Friday, February 26, 2021

CURSED (Dark Kindred Spirits Book 2) by Athena Floras

 


 

Cursed
Dark Kindred Spirits 
Book 2
Athena Floras

Genre: YA PNR
Date of Publication: January 4th, 2021
ASIN: B08P21DRQM
Number of pages: 104
Word Count: 25 299
Cover Artist: Nicholas Mallet

Tagline: Happiness and true love can come from sacrifice and the deepest sorrow.

Book Description:

All hail the Misfits and the Cursed…

There is a sanctuary for anyone who needs refuge. It’s called Beyond the Horizon. When a group of teens are invited to spend their summer vacation at the sanctuary, they think they just got lucky. But little do they know that things are too good to be true. Not everyone is who they seem to be at Beyond the Horizon. There are enemies amongst them waiting for the perfect time to strike.

For her entire life, Brianna Meadows has been misunderstood. Everything she does and says is wrong. She’s a klutz and always getting in people’s way. All she ever wished for is to be accepted, liked, and normal. When she gets an invitation to spend her summer vacation at Beyond the Horizon, she thinks her wish may come true. But she must be very careful what she wishes for, because it can turn into her worst nightmare.

Chase Hamell doesn’t have much time left. The family curse has started to take its toll on him. The first-born male in the Hamell clan will turn into a monster when he turns eighteen, which is just months away. When he hears that the sanctuary is owned by witches who can undo the curse, he seeks them out. But to break the curse involves making a huge sacrifice, one that Chase might not be able to commit to, because in order to end the curse, someone he loves must die.

Can Brianna and Chase find what they both need and desire before their enemies succeed in snuffing them out?

Amazon      Amazon.co.uk     Amazon.ca


Excerpt:

The blood moon set high in the sky was the Earth’s guardian angel tonight. It stood watch while all the Earth’s blessed and damned creatures roamed freely. It guided them to their redemption or eternal damnation.

The enchantress took a deep, channeling breath while she absorbed the magic and the energy this night brought forth. It was the perfect time to seek the answers she’d long sought.

If the omnipotent transcendental powers would not reveal them to her tonight, then all hope was lost.

She perched the silver chalice engraved with defined runes on the altar in the garden. She poured the spellbinding liquid into it and began to chant the spell she’d memorized.

At first, nothing happened, but like everything else in life, she needed to be patient and persistent. She continued on with the ritual until the potion started to twirl, then churn. It soon glowed a celestial blue.

Peering into the aquatic abyss, she asked, “Reveal to me the means to restore the harmony. The balance must be brought back to the line.”

An image gradually morphed in the chalice. It appeared to be a tall, thin girl with unruly shoulder length red hair who knelt on the floor. She seemed to have fallen and had scraped her knees because blood trickled onto the uneven concrete.

The enchantress cocked a brow while she curiously observed the scene. Why was the Voyeur Chalice showing her this teenager? The girl was no older than seventeen. How did she fit into the whole scheme?

Knowing that she wouldn’t get more answers until she performed the next part of the ritual, the enchantress raised the chalice and languidly sipped the elixir. The bitterness made her shudder until a transcendent voice spoke to her in her mind.

The enchantress’s eyes glazed over and she remained perfectly still paying acute attention to what was said.

Once the answer and all its details were divulged to her, she lit the candle ending the liturgy.

With leaden legs, she walked back into the building. The ritual had taken its toll on her. She’d need to rest to fully recover. But before she could, she had to send a message.

The kindle needed to be laid down so that the catalyst could catch fire and set off the next chain of events.

Unprecedented things would soon begin to happen.

 

* * * *

 

Brianna Meadows thought that this would be her lucky day. She’d felt it the moment she’d awoken this morning. The uplifting energy surrounded her and urged her on. She could move mountains if the feat were physically possible.

So when her mother had asked her to pick up her facial cream at the department store, Brianna had jumped at the chance to go.

She’d been planning to apply for the stock clerk’s job she’d seen posted on the store’s door earlier this week.

She made sure to hold her head high and strut with confidence as she walked up to the customer service counter. A cashier standing there, wearing a white and red striped uniform, greeted her with a smile.

“Good morning. How can I help you?”

Brianna cleared her voice. “Umm, yeah. I’m here to apply for the stock clerk’s job you have posted on the door.”

The cashier frowned. “Hmm, they didn’t get rid of that yet?” Her expression switched into an apologetic one. “I’m so sorry, but the job has already been filled.”

“Oh.” Brianna spun on the heel of her ballerina shoes, ready to head toward the cosmetics aisle when the cashier asked, “Did you bring your CV with you?”

“Yes, I did.” Brianna held up the manilla envelope she carried it in.

“Why don’t you give it to me. I’ll give it to the manager. Maybe he’ll keep you in mind when another job opening comes up.” She smiled brightly.

“That’s very kind of you. Thanks.” Brianna slid it to her on the sloping counter.

As she walked away, she felt her heart stir. The cashier didn’t have to go out of her way to accommodate Brianna like she did. Brianna was touched by her kind gesture even though she had a strong hunch the store manager would most probably chuck her CV into the recycling bin.

Casting her discouraging thoughts out of her mind, she moseyed over to get her mom’s cream. Her mother had given her a fifty-dollar bill and told her to buy herself something with the change.

The cream cost only twenty-three dollars and thirty-nine cents, which left her with twenty-five dollars and sixty-one cents to splurge on herself. She pressed the tips of her wild curls between her index finger and thumb. She wished she could tame them somewhat so it didn’t look like she’d just been electrocuted.

She glided her hand along the edge of the shelf, perusing the selection of hair conditioners that would straighten her hair when she accidentally tipped a plastic bottle that rested close to the edge. Multiple bottles toppled to the floor.

Laughter burst out behind her. She spun around to find Cynthia Doyle and Seraphina Peck, two of the popular girls in her school, covering their mouths, trying to muffle their chuckles.

Cynthia leaned in to whisper something into Seraphina’s ear, which made her bend over in hysterics.

They obviously were making fun of Brianna. What else was new? Brianna had been the object of their ridicule all of the school year. Why would they stop now even though the school year had ended and summer had begun? Ignoring their cruel behavior, she crouched to gather the fallen bottles. One by one, she placed them back where they belonged.

The sound of stiletto heels clicking on the tiled floor reverberated in Brianna’s ears. She cursed under her breath. She knew who approached. It was Seraphina. She had a unique rhythm to her gait. What did she want? Hadn’t she tormented her enough in school?

“Is there something you’re looking for?” Seraphina asked as she came to stand next to her.

“I was just looking?” she mumbled.

“It was hard not to notice you after you made everything fall. If you’re looking for a special conditioner, maybe I can help you search, so you won’t make anything else fall.”

Brianna wished the jab had just slid off of her, instead of cutting deep.

Glancing at the shelf, she replied, “I was looking for something that could straighten my curls.”

Seraphina snorted. “Well, you’re looking in the wrong place for that. There isn’t any over the counter product to tame your wild hair. You need super concentrated industrial products. You should go to a professional hairdresser who uses strong chemicals to straighten it. She would be your only hope.”

“Yeah, right,” Brianna grumbled as she walked away.

She huffed, trying to rein in her frustrations and anger. Sometimes bad news was good news. The fact the job had already been filled was a blessing in disguise. She wouldn’t have been able to work in the same store those two bullies worked. She wouldn’t have survived more than a day in that toxic environment.

She made a mental note to avoid this department store from now on. Her mother would have to come herself to get her facial cream.

As she reached the exit, she rested her left foot awkwardly on the cracked concrete and she fell hard forward. Her knees adsorbed the full brunt of the forceful hit as they made contact with the concrete.

Pain shot through her legs and she gasped, trying to resist the discomfort.

She’d been completely wrong about this day. It hadn’t been her lucky day. It was the unluckiest one she’d had in a while. It couldn’t possibly get worse, she thought.

But she was so very wrong, because from twenty feet away, she heard giggling. Cynthia and Seraphina were at it again.

 

About the Author: 

Athena Floras is a wife and proud mother of three who loves to read and write suspenseful and romantic stories. When she isn't busy being a mom, she spends her spare time in her den, totally immersing herself into the whimsical, fantastical world of fiction. She hopes the stories and characters she creates will bring readers as much pleasure and entertainment as they have her.

Website/Blog: https://athenafloras.blogspot.com/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlorasAthena 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Athena-Floras/e/B018N7U26S 






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A DEMON'S EMBRACE (Cupid Dating Agency Book Four) by CELIA BESLIN



A Demon's Embrace
Cupid Dating Agency 
Book Four
Celia Breslin

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Celia Breslin
Date of Publication: December 2020
ISBN: 9781393692881
ASIN: B08Q8JRLWN
Number of pages: 124
Word Count: 30K
Cover Artist: Brantwijn Serrah

Tagline: She believes him the enemy. He's determined to prove her wrong.

Book Description:

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

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

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

Amazon US       Angus and Robertson       Apple Books

BN      Kobo       Scribd      Vivlio

Excerpt

Stryker and Zara's First Kiss...

Location: Charon's boat, River Styx, the Underworld...

...The boat heaved upward as if struck from below, sending her airborne. Before she could conjure her wings, Stryker shot up and snatched her around the waist, hauling them both to the deck.

Flat on his back with her sprawled atop his hard body, he grinned, much too pleased with himself for her liking. “Told you it gets rough,” he shouted over the rush of water. “I never lie to you, Angel Face.”

“That in itself is a lie,” she shot back, wedging her fingers in the gaps between the bone flooring and gripping tight while the chopping river tossed their ride. She could list thousands of his deceptions. Fine, they were revisiting his loathsome past behavior. “What about the time you stole the Ark of the Covenant? Or the Holy Chalice? The Vatican heist? Or when you took Joan’s sword and—”

“Aw, c’mon, she deserved it. She cut off the tip of my wing.”

“It regenerated, and you had no right to bother her in the first place when she was busy saving—

“Hey, I gave it back.”

“I made you give it back, demon.”

He laughed but the sound was lost in the great roar of the river. Its turmoil increased, waves thrashing over the bow as if their presence angered the river.

“Buckle up, baby.” Stryker held her tight to his chest. The boat bucked upward and bashed down, again and again. Freezing water sprayed everywhere, drenching them in seconds. Zara shuddered, chilled to the bone, half expecting ice to form on her frame.

Cheek to cheek, Stryker clutched her close with a hand cupping her head and one massive arm banded around her torso. “Hang on Angel Cake, I’ve got you.” Warmth slid into her quivering body, a soothing heat wafting from the demon. “Nice trick, right?” he murmured into her ear, lips grazing her skin.

Teeth chattering, she didn’t reply, too caught up in the sensation of his surprisingly soft lips on the shell of her ear, and his spicy scent, an intriguing blend of cardamom, cinnamon, and earthy, masculine musk.

Desire danced through her, followed fast by denial. No. Please, no. Eternal enemy. Archnemesis. He’s the bad guy. But her libido didn’t seem to care one bit about their battle-filled past, or even their more recent clashes. Her treacherous body relaxed against his, basking in the continued warmth emanating from him.

“Yes, baby. That’s it.” His hand slid to her nape, and he exhaled against the sensitive skin of her neck, setting off a flurry of butterflies in her stomach.

Trap. This had to be a trap, right? Nothing good could come of a tryst with a demon. It didn’t matter how loudly the hum chimed in her, or how wonderful his hard body felt under hers, they couldn’t possibly—

Oh, no, now his clever fingers kneaded the knots in her muscles, massaging the tension from her neck and shoulders, making her melt.

His warm lips brushed her ear once again. “Angel…”

She should stop him. Really, she should. Then he nuzzled the hollow of her shoulder, and his soft kisses eroded her superego’s usual iron will. […] Maybe, if she explored the cosmic hum trying to call them together instead of running from it, she would discover it meant nothing at all. Maybe, she could simply kiss him and move on.

She turned her head. He stilled, one hot palm planted between her shoulder blades, the other lounging on her lower back, his mouth so close their breath mingled. Goose bumps tracked over her and not from the cold since she had Stryker as her personal space heater.

Zara didn’t dare look into his eyes, instead digging deep one last time to stop this insanity, dredging up reasons this was a bad idea. Demon. D’uh. Longtime foe. Brash, blunt, devious, conniving, opinionated, manipulative, flirtatious, and yes, flirting was bad, so very, very ba—

[...] Lord help her, she wanted him too. Her gaze clashed with his. Such pretty eyes for a demon, like black onyx flecked with amber. He went statue-still beneath her, seemed to be holding his breath now, waiting for her to…

Make a move?

She wrapped a lock of his shoulder-length hair around her finger. Damp from the crashing river. Shiny, deepest black. Silky, and as warm as his body. She tugged on it.

A groan escaped him, and he kissed her.

About the Author:

Celia lives in California with her husband, daughter, and two feisty cats. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and has a particular fondness for werewolves, vampires, the Fae, and warrior-class angels. Her stories are action-packed and typically include one of the many varieties of romantic entanglements: fated mates, second chance, rescue romance, opposites attract, friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, and more.

When not writing, you’ll find Celia exercising, reading a good book, hanging with her family, or indulging her addiction to Joss Whedon’s TV shows and movies, as well as everything in the Marvel Universe franchise.

Website: http://www.celiabreslin.com   

Blog: http://www.celiabreslin.com/blog/   

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/celiabreslin  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CeliaBreslinAuthor   

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/CeliaBreslin  

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/celiabreslin/  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/celiabreslin/

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/bxqwRL




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Thursday, February 25, 2021

INTERVIEW WITH RAINE REITER (Takakush)

 

 

Lots of fun here today. We have author Raine Reiter joining us to answer a few questions. Welcome, Raine.

SC: Tell me a little bit about your main character of this book

RR: Professor Elena Lukas believed that she’d turned her back on her destiny. For as long as anyone could remember, the Lukas women served as priestess to the goddesses of their homeland, Lithuania.

When her fiancé calls off their wedding and she returns home to her eccentric family, Elena faces her second chance to bond with Mediena, the powerful forest goddess and her her education to investigate the violent attacks in her forest domain.

SC: Do you believe in the paranormal and if so do you have an experience you can share?

RR: I am an intensely curious person. I have always been interested in all aspects of the paranormal. My mother gave me my first tarot card at fourteen and I began studying astrology at sixteen. I’m   also fascinated by physics, history, and ancient religions.

Here is my paranormal story: In the nineties, I lived in London and worked in a Victorian musical hall called the Hackney Empire. One afternoon I needed to go up to the dress circle. The theatre  was empty and with only the ghost lights on the stage to illuminate the massive auditorium; it was very dark. As I passed one of the private boxes, I saw a woman sitting there with her back to me. I figured she must have escaped from the nursing home next door. It happened sometimes, and we called these poor souls the pajama people.

“I’m sorry, we are closed,” I said. “You will have to leave,”

As I watched, the image faded. I knew what I saw, but it couldn’t be real. I’ll admit I was terrified and before she fully disappeared, I was gone. I burst into the box office and told the front of house manager.

“Oh, we see her all the time,” she said in her thick Scottish brogue. “That is herself, Marie Lloyd, the famous musical hall star.”

Ms. Lloyd had been dead since 1922, over seventy years..

SC: Thanks for sharing that with us.  What titles are you working on now that you can tell us about?

RR: I’m working on Genus Magica Book Two. The working title is Colony Collapse. It is the next chapter in the story of the Lukas family. My goal is to publish later this year.

SC: Thanks for spending time with us. Let's look at your novel now.

Takakush
Genus Magica
Book One
Raine Reiter

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Twanoh Press
Date of Publication: 1/25/2021
ISBN Paperback 978-1-7356850-0-7
ISBN Ebook 978-1-7356850-1-4
Number of pages: 282
Word Count: 62K
Cover Artist: Kim Dingwall

Tagline: Evil stalks the rainforest

Book Description:

When Professor Elena Lukas returns to her cozy Pacific Northwest hometown with a broken heart, she’s plunged back into the fate she tried to escape. Like her mother and grandmother before her, Elena must now dedicate her life to a powerful ancient Lithuanian goddess. Although she is prepared to live as a priestess hiding in a contemporary tourist town, she arrives to find that a series of so-called animal attacks have terrorized her forest.

With the help of a handsome detective from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Elena uses her expertise in invasive and endangered species to identify that these are no normal animal attacks. The woods are stalked by a dark, mystical creature bent on ravaging the area in an attempt to quell its insatiable hunger. When her little sister goes missing, Elena realizes that the beast can only be vanquished if she is brave enough to face it in-person, embrace her identity as a high priestess, and expose her powers to the man she is growing feelings for.

“A fantastic tale that weaves a spell of ancient mysticism and modern charm." --Tim Marquitz, Author of the Demon Squad series, The Enemy of My Enemy series, and more


Amazon     BN     GoogleBooks

Excerpt:

Regana – Home

Regana stood between the two worlds, watching her sleeping body. When did I become so old?

The wrinkled face, spun-sugar mop, and gnarled fingers in Real-Time bore little resemblance to her divine avatar in the Penumbra. Marks of time mean nothing. She chuckled.

Lithe and nimble as a sprite, Regana kicked off from the boundary and floated through the between, sorting threads of possibility as she passed.

“Goddess of the Crossroads, why draw me here?” She waited for an answer.

Thick fibers of probability whirled and pulsed with light around her, while others faded into implausibility and blinked out.

Soon, her temper frayed. Braiding destinies and untangling misfortunes amused Regana, but her fatigued human body in Real-Time called for rest. “Show me the blasted job and let me get out,” Regana said. “Lady of thresholds, doors, and portals, your priestess readies to serve you.” Her cry echoed through the Penumbra. “What must I do?”

A scarlet rope, thick as an anaconda, whipped out of the tangle and garroted her waist. Hot, near burning, it reeked of dark magic and death.

“See.” The voice hit her like a hammer, and a kaleidoscope of images overwhelmed her mind’s eye. “Be present,” ordered her goddess.

Galahad - McCleary, WA

Across the field, wind stirred the chimes, bells, and bamboo noisemakers hanging from the eaves of the main house.

Galahad dozed in the pasture with an ancient horse blanket covering him.

Frost on the grass and pasture fence resembled snowfall. A freezing fog surged along the paddock, encircling his legs.

He woke. Something was different, unfamiliar. It wasn’t fear, it was curiosity.

With drowsy eyes, he surveyed the tree line. His nostrils flared, sampling the air. There. Hiding beneath the aroma of evergreens, a sickly-sweet stench. A predator.

The old warrior’s heart sped as he readied for a fight. At sixteen hands, he was massive and courageous. Last spring, he ran off a pack of coyotes come to snatch a newborn kid.

Galahad snorted and shook his mane. The frigid air transformed his breath into plumes of steam. He pawed the earth, kicking up divots of soil.

The wind ceased. The chimes quieted.

It struck Galahad, mounting him from behind and wrapping its limbs around Galahad’s belly. The horse arched his back as incisors sank into his neck.

Claws raked his abdomen and up his flanks, scoring slashes through the blanket into his hide. The metallic tang of his blood joined the beast’s stench.

Galahad’s hind legs kicked into his attacker’s midsection, but it only embedded its fangs deeper. Blood spurted from the wound.

The embrace tightened. He bucked, rearing and struggling for footing. The attacker threw Galahad to the ground and remounted.

The stallion screamed.

Teeth ripped flesh from Galahad’s throat, severing his jugular. His sight darkened, and his blood melted the frosted grass. Passing through and away, the horse saw the blackness clinging to his murderer.

The malignant thread released, and Regana’s vision ended. In the mundane world, her eyelids flew open, her heart hammering in her chest.

“Blood-red magic rings the waxing moon.” Her voice croaked with the remains of sleep. “Medžioklė begins.”

About the Author:

Raine Reiter weaves together an empowered, female-centered narrative with rich descriptions of nature and an ever-present sense of mystery. Her vivid, flowing prose takes readers of dark fantasy into a world that looks and feels real, while still evoking the enticing paranormal creativity shared by authors such as Richelle Mead and Kat Richardson.

A fifth-generation Washingtonian, Raine lives in the gloomy Pacific Northwest and prowls the rainforest with her silly spaniel, Luke.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/3rNizK1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rainereiter

Website: http://www.twanohpress.com/takakush

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRainReiter/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/121901444-raine-reiter

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/RaineReiterAuthor/

 


 

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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

RELEASE DAY! REPLACED PARTS LIVE FACEBOOK EVENT with author STEPHANIE HANSEN!

 



Join the Live Release Day Celebration for Replaced Parts by Stephanie Hansen at 10am EST on Facebook with special guest USA Today bestselling author Scarlett Kol.  https://www.facebook.com/events/2533205153651500



Replaced Part
Transformed Nexus 
Book One
Stephanie Hansen

Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Publisher: Fire and Ice YA and Tantor Audio
Date of Publication: 02/23/21
ISBN: 9781953735027
ASIN: B08RZB9PXL
Number of pages: 232
Word Count: 67,770
Cover Artist: Caroline Andrus

Tagline: When a clopil named Vex warns you of danger…Listen!

Book Description:

In the year 2163 a corrupt World Government controls everything on our planet and beyond. 

Sixteen year-old Sierra has been so caught up in her own world of saving animal test subjects and her father’s disappearance, she hasn’t paid much attention. When she finally finds his location, she and her friend set off on a covert interplanetary mission to rescue him, she begins to see the corruption first hand. 

Discovering that her father has been on the front lines secretly trying to save human test subjects inspires her to join a revolution. But she is afraid of the collateral damage of hurting the people she loves. Will she find the strength to make a deal with the mad scientist Cromwell to save not just her friends and family but everyone?

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/xOmzBgWfIN8

Amazon      BN     Kobo


Excerpt:

To make a smoke bomb all you need is potassium nitrate, sugar, water and a fuse. Programming holograph messaging to be ‘smoke screen projection only’ is much more difficult. It’s a digital version of invisible ink and completely security cam resistant. I pull up Yesha’s incoming call. The smoke allows her image to take shape and it almost feels like she’s in the room with me.

“I can’t believe you talked me into this, you little gomer.”

Yesha frequently begins conversations in the middle, no introduction or formal interrogation into my life. I think that’s why I like her.

“It didn’t take much to convince you.”

“Did you receive the package?”

I hold up the box addressed to me, Sierra, but I’ve removed the contents.

“Yep, right here, see.”

Yesha’s laugh is like a chorus of toads with hiccups. Her image vibrates on the smoke.

“That’s only the box, you drone bug!”

“I know.”

I hold up the syringes that had been inside the box.

“Be careful with those. Check the labels.”

I roll a syringe in my hands like Kitchen, one of our home bots, does with pretzel dough.

“One says healing serum, which I asked for. Why does the other say anti?”

“Backup. You always need an emergency abort mission option.”

“All right. Thanks!”

Yesha interrupts before I collapse the projection.

“Just be sure not to give the anti if you haven’t given the original serum.”

After she’s gone, I look at my subject.

I shouldn’t be doing this, but I find the koala’s eyes drawing me in like a poli-magno crash about to happen. It’s impossible to turn away.

The Science Olympiad team’s going to put me on probation again, which stinks since they’re the only local, human friends I have.

Following protocol gets us nowhere, however.

Mom’s going to be agitated because this isn’t the first time I’ve broken the rules.

I guide the koala out of the cage, leaving her brothers inside. I have to shake off feelings of jealousy. I don’t have any siblings.

“Why ya look so sad?”

Uplifting experiments have given us animals who speak. “Why do you look so sad, Eucarpo?”

The koala glances back at her brothers and then her eyes look up at me past her round, stub nose, and adorable ears. The sensation of an infant wrapping tiny fingers around mine envelops me. I can’t let them endure more unethical testing just so we can have the best DNA combination. I was okay with the testing when the purpose was to help those that were sick and it was beneficial to the koala species, but I can’t stomach testing these sweet things just for superficial reasons.

“Hate leaving ‘em behind.”

“They’re going after you if this works.”

“What ya mean, if?”

“Healing adaptation experiments have just begun.”

“But ya aced the test?”

“Well, yeah, but that was just practice. This is the first time I’ve used it on a living being. Don’t worry, it should all go as planned. I’m just being paranoid.”

It would be nice if I could stop blabbering when I’m nervous. Sometimes you just have to go for it and see where the cards fall. That was something my dad used to say. Before he disappeared, he used to tell me lots of things. He’s been gone almost a decade, but I might as well as have “Missing Dad” tattooed on my forehead.

“Ya paranoid?Ne’er!”

As she raises the fur above her eyes, I scratch behind her ear, and she leans into it like a bear scratching its back on a tree trunk. Her fur is soft as manufactured silk charmeuse.

“Ah yeah, right dere.”

“You sure you’re ready for this?”

“It gets us closer to freedom, so I been ready a long time.”

She takes another glance at her brothers, and I pick up the syringe with self-healing serum. I begin the sedation process as no one wants to be awake when artery lining fortifies, muscles pull with new agility, and brain tissue encases itself with a biting, thin metal sheet. Another reason I’m jealous of Eucarpo is that she responds to sedation, and I don’t.

As Eucarpo drifts into a peaceful sleep, I look out the school windows and see only the steel and glass of surrounding buildings. Their reflections mirror the sky. Today the unending blue gives the impression of being in the middle of the sea. On gray days, it’s as if I’ve been swallowed by thunderclouds. I can only imagine how green fields would look. People used to love the smell of fresh-cut grass. That was before an asteroid broke through the atmosphere damaging our ecosystem and killing all plants, causing our world to work together to save Earth and its remaining, limited vegetation. The only vegetation left is kept in guarded areas and labs.

I think I can hear the machines used to keep the atmosphere from collapsing but the sound isn’t right. Instead of a hum, I hear iron clanging. The serum glides through the syringe into Eucarpo and her breathing intensifies as the cells within her body multiply. No, that isn’t the machines. It’s locker doors slamming, followed by footsteps of someone coming down the hall. No one should be here now. They should all be at the assembly that I’m skipping. I must finish before anyone else arrives. I look at the oxygen and pulse readings, cringing with every spike. It feels like an hour passes as I look at the screens, but I know it’s only been seconds. I count breaths and clock ticks, staring at Eucarpo’s oxygen and platelet numbers rising.

“Come on, the science minds keep refreshments in here.”

I think I recognize the voice coming down the hall. Every muscle in my body wants to stiffen, but I can’t freeze now.

Luckily, the serum is fast acting and Eucarpo’s readings are settling. I inject the awakening treatment and then I throw the syringes and all remaining evidence into the incinerator. The burning and sanitizing process will turn these things into energy or something else useful. Eucarpo stirs a little when I hear the door sensor click.

As the voltball captain and visual arts queen walk in, I step in front of Eucarpo.

“Look, we found someone avoiding the assembly,” Milcah says as she nudges Danver in the ribs with her elbow.

 

About the Author:

Stephanie Hansen is a PenCraft Award Winning Author. Her novella series, Altered Helix, released 2020. Her short story, Break Time, and poetry has been featured in Mind's Eye literary magazine. The Kansas Writers Association published her short story, Existing Forces, appointing her as a noted author. She has held a deep passion for writing since early childhood, but a brush with death caused her to allow it to grow. She's part of an SCBWI critique group in Lawrence, KS and two local book clubs. She attends many writers' conferences including the Writing Day Workshops, New York Pitch, Penned Con, New Letters, All Write Now, Show Me Writers Master Class, BEA, and Nebraska Writers Guild conference as well as Book Fairs and Comic-Cons. 

She is a member of the deaf and hard of hearing community.

https://www.authorstephaniehansen.com/

https://www.facebook.com/writer.stephaniehansen

https://www.instagram.com/stephaniehansenauthor/

https://twitter.com/hansenwriter

https://www.pinterest.com/writershansen

https://www.goodreads.com/writerstephaniehansen



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Sunday, February 21, 2021

SUPERNATURAL SUNDAY: THE ONE ABOUT BILL HAUSER AND HIS ITC EQUIPMENT at the DUNBAR THEATRE


Bill Hauser is world re-known for his "ghost box" sessions with ITC Equipment. Here he explains and gives a sample of how it works, while doing an investigation at the Dunbar Theatre in Vancouver.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

INTERVIEW WITH N.A. TRIPTOW (The Secret of Dartwood Manor)



This just in!  We have author N.A. Dartwood  in the house to answer a few questions for us!

SC: . Tell me a little bit about your main character of this book.

NAD: This is a big question for this book. My three main characters are the Dartwood sisters: Eden, Mariah, and Melissa. They are the descendants of one of the founding families of Tarryville Maine, who founded the town after fleeing Salem during the witch trials. Eden is a logical and elegant twenty-eight year old PhD candidate in History at Oxford University. Mariah is an impulsive and passionate twenty-four-year old double major in Vocal Performance and Drama at Juilliard. Melissa is a clever and curious eighteen year old senior at Everhill Academy, a boarding school for the gifted. When their parents are unexpectedly found murdered, they return home from school and find themselves submerged in a mystery that is much more than it appears. There’s also Evan Farris, an estranged friend from their past, who’s the descendent of another founding family of Tarryville. He’s a handsome and quick-witted lawyer with a complicated relationship with Eden that will only be complicated even more during the mystery. And there’s Baden Correia (pronounced Co-hay-ya), who is the young assistant curator of their family museum and Mariah’s best friend. He is a Brazilian man who moved to America when he was nine years old. He is tall, dark, and handsome, and fiercely loyal and brave.

SC: Do you believe in the paranormal and if so, do you have an experience you can share?

NAD: I believe there is magic in every-day life—beautiful moments and powerful acts of bravery and kindness—but not necessarily the paranormal like we write about in books and watch in movies. Though the supernatural is definitely a wonderful thing to explore in these stories.

SC: What titles are you working on now that you can tell us about?

NAD: I’m currently working on the next two books in the Witchling Trilogy. Other than that, I also have two other contemporary fantasy series in the works, as well as a fractured fairy tale series.

Thanks for stopping by. Let's take a look at your novel now. 

The Secret of Dartwood Manor
The Witchling Trilogy 
Book One
N. A. Triptow

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy, 
Young Adult, Romance, Mystery
Publisher: Wishing Well Publishing
Date of Publication: January 18, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-7363844-0-4
ASIN: B08RS7PTG1
Number of pages: 382 pages
Word Count: 103,825 words
Cover Artist: Nicole Triptow

Tagline: A spellbinding reimagining of Jane Austen’s beloved classic, Sense and Sensibility.

Book Description: 

Witches. Ghosts. An ancient secret. Enter a world of myth and magic through this contemporary fantasy reimagining of Jane Austen’s beloved classic, Sense and Sensibility.

The small New England town of Tarryville, Maine is steeped in history, having been settled by the Dartwood and Farris families who fled Salem during the witch trials. The Dartwood sisters, Eden, Mariah, and Melissa, unexpectedly return home after their parents are found murdered. Upon their arrival, the girls are plagued by dreams in which dark spectral beings haunt them. 

When the hellish creatures seem to be more than just nightmares, another mystery begins to unravel as they discover that the circumstances around the murder of their parents may be far more menacing than they appear. Frantic for answers, they must untangle the mystery of their parents’ murders and reconstruct the pieces of an ancient secret. 

With the help of the young assistant curator of their family museum, Baden Correia, and an estranged friend from their past, Evan Farris, the orphaned Dartwood sisters must uncover the truth before the darkness haunting their family descends upon them as well.

Amazon


Excerpt 1:

Mariah found herself staring at the blank screen of her laptop for longer than she intended after the video call ended, hardly even noticing when the tears began to stain her cheeks. When there were no more tears left to shed, she closed her laptop and placed it on her bedside table. Rearranging herself on her bed she crawled under the covers and tried to shut her eyes, but the room around her tugged at her mind, summoning all of the haunted bedroom scenes she’d watched a million times in movies. Suddenly thankful for the old-fashioned four-poster bed, she pulled the curtains tight around her, blocking out the unwanted sights and was finally able to go to sleep.

The stillness of the manor was like a quiet pond just waiting for a fish to upset its equilibrium. The manors beside one another were nearly identical in their architectural design, but now, in the gloom of the night, the Farris manor echoed the dread of the once bright Dartwood manor with such exactness that it seemed as if they were all sleeping in a cemetery. No one stirred in the house, save for the shadows that danced through the windows in the moonlight. The stillness was disturbed, however, as one by one the shadows in the three Dartwood girls’ rooms began to move in purposeful strides. The moonlight no longer directed them in a nightly waltz as they made their way toward the girls.

The shadows, each a ghostly orb of darkness, started their trek from different locations in the rooms. In Eden’s room the mist trickled in from the window, while in Mariah’s it inched between the moth-eaten holes in the cloth ceiling of the four-poster bed, and in Melissa’s it crept in from under the bed itself. Slowly, the haze advanced upon each girl, their forms growing ever more into the silhouette of a person as they neared them. Hovering now only a foot or two above the girls, in unison, as if directed by the moon once more, an ethereal hand reached for each girl, fingers looking more like claws than anything else. A high pitched and yet deep hiss of sound escaped what should have been lips on the silhouettes, darkness protruding and encircling itself around the sleeping forms of the girls below them. Then, without warning, all three silhouettes shrieked a cry of disappointment, an unearthly shrill.

The sound woke each girl as they came to the terrible realization that what had been haunting them in their nightmares was in reality hovering just above them as they slept. Gasping, the silhouettes dissipated into nothing so quickly that none of the girls were quite certain of what they had seen. Nonetheless, each rose out of their beds with such haste that they all opened their doors at the same moment, only to be greeted by the horror-struck faces of their siblings.

 

About the Author:

N. A. Triptow graduated from The University of Utah with a Bachelor of Arts in English Teaching with minors in History Teaching, Theatre, and British Studies. She teaches high school English and Film Studies. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Strategic Communication and Advertising from Purdue University. In her free time, you can find her reading, watching and analyzing movies and television shows, attending the theatre, going on walks or hikes, and playing board or video games with family and friends. She lives in Utah.

https://natriptow.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorN.A.Triptow/

https://twitter.com/N_A_Triptow

https://www.instagram.com/n_a_triptow/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/n-a-triptow

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21021274.N_A_Triptow




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