!
xo, Celia

Double Alchemy by SusanMacNicol book cover image

Title: Double Alchemy
Author: Susan Mac Nicol
Genre: Paranormal/urban fantasy MM romance
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Release date: 23/03/2014
ASIN: B00J7FVYRC
ISBN: 978-1-941260-04-3
# or Pages: 335
Word count: 110K
Cover Artist: Boroughs Publishing Group

The World in Shadow

Powerful yet tormented modern warlock Quinn Fairmont must initiate the silver-eyed Cade Mairston into the world of witchfinders, Withinners, and what can happen when two men fall truly, madly, deeply in love.

In modern London there lurks a warlock, Quinn Fairmont. Dangerous, powerful, tortured, sharing his body with the soul of an ancient Welsh sorcerer, Quinn is never alone—and never wholly himself. He fights against all those who would exploit his kind. He takes pleasure where he can find it.

In the forest of Hampstead Heath, Quinn’s hometown, Cade Mairston appears to him like a waking dream. Lithe, lean and silver-eyed, he evokes feelings in Quinn unlike any other: lust with true affection, immediate and shocking. Cade is clearly more than he seems. And yet, if a man of the world, Cade is innocent. He knows nothing of warlocks, witchfinders or Withinners. He knows nothing of what he is, what he might be, or what he might feel. For him, the story is just beginning. Magyck, peril and passion await. More awaits in book two…

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EXCERPT

They lay beside each other in Cade’s bed, snuggled under the covers together. It was a large king-size bed, one they’d made the most of it that evening. Quinn turned and regarded Cade with drowsy eyes as his fingers trailed soft patterns across his chest. Cade caught his breath at Quinn’s lazy touch, his body still jazzed up from their love making. Quinn fingered the small metal piercing in Cade’s left nipple with lazy indolence. Cade’s hands caressed Quinn’s stomach, lingering on an ugly, puckered three-inch scar which stretched down to his left hip.

“You seem to be getting used to this whole situation,” Quinn murmured. He caressed the nipple piercing. “And this was a nice surprise. You didn’t have it in the other night. I think I explored you enough to know you don’t have any more anywhere.” He grinned wickedly as Cade’s fingers pinched his hip.

Cade laughed softly. “I took it out for the benefit dinner. It doesn’t fit well under a dress shirt. And as for all this -I don’t believe it all myself. But I don’t seem to have a choice. You’ve made that quite clear. And I have to say it’s not all that much of a hardship. You’re a pretty personable and sexy guy and to be honest, this just feels –so right- somehow.” He licked a wet tongue down Quinn’s shoulder and grinned as Quinn lost his breath.

Cade murmured, “I saw you in the paper with a man called Adam Carnover.”

Quinn started and looked at Cade with hooded eyes.

Cade watched his eyes. “Is he still in your life? The papers seemed to think you were getting married.”

Quinn leaned over and kissed his forehead softly. “I wouldn’t be here with you if I was with another man. Adam isn’t in my life any longer.”

“What happened?”

Quinn frowned, his face dark. “We had a difference of opinion and decided to go our separate ways.”

“Was he like me, or was he normal?” Cade asked curiously, glad that the man was no longer around but still intending to find out more about their past relationship.

Quinn was still. “He was normal, nothing like you,” he said shortly.

Cade could tell he really didn’t want to talk about his ex. Wisely, he let it rest for the moment. “Another thing you haven’t told me. Who was that man I saw in the forest that evening? Was that something to do with you?”

Quinn’s eyes narrowed as if debating what to say next.

“Are you going to tell me?” Cade watched him closely. He reached down and grasped Quinn’s semi erect cock. “Or do I have to suck it out of you like I did earlier?”

Quinn gave a low laugh and sat up, the bed covers draped across his waist as he leaned back against the headboard. “As much as I find that idea very appealing, I think I need to recuperate first. I don’t think I’ve got any moisture left in my body after that very intense blow job. But please feel free to repeat the experience in a little while.”

 

Susan MacNicol photo

About Susan MacNicol

Bringing lovers together, one book at a time

The official stuff

Susan writes steamy, sexy and fun contemporary romance stories, some suspenseful, some gritty and dark and hopefully always entertaining. She’s also Editor in Chief at Divine Magazine, an online LGBTQ e-zine, and a member of The Society of Authors, the Writers Guild of Great Britain, and the Authors Guild in the US.
Susan is also an award-winning script writer, with scripts based on two of her own published works. Sight Unseen has garnered no less than five awards to date and her TV pilot, Reel Life, based on her debut novel, Cassandra by Starlight, was also a winner at the Oaxaca Film Fest.

The ‘unofficial’ stuff…

She loves going to the theatre, live music concerts (especially if it’s her man crush Adam Lambert or the divine Cumberbatch) walks in the countryside, a good G and T, lazing away afternoons reading a good book, and watching re-runs of Silent Witness.

Her chequered past includes stories like being mistaken for a prostitute in the city of Johannesburg, being chased by a rhino on a dusty Kenyan road, getting kicked out of a youth club for being a ‘bad influence’ (she encourages free thinking) and having an aunt who was engaged to Cliff Richard.

I’d love you to stalk me so here you go…

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Susan MacNicol’s giveaway: $5.00 Amazon Gift Card PLUS an e-copy of any one of her backlist books.

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Spooktacular Spotlight on #historicalfantasy: Fighting For Home by @kim_richards

Hello Dear Readers! It’s back to the Bewitching Spooktacular blog posts this week. Author Kim Richards is here today with her historical fantasy and a giveaway. Enjoy!
xo, Celia

Title: Fighting for Home
Series: Descendants of the Amazoi, book 1
Author: Kim Richards
Genre: fantasy/historical fantasy
Publisher: Kim Gilchrist
Release date: July 2020
Print ISBN: 978-1-952564-00-0
ISBN: 978-1-952564-02-4
# or Pages: 241
Word count: 87K
Cover Artist: Dawné Dominique, DusktilDawn Designs

In 300 B.C.—the Greco-Roman Age—tribes of warrior women thrived near the Black Sea. The area is now modern-day Turkey. The Greeks called them Amazoi (meaning Mankiller).

Inspired by their story, Fighting for Home sings the tale of one tribe as they battle to save their way of life. Healing magic is real! Ilenea and Saphira, the wolf sisters, battle close to home with others of their generation. A healer priestess named Essla travels to a temple of Artemis at Anthela with her male slave, bringing a call to arms for the pending war. She meets and falls in love with a Roman General.

Whatever the outcome, this war changes everyone.

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EXCERPT

Thup. Thup. The second archer cried out as two of Xanthi’s arrows buried themselves into his thigh and hip. He let his own arrow fly. Leaves rustled where his arrows disappeared among the tree branches. He fumbled with an arrow, trying to notch it quickly when he heard the rustle again.

The archer looked up as Xanthi leaped from the bushes with her spear in hand. There was no time for him to raise his bow before the bronze point burrowed its way through his leather cuirass, seeking the tender flesh beneath.

At his wretched cry, the shield man to the left took a wild swing with his sword. He caught Xanthi just below the left collarbone. It sliced through her leather jerkin, taking breast flesh with it.

Crying out from the pain, she fell to her knees as blood poured from the gash. One hand pressed against the wound as her other fumbled for her knife.

Xanthi’s man turned his attention from her. He should’ve advanced. Celete used it to her advantage and swung her axe up the inside of his shield. It’s blade cleaved his stomach wide open. His guts spilled out over her hand—hot and sticky. He toppled sideways, landing in the dirt before Xanthi. With a roar befitting any lioness, she clawed at his face for what he did to her.

 

Catherine Stine photo

About Kim Richards

Kim Richards lives in Northern California with her husband and pets. She loves the genres of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. Her hobbies include reading, writing, sewing, LARPing, and listening to music.

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Kim Richards giveaway: Amazon Gift Card

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Spotlight on #LGBTQ #Romance: Full Moon in Leo by @brooklynrayauthor

Happy Friday, Dear Readers! Author Brooklyn Ray is here today with their holiday romance, released this month! A little bit of Christmas for us in October. 🙂 The Halloween Spooktacular Tour posts will resume next week with a fresh batch of Halloween fun. Enjoy! xo, Celia

Title: Full Moon in Leo
Author: Brooklyn Ray
Genre: Queer Holiday Romance
Release date: October 1, 2020
ASIN: B08H1P6X2R
ISBN: 9798681122579
# or Pages: 210
Word count: 65K
Cover Artist: BookCoverZone

Small-town magic, two heavy hearts–one unforgettable winter solstice.

Cole Morrison left Jewel’s snow-covered fir trees ten years ago. But after a disastrous family Thanksgiving, Jewel seems like the only place left to go. When a run-in with a gorgeous stranger leaves him with debt to pay, Cole’s escape from his past turns out to be much more than a lonely Christmas vacation.

Jesse Carroway, the local Jewel witch, has been running his family’s successful, small-town Apothecary ever since his grandmother passed away. When Cole stumbles into his shop and accidentally wrecks a good portion of his inventory, Jesse does the only thing he can possibly think of—offers Cole a job and himself some help for the upcoming holiday rush.

Cole’s clumsy with candles and doesn’t trust easily, but soon Jesse gets a peek at the guy behind his bad-boy reputation. As the nights lengthen toward Yule, Jesse wonders if magic is to blame or if Cole might’ve fallen into his life for a reason…

Amazon

EXCERPT

Honeycomb littered the counter.
Jesse sprinkled golden shards into the scrub and closed his eyes, imagining prosperity and hope and truth, the ingredients needed to solidify the spell, cocooning around each piece of salt. The spell shifted. Strengthened. Like a lock, the honeycomb sealed everything in place.
“Will that work?” Cole asked. He crouched next to the reassembled shelf, scratching idly behind Waffles’ ear.
A smile pulled his mouth upright. “Yeah, it’ll work.”
“What happens now?”
“We package everything, tie a pretty bow around the jars, and put them out. Here, I’ll show you how to shelve product. Use the wooden spoons and scoop the salt into the jar. Fill it to…right about”—Jesse tapped the jar an inch below the top—“there.”
Cole followed directions easily. Every movement was slow, deliberate and precise, mirroring Jesse as best he could. Once they’d finished, Jesse showed him how to tie a bow around the lid with thin-cut burlap.
“I’m not great at this,” Cole said through a grimace, fiddling with a sad, droopy bow.
“Don’t think too much.” Jesse batted his hands away and undid the bow, retying it with practiced ease. “If you try to make it perfect it’ll look forced and…” He smoothed out the burlap, tipping his head back and forth as he searched for the right words. “Disingenuous. I mean, that’s pretty solid advice around here. Magic is messy and weird, but it’s honest. It never tries to be something it isn’t. Same with candle making and bath bombs and everything else. Don’t dwell on making your gift wrap look exactly like mine, just do your best to make it pretty.”
“I don’t exactly know how to make things pretty, Jesse.”
Jesse tied a bow, a little crooked, but good enough. He untied it again and handed the burlap to Cole. “Try again.” Cole held the ribbon so tight his hands quivered. Jesse could almost feel it—bones apprehended, too tense and strained to do any good. “Okay, hold on. You’re, like, ridiculously tense.” He heaved a sigh. “Can I try something?”
Cole’s flighty gaze swept to Jesse’s face. “Something?”
Jesse pushed the packaged jars aside and placed the stone bowl on the counter between them. He glanced over one shoulder. Then the other. There. He snatched the water bottle. “Can I see your hands?”
Cole didn’t move at first. His jaw flexed. Caution flared behind his eyes. Jesse waited, nodding from his open palm, dangling over the bowl, to Cole’s, twitching on the counter. His hesitation remained, even as he unbuttoned his cuffs and let Jesse take his hand.
Carefully, Jesse smoothed the leftover salt scrub over Cole’s knuckles, pulled one hand closer and pressed his thumbs to the center of Cole’s palm. Like this, guarded and entirely human, Cole gentled. His shoulders relaxed. Tension drained from his fingertips. Jesse focused on his hands, each one, pushing and kneading while Cole stood entirely too still, attention fixed on him.
The apothecary went quiet. Sometimes pressing trust through skin held more power than smiles or stories. As he worked the salt into Cole’s calloused hands, Jesse realized he probably hadn’t been touched this tenderly in a long, long time.
“Do these mean anything?” Jesse traced the edge of the koi fish tattoo on his left hand. Laced their fingers. Squeezed.
Cole’s throat bobbed when he swallowed. “Apparently they bring good fortune. Figured I could use some of that.”
“And this one?” He took Cole’s other hand, touched the wolf on his forearm, then went back to massaging the base of his fingers.
“I’ve been a lone wolf since I was young.”
“Wolves usually run in packs, right?”
“Usually,” Cole said, voice hushed and low.
Jesse wanted to read his palm. He wanted to map Cole’s past and future, find where his heart line met his destiny, just to test the universe. Is this a coincidence, he wanted to ask. Is there even such thing? He poured water over Cole’s hands and washed the scrub away.
“Better?”
Cole wrung his hands. “Yeah, much better.”
“Try again.”
This time, Cole’s hands moved fluidly, pulling a pretty bow into place. He smiled at the jar. Pride looked good on him. “Did you cast a spell on me?” he asked, grinning.
Jesse’s stomach fluttered. Don’t blush. He aimed his laughter at the ceiling and shook his head. Don’t you dare. “Not yet.” He reached for the keys in the drawer below the cash wrap and twirled them around his finger. “See you tomorrow?”
Cole’s brows twitched and his lips parted, but he cleared his throat and nodded. “Yeah, I’ll see you in the morning.”
Jesse wanted to ask him what he’d planned to say—what he wanted to say. “Goodnight, Cole.”
Cole knelt to pet Waffles before he shrugged on his jacket. He tossed a smile over his shoulder, footsteps crunching through snow on the sidewalk.
Jesse let out a deep breath. He glanced at Waffles, who sat on her haunches, staring back at him.
“Don’t look at me like that,” he whispered, and rolled leftover salt between his fingers.

 

Brooklyn Ray photo

About Brooklyn Ray

Brooklyn Ray (they/them) is a fan of fresh brewed tea, long walks through the woods, and evenings spent reading sexy books. They write Queer Paranormal Romance and Erotica about witches, necromancers, and other magical creatures, and moonlight as a tarot and palm reader in the Pacific Northwest.

Find them on: Instagram & GoodReads

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