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.

Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Wings and Shadows’ by Dominika Pindor

Introducing author Dominika Pindor who shares an excerpt of YA fantasy novel ‘Wings and Shadows’.

“When I turned onto Welling Ave, the crowds began to disperse, and by the time I reached Scott Street, I was alone. At the intersection, I pressed the greasy button on the traffic light pole and leaned against it as I waited for the red circle to turn green.
“I don’t mean to bother you, dear, but could you assist me with these? It’ll only take a moment.”
The voice came from an old woman, who had seemingly appeared out of thin air. She was short, perhaps five feet at most, and stood wearily hunched over her walker. The overflowing bags of groceries she had been referring to were draped over the rails, making the thin pieces of metal strain underneath their weight. I recognized her as Mrs. Riley, my mother’s old college professor. We had met a few times when I was younger, but I doubted she remembered.
“Sure. How can I help?” I couldn’t bring myself to say no. Aside from the large mole on her cheek, she looked just like my grandmother.
“Carry these,” she said, pointing to the three fullest bags, each of which was filled with at least half a dozen cans. I picked them up and she grinned. “Thank you, dear.” The dear came out sounding like deah. Then she coughed, covering her mouth with one papery hand.
“Are you alright ma’am?”
Mrs. Riley chuckled. “Me? Oh no, can’t say I am.”
I raised my eyebrows, expecting her to elaborate. She didn’t. We continued walking, heading towards the assortment of worn-down, brown apartment complexes where I lived. The street was empty, except for a few vehicles parked along the sidewalk—six cars, all different shades of black, and several white trucks.
“Where are we heading?” I finally asked, curious to find out how much longer I would have to carry the bags, which were growing heavier by the minute.
“Over there, dear.” She paused to lift a wrinkled finger and pointed it towards one of the shorter buildings in a nearby alley. “Distance won’t bother you?”
There was a broken wine bottle on the sidewalk, and I had to pause to step over it. “I’m fine, ma’am. No worries.”
“You know,” the woman said, unwilling to lapse into silence, “ you look just like my Lillian.”
“Hm?”
“My granddaughter. She has red hair as well; it’s the most beautiful color, if you ask me.”
“I appreciate the compliment ma’am. I was never too fond of it myself,” I said. That was true. My hair color was one of the only things kids in middle school would laugh about. I recalled the moment—sometime in seventh grade—when I had asked out a boy I liked. His rejection still echoed through my head every time someone brought up my hair color.
We rounded the corner and walked into the alley. It wasn’t a pleasant place. A swarm of flies hovered above one of the dumpsters, which was backed up against the wall a few feet to our left. That explained the nauseous stench.
“Hope you don’t mind the smell,” Mrs. Riley apologized.
I couldn’t reply; the odor was making me dizzy. To my surprise, it seemed to have no effect on her at all. I suppose that’s what happened when you spent your entire life in such a place. The wheels of her walker rattled on the uneven ground, and a single tomato fell out of a grocery bag. I bent down to pick it up, although my own bags were threatening to spill.
“Ma’am, how much longer do we have to walk? These bags are getting awfully heavy.”
She paused for a moment before answering. “We’re almost there,” she told me. I glanced up from the ground and realized we were nearing the short brown building she had pointed out a few minutes before. Of course. I had known our destination all along. The question had been unnecessary. I smiled to myself, hoping to ease the strange feeling that was flaring inside my gut.
There were three doors on this side of the building. The one in the center was the main entrance that likely led to the upper apartments. The others were doors to the ground floor apartments—14 and 15. We stopped at 15. The woman left her walker, climbed up the single step, and began fumbling for the keys. Her hands were visibly trembling.
Arthritis, I thought, remembering one of the lessons Huma’s mother—a doctor—had taught me. The poor woman had arthritis.
“You can put the groceries down, dear. I will take them inside once- oh!” Her keys fell to the asphalt, startling a rat that had begun sneaking in our direction. I picked them up and handed them to her. “Thank you dear. Thank you so much.” She coughed again. “Leave the bags on the ground. I’ll take them inside once I open the door.”
“Got it,” I said and did as she asked. The keys jiggled in the lock, and the door finally swung open.
“Thank you,” the woman said again, a warm smile spreading across her face. “Would you like me to call a taxi cab for you? An Uber, perhaps?”
“No ma’am, I’ll be fine,” I replied, glancing at the bags. Would she be able to carry them in by herself? She would have to unless she was going to call someone to do it for her. I decided not to pry; her business wasn’t mine. I turned around to go…
And then I stopped dead in my tracks.
A large black SUV stood in the center of the road. It was positioned sideways, creating a barrier between the alley and the main road.
More importantly, cutting off my way out.”

This is an excerpt of ‘Wings and Shadows’ by Dominika Pindor which is available now. You can find Dominika on Twitter.

If you would like to share an excerpt, article or book review then do get in touch via the submissions page.

Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Dancing With a Stranger’ by A.L. Martin

Introducing author A.L. Martin who shares an excerpt from her book ‘Dancing With a Stranger’.

“Remember to act normal.”
“That’s easy for you to say. My whole life as I knew it changed in a matter of minutes yesterday.”
“The more you act normal, the less he will become suspicious that something is wrong. Therefore, he won’t hound you about what’s bothering you.”
I didn’t want to admit it, but Wyatt was right. Gavin would never leave me alone if he knew something was troubling me. He would keep asking me to the point I would give in and tell him.
“Hey, Sunshine. How are you this morning?” Gavin smiled, wrapping his arms around me in a big hug.
“Morning, Gavin. I’m doing okay.” I smiled, glancing at Wyatt, then turning back to Gavin. “Want to come over after school today?”
“Sure. Want me to bring anything over?” Gavin asked, looking down at his phone.
“I can’t think of anything you need to bring. I will text Mom later to let her know that you will be coming over after school. Maybe I can talk her into making spaghetti and meatballs.” I winked.
Gavin went back to looking at his phone while I opened my locker. In the back of my locker, hanging up, was a necklace. It was a silver crescent moon with a circle dangling from the top of the moon. I leaned back away from my locker, peeking around my locker door at Gavin, who was still scrolling through videos on his phone.
“Did you put this in my locker?” I questioned.
“Put what in your locker?” he asked, not taking his eyes off his phone.
I reached into my locker, unhooking the necklace from a hook that wasn’t there before either. “This necklace,” I said as I closed my locker door.
“Where did that come from? I didn’t put it in there. It’s cool looking.” Gavin took the necklace from my hand to get a better look at it.
“What are you two looking at?” Wyatt asked, moving closer to me. “Where did that come from?” His eyes fixated on the necklace in Gavin’s hand.
“Londyn found it in her locker,” Gavin said, holding the necklace up.
Wyatt moved me over a couple of steps closer to Gavin, then slowly opened my locker door and stared inside. I had no idea what he was looking for, and I couldn’t ask him with Gavin standing right next to me.
“Where did you find it?” Wyatt asked, moving things around in my locker.
“It was hanging up in the back on that hanger,” I said, walking around to the other side of him. I leaned in closer to him and whispered. “What’s going on, Wyatt?”
Wyatt leaned back, glancing at Gavin to make sure he was still looking at the necklace. He put his mouth right next to my ear. “It’s a witch’s necklace.”
I leaned away from him, staring into his emotionless eyes. He backed away from the front of my locker, his eyes shifting from side to side.
“Can I see the necklace, Gavin?” Wyatt asked.
“Sure. Did you give it to Londyn?” Gavin asked, handing the necklace over to him.
“Yeah,” Wyatt said, giving me a quick nod. He unhooked the clasp, then walked behind me, lifting the necklace over my head. As he hooked the clasp, he whispered in my ear, instructing me to play along. I lifted the necklace up as I looked down to get a better look at it. I noticed that the circle had two tiny crescent moons facing the opposite direction.
“It looks good on you,” Gavin said, putting his phone in his pocket.
I lowered the necklace back down. “Thanks.”
“If Sam is here, we have to invite her too,” Gavin said, closing my locker door for me.

This is an excerpt from ‘Dancing With a Stranger’ which is part of the Londyn Carter series by A.L Martin. The next book in the series will be released very soon!

You can find more information from A.L Martin on Twitter , Instagram and Facebook.

If you would like to share an excerpt, article or book review then do get in touch via the submissions page.

Question of the Hour Presents: Author Neil Christiansen

Hello friends, today I present an awesome ‘Question of the Hour’ interview by a fellow author and blogger.

cch217

I present you with the latest victim of my random questions author Neil Christiansen.

‘Neil Christiansen has a way with words and imagery that pulls you into the gritty underworld of Chicago, in his modern noir thriller Dark White. Dynamic characters finding their way through the gray landscape of morality. Hold on it’s quiet the ride.’ -My Review of Dark White

Why do you write?
Everyone asks this question and I don’t really understand it. I don’t think people ask singers why they sing or bricklayers why they lay bricks. I write because I’m compelled to. I have stories in my head and they belong on paper. I hope people read them and like them, but even if they don’t I still have to write them.

What do you get out of it?
At the moment I get pride and my own satisfaction. I also get grief from my family…

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Guest Post: ‘Turning rejections into acceptances’ by Susie Kearley

Introducing freelance journalist and writer Susie Kearley who relays some insight and experience from her many successful years of writing articles.


Turning rejections into acceptances

Writing short pieces, like magazine articles or blogs, can hone your skills so when you’re writing books, you’re better at editing your own work and getting the tone right for the market.  When I started writing for magazines in 2011 it was a rocky road, littered with disappointment and rejection. But fortunately, with perseverance and determination, I’ve since sold well over 1000 articles to publishers across the globe. One thing I have learnt to do however, is master the art of turning rejections into opportunities, some of which have resulted in sales. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learnt.

Lesson 1: Give the editor what he or she wants

Take 3! The sound of eggs sizzling in the frying pan filled the air and James, the editor of Good Motoring magazine, asked: “What do you think of my breakfast this morning, Susie?”

He poked a microphone at my face and I garbled something incoherent about fry ups not being very nutritious. Porridge would be better.  

We were recording a podcast for the Good Motoring website, and the ‘cooking breakfast’ sounds were pre-recorded. I was nervous and didn’t like being unprepared. I wanted to write my answers down and read them back with confidence, but James whipped my notepad away saying he didn’t want it to sound staged. “No danger of that,” I thought.  

The interview was the outcome of a rejection letter. James had rejected my proposal to write about the hair-raising experience of being a learner motorcyclist on British roads, but said he was interested in other road safety ideas. So instead, I secured a commission to write about good nutrition to help drivers concentrate on the road – this podcast was part of the package.
“I don’t normally eat a full English breakfast,” said James, “but I thought it would give us more to talk about!” And so began the start of a beautiful working relationship – he has since bought my articles on speed cameras and motorcycle driving tests too.

What did I learn from this experience? To listen and learn from the feedback received. Look for opportunities that rejection letters reveal and then give the editor what he wants.

Lesson 2: Don’t write an essay!


One of my earliest customers was Paranormal magazine. The editor, Brian, didn’t offer firm commissions, but would tell me if he liked an idea. Then I’d submit a full article on spec for his consideration.

He was interested in an idea I’d pitched entitled ‘The Psychology of Fear’ so I trawled through my psychology degree books, writing up all things fear-related including conditions like panic attacks and their treatment. It was well researched but a bit academic, so I made an attempt to lighten it up and submitted it.

Brian rejected the piece saying it was ‘too clinical’. More suited to a psychology journal than a magazine about hauntings. I understood the problem and managed to find another buyer for some of the work: Leader magazine is an academic title published by the Association of Schools and Colleges. I used some of the ‘fear’ material in a feature on stress and it worked well because the body’s reactions to stress are very similar to fear.

Leader paid three times as much as Paranormal, and the sale resulted in commissions for a further two articles on the topics of nutrition and social media.

What I learnt: If you write something on spec which is rejected, think laterally about alternative markets for the piece, and consider whether parts of the article could be used to cover a different topic altogether. Rejected work can still form the basis of a good article for a different market, and that can lead to a profitable long-term relationship.

This is an extract from Freelance Writing on Health, Food and Gardens by Susie Kearley.

View the book here:

Susie Kearley is a British freelance writer and journalist, working for magazines, newspapers, and book publishers around the world. She has a collection of books on writing, and her debut novel ‘Pestilence’ is out now. You can view Susie’s Amazon author page here.


If you have an article or a book review and want to be a guest writer then the Hall of Information wants you! Reach out via the submit a book review/article section.




🚢𝓑𝓸𝓸𝓴 𝓡𝓮𝓿𝓲𝓮𝔀⚓️“Talented Found”by P.W. Browning⚓️

Introducing author and book reviewer Ellen Khodakivska who reviews YA Fantasy novel ‘Talented Found’ by P.W Browning…

Ellen Khodakivska

___

🚢Genre: YA fantasy novel

Pages: 270

Language: English

Publisher: ebook

Release date: 2020

⚓️Reading this book was as if I was invited to a feast under the sea. Suddenly, a vigorous dispute breaks out among the sea residents. Their emotions go high, and a disagreement turns into a fight. The only way to escape is to catch an anchor of the merchant vessel that passes by. But there a controversial surprise waits for me there.

🚢The Plot: In this splendid YA fantasy novel, a reader follows 16 y.o. Shaylin. She is fearless and smart, kind, and helpful. She lives on board of merchant vessel run by Captain Trell since her early childhood and considers the crew to be her family. She enjoys her work onboard, despite the fact it is pretty dangerous for such a young girl. Meanwhile, she involuntarily gets…

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Guest Book Reviews and Articles wanted!

The Hall of Information blog is officially opening it’s doors for guest book reviews and articles from fellow wordsmiths. Are you an author looking to showcase a review of a book but don’t have a platform to share it on? Have you written an article about your writing journey and want to publish it in front of an audience? This blog has over 700 followers and is always looking for new things to read!

This blog is built upon supporting others and if you have a review of a fellow author’s book or an article we will happily promote it and you on here.

A new section has been added to the menu bar and it’s dedicated to anyone who want’s to submit something as a guest. You’ll find specific submission guidelines and a contact form. Specifically we are looking for indie book reviews and reviews of books published by smaller presses.

After pitching this idea via Twitter it was relatively well recieved and so here I am. If you have an indie book review or article, we want to hear from you! Do reach out via the Submit a Book Review/Article Section.