At Water’s Edge by S. McPherson: Author Interview

At Water’s Edge by S. McPherson:

S. McPhersonPublisher: by S. McPherson Books (November 10,  2015)
Category: Romance/Fantasy
Tour Dates: October/November, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-993360503
Available in: Print & ebook,  347 Pages

‘At Water’s Edge’, tells the tale of two lovers trapped in two different worlds. One world is Earth, and the other is Coldivor; a dimension full of magic and danger. When Dezaray Storm is mistaken for th
e most powerful sorceress of this other realm her life changes forever. She finds love in the arms of Milo Thor, but this love can also lead to her death and the destruction of seven empires.

‘At Water’s Edge’ is book one in the ‘Water Rushes’ series.

Tell us about this story.

At Water’s Edge tells the tale of Dezaray, a seventeen-year-old girl in England who falls in love with an eighteen-year-old boy from another world. A case of mistaken identity, lost portals and battling empires leads to an adventure between worlds, centred around love, loss and magic.

Dezaray; under the questionable care of her brother finds herself having visions of a boy she has never met – Milo, a teenager from another world with the ability to teleport. One night, when on the run for her life, Dezaray comes across a portal and when mistaken for the most powerful sorceress of this other land, she is pulled through it and immersed in a world of magic and empires, meeting the man of her dreams…literally.

But Dezaray cannot stay in this realm and as this other world, Coldivor, descends into war, in desperate need of their true sorceress, Dezaray realises that her journey into Coldivor will end in one of two ways; with her return or with her demise. But what about Milo?

They say love can cross oceans but can it cross worlds?

What’s your idea of perfect happiness? I think happiness is when you are one hundred percent comfortable in your own skin. When you still strive for more, making every day an exciting adventure but knowing deep down that there is nothing missing from your life, even if on paper it looks like there is.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? I think the lowest depth of misery is when you truly cannot see anything positive in yourself. When you actually manage to convince yourself that you are worthless. The brain is a powerful tool and we have to be careful with the ideas we let it build.

Why do you write? Because the places I long to see, the people I long to meet and the adventures I would love to embark on, for now only exist in my mind; unclear and disarrayed. Writing allows me to experience them. I delve in to every detail and just for a moment, I find magic at my fingertips.

What is your motto? If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got. Although now I’m also really trying to live by the words of J.D. Rockefeller. ‘Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.’

Who’s your favorite writer?

I will always bow down for the infamous Shakespeare with his wonderful way of turning a phrase and his delightful yet traumatic tales of love and woe however, (yes, however) J.K. Rowling definitely stole my heart with the brilliant Harry Potter series. I do love, love but it seems I love magic just as much…although perhaps they are one in the same. The desire to combine my two favourites; epic love with illustrious magic is actually what lead to ‘At Water’s Edge’, where the love story is just about the two characters and where the magic is so much more- stories unto their own mingled into one.

Praise for Chapters One-Three of ‘At Water’s Edge’ by S. McPherson:

“Loved the teaser! It pulled me in and made me want to read more. Your writing style is clean, uncluttered and brimming with tension. Well done!”

“You got a lovely and interesting story,  hope to read more from you.”

“I liked it a lot! While I was reading it, I was able to be drawn into the story easily by your words. A stormy night like you were describing sets the perfect scene for a suspenseful fantasy novel.”

“I really enjoyed reading your first chapter. It was gripping. The descriptions are well written.”

About S. McPherson:S. McPerson

S. McPherson is a young British expat living in Dubai and working as a Foundation Stage 1 (FS1) teacher. When she was younger S. McPherson travelled a lot with her family, though, no matter how often her surroundings changed, one thing never did. And this was her love of writing and dreaming up the impossible. After combining her two loves of teaching children and writing, S. McPherson self-published her first book; a rhyming verse children’s story titled ‘Shania Streep wanted to Sleep’. Thus fuelling her love of seeing her work in print and sharing her stories. This is S. McPherson’s first novel.

Website: http://www.smcphersonbooks.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Smcphersonbooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SMcphersonBooks
P
interest: https://www.pinterest.com/smcphersonbooks/
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/smcphersonbooks

Follow the ‘At Water’s Edge’ by S. McPherson Tour:

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Tome Tender Oct 13 Review & Giveaway

Binding Addiction Oct 15 Excerpt

Father, Writer, Logistical Wizard Oct 19 Review

Bookishly Me Oct 20 Review & Interview

Buffy’s Ramblings Oct 21 Review & Excerpt

Rockin’ Book Reviews Oct 22 Review & Excerpt

Pomegranate Radio Oct 23 Review

Books, Authors, Blogs Oct 26 Review

What U Talking Bout Willis? Oct 27 Guest post & Excerpt

Books, Books, & More Books Oct 29 Review

The Writing Desk Oct 30 Guest Post

Little Read Riding Hood Nov 2 Review, Excerpt  & Giveaway

Happy Tails and Tales Nov 4 Review & Giveaway

I Can Has Books? Nov 10 Review

Deal Sharing Aunt Nov 11 Review

Avenue Books Nov 12 Interview

Ashley’s Bookshelf Nov 18 Review

Alpha Book Club Nov 23 Spotlight

Teatime and Books Nov 24 Interview

A Room Without Books is Empty Nov 25 Review

Self-Taught Cook Nov 27 Excerpt

Universal Creativity Inc. Nov 30  Interview

S. McPherson

Love in the Time of Murder by D.E. Haggerty: Book Blitz

Cozy Mystery
Date Published: October 5, 2015

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In Love in the Time of Murder, the Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives face their toughest case yet. Delilah, or Dee as she wishes everyone would just call her already, is the granddaughter of one of the knitting detectives and her life is in a bit of a shambles. She finally manages to pry herself away from her husband’s clutches, move out on her own, and start her own business. But then her estranged husband is found dead and she’s the number one suspect. The Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives aren’t about to let one of their own get sent to the slammer and jump at the chance to search for the true killer. As if Dee doesn’t have enough problems, the knitting detectives decide that Delilah being a widow is the perfect opportunity to find her a new man and decide to put their matchmaking skills to use. Will Dee end up in prison for a murder she didn’t commit or will she be taking another walk down the aisle?
TEASERS
Everyone stops talking when I enter the kitchen. Oh great a confrontation. I do so love confrontations; especially when I’m dressed in sleep shorts and a tank top with no bra. It gives me no end of confidence to confront people with my boobs hanging out.
“You can hit Noel if it makes you feel better,” Izzy offers and Noel just shakes his head at her.
I have no idea if she’s serious or not. “Um no, I don’t believe in violence.” Obviously.
“Pick me. Pick me!” Jack shouts as jumps up and down with his hand raised in the air. “I would love to get my hands on Noel,” he says in a provocative voice and winks outrageously. I can’t help but laugh. Damien reaches over and smacks his hand down. “Behave or I’ll throw out your secret Ben & Jerry’s stash.”
“The grandmas scare you? They’re a bunch of old ladies that go to church and knit together. What’s scary about that?”
Tommy shakes his head. “You have no idea what they’re capable of.” I shrug. Is he serious? “They put ex-lax in the brownies at church!”
I don’t like the way Tommy’s acting like a caveman, telling me I’m going to dance with him. And I really, really don’t like the way my hand tingles where he touches it and my belly warms as he pulls me to the dance floor.
Jack shakes his head at me. “You don’t know me yet but know this – I don’t lie. If I didn’t think you were beautiful, I’d be talking about your clothes. Which are atrocious by the way. You do know we have an employee discount, right?”
The detective shakes my kindle. “Why are you obsessed with true crime novels, Mrs. Clark?”
I snort. “I also read shifter romance novels, but I’m pretty sure I’m not a werewolf.” And with that, I’m done. “Am I under arrest?”
“Shoot! I’m going to fry for Brock’s murder.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Damien speaks for the first time. “They don’t use the electric chair in Oklahoma. It’s lethal injection.”
“Oh my gosh, this place is fancy,” gushes Martha as we walk in. She notices a few women working at desks behind the glass wall separating the waiting room from the main work floor. “Do you think there are any single gals working here? Bobby needs a wife.” Her eyes zoom in on the receptionist and she marches right on over to her. “Hi! I’m Martha. I’m a matchmaker. Are you single?”
The bouncer shakes his head. “Um no, I can’t let you in.” He points to Grandma and her posse. “They are instant boner killers. Not good for business, man.”
Betty huffs. “You’re going to let in two gay men but not us?”
He shrugs. “I don’t care if the gay dudes want to make a stripper sandwich. But the customers are going to run out of here like their asses are on fire the second this AARP bus arrives.”
About the Author
I was born and raised in Wisconsin, but think I’m a European (and have the EU passport to prove it!). After spending my senior year of high school in Germany, I developed a bad case of wanderlust that is yet to be cured. My flying Dutch husband and I have lived in Ohio, Virginia, the Netherlands, Germany and now Istanbul. We still haven’t decided if we want to settle down somewhere – let alone where. I’m leaning towards somewhere I can learn to surf even though the hubby thinks that’s a less than sound way to decide where to live. Although I’ve been a military policewoman, a commercial lawyer, and a B&B owner, I think with writing I may have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. That’s assuming I ever grow up, of course. Between playing tennis, running much slower than I would like, trying to adopt every stray dog within a 5-mile radius, traveling to exotic new locales, singing off tune, drinking entirely too many adult beverages, addictively watching new movies and reading books like they are going out of style, I write articles for a local expat magazine and various websites, review other indie authors’ books, write a blog about whatever comes to mind and am working on my seventh book.
Contact Links
Email: dena@dehaggerty.com
Buy Links
Giveaway
$15 Amazon gift card
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Author Interview: Tillie’s Tale by Mindy Mymodes

Genre: Middle Grade | Urban Fantasy



Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Release Date: March 24, 2015
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Description:

Who is the mysterious ghosty haunting puppygirl Tillie? And why? George, the magical basset hound familiar is on the trail. 

Tell us about this story. George, the magical basset hound returns and is on the trail of the mysterious ghosty haunting his Packmate, Tillie. During his investigation he discovers forgotten Peep history.

What living person do you most admire? This is going to sound sappy, but my brilliant husband. He not only holds a full time job, but he takes care of me, and the dogs, and visits his elderly mom every other week. He’s my miracle.

What is your most prized possession? The trophies my dogs have won over the years. They represent teamwork at high levels, trust, and training.

Who is your favorite fictional character of all time? Oh my goodness! Too many. They change with every new book or show. Maybe Bugs Bunny for sheer attitude.

What’s your idea of perfect happiness? Being in my garden, working, with my husband and dogs nearby. Usually not with the Freaky Beak, my youngest springer, sticking her Beak into everything, and trying to help.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d like to be better saving money. Dog competition=Money

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Concentrating too hard on my disability. It’s a chronic pain issue I try to ignore.

Why do you write? I was at the coffee shop puttering with something about my dogs on the computer. An obviously magical basset hound (no one else could see him) stuck his nose in my face and insisted I write his story. He’d dictate it, I’d enter it, since he didn’t have fingers. So a series was born. Unfortunately, he’s overweight and lazy, so the short books take a long time.


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Author Bio: I’ve worked in a hazardous waste lab, where under the sign for the Right To Know law, was added: if you can figure it out. I’ve been a metals tech, a bakery clerk, a professional gardener, and taught human anatomy and ran two university greenhouses. Along the way I picked up my Master’s Degree in Biology, specializing in the population genetics of an endangered plant. I’ve also been a top breeder, handler, and trainer of English springer spaniels under the prefix of Muddy Paws. We three in the equivalent of the National Club’s (ESSFTA) hall of fame. Every time I think I know dogs, another dog comes along and proves my beliefs are totally wrong. The truth is, the Muddy Paws Pack walk all over me.Author Links – 

Website http://mindymymudes.weebly.com

Blog: http://mindymymudes.weebly.com/blog

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Mindy-Mymudes/486126501426333

Twitter: @GeorgeBasset

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6702514.Mindy_Mymudes

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Mindy-Mymudes/e/B00H9LFMR4

Tweet: RT to enter to win an #ebook of George Knows or an #Amazon gift card from @GeorgeBasset #vbtcafetours http://ctt.ec/lcHzM+
Giveaway Entries: To enter this giveaway, click the bird above & Tweet about the giveaway, or click on share by Tweet on this post. Your Tweet MUST contain the following to enter – #vbtcafetours & @GeorgeBasset. Good luck!
All prizes courtesy of author, Mindy Mymudes.

Book Blurb: The Blue Dragon by Yiola Damianou-Papadopoulou

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The Blue Dragon

by Yiola Damianou-Papadopoulou

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GENRE: YA/ Middle Grade Fiction

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BLURB:

The Blue Dragon describes the terror of the catastrophic tsunami that hit Sri Lanka in December 2004. The novel focuses on a group of children—Hanseni, and her siblings Awade and Manori, and their friend Nishian—their individual experiences, and how they managed to pull through this horrendous event.

Overcoming their fears the children struggle against the forces of nature, fighting against the odds to save themselves and their friends. Their stories portray courage and hope, and demonstrate the inner strength and determination that exists in the human spirit when faced with an unforgiving natural disaster. This emotive and heartfelt story shows how even, in the most terrifying of circumstances, the will to live triumphs.

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Excerpt:

Chapter 1: “Mangona Village, Southern Sri Lanka

“I’ll go there too someday,” Hanseni murmured to herself, as she played with the pure white pebbles at the sea’s edge. She always picked this spot to play as she could look across to the other side. The house with the red windows high up on the hill occupied her thoughts. Schools in Sri Lanka were closed for the Christmas holidays, but the tutorial center never closed. The house on the hill was a school for foreign languages. Earlier that day she had seen the children making their way uphill. If only she could go too. In her mind, foreign languages were a passport: she could fly away, travel, see the world… Her eyes plunged into the azure sea and set sail for unknown lands.

 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Yiola Damianou-Papadopoulou was born in Nicosia and spent her childhood in the Congo and Nigeria. She studied Journalism in Athens and has worked with a number of radio stations, magazines and newspapers in Cyprus. She has published short stories for adults as well as novels. She has also written children’s and young adult fiction.

Excerpt: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Blue-Dragon-ebook/dp/B00BC6S6AW/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1360753618&sr=8-6

Please link to Publisher Twitter:                @wattlepub

Publisher Facebook:                                       https://www.facebook.com/WattlePublishing?sk=app_190322544333196

Publisher website: http://www.wattlepublishing.com

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Guest Post: Blessed Are Those Who Mourn by Kristi Belcamino

blessed mourn

Mystery / Detective
Date Published: September 29, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollinsPublishers
 
 

San Francisco Bay Area reporter Gabriella Giovanni has finally got it all together: a devoted and loving boyfriend, Detective Sean Donovan; a beautiful little girl with him; and her dream job as the cops’ reporter for the Bay Herald. But her success has been hard-won and has left her with debilitating paranoia. When a string of young co-eds starts to show up dead with suspicious Biblical verses left on their bodies—the same verses that the man she suspects kidnapped and murdered her sister twenty years ago had sent to her—she begins to question if the killer is trying to send her a message.

It is not until evil strikes Gabriella’s own family that her worst fears are confirmed. As the clock begins to tick, every passing hour means the difference between life and death to those Gabriella loves…

***

Chapter 1

Saturday

The setting sun turns my family into dark silhouettes as I step onto the warm sand. The beach is nearly deserted, except for a lone figure walking north of us along the sand where the waves are crashing in from the Pacific Ocean.

A cool breeze makes me glad I trekked to the car to retrieve my daughter’s little lavender parka. We promised her we’d stay until the sun set.

Donovan’s back is turned, phone held to his ear. He’s pacing in his bare feet, his jeans rolled up, a scowl on his face from what he’s hearing. A murder. Every once in a while he glances back at Grace kneeling in the sand playing.

Grace has dug deep channels with a small red shovel, chatting to herself, weaving tales about mermaids and sea creatures and fairies. She bounces a plastic dinosaur along the sand, a prize won in kindergarten for reading two books in one week.

Everything I’ve ever wanted is on that beach—Donovan and our daughter, Grace. My own little family. My life.

I’m still far away, closer to the parking lot, when I see the figure walking along the shore is growing closer. It’s a man. His shadow, with its elongated arms and legs, stretches across the beach until it seems to take on a life of its own. Something about his movements seems angry and frenetic—instead of the wandering gait of a casual sunset stroll—and sets off  small alarms in my head. I walk faster, the sand seeming to reach up and grab at my ankles, slowing my progress.

Donovan’s pacing takes him in the opposite direction, away from Grace. He’s not paying attention to anything besides his phone call. The man is now closer to Grace, who seems alone on the beach, although Donovan is twenty feet away. Donovan squints up into the pink and orange clouds, raking a hand through his perpetually spiky hair.

The man’s path takes him straight toward Grace. My heart races. I can’t tell for sure, but it seems like he’s watching her. He walks at a determined clip, covering ground much faster than me in my flat, strappy sandals. I lean over in mid-stride and rip a sandal from one foot without stopping. Then I scoop up the other in one fluid motion.

Still, each step feels like my bare feet are being sucked into quicksand. I hurry, but feel like I’m moving in slow motion.

“Grace.” I shout, but my words are carried away on the wind. I’m breathless from fighting the sand tugging at my feet. The breeze, which has grown stronger in the past few minutes, whips my hair. Grace’s brown ringlets bob as she hops her plastic dinosaur around, not noticing anything else.

Donovan isn’t far from Grace, but now the man is closer.

At the same moment Donovan turns and sees the look on my face, the man reaches Grace. His long shadow falls over her small figure. She looks up with a smile and starts chatting. He leans down. His hand reaches toward her, his fingers millimeters from her arm. A wave of dread ripples through me. My feet feel cemented into the sand. My mind screams, but no words come out of my open mouth. Inside, I’m flailing and thrashing to get to Grace, but on the outside, I’m struck immobile.

The man reaches down and grasps Grace’s arm, turning her toward him, and the spell is broken. I’m on wet sand running, the scream caught in my throat coming out as a birdlike garble. I scoop Grace up onto one hip and take a step back. I gasp for air, but I can’t breathe. My heart is going to explode in my chest.

The man looks at me with surprise and for a split second, there is something in his eyes that sends panic racing up into my throat, but then the look is gone, as if I imagined it.

“Gosh. I’m so stupid,” he says in a nasally voice. He wipes his palms on the legs of his jeans, as if he is sweating even though the temperature is rapidly dipping along with the sun.

Donovan is at my side. “Gabriella, is everything okay?”

He’s used my full name and he’s looking at me instead of Grace in my arms. Guilt flicks through me. I’m not acting irrational or hysterical. A strange man walked up to our daughter and grabbed her arm. Any mother would react the same, wouldn’t she?

At first glance, the man seems boyish with his bowl haircut, baggy jeans, and sneakers. Up close, a few crow’s feet shows he is older. Maybe even my age—thirty. He has feminine pink lips, and piercing blue eyes, the color of the arctic sea. The collar of his black jacket is pulled up. His smile is all “gee, golly, shucks,” abashed and embarrassed but doesn’t reach his eyes. He paws at his jeans with his palms. He’s done that twice now. He’s nervous.

When he meets my eyes again, I realize that something about him seems off, something about his eyes, more than just their intense color. One eye is close to his nose and the other set far apart. It’s jarring and somehow unsettling to make eye contact.

“I’m so sorry,” he says in that same stuffed-up sounding voice. “What a knuckle-headed move. I should know better than to walk up to someone else’s kid like that.”

Donovan grips my arm.

“What’s going on here?” His words are clipped.

I’m panting, but finally able to catch my breath. Still, the words will not come.

“Your kid is so darn cute. She looks just like my little sister used to look. I just wanted to say hi to her and didn’t even think that was a total bonehead move to walk up to someone else’s kid when her parents weren’t around.” He gives an odd smile as he says this.

“We were around.” Donovan says in a monotone, staring the man down.

The man looks down at the sand.

Grace is kicking and trying to get down. My knuckles are white gripping her.

“Ow, mama, you’re hurting me,” she says and tosses her curls in irritation.

Donovan shoots a glance our way before turning his attention back to the man.

“You live around here?” Donovan asks, seemingly casual, but the muscle in his jaw is working hard. His dark eyes under thick eyebrows have narrowed and hold a glint of menace. In a second, it alters him from the man on the cover of the “Sexiest Bay Area Cops” calendar into something feral and dangerous.

The man meets Donovan’s eyes and for a second it looks like he is challenging Donovan to dispute his story, but then he looks down again and digs a sneakered toe into the sand, reinforcing my impression that he’s a kid not a man.

“Marin. Meeting some friends here in the city for dinner. Was early so came here to kill some time.  I didn’t mean to cause any problems. I just wanted to say hi to her. Maybe you’re over-reacting a bit.”

Donovan runs a hand through his hair. His posture relaxes. Instinctively—or luckily—this man has honed in on Donovan’s Achilles heel. We’ve talked at length about our tendency to be overprotective parents because of our jobs, me as a crime reporter, and him as a detective. Donovan has argued we can’t let this affect Grace’s childhood. We need to protect her, but let her grow up carefree. I agree. But it’s easier said than done.

We’ve, also, talked about my irrational fear that something will happen to Grace.

This man may not realize it, but he’s instantly off the hook with this one simple word—Overreacting.

“Why don’t you go head on out,” Donovan says, dismissing him.

“My bad, really. Wasn’t using my head. Have a nice night,” the man says and turns to leave.

I set Grace down and Donovan wraps his arm around me.

“You okay?”

“I don’t know.” I don’t tell him that it felt like I was having a heart attack, that I couldn’t breathe or move. A stranger walked up to my daughter and I stood there, weak, helpless, frozen.

Donovan gives me a look before we both turn and watch the man’s figure growing smaller. We watch without saying a word. We stand there until the man turns and heads toward the wooden boardwalk bordering the road. He never looks back.

***

Kristi Belcamino is a writer, photographer, and artist. In her former life as a newspaper crime reporter in California, she flew over Big Sur in an FA-18 jet with the Blue Angels, raced a Dodge Viper at Laguna Seca, watched autopsies, and interviewed serial killers. She is now a journalist based in Minneapolis and the Gabriella Giovanni mysteries are her first books. Find Kristi on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/kristibelcaminowriter or on Twitter @KristiBelcamino

 

Contact Information

Website: http://www.kristibelcamino.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kristibelcaminowriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kristibelcamino

 

Purchase Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Blessed-are-Those-Who-Mourn-ebook/dp/B00SG1ELNW/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/?ean=9780062389428&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-MdXm68JZJz8-_-10:1

HarperCollins: http://www.harpercollins.com/9780062389428/blessed-are-those-who-mourn

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Book Blitz: Last Light Falling: J. E. Plemons

 

YA Dystopian / Post Apocalyptic Thriller
Date Published: July 2015

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Arena has left the nation’s administration with a dead president and a weakened military, and while the tragic memories continue to scar her, the government struggles to regroup without its leader. For the people who still remain in hiding, it’s evident the country is all but lost, and with Russian operatives taking over, the nation’s hope of recovering is grim.
After months in hiding, Arena and her brother, Gabriel, fight to survive the aftermath while they trudge through unkindly terrain across the country to rejoin their friends, but what they soon discover may staunch their journey. The government’s failed attempt to rebirth a broken nation has caused civil unrest like no other.
After reuniting with their friends, Arena’s decision to stay changes when she discovers the secrets of a refugee camp behind a clandestine group of rebels, known as the Southern Resistance. With an opportunity to escape to a permanent safe haven, Arena risks her life to lead the new fellowship. But the darkest days are upon them, and with a new war brewing, Arena’s path will take a dark turn as her survival is in jeopardy.
Into The Darkness captures the cruel truth behind our darkest secrets which may often cause us to question our faith. In this graphic second installment of the LAST LIGHT FALLING series, J.E. Plemons continues the grim story of Arena Power’s fate, testing her faith while she and her brother search for an answer to their survival in a brooding world filled with chaos.
EXCERPT
CHAPTER 1
In the midst of tragic suffering, we all have fallen by death in one way or another, but because of His suffering, we are given hope and a gift of eternal life. I’m still hopeful for those who still remain in this wicked world, regardless of the unleashed hell that awaits us all.
The light draws dim, and Gabe and I are forced to set camp as the sun sets behind the horizon. We find a small spot beyond a brushy field where a clump of trees stands out in the middle of nowhere. The trees are packed fairly tightly, but there is very little underbrush where we can start a fire without burning everything in sight.
“How many more days you think?” Gabe asks as he clears the ground. I brush the sweat from my eyes and gaze wearily to the east. I’m afraid Carrington won’t be the same as we left it.
“Hard to say,” I simply answer. Fact is I haven’t the slightest clue. Nothing from this landscape looks familiar to home. I lay my pack on the cool soil and rest my swords peacefully against a gnarled tree trunk.
“You hungry?” I ask.
“Is the Pope Catholic?” he caustically answers. The sun quickly sets well behind the trees, leaving the horizon to glow.
“Why don’t you get a fire started and I’ll fetch us some-thing to eat.”
While Gabe dresses the ground with kindling, I venture west, anxious to hunt. Night hunting is not my forte. With-out ample light, there’s no telling what’s lurking in the high grass that surrounds us. Although the land here offers abundant species of game birds, I fear the coyotes and bobcats
will scare them away. I kneel down in the brush and wait for something appetizing to cross my path.
It’s been long since Gabe and I have had a decent meal we haven’t had to kill ourselves—not since before all this shit happened. Myra, our foster mom, was the chef of the household. Her roasted duck, a staple on special occasions, would have your taste buds hypnotized for days. And not many people know how to cook duck properly, but she sure did. Though she is dead along with my real mom, not a day goes by without some memory of her.
It’s been twenty minutes now and not a single creature has stirred. I’ve impatiently waited too long to stay here. I trek further out toward a small thicket of live oak trees about a half-mile to the west.
About halfway to the coppice a small hare hops past my boots. I lunge to grab it, but catch a handful of dirt instead. I can’t see a damn thing out here in this nest of weeds. My only hope is to nab something in that cluster of trees up ahead. I wade through the thick brush until the sound of heavy breathing halts my pace. I rest still and for a moment the labored wheezing stops. The sounds in the dark can be misleading, but this certainly doesn’t sound friendly. The tall grass suddenly rustles, but I can’t tell in what direction it’s coming from. Whatever it is, it seems to be scurrying frantically all around. I know it’s not a coyote, because he wouldn’t be moving this much; he would cowardly wait until I made the first move. A small tree limb snaps on the ground to my left about fifteen paces. I quickly bend down and hide within the scratchy underwood. I slowly draw one of my weathered arrows and carefully place it in the string of my bow, waiting for this animal to show itself. The rustling stops and the deep croaking sound of a bullfrog echoes in the distance. That is a pleasing sound, because I know there must be water nearby and I desperately could use a drink. No frog in its right mind would hop around in this barren land without water.
It’s been too long for whatever is hiding out there not to move. Just then, my stomach decides to harmonize with that old bullfrog, growling with starvation. I’m so hungry right now, I’d eat a hot dog from a gas station, but I’m not leaving this spot until I find out what’s hiding out there.
I slowly stand up and walk toward where the raspy panting first started. The rustling in the grass continues when two pheasants fly out in front of me, trying to flee. I must have stepped near their guarded nest. A devilish squeal pierces the air, and two glowing eyes stare at me. In an instant, the tall grass begins to move toward me like a wave in the ocean. I raise my bow and pull the string back, but the arrow nock splits and falls from my hands. I quickly turn and run, hoping I won’t be mauled by what-ever is chasing me. The grass gets thicker and thicker, slowing me down, and that monstrous squeal pierces my ears.
I dart through the weeds as they slash against my thighs like stinging whips. The persisting beast moans with a hellish roar, closing in on my pace, until I finally exit the brushy pasture into a small clearing. There’s not a safe enough distance between this creature and me to look back. It’s fast whatever it is.
I alter my course toward an old oak tree in hopes I will climb far enough up its gnarled limbs for safe harbor. My sides ache from the exhausted running, and the muscle in my lower left calf gives in as I stumble hard to the ground beneath the old tree.
I quickly roll over, pull my dagger from its sheath, and unexpectedly recognize the beast’s twisted tusks driving rapidly toward me. The moonlight shines through the clouded skies and reveals an infuriated feral hog ready to tear into my flesh with vengeance. If I falter, or lose my grip on my knife, I will be at the mercy of its sharp, bristling tusks. The savage pig bows back its hairy ears and leaps, its jowls open wide exposing its razor-sharp teeth. I swing my arm forward and thrust the end of my blade into the back-side of his thick, hairy-coated neck. The hog violently flops about, squealing, not going down without a fight. I stab him again and again until the shrieking finally stops.
I lie there on the ground panting, the two-hundred-pound dead, bloody boar resting on my legs. I’m too tired to move, but the stench emitting from this fowl beast persuades me to do otherwise. Not what I was expecting to find for food, but it’s all we have, and unless a nice pheasant or squirrel decides to pleasantly drop in my lap surrendering to be eaten, it’s pork for dinner.
I push the hairy hog off my legs and pull out my knife. Before I slice into its belly, a small wooden cross near the tree catches my eye. It leans to the side, sitting atop a pile of rocks. It reminds me too much of my uncle Finnegan’s burial that I can’t seem to peel my eyes from it.
Six months have passed since Gabe and I left Finnegan’s grave, and yet I still haven’t forgiven myself for his careless death. If he hadn’t shielded me from the soldier’s bullet at the training facility, I would be the one lying in that grave right now. But my raging hatred for General Iakov caused more pain and misery to our fellowship, and it got Finnegan killed. Though Iakov has fallen with his sol-diers in the facility, leaving a heavy stain on this new administration, it has broken a part of me I can’t get back.
I feel less convinced of the path God has led me on with every step I take in this dark depraved place. If it is my des-tiny to help wipe evil from this world, it’s tearing me apart, because I can feel the fragility in my faith growing now. While I wish I could go back and change things, my fate has brought me here. . . hunting in the dark for survival.
I quickly cut into the hog before the meat spoils and the blood taints our meal. There is just too much to carry back to camp, so I cut and skin what I can for the night and leave the stinky carcass for the vultures. The smell is just too repulsive to continue butchering this nasty beast, anyway. It’s beyond the depths of foul. I tie up what meat I can carry with me and wander toward the small coppice where that bullfrog was bellowing. I’m sure to find water somewhere nearby.
The exposed roots twisting along the ground like a snake suggest an underground spring feeding these lonely trees. There stands a soaring cypress tree hovering over the bank of a small running creek that effortlessly meanders with twists and turns. I follow the brook until I reach the end where it pours into a clear spring. My weary eyes widen, and my dry, parched mouth salivates over this aquatic nectar.
I dunk the canteens into the cold spring water in a less-stagnate area away from the growing moss and algae. I’m so thirsty, I couldn’t care less what’s floating in this sweet, quenching pool of goodness. As long as I don’t have to see what I’m drinking, I’m just fine. Bottoms up, I say.
The unbearable frigid temperatures of winter have finally subdued and surrendered to the fresh blooming beginnings of spring, just like this water. Unfortunately, summer has found a way to creep in, because these long hot days have been murderous. It’s nearing May, I think, but I can’t be for sure. I lost track of time long ago.
For six long miserable months, our weary legs have ambled through snowy drifts of white expanding as far as the eye can see. We have traveled through lifeless towns, abandoned farms, and fields of emptiness, but traveling by foot is our only way now. The roads are no longer safe. Our nation has changed into an ever-growing evil, and those who see it for what it really is have become a liability under harsh scrutiny.
The hundreds of miles we’ve traveled from the East Coast have worn us thin, but I feel our journey to reunite with our friends is not too far away. Texas is the only thing on my mind, and I won’t be discouraged by another day of swollen feet. We haven’t come this far just to give up.
There’s a glowing ember in the distance and I realize just how far away I am from Gabe’s warm fire. The air is starting to get a little chilly and I shiver. I make my way back to camp and find Gabe asleep on the ground in a fetal position. The egregious smell of pork smoking above the fire should wake his stomach up. Gabe has already built a spit-fire high enough above the flames to cook our meal. He’s a Boy Scout after my own heart.
I’m too hungry to wait for this meat slab to hang over the fire the next eight hours. I slice off small manageable pieces to cook, skewer them on a couple of sticks, and lay them on a rock next to the fire. I wrap the rest of meat around the long piece of hickory Gabe had used for a walking stick, and secure it with some left over wire from my pack. I carefully rest the meat above the fire to slow-cook overnight. Hell, maybe the stench will evaporate from the pores, leaving us with some nice tenderloin for breakfast.
I sit next to the crackling fire and dangle the small pieces on the wooden skewers right above the flames. The rendering fat drips from the pork causing the fire to flare up. The sizzling of the fat and crackling of the tissue begins to rouse Gabe, but I don’t think it’s the sound that has awakened him.
“Holy mother of God, what’s that smell, Arena?” Gabe says with his nosed pinched. It’s quite an uninviting smell, but I’ve been smelling and breathing it in for a while, so I guess I have gotten used to it.
“It’s our dinner,” I say.
“You’re kidding me. What are you feeding me, the inside of a pig’s ass?”
Not quite, but damn near close, I think, trying hard not to smile. Okay, I admit the smell is objectionable, but this is all I have to offer.
“Unless you have anything better to proposition, this is our meal. I suggest you take it and fill that empty stomach of yours.”
This salty meat may taste gamey, but when you are as hungry as we are, you’ll eat just about anything, and my stomach can’t wait until the morning to find something bet-ter. Sure I would like to have a nice juicy steak and baked potato, but this will just have to do. We both hold our noses from breathing in the smell of this wretched swine. I stomach what I can and try to dilute the taste with the fresh spring water.
Gabe eagerly falls back to sleep. I try to stay awake as long as I can to keep watch for any unwanted wild creature that may wander uninvited to our malodorous campsite. I’m pretty sure we have unintentionally attracted every wild beast for miles with the smoky scent of ass.
I watch Gabe sleep comfortably below the canvased trees while my stomach churns. The world seems so lonely. Gabe is all I have left right now, and I don’t think I could bear the thought of losing him too. There were times in my life when I detested my twin brother, but I never stopped loving him, and right now, I need him more than ever.
The harsh conditions we’ve experience in the last six months has forced us to both grow up, but none more than Gabe. He’s become a man before my eyes. His dirty blond hair drapes dingily below his ears and eyes. He’s still the same brother at heart, but he’s grown into something much different. Behind those skinny limbs and that frail body he used to carry, breathes courage now. We can never go back to what we were—time and history have changed, and so have we.
I want to believe there is purpose in all of this, but I’m not sure anymore what I’m supposed to do. I feel lost with-out Finnegan by my side. He was the only family Gabe and I had left, and now he too is gone. But his bravery will never be forgotten, and because it was his choice to follow my divine path, we’ve weakened a dying nation at its heart. My enemy may be dead, but my nightmares are still much alive.
I realize there is a reason for every event that happens to us, but I’m still having a difficult time accepting it. I may never fully understand my part in this world, but I will continue until I can no more. Many people left on this earth will accept their fate as meaningless acts of randomness. I believe now there is more to this world than just chaos and ruin. We were born with a plan, a purpose, and a choice. I choose to believe Finnegan saved my life to extend my fate, and I’m eternally grateful, but I wish not to endure any more hum-bling experiences through death.
Instead of sleeping on the padded dirt next to the fire, I nestle in between the roots of an old oak tree. I prop myself up against rough ridges of splitting bark and stretch out my legs. I grab Jacob’s necklace around my neck and stare down at the worn silver cross like I do every night. I rub the edges with my fingers as if it were a nervous tick. I’m afraid I will never let go. The only boy I truly loved is gone, but his death will remain very alive in my nightmares. I fight to stay awake, but my body isn’t willing to compromise. Sleep wins the battle.
About the Author

Jay Plemons’ life is nothing short of ordinary. From an aspiring chef, carpenter, educator, musician, husband, and father, nothing ever seems too busy when adding yet another hat into the mix as a fiction novelist. With a degree in music business, and a minor in English from Middle Tennessee State University, the aspirations to continue his journey in the arts, has followed Jay to write the Last Light Falling series, which has not only touched on some of his personal experiences, but has also helped him further explore the heightened convictions of faith.
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Book Tour: Reaper of Stone

 

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A REAPER OF STONE

by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

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GENRE: Fantasy

NOTE: This book is FREE on Amazon for 5 days beginning the date of the book blast.

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BLURB:

A Lady is dead. Her noble line ended. And the King’s Reaper has come to reclaim her land and her home. In the marches of Aedaron, only one thing is for certain. All keeps of the old world must fall.

Elinor struggles to find her place in the new world. She once dreamed of great things. Of becoming a hero in the ways of the old world. But now she is a Reaper. And her duty is clear. Destroy the old. Herald the new.

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Excerpt:

The girl stared directly into Elinor’s eyes. There was no hysteria, and no more tears. Just sadness matched with a hard, cold determination. “For the murder.”

At the word, Elinor felt a cold inside her that had nothing to do with the chilling rain. “They were attacked by bandits.”

“They were not killed by mere bandits,” she hissed. “My father was a tempered razor of the Aegis School. He was a match for a dozen armed men. Perhaps more. That is no

exaggeration.” She stared into Elinor’s eyes with a fierce intensity. “The death of my father and Lady Lliane was no accident. It was an assassination.”

“Stop,” Elinor commanded. She looked around to be sure there were none of Piersym’s razors nearby. Two were outside, but on the far side of the tower. Elinor assumed that over the rain, they wouldn’t have heard what the girl said.

“You don’t believe me?” Tae asked, the hurt clear in her eyes.

Elinor moved close, until they were almost nose to nose. Her voice was quiet, but carried a sharp edge of intensity. “It is not about belief,” Elinor said, holding the girl with her gaze. “You must be careful what you say. Some things once said, cannot be unsaid.”

Tae looked confused and Elinor continued on. “If you make an accusation, you turn your home into a den of wolves.” She shifted her eyes in the direction of the Hearthfire razors on the far end of the parapet. “And these wolves will not allow you to escape if they believe you threaten them.”

The girl frowned, but shook her head defiantly. “But you said it yourself. You fought every day for what you believed in. How is this any different than the rendworms?”

“Because this is not a fight you can win, Tae,” Elinor said.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Mark and Joe have been writing and telling stories together for the last 25 years. They share a love for the classic fantasy tales of their childhood. Their Echoes of the Ascended series brings those old epic characters and worlds to new life.

Website: http://www.gelineauandking.com.

Facebook: facebook.com/gelineauandking.

Twitter: @gelineauandking.

Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0145JMBDA

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Amazon author page:

Mark – http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Gelineau/e/B00I6TQUCE

Joe – http://www.amazon.com/Joe-King/e/B01460OK50

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