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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Blog Tour: I'm with You



Teen and Young Adult
Date Published: 9/26/16 (Print) 10/18/16 (eBook)
Publisher: Dragon Tree Books

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When fifteen-year-old Ciarán Morrigan eavesdrops on a conversation between his father and two mysterious strangers, his life—and the life of his little sister, Remiel—is changed forever. After their father makes a startling decision, the Morrigan siblings are forced to flee the only life they've ever known and embark on a dangerous adventure across the nation of Empirya. With the enlisted help of a disinherited vagabond, a cynical violinist, a fire-juggler with a fierce temper, an aspiring mechanic, and a cheerful librarian, Ciarán and Remiel must fight to escape the clutches of lethal pursuers. Their journey carries them through smog-filled cities, dark forests, humble towns, and perilous mountains, but will Remiel's dark secret and ghosts from the past prevent the Morrigan children from finding a place they can truly call home?

Winner – Indie Genius Award from Dragon Tree Books
Winner – Literary Titan Book Award (Gold) June 2017


About the Author


Allie Frost was born in 1992 and has spent most of her life in rural Pennsylvania. She attended Western New England University and graduated in 2013 with a degree in English Literature and Film Studies. During her college years, she studied in England and began working on the story that would become her debut novel, I’m With You. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys playing video games, reading, traveling, and going to the movies, and she only likes dark roast coffee or very sugary lattes, but nothing in between. More information is available at thealliefrost.com.


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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Blog Tour: A Mind to Kill


Psychological Thriller
Date Published: August 5, 2017

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The hunters become the hunted…

When Rebecca's childhood abuser avoids prosecution, it sets her on a path to revenge, revenge on any man who preys on the innocent.

Twenty-three-year-old Rebecca poses as a child online and sets her trap, luring one predatory sex offender after another to their deaths.

When a severed head is found washed up on a windswept estuary beach, the police begin their investigation.

The internationally bestselling author of White is the Coldest Colour is back with a heart-racing, electrifying psychological thriller packed with suspense.

Brilliantly gripping, A Mind To Kill will have you hooked from the very first page and holding your breath to the heart-stopping and shocking ending.

What people are saying about A Mind To Kill:

‘A brilliant, searing, page-turning story.’ Renita D’Silva - Bestselling author

‘It chilled me to the core.’ Book Reviews To Ponder

‘Don’t miss out on this gripping page-turner of a psychological thriller.’
Goodreads

‘A very dark psychological thriller fraught with tension and the sense of evil radiating from the pages.’ The Book Revue Cafe

‘This is an author who likes to write and jump just a little over the edge to keep his readers gasping.’ Read Along With Sue

‘Another elegant and exquisitely composed story.’ Melanie Lewis - The Book Club

‘Packs a punch between the eyeballs that will keep you reeling all the way to the end.’ Ann Girdharry - Bestselling author

‘Brilliant, emotionally charged story telling that will leave readers on their edge of their seats until the very last page.’ Tome Tender Book Blog

‘Another superb read by John Nicholl.’ Cheekypee Reads And Reviews


About the Author


John Nicholl, an ex police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, has written three dark psychological suspense thrillers, each of which have been Amazon international bestsellers, reaching # 1 in multiple categories in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Australia, Canada and the USA. John is always happy to hear from readers, bloggers or the media, and can be contacted via his author website at: http://www.johnnicholl.com. Rights enquiries should be directed to Mr Toby Mundy - Literary agent at TMA. A Mind To Kill was published on 5 August 2017.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

PROMO: Chavez


Jagged Edge Series #7
Romance, Erotica
Date Published: September 12, 2017

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Working hard to graduate at the top of her class and becoming the best FBI agent had finally paid off for Agent Gabrielle Jackson. Selected to head one of the most important operations of her career, the unexpected happens when Jagged Edge Security is brought in to assist. The thing that Gabrielle needed was to be attracted to one the men. Trying to keep her distance, she soon finds that she can no longer resist the charm of Michael Chavez. Soon that all changes when she finds that her past has a connection to the operation and the only person on her side is him.

Working with a woman like Gabrielle Jackson was something that Michael Chavez hadn’t counted on. Even with her cheeky Latino attitude, she was the sexiest woman he had ever met and he had to have her. Just when he thought his night of bliss would lead to more, she halts his efforts by turning their night of romance into a one-night stand. When things begin to surface and the truth is revealed, there is no stopping Chavez from getting what he wants.


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About the Author


My love for writing began several years ago after an early retirement from a demanding job that I loved, but also hated because it consumed so much of my time. Now, I am able to focus my time on what I love. Writing romance has been a life long dream and to actually say that I am a published author is beyond what I would have ever expected.

Even though some may say I have a little naughtiness in my books, I look at it as an added bonus for my readers. After all what is a romance book without a little spice.

When I am not writing, I enjoy spending time with friends either at home or out on the town. Mostly, I enjoy a relaxing night at home where I can enjoy a glass of wine in the company of a good book.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Blog Tour: Stuck



Mystery
Date Published: March 19, 2017
Publisher: Asdee Press

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Murder never entered the picture until Fritz Van Derzee decided, at long last, to clear his name. Who stuck a jeweled stiletto into his desktop after stabbing him to death? Fritz’s daughter, Emma, recruits her former professor Lyssa Pennington to find the killer.

And where’s the ten million Fritz was falsely accused of embezzling? Tompkins College President, Justin Cushman, hires his old friend Kyle Pennington to trace the missing money.

While Lyssa uses charm and tenacity on the long list of suspects, Kyle reconstructs the college’s old homegrown finance system. As they converge on the killer, Lyssa and Kyle may be the next two casualties.

Review 

You will definitely want to have plenty of allotted reading time before starting this one. It was hard to put down. I was so engrossed in the story that I put off many of my important things to do. C.T. Collier does a great job of creating a Mystery that keeps the reader invested and guessing. 

The characters are such a great ensemble. They all play off of each other wonderfully. 

Lots of twists and turns and a wonderfully woven mystery. 

About the Author


C. T. Collier was born to solve logic puzzles, wear tweed, and drink Earl Grey tea. Her professional experience in cutthroat high tech and backstabbing higher education gave her endless opportunity to study intrigue. Add to that her longtime love of mysteries, and it’s no wonder she writes academic mysteries that draw inspiration from traditional whodunits. Her setting is entirely fictional: Tompkins College is no college and every college, and Tompkins Falls is a blend of several Finger Lakes towns, including her hometown, Seneca Falls, NY (AKA Bedford Falls from It’s a Wonderful Life).

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Goodreads: C_T_Collier

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Blog Tour: The Faberge Entanglement



Suspense/Action/Romance
Date Published: July 13, 2015

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Sabinne ‘Saber’ Darrieux’s father, the billionaire CEO of Frontenac Global Security has been kidnapped. His ransom is not cash in a numbered offshore account, or a briefcase of Bearer Bonds but something utterly unique, incredibly valuable, and until recently, hidden away from the world.

The kidnapper seems to know Saber very well, and knows that the next day, through her work as an elite translator she will be in the same location as the Object. She must steal the Object and deliver it to the kidnapper to ransom her father.

Adrian Steele, a British Intelligence agent has just come off of two harrowing missions. Upon returning to London for a well-earned rest, he learns that his friend and fellow agent, has been murdered in Moscow, but not before he made use of a unique Object as a mobile ‘drop site’ for the valuable intelligence he was carrying.

The drop site is traveling from Moscow to England. Steele insists on completing the mission to honor the death of his friend, Gerry Cornell.

At an ultra-chic quasi-diplomatic gathering in a mansion in Windsor, England, Saber and Steele meet and find themselves faced with a powerful, undeniable attraction. But at the moment, this compelling attraction is very inconvenient.

In reality they are at the mansion to check out the security arrangements — for their own reasons — to steal the Object, a Fabergé egg worth thirty million dollars. But who will get to the egg first?
Fabergé eggs are very famous for their unique surprises. Saber and Steele are about to be very surprised, indeed.

And when Saber clashes with Steele; more than sparks will explode!


Review

This was a fast paced read that literally took only half a day to finish the story for me, I couldn't put it down.


Fun, addictive, and full of surprises. There wasn't any time to have my mind wandering. From the get go, there was lots of things happening at once. It was a full ride!

The writing style was simple and the narration was easy to follow. The imagery had me immersed in the mystery. The characters were rich and well portrayed. The smooth flow of the tale kept me stable even through the surprising twists and turns taken in the story. 

I can say that the author has done a commendable job of writing a fantastic setting and a adventure rich story for mystery lovers. 


About the Authors

LESLEY MERYN

Enjoyed an exotic, adventure-filled childhood, following her anthropologist father and travel writer mother to the farthest corners of the world. She later took inspiration from her Aunt Sophia Francesca and became the author of romantic adventure novels. She alternates her time between Los Angeles, and a family property located in Yorkshire England.


ELLE BROOKES

She is the author of the first two books of the Time Frame Series. Loves travel, discovering new foods to try, reading and writing. She currently lives in the central highlands of Costa Rica with her dog Pixie and her hedgehog Quiller.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Blog Tour: Grannie Panties are Under Rated



Chick Lit/ Women’s Fiction 
*(contains language)*
Date Published: June 6, 2017

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Elle Martin has it all.

Handsome and successful husband. Check.
Daughter and son attending exclusive private high school. Check.
Privilege, status, and wealth. Check, check, check.

But there is more to Elle’s story.

Already struggling to keep up appearances in a social set full of pretension and ultra-competitiveness, Elle’s façade of perfection is threatened when her husband makes an announcement that will force her to confront a dark past she has successfully hidden for years.

What will happen when long-buried secrets are unearthed and haunting new revelations are discovered? Will Elle find the happy ending she so desperately seeks?

Toggling between the early nineties and the present day, Grannie Panties Are UnderRated captures the Gen X experience from latchkey kid to helicopter parent with keen insight and precision. A page turner full of surprising twists, it is a must read for anyone who has struggled to reconcile the chasm between the person they once were, the person they have become, and the person they long to be.



Praise for Grannie Panties Are Under Rated

"...a highly entertaining and thought provoking book!"
"Gayle Erickson is brilliantly gifted in telling this engaging, sometimes disturbing, yet compulsively addicting story of a woman in crisis due to the bonds of the guilt-filled lens of her past"
"It is visually rich and culturally expansive,"
"You will fall in love with each of these honest, imperfect characters and identify with their struggles, demons, and challenges. Exposing the raw truths we often try to mask..."
"Loved this book, could not put it down"
"A great retrospective of how we come to be who we are and where we are, often without intention or a road map. Like "Grannie's" characters, we all find moments of clarity or awareness, which give rise to change. All this and an accompanying playlist! A song for every chapter...what brilliant context!


Spotify Playlist by Author to compliment the Novel:


Review

Fun and fresh! I loved the wit and humor Gayle Erickson brought to her novel and characters.

I was very happy with everything from the characters to the climax of the story. There was an emotional element to this novel that I connected with as well, but nothing too deep to where it didn't stay light. 

I loved the pacing of this novel. I felt like it really stayed on the same level throughout. Often times novels slow down and have dead moments, but the author did a great job of keeping the readers interest throughout with this one.

The characters are very well developed. I felt like they had their issues and weren't perfect, but showed growth throughout the novel, which I always like to see. 

About the Author


Gayle Erickson is a Colorado native and graduate of The Colorado College. She lived in Tokyo, Japan and taught English for several years after graduation. Upon her return to the United States she worked in the non-profit sector. Gayle currently lives in suburban Denver with her husband, twin teen-age children, and two dogs. Grannie Panties Are Underrated is her debut novel.

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Sunday, September 3, 2017

PROMO: Vera King




Science Fiction, Mystery
Date Published: 7-30-2017

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Cold and alone, Jeffrey Kenneth awakens in a bizarre hospital-like room in the basement of an empty house on an isolated island. After a daring escape he is rescued by a passing cargo vessel and brought into the care of security expert Vera King. Mysteries continue to unfold as they search for his captors.



Excerpt


“Excuse me, miss.” A mousey, brown haired nurse in pink floral scrubs looked up from her clipboard and sunk back in speechless horror from the figure towering in front of her. “Sorry to bother you, but I can’t seem to find room number 214.” She shook her head slightly; the corners of her lips nervously twitched upward as she forced a smile, “Of course, sir. It’s right down that hall to the left.” The large man leaned over and used his right (and only) eye to follow along her finger, “Thank you.” Gripping the clipboard tightly to her chest, the nurse gawked at the near seven foot, barrel chested man in black as he strutted away revealing a large, grotesque scar wrapped around the back of his bald head that ended at a missing left ear.
As he reached for the knob of the door labeled ‘214’, it turned on its own and opened; out walked Doctor Ashlan briskly, nearly colliding with the immense individual. “Oh, sorry sir,” the man said, “I didn’t mean to startle you.” Ashlan collected himself and flashed a quick smile, “That’s not a problem at all.” The stranger stepped aside and held out his hand signalling for the doctor to pass. With one last look up and down the daunting gentleman, Ashlan nodded and continued along his way -Must be one of Vera’s men.
Once again the man reached for the knob and entered. Immediately he locked his eye with those of a curly haired woman in a red coat sitting next to an unconscious patient. “Vera King?” he asked. She raised her eyebrow and hesitantly replied, “Yes?” The frightening energy from the new arrival had her instinctively reaching under her jacket.
The man smiled, revealing rows of crooked and missing teeth, then thrust his hand behind his back. To his left, faintly out of view, Martin exited the bathroom just in time to see the silver glint of the gun as the man lifted the back of his shirt.



About the Author

C.S. Warner grew up with a love of the horror and science fiction genres – as evident in her writing. Because of that passion, she has worked on ghost tours and as a paranormal investigator to give her stories life. Using her experience as a foundation for her writing, Warner creates worlds for her readers to get lost in.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Blog Tour: Dead Cold



Crime Thriller
Date Published: July 2, 2017
Publisher: JEC Press

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Every Emily Stone Thriller is a stand-along novel.


From the multi-award winning series:

What happens when one California community has a disturbing spike in homicides? It catapults cops into a deadly game of murder. Frozen human body parts hideously displayed at the crime scenes offers a horrifying interpretation that only a sadistic serial killer could design—and execute.

On the hunt for a complex serial killer, vigilante detective Emily Stone must face her most daring case yet. Stone’s proven top-notch profiling skills and forensic expertise may not be enough this time.

Young and ambitious, Detective Danny Starr, catches the homicide cases and discovers that it will test everything he knows about police work and the criminal mind. Can he handle these escalating cases or will the police department have to call in reinforcements—the FBI.

Emily Stone’s covert team pushes with extreme urgency to unravel the grisly clues, while keeping their identities hidden from the police. With one last-ditch effort, Stone dangles someone she loves as bait to draw out the killer. She then forces the killer out of their comfort zone with her partner Rick Lopez, and with help from a longtime friend Jordan Smith. A revelation of the serial killer’s identity leaves the team with volatile emotions that could destroy them.

The killer continues to taunt and expertly manipulate the police, as well as Stone’s team, and as they run out of time—they leave behind everyone and everything—in Dead Cold.


Excerpt

PROLOGUE

ESCAPE WAS IMPOSSIBLE. TEARS STREAMED down her face as she sat in the darkness and waited for the man to return. There was no other choice—but to wait.

She hadn’t eaten anything in three days and had only a limited amount of water—her strength continued to fade with every hour. With her wrists and ankles secured with duct tape, her skin stung with pain every time she struggled to move. At least the man had peeled the tape from her eyes and mouth so that she could see something besides pitch-blackness.

Even if she could escape, the only way to safety was jumping into the frigid water, but she could not swim and would drown before ever reaching the shore.

The only thing thirteen-year-old Kayla Swanson thought about was home. Fond memories flashed through her mind of her parents, her little brother, and her dog Charlie. She was never going to see them again. Their smiling faces were forever etched in Kayla’s mind, and she constantly held them close to her heart.

The boat rocked, and seemed to sway more violently as the tide flooded in and out of the harbor. Kayla could hear a consistent clanking noise above her as the boat rolled back and forth. The sound had a hypnotic quality, and kept her mind on something else besides when the man would return and what he would do next.

Her lips were dry and cracked as she bordered on dehydration. Even her tears dried on her cheeks, leaving her skin stiff and drawn. Her body began to shake, not only from fear, but also because of the extreme exhaustion and the constant dampness all around her.

The boat rocked more, but this time it shifted from the opposite sides. Kayla heard soft footsteps above, which she knew wasn’t her captor’s heavy walk. She strained her eyes in the darkness and thought she saw a thin shadow stealthily move along the upper deck.

Was it a ghost?

Kayla remembered a television series where a team of people hunted ghosts and they had said that ghosts could occupy any type of space, house, property, and even a boat.

She blinked her eyes several times and hoped that she could catch a glimpse of the ghost again. With every ounce of declining strength, Kayla scooted her body closer to the narrow stairs leading to the upper deck.

Painfully craning her neck, she strained to see something up in the darkness.

The dark shadowed areas played tricks on her eyes—it was there, then it wasn’t.

She waited for several minutes. Nothing appeared.

The only sounds she heard were the usual boat noises she had grown accustomed to hearing. Whatever she thought she heard was gone now. It was most likely her imagination trying to give her some hope and a few moments break from her dire circumstances.

As she relaxed her shoulders and leaned back against the wall, the reality of her world pressing down hard. Tears streamed down her face. She tasted the saltiness that settled around her mouth. Her last moments were approaching, and there was nothing she could do.

Kayla felt her pulse relax and a strange peacefulness overcame her—even if it was for only a moment. It was an overwhelming calm that gave her strength for what was next.

He was coming back.

She closed her eyes, but the only thing that came to mind was the man who had grabbed her. His dark eyes.

His hefty strength groping at her body. His horrible sour breath.

He fixated on everything about Kayla. She had the feeling that he had watched her for some time. There was a familiarity in his words as he secured her. The violent struggle that ensued ultimately led to the helplessness she now felt waiting in the darkness.

A light swishing noise made Kayla quickly open her eyes and look up.

There it was again, something darting around the boat. It was the ghost she saw earlie r of what appeared to be a small, slim body moving swiftly around the upper deck.

It was not her captor, because he was heavyset and moved differently. He would not care if Kayla heard him or not. This apparition seemed to move with caution and ease.

Guardian angel came to Kayla’s mind. She had always seen pretty paintings and movies with angels as beautiful feminine creatures.

Was that her guardian angel?

Kayla would soon get her answer.

“Kayla,” whispered a woman’s voice. There was almost a musical quality to it. The girl sat stunned, not moving, and unable to respond at first.

Again, “Kayla?” the voice asked softly.

She opened her mouth and tried to speak, but nothing came out. Kayla hadn’t realized that she hadn’t spoken for two days, and it was difficult to make a sound.

“Yes—” she barely replied.

A concerned woman’s face appeared at the top of the steps. She was beautiful with wet, shoulder-length blonde hair and dark eyes. Dressed in a dark wetsuit, she moved like a Ninja with grace and purpose. She wore some type of earpiece like the Secret Service who protect the president.

“Kayla, are you okay?” she asked with concern.

“I—I think so.”

“Let’s get you out of here,” the woman said and then spoke quietly into her small microphone, “I’ve got her, and she’s okay.”

She easily jumped down into the cabin and began to free Kayla from her restraints. It took some manipulation to tear away layers of duct tape.

“Who are you?” Kayla asked.

“I’m here to rescue you,” she said. “Don’t worry everything is going to be okay now.”

Kayla didn’t hear any other voices or cops moving around above. It was just this woman.

She was confused, but curious by her unknown rescuer.

“Who are you?” Kayla asked again. “It’s not important.”

“Yes, yes, it is to me,” she insisted.

The woman finally freed Kayla’s hands and ankles, and then looked directly at her.

Kayla saw more depth in her eyes than anyone she had ever met. There was a determination and fierceness reflected in a strong presence of the woman. It was something that Kayla had never experienced before with any of the adults that she knew.

“I’m Emily,” the woman reluctantly answered. “Can you walk?”

Kayla nodded.

Emily helped the girl up and guided her to move up the ladder, then quickly followed.

Kayla stood on the deck as the boat bobbed and weaved. She could see that it was docked at the very end of the outer harbor and close to the shore. The thought of being in the water made her shiver as the wind picked up speed, battering her face and body.

Emily turned to Kayla. “We’re going to get you to the dock area and the police will meet you there and take you home.”

Kayla fiercely shook her head.

“It’s okay, honey. I’ll be with you, and it’s only a short distance away.”

“No, no, I can’t swim,” Kayla pleaded, but her words seemed to disappear in the wind.

The tide picked up the intensity of the wind blowing harder against the boat. The fog encroached over the dim lighting of the harbor, which made any nighttime visibility disappear and reappear in strange increments.

The boat rocked and Kayla had a difficult time keeping her footing. Both Emily and Kayla fought to keep their balance and not catapult head first into the water.

Kayla turned her head and saw the heavyset man climb aboard from a dingy at the other side of the boat.

“Emily!” Kayla screamed.

It gave Emily just enough time to push the girl to safety and ready herself for the assault. Kayla landed hard on her backside but managed to push herself into a small crevice to keep from sliding back and forth.

Kayla could do nothing except watch as Emily received a powerful blow from her captor.

She went down and slid several feet but wasn’t deterred as she readied herself for the next attack. Amazingly, Emily stood her ground, hands ready, and pushed the man backward. The instant that the kidnapper was off balance, Emily went in for the attack, punching and kicking him in the stomach and groin areas. The heavy man went down hard. He lay moaning on the deck. She couldn’t hear what he said because of the gusts of wind, but his expression was extreme anger and his mouth made ugly shapes as he spoke.

Kayla had never seen anything like it before. Everything going on around her felt more like a nightmare than real life—except for the blonde-haired woman who had come to her rescue. She watched as Emily quickly wrapped some type of plastic ties around the man’s ankles and feet. After making sure that he was secured, Emily turned to Kayla.

Emily gestured for Kayla to join her. She said something, but Kayla couldn’t hear her.

Emily grabbed a life preserver from a wooden compartment along the deck.

“C’mon,” she said.

The boat seemed to buck and fight against the tide, water splashing onto the deck.

Emily moved carefully making her way to Kayla. “C’mon, we have to go.” She slipped the girl’s arms through life preserver and fastened it across her chest. Turning away, Emily said into her microphone, “We’re on our way. ETA five minutes.”

Kayla watched the water slosh and churn all around the boat. It made her legs even weaker and her mouth dryer. She glanced at the bad man still lying on his side struggling to release himself from the ties and spitting out seawater. He still frightened her even though he couldn’t get to her.

Kayla stood on the deck paralyzed with fear, hypnotized by the unpredictable water.

Emily took her hand. “I won’t let go. I promise.”

A large splash of water slapped Kayla’s face. It brought her into a more terrified state and a mental paralysis gripped her body. Her knees locked and her feet glued themselves to the deck. Kayla couldn’t jump into the water. She would rather wait for a boat to rescue her, but she knew that it wasn’t possible. Something about Emily’s face told her that it was the only way—and she didn’t want to ask questions to why.

Emily kneeled, took Kayla’s shoulders and said, “You can do this. I’m with you every step of the way.”

Kayla knew that Emily told her the truth, but her body didn’t want to cooperate. “I can’t!” she yelled.

“You can do it!” Emily insisted.

Kayla looked back at the bad man and remembered everything he had done to her—the terror, the threats, and the disgusting abuse.

She looked down at the water and hesitated.

Emily took a couple of steps down the ladder into the water. “C’mon, Kayla,” she urged.

Kayla moved slowly and felt the boat rock sharply. She caught herself before falling and held her breath. Looking at the boat docks through the fog, she knew that she had to jump into the frigid water to make it to shore.

Emily took another step down toward the water, then another and submerged herself. She held to the last rung of the ladder waiting for Kayla.

“I’m right here. You can do this, Kayla,” she urged. “C’mon.”

Kayla knew that she didn’t want to be on the boat anymore and wanted to put the entire terrifying experience behind her. She trusted Emily even though she wasn’t completely sure why.

She moved closer to the ladder and slowly put her foot onto the next rung. Water continu ed to splash into her face. She shivered from the cold, but knew that it was only a little bit farther to freedom.

“That’s it—keep going,” Emily coaxed.

Kayla took a deep breath, let it out, and eased herself into the water.

The temperature was shocking to her body. She thrashed for a moment with the anxiety of drowning, but the life vest held her head above the water.

“It’s okay, you’re fine,” Emily insisted. “Put your arms around my neck.”

Kayla clung to Emily as they slowly swam away from the boat. Kayla glanced back expecting to see the heavyset man coming after them, but no one appeared. She thought it looked like a ghost ship in the fog.

Turning her focus back to Emily, she concentrated on the dock as they eased closer. The numbness in her legs and back outweighed her fear of drowning. She knew that she was finally safe.

Several consecutive waves smacked their faces, but Emily kept a strong steady pace.

Kayla coughed and choked on the water that flooded into her mouth. Her face stung like tiny needles piercing her cheeks. She kept her arms tightly around Emily’s neck and could feel Emily’s heavy breathing as she pulled them closer to safety.

The thick fog continued to float across the harbor. It blanketed most of the boats and made the masts invisible.

A tall figure stood on the dock about six feet from the entrance. He had something in his arms. Kayla shook with fear, her imagination reeling her back to her captor.

The man moved quickly forward and helped them out of the water. He then wrapped Kayla in a warm thick blanket. His eyes were kind, his face stern, and he reminded Kayla of a police officer she once met in her neighborhood.

Breathless, Emily said, “Kayla, wait right here. The police are coming and they will take you home. Okay?”

“But—” her teeth chattered. “But—what about you?”

Emily smiled. “Don’t worry about me. You were very brave. I told you that you could do it.”

Police sirens wailed in the distance.

Both Emily and the man looked in the distance where red lights flashed—cars approaching fast.

“Why can’t you take me home?” Kayla asked.

Emily let out a sigh. “The police will be here in minutes. It’s their job to make sure that you’re okay, and they will take you home.”

The couple turned to leave. Kayla knew that they were like secret agents or undercover superheroes, and they had to leave because they didn’t want anyone to know their identities.

“Wait,” Kayla said.

Emily turned and looked at her.

“Thank you, Emily. I’ll never forget you,” she said, wanting to remember the details of Emily’s face.

She smiled and then hurried away.

Kayla stood on the dock and watched the couple disappear into the fog until she couldn’t see them anymore.

The sirens approached at high speed.

Three  police  cars  turned  down  the  street  leading  through  the  harbor  entrance.  Their headlights focused on Kayla shivering, wet, and waiting for them.



About the Author


Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning author and consulting criminologist. She has authored eight crime fiction novels, including the multiple award-winning Emily Stone thriller series along with a screenwriting workbook.

Jennifer holds a Bachelor degree in police forensics and a Master's degree in criminology. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling. She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.


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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Blog Tour: The Seeds of Dissolution



Science Fiction / Fantasy
Publisher: Space Wizard Science Fantasy
Date Published: November 2017

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On a bright August day, the sun disappears.

Sam van Oen barely escapes freezing to death in his house, as his watch stops and fire ceases to burn. He is pulled into the Nether—a nexus between ten alien cultures—where he meets Rilan and Origon, two maji who can control the musical foundation of the universe. While coping with anxiety attacks prompted by his new surroundings, Sam must learn to hear and change the Symphony, and thus reality, in order to discover what happened to his home.

But more freezing voids like the one that started his journey are appearing, and Sam’s chances of getting back are fading. The Assembly of Species is threatening to dissolve and the maji are being attacked by those they protect, while rumors grow of an ancient, shape-changing species of assassins, returning to wage war.

The Dissolution is coming.


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Excerpt


-From the start, I was calling the voids “Drains,” because of their function. It frustrates me others insist on ignoring or even suppressing my terminology for the phenomenon. It is to be much more descriptive than “void.”
Journal of Origon Cyrysi, Kirian majus of the Houses of Communication and Power

Sam was reading when the sun dimmed.

He looked up from his book in time to see the overhead light blink off, then on. The music playing on his laptop—Beethoven’s 7th—croaked a discordant jumble of notes before the screen went black. His bedside clock flashed, the red numbers fading away as a breath of air left goosebumps on his arms.

“What the—” Sam pushed up from the chair as the overhead light faded again. His breath caught in his throat, like he had swallowed a lump of ice. His room was not large, made smaller by the piles of boxes, and now shadows rose between stacks of waist-high containers. He wormed through them in the dim light, heart racing. Was this really happening, or was he having an attack? Why now? It took two tries to pick up his grandfather’s pocket watch from where it rested on an end table beside his bed. His hands were shaking, and thump of his heartbeat nearly overpowered the rhythmic ticking transmitted through his palm. He tried to listen to only the mechanical beat—let it inform his body with the regular beat of time.

Calm down. Stillness evaded him, left him unsteady. Which is perfectly reasonable. Everything is going dark in the middle of the day. At least the watch was working. He made sure to keep it wound, here in the safety of his room.

Sam watched the sky outside the window shade into twilight.  His other hand fingered the lid of a small shoebox. His collection contained grass clippings, shells, sand, and other things, bought by friends and customers of his aunt. They reminded him of favorite sights and smells. The shoebox, though, contained things more precious than the rest: half a belt, stiff from water damage, and the heel of a woman’s left shoe, sheared off cleanly.

No. Can’t think of them now. They’re gone, and I can’t change it. He shivered at another gust of cold air. His room felt like late January instead of August. He eyed the window. The thought of opening it—of going somewhere he didn’t know—made his hands sweat, but he had to find out what was happening. His hand left the box, moving to the windowpane. He hissed and shook his fingers. The window was colder than the house—no need to open it. He breathed out and raised his watch to his ear, hearing the steady beat.

Is this all in my head? He hadn’t heard a transformer blow, and there was no storm. It was so quiet his rough breathing was like a train. He rubbed his arms, and a quick touch on the laptop’s case nearly numbed his finger. His cellphone was powered down and wouldn’t restart.

Aunt Martha will know what to do. Get to safety. Sam weaved through the precise stacks of boxes, trembling. She would be in her sewing shop. Sam wiped sweaty hands on his shorts before pulling a coat from the closet and socks from a drawer. He dropped his watch in a pocket of the coat, but kept one hand on it. If the power outage kept up, he couldn’t log in for his shift in technical support. What will they think? Will they fire me?

The chill air in the hall made him regret the shorts, but he shrugged his coat on, then leaned against the wall, pulling his socks on carefully. They’d just distract him, if the seams were going the wrong way, and there was too much going on already. He closed his eyes. Don’t shut down. Keep moving.

The dark wood-paneled hallway was cold even through his socks, and Sam made a detour to the front door to get his sneakers, adjusting his feet in them, making sure the laces were the same length. It took two tries with his shaking hands. The dark was deepening outside, and by the time he got to the other end of the house, he was using his sense of touch more than sight to navigate.

He met Aunt Martha coming from the small one-room addition that served as her workshop. She held a flickering beeswax candle in her hand. It’s not just in my head.

“What happened?” he asked. His aunt—or great aunt, she had never told him, and he never asked—only shook her head at him. Her posture was precise as always, like the romantic ideal of a noblewoman. He didn’t know exactly how old she was, except that her once graying hair was now almost totally white. She moved slower than when he first came to live with her, but the clothes she made for shops on Market Street in Charleston, and his job, would let him afford college. His aunt wanted him to go to a real college instead of online, but it was so much easier to learn at home. Since he had started taking classes, he didn’t have to deal with the crowds at high school, or worry if he forgot his homework.

“Do you think the power plant has a problem?” Sam tried again. If his aunt had something to say, she would, but nothing could get her to talk when she didn’t want to.

“If it were, all the lights in the house would go out at once,” she replied. The rounded syllables of “house” and “out” served as a reminder of her Charlestonian heritage. “Haven’t you looked outside?”

“Yes, Ma’am.” He swallowed. Something was trying to catch in his throat, and Sam put out a hand to steady himself on a wall. His other hand snaked into his pocket to stroke the comforting curve of his watch. He couldn’t feel the ticking over the pulse of his heartbeat and his panting breaths.

They watched the candle flame dwindle to a speck, and Aunt Martha cupped her hand around the flame—so close Sam worried she might burn herself. She only nodded impatiently at him to move.

“To the living room, boy.” She still called him ‘boy,’ even after ten years. He moved, but she was at his heels the whole time, urging him on. If she hadn’t been using both hands for the candle, she probably would be poking him in the back. Her closeness was a comfort, in the dark and cold.

The formal living room was a contrast with the rest of the house, filled with overstuffed furniture, throw pillows and doilies—all the accouterments one would expect from a little old lady. Sam shivered violently, and knocked against the curio cabinet with the creaky leg, making the little porcelain figurines inside shiver with him. His aunt was staring at the ancient fireplace, unused since the last big snow, eight years ago.

No dressing down about being clumsy? She is worried. “Wh-what do we do here, Aunt Martha?” Sam’s body tried to shiver him to warmth, but even his coat wasn’t holding in the heat. Are the chills from the cold, or from the panic?

“Hush,” she said. Then, still shielding the candle, barely alight, she cocked her head toward the hearth. “Lay us a fire.”

Sam knelt obediently. Aunt Martha kept a well-stocked hearth. There was a pile of old newspapers, some kindling, and even a small cord of wood, just in case. He placed the fire as quick as he could, hands numb with the cold, stopping every few seconds to rub them together. He snuck a glance up at his aunt, but she watched the tiny candle flame, eyes narrowed. She was shivering, but only just, only what her proud bearing would allow. He laid the fire quickly. Like Dad taught me. It took his mind off what was happening, and he felt his shoulders unknot just a little, until he thought about what had happened to his parents—the similar temperature, the speed of it. No. Keep it together.

“Good,” commended Aunt Martha, and slowly, creakily, she knelt beside him, both hands still around the candle. He could barely smell it any longer, in the cold. He steadied her as he could, surprised she didn’t wave him away like normal.

Aunt Martha bent forward, hands creeping carefully to keep the flame from guttering, until the little light was just below a corner of newspaper. They both watched the fire—so slowly—blacken the newspaper. It should have caught in an instant and devoured the kindling, but the flame barely moved, unnaturally slow, like the fire was a slowed down recording.

Sam’s aunt sat back with a grunt as the newspaper finally lit, and the fire gradually grew. Her hands trembled as she took them away, and Sam saw the candle was completely extinguished. He reached out to the flame, feeling his hands tingle. His aunt did the same.

“Can we make it bigger?” Sam asked. It was an effort just to speak in the freezing air.

Her voice was soft. “There is cooking sherry in the kitchen, but I believe we must leave, instead. We shall warm ourselves, then I shall drive us into town and see if this condition is prevalent over the entire region.”

Sam’s mouth went dry. “I can’t,” he whispered. Crowds. People. I haven’t been in the middle of the city in years. It’s probably changed. I won’t know where to go…

His aunt only rubbed her palms together slowly. “You shall.” She wobbled as if she might fall, and Sam supported her. She put one hand to her chest and swallowed. Sam could see the discomfort she tried to hide. I can’t let her down. His breathing was fast. People he knew were one thing, but so many, all together…

 More warmth was what they needed. “Let me put more wood on.” Sam’s joints creaked in pain as he moved.

“No,” Aunt Martha said, putting her shaking hand on his. “Let it die, and then we shall leave.” The fire was already losing against the cold.

“Let’s stay here,” Sam suggested. “We can get more fuel, make a bigger fire.”

His aunt attempted to rise but fell against him, and Sam caught her awkwardly. “You must go,” she said. He was suddenly aware of how much willpower she must be using to stay conscious, to fight the cold that sapped their strength. She’s been strong for me, all these years. Now she was tiny, leaning against him. Her bright green eyes fixed him in place. “You save yourself. The keys are by the door. Get to the car.”

“I don’t know how to drive,” he said.

“N-no excuses.” His aunt shook, and one hand tried to reach for him, failed. She made a small sound he had never heard from her.

“Aunt Martha?” It was like a rock had lodged in his chest. She never submitted to anything. She couldn’t now.

“Go.” Sam barely heard the whisper. Aunt Martha’s eyes flickered and her head fell against him, unconscious.

With his remaining strength, he pushed her closer to the nearly extinct fire and wiggled onto the hearth. Something is deeply wrong with the world. His heart beat too fast, and his stomach clenched. The air’s too thin. It was as if the very energy around them was leaving, electrical and natural. He struggled to grasp his watch, raise it to his ear. Even the watch was ticking slowly, winding down. He put it back in his pocket. Their only hope was to get warm enough. Then he could wake his aunt up. She will wake up.

He prodded the weak flame with the thinnest piece of kindling, hoping to spark the fire back to life, but it wouldn’t catch. His hand spasmed, and he dropped the sliver of wood. He had no strength to pick it up again. Can I get to the kitchen, to the cooking sherry? His legs wouldn’t respond. Wouldn’t unbend. Sam’s head nodded forward. Just a moment to rest…

Sam’s eyes snapped open and he jerked his neck up, wondering how much time he had lost. Ice crystals cracked around his mouth, nose, and eyelids. He tried to move, and fell to one side. He was slumped half in the fireplace, his aunt’s head on his leg. His fingers and toes ached as if tiny needles bored into them.

He reached down, but when his fingers brushed his aunt’s white hair, the strands broke with a tiny crack and fell, like little ringlets of glass. He jerked back, then touched her wrinkled forehead. It was colder than his hands, and he winced at the pain in his fingertips. The skin there was dark. He brushed ice from Aunt Martha’s skin. Sightless eyes stared back. No.

He should feel something, but his hands and his mind were numb. His aunt had put up with him and his fears for ten years. Should have obeyed instead of questioning. Sam’s eyelids dragged him down to sleep. It was pitch dark, save for a hint of light hidden in the pile of barely-burned wood in the fireplace, like a little campfire in a cave. He was drawn to it.

Take the heat. He reached out to the little light, hoping to delay the inevitable. His aunt’s body was a cold weight against him. He wouldn’t waste the extra time, however small, she had given him. He wanted to be far away from here, somewhere safe.

The tiny light winked out, and he heard a plunk of a bass string snapping in his head, shattering into a thousand harmonious notes. Warmth flowed into him, then away, leaving him colder than before. He gasped as a thick ring of light erupted on the hearth, barely as high as his kneeling form. Two colors intermixed and rotated around the edge of the ring, one color bright, the other shiny, like circlets of gold and silver. In the ring’s center was a pool of blackness.

Sam reached out to the glowing circle. His mind was sluggish, but he craved the glow. Instead of intersecting anything physical, his hand passed through the darkness, to someplace warm. That was where he needed to be. It was not cold there. The world was not dying there.

Another hand, warm and alive, caught his arm in a vice-like grip. Sam’s eyes widened, and he pulled back instinctively, but the thing on the other side of the circle was stronger. He grabbed for his aunt’s body, trying to bring her along. His numbed fingers slid across her frozen shawl, down one arm, clutching. His hand closed on nothing as he was pulled head-first through the hole in the air.

About the Author


William C. Tracy is a North Carolina native and a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy. He has two self-published novellas available: Tuning the Symphony, and Merchants and Maji, both set in his Dissolutionverse. The Kickstarter for the first novel, The Seeds of Dissolution, will run in August/September 2017.

He also has a masters in mechanical engineering, and has both designed and operated heavy construction machinery. He has trained in Wado-Ryu karate since 2003, and runs his own dojo in Raleigh. He is an avid video and board gamer, a reader, and of course, a writer. He and his wife also cosplay, and he has appeared as Tenzin, Jafar, and in several steampunk outfits.

In his spare time, he wrangles three cats and a bald guinea pig, and his wife wrangles him (not an easy task). They both enjoy putting their pets in cute little costumes and making them cosplay for the annual Christmas card.


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