Guest Blog- Storm's Convergence by Valerie Storm #YAFantasy


My writing journey started when I was ten with a “book” written by hand on lined paper and stapled together, complete with a cover! At its core, that book was a fanfic of Kingdom Hearts: two friends and I lived regular lives (on a beach!) until one day, we were separated and given magical swords (though ours were elemental and actual swords, not keyblades). Mine was electric!

I don’t the specifics about those books now (they became a series) except that, like Kingdom Hearts, I used villains from other media, particularly other video games I was playing at the time. Raziel from Soul Reaver was a main player. All in all, I don’t even know what I intended with those books, but I remember I had so much fun creating something just for me.

As I grew a little older, I got into anime and other games, like the SRPG Disgaea. I learned to love demons and from a curious mix of Disgaea and Inuyasha, I created Kari, my wolf demon who violently hated love. She cemented herself into my mind as my original character, the person who would be me and grow with me over the years.

In high school, I stopped writing for various reasons. With some prodding from my brother (who had been a big source of inspiration for my writing and Kari’s world), I returned to it and realized Kari had changed a lot—just as I had. We had to reacquaint ourselves, but we learned and I realized how deeply rooted Kari was in me. She wasn’t just a character, she was me, living a different life and carrying out my hardships at my side.

I started seriously writing Kari’s whole series in my junior year, then carried those tales (eventually) into college. When friendships fell apart and life got hard, Kari and I forged a new path. In college I remembered my childhood wish of being published someday, and started the long journey of being a serious writer—and eventually, an author.

College writing classes were where I learned to share my work with new people and accept (and reject) criticism. I recognized my intent and found new ways to reach for my goals. Social media was important, especially if I wanted to join traditional publishing under Harper Collins (my first, original dream), so I joined Twitter. I found other writers, made friends and connections. I met people who were interested in Kari and her story, and that lit an absolute fire in my soul.

Eventually I dropped the long-term dream of trad publishing. Years of rejection letters, only for the chance to get an agent who MIGHT net me a deal of a few grand? Nah. I happened upon indie publishing, particularly Shadow Spark, and felt a calling. After all, Shadow Spark—the two sides of me, Kari and Raven—was where I was meant to be. Now, twenty years later, I have published half of Kari’s story and we’ve both grown immeasurably.


Storm's Convergence
Demon Storm 
Book 5
Valerie Storm

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Shadow Spark Publishing
Date of Publication: 2/13/24
Cover Artist: @Ginkahederling
ASIN: B0CRYQJRN1
Number of pages: 313
Word Count: 78962

Tagline: The Fire Witch ruined Kari's life once before
                Now she's back
                And she's not alone

Book Description: 

The calm can only last so long.

Now a member of Freehaven's Council, Kari tries to put her past behind her and settle down in her new home with her ever-present Lord and love, Ari.

Cracks in her mind, parting gifts from the heart eater, make planning the upcoming Spring Festival a struggle, but Kari is determined to do her best, even after Guine departs the town.

When a mysterious child appears at the festival and marks Kari, all semblance of normalcy is banished.

A triple threat from her past awaits beyond the walls of Freehaven and options are thin. Not willing to spill any more blood, Kari takes it upon herself to stop them—with Ari by her side.


Excerpt:

The girl grabbed the neckline of her shirt and jerked her closer with too much ease. Kari stiffened as the girl’s cheek touched hers.

“Funny wolf demon, hiding in this wretched town.” Her voice was low and cruelly amused. Kari tensed, prepared to jerk free and throw a fist, but the girl hissed, “Ah, no, don’t move. There are many innocents here, though I would not call demons innocent. I know you would not want them hurt.”

She suddenly realized the closeness of so many villagers, as if she’d been ripped out of reality and dropped harshly back into it again.

Kari bit back a growl. “Who are you?”

She knew, though, before the small girl laughed. The boastful yet righteous arrogance of someone who believed truly and wholly in her cause—it could be no one else.

“I feel your defeat. You’ve answered your own question.”

Kari’s throat was dry. “Ri…Riniko. What are you doing here? Why—”

“Since you’ve yet to heed our warning, I’m here to play a little game.”

“Kari!” Ari called.

Riniko’s small hands tightened. “Tell him to leave. We’re busy.”

She hesitated. Ari yelled for her again, and now she envisioned him pushing through the crowds, looking for where she’d gone.

“It’s fine,” she yelled back. “I…I’m helping someone. I’ll catch up!”

Riniko’s grip didn’t loosen. “Your boy is insistent.”

Kari turned her head with some difficulty, given Riniko’s grip. The little witch traded, wrapping her arms around Kari’s neck with a giggle that cracked against her eardrums.

Visible between passersby, Ari made his way to them. His brows raised at the sight of the girl around her neck.

“Who is…”

Kari smiled, big and wide, and prayed he didn’t notice her trembling lips. “She’s lost. I’m part of the Council, so she came to me. Go back to Rathik and Essie, I’ll catch up.”

Ari saw something in her face; his eyes constricted, his jaw pulsing, uncertain of what to do.
Please walk away, Ari. It’ll be okay this time. I promise.

When she did not say anything more, he relented. “Alright. Meet us over there, okay?”

Kari nodded, jostling Riniko. Ari glanced between them, then jogged off.

Riniko giggled again, quieter this time. “Good.”

Kari grabbed her around the waist and yanked her off. There was something insanely surreal about holding a small child in her hands, a child whose eyes burned with unmatched cruelty and fire.

“What do you want?” she snarled.

Riniko wrapped too-small fingers around Kari’s wrists and met her eye with a cool, even gaze.

“You know what we want. I’m only here to set the fire of action a little higher for you.”
Her palms, pressed against Kari’s skin, warmed. Kari’s eyes widened, and she struggled with the instinct to fling the small child away.

“We do not want to burn this entire village to the ground. Despite the way these villagers associate with demons, they are still good, innocent people. The demons can be excused as long as they remain thusly. But you cannot. You must come and face your fate.”

Her arms were burning; Kari bit back a scream. “I keep telling you, I don’t want to hurt anyone! Why can’t you just leave me alone?”

“Tell that to those poor people in the east. They probably thought you didn’t want to kill them. But now they’re very, very dead.”

Kari staggered back. There were fewer villagers out now, less to see this odd pair, but Kari dreaded what Riniko would do if even one was drawn to them. She inched away from the square, edging toward an alley between two buildings.

“Isn’t it enough that I died once? What more can you want?”

Riniko laughed. “Oh, yes, but Zina got cold feet. Superstition, I guess. She couldn’t let it die with you. No, she believed it would go on, despite having no body. So here you are, her little pet wolf demon, but she won’t be here to save you a second time.”

Cold feet? Let it die with her?

The burning on her arms increased, snapping her attention back to Riniko’s young-girl face.
“I’ll come to you,” Kari croaked. “Does that make you happy? I’ll leave and find you.”

Riniko’s eyes lit up, though she did not remove her hands. The heat continued to rise until Kari thought she could smell her flesh cooking.

“Oh, do you promise?” Riniko asked, her voice girlish, sickeningly sweet. “Pretty please?”

“Please stop,” Kari whispered between her teeth.

Little hands lifted, releasing her from the agony of fire. Kari trembled, then froze as those hands touched her cheeks.

“It was easy to infiltrate this place, Kari. It would be even easier, now, to set it all ablaze. You remember my previous work.”

Kari’s hands around Riniko’s waist shook with the effort to not squeeze her into pieces. “You’re the monster, witch,” she snarled.

“It takes a monster to slay one,” Riniko responded. “Remember that if you decide to hesitate any longer. I’m tired of waiting for this final show. My sisters have both seen that I was right and now it’s time to end this.” Riniko raised her hands. “Put me down.”

Shaking profusely, Kari set Riniko on the ground, where the little witch-girl brushed off her plain, brown dress. She fluffed her hair, then raised a finger to her lips.

“Remember your promise,” she said, then spun and skipped away into the darkness.



About the Author:

Valerie Storm was raised in Tucson, Arizona. Growing up, she fell in love with everything fantasy. When she wasn’t playing video games, she was writing. By age ten, she began to write her own stories as a way to escape reality. When these stories became a full-length series, she considered the path to sharing with other children & children-at/heart looking for a place to call home.












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Guest Blog- False Haven by Rebecca Rook #YAHorror


False Haven is a young adult paranormal horror novel that’s a cross between Holes and The Haunting of Hill House. In this novel, Vivienne Barston’s life has fallen apart. With her mother recently passed, her father disappears into his grief – leaving Viv to deal with her sadness and anger alone. Viv turns to destructive behaviors like petty vandalism, but after a disturbing stint in a juvenile detention center frightens her, Viv agrees to a court mandated service opportunity designed to expunge her record. The deal: work for six weeks with a trail conservation crew in the rural woods of southern Oregon, and she’ll be free with a clean slate.

She knows it’s her last chance to fix her life.

As Viv arrives at the small town of Hard Luck, Oregon, she meets her crewmates, all with troubles of their own. The unusual group travels to Grafton Stake, a remote and derelict former asylum with a haunted history–and now Viv must face the ghosts of the past while fighting for her future.

While Grafton Stake is not a real place, and the scenes in this novel are fantastical, some of them draw inspiration from very real historical events and locations: Starvation Heights and Northern State Hospital, both in Washington State. Starvation Heights is the common nickname for a rest home run by an abusive doctor named Linda Hazzard. Her “School of Health” used dubious or harmful methods on several clients, the most common technique being starvation under the guise of improved health. These practices resulted in several deaths, and Hazzard often stole the deceased’s wealth and resources after death.

Dr. Hazzard’s School of Health. Photo courtesy of Historylink.org.

The other location that inspired False Haven is The Northern State Hospital in Sedro-Woolley, Washington State. This abandoned psychiatric facility contains a graveyard with over a thousand burials – and no names. Only a few have initials or numbers. Shrouded in secrecy for decades, the records of patient deaths finally became available in 2023. Given the horrendous reports of abuse, neglect, and the erasure of patient records, these haunted locales lent themselves very easily to the horror genre and to my story specifically.

If you're interested in learning more about this subject, here are a few recommended reads.

Brownstone, Sydney. July 16, 2023. "The Lost Patients of Washington’s abandoned psychiatric hospital." The Seattle Times. Link.

Horn, Stacy. 2008. Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York. Publisher: Algonquin Books.

Olsen, Gregg. 2005. Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest. Publisher: Crown.


False Haven
Rebecca Rook

Genre: Young Adult Horror
Publisher: Hellebore House
Date of Publication: February 13, 2024

ISBN: Print: 979-8-9894253-2-7 
ISBN: e-book: 979-8-9894253-3-4
ASIN: B0CNDX3SBY
Number of pages: 250
Word Count: 60,000
Cover Artist: Paper & Sage Designs

Tagline: Her last chance may end her life.

Book Description:

Seventeen-year-old Vivienne Barston’s life has fallen apart.

With her mother recently dead, her father disappears into his grief – leaving Viv to deal with her sadness and anger alone. To cope, Viv turns to destructive behaviors like petty vandalism, and after a disturbing stint in a juvenile detention center frightens her, Viv agrees to a court mandated service opportunity designed to expunge her record. The deal: work for six weeks with a trail conservation crew in the rural woods of southern Oregon, and she’ll be free with a clean slate.

She knows it’s her last chance to fix her life.

When Viv arrives at the small town of Hard Luck, Oregon, she meets her motley crewmates, all with troubles of their own. The unusual group travels to Grafton Stake, a remote and derelict former asylum with a haunted history–and now Viv must face the ghosts of the past while fighting for her future.

Excerpt:

Five faces looked up at her entrance: two girls and three guys. They sat around a conference table in office chairs that were sleek, professional, and out of place in the rustic lodge. An open box of cheap pastries rested at the center of the table, surrounded by water bottles, sodas, and napkins. A pile of hiker’s backpacks rested in the corner of the room. Viv cast the others a quick glance, then placed her pack next to the pile. She picked a chair at the end of the table, closest to the door.

Viv found five pairs of eyes studying her. She felt grubby after a long day on public transportation and tried not to squirm under the scrutiny.

“What’s your name?” one of the girls demanded.

“Viv.” She didn’t inquire about their names. None of them were there to make friends.

The girl who had demanded Viv’s name opened her mouth to say more but was interrupted by the arrival of a woman in her thirties with thin black hair pulled into a low ponytail, nut-brown skin, and a stocky, muscular build. The woman walked with authority and purpose, her shoulders back and her head upright, and when she came to a stop at the head of the conference table, she cast an assessing gaze over Viv.

“You must be Vivienne.” It wasn’t a question.

Viv nodded.

“Welcome.” The woman didn’t smile. “I’m Helen Whiteaker, and I run this program. You will report to me for the duration of your time here.” Helen’s dark eyes held a steel promise of order.

Viv found herself sitting up a bit straighter.

Helen swept a glance around the room. “We’re all here, so let’s start.” She then eyed the pastries in the center of the table. “I’d eat those if I were you. Our meals over the next six weeks won’t be spectacular.”

One of the boys reached for a Danish.

This seemed to satisfy Helen. “Welcome to the Conservation Corps for Teens. Let’s discuss what you’re here to work on for the next six weeks. At the direction of the Bureau of Land Management and the local county council, we’ll be providing the grunt labor for the demolition and cleanup of Grafton Stake, a local institution with several old buildings. We will also build a trail system, campsites, and recreational day sites around the area. The goal of our work is to help create a park-like setting for a future campground and visitor’s center.”
Helen paused. “Does anyone have questions?”

No one responded. The boy with the Danish ate loudly, without closing his mouth. Viv winced at the sight, then looked away. The squelching noise turned her stomach.

Helen eyed Danish Boy with a flicker of amusement in her eyes before continuing. “We have a tight schedule and will need to work fast. We work eight hours a day, every Monday through Friday, with lunches and breaks. Weekends will be spent at the campsite, or in town for short durations.”

Helen paused again and looked around the conference room with her eyebrows raised. When no one said anything, she sighed. “I’m going to be blunt: none of you are here because you want to be here.”

Viv felt the impact of the words like a dash of cold water across the face. She saw the others react, too, shifting uncomfortably in their seats or staring at the floor or the ceiling.

Helen stared at the table. “For various legal and privacy reasons, I do not know the specifics of why you are here, but I will not tolerate any insubordination or disruption on my team. If you misbehave, I will ship you home without a second chance. This is a job. You will be paid a stipend at the end of the six weeks—or a prorated amount for the time you’ve spent in this program. I expect professional behavior from each of you, towards me and towards each other.

That means no sex, no drugs, no shit talking, and no fights.”

The conference room was still. Viv’s stomach roiled with anxiety. She almost admired how efficiently Helen had asserted control over the group.

“Really?” Helen cast a skeptical glance around the room. “No questions at all?”



About the Author:

Rebecca Rook is a hard of hearing person who designs tabletop games, manages a little free library dedicated to sequential art and comics, and lives in the Pacific Northwest with two wonderful dogs. A 2021-2022 Hugo House Fellow in Seattle, WA, she also attended the 2021 Tin House YA Fiction Workshop in Portland, OR. Prior to this, she completed the wonderful Yearlong Workshop for Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction at Hugo House. She writes young adult fiction in the fantasy, thriller, and horror genres.








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A Sword of Blood and Roses by Jessica Ash #DarkFantasyRomance


A Sword of Blood and Roses
Hunted by the Faerie Queen 
Book One
Jessica Ash

Genre: Dark Fantasy Romance
Date of Publication:  June 30, 2022
ISBN: 9798201496227 
ASIN: B0B1XQTX28 
Number of pages: 322
Word Count: 85,000
Cover Artist: Firda Graphic

Tagline: When the Queen of the Fae is after you, sometimes your best bet is falling in love with the enemy.

Book Description:

Enemies to Lovers Dark Fantasy Romance...

He was supposed to kill me...Now I'm his prisoner.

I was supposed to hate him...Now I'm falling in love.

But neither love nor magic can save me. And Now time is running out.

When the Queen of the Fae is after you sometimes your best bet is falling in love with the enemy, even when he's your kidnapper…

Read all five books in Kindle Unlimited. Discover enemies to lovers romance like you've never read before.


Excerpt:

Riding into the dry-as-bones mountains on the back of the puca, Logan’s anger seared bitter in his chest. It rolled off him in waves, pulling thunder down from the sky. He toyed idly with the storm letting his anger draw the danger of the lightning to him as he seethed.
Fifteen years away from his hounds. Fifteen years of Solanum’s running wild, the puca causing havoc wherever he went. Fifteen years of Logan’s life eaten away in the hole of the queen’s dungeons.

And now he was to kill witches for the queen—a fact that rubbed him raw.

Humans were amusing companions, why create trouble? Irritated with the brief flare of morality, he smothered it with brutal force. It didn’t fucking matter what he wanted. It never had.
Lightning cracked. The eerily silent hounds of the Dark Hunt tightened around him, their tense glances and snapping teeth reflections of his flaring emotions.

He had no room for second thoughts tonight. The Black Queen had given him no reason why she needed these witches killed, but if he satisfied her it might give him his freedom. At the very least it would give him some space. Maybe some time to figure out a way to stay out of the dungeons. And time to figure out how to truly extricate himself from her bloody dominion.

Because no matter what she had promised him, he knew, there was no way she would simply let him go. Not after the way he had betrayed her.

Solanum tossed his head and bucked. “Quit squeezing my ribs.” Lurid green faery flames leapt from his hooves, igniting short-lived cold fires in the dry Wyoming brush.

“Cease, horse,” Logan said, squeezing his legs a little more. Punching Solanum’s buttons felt good, really good. Just like his wrath at the queen felt good. Justified.

The puca tossed his long mane into Logan’s eyes. “Lay off, or you’ll be eating dirt,” he snarled, nostrils flaring red in the dimming light.

Solanum’s irritation put a hard smile on Logan’s lips. He tightened his legs and drove the puca harder down the hill through the brewing storm.

A hound pushed in too close. Solanum’s hoof lashed out, connecting with a solid thud. The hound’s yipe sounded inside Logan’s head as he regained his balance, cursing the hound’s behavior and the puca’s intolerance.

He was back. The hounds would get used to him again. And Solanum too.

Thunder crashed in the sky, following him down into the shadowed hills as he approached the witches’ lair. Nostrils burning from the ozone, nerves tingling, he distracted himself with the dark moist wind, manipulating it to blow through the dry autumn brush like a child's tantrum.

He laughed, the spiteful wind stealing away the dark sound as cracks of thunder echoed off the mountains. He let the anger simmer and the lightning moved further away. He wasn’t free yet, and he wasn’t suicidal. What he was, was trapped. And it pissed him off, the frustration riding him like a hag.

What could he do when the queen changed her mind and refused to release him from her service? What if the bitch thought she could use him then put him back into her dungeons Underhill, calling him to her side like a lapdog? He needed a way to show her there would be repercussions. He needed leverage.

In the distance, thunder rumbled. They tipped over the edge of the valley in search of the witch. A wavering glow of candles shone above the last few rocks.

Almost there.

The telltale traces of a spell raised the hair on the back of his neck. He extended his Gift to perceive what he couldn’t yet see. A labyrinth set by a single inexperienced witch. His lips twitched. As protection it might have worked, had the Faery Queen sent her regular henchman. Unluckily for the witch, the queen had unleashed him. The Dark Huntsman.

He would kill the wench, and be done with this thing between himself and the queen of the Tuatha De Danann. And when the queen refused to release him? He’d deal with that when the time came.

The wind carried the hot dry smell of sage mixed with the smell of fear and musky female. He inhaled the raw flavor of the witch, the taste of her fear and anger and power, slid down his throat, easing his rage.
The anxious hounds shifted around him, sensing the proximity of their prey. Solanum rounded the rock.

And there she was.

The sight of her rocked him back like a blow, almost knocking him to the ground. And he realized—despite the stasis, fifteen years had been too long a time to be without a woman.

Glimmers of power limned her naked body and the silver blade of the athame that gleamed between her breasts. Her legs were spread slightly apart, tensed for battle. Long black hair crackled and lifted with static. Her expressive face was poised on the edge of dilemma, her body caught between the need to hold the spell and the need for action.

He paused to let the feel of power and woman roll through him.

Beautiful.

Unexpected.

Green, almond-shaped eyes widened. Her stance firmed, her shoulders pulled back, and her full breasts rose, nipples tightened with cold or fear. Something wild and raw he hadn’t felt in a hundred years stabbed low in his gut.

His agenda changed.

The queen wanted to kill the witch. Why? His plan of placating the queen suddenly seemed weak. She’d never let him go without leverage, and here was leverage standing naked and lovely before him. He had a new plan.

Screw the queen.

 

***

Thunder boomed.

Trina glanced up the valley. The dying light made it impossible for her to see much more than the silhouette of a horse and rider barreling through the boulders and uneven terrain, tearing down the rocky hillside at an impossible speed. But no barrel racer would endanger their mount careening down the mountain in a thunderstorm. Or ride a horse the color of the absence of light with freakish red eyes. Only something truly inhuman would light up her inner sight with that particular eerie blue glow.

The acid in her stomach rose into her throat.

An elven lord.

Oh fuck! I’m screwed.

She swallowed the fear down. Her trap, her best effort, all her hard work. Dumb. Stupid.

Pathetic. None of it would hold an elven lord—a full adult fae whose power would make her trap look like an art project. She wished she could hide the evidence, like a small child wiping up the crumbs of stolen cookies.

Horse and rider skidded and slowed in a shower of ricocheting rocks. The enormous red  hounds flowed out, surrounding the labyrinth as the cloaked rider and his dark mount advanced.

She held still, athame at the ready in sweaty hands, prepared to bolt if she had the chance. Her eyes flicked from the approaching rider, distracted by the lesser threat of the huge, sharp-toothed,  yellow-eyed hounds encircling the labyrinth like silent sharks waiting for the command to take their prey.

Her.

“Damn shame to kill you, witch.” His voice was smooth, well-aged whiskey with a hint of brogue.

 “Then don’t.”

“What will you give me instead? A life requires a powerful exchange. And I was sent for your death.”

Trina tried to keep her face even and not reveal her panic. She had nothing he could want.

Anything of true power that a fae like this one might consider valuable, was safely out of reach and driving down the road in the van. Gone. Along with any reinforcements.

“How about honesty?” She offered in desperation.

“Funny girl.” The dark presence leaned forward, his impatient mount’s feet shifting on the gravel.

The nervous sweat on her back grew cold.

“Although I would enjoy taking the time,” his voice carried easily over the wind and thunder, “we shouldn't stand here bargaining. The queen awaits my report.”

The lord’s level tone distracted her and she was unprepared when the horse moved. The pair crashed effortlessly into the labyrinth, cutting a destroying swath across the short, brushy sage and heading for her at the center. Spectacular violent explosions burst into cascades of colored lights, as if her carefully constructed wards were merely firecrackers, instead of huge magical grenades.

The overwhelming smell of crushed sage rose, and she swore the evil-eyed horse laughed. She reached inside for what was left of her power, losing her grip on it when he leaned over and grabbed her arm. With no apparent effort, he hoisted her up.
She scrabbled for a handhold in an effort to not fly over the horse into the waiting sea of teeth and dogs. She tangled one hand in the long black mane and held tight to her slippery knife with the other.

Strong arms wrapped in leather tightened around her, forcing her upright, her toes dangling sidesaddle. Everything happening too fast. She barely had a grip in the long black mane when the creature flexed under her and they flew over the candles.

The flames blew out.

They landed on the other side of the labyrinth in a hard jolt. She slipped.

If I fall, I could run.

Before the thought had been and gone, her grip on the mane loosened. She slid to the side. Hot breath and the scrape of teeth on her ankle warned her, just in time. She yanked her foot out of range of the snapping jaws, and lost her balance. Making an instinctive grab for the mane with her right hand—she dropped the knife.

Her kidnapper growled and tightened his grip on her stomach.

She gasped for her voice. “Put me down!”

“I’m afraid it’s too late for that. I either kill you or take you with me.” The sparkling black blade of his laughter cut deep into her soul.

Accelerating faster and faster, they wove in and out of the treacherous rocks in a mad, blurring rush up the side of the valley. If she fell off now and hit a rock, she’d be roadkill. She anchored both hands firmly in the mane and leaned back into the solid chest of her attacker.

They raced on, licks of green fire lighting up the hill behind them. A deep maw of black within purple mist formed ahead, transforming the familiar landscape into a horror. The knowledge of where they headed slammed inside her brain.

Trina’s heart sped into a sharp staccato.

Words of denial formed in her constricted throat, gone long before she had a chance to know what they were.

Don’t make me go.

They rocketed to the top of the valley, the piranha hounds schooling tightly around them as they raced to the looming mouth of the portal. Steely muscles bunched and flexed under her.

Launching into the air, they flew into the mix of fog and darkness encased in the sound of her scream.


About the Author:

Jessica Ash loves dragons, magic, and romance, and is lucky enough to write about all three while consuming boatloads of chocolate. Her favorite fantasy is taking a luxury cruise up the Rhine where she could stare at the castles along the water and dream of faery. She writes dark fae fantasy romance where evil queens are on the hunt and strong heroes and heroines fall in love.



Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jessica-ash                                                                                                                                






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New project: Michigan's Ghostly Getaways- A Haunted Travel Guide

I'm working on a new project and the first obstacle to getting this thing going is followers. 

I need followers on the social media accounts. Without visibility, this project isn't going to be funded. The plan is to showcase spooky public venues across Michigan- hotels, restaurants, museums, bars, pubs, stores, events... locations that embrace their ghost stories and are happy to share them.

These locations will be featured on the following social media accounts and possibly turned into a book- if there is enough interest. 

So please, give a follow and share with all your spooky-loving friends. 



Michigan's Ghostly Getaways- A Haunted Travel Guide

Discover the Mitten State's Most Haunted Locations and Spooky Events

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

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

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@michigans.ghostly


Join Me Thursday Jan 25 at Queen's Provisions in Flint

 


The Gothic Funk Salon returns, live and in person at Queens’ Provisions! 

January 2024 readers include Melodie Bolt, Kim Matthon, and Roxanne Rhoads. 

Join us for a night of urban fantasy and paranormal horror and history! 

$10 admission includes a glass of house wine or non-alcoholic beverage, and a chance to win a prize (author books and gift certificate)!

Gothic Funk Press Flint Salon
Thursday, Jan. 25 6:00 pm
Queens' Provisions
421 Garland St., Flint 

I will have copies of Haunted Flint and Ghosts and Legends of Genesee & Lapeer Counties 
available for purchase. 

Release Day Blitz - Slither by Nikki Rae #ReleaseDay #BookBirthday



Slither
The Shadow and Ink Series 
Book Two
Nikki Rae

Genre: Dark Paranormal Monster Romance
Publisher: Nikki Rae
Date of Publication: December 14, 2023
ASIN:  B0CNSFBY1V
Number of pages: 340
Word Count: 98,921
Cover Artist: Nikki Rae

Tagline: Some cycles repeat for a reason, but is this one worth fulfilling?

Book Description: 

Plunged into darkness after an eerie ritual, Corbin finds herself torn between the reality of her life with her mother and the nights she spends with Six. Even though she wakes alone every morning, the nights they spend together are worth it. Suspicion and unease surround her, drawing Jordan closer and closer while Six disappears deeper into the shadows.

Obsessed, Corbin sketches only him. As his monstrous image becomes clearer, etched in ink and gold, the pair and Jordan are enticed into a sensual world meant to feed him.

Six is reluctantly forthcoming with information about his origins and the mystical connection between the three of them. He has no control and little concern for the human world he affects with his mere presence—even when no one can stop the consequences.


Excerpt 

“You’re here.” I wasn’t sure whether it was for my comfort or his, but I was relieved nonetheless.

Yesss. I heard it directly in my ear. I smelled fire on him. Leaves, earth, and flames. Alwaysss.

A breeze wafted through my hair, tickling my shoulder. His presence calmed me, and I felt like for the first time all day, I wasn’t holding my breath. I wasn’t waiting to hear or see him. I wasn’t constantly anticipating when and in what way Six would appear because he didn’t need to. He was with me as much as any other vital organ.

In the span of one summer, I had gone from hearing his disembodied voice and believing I had lost my mind to accepting that all of it was true. Now when I thought of us together, it made no sense how we had ever been apart. Why I would try to push him away, defy some ancient law of nature?

“Can you come closer?” I whispered, staring straight ahead, out the window. “I won’t look.”

I sat on the edge of my bed and it wasn’t long before I felt the mattress sink in on either side of me.

A soft breeze moved the curtain. A car drove down the street.

I kept my promise and didn’t direct my gaze anywhere but the sky outside my window. I could feel him parting my hair, strands swaying on their own until I felt his mouth against the back of my neck again. From the corner of my eye, I watched the shadows grow into lengths of multiple arms that pulled me toward him, completely supporting my weight.

I am right here, my love.

Bands of scales wrapped around my middle, draped themselves over each thigh. Little by little, my head inched upward so all I could see was the pink canopy above my bed. I felt the trace of claw marks just beneath my chin, the strong hand around my throat.

Are you pleased with your gifts, little one?

I nodded against him, surprised even now at how solid he felt behind me. “Thank you, Six.”

I have so much more to give you, he cooed.

Before I could stop anything, I fell backwards, into a stain shaped like him. Legs splayed open, my arms were also restrained above my head, but he surrounded me at the same time. The darkness was weighted, warm. I wasn’t afraid to let it creep across my field of vision and obscure everything in sight.

So many ways I could please you, my flower. My lace of light.

Warmth traveled up my back, throughout my chest and down into my belly. His tone left no question as to what he might mean, so I decided to feed into it.

“Show me, then.”

It came out more of a challenge than I’d intended, but I liked how it sounded.

An echo of whispers met me and I realized it was laughter. Always demanding your proof.



About the Author:


Nikki Rae is the head editor of Metamorphosis Editing Services and a writer who lives in New Jersey. She is an independent author and has appeared numerously on Amazon Best Seller lists. She is the author of The Sunshine Series and concentrates on making her imaginary characters as real as possible. She writes mainly dark, scary, romantic tales, but she'll try anything once. When she is not writing, reading, or thinking, you can find her spending time with animals, drawing in a quiet corner, or studying people. Closely.










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Cover Reveal Abandon Station by V. G. Harrison #ScienceFiction


Abandon Station
The Dyson Bridge Series, 
Book One
V. G. Harrison

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Mocha Memoirs Press
Date of Publication: 1/31/2024
Number of pages: 84
Word Count: 22,000
Cover Artist: Maya Preisler
Tagline: Some planets just aren't worth saving.

Book Description:

An explosion rocks the Bridgeway Space Station. Mechanical Engineer Meridia Vail and her crew wake to find themselves on an alternate Earth where the technology is decades behind theirs, and so are the politics. 

When she realizes their space station survived the interdimensional transport to an alternate space and time, she and her crew have only one mission. Get back to the Bridgeway so they can return to their real home.

Time is running out. If the metabolic changes that come with their teleported space station don’t kill them, the politics and secret agendas will. 

Returning home makes sense, but that’s assuming there’s a home to return to. When Meridia learns the Bridgeway’s decaying orbit threatens to annihilate the planet, the Earthers will be more than happy to take their chances by destroying the greatest technological marvel of all time.

With members of Meridia’s international crew scattered across the planet and being detained, she must escape her “caretakers”, if she and her people ever have a chance at saving the one thing that might be able to save everyone.


Excerpt

The door opened.

I sat up and reached for the light.

“Don’t,” a familiar voice said. “They don’t know I’m here and I want to keep it that way.”

“Who doesn’t know you’re here?” I asked as panic swept across me. “Who are you and what do you want?”

“It’s me, Meridia. It’s Julio.” The older man appeared in the light reflecting from the TV. He looked every gray-hair of his age, but there was something about his eyes that weren’t right. His entire visage seemed worn and weathered beyond his fifty-nine years. He continued toward my bed with sweat dripping from his short, gray curls. “We have to get out of here. They want to use us.”

“Use us for what?” I asked.

“Don’t you hear them talking? They want to suck the information out of our brains. They’re going to attach us to machines that will take the wormhole knowledge out of us, then use that information to build bigger weapons. They won’t rest until they’ve brought the rest of the world to their knees.”

Oh boy. I jumped out of bed and hurried toward him to grab his arms. “Calm down, Julio. These people don’t want to hurt us. They want our knowledge, so it would hurt them to hurt us.”

“No,” he said, shaking his head. His gaze pleading. “You’re wrong. I’ve seen the machines. They do it round after round after round. You had your first tests today, didn’t you?”

“Julio it was just—”

He tore away from me. “Don’t you get it? The wormhole is ours. We created it. It belongs to us. Not them.”

This wasn’t the same Julio Ferrera I knew. A fusion physicist who was already on his way to greatness even before he joined the astronaut program, he was our Chief of Scientific Research and an accomplished Air Force Major. This guy in front of me was a lunatic who needed more care than they could ever hope to give him here. Seeing my friend and colleague like this wrenched my heart. I wanted to hug the fear out of him but knew it wouldn’t make any difference. He needed more help than I could give him.

“Relax, okay?” I started toward the small desk where there was a phone. “I’m going to call someone to help you. Maybe they can give you something to help you sleep.”

Julio tackled me to the floor. “You have to listen to me, damn it! Listen! They’ve hidden away more Americans than just us, so they can experiment on them more. Some of them are still up there on the Bridgeway just waiting at the beck and call. Leave them frozen until they’re needed.”

I squirmed away from him enough to grab the leg of a small side table. I smashed it across his upper back and head. Dazed, his grip loosened. I wiggled my legs out from underneath him, but he charged again, grabbing the back of my nightshirt. Threads tore as he dragged me down again. This time, he clawed his way on top of me and got his hands around my throat. He squeezed hard like he wanted to snap my neck in half, yelling for me to listen to him. I punched and clawed at his arms, fighting and kicking. Anything to free myself as a burning sensation heated up my lungs.

“You’re one of them!” He shouted, his eyes crazed. “They got to you. You can’t tell them anything—I won’t let you!”

My bedroom door slammed open. Several people ran into my bedroom and wrestled him off me. I rolled onto my side and grabbed my neck, struggling to suck air into my writhing lungs.

The orderlies threw Julio on my bed where a man wearing a pair of black slacks sedated him. Dr. Tommen knelt on the floor next to me, but I waved him away. I didn’t want anyone touching me. For all I knew, they did this to him.



About the Author:

Amazon best-selling author, V.G. Harrison, enjoys creating smart heroines who are more comfortable dealing with things like Fine-structure constant and quantum entanglement than the fallout from their conflict. She loves to write stories that leave her audience so engaged they can't sleep at night, thinking about the possibilities.  

V.G. holds a Bachelors in Biomedical Engineering and a Masters in Information Technology. When she's not writing, she's an IT manager for a healthcare information systems company. 

Her ever-growing list of hobbies include astronomy, attending comic cons, keeping an eye on the cryptocurrency and stock markets, hydroponics gardening, hiking, and connecting with her daughter, A.J., on a cool level. Building Lego sets at night with milk and cookies on the side come in handy for that. 






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