Guest Post: My Personal Journey as a Writer by Danielle Larsen

Introducing Danielle Larsen who shares an insight into her journey as a writer.

I never really thought of myself as a writer. Even now, with a published book, it’s still something I struggle with. I think it’s because I’ve always had this image in my head of what a writer is “supposed to be.” I picture Charles Dickens or Jane Austen sitting by candlelight hunched over pages and pages of handwritten stories. I see Jo March from Little Women feverishly writing into the night until her hand cramps up. I never thought that simply writing about myself was enough to consider me a writer.

Looking back, writing has always been part of my life, but it probably wasn’t in the way that most of my peers came to it. I was the teenager with endless journals and diaries, pouring my heart and thoughts into pages but struggled with writing assignments in school. If there was an opportunity for an alternate assignment that didn’t involve writing a paper, that’s what I was going to do.

When I was in college, my school had a habit of “personal reflection essays.” At the end of each semester, you had to write a paper for almost every single class reflecting on your journey and time in that class. Writing these small essays got me into the habit of looking inward and really putting my thoughts into something coherent. I fully believe this is what eventually led to my current blog, The Mindful Fight, which has been up and running for about a year and a half now.

But writing a memoir, even though people had told me that I should, wasn’t really anything that I thought I’d ever be able to accomplish. While writing any kind of book is a never-ending process of revisions, edits, and late-night writing sessions, when it comes to memoir writing you have to look so deep within yourself that the process itself is extremely exhausting. I knew that writing about my own story, which involves domestic abuse, would be something that would take a lot of strength and courage.

Even as I started writing, though, I doubted myself. The stories and words were pouring out of me, but diving into things that I’d long since buried was extremely difficult. I was finding that if a story was in my head ready to be written that I had to get it down or I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I spent many nights writing until the crack of dawn because of this. The process of tapping into these memories was exhausting enough, and I was burning the candle at both ends.

It’s been 6 months since my book came out and, if I knew then what I know now, I would have taken my time. I would have paced myself instead of subjecting myself to a constant flow of difficult memories. I had friends telling me to, but I simply couldn’t stop writing. This sounds like a good thing, but in hindsight it actually made the process harder. I would write a difficult story and then jump right into the next one. Then I would go back a few days later to reread it and it was like a severe form of immersion therapy: being constantly throw into the deep end hoping that I would swim.

Writing a memoir, no matter the subject, is something extremely personal and unless you’ve done it, it’s hard to explain how difficult it really is. Many people see memoir writing as self-indulgent and I simply don’t think that’s fair. It’s a weird thing to say, “Hey, this book is about me,” and hope that people will read it, but we wouldn’t tell our stories if we didn’t think they were worth telling. My story isn’t unique at all, but many abuse survivors never find their voice. I was able to find the strength to tell my story and my hope is that it can help others in similar situations find theirs. That’s why I called my book From Voiceless To Vocal because I went from being silenced to speaking out in the ultimate way.

As I sit here, with my book on a shelf over my head, it’s still hard to think of myself as a writer. Most of my peers are fiction writers and a lot of the time I feel as though I’m on the outside looking in within the writing community. It’s hard to consider yourself a writer when those around you are promoting their multi-book series and you have a 140 page book about your own life. But at the end of the day, I am a writer. I’m a published author regardless of what exists between those pages and even if I never sell another copy, I’ll always have that.

My advice to anyone struggling with their identity as a writer is to not compare yourself to your peers. Trust me, I know how difficult that is, but we’re all struggling with the same things. Even if you never publish a book or you have 20 by the time you’re finished, simply writing things and committing yourself to the page, regardless of whether others see it or not, makes you a writer.

Maybe some will disagree with that, but that’s part of being a writer too. Not everyone is going to love everything you have to say… but say it anyway. If you have a story you want to tell, tell it. Write the stories that you want to write because you love them and don’t worry about what might happen down the line. It might live in your computer forever or maybe you’ll become a bestseller, but you’ll know that you put those words down and that alone should make you proud.

Danielle’s inspirational memoir ‘From Voiceless to Vocal’ is available now and you can find out more information here.

Click on the book below to see my recent review and be sure to check out her website The Mindful Fight here.

Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Ironside & Aegis: Origins’ by David E. Bruno

Introducing author David E. Bruno who shares an exclusive excerpt of superhero book ‘Ironside & Aegis: Origins’.

Rocco and Orro laughed on the other side of the room, ready to finish off Aegis as they had Ironside.
But Ironside was not dead—not yet. He slowly opened his eyes and turned his head toward Aegis as she held his shoulders up from the floor. He whispered, “Find Rick and Phil and protect them. Shield them. Go… now.”
“I’m not leaving you. I’m not leaving you. We win or die together, remember?” Aegis cried.
He inhaled shallowly, barely able to speak. His organs bulged from the opening in his gut. “Save yourself. Save them. I’m done… overloaded… exploding… dying. Go!” Ironside’s eyes began to glow bright white. Defying his injuries, he slowly came to his feet. Aegis had seen this before and knew he needed space. She limped to the side, away from both Ironside and their foes. But this time was different. He was injured. Ironside’s skin turned blood red, and his hair became pure white and stood on end. His body lifted and hovered inches above the floor. He held out his arms as static energy crackled from his fingertips and jumped to the walls. The gap in his abdomen began to glow again, bright as the sun and sizzling like bacon in a pan.
Aegis’s heart pounded as she witnessed the metamorphosis of her man. He’d become something else—something she’d teased him about before. He’d become a true demigod—and he was losing the battle for his life. Power coursed through his body in seemingly infinite intensity, yet he lacked the power to heal the damage that had been done by Rocco. “No!” Aegis shouted. “You can’t do this alone, Ironside. We can do this together. I love you!” She wailed at the horror show unfolding before her eyes.
Ironside caught a brief glimpse of her. Steam rose from his burning, dying eyes as moisture boiled off of them. In a calm, measured manner, he said in a strange, deep, metallic timbre, “Don’t cry for me, babe. You gave my life meaning. You are my purpose and you saved me. We came here to save the world. Now let me use what’s left of my life to save you.” He paused as he struggled to grab another breath before addressing her one final time. “I thought I told you to run.”
Finally heeding Ironside’s demand, Aegis burst into tears. Still in pain from being ripped from Orro’s shoulders, she sprinted as fast as she could out the door past Rocco and Orro, who became indifferent to her. The brothers stood in awe at the revival of the man they’d thought to be dead. Aegis had been weakened, and they could terminate her later. To finally slay Ironside, they needed to attack as a team.
Ironside glided silently in the air over to Rocco who unleashed the only weapon he had left, his punch. Ironside tilted his head to the side, raised his hand, and grabbed the fist flying toward him. With an ethereal squeeze of a single hand, he crushed Rocco’s armored fist. It was both graceful, and devastating.
“AHHHH! What the hell are you?” screamed Rocco as he hunched over and pulled his mangled hand inward.
Orro screamed, “My brother! You’re gonna die, little man!” Before Orro could move, Ironside flew at lightning speed toward the sword, as if by the force of his will alone. The sword lifted from the floor to his hand like iron to a magnet. He then flung it toward Orro. The sword spun like a boomerang and struck Orro in the leg just below his knee, severing the lower half.
“AHHHH!” Orro shouted as the bottom half of his golden leg separated and fell to the floor. He crashed to the ground and grabbed at his wound, attempting to stop the bleeding. The severed calf twitched and flopped in pool of blood.
“Wanna go for a walk, big guy? Oh, I see. Some other time then,” cracked Ironside in his deep, metallic timbre. “You should’ve been nicer to us.”
Ironside turned back to Rocco and recalled what Max had told him. All of the Agency’s creations had a weakness—areas of unarmored flesh. He needed to find them. Ironside hovered around Rocco in search of the spot as the giant favored his smashed hand. He found it: a small patch of normal-looking skin was visible in the middle of Rocco’s red back.
“Lookie here. Don’t worry… ” Ironside grabbed Rocco’s neck with one hand and thrust the other into Rocco’s back. Rocco let out an agonizing cry as Ironside effortlessly removed his spine and pieces of ribs. “… I got your back, Jack,” Ironside quipped with the bloody body parts in hand.
With his spine extracted, Rocco fell silent and limp as he converted from armor to regular flesh. Blood rained onto the floor as Ironside held up the body with one hand and the spine with the other. With grim satisfaction, Ironside released Rocco, letting his parts fall to the floor. “Invertebrate worm.”
“This isn’t possible!” cried Orro as he sat on the ground and wailed in pain. “You killed him! My only brother!” He paused and took several deep breaths, trying not to bleed out. In a deep, slow tone, he asserted, “It’s my turn now.” Orro trembled as he unleashed the full force of his ocular beams. Ironside shuddered as he was thrown backward, absorbing the energy. His power increased exponentially. Every cell in his body hummed as the energy multiplied. Static sparks crackled from his skin. Ironside’s whole body pulsed as a corona formed around his perimeter. He had become amplified beyond his limits—a reactor on the verge of a meltdown. The crack in Ironside’s abdomen began to widen and grew deeper as he careened wildly around the room.
Orro released the beam and smiled at his achievement with horrible satisfaction as he rested on the floor. Knowing that he had beaten Ironside, he savored the vengeance achieved for the death of his brother. It was only a matter of time until Ironside fell, this time for good.

This is an exclusive excerpt of ‘Ironside & Aegis: Origins’ which is available now.

You can find more information about David E. Bruno over on Twitter

Guest post: Excerpt of ‘Mobbed Up in Suburbia’ by Charlie Crane.

Introducing author Charlie Crane who shares an exclusive excerpt of crime thriller book ‘Mobbed Up in Suburbia’.

Junior found Hot Nose standing out on the veranda, watching the late night closing in on another morning. Junior had stood just inside the house for a time, watching Bill sip his whiskey, looking out at yesterday and tomorrow. Melancholic was how it had struck Junior, which was out of character for Bill, so it could be a moment of opportunity. A rare time when Bill’s sentiment allowed him to drop his guard.
Bill pushed a clean glass Junior’s way. “Join me, kid. It’s good to have the company.”
Junior poured himself a whiskey and took a belt and Hot Nose said,
“It’s a beautiful night out, ain’t it, kid?”
“It is. I miss these autumn nights. LA’s got two seasons. Hot and not so hot.”
“Sounds miserable. I don’t know how you do it.”
It had taken Junior some time to adjust—he’d spent countless nights in his first few months searching for environs that would make him feel more at home. He’d finally given up and realized that LA had a charm of its own, and if he were going to stay, he’d have to learn to appreciate it for what it was. “It has its upside.”
“Yeah,” Bill said, watching the night, “I guess everywhere does. Good and bad.”
Junior faced Bill’s formidable profile. “You’re gonna have to talk to me, Bill. You know that, right? You’re gonna have to give me what I need. Bill?” Bill faced him. “Otherwise, tell me what the hell I’m doing here.”
Bill turned away. “You’re just here, that’s all. Your father wants you here. Tell ya the truth, I was against it. I didn’t see the need. We been doing battle with the Costellos for thirty fuckin’ years. Off and on, we have. This ain’t nothin’ new.”
“No? Well, something’s new, Bill, something’s changed. The Don’s not a guy who overreacts, is he? I know he trusts you. I know he talks to you. There’s a lot you’re not telling me. Tell you the truth, I’m beginning to feel a little offended. I heard about the girl, Bill. I heard somethin’ bad happened. And I heard it was The Don who was to blame.”
Bill whipped his head in Junior’s direction. “The Don! To blame! You don’t know what the fuck you’re talkin’ about. The Don never wanted that!”
“Then what did he want, Bill? You tell me. Set me straight, so I do know what the fuck I’m talking about. So we don’t have to keep playing this game with each other. You don’t want me here? I understand. And I don’t want to be here. So do us both a favor and tell me what the hell we’re working with so I can get out of your hair!”
Bill turned back to the night. “It got out of hand. The Don likes this girl. He knew her when she was a kid.” Bill glanced at Junior. “I did, too. A sweet kid. She grew up around here. An Italian girl, but nothin’ to us, nothin’ to any family. Not even her own. They’d been looking out for her none of this would have happened.”
“Who is she, Bill? What is she to The Don?”
“Who knows? Your father’s got a soft spot for these wayward girls. He always has. He sees them on the street, he sees un peccato, una parodia. He’s gotta save ‘em, you know.” Bill turned to Junior, and said, in a shrugging way, “It’s a weakness.”
Junior nodded and said, “So the girl? This girl The Don wanted to save? She got turned out?”
“Si, she got turned out. By one of Costello’s guys. The one who thinks he’s a lover. The one they call The Gent. But he’s got no respect for women. His mother was a whore.”
“So who’s the guy who blinks?”
Bill looked at Junior with surprise. His nod said he was impressed. “What’s it matter? He’s in the wind. We had to save him. Now they’re all over looking for him. But he’s a ghost. They’ll never find him. Only The Don knows. There are some things, you know, kid, that The Don keeps to himself.”
Junior topped off his whiskey and let it lay. It was about all he was gonna get out of Hot Nose Bill tonight. They sat back and stared at the moonless night together now. Nothin’ but empty blackness swallowing weakly flickering stars.

This is an excerpt of ‘Mobbed Up in Suburbia’ by Charlie Crane which is available now.

You can find the Charlie over on the Tweet machine here.

Detective Stories-An Excerpt

Hello friends, today I am re-blogging an excerpt of ‘Detective Stories’ from fellow author Megan Hinde via her awesome blog.

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Collection of detective stories featuring Detective James Andrews. “Secret admirer?” Officer Roberts asked handing Detective James Andrews a red heart shaped box, wrapped with a white ribbon. “Not likely,” James said taking the box, setting it down on the desk in front of him. James pulled the white ribbon that made a bow around the box. He slid the top of the box up, lifting it off. “What the…” James pushed back from his desk standing up. “Get a crime scene kit up here,” He ordered.

First off I’m terrible at writing blurbs. That being said, I wrote a book. I write for me, this writing road trip started about five years ago, and has had its fair share of bumps, flat tires and odd nights spent at creepy motels. Personally I am proud of Detective Stories I enjoyed writing it, I am emotionally invested in the characters and I…

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Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘The Stone Mermaid’ by Aisha Urooj

Introducing author Aisha Urooj who shares an exclusive excerpt of dark fantasy romance ‘The Stone Mermaid’.

Victor was thinking about her again.

The sea witch’s son had a fascination, an obsession even, with Ariana. Victor’s obsession was even more unusual, seeing it was everyone else that fell for him. He could charm anyone with his smile. He could even captivate them further with his magic.

All he desired in the oceans was his to take, all except for her. And that made him want her more.

Ariana was the sea king’s daughter. The most beautiful mermaid in the seven seas.

Sure, her siren cousins were more alluring… even more agreeable, but there was something about her he couldn’t get off his mind. Was it her voice? Was it her physical beauty? Or was it something else?

Victor’s brand of magic had no effect on the mermaid, nor did Ariana fall for his charms.

If only she had a weakness? Victor thought. Something he could mould or bend towards his will… but Ariana had no desires, except to be free.

Hers was an odd desire… Her freedom.. but Victor thought he knew why.

Ariana’s mother was a human, kidnapped by the sea king, and brought against her will to his watery kingdom. Mad in love and lust, he made a bargain with the sea witch, Ursula, Victor’s mother.

If the sea king’s love had been greater than his lust, he would have sought Helena’s heart first.

But he didn’t.

Ursula told Brutus it could be done… that he could have his human bride, and she could live with him under water, if he gave away some of his kingdom to her. Now, the sea king ruled the seven seas, but the darkest and deepest corners of his kingdom belonged to the sea witch.

For as long as she lived, Helena, Ariana’s mother, never loved the sea king. She was bound to him against her will, a bird in a gilded cage, or in her case, trapped in a floating crystal palace under the sea. Helena never forgot… but for all her sorrow, she dearly loved her daughter. Ariana was the reason she didn’t fade away sooner.

As she grew up, Helena told Ariana stories about the human world, the wonders, and magic of the land above the oceans. Though she never uttered a word of complaint to her daughter, she made Ariana promise to prize her freedom above everything, and guard it with her life. Helena died when Ariana was sixteen. Ariana remembered the promise she made to her mother.

Victor had cared for Ariana’s mother because of her gentle nature. Queen Helena’s kindness was a stark contrast to his own mother, Ursula. He had watched the queen fade with each passing year.

So Victor understood Ariana’s reason…

“Ariana is a creature of the sea, and I am not forcibly taking her away from her realm,” Victor mused. “I am not as brutal as the old king.”

Victor knew Ariana, unlike her human mother, was born an immortal being.

Her magic might be delayed, but she was still immortal.

“I have an eternity to change Ariana’s mind,” Victor said to himself. “She will be mine.”

——-

For her seventeenth birthday, Helena requested to her father she wanted to see the ocean.

Seventeen years she had lived in this world without seeing a glimpse of an ocean wave. Her father thought it was an odd birthday present to ask for, but since it didn’t cost him anything except a few days’ journey, he agreed. They had a good harvest that year, and he could afford to spend a few days away.

Helena’s siblings were five and six, too young to be fascinated by anything other than toys. They were also too young for the journey, so they stayed behind with their mother.

Helena’s step-mother thought her husband spoiled her oldest daughter, but didn’t say a word. She knew Helena hardly asked for anything. It was impossible that he would deny his favorite daughter’s only request, she thought, so she didn’t bother to stop them.

Helena and her father, the farmer, went on the journey to see the ocean.

Helena loved her birthday present! She had seen nothing so big as the ocean. Her world instantly stretched bigger than the farm she was used to seeing.

Helena played with the seashells and sang songs to the waves. She liked looking at the waves crashing onto the shore, but she didn’t like being in the water. She found the water too cold for her liking. Helena had been playing near the rocks when she first saw him.

He was a strange-looking boy. His eyes were the same color as the ocean, as if they had captured the waves in them. He looked seventeen, the same age as Helena, but seemed much older.

“Can I know your name?” he asked.

“My name is Helena,” Helena replied.

“So you like singing, Helena? You have a beautiful voice,” he said.

Helena blushed at his compliment.

She saw the strange boy every day while she was near the ocean. Every time, he seemed to appear out of nowhere. Every time, he disappeared when her father was around.

Sometimes Helena thought that perhaps the boy was imaginary, a figment of her imagination. Her step-mother had often said that she daydreamed too much. She said it was not a good trait for a girl to have. She said Helena should learn to be practical.

“Where do you live?” Helena asked him one day.

“I live in an underwater kingdom. Would you like to see it?” he asked.

His answer surprised Helena. Perhaps she really was in a daydream?

Helena shook her head. “I am only here for a few days, and then I will return to my farm. I don’t even know how to swim well.”

“I can teach you,” the strange boy offered.

“I don’t like to be away from my family,” Helena answered truthfully. “I don’t like the water, for it is too cold.”

“I can give you a ring which will help you in the water. You won’t feel cold anymore,” the boy said.

He showed her a ring which had a single pink pearl. Helena thought that it must have been pricey, for it was precious. She remembered how her father had warned her not to accept gifts from strangers.

“I cannot accept such a gift. It probably costs more than my entire village!” Helena exclaimed.

The ring that the boy gave Helena was worth more than all the villages combined. It was an immortality ring, and once the wearer wore it, they gained eternal life.

“Please accept it as my gift. Wherever you go, if you wear it and call my name, I will come to you,” the boy said.

“What is your name?” Helena asked. Helena thought she was so silly, she hadn’t even asked the strange boy his name.

“My name is Brutus,” the sea king replied. “Wear the ring, Helena, and call me only when you are ready to go with me.”

“Ok, Brutus. I will accept your gift as I want to see you again,” Helena said, blushing, as she took the pretty ring.

That was the last she saw of the strange boy as she left the ocean with her father back to her village. She put the ring in a safe place and forgot about it for an entire year.

Next harvest season, her father had a poor yield. It worried the family as they did not have enough food to last through the winter. Helena thought about the precious ring she had hidden away. Perhaps she could give it to her father? He could sell it and it would solve all their problems.

She thought about Brutus and wondered if what he said was true.

“I will try it on before I give the ring to father,” Helena thought. She put the ring on and called Brutus’ name.

Brutus appeared in front of her, out of nowhere. He looked like an apparition under the dark starless sky. Although Helena had not thought about him in a year, Brutus had remembered her every moment since. He had gone mad thinking about her.

“Helena, you put on the ring and called my name. You wish to come with me to my kingdom,” Brutus said with happiness.

“I am sorry, Brutus. I was not thinking about going. I just wanted to see what you had said was true… that I didn’t just imagined meeting you,” Helena said flustered.

“You cannot go back on your word now,” Brutus said in anger. “You have put the ring on and so, you will leave with me.” He took Helena in his arms and took her back to his kingdom.

The next morning, the farmer called Helena for breakfast but she didn’t reply. It was strange as she usually was the first person to wake up. It shocked her father to find Helena’s bedroom empty. The farmer looked for her desperately everywhere in the village, hoping she had gone to see a friend, but Helena was nowhere to be seen.

His oldest daughter had gone missing without a trace.

The villagers gossiped she must have run away with a man, but her father knew his daughter and knew she would never do such a thing.

He felt that something terrible must have happened to her as Helena loved her family. She wouldn’t leave her father like that. She wouldn’t leave her brother and sister like that. He wept for his missing daughter.

The farmer searched for his missing daughter for years, but he died without ever seeing or hearing from his daughter again.

——-

Ursula, the sea witch, was pacing in her throne room. Her sea serpents twisted and turned as they swam around her arms. Her crown of dark pearls visible on her head. Victor knew the powerful, raw magic that it contained.

Victor stood idly by, knowing better to ask her what was wrong. The kingdom feared his mother above all the other powerful creatures in the ocean, and they had good reason to. Ursula was the empress of the dark lands but her ambition was to rule the entire ocean.

“Making Helena’s immortality ring cost me half my magic. I should have asked the sea king for half his kingdom. He might have given it all away too,” Ursula said to her son.

Victor had heard the conversation before. He was sure it wasn’t the last time he would hear it.

“You underestimate the old man,” Victor replied, coolly.

“And you overestimate him. He is foolish, driven to madness by a mortal woman. At least he was driven by bodily desires… which is easier to satisfy. His daughter is even more foolish than her father,” Ursula said. “She is driven by something far more dangerous.”

Victor’s heart started beating fast. It did whenever his mother mentioned Ariana. He evened his breath before asking.

“What do you suggest drives her?” Victor asked, curious to know what his mother would say.

“Her heart… and that will be her undoing. I might get my kingdom yet,” Ursula cackled.

Victor didn’t want to argue with his mother, so he smiled politely.

Ursula might have been right about Ariana, but she was still blind in one regard. The sea witch didn’t realize it was her son’s heart she needed to worry about.

Victor first noticed Ariana at her mother’s funeral. He had seen her before, of course, playing with her siren cousins, or in the background, whenever he went to the king’s court with his mother.

Ariana was sixteen when he really noticed her.

Her grief at her mother’s passing made her solemn and pale. She trembled as she spoke to her cousins. When it was time for her to say farewell to her mother, she looked so frail that Victor worried she might faint.

The queen’s subjects had come in droves to say their farewell to their beloved ruler. Most were in tears, and some even wailing in their sadness. Helena’s kind spirit had touched so many, her gentle presence missed by all who knew her. They asked Ariana to sing for her mother, to share her grief with them.

Grief-stricken as she was, Ariana was still her mother’s daughter. Her entire body, and even her voice, was trembling when she said she would sing them a song. She felt the pain others were feeling and wanted to lessen their sorrow.

When Ariana stood in front of the large court, Victor was struck by how fragile she looked. When Ariana sang, it was like his world shifted. For the first time, eighteen-year-old Victor felt his heart stir, and his palms tremble.

Love is a force like no other, capable of stirring even the strongest of hearts. Victor felt the full force of it that day, as Ariana sang at her mother’s funeral.

There were thousands of others in the court, but all were silent as Ariana started singing in her beautiful voice:

Floating above the muddy water,

Have you seen the lotus flower?

In waters, dark and tainted,

Pure was the beauty that awaited.

What started as a simple bud,

Grew in splendor up above.

The petals, pink and white

Layers in a circle, open with light.

Floating above the muddy water,

Have you seen the lotus flower?

The song was about a lotus flower, but Victor knew Ariana was singing about her mother.

Victor was now twenty-one, and Ariana was nineteen. The funeral was three years ago, and Victor had seen Ariana several times since. Whenever he saw her, however, his heart pounded the same way as it did hearing her sing that day.

This is an excerpt of dark fantasy romance ‘The Stone Mermaid’ by Aisha Urooj which is available now.

For more information about the author check out her website here.

Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Dating in the Shadows’ by Rianne Burnett

Introducing author Rianne Burnett who shares an excerpt of vampire romance erotica book ‘Dating in the Shadows’.

The restaurant’s cosy atmosphere wasn’t enough to quell the alarm bells going off in Vynette’s head. There was something creepy about this guy. Even his hazel eyes seemed cold.
“Is everything okay?”
Timothy asked the question but not an ounce of concern creased his seamless dark skin. Vynette forced a smile and nodded.
“Sure. I just need to use the little girl’s room.”
She was out of her seat before he could budge. Her strides were slow but steady. The restroom had never felt so far away. Once she was inside a stall, she grabbed her cell phone from her handbag. Debbie answered on the first ring.
“He’s a serial killer, isn’t he? I told you not to meet up with him.”
Vynette didn’t want to humour her friend’s paranoia but Timothy was a hard sell.
“He just might be. I need an out.”
“As in an excuse or do I need to come and get you?”
She folded her bottom lip between her teeth as she thought. Timothy was good on paper but Vynette knew better than to ignore her gut.
“Come get me, now.”
Taking a deep breath, she examined her reflection in the mirror. It was hard to miss the unease shining in her eyes. She sighed.
An ex had once told her that she carried all her emotions in her eyes. It was one of the few truths he’d ever told. She fluffed her shoulder-length curls and dragged a few strands over her face. Chuckling, she flipped them back in place.
Timothy might be weird but even he would have questions if she dumped her hair over her face.
“Maybe I should give him something else to look at.”
Vynette pulled down the zipper on her blouse a bit. Her cleavage wasn’t one of her standout qualities but they got the job done. Reaching into her blouse, she adjusted her pert breasts in the push-up bra. When the rounded flesh became more visible, she appraised the results in the mirror.
“It’s worth a shot.”
Timothy looked up when she approached and his eyes brightened.
“Everything all right? I was just about to come looking for you.”
Somehow, she believed him. Vynette gave him a tight smile, slid into her seat, and placed her cell phone face down on the table. She bought time by taking a sip of her drink.
“Uhm…I think I’m coming down with something.”
He frowned and for a brief moment, his mask slipped. She looked away and stretched her shoulders in an exaggerated movement. It wasn’t her proudest moment but she wanted to keep him calm.
There were only a few other patrons in the restaurant and she doubted anyone would come to her rescue if things became physical.
Her distraction didn’t work. He still stared at her with an intensity that could bore through metal.
“Do you want me to take you home?” he asked while leaning forward.
“No!”
Her response was more abrupt than she’d planned. Timothy raised an eyebrow. Vynette swallowed and tried to smile.
“I already called my friend. She should be here at any moment.”
He slumped back in his chair. The smile was gone. She clutched the handbag in her lap. With the flap open, all she had to do was reach in and grab her pepper spray. As her hand inched toward the bag, her cell phone rang.
Vynette grabbed it from the table. The sight of Debbie’s name was an instant balm.
“Deb, I’m on my way.”
To Timothy, she said, “Sorry, she’s here. Thank you for dinner.”
She fled before he could answer.

Debbie pushed the passenger side door open and Vynette jumped in, slamming it behind her. She didn’t breathe properly until the car had pulled away. As her friend took different side roads as a precaution, Vynette kept quiet.
For once, Debbie’s paranoia was appreciated. Thank God she had met Timothy at the restaurant and he didn’t have her phone number.
“So that’s a ‘no’ on a second date?” Debbie quipped.
Vynette sucked her teeth and searched for the dating app on her phone. It had several notifications but she wasn’t interested. Clearly, her match wasn’t in this database. She quickly deleted her profile and uninstalled the app.
“It’s a ‘no’ to the entire damn app.”
“Wow. Wasn’t that the last one?”
Vynette groaned and scrunched her eyes closed.
“Yeah, I’ve officially run out of dating app options.”
“Well, not entirely.”
Looking across at Debbie, Vynette tilted her head to the side.
“What did you do?”
“Remember that exclusive dating app I told you about?”
“Yeah. Night-something? Didn’t it need a password or code?”
Debbie nodded.
“Nightgrind. There’s a code. Which I hacked. For you. You’re welcome.”
Vynette’s jaw dropped. Pulling into their assigned parking spot, Debbie hopped out of the car. She stood at the bonnet and beckoned Vynette out. Sighing, Vynette complied.
“Wasn’t it hard to get into?”
Debbie skipped up the steps effortlessly. Her waist-length braids swayed.
“Nah. The protections were pretty basic. It was like they didn’t think anyone would want to hack it.”
When they were in the safety of their apartment, Vynette plopped down on the couch and handed her phone to Debbie. She was wary after her near-miss with Timothy, but her dry spell wasn’t going to break itself.
“Fine, I’ll check it out in the morning. I guess one more dating app couldn’t hurt.”
Debbie grinned and got to work. Her dark brown eyes shone with glee.

This is an excerpt of ‘Dating in the Shadows’ by Rianne Burnett which is available now.

You can find the author over on the Tweet machine here.

Question of the Hour Presents: Author Marc Watson

Happy Wednesday everyone! Today I present an awesome and in-depth ‘Question of the Hour’ interview by a fellow author and blogger.

cch217

“A dark, comical acid trip with death as your guide.”An outstanding job on mixing everyday life with the unknown. An enjoyable read filled with humor and emotion. You will surely enjoy the trip. -My review of Death Dresses Poorly

Another outstanding author that has done me the gracious pleasure of answering my random questions about writing. Here is Marc Watson.

Why do you write?

The short, sexy writer answer is that I write to get the stories in my head into your hands so that we can go on this journey together. The more realistic answer is that I get bored easily and need to fill the time. The truth is somewhere in between.

What do you get out of it?

There is a certain satisfaction to having my written creation be something that someone else wants to willingly consume, which is a fantastic feeling.

I also enjoy showing…

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Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘The Conjuring of Zoth-Avarex: The Self-Proclaimed Greatest Dragon in the Multiverse’ by K.R.R. Lockhaven

Introducing author K.R.R. Lockhaven who shares an exclusive excerpt of ‘The Conjuring of Zoth-Avarex: The Self-Proclaimed Greatest Dragon in the Multiverse.’

The sun couldn’t have possibly cared less that its light was scattered into wondrous brushstrokes of oranges and violets across the heavens. It didn’t give a flaming shit if a deep, fiery crimson along the horizon made chests swell at its splendor. Indifferent to the majesty of its radiant brilliance, which spoke of a vast infinity of possibilities, it continued to carelessly produce heat and light through nuclear fusion. It didn’t give a floating fuck whether or not the glory of its rising made anyone come to believe that magic was real, or that life was, in fact, beautiful and worth living.
Harris Reed, unmindful of the sun’s apathy, was thoroughly impressed by the lovely sunrise as he headed to his first day at his new job.
Harris knew for a fact that magic was real.
He was headed to the Site.
The gravel road he had been instructed to take meandered through a still forest and up a gentle incline. He drove his barely running car with a song in his heart and a whistle on his lips, bursting with excitement at the prospect of finally arriving…

This title is available now in audio, ebook and paperback formats and can be found here. You can find K.R.R Lockhaven on the Tweet Machine.

Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Hunted’ by A.J. Calvin

Introducing author A.J. Calvin who shares an excerpt of urban fantasy novel ‘Hunted’.

“Follow me. The man who wishes to meet you is waiting.”

Now that I know who this man was, and why he wanted so badly to meet with me, I understand why I was able to follow Trey without hesitation. I was drawn to the caller, albeit unconsciously, because of his own ability—the same ability with which I have been graced.

Trey led me past the entrance of Dark City Hall, to an alley that was perhaps a half block away on the same side of the street. We walked to an unmarked metal door that led into one of the buildings from the alley. There was a woman standing outside, dressed in a full length blue patent-leather jacket that contrasted starkly with her fair skin. Her hair was cut short, falling to her prominent cheekbones, and was dyed a garish red-orange. The street light at the end of the alley fell upon her face in such a way that her eyes appeared almost colorless, though I assumed they must be a light blue. Trey introduced the woman as Carmine.

“So, you’re the girl the boss was trying to contact,” she said in a flat, somewhat smirking tone. “I wonder if you can handle it?” She broke into a harsh laugh that elicited a frown from Trey.

Muttering something under his breath, Trey pulled a ring of keys from his jacket pocket and jammed one into the doorknob. He yanked the door open in an angry manner that startled Carmine from her laughter.

“Was it something I said, Trey?” she asked in a mocking tone. “I’m sure Ms. Chandra Grey will be fine once she’s accepted what he is. It’s the acceptance part of it that will be difficult, as you well know.”

I had the distinct feeling that Carmine had very few friends. She was clearly trying to frighten me, although her words only managed to instill an even greater curiosity within me.

“You must go inside alone,” Trey said, ignoring Carmine and holding the door open for me.

I simply nodded, and did as he said. In that moment, I wanted to understand Carmine’s cryptic remarks; I needed to know more about this man that I had agreed to meet, and why she had wondered if I could “handle it”. Curiosity had replaced my initial fear, and as I stepped through the doorway, I felt no anxiety.

The door closed behind me, and I found myself in an office area. There was a wide metal desk, and a few filing cabinets against the wall opposite the door. To my right was a round table with a few folding metal chairs scattered around it. I noticed that two of the chairs had been pulled into the center of the room, which was otherwise bare. The room was windowless, and the only door leading into or out of the room was the one I had just stepped through.

To my left was a man. He stood slightly taller than I did, and was slender. What caught my eyes—and my breath—was his appearance. He looked to be close in age to me, perhaps a year or two older, but his hair was completely white. It was combed neatly to one side.

When I had first stepped into the room, his eyes were closed, and he kept them that way until I had time to study him. When at last he opened them, I couldn’t help but gasp with surprise—they were not human eyes that looked back at my own. His eyes possessed silver irises.

“Do not be alarmed,” he said in a soothing tone. “Now you understand why I must have you come to me. My appearance makes it difficult to walk about the city undetected. No amount of dye will color my hair, and I have tried upon occasion to use contacts to hide my eyes, but to no avail. I cannot draw attention to myself, so when I wish to meet someone, I must arrange it so that they come to me.”

His voice, so calm, had a relaxing effect on me. “Why did you wish to speak with me?” I asked, surprised that my voice remained steady. My insides felt as though they were doing backflips.

He smiled, and gestured to the two chairs in the center of the office. “Let us sit down, for this may take some time,” he replied. “Are you comfortable?” he asked once we were seated facing one another.

“I think so,” I said after a moment. “I’m not sure what is going on. I don’t know why you called me here, or how you know who I am. And I don’t know what you are either.”

He chuckled then. “Yes, I suppose I do have some explaining to do,” he replied. “I called you here because you possess a great talent, one that you undoubtedly don’t know that you have. I happened to notice you a little over a week ago—you were in this area of town, with some friends, going to dinner I presume. I could feel your power then, and I knew I must take this opportunity to teach you how to use it.” He shook his head slightly, wonder spreading across his face. “You can become very great, Chandra Grey…You do not need to live an average life; you can become so much more than ordinary.”

I was unsure of how to respond to this statement. I don’t know if I had ever considered myself completely ordinary; throughout my life I had managed to excel where my friends could not, but I had attributed this to hard work and dedication. To hear something like this from a complete stranger—one who had admitted to following me for over a week—was a bit unsettling, to say the least. When I managed a nod, he continued.

“I watched you go into the church last Sunday,” he admitted. “It was an opportunity I could not pass up. I sent one of my…underlings to copy down your phone number from the guest book, and bade him contact you. That was a mistake, and I apologize for my miscalculation. I understand that he had you quite scared.”

I nodded again. “Yes,” I replied slowly, “If the calls did not stop, I was going to report them to the police. I thought…Well, I thought I had a stalker. You aren’t really a stalker, are you?” Immediately, I regretted my words. You don’t say something like that to someone you’ve just met! I screamed at myself internally, before thinking, A stalker would never admit to it.

I was surprised when he laughed. “I don’t believe I am a stalker in the sense that you mean,” he said. “I do not intend to harm you in any way, and I did not contact you because you happen to have a pretty face. You have an ability that few humans possess. I must know what your decision will be, regarding being trained as a summoner.”

Summoner. This was the first time I had heard of the word, and it sounded strange to me, yet somehow grand and powerful. I was intrigued.

“What’s a—?”

“Summoner?” he asked with another laugh. “I am a summoner, though not a very powerful one. You can become much more than I could ever hope to be—the amount of raw talent you possess is very rare indeed.” He paused a moment, reflecting, before going on. “Are you familiar with demons, Chandra Grey?”

This is an excerpt of urban fantasy book ‘Hunted’ by A.J. Calvin which is out now.

You can find more information about the book here and you can find A.J. Calvin on Twitter.

Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Heroes Of the Shadow. Blue Scar Indeabinito’ by S.S. Frankowska

Introducing author S.S. Frankowska who shares an excerpt of epic fantasy novel ‘Heroes Of the Shadow. Blue Scar Indeabinito’.

“INDEABINITO WAS A VERY OLD WORLD. It has existed for millions of years. Over the first centuries, new races were born. After all, the kingdom was inhabited by twelve different races, one being the human race. The other eleven races were characterized by abilities which humans were unable to possess. Still, the position of people in this world was extremely privileged. They have been treated as a race that everyone else should watch out for. A race that others have to look after, with no one allowed to hurt them.
At the head of the kingdom were always human queens and kings. They held meetings in which all races took part. The king and queen were always ready to hear the voices of other races, but ultimately it was up to them to make decisions.
There came a moment in the history of this world when the last ruling couple made a mistake. Worrying about the future of their children, putting their good above the good of the kingdom, they mislaid their trust and irreversibly changed the course of Indeabinito history. With their actions, they introduced into this world something that had never been there before. Magic. A force that allowed humans to measure themselves with the abilities of other races.
Of course, at first no one dared to oppose humans. Everyone knew that their firstborn son embraced to seek the power that did not come from this world, but they remained silent. The second son of the royal couple grew into a wonderful man. Nobody doubted that he would be a worthy successor to his parents. Therefore, after the unexpected death of the king and queen, when their ship sunk because of a storm, all races were glad to welcome the nineteen-year-old king. The second son. Nobody knew what was happening to the eldest son of the royal couple. They were worried about his disappearance, but nobody was eager to find him. The whole kingdom celebrated the coronation.”

This is an excerpt of epic fantasy ‘Heroes Of the Shadow. Blue Scar Indeabinito’ (Chapter 16: Victor’s Story) by S.S. Frankowska which is available now.

You can find more information from S.S. Frankowska on Twitter and via the Heroes of the Shadow website.