Book Tour: When the Reaper Comes by John L DeBoer

When The Reaper Comes
by John L. DeBoer
Genre: Thriller,Suspense, Action
ABOUT THE BOOK: As the NSA gets a strong lead on one of the most prominent faces of ISIS, the Islamic State embarks on a bold course of action—an attack on American soil. Former Navy SEAL Adam Taylor, on a break between assignments for a global paramilitary security firm, is visiting his folks in his home town when he gets a new mission—provide security for a rock star who is in town for a St. Patrick’s Day concert. Unknown to Adam, a team of American ISIS soldiers will soon arrive with a plan to wreak havoc on the Jersey shore, and Adam will get caught up in a deadly game of wits between the terrorist menace and those tasked to protect the citizens of the homeland.
EXCERPT: Abdel Hadad looked down at the drawing Yusuf Khouri had made. He pointed at the X at the rear left corner of the Paramount Theater. “That’s as close as we can get?”

“Without being obvious and thus,” Khouri smiled, “without getting caught.”

“It’s a pretty substantial structure,” Basara said, also standing at the dinette and staring at the diagram on the table. “I checked it out yesterday.”

“I know that,” Khouri replied. “But the point is to cause panic, not bring down the building. When the audience and their entertainment all stampede out of the theater like spooked cattle, that’s when the real action starts. From here” – he put his finger on the sheet of paper – “here, and here.”

“That’s a six-foot fence around the service parking area, dude,” Basara said, shaking his head.

Khouri fixed him with a hard look. He knew Basara was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but his flippant, negative attitude had become annoying. “Muhammad, I live here, remember? I know about the fence. I also know it’s wood. I loosened two boards early this morning. We’ll have a clear field of fire. That’s my job, anyway. You and Abdel will be at the corners.”

“Okay, Yusuf,” Hadad said. “Callahan and the band will come out the service entrance to their bus in the fenced-in lot that you’ll have covered. And Muhammad and I will mow down the people and any cops streaming out the exits. All well and good. But we’re supposed to get away after, right? I don’t mind being killed in battle, but I didn’t sign up for a suicide mission.”

Khouri nodded. “Nor did I, Abdel. The beach is the escape route. Our car will be parked two blocks north and one block west here at the Berkeley Hotel, on 6th Avenue.” He pointed at a square on the paper. “We’ll get away in the panic and confusion. Just a few off-duty cops are used at these concerts for security at the entrances and for directing traffic after. They’ll have standard-issue handguns only. Sustained fire on the place will keep their heads down. By the time reinforcements arrive, we’ll be gone. We’ll take off our ski masks, ditch them under the boardwalk, and head north.”

Basara snorted. “Yeah, just three dudes with AK-47s strolling on the beach in the moonlight. This ain’t Tripoli, man.”

Khouri looked at Hadad as he gestured with his thumb at the other man. “Is he for real?”

Hadad shrugged. “L.A.”

Khouri turned back to Basara who was frowning at him, lips tight, obviously not pleased at being dissed. “Look, Muhammad, if you want to back out, now is the time. I’m sure the sheikh will understand.”

Basara glared at him, fists clenched, jaw muscles working, before his shoulders relaxed and he shook his head. “Hey, man, it’s just my way of talking about problems, that’s all. I didn’t mean anything by it. Of course I don’t want out. I’m in this the whole nine yards.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: After graduating from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, I did my surgical residency in the U.S. Army at Madigan Army Medical Center, Ft. Lewis, Washington. I then spent three years in the Medical Corps as a General Surgeon before leaving the Army for private practice. Thirty years later, I retired to begin a new career as a writer. I enjoy cooking, tennis, politics, films and film history, the wonders of the cosmos, and, of course, reading.

Thrillers is one of my favorite genres, so thrillers is what I like to write. My wife and I (mainly Diane) raised two sons we’re proud of and who are pursuing careers having nothing to do with the medical field! After living in Pennsylvania for a number of years, Diane and
I settled in North Carolina, where the winters are easy to take and the only weather we get antsy about is the occasional hurricane.
Tour hosted by Silver Dagger Scriptorium Tours

Book Tour: Deadly Eyes by Michael Meyer



Deadly Eyes:
A Caribbean Murder Mystery
by Michael Meyer

Genre: Murder Mystery, Thriller


Romance, mystery, and murder in the Caribbean…
When Cuff and Rosie, laid-back lovers on their idyllic Caribbean paradise of St. Croix, are just beginning to move their relationship to the next level, they suddenly find themselves entangled in the crosshairs of an unknown stalker whose relentless pursuit knows no bounds. Now, with their lives on the line and time running short, they know they must act fast or they will die.
If you enjoy mysteries set in exotic locales, then don’t miss DEADLY EYES with its “fast paced action coupled with the mesmerizing and intense suspense.” (Marilou George – The Kindle Book Review)

From the author who takes you from boisterous Munich to the burning sands of Saudi Arabia in COVERT DREAMS.
Semifinalist for the Best Indie Books of 2012 award.

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These were not naked eyes, for the distance between these eyes and the
beach bar at Cathy’s Fancy was too great for the naked eye to discern
who was who. No, these eyes had planned meticulously. The eyes were
glued to a pair of terribly expensive and unbelievably powerful
Swarovski Optik binoculars. The balcony on which they now worked, taking
in the scene before them, was the perfect place to see but not be seen.
The powerful binoculars saw to that.

The distance, the palm trees, and the rays of the sun all helped. The
position had been hand picked, after careful consideration. Every angle
had been considered, and, one by one, they had all been discarded for
one reason or another until this very spot, the perfect place to observe
while not being observed, had been selected.

Yes, the eyes had seen it all. The eyes had seen precisely what they had
hoped to see. They were like a master puppeteer. They planned,
controlled, and observed, but from a safe distance. They did not miss a

The eyes. The deadly eyes of St. Croix.



Michael Meyer is the author of mysteries, thrillers, humorous fiction, and non-fiction: Love and romance, laughter and tears, thrills and fears.
He has resided in and has visited many places in the world, all of which have contributed in some way to his own published writing. He has literally traveled throughout the world, on numerous occasions. He has lived in Finland, Germany, Thailand, Saudi Arabia (where COVERT DREAMS – INTERNATIONAL SUSPENSE COLLECTION BOOK ONE – is set), and the U.S. Virgin Islands (where DEADLY EYES – INTERNATIONAL SUSPENSE COLLECTION BOOK TWO – is set). He gained the wanderlust to see the world, to experience other cultures, at an early age, and this desire has never left him. If anything, it has only gained in intensity as he has aged.
Among the many unique things that have happened to him in his world travels, he has walked the streets of Istanbul with a detective, searching for a pickpocket who got him good. He has ridden on the back of a motorcycle in Tehran while the driver, who spoke not one word of English, pointed out all the sights to him. He has wrestled an Iranian soldier who tried to break into his hotel room in Tehran. He has had the paint completely stripped from his car as he drove across Saudi Arabia in a sandstorm. He has stood on the stage of a busy nightclub in Tokyo, singing “She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain When She Comes” to an audience feeling no pain from the Sake they were drinking. He has been chased by a family of mongooses (yes, that is the correct spelling) on the idyllic Caribbean island of St. Croix. And that is just the beginning of his long list of worldly adventures.
As a recent retiree from a forty-year career as a professor of writing, he now lives in Southern California wine country with his wife, Kitty, and their two adorable rescue cats.
SPECIAL NOTE: COVERT DREAMS has recently received a Compulsion Reads endorsement. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Compulsion Reads, this company specializes in reviewing and endorsing those novels that meet its quality standards based on the fundamental qualities of good storytelling. Many books that the company reviews don’t earn their endorsement, so this is a pretty big deal.

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Book Tour: Ethical Strains by Teresa Edmond-Sargeant



Ethical Strains:

A Short Story

By Teresa Edmond-Sargeant

Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy SciFi


In a dystopian future, a rogue journalist uncovers what may be a revolutionary scientific discovery: a way for DNA to be extracted from the bodies of ‘morally sound’ people and injecting them into criminals as a way to reduce recidivism, and therefore the overpopulated prison system.


The street was as quiet as the dead that lay in the cemetery. Jacob crouched outside the metal gate in the shadows. The moonlight waxed silver onto the graveyard’s greenery, giving off a choral glow of peace and terror. Jacob’s heart pounded, refusing to allow the silence to tease him into thinking the street was empty. He moved his hand to his side, above the holster that cradled his gun around his waist.

Jacob extended his arm – covered with the sleeve of his leather jacket – and glanced at his digital wristwatch. 10:10. He returned his attention to the street. The wind escorted the fallen leaves along the deserted sidewalk, scratching the pavement.

She said she’d be here at 10. She did say she’ll be late.

He moved his hand away from the gun and adjusted his collar. He paced in front of the cemetery gate, his mind an agitated rush of thoughts.

Down the street, two uniformed soldiers with ammunition strapped to their bodies marched on opposite corners of the intersection. Emotional rigidity hardened their faces, while the shadows that their hulking physiques cast swept the concrete. Jacob tried to study the face of one of them, but it was difficult with the masked helmet obscuring the soldier’s face.

For twenty years I haven’t seen a street without soldiers. Doesn’t matter if I’m a kid or I’m now working as a reporter underground – things haven’t changed. Those government goons are always on people’s backs, always patrolling these streets. The beatings, the arrests, the murders. It’s a miracle I’m still alive.

Receding further into the shadows, Jacob pressed his back against the cemetery gate’s brick wall.

So many laws I’m breaking –hanging out in the streets after 10, meeting with someone crazy enough to tell me at this time she has an exclusive. What’s next? Grave robbing?

The soft shuffle of footsteps made Jacob look up. Across the street, a woman broke through the screen of darkness and crossed the street. Her low heels tapped on asphalt, while the faint moonlight unveiled her petite hourglass frame cloaked in a trench coat. A purple floral scarf covered her head, face and neck; only her eyes revealed a personal aspect.

“Jacob? Jacob Franklin?”

Jacob nodded. “That’s me.”

The woman untied her scarf and presented a gloved hand. “I am Dr. Sydney Pelham. We have spoken over the telephone. It is a pleasure to finally meet you. I apologize for my tardiness. I had an imperative appointment that ran long. This this meeting is unusual, but given the nature of my overall work, we have to be discreet. Although I work for the government counseling prisoners, the information I’m about to disclose with you is quite crucial.”

Jacob nodded. Discreet. Somehow by the time I’m done here, that word will reek of irony.

Dr. Pelham began walking. “Follow me. I know a way underground that will lead us to my experiments.”

Jacob shadowed her. “Experiments, yeah, I remember you mentioning about them.”

Dr. Pelham chuckled. “Actually, it is more than that. It is a cause. I could not divulge the details to you over the phone because someone might have tapped the lines. You have reservations about meeting a mad scientist, quote-unquote. But given that we have so many problems surrounding us – with the rampant criminal activities and the federal government demanding the construction of more prisons at taxpayers’ expense – you will understand there is a method to my alleged madness.”

Jacob wondered if it were possible to withhold his sweat from bursting onto his forehead, similar to how people could hold back tears. As a self-proclaimed maverick journalist working with a ring of underground reporters, he didn’t dare to give Dr. Pelham the impression he was shaken at the ideal of being among “experiments.”

Their footsteps crunched the fallen leaves under streetlights that cast a dim, bluish-white glow on the foliage. Both turned a corner and into the woods behind the cemetery. They walked another few yards, and then Dr. Pelham stopped. Jacob almost bumped into her.

“We’re here,” Dr. Pelham said.

She looked around and crouched down; her modest length skirt rode up her leg. With her gloved hands, she cleared the leaves to reveal a wooden trap door. She retrieved some keys on a chain from her coat pocket and unlocked the door. The pair descended the staircase into a brick tunnel. Water drops echoed and the coldness bore down on Jacob.



Teresa Edmond-Sargeant is an Orlando, FL-based poet, author and journalist originally from northern New Jersey. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies featuring NJ poets. During her time as a reporter in Jersey, she won two NJ Press Association awards.

In 2006, she published her debut poetry book, “How Fate’s Confusion Connects”; the book’s second edition will be released later in 2014. She is the author of three (so far;-)) Amazon Kindle ebooks: “Eve the First,” “An Estella Exclusive” and “Ethical Strains,” all short stories.

Edmond-Sargeant is a member of the Florida State Poets Association. She is now a staff writer for The Apopka Chief, a newspaper that covers the Apopka, FL, area (


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Audiobook Tour: One Minute There by Max E Stone

One Minute There:
Warren-Bennett-Johnson/New England, Book 3
Audible – Unabridged
by Max E. Stone
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Two torturous months came and went. Detective Bennett refuses to give up on finding his daughter. Even as the authorities of New England and beyond, trailing the blood in the girl’s wake, devised a ruthless manhunt to bring her back. Well aware of the young woman’s fragile state, Bennett is determined to locate her first. He’s terrified to learn that he and the officers aren’t the only ones looking…
Tucked in a hideaway past America’s borders, courtesy of her only trusted connect as of late, Melissa is sure she’s safe. That is until the hammering knocks at her door threaten her world, her sanity…
And her life.
My name is Max E. Stone and my characters tell me what to do. Not the other way around. Sound weird? I don’t think so.
I’ve been writing and studying the subject since the age of nine. I put my life into the New England series and am still working at it. Hardships in my teen years shaped my words as I further delved into the craft and everything it entails. I understand how powerful the
pen can be and believe that my job is to speak for as well as entertain the people.

Book Tour + Review: The Shadow Tech Goddess by Ren Garcia

Beware the woman who does not exist, yet is everywhere. Paymaster Stenstrom and his Countess-in-Waiting, Lady Gwendolyn of Prentiss, are paid a bounty of riches to perform a simple task, and then everything changes. The weight of the Universe comes down upon them. Paymaster Stenstrom learns he is in the gaze of the destroyer of universes, the Shadow tech Goddess, and also that he is in a race with sinister forces hoping to curry her favor and bring about the end of all things. It is a race he and Gwendolyn must win. They will investigate ancient places hidden in plain sight and travel to long lost worlds unseen in ages. They will feel fear such as they have never known and walk in a Garden of Horrors where all is revealed and Stenstrom comes to know the truth of his place in the universe. The Shadow tech Goddess silently watches the doings from her throne in the Hall of Mirrors, seeing all, collecting information, and her verdict might finally be cast one way or the other.

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 Ren Garcia is a Science Fiction/Fantasy author and Texas native who grew up in western Ohio. He has been writing since before he could write, often scribbling alien lingo on any available wall or floor with assorted crayons. He attended The Ohio State University and majored in English Literature. Ren has been an avid lover of anything surreal since childhood, he also has a passion for caving, urban archeology and architecture. His highly imaginative “League of Elder” book series is published by Loconeal Publishing.

Connect with the Author here: 


Facebook ~ Website ~ Amazon ~
A lithe figure in black appeared, crouching in the grass. “Oh, who’s this now?” the man cried, panting from his exertion. Before he could say another word the figure attacked and raked its claws across his chest. For the second time, the man fell dead, this time in a pile of horrific cubes of sundered flesh. The figure turned to Stenstrom and seized him by the shirt with bloody hands, then pulled him around a stone. It was Kat; her green eyes fixed on him. She spoke close in a growl. “Second time I save you, HRN. Second time! How lucky for you I’m here.” She formed an StT in her hand and threw it into the pile. The man’s remains burst into red and green flames.
In a world with new weapons, new planets, new characters and new dangers, Garcia captivates his readers with the story of Paymaster Stenstrom and the quest for the Shadow Tech Goddess. This new world introduces several alternate realities, filled with different romances and interesting personalities. It is an exciting world, one filled with adventure.
Stenstrom a.k.a. Bel and Gwendolyn of Prentiss are lovers who travel together on the same ship. When Bel receives a mysterious visitor, stating that she is from a place outside of time…one that virtually is untouchable by the sisters, Bel is intrigued. This female visitor provides him with a mechanism that looks like a dull rock and tells him that the fate of his life and everyone who he travels with will be forever altered. The simple instructions that she provides to him is more confusing than ever and then she leaves just as quickly. After rescuing a Lady of Caroline called Melazarr, he finds more information about what this particular rock is…they call it an Anatameter. This small rock, designed specifically for him, is supposed to be the final concealment to alternate worlds in which others seek to bring back the Shadow Tech Goddess for mass destruction. Can Bel and his beloved Gwen get the task done that has been brought upon them? Or will others find them and stop them first?
This adventure is enticing and enigmatic. Garcia has developed an amazing new world, filled with superb character development, well-written scenes and overly exceeding expectations. The content is truly amazing by the sheer originality and descriptiveness. At first, the pace may seem a bit slow, but it does pick up speed once the characters become familiarized. There are little to no errors, making it an easy read. If you are a reader of fantasy and science fiction, this may be perfect for you. It is strongly advised that since this is classified as dark fantasy, it is not recommended for children or teens due to content.

A paperback copy of this book was purchased by Turning Another Page from the author. We provide the author with a five-star rating for The Shadow Tech Goddess by Ren Garcia.

Favorite Character: KAT

She wore black with bits of scarlet mixed in. A little black shirt, with baggy sleeves down to her elbows, was laced up to her neck. Her forearms were wrapped with black bandage-like strips all the way to her wrists. Her hands were bare; her fingernails, painted black, were long and curved like a bear’s. A baggy pair of black pantaloons went down to her knees. Her calves and ankles were wrapped up, though they were mostly bare. A tight-fitting black head mask had a large hole cut out for her eyes, which were a sparkling green. He could see the bridge of her nose and hints of her Shadowmark dancing around her right eye.

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Book Tour: Shadows of Atlantis by Mara Powers


Shadows of Atlantis
By Mara Powers

Genre: Fantasy

Atlantis is a luxurious paradise run by crystal technology built in alignment with nature. For thousands of years, Atlanteans have powered their cities with a Crystal Grid fed by psychic mindlight.
But the Grid has been infiltrated by parasitic shadows that feed off the negative emotions of humans – an epidemic called “the madness.”
D’VINID, a dejected musician, is consumed by his personal problems. He meets Brigitte as she seeks to uncover the corruption in the Grid. Their magnetic attraction forces him to face his past and accept his future. He is among those born with a gene unlocking mystical powers once believed to be the birthright of all humans.
As Atlantis slowly drowns in the trap of hubris and self-indulgence, he is faced with the shocking realization that his life may be mirroring Atlantis itself – he must choose to awaken or face destruction.

  Music began. Atlantean classical music was designed to weave the delicate harmonies of nature and emulate frequencies from the universal spheres. It had evolved in modern times to a more primal reminder of human existence, with multi-layered rhythmic pulses as its basis. It had become popular at revelries to feature the dark, grooving textures of percussive instruments run through resonance amplifiers. The dance style to this tribal heartbeat music was an individualized expression of character and personal power.


D’Vinid, like all dabrina players, studied classical music. His unique musical contribution in his day was to run his instrument through the same resonance amplifiers to modulate universal frequencies. The ensuing melodic textures created a juxtaposition over the fierce pulsing rhythms. His legendary ingenuity had started a trend, and he was well known as the inventor of the fusion. He struggled with his vow to avoid the Watchers as he fiddled with the dabrina peg he now wore around his neck. They knew him all too well. His thirst to play for the gathering courtiers tugged at his every step. But if he played, he would willingly offer himself to Pan’s plan. The last thing he wanted was to be in Kyliron’s sights. His desire for this not to occur far outshone his desire to play music.


The garden had been set up with swirling lights and long, draping streamers to disorient revelers and give the feeling of walking in dreamsight. Reveries were a cultural mainstay all through Atlantean history. They believed it to be their birthright as humans to enjoy the pleasures of sensory perception, while reaching for the bliss of higher consciousness. They had found the best way to do this was through revelries. D’vinid wandered aimlessly, pacing through the gardens in unsettled thought. He lowered his head to avoid laughing courtiers as they chased through the garden pathways. He thought perhaps an elixir would soothe his torment. Just as he had the thought, the path emptied into a small patio where a mixologist had set up a portable case of tiny glass vials.


Some of the courtiers were relaxing on cushions around the woman’s tiny costumed form. She had a painted face which glowed in the twinkling lights, and an intricate, feathered head-dress. Her eyes landed directly on D’Vinid as he appeared on the patio. She gestured a delicate hand toward an empty cushion. The other courtiers gazed up at him with eager eyes and mimicked her gesture, urging him to join in their intoxication.


“What is your pleasure?” she asked in a sing-song voice. “Are you sad and lonely?” She waved her hand over the vials, pushing their tops gently to make a fragile chiming sound as their various glass shapes clinked together.

“Do you need me to slip you a feeling of sexual arousal? Are you longing to see the other side? Or perhaps you need some excitement and adrenalin!”


D’vinid carefully thought of his answer. Pan had the best elixir mixologists, and any feeling he wished to have, she would deliver. “I need to not care.”

Her expression darkened. “This is a specific feeling you ask for. You have many things haunting your thoughts. Do you wish to forget? I can give you temporary amnesia.”

One of the courtesans rubbed his thigh and leaned in to whisper in his ear. “Go for arousal. I will help you forget.” She giggled and fell back, landing in the arms of the man behind her, who caught her up in a greedy kiss.

MARA POWERS has been researching Atlantis avidly since she was a teenager.
Mara Powers is a true Gen X American nomad. She has managed to establish a life of travel, moving around all her favorite cities on a quest to chase the perfect weather. She discovered the myth of Atlantis at age 16, and has made it her life work to unravel the riddle. She studies both esoteric and secular theories, and incorporates them all in her stories. In a way, her Atlantis series is a dissertation on the knowledge and experience she has accumulated over almost 3 decades.
Also a social butterfly, Powers spent the early part of her career as an event manager. She has worked at resorts, on boats, restaurants, in the festival circuit, and underground clubs as a promoter of bands, performers and electronic music.
Her many travels have been incorporated into her work. For instance, her time spent as a denizen of Venice Beach is represented by the dog-town-style hover tricksters who have plagued the streets of Atlantis.

She loves hearing everyone’s past life memories of Atlantis. Shoot her an email with yours.


Release Blitz: The Italian by Beverly Preston

Photo: Scott Hoover
Cover model: Josh Kloss
Cover design: Caylee Rae Photography
Release Date: December 27, 2016


No ties.
No expectations.
No risks.

Antonio Giovanni, a fifth-generation winemaker in the rolling hills of Tuscany, is the epitome of temptation. Tall, dark, and handsome with an accent sexy enough to leave a trail of women’s panties in his wake. The man wears charisma like a fine silk suit…flawless and molded to perfection in all the right places, leaving just enough mystery to make you wonder what lies beneath the faultless exterior.

Hope Tidwell, a world-renowned sommelier, is a strong independent woman who fights to have control over every aspect of her life. She makes her own money, her own decisions, her own happiness, and her own mistakes. Her existence doesn’t need to be validated by a man; she refuses to ask for anything except an orgasm, and even those she can manage on her own.

Relationships for most people are as natural as breathing. However, Hope and Antonio are two players who master the art of seduction and the fear of emotional intimacy. When tragedy strikes close to her heart, Hope is fated to do the one thing that terrifies her most.

Destiny reveals the biggest gifts often require the greatest sacrifices.


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About the Author

Beverly Preston is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotionally rich and sinfully sexy stories about the ultimate alpha good guy; the kind of man you want to drag you to bed and put a ring on your finger. She also has a passion for strong, humorous, female characters and stories ingrained in a solid sense of family and loyalty.

She lives in Las Vegas with her husband, four kids, and two golden retrievers. If she’s not spinning richly emotional stories, you’ll find her on her spin bike.

Laugh, cry, and fall in love with The Mathews Family one Happily Ever After at a time.


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Book Tour: The Ghost In Exile by Jamie Marchant

The Ghost in Exile:
A Korthlundian Kronicle
by Jamie Marchant
Genre: Fantasy
The Ghost is going to hell. Not even the goddess can forgive his sins:
assassin, oath-breaker, traitor (an affair with the queen earned him
that title). No one can ever learn the princess is his daughter. To
keep this secret, he flees to the land that turned him from a simple
stable groom into an infamous killer.
His mission now? To find evildoers and take them to hell with him. But
when an impulsive act of heroism saddles him with a damsel who
refuses to be distressed, her resilience forces him to questions why
he really ran from his daughter.
*While The Ghost in Exile is related to the Kronicles of Korthlundia, it is not part of the series and can be read as a standalone!
The Ghost knelt at Ares’s feet, where the stench of blood was nearly overpowering. The altar was stained with it, and the bowl at the god’s feet was full from a fresh sacrifice. The power present in this place was undeniable—dark and forbidding, far from the peace and serenity in Sulis’s temples. But he was no longer worthy of Sulis’s blessing. The Ghost drew his dagger, held his left forearm over the sacrificial bowl, and sliced a new cut alongside his numerous scars. As he bled into the bowl, he felt the magic of the place coalesce around him. His blood sizzled as it hit the bowl, and the wound on his arm healed instantly, signaling that The Ghost truly belonged to the Saloynan god.

A door opened behind him, he stood and faced the high priest. Zotico was completely bald and looked no older than he had when The Ghost had first met him ten long years ago. He had small, beady eyes and a typical Saloynan narrow nose. “Pandaros! How wonderful!” the priest beamed, calling The Ghost a name he’d decided he must take up again. He could no longer be either “Ahearn” and “Darhour”; they were both dead. “Rumors said you were no longer among the living. Come in, come in.” Zotico gestured toward the doorway. “I can’t tell you how happy I am to see you.”

Zotico’s enthusiasm seemed excessive even for him. Warily, The Ghost followed Zotico down the corridor to the high priest’s office. It was large, the walls covered with instruments of war—swords, shields, battle axes, and plaques ornamented with what looked suspiciously like human ears. The ears were new. Zotico caught The Ghost looking at them and swept his hand over a plaque that contained five ears nailed side by side. “Do you like the new decor? Sacrifices, all of them. I had them moved from our private sanctuary so I could better remember the devotion demanded by the god I serve.”

Zotico may not appear to age, but his ghoulishness grew with each passing year. The Ghost carefully schooled his features to avoid betraying any sign of revulsion.

In the center of the office was a large desk with one chair behind it and two large, comfortable chairs facing it. Zotico gestured The Ghost into one of the facing chairs. The Ghost sat, and the high priest offered him a glass of oenomel, a sweet mixture of honey and wine. Zotico poured himself a glass from the same pitcher and sat behind the desk. “Pandaros, my friend. Why have you neglected your obligations to Ares?”

The Ghost waited for Zotico to take a sip of his drink, then took one of his own. It was cloying in its sweetness. “I’ve been distracted.”

Zotico smiled sadly. “A true tragedy. There’s no one better with a blade.” The priest mimed drawing a knife across his own throat. “I’ve had acolytes scouring the city more than once looking for you, but I gave up years ago when not the slightest sign of your whereabouts could be found. Tell me, my son, where have you been?”

“Away.” The Ghost had no intention of ever letting Zotico learn anything about Samantha, who was both his daughter and his queen. Because of his careful disguise, Zotico believed The Ghost was a Saloynan.

Zotico laughed. “Long have I wished for the power of Delphi to penetrate your secrets. Is there a person in the world who knows even half of them?” Zotico looked expectantly at him, but The Ghost didn’t answer. “I see my curiosity shall have to be contained. Ares is a harsh master and not attentive to trifles. Still, I can’t tell you how happy I am that you have now returned to his fold. His temple has truly felt your absence.”

The Ghost grunted, “Do you have a job for me?”

Zotico’s eyes gleamed. “Do I ever! I’d nearly despaired of finding a capable assassin, but your fortunate arrival proves that Ares will never fail those who serve his name.”

“Who do you want dead?”

“I think it would be best explained by the one in need of Ares’s assistance, but I assure you it is your sort of kill. May I tell the client you’ll meet?”

The Ghost nodded.

Zotico’s entire body relaxed. “Good, good. The client would prefer not to be seen here. I’ve an arrangement with the high priestess of Aphrodite. The two gods were lovers, after all. Enter the goddess’s temple tomorrow morning and choose the acolyte wearing the pendant of a vulture.” Zotico smiled broadly. “Pandaros, my friend, it is a great day for you to have returned.”

“You are not my friend.” The Ghost left with Zotico’s laughter ringing in his ears.

The Kronicles of Korthlundia
From early childhood, Jamie has been immersed in books. Her mother, an
avid reader, read to her, and her older sister filled her head with
fairy tales. Taking into consideration her love for literature and
the challenges of supporting herself as a writer, she pursued a Ph.D.
in American literature, which she received in 1998. She started
teaching writing and literature at Auburn University. But in doing
so, she put her true passion on the backburner and neglected her
muse. Then one day, in the midst of writing a piece of literary
criticism, she realized that what she wanted to be doing was writing
fantasy novels. Her muse thus revived, she began the book that was to
become The Goddess’s Choice. The second volume in the series, The
Soul Stone, will be released on June 25, 2015.
She lives in Auburn, Alabama, with her husband, son, and four cats, which
(or so she’s been told) officially makes her a cat lady. She still
teaches writing and literature at Auburn University. Her short
fiction has been published on Short-Story.Me, and my story was chosen
for inclusion in their annual anthology. It has also appeared in the
anthologies—Urban Fantasy (KY Story, 2013) and Of Dragon and Magic:
Tales of the Lost Worlds (Witty Bard Publishing, 2014)—The World of
Myth, A Writer’s Haven, and Bards & Sages.

Release Tour: The Forsaken Crown by Christina Ochs



The Forsaken Crown:

A Desolate Empire Prequel

by Christina Ochs

Genre: Epic Fantasy


Sonya is a disgraced mercenary with shattered ambitions. Kendryk is a young ruler in danger of being overthrown. An unlikely pair, they must learn to trust each other to survive the turmoil ahead. But with a corrupt regent, a disloyal aristocracy, and an army in their way, the future looks grim.

The Forsaken Crown, a prequel to The Desolate Empire Series, delivers thrilling battles, devious political intrigue and compelling characters. The Forsaken Crown combines the action and excitement of the Three Musketeers with the sweeping imagery of fantasy. Readers are calling this powerful series “an all-ages Game of Thrones.”

Check inside to find out how to get a free copy of Rise of the Storm, Book One in the Desolate Empire Series.

Sonya crept to the edge of the clearing until she had a clear view of the nearest fire. Only two men sat there.

“Go to bed,” she muttered under her breath, not wishing to kill them if she didn’t have to. According to her information, they belonged to Kolnikov’s unit, and he was the one she wanted.

The men didn’t move, their voices a low rumble, interspersed by the occasional laugh. The rest of the camp grew quiet and one after another, the fires died down. Only this one didn’t, and she needed to get past it.

The longer she waited, the more could go wrong.

“Kill one, grab the other,” she whispered to her troopers. “The live one will lead us to Kolnikov.”

Faber, her sergeant, raised his eyebrows then nodded in agreement.

Sonya dashed forward, her already bloody dagger at the ready. The men at the fire weren’t looking, had been staring into the flames too long to see well in the dark.

One man grunted as Faber ran him through. Sonya grabbed the other around the neck, spinning him to face away from her, her hand over his mouth, her dagger at his throat.

“Not a sound,” she whispered in Brianski. “Take us to Kolnikov, and I’ll let you live.”

The man nodded, even as he sagged against her. He was only a little bigger than she was, and didn’t struggle. Her troopers fanned out, making sure no one else was nearby.

“Let’s go,” she whispered to her captive, prodding him with her knee.

He took a few hesitant steps, then moved faster. Sonya kept pace, making sure her blade stayed against his neck. The camp was quiet, though not completely asleep.

“Anyone sees us, you die first,” Sonya murmured by way of encouraging him to take them along a quiet path.

And he did, past the backs of tents, along the goat pens, right into the middle of the camp.

Sonya found its size and order impressive, but then Briansk always had the best of everything. Finally, they reached a large tent near the center.

“Kolnikov?” Sonya asked, and the man nodded.

Faber slit the canvas with a long knife.

Sonya pushed through, the prisoner in front of her. A lamp burned on a desk and behind it, a man had sprung to his feet.

“Try anything and he dies,” she growled at him.

“I’m unarmed,” the man said, his voice surprisingly soft.

“What’s your name?” Sonya held her hostage even tighter.

“Igor Kolnikov, Major in the imperial army of Pyotr, our immortal—”

“Yes, yes,” Sonya snapped. “That’ll do. You must come with us,” she said in a rush, looking over her prize.

Kolnikov had been writing a letter, but dropped the quill at the incursion. His face was broad and pale, framed with curly dark hair, black eyes slightly slanted. He wore a white shirt open at the neck.

“Threatening that man is unnecessary.” Kolnikov sounded so calm Sonya wondered if he had some trick planned. “Please let him go.”

“Once you’re in our custody, maybe,” Sonya said. “Faber, bind his hands.”

“You’re making a big mistake,” Kolnikov said. “The war is over.”

“Hah,” Sonya said, her tone mirthless. “It was still on an hour ago when one of your patrols ran into ours.”

“All right then.” Kolnikov shrugged. “Take me back to your camp and I’ll prove it.”

Brianskis were well-known liars, but just in case Kolnikov was right, Sonya didn’t kill her original hostage. Instead, she had him bound hand and foot, and left in the major’s tent.

Even though Kolnikov’s bulk intimidated her, Sonya would never show it and grabbed him by the arm, just as she had the other man. But she was more cautious this time, sensing a barely restrained violence under Kolnikov’s genial tone. With his right arm wrenched behind his back, she laid her dagger flat against his collarbone, the tip touching his neck.

“I won’t make any sudden movements then,” Kolnikov said, humor in his voice. Without turning his head, his eyes slid in Sonya’s direction. “Your Brianski is good. Where did you learn it?”

“From years of fighting scum like you.” Sonya let the tip of the dagger poke into his skin. “Now shut up.” Not even over a friendly mug of ale would she tell him how she’d learned the language: she’d spent nearly two years in a Brianski prison, her superiors judging her too unimportant for a speedy exchange. That proof of her insignificance had rankled far more than the freezing conditions, insufficient food and brutish guards.

Sonya grabbed Kolnikov even more roughly, then shoved him out of the tents and back the way they’d come. “Go ahead, Tchernak,” she whispered at one of her troopers. “Make sure the way is still clear and that there are no new sentries.”

“There won’t be,” Kolnikov murmured, as Irena Tchernak disappeared into the darkness. “The guard won’t change for another hour.”

“Good for us, better for you,” Sonya hissed through her teeth, her senses back on high alert. The camp was even quieter now as her party slipped between the tents. At the edge, she stepped around the body of the man they’d killed, the campfire nothing but coals now.

“You shouldn’t have done that,” Kolnikov said, nodding at the body.

“Shut up,” Sonya whispered again, shoving him toward the trees.

Tchernak had rejoined them by now. “Coast is clear,” she murmured. “And no sign of that patrol either.”

Sonya breathed a little easier now. Their horses shouldn’t be far away.



Rise of the Storm (Book 1)


Valley of the Shadow (Book 2)


Hammer of the Gods (Book 3)


Winter of the Wolf (Book 4)



Christina Ochs is the author of historical fantasy series, The Desolate Empire, which is based upon the events of the Protestant Reformation and the Thirty Years War (1618-48). Many of her characters are also based on historical figures.

With degrees in history and business, Christina uses her writing to indulge her passion for reading and research. Publishing as an indie author provides an outlet for her entrepreneurial side and she is an avid supporter of fellow authors, both independent and traditionally published.

Christina lives in a semi truck full time, traveling the United States with her truck driver husband and two cats, Phoenix and Nashville.


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Book Tour: Wrapped Together by Annabeth Albert

 Title: Wrapped Together

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Pages: 127

Genre: Gay Fiction

Format: Ecopy 

In the bustling restaurants, shops, and cafés of Portland, Oregon, things really heat up for the hard-working men behind the scenes when the holidays come into town . . .

For a stationery store owner, the holidays are great for business. But for Hollis Alcott, Christmas reminds him of the tragic events of three years past, and the last thing he wants to do is take part in Portland’s over-abundance of festive cheer. But Sawyer Murphy, a hunky gift shop owner whose brother is married to Hollis’s sister, has made it his mission to pluck Hollis out of his holiday blues. And his plan is beginning to work. Wrapped in the warm glow of newfound passion, the former business rivals hit up Portland’s finest holiday traditions—and Hollis’s icy attitude begins to melt like snowflakes on his tongue. But he isn’t sure he can trust anyone with the only gift he has—his heart—without breaking it like an antique ornament. Unless he can find the courage to take a leap with the one lover he never expected . . .



Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.


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