Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Monday, April 25, 2022
It's always fun when an author joins us to tell us about a new book. Today we are welcoming Michael J. Bowler. Tell me a little bit about your main character of this book, Michael.
MJB: The main character is fifteen-year-old Alex, an orphan boy who’s been in a wheelchair all his life with an unusual form of spina bifida. He also has the innate ability to heal every ailment known to science and possesses an intense empathetic nature. In Book 1, he learned that he is a figure of prophecy known as the Healer because of his supernatural power and found himself the target of a doomsday cult with paranormal connections. Despite his learning disabilities, Alex’s strong willpower and intense desire to protect his friends have so far triumphed over those who would use him for their shady purposes.
SC: Hmm... curious as to why he can't heal himself, but that's all part of the mystery. Speaking of mysteries, do you believe in the paranormal and if so, do you have an experience you can share?
MJB:I do believe in the paranormal in large part because everything has an opposite. If there is the natural world, there must be the supernatural world. I do recall an incident when I was a teenager. I was home alone and taking a shower. I heard a door slam quite loudly and thought someone must’ve come home, and maybe they were angry? I turned off the water and called out, “Who’s there?” No one answered. Now there was only silence. So, I dried myself off and slipped on my robe. Stepping out of the bathroom into the long hallway, I looked both ways. All the doors were open except the one leading into the garage. I padded down to that door and opened it. The garage was empty, which I thought was odd because of the door slam I’d heard. I wandered throughout the entire empty house, but every door was open, and every window closed, so wind could not have been the culprit. Feeling unnerved, I hurried back to the bathroom and locked the door so I could dress. To this day, I wonder who or what slammed that door.
SC: Thanks for sharing your experience with us. What titles are you working on now that you can tell us about?
MJB: I’m putting the finishing touches on Book 3 of The Healer Chronicles, which releases in July. I’m also writing the third in my Film Milieu Thriller series that combines characters and story threads from the first two books into a mystery/thriller set during the filming of a movie based on the first book called I KNOW WHEN YOU’RE GOING TO DIE. It’s a tricky conceit, especially juggling all these elements and characters, but I think it will be a fun book if I can make it all work.
SC: Cool! We'd better let you get back to it. Thanks for joining us today.
He studied his silent brother, staring upward as though hypnotized.
“You okay, Andy?”
Without dropping his gaze in the slightest, Andy said, “You dreamed about Teacher too, didn’t you?”
Alex flinched, his breath momentarily on hold. “Yeah.”
Now it was Martin who looked confused. He shifted position on the chair and that’s when Alex noticed the gun strapped to his belt. Martin studied them both in the dark, his face hidden in shadow. “What are you guys talking about?”
When Andy remained silent, Alex pulled his gaze from his brother’s back and faced Martin. “A teacher we both had. She’s part of the group that’s trying to get me. She says she’s gonna find me no matter where I go.”
Martin’s expression turned from grim to resolute. “I’ll protect you.” He patted the gun in its holster.
Alex eyed his brother once more. “She…she said you belong to her, Andy.”
Alex thought he saw his brother recoil, but the moon wasn’t completely full, so he couldn’t be sure.
“I won’t be in a cage ever again,” Andy said quietly, his voice almost a whisper, as though talking to himself. “I told that to Teacher and I meant it.”
Martin leaped to his feet, startling the boys.
Alex whirled to face him. “What?”
Martin threw a finger to his lips and reached down, pulling out the gun and pointing it over Alex’s head.
Now Alex heard it. Movement. The sound of people trying hard to be quiet, but a slight crunch of gravel gave them away.
Martin waved the boys behind him and darted in front, gun aimed toward the house.
A red light rounded the corner and before Alex could even think of the red light that had killed Juan back at the church, Martin fired his weapon. One pop, muffled, like he had a heavy sock over the barrel. The red light spun crazily and then toppled to the grass.
Alex glanced at Andy with wide eyes. They’d been found!
After that, everything happened so fast Alex could barely process it. Another figure rounded the corner with a gun and fired. A tiny burst of light accompanied the pop of a gunshot, and then Martin grunted, collapsing to the lawn.
“Martin!” Andy dashed around Alex’s chair and knelt by the unmoving form of their protector.
More figures rounded the corner of the house and bore down on them. Alex backed up, but suddenly Andy grasped his hand. Alex felt the rush of power surging through him—just as it had at the church when they’d brought Roy back to life—heavy floodwaters that meant their combined powers had been activated. He looked down at Andy, still kneeling beside Martin’s body.
Andy whispered, “Death, to me!”
Alex stiffened, his vision growing dim, his mind filled with a gray nothingness that terrified him.As though from miles away, he heard Andy hiss, “Death to them!”
Thursday, April 21, 2022
Streams and streaming are life especially when you don’t have one. I like to keep to myself after my last breakup turned me sour. Being ghosted has to the worst feeling in the world. Despite the fact that I have a small online following I still felt alone. Sophia Rivers is my name, but my screen name is MysticWitch.
I stream potions, spells, and even do witch hauls to gather ingredients. I love getting in the kitchen to create a beautiful meal, and playing The Supernatural’s. Life sims are fun, especially ones that gather ingredients and grow crops. My black and purple hair is a cool part of my stream and I have gray eyes outlined in blue eyeshadow and always wear cat ears with corsets and leather. I loved the edge and style.
Once I started streaming I got the latest desktop with screens to see all the game, chat, and my streaming program. My apartment is nice sized with a living room, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a witch room aka a sunroom. I always get all my items from Witch emporium and I have a witch cupboard that keeps the best potions I need. I had it all till I felt like something was missing.
The last person I dated made me feel alone since he claimed he had issues and left without a trace making me wonder if I was good enough. Now I am stuck thinking of a plan to make my night less boring. But in hindsight my ass should have stayed home. It would be a lot less issues and drama, and I could have saved money, time, effort, and energy.
There are some people who shouldn’t have ever been allowed in my life in the first place. They wrecked everything and tried to run me down. Luckily, I got the help of The Killer Contract Agency and now joined the fight in good versus evil. Some groups are so evil they deserved to die especially after trying to use me.
I even have my pet cat shifter too with me. Ella Reed one of the cat shifters and guardian to the cat goddess Bast. She could see in the dark and had super-fast reflexes. She can land perfectly like a cat and retract her nails like claws. She was sitting down in a chair in the apartment we share together.
We live in the witches’ section and our coven the Witch Enlightening one. My powers are stronger than normal. I found her when I was drunk on the street and she was going through the trash, so I took her in.
She was beautiful in kitty form, a tuxedo cat black fur and white paws. Of course, in her human form she was gorgeous too. A pretty red haired and green-eyed beauty that made me look like a mess in comparison.
I literally look messy. My hair is everywhere and my eyes are puffy since I’m utterly depressed. I’ve never felt so ugly in my life like no one wants me. There are periods of me being alone and this aids my depression on a deeper level.
My mom was one of the high witches who paid for it all. She and dad who is one of the high vampires at court are my saving grace in this life. That is right I’m also more powerful than a normal witch due to being half vampire.
I sighed looking at the huge television in the living room and trying to watch whatever shit Ella put on. She was flipping the channels and then came onto the news Giles Black took home a trophy for best streamer and is celebrating in the Witch Haven bar. Omg. A bar I had access to only for elites.
This also reminds me of something I ached for since he had a small homey community. I was following him for a while, on Creature Stream and Creature Cord.
With creature stream you will be notified when your favorite streamer goes live. You can subscribe to them for special benefits and pics made for them like one streamer made an exclusive VIP place: in one of the bars just for him and his subs. You can even give them ghoul points as a way to cheer them on.
When you connected to Creature Cord you can get a special role to highlight how important you are to the community. I loved it and I watched streamers in between streaming. It was a nice way to connect with streamers and co-stream. It was also nice way to support your favorite streamers too. However, if I had known what he was about I should have avoided him. Instead, I didn't and paid the price in turn since they weren't white witches, but evil ones and I didn't know it.
Let's just say I should have stayed home especially since Giles was friends with the ex who used me and threw me away. Instead, I made the dumb decision of drinking more poison and turned to Ella and said, "Did you wanna go to Witch Haven?"
She nodded, "Yes since you haven't been out of the house in forever. I love going out."
“Yay! Hopefully, this will get me out of my funk.” I needed something to take my mind off things.
Break ups are the worst thing in the world. Witch Haven was a place I haven’t been to in a while, and what a perfect way to get over someone was with alcohol and getting under someone else. I can’t remember the last time I went there either.
Jessica Samuels is an author who writes young adult and new adult paranormal romance. When she isn’t writing about vampires, werewolves, witches and angels she is watching stream, reading and playing video games with friends to pass the time.
Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/3JCNkto
Twitch: WolfieMeownip25 - Twitch
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/author_jesswolfie/YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOovDZqjxKmWPF9vxO5Qgow
Tuesday, April 19, 2022
I dropped one foot back, whipped about, and powered along the path I’d come from. Tree trunks and thickets whizzed past me. Layers of dead leaves and twigs crunched underneath my feet.
I looked over my shoulder to see if he was following me. My foot struck a rotten log. I fell forward, hitting the ground. Pain seared through my palms and knees seconds before biting vines curled around my ankles. A shriek escaped my lips at the same time I got yanked off the ground. I hurtled towards the treetops.
Now the forest is attacking me!
The hauling came to a stop, and a burning sensation exploded from my ankles. Vines slithered around my calves and thighs like a snake, squeezing tighter. “Help!”
Moss slapped over my lips.
Eugh! Dirt spread over my tastebuds.
The vines squeezed harder. I couldn’t breathe. I kept squirming, refusing to give up getting back to my parents.
Drake’s footsteps stumped on the ground.
My heart stammered. I didn’t ask to be different. I didn’t want a life running away from some secret cross organization and I definitely didn’t ask to be this idiot’s prisoner.
I rotated in the air and a guy with floppy dark golden hair and green eyes shored his leaning frame against the tree. He wore the same ops uniform as Drake.
“Drake didn’t kid when he said she was feisty.” A second man with a dark face and dreadlocks came closer as I grunted. He had the bluest eyes and a posh British accent.
“Aye, lose a lass, Drake?” Floppy asked with a drawl.
“I’m done.” Drake’s voice came from behind me. “If she wants to leave, let her leave.”
Hanging upside down, rotating slowly, Drake came into view, walking away with indistinct mumble following him. A migraine brewed, as all the blood flooded to my head. But it didn’t hurt as much as my ankles and body where the vines cut into my skin.
Laughter coming from both men reached my ears as I circled my way back to them.
Floppy came into view first. “There’s nothin’ wrong with a sassy lassy.”
“Get her down, Mav,” Dreadlocks said.
Mav lifted his hand, and the vines cutting into my skin retreated, slithering back to their proper places. I connected hard to the ground. An ache rushed up to my back and head.
“Oops, sorry.” Mav stood over me and smiled. His hand grabbed mine and hauled me to my feet.
A deep, roaring growl behind us shook my core.
The two men looked down the trail and back at each other. Mav lifted his hands again. Angry vines twirled around my wrists and feet, locking them tight against my body. I lost my balance. My eyes closed, ready for the impact, but it didn’t come.
When I opened my eyes, I hovered above the ground. My mouth instantly went dry, as my mind couldn’t process any of this. Drake’s footsteps neared, and then he jumped over my body and kept running.
“Let’s go!” Dreadlocks barked, and I flew behind him and Mav.
“What the hell is this?” Vines twirled around my face, covering my mouth. It tasted like dirty pencil shavings.
I grunted. These men are barbaric.
Trees flew past me as I sailed inches from the ground, barely missing the pine cones dotting the floor like spilled trinkets. I came to a stop.
Mav, Dreadlocks, and I took cover behind the thicket near the colossal tree where Drake hid.
Growling came from my left side. I turned my face and looked through an opening between two bushes.
A group of people wearing camouflage gear with massive black guns dangling from straps around their shoulders paraded the open area behind the thickets. They screamed secret organization and struggled to trap a colossal beast. The hair on my arms raised, and the suffocation pressed against my lungs as I stared at something that looked like a lion. It growled at the guys trying to hold on to the net. Enormous wings tried to flap free. Lions didn’t have wings, and they didn’t have ram horns either. What was that thing?
A tail tried to push itself free, and my eyes grew bigger.
“Pull harder on your end, McGregor. Be careful of the stinger.”
A giant scorpion stinger attached to the lion’s tail tangled itself in the net.
“The griffin is somewhere near. They are always together,” another yelled.
The griffin? The only griffin in my head belonged in a fantasy world.
“There are way too many agents,” Mav said.
“We can’t just leave Lindy. Where is Brooke?” Drake asked.
Who are Lindy and Brooke?
Drake grunted and swooped in my direction with his hands, ready to strangle me.
Mav pulled him back. “Easy, lad.”
Drake jabbed a finger in my direction. “They wouldn’t have trapped Lindy if she stayed put.”
“Hey,” Dreadlocks said, keeping his eyes on the situation in front of us, “you were adamant about saving her life, remember?”
Say what now?
Drake grunted. “And how I regret that.”
“We need a diversion,” Mav said.
“Fine, I’ll create one,” Drake replied. “Don’t wait for me. Just get to the compound.”He was ready to make a run for it when Dreadlocks pulled him back. “Be careful.”
Sunday, April 17, 2022
Monday, April 11, 2022
Tell me a little bit about your main character in this book.
RL: Kaernan Asthore is a Seeker, which means he has an innate magical ability to find a certain thing or person. The Asthore family is known for being able to find someone’s true love, but Kaernan’s Seeker ability is split with his twin sister Kaela. Kaela is the one able to find true loves; Kaernan unfortunately specializes in finding lost loves, which means he deals with the darker side of human emotion: sadness, regret, unrequited love.
Needless to say, he’s not happy with his job.
2. No doubt! Do you believe in the paranormal and if so, do you have an experience you can share?
RL: Ooh, I’m not sure. I don’t discount that there’s stuff out there we can’t explain, but I’m not entirely sure if I’ve ever personally had an encounter.
I can say, though, I had an odd experience in my former studio apartment a few years ago. I had moved from the middle unit to one on the end. Each apartment had the same layout, with a little alcove where a Murphy bed used to be. In the middle unit I had my bed pushed into that alcove, so I did the same when I moved to the corner unit. But once I moved in, I started having trouble sleeping at night. I don’t usually have sleep paralysis or night terrors, but in that unit, I would often experience both, and I would sense there was a shadowy figure, a man, at the foot of my bed. I would wake up yelling at him, but there was no one in the room, except for me and my cat. (And she just slept through the night, so apparently she didn’t see anything!) It happened so much that I ended up reconfiguring my apartment setup, putting my bed against a different wall and putting my desk into that alcove. Once I did that, the night terrors stopped.
Interestingly enough, I became friends with the guy who had moved into my old middle unit, because he thought my old apartment was haunted and my building manager wanted me to convince him everything was fine. I had never had problems in the middle unit, but he ended up moving out after just a month or two because he couldn’t handle it.
Does that count as a paranormal experience? I’ll let you decide. :)
3. We'll take it. What titles are you working on now that you can tell us about?
RL: I’m working on Book 3 in the Kingdom Legacy series, with an idea for Book 4. No titles for them yet, although it will probably continue in the Heir of… vein. I also have an idea for an unrelated fantasy duology. Beyond that, I’m not sure, but I think that will keep me busy for a while!
Thanks for joining us. Let's take a look your your novel now.
I bow over the lovely young woman’s outstretched hand as I agree to assist her. As we ride together, I see the sunlight halo behind her head, hearing her sweet laughter as she smiles hopefully at me, believing the world is full of possibility.
But, unfortunately, her hope is misplaced.
I watch as her face crumples in tears. Not the restrained, dignified sniffles that I would have expected from someone of her standing. Instead, the tears are great gulping sobs that rack her thin frame, threatening to break her in two.
Just as her heart was breaking.
I had been taught to remain neutral, but it is difficult to see to see the poor young lady react so violently to the news. But what had she honestly expected?
I try to calm her, to comfort her, even though it isn’t my place nor my business. I hold her firmly by the shoulders, speaking in a low, soothing voice as if she is an easily spooked animal.
The wild look in her eyes begins to settle. The tears begin to slow.
I breathe easier. It will be all right now.
Then, without warning, her hand shoots out toward me. I instinctively recoil, expecting to feel the sting of a slap. Instead, she grabs the hilt of the dagger sheathed at my belt. In one swift motion, she draws the knife out and plunges it into her heart. Her eyes never leave mine as the light fades from them.
Or, at least, I think I do. All I know is, my mouth is gaping open in shock as she falls gracelessly into my outstretched arms. Her blood is everywhere. On my hands, my arms, splashed all over the front of my shirt. Pooling on the floor beneath her crumpled body. Her now sightless eyes are still fixed on me.
Accusing me, forever, that I could have prevented this needless death.
* * *
I came out of the magically-induced memory doubled over, gasping for air, even though I wasn’t bound by enchantment or by physical means.
No, I was just bound to the lady Rosemary through my memories of my failed commission. “Thank you for allowing the Council to see that once more,” a deep, gravelly voice above me said. “I know that isn’t easy for you to relive, over and over.”
The voice recalled me to where I was: in my home country of Orchwell, standing before the kingdom’s other governing body, the Council of Seekers, on day ten of what seemed like a never-ending trial.
Because my commission had ended so brutally, the Council had called me before them, repeatedly going over the events that led to Rosemary’s death. This was the fifth time I had had to relive the memories of what had occurred.
While the memories were painful, they were nothing compared to the possible futures before me. Depending on the Council’s ruling, I could be stripped of my Seeker ability, which at best meant I would lose my livelihood and at worst meant I would go insane. Or they could even sentence me to death.
I didn’t know which was the better outcome.
My breathing now under control, I looked up to regard the seated members of the Council of Seekers. Pellham Ravenwood, head of the seven-person Council, regarded me from his place at the center of the raised stand where he was flanked on both sides by the other council members. I recognized some of their faces: elderly Madame Kenestra, her white hair piled high on her head as she turned her shrewd brown eyes on me; the former knight Sir Lantley, a lean, athletic man with silver-streaked black hair; and Lord Olivera, the queen’s cousin, a bulky, solidly-built man with long blond hair that he often wore tied back from his face. He was at least a good five or ten years younger than his peers on the Council.
Orchwell’s ruling king and queen were the ultimate authority in our country, but they tended to delegate many of the day-to-day affairs of governing to the Council of Seekers. It made sense; Orchwell’s royal family was, by design, one of the few families of nobility that did not have the Seeker ability running through their veins. Or, if any of the royals did, it was often an extremely weak ability, akin to a minor magical skill. If anyone in the direct line of succession showed a strong aptitude for seeking, they weren't eligible to inherit the throne. There were too many headaches as a Seeker — and in my world, heartaches — to wish upon a future king or queen. Orchwell needed their rulers at home in the kingdom, fully able to focus on their duties.
Which was another reason why the Council of Seekers existed.
Several of those on the Council were members of the royal family who had been ineligible for succession. The rest were former Seekers who had since passed on their duties to other family members, but still wanted to serve the kingdom in some way. Members of the Council weren’t paid, but would occasionally receive monetary gifts from the Crown.
Pellham Ravenwood was a rare combination: as the king’s fourth younger brother with strong Seeker abilities, he had actually been allowed to pursue his Seeker career since he was never a strong contender for the Orchwell throne. Being a part of both worlds gave him remarkable insight and made him a formidable leader, which helped him earn the position as Head of the Council.
Pellham turned to Lord Olivera. “Well, as you were the one who requested Kaernan go over his commission yet again, are you satisfied with what you saw?”
Lord Olivera tapped his chin thoughtfully. He was wearing an extravagant wide-brimmed red hat with a silver feather; as he nodded, the feather nodded in time with him. “It was thorough, to be sure, but it didn’t give us any new information. It would be nice to have another perspective on the situation.”
I ground my teeth, pressing my lips into a thin line to stop myself from blurting my thoughts. Of course my story, rehashed multiple times, wouldn’t have given the Council new insights. The only person who could give the Council another perspective is dead.
While I hadn’t expected much sympathy from the Council during my trial, I found I really disliked Lord Olivera. The man seemed to enjoy torturing me, asking the same questions repeatedly, making me relive the commission over and over before the Council, and casting doubt on every move or motive I had during Rosemary’s commission. I already had recurring nightmares about it, and had barely slept for the last four months since returning home with the lady’s death on my hands.
Besides my nightmares and insomnia, I was constantly on edge from not exercising my Seeker ability. Seekers had to use their gifts regularly or potentially go mad, and I had been denying my gift for several months. And pre-trial, when I had to undergo the Council’s intense process of magically sealing witnesses from talking outside of the courtroom, I had barely recovered from it.
So I was definitely not in good physical or mental shape right now. And Lord Olivera’s “attention to detail” — as he called it, although I would have termed it otherwise — wasn’t helping me. I firmly believed that the Council would have come to a decision about my fate much sooner if he hadn’t been present.
“Perhaps we could —”
“Pause the hearing here, and meet again in ten minutes after we get some refreshments.”
Madame Kenestra smoothly interrupted Lord Olivera. “These old bones can’t go for much longer without some sustenance.”
“I, for one, agree with Madame Kenestra.” Sir Lantley also cut off whatever Lord Olivera was going to say. “A short break would do wonders to clear my head.”
“If we could just —”
“Sir Lantley, you agree with me? Now that is a first! Pellham, did you hear that? Have the Council secretary note this day, for it truly is a momentous occasion: Sir Lantley agrees with me.” The twinkle in Madame Kenestra’s eyes as Lord Olivera’s face grew mottled red with rage told me she knew exactly what she was doing. I almost felt sorry for Lord Olivera.
Pellham Ravenwood sighed. After spending a few days with the Council, I had a vague idea of what he had to put up with on a daily basis. I ducked my head so the Council members wouldn’t see my smirk.
“Who would like to continue the hearing?” he asked the group. Only Lord Olivera’s hand shot up. “Who would like to take a short break?” Everyone else, including Pellham, raised a hand.
“All right, then, the majority has it. We will take a break and reconvene in, oh, about ten minutes.”
Pellham looked at me, then, really taking in my haunted eyes and drooping shoulders.“And then, we will decide on the fate of Kaernan Asthore.”