“Shadows Over Seattle: Prequels” Release News

256x256-Wolf-MoonThere are some very exciting things coming up between now and the end of 2018. I’m in the process of planning three releases.

Upcoming Release Schedule

  • 26th June 2018 – Re-release of “Under A Hunter’s Moon (Shadows Over Seattle: Prequels #1)”, and coincidentally my birthday.
    • This 2nd Edition release will include a new cover, which will be revealed in the coming weeks.
    • I’ve made some minor edits to fix a couple of spelling and punctuation errors, as well as updated the author bio, acknowledgements and copyright information.
  • August 2018 – Release of “The Lupine’s Call (Shadows Over Seattle: Prequels #2)”
    • I’ll provide news on the release schedule nearer the time.
    • In the meantime, anyone picking up a copy of “Under A Hunter’s Moon” will get a free preview of the first chapter.
  • October 2018 – Release of “Wolves In The Desert (Shadows Over Seattle: Prequels #3)”
    • I’m currently seeking the advice of beta readers on this story.
    • There are some aspects of this story that I want to be sure are handled correctly, and that might mean re-writes of certain portions of the story.
    • Depending on the feedback I get, I might choose to delay the release.

Extended Release Plans

Ever since I started releasing my own stories in eBook form I’ve had them exclusively available on the Amazon Kindle Direct program. That has allowed for them to be listed as available for free to Kindle Unlimited members.

However, even though I have seen sales of the stories, I’ve never seen any page reads from Kindle Unlimited (KU).

So, I’m taking a big step. In mid-June “Under A Hunter’s Moon” would be up for renewal on the KU program, and I’ve decided to not let it roll over for yet another three months.

Instead I’m going to work with a distribution service to make it available on a wider selection of eBook stores, including Kobo, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Scribd to name a few. I’m currently in the process of deciding which service to use, and making the appropriate changes to my formatting for “Under A Hunter’s Moon”, so expect news on this soon.

Here’s Where You Come In

Ahead of each story’s release, I’m going to be posting more information about what I plan to do as part of the build-up. I’ll also be putting together graphics and a full press-kit for each story.

If you have a blog, or newsletter and would like to volunteer to help with passing along the release news or doing a review, I’m very interested in hearing from you.

I’m open to doing author/character interviews, posts about the stories themselves, backgrounds on the characters, or pretty much anything that you think your readers would love to see.

How To Reach Me

Drop me a line at timothy.bateson.author@gmail.com and I’ll do whatever I can to make sure I meet any reasonable deadlines.

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Author Spotlight – Lesley Donaldson

Introducing Lesley Donaldson

I love creating fantastical worlds with compelling characters who take you on a journey away from the stress of your everyday life. My debut fantasy, “The Queen’s Viper”, was a Semi-Finalist in the 2016 Kindle Book Awards. If you like your stories so realistic you feel like you’re there, I’m sure you’ll love this grim-dark blend of historical and contemporary fantasy.

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

My stories take you to times and places that no longer exist… or do they? I love writing stories that blend real events with magic and supernatural elements, often with dark humour or tones.

The stories I write range in genre, from magical fantasy and adventure, to horror and space opera (the latter being in development). For me, creating compelling characters we love, or love to hate, is the most important part of the creative writing process.

My debut fantasy, “The Queen’s Viper”, was a Semi-Finalist in the 2016 Kindle Book Awards. I’m pleased to announce that I’m inviting fantasy readers to be in the sequel, “The Wrath of Atticus”, or to create a character with plot involvement for the conclusion of the series. My Kickstarter campaign offers all the details: http://bit.ly/WrathofAtticus.

I’m a hobby medievalist, a nurse, a special needs parent, and an often companionable wife.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

I wrote a blog post talking about real historical artifacts that I integrated into Viper’s story. http://writerlesleydonaldson.com/tudor-artifacts-fantasy/
Originally, Viper didn’t have a name. Then I came across a less than flattering image of Queen Elizabeth I holding a black snake (which had been painted over by white roses to hide it). Viper’s name and her role in history fell into place.

My latest book, “The Wrath of Atticus”, is the sequel to “The Queen’s Viper”.

Viper is a villainous protagonist caught between the mystery of her immortal past and the malice of mortals in the present. Her journey is a re-imagining of Celtic folklore in a seamless blend of historical and contemporary fantasy for a mature audience.

The first book follows Viper across two timelines: Tudor-Elizabethan England and modern London. Viper stumbles across the young Tudor Princess Elizabeth and a Crown Jewel that unlocks Viper’s repressed memories. To secure a path to her past, Viper ensures Elizabeth’s safety, setting the threatened princess upon the Throne of England. Viper’s journey leads her to Annys, the unforeseen enemy who imprisons her for 400 years.

Then, in 2012, Viper is inexplicably freed from her magical prison. With the help of her Foundling Owain, and his eclectic cadre of helpers, Viper sets off for revenge upon the descendants of those who imprisoned her, starting with Queen Elizabeth II. All the while, a malicious figure exerts his influence from the shadows.

Will immortal Viper overcome the power surging within herself even as Queens of Britain try to control her?

In the sequel, “The Wrath of Atticus”, anti-hero Viper may have forgotten her past, but it’s about to catch up with her. Grudgingly obligated to help mortals prepare for a prophesied war, Viper’s torn between helping her allies and pursing her own, selfish interests.

Visions of the past reveal that the mysterious Atticus has hunted Viper since the Iron Age, when Viper aided in Queen Boudica’s rebellion against invading Romans.

Before Viper uncovers the truth about Atticus, an assassin arrives from Veyandra, the Otherworldly home Viper has never seen. He gives her a warning she can’t ignore. Viper must choose her path before new enemies determine her untimely fate on the summer solstice.

Who is your intended readership?

Speculative fiction readers, mature audience

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

My entire life has been about stories, even when I took a detour and studied/worked in nursing. My first story was at the age of 3 about a cat named Dimples. If I wrote that story now, Dimples would be a bio-hacked lab cat subjugating humankind for their own good.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

This question is always hard for me to answer, because I find so many authors and series enjoyable to read. Stephen King and Dean Koontz have a lot of room on my shelves. I also like Shirley Jackson and Robin Hobbs. Lately, I’ve spent more time reading Canadian authors.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Read a book twice: once for fun, and the second for dissecting what made it work. Learn the strategies of crafting before you let your imagination loose. Many of the emerging authors I speak too have lots and lots of creative ideas, but lack the skill to integrate them into a publishable story.

Give yourself lots of time and push your creativity.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

I love travelling with my family, and when time allows, I throw on garb and re-create certain aspects of medieval history. No plagues please!

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

My Kickstarter (http://bit.ly/WrathofAtticus) had a huge boost within the first 24 hours. Even though it’s successfully funded, I’m taking backers on the journey to the $3000 stretch goal so I can release a book of short stories for free.

The short stories represent my range and tone, from fantastical (plus or minus monsters) to slipstream. My editor and I are bantering titles about. The current working name is “The Crying Leaves”.

The Wrath of Atticus

Immortal anti-hero Viper may have forgotten her past, but it’s about to catch up with her. Grudgingly obligated to help mortals prepare for a prophesied war, Viper’s torn between helping her allies and pursing her own selfish interests.

Visions of the past reveal that the mysterious Atticus has hunted Viper since the Iron Age, when Viper aided in Queen Boudica’s rebellion against invading Romans.

Before Viper uncovers the truth about Atticus, an assassin arrives from Veyandra, the Otherworldly home she has never seen. He gives her a warning she can’t ignore. Viper must choose her path before new enemies determine her untimely fate on the summer solstice.

 

Check Out The Kickstarter Campaign

Author Pages:

Amazon, Smashwords

Where to find Lesley Donaldson:

Website (Lesley Donaldson – Author of Speculative Fiction), Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Blog (Lesley Donaldson – Author of Speculative Fiction), Facebook, LinkedIn, Newsletter (Escape for Free!)

Ray Bradbury on “Science Fiction” (#SomeoneElsesWords)

The eagle-eyed among you might have noticed a change in design for my quote images. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Do you prefer the current format, or the old one?

SEW - Ray Bradbury - Science Fiction

 

B2BCyCon2018 Fantasy Story Daisy Chain – A Group Storytelling Adventure

Brain to Books Cyber Convention & Book Expo 2018This post appears as part of the “Brain to Books Cyber Convention & Book Expo Fantasy Story Daisy Chain”…

Running from April 6th through April 8th, 2018 this online book event brought readers and authors together for a weekend of books, and book-related events.

I had the pleasure of being part of this event for the fourth year running, and being part of an amazing online writing collaboration.

Five authors met on Goodreads to create a story together, and I present the start of the story below…

Learn more about the Cyber Convention.

Learn more about the contributing authors:

A.F. Stewart, Ed IrelandSarah Kennedy, Dove Winters, Timothy Bateson

Be sure to scroll through the entire post, because there is a link at the bottom which will take you to the ongoing story.

I’d love to take suggestions for the story title…

Now Read “Wolves of Meraskar” (at least that’s what I’ve been calling it in my head)

Timothy Bateson (timothybateson) | 27 commentsmessage 2: by Timothy Mar 23, 2018 01:38PM
The skies turned red over the city of Meraskar, but that was normal for this time of year. Ancient stories told of how the gods had fought for dominance over man, and that the hero Natara had sacrificed himself to bring their war to an end.
The reddening marked the anniversary of the final battle in which Natara had slain the last of the gods, and the day that magic left the world. However, as the gods found, nothing lasts forever, and the seers of Meraskar feared sleep for the nightmares that would come with the darkness…
A.F. (scribe77) | 369 commentsmessage 3: by A.F. Mar 23, 2018 03:50PM
They dreamed of red eyes and the Night Wolves, of the soulless Hunters that had roamed the First World. And worst of all, the voice that uttered the forbidden name…
Ed Ireland (edireland) | 119 commentsmessage 4: by Ed Mar 24, 2018 06:46AM
Devona!
The leader of the Meraskar Clan, the Alpha female. It was she that would bring her hunters to the surface, she that would set their directions, she that would preside over their feast.
The people in the city could do whatever they chose to save themselves, but none of it mattered. She looked at the red skies as the large wolf quietly took his place next to her. When she smiled, the look of the predator within was evident to all.
Sarah Kennedy | 30 commentsmessage 5: by Sarah Mar 26, 2018 09:22AM
Though only the impatient, golden eyes of the great, black wolf beheld Devona in that moment.
Devona touched his head lightly. “Tonight, Saran, you will bring me the eyes of the seers. You will bring me the bones of the dead hero, Natara. I must combine them with the blood of a dead god before the sun rises again. Only then can all be set right.” Her fingers knotted into his course hair, pulling ever so slightly. “Do not fail me.”
Saran growled softly. In the great darkness behind them, the Night Wolves echoed his answer.
Devona released him. “Now go. Make the streets of the city as red as the sky.”

Ed Ireland (edireland) | 119 commentsmessage 6: by Ed Mar 26, 2018 11:56AM

Within the city, the Captain of the Guard walked slowly along the parapets. His name was Ataar, the chosen of the Elders. In him, they found the security they craved, the leadership of their meager army that allowed them to go about their daily lives.
He wondered lately, what his city would do if the larger forces of General DeGrasse attacked. At this moment, it seemed as if Meraskar had more enemies than citizens. Their foremost enemy was the city-state known as Martile. They were large and industrialized, but they lacked the nutrient-rich soil to grow food. They trained their eyes on the fertile valley that held the small cities, Meraskar being chief among them.
DeGrasse made his way to each city and strongarmed each into giving a portion of their product once a month. Cities and villages alike fell dutifully in line…except for Meraskar. With the young Captain Ataar in command, the Elders voted to stay firm and not give in to Martile’s demands.
They had bigger problems…
Ataar’s ears twitched as the sounds of the forests suddenly ended. He turned his steely gaze towards them, trying to see beyond the fields sitting between the walls and the first tree line.

Sarah Kennedy | 30 commentsmessage 7: by Sarah Mar 27, 2018 07:09AM
Saran led the Night Wolves to the brink of the forest. His large paws whispering over its floor. He knew this forest. He had walked it long ago: before the First World had been afflicted by the plague that called itself a hero; before the ancient wilderness had been carved up and bound by the great monstrosities called cities. Behind those walls, the Meraskar had long thought themselves safe. Safe from the forest and its primordial mysteries, at least. Most had even begun to believe the old things were dead, but tonight they would reap the bloodlust they had sown.
The Night Wolves waited just out of sight until the red hue darkened into deep shadow. Only the watch fires on the high walls marred the perfect darkness. On the wall, only a few kept watch. No more than mere children to his eyes. No match to the awakening powers of the First World; little threat to the hunger of the wolves. Those of the First World did not die easily.
Saran huffed out a sound and the Night Wolves advanced. They moved in a dark line, virtually invisible in the shadows.
A.F. (scribe77) | 369 commentsmessage 8: by A.F. Mar 27, 2018 07:28AM
The guards at the gate were the first to die, as Ataar saw them fall to snarling shadows, their blood staining the snow crimson. The steel entrance gates that should have held back legions caved inward and the Night Wolves stormed into the city.

“Invaders! To arms!” Ataar shouted the alarm but it was too late.

Sarah Kennedy | 30 commentsmessage 9: by Sarah Mar 27, 2018 07:53AM
The guards began to shout. Why couldn’t they just stand and accept their fate? Did they honestly think their primitive weapons would save them? The Night Wolves stalked through the gates. Their paws splashing ominously in the blood of those already dead. They spread out into a line as Saran fixed his golden eyes upon Ataar. He almost admired the young captain. Almost.
Saran stalked forward. His eyes never wavering from those of Ataar, futilely trying to warn the captain to stand down. The young captain did not have to die tonight. His army did not have to be obliterated. Not if they would submit. Devona had not ordered their complete annihilation. What were the lives of the seers worth in the long run? What was the value in the lifeless bones of Natara? Were such things worth the lives of every Meraskar?
Ataar readied himself.
Saran threw back his head and howled.
The Night Wolves howled back.
Before the sound faded, Saran sprang.
Dove Winters | 46 commentsmessage 10: by Dove Mar 28, 2018 07:00AM
As the Night Wolves continued their assault on the remaining guards so they could enter the city, Saran focused his attention on Ataar. The young captain had his sword out, ready to fight. But with a swipe of his large paw, Saran disarmed him. He pounced upon the young captain, pinning him to the ground.
Sarah Kennedy | 30 commentsmessage 11: by Sarah Mar 28, 2018 07:27AM
Saran heard the captain’s breath whoosh from his lungs upon impact . The wolf stood over the captain, growling and considering. His mouth lowered menacingly toward Ataar’s throat. Saliva and blood dripped from his teeth into the captain’s face yet he did not immediately strike though his sharp eyes focused on the rapidly pulsing jugular. He could already taste the heat rising from the sweat-drenched skin. His nostrils flared, and the captain’s scent stopped him cold.
Ataar didn’t look like much but there was something of the wild about him, just a hint of something old and free. Saran’s eyes flashed back toward the captain’s. Their eyes met.
The wolf moving much more slowly now, in manner far from threatening, though the captain sensed how quickly that could change.
Saran was all rippling muscle as he stood there over the prone warrior. His tongue lashed out of his mouth, across the captain’s flesh, tasting him softly. Devona’s hold over his mind was not so strong that he could not sense there was something more to this one than met the eye. A sound rumbled in his chest as Saran abruptly backed off, not in fear, but wonder. Somehow, someway, the First World had placed its mark upon Ataar, and Saran served older, greater things than Devona and her endless bloodlust. Devona was a convenient ally to be sure. In many ways, their purposes aligned, but not in all.
Another of the Night Wolves lunged in, snapping at the captain. Saran knocked the creature away. The two wolves clashing, all teeth, and claw and rage yet Saran was the dominate of the two.
All the Night Wolves barked fiercely, momentarily at odds with each other before Saran took his rival to the ground. His pack would bring Devona all she had demanded but they would not give her the life of Ataar! Not this night; perhaps not ever.
Saran cast a final glance at the stunned Ataar before taking to the streets of the city. The Night Wolves hunted the seers and the bones of Natara above all others. Their growls quickly replaced by the screams of women and children and dying men, yet Saran was no longer so single minded in his purposes. Not if what he suspected concerning Ataar was true. And there was only one who would know…
Ed Ireland (edireland) | 119 commentsmessage 12: by Ed Mar 28, 2018 10:22AM
As the sounds of the wolves racing back with their ill-gotten gains receded, Ataar lifted himself. Just as Saran held a slight confusion over exactly who, or what Ataar was, the Captain was equally confused at the feelings of his heart.
“I know you brother,” he thought. “I don’t know how or why, but I know you. And I know what my path is now…”
Sarah Kennedy | 30 commentsmessage 13: by Sarah Mar 28, 2018 10:38AM
Saran returned to the forest but not to Devona. He left the other wolves to take her the things they had won. He could not shake the smell of Ataar from his senses. Where did his loyalties lie? With Devona? With Ataar? Where did his path lie? His padded feet pounded swiftly along the ancient paths of the forest. He ran deeper and deeper until only the sounds of a trickling stream, and the whispers of the trees filled his ears, and the blood of so many dead dried into his fur.
He continued on, slower now, quieter. He was not the oldest and most dangerous thing in this part of the forest, but if there was answer to this mystery he would surely find it here.
Ed Ireland (edireland) | 119 commentsmessage 14: by Ed Mar 28, 2018 05:52PM
“You travel far from the dens Saran,” said a deep voice that seemed to echo throughout the trees. “What is it that preys upon your thoughts?”
The wolf paused and searched the shadows around him. He could not see where the voice originated, but he could smell the source it came from.
“I came across a scent tonight,” he said. “It was unknown, but not unfamiliar. It seems to me that I should know it.”
“Does Devona know?” asked the voice, suddenly right next to him.
“No, I saw no need to tell her.”
“Good. If this is what I believe it to be, she will try to end it before it can even begin. You had better return before she suspects all is not right.”
“Who or what is it?” replied Saran.
“We’ll both have our answers soon enough old wolf,” replied the dark shadow that remained where the voice spoke. “When next we meet, it will be a time for actions rather than words.”
Sarah Kennedy | 30 commentsmessage 15: by Sarah Mar 29, 2018 07:43AM
Miles away, the Night Wolves prowled in an agitated circle around Devona; their ears twitched toward the forest, listening no doubt for Saran.
Devona ignored them as she worked over their bloody offering. Saran’s absence was not unexpected; she had always known the mighty wolf would betray her. She had planned for it, keeping him close with grand promises of restoring the First World to all its glory, when all she wanted was to devour. She had used him to do her bidding, to unknowingly hunt out the one she sought. Saran really should have made this harder, the foolish beast. The sorceress confidently added the eyes of the seers and the bones of the dead hero Natara to the cauldron that already held the blood of a dead god. Now only one thing remained, and her trap was already set.
The Night Wolves whined. So, Saran was returning. Devona smirked. She would bind him. She would take his will. She would force him to bring her the one that must die!
***
Saran obeyed the voice of the forest. He would always obey that voice. He was a creature of the First World. He would always know its source. He trotted through the forest, his spirit lighter despite all the questions still ringing through his mind. He smelled Devona and her dark magic long before he returned to her side. He heard the rest of the Night Wolves whining in the distance. Something was troubling them. Saran’s hackles rose; his pace quickened, and then he heard the tell tale snap of a twig. Someone who did not know the forest had entered.
Saran froze,snapping to attention. His nostrils tested the air. Ataar! The wolf hesitated. Had the captain lost all sense of self-preservation? No city dweller had set foot in the forest for ages. The forest hadn’t let them. Why now? Saran’s focus aimed toward the captain; his ears alert for other sounds: Devona, the Night Wolves, the whispering trees. The forest felt more alive than it had felt in a long time. And more dangerous…
Timothy Bateson (timothybateson) | 27 commentsmessage 16: by Timothy Mar 29, 2018 10:48AM
***
To Ataar’s eyes, the forest was full of darkness and looming shapes. It had always seemed imposing, even from the walls of the city, which had protected Meraskar from the things that men feared.
Tonight had shown just how pitiful that illusion of protection had really been. The horrors known as Night Wolves had ripped through his men and the city defenses as if there were mere fabric. The horror of what had happened still filled his heart, but
he was the last survivor of his people, and he had sworn an oath to their defense.
Now that oath lay burning alongside the funeral pyres of his men. To have given everyone in the city the rites of death would have taken too long, but he had owed his men their final dignity, before he set out to join them.
Too afraid of what would happen if he tried to take his own life, Ataar now stalked the forest hunting for the creatures that had killed his people. His vow was simple, to kill them all, or to die in the attempt.
And then he’d heard whining, and knew he was close…
Ed Ireland (edireland) | 119 commentsmessage 17: by Ed Mar 30, 2018 06:44AM
***
Far away, another army began its march. General DeGrasse had finally decided that enough was enough and Meraskar must fall in line. The other communities were rumbling because of Meraskar’s non-compliance. If DeGrasse didn’t stem it now, he might be facing a full revolution soon. If Meraskar joined with the other communities, the resulting army might be enough to defeat him. Especially with Ataar as its leader.
They marched confidently towards their goal, unaware of the carnage they would find there. Unaware that the rich, fertile soil was now tainted with the blood of the city’s soldiers.
Unaware of the hornet’s nest he was marching into.
Sarah Kennedy | 30 commentsmessage 18: by Sarah Mar 30, 2018 07:13AM
***
Saran whined softly. This was the last thing he needed to deal with right now! Something in the forest was stirring. Old things. Angry things. Saran shifted uneasily, the disquiet of the forest transmitting itself to him. He stared at the path before him as it was completely lost in gloom. The forest loomed; trees dark, thick, and gnarled grew tight and close, their ancient bodies rearing upwards and stretching outward so the boughs intermingled. An undertone of strange whispers breathed among the trees. Saran snarled. The captain was insane! Truly insane! But he was also marked. How? Why? He didn’t know, but he had not spared the captain’s life to let him spend it so rashly! Hadn’t the voice in the deep wood told him this man had a destiny? The massive wolf threw his head back and howled. The Night Wolves answered from the distance, but they were running, and he was too far away! Saran growled. He could go to Ataar. He knew this forest better than anyone. He had to go to Ataar…
The wolf took off at a run but suddenly from all around him more twigs snapped. His fur bristled as another scent that did not belong filled his nose. It was masked by the scent of the forest, but where? His eyes roved his surroundings.
There!
From out of a covering of loose leaves sprang more men. He was surrounded! Saran growled and snarled; his teeth flashing violently as the circle of intruders tightened in around him. His every instinct told him to run or fight, and running was not an option now. His sharp eyes quickly pinpointed the weakest of his attackers and he lunged. His mouth clamped around the boy’s hand, tearing flesh, rending bone. The boy fell screaming. Saran stalked forward. Something hit Saran from the side. A foot? The wolf fell. He saw a dozen hands raise, a flash of weird blue-black light, and rocks pummeled him. No, not rocks. Magic! Magic that could only have come from Devona! It clung to him, like nettles tangling into his fur. Saran ripped at one of the glowing knots to no avail. The more he struggled, the tighter they wound themselves into his body; each magical nettle shooting out connections toward the others. The fight or flight instinct was too strong. Saran ‘s body contorted and convulsed and writhed over the forest floor, but the growing net was too strong. His high, piercing yelps of sheer agony drowning every other sound in the forest.
***
The Night Wolves howled. Their mournful wails rose in an eerie chorus throughout the forest. The various tones and pitches echoing and distorting any sense of their number or location. Captain Ataar stilled, his no doubt useless sword, raised before him. Despite all his anger and grief, the horrible yelps resounding through the forest gripped his heart. Somehow he knew, the loudest and worst of those cries were those of the monstrous black wolf who could have killed him but gave him life instead. “I know you brother,” he thought for the second time as his knees buckled beneath him and the spider-webbing echo of the wolf’s pain blasted through his own body…
***
At last, Saran stilled. He couldn’t move. He could scarcely even breathe. The dominant wolf now lay on his back, exposing throat and belly to the advancing humans. His voice a mere whimper. Strong, merciless hands heaved him up from the floor of his beloved forest before darkness stole away his awareness. He didn’t see how one of those men lingered a little longer in the horribly agitated forest.
***
The soldier was a big, brute of a man. He was fearless and arrogant even as the forest seemed to heave with violent awareness. He held his ground even when the Night Wolves ran in upon him.
Base instinct seized hold of the Night Wolves as they appraised the man. They dropped into crouches, ready to attack. Deep, bass-like growls passed between bared teeth. As if oblivious to the warning, the mercenary just smirked.
“Devona!” He yelled. “This magic of yours is impressive; the Lady De Grasse will be most pleased. She is most anxious to obtain more.” He laughed. “I have your wolf but if you want him, you should know that my lady’s price has gone up! Her son lost his hand today! And I do, of course believe, she has a few other… shall we say… conditions. She will expect you at Martile! But as always, do come quietly. The General must remain ignorant of our actions!”
***
From the tallest tower of Martile, Lady DeGrasse watched her husband and his army leave. Maybe he would die at Meraskar. She could always hope, but just in case she had another plan well under way. Its one flaw, its dependence upon the sorceress Devona, her sister…
Sarah Kennedy | 30 commentsmessage 19: by Sarah Mar 31, 2018 07:36AM
Captain Ataar struggled to regain his footing as the wolf’s pain lingered in his body. His hands grappled for his sword. His grief and anger at the Night Wolves starkly at odds with the bond that linked him so directly to the black wolf’s pain.
The forest knocked him down. The ground heaving and buckling violently. The loose covering of leaves flying over him, hiding him, but they were nothing compared to the massive weight hanging upon his limbs, as if a giant hand had seized a hold of him and was pulling him deeper into the forest, deeper into its earth! A darkness was closing in around him. Captain Ataar let out a strangled cry. There in the sudden darkness was another. Whatever it was, it stood out in the dark because it was so much blacker. The shadow moved around him, whispering.
“Yes. Yes.”
Captain Ataar’s mind reeled. He felt strangely disembodied as the shadow pinched and prodded every inch of his body. Whispering, always whispering.
“Oh, its’ true. Yes. Yes.”
The words made no sense to Ataar. They made even less sense than this bond to the wolf. He could feel the wolf still, moving further and further away, yet the pain grew no less pronounced. Ataar swallowed at the lump in his throat and tried to focus. He writhed against the weight of the forest. “Who are you?” He said. “What do you want?”
The dark shadow stilled. “Who are you, now that is the question…”
***
Saran stirred. Memory came abruptly and with a fresh bite of pain. The magical bonds cut deeper, lacerating his flesh. His blood trickled hotly into his fur. A soft whine filled the silence. He tried to see, only his eyes moving. Where was he? Where were they taking him?
Fear gripped his heart. He had heard stories of creatures from the First World, taken by the city dwellers of old. Chained. Caged. Their free spirits being torturously broken. They could only lose themselves in the misery of confinement for to cage what was wild was to break it. Is that what awaited him? A fate worse than death? Another whine burst up his throat. The magic cut deeper…
***
“ARGH!” Ataar screamed, welts rising on his skin. The sound, his only answer to the dark shadow’s question. “What is happening to me?”
The dark shadow sighed around him. “Who are you?”
Ed Ireland (edireland) | 119 commentsmessage 20: by Ed Mar 31, 2018 05:54PM
Ataar turned toward the voice, ready to shout out his rebellion. Instead, a deep-throated growl came forth, then another. Ataar looked down into his hands and saw the pads forming in his palms. Along his body he could feel the hair rushing from every inch while his mouth seemed to push out towards some imaginary freedom.
His bones began twisting and turning, elongating in some instances. The pain that gripped him as his wonder trailed off sent a bone-chilling scream from his lips. His body slumped to the floor while the magic within him wove its spell around him.
“Oh my!” exclaimed the voice. “I never believed in the old legends! I never thought them true, but here you are!”
Ataar lay gasping for air, his body suddenly no longer his. At least the one he remembered. But even now, some memories raced from him while other, long-buried ones began to flood his conscious. He lifted his gaze to the being that brought him here, looking wistfully from his place on the ground. His hands were now paws, his legs long and covered with white fur. His benefactor held a mirror up for him. He was quite unprepared to see the amber eyes of the great white wolf staring back at him.
Sarah Kennedy | 30 commentsmessage 21: by Sarah Apr 02, 2018 07:39AM
Ataar’s newly sensitive ears pricked to distant sounds: the Night Wolves running; carriage wheels rattling; a weak whimper that pricked his own heart. His nostrils filled with the scent of the forest, and the lingering scent of man flesh suddenly felt wrong. A corruption of the primordial life choking in around him. The white wolf growled, a new feral rage coiling through his altered body, almost against his will. There was a part of him that wanted to run with the wildness all around him. He wanted to protect the one who had protected him. Ataar tried to harden himself against that desire. He tried to ling to his rapidly fading human thoughts. His hatred and anger and grief, but he couldn’t shake the grip of the wolf’s much stronger desires. “The black wolf,” he said to the shade of the forest, “who is he? What is he to me? Why do I feel his pain? And what have you done to me?”
Ed Ireland (edireland) | 119 commentsmessage 22: by Ed Apr 02, 2018 07:52AM
The shade regarded him for a moment, still in disbelief of his existence.
“Quite simply,” he said at length, “he is the other side of you. In the early days of the First World, the great Goddess gave birth to a single child but saw an inner conflict within. Call it a struggle between good and evil. In her divine wisdom, she decided to separate these conflicts by giving her child two distinct forms to carry them.”
“A white wolf and a black wolf,” said Ataar. “One good and one evil.”
“It is never so simple Ataar,” replied the shade. “Not all that is good is free of evil and not all evil is free of good. Your mother understood that concept and the conflicts it would cause in you. Saran…your brother is no eviler than you. He just looks at life from another angle.”
“You are both needed to create the perfect world of balance. The balance that is needed to defeat Devona.”
“Then it would seem that my first mission is to save my brother,” said Ataar. “Will you help?”
Sarah Kennedy | 30 commentsmessage 23: by Sarah Apr 02, 2018 08:02AM
“Save him, yes, you must, but first you need to rally the Night Wolves. There is no greater army in the First World. They will not follow the man in you, Ataar. Only the wolf, and only after they have tested you. All the while, Devona will seek to destroy you as she seeks to control your brother. I cannot help you with that. You must accept what you are. You must embrace the wolf. I can see how you are resisting my words. But when we meet again, Ataar, you and Saran must truly be brothers. On that day, I will help you. Now, go. Saran is in great danger, saving him might well be the hardest battle you have ever faced, but heed this warning. The magic binding Saran can only be broken with the strength of two who are one.”
Ataar rose off his haunches, turning toward the distant sounds.
“Oh, and Ataar, I know that the man still lingers in your veins. You should know an army marches this way but do not let the plight of men distract you…”
Ed Ireland (edireland) | 119 commentsmessage 24: by Ed Apr 04, 2018 10:23AM
Ataar turned from the shade and trotted off to the west. He could feel the black wolf more than smelling him, but he knew this was the way. The shade’s words preyed on his mind.
Yes, he still had much of his former life within. He could not fully function as the creature he had become and this presented itself as a problem. He knew that Saran would be heavily guarded and that he might not have the savagery to defeat those guards. Right now, he still thought as a man does and that would not do at all. He must act first and think of the consequences later.
Also, the shade said that he and Saran must truly become brothers. That meant there was something that was missing. Something that was preventing that from happening. There were so many things to consider and yet very little time to think of them. Already, the first faint scents of Saran were lingering in the air. The foul smell of the magic that bound him lingered as well causing his nose to wrinkle.
At the opposite end of the forest, General DeGrasse halted his men. His eyes scanned the blood trails he had been following from the city. He peered into the darkness and a chill suddenly took hold of his spine and rattled it. In his mind, he could hear the words he needed to yell, the orders to retreat and race back to Martile and the imagined safety of her walls. Instead, muted silence mixed with fear. His Captains looked at him as he nodded silently and pointed forward.
Far away, Devona smiled. All of her pieces were moving into place.
Sarah Kennedy | 30 commentsmessage 25: by Sarah Apr 05, 2018 07:39AM
Except for her sister…Devona frowned, turning westward. Her sister’s mercenaries were not to steal her wolf and hold him for ransom. The Lady DeGrasse was as petty as always. She should have known not to trust her sister’s grand offers of assistance. Ever since they were children Devona had always had to do everything herself! Now, thanks to her sister’s betrayal the Night Wolves were running wild; the forest shades were awakening; and she was forced to delay her ultimate plan to deal with her sister! Saran would be hers! Saran would serve her! Saran would bring her the one who must die! Most disturbing was the new presence she felt in the forest, distant, not quite man, not quite beast. Just a feeling, nothing more, and it felt dangerous.
***
The Night Wolves tore through the western edges of the forest, howling after Saran. Other creatures retreated from their rage, hiding until only the methodical footsteps of the white wolf lingered beneath the canopy.Ataar moved toward the edges of the forest with constant growls rumbling in his chest. Cryptic words and strange powers that’s all the mystical shade of the forest had offered. Embrace the wolf, it had said, as if he had a choice! Heed no plight of man, it had said, well, someone had to! Rally the Night Wolves, it had said… his growls were fiercer still. The smell of his mens’ blood and burning flesh was still in his nostrils. The bitter desire for vengeance warred against the wolf he had become. A wolf! The Night Wolves had slaughtered everyone he knew, everyone he had loved, and now this thing told him their leader, the black wolf Saran, was his brother! Ataar snarled yet there was no denying the bond between them. Pain. Saran’s pain, and nothing deserved to feel that kind of agony.
On the edge of the forest, Ataar stopped, glancing back. Could he really just let an army descend upon his broken city unopposed? He was its sworn protector even now. General DeGrasse had been issuing threats for months. After all his hard work to resist the general’s control, could he really just let that army plunder everything while he ran around on four legs and “embraced the wolf.” Then again, did it really matter when the city had already been annihilated, and what was one wolf against legions?
Ataar glanced toward the West again. His newly sensitive ears pricked to a distant sound.
***
Saran whimpered. A surge of despair gripped his heart as his captors carried him further and further away from the forest…
Ed Ireland (edireland) | 119 commentsmessage 26: by Ed Apr 08, 2018 09:14AM
“Quiet old wolf,” said his burly captor. “Your days of being protector of the First World are almost at an end. When my mistress settles with her sister, I imagine she’ll absorb what little you have left to give.”
His eyes closed for a moment as a sly smile crossed his face.
“Then she’ll give me a power that no man has ever felt before. I’ll take her in my arms and make love to her. I’ll leave her sated and spent in her bed. Then I’ll start the slaughter of this world, starting with her husband.”
Grimacing through the pain, Saran managed his own smile.
“One man has already felt that power,” he whispered. “The one who comes to kill you.”
***
Behind the unholy caravan, Ataar stepped into the clearing where the Night Wolves waited. They eyed him suspiciously, beginning to circle and growl. Ataar watched them as they moved, his eyes suddenly fixed on one rather large wolf.
“You lead them in Saran’s absence,” he thought. “Then you’ll have to submit to your new pack leader.”
In a flash, Ataar attacked. His teeth flashed momentarily in the meager light of the moon that filled the glade. He gripped the other wolf tightly by the throat, but not yet piercing the skin. The suddenness took the other wolves by surprise but now they began to move in.
“HOLD!” said the wolf in Ataar’s grip hoarsely. “The outsider has won fairly. He is our leader. Besides, I can smell the same scent on him as Saran carried.”
Ataar let his grip loosen quickly and he nodded to the wolf.
“Saran is my brother!” he said to the assembled pack. “You are all my brothers now as well! Let us go into the night now for magic and mayhem are afoot! Let us go save our brother Saran!”
Sarah Kennedy | 30 commentsmessage 27: by Sarah Apr 09, 2018 08:18AM
The mercenary jabbed Saran’s side, enough to make the bindings lash deeper, and laughed as fresh blood poured from the deepening wounds. Saran made a weak cry but from the distance came a fierce howl.
“What was that?” One of the men yelled as he tried to soothe his suddenly agitated horse.
Saran’s tormentor looked back. “Wolves,” he said. He drew his sword though he saw nothing moving.
Howls echoed from everywhere.
“How many?”
“A lot of them.” The mercenary growled. “I think they are trying to cut us off! We need to push forward. NOW! If we can reach the top of that hill, Lady DeGrasse’s power will protect us! She promised!”
Saran whimpered softly. His sharp ears pricked to the answering sound of another wolf. They were close.
The mercenary struck Saran again. “Make another sound and I’ll give you something to really whine about.”
***
Ataar licked the blood from his side. “That one is mine.” He growled to his pack.
***
Saran’s sharp gaze fixed on the spot from which the sound originated. How deep did the bond run? “Can you hear my thoughts too?” He wondered. He did not expect an answer, yet somehow he hoped.

Ed Ireland (edireland) | 119 commentsmessage 28: by Ed Apr 09, 2018 10:11AM

“I hear you my brother,” a voice spoke softly. “I am close but the magic that binds me is powerful. Let the men get to their sanctuary on the hill.”
Ataar felt the pain of Saran. Slowly, he was also becoming aware of the Night Wolves. He felt their savagery and unbridaled hatred for the men they stalked.
“They will do what you tell them to,” said Saran. “You are more than one of the pack. You are me and we are alpha. Tell them to keep the men on the hill.”
“You must hunt the witches…”

Sarah Kennedy | 30 commentsmessage 29: by Sarah  Apr 09, 2018 10:57AM
Devona waited for the sun to rise. Her sister wanted quiet. She was going to bring fury. Her sister wanted secrecy. Well, she was done keeping secrets. If her sister wanted a fight, she was going to give her one, and if General DeGrasse followed so much the better. There were so many threads of possibility she could manipulate now. So long as Saran remained bound, she would have him. And through him, everything…
The sorceress laughed maniacally as she raised her arms overhead. She raised her power and drew up that of the forest. She changed with it, flying like a thousand ravens out of the First World.
***
“General DeGrasse! Sir! It is an omen!” A soldier shouted.
Incoherent shouts drifted through the ranks.
“It is an omen of death!”
“It flies toward Martile!”
General DeGrasse frowned.
“Sir? What do we do?”
***
Ataar listened to Saran’s weak thoughts, inwardly rebelling against the words that pleaded with him to leave. “Do you know what they will do to you if they reach their sanctuary?”
“Do you know what they will do to you if you come for me now?” Saran thought back.
Overhead, the screaming of ravens pierced the dawn…
Sarah Kennedy | 30 commentsmessage 30: by Sarah Apr 10, 2018 08:30AM
“Trust me, brother, and do as I say,” Saran thought when the birds had passed. “Devona is already moving.”

Read the ongoing story… here

Book Spotlight – “Nite Fire: Chain Reaction ” by C.L. Schneider

Book Spotlight - Nite Fire Chain Reacton - C.L. Schneider

Book Blurb

If anyone can tell the difference between monsters and humans, it’s Dahlia Nite. For nearly a century, she’s hunted one to protect the other; safeguarding humanity from the creatures that slip through the torn veil between the worlds—creatures like her. But the lines are blurring. As people begin mutating and combusting on the streets, Dahlia realizes a strange affliction has descended upon Sentinel City. The mysterious ailment strikes all walks of life, from the posh, high-end nightclub district to the homeless community. Its victims, driven to random acts of savagery, are drawing attention too fast to cover up.

Assigned to the case, Dahlia and her human partner, Detective Alex Creed, investigate the deaths. But all they have are questions and bodies, and a public on the verge of panic. Working behind the scenes with her self-appointed sidekick, Casey Evans, Dahlia struggles to discover what, or who, is behind the alarming transformations. As the violence spreads and the mystery unfolds, she wonders: are the victims still human? Were they ever?

Chain Reaction is the second book in the Nite Fire Series.

Buy Your Copy Now! E-Book, Paperback

Chain Reaction will remain at .99 on release day (4/17).
Book #1, Flash Point, will be on Kindle Countdown for .99 starting 4/17.
Both books will return to their regular price of $3.99 on 4/24.

From the Author

C.L. Schneider is an award-winning, New York-based author of adult epic and urban fantasy, including The Crown of Stones Trilogy and Nite Fire. Born in a small Kansas town to a family of avid readers and overflowing bookshelves, she penned her first novel at sixteen on a typewriter in her parent’s living room.

To learn more about C.L. Schneider and her work, visit clschneiderauthor.com where you can read reviews and excerpts, subscribe to her newsletter, and join her Street Team. Connect with her on social media, where she is often found chatting about the daily ups and downs of a writer’s life.

Where To Find C.L. Schneider

Twitter, Facebook, E-mail, Instagram, Blog (Heading Down the Yellow Brick Road), Website, Newsletter (News From the World of C.L. Schneider)

Book Spotlight – “Darker Daze” by Amanda Mabry

Book Spotlight - Darker Daze 1 - A.L. Mabry

Book Blurb

Darker Daze: The Storms within is a collection of short stories that explore that darker side of the human condition. Each story pulsates with tragedy and a sense of desperate hope that only the suffering could understand. Ms. Mabry weaves personal experiences into fictional webs in a way that draws the reader in for a hug, then punches them in the gut. While these stories may be too emotionally charged for some readers, they give voices to the voiceless among us.
Do not shrink away, the demons are not yours…or are they?

Buy Your Copy Now! E-Book, Paperback

From the Author

A.L. Mabry is one of the founders of and the Executive Marketing Manager for Our Write Side (OWS Ink, llc), an online community for writers, readers, publishers and more. She writes occasional articles on OWS focused on the connection between life and writing. She enjoys helping other authors find their way with private coaching and sharing what she has learned from personal experience. As an author, she enjoys writing in all genres and forms, even grocery lists. She is an artist at heart and Wiccan by nature with an obsessive love of vampires, kilts, and blue butterflies.

Where To Find Amanda Mabry

Twitter, Facebook, E-mail, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Website

B2BCyCon2018 – Fantasy Events Indexes

Brain to Books Cyber Convention & Book Expo 2018This post appears as part of the “Brain to Books Cyber Convention & Book Expo Fantasy Blog Tour”…

Running from April 6th through April 8th, 2018 this online book event brings readers and authors together for a weekend of books, and book-related events.

I have the pleasure of being part of this event for the fourth year running. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been getting some great events set up for readers and authors alike.

Learn more about the Cyber Convention.

Be sure to scroll through the entire post, because there are a lot of events happening this weekend in the Brain to Books Cyber Convention & Book Expo.

I’ve linked to all of the Fantasy Genre events to make them easy to locate…

Blog Tour #1 – Why I Write Fantasy

For this tour I asked the participating authors to write about why they write fantasy fiction, and what inspired them.
Each of the authors has very different reasons for what they write, and very different inspirations.
Enjoy getting an insight into what makes these great fantasy authors tick.
B2B Fantasy Blog Tour - Tom Fallwell B2B Fantasy Blog Tour - Mary R. Woldering B2B Fantasy Blog Tour - Ashley Capes
B2B Fantasy Blog Tour - Connie Cockrell B2B Fantasy Blog Tour - Shakyra Dunn B2B Fantasy Blog Tour - Dove Winters

Blog Tour #2 – What Elements Define Fantasy For Me

B2B Fantasy Blog Tour #2 - HeaderThis tour was more challenging for the participating authors.
I asked each of them what elements they expected to see in fantasy stories, or what differentiated the fantasy genre from other genres.
Not all of us agree on what defines the fantasy genre, so I’m sure you’ll find their answers very interesting.
 B2B Fantasy Blog Tour2 - Assaph Mehr  B2B Fantasy Blog Tour2 - Renee Scattergood  B2B Fantasy Blog Tour2 - A.F. Stewart
 B2B Fantasy Blog Tour2 - Sarah Kennedy  B2B Fantasy Blog Tour2 - Tiffany Apan  B2B Fantasy Blog Tour2 - Angela B. Chrysler

Other Events That Are Happening In The Fantasy Genre:

B2BCyCon2018

Author Showcase

Come take a look at the GoodReads Author Showcase. Discover some great Fantasy authors, and learn more about them and their work.

28277206_10156339823141522_7078830237362154221_n

Character Tournaments

Eight authors have come together to pit their characters against each other in a free-for-all fight. Each author has provided images representing their characters, as well as written examples of their characters in combat. This is a no-holds-barred, no-spells-forbidden knock-down fight.

Each round starts at 12:30am EDT and ends at 11:30pm EDT

Each competitor will fight for entry to the next round and a chance to be crowned Fantasy Character Tournament Champion 2018

The tournament starts: Apr 6th, 12:30 am EDT

Vote in every round to put your chosen combatant in the Champion’s Arena!

28277251_10156339822541522_950759962388064035_nCover Wars

Sixteen authors have come together to pit their book covers against each other in a free-for-all fight. Each author has provided their cover images with the goal of becoming Fantasy Cover Wars Champion 2018.

Each round starts at 12:30am EDT and ends at 11:30pm EDT

Each competitor will fight for entry to the next round and a chance to be crowned Fantasy Character Tournament Champion 2018

The tournament started: Apr 5th, 12:30 am EDT

Vote in every round to put your chosen cover in the Champion’s Arena!

B2BCyCon2018

Daisy Chain Story

This is what happens when you get a number of authors together, lock them in a chat group and tell them to write a story with the following rules:

  1. The event host posts an opening story segment
  2. Any participating author may post the next story segment
  3. No-one may change events that have already been written but may portray them from another perspective (if relevant)

Read the story as it develops

28168124_10156339822641522_4505188515169272936_nPanel Discussions

The fantasy genre authors will be taking part in three discussion panels over the course of the weekend.
Each panel will be recorded and posted over the course of the weekend.

  • Subject To Be Determined – 6th April @ 8pm GMT
  • World Building For Fantasy Settings – 7th April @ 8pm GMT
  • Mixing Fantasy With History/Other Genres – 8th April @ Midnight GMT

28467747_10156339822691522_5352823701347136053_nStory Time

This is a wonderful event, where authors submit samples of their work to be read aloud.

I had the pleasure of being asked to read from “Murder in Absentia” by Assaph Mehr. Please forgive me for any stumbles or mispronunciation.

It’s like getting an audiobook sample for free.

Listen To “Murder In Absentia” by Assaph Mehr