Tuesday, September 26, 2023



Today, Beck Erixson joins us for our quick interview. Welcome, Beck. 

Supernatural Central Short and Quick Interview

Just a Fika by Beck Erixson

1. Tell me a little bit about your main character in this book.

Ingrid Ekstrom, a woman in her early thirties, is a bit disconnected from life in general. Her mother and much of her family passed away when she was young, before she could build her own core memories. She's got this thing about not wanting to get too close to people because, well, in her world, everyone seems to die early.

Ingrid's on a journey to discover more about herself, and it's all about wanting to connect with those folks she never really got to know while they were alive. Ingrid is a genealogist by trade, so she helps people dig into their past to help them learn about themselves. She's searching for connections in the world to family, and finds other unexpected connections when she moves to Aegir Haven.

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

Yes! I absolutely do. Like the main character in Just a Fika, I've experienced my fair share of losses from a young age. My dad passed away before I was two. His mom and several other family members also left us super early. When I moved to Red Bank, the place where they all lived near or grew up in, something changed. I didn't feel as alone or jittery as I used to when I wandered around or went out, especially at night. It's like this strange warmth washes over me, and I can't quite put my finger on it. Sure, it's not like items are floating or I’m seeing ghosts, but these comforting tingles are unlike anything I've experienced anywhere else I've lived.

Then there was this one night when I was chilling in my living room. From upstairs, it sounded like someone was demanding attention using our antique rocking chair in the master bedroom, going all out with the rocking. I was freaked out because I was home alone, but I decided to start talking out loud, and miraculously, the rocking stopped. That warm, comforting feeling returned. The house was built back in the 1920s, and the town itself has been around way longer, so maybe it was just a family member saying "hello" in their own unique way.

I think I tend to write about the paranormal a lot in little ways. My writing tends to lean towards the idea that the paranormal is just a part of everyday life. Take, for instance, my flash piece called "Tractor Heist," which got published by Many Nice Donkeys. It's all about playing with the notion of belief and interactions with people who might or might not be leaving us signs. The fun part is, I wrote the whole piece about 50 feet away from where my dad's ashes were spread. The piece is probably one of my strongest flash pieces and was picked up to be published quickly. Then there's this short fiction piece I've got coming out in an upcoming anthology by Running Wild, called "The Memory Bench." In that one, I tried to capture that same feeling I get when I'm strolling around Red Bank, but it's darker than "Just a Fika." It's got this subtle winter vibe and an eerie sense of calm throughout the story.

3. What titles are you working on now that you can tell us about?

I do! I wrote the initial draft of “Just a Fika” back in 2020 and it’s gone through round after round of revisions. I have a book 2 outlined with an initial chapter started that takes place in the same world but with different characters. The second standalone book is tentatively called “Mys Cove” which is essentially a part of town known as Freya’s playground. I’m excited to introduce Saga and bring back a number of characters in different ways from Just a Fika.

I recently started to publish my contemporary series, Love is Awkward. Book one, “Feeling Ballsy”, came out in August and book two “Feeling Fiery” should be out late fall early winter. Book two is written and is going to copy edits soon. There will at some point be a book three which is an active WIP but has no title.

The biggest string through my writing I’ve noticed is the fact I tend to write about people finding their happiness. I want everyone to have their HEA be it with a found family or a partner in life. In general, this is a good way to describe what I want for all the people in my life, happiness and comfort in their day to day world.

Just a Fika: Coffee, Connection, and a Matchmaking Ghost Grandmother
Beck Erixson

Genre: Speculative Contemporary Romance/Women’s Fiction with Romance
Publisher: Aegir Haven, LLC 
Date of Publication: October 3, 2023
ISBN: 979-8-9875998-0-8 (paperback)
ISBN” 979-8-9875998-2-2 (ebook)
Number of pages: 308
Word Count: 83,000
Cover Artist: Melody Jeffries

Tagline: Family. They’re always meddling in your love life… Even after they’re dead.

Book Description:

Brooklynite-and genealogist-Ingrid Ekstrom accepts a surprise request from her typically estranged family: to become the live-in caretaker of their shared historic house in the sleepy Jersey Shore town of Aegir Haven. A fun-loving cousin is quick to introduce Ingrid to the local handyman and bluegrass musician. As he fixes up the place, Ingrid digs into the house's past and learns about the family she barely knows. 

And then Mormor-her long-dead grandmother-shows up, acting as though not being in the spirit realm is perfectly normal.  

Ingrid's always yearned for stronger family connections, and it's nice having Mormor around. Mormor tries to set her up with a young real estate attorney who's closer to her more thunderous, god-like personal standards than the musician with keen senses Ingrid is falling for. As lore and legends mingle with real life, she's torn. Mormor's fantastical family sagas can't actually be true, right?


“Show yourself, you meddling woman,” I say, probably too stern for a granddaughter. She did this to herself.

“Oh, relax. You had fun, didn’t you?” Mormor’s voice projects from the living room.

“You had no business showing up tonight. My social life is mine.” I kick off my shoes in the entry and cut across to the warmth of the lit fireplace. She’s kept herself busy.

“Oh, sit down,” she scolds me from the purple wingback chair, like the child she believes I still am.

Hard to say no to your grandmother, even if you don’t really know her. For civility’s sake, I take my place in the leather chair on the other side of the fireplace, garnering an unobstructed view of her. The heat and flames of the fireplace illuminate the bridge etched into the back of the black stone, only visible when the temperature hits high enough. She’s been waiting.

“Did you have fun?” The chair creaks as she adjusts her legs. “You two were adorable together.”

“So you said at the restaurant. Directly to him.” The energy it takes to argue isn’t worth the effort right now. Opting for a tone of juvenile annoyance takes less energy. “Can you please stay out of my personal life? Can this be something we agree to?”

“Absolutely not. You’ll blow it. Look at your track record. You need me.” She waves off my request. “Besides, it was one date, and of course that boy ended up there too.”
Ah, so she didn’t send him. Sweet. “Thatboy?“ I ask.

“Yes, the one with the instrument and the curls in his hair. The one who’s been fixing things here.” Mormorisn’t holding back niceties.

“Kurt?” I grin. “What do you have against Kurt?” Reveling in this is wrong, but so right.

“You need someone with their feet on the ground. Someone like Yale.” She sits high like a queen in her court.

“What do you know about him?” I’m not arguing. Who knows how long she’s been popping in and out of my life?

“I know what I need to.” She lengthens her neck. “Why even bother with him?”

“Ah, so you know nothing.” Makes two of us, really. Other than being kind, talented, and someone to joke around with, he’s a mystery. A mystery who’s comfortable to be around, but sometimes makes butterflies flutter in my chest. Yale makes me awkward and nervous. Ugh,I’m overanalyzing again. Inside me there’s a constant nag when I’m around Yale that he’s not a good idea. Not that Kurt’s a good idea.

“Let’s clarify something. I’m not going back until I know you are okay.” Mormor stares off at the fire. A gentle breeze whistles through the windows and flutters the edges of her hair.

“Is this a promise or a threat?” Please stay, for at least a while longer. I like getting to know her when she’s not meddling. Half the reason I agreed to move out here was to learn more about my family.

I suppose I should thank her. Dinner ended when the menu she was holding too close to the wall sconce caught fire and we had to run outside. Serves her right for spying and not paying attention. There’s nothing quite like the smell of melting plastic to inflict headaches and end a date quickly.

He was kind enough to walk me home after I made the first turn in the wrong direction. I’d have made it eventually. His gentlemanly self was fantastic. It was the long periods of not talking and staring at the candle that made me want to bolt.

“You know I love you.” I open my arms for a hug.

She turns non-corporeal and laughs as my arms slice through her.

Mormor! “What are the rules here? When are you—you? And when are you a ghost?” I stamp my voice like a toddler mid-tantrum, adding extra emphasis at the beginning of each sentence.

“You were going to squeeze me too hard.” She’s right. “When I’m tired, I fade a bit. I don’t like where I go when I fade.”

A tiny over-the-top squeeze to make her feel as uncomfortable as I felt with Yale is deserved, tight enough so she knows I’m squeezing love and the want of a direct connection with her.

“Where you go?” Legitimate question.

“I have to go somewhere? What? You think I’m like a fading light?”

I shrug. “Sorry, I don’t have experience with—ghosts?”

“We’ve been over this.” She rolls her eyes. “The rules are murky.” She pulls at the low braid on the back of her head.

“Oh, is that all?” This woman is off her rocker.

“It’s complicated.” She crosses her arms and huffs. “Haven’t you bothered doing your research?”

“This isn’t something I can research.” Hello, librarian, I keep seeing my dead grandmother. Do you have any books on this?

My jaw drops—this was an intentional diversion. “You’re trying to get sympathy and distract me from the fact you interrupted in the most inappropriate way on a date.”

She wrinkles her nose. “Caught me. You still need to think about dating a proper choice. I’m holding my ground on this.”

“Proper?” Again, with that word. “I don’t need to date anyone. I’m here to watch the house.”

She comes over and envelopes me in a too-hard hug.

I wheeze. “Besides it wasn’t a date, it was two people going to dinner.”

The unsuccessful wiggle of my arms proves Mormor’s ghost form is stronger than she lets on.

“Dating doesn’t mean a relationship.” I peck her cheek. “Having dinner once or twice is getting to know someone.”

She releases her arms and slinks back in her chair. “Don’t end up alone, Ingrid.” A tremble crosses her tone.

“I’ve got you. How can I be alone?”

“You know very well what I mean. You’ve squandered your twenties, and now—”

“I got an education and lived life.” There it is. Clear disappointment I’ve caused her in my life choices. “I traveled and dated. Not everyone finds themselves in their early twenties.”

“Will you consider dating while you are here? He’s really a nice boy.”

“I’m here to maintain the house. Not to date.” I’m over dating.

“Being here doesn’t mean you can’t date.”

I shake my head. She’s relentless.

Mormor waves her hand in front of the fire, and the flames dance higher. “Yale is…” She wags her eyebrows. “Kurt is…” A hovered eye roll punctuates the end of her sentence.

“A friend.” Sort of—he’s working here because Svea paid him.

Mormor grumbles something inaudible from my seat. “I have a list of projects for you. Promise me you’ll stay till you finish some?” She pulls her arm back to the chair and rests her hands on her lap.

“I’m a fill-in. The only person available with no ties to kids or an office.” Story of my life. The living family members call when they remember my existence. Supposedly they love me, but…eh, baggage to think about another day, right? “Promise me you won’t mess up Kurt’s projects on the house?” He works hard regardless of her impression of him.

“As long as he sticks to the house as a project and not you.” She wags her finger and heaves a sigh.

A halfhearted nod is the only option to end this conversation. “Tea?”

I’m not a project.

About the Author: 

Beck Erixson writes about the beautifully awkward world of navigating the journey to true happiness through friendships, love, and family—be it blood, found, or chosen. Her stories enhance the importance of positive interconnection, even when we feel lonely. She lives on the Jersey Shore, and can often be found either writing by the river, or in it in some way. Her short stories have appeared in Many Nice Donkeys, and Full Mood Mag.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2023

BITTERSWEET INJURIES-The Dove and Snake Series Book One by Kateri Stanley


Bittersweet Injuries 
The Dove and Snake Series 
Book One
Kateri Stanley 

Genre: Supernatural Thriller
Date of Publication: 28/09/2023
ISBN: 979-8851416583
Number of pages: 302
Word Count: 81K
Cover Artist: Kateri Stanley and Daniel Olah 

Tagline: Some secrets can last for centuries

Book Description: 

Marcus Weaving is a retired psychology lecturer and therapist. Not a man to sit around, he volunteers at his local university. Years of clinical practice are put to the test when he receives a mischievous text from somebody called L.

Intrigued and unnerved, Marcus goes to the address provided and is welcomed by a beautiful blonde woman named Lily. Their story goes way back to his tumultuous youth when he had to flee from his abusive mother and other demons skulking around.

Timing for a romantic reunion could not be any worse. Marcus is about to become a grandfather and he has ongoing issues with his estranged, drug addicted son.

Why has Lily shown up after all of this time? And, why hasn't she aged a day?

Excerpt Prologue

The rambler puffed and panted her way up the hill. What had started off as a pleasant morning in the beautiful rustic countryside had turned into a torrential disaster of an afternoon. She’d been strolling in a loose sweater with a fleece wrapped around her waist and now, she was thankful she’d packed the waterproofs before leaving the house.
She dug her heels into the mud, pushing on two walking poles, dragging her body towards the top. Rainwater dripped off the hood of her jacket. After several minutes of intense core strength, she managed to make it to the top of the hill and was relieved when she saw the warm lights of a nearby pub. She could take shelter and fill her stomach with cider, gravy and mashed potato.  
She was not alone on the hill. Somebody else was there, mad enough to attempt to climb the rest of the mountain.

“Hey!” the rambler shouted. “I wouldn’t go up there if I were you, mate. The rain’s too heavy. You’d be better off waiting!”

The other rambler donned in the same hiking gear turned to face her. He had a druid beard which hid middle eastern features and hair so long that it spilled out of his hood. He raised his hand signifying a gesture not to be worried. Then he smiled, giving the rambler the thumbs up and continued to trudge upwards. He wasn’t wearing any walking boots. How strange. His bare feet would get cut to shreds or he’d catch some sort of infection in this weather.

The rambler glanced at the pub in a panic. She didn’t want to be responsible if the body of a man was found buried somewhere on the mountain, even though she’d tried to warn him. She turned back, the rain was hailing down. She could barely see the crown of the mountain. The strange thing was, the other rambler had vanished.

The coffee shop on the high street was one of his favourite places to unwind after a hard day's work. Jove acquired the booth by the front window, delicately sipping his large skinny latte. He enjoyed watching people pass by; it was humanity at its best. They were lost in their own little worlds, unaware of who was observing.

He peered at his watch, his former employee was late, whereas he on the other hand… was on time. After half an hour, he sensed a presence enter the coffee shop, then a soft manicured hand lightly brushed his shoulder.

“I think you should invest in a watch,” said Jove.

“You know I don't bother with that old fashioned garbage,” the voice replied, belonging to the woman standing before him.

Jove sighed. “I’d appreciate it if you could inform me that you’re going to be late. It’s called common courtesy. I have other places to be. You know this.”

The woman plonked her handbag on the opposing seat, disturbing the gentleman reading his newspaper in the next booth. She didn’t notice his annoyed expression, she didn’t care.

“Good place to sit,” she said. “You’ve got a keen eye. Watch my bag.”

She grabbed her purse and marched to the bar. Her sharp high heeled boots clicked and clacked on the shiny floor. Her provocative walk echoed dominance and confidence.

“Splashing out I see,” Jove commented when she returned with a large caramel macchiato and a plate of fruit toast.

“It’s a special occasion,” she replied merrily, sitting down. “Our meet-ups are important.

Oh, and by the way, it's Lucille when I'm in this skin. Respect my pronouns haha.”

“Fair enough,” Jove replied. “How have you been?”  

She sucked the cream ravenously from her fingers. “Profits dropped slightly this month. I'm working on a strategy to increase the market.”  

“And what is that?” he asked.

Lucille smirked. “You know I don’t part with my ideas.”

“Of course, I was just venturing.”

She wiped her hands with the napkin and began to lather the butter onto the fruit toast with a plastic knife. “You know, I truly think the modern world was made for me. The secrets, the scandals, the back stabbings. Souls willing to part with their shares for a couple of thousand followers, faking chronic illnesses for attention. Social media is a wonderful thing. It’s an all-you-can-eat-buffet of human depravity. I love it.”

Jove did not need the loaded information. He already knew about it, and it troubled him.

“How come you chose Starbucks?” Lucille bit into the toast, ripping it with her teeth, the way a predator tore into its prey. “I thought you were a Costa Coffee guy.”

“I felt like a change.”

“I agree,” Lucille nodded. “See that guy outside?”

Jove watched out of the window, noticing a tall man in a long grey overcoat with receding brown hair purchasing a Big Issue magazine.

“He sold me a share because his wife left him for his best friend. Oh, and that woman, and that fat bloke there. Infidelity is a real mood killer for passion.”

Jove caught sight of each person Lucille indicated. The crowds moved similar to a fast-pacing stream. Before he could hone in on her clients, they melted into the background of the city. A soul wafted past and he pointed at the window pane. “That girl broke her leg saving her brother from a house fire.”

Lucille rolled her eyes at his observation. “Whoop de doo. Good people, so boring. Anyway, how's everything down your way, or should I say up your way?”

“Everything’s fine.”

“Does anyone ask after me?”

“Your name pops up, now and then. Not in the most civil terms, I might add.”

“Doesn’t surprise me. I'm glad I gave in my notice, no offence.”

Jove frowned. “From my recollection Lucille, you were... cast out.”

Her gaze hardened. “I walked, actually.”

“I’m not here to argue. But, if you cleansed your heart, I'd let you back in with open arms.”

“That’s sweet, but I love being my own boss.” She wiped her mouth with the napkin, careful enough so she wouldn’t smear her lipstick. “I think all of you have your wires crossed. My job isn’t much different to yours. It’s not... bad. It’s not evil either. I collect and punish the wicked and sinful. Isn’t that a good thing?”



About the Author: 

Kateri Stanley is a dark fiction author. Her books include bestselling horror debut, FORGIVE ME and fantasy thriller, FROM THE DEEP. She lives with her partner and her cat in the Midlands, UK. 


Wednesday, September 6, 2023

INTERVIEW WITH DANA CLAIRE (War of the Sea-Kickstarter: Olympian Wars Book One)


Supernatural Central Short and Quick Interview

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

Elouise "Lou" Farrington, the tempestuous heart of the Caviar Sea, commands its violent waves with a fiery spirit sparked by a burning need for revenge. As the youngest pirate to ever hoist a flag in these treacherous waters, she seeks to avenge her father's unjust murder. Yet, her rage is tempered by an ember of justice that flickers within her, threatening to extinguish her thirst for retribution. The flames of this internal struggle blaze even brighter when her formidable adversary tempts her with a pact of peace, a chance to relinquish her personal vendetta for the promise of a ceaseless calm on the ocean's surface.

Her crew, a motley collection of fierce women, are more than just her comrades - they are her chosen family. Her loyalty to them is as boundless as the sea they sail, and her protective instinct rivals that of a savage sea beast guarding its brood. To harm them is to stoke the wrath of a storm, for there is no line she wouldn't cross, no wave she wouldn't ride, to ensure their safety.

Rylander "Rye" Bordeaux is the beacon of discipline amidst the chaos of the Caviar Sea, an embodiment of naval integrity and courage. As the esteemed captain of the Isle of Cava, he bears the weight of a formidable mission: to end the War of the Sea by ending the Siren Queen. His heart beats in rhythm with the ocean's swell, and his unwavering determination is to bring serenity to its tempestuous depths. Beneath his stoic exterior and strategic mind, however, lurk shadows of a haunting past that he must conquer to navigate a peaceful future.

Rye's salvation may well rest in the enigmatic and tempestuous Captain Elouise. Her captivating allure is a siren song that teases his heart and challenges his faith. Drawn into a treacherous dance of deception and fragile trust, he is left wrestling with a fateful question: can he entrust his life, his mission, his crew and perhaps the fate of the sea, to a pirate who would see him in a watery grave? As uncertainty breeds more uncertainty, a new dread arises: is he being pulled into the undertow of love for the woman who believes him to be her father’s killer? 

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

It's not that I subscribe to the existence of the paranormal, but rather, I am captivated by its narrative allure. I appreciate the creative wellspring it triggers, and I marvel at the immersive universes birthed from the ingenious minds of screenwriters, authors, and filmmakers. Without such belief, my own capacity to weave tales of fantastical journeys and epic adventures would remain untapped.

I also uphold the perspective that occasionally, embracing belief in the supernatural or the enigmatic can serve as a salve for our wounds. Take, for instance, the faith in spirits or apparitions. In the throes of grief, finding solace in the idea that our departed loved ones visit us in dreams, reincarnate as a butterfly, or send us subtle signs through the displacement of objects, can be a profound source of comfort. I see no harm in this form of healing; on the contrary, it can be a gentle bridge towards acceptance and peace.

  1. What titles are you working on now that you can tell us about?

Oohhhh, I’m so glad you asked. I am currently in the process of finishing three young adult works: 'War of the Land', 'The Offensive Line', and 'Chess Games'.

'War of the Land' is a successor to 'War of the Sea', exploring the next generation of protagonists. It is a tale of epic confrontations where celestial beings and mortals stand shoulder to shoulder, driven by a shared objective to halt Zeus from obliterating humankind. The narrative resonates with echoes of ancient legends, from Prometheus to Apollo. Prepare to be immersed in a battlefield where legends are born, honor clashes with destiny, and the very earth beneath our feet serves as the stage for acts of courage, the stirring complexities of love, and humanity's struggle for survival. All this, underscored by the tension and anticipation of an arranged marriage.

'The Offensive Line' serves as a companion novel to 'Sideliners' and delves into the exhilarating world of high school football romance. Our protagonists are an unlikely pair: a New York City girl, grappling with the recent loss of her father and move to a backward, regressive Texas town, and a boy who hails from Texas's rougher neighborhoods while caring for his mother and brother after his father was incarcerated for trying to kill them. Despite their stark differences, they share a common battle - the fight for survival.

'Chess Games' presents a thrilling narrative about a young girl safeguarded by the youngest undercover agent posing as a high school student, tasked with protecting her from the man who killed her mother. This high-stakes dance of deceit, trust, and survival promises to keep the readers on the edge of their seats.

I also just handed in HunterLore, book #2 of the Hunterland series which has been optioned for TV to my publisher. The pub date is September 17th, 2024. Here’s the official blurb:

Every hunter knows dangerous supernatural beings rule the shadows of our world, but what happens when they step into the light.

For Liam Hunter, monster hunting is a way of life—a family tradition passed down for generations. But when campers are murdered in the woods, their hearts ripped from their chests, Liam finds himself facing his most terrifying adversary yet—his own mother, turned monster. Her pack of werewolves will test Liam’s limits, his morals, and his undeniable connection with the girl who still has too large a claim on his heart.

Olivia Davis is determined to uncover her own place in Hunterland’s society and hone her newfound abilities. But when Olivia has a terrifying vision, she’s faced with a much larger uncertainty, her feelings for the boy she let slip through her fingers.

Together can Olivia and Liam survive the deadly game of cat and mouse, or will they become victims in a world where the monsters are the hunters? The clock is ticking. The game is on. And the price of failure may be humanity.

War of the Sea - Kickstarter
Olympian Wars
Book One
Dana Claire

Genre: Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Chamberlain Publishing House
ISBN: 9798987263563
Number of pages: 270
Word Count: 80,000
Cover Artist: Brush Media Group

Tagline: A bargain. A brigand. A battle for the sea.

Book Description:

His powers could save the ocean. Her vendetta could sink a kingdom.

Captain Elouise Farrington, the youngest pirate on the Caviar Sea, seeks revenge on her father’s killer. But when her oddly hypnotic foe proposes a pact to kill the Siren Queen and end the War of the Sea’s bloodshed, she must make a choice. Put aside her long-brewing retribution or act the underhanded pirate and use the alliance to claim the life of the man who destroyed her family?

Captain Rylander Bordeaux, the revered royal navy captain of the Isle of Cava, has one mission—kill the Siren Queen and end the War of the Sea. The ocean is the only place Rylander calls home, but to bring peace to his beloved waves, he must defeat his past so he can reshape the future. His greatest hope is Captain Elouise, who calls to him like no siren song ever has. Too bad she’s almost as bloodthirsty as the fanged heart-eaters themselves. She promises to lend her all-female crew to his war on the sirens, but can he trust a brigand—especially one who wants him dead—to uphold her end of the bargain? Or will she be his undoing?




Our mouths met once again, hungry and desperate, as I lifted her into my arms. Her chemise rose and bunched in between us. My palms cupped her exposed thighs, urging them to encircle my waist. I walked us backward to the bed, never breaking our kiss, and slowly lowered her down, careful to bear my weight against my forearm. I savored the softness of her lips, the warmth of her breath mingling with mine, as her fingers wove into my hair. Pleasure and pain radiated through my scalp as she pulled the ends with her iron grip, her moans urging me on. With my free hand, I explored her, tracing the lines of her neck, the softness of her breasts. Her body arched in response, a silent plea for more.

I continued my journey, my hand tracing the curve of her hip, slipping beneath her knee, and wrapping her leg around me once more. The connection between us grew stronger, an unspoken understanding that we were meant to be entwined, a meeting of souls. And then, with a surge of anticipation, I pressed into her, feeling her heat and the electric pulse of our bodies against one another.

She pulled back, her eyes locking onto mine, reflecting a hunger and longing that mirrored my own. A mischievous smile played upon her lips as her fingers toyed with the button on my trousers. But before she undid it, I heard a noise. Footsteps.

“It’s probably a good idea to tell you both I’m in the room.” Smitter’s voice sounded somewhere behind me, way too close to the bed, to us.

I jumped backward, lost my balance, and stumbled to the floor. My rear landed hard. Lou swathed herself in a wad of sheets.

“I had hoped you’d come up for air, but there’s really no good way to interrupt.” He waved in between us.

“I’m going to kill you,” I growled from the floor. Out of all the times my uncle had popped in and out of a room, this had to be the most invasive and humiliating.

“Why would you …? I can’t— Don’t you ever do that again,” Lou shouted, horrified. Her hands balled around the sheets. Flushed like a sunburned noble, she volleyed her gaze between me, half clothed on the floor, and Smitter. Her knotted hair stuck up on top of her head.

“Yes, I realize it’s not great timing, but the two of you need your rest. We drop anchor tomorrow on the perimeter of Anthemusa. The men have already been moved to the soundproof rooms. And we need to strategize how you’ll slay the Siren Queen, now that our first plan is no longer viable.” Smitter’s concerned brown eyes found mine. “Also, your aunt said this isn’t the right time for”—he swirled a finger in our general direction—“this.”

Lou’s brows contorted. “What? Who is your aunt?” She gaped at me.

I waved Lou off. Aunt Artemis, the goddess of childbirth, would know when Lou should abstain, but I wasn’t about to have that conversation. I bent my knees, resting my elbows on my thighs, and rubbed my temples. My family had truly outdone themselves. Not a single boundary nor a clue as to how their incessant involvement could be a nuisance.

About the Author:

DANA CLAIRE is an award-winning author whose stories explore identity, fate, and destiny in the crossroads of romance and adventure. 

Her love of romantic tension and the supernatural effortlessly translates into spine-tingling action and unforgettable characters. 

She lives in Los Angeles, CA with her adoring husband living her dreams: writing books, telling stories, and changing the world, one reader at a time. 

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Friday, September 1, 2023



T.J. Baer

Genre: Young Adult, Scifi/Fantasy, LGBTQ+
Publisher: NineStar Press
Date of Publication: July 18, 2023
ISBN: 978-1648906787
Number of pages: 210
Word Count: 56,000 words
Cover Artist: Jaycee DeLorenzo

Tagline: Can two girls who hate each other save the world? 

Book Description: 

Seventeen-year-old Alisha Howard is having a rough day. She’s had to rescue her headstrong little brother from getting eaten by a monster from another dimension, her mom has put her on dish duty as punishment for bringing her sword to the table (again), and her lifelong enemy, snarky rich girl Belladonna, is starting to look like both a real human being and someone Alisha would like to kiss. To make matters worse, it looks like the world is about to end. 

Alisha is a Guardian, a sworn protector of life on Earth, but is she up to the task of saving the world?

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/9G__C-rdIP8

Amazon      Nine Star Press

Excerpt Guardians by T.J. Baer © 2023

Chapter One

My brother Jake lay unconscious on the cave floor, his favorite denim jacket torn in three places and his cell phone a cracked mess of plastic on the ground. If we actually survived this, he was going to be pissed.

“All right, look,” I said, giving the giant snarling insect monster my serious face. “I know I don’t look like much, but you should know I am fully capable of kicking your big buggy butt straight back to where it came from, not only for hurting my brother, but for whatever unholy reign of terror you’ve got planned here.”

The monster was nine feet tall, jet-black, and scaly, with hundreds of spindly legs, like a centipede on steroids. Savage mandibles gleamed in the light from the cave mouth, and I tightened my grip on my sword hilt. And because times of stress often led me to incredible feats of word vomit, I kept talking.

“I mean, let’s face it: guys like you don’t generally show up in our world without some kind of nasty plan for world domination, so I think it’s pretty safe to say you’re up to no good. So are you gonna go peacefully, or do I have to start shoving my boot up random orifices until we find the one that hurts the most?”

The centipede monster reared back, its legs fanning out, its mandibles opening—

And then it tilted its scaly head to the side as if regarding me in puzzlement. “You speak great volumes but say very little,” it said in a thin, whistling voice.

Which, okay, was fair. I’d always had a tendency to babble, particularly when I was in imminent danger of being devoured by the Godzilla of centipedes. Generally, the centipede didn’t take the time to inform me of it though.

“I do not wish any harm upon you,” it continued, deviating even further from the Evil Monster Intent on Taking Over the Earth speech. “Nor any human. I came here only wishing to be left alone, but your companion—” It swung its head toward Jake. “—attempted to steal one of my children, at which point I was forced to defend them. I have not seriously harmed him, only caused him to lose consciousness to neutralize him as a threat.”

“He tried to steal one of your kids?” That didn’t sound like Jake.

The centipede-thing tilted its head toward the other end of the cave, where I could just make out the glittering of a number of round, pearly, head-sized spheres. Eggs? They looked like the kind of pretty, decorative objects people would pay a lot of money for, bringing them much more firmly into the realm of things Jake would totally try to steal.

I sighed and slid my sword into its sheath. The magic triggered the instant I did, and sword and sheath shrank to being a decorative golden clasp on my belt. “I apologize for my companion’s rash actions,” I said, bowing my head slightly like we were supposed to do in these situations. “If you’d allow me to remove him from here, I swear to you that he’ll never come near you or your children again.”

The centipede bowed its head too, its pincers snapping and clicking together in a way that I tried not to be too creeped out by. “That would be acceptable. I thank you, Guardian.”
I blinked. “How’d you know I’m a Guardian?”

“Well, for one thing, the sword.”


“But even had you come unarmed, I would have known. You wear your status like a cloak. It seeps from every ounce of your being, every word and action. Though you look a frail female thing, there is power in you.”

“Frail female thing,” I said in a flat voice and decided not to be offended. If the worst thing a giant centipede monster had to throw at me was sexism, I could probably count myself lucky.

“Yeah, well, guess I’d better get Jake—err, my companion—out of your hair before he wakes up and starts trying to make off with your kids again.”
I started forward, hoping the centipede monster would move out of the way, but it stayed where it was, its black eyes glittering in the dimness.

“You have shown me respect and kindness, and so I shall do something for you in return. My species have a unique ability that appears only between laying our eggs and the birth of our children.”

“Oh, yeah? What kind of ability?”

“The ability to glimpse the future. It allows us to provide extra protection to our young when they are unable to protect themselves, for instance if a young human is attempting to steal one of them.”

“For instance,” I said dryly.

“Something lurks on the horizon, Guardian. An age of darkness and danger is coming to you and those like you.”

I frowned. “To the Guardians, you mean?”

“To all beings of your world.”

“What kind of danger?”

Its legs rippled, and it dropped down onto them and made its undulating way over to the row of eggs. Its last word hissed through the cave, seeming to echo louder and louder in my ears:


I suddenly felt very, very tired. “Again?”

About the Author:

T.J. Baer is a queer, trans author of novels and short fiction. Born in Western Pennsylvania, he currently resides in his adopted hometown of Chicago with two cats and a well-stocked cupboard of tea. Some of his titles include Following Grandpa Jess, Guardians, Dreamers, and The Boy Who Was Kissed, and his short fiction has been featured in the Harpur Palate Literary Journal and Flash Fiction Magazine. When not writing, T.J. can be found either discussing queer media on his YouTube channel or failing to escape from murderous ghosts on Twitch.

Website: http://tjbaer.com/