Friday, December 15, 2017

Book of Gods

Check out this excerpt from Book of Gods, a sci-fi novel by Pamito Rao, exclusive to the Wrath and Ruin boxed set.

Fire blazed from the twigs and wood in the center of the pit, into the night, illuminating the trees and casting a dim light on all the men surrounding it.
Twelve men sat around the crackling flame with shock in their eyes and their hearts racing, as their favorite storyteller’s terrifying tales of the ghastly giant Gorgs grew darker and sinister. No one dared make a sound lest they disturb Eliah’s train of thoughts as he recounted his days in battle. Soundlessly, they sat listening to the knight reveal what had happened to the men in his village. Their liquor lay forgotten on to their sides as they leaned forward in excitement.
“…and then he brought his axe down on the villager’s head and split it in two!”
Gasps sounded around the fire as men shook their head at the fate of the villager.
“What a fool! Who would approach a Gorg in such manner?” screamed a guard in disgust. “He should have listened to you and stayed behind!”
Eliah nodded as the memories of the giant monsters and continued. “I hid behind the only barrel there was left. The Gorg pulled apart the villager’s hands and threw it into the fire like it was a piece of wood. Everyone else was afraid but I held onto my sword tighter, waiting for the right moment to strike.” He held his head high, marveling at the appreciative looks of his fellow knights. “Then, when that beast least expected it, I lunged towards it and speared my sword into its eye, taking away its life force.”
A round of applause filled the air. “Bravo!” shouted one. “Well done, son!” shouted another.
Eliah’s eyes twinkled with excitement and his heart soared in pride as his fellow knights bestowed appreciation of his bravery. This is what he lived for — recognition and honor. He smiled and laughed as a few clicked their liquor bottles with his and he drank to the happiness of his heart. Then, his gaze landed on Marcus.
Marcus was one of the men who had joined along with Eliah. He was a brave warrior who had slewn quite a few men in wars, but even he hadn’t stood a chance when a Gorg came charging at him. He would have died that day in battle if it wasn’t for some of the other knights who had distracted the Gorg away from him.
Marcus’s stern glare disturbed Eliah. It was almost as if he knew what really happened in battle that day. Ever since the battle, Marcus had stopped trusting Eliah. No matter how hard he tried, the man wasn’t impressed by Eliah’s achievements like the rest of the knights.
“How did ye manage to escape the other Gorgs?”
Eliah was surprised. It had been a while since Marcus had asked him a question directly. This was his chance to get back in Marcus’s good graces. Maybe now, Marcus would learn to trust him.
Eliah smirked. “I did not have to do anything. After I killed the first Gorg, the others simply ran away from me.”
“And how did ye kill the Gorg, can ye explain that to us again?”
Eliah clutched his pint tightly in an effort to remain calm. Why wouldn’t he just believe him like the others? Marcus was trying to bait him. It wouldn’t work.
“I already explained this to you. Did I not? I climbed a tree and waited for the Gorg to come closer. When he did, I jumped from the tree and ran the spear right through its eyes. Everyone knows it’s the eyes of a Gorg that hold its life force. Once he was down, the others were so scared they ran away from me.”
“You must have remained deadly silent,” Marcus seethed. “How else would the Gorg not have seen you?”
Eliah thought of something to say. Marcus was right. No one could get away from a Gorg’s sight. Tall as these giants from planet Zoharg were, they had a clear vision from the top. No one could get away from them unless they were hidden inside a barrel.
Before Eliah could come up with an answer, another knight spoke for him. “That’s enough Marcus,” said one. “The man has proved time and again that he is a savage warrior. He saved the king and all of us in that battle. The least you can do is give him some respect!”
“Ye,” said another irritated man from the crowd. “Don’t disturb Eliah while he is in the middle of his story! If you have any brave tales of your own, you will get your chance but first let him finish!”
Eliah breathed a sigh of relief. If the others had believed Marcus and asked him to explain how he went undetected from the Grog, he would be in deep trouble.
“After I finished stabbing the Gorg atleast fifty times, I saw Balthasar riding upto me,” continued Eliah. “‘You are a brave man, Eliah,’ he said. ‘I want you to join my royal guard.’ And since then I am sworn to the knights of Tireol and haven’t left since.”
As his story finished, all the men began clapping. “What bravery!” exclaimed a few. “Bravo,” said others patting his back. A few older men ruffled his hair. “You deserved it boy. Well done!”
As they all walked back to their posts, Eliah turned back to his. He tried to remember the events that occurred that day and remembered a much different story. His stomach constricted at the horrors he had seen and his hands trembled at what could have happened had the Gorg really seen him.
They did not need to know that before throwing the barrel at the Gorg, he had pissed himself and hid behind the mountain of dead villagers who were ripped apart by the Gorg. He did not tell them that when they approached his body, he acted dead himself stopping his breath for as long as he could. He didn’t tell them that it was King Balthsar who had killed that Gorg with his powers not Eliah.
He did not tell them that his sword was untainted and that he had never had the courage to kill a single Gorg. He had never killed anyone before. He was a coward but he needed the fame. He craved it and he couldn’t help himself while telling stories. People always seemed to like him better when he was the savior in his stories. He had even bagged a wife with his lies. Her parents had been overjoyed to give her hand in his. The dead weren’t there to speak now, were they? No one would find out the truth until the dead suddenly decided to wake up and tell the whole world he was lying.
Fate always worked for him, it had worked every time he went to war. He had never had the need to lift his sword. Someone would always kill for him and then die during battle. He was always the one left to tell the story. And boy, did he know how to tell a story! He thought maybe shame would take over him after making himself the hero of the stories but for some reason it never came. In his mind, he was the hero and in his mind, he would always remain the victor.
He had watched many villagers die at the hands of the Gorgs and he wished he would never see it again but here he was, along with the other knights, guarding the eastern forests. Somewhere, still deep within these forests, lived the only remaining Gorg. King Balthasar had banished the one remaining Gorg to live there as he couldn’t destroy it on his own.
Eliah still didn’t know why. Balthasar had immense powers but had retracted from killing this one. He could only assume that its powers were too great for the king himself. It was the only one which could take any form or shape. He had seen it with his own eyes.
Just the thought made him shiver.
His eyes drifted to the other knights who still shared his story with one another, believing every word he said. They looked towards him and nodded in a sign of respect. It was a rare moment, as he felt small. Like he had betrayed his men. He had stolen the stories from all those brave men who fought the Gorgs and died during the war. He had been left behind to tell the tales and he had woven them to suit himself.
As the night sky darkened, and stars littered the sky, the leaves in the trees of the eastern forest fluttered along with the approaching wind. The guards on the eastern entrance quickly took their positions and eyed the forest. The eastern forest divided the two lands, the kingdom of Tireol and the Tryll kingdom. The forest was initially used as one of the ways to travel between the two lands but king Balthasar surrounded it with barricades and made it a prison for all the monsters who could not be killed. He exiled many dark sages to these forests when he became the king of Myrth and continued to exile people into this. The last one was the Gorg.
The guards stood at their posts staring ahead, their backs to the eerie forest of the east. A scratching noise sounded in the woods and Eliah spun to see where it came from. The sound stopped. He studied the trees behind him, the leaves rustled against the gentle breeze. There was nothing out of the ordinary. Since the time he had spent here, he had never seen anything go past him from the forest except raccoons and hedgehogs. He turned his head back again and smirked. His own stories had gotten to him.
The scratching sounds came again from behind and he turned towards the one tree that rose taller than the others. He watched it for a while longer. Nothing moved on the tree. Even the leaves seemed to stay still. When his eyes adjusted a little more to the darkness, he felt he saw something move within the thicket of trees. Then there was a sound, like the howl of a wolf.
His hands shivered as he moved to draw his sword, his eyes darting between the swoosh of the trees and the moving shadows. The other soldiers were far away, no one near him. He looked around to find the soldiers. The soldier on his right was gone.

He spun to see if the other soldier was still at his post but he too had disappeared. The scratching sound came again, this time, much closer to him. The hair on his neck stood alert of a presence behind him. Sweat pooled on his forehead and he tightened his hold on his sword. His legs trembled as the growl came closer and closer. He turned slowly, praying to the Gods above to send him a savior like they always did. He couldn’t die. He had cheated death several times in the past. As he turned, a pair of dark green eyes blinked up at him from a distance and before he could understand what he was seeing, it bared its fangs and pounced.

If you enjoyed the excerpt and want to keep reading, preorder Wrath and Ruin for only $.99 and get Book of Gods along with 23 other sci-fi/fantasy books!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Since I Found You Cover Reveal!

SINCE I FOUND YOU, written under my pen name Ashelyn Drake, is coming February 6th! Have you started this series? If you haven't, you can grab book 1, IT WAS ALWAYS YOU for 99 cents! (Also on Kindle Unlimited!)


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Whitney Stillwater and Alex Wilkes are perfect strangers—until a potential story breaks, forcing them into each other’s lives.
When Alex finds himself on the brink of reporting a real news story, he jumps at the chance to track down the mysterious artist is who is painting murals under the moonlight. But while Whitney wants the exposure her murals are getting, she can’t let anyone find out she’s behind them or she’ll lose her job and wind up in jail. Neither intends to meet or to fall for each other. And their newfound relationship threatens to cost them both their careers. Will their jobs tear them apart in the end?

About IT WAS ALWAYS YOU (Book 1):
Aria Carmichael and Nate Dixon have the perfect friendship—completely ignoring the fact that they’ve been in love with each other for the better part of twelve years.

When a night filled with too many drinks lowers their inhibitions, they both question if they could take their relationship to a new level.
But a job opportunity threatens to put more than just physical distance between them. Will their romance end before it’s even truly begun?

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Monday Mishmash 12/11/17

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Editing  I'm working on a client edit this week
  2. Unseen Evil duology  I just got physical proofs for my ya paranormal duology coming out in 2018, and they are so gorgeous I can't stop looking at them. I can't wait to share these covers in a few months. (Yes, I'm working way ahead of schedule.)
  3. Christmas Shopping  I think I'm finally finished shopping. Every year, I start early, yet I'm still shopping so close to Christmas. I'm not sure how that happens.
  4. Tax Reform  I'm trying to figure out what the tax reform means for self-employed people filing under section C. This has the potential to really hurt authors if we can't deduct expenses. How will we advertise, pay for covers, pay for editing, etc.? :( 
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

Friday, December 8, 2017

Curse of the Ice Dragon

Check out this excerpt from Curse of the Ice Dragon, a sci-fi novel by Tara West, exclusive to the Wrath and Ruin boxed set.

Markus gasped as the old man’s eyes shot open. Deep within his sunken orbs, Markus thought he saw red. Dafuar’s incantations grew louder, until Markus could finally discern the lyrics of a poem.
“One fell shot from the bow
And many will know Madhea’s curse has descended
Omens will fall to family
And all the cruel hunter has befriended

For each life he claims
His kin suffers the same death by similar strand
For she will allow neither beast nor fowl
To be hunted by his hand

To the hunter who reaps his fill of kill
And nary none from need
Beware her beast who wakens to feast
On avarice and greed

Eyes that glow like burning coals
In the embers of demon’s fury
Breath so cold, Lydra freezes the souls
Of any at her mercy

Sad is the tale that is known so well
The hunter who slaughtered with pleasure
His heartless crime was recompensed
For discarding the forest’s treasure”
Once again the healer closed his eyes, and when they reopened he shook his head and blinked several times, acting as if he’d woken from a dream.
Markus remained standing, his feet like granite stones planted firmly on the ground. Fear had sent ice through his limbs and weighted his body to the spot. Had Dafuar really had some kind of vision? If the man’s intentions were to spook him, he’d clearly succeeded.

With clenched fists, he spoke through gritted teeth. “Your parables are not amusing.”

If you enjoyed the excerpt and want to keep reading, preorder Wrath and Ruin for only $.99 and get Curse of the Ice Dragon along with 23 other sci-fi/fantasy books!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Bond of Destiny and Dragons

Check out these excerpts from A Bond of Destiny and Dragons, a sci-fi novel by Karin Tomlinson, exclusive to the Wrath and Ruin boxed set.

Griana unlocked her fangs from her soldier’s throat and released him back into battle.
The clash of steel and the clatter of armoured wings proclaimed the collision of the two armies. The air rattled and magic exploded—the thunderous bursts drowned out the roar of battle between the warrior fae and the monsters of the Chaos realm.
Ruby red blood stained the snow. The new general of King Arjuno’s army inhaled the metallic stench. It filled Griana’s nostrils but, unlike many fae, she relished it.
At twenty-five, she was not old in fae terms. However, Griana had spent years orchestrating this moment—ever since the Goddess of Creation had taken an interest in the heir to the Avalonian throne.
With a sword in each hand, she ducked and spun underneath the clumsy attack of a rotting Dust Devil. With a swift strike, she embedded one blade in its abdomen before decapitating it with the other. As its body exploded into a cloud of black dust, she spun and sank one blade into the belly of the nearest fae warrior. Blood sprayed, his screams lost to the din of war.
Sacrificing her own kind was a small price to pay for earning her chance at immortality.
  • Excerpt 2.
“How could you do this, Griana? Kill your own kind? You are sworn to protect the monarchy and the people of this land,” the Avalonian king croaked.
“Oh please, I am protecting the monarchy—my own,” she drawled in reply.
“Please. Please don’t hurt my sons. They trust you…” he pleaded, the whites of his eyes visible.
A snake’s smile curled Griana’s lips. She cocked her head, listening to the sound of the ongoing battle. It raged somewhere through the trees, but it was not visible. The forest here was thick with firs and red-leafed Lyca trees. This was the perfect spot, especially as the canopy made it hard for aerial troops to see them on the ground. Indeed, it was going to be easy to hide the demise of this king from any of his loyal warriors.
“Oh, I know they do, your majesty. But don’t worry your royal head about them. At least one of them will survive. After all, I will need a king by my side—or at least in my bed,” she shrugged, “for a time.”
She prowled around the fallen monarch. Under her feet, the remains of Dust Devils mixed with the blood of the slain fae. Her boots squelched through the thick, mud-like mixture. Griana paid it no mind, focused entirely on the pleasure of this moment. Power surged through her blood, and she welcomed her magic.
Around her, most of the fae warriors looked on in horror, but some were utterly still, their eyes dark and stormy. There was nothing any of these fae warriors could do to defy her. Whether she had recently bitten them and injected them with her venom or enslaved them to her will months ago, they were all equally her slaves. Her will was theirs.
Griana completed circling her prey. Once again standing before the king, she made sure to remain out of his reach even though he was on his knees and bleeding heavily from several deep wounds. The fae king was an experienced and vicious fighter, and he knew he was about to die.
Which always makes people desperate, she reflected.
“Be pleased your bloodline will continue, my king. I will make sure that my child, your grandchild, will rule Avalonia long after you and your sons are gone,” she told him.
Using her mind, she bade two of the king’s guard to come forward. They obeyed. With fear and confusion in their eyes, they reached his side. One kicked the king’s wounded wing as the other pulled the king’s sword from his weak fingers.
Through the venom bond, Griana bid that warrior to discard the king’s blade, then both grasped their monarch’s arms, holding him in place.
Sheathing her own blade, Griana bent down and wrapped her gloved hands around the pommel of a rusty, blood-covered sword. Lifting it from the ground, she cocked her head and smiled.
Iron. A far more fitting blade for him to die by.

If you enjoyed the excerpt and want to keep reading, preorder Wrath and Ruin for only $.99 and get A Bond of Destiny and Dragons along with 23 other sci-fi/fantasy books!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Monday Mishmash 12/4/17

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Games We Play Cover  In case you missed it, the cover of Games We Play, book three in the Lies We Tell trilogy was revealed last week.
    Amazon: iBooks:
  2. Editing  I'm booked solid with client edits this month. 
  3. Drafting  Lately, I've been drafting here and there when I can grab some time between edits. I was hoping to finish another book before the end of the year, but with my editing schedule, that may not happen.
  4. My birthday  My birthday is on Friday. I'm never happy about getting older, mainly because my mental age doesn't match my physical age. I doubt it ever will. ;) 
  5. Replica Advance Reader Copies  If you are interested in receiving an advance reader copy of Replica, my sci-fi in the Wrath and Ruin boxed set, you can sign up here
That's it for me. What's on your mind today.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Replica Excerpt

Check out this excerpt from Replica, a sci-fi novel by Kelly Hashway, exclusive to the Wrath and Ruin boxed set.

Watching my dad stick a needle into a newborn baby never gets any easier, but it’s his job, and the rest of us are expected to silently observe as he and the other scientists of Theoria determine this child’s future. They only need a single drop of blood for their machine, which they’ve named Oculus because it sees what we can’t, but they take a full vial—for what I’m not sure. The baby’s cry pierces the air, making me cringe. I avert my eyes, and they find one of the Scientia Vincere Tenebras signs hung all over this place. “Science defeats darkness,” that’s our motto. Well, it’s the scientists’ motto anyway. Gabe squeezes my elbow and gives me a reassuring smile. He’s always there for me, but then again he has to be since he’s my match.
“Abigail Tennison,” Dad says as he drips the baby’s blood into the vial attached to the machine he wheeled out here on a cart. While he presses a few buttons on the control panel, another scientist, Emmitt Van Buren, etches Abigail’s name into the stone wall that surrounds our community. Her name will be up there on display like the rest of ours, for all to see.
No one speaks while we wait for the machine to spit out little Abby’s future. Who will she marry? What will she grow up to be? We’ll all know in a matter of seconds. Being Dad’s daughter, I have a front row seat to the ceremony, and I see the white screen flash with Abby’s future.
Dad smiles and turns to the crowd. His eyes fall on Abigail, who is back in the arms of her mother. “Abigail Tennison, future doctor and wife to Jared Simmons; mother of three.” Dad smiles like he couldn’t be more proud—of Abigail’s future or of the fact that he helped create this machine and our community.
If you ask me, he’s playing God. His eyes meet mine, and I do my best to force a smile. I’m supposed to be the supportive daughter, a model citizen. If anyone knew what I really thought of this community and our planned futures, Dad would probably lose his position and my whole family would be exiled. Sent back to live like the rest of the world. I wouldn’t mind, but I couldn’t do that to Mom and Dad. They’re happy, like everyone else here. Or as happy as any of us can be without free will. I wouldn’t mind following our society’s rules so much if it weren’t for one thing. We don’t really get to experience love.
Love is only for the people on the outside of these walls. Sure we can love our families, but true love—that feeling that makes your head spin and your gut feel like it’s turning flips—that doesn’t exist anymore, not since the scientists decided to meddle in everything and create this perfect society. I only know what love is from reading books Mom smuggled from her former life, the one she lived before she volunteered to be part of this experiment. I can’t help thinking Mom got her heart broken one too many times and decided a scientific match based on compatibility was the way to go. So at twenty-three, she signed herself up to have her blood tested and be paired with her “perfect match.” Nothing against my dad—he’s a great guy and all—but he’s one of the scientists who founded this place.
Mom’s lived here ever since and followed every rule. And while I’ve been here for seventeen years, I can’t say I’m one to play by the rules. I break them—often. I’m just smart about it and make sure I can’t get caught.
Dad and the rest of the scientists pack up the machine, along with the vile containing the rest of the blood Dad took from Abigail, and walk back inside the lab. Just like that, the ceremony is over. Most of the crowd hangs around to congratulate Abby’s mother on the future chosen for her baby. I lose Gabe somewhere in the mass of people and walk over to my place on the wall.
Emily Saunders, future educator and wife to Gabe Wilson; mother of two.
I bend down and pick up a rock by my foot, squeezing it in my hand until a sharp edge pierces my skin. Opening my palm, I see a small trickle of red. Something about my blood angers me, and I launch the rock at my name on the wall.
“Ouch. I think you hit my name that time.” Gabe bumps his shoulder into mine and smiles. “Dreading the day you have to say ‘I do’ to me already?”

I don’t take my eyes off the wall. It’s like a train wreck I can’t look away from. All our names and futures are chiseled into it for everyone to see, reminding us that our decisions aren’t our own. I remember reading that even the gods couldn’t mess with free will. I guess our government is above the gods, because they’ve sure taken every ounce of free will away from us.

If you enjoyed the excerpt and want to keep reading, preorder Wrath and Ruin for only $.99 and get Replica along with 23 other sci-fi/fantasy books!