Category Archives: Fantasy
Join James Bottino, author of the fantasy and science fiction novel The Canker Death as he virtually tours the blogosphere in February 2012 on his first tour with Pump Up Your Book!
About James Bottino
James R. Bottino’s life-long interests mix esoteric and disparate fields of study. By day, his foremost influences have been the study of literature and the art of writing. Following these pursuits led him to read anything he could in these areas and to complete every under-graduate and graduate course available to him in the field of creative writing. Following this line, he taught high school English throughout the 1990’s, focusing on the teaching of writing.
By night, when no one was looking, he studied computer systems / networks, computer languages, and operating systems, learning anything he could in these areas, first as a hobby, and, finally, as a career. This mixture of literature and technology served as the inspiration for the The Canker Death’s protagonist, Petor.
James currently lives in a suburb of Chicago, with his wife, daughter, two Australian cattle dogs and far, far too many books and abstruse computers.
You can visit his website at TheCankerDeath.com
About The Canker Death
When the reclusive, cynical systems administrator, Petor Fidelistro, discovers that one of his own servers has been cracked late one night, he makes it his personal business to track down the perpetrator. What his search uncovers thrusts him, unaware, into a mad shifting between worlds, time and alien minds.
Fighting to keep his grip on reality, and forcing him to cope with his past, Petor finds himself uncontrollably transitioning between sentient minds that range from semi-conscious to dominant, from beings whose bodies and identities he can control, to those who control him so fully as to be unaware of his presence.
As the story unfolds, Petor gathers clues in a twisting mystery that sends him shifting between the mourning child Nanzicwital; the golem giant Faskin; the lascivious, female ambassador Desidia; and Nokinis, an insane prisoner with whom Petor battles for mastery of his own memories. As he struggles to make sense of what is happening to him, Petor finds himself embroiled in the tumultuous upheaval of a ubiquitous society that transcends life, itself.
What Reviewers Are Saying
5.0 out of 5 stars Cliffhanger after cliffhanger! I couldn’t put it down!, September 3, 2011
This review is from: The Canker Death (Kindle Edition)
The Canker Death by James R. Bottino is a mystery, a spiritual awakening, a suspenseful and funny book with complex characters and worlds. This book reminds me a bit of Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber series and also reminds me that good ideas are still out there amidst the plethora of over-worked, tired concepts prevalent in our world today.
How did the author slip in symbolism and deep themes all the while entertaining us with the “full monty” of sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll and stuff that explodes? I’m not sure, but by the time I’d finished The Canker Death, it made me laugh, cry, hang on by the seat of my pants, and shout “SEQUEL!!!” (although the book does stand well on its own.)
Also, while reading, I found the Vitruvian Man map full of symbols, character names and concepts to be a provocative and neat little extra feature. I highly recommend this original tome!
– Amazon Reviewer RIBH
The Canker Death Tour Schedule
Monday, February 6
Interview at Book Marketing Buzz
Tuesday, February 7
Guest Post at As the Pages Turn
Wednesday, February 8
Interview at Pump Up Your Book
Thursday, February 9
Guest Post at The Book Connection
Friday, February 10
Interview at Paperback Writer
Monday, February 13
Guest Post at Literarily Speaking
Tuesday, February 14
Guest Post at The Story Behind the Book
Thursday, February 16
Spotlight at The Plot
Friday, February 17
Character Interview at The Plot
Monday, February 20
Interview at Beyond the Books
Tuesday, February 21
Interview at The Writer’s Life
Wednesday, February 22
Spotlight at Celtic Lady’s Book Reviews
Thursday, February 23
Review at Martha’s Bookshelf
Friday, February 24
Guest Post at Everyday Adventure
Monday, February 27
Spotlight at Blurbs N’ Bytes
Wednesday, February 29
Guest Post at InkyBlots
March Coming Soon!
James Bottino’s THE CANKER DEATH ONLINE BOOK TOUR 2012 will officially begin February 6th and end March 23rd. Thank you for your support!
The Knight of Death is the first of twenty-eight novels in the Assassin Chronicles.
In the first book, Sir Mark Andrew Ramsay, Knight of Death, assassin and alchemist for the secret order of The Red Cross of Gold travels from Scotland to Texas where he is assigned to either capture or kill a deserter from the Order. Before he reaches his destination, he is intercepted by a member of another Order and her brute of a body guard, who throws an alchemical concoction in his face.
The powerful liquid causes him to lose his memory temporarily and he is unable to remember who he is, and where he is, and what he is supposed to be doing. When his captors, bent on learning the secret of immortality and the Philosopher’s Stone, try to tell him who and what he is, he thinks they are crazy; especially when they tell him that he is almost 800 years old and a surviving knight from the Medieval Crusades.
Eventually, the Grand Master of his Order decides to send a trio of Knights to bring him back, dead or alive. Unfortunately, one of them is determined to bring his head home in a box.
While he struggles to regain his lost memories, he begins to fall in love in with one of his captors. He has to contend with a despotic woman, who will stop at nothing, including murder, to learn his secrets, and her ugly body guard. In addition, he has to fight his own Brothers of the Order without really knowing what is going on. By the time he regains his memory, he has broken most of his vows as a Knight of the Temple and four people are dead. He must leave his love behind, and return to the Order, where he will be required to face severe penance for his crimes and indiscretions.
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001J6ORUI
Brendan Carroll was born and raised in Southeast Texas where he grew up rather nerdishly reading everything he could get his hands on from Hardy Boys mysteries to Mad Magazine. He served his country in the United States Navy and graduated from Sam Houston University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. Now retired from a career as a public servant with the State of Texas, he is a full time writer and author. His interests include conspiracy theories, mystical and mysterious subjects such as Secret Societies, Templars, mythology, crop circles, ufology, ancient astronauts, angels, demons and crystal skulls.
Brendan has spent years researching such subjects as previously listed for inclusion in his all-encompassing series. Some of his hobbies include studying astrology, astronomy, comparative religion and quantum physics. Writing is his first and last love and he writes to entertain and intrigue and make the reader think outside the normal realms of what science and/or religion teaches us.
Website Link: http://brendancarroll.wordpress.com/
Join T.M. Wallace, author of the YA fantasy novel, Under a Fairy Moon (Brownridge Publishing), as she virtually tours the blogosphere August 1 – September 30 2011 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!
About T.M. Wallace
T. M. Wallace lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and four children. At eight years old, she won a short story contest and was published in a local newspaper. She wrote her first book at ten years old called “The Adventures of Pinkstar,” about a stuffed rabbit who magically comes to life. T. M. Wallace received her Master’s degree in English Literature from Carleton University and a degree in Education from the University of Ottawa. In 2010 her latest book, Under A Fairy Moon, was a quarter-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel awards. Under A Fairy Moon will be published by Brownridge Publishing in June, 2011.
You can visit her website at www.tmwallace.com.
If you have been longing for an adventure and your family moves next-door to a beautiful garden full of lush plants and ancient stone, wouldn’t you sneak over to have a look at it – even if it was owned by the neighborhood witch?
Fourteen-year old Addy Marten doesn’t need to think twice: It is only a matter of time before she sets out to explore the garden’s winding paths and especially, the ring of mysterious stone statues that she has glimpsed through her bedroom window. Instead of the enticing hideaway she has imagined, however, she finds herself trapped in another world where she is challenged a game of Fairy Chess – played by real fairy creatures. She must use all her courage and wits to win the game and free herself from these malevolent creatures and their twisted fairy-tale world.
Addy had never dared to venture this far into the garden before. She found it strangely intoxicating. If she listened closely enough, the sounds of the birds and the creek were underscored by the true voice of the Garden: a deep-water stillness that numbed her fear and lulled her into submission. Draped in the thick foliage, she inched closer to her objective: several rows of stone statues nearly swallowed by ivy and moss. Then, a twig snapped and Addy whirled around suddenly, her skirt flaring out from around her scraped and dirty knees.
For a moment she crouched stone-still in the speckled shadows, her heart pounding, desperately willing herself to become nothing but rock and tree and cold bare earth. Then, only when she had convinced herself that Mrs. Tavish wasn’t lurking nearby, ready to pounce, Addy released her strained muscles and thanked Heaven that she hadn’t been turned into a toad or made into a minced pie – or whatever it was that witches did to fourteen-year old girls who dared trespass in their garden.
Addy relaxed a little, allowing the garden to work its magic. She had only to breathe its heady aromas of jasmine, mint and thyme to be carried away to a different world altogether. The garden might belong to her neighbour, Mrs. Tavish, but it was Addy’s own secret place, a hidden passageway into the fantastic kingdoms she had often read and dreamed about.
Here, she was free to be her own person, without her parents watching and wondering why she wasn’t out trying to make friends, or obsessed about stupid things like hair and make-up and clothes. Here she no longer cared that she was, yet again, the new girl in town. She could forget about that school where she had been Addy-the-Gifted, feeling lonely and awkward. In this magical place, she was whatever she wanted to be. In a beautiful place like this she could be wherever and whatever she imagined.
Today she was Nebetia the Enlightened, Egyptian princess, entering the Hall of Kings after a long absence. Rows of cypress trees became green-cloaked sentries ready to escort her through flower-bed courtyards. Stone statues and topiary, her willing subjects, awaited her wise command. Today she had walked straight-backed through arched trellises dripping in wild grapes and Virginia Creepers to claim her right to the throne.
Yet the long shadows made Addy uneasy, reminding her that this ethereal kingdom was not hers alone. For one thing: the garden was wild – untamed and untameable. The tangled and creeping masses on the fringes loomed up and over the neat little hedgerows like a storm threatening to upturn a village. These dark, secret places lured her with their promise of hidden mysteries, then surprised and wounded her with the prick of stinging nettle claws and barberry teeth.
There was also the problem of Mrs. Tavish, who was a witch. Addy didn’t really believe she was a witch, but she had recently heard a girl call her that: she had been talking to her brother, passing by the garden on the street-side and close enough for Addy to overhear.
“That’s where the witch lives,” said the girl to her pudgy little brother. He had his face full of ice-cream, but he still marked carefully the place where she pointed with his large round eyes.
“You be careful when you walk by here, Justin,” the girl had warned, pulling him away by the collar. “That place is scary. I bet she eats little boys like you for breakfast.”
Addy remembered people talking about another strange old lady in Port Perry where she had lived when she was ten. She had a house full of cats and grew herbs, and some of the kids thought she might be a witch. Was Mrs. Tavish a witch? Addy had often seen her tramping ungracefully around her kingdom of azaleas and primroses in her cotton flowered dresses and oversized black boots. However, Addy didn’t think she looked so much scary as ridiculous. She wondered if a witch would wear a wide-brimmed sun-hat trailing ribbons and lace.
She remembered her mother talking about Mrs. Tavish. She had seemed a little nervous about her, and Addy wasn’t sure she was telling everything she knew about their strange new neighbour.
“I was in town this morning, and the postmaster mentioned we should be very careful not to upset our new neighbour,” her mom had said to her dad a few days after they had moved in to the new house. “She’s a bit eccentric, apparently, and there’s some scandal there, though he didn’t go into details. Something about a lost child – maybe her own. Anyway, she likes to be left alone, so we’ll have to be careful not to bother her.”
Addy had wanted to ask her more about Mrs. Tavish, but she was too comfortable in her place behind the heavy living-room drapes, feeling the cold smoothness of the tiled floor and imagining she was exploring the dark patches in the forest she saw through the sliding glass door. Her father was partly responsible for her day-dreaming. He was playing the piano softly in the background and the music was carrying her thoughts away as it always did, to uncharted lands.
“Hmm … ,” said her father, his practised hands never missing a note, “I like that in a neighbour. People in these country towns can be a bit nosy.”
Just then there had been a knock at the door by the man from the telephone company and there was no more talk about neighbours that day. But Addy’s curiosity about her neighbour’s garden grew steadily stronger and she spent the last of her precious summer days staring longingly out her bedroom window, dreaming about exploring its tangled majesty. Or, if she was outside, she would hang around the edge of their property that bordered Mrs. Tavish’s yard, gathering up her courage to enter the Garden.
Now, having finally stepped inside the Garden’s vast perimeter, Addy brushed these thoughts aside with impatience. She couldn’t let anything distract her from fulfilling her quest. The time had come for Princess Nebetia to lay claim to her kingdom. She walked, poised and alert, past the winding creek, past columns of cedar and willow and through grasping green tunnels of underbrush until she entered the courtyard of statues.
Having made it this far, Addy stretched her arms out wide to the sky, claiming the space as her own. She trembled inside with the thrill of her secret triumph. Then her gaze fell upon her prize: rows of statues half-buried by moss and vines. Greek gods and various mythical creatures stared sternly down at her, their great hulking forms filling much of the sky. The granite statues were of two different colours; some were ash-grey, so dark as to be almost black, others were a brilliant white, sparkling in the sunlight. She noted the giant arms with green-draped sleeves, hands reaching, and fear poked at Addy with long adrenaline fingers.
She stood still for the longest time, aware of the staccato rhythms of her own breath and heartbeat. Then she noticed the white centaur at her elbow, set apart from the others in the shadow of an old oak. She could have sworn he had not been there a moment before. He was made of stone, but Addy thought his eyes looked as soft and real as her own … and they were pleading with her.
She reached out timidly, running her hand over the carved stone. The stone was unyielding and lifeless and reassured her that the horse-man was not real. Her gaze avoided the dark eyes and focused on the fine lines of the horse-hide cut into stone.
“Where did you come from?” she asked softly.
“Enitua-a-a-a” sighed a voice like the wind and the rustling leaves.
“Enitua, Enitua, Enitua-a-a!” echoed the voice as subtle as the shadows.
Addy stared at the centaur, her throat constricting with fear. That disembodied voice … it was impossible, she knew it was, and yet … she could have sworn that the voice was coming from the stone centaur. In fact, as she stared at it, it was seeming more and more real. Did she see those dark eyes move to focus on her? A moment ago, she could have sworn its arms had rested down at its side. Why was one arm now outstretched toward her?
All rational thought left her mind and it was replaced by a paralyzing fear. The world seemed to implode around her. Her fear took on the form of the branches and tangled vines, sprouting grasping hands that pressed in on her head and lungs. Addy collapsed face-down in the soft grass, taking shallow little breaths. As the world slowly returned to normal, Addy tried to tell herself she was simply the victim of an overactive imagination.
“It’s okay: it was only the wind,” she said to herself, hugging her knees and rocking back and forth. That was how she had always calmed herself since she was very little. She would rock back and forth through the long stormy nights, too proud to call out to Mom or Dad and admit she was frightened of anything so silly as a thunderstorm.
It calmed her now, too, but she was still frightened. The voice from the shadows was real, whatever she might tell herself. It was real, and she couldn’t explain it. She had to escape.
The Garden had suddenly become a hostile place, windless and stifling. Addy scrambled to her feet and ran as fast as she could in the direction of her home. When she reached the back door she was relieved, but not nearly as relieved as she should have been. She took a deep steadying breath.
“Get a hold of yourself, Addy,” she said through gritted teeth. The ground began to spin underneath her and she stumbled a bit as she mounted the first step to the screened door.
“Addy? Everything okay?” asked her mother coming up from behind her, gardening tools in hand.
Addy teetered then grabbed for the door handle. “Oh, hi, Mom,” she said, breathless. “You startled me.”
Her mother laughed. “I can tell. You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
Addy couldn’t answer. Her mother had no idea how close that came to the truth.
“I just finished planting the rosebushes back by the tool-shed. Wanna see?”
Addy shook her head slowly. Ordinarily she would have loved to help with the garden, carefully arranging the interesting new annuals her mother had a knack for finding. “I’d really like to Mom, but I think I need to lie down. I – I’ve got a headache.”
Her mother looked concerned. “Again? You’ve been getting a lot of headaches lately. I hope this move hasn’t been too stressful on you, Addy.”
“No, Mom. I’m fine.”
Her mother gave her a hard look, as though she sensed something was wrong. She came up and put her arms around her daughter, giving her a playful squeeze. Addy smelled the scent of lavender that she always associated with her mother.
“I know it’s hard to adjust to a new place, honey, but I think you’ll find that it suits you. Just give it a chance, okay?”
Addy took a breath and smiled weakly. “Okay,” she said, hoping her smile was convincing. Sometimes she felt like her mother could open her mind, dissect her thoughts and lay them out under a microscope. She desperately hoped this was not one of those times.
Addy held the screened door as tightly as she would a life preserver in a stormy ocean. She wanted to be alone, to deal with this in her own way. She knew very well it wasn’t the new place that was tugging at her insides and making her feel sicker by the minute. It was the wild places in Mrs. Tavish’s garden.
When Addy woke up the next day, the word “Enitua” was still sliding around in her brain in time with her father’s rendition of the Midnight Sonata. Had she imagined the voice from the shadows? Now that she was some hours away from it, she was not so sure. Yet, that word – how could she have made it up? Where did it come from? She had certainly never heard it before.
Slipping out of bed, she pressed her nose up against the window pane. Mrs. Tavish was there again, talking to her flowers. It was too far away to see her in much detail, but Addy saw the blazing red pattern of her dress and a bright blue bonnet waving this way and that as she attended to her flower-beds. The sky was threatening rain, and Addy shivered involuntarily. She should not like to visit the Garden in a thunderstorm, that was for sure.
Suddenly Mrs. Tavish did a very strange thing: she stopped talking to her flowers for a moment, straightened up and waved in Addy’s direction. Addy ducked down behind her curtains. Surely Mrs. Tavish couldn’t see her, could she? After a minute she leaned forward every so slightly toward the window to take another peek. She saw with relief that Mrs. Tavish had not been waving to her at all – she was talking to someone – a red-haired boy with moonish glasses and a yellow raincoat.
Addy was once again consumed with curiosity. Mrs. Tavish didn’t like people, yet here she was talking to someone. Quite amiably, too, by the looks of it. She seemed to be showing the boy different plants and he was nodding his head agreeably. Addy stared at them for two whole minutes before they moved off into a shrouded area of the garden.
Addy did not stop to think twice: after she got dressed, she raced downstairs and pulled on her coat and boots and flew out the door. There was a strange boy in her Garden, her own fairy kingdom: what was he doing here, anyway? This foreigner in the hall of kings stoked the anger of the Egyptian princess: a frightening prospect for all involved. Princess Nebetia was prepared to march fearlessly to the heart of the Garden, the very last place Addy wanted to be this early in the morning under threatening skies.
There was a bicycle parked on the edge of Mrs. Tavish’s property that Addy had to assume belonged to the strange boy. She strode past it, wrapping her coat around her like a cape and brandishing a hastily chosen walking-stick. She forgot she was supposed to be afraid of voices from the shadows, or witches in flower-print dresses.
Nebetia’s royal blood raged, and she walked boldly through wooden trellis archways batting away the hanging vines with their little red grapes. She half-tripped over several dozen miscellaneous roots and rocks, but it did not faze her in the least. She was taking a stand: she would not be bullied into submission. She would confront the red-haired interloper and banish him from her kingdom.
Her bravado was short-lived, however, because in the next moment all her thoughts were drowned out by a terrifying sound: a shrill, inhuman scream.
Under a Fairy Moon Book Publicity Tour Schedule
Read the first chapter at Literarily Speaking
“The Garden glared at her, green-eyed, from its dark places. Improbable shadows appeared, angular and barbed, in the rocky areas where plants never grew. Even as she dared creep out from behind the living screen of ferns and bramble bushes, Addy knew she wasn’t safe. A part of her still wanted to bolt as fast as she could in the other direction. Instead she stood transfixed, listening to the buzzing of the dragonflies and the steady gushing of the creek over smooth stones….”
Tuesday, August 2
Book reviewed at Lisa’s Bookworm
“I enjoyed reading this book. It is well written and has vivid imagery. T.M. Wallace was able to capture fairies as the trickster and not always benevolent beings that I like.”
Wednesday, August 3
Interviewed at Examiner
“I did some research on fairy tales around the world (there is a surprising variety of them!) and on the game of chess: I’m just a novice, but my husband plays very well. I also had to research the many kinds of plants that grow in Mrs. Tavish’s garden so that I could describe them in detail. I’m not a very good gardener myself, but maybe someday I’ll be able to grow a beautiful garden like Mrs. Tavish’s, who knows?”
Thursday, August 4
Guest blogging at Mad Moose Mama
“I deal with dragons a lot in my writing. Why is the image of the dragon so captivating? There’s a certain mystique about the beast that defies explanation. There are legends about dragons in every culture, so it would seem their appeal is universal. In the bible, of course, the dragon signifies evil. There is even a saint, St. George, who is supposed to have fought and killed a dragon. Was this a metaphoric slaying? A confrontation and victory over evil? Who can be certain?”
Friday, August 5
Guest blogging at Dear Teen Me
“I admire your courage. I still feel the power of your pure faith. When you had your tonsils out — at sixteen — you hemorrhaged and it looked very bad. “Am I going to die?” you asked the nurse in a small voice. Yet, you were prepared for that, in a way that I could not be today. Your trust, even though you were afraid, was complete and born of innocence. How I wish I had that again … !”
Tuesday, August 9
Book reviewed at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
“This was a delightful story that I think will appeal to older middle grade readers and up. T.M. Wallace has created a story chock full of characters that kids can relate to. They are well written and quite believable in their actions and dialogue.”
Thursday, August 11
Book reviewed at YzhaBella’s Bookshelf
“Over all, I truly enjoyed this adventure as T.M. Wallace presents a magic filled tale with very thorough descriptions of both characters and settings.”
Friday, August 12
Book reviewed at A Word’s Worth
“Not only is the cover beautiful, but the story is engrossing and unpredictable.”
Monday, August 15
Interviewed at Blogcritics
“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Ghandi – These words are a challenge to the writer in me. A writer often writes the world the way he/she sees it. I would like to write it not as it is, but as it can be: full of beauty and goodness and innocence, even in the face of great evil.”
Tuesday, August 16
Book reviewed at Bluerose’s Heart
“This was just a fun story! It really reminded me of the Goosebumps series from when I was a kid.”
Wednesday, August 17
Book reviewed at Taking Time for Mommy
“This is a great middle grade book. It definitely has a Harry Potter / Secret garden feel to it. Perfect for your junior high or young high schooler. Under a Fairy Moon is very beautifully written with characters your children will be drawn to.”
Friday, August 19
Guest participant at Literarily Speaking August Book Panel
Monday, August 22
Book reviewed at Book Twirps
Wednesday, August 24
Book reviewed at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Thursday, August 25
Book reviewed at Cafe of Dreams
Friday, August 26
Chat with T.M. at Pump Up Your Book Live! Chat Party/Book Giveaway!
Monday, September 5
Book spotlighted at The Plot
Tuesday, September 6
Guest blogging at The Plot
Wednesday, September 7
Guest blogging at The Book Bin
Thursday, September 8
Interviewed at Review From Here
Friday, September 9
Book reviewed at Eccentric Eclectic Woman
Monday, September 12
Interviewed at Beyond the Books
Tuesday, September 13
Book reviewed at Cafe of Dreams
Wednesday, September 14
Guest blogging at Mad Moose Mama
Thursday, September 15
Book reviewed at Mad Moose Mama
Friday, September 16
Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking
Monday, September 19
Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book
Tuesday, September 20
Book reviewed at Reviews From the Heart
Wednesday, September 21
Interviewed at As the Pages Turn
Thursday, September 22
Interviewed at The Writer’s Life
Monday, September 26
Book reviewed at Ellis Reviews & Life
Tuesday, September 27
Guest blogging at The Book Faery Reviews
Wednesday, September 28
Book reviewed at The Book Faery Reviews
Thursday, September 29
Guest participant at Literarily Speaking’s September Book Panel
Friday, September 30
Chat with T.M. at Pump Up Your Book Live! September Chat / Book Giveaway Party! (link coming soon)
Join Benjamin Kane Ethridge, author of the award-winning dark fantasy horror Black & Orange as he virtually tours the blogosphere in August & September 2011 on his first tour with Pump Up Your Book!
About Benjamin Kane Ethridge
Benjamin Kane Ethridge’s fiction has appeared in Doorways Magazine, Dark Recesses, FearZone, and others. His dark fantasy novel BLACK & ORANGE (Bad Moon Books 2010) has won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in First Novel. Beyond that he’s written several collaborations with Michael Louis Calvillo, one of which is a novella called UGLY SPIRIT, available in 2011. He also wrote a master’s thesis entitled, “CAUSES OF UNEASE: The Rhetoric of Horror Fiction and Film.” Available in an ivory tower near you. Benjamin lives in Southern California with his wife and daughter, both lovely and both worthy of better. When he isn’t writing, reading, videogaming, he’s defending California’s waterways and sewers from pollution.
You can visit his website at BKEthridge.com
Say hi and drop a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
About Black & Orange
Forget everything you know about Halloween. The stories are distortions. They were created to keep the Church of Midnight hidden from the world. Every October 31st a gateway opens to a hostile land of sacrificial magic and chaos. Since the beginning of civilization the Church of Midnight has attempted to open the gateway and unite with its other half, the Church of Morning. Each year they’ve come closer, waiting for the ideal sacrifice to open the gateway permanently. This year that sacrifice has come. And only two can protect it.
Martin and Teresa are the nomads, battle-hardened people who lack identity and are forever road-bound on an endless mission to guard the sacrifice. Their only direction is from notes left from a mysterious person called the Messenger. Endowed with a strange telekinetic power, the nomads will use everything at their disposal to make it through the night alive.
But matters have become even more complicated this year. Teresa has quickly lost ground battling cancer, while Martin has spiraled into a panic over being left alone. His mind may no longer be on the fight when it matters most… because ever on their heels is the insidious physical representation of a united church: Chaplain Cloth.
Read an Excerpt
October 31st of Last YearWhere was Tony Nguyen? Where was the Heart of the Harvest?
Martin couldn’t answer that. He’d lost his gun, his mind could not conjure another mantle– he was powerless. The answers he desperately needed escaped him. He just ran. Teresa wove through a field of tall grass and he followed. The brittle blades swept across his face, snapping and hissing as they went. The children flooded into the field, their dark orange jaws snapping in concert with the disruption in the grass. Martin could hear Teresa wheezing. Her pace slowed. He had to match it; she wouldn’t be left behind, not like–
Where was Tony?
Thousand of little fiends chomped hollowly, hungry to fill that hollowness– instinctively Martin attempted to throw a mantle and dissect the crowd, but his brain had gone completely dry; he’d overdone it. There was no mental power left. He’d failed Tony. They both had. Now the Church of Midnight would have their sacrifice. The same realization flooded into Teresa’s cold face as she sprinted through the darkness ahead. He’d wasted his power, she was ill and the Church was too damned powerful now.
Chaplain Cloth was too damned powerful. And he took Tony. Somewhere along the line Martin and Teresa had lost the Heart of the Harvest, Tony Nguyen, that single soul that was theirs to protect from sacrifice.
The nightscape sloped. One of the children clamped onto Teresa’s leg with its serrated teeth and twisted its head to rip at the tendons there. Martin brought down a boot on its pumpkin shaped skull. The head trauma forced the jaws open. Martin jumped forward to crush it. The thing growled and jumped to meet him. Teresa swung around and stopped the creature mid-flight with the butt of her handgun. Her frayed jeans grew dark with blood but she ran on. The other children gained. Colorless trees flooded past, the open field turning into dense forest.
Maybe Tony had gotten away somehow. They couldn’t lose another Heart of the Harvest. The gateway grew too wide already– another sacrifice would bring the other world too close to theirs. Goddamnit, where was Tony Nguyen? Did he trip and fall somewhere? Martin’s foot hit a root. He tumbled sideways, landed on his elbow in a wet bed of leaves. Teresa took his hand and ripped him to his feet. But it wasn’t Teresa. This person wore a new face and new eyes.
Martin twisted away from the old monster. The shark-belly skin, the night black suit and orange tie. Trees exploded behind Martin in a rush of splintery debris. He found his strength, forced on a path of adrenaline, and brought up a mantle that moment. The invisible shield wrapped around his body and deflected the attack. Martin’s heel caught mud and he slid fast into a black ravine. He lost hold of the mantle when he splashed down. His protection vanished. Where was Teresa? Where was Tony? Martin was alone.
His legs slopped through a waist-high stream. Chaplain Cloth hadn’t come down after him and as much as that might have been a relief, it meant his direction had turned elsewhere. Martin couldn’t let that happen, not to Tony, not to Teresa. He charged hard through the cold stream and broke out of the arresting water onto a steep embankment. The memory of Cloth’s face burned in his mind: needles of pitchy hair swinging over one black eye, and the orange eye engulfed in hate. His teeth were raw pink like flayed muscle, colored from past harvests, colored with those Hearts that never saw another November.
Screams echoed from a bubble of light somewhere north. Martin’s legs burned red-hot. Can’t stop. He focused to build another mantle. The cold spot in his brain, where mantles were drawn, bloomed with power. The light in the forest intensified. Shadows became more distinct. A voice yelled for him.
“Martin! Here!” Teresa peered out between some stunted trees. Her face was streaked in dirt and dried blood. “Get over here.”
He dove into the hiding place and sidled up next to her. Her words came out between gulps of air. Her wheeze sounded dry, but he knew it’d get worse soon in this dampness. “We have to get back to the van. We’ve lost him Martin. They have Tony. Tony’s gone! Let’s go.”
“How do you know? Did–?”
She guided his face over, leaving dank mud on his chin. In his confusion he’d overlooked a nearby ledge over a washout. Pine trees wreathed the area in a nighttime vertigo. At the other side of the washout stood an old brick structure, a primary school left to ruin. A gaping mouth opened through the bricks. The gateway leading to the Old Domain stretched forth impatiently, power-starved. At the other side of the bilious corridor, human arms pushed and pulled and wrenched to open a fist-sized hole separating the worlds. The arms withdrew a moment and a woman’s face filled the hole. Smiling. It was a lovely face with corpse cold eyes.
They shrunk back as Chaplain Cloth strode from the gathering of trees adjoining the school. Tony Nguyen’s furrowed body hung limp in Cloth’s arms. He was alive, but Martin knew that wouldn’t last long.
“We have to do something,” he whispered.
“You know there’s nothing we can do now,” said Teresa. “We can only hope it gateway will shut again. This was bound to happen again.”
“We can try–”
“No,” she said, firmly, “I’m calling this one.”
Tony wasn’t scared, although the abrasions from Cloth’s children had almost bled him out. So very brave– thought Martin. How had they let this happen? They were too slow.
Without warning, the boy’s torso twisted back; the spine snapped in three places. The Chaplain rested his hand on the damp white shirt and it jumped apart at the poisonous touch. Through Tony’s abdomen, the ribcage surfaced through the skin like the hull of a sunken ship. Once each bone was exposed, they shattered in succession. Cloth blinked back at the chalky discharges. Strands of muscle and skin ignited and burst into tiny organic filaments. Cloth worked a pale finger around the dense muscle in the cavity. Pulled the heart free from Tony’s chest.
The Heart of the Harvest didn’t glow, or shimmer, or change colors. It looked like a human heart, like any mammal heart, a tough piece of bloody flesh. But then Martin saw– everything for miles around had been deprived of color. Teresa’s face looked gray beside him. Even Cloth’s black and orange eyes were two smoky discs. Yet the heart had a burgundy hue so ferocious it looked like something from a surreal dream, an apple galvanized with cinnamon steel.
Tony’s jaw clicked as his body met the forest’s carpet of twigs and leaves. He was carrion now because of them. This kid, this great kid that once explained in detail how he planned to code videogames after college, and once he mastered that, wanted a large family– he wasn’t one of those guys who hated the idea. Becoming a good father someday was his ultimate goal, because his own father left so much to be desired. Tony had wanted to have a life after this Halloween. And now he would be fertilizer for the forest. Dust.
The heart was placed outside the gateway. The arms inside thrashed frantically as the brilliant red lump boiled. A swarm of children attacked the organ, taking measured bites of the fruit. Their bulbous bodies fled inside, charged with radiant power. Hundreds detonated. Through the eclipses of darkness and light, layers of the hole collapsed into soot. The opening widened and a slender arm, the woman’s arm, came through with her head. She moved quickly through, for the gateway would repair and soon.
“They’re coming through.” Teresa swallowed the words.
“I don’t think it will stay open forever,” Martin told her. They’d lost Hearts before, but he still wasn’t sure.
Laughter scaled the peaks of the hovering pines. More Church members clamored through the forest toward the new arrivals.
Teresa tugged at him, but Martin couldn’t move. All he could do was think about the end. His body came off the ground with a surge of strength. “This is done, Martin. We have to go!”
Thousands of demented orange faces exploded around them. Teresa flung a mantle and it powered through the children like a cannon ball. Martin followed her through the maze of twisting trees, trusting her to lead them to the van.
Chaplain Cloth’s laughter followed them all the way back.
Black & Orange Tour Schedule
Monday, August 1
Interview at The Hot Author Report
Tuesday, August 2
Guest Post at The Hot Author Report
Thursday, August 4
Interview at Pump Up Your Book
Friday, August 5
Guest Post at The Story Behind the Book
Monday, August 8
Interview at The Examiner
Tuesday, August 9
Interview at The Writers Life
Wednesday, August 10
Guest Post at Pitching Pencils
Thursday, August 11
Guest Post at Fluidity of Time
Friday, August 12
Review at Fluidity of Time
Monday, August 15
Spotlight at The Plot
Tuesday, August 16
Character Interview at The Plot
Wednesday, August 17
Guest Post at Inkyblots
Thursday, August 18
Interview at BlogCritics
Friday, August 19
Book Panel at Literarily Speaking
Monday, August 22
Guest Post at Books, Products and More
Tuesday, August 23
Interview at Broowaha
Wednesday, August 24
Review at The Phantom Photographer
Thursday, August 25
Review at Bookish Ardour
September Schedule coming soon!
The White Oak, Clarendon’s oldest brothel, lured and destroyed men by the thousands. Fezariu was different. He had never been drawn by the White Oak’s vices but the brothel had still ruined him when he was just a boy.
Salvation came in the form of the Merelax Mercenaries – Elenchera’s most prestigious hired hands. They gave Fezariu the chance to escape from his past. Immersed in the world of dangerous assignments in the colonies Fezariu longed to forget everything about his childhood but only in facing the past would he ever be free of it.
Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPgcNNLMBvY
David Brown was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, and first conceived the idea of the Elencheran Chronicles at college in 1999. He spent ten years compiling the history of Elenchera, resulting in 47,000+ years of events, 500+ maps, 2000+ pages, several short stories and many much-needed acquaintances with Jack Daniels.
David also has a blog, The World According to Dave (http://www.elenchera.com/blog), which features reviews, stories and dramatic tales of the horrors of owning cats.
David now lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, with his wife, Donna, and their six cats.
Fezariu’s Epiphany is his first novel.
David’s Twitter profile: http://www.twitter.com/elenchera
Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPgcNNLMBvY
About Christopher Hoare
Christopher Hoare lives with his wife, Shirley, and two shelter dogs, Coco and Emmie, in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. As a lad he lived, breathed, and dreamed aeroplanes, won a place at RAE Farnborough learning to engineer them, but found the reality didn’t fit the dream. Did a stint in the army and then away to Libya to join the oil circus. Flying objects only appear as tools when they now appear in his writing.
His stories never take place next door to the lives most people live; the less charitable find similarity in characters who tend to be stubborn, independent, and contrarian. Perhaps there’s a connection between the worlds he portrays in fiction, and his working life in oil exploration in the Libyan Desert, the Canadian Arctic, and the mountains and forests of Western Canada.
He has written stories set in Anglo-Saxon Britain, in modern industrial projects, in the alternate world of Gaia, and the fantasy world of Rast. Sometimes known to satirize jobs and organizations he knows. Likes to write central characters who are smart, beautiful, and dangerous women who lead their male counterparts to fulfill dangerous duties they’d rather avoid. Gisel Matah in the Iskander series is perhaps the most Bond-like of these, but Jady in Rast can match her in many aspects.
In Rast, magic is not a convenient parlour trick, it’s a deadly force that takes no prisoners. Those who must wield it are doomed, for it never ceases to work within the mind and nerves until it destroys its master.
And now, the time of the interregnum is here; the reigning sorcerer king, the Drogar of Rast, is struggling for a last grasp on magic power while his heir, Prince Egon, must take up the deadly mantle. Egon is fearful but courageous in his duty. Not one peril threatens Rast, but many.
While he struggles to tame the magic to his command the mechanistic Offrang adventurers arrive to seize the land for their empire. The Offrangs don’t just disbelieve in magic, they treat any attempt to discuss it with withering scorn. Then, when the Drogar falters, the North Folk sweep out in their multitudes to cover the land of Rast at the behest of their depraved Casket of Scrolls. Deepning too, a creature of earth magic in its mountain pools, stirs to gain power enough to conquer Rast.
The Prince’s sweetheart Jady does her best to support him, but she is not strong enough in the power of the lineage to bear him a magic wielding heir. She sets out to meet the caravansi of the cousin princess who is sent to be his consort with duty and anger both warring in her mind. The crisis will reveal surprising enemies, surprising friends, and as the Drogar tells Jady, “Even a Drogar may not see a future not yet determined.” While Egon goes west to spy on the Offrangs and Jady makes her way east, the oracle provided by the Pythian that lives in a cavern beneath the palace reveals, “You have no high point to see the scattered threads but must trust to those who grasp them.”
Everyone, enemy and friend, has a part to play in the preservation of Rast.
Read an excerpt!
Jady pulled firmly on the reins, the tall pickaback reared to his full height and planted his aft-most claws tight into the root-born path. His long body flexed beneath her as three of his six legs pawed at the air. When his middle claws again touched the musty smelling moss she leaned forward to whisper words of an ancient language into his feather covered ears.
“Pellad, Cerefrus. Dosar––let me dismount.”
The obedient animal bowed low his head to let the mail-clad maiden slip from the saddle to the forest floor.
She stood a moment, tall and slender in the shadowy forest, watching the flicking movements of her mount’s ears—noticing each glance of golden eyes into the overhanging branches. No single sound or sight held more than a momentary notice––then they were alone. The only other occupants of the small clearing lived in her memory.
Their mound occupied the center. The scavenger-chewed bones of a thousand Krachins decorated its surface, and at the summit sagged the bloodstained talisman of the Soulingas, the family of the first Soule. It hung tattered from its staff, waiting for an eldest son to reclaim and restore it to glory. An eldest son who may never be.
“I cannot help it, father,” she sobbed, falling to her knees before the tomb.
In her mind, he looked down at her and smiled. “I would not ask you to forsake the man you love…but your dreams are sterile.”
“I would receive him in shame––if that were the only way.”
“That can never be. You know he could not––and you deceive yourself if you think you would.”
“But Rast…without the Soulingas––?”
“Your brothers and I are patient with you, but––”
“I could never love another!”
“Have you given any other the leave to win you?”
She knelt silently for many minutes. “Am I making it hard for him?” she said, at length.
“You both know his duty.”
“And yet his father has never spoken harshly to me. Surely if the Drogar saw the error of it he would have ended my hopes.”
“Even the dead cannot see into the mind of a Drogar.”
She breathed in sharply. The thought of her Prince becoming a Drogar in his turn was frightening. Would his gentle glances become veils of ice-hard magic? Not Egon––surely not Egon!
“Do you know why the Drogar sends you at this time?”
“This time? What do you mean?”
“Your Grandfather, my father, saw omens in it.”
“He didn’t speak to me of what he saw.”
“A commission to Deepning is never given lightly.”
She opened her eyes wide to take in the evidence of the tomb. “Three times have I come. Five times if I count the journeys with you and my brothers.”
“But this time the Drogar’s words are stronger, his intent more given in detail.”
“I know not why.”
“Go, Daughter, be about your mission. We cold bones will delay you no longer, but we will ever hold your life to our charge. We will never take rest until you and a husband kneel here—until the son you shall make together can be prepared to take up our talisman.”
Without another word or backward glance she stood and walked to Cerefrus. He bent to allow her to mount. Continuing along the forest paths she rode until she could see the dark overhanging rocks of a mountain through the branches.
Here she dismounted again and set the pickaback loose in a forage dell until her return. She settled the bow of sinew, horn, and wood across her shoulders, tightened the coil of long dark hair beneath her leather helm and glided forward beneath the tangling branches into paths no mounted warrior could follow. Testing again the Vales of Deepning Pools she trembled slightly, shivered within her taught nerves. She stifled her misgivings and set out upon the mission.
The Drogar spoke of some future sons of Soule. Did he mean the words in truth, or were they mere bolsters for her courage?
She walked watchfully; stepped softly. No gentle forest animals stirred, no bird flew. The trees grew tall and twisted as if they had wrestled, each with the other, for every scrap of sunlight falling dappled into the forest. Jady knew the secrets of each. She smelled resin weeping from wounded bark, wooden tears seeping from the trunks where tree had flailed against tree in wind-borne combat. She knew the smells of every forest dweller, and feeling her soft leather boots sink to their moss covered roots, caressed them in her walking.
The Deepning Pools lay above her, in a hanging valley upon the edge of the mountain.
She bent her footsteps up through the slanting trees and followed a path made by the many feet of the only animals strong and fierce enough to live near the magic Vale—the sharptoothed Krarks. Broken branches told of the rough passages they forced with their segmented bodies. Here and there, a fallen tree lay torn in two by mighty claws. Jady reached to touch the crystal-tipped arrows at her waist, and plunged on up the path.
She walked more quickly for about a league. When she felt the magic singing—the distant hints of dangerous melody ringing in her ears—she stopped to take the gossamer net from her pack. Woven by a wraith of midnight sorcery, the heirloom was handed down from distant ancestors. It had shielded generations of warriors from the spells. Fierce, dark-haired men with arms like the roots of trees. Men who let fly the crystal tipped arrows from tempered bows of horn and wood. Brothers, fathers, uncles and grandfathers, descended in unbroken line until at last, the only watcher of the forest was this high-breasted maid—the last of the Soulingas. She carefully draped the shimmering silver over her head and wrapped its folds about her. Safe within the wispy filament from the sirens’ temptation, she stepped gently on, spells buzzing futilely against the gossamer shield as angry bees against the keeper’s net.
Few but the Soulingas could venture into the Vale of Deepning Pools. Even Drogar magic rarely clashed with the fey enchantry—except at a few intervals in the circle of time, force was blocked by force. Prince Egon knew where the Pools lay, but had never glimpsed their glowing, living liquid. Only the Krachins were drawn to the fetid swamps by their lust for sour smelling vapours. The Guardian of the Forest must mark their comings and goings, and when the moment was right thwart their fell intention. Thwart also the evil purpose of the Pool creature, whatever strange reality it might possess––and prevent it gaining living sacrifice.
Only flying crystal point could secure payment and account in such magical commerce.
Amora Madre is content in the Smokey Mountains pursuing her teaching of love, things of the spirit, and metaphysics. Her childhood invisible playmates, Casey and Nia, are always by her side. But when soul mate Gabriel Ephraim enters her life, she is drawn into the heart of a horrific encounter with the spirit world in the skies over Washington D.C. Catapulted into service for the Intergalactic Supernatural Intelligence Agency, ISIA, the kindred lovers soon discover the existence of an invisible wickedness over the city, its galactic origins, and its evil designs for national and world events.
As part of an Andrusian galactic strike force, assembled to dismantle the malevolent legion’s brutal matrix, Amora and Gabriel, seasoned and accomplished, embark on a dangerous adventure filled with Onaweyans, Scorpillians, historical figures, and a confrontation with the dark supernatural syndicate over the fate of the United States and the earth.
With journeys into dimensional worlds, interactions with fantastic characters and creatures, and revelation of the current struggle between the spiritual forces of good and evil, LIBERATION draws the reader into a world where the spiritual dimensions and reality converge.
About Maria Lucia
A University of Memphis education graduate and a professional musician and vocalist, Maria moved deeply into the study of music and launched a very successful musical career in 1984. It included experiencing music on the performance level and the educational level as well. She began her studies of the deeper aspects of music immersed in the wisdom of Stephen Halpern and the integration of the healing effects of music and sound. She developed her voice simultaneously with her ability to teach others how to create and bring out their own voice and soul through music.
In 1994 she completed a nine year position with the world renowned Howard Hanger Jazz Fantasy and left her music career to focus entirely on developing her teachings. She spent many years in private practice, facilitating her own seminars and counseling on creativity. Her experience includes programs for gifted children in the public school system and creativity seminars for musicians at the university level. She has been a musical director for church programs, composer of music, and a producer of concerts. She has traveled nationally, performing and delivering seminars for more than twenty years.
Stop by tomorrow for ‘Five Things You Didn’t Know About Nia’.
Perhaps more of a prequel than a sequel to Marcus Dino’s electrifying Hollywood novel, Fifi Anything Goes in the Doubles Os (Iuniverse 2003, Airleaf 2005) Diary of a Mad Gen Yer focuses on the hilarious adventures of 21st century actress/heroine Fifi Larouche; her silly poems, her silly stories, her silly blogs, during her days working as a waitress while pursuing her dreams of Hollywood fame.
‘Gen Yer’ also introduces colorful new characters such as Alocki, the alien from the planet Zatoris and ‘the smartest person Fifi ever met,’ Flifi, Fifi’s’ ‘fairy alter ego’ from the ‘Alternate Earth’ who gives people advice but has a little stinger on her tail and stings people who do wrong (they feel itchy) and throws pixie dust on people who do right, and dick, an evolutionary scientist who enjoys arguing religion with Fifi and is a ‘proud atheist.’
Of course many of the major characters in Fifi such as Biff, Fifi’s bohemian actor/software engineer boyfriend and Charles, Fifi’s domineering college professor father who thinks Fifi is ‘wasting her time in ‘ala land ‘and needs to come back to her hometown of Des Moines Iowa to work as a banker, are back in ‘Gen Yer.’
While Fifi tended at times to focus on Fifi’s serious side, ‘Gen Yer’ almost exclusively focuses on Fifi’s comical adventures and her ‘silly thoughts’ and will keep readers laughing from beginning to end.
About the Author
Marcus Dino has had an interesting professional career, first as an Aerospace engineer, next as a passionate math teacher teaching in urban Los Angeles which he currently still does, and finally, as a part time literary fiction author. It is Mr Dino’s being a die hard movie buff that led him to writing Diary of a Mad Gen Yer in addition to his first novel, Fifi, Anything goes in the Double Os, first published in 2003.
Mr Dino is a graduate of Chapman University and he also has Masters Degrees in both Education and Electrical Engineering. Diary of a Mad Gen Yer and Fifi can be found at www.smashwords.com and www.summertimproductions.net. Mr Dino’s personal website which includes numerous blogs, short stories, and poems involving his central character Fifi Larouche, which helped inspire him to write his anthology, Diary, can be found at www.authorsden.com/marcusdino.
When Sam is forced to spend the summer on her grandpa’s farm she thinks things can’t get much worse.
Deep in the caverns below the farm, Prince Buznor, a young Awok, is on a life-and-death mission to save his world. He has to find Sam and prove to her that only she can find and control the Crimson Crystal… the one weapon that can defeat the evil threatening his people.
To reach the Crimson Crystal Sam must journey through the hostile Land of Geffen, face hordes of catacomb dwarfs, vicious vampire bats and deadly monsters. Can Sam overcome her fears, her doubts, and find the Crimson Crystal in time to save the Awokian world?