Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Guest blog and Giveaway: Enchanter’s Echo by Anise Rae





When Fantasy and Reality Collide Among the Smoke and a Curse is Born

Anytime a fantasy/paranormal/sci-fi author develops a new world, she has to create everything from scratch or decide which parts of the real world to incorporate in the story. I’ve spent hours, days, weeks pondering the world of the Mayflower Mages. Some of that world is entirely made up, like the magic system. Some of it is reality; both books are set in a real city. Some of it is a mesh of reality and fantasy, like the origins of the Republic of Mage Territories. Instead of Puritans coming over to the New World on the Mayflower, it was witches fleeing the inquisitions.

Another example of that mesh of reality and fantasy is the mages’ curse words. I wanted their choice words to reflect their culture, so I had to create new twists on our foul language for upset mages to fling about the pages. As the series continues, I keep lists of the curse words and who tends to say which ones so that I can remember them all.

I’m not much of a bad word girl myself. Or at least I don’t say them out loud very often. I keep them in the mental realm. That can be problematic. Sometimes the barrier to the mental realm and the spoken realm thins…and breaks. I’d like a cure for that. A magic cure, in fact, since I’m all about magic and clearly should have been born with psychic powers at the minimum. (What? You too? I totally understand.)

While I wait for my personal magic to come online, I give the people who live in my head plenty of special powers. The heroine in Enchanter’s Echo has enormous amounts of fabulous, beautiful power. She’s an enchantress, a rare breed in the mage world. She’s very special. But she’s gotten herself into a bit of a mess, and it’s making her quite nervous and anxious. When anxiety grips hers, she tends to lose control of her magic. Sparkly clouds of power surround her…much like the book cover shows, only she’s very embarrassed about this glitter. Blasted sparkly clouds, she calls it. In fact, she says it on one of the first pages of the book.

As I was in the midst of editing this book, I had to take a break to cook supper for the kiddos. I had spent hours going over and over the first pages. Not a smart endeavor since the words eventually merge into a knotted mesh in my mind. So the cooking break was much needed to clear my head. Alas, I lost control of the grilled cheese and blackened that baby. Word to the wise, if you’re distracted, do not attempt a grilled cheese sandwich. Try soup instead. 

“Mom, what’s that smell?” asked a child with ten years of scorn so sharp in his voice that it ricocheted around the house.

I burned the blankety blank grilled cheese. That’s what that smell is. The words bounced in my mind, silent and light but very present. I didn’t explain aloud because he came into the kitchen to see for himself.

He peered into the smoking skillet that cradled the black square. “How is that even possible?” His face was tight, his nose pinched. The disgust! The horror!

I looked into the skillet with faux shock, getting my drama on. “Blasted sparkly clouds! I burned the grilled cheese!”

It just came out. It was so appropriate for the moment. You see, this child does not approve of a drama mama. He never has, and the vast majority of the time, I oblige, providing him with the steady, calm, serious mother he prefers me to be. It’s not that out-of-character for me anyway. Er, not totally. But no cook needs a repulsed critic. After all, accidents and distractions happen to the best of us.

He scrunched up his face at my theatrical response and backed away. He paused in the doorway of the kitchen. “Do we even have more bread?”

Oh. Crap. I was supposed to go to the grocery.

“Blasted sparkly clouds! I forgot to get the bread!”

And poof! A curse is born.





Enchanter’s Echo                   
Mayflower Mages
Book Two
Anise Rae

Genre: Paranormal romance

Publisher: Kensington/Lyrical

Date of Publication: February 17, 2015        

ISBN: 9781616505394
ASIN: B00PP2ZX8M

Number of pages: 270
Word Count: 99,685

Book Description:

Aurora Firenze lives a quiet life hiding in a junkyard. Her repair shop is the last hope for gadgets and gizmos before they get tossed onto the trash towers. Fortunately, Aurora can fix almost anything, including mages, though repairing people with metal enchantments is highly illegal.

Edmund Rallis, heir to the Rallis senate seat, has spent months hunting down his errant enchantress. He’ll play every game he knows to win her back and entice her to share the secrets she hides. But he’s inadvertently put her on the frontlines of a new game, one with an opponent who’s determined to destroy Rallis Territory and drive the Republic toward war. If the new enemy isn’t stopped in time, Edmund will lose his enchantress again—and this time there won’t be another chance.

Available at   Amazon    BN    Kobo   iTunes


Excerpt:
The keep-out spell awoke at her approach. The enchanted mesh of vines and branches that blocked the entrance to Rallis Territory’s forbidden forest vibrated in welcome as its creator returned. Aurora Firenze cast her vibes along the perimeter of her spell, testing and prodding. Its strength resonated back. It was as strong as it had been six months ago when she’d created it and hid her secrets within the forest’s depths. She let go of a relieved breath, but it didn’t cure her tension.
Her nerves were strung tight, as if she’d spent hours placating customers in her repair shop. But the day had been quiet. She’d even made decent progress—fixing a curling iron with a too-hot heating spell and a stapler that had a bad habit of chasing the boss around the conference table. Yet a restlessness itched at her skin with an unpleasant persistence. She’d closed up early and headed out for the short walk to the forest. Within its heart, she’d find the peace to wash away this unease.
She sent another stream of vibes into the keep-out spell. A discreet doorway formed. With a quick glance around the barren field and the junkyard behind her, she stepped beneath her illegal spell.
As she brushed against the branches, a faint thump sounded at her feet—the soft crash of a pinecone or a weak branch falling to the ground. A normal forest noise. She flinched anyway. Her glitter puffed around her in an anxious cloud as her mage energy escaped her control. It was the fifth time today. Enchantresses did not make good criminals. She should probably let the other three in existence know, in case they were considering lives of crime. Those blasted sparkly clouds would blow their covers wide open.
She lifted her foot to continue into the small forest that was tucked inside the territory’s capital city, but stopped. A proper lawbreaker should investigate mysterious noises outside her lair. She turned and scanned the ground for the culprit. A gold coin glinted in the crisp weeds. That wasn’t normal. She reached to pick it up, scanning the field and the junkyard beyond with a twitchy gaze. Empty. She was alone.
Behind her, the forest shuttered closed, nearly catching her in its fortress wall. She jumped forward with a surprised lurch at the swat of vines and twigs. A basic rule of illegal enchantments: get out of the way or risk being incorporated into the spell.
Ignoring the sting of the swat, she stared at the coin. It was tarnished at the edges, a used-up charm. See-me-not was embossed on its golden surface. She jerked her head up. A man stood ten paces away. He was tall, broad...beyond familiar.
“Edmund,” she whispered. A shiver tiptoed across her shoulders like kisses, soft lips that hid a sharp bite. Her nerves stretched thinner yet, trapped in a battle between memories of lovers’ frolics and the promise of a dark fate that had just materialized from thin air.
Behind her, the forest’s trees rustled with the wind, a warning to retreat, one she dare not heed. Not until she knew why he’d finally come searching for her. She hadn’t thought he’d ever come back.
He prowled forward. “Hello, princess.” Though his words might have held some affection, nothing of the lover she’d once known appeared in his countenance. He lifted his left hand to reveal a glowing ball of mage vibes in his palm. His blue eyes reflected the tiny flashes of energy, and his power snapped in the air like a miniature electrical storm. The heir to the most powerful territory in the Republic had quite a steam of anger built up.
Dark hair waved across his forehead, and little curls peeked out at the edges of his neck. Though the wind buffeted and pushed at Aurora, winter’s boldness didn’t dare touch Edmund, not his hair, nor his dark gray suit or scarlet tie.
The hard slope of his nose matched the sharp lines of his jaw and cheekbones. When he smiled, he was deadly handsome. At the moment, he was simply deadly.
“Aurora.” He cast her name through the air and a piece of her soul tumbled away, as if it might dash toward him and cling like a forlorn, discarded lover. But he hadn’t discarded her....
“You stand accused of melding earthen metals to human flesh with an enchantment.”
Her heart thumped once, hard and loud, and then took off with a sprint, drenching her veins from head to toe with lightning sharp fright.
Goddess, he’d found out. How?
Even as she thought it, he revealed the answer. The glow faded from his ball of energy to reveal a small metal sphere. Her racing heart shriveled at the sight, pulling the rest of her organs with it, as if they thought to hide, seeking a chance to slip past this disaster unnoticed and, perhaps, survive. She shifted her feet on the ground, unable to resist the fear pumping through her core. Run, her gut whispered. She couldn’t afford to listen... not with the evidence sitting in his hand.
The sphere was heavier than it looked. She knew that. After all, she’d made it...and thought it long gone. He closed his fingers around it, capturing her fate within his fist.
“How’d you get that?” Her fast words shot out, hustling forward before fear, creeping up her legs with tingles and pricks, stole her voice.
“You ought to be down on your knees thanking me for confiscating it.” His voice was sharp and cutting. He sounded like a stranger, his jokes and teasing wit long gone.
“What did you do? Sneak into the junkyard and pluck his eye from his skull? Has it been hiding under your pillow for six months?” Not at all where she’d thought it was. Betrayal jolted through her. “Hardly actions befitting the heir of the mighty Rallis realm.” Her voice wavered.
“You have no idea what I’ve done.”



About the Author:

Anise Rae has been reading romance novels since she first discovered her grandmother’s stash of books hidden away in a cabinet. Learning that she wasn’t the only one dreaming about love and magic was a turning point in her life. She started her own stash of books and wrote a few too.

A native of Ohio, Anise long ago moved south, armed with boxes of romance novels and degrees in chemistry and library science. Creating chemistry on the page between two lovers proved to be a lot more fun than working with test tubes in a lab or searching patent databases. She refocused on writing.

Her stories revolve around heroines who dare to stand up to society’s expectations and be true to themselves and heroes with plenty of savvy to fall in love with such brave women.

Anise lives in Atlanta with her two children and a fluffy dog that has an amazing ability to find dirty socks.

For information on future releases and giveaways, sign up for her newsletter at www.aniserae.com




Author photo by www.surianiphoto.com

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Character Interview and Giveaway: Infected: Prey by Andrea Speed





To introduce you to my book, Infected: Prey, I thought I’d interview one of its main characters, Paris Lehane. Luckily, he likes attention much more than Roan, the other main character.

Andrea: Why don’t you introduce yourself to everyone?

Paris: I’m Paris Lehane, six feet tall, one fifty on a good day, generally too sexy for my shirt. Turn ons include a sense of humor, sly eyes, and amazing asses.

Andrea: This isn’t a personal ad.

Paris: It totally should be! I like chocotinis and cheeseburgers, although not usually at the same time, snuggling and ice cream. Turn offs include hypocrites with sticks up their butts, whisky breath, and nose hair.

Andrea: Are you done?

Paris: No, I have a sizable list, but since I’m really not in the market for a boyfriend or girlfriend I’ll let it go.

Andrea: Why don’t you tell everyone about your boyfriend and the world you live in?

Paris: Well, I have the greatest boyfriend in the world – sorry, everyone else, he’s mine. He’s Roan McKichan, badass private detective, and sexy as hell. He also has a heart of gold beneath that hard shell, because the best ones do. He’s a lion strain infected, which makes total sense, ‘cause, look at his hair. That’s a mane if I’ve ever seen one.

Andrea: Lion strain infected?

Paris: Oh, right. There’s this killer virus that infects people and causes them to turn into big cats a few days a month when it doesn’t kill them outright. Instead, it kills them slowly, but it doesn’t buy you as much time as you’d like. It’s pretty nasty.

Andrea: You’re not lion strain?

Paris: No, I’m tiger strain, the worst of all strains. I mean, it’s awesome to be a tiger, but it kills you pretty quick, so that’s a bummer. Also, it hurts like hell.

Andrea: This doesn’t cause problems?

Paris: Being different strains? No, why would it?

Andrea: I don’t know. I guess I just assumed. Um, you don’t self-identify as gay, do you?

Paris: No, because I’m not. I like guys and girls equally. I just happened to fall in love with this wonderful man.

Andrea: Bisexuals get a lot of crap, especially bisexual men.

Paris: Don’t I know it. Now, I’m kind of a worst case scenario, since I was kind of a selfish bastard when I was younger, and I used my powers of seduction for evil, but not all bis - or handsome men - are like me. Also, I just have to say that anyone who says you’re not bi – or gay, or what have you – can go sit and spin. Only you have the right and the ability to label yourself. So if anyone says you’re not something or other or insist you are something, tell them to go run someone else’s life for a while. And if you don’t like labels, don’t feel pressured to make that call. Go ahead and call yourself fluid or queer or nothing. Don’t let anyone tell you who you are, especially if they’re hung up, bigoted a-holes.

Andrea: I had no idea you were so inspirational.

Paris: I’m not Roan, but I have my moments.


That he does. And to read more about Paris and Roan, I hope you pick up Infected: Prey.





Infected: Prey
Infected Series
Book One
Andrea Speed

Genre: Gay mystery/urban fantasy

Publisher: DSP Publications

ISBN: 163216325X
ASIN: B00NJRJZGG

Number of pages: 376
Word Count: 152,000

Cover Artist: Anne Cain

Book Description:

In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds.

The murder of a former cop draws Roan into an odd case where an unidentifiable species of cat appears to be showing an unusual level of intelligence. He juggles that with trying to find a missing teenage boy, who, unbeknownst to his parents, was “cat” obsessed. And when someone is brutally murdering infecteds, Eli Winters, leader of the Church of the Divine Transformation, hires Roan to find the killer before he closes in on Eli.

Working the crimes will lead Roan through a maze of hate, personal grudges, and mortal danger. With help from his tiger-strain infected partner, Paris Lehane, he does his best to survive in a world that hates and fears their kind… and occasionally worships them.


Available at    DSP Publications     Amazon

Have you started this series yet? If you are an urban fantasy fan this is a must for your to-read list. Infected: Prey is the first book in a series that already has five books available for your reading pleasure. I love starting a series like this, late in the game, so I can binge read them all back to read. It's a great way to immerse yourself in the series, world and characters. ~Roxanne

Excerpt:

HE was on his third beer of the evening when he thought he heard a noise in the backyard.
Hank DeSilvo scowled and looked out the window over the kitchen sink full of dirty dishes. He could see nothing but darkness, and maybe a bit of reflected light from the television. This was probably a bad time to remember the back porch light had blown out two days ago, and he’d forgotten to replace it.
Not that it mattered. The only light currently in the house was coming from the television, and as long as he ignored it, he developed enough night vision to make out a shape moving in the back garden. Or was it the wind moving a shrub? Kind of hard to say.
He slammed his can down with an annoyed grunt. It was probably the Hindles’ stupid ass dog again, shitting all over the place and tearing through his garbage. He hated that fucking thing, some ugly Rottweiler mix they insisted was a “friendly” dog, and yet it always had a look in its flat, black eyes that was just this side of rabid. They never leashed the damn thing either, and apparently his yard destruction was “cute.” He was just about out of this fucking place and that damn thing had to make a final appearance. And it was final all right; he was going to make damn sure of that.
He went back to the living room, glancing at the game as he walked past—it was a fucking damn boring game anyway—and got his shotgun from the cabinet. It was illegal as all hell, a sawed-off thirty ought six with the barrels cut so short you could have stowed it under a jacket, but the barrels had been filed down expertly; it wasn’t just the rough work of a desperate amateur but the sign of a pro. Which was why, when they’d searched the drug mule’s truck and he’d found it wedged under the front seat, he hid it in his trunk and didn’t report finding it. It wouldn’t have added that much to the mule’s sentence; he already had enough rock in his glove compartment to put him away for the rest of his pointless life, especially if it was his “third strike” (and it was, no surprise there), and he doubted the guy was so stupid that he’d actually ask why he wasn’t charged with owning an illegally modified weapon. Yeah, he was dumb; you had to be dumb if you were speeding and had a few thousand in rock in the car, as well as being obviously stoned yourself. But asking after that was a special kind of stupid, the kind only politicians and people on reality television ever seemed to crest.
He cracked open the gun and made sure he had some shells loaded in it before snapping it shut again with a sharp flick of his wrist. Man that felt good. This was a real man’s weapon, made him feel a foot taller and made of pure muscle, and he knew why that meth fuckhead was carrying it around with him. A weapon like this was a real god-killer; it made you feel invincible.
It was pure overkill, of course. The Hindles’ dog was fairly big, and yet one shot from this gun would rip it in half clean down the middle, as well as make a boom loud enough to set off every car alarm on the block. But what the fuck did he care? He was an ex-cop; he’d say the dog charged him, and on his property he could shoot the fucking thing if he wanted. He’d swap out the sawed-off for his Remington before they arrived. Ballistics wouldn’t match, but by the time they proved that, he’d be long gone. Good-bye, shit-hole city; hello, tropical paradise. It was just a shame that it took him this long to collect.
He stood at the back door for a moment, cradling the shotgun gently, and let his eyes get adjusted to the dark before going out onto the concrete patio. He had a mini Maglite with him with a red lens over the bulb, so if there was something he needed to see he could twist it on without losing his night vision. Not that he needed to make a direct hit; even if he just winged the dog, he’d probably rip half its face off, maybe a leg.
First step off the patio his foot squelched in something; it felt too liquid to be shit, but the smell that hit him was meaty, redolent of shit and offal and God knew what else. Had that fucking dog already strewn his garbage about? Goddamn it.
Holding the shotgun in one arm, he turned on the flashlight and looked down at what he’d stepped in.
At first it looked like a puddle, which didn’t make sense since it hadn’t rained in a week, and the thought that it was dog piss was dismissed since it was dark, and dog piss wasn’t usually black. Or was that red-black? Swinging the light outwards, he saw greasy, ropey strands that couldn’t have come from his garbage can, and then a big hunk of raw, bloody meat like a lamb shank… only it was too long and thin to be a shank, too dark, and ended in a paw.
It was a Rottweiler leg.
Someone—something—had dismembered the Hindles’ psychotic dog and spread about a third of it all over his backyard. He saw the leg, which was the biggest piece, an assortment of internal organs, loops of intestines laid out like fallen party streamers, and lots of blood. But where was the other two thirds of the dog?
The hair stood up on the back of his neck, and he knew he had to get the fuck inside now. But as he turned, shotgun at the ready and braced against his hip, he saw the flash of white teeth in the dim moonlight, and his brain sent out the impulse to pull the trigger.
He didn’t have time to wonder why it never happened as the teeth ripped open his throat.


About the Author:

Andrea Speed was born looking for trouble in some hot month without an R in it. While succeeding in finding Trouble, she has also been found by its twin brother, Clean Up, and is now on the run, wanted for the murder of a mop and a really cute, innocent bucket that was only one day away from retirement. (I was framed, I tell you - framed!)

In her spare time, she arms lemurs in preparation for the upcoming war against the Mole Men. Viva la revolution!




Twitter: @aspeed



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Guest Blog Wildest Dreams by Stefany Rattles





Music Playlist

        There were a few songs that I really like that remind me of Wildest Dreams every time they come on the radio. The first song that always gets me when I hear it is The Kill by 30 Seconds to Mars. That is one of my favorite songs ever. If you have read Wildest Dreams then you know that this song is mentioned in the book, a special scene I might add.

            Another band that I really like is Linkin Park. Most of their songs are awesome and I know the lyrics to a lot of them. A few of the songs that I listened to while working on WD are: What I’ve Done, Leave out All the Rest, New Divide & Burn It Down. Although Alaina knows 30 Seconds to Mars and Linkin Park, they remind me more of Rayden and his sweet yet ruthless personality.

            When I hear Ellie Goulding on the radio, it reminds me of Alaina. Especially when I hear: I Need Your Love and Anything Could Happen. Other songs by other artists that I think would go with WD are: The Way by Ariana Grande, I knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift and Set Fire to the Rain by Adele.

            If I were to make a playlist of songs for Wildest Dreams, these would be a few that I listened to and really think it would go with the book theme. There are of course more but I’ll save them for the next book coming out this year!

–S.R.

Wildest Dreams
Sweet Dreams Series
Book 1
Stefany Rattles

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense

ISBN: 978-1500659530
ASIN: B00MV3TO42

Number of pages: 172
Word Count: 50,863
Cover Artist: Stefany Rattles

Book Description:

When nineteen year old Alaina Sanders scores a position as an assistant at L&A law firm where her lifetime crush Rayden Matthews happens to work, feelings and emotions from the past resurface. With the physical attraction stronger than ever, soon they find themselves in a complicated situation. Rayden is engaged to his high school sweet-heart, but things are not what they seem and Rayden must make a choice before it’s too late.

L and A is Alaina’s first professional job, needless to say that the last thing she wants is drama or to lose her job. Unfortunately she finds herself surrounded by a series of events that are out of her control… like a stalker for one.

When her work and personal life intertwine, how will she be able to handle them? In a boring town like Springdale, Arkansas how much worse can things get for Alaina?


Available at Amazon Kindle and Paperback

Enter to win a paperback copy at Stefany’s website

Excerpt:

The first time that I saw Rayden Matthews, I was in seventh grade. We were both on a bus on our way to school I was talking to my friend at the time, Daisy.
"I'll give you back your homework before you go to math class." she was saying.
I nodded, 'Okay, don't forget because if I don't turn it in today I’ll get an__ Ow!"
My hair had been pulled.
That day, I had it up in a ponytail and it wasn't short.
I turned around in my seat and scowled at the stupid boy that pulled it.
Boys...
There were two of them.
"What was that for?" I glared at both of them.
They both looked a little older than me about two years but not much.
The boy sitting by the window pointed at his friend who was intentionally looking away from me.
Daisy giggled beside me.
Since neither one responded I turned back around in my seat and forgot about them, that is, until my hair was lightly pulled again.
"Hey!" I spun around, "why are you bugging me?"
The boy by the window laughed hard while his friend turned a little red, "he likes you," explained the friend.
I looked from one to the other, trying to figure out if it was a joke. But as I looked at the kid that wouldn't look me in the eye I could tell he was blushing.
Hmm…
He was cute.
"What's your name?" I asked him and just when he met my eyes and was about to answer, the bus came to an abrupt stop and all the kids jumped out of their seats shoving one another.
The kid that liked me and his friend quickly walked past me and left the bus. Daisy and I shared a confused look and then we both stepped off the bus.
"His name's Rayden," said Daisy as she handed me back my math homework, "he's in the ninth grade."
We were both now in the cafeteria getting lunch. Daisy had told me that she had seen the kid -Rayden- before, she had friends who had friends who were friends with him. Finding out his name was not going to be a problem, she'd said.
In a matter of hours she managed to find out what it was.
"Ninth grade?" I asked a little skeptical.
She gave me a look. "That's only two years! It's not like's old or something."
Conversation stops for a few minutes while we get our tray with food and sit to eat.
"So anyway, his name's Rayden Matthews, he's in the ninth grade and he's cute." So Daisy thought so too, well that made two of us.
I rolled my eyes. “Do you see him anywhere?” I asked while I looked around the cafeteria myself but there were too many kids, hard to find one out of over a hundred.
Daisy shook her head, “he’s a ninth grader, so he’s probably the other half that eats after we do.”
She had a point.
Days later I don’t really pay attention to Rayden, I didn’t think he was taking the bus to or from school.
I didn’t see him.
Daisy wanted to talk about him and his friend, she said that his friend’s dad had been taking them to school extra early because of band practice and they also stayed after school.
I told her that I didn’t care. There were many boys and it’s not like at that point I was old enough to date yet, especially a ninth grader.
But I saw him again.
I was at the school library, looking through books. After searching for over fifteen minutes I picked one of those mystery/scary books and was ready to check out, Daisy was with me.
“Oh my god,” she covered her mouth.
I looked over at the direction where she was staring.
“Oh.” There he was, standing by a window looking at some books on a shelf. The sun light was hitting him directly and he’s hair looks a little lighter, it almost looks like there’s a halo. He’s__
Our eyes met and we stare at each other for a minute…
In that very moment, it’s like the world had stopped and it literally revolved around us. We had made a connection deeper than anything I could have felt in my life. It was a weird feeling that as young girl I could not possibly explain to anyone, ever. The only word that could come to mind was mesmerizing.
It was mesmerizing.
And then I’m being pulled.
“Ah!” Daisy is pulling my arm and I’m trying to shove her out of the way.
“Hey,” He said to me and smiles.
I smiled back.
“We have to go back to class,” said Daisy pointing at the clock on the wall.
“Fine,” I looked over my shoulder one more time. And catch Rayden looking at me and then he walked away.
I didn’t understand why Daisy didn’t want me to talk to Rayden and then other times when she where she would be such a brat.
Later I found out she had a crush on him.
Well wasn't that great!
She was my best friend for about a year until I realized what a sneaky… you know, she really was.
A little later I met Brie.
Rayden and I spoke on a few occasions. I finally got his phone number a year later and called him.
We had the longest conversations and it was nice talking to him. There were times where we even passed notes during school but it never went beyond that. I even tried to hook him up with some Costa Rican chick that he’d been crushing on but unfortunately for him -and fortunately for me- she was never interested.
Daisy transfers to a different school and as far as I know, she has no communication with Rayden.
One day I discovered he had a girlfriend, he was dating a teacher’s daughter her name wasn’t important. I still talked to him and we still wrote to each other, once in a while.
Eventually they broke up.
One day we stopped talking, I was fifteen and new to high school. I learned that he had a new girlfriend, Jessica. She had a pretty face, not a great body. But I could tell he really liked her, not because of her looks but maybe it was her personality, that’s just the kind of guy he was.
It wasn’t fair but all through high school they continued dating. I did meet someone and we started a relationship that lasted a few years, we even lived together.
But it wasn’t the same and that’s why I was single again.
I saw him from a distance for the rest of the week. We didn’t end up in the elevator together again.
Which was only a little disappointing but I got over it.
From a distance I could see a few changes in Rayden. He had more of a toned body than he used to, he had a confident walk unlike the shy boy I remembered.
I wished I could talk to him...
***



About the Author:

Stefany Rattles, lived in Los Angeles California for eight years and then moved to Arkansas and has been living there ever since. She has a full time office job and writes on her free time.

She wrote Dark Night when she was eighteen years old after it sat on her computer for several years. One day that she decided to work on it and finish it. Now, she has published 3 books, one of them is her first New Adult- Contemporary Romantic Suspense book in the Sweet Dreams Series.

She graduated Springdale High in 2007. Currently she is also attending Post University and hopes to get her degree in Computer Science.

She loves to read, write, read and write… when she’s not playing with her two little ones.





Guest Blog and Giveaway: Blue Words by MC Edwards



Tattoos

To this day, I still have vivid memories of sitting in class as a twelve year old, scribbling skulls and lightning bolts onto my arms and legs before admiring them in any reflective surface I could find. I have always been intrigued by tattoos.  I’m not sure why exactly, but something about them just fascinates me.  Whether it’s the artwork itself or the way immaculately designed skin art clings to the body contours, it was inevitable that I would end up as a skinny 16 year old thrusting a jittery fistful of cash towards a terrifying man and swearing I was eighteen.  So yes, I am tattooed myself and would be far more tattooed if finances allowed. And surprise, surprise suits of body art inked with mystical blood feature in my writing.  In honour of the evolution that this often underappreciated craft has taken over the years, I thought I would take a brief adventure into the origins and folklore of the art.

Tattoos have appeared around the world and all through history, from the 5000 year old trendsetter Otzi the iceman through to identifiers of ancient and modern gang culture.  They have also been known by many names like moko, cicatrix and keloid.  The word tattoo, as they are now known by today, casts its origins back to the Samoan word “tatau”, meaning workmanlike.  The term was first recorded in European texts by Joseph Banks, the botanist on James Cook’s Endeavour.

Methods of inscribing this art into flesh were not always been as relatively painless as they are now. 

I say relatively purely in comparison to some of the more......let’s say primitive methods.  Anyone who has had their stomach or underarm tattooed would surely agree with me that our modern methods are still far from pain free.  One traditional style, which might I add is still practiced around the world by some hard mother f&^*ers, involved a single or small collection of ink soaked needles being hammered repeatedly into the flesh to form the designs.  While that technique may not have you leaping out of your chair to have it done, I think I still find it preferable to the next one, which consisted of covering fine cotton in soot before stitching it through the flesh in patterns.  As the cotton was pulled through, it would leave the soot behind, creating dark spots on the flesh.  Ouch!  Imagine a chest piece done like that.

I am also fascinated by the polarising aurora which surrounds tatts, whether it be the stigma which some people attach to them (see this stuff...crazy right??) or some of the ancient superstitions which follow them.  The old sailor traditions are some of my personal favourites.  I’m sure most people know about the anchor tattoo, which is synonymous with nautical culture, but what about the pig and the hen?  For centuries, sailors tattoed the likeness of pig and a hen on their bodies.  A strange choice right? Swines and chickens are certainly not considered the most avid of water going animals, but therein lay the point.  They were seen as two of the few animals which couldn’t swim, so it was hoped that should the ship go down the almighty lord would gaze down upon them and take pity on the poor beasts, thus saving the sailor they were inked upon as well.  Then there are the Bedouin tribes who employ a form of medical tattooing known as Dakkah in which certain parts of the body are tattooed in order to treat chronic pain.  I would have loved to try and claim my hours in the tattooists’ chair on health insurance.

So whether it be an amazing work of art, a hilarious caricature or some bizarre saying scrawled in gothic script, I see beauty in all tattoos.  Mind you though, not because I always like what the wearer has chosen, more because it is a pure expression of their personality, something they have selected to bear upon their skin for life and beyond.  I thought I would finish with a quote, it’s a common one that I am sure you have come across before, but I think it is relevant. 

“My body is my journal and my tattoos are my story.”
Johnny Depp






Blue Words
MC Edwards

Genre: Contemporary/Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Warpath Print

Date of Publication: 30/11/14

ISBN: Paperback - 978-0994172303
ISBN: e-book - 9780994172310
ASIN: B00PWIW1ZC

Number of pages: 334
Word Count: 110,000

Cover Artist: Geoff Craig

Book Description:

Common threads have always woven through the world's mythology and folklore, strings which seem to link cultures divided by the vastness of oceans and time.

Have you ever wondered why? What if I told you that they all stem from a single origin.....the Varth-lokkr. Within this ancient creature's blood, stirs the power to save or enslave the world as we know it, a power ignited by a simple word. But which does it truly desire?

This dark urban fantasy follows one of these creatures through its emergence into 21st century Australia. It chronicles the rise of those who oppose it, those who ally themselves with it and those who are unwillingly drawn into its wake.

Shed the blood. Speak the words. Change the world.


Available for Purchase at Warpath Print

Amazon     Smashwords


Excerpt:
"Don't move or we'll fire," ordered one of the guards, his voice shook and his trigger finger twitched. Gudrik glared at him and swiftly shot towards George, who was now leaning over the stainless steel top rail, still scouring for an escape which didn't exist. The guards began to fire wildly at him. They may not have seemed overly competent, but they could shoot. Several projectiles tore through Gudrik's flesh as he moved, spattering blue onto the grass. Startled by the gunshots, George spun just in time to see the scruffy relic hurtling towards her. A bullet buried into Gudrik's knee. He stumbled. Before she had a chance to react, Gudrik crashed into George. His momentum forced her backwards, toppling them both indigently over the safety railing in a tangled mess of arms and legs.
The pair rocketed towards the ground. George screamed profanities so coarse that they blistered the very air around her. She scrambled and flailed as if trying to climb back up Gudrik's body. He wrapped himself tightly around her. "Earvictius groot," he bellowed.
His bullet wounds glowed, and the tender flesh surrounding them began to transform into cold, speckled granite. The stone rapidly spread along his limbs and across his abdomen, searing with pain as it went. He cringed and grated his teeth. As it spread across his chest and onto George she began to scream as though he were slashing chunks of flesh from her. Thankfully, the agony did not linger and in the blink of an eye, stone had completely swallowed both of them. No matter how hard she tried George could not move. It was both claustrophobic and frightening.
The living statues whistled closer and closer to the ground. Until......SMASH!  They crashed unhindered onto the roof of a parked car. Glass and shrapnel exploded from the vehicle as they tore through the chassis and into the road beneath.
Just as painfully as it had spread, the rock retreated returning the flesh to its vulnerable state, leaving it sensitive and speckled with sweat. Both lay for a moment of recovery. Their chests heaved deeply as they came to terms with what had just happened. Gudrik crawled out of the mangled wreck and climbed to his feet. "Are you harmed?" he grunted, lifting George to her feet.
She was pale and disheveled with blank shock clouding her eyes. Time was of the essence. Gudrik slapped her across the cheek. Fire filled her blank eyes. She swung a punch, which he avoided. He grabbed her shoulders and repeated his question, "Are you harmed?"
"I-I'm confused as hell," she responded, panicked, but glad to be alive. "But fine. I think. Yes fine. Definitely ok," she stammered nervously, quickly checking her body over for injuries and pulling her dress down to cover the lacy black panties on show to the world. Her hand quickly went to her locket, checking it was still there. "Was I made of stone then?” Gudrik ignored her question. His attention was otherwise occupied. By that stage, a huge crowd of onlookers and good Samaritans had gathered around their impact point.
"We must keep moving."
He dragged his hand along a twisted shard of the car's metal shell and spoke, "Unjallius.”
Gudrik groaned as huge, white wings tore from the flesh of his back in a puff of loose feathers and a splatter of blue. They stretched to a massive, elegant span and quivered in the sun. The suit jacket and shirt were left torn and tattered, spattered, stained and hanging in shreds from Gudrik's muscled shoulders. The stunned onlookers stepped back in awe. He grasped the confused woman tightly and with a few powerful beats of his mighty wings launched the two of them into the sky.
George clung tightly as they whipped and glided through the city. They weaved between the highrise buildings, slowly gaining altitude and suddenly plunging toward the ground as Gudrik negotiated the unpredictable up-drafts above the busy city streets. George was not as terrified as her brain insisted she should be. She loved the speed, she loved the wind and she loved the gaping faces of the populous below. It all exhilarated her. Gudrik's grasp was gentle and caring, but still so firm and reliable that there was no fear of falling.
Finally, Gudrik surged up and breached the top of the sky scrapers. The onlookers below were now nothing more than ants. George released her grip on Gudrik and shielded her eyes. The sun was much fiercer up there without the buildings' protection. She swivelled and squirmed as she gathered bearings. "Land on those cliffs over there," George said pointing at a small lookout point above the river.
Gudrik dived and swooped in, gently putting the two of them down on the grass in a rapid flutter of tiny wing beats. "Gratitude," Gudrik grunted as the wings collapsed into a sprinkling of blood.





About the Author:

M.C. Edwards, or Eddie as he is known to his mates, grew up in a coastal town on the picturesque Central Queensland coast of Australia.  He has travelled to many corners of the world and has a love of all things bizarre.  He enjoys motorcycles, beards, comics, videogames and the taste of a fine single malt scotch.  In his writing he crafts immersive worlds which mix reality and fantasy to create a strangely believable mix.






Website – www.warpathprint.com

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