Thursday, February 28, 2013

Joanna Fay

Book 2 of The Siaris Quartet

Immortal love was never meant to be broken, but the road to restoring it is beyond imagining.

The world of Siaris has been thrown into chaos.  Xereth, still reeling from the loss of his children, has bided his time and waited years for the perfect time to exact revenge.  That time is drawing near.  Little does Xereth know, he’ll have unsolicited help along the way.

Long-dormant prejudices have surfaced among the humans and elden of Siaris, and they are turning their hate toward their Guardian protectors. Neither visions nor spell-craft can predict the mutiny being prepared in their protectorate, and when a human and Guardian fall in love the rule banning their marriage only ignites the drive to retaliate.

In the world Riana and her Guardian family protect, war has broken out, led by the man who once loved her, now Lord of the Shadow Realm. The old rules are crumbling, the spells engraved in the Guardians’ bones are breaking down.  Will Siaris and its Guardians survive the changes?


Strength coursed through Riana’s body as if a river had been unleashed, driving her into a sprint. She hurtled down the dark hallway, swiveling an image of the fortress around in her mind’s vision. Locking onto her position, she took an ascending passage.
She ran hard. Mottled folds of cloth whipped around her ankles. The fortress’s black walls pressed in close, dank and smothering. Her footsteps were muffled, all sounds eaten in the gloom. Her bare feet stung where they met the fierce cold of the floor. She veered around a twist in the corridor and rocked back on her heels. Eyes gleamed in front of her, colder than the stone beneath her feet.


The voice slid like ice through her head. No mercy lit Maegren’s features, no hint of the knowledge she’d seen. Torchlight licked at the hem of his cloak, sent a chill line down his black feathers.

Riana forced down panic. “Maegren, let me go.”

She held herself still, but a betraying tremor touched her words. He laughed. Backing away, Riana spun about and slipped into a narrow opening to her left. She fled down a pitted slope into deeper blackness lit only by her fractured halo.

She ran until the breath caught in her lungs, until her feet began to slow. The strength she’d built was sapping from her limbs, draining from fractures in her spellsheen.

I can’t escape.

Every turn and kink in the line of the path was drawing her further into the fortress. The dark communal will at its centre closed in fast, tightening the noose. The soft mutters of the gods gnawed at the edges of her mind. Ancient decay cloyed in her nostrils. She lurched to a halt.

Impossibly, Maegren stood before her again. A vindictive smile curled his lips as he swept a low bow. The black hair framing his face swung in glittering sheets. Catching a faint blue glow at the periphery of her vision, terror knifed through Riana and sent pinpricks though her limbs. She glanced back over her shoulder, searching the darkness. In the corner of her eye, an indigo form closed in on her with predator stealth.

“Xereth,” she whispered.

Her cousin’s blue eyes narrowed, transfixing her.


Run to ground like a wild thing.

Sensing something else, unbelieving, she looked down. Low in her belly a point of light welled. New cells sparkled where an egg snuggled in the wall of her womb. She gasped and put a trembling hand to her body. Maegren’s suppressed sound of shock caught her ear. Reacting to Xereth’s presence, she shielded her sudden awareness with all the power she could muster. The white glow in Maegren’s eyes dulled. Weakness crept up Riana’s legs as a picture formed in front of her. She sank to her knees, oblivious to the icy bite of the floor beneath her hand. Before her stood a little boy, quite calm, his eyes shining. He held a hand out to her, one cheek dimpling.

“Mother, it will be all right.”

Buy Links:

Musa Publishing
Barnes & Noble

Author Bio:
Joanna Fay lives in the Perth Hills of Western Australia with her teenage son and a menagerie of small pets. She writes fantasy novels and short stories, works as a therapist, meditates and keeps an eye on the sky for unidentified flying objects. Her poems and short stories have won awards and been published in Australia, the UK and the USA.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Holley Trent

There’s this bit in my new release Her Resident Jester where my protagonist, Shane, waxes poetic about her identity:
I’d almost forgotten about that ultrasound. I didn’t generally volunteer for medical studies, but one of my coworkers’ kids was on the investigative team and I got strong-armed into it because I’m from an underrepresented ethnic group. That is to say no particular ethnic group. I’m more mixed up than Vin Diesel, but far less coy about it. I leave that to Marcia. She’s really uptight about that sh*t.
Shane and Marcia are sisters (you’ll meet Marcia formally in April in Love by Premonition), and constituents of the Great American Melting Pot. They can’t simply itemize what they are, because at some point in the family tree the colors blur. They’re sort of a lot of things and nothing in particular. Shane’s fine with that. She’s okay with her ambiguity and having people ask her about it. Culturally, she’s North Carolinian, Southern, and American. Marcia is far more sensitive about her perceived identity. She’s not self-hating, exactly, but as a lapsed physicist, she sort of likes being able to put things into neat little boxes. So, when people question her on what she is (and isn’t), she dances around the subject and deflects. It’s not easy for her to answer, and she doesn’t like other people guessing about it, either. She could hedge and say “I’m black,” but she isn’t. Bi-racial wouldn’t be accurate, either. Tri-racial would work, but it’d be imprecise. Shane doesn’t mind imprecision so much, but it makes Marcia twitchy. I made this a “thing” with Marcia because I think people should sometimes come in shades of gray (even if they don’t have cool names for themselves like Cablinasian)…and I think sometimes they should be sensitive about not having a tidy label. Although I identify very well with characters like Shane and Marcia (good luck trying to itemize all my components), they make requesting cover art extremely tedious. I could spend an hour scanning through stock art depositories looking for models who are suitably ambiguous and only come up with one or two.

For Her Resident Jester, we stepped around that casting issue and put the hot doctor Derek on the cover instead of Shane or a couple. (Isn’t he pretty?) We’ll see what happens with Marcia’s story.

Here’s the gist of Her Resident Jester:
Marketing executive Shane Andrews’s reluctant participation in a research study leads to the stunning discovery she needs immediate surgery. Out of sorts, and in a moment of spectacular tactlessness, she insults a man wearing a red rubber nose and big floppy shoes. He turns out to be Derek Palmer: Edenton’s hottest young surgeon…and the resident observing her operation. With her body and pride both on the mend, Shane hides out to prevent further humiliation. She can’t avoid the gorgeous clown too long, however. Edenton is a small town, and Derek isn’t content with letting her wallow. What kind of clown would he be if he did?  

Her Resident Jester is available for purchase in most major eBook formats at the Musa store and also at third-party retailers like Amazon and All Romance eBooks.

 To learn more about Holley Trent, visit her website or watch her navel gaze on Twitter.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Liz DeJesus

Enjoy an excerpt from First Frost, a young adult novel by Liz DeJesus

Mother and daughter looked into each other’s eyes for a brief moment. She felt ready to fight alongside her mother and actually be of some assistance. Bianca wanted to argue with Rose, but instead she reluctantly obeyed and went upstairs. She made it as far as the top of the steps.
“Come out, you coward!” Lenore shouted.
If there was one thing Bianca knew for sure, it was that her mother would never, ever back out of a fight. She slowly inched her way down the stairs. Rose stepped out of the house and was far away from the safety of her wards. Bianca tried to call as little attention to herself as humanly possible. She duck-walked across the living room until she was directly underneath the broken window. She peeked every now and then to watch her mother in action.
“Where’s the book?” Lenore asked.
“Where is my husband?” Rose demanded.
“How about we make a trade? Your husband for the book,” Lenore said.
Rose remained silent. Bianca knew that somewhere in her mother’s mind she was seriously considering trading whatever book Lenore was talking about for her father.
“You’re not getting anywhere near that book,” Rose replied.
Lenore snarled and contorted her face in anger as she created a fireball and threw it at Rose.
She created a wall of water around her, and the fireball vanished with a hiss. She then used the water that surrounded her and attacked her adversary.
Lenore used an ice spell and froze the water, and caused it to crash all around her with soft clinks.
“You have to learn to control your brat. I can smell her better now that she’s downstairs,” Lenore said and then cackled.
“You shut your filthy mouth about my daughter,” Rose shouted.
“Want to come out and play, little one?” Lenore taunted.
“Bianca! Stay inside the house. Do you hear me?!”
“Mom, let me help,” Bianca pleaded.
“You do as I say!” Rose snapped.
Bianca’s heart skipped a beat as she ducked underneath the window. She knew she was safe inside the house because of the wards. Bianca risked a peek at the battle, and the witches were fighting viciously. They were both putting everything they had into their spells and doing everything in their power to destroy each other.
Lenore had Rose trapped in a small tornado. Bianca could see her bright red hair whipping in every direction imaginable as her mother struggled to counter the spell. It was enough time for the dark witch to reach in and take something out of her pocket. Lenore pulled out a tiny glass vial and drank a black potion that swam inside the container.
What is that?
Lenore flashed her sharp yellowed teeth at Bianca and then turned her attention to Rose. Bianca turned her gaze to her mother and saw that she had finally countered Lenore’s tornado spell. Lenore took a deep breath and then blew black fire at Rose. The dark flames took on the shape of a sinister dragon.
Bianca gasped; she had never seen anything so menacing in her life. The dragon’s yellow eyes zeroed in on Rose. It chuckled as it looked upon her. It launched itself at her mother and wrapped itself around her body. The dragon pried Rose’s mouth open and shoved its clawed hand down her throat.
“No!” Bianca shouted. The blood in her veins froze, her stomach dropped, and her heart leaped to her throat. She watched in horror as her mother did everything she could to fight off Lenore’s monster…and failed.
“Mom!” Bianca dashed to the front door and stopped herself from running into the front yard.
Lenore had kicked Rose in the stomach and grabbed a fistful of her red hair. The smoke dragon took away Rose’s voice. She was now mute. She looked like a fish out of water as she tried to cast a counter spell, but it was no use. The damage had been done. Her mother had lost her voice and the battle. Rose turned her green eyes to Bianca.
“There, now we can have a little chat…no interruptions. Come on out here and sit with me a while,” Lenore said. The false saccharine in her voice was obvious.
Rose shook her head violently. Bianca knew what her mother wanted her to do. She wasn’t sure she could obey Rose’s request to stay inside the house now that she was in danger of losing her life.
I can’t just sit here and do nothing. God…what do I do? What do I do?
“Come here!” Lenore roared as her face contorted with rage, making her look uglier and older than she actually was. Lenore yanked on Rose’s hair so hard she opened her mouth as though she were screaming…except no sound came out of her lips.

© Liz DeJesus 2012

Purchase First Frost here:
Barnes and Noble
Musa Publishing

Author website of Liz DeJesus 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Vonnie Hughes

LETHAL REFUGE, a spine-tingling suspense book by Vonnie Hughes, is set in seldom seen New Zealand. The story gripped and held me because Hughes expertly wove fear throughout while adding twists and just enough reality to make the story plausible. LETHAL REFUGE is a book I believe you all will enjoy. It left me afraid to turn the lights off.  

Print ISBN 1-60154-996-2
The Wild Rose Press 

Who can you trust if you can’t trust your own mother? Through the clammy fog, Celie Francis hears the chilling message. “I know who you are, Celie. I know where you live.” And in the terrifying aftermath she reconnects with her dysfunctional family in ways she had never imagined.  

Abused and abandoned as a child, Célie Francis knows better than to trust anyone. But after she witnesses a murder, she's placed in the Unit "New Zealand's witness protection program" where she's expected to trust strangers with her life.
It's psychologist Brand Turner's job to ease witnesses into their new identities, not to protect them, but Célie stirs feelings in him that are far from professional. When it appears someone is leaking critical information that could endanger Célie, Brand will do anything to protect her. But first he has to convince her to trust him.
Adrift in a frightening world, Célie would like to believe the handsome psychologist is everything he seems, but as witnesses are murdered and danger swirls around them, Célie must decide "can she trust Brand with her life?  

Célie Francis ran faster than she ever had in her life. Fingers of fog rolling in from the sea grabbed at her as her feet alternately flew and stuttered over the uneven pavement of the ocean road.
Where was he? How much time did she have?
The wash of the sea was a calm counterpoint to her harsh, frantic breathing. Above the sound of her thudding feet, the shriek of a bird pierced the air.
No, not a bird. Something was squeaking. Occy’s old bicycle.
He had found her.
Faster, Célie, faster, shouted the little man on the treadmill in her mind.  
I can’t, she sobbed.
Fancy the consequences?
No God, no!
Then run faster.
But her aching legs could not obey. And on the roadway the relentless squeak, squeak kept pace with her.
Frantically she zigzagged, seeking a haven in the fog. It was barely dawn on the lonely North Auckland cliffs above the Pacific Ocean. No help anywhere.
Have to hide. Have to hide. Her shoes slapped a rhythm.
Salty sweat stung her eyes. Ignore it.
The slap of her running shoes echoed then died in the mist. Died...
Her brain, tumbling in an endless whirl of fear and futile questions asked—-why Occy? Why had he killed a man this time?
Up ahead loomed a deep grey cloud of mist. Thank you, God. She blasted into the fog bank and the squeaking receded behind her. This is your chance, the little man said.
Veering off the sidewalk, she streaked across a pristine lawn and crouched behind a lavender bush. Her chest heaving, she struggled to gulp another breath of sodden air.
Squeeeak. He was back. This was it. Eyes streaming, she curled into a ball on the cold ground and waited.
Something yellow zinged past her face and tickled her arm. A needle-sharp sting pierced her elbow, then another. Bees, irritated by her invasion, were trying to drive her out. No you won’t. What’s out there is a lot worse than what you can do, bees. As the pinpricks tingled and burned, she pressed her lips together so hard that the muscles on the side of her face ached. Louder now, the squeaking advanced and receded. He was casting up and down, looking for her. Please, please...
A sibilant whisper reached her through the clammy fog. “I know who you are, Célie. I know where you live.”

Available in both paperback and e-book from:  
The Wild Rose Press

Learn more about Vonnie Hughes on her website and blog.
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