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Posts Tagged ‘Smashwords’

The Most Amazing Amazon Review of Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

The lovely Cambria Herbert just posted the most amazing Amazon review of my YA fantasy, Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch. It’s the kind of review every author dreams about reading. A review so passionate about the book, the characters, and the plot. It warms my heart and has motivated Slade and I to work even harder with getting the sequels out. (The Legacies of Talimura series is all mapped out, by the way!) I wanted to share it with you.





“Sixteen year old Astanyx and his two best friends return from a hunting trip to find their small village of Polca ravaged by brutal killers that left no one alive. With nothing left the boys set off to warn the King. They do not realize that they are going to be tested in ways they never thought possible and be thrust into a battle that only could be made up. Except it isn¡¦t made up. It¡¦s real.



Debonair, a powerful witch from the Unspoken Lands is on a secret quest and has put together an army of made up of the most violent and blood thirsty killers she could find. With her army she is terrorizing everyone in her path and creating chaos.



Astanyx and his friends (old and new) must find a way to unite the kingdoms and defeat the witch. To do this he must venture farther than he ever thought, seek answers to forbidden questions and find the only weapon powerful enough to save the kingdoms from Debonair¡¦s desire to unleash an ancient evil.


Buckle your seatbelts¡K


You are about to go for a ride¡K


This book picks you up and sweeps you along until the every last page is read leaving you completely satisfied and even a little winded. That¡¦s right, winded. Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch is packed full of twists and turns and frankly it¡¦s the best book I have read in a long time.


So what¡¦s it about?


To me, it¡¦s about worlds from long ago when things weren¡¦t as simple as they are now but they were so much more magical. It¡¦s where legend meets history and all creatures come together to create a fantastic world. The descriptions of these places, these lands and villages are so crystal clear in my head it¡¦s as if they really did once exist and they are merely waiting to be discovered again.


I am an avid reader and this is the first tale that I have come across like this. I almost don¡¦t want to make the comparison (even though it isn¡¦t really a comparison) but I can¡¦t help but say what¡¦s on my mind (Hey, you asked). I will admit ¡Vand NO I am not kidding, and yes, you may pretend to not know me if you like ¡V I have never read the Harry Potter series, nor have I watched any of the movies¡Kbut I do have an idea in my head of what it would be like and this book is what I imagine. Not necessarily the story line (there is no sorcerer named Harry with some friends) but the world and the creatures that live in it. There are elves and dwarfs, gnomes and talking wolves¡Kthere are even some dragons.


Astanyx is a great character, my favorite of the story. I love how he is the main character but the story isn¡¦t really about him. It¡¦s about his quest and his journey. He¡¦s a warrior with no training¡K(okay a little training, but mostly by experience) and his sense of self and right and wrong is unshakable. In the beginning of the story he is a boy, unsure of himself and a little awkward. But he doesn¡¦t stay that way for long. He rises up in the most difficult and impossible situations and emerges from the story as a hero and a leader.


As I said, to me the main character of the story was Astanyx but he was far from the only character to capture my attention. Barrett- a strong, capable warrior who I think kind of earned the mentor role to Astanyx was also a favorite. Then there was Luccia, the princess. But she wasn¡¦t like any other princesses in the stories I have read. She has a strong, level head on her shoulder and is capable with a sword. She was always realistic about the situations they faced but still managed to hold on to the hope in her heart. She was a warm ray of sunshine in the middle of a storm.
The villain of the story is vile and power seeking, arrogant and rude. She is also very powerful which makes any victory over her a triumph.


The plot in this book is executed so well and without any hiccups. There is so much depth to the story and so many things happening but I was never once lost or bored. The story moved along continuously and kept me interested and guessing. The characters came up against many challenges and traveled to many places. I would even daresay that sometimes I was reminded of Indiana Jones. º P.S. I really LIKED Indiana Jones.


Which brings me to another point, this book would make an awesome movie. I could see it play out in my head so clearly as I read and the action and battle scenes would be fabulous to watch with some popcorn. And the dragons¡Kthey were awesome.


There was even some romance in the book, but it was something in the background, a nice compliment to the evolving story. It was just enough to make me smile. The ending was fantastic, if a little shocking. I do hope that there will be a sequel because I would love to have more of these characters and this world.


The writing was clear, the description was good and the plot was easy to follow even though it had a lot to offer. In all, this book was fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone who loves to read and go on adventures. I would even go as far to say that this is probably the best Indie book I have ever read. I frankly, don¡¦t know why you are still reading this review, you should go buy the book and start reading.


So there you have it. My Opinion.” Cambria Herbert

Teaser with Haresh Daswani

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Time for another teaser! This one is from Haresh Daswani’s short story collection, EVOLUTION OF INSANITY.






An author having a conversation with his fictional character, or losing control of his character, mind numbing points leading one twists and turns spinning the mind of the reader with hallucinogenic colors, concepts, and eurekas.

The short stories begin simplified, and walks together with the author as he takes a personal journey deep within the universe of his own consciousness, dwelling, prodding, dissecting, and creating…

This book is a play on different writing styles uniquely conjured by the writer from random inspiration and experimentation with poetry as prior experience. This is a chronological anthology spanning the imagination and sanity of the writer.

This book is a collection of humour, satire, and philosophy, with the most unique writing style and twists. This books evolves as one reads, from basic and simple stories of humor, to deeper and more profound satire best savored twice.

Excerpt from Evolution of Insanity:

White Lines


One not so uncommon opening scene tends to be the hypnotic evening road, and the white… black… white… black…white… lines on the road, uniform and predictable. These lines fall trippy if you are tired from a long day, journeying back home, ready and waiting to surrender to the fate of dreaming, reaching that other state also known as the alpha state, where the road twists and turns and cars turn to fluffy clouds driven by pleasant in-laws (past, present, or future). One tries to sober up again and see that they are not fluffy, and are vaguely seen as pleasant or otherwise, they are just tolerated co-travelers  staring on the road, wondering perhaps the same question, “isn’t this just the largest  cocaine trail for the Gods?”



Pay attention on the road and keep your eyes open for the car in front. Make sure that it is his back you are facing, and not his headlamps, to ensure you are still on the right lane, and as he. It comes to that point in time that it does not matter who is right, but whoever is wrong gets you both in trouble, so your job is to ensure both of you are not wrong for your sake. This isn’t the same driver’s ed test you had just a few years back, paranoid, paranoid, and remindful of your phobias of deja vous, and remindful of your phobias of deja vous. Stare away from the distraction of poster models on oversized billboards of women who are only perfect thanks to Photoshop, for even they cannot be that flawless, no one is that ugly as flaws make you beautiful, your stories.  Like your scar on the left knee from falling off the bike and onto your neighbor’s bush. Flowers that is, of a myriad of friendly colors that you might have remembered. Such were your pleasant days as it deemed demanding for your neighbor to make it all cheerful again. You were pitied for your wound, and your stupidity forgotten, such were the advantages of childhood.


Nostalgia is but a drug of pleasantries, friendlier times, flowery trees.


Reality sets in, black… white… black… white… black… white… Left hand on the wheel, right hand on the stereo, change your tune to cruisin’ jazz nights with Incognito singin’ “Still a friend of mine” and the date you once had beside you might just reappear, or not. Together with your last date was your wallet, which you have consented to giving its  contents just for that conversation you would never want to have now, the small talks, gossips, and getting to know quizzes.


It is your nocturnal state of mind, pleasantries, and expectation that the lovely face across continues shy and bubbly, pleasant like smooth Jazz and a well mixed glass of martini, or for others, a twist sour gin and tonic.




It has been a day too long, as the sun witnessed true. This evening too, has proven long,  and long long long way back you stare at all your evening drives, staring at God’s cocaine line, and the many beautiful women who have sat beside you, chatty, bubbly, quiet, angry, scared, confused, constipated, or otherwise.


To the lonely rides home from a night longer still, and the lines of flaming shots taken in blue, green, orange, brown. Memorable evenings of which you have no recollection, after 3 sambucas too drunk.


You already have the most beautiful woman commit to staying with you forever, sleeping on the passenger seat, tired from the same long night you just went through. Her presence, enough to put a smile on the face, as you travel along.


White… black… white… black… white…


Barnes & Nobles<>
Smashwords <>


If you missed my interview with Haresh at the beginning of the month, visit:


International Blog Hop & Giveaway


Haresh Daswani is one of seven authors I have teamed up with to launch my thriller, Bloodletter, and YA fantasy, Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch.


This International Blog Hop starts July 1st and runs for 30 days. (There’s only a few days left!) There are well over 50 books to giveaway (mostly ebooks but some paperbacks as well) so there are lots of chances to win!


To enter, visit:

Interview with Jeffrey Martin

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

I can’t believe the blog hop is nearing its end. Only a few more days left! But, that means it’s almost time to award all those great prizes! Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway. If you haven’t yet, you have until the 30th. Don’t miss out on your chance to escape into the worlds of these amazing authors.

With that said, I want to welcome Jeffrey Martin and his thriller, 3:16 here today.


Thanks for joining us Jeffrey!


Tell us a bit about yourself.

I attended Hawaii Pacific University earning an Associate of Arts Degree in Psychology. I am a Former Marine and semi-professional football player. I started my Law Enforcement career in 1999. I was a uniformed police officer for a rural municipality in Northeast Iowa. I transferred to a federal law enforcement agency approximately one and half years later. I am the author of thriller, suspense, horror novels and have recently released several digital shorts. My first novel was a thriller entitled, “Lucifer’s Calling”. It was published by Vanilla Heart Publishing in 2008. The follow up “Deadly Demented,” was published in 2009, also by Vanilla Heart Publishing.


“Dead Holiday” was the first short story in the Mark Blankenship series. It was published by Echelon Press in December 2009. In August 2010, the next installment of the Blankenship series Red, White and Blood” was released. “House of Misery,” (2011 Trestle Press) and “Misery Unleashed (2011 Trestle Press) are my latest digital releases. My latest novel, “3:16”, was published 2010 by Cold Moon Press. I’m currently working on my fourth thriller, “Weaving Evil”, and it should be out early 2012.


For most people, an experience with social networking helps them connect with new acquaintances and bridge the gap between long-lost friends. But one man has adopted its resources to fulfill a more sinister agenda.

Brandon Thornley uses the database to search for potential victims as he feeds his thirst for blood. What Brandon doesn’t realize is that someone has accepted his request…and this person is even more ruthless than him.

New Haven Police Detective Patrick Morgan is assigned to investigate a string of ritualistic murders, which leads him to discover that the killer has left behind something valuable.

Armed with the evidence he needs to bring a madman to justice, Detective Morgan sets his sights on his target. Unfortunately for him, he’s not the only one, and his competition will do anything to ensure he fails.


When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I was in elementary school, I spent a majority of my free time, devouring book after book, until I had an idea to create a short story. I showed this simple work of approximately 2500 words to my fourth grade teacher, which was received well by students, and faculty alike. I knew then, possible talent was present in my story telling, and I would create more stories, from that day forward.


What inspired you to write your first book?

I was on a Law Enforcement training exercise, and was injured. When I returned to my home location, I decided, it would be an ideal time to create my first novel, Lucifer’s Calling. I outlined the characters and plot, hoping to entertain the many, who enjoy serial killer novels. The story took on a life of its’ own, and the words poured from me without too much difficulty. Hence, my debut novel was born…hehe!


If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I would consider my mentor would have to be James Patterson. The short succinct chapters were a staple for me, when I decided to create my own work. I enjoy his storylines and the dance between good and evil, and the weaving of subplots that make you want to keep reading. It was my goal to have all my readers feel the same way, when picking up a Jeffrey Martin novel.


Where do you get your ideas for your books?

I’m fortunate to have read a plethora of novels growing up, so I have a wealth of information at my fingertips for plotting out a story and having twists and turns, that will test the reader’s sanity…lol. I barely sleep anymore, because the stories fill my head all the time, and I mean all the time. I will use anything and everything at my disposal for the creation of my work, by that, I mean, people from my “normal” life sometimes tend to wind up in a work…and I know a great deal of people to draw from.



What was your favourite chapter to write and why?

This is a no-brainer for me. It’s definitely from my debut novel, Lucifer’s Calling. The chapter is close to the end of the book, and it places the pieces of “who” Lucifer is and why he is committing these heinous murders. It also shows the killer, was once full of humanity, and was indeed a good person, only to revert to the dark side…(hehe) to become something almost inhuman…


Why do you feel you had to tell this story?

Today, social networking is found virtually almost everywhere. My antagonist uses a networking site, to find potential victims for his horrific hobby. The book shows how the technology of today could be utilized in avenues that are unthinkable…(Well, I sort of thought of it…lol.) But the killer doesn’t realize, his usage of the network could prove to be costly, because someone more ruthless than him, has targeted him for his own sadistic game.



Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

I’m actually working on three at the same time, but I will share my favorite with you. Cupid’s Kill is a story about my three former protagonists, from Deadly Demented, and most recent, Red, White and Blood. Brian Jeffers, Kelli Jordan and Mark Blankenship now all work together for the city of Marcona Police Department.  They have to utilize all their combined knowledge, as a new killer terrorizes the community. He is hunting down all who were involved in the Lucas Calling Serial Murders, as he uses the terrifying paralytic drug, Propaganician to create his own little namesake. Once he has chosen you, death is only a click away!



Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

I want to encourage all of you potential authors, to write what you want, not just what sells. It’s important you understand that. If you enjoy writing, work that craft to all your abilities and get involved with others who share the same interests. I hope you’re like me and have to write daily. The gift to create stories which entice should be cherished and respected. Don’t write, because you feel you’re obligated to do so. Write because you can’t help not doing it. I hope that makes sense to all of you out there. Stay true to yourself, and be the writer you want to be. That’s what really matters!


Name five interesting/weird facts about yourself.

1. I started really getting into songwriting when I was approximately fourteen years old. I wrote various songs, and one is even in my debut novel, Lucifer’s Calling.

2. I’m a true work-a-holic, without the twelve step program. I haven’t taken a real vacation in many years, but this year is going to be different.

3. I have recently been watching the True Blood series on DVD. I was never really into vampires, but lately that show has me very intrigued.

4. When I create my stories, the need for heavy, hard rock soothes my soul, and I write like a madman possessed.

5. I have a complete merchandise line of all my novels, ranging from t-shirts to women’s underwear. Yes, I said women’s underwear…lol.





International Blog Hop & Giveaway

Jeffrey Martin is one of seven authors I have teamed up with for an international blog hop to launch my thriller, Bloodletter, and YA fantasy, Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch.


This International Blog Hop started July 1st and runs for 30 days. There are well over 50 books to giveaway (mostly ebooks but some paperbacks as well) so there are lots of chances to win!


To enter, visit:

For the blog tour schedule, visit:


Also on today’s agenda, check out Natalie’s amazing review of Bloodletter and enter to win a copy! (I know, lately this site has been full of giveaways, but it’s so much fun!)



Or if you like YA fantasy, don’t forget to check out for a chance to win Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch. Deadline to enter is Sunday.

Shadow Cat Teaser with Reena Jacobs

Monday, July 25th, 2011

There was a little blip in my end of the hop. Yesterday, Jeffrey Martin was scheduled for an interview. Unfortunately, that interview had to be rescheduled. A tornado touched down in my neighboring town on Saturday and the surrounding area was without power for a couple days. The power is finally back on so on with the blog hop!



Reena Jacobs kicks off the last week of the blog hop with an excerpt from her paranormal romance, SHADOW CAT.






Eric Randall’s plan is simple-fix the mess his researchers have created in Malaysia, experience the pleasures the country has to offer, and return to the comforts of America. All it takes is one beautiful aborigine, and Eric finds himself stranded in a world of Malaysian myths and legends.   A novice shaman amongst her people, Berani is free and independent. Yet all is not well in her homeland. Demons prey on her people, pushing them to extinction. When a strange speaking man invades her forest, she has one more worry to add to her already troubled life. Attraction or no, she will fight Eric tooth and claw to maintain her freedom. But will she destroy herself in the process?   If Berani wishes to save her family… if Eric wishes to reclaim his old life, they must stand together against the threats of encroaching wehr-tigers and bloodsucking demons… or perish.



Eric sat on his heels and reflected on the gruesome finality of living in the jungles. Interesting to visit but not a place he’d choose to live. Already he tired of the forest scene. He’d leave the role of nature lover to the researchers. As for him, one typical day in the office provided more than enough excitement. A movement caught his eyes as he stood. He stared at the flowers of a yellow tree, hoping to catch the motion again. He’d learned the rainforest was full of wonders if he kept his eyes opened and remained patient. There! Hidden in the tree, a black and orange corded object waved, the colors camouflaged by the profuse foliage. He squinted and followed the thick line to its source, but lost track of it behind a concentrated stretch of leaves. He did a double take. Where did she come from? The faint light flickering through the tree cast a glow on the exquisite bronze skin of a woman lounging on a limb, while the dense leaves concealed her legs completely. She licked her full lips, a pinkish brown, which were made for kissing. Malaysian characteristics dominated her face-high cheekbones with a slight blush. Thick, untamed brows arched high.




Straight tresses lifted in the breeze-strawberry blond with streaks of dark brown and copper, as well as a shade so light it appeared white. Her features combined with her distinctive hair hinted at her obvious mixed ancestry. The contrast was spectacular against her honey-colored skin. A light brown, halter-like bra covered her full breasts, allowing just a hint of the fleshy mounds to peak over the top. The yellow flowers provided the perfect disguise for her. She rose from her recline and stood on the branch, balancing on bare and dainty feet with cute, kissable toes. He traced the shape of her legs, toned and lithe, which seemed to travel forever before disappearing behind an obtrusive bit of vegetation. She dropped from the tree. “No.” He reached out as his stomach plummeted with her fall.


Reena Jacobs is just your typical writer who loves to see her words in print. As an avid reader, she’s known to hoard books and begs her husband regularly for “just one more purchase.” Her home life is filled with days chasing her preschooler and nights harassing her husband. Between it all, she squeezes in time for writing and growling at the dog.


You can find Reena on Ramblings of an Amateur Writer, Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Nobles, and Smashwords.


Reena Jacobs – Author of Lots of Words


They formed a bond so strong, death couldn’t keep them apart.


Shadow Cat available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and Smashwords.




International Blog Hop & Giveaway

Reena Jacobs is one of seven authors I have teamed up with for an international blog hop to launch my thriller, Bloodletter, and YA fantasy, Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch.


This International Blog Hop started July 1st and runs for 30 days. There are well over 50 books to giveaway (mostly ebooks but some paperbacks as well) so there are lots of chances to win!


To enter, visit:

For the blog tour schedule, visit:


C.A. Kunz’s Excerpt of The Childe

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Please welcome C.A. Kunz on this stop in the blog tour! This mother and son author duo is here to tease us with an excerpt of their YA fantasy, The Childe.



Cat Colvin is pretty much your typical run-of-the-mill teenager growing up in the small port town of Astoria. Sure, she is taller than average, has a mane of fiery red hair that is impossible to tame, is left-handed, and has one eye that is sky blue and one that is amber, but that is where the differences end . . . unless you include the minor detail of her slow metamorphosis into the Childe.

We all know how difficult high school can be, and for Cat Colvin it is no different. Except for the fact she has the daunting task of trying to hide her budding Childe traits as they   begin to reveal themselves at the most inopportune times.

This first book in this coming of age fantasy series follows Cat’s life through the twists and turns toward finding out what and who she really is. Come and take the plunge with Cat into a world filled with biting humor, darkness, and yes, a few life lessons as well.



“Taylor come in and shut the door,” Sam said as he took off his glasses, and began rubbing the lenses with the handkerchief from his shirt pocket. “Your mom and I met with Aldon tonight. He didn’t have any new information. The lead he had disappeared. Now he has to start over. This is dangerous stuff we’re dealing with here son.” Sam’s frown lines on his forehead deepened. “Your mom’s worried about Cat going to school tomorrow. I’m trying to reassure her that she’ll be okay.”


“She’ll be fine mom. She’ll have her friends with her and she seems normal. I don’t know what all the fuss is about,” he uttered, showing little concern.


“Taylor, what part of this-is-dangerous, don’t you understand? We have no idea what Cat will go through in the near future. And we must keep her safe. This is not just about her going to some silly school Taylor, and you know that. She could be in real danger and we could be powerless to help her.” Rachel glared at Taylor as tears slid silently down her cheeks. (pg. 17)



Find us on Goodreads @:

Find us on Facebook @: (book page) and (author page)

Find us on Twitter: @AuthorCAKunz

Our blog/website:

The Childe (Book One in The Childe Series) is available at these locations: (Paperback edition) (Kindle edition) (Paperback edition) (Kindle edition)

Barnes and (Nook edition) (Paperback


International Blog Hop & Giveaway

C.A. Kunz is one of seven authors I have teamed up with for an international blog hop to launch my thriller, Bloodletter, and YA fantasy, Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch.


This International Blog Hop started July 1st and runs for 30 days. There are well over 50 books to giveaway (mostly ebooks but some paperbacks as well) so there are lots of chances to win!


To enter, visit:

For the blog tour schedule, visit:


As part of the giveaway, C.A. Kunz will also be giving away some swag! Check it out!






Also on today’s agenda:

Haresh Daswani is posting a teaser of his humorous short story collection, The Evolution of Insanity, on Reena Jacobs blog.

Lenore’s Wolfe’s Teaser

Monday, July 18th, 2011

We’ve reached the half way point with our blog hop! Today, Lenore Wolfe teases us with her paranormal fantasy Dark Warrior: How to Tame a Wild Hawk.





Dark Warrior: How to Tame  a Wild Hawk

Amanda Kane has always had visions of the man she’s destined to marry–a cowboy who will help her save her ranch. But Hawk is no ordinary cowboy. He carries a powerful secret. A secret that leads to betrayal. She spent years with a secret society of Lakota women, who taught her the ancient ways. Now, she must seek the Grandmothers, from beyond the veil, if they are stop a man behind a mask.



He was magnificent—standing there, waiting for her to reach his side. And
soon after she did, their lives became irrevocably woven together. Mandy
likened it to a silvery, invisible thread, joining their hearts. And she
knew the Grandmothers smiled.


She felt rebellious, right now, with their sure vision of her path. A path
with the Hawk . . . their lives entwined. Her heart pounded—fanciful
thoughts. But her mind soon followed down the path her heart had taken, with
what would have been—could have been—had she not insisted this marriage
be—in name only.


She had done so, only an hour ago, and he had only looked at her, an
unreadable gleam in his eyes. He hadn’t argued, hadn’t said one word.
She had wanted to cry.


“Second thoughts already?” his whisper caressed her face.


Meg hugged her, then, and ran off to take care of their hotel.


Mandy frowned as she watched her friend disappear. Meg was clearly enjoying
this—too much. She shook her head at Hawk. “No, the marriage has its
merits,” she answered, trying for a neutral tone.


He let that jab slide, grinning. “I wasn’t talking about the


Startled, she looked up and was captured, completely off guard, by the
intense look in his gold eyes. He’d read her mind, again, drat the man, or
was her body giving her away?


She should look away—really she should—but suddenly, she couldn’t remember


“Give over Mandy,” he whispered. His gaze refusing to release her from the
fine thread he was weaving around her. She was caressed by it—captured by
it. And each time, the web grew stronger. “You want this marriage in every
way, every bit as much as I, admit it, Mandy,” his low voice fanned the


Mandy opened her mouth, then shut it. She fought for control, lost, and
opened her mouth, again, but the words of denial wouldn’t come.


His hand touched the side of her face, his thumb sliding possessively over
her lips, stroking her bottom lip again, and again, until she thought she
would faint with pleasure.


She’d made a fatal mistake with her heart, thinking she could control this.
She should have listened to the danger signs—to all the warnings, and now,
it was too late. There was no holding back—any part of her, at least, not
anything strong enough to hold back this tide of love—and desire. Even
though, the love part lay only on her side.


She’d been a fool.


And her heart was going to pay the price, but she couldn’t stop, now.


Hawk’s intense, green-gold eyes searched her face, knew the exact instant
she surrendered, and only by iron will did he wait to hear the words.


Words avowing her complete surrender.


She nodded.


He shook his head. “Say it,” he softly commanded. “Tell me what you want.”


Mandy’s tongue darted out to moisten her lips and heard Hawk groan. She
swallowed, her eyes closing for a moment with her body’s reaction to that
simple sound. The fires were rapidly burning out of control. “You.” She
looked into his golden gaze. “I want you.”


Hawk picked her up and walked straight out of Doc’s house and across the
street to the hotel, where he’d rented a room for the night.



Book Trailer:

Dark Warrior: How to Tame a Wild Hawk


Dark Warrior: How to Tame a Wild Hawk is available for $0.99 at:



B & N:




To Contact Lenore:





Triquetra Press Publications:


International Blog Hop & Giveaway

Lenore Wolfe is one of seven authors I have teamed up with for an international blog hop to launch my thriller, Bloodletter, and YA fantasy, Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch.


This International Blog Hop started July 1st and runs for 30 days. There are well over 50 books to giveaway (mostly ebooks but some paperbacks as well) so there are lots of chances to win!


To enter, visit:

For the blog tour schedule, visit:


Also on today’s Agenda:


If you head over to Haresh‘s blog, there’s a three day giveaway cycle of my YA fantasy, Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch! The coupon expires July 20, 2011.






Check out Lindsay Buroker‘s blog for an excerpt of C.A. Kunz’s The Childe.

Lindsay Buroker: Teaser of the Emperor’s Edge

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Today, Lindsay Buroker is here to tease us with her high mystery fantasy, Emperor’s Edge.








Amaranthe woke in the middle of the night with her heart slamming against her ribs. Fleeting memories of a nightmare dissipated like plumes of smoke from a steam engine. All she remembered was something dark chasing her, emitting a horrible, unearthly screech.


The sound came again. She frowned with confusion as dream and reality mixed. Had the screech been real or was she still sleeping?


She sat up on the cot. The wool blanket pooled around her waist. Darkness blanketed the room, though she could feel heat radiating from the nearby stove. She sat motionless and listened.


At first, she heard nothing. Deep in the industrial district, the icehouse neighborhood saw little traffic at night, and silence stretched through the streets like death. Then another screech shattered the quiet. Amaranthe cringed involuntarily; it jarred her nerves like metal gouging metal. An eerily supernatural quality promised it was nothing so innocuous. And it originated nearby, within a block or two.


Thinking of the bear-mauling story in the paper, Amaranthe slid off the cot, reluctant to make any noise. She managed to thump her knee against the desk. So much for not making noise. She groped for the lantern and turned up the flame. The light revealed her neat pile of boots, business clothing, knife, and the box containing her savings. She tugged on the footwear, then grabbed the weapon and lantern. When she opened the door, it creaked. Loudly. She hissed at it in frustration.


On the landing, she glanced around, hoping Sicarius would step out of the shadows. The vastness of the dark warehouse mocked her tiny light. The floor was not visible from the landing. When Amaranthe leaned over the railing, her light reflected off exposed ice, mimicking dozens of yellow eyes staring at her.


Another inhuman screech cut through the walls of the icehouse. It echoed through the streets and alleys outside, surrounding and encompassing. In the distance, dogs barked. The hair on her arms leapt to attention. She shivered and clenched the handle of the lantern more tightly.


“Help!” came a male voice from outside. “Anyone!”


The nearby cry startled Amaranthe. It sounded like the speaker was directly in front of the icehouse.


She crossed the landing, her boots ringing on the metal. A pounding erupted at the double doors below.


“Is someone there?” the voice called.


“On my way!” Amaranthe hustled down the stairs.


He had to be trying to escape whatever was hunting the streets. The doors rattled on their hinges.

“It’s coming!” he shouted.


Amaranthe took the last stairs three at a time. She slid on sawdust when she landed at the bottom, recovered, and ran to the doors. She reached for the heavy wooden bar securing them.


A deafening screech sounded right outside. Amaranthe jerked back.


On the other side of the door, the man shrieked with pain. She wanted to help, to lift the bar, but fear stilled her hand. Armed only with a knife, what could she do?


Coward, you have to try.

She yanked her knife from its sheath. Outside, the cries broke off with a crunch. She reached for the bar again.



She froze at the authoritative tone of Sicarius’s voice.

“Someone’s dying out there,” she said, more out of a sense of obligation than a genuine desire to open the door.


Sicarius walked out of the darkness beneath the stairs. If he had been sleeping, it was not evident. He was fully dressed and armed.


“He’s already dead,” Sicarius said.


Amaranthe forced her breathing to slow and listened for activity. She had a feeling Sicarius was right.


Footsteps crunched on the snow outside, but they did not sound human. They were too heavy. The crunching stopped, and snuffling replaced it. The door shuddered as something bumped it. Amaranthe backed away. The snuffling came again, louder and more insistent.


She continued backing up until she stood beside Sicarius.


“Are we safe in here?” she whispered.




“Oh.” Better to know now than later, I suppose.

The door shuddered again, louder this time.


“It’s coming in, isn’t it?” she asked.


“So it seems.”


Amaranthe searched for escape routes. If she ran up the stairs and climbed onto the railing, she might be able to pull herself up into the rafters. From there, she could crawl along the network of steel beams and supports to the high windows. If she performed an amazing acrobatic feat, she might be able to kick out the glass, then swing out and climb onto the roof. Good, Amaranthe, that works for Sicarius. Now how are you going to get out?

She remembered the grates and the stacks of ice stored beneath the floor. She shoved aside sawdust and found an entrance. The inset handle required a twist and pull that only someone with thumbs could open. She hoped that thing out there had nothing of the sort.


“You coming?” she asked over her shoulder.


“It’s cramped down there; a poor place to make a stand.” Sicarius’s gaze drifted toward her, then toward the windows and up the stairs, as if he sought an alternative.


The creature slammed against the door. A hinge popped off. Wood splintered. Only the bar kept the door standing. And that would not hold long.


“Fine,” Amaranthe said. “Let me know how it goes up here.”


She grabbed the lantern and climbed down the ladder. She paused to close the grate. Sicarius appeared and caught it before it fell. He waved for her to continue down, then slipped in and secured the grate behind him.


“I thought you might change your mind,” she said.


A crash came from above—the sound of the bar shattering and the door collapsing. Feet or paws or something like padded through the sawdust.


Amaranthe wished she knew what the creature looked like, specifically if it had digits that would allow it to turn the handle to their hideout. Or if its strength might let it rip the grates open without bothering with a handle. She shivered. Maybe she should have tried the window route.


There was not much room between the stacks of ice and the wall. A block pressed against her shoulder and numbed her arm. She wished she had grabbed her parka.


The footsteps altered pitch as the creature moved from solid floor to the grate. Tiny flecks of sawdust sifted through. With the darkness above, Amaranthe could not see anything through the tiny gaps in the metal. She could only hear the creature. Sniffing.


Sicarius faced the entrance, his back to her and the lantern. Neither of them spoke, though there was little point in silence. It knew where they were.


The scrape of claws on metal replaced the sniffing. Slow and experimental at first, the noise then grew faster, like a dog digging under a fence.


When claws slipped between the gaps in the grate, she sucked in a breath. It was the span between them that unsettled her. No animal she had ever seen had paws that large.


She lowered her eyes and stared at Sicarius’s back, the steady expansion and contraction of his rib cage. The air felt tight and constricting, and her own breaths were shallow and fast. She tried to emulate his calm. After all, he had not drawn a weapon. Maybe he knew they were safe. Or maybe he knew fighting the creature was pointless.


Above, the clawing stopped. Nothing moved.


A soft splatter to Amaranthe’s right made her jump. At first she thought it had come from the ice above, a drop melting. But it steamed when it hit a block. Another drop struck the back of her hand. As hot as candle wax, it stung like salt in a cut. Not melted ice, she realized. Saliva.


Slowly, she looked up. More drops filtered down. Puffs of steam whispered through the grate—the creature’s breath, visible in the chill air. Two yellow dots burned on the other side of that fog. Eyes reflecting the flame of her lantern.


Amaranthe sank into a crouch and buried her face in her knees. She closed her eyes, willing the thing to go away. A drop of hot saliva hit the back of her neck.


Time seeped by like molasses. The footsteps finally started up again. They padded away and moved beyond the range of her ears.


For several long moments, she and Sicarius hunkered there, between the wall and the ice. The cold bit through Amaranthe’s night clothes. Her teeth chattered and she shivered. She held her hands close to the lantern, but it gave off little heat.


“Is it gone?” she asked.


“Impossible to tell,” he said.


“Well, I’m freezing. Either one of us is going to have to check or we’ll have to start cuddling.”


Sicarius climbed the ladder. He opened the grate, peered out, then disappeared over the edge.


“There’s something wrong with a man who chooses to face death over cuddling with a woman.” Amaranthe grabbed the lantern and followed him out. “Of course, there may be something equally wrong with a woman who goes after him instead of waiting in safety.”


Once up top, she left the grate open in case they needed to jump back down in a hurry. She looked for Sicarius, but her light did not illuminate much of the icehouse. Snow falling outside the broken-down door caught her eye. The body had been dragged to the side, and only an arm remained in view. Amaranthe swallowed.


“It’s not inside,” Sicarius said.


He stepped out from behind the ice stacks carrying a couple of boards. He resealed the door as much as the warped hinges would allow. The splintered wood did not make a reassuring barrier. Sicarius threw the old bar—now snapped in half—to the side and replaced it with the boards.


“Maybe we should go out and check on that man. See if…” He’s dead Amaranthe. You were too late to help.

“I wouldn’t,” Sicarius said.


He was as cool and emotionless as ever, but his unwillingness to leave the building concerned her. If, with all his skill, he did not want to confront whatever stalked the streets, who else could?



The Emperor’s Edge is available at Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.


Visit Lindsay’s blog for more on her stories and e-publishing.


Thanks for joining us Lindsay!


International Blog Hop & Giveaway

Lindsay Buroker is one of seven authors I have teamed up with for an international blog hop to launch my thriller, Bloodletter, and YA fantasy, Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch.


This International Blog Hop started July 1st and runs for 30 days. There are well over 50 books to giveaway (mostly ebooks but some paperbacks as well) so there are lots of chances to win!


To enter, visit:

For the blog tour schedule, visit:


Also on Friday’s agenda is a fun interview I did with Megan. Visit her blog for a glimpse of madness and a chance to win a copy of my YA fantasy, Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch.


Nicole Ross: Author Interview and Giveaway

Monday, June 20th, 2011

It’s a pleasure to have Nicole Ross here today to talk about her book, FORNAX RISING. For a chance to learn more about this indie author, her writing process, inspiration and win a copy of her book, read on!

About the author.

I was born in Germany and moved to Australia with my parents when I was ten years old. I’ve always loved playing with language: I’m a professional translator, an avid reader, and have been on the creative and academic sides of the writing fence. My first novel, *Fornax Rising*, which is a Steampunk coming-of-age story was released as an e-book on Amazon and Smashwords on 6 June 2011, with the paperback to come by the end of the month.


Life in the early twentieth century isn’t easy for women, especially if that woman is an outspoken, intelligent, headstrong, augmented amputee with prosthetic technology that is the envy of armies. Enter Cassandra Leigh Fornax.

Daughter of the shipping magnate John Fornax, Cassandra has had a harder life than most young people of her social standing. After a tragic childhood accident leaves her an amputee, Cassandra’s uncle and engineer, Philip Fornax, builds her a revolutionary prosthesis which replaces the hand she lost. As Cassandra begins to make her own decisions about her future, she finds that her domineering father intends her to live a radically different life. She emancipates herself loudly and publicly at her eighteenth birthday party, scandalising her parents and putting paid to her father’s scheme. When Philip receives an offer to work in an airship factory in Germany, Cassandra follows him so she can put some distance between herself and her father. As the threat of war looms over Europe, the German army has the talented engineer’s most advanced creation firmly in its sights. Cassandra had hoped to leave her troubles behind when she left Britain, but finds they have just begun.


When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I started to consider myself a writer sometime in 2010, after I’d noticed
that I was working on *Fornax Rising* pretty consistently. I didn’t want
to start thinking of myself as a writer unless I had something to show for


If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

If I could have any writer, living or dead, I’d choose Erich Maria
Remarque. He had such an honest, heart-breakingly beautiful writing style.


Why did you choose this genre and the title of your book?

I chose Steampunk because it fit my protagonist, Cassandra. She’s an amputee with a prosthesis whose technology is ahead of the time period in which
the story is set. So that’s the steam side; Cassandra is a rebellious, tenacious person so that fills the punk quota nicely. I see punks as people who go against the grain, and she definitely does.


What inspired you to write your book?

Initially, imagining Cassandra was an exercise. As I kept thinking about
her, what makes her tick and who her family is, more of the story started
to take shape, so I started to write it down. I wasn’t expecting to produce
an entire novel – initially, I was aiming for a short story or novella at


What books have influenced your life most?

Richard Dawkins gets a lot of the credit here – no, I’m not going to say
that *The God Delusion* influenced my life. I was already an atheist when
that book was published. I love Dawkins’ popular science books for opening
the door to science appreciation for me – *The Blind Watchmaker* and
*Climbing Mount Improbable* which are both about complex systems evolution are
stand-out titles. Richard Dawkins fostered the interest which is taking me
back to school next month to start the preparation course for my science

The fiction book which influenced me most is *Momo* by Michael Ende. I
watched the start of the movie as a child, but found the grey men too
scary and left the room. In that novel, a little girl called Momo has to stop
the villains (the grey men) who are stealing time from humans. The story is
about taking the time to appreciate your life and loved ones instead of
running around like a headless chicken.


Where do you get your ideas for your books?

*Fornax Rising* was largely written off-the-cuff. I didn’t put in a whole
lot of forward planning, aside from deciding on major events in the story.
For the rest, I just sat at my computer and typed, and let the moment
surprise me.


What was your favourite chapter to write and why?

I hadn’t really thought about this before, but my favourite chapter would
have to be the one where Cassandra’s parents drop the bombshell and
publicly reveal that they’ve chosen a husband for her. What they didn’t expect was
for Cassandra to let them know, just as publicly, what she thought about
that. When her parents try to force her into the marriage, she makes a bid
for freedom, which ultimately succeeds. I’ve always respected tenacity,
and wasn’t about to have my protagonist jump because someone told her to.


Why do you feel you had to tell this story?

I had a lot of fun writing *Fornax Rising* and published it because I
wanted to share it with others. I think it has positive messages: “don’t allow
others to dictate how you should live your life”; and “if your biological
family is less than ideal, the friends you make along the way become your
true family.”


Is there a second book in the works?

Yes, there is! I’m currently working on a sequel whose working title is
*The Fall of Melnax*. Originally, I wanted to add the events which will take
place in this story to *Fornax Rising*, but I didn’t want to have the
story drag on, so I made a reasonably clean cut, and saved a few “what happened
to…?” surprises for the sequel.


Question of Nicole’s Choice: I’ll go with the question from *Office Space*: what would you do if you had $1 million?

I’ll probably sound a bit like Samir (from the movie) when I say this, but
I’d pay off my mortgage, invest a chunk, and go on a world trip with my
husband. We already have plans to visit Japan and Russia, but travelling
is addictive, so more funds are always welcome!


Nicole will be giving away two copies of Fornax Rising (ebooks). To enter, answer this poll in the comment section below.

Reading is:

a) An adventure

b) An escape from reality

c) My ultimate addiction

Two winners will be chosen on Sunday June 26 at 12pm EST. Winners will be posted on the site and contacted by email.  Winners will be given the coupon code for the book and will have one week from the date of contact to claim their prize. Good luck!

Nicole Ross
Author of *Fornax Rising*


Find *Fornax Rising* on:




Bloodletter is Now Available at Amazon and Smashwords!

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

After nearly a decade of writing and rewriting, Bloodletter is now available at Amazon and Smashwords for $0.99. Okay, when I say I decade, I mean I started it when I was nineteen (whoops, age drop). To be fair, I’ve written four books in between.

I’m glad I didn’t try to publish it when I was done the first few drafts. Back then, it was fifty thousand words and still needed a lot of work. A self-publishing company contacted me to see when the book would be done. After telling them it would be about a month, I got off the phone jumping and screaming. But, I was iffy about self-publishing it. They accepted any book and didn’t edit it. As much as I wanted to get my book out there, I didn’t want to publish it until it was ready and I definitely didn’t want it published without it being professionally edited. I never did call them back.

Many revisions later, I let my cousin read it to get her opinion on it. Before she read it, she told me, “If I don’t have it back in two weeks, I didn’t like it.” There was no sugar-coating this. She wasn’t going to hold anything back if she thought the book sucked. That’s exactly what I wanted to hear. A few others read it. I asked them for details–what they liked and what they didn’t like. Before the book is published, telling me “It’s good” doesn’t help me. I’m glad they liked it but I wanted to know their thoughts on the characters, the pacing, and the overall plot regardless of whether they thought it would hurt my feelings.

So what happened with my cousin? She was done in two days.

That was years ago and, since then, Bloodletter has been given a major overhaul and has been professionally edited twice. (The first time I used Michael Garrett, the second time was Scott Alexander Jones. I recommend them both.)

Bloodletter is now available at Amazon and Smashwords. It will be available in print in the next month or so. The next book in the series will be released in the next few months, maybe earlier, we’ll see.

Bloodletter Synopsis:

Thou shalt not kill.

A contradictory message written in blood at the scene of a young woman’s murder. Within days, another body surfaces with a similar calling card and, to Detective Ramon Faust and Criminalist Kelly Garret, it’s clear a deadly game is underfoot.

As the rash of horrific crimes continue, a phone call unearths a shocking revelation: Nakeita isn’t the first city the elusive killer has left his mark. The Bloodletter, as dubbed by the media, has played his deadly game before.

Delving deep into the most terrifying case of Kelly’s career, threatening phone calls and flashbacks of a forgotten near-death experience challenge her sanity and the lives of everyone she loves.

Check it out. If you enjoyed it, please be kind enough to recommend it to others and leave a review.

Upcoming Giveaway:

On July 1 2011, I will be hosting a giveaway to launch Bloodletter and Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch. As part of my authors promoting authors, I have teamed up with five other authors. Not only will I be giving away copies of my books but theirs as well which means more chances to win and more prizes! Details to come . . .

Bloodletter Teaser

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Bloodletter is now available on Amazon and Smashwords!

Amazon: Click here to download for $0.99.

Smashwords: Click here to download for $0.99.


by Angel Haze

Thou shalt not kill.

A contradictory message written in blood at the scene of a young woman’s murder. Within days, another body surfaces with a similar calling card and, to Detective Ramon Faust and Criminalist Kelly Garret, it’s clear a deadly game is underfoot.

As the rash of horrific crimes continue, a phone call unearths a shocking revelation: Nakeita isn’t the first city the elusive killer has left his mark. The Bloodletter, as dubbed by the media, has played his deadly game before.

Delving deep into the most terrifying case of Kelly’s career, threatening phone calls and flashbacks of a forgotten near-death experience challenge her sanity and the lives of everyone she loves.

Here’s a teaser!


Chapter 1


“Twenty-one-year-old white female named Lily Cooper, found in Edmond Park, raped and murdered,” Detective Ramon Faust explained as he spread the crime scene photographs across the table in front of the three criminalists. “A guy named Joe Woodview found the body. He was jogging in Edmond Park around seven on Friday morning. She was hidden in a wooded area in the southeast corner. Been dead for a day and a half.”

One of the criminalists, Kelly Garret, lifted a photograph of the victim, slightly unnerved by their shared resemblance despite her being nearly ten years the victim’s senior. Beyond their similarly long, wavy, dark hair, deep brown eyes, plump lips and shapely figures, Lily had a tattoo of a lily on her hip. She had been in her second year of Nursing at the University of Nakeita. She was young, beautiful, and full of potential, but her twenty-first birthday was the last that she would see.

“She was shot point blank in her right temple with a .38 caliber revolver,” Detective Faust said. “If the killer shot from behind, this likely means he’s right-handed. But, if he shot from the side, it’s anyone’s guess. There are bruises around her wrists and around her pubic region, skin under her nails, and a few broken nails. She wasn’t going down without a fight.”

Another criminalist, Nina Brandt, leaned back in her chair, twirling a pen between her fingers. Her blonde hair was pulled in a loose ponytail, her expression hardened by growing up with three brothers and fifteen years on the job. “Good for her,” she said.

“We found a few short black hairs and some long brown hairs. Her blood alcohol content was 0.17,” said Faust.

Kelly sighed. “With her small stature and that much to drink, she didn’t stand a chance.” She glanced at Chad Evans, her best friend since childhood, surprised he hadn’t put in his two cents. His head remained down as he scribbled information into his notebook.

She shuffled through the photos. In one of them, the victim was lying supine on the grass in a pink cotton tank top and a white knee-length shirt, both stained with blood. Her skirt was pulled up, revealing her ripped panties. The small pink purse to her left was closed. Forty-five dollars in cash remained in her wallet.

“As of yet,” said Detective Faust. “We don’t know where she was that night or who she was with.”

“It was her birthday. I doubt she was out drinking alone,” said Nina, pulling the pen out of her mouth.

“No one has come forward and her parents haven’t a clue.”



“What about girlfriends?” Kelly interjected.

Faust shook his head. “I have yet to find out. I’m not sure what kind of relationship the victim had with her parents. It seems to me, they were often left in the dark.”

Kelly’s eyes narrowed. “They don’t know any of her friends?”

“Her mother said she never brought them home. No one ever called the house. She provided me with a small list, but none of them, with their busy schedules, had seen her in a few weeks.”

Chad looked up from his notebook. “What about a cell phone?”

“I’m working on that.” Faust said.

Kelly tapped her fingers on the table. “Maybe she met someone, either at a bar or as she was walking down the street. Someone who wanted to take her home. Maybe she resisted. Maybe she didn’t. Maybe he wasn’t taking no for an answer.” She stared down at the ripped panties, wondering what type of woman the victim had been. Had she been interested in having sex with the man who had done this to her? Had she been interested but then changed her mind? Or had someone flat-out attacked her?

“Until we figure out something with her cell phone or someone steps forward—” Faust began.

“Why didn’t anyone report her missing until yesterday?” Kelly interrupted, tapping on one of the photos of the victim’s lifeless body.

Faust turned to her. “She was scheduled to attend an out-of-town conference on Thursday. She lived alone in an apartment. Her mother last spoke to her on Wednesday morning to wish her a happy birthday, but no one expected her home until Friday evening.”

Nina rolled her eyes. “Well, this just keeps getting better and better.”


Chapter 2



“Won’t it be wonderful?” Iesha asked, gazing into the man’s deep brown eyes. “It’ll be just as I’ve always imagined it. Oh, how happy we’ll be! The two of us raising a family.”

He shifted in his chair, avoiding her eyes. “What’s wrong?” she asked. Their eyes met momentarily, but he shied away from her. “What is it?” She squeezed his hand, but he pulled away. “Adam?”

“I can’t do this,” he said, his voice barely a whisper.

“What?” she asked, unsure of whether she had heard him correctly? “What do you mean?”

“I can’t do this,” Adam repeated. “Not anymore. I can’t leave her. I love her too much.”

Iesha’s eyes swelled with tears. “But . . . I love you.” She waited for him to tell her that he loved her too, but he remained silent, staring down at his hands.

“You love me, don’t you?”

“I . . . I . . .” His voice trailed off.

Tears streamed down her face. He wouldn’t even look at her. “You love me. I know you do.”

He stood and turned away from her. She ran to his side, grabbing his wrist. “Please, don’t do this!” she cried. “We were meant to be together! Tell me you love me!”

“I love her.”

“No!” she screamed. “I know you love me. You don’t love her!”

“I’m getting married soon. I can’t keep fooling around. I don’t want to hurt her. I just can’t.”

“What about me?” yelled Iesha, tugging at his shirt. “What about what I want?”

His eyes narrowed. “You just don’t get it. There is no you. There is no us. This was all just a big mistake.”

A mistake? Their love, a mistake? A sham? She scowled. How could he do this to her? How could he play her like this?

“But, you can’t marry her!”

“Goodbye, Iesha.” He turned his back to her.

She followed him to the staircase, searching desperately for any kind of solution. Thirty more seconds and he’d be out the door. Out of her life. She couldn’t let that happen.

She pulled on his wrist. “Don’t leave me.” She sobbed. “I feel like a broken record. What do I need to say to make you stay? Please! I’ll die without you!”

He whipped around, his eyes burning with anger. “That’s enough, Iesha! I’ve bloody well had it with you. It’s over. Get it? Don’t call me. Don’t write. Don’t email. It’s over. I don’t love you. You hear me? I don’t love you.”

That was when she pushed him.

It wasn’t supposed to happen the way it did. He wasn’t supposed to fall. Her outstretched hand couldn’t save him in time. He tumbled down the basement stairs and the sound of his neck snapping would never be erased from her mind. The terror in his eyes as he fell would forever haunt her.



A cool wind rippled through Iesha’s nylon jacket as she began to walk down the narrow dirt path. It was dark now. She figured it was probably around nine o’clock. She shouldn’t be thinking of what happened. Not in the dark.

An owl cried mournfully in the distance.

She looked around, pulling her jacket tight. A sense of uneasiness crept up, and she wondered if she was alone. Someone could be watching her from within the shadows. Some dark man could be monitoring her every move, plotting and waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Someone could be hidden behind one of the trees looming over her like souls reaching from the depths of Hell. She felt like Little Red Riding Hood being pursued from some silent, invisible wolf.

Suddenly, a dark object moved ahead of her.

Iesha felt her heart jump as a pair of glowing eyes and a mouthful of razor-sharp teeth dripping with saliva flashed before her. She shuddered, attempting to block out the horrible images. Her imagination was only making things worse.

Nervously biting her lower lip, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. There’s nothing there. It’s just your imagination, she told herself. From this, she drew little comfort. She knew she had seen something, but she didn’t intend to stay long enough to find out.

Just then, a dark outline of a man appeared less than twenty feet away, an object in his hand gleaming in the moonlight.

She gasped, surprised her suspicions had been correct. The man was just ahead of her and coming closer.

Iesha found herself surprisingly frozen in her steps, despite her mental efforts to run. She was shaking uncontrollably and her heart was pounding like a rabid animal, trying to force its way out of a cage.

Iesha could hear him laughing hysterically like he knew she was trapped. He could sense her fear and he was laughing. Or was that her imagination?

There was nothing fake about this, though. This was real. He was real.

Run. She had to run.

But her body was stiff, and her mind was racing. Desperately, she searched for an escape route, but found nothing, only a dark forest. He was closing in on her and her time was running out. There was nowhere to go. No one would be able to hear her screams. She was trapped.

Closer now, she could see his face. His long dark hair hung heavily over his forehead. His dark eyes bored into her as if he was locking his victim and drawing her in. She wanted to look away, to look past him, but she couldn’t let him see her fear.

She looked down, unable to meet his gaze. Go away! Stop staring at me! Against her wishes, she gritted her teeth and managed to look up at him. He was grinning at her with sadistic eyes that sent chills up her spine.

“Aren’t you a tasty treat,” he said, rolling his tongue along his lower lip as he stared at her breasts.

Iesha shuddered. You don’t want me! I’m fat! How can you even look at me?

The man stared down at her. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t look away. Once their eyes had locked, it was like she had turned to stone. Her breathing was shaky and loud, and she wondered if he could hear it.

He chuckled at her vulnerability, stumbling backwards. The man was drunk.

“Would you like a drink?” he asked as he offered her the bottle he’d been holding.

A bottle. It was only a bottle.

A weight lifted, but she was still not at ease. She was well-aware of his intensions. “N-no thanks,” she stammered.

His pocket. There could be a knife in his pocket. And what if he had a gun?

“I ain’t gonna hurt you, sweetheart. You don’t want a drink, that’s fine with me. Whatever you want.”

Iesha froze as he stumbled past her, flinching as his jacket brushed her side. His eyes narrowed as he caught her expression. He shook his head, muttering something incoherent about women.

She was ten feet away from him when the man began to yell. “H-hey!”

Iesha cringed and bit her lip. She hadn’t been discreet enough. Maintaining a quick pace, she refused to give into the temptation to run. She didn’t want to set him off.

“Hey!” he yelled again, this time a little louder.

She felt her leg break into a sprint. Soon she wasn’t far from home. She had to make it home where it was safe!

“You stupid bitch! I wasn’t going to hurt you!” His heavy footsteps ran close behind her.

Tears were streaming down her cheeks. She didn’t dare look back. Iesha couldn’t bear to look at that face again, but it didn’t matter. The face would be there every time she closed her eyes, taunting her. She would never be able to block it out.

She was breathing heavily, almost wheezing, but she couldn’t stop.

Suddenly, her foot caught in the root of a tree, and her arms instinctively shot out in front of her as she took in a mouthful of dirt. She found herself alone, vulnerable as she lay in the dirt as she looked back for him. Even though she couldn’t see him, there was no way to be sure that he was gone. He could still be out there, watching and waiting.

Back on her feet, she ran as fast as she could. Bombarded with cramps, she clutched her side, but her body didn’t allow her to slow down.

She was panting as she reached the house, her mouth dry, her throat burning. Her shaky hand fumbled with the keys in her coat pocket as she ran up the porch steps, past the two jack-o-lanterns.

Only when she reached the door did she dare look behind her. The man was still nowhere to be seen.

Next door, over at her neighbor’s mansion, the downstairs lights were on and music was blaring. The man must have come from there. Her neighbor, Dr. Willmar, threw wild parties regularly.

She quickly stepped into her house and closed the door. Her hands were still shaking as she engaged all three locks.

Chills ran up her spine as she felt another presence. Flipping the switch, her body stiffened as she listened.


Hollow breathing broke the silence. It was close, too close.

Her body was shaking uncontrollably. She whipped around and gasped as she stood face to face with the Grim Reaper.


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