Tuesday, July 7, 2020

.99 Cent Sale Blitz The Sea Archer by Jeny Heckman #99centsale #fantasyromance

The Sea Archer
Heaven and Earth Series
Book One
Jeny Heckman

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Tagline: When opposites meet the attraction is undeniable, but Fate has other plans.

Book Description:

Raven Hunter, a musical prodigy, flees to the Hawaiian Islands to pick up the pieces after her marriage to her manager collapses. Instead, she experiences extraordinary and unsettling events that are beyond her understanding.

Living in paradise, marine biologist, Finn Taylor has the unconscious but effortless ability to understand the needs of the animals he cares for. His playboy lifestyle is most men’s fantasy. That is, until the night he meets the shy and elusive new island resident. Suddenly his life no longer feels like his own.

The attraction is undeniable. However, vastly contrasting lives, peculiar dreams, and an unbelievable proclamation that they could be the direct descendants of Poseidon and Apollo threaten to divide them forever. Will they accept their destiny and begin the quest of a lifetime or will they remain in their comfortable yet separate existence?

 On Sale for .99

Amazon     Nook      iBook

Excerpt #2: (591 words)

Finn’s research boat motored toward an island farther off their projected course. The weather was picking up, but he told the crew to push through. He barked orders to secure lines and equipment, as waves churned and white foam capped their peaks. The girls grabbed pails blowing across the deck, while Jake frantically tried to secure the lines whipping around in the wind.

What the hell was going on, Finn thought. This front had come in out of nowhere. Maybe there had been an earthquake. He looked down and in disbelief, realized he’d forgotten to turn on the navigating equipment. But how could that be?

Cold fear crawled up his spine as a massive wave broke against the bow, causing Jake to bullet over the side of the boat and into the cold water. Finn screamed over the intercom for the girls to come help. When they didn’t answer, he turned and saw they were gone too. One of Holly’s flip-flops floated in the small pool of water collecting aft.

He ran to the back and saw the girls swimming toward each other without life jackets. Running to the bow, he saw Jake doing the same. Closer to the girls, Finn maneuvered the boat to retrieve them first, but by the time he’d arrived, they disappeared. Looking out toward the bow, he watched in horror as his male researcher disappeared beneath the cold blue surface too. Finn turned to run back to the cabin when he saw Raven steering the boat.

“Get to Jake!” he screamed, but she couldn’t hear him. “Raven, Jake...Jake!” He pointed.

She turned and could see him gesture but didn’t seem to know what he was saying. Alaula was on the bow now, barking loudly over the wind, her pup trying desperately not to fall off too. He ran down the hall as more water sluiced over the sides. The hallway lengthened, and he couldn’t reach the bridge.

The water started to part, and Raven turned to look at it. Iron pillars began to poke through the surface of the water and Finn’s back seemed to burn and tear and he cried out in pain. The trident tattooed along his spine stood before him in living color, but it was the length of several football fields and held in the massive hands of a man with Finn’s eyes. Black liquid ropes bound themselves around his enormous biceps and strong wrists. Another thicker one coiled around his
muscled waist and neck. He tried to lift the trident but failed. His unearthly eyes sparked at Finn, who felt the extreme heat all around him. He looked for the source and saw it was Raven. She was a ball of fire with wings unfurling, making a guttural scream.

Finn couldn’t move, aware he was utterly powerless without the trident on his back. He looked back into the face of the great man. The man only had a moment to say two words before an enormous tsunami ran through him, blending to his shape, becoming the wave, then his outline turned to the ocean’s spray. He looked back at Raven and the fire burst.

Finn’s eyes flew open, and he expelled a gasp. Sitting up, he was shaking and covered in sweat. The aftershocks of the dream pulsated behind his eyes. What the hell was that? Breathing hard, he swung his legs to the side of the bed. Resting his elbows on his knees, he laid his head in his hands, as the two words seared into his mind. Release me.

About the Author:

Award-winning author, Jeny Heckman, was born in Bellingham, Washington, and was the youngest of two daughters. She met her husband, Jeff, in August 1992, and eloped three months later, at Magen’s Bay, on St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.
She wrote her first book, the Catch, in a few short months but took several years before she gained the courage to self-publish it at her son’s urging, and her love for writing began.

In 2018, Jeny knew her next project would be a series that showed adults could have adventures in the paranormal-fantasy genre too. So, she created the Heaven & Earth series, a story of doomed Greek gods and their only salvation, their modern-day descendants. Her first book of the series, the Sea Archer, was immediately picked up by the New York publishing house, the Wild Rose Press, and won, “Best in Category” from the 2018 Chanticleer International Book Awards.

In the year 2020, Jeny released, Dancing Through Tears, a short story from the anthology, Australia Burns: Volume Two, highlighting the Route 91 massacre from the perspective of one family at the concert, and at Mandalay Bay. She also intends to release, the Warrior’s Progeny, and Dee’s Cornucopia, in 2020, continuing the Heaven & Earth Series.

Jeny lives in Washington State with her husband of over twenty-eight years.

Amazon Author Central: https://amzn.to/3hfq6fh

YouTube Channel: https://bit.ly/30vNfUI

iBooks Author Page:

Monday, July 6, 2020

Book Blitz The Call of Magic by A. R. C. #UF #PNR #Tarot

The Call of Magic
The Fool’s Journey
Book One
A. R. C.

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Quick and Animus, LLC
Date of Publication: June 20, 2020
ISBN: 9798642452813
Number of pages: 367 pages
Word Count: approx. 103,000

Cover Artist: Sandrine Pierrot

Tagline: Marked by magic. Chosen by Fate. And she couldn’t care less.

Book Description:

The Fool's Journey, a massive new series written in two parts - with blog posts acting counter-point to monthly-published novels - revolves around a cabal of warrior mages, and focuses heavily on the inclusion of Tarot.

Freshly graduated from high school, Emma Lie has never let go the betrayal her father served her. On the eve of her college departure, burdened with grand designs, Emma finds herself branded by a strange mark.

Bewildered by its appearance, Emma becomes distracted, then suspicious, of a captivating boy named Thies. Amid a passionate moment, she demands the truth from him. The cryptic answers Emma gets in return skew her reality forever.

Emma is thrust into the world of magic, stolen away from her home. Lofty intentions derailed, her mother in mortal danger, and forced into magical servitude, Emma must fight for survival and the life she had planned even as she battles for her own heart.

Amazon           Goodreads         Quick and Animus


Haynes’ eye is swelling shut, and Michael is staring up from the floor behind me with mixed shock and rising fear. The last bit catches my attention and confuses me. My vision narrows, black around the edges, heart beating thunder in my ears. I did what I did to help him. Why should Michael be more afraid, now? I try to relax, but my temper has risen. My raw knuckles have done the speaking. My actions pronounced judgment.
Jimmy Haynes is rolling to his feet with practiced athleticism. His cronies have stepped back to the walls of the locker-lined hallway. He is not large, but his movements speak of economy and brutality. He is a bully’s bully, born and bred. There is sweat prickling the scalp under his dark shaved hair, and a stuttered breath issues from his lips as he probes the damage to his eye. In the gray depths of his other, the wheels are turning.
He cannot afford to back away from a fight in front of his pack. Nor is it in his cruel nature, and yet he hesitates. He is a grade younger than me and Michael before we graduated, as are all his little friends. Jocks, bullies. They are animals, drunk with the idea of being seniors, fresh from the football field, and filled with football aggression. And Michael Morton is their target and outlet. Chubby, meek, kind Michael Morton, here to help me finish the Senior art project before I leave for college in a month. Michael makes another series of small whimpering noises behind me, his paint smock half-torn.
“What the fuck?” Haynes booms. His posse chortles and titters from the sidelines. They move and sway with his anger. But I have the truth. He is stalling. He doesn’t want to take this further against me. The crush he has on me has always been obvious, trying to catch my eye for the better part of three years. But he cannot be seen as the star football player who was knocked from his feet by a hundred-fifteen-pound girl. He wouldn’t survive in his world. Torn between two hard choices, I see the decision form, the surety that grasps him. His hand drifts to his side, his clenched fist straightens. He will slap me. For him, to hold a reputation as a woman abuser is easier, more acceptable. Bastard.
“Look at her eyes,” one of Jimmy’s posse whispers along the halogen-white hallways of the school. My irises have no doubt changed, gone a deep gray as they do with my fury.
Michael Morton hasn’t moved, bloodied and sprawled on the floor where they left him. I had stepped over him to punch Jimmy, but now he is an obstacle I cannot navigate in time to dodge. My knuckles hurt still, and the inexplicable, searing pain on my upper right arm remains, but I prepare myself for the blow and tense to give one in return. If Jimmy wants a fight, he’ll have it.

About the Author:


A figure approaches you on this dusty road called life. Indistinct and familiar, unknown but knowing, they are nobody and the every-man. “May I tell you a story?” they ask, wasting no time.

“What kind?” you reply, impatient with interminable day. Fraught with distraction. You’re unsure you want anything new.

“Some, light and airy, still others dour and dread-riddled. Love and death, black dreams and bright hope, man and his fellow, red war and high peace. All can be found here. The cynics, the broken, the strong, and the weak, all woven into one. You need but only listen.”

“Tell me more?” you inquire after minutes of thought.

The storyteller nods. “Though you might not like each tale, inevitably you will find your hero within. Some to hate, and more to admire. It cannot be else. Hide and reveal, warn or conceal, incite or enchant. So falls the nature of storytelling, a reflection of the soul. Only the cruel would change these tales to fit own beliefs.”
“And should I not wish to hear them?”

“No matter that I sing my yarns to a single body or many, they must be told. It is my honor, my duty, my obligation.”

“But who are you?” you demand.

“If I were to speak base truth about myself, I would say that I’m a dreamer. It holds a double meaning. I daydream regularly, oft to diversion. And though my nightly dreams come and go without memory, that which they tell me changes my mood daily.”

“To this point in life, dreaming has never gotten me anywhere.”

The figure leans in, as if sharing a secret with a friend.

“But it will one day.”

The longer the figure speaks and the more that you listen, the more you perceive that you aren’t alone. Others surround you, attend with you, know the words as you do. Love and tears, heartache and fears, it is good to share these worries amongst friends.

For what is existence, but a semi-sweet story?

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Soundtrack for Beyond the Next Star by Melody Johnson #scifiromance #booksoundtrack

Writing a novel is typically a lonely business—sitting in a chair for hours on end, drinking coffee and pulling out my hair—but some of my best writing is often shaped by movies, TV shows, other books and music, in addition to life experiences. 

During my forty-five minute commute to and from work every day, I listen to dozens of songs, and while I’m singing and thinking about my book—because if I’m not writing my book, I’m agonizing about what I’ll be writing next—the feelings that those songs evoke in me often transform into the soundtrack of my story. 

The songs listed below are a few of my favorites, but more than that, they’ve influenced my writing, and hopefully, evoke the same feelings you’ll experience while reading my new sci-fi romance novel, Beyond the Next Star.

Listen and enjoy on Spotify: https://bit.ly/BeyondTheNextStar

Beyond the Next Star - The Soundtrack 

Katy Perry

Mad World
Taylor John Williams

Bad Wolves

Sweet Sacrifice

No Giving Up

Somewhere I Belong
Linkin’ Park

Camila Cabello

One Thing Right
Marshmello & Kane Brown

Hold On, We’re Going Home
Christina Grimmie

Ryan Sill

Beyond the Next Star
Love Beyond Series
Book One
Melody Johnson

Genre: Sci-fi Romance
Publisher: Incendi Press, LLC
Date of Publication: June 23, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-7351499-0-5 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-7351499-1-2 (hardback)
ISBN: 978-1-7351499-2-9 (ebook)
ASIN: B0897S23JN (ebook)
Number of pages: 392
Word Count: 91, 815
Cover Artist: Robin Ludwig Design Inc.

Tagline: An intolerable order. A desperate charade. A deadly secret.

Book Description:

“She wasn’t dreaming, in a coma, having a mental breakdown, or in hell.
She was abducted by aliens.”

Before Commander Torek Renaar can return to active duty, he’s ordered to purchase an animal companion to help relieve his PTSD symptoms. But having been a caretaker for and lost a loved one, keeping even one little human alive is a challenge he feels doomed to fail. It doesn’t help that his animal companion is the newest, most exotic breed on the market, demanding constant attention, daily grooming, and delicate handling. If she doesn’t die first in his incompetent care, she’ll be the death of him.

After witnessing the murder of her domestication specialist, Delaney McCormick allows her new owner to treat her like the pet he believes her to be. If anyone suspects she’s more intelligent than a golden retriever, her murder would be next. She endures the humiliation of being washed, the tediousness of being trained to “sit” and “come,” and the intrigue of hearing private conversations. But in Torek’s care, she finds something unexpected on this antarctic planet, something she never had in all her years on Earth while house-hopping between foster families: a home.

As companionship grows to love, must Delaney continue the charade, acting like an animal and hiding from the murderer waiting on her misstep? Or can she trust Torek with her secrets, even if the truth threatens everything he holds dear—and both their lives?

When the lorienok abducted Delaney—after she’d finally accepted that she wasn’t dreaming, in a coma, having a mental breakdown, or in hell—she’d given them a fake name: Jane Smith. Not an exceptionally creative or unique pseudonym by any stretch of the imagination, but having come to grips with the fact that she’d been literally abducted by aliens, her imagination was stretched dangerously thin. Intergalactic kidnapping wasn’t a chronic illness, but for a time—a longer time than she was comfortable admitting to now—wasting away had seemed a preferable fate.
She didn’t accomplish much by hiding her identity. She didn’t have any blood relatives to protect, a criminal record to hide, or a trust fund to safeguard. Delaney Rose McCormick had about as much value associated with her name as did the fictional Jane Smith and left nearly as small a void on Earth. But all Delaney had in those early days directly following her abduction was her name and the hope that everything—the abduction, the tests, the training—was just a big mistake. Which, as it turned out, it was. Her abduction had been the biggest technological mistake in lorienok history, but that didn’t change her circumstances. Days turned to weeks turned to months turned to the abandonment of tracking time. Hope died. She had nothing to her name, but her name, at least, was her own, and she would keep it for herself.
By the time her domestication specialist, Keil Kore’Weidnar, discovered Delaney’s capacity to learn and taught her Lori, his native language, the issue of her name had become moot. He’d already renamed her Reshna, a spiral-shaped handheld tool used to drill into ice. He’d shown her a hologram of it, pointing to the spiral and then to the wild frizz of her unconditioned curls. They had a similar-looking tool on Earth, but they used it to open wine bottles. He’d named her “corkscrew” for her crazy hair.
She’d been called worse names in high school.
She couldn’t say she’d lived in worse places, though. Most of her foster families, with the exception of the Todd household, had been decent people who’d given her clothes, a bed under a roof, and regular meals. Besides clothes, those basic necessities were still being met, so a little gratitude was probably in order. But only just a little, because she also had a cage. And a collar. And if she’d just translated the words and growls of the pet store manager correctly, she had a new owner.
Like most lor, her owner had thick, curved ram horns jutting from his head, and like all lorienok regardless of gender, he was covered head to toe in brown fur. Sasquatch did exist after all; he just wasn’t native to Earth. He was roughly the same size and shape as a human bodybuilder, and in addition to the horns, his nose and mouth protruded slightly into a blunt muzzle, two rows of sharp predator teeth filled his overly large mouth, and pointy bearlike claws tipped each finger and likely each toe on his boot-shod feet.
Unlike most, this male wore his hair long. His locks were tied back from his face in a messy bun with a forest-green elastic band. His beard was also long and came to a point at the end, hanging a few inches below his chin. But his eyes were his most striking feature, assuming that one had already become accustomed to the ram horns, claws, abundance of muscle, and close-cropped body fur. His left eye was the same doe brown common to all lorienok—a smidge rounder and larger than human eyes, like calf eyes with those thick lashes and soul-deep stare—but his other eye was ice blue. A thick scar bisected his right brow, eyelid, and upper cheek, slicing directly over that unique, penetrating gaze.
His bearing was regal and confident, the sharp cut of his jawline proud, but his eyes betrayed him. He was sad—horribly sad—and he glowered at Delaney through the wire door of her cage like he was the Greek king Sisyphus and she his boulder, resigning himself to an eternity of labor over an impossible, futile undertaking.
Or maybe Delaney was just projecting because she couldn’t imagine anything more impossible and futile than her current existence. I am not a pet! she wanted to yell. But after witnessing Keil’s cold-blooded murder, she knew to keep her mouth firmly shut. If anyone suspected her more intelligent than a golden retriever, her death would be next.
Accomplishing impossible feats while enduring debilitating injury and sensory deprivation were challenges both expected and anticipated by the young cadets training to enter the combat and strategic intelligence division of the Federation. Qualifying exams were brutal. Training was rigorous. But for the few who didn’t fail, drop out, or obtain an infirmary discharge, the rewards were astronomical. Torek Lore’Onik Weidnar Kenzo Lesh’Aerai Renaar had certainly reaped those rewards many times over, as evidenced by the four property titles bestowed to his name. He’d never been one to flinch when facing a challenge, but this order—the court-mandated appointment of an animal companion to “facilitate mental recovery”—was the challenge that finally made him flinch.
Torek stared at the human—at the beautiful, riotous hair that sprang like coils from its head and would obviously need continual cleaning and grooming, at its tiny stature and lean form that probably couldn’t lift its own weight, at the lovely gray eyes and smooth, bare skin that would need layers upon layers of protective coverings to keep it warm—and he seriously considered the merits of simply retiring from the Federation.
No one would blame him after what had happened. He could return to his home in Aerai and resume the quiet, peaceful, unappreciated toil of plant cultivation he’d abandoned so many seasons ago along with his dreams of filling that home with a family.
The store manager hefted a bound book from the counter and plopped it into Torek’s unwilling arms.
“What’s this?” A tingle of cold dread crept across the back of Torek’s neck.
“Why, it’s your owner’s manual, of course.”
“Of course.” The Federation’s policies and procedures manual was the thickest book Torek had ever had the displeasure of memorizing, and it wasn’t even half the size of this tome.
“You’ll be the envy of all Lorien. The first to purchase a human, our newest species. She’s the pilot for her breed, of course, but her domestication is progressing fabulously. They dispatched a harvester while she was still in transit, so until the next shipment arrives, she’s the only human we’ll have for a while yet, six kair at the least. You must be thrilled.”
As Torek flipped through a few of the manual’s pages and skimmed the table of contents, the tingle of dread that had started at his neck devoured the rest of his body and intensified to nausea. An entire chapter was dedicated to heating and insulating the human’s living quarters. If her rooms dipped below a specific temperature—Torek brought the book closer and squinted, but no, his eyes didn’t deceive him—and the human didn’t have tailored, fur-lined coverings to retain heat, she would sicken and die. If he didn’t provide her with private sleeping quarters, she would become lethargic and depressed, then sicken and die. If he didn’t feed her three meals a day, complete with a cooked protein, vegetables, and some grain, she would sicken and die. She was even allergic to ukok, a simple seasoning. If consumed, her throat would swell, cutting off her air supply, and she would immediately die.
He would kill her.
Not intentionally, of course, but despite the wild popularity of owning foreign domesticated animals, he’d never even owned a zeprak let alone something as exotic, delicate, and temperamental as this human. She wouldn’t survive a week in his care.
His throat tightened. His breath shortened. His chest ached, and suddenly, black starbursts shadowed his vision.
Not now. Not in public. Not again.
A loud bang echoed through the store, startling Torek back to himself. He blinked a few times, breathing past the panic and reorienting his mind. The store manager was silent now and staring.
He’d dropped the owner’s manual.
Torek gathered the reserves of his iron will. He was not afraid of domesticated animals. He did not shirk his responsibilities. And he did not flounder. He straightened away from the store manager, stepped over the dropped manual as if he’d intended to discard it so carelessly, and eased his fist through the open petting window of the human’s cage, offering the back of his hand for her to sniff his acquaintance. He didn’t particularly want to become acquainted—acquaintance with an animal companion could all too easily flip to a desire for one—but that’s what a normal, well-adjusted lor not on the brink of hyperventilating would do.
So, he did it.
The human stared at his fist, blinking. She glanced up at his face and then back at his fist before leaning in and brushing her cheek affectionately against his knuckles. Her skin was newborn-baby soft.
His chest constricted with renewed panic.
Torek cleared his throat. “She’s an adult female?”
The store manager nodded. “Her name is Reshna.”
“Fitting.” Torek pulled one of those hair coils and watched with amusement as it bounced back into place when he released it.
Her hair left a grease spot on his finger pads.
Torek narrowed his eyes. Her hair, which he’d already noted would require daily maintenance, needed washing.
“How long has she been in store for sale?” Torek stroked the side of her jaw with the back of his knuckle, peeking under her collar as she shied away from his touch. Her neck was chafed and red.
“She’s been the joy of this establishment for most of Rorak. Eh, about two-thirds of the season.”
Torek stared at the manager, taken aback. “She’s been in this cage that entire time?”
The store manager’s smile was placating. “I assure you, animal companions thrive here under my care.”
The skin on her arms, which had been smooth a few minutes earlier, wrinkled in tiny, raised spots. A slight tremor shook her body.
“Is she all right?” Torek’s heart lurched painfully. “I think her collar may be too tight.”
“Hmmm.” The store manager stooped to pick up the manual, licked his thumb pad, and paged through it, frowning.
“You’ve had her this long, and you haven’t memorized her manual?”
The store manager’s face darkened. “Reshna is the newest, most exotic animal companion we currently sell. The few who considered purchasing her weren’t willing to invest in her care after reading the manual. Like most exotic breeds, she isn’t for just anyone. It takes time to find companions like her a home, and in that time, I assure you that I’ve cared for her as I do all our animal companions. As required by her manual.”
Torek might have apologized for giving offense—he didn’t know the first thing about caring for exotic animals—except that the few words he’d glimpsed from her manual screamed at him: adult humans require private sleeping quarters and washrooms complete with…excruciatingly long bullet list of requirements… Without these necessary living conditions, the human will sicken and die.
And here she was, going on nearly all of Rorak in a wire cage so small, she couldn’t rest without curling in on herself. If she remained here, she would sicken and die.
“I’ll take her.”
About the Author:

Melody Johnson is the author of the “out of this world” Love Beyond series and the gritty, paranormal romance Night Blood series published by Kensington Publishing/ Lyrical Press. The City Beneath (Night Blood, book 1) was a finalist in the “Cleveland Rocks” and “Fool For Love” contests.

Melody graduated magna cum laude from Lycoming College with her B.A. in creative writing and psychology. Throughout college, she wrote contemporary love stories, but having read and adored the action and dark mystery of vampires her whole life, decided to add her fingerprint to the paranormal genre.

Melody's unique perspective on vampires lends fresh bite to a classic paranormal genre. In addition to a reimagined transformation—the requirement of night blood—vampires have gargoyle-looking, vicious day forms, an orgasmic bite, and as the series progresses to Sweet Last Drop (book 2), a mindless, rampaging, zombie-like breed is introduced. Melody is constantly upping the stakes, and Day Reaper (book 4) is no exception.

Beyond the Next Star is an exciting branch from Melody's paranormal romance roots, keeping the dark grit from her Night Blood Series and taking it to new worlds. Told from the dual perspectives of both human pet and alien owner, Melody's story weaves a slow-burn romance that explores the bonds of love in all its forms, navigating the main characters’ relationship in delicate stages from oblivious ownership to woke, romantic love.

After moving from her northeast Pennsylvania hometown for some much needed Southern sunshine, Melody now works as a digital media coordinator for Southeast Georgia Health System’s marketing department. When she isn’t working or writing, Melody can be found swimming at the beach, reading at the pool, and exploring her new home in southeast Georgia.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Video Interview - LESSIA by Lucas Ryan Maloney #authorinterview

Eluramance Chronicles
Book One
Lucas Ryan Maloney

Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: FriesenPress
Date of Publication:
Number of pages: 342
Word Count: 91,727
Cover Artist: Bryan Maloney

Book Description:

A war is brewing between demonic forces and the peoples of Eluramance...

Lessia has always wanted to be a mancer, one of the great magic-wielders of Eluramance. Her wish comes true when, in an act of desperation, she performs her first act of magic and is granted admission to the Academy of Magic.

There, she learns the skills and discipline to use her gifts for the sake of good. Upon graduation, Lessia intends to dedicate her life to the study of magic. But when her class is killed by demons and her best friend taken, Lessia is instead thrust into the war between Eluramance’s forces of good and Zavus’ evil army of demons.

Each of the races of Eluramance brings their own unique prowess to the field of battle. For the dwarves, their strength; the elves, their wisdom; the orcs, their might; the humans, their drive, and the Drakonics, their ancient connection to the powers that forged the world, and the magics of those ancient ones. As for Lessia, a seeming no-one caught between these dangerous powers, what can she possibly wield to protect her home from the forces of evil?

Discovering her place in this battle for existence, Lessia journeys through the distinct—and often dangerous—provinces of Eluramance, fighting Zavus’ deadly lieutenants on the path to facing the Dark One himself. With the help of powerful allies, she will battle for the soul of her country—and uncover the true nature of her own exceptional ability.

Download a FREE ARC from the author's site

Excerpt Chapter 10
Light And Shadow

Vaelik stood over Lessia, his evil smile wide. “Stupid girl,” he said. “Your friends sent you here, never intending for you to succeed. They sent you here to die.”
“They would never!” Lessia said with as much defiance as she could muster.
“And yet, here you lie, barely alive and helpless to prevent me from ending your life,” Vaelik said. “However, there is a way for you to not only keep your life but to become so much more powerf—”
Lessia didn’t allow him to finish speaking instead, she spat a globule of blood into his eye. “Keep your offer, demon collaborator,” she said. “I would rather die a thousand times over than become Zavus’ plaything.”
Vaelik’s eyes narrowed. He drew his arrow back, aiming directly at Lessia’s heart.
Suddenly, the green darklight torches extinguished, bathing the chamber in inky darkness. Lessia heard a soft sound, like fabric drawn over a surface, and then a clash of arms, followed by a brief shower of sparks that illuminated Vaelik and his hooded opponent.
On an instinct fuelled by adrenaline, Lessia lashed out with her armoured boot and connected with what felt like a leg, knocking one of the two people to the floor. Someone grabbed her leg. The sensation of displacement without motion overwhelmed her dazed senses for a moment but cleared quickly.
Vaelik yelled a foreign word, and the darklights flared back into existence. Lessia found herself behind one of the crates on the opposite side of the room, next to a hooded woman carrying a curved black short sword.
“Who are you?” Lessia asked softly.
“Like you even have to ask,” the woman said. She pulled her hood down, revealing Marian’s grinning face. “Let’s kill this bastard first,” Marian whispered, holding a hand up, stalling Lessia’s stream of questions. Marian placed a hand on her shoulder, and Lessia felt energy flow into her body, fortifying her.
“I don’t have a weapon,” Lessia said. “I…broke it.”
“Just distract him and cast me some shadows,” Marian said.
Lessia nodded. “Cover your eyes.”
Marian pulled her hood back up and readied her blade. Lessia let out another blinding flash of light, even brighter than before, causing Vaelik to cry out. Lessia stood up and saw Vaelik cringe, so she yelled at him. He blindly launched an emerald green bolt of lightning at her, which she evaded easily. As she rolled away, Lessia emitted a constant aura of light, casting shadows off all the various objects in the room.
As soon as the shadows appeared, Marian rolled into the nearest one and vanished in a puff of black smoke.
“Maneuver it closer to him,” Marian whispered in Lessia’s mind.
“Be ready,” Lessia replied. She peeked around the corner of her cover. The shadow Marian was hiding in was about ten feet away from Vaelik. She knelt and rolled across to another cover, a bolt of lightning missing her by inches.
“Come out, Luxmancer. I promise you won’t suffer,” Vaelik said.
“I know, and I promise you won’t either,” Lessia retorted. She rolled away again and saw the shadow reach Vaelik. Marian reappeared and stabbed her blade into Vaelik’s abdomen, thrusting her face in front of his.
“Light and shadows are never without the other,” Marian said, ripping the blade out and then impaling it up through Vaelik’s chin and through his head, piercing out the top of his skull.
Vaelik’s green eyes dimmed instantly, and his body went limp. Blood poured from all his various stab wounds. Lessia extinguished the bright aura she had produced and conjured an orb of light that floated just below the ceiling. She looked at Marian, who retrieved her weapon from Vaelik’s corpse. Marian grinned, and the two embraced.
“I’m sorry,” Marian said.
Lessia looked at her. “For what? You just saved my life.”
“For trying to kill you, all those months ago,” Marian said. “I just…”
Lessia shushed her with a hand. “I know you weren’t yourself, you had one of Zavus’ demons in you, controlling you. You aren’t to blame.”
“No, Lessia, that is not how it works,” Marian said, on the verge of tears. “The demon spirit doesn’t control you; it enhances whatever attribute your magic has. And as you know, Umbramancy is aligned with pride, and it was that pride that drove me to seek vengeance on the light and you.”
“She speaks the truth,” a voice said. Marian whirled around, her blade ready to strike, but neither she nor Lessia saw anybody.
“Oh, come now, Lightless, you would recognize my voice anywhere,” the voice said. Vaelik’s body suddenly raised, as if it was a puppet on strings. “She wanted so badly to spill your blood that even if I hadn’t told her to do so, she likely would have on her own.”
Marian screamed in frustration and anger, throwing her blade at Vaelik’s possessed corpse, impaling his left eye.
“You defile the very air that carries your words, Zavus,” Marian said, her voice full of venom.
Using Vaelik’s own body, Zavus pulled the dagger from Vaelik’s eye, tearing bits of flesh with it.
“How rude,” Zavus said, “and to think I was going to keep the two of you alive for my experimentation. But I see you’re far too much trouble.”
Two things happened simultaneously. Zavus conjured a black flame tinted with red and green, and Marian grabbed Lessia. Just as the flame fully manifested, Lessia’s vision went dark, and she felt the same odd sensation of displacement without motion.
A split second later, Lessia found herself back in the Temple of Aero, surrounded once again by Zethras and the Drakonics.
“See?” Zethras said. “I told you I could still feel her life force, despite passing from my sight.” He then looked at Marian. “I am, however, surprised to see you. How did you manage to find Lessia where we failed?”
Marian grinned and grasped something hanging around her neck on a silver chain, removed it, and tossed it to Zethras, who caught it.
Zethras opened his hand, revealing a polished silver ring which, upon close inspection, was very faintly sending out a gentle pulse in a particular direction—towards Lessia.
“How…?” Zethras asked. “This needs to be paired with…”
Lessia reached into one of the small pouches on her sword belt and removed Marian’s silver ring, which Morgaen had retrieved for her from the site of the ambush at Mount Lainor. She held it up at eye level between her fingers, and a look of recognition crossed Zethras’ face.
“Evelyn found these rings on one of her early adventures before we met,” Marian said. “They were on an island covered with ancient Elvish ruins. They bear an inscription that reads ‘Meyu-das-shyn’, but neither Evelyn or any of her crew could translate it.”
“Beacons of the heart,” Zethras said. “It has been a long time since I have seen one of these, let alone a bonded pair that still work perfectly.” He looked up from the ring in his palm. “It is an ancient type of Hemomancy that, like so many other things, has been forgotten by most. For the last ten thousand years, elemental magics have become more and more prominent, and Hemomancy has faded into myth and legend. There has not been a new Hemomancer in nearly a thousand years, ever since the Red Twilight tragedy.”
“I recall that name,” Lessia said. “It was in one of my history books, but only as a reference point to other events. What happened?”
“I had learned of a rumour that one of my disciples had been dabbling in a forbidden form of Hemomancy, commonly known as blood magic,” Zethras said.
“Isn’t that redundant?” Lessia asked, confused.
“No,” Zethras said firmly. “Hemomancy, at its most basic level, enhances life energy and then uses that creative force to accomplish a task. Because life itself is not restricted to a single form of thought, that energy can be made to do nearly anything.” He scowled. “Blood magic consumes life energy as a fuel, instead of enhancing it. Blood mages cut themselves, spilling their blood and draining the energy from their bodies, or through sacrificing another. It is the most unholy act one can do, as it desecrates the gift Hemo gave us so many ages ago.” Zethras turned and looked out the window.
“So, I travelled to the Temple of Hemo, which lies in ruins today. I found all but one of my students lying dead, arranged in a circle, drained of all their blood. The murderer spoke to me in a calm tone, saying Hemo had come to him in a vision, that he wanted his followers to join him in his realm. He was to send them to Hemo, for Hemo had chosen him as Hemo’s Scion.”
Scion. The word rang in Lessia’s mind. She remembered what Vaelik had called her—the Scion of Lux.
“What does that mean, Scion?” asked Lessia
It was Morgaen who spoke. “Sometimes, when a child is born with magic, it forms a different kind of bond with them. Ever since the Seven passed from Eluramance, a portion of their power remained, to forever be passed down in the spirits of those who follow their path. These individuals are called Scions. Even though they are not bound to a dragon’s soul like we are,” she said, indicating the Drakonics, “their powers are immense. To complement this, they wield their respective fragment.”
“How often do they appear?” Lessia asked.
“One hundred years after the previous one dies,” Zethras said.
“When did the last Scion of Lux die?” Lessia asked, expecting another specific answer. What happened surprised her.
Zethras stood very still, almost unnaturally so, and a red aura surrounded him as if wreathed in flames. He glanced over his shoulder, and Lessia saw his eyes dim and narrow.
The four Drakonics raised their weapons and Zethras looked at them. He closed his eyes and shook his head, like a bear trying to disperse a swarm of bees. A portal opened beneath his feet and he fell through it, closing it as he passed through.
“Did I say something wrong?” Lessia asked cautiously. The four Drakonics looked at each other.
“Emotions run deep within the Blood Lord,” Conleth said. “He was wed to Grand Paladin Zelwynn, the most recent Scion of Lux.”
“Until she died,” Morgaen said, “killed during a mission just over a year ago, trying to prevent all this from happening.”
“How did…” Lessia began to ask, but Conleth held up a hand to silence her.
“It is not our place to tell you,” he said. “In time, he may tell you himself. But the memory is still too recent, too fresh.”
“Is that what that was?” Lessia asked.
Marak spoke this time. “For as long as we can remember, Zethras has always had two sides. The eternal protector who fights for every life that is and will be is the version of him that everyone knows, either personally or through the legends he leaves scattered through the long winding path of history.” He touched the glowing orange Dragonstone in the centre of his chest plate. “Our bond-mates were still comparatively young when Zethras was born, and he has—according to our ancestral memories—not changed at all since he’s known them.”
“But, like all things, he has a darker side,” Morgaen said, “When painful memories come back to him, if they are powerful enough, he can lose control. We have come to know it as the Blood Fury.”
“You have seen the craters and gorges of the canyon lands to the south, yes?” Conleth asked, to which Lessia responded by nodding, “That was him, last year. I am sure you felt the quakes too.”
As if on cue, another portal appeared, and Zethras reappeared, his features having returned to normal.
“You know, a thought just occurred to me,” he said. “How could you have possibly known that Zelwynn died?”
“Vaelik said his master told him the Scion of Lux would be sent to stop him and reclaim Raizoth,” Lessia said, “and that was his chance to acquire something he called ‘the beacon of hope.’”
“That is impossible,” Zethras whispered to himself, then held out a hand to Lessia. “Come with me.”
Lessia took his hand, and he opened another portal.
“Where are we going?” Lessia asked.
“To see if the impossible has changed.”

About The Author:

From early childhood, Lucas Ryan Maloney's imagination fueled his love of storytelling. From powerful magic to powerful warp drives, black holes to supernovae and heroes battling villains, Lucas could weave tales that kept children and adults alike enthralled. Through his teens, Lucas fulfilled his quota of shenanigans and embraced a digital lifestyle while studying culinary arts. After several years of pursuing an unfulfilling culinary path, a profound event opened his mind to his true calling.

A few years ago, while walking in a forest contemplating his chosen path, Lucas found himself caught in a thunderstorm. As he pondered, a blinding bolt of lightning and ear-piercing crack of thunder split the sky. Startled, Lucas moved to a nearby clearing, sat down and continued his self-reflection. After three more lightning flashes and thunder claps, Lucas closed his eyes and peered deep into his heart, slowly a vision of himself writing in leather-bound writing journals surfaced.

Lucas says he's not sure how long he sat there in his mindful reprieve and that when he opened his eyes and looked up, the clouds parted revealing blue sky. He smiled knowingly, stood up and headed home.

On the way, Lucas stopped at a stationery store and made a purchase, the first of many.

Lucas resides in Southern Ontario, Canada

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