Sunday, 20 September 2020

Book Tour: ASCENT; Unreachable Skies, Vol. 3 by Karen McCreedy...


Welcome to the 1-Week Virtual Book Tour for 

Ascent:
Unreachable Skies, Vol. 3 
by Karen McCreedy


About the Book:

Zarda, the Fate-seer, and the Drax she accompanied into exile have settled into a new life far to the north of their homeland, the Expanse. They have pledged their loyalty to Kalon, whose rightful place as Prime was stolen by his brother Kalis. 

Zarda’s one certainty is that Kalis’ wingless heir, Dru, is destined to defeat their old enemy, the Koth; but how is he to do that when he is no longer the Prime’s heir? And how can Kalis, his scheming adviser Fazak, and their followers be overcome? 

To find the answers and to help the rightful Prime take his place in the Spirax, Zarda must first find a way back through the Crimson Forest for the exiles – but danger and betrayal await them all.

Exclusive Excerpt:

Everyone murmured “May it so remain,” and, as Kalon folded his wing and the meeting broke up, I returned my attention to Dru, who was still rubbing his nose.

“Come along, I’ll put something on that for you.” Outside, clouds drifted on a warm westerly, and I paused to sniff the breeze that drifted over the lake and the island where Kalon had made his home. Avalox and kerzh-grass, both sprouting well in the centre of the island. Chalkmoss, camylvines, and a hint of kestox, their various aromas carrying distinct but faint from the lake’s western shore. The shoots and seeds we had planted there moons ago were surely almost ready to harvest. How good it would be to have kerzh-fruits again, to have camyl leaves available for balms and medicines. From the top of the hill where we stood, I looked out across the water to the islands that surrounded ours, and followed the flight-path of nine purple-clad females as they made their way from Rump Island to skim low across the water. Every few beats, clawed toes dipped below the surface and emerged with a wriggling fish. “That’s this evening’s meals supplied,” I said, my mind already running ahead to a bowl of baked white flesh basted in Rewsa’s herb sauce. Tomorrow it would be the turn of the drax on Doorway Island to provide our meals, and by then, perhaps, there would be fresh chalkmoss to add to the pots. We had no groxen meat, no zaxel, no hoxberries, but we had sufficient food to fill our stomachs, and enough variety to keep our palettes interested.

More importantly, we were safe. Though how long we would stay that way with battles and enemies to overcome, only the Spiral knew. I moved my gaze to the western shore, and nodded approval as I noticed the nines of younglings climbing the steep-sided bluff of black rock that towered beyond our crops. We would need their climbing skills soon, if my expedition to the Expanse went as planned.

Though Dru’s Vision suggested…

I shook myself. What he had Seen might mean any number of things, surely? Besides, in the Vision that my teacher, Vizan, and I had had for Dru’s future, I had been beside Dru when he defeated the Koth. If death waited on the Expanse, it could not be for me.

Could it?

Jotto and Shaya emerged from Kalon’s dwelling and walked past us, their heads together, the words I overheard indicating that they were still discussing tactics for scouting the Expanse. As they headed down the spiralling pathway toward the log-built dwellings further down the hill, I looked past them to the place I had made my home. Blue fields of kerzh-grass at the bottom of the slope reminded me of the first time I had seen the island, the day we had lost so many drax to the rapids upstream. Two drax – Jotto and Manel I’d later discovered – had been sowing seeds as they walked to and fro along clawed ruts of earth. Enough for the two nines of adults and half-growns who occupied Kalon’s Isle at the time. Now, where that flat central section of Kalon’s Island had been cultivated, nines of females and younglings with baskets were already busy cutting leaves, gathering fruit, and batting away the flisks and mites that buzzed round them.

“Zarda?” Dru had taken several steps along the path before he’d realised I was not following, and he stood, hopping from foot to foot.

“Sorry, Dru. I was remembering.” We followed the path down to my dwelling, which was the next highest on the hill, and I took the time to light a torch and shut the door behind us before I spoke again: “Well, now that Kalon and his council know you have the Sight, it won’t be long before everyone else knows.” I pulled a jar of dried sweetleaf from the shelf and set a pot of water on the fire to boil, then indicated the logs by the hearth that I used in place of stools. “You might want to tell Cavel and your other friends yourself before they hear it from someone else. Sit down.”

Dru was still rubbing his nose. “Elver doesn’t believe me,” he said, as he lowered himself onto one of the stools near the hearth and edged it away from the heat. “And Kalon doesn’t think I See clearly.”

I pulled up a stool next to him, and considered his statement. “I think perhaps they won’t allow themselves to believe you,” I said, “which is not quite the same thing. The Sight is a rare gift, Dru, rarer still in one so close to the throne-stool, and your gift is more powerful than mine.” The pot was beginning to steam, so I threw the sweetleaf into it and leaned over to sniff the sweet aroma for a moment. “You must remember that I was not Vizan’s first apprentice, Dru, nor even his second. I was a poor third, taken under his wings only because the first two died of the Sickness.”

“But you learned. Vizan taught you.”

“Yes. But he was still teaching me when he went to his last nest. There was much he did not teach me, and much I still don’t know. One of the things I don’t know is how to control what I See, to sharpen the focus, heighten the smell.” I sighed, and brushed a paw across my black Fate-seer’s tunic, wishing I felt more worthy of it.    

Follow the Tour:


Book Information:

Print Length: 229 pages
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing; 1 edition
Publication Date: August 17, 2020
ASIN: B08FP2RNVG

Purchase Links:

Mirror World Publishing Bookstore: 



Meet the Author:


Brought up in Staffordshire, England, Karen now lives in West Sussex where she is enjoying her retirement. When not writing she enjoys reading, watching films, local WI and U3A activities, volunteering with the South Downs National Park Volunteer Rangers, and spending time with friends and family. She has also flown in a Spitfire!

Karen has written articles on films and British history for a number of British magazines including ‘Yours’, ‘Classic Television’, and ‘Best of British’. In 2009, her essay on ‘British Propaganda Films of the Second World War’ was published in ‘Under Fire: A Century of War Movies’ (Ian Allen Publishing). She also wrote a number of online articles and reviews for The Geek Girl Project (www.geekgirlproject.com), as their British correspondent. 

Karen’s short stories have appeared in anthologies by Fiction Brigade (2012, e-book), Zharmae Publishing (‘RealLies’, 2013), Audio Arcadia (‘On Another Plane’, 2015), Luna Station Publishing (‘Luna Station Quarterly’ December 2015), Horrified Press (‘Killer Tracks’ and ‘Waiting’, both 2015; and ‘Crossroads’, 2016), and Reflex Fiction (‘Voicemail’, published online 2017). She also won second prize in Writers’ News magazine’s ‘Comeuppance’ competition in 2014 with her short story ‘Hero’.

‘Ascent’ is the third and final book in the ‘Unreachable Skies’ trilogy and Karen is now working on her next science-fiction novel.

You can follow Karen on Twitter @McKaren_Writer, or check out her website at www.karenmccreedy.com

Enter the Giveaway:



 

Sunday, 13 September 2020

Barbecue Season's Far from Over According to Sloane Taylor and her Sizzling Summer Cookbook...

Introducing the latest in my Meals to Make Together series!

Romance meets Outdoor Dining

Why not share a summer night with someone special?

What better than a sizzling romantic dinner, candles, wine and music?

Create 45 delicious and complete dinners for two that can be cooked on your grill or stove. No exotic or expensive ingredients needed. These 103 recipes use everyday products already in your kitchen cabinets. Increasing the dinners is a snap for those fun nights friends or family join you.

You’ll love Date Night Dinners Sizzling Summer, Book 2 in the Meals to Make Together series, because great food is the doorway to infinite possibilities.

Here's one of the recipes to whet your appetite.

Add a little romance to a starry evening with a delicious dinner perfect for two. Uncork the wine and enjoy!

Serve with Avocado Salad and Baked Potatoes on the Grill. These recipes are found under Salad and Veggies in the book's Index.
 
BEEF KABOBS

1 – 1½ lbs. (500 – 750 g) sirloin steak, trimmed of fat
1 lg. onion, quartered
1 med. yellow pepper, seeded and ribs removed
1½ cups (350 ml) garlic infused olive oil* (recipe in Extras section)
½ cup (125 ml) dry red wine
2 rosemary sprigs or 1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) dried 6 parsley sprigs or 1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) dried
Freshly ground pepper to taste
10 – 16 cherry tomatoes
10 – 16 baby bella mushrooms, stems removed
Vegetable oil for grill

Cut beef into 1½ in. (3.8 cm) pieces and then place into a plastic bag or bowl. Separate onion sections, add to meat. Slice yellow pepper into 1 in. (2.54 cm) pieces and add to meat.

Add remaining ingredients, except tomatoes and mushrooms, to the meat mixture. Marinate 6 – 20 hours in fridge. Sirloin requires a long marinate to make it super tender. Filet, porterhouse, and rib eye work well in this recipe. Only marinate them for 3 – 4 hours as they are tender cuts. Coat grill lightly with olive oil. Set grill to medium.

Thread steak and veggies onto skewers, e.g.: sirloin, onion, sirloin, yellow pepper, sirloin, tomato, sirloin, mushroom, and so on. Make sure all the pieces touch but aren't jammed against one another. Discard remaining marinade.

Grill 10 – 15 minutes. Turn skewers frequently so meat cooks evenly.

No skewers? No problem.

Drain sirloin mixture in a colander. Heat a skillet on the grill or stove. Add beef mixture, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Sauté 10 – 15 minutes, stirring and turning frequently.

*If you use regular olive oil add 3 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped fine.
 
Grab your copy today.


May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table! Sloane
 

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy. Learn more about Taylor's cookbooks, Date Night Dinners and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire on Amazon.

Excerpts from her romance books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page. Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Monday, 7 September 2020

Recipe and a Read: Labor Day Classic Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo and a Teen Psychic Mystery to Solve by Sharon Ledwith...

Picture this – savory, sautéed chicken cooked in a cheesy, creamy sauce with Roma tomatoes, served atop a bed of fettuccini pasta. Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is. One of my go-to meals I order at a restaurant includes this classic pasta dish. So, I thought I’d bring this Italian favorite from the restaurant into your kitchen to enjoy with 8 of your family or friends wherever and whenever you choose to get-together. With a prep time of 30 minutes, and a cook time of 30 minutes, you can divvy up the duties and make it a culinary collaboration. Wine, of course, is optional, but encouraged.

Classic Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo

6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves, cut into cubes
6 tbsp. butter, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 lb. (454 g) fettuccini pasta
1 onion, diced
1 – 8 oz. (227 g) package sliced mushrooms
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. salt
¾ tsp. ground white pepper
3 cups milk
1 cup half-and-half
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 ozs. (227 g) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
3 Roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
½ cup sour cream

IN a large skillet set over medium heat combine chicken, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 cloves garlic, and Italian seasoning. Cook until chicken is no longer pink inside. Remove from skillet and set aside.

BRING a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

MEANWHILE, melt remaining butter in the skillet. Sauté onion, remaining garlic, and mushrooms until onions are transparent. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes. Slowly add milk and half-and-half, stirring until smooth and creamy. Blend in Parmesan and Colby-Monterey Jack cheeses. Continue to stir until cheese is melted. Stir in chicken mixture, tomatoes, and sour cream. Serve over cooked fettuccini.

IF by any chance you have leftovers, the Alfredo mixture freezes well.

Has all this cooking made you ‘stir’ crazy? After your guest have departed, may I suggest settling in with a good book and a glass of wine? How about a visit to Fairy Falls, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, a trip back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Whichever you choose, I guarantee either series will take you on a journey far away from dirty dishes and messy pots.

Here's a glimpse into one of the books from Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, my teen psychic mystery series.

The only witness left to testify against an unsolved crime in Fairy Falls isn’t a person…

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls, and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder. Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice.

Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.


Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Cover Reveal: Mirror's Despair by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred...

Welcome to the cover reveal for 
Mirror's Despair
Mirror Worlds, Book 4
Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred

About Mirror's Despair by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred:

Mirena’s back to claim what’s hers; this time, Tendro is ready for her. 

Following ten tense years of absence, Mirena Calanais suddenly resurfaces as the Avatar of the Destroyer. With Abraxas’ dark army at her back, she’s determined to reclaim what she feels is her due; control over the lands the Panarch’im once ruled.

His political career and his marriage both drying up, Tendro Seynor long suspected this day would come, but what he isn’t prepared for is Mirena’s return to his personal life. There’s more to Mirena than her persona as the Dark Avatar; she’s the mother of the son Tendro hasn’t seen since the day he was born. As her presence in his life grows, Mirena confides in Tendro that she’s being haunted by someone who should be dead. As this vengeful presence closes in on her and the Destroyer’s hand thouches the world once more, they begin to realize their son may be at the center of it all and his innocence hangs in the balance.

Can Tendro and Mirena put aside their rivalry for the sake of their families, or will the bad blood between them finally escalate to the point where it has the power to tear the entire world apart?


Book Details:

Page count: 242
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing
Publish Date: October 17, 2020
ASIN : B08FF7M8MQ
Pre-Order Link: https://amzn.to/3jsJDcy

Meet the Authors:


Justine Alley Dowsett is the author of nine novels and counting, and one of the founders of Mirror World Publishing. Her books, which she often co-writes with her sister, Murandy Damodred, range from young adult science fiction to dark fantasy/romance. She earned a BA in Drama from the University of Windsor, honed her skills as an entrepreneur by tackling video game production, and now she dedicates her time to writing, publishing, and occasionally role-playing with her friends.

With a background in Drama and Communications from the University of Windsor, Murandy Damodred enjoys fantasy fiction with strong romantic subplots. She is an avid role-player and is happiest when living vicariously through her characters. Though she'd rather think of herself as the heroine of her next novel, in the real world she is a new mom living in Windsor, Ontario, training to become a nurse.

Connect with:

Website: http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com

Author Pages: 

Justine's Amazon Page: https://amzn.to/31FIrMC 



 

Monday, 31 August 2020

Pollution Solutions - Let's Detox by YA Paranormal Author Leigh Goff...


Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash
“Sip a glass of cool, clear water as you read this, and you may think water pollution is a problem somewhere else. But while most Americans have access to safe drinking water, potentially harmful contaminants — from arsenic to copper to lead — have been found in the tap water of every single state in the nation.” (1)

When we think about detoxing, we think about our health. However, our rivers, lakes, and oceans are in trouble just as the lake and bayou in KOUSH HOLLOW (my soon to release novel) and none of us, including my fictional characters, can be healthy without clean water.

Water pollution comes from things like pesticides, farm waste, oil spills, and industrial and radioactive waste. Radioactive disasters like what happened at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan can send hundreds of tons of radioactive water into the sea before leaks can be contained. For marine life, radioactive pollution can kill fish, create strange mutations, and the poison can be passed along the food chain. According to the EPA, almost half of our rivers and more than one-third of our lakes are polluted, which means they’re not safe for swimming, fishing, or drinking.

In KOUSH HOLLOW the locals believe the town’s lake is polluted from sewage and wastewater, but the dirty secret is that the pollution is coming from a nefarious source. The effects are disastrous on life in and around the lake and bayou. The main character, Jenna is vigilant and curious. Her suspicions lead her to uncover the corruption at the local nuclear power plant. Then Jenna starts up the Green Eco Warriors who pick up trash around the lake and send in water samples for testing.

In the real world, we can all be vigilant and do our part, even if we don’t live near a lake. We can reduce our dependence on plastic. Properly dispose of toxic chemicals, petroleum products, and old batteries to keep those chemicals from seeping into the groundwater. If you’re not a vegetarian/vegan consider implementing a no-meat Monday to reduce meat consumption, which will reduce agricultural demand, and in turn reduce farm waste. When you’re ready to purchase a car, consider buying an electric car that doesn’t use oil, antifreeze, or gasoline. “Nearly one million tons of oil makes its way into marine environments each year.” (2) If needed, use natural fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides in your yard and consider planting native species of plants that will soak up rain and prevent runoff. Our waterways touch all of our lives. Let’s keep them clean!

These 4 Lemon Detox Water Recipes from Joyful Healthy Eats make it easy to increase your water intake, lose weight, and support your immune system. They take only minutes to make and taste amazing! Look and feel great by adding detox water to your daily or weekly routine.

Photo by Melissa Walker Horn on Unsplash
Lemon Mint Water

3 – 4 lemon slices
3 sprigs mint
8 oz. purified water

Add all ingredients to a large glass. Chill and enjoy!

Muddle the mint a little for more flavor.

Lemon Blueberry Water

3 – 4 lemon slices
10 fresh blueberries
8 oz. purified water

Add all ingredients to a large glass. Chill well.

Cucumber Lemon Water

3 – 4 lemon slices
4 cucumber slices
8 oz. purified water

Add all ingredients to a large glass. Chill then stir before serving.

Lemon Ginger Water

3 – 4 lemon slices
3 ginger root slices, ¼ in. with skin on
8 oz. purified water

Add all ingredients to a large glass. Chill well.

Please allow me to share a sneak peek of my Coming Soon Southern Gothic book while you relax with your refreshing beverage.

Koush Hollow: Where bayou magic abounds and all that glitters…is deadly.

After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother.

As the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow.

How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing?

As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.

Preorder at The Parliament House

Leigh Goff writes young adult fiction. She is a graduate from the University of Maryland and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).

Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area's great history and culture. Her third young adult novel, Koush Hollow, a Southern gothic set in New Orleans, will release on September 1, 2020 from The Parliament House.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

(1) Denchak, Melissa. NRDC. (5-4-18). From https://www.nrdc.org/stories/water-pollution-everything-you-need-know#prevent Retrieved on 2/11/20.

(2) Denchak, Melissa. NRDC. (5-4-18). From https://www.nrdc.org/stories/water-pollution-everything-you-need-know#prevent Retrieved on 2/11/20.

Monday, 24 August 2020

A Healthy Pita Lunch and YA LitRPG Series is Served by Fantasy Author Chris Pavesic...

This dish makes a quick and easy lunch for a hot summer day. No stove or oven required!

Tuna Hummus Pita Sandwich

1. 5 oz. can tuna in water

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. red onion, chopped fine

⅓ cup cucumber, chopped

1 tbsp. chopped parsley

1 tbsp. golden raisins or dark raisins

3 tbsp. hummus, divided

1 mini whole-wheat pita

Parsley leaves, for garnish

DRAIN tuna then scoop into a bowl. Mix in lemon juice, onion, most of the cucumber, chopped parsley, and raisins.

SPLIT pita in half horizontally so there is a top and bottom. Spread each half with hummus. Top with tuna salad. Garnish with remaining cucumber and parsley. Enjoy!

After you enjoy your meal, why not read a good book? May I suggest one of the books from my LitRPG series The Revelation Chronicles?

In Starter Zone Cami kept herself and her younger sister Alby alive in a post-apocalyptic world, facing starvation, violence, and death on a daily basis. Caught by the military and forcefully inscribed, Cami manages to scam the system and they enter the Realms, a Virtual Reality world, as privileged Players rather than slaves. They experience a world of safety, plenty, and magical adventure.

In the Traveler's Zone magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as Cami continues her epic quest to navigate the Realms and build a better life for her family. But an intrusion from her old life threatens everything she has gained and imperils the entire virtual world. 

Time to play the game.

Above the tree line floats an airship close to three hundred feet long with a slightly rounded wooden hull. Ropes attach the lower portion of the ship to an inflated balloon-like aspect, bright white in color with an identification symbol, a red bird with white-tipped feathers extended in flight, inside a round yellow circle in the center of the canvas. The deck is manned with archers and swordsmen. There are two sets of fore and aft catapults.

What I don’t see are cannons or any other type of a gun large enough to account for the sound of the explosion.

The ship pivots in the air, coming around to point directly at what looks like an oncoming flock of five large birds. Or creatures. They are too big and too strange looking to be birds. They drift closer, flapping their wings.

A moment passes before I realize that they are not creatures either. They are some sort of gliders. A person hangs below each set of the feathered wings, which flap and move with mechanical precision in a sky washed out by the morning sun.

The archers nock their arrows and aim at the flock.

The gliders draw in their wings and dive toward the deck, covering the distance in a few heartbeats. Most of the arrows fly uselessly past the attack force and fall like black rain from the sky. The archers aimed and released the volley too late. The forward catapult releases a torrent of small rocks at the lead glider. It is a scatter-shot approach that proves effective. There are so many missiles that it is impossible to dodge them all.

But at the moment the stones strike, the other four let loose with fireballs. Spheres of crackling flame spring from their hands, glowing faintly at first and then with increasing brightness. The balls of fire shoot from their hands like bullets from a gun and fly toward the ship, exploding. Pieces bounce off the hull and fall to the ground, throwing hissing, burning globs of magic-fueled fire in all directions, setting everything they touch aflame.


Want to learn more about The Revelation Chronicles? Click HERE for updates on this and the other series by Chris. Watch the video on YouTube.

Chris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends. 

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Cover Reveal: Ascent: Unreachable Skies, Vol. 3 by Karen McCreedy...


Welcome to the Cover Reveal for 

Ascent:
Unreachable Skies, Vol. 3 
by Karen McCreedy

About the Book:

Zarda, the Fate-seer, and the Drax she accompanied into exile have settled into a new life far to the north of their homeland, the Expanse. They have pledged their loyalty to Kalon, whose rightful place as Prime was stolen by his brother Kalis. 

Zarda’s one certainty is that Kalis’ wingless heir, Dru, is destined to defeat their old enemy, the Koth; but how is he to do that when he is no longer the Prime’s heir? And how can Kalis, his scheming adviser Fazak, and their followers be overcome? 

To find the answers and to help the rightful Prime take his place in the Spirax, Zarda must first find a way back through the Crimson Forest for the exiles – but danger and betrayal await them all.

The Cover:


Book Information:

Print Length: 229 pages
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing; 1 edition
Publication Date: August 17, 2020
ASIN: B08FP2RNVG

Pre-Order Link:


Mirror World Publishing Bookstore: https://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/

Meet the Author:


Brought up in Staffordshire, England, Karen now lives in West Sussex where she is enjoying her retirement. When not writing she enjoys reading, watching films, local WI and U3A activities, volunteering with the South Downs National Park Volunteer Rangers, and spending time with friends and family. She has also flown in a Spitfire!

Karen has written articles on films and British history for a number of British magazines including ‘Yours’, ‘Classic Television’, and ‘Best of British’. In 2009, her essay on ‘British Propaganda Films of the Second World War’ was published in ‘Under Fire: A Century of War Movies’ (Ian Allen Publishing). She also wrote a number of online articles and reviews for The Geek Girl Project (www.geekgirlproject.com), as their British correspondent. 

Karen’s short stories have appeared in anthologies by Fiction Brigade (2012, e-book), Zharmae Publishing (‘RealLies’, 2013), Audio Arcadia (‘On Another Plane’, 2015), Luna Station Publishing (‘Luna Station Quarterly’ December 2015), Horrified Press (‘Killer Tracks’ and ‘Waiting’, both 2015; and ‘Crossroads’, 2016), and Reflex Fiction (‘Voicemail’, published online 2017). She also won second prize in Writers’ News magazine’s ‘Comeuppance’ competition in 2014 with her short story ‘Hero’.

‘Ascent’ is the third and final book in the ‘Unreachable Skies’ trilogy and Karen is now working on her next science-fiction novel.

You can follow Karen on Twitter @McKaren_Writer, or check out her website at www.karenmccreedy.com



 

Monday, 10 August 2020

Guest Post: Life is for the Birds by Cozy Mystery Author Janis Lane...


Photo courtesy of Ks Kyung Unsplash
Nature and the Birds. Nature fascinates me, but I confess I lived in Alaska for four years and never once thought to use my binocs on a perching bird. We were all into whales, moose, goats, eagles and such like. The big stuff. I weep thinking how I missed puffins. Right away I want to recommend a book whether you are new to the hobby or an old hand, “The Crossley Guide of Eastern Birds.” (or go to the library.) You’ll need to look for a similar copy for your area, i.e. Western. The pictures are exquisite. For ordinary daily bird identification, I use an Audubon Society Guide to Field…whatever nature interest you. These books are terrific Christmas or Birthday presents for any age. I keep one in my car and another in the house.

Photo by Geran de Klerk Unsplash
We only feed backyard birds in the winter. Coons and other type creatures (rodents) are abundant in the summer months, plus the birds find plenty of food available. Occasionally the weather warms and we are visited by every gray (a few red) squirrels within a mile. Otherwise they are tucked away until spring. Last Christmas our daughter gave us a fool proof squirrel bird feeder. I swear it works. Has a small motor. When the When the squirrel climbs aboard, it triggers the motor which starts the perch twirling. We applauded one squirrel who managed to hang on by one paw for three revolutions although perhaps the poor fellow would need a bit of physical therapy afterwards.

After surgery when I was confined for a time, my hubby mounted small plastic feeders right to my window. It was fascinating to a shut-in like me. Highly recommend.

Lots of different selections of bird seed. Expensive and the best is black sunflower seed. We even had a young deer climb up on the deck to reach the spilled seed. Types of field glasses are many and varied. You’ll find the ones that you like best. Cornell Lab in Ithaca, NY has great birding information and sites. Do indulge.

SANDPIPER AFFAIR, the first of the Abby and Adam Adventures, was my love affair with nature. I only sort of wrote a story to go with it. There I have confessed. Actually, I created a nature photographer and a park ranger who allowed me to follow them around as they lived out their lives in Middle Florida. Who knew we could all have so much fun? It is a romance and a mystery as well. If I have tickled your curiosity regarding the environment, I am pleased. If you enjoy the story as well, I am ecstatic.


Abby Naycomb, wildlife photographer, found more than scintillating images of the birds of Central Florida. A handsome park ranger turns her world upside down even as a criminal stalker seeks to threaten her life.

Who knew trespassing in the restrictive area of a Florida State Park to get the perfect shot of the sand hill crane family would wind up with Abby Naycomb, wildlife photographer extraordinaire, meeting the most handsome park ranger in the world? Mating/nesting birds were the subject of her quest but finding those intense blue eyes in the lens of her camera was distracting and hormone inciting.

Adam Rawlings, millionaire park ranger, was as shocked as Abby when she accidentally discovered a murdered man buried in a shallow grave in the sand.
Face to face with an exciting relationship with Adam, the perfect man, leaves her no excuse for backing away from a growing intimacy. Vagabond Abby must consider relocating if she wants to continue an invaluable relationship with Adam, the original home town hero.

Abby struggles as she continues to work deep in the breathtaking wilds of Central Florida while trying to ignore the menace of a serious and threatening stalker. Her task was to reexamine long held premises and prejudices while admiring the southern flora and fauna through the lens of her camera. Bird and nature lovers alert.

SHORT TEASER

Busted in Bird land. Still...what a calendar he would make with that uniform, that smile, those shoulders. She stifled a sigh of pure visual pleasure.

You had better stop it, Miss Smarty. He has the authority to fine and kick you out of the park permanently if he so chooses. Holy Moly-- love a uniformed hunk!

Stoppit!

She stifled a giggle which was riotously rolling around deep inside her, threatening to break out. He continued to loom, gazing thoughtfully while she fidgeted in her warm nest sheltered by the dune. Surrounding them, the sporadic wind blew the smell of something baking in the sun. With her face turned upward and her eyes half-closed against the glare, she awaited her fate. She offered a weak smile while trying to bring into focus his face which was back lit by the bright sunlight. It couldn't hurt, she thought, and tried for puppy dog eyes pleading for mercy.

"Leave this area, and I'll forget your lapse of good manners--this time. Don't let me catch you trespassing on restricted lands again. This is a nature preserve. Visitors may not wander about-- especially during nesting season," he added giving her a stern look. "And that goes for well-meaning, good-looking, lady photographers as well."

Janis Lane is the pen-name for gifted author Emma Lane who writes cozy mysteries as Janis, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane.

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma's new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma's face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

Monday, 3 August 2020

Recipe and Reveal: Mouth-Watering Rouladen and Kidlit Cover Reveal for A Haunting Birthday Party by Tina Ruiz...

I was born in Germany where my mother frequently filled our home with the most amazing aromas. This is one of my favorite recipes and I want to share it with you.

Rouladen - Braised Stuffed Beef Rolls

6 slices top round steak, 4 x 6 inches, sliced
½ inch thick 6 tsp. German or coarsely ground mustard
½ cup onion, chopped fine - divided
5 garlic cloves, chopped fine
3 dill pickle spears cut in half lengthwise
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Toothpicks or kitchen twine
3 tbsp. lard or vegetable oil
2 cups water
2 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Place meat between 2 pieces of cling wrap or waxed paper. Gently pound meat to ¼ inch thick. Be careful not to tear the meat.

Spread mustard along meat slices. Sprinkle on ¼ cup onion and garlic. Lay a pickle piece at the bottom of each roll or the narrow end.

Roll meat into a cylinder starting at the pickle end. Pierce with toothpicks to hold together or tie with twine.

Brown meat on all sides in a medium size frying pan. Lay rolls in a roaster pan.

Add water to the frying pan and bring to a boil, scraping the sides and bottom to collect all the meat bits. Whisk in four and butter. Pour this mixture over the meat rolls.

Bake 1 hour or until meat is fork tender. Remove toothpicks before serving.

If you prefer a thicker gravy, combine 2 -3 tablespoons flour in ½ cup water. Bring to a boil in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, to your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper then stir into roasting pan gravy.

Boiled potatoes or dumplings along with red cabbage make this meal complete.

Cover Reveal for Halloween children's book from Tina Ruiz!


This delightful book is another wonderful collaboration from writer Tina Nykulak Ruiz and illustrator Ishika Sharma. This creative duo knows how to put life and fun into children's books to encourage young people to read. As with all of Tina's children's stories, there's a moral at the end.

A Haunting Birthday Party is now available on Amazon August 1, 2020. Be sure to watch for it!

Tina Ruiz was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school. She began writing children's stories when her own were little. Through the years Ruiz wrote twenty-seven books. Most of those stories went into readers for the Canada Board of Education. Two did not. Mayor Shadoe Markley is a story about a ten-year-old girl who becomes Mayor for a Day through a contest at school.

Little did Ruiz know that story would “change the world.” The book came out at early January 1988. By the end of that same month, everyone was calling the mayor's office at City Hall, trying to get the forms to fill out so their children could participate in the contest. Thirty years later that same contest is still runs at full speed. And not only in Calgary, but all across Canada. The Mayor's Youth Council is now in charge of the celebrated contest and invites Ruiz to attend and meet the lucky winner. It's usually followed by a hand-written thank you card from the mayor himself. Recently Ruiz was invited to be part of the Grand Opening of Calgary's New Library where the mayor shook her hand and introduced her to the attendees.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children's Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children's books or intriguing romance.

Stay connected with Tina Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.

Monday, 27 July 2020

The Gift of Change by Author and Playwright Elliott Baker...


Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
When you hear a joke, whether by surprise or skating along a fearful or embarrassing subject, your body automatically prepares to freeze, run, or fight. It marshals energy sending it to the appropriate centers to prepare for immediate action. In a real fear situation, the physical after effect is often trembling as the muscles vibrate to release unused tension. Laughter, like vented anger is another exhaust valve for this unused energy. Good comedians can craft stories that take us right to the edge of fear without pushing us over. Great comedians can see the energy build in the moment and intuitively know when to allow its release in laughter.

As a playwright, I’ve had the privilege of working with great comedic actors. Two in particular come to mind. Energy is energy and can be directed where we will. Certain moments in a story will be sad or frightening and the playwright mostly crafts the energy line where he wants it, releasing the tension at a point and in a way that he feels supports and furthers the story. An intuitive actor will recognize the accumulated energy point and know that it can be released by the audience as laughter with only an ad lib word. So, these two brilliant comedic actors would recognize those moments and champ against not being able the receive the wash of laughter and attention that one ad lib word would release. They would usually make it till the end of the run, sometimes the last night, and then, they’d pull on that string and the audience would release that tension in gales of laughter. As the playwright, it didn’t light me up, but I accepted it as a cost of having these brilliant actors bring my words to life. And I am still incredibly grateful to them both. Energy can be used for whatever we choose.

Image by Firentis from Pixabay
So, what can this possibly have to do with the soul-destroying racism that we are face to face with? I’ll offer one disclaimer here. I’m not a psychologist nor do I have an advanced degree or initials after my name. I am a thoughtful human, just like you. Our existence here is a result of our grouping together to craft more creative and life supportive responses to life’s threats. Racism is a threat to all of us, to our future existence. Some is not a life supportive word.

Living organisms only change the status quo in response to threat. We now have an opportunity. Now. The proponents of the status quo know this and will use every method to encourage our exhausting the energy of the moment before it can congeal into change. They will goad us to action, usually destructive which accomplished their intention venting the threat to their status quo. No matter how self-serving and threatening to our continued existence the status quo might be. We can tremble or vent in rage or use this energy moment to craft concrete steps to initiate change. Will these steps be the magic answer? Probably not, but they will be a beginning which is more powerful than all the anger and platitudes. Anger is easier and frankly, in the moment feels so good to exhaust that tension and energy. Sitting still, holding on to the energy of anger is hard. Putting pencil to paper and coming up with concrete steps toward change is even harder especially when you know that at least some of what you say will be gainsaid and ridiculed. That’s where courage gets its opportunity to come on stage. It’s been waiting in the wings for its que. It’s always been standing in the wings for all of us.

Step one:

We/I’ve made a mistake. We/I can do better.

Step two:

Delineate the mistake as clearly as possible, both as existing habit/rule and traditional response. Tear the mistake into as many pieces as you can. Put each piece of the mistake under a microscope. Throw tradition into the trash. Evolution considers all possibilities, and even some that may not look possible.

Step three:

Craft the change. Revise.

But… Here come the buts. But we’re only one institution/person. How can this possibly have an effect on the whole?

Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash
Energy is thought. Thought is energy. I call it the law of small things. I won’t waste time trying to support the science of a thought gaining power until it goes viral. Nothing is lost. Energy is not destroyed. Time spent thinking creatively and positively is never wasted. Even this rambling discourse which no one may ever see is not wasted. I care. And this is my best effort at supporting the social evolution I see as absolutely necessary for humanity’s survival. More than that, I adore my children and grandchildren, and most of my moments these days are spent worrying about the quality of life they will have, or if they’ll have life at all. We are so beautiful. All of us, the children and the adults no matter each one’s chronological age. Please don’t waste energy on punishment, rather direct it toward your best creative potential in compassion and we’ll come out of this as amazing as we’re meant to be.

In 1969 I failed. I protested, I railed against the status quo. We failed. We allowed our collective energy to dissipate. We pulled the string on the moment and released its energy. The opportunity passed by as opportunities will. Fortunately, they come around again. As long as we survive, we will get another chance. Until we don’t. This is your time. Do the homework. Be specific. Gather resources and consensus. Quietly, peacefully, gather the energy of the moment and direct it like a laser against our childish abuse of each other. PERSIST. Our grandchildren are counting on you. Yes, mine and yours to be.

Here is a little from my first novel in The Sun God's Heir series. I hope you enjoy it.

For three thousand years a hatred burns. In seventeenth century France two souls incarnate, one born the child of a prosperous merchant, the other, determined to continue an incarnation begun long ago.

In ancient Egypt, there were two brothers, disciples of the pharaoh, Akhenaten. When the pharaoh died, the physician took the knowledge given and went to Greece to begin the mystery school. The general made a deal with the priests and became pharaoh. One remembers, one does not.

The year is 1671. René Gilbert’s destiny glints from the blade of a slashing rapier. The only way he can protect those he loves is to regain the power and knowledge of an ancient lifetime. From Bordeaux to Spain to Morocco, René is tested and with each turn of fate he gathers enemies and allies, slowly reclaiming the knowledge and power earned centuries ago. For three thousand years a secret sect has waited in Morocco.

After ages in darkness, Horemheb screams, “I am.” Using every dark art, he manages to maintain the life of the body he has bartered for. Only one life force in the world is powerful enough to allow him to remain within embodiment, perhaps forever. Determined to continue a reign of terror that once made the Nile run red, he grows stronger with each life taken.

Bordeaux, France

Three men bled out into the dirt.

René stared at the hand that held the bloody rapier. His hand. Tremors shuddered through his body and down his arm. Droplets of blood sprayed the air and joined the carmine puddles that seeped into the sun-baked earth. He closed his eyes and commanded the muscles that grasped the rapier to release their tension and allow the sword to drop.

Years of daily practice and pain refused his mind’s order much as they had refused to spare the lives of three men. The heady exultation that filled him during the seconds of the fight drained away and left him empty, a vessel devoid of meaning. He staggered toward an old oak and leaned against its rough bark. Bent over, with one hand braced on the tree, he retched. And again. Still, the sword remained in his hand.

A cloud shuttered the sun. Distant thunder brushed his awareness and then faded. Rain. The mundane thought coasted through his mind. He wiped his mouth on his sleeve and glanced down hoping to see a different tableau. No, death remained death, the only movement, that of flies attracted to a new ocean of sustenance.

The summer heat lifted the acrid blood-rust smell and forced him to turn his head away. Before him stretched a different world from the one in which he had awakened. No compass points. No maps. No tomorrow.

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Award winning, international playwright Elliott B. Baker grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. With four musicals and one play published and done throughout the United States, New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Canada, Elliott is pleased to offer his first novel, Return, book one of The Sun God’s Heir trilogy.

A member of the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New Hampshire with his beautiful wife Sally Ann.

Learn more about Elliot Baker on his website. Stay connected on Twitter and Facebook. Like Elliott's Author Page on Facebook to learn all his latest news.

Monday, 20 July 2020

Balance 101 for Authors...


It’s been over eight years since the first novel in my young adult time travel series hit the cyber bookshelves. To this day, I remember that there was so much to do, and it felt like there wasn’t enough time to do everything. Sometimes, I still don’t. I needed a time portal just to get all my marketing and promoting put in place or at least a diary. This included getting a website up and running, ordering promotional giveaways, setting up blog hops (are they still a thing?), writing a multitude of blog posts, and joining the appropriate social media networks. The lists seemed endless, and when the date finally arrived for my book release, I was wearing my shoulders as earrings.

Needless to say, by the end of my first book blog tour, I was exhausted, spent, and bent out of shape. Even my eyelids ached.

What I learned from the whole experience years ago is that authors need to learn to structure their writing life, or their writing will take a nose dive. We need to learn to create balance so that the task of being a writer plus a marketer plus a promoter doesn’t wear us down. So, how do we do this when so much is expected of a writer nowadays?

Start with finding your comfort zone. Find your personal comfort level with promotion or marketing, do that and do no more. That’s it. Do it. Or you’ll get burned. If you don’t heed my advice, then sure as shooting, negativity will leach into your writing. And that’s the last thing a writer wants!

Need help finding your comfort zone? Go to the dollar store and buy a timer or download a timer app on your phone. It will be one of the most important investments (and cheapest) as a writer you will make. For less than two dollars you can purchase a piece of sanity to help you organize your writing life and keep you in your zone. Set your timer to check emails. Fifteen minutes? Twenty minutes? Then do the same for Facebook and Twitter. But keep in mind which activity will help you as an author in the long run. Apply the 80/20 rule. Write (produce) for 80%, promote and market for only 20%. After all—social networking is a marketing strategy—as long as you treat it as such. Then, once you have laid the timer law down, set it for how long you want to sit and just write, with no interruptions (unless the dog or you really need to pee).

So, stop pushing the zone. Relax. Let go. Breathe.

That doesn’t mean writers shouldn’t learn or try new things. By all means learn and try. Get your hands dirty if you must. But don’t burst a vein in your brain doing it. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself that you collapse into a quivering mass of writer goo. As writers, we must protect our work—and ourselves. It takes time to build an on-line (and off-line) marketing presence in this publishing world. Learn this, cut yourself some slack, and prosper.

Thank you for reading my article! How do you find balance as a writer? Do you use a timer, or have you tried other ways to create balance in your writer’s life? If you're a reader, had you realized all the tasks an author must do to get their novel into your hands? Love to read your comments!

Ready for a holiday trip to Atlantis? Here's a brief intro to one of my time traveler books.

There is no moving forward without first going back.

Lilith was a young girl with dreams and a family before the final destruction of Atlantis shattered those dreams and tore her family apart. Now refugees, Lilith and her father make their home in the Black Land. This strange, new country has no place in Lilith’s heart until a beloved high priestess introduces Lilith to her life purpose—to be a Timekeeper and keep time safe.

Summoned through the seventh arch of Atlantis by the Children of the Law of One, Lilith and her newfound friends are sent into Atlantis’s past, and given a task that will ultimately test their courage and try their faith in each other. Can the Timekeepers stop the dark magus Belial before he changes the seers’ prophecy? If they fail, then their future and the earth’s fate will be altered forever.


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