Friday, April 16, 2021

INTERVIEW WITH AMY WINTER-VOSS (RISE The Liminal Chronicles)

 






Got your coffee ready? We have author Amy Winter-Voss here with us to talk about her novel RISE from The Liminal Chronicles. Welcome, Amy.

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

AWV: Umeji Tatsuya is a former Hiragi Clan yakuza (gangster), starting over in a small town after being released from jail in Tokyo. He just wants to fit in—to have a normal life again. Knowing how unlikely that outcome is, he plans to save up and start a business, earning credibility along the way.

Tatsuya’s dad used to read from a worn copy of Japanese myths every night when he was little. Ten years later, Tatsuya still carries that book and has a soft spot for the shape-shifting kitsune (foxes). Despite his love for stories about the supernatural, he has a hard time believing they could be true until he meets a kitsune face to face.

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

AWV: Yes, on both counts. *Rubs hands together* Grab a cup of cocoa and settle in!

SC: Alright then…

AWV: Many of you have likely been through a blizzard, but maybe not one in the middle of nowhere in South Dakota. Out on the prairie, storms cover the entire panorama from horizon to horizon. There’s nothing to stop them in the insanely flat landscape. Towns can be a good fifty miles apart. When mother nature vents her displeasure, you feel in your gut just how small you are in the universe.

In winter, the landscape looks like the apocalypse hit—a forlorn, gray wasteland where a howling wind will kick up fallen snow into the air to create a ground blizzard. It’s hard to tell where the road is because of the whiteout. The wind screeching directly outside makes you wonder if it’s trying to reach into your car to snatch your soul. It adds to the dangerous cold, where it hurts to breathe and exposed skin is in danger of frostbite within moments. Unless you’re near a town, there’s nowhere to take shelter if you get stuck. Even if you can see a farmhouse in the distance, it’ll probably be too far from the road to venture there safely. Smart travelers keep their gas tank topped off and pack a winter survival kit.

Back when we were ‘invincible’ college students, my hubby and I were traveling through the middle of South Dakota on gravel roads. We had picked a friend up and headed to Bismarck, North Dakota, where we planned to meet several other friends. This was before the convenience of stick-in-your-pocket cellphones. We only had a paper map. There were no towns big enough for a hotel along the way to shelter at. The wind was picking up, and I was getting nervous as it became harder to see where the road was.

Out of nowhere, we saw taillights and slowed down. It was a white suburban turning because there was a T in the road. It wasn’t on the map! Had that SUV not been there, we would have plowed into the ditch and been stuck. As soon as we turned the same direction, the white vehicle disappeared. We never saw it again. I know without a doubt that white truck was someone watching out for us. We made it to Bismarck in a few hours.

I won’t ever forget that day because you can’t outrun a storm on the prairie. It’s just you in your little car crossing your fingers that mother nature doesn’t have it out for you. You go through, hoping for her good graces. Usually she lets you pass through, but every year there’s a few that don’t.

SC: Yikes! Thanks for sharing, that must have been nerve wracking. What titles are you working on now that you can tell us about?

AWV: Currently, I’m working on book two in the Liminal Chronicles series, called Guardian. Umeji and crew will have to deal with repercussions from the first book, specifically that mysterious entity that the antagonist in book one hints at, while continuing to prove himself to the little town of Nonogawa.

Duel of a Lifetime is a short story that focuses on myths about two of the greatest swordsmiths in Japan meeting each other, despite living centuries apart and having a contest to create the greatest sword. I enjoyed combining the myths and embellishing them with a few mystical twists. The draft was complete in February and I hope to edit it later this spring.

Do you all enjoy myth-based fantasy?

SC: We do! Thanks for stopping by today. Let's take a look at your novel now.


The Liminal Chronicles
Book One
Amy Winters-Voss

Genre: Urban fantasy and Japanese Mythology 
Publisher: Shy Red Fox Publishing
Date of Publication: April 30, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-7366720-0-6
ISBN: 978-1-7366720-1-3 
ASIN:B08WTK6XWP
Number of pages:312
Word Count: 97,000
Cover Artist: Odette.A.Bach

Tagline: A myth come to life may be worth far more than his freedom.

Book Description:

Will a former gangster dare to protect the elderly woman who antagonizes him? He must choose between breaking a promise to his parole officer or the old lady. Each choice carries a hefty price.

Umeji Tatsuya moves from Tokyo to a small town after leaving the yakuza, the Japanese mob. He knows all too well that his past can't stay buried.

‘Once Yakuza, always Yakuza. The tattoos mark you for life.’

Nakamura Hisako, the town’s beloved dowager, learns about Umeji’s past and tries to oust him, but Umeji just discovered her own long-held secret. If he keeps it for her, the cost is his recently regained freedom. If he doesn’t, Nakamura might have to leave her home, and he risks angering forces he barely understands… and barely believes in.

As the mundane and Spirit Realm intertwine, so do the modern-day and the Pre-Meiji eras. Centuries-old rivalries flare up again, and the past returns in the present. Umeji’s second chance is only the first step of his journey to discover myth, social redemption, and found family.

Rise is the first book in the Liminal Chronicles series.

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/I2YoMKWt4IQ

Amazon


Chapter 1: Hiding In Plain Sight

Mid-November

Kneeling to stock the low shelves at TaniMart makes my knees ache. Though I’ll give no complaint. I’m lucky to have this job, even if it’s mind-numbing. Someday, I’ll have my own business. Right now? I have to save up since the feds took every yen of my savings when they threw me in the slammer.

Pain shoots through my forearm as something bounces off. Crash! Years of fight-or-flight reflex have me jumping to a defensive stance. What the…

Shattered glass and pickled plums litter the polished floor. Reflections of the overhead lights glare at me in the puddles of brine. Then the green, spicy scent of shiso hits my nose. Breathe, Umeji. It wasn’t an attack.

“Sorry, Mister!” The boy and his mom bow.

“I’ll clean it up. Please, finish your shopping.” When I reach to pick up the remaining shards, my heart sinks as the distinctive blue-black wave and red maple leaf designs of my tattoo sleeve show through the transparent wet fabric of my shirt. Despite the deafening silence, the hint of the ink that marks my past wails like a siren, warning all in my vicinity. Why the hell does our uniform have to include a white shirt?

Eyes with huge black pupils are framed by the woman’s ashen face. She hunches, tensed as if ready to run. Backing away, she wrenches her son along in a white-knuckled grip.

My hand crushes the shards in my palm as heat fills my core. Only when she’s out of sight does my head hang.

When I report the injury to Satou, my volunteer parole officer and boss, he drives me to the doctor to get stitches in my hand. He made me promise not to lie to him when he took me on as a parolee, so I fess up the cut wasn’t an accident. It was that or punch something.

I opt for the hour walk home, then he doesn’t have to waste any more time on me. So much for blending in. My attempts to ditch the Tokyo accent are probably worthless now. Satou said there are fewer than 1,300 people in Nonogawa, so everyone in town will know by tomorrow. Something in the mix of traditional and modern housing looks less friendly than it did at first. Letting the old swagger back into my step lacks the feeling of control it used to give.

My insides continue to twist as I wait for my boss to return home. Tomorrow’s gonna suck. Might as well get in a good soak to relax, instead of pacing. I’d place good money down that Satou picked this old traditional house based on the big wooden tub. When I can afford my own place, a good bath will be a priority for me, too.

It’s been years since I had daily access to one of the most relaxing aspects of Japanese culture. First, because of my jail sentence. Second, most public bathhouses ban gangsters. They say our ink threatens. The previous generations won’t forget the yakuza heydays, and sporting ink was part of the tough guy act.

Naked and settling onto the low wooden stool beside the tub, I scrub and fill the bucket at my feet to rinse off. I could use a shave. Should I ditch the mustache to fit in better? It covers the knife fight scar. So either way, I don’t fit the norm. Shit.

With a slam, I flip the small hanging mirror over. Don’t want to see the reflection that stared back. Before everyone knew I had been a mobster, could they tell I was just trying not to stick out?

Splashing water on my face rinses away the questions. Despite the chill of the tile floor on my feet, I revel in not having to hurry as I scrub and rinse. Damn, it’s good to not have the prison guards timing me anymore. My chin-length hair needs some attention, but I don’t have the cash for a trim. It was used up after the incident to pick up a dark long-sleeve T-shirt to go under my work’s white button-up. I was lucky the prison didn’t make me get a buzz cut. Most do.

Finally, I slide into the tub. A hiss escapes my mouth as the fire-heated water contacts my chilled skin. The tattooed kitsune frolicking in their traditional designs over my shoulders and back seem to enjoy the warmth, too. Soon the heat seeps into stiff muscles, and I lean on the edge, soaking it in.

Satou said the community is hard to break into. So, I’ve got to avoid sticking out any more than I already do. In a small town, once you’re known for something, it’s never forgotten. With a determination to focus on one day at a time, I sink deeper into the water.

Created with Sketch.

On my next shift, whispers and side glances greet me. The yakuza taint broadcasts its presence stronger than the stench of diarrhea. Everyone gives me a wide berth. Not even a week in town and I’m an outcast again. The only way out is hard work and humility. I will endure.

The mom returns just before my shift ends. She avoids the aisle I’m stocking, but her little boy points, announcing, “Mama! There’s the guy with the tattoos!”

Her shushing causes him to insist all the louder. Focus on the task at hand, Umeji. I force myself to look away as she lugs him out of the building.

That’s the moment Satou’s elderly aunt gives me the stink eye. Shuffling up, she waggles a crooked, accusing finger right in front of my nose, causing me to back into the shelves and knock several plastic tubes of mayo on the floor.

“Get your head out of the sand, boy. Don’t bother playing stupid. You saw that. I advised my nephew not to take in a stray like you. To make things worse, yesterday I heard you’re covered in irezumi tattoos. Nonogawa may be in the sticks, but we all know what that means here.”

I blink. Why’s she so aggressive? Aren’t little old ladies supposed to be sweet and polite?

“Well? Are you?” she presses.

While I deserve the disdain, why is this woman putting down her family in public? “Ma’am, the community respects Satou-san. I’ll do my best for his sake.”

She draws out the syllables. “You dodged.” As she crosses her arms, her sharp eyes shift to a predatory glint. “If you won’t answer, roll up your sleeve. I know yakuza ink when I see it.”

My head swivels. Satou, where are you? Make your vicious aunt heel. I don’t wanna do something stupid, because she’s really making my hackles raise. “Ma’am?”

In the mob, I was good at remembering names, because the alternative could be costly. What did my VPO say her name was? Oh yeah—Nakamura Hisako, the town’s beloved matriarch. As part of the Hiragi clan in Tokyo, I would have never let a little old lady corner me or make my palms sweat. But I’m caught flat-footed because I can’t use any of the in-your-face phrases that bubble up to get her to lay off. I haven’t done a damned thing to her. What gives?

I take a breath. No attitude. “Nakamura-sama, it’s becoming more common in the cities. People keep ‘em out of sight to avoid the stigma.”

As if I’ll tell this biddy the full truth. Later, I can scream rebellion in gokudou drawl all I want. But her outburst is the proverbial piano hanging overhead, threatening to crash down on the little hope I have in this town.

At twenty-four, I should have a high school diploma and a college degree or employment experience. This is my only chance. Suck it up, Umeji. So, I bow deep. “I apologize that my tattoos offend. If I could turn back time, I’d not have done it. How may I help you?”

Harrumphing, she turns on her heel with the grace of a ballerina. How does an old lady move that fast?

When I finish stocking, I grab my baseball-style jacket with its embroidered fox on black and gold silk and beeline it to Satou. Just my luck, his aunt beats me there. Don’t look cocky.

I wait behind her and examine my shoes. Faint reflections of fluorescent lights show on the tile floor.

“That tattooed punk is bad for business.” She points, doubtless aware of how rude she’s being. “He dares to flaunt his past wearing that rebel jacket, instead of considering this store’s reputation. I’ve heard all manner of rumors. Mark my words, Kazuo, people will stop shopping here.” Full-to-the-brim grocery bags strain her arthritic knuckles.

While Nakamura’s concern is understandable, does she care that this ‘rebel jacket’ is the only one I own? I was fortunate someone dropped it by the penitentiary after emptying my apartment. My fists clench, pulling on the stitches from yesterday’s wound. Why does this town love her, anyway?

Satou clears his throat and tilts his nose toward me. “Aunt, tattoos or not, he’s being much more polite than you. I’ve never seen you in such a state.”

Umeji, the mob taught you the tenants of bushido. The honorable way of the warrior. It’s one of the few things I can carry over from the yakuza. Give it your all. My voice almost cuts out as I ask, “Nakamura-sama, may I carry your groceries?”

She grumbles, lumbering off. Where’s the grace she had?

“Aunt Hisako is opinionated and protective of our community. But she’s almost always reasonable. Wish I knew what got her undies in a bundle.” With a raised eyebrow, Satou says, “You rendered her speechless. That’s quite the feat.”

Shoving my arms into the sleeves ruthlessly, I shrug on my coat.

“It’ll be ok, Umeji-san. FYI, I need to stay late, but you can wait in the break room.”

Most days I remain beyond my assigned hours to assist with the day’s tasks. Every dutiful employee does. But I mumble, “I’ll walk.”

“Suit yourself.”

In the parking lot, a shitzu puppy breaks loose from its owner’s grasp. The mutt charges for Nakamura as it barks its head off to warn of an intruder in its domain. Nakamura, calm as a windless day, lifts her index finger toward the potential attacker, halting it in its tracks.

The owner scoops up the stiff, silent pet and bobs. “I’m so sorry, Nakamura-san! I can’t imagine what little Taro-chan was thinking.”

“Thank you for catching him. I think he intended to bite my leg off. Didn’t you, pup?” Satou’s aunt flashes a wry smile that must have created most of the lines in her wrinkled face. It causes the other woman’s eyes to widen in horror. She bows again, scurrying off.

Unperturbed, Nakamura sets her groceries in her red Nissan sedan. But a can drops and rolls, causing her to mutter under her breath.

Here we go again! Scooping it up before it’s flattened under a moving van and jogging over, I hold it out in my hands—a peace offering. Her lips purse and she snatches the item as if my touch might poison the food inside.

Fine. If this is a war of attrition, I’ll fight it to show regret for what I’ve done.

Mid-afternoon, I’m almost to the house. Strolling through the forested farmland, sunshine and the warm, late fall day breathes life into me again. The dense, fiery landscape of reds, oranges, and yellows set off by the evergreens of bamboo, cedar and cypress has me grabbing for my cellphone. I’d seen parks like this, but not horizon to horizon beauty. Then my shoulders sag. The damn feds took my cell, too.

Compared to the compacted cityscape I’d grown up with, the open farmland leaves me exposed. Tall buildings always surrounded and protected me before I came here. A weight fills my chest. Despite being in the middle of nowhere for a week, I keep half expecting to see some tall structure around the next bend. Out of habit, I shove my hands in my pockets to fiddle with the dog-eared collection of Japanese myths. My breathing slows upon contact with the book from my father. The one connection I have left with him.

A glint of vermilion in the trees stands out even in the bright foliage beyond the rice field, so I squint against the sun to get a better look. Beckoning me, a path leads through the paddies and over the river to a torii gate.

My mob leader insisted our clan appear to be dedicated followers, though I only ran through the motions to appease him. Shoving belief into a shoebox in my mind, I labeled it as ‘Umeji’s too unclean to deal with this stuff’. That box got pretty damned full.

My stride turns to a jog as I’m greeted by the fox statues with red bibs at the top of the stairs. Pausing for a brief bow at the gate, I bound up, skipping every other step. I shouldn’t run because I’m entering a sacred area. But a tug on my heart invites me to peek at what I’ve avoided so long.

Memories flood in as I climb. When I was a child, my dad would read to me. My favorite stories were of the kitsune. Whether they were the messengers of Inari or the shape-shifting trickster spirits, they fascinated me. Mom also fed my obsession with the mythical animals by buying me a fox mask and taking me to the Ouji Inari shrine to be in the Kitsune Parade when I was ten. After that, I drew foxes on everything and devoured every myth I could find.

When my mob brothers went to get inked, dragging me along, I hoped the artist would agree to my plan. Traditional tattoo artists are picky and may refuse an idea. On top of that, they charge a fortune.

I’d printed a picture of a Meiji era photograph with a man showing off his tats—a nine-tailed fox on each shoulder with them chasing each other, one red with a flame above it and the other white with a scroll in its mouth.

My brethren teased me because kitsune aren’t the typical symbols gangsters pick. They quit when the tattooer was so intrigued he did the initial outlines of the ancient design for free.

At the summit, I follow the dirt path through the foliage to find a squat shrine building that probably never had a lick of paint. Moss covers sections of the tiled roof and footings. Yet, the steps and floor are spotless. A bell and a few crisp white paper ornaments, hanging from the rope that demarcates the spiritual space, decorate the simple place of worship, urging me to pray.

Do I want to open that jam-packed shoebox? My fingers shake. The things I’ve done. The offering coffer makes me look away. I won’t get paid for a while. No coins to throw. Nothing to offer. Coming here was a mistake.

As my fists slide into my coat pockets, there’s a crinkle—the salmon onigiri that was supposed to be my lunch. Unwrapping it releases the scent of the fish, rice, and vinegar, making my stomach growl. I’ve gone without meals before. This time it’s my choice.

With reverence, I place it at the doorway to avoid stepping inside and sullying the building. Then, after a deep bow, two claps, and ringing the bell, I pray. My throat constricts as I dare to voice my request to the kami. “Help me stay on this new path and assist others as Satou-san has me.”

Heading back down the trail, my tally of all the things that could go wrong tomorrow is interrupted by prickles forming on the back of my neck. I’m being watched? A glance behind me doesn’t reveal anyone, but someone is definitely there.

After passing under the torii, I hear a rustling. The tail of a gray fox disappears into the dense foliage. Did it enjoy my meal? My love for the creatures drives me to follow it, but I stop after my first step past the gate. Idiot. I shouldn’t follow superstitions, but years of experience taught me to trust my instincts. The animal is long gone and knows this area. I’d not seen a wild one before. Despite the unease, I hope to spot it again.

About the Author:

Amy is a former programmer turned author after her first trip to Japan in 2017. Now she writes Japanese myth-based urban fantasy to reconnect with the country and culture that captured her heart.

She lives in South Dakota with her supportive husband, two wonderful kids, a mellow old cat who adopted the family, and three wily and crazy ferrets.

https://amywintersvoss.com

https://liminalchronicles.com

https://go.amywintersvoss.com/news

https://www.goodreads.com/amywintersvoss

https://twitter.com/amywintersvoss

https://www.facebook.com/amywintersvoss/

https://theshyredfox.tumblr.com/

https://www.twitch.tv/shyredfox

https://www.instagram.com/amywintersvoss/

 





Wednesday, April 14, 2021

SPOTLIGHT: DARKNESS AWAITS by JAMILA A. STONE

 



Darkness Awaits
Virtus Academy  
Book 2
Jamila A. Stone

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, LGBTQ
Publisher: Black Glory Publishing House
Date of Publication: April 2021
ISBN: 978-1-7356641-0-1
ASIN: B08LVJ7GXD
Number of pages: 524
Word Count: 141,850
Cover Artist: Michael Corvin
Tagline: Unexpected secrets stand to change two witches’ lives forever...
Book Description: 

Having narrowly survived their last semester, Natalie King and Alexandra Aurelius are prepared to revel in victory...but, while preparing to become Juniors, it soon becomes clear that peace has been dismissed. 

Relationships are tested and new ones formed, as shadowy souls push their way into Natalie and Alexandra’s lives. Now, more than ever, the witches must stick together and protect their loved ones. Unexpected secrets stand to change their lives forever. 

Darkness impends from every direction, and even the fiercest friendships will be tested. What harmony that existed between human and supernatural governments has been shaken to the breaking point. Should it crumble, hellish truths are sure to be exposed.   

Despite impossible odds, Natalie, Alexandra, and their alliances will unite against unprecedented evil. After all, the only exit often is a wall to break through... 

--------

With her much-anticipated sequel to Strange Things Await, Jamila A. Stone delivers devilish thrills and a dizzying spin on the genre. One thing through the dark is seen: where mystic and mortal subcultures meld, the pages turn themselves. 

Black Glory Publishing House 

Amazon      BN


Excerpt

It’s the last week of January and the new school semester since Christmas break starts tomorrow at Virtus Academy. Nat and all her friends, except Alex, have already moved back to their dormitories. Nat is brushing her teeth, getting ready for bed when she suddenly feels like she’s falling. A moment later, her surroundings change, and she finds herself in a dark alleyway. Nothing makes sense, and she jolts around with labored breathing, trying to understand what is going on. When she turns around to her other side, she spots Alex and momentarily forgets her anxiety. Running over to a hunched Alex, she hugs her and is so distracted that she doesn’t notice the four guys in the alley with them.

“What are you doing here?” Alex winces in pain, struggling to straighten up.

Using her toothbrush, Nat taps the ring she’s gifted Alex. “Someone must have missed me a whole lot to get me here,” she jokes.

The good news is that the protection spell she had Sheila help her put on the ring works. If Alex ever needs her badly enough, she’ll appear.

“Crap, it worked! So that means…” Nat looks around further and finally takes in the situation. “I guess you’re still having trouble making friends.” Throwing down her toothbrush, she gets in front of Alex, who’s badly bleeding from cuts on her face, and the arm she holds that seems disjointed.

“Nice outfit, girl.” One of the guys speaks sarcastically.

“This is your backup?” Another speaks, pointing at Nat before they all laugh.

“Remind me to take you shopping.” Alex picks up her fallen blade, and it elongates into a sword as it recognizes its owner.

“What!? This is comfortable and my pajamas. I was going to bed.” Nat keeps her eyes on the guys who are starting to approach. She cannot believe Alex is choosing right now to insult her.

“What do you need to be comfortable?” Alex turns fully toward Nat with her face scrunched up. “Did you sprout something since we were kids?”

“No! Can you focus before we die, you asshole? Boxers can be unisex.” She tries to defend herself, but Alex just scoffs.

Nat, annoyed, blasts Alex to the furthest point of the alley and decides to take on the men herself. It looks as if Alex softened them up enough for her to handle alone anyway.

Two of the men reach her before the others. One throws a punch at her face while the other tries to punch her abdomen. Nat is light on her feet and spins away from the one aiming for her face and shoves him into the other male before she uses her magic at the remaining attackers.

“Instead of attacking young women to stroke your egos, maybe you all should go to the gym.” She blasts one with a scar on his cheek into a wall knocking them out before she is blasted herself. In complete shock, she did not keep her guard up, she grumbles as she slowly gets back up to her feet. Nat blocks another blast of magic as she parts her feet for better balance. Nat sends a few blasts back, but her adversary blocks them all. Nat should have known these men were not mere humans if they were able to beat up Alex.

Nat is so preoccupied with the witch that she fails to deflect the attacker on her left properly, who charges her with his clawed hand in the air, ready to come down on her hard. There was little for her to do, so she stopped shielding herself from the witch’s attack, so the attack would knock her away from the attack that would be the deadliest.

The impact of the witch’s attack does the trick and sends Nat backward. The claws of the man from her right give her a nasty gash, nowhere near the damage which would have been inflicted if she did not think quick on her feet and use the witch’s attack to save her own life.

“Alright, playtime is over.” Nat lifts her hands and moves them hastily in front of her creating a linkage of pentagrams all while beads of her blood float into the amber symbols. She sees the shock on the witch’s face, and it makes her grin before she locks her fingers over each other, bends her arms inward, then thrusts her arms out, causing the spell to wrap around the first body, and the man explodes.

Nat moves her arms until everyone is dead. One black eye and a gash on her arm later, Nat walks over to Alex, who is hunched over.

“I should leave you here. I can’t believe you got back without telling me. How long have you been back in town? Tomorrow is the first day of school back from break.” Nat places her hands on her hips, letting Alex suffer for a bit more before she attempts to heal her.

Alex stands straighter, leans her head back against the wall behind her, and closes her eyes. “I forgot how much you love to bitch and moan.”

Nat is opening her mouth to respond, but promptly stops when she spots a smile creeping on Alex’s face.

“I missed it.” Alex turns her head and smiles so charmingly even with her face all beat up, Nat’s walls break.

“Ugh, I can’t stand you.” Nat shakes her head and starts to heal Alex’s easy wounds, then wraps Alex’s good arm over her shoulder and helps her to stand off the wall. “We’re too far from the dorm or my house for me to teleport us both.”

“And here I thought an overachiever such as yourself would have become a pro by now.” Alex coughs then halts her steps taking time to take deep, ragged breaths.

“Hey, that month was our break. I can get us near the school gates, but it might knock us out if I use all of our energy combined. Or worse.” Nat struggles to keep Alex upright.

Alex struggles to stand on her own feet as she pulls her good arm away from Nat so she can grab her cellphone out of her pocket. Nat watches as Alex makes a call, trying to keep her upright by the waist. “Julian, are you on campus? Good, sneak out with Olivia and come find me by the gate…just do as I asked, Olivia, will be able to track us. Yes, us, bye.”

Nat arches a brow at Alex before focusing her mind on the school gates. Once she has that clear in mind, she works on syncing her magic with Alex.

“What’s taking so long?” Alex grumbles.

“You, that’s what. I’m trying to find your source, but you’re too weak.”

“You’re a weirdo.” Alex sighs exaggeratedly.

Nat finally syncs successfully and teleports them. They land hard a few yards away from the school gates. 

About the Author:

Jamila A Stone lives in Washington, D.C with her two dogs. Jamila is driven to tell stories without censorship and for the continued creativity in the world of literature. As an African American woman, she understands the lack of opportunity persons of color have to let their artistic creativity be seen on equal platforms, so she created her own publishing company called Black Glory Publishing House. She thinks not just of herself but of the current and future of literature namely increasing the diversity and inclusion within the literary community.

https://jamilastone.com/

https://twitter.com/AuthorJStone

https://www.facebook.com/JamilaAshaStone


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Monday, April 12, 2021

RELEASE DAY: LEVIATHAN by SKY PURINGTON






Leviathan
Viking Ancestors: Forged in Fire 
Book One
Sky Purington

Genre: Time Travel Dragon Shifter Romance
Date of Publication: April 12, 2021
ASIN: B08NFGDNWR
Number of pages: 210
Word Count: 70K
Cover Artist: Tara West

Tagline: An explosive enemies-to-lovers tale teeming with wicked secrets and fiery passion.

Book Description: 

The only thing Destiny knows is her name, but who's complaining? She lives in a beautiful million-dollar seaside chalet without a care in the world. At least until a psychic shows up at her front door claiming Destiny's true identity is remarkable. She must remember who she is. What she's meant to do. If that isn't enough, her house isn't her own, and her fate tied to a man in the distant past. A fierce, brooding Viking who's too arrogant for his own good yet sinfully alluring.

Leviathan doesn't believe in love, so the woman he saved shouldn't be haunting his thoughts. Especially considering they barely got along. Yet now, thanks to the fire he used to keep Destiny alive, the feisty, stunning redhead is put in his path once more. Worse yet, she might be the foretold Sigdir who sparks the next Great War. That means she must die by his blade once and for all.

Will Leviathan be able to sacrifice Destiny to save everyone? Or is it already too late, and she's found her way into a heart he didn't know he had? Find out as they embark on an epic dragon shifter romance adventure across time in Viking Ancestors: Forged in Fire. 

mybook.to/LeviathanForgedinFire

Amazon


Excerpt #2- steamier

She spun fast and nearly had her blade against his neck before he deflected. He tossed the torch to the ground then dodged right and left when she thrust twice, close to nicking him. When she came at him a third time with even more precision, he decided immobilizing her was best. So he knocked the blade from her grasp and pinned her against the wall.   

“What was that?” she gasped. “How did I do that?” Before he could respond, Destiny’s curiosity morphed back to fierceness. Her dragon eyes flared, her warning ground out through clenched teeth. “Let me go.”

“And risk your blade in my throat?” He shook his head. “Not yet. Not until you get your dragon under control and realize I’m not your enemy.”

Yet he was, and they both knew it.

He could, should, let her go and keep fighting. Battle until the end. See the prophecy through here and now. Protect his people and brethren. Finish her before she bewitched him even more. Before her sweet, permeating scent pushed him too far, and he gave in.

Perhaps that was the way, he reasoned.

Maybe if he finally had what was lost to him before, she would be out of his system. He could take her now. Rip her clothes away, hike her against the cold stone, and lose himself in her hot receptive body. It would be that simple. Soaked and ready, she would have him. Eager in her heated state for all he could give her. 

Once he slaked his lust, surely his horrible craving for her would vanish. Then killing her for the greater good would come easier. After all, he was a born fighter. Warrior. An Ancient. Battling and winning was what he did best.

Yet something about taking her now, then ending her didn’t feel like winning.

“Will you stand down?” he ground out, painfully aroused, disgusted with himself for not being stronger. “Sheath your blade, and I’ll tell you why you know how to fight. Who you once were.”

While he wanted to know more about Elsie and her nieces, women he suspected would be traveling back in time, they needed to deal with this first.

Destiny eyed him for a long moment, her internal struggle obvious. The scent of her arousal unmistakable. She wanted to be in control yet still taken. Slake her lust. Experience what he had to offer. Knew on a primal level that he would see her well satisfied. He would, too. Because she’d never been taken by a dragon. She’d loathed their kind.

In the end, however, she showed admirable willpower.

“I’ll stand down,” she finally conceded. “But you better not touch me again without my permission.”

He didn’t miss the slightly strangled sound of her voice when she said ‘without my permission.’ As though she hadn't meant to say it but couldn’t help herself. More pointedly, that some part of her wanted to give him permission. That arousal aside, her mind craved his touch. A sense of intimacy he was altogether unfamiliar with when it came to women.

 


About the Author:

Sky Purington is the bestselling author of over fifty novels and novellas. A New Englander born and bred who recently moved to Virginia, Purington married her hero, has an amazing son who inspires her daily and two ultra-lovable husky shepherd mixes. Passionate for variety, Sky's vivid imagination spans several romance genres, including historical, time travel, paranormal, fantasy and erotica. Expect steamy stories teeming with protective alpha heroes and strong-minded heroines.

Purington loves to hear from readers and can be contacted at Sky@SkyPurington.com. Interested in keeping up with Sky’s latest news and releases? Either visit Sky’s website, www.SkyPurington.com, join her quarterly newsletter, or sign up for personalized text message alerts. Text ‘skypurington’ (no quotes, one word, all lowercase) to 74121. Texts will ONLY be sent when there is a new book release. Readers can easily opt out at any time. 

Website: www.skypurington.com

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/3tePdVv 

Amazon: https://amzn.to/38g9Be4 

Facebook: https://bit.ly/2NlcFLB

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Blog: https://skypuringtonwrites.blogspot.com 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/skypurington

New Release Text Alerts: https://mobile-text-alerts.com/subscribe/skypurington





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Leviathan
Viking Ancestors: Forged in Fire 
Book One
Sky Purington

Genre: Time Travel Dragon Shifter Romance
Date of Publication: April 12, 2021
ASIN: B08NFGDNWR
Number of pages: 210
Word Count: 70K
Cover Artist: Tara West

Tagline: An explosive enemies-to-lovers tale teeming with wicked secrets and fiery passion.

Book Description: 

The only thing Destiny knows is her name, but who's complaining? She lives in a beautiful million-dollar seaside chalet without a care in the world. At least until a psychic shows up at her front door claiming Destiny's true identity is remarkable. She must remember who she is. What she's meant to do. If that isn't enough, her house isn't her own, and her fate tied to a man in the distant past. A fierce, brooding Viking who's too arrogant for his own good yet sinfully alluring.

Leviathan doesn't believe in love, so the woman he saved shouldn't be haunting his thoughts. Especially considering they barely got along. Yet now, thanks to the fire he used to keep Destiny alive, the feisty, stunning redhead is put in his path once more. Worse yet, she might be the foretold Sigdir who sparks the next Great War. That means she must die by his blade once and for all.

Will Leviathan be able to sacrifice Destiny to save everyone? Or is it already too late, and she's found her way into a heart he didn't know he had? Find out as they embark on an epic dragon shifter romance adventure across time in Viking Ancestors: Forged in Fire. 

mybook.to/LeviathanForgedinFire

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Excerpt #3- steamiest

“Do not boast about that dagger.” He shook his head, clearly frustrated. “Not until we know more about it.” His gaze raked over her and his brows furrowed. “And never imply you have fighting skills until you actually have them. Not among the Ancients and M├║spellsheimr dragons and especially not among your enemy.”

“I can fight,” she defended. “You saw that firsthand.”

“I also saw how quickly you were subdued.” His gaze narrowed, and his tone turned mildly threatening. Just enough to get his point across. “Whatever happens as we go forward, know that I’ll end you quickly if you put my people at risk.” His gaze narrowed further still. “And I’ll do it even if our dragons mate.”

“And here I thought that would be next to impossible,” she ground out. “Yet you make it sound easy enough.”

Rather than back down, she felt a familiar sense of defiance. As though she might have argued with him before in a life slowly but surely coming back to her.

 Unafraid of him, or death for that matter, she grabbed his wrist and slammed the hilt of Loki’s dagger, as she called it, into his open palm. “Do it then,” she taunted, coming as nose to nose with him as she was capable of at her height. “Finish it now because I won’t be threatened, and I sure as hell won’t be brought to heel.”

“Are you sure, little dragon?” he replied softly. Too softly. His pupils flared. “Because I think you will be,” he taunted, switching gears, “and it won’t be by my blade.”

Changing his game, coming at her in a way that weakened her defenses, the corner of his mouth curled up ever-so-slightly, and he took the dagger. Slow, like a lion stalking its prey, he slid the blade back into its sheath, wrapped his hand into her hair, and walked her back until she hit the wall. 

“This is what you want, is it not?” He came close, so close she could feel his heat. The burn of his rock-hard shaft against her belly. “Not death, not yet, but…”

Her dragon melted, liquefied, drowned in his gaze, temped beyond reason, but her human half wasn’t ready for him to have his way quite yet. To give him all the control. Because she would eventually. She’d relinquish every last bit when the time was right.

Until then, she’d hold her ground.

So she came up hard and swift with her knee. He chuckled and deflected before he had her against the wall, her back to his front.

“I think I’ll enjoy your internal struggle,” he murmured in her ear. His hot breath fanned her neck. “You feel it, yes? How what's left of your former dominant goddess craves to submit? To revel in the freedom I can give her from all the obligations she once carried?” When he nipped her earlobe, she swore she purred. “I’ll show you just how free you can be, Destiny. Just how much you can finally let go.”

She stilled at his dangerous promise. How it made her feel. Something deep down inside thrilled at the idea. Welcomed it where she never could before. She wanted to lose herself in the escape he offered. The wicked, sinful delights she’d never indulged in.

When his hand inched along her thigh toward the throbbing flesh between her legs, she nearly gave in. Let him show her what it could be like. Would be like. Because he was fully capable. Eager. Designed to pleasure her. Make her scream. Dominate her until she lost all sense of the mental weight she’d carried.

But not yet.

Not until they figured out how to save his people.

About the Author:

Sky Purington is the bestselling author of over fifty novels and novellas. A New Englander born and bred who recently moved to Virginia, Purington married her hero, has an amazing son who inspires her daily and two ultra-lovable husky shepherd mixes. Passionate for variety, Sky's vivid imagination spans several romance genres, including historical, time travel, paranormal, fantasy and erotica. Expect steamy stories teeming with protective alpha heroes and strong-minded heroines.

Purington loves to hear from readers and can be contacted at Sky@SkyPurington.com. Interested in keeping up with Sky’s latest news and releases? Either visit Sky’s website, www.SkyPurington.com, join her quarterly newsletter, or sign up for personalized text message alerts. Text ‘skypurington’ (no quotes, one word, all lowercase) to 74121. Texts will ONLY be sent when there is a new book release. Readers can easily opt out at any time. 

Website: www.skypurington.com

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/3tePdVv 

Amazon: https://amzn.to/38g9Be4 

Facebook: https://bit.ly/2NlcFLB

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2hCKgWa

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/sky-purington

Blog: https://skypuringtonwrites.blogspot.com 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/skypurington

New Release Text Alerts: https://mobile-text-alerts.com/subscribe/skypurington





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