Oath Sworn, by Meg MacDonald

Defending Lian against soulless assassins is not what Aralt “Wolf” syr Tremayne agreed to. Nor did he agree to be the guardian of an irrational teenaged Keeper of the Faith. And he certainly did not plan on sky pirates or cannibals. Aralt has his hands full. The Grand Meeting of the Northern Alliance is mere days away and Lian Kynsei, last of the soul-touched and missing for three years, turns up on his doorstep. A noble man of his word, Aralt has every intention of protecting his ward, but did he have to show up now? What’s worse, the more they get reacquainted, the less Aralt likes him. He’s reckless, emotional, and when he’s angry even the weather changes. This is the hope of a nation? Armed with the Tuned sword that is all he has left of his murdered brother, Aralt endeavors to secure a sanctuary for a reluctant heir-apparent who never anticipated his elevated status. But sanctuary proves elusive, every step bringing them closer to danger–and closer to revealing secrets neither wishes to share. The enemy has made the skies their own and unleashed a scourge intent on killing Lian–or worse. Death, Aralt realizes, might be the greater mercy.

Oath Sworn starts a bit slow, but this is a necessity to lay the foundation on which an epic noblebright series is built. From flying ships to crystal swords that sing with sorrow and jubilation, the world of Aralt and Lian is a masterpiece that yearns to be told again and again.

A richly woven tapestry of history, religion, and good old fashioned gas lamp fantasy, Oath Sworn is a tale of tales for athe ages. Exciting chapters flow with a beautiful prose that is accessible to readers young and old alike. New readers will marvel at the mastery and majesty of the author, and seasoned readers will find that they’ve reunited with a tale that is familiar, but told in a way that only Meg Mac Donald could tell.

I long for the continuation of the Wolf’s Oath series, and know that new installments will be as riveting as this introduction. Five out of five stars is an easy rating to grant, and I have no doubt that more tales from the author will quickly become a reader’s favorite.

Meg MacDonald is a time traveler from beyond the Stellian Galaxy, but she pretends to be a life-long Michigander and SFF geek whose first crush (after her daddy) was Mr. Spock. This explains a lot. She began writing the stories that would lead to Oath Sworn and the Wolf’s Oath Trilogy when she was in high school. A lot of writing and many distractions followed. She has trained dogs and horses, rescued cats, renovated old houses, gone spelunking, and fostered children. Her husband thinks she’s cute, her kids think she’s weird, and her cats just want her for her lap. She loves woolly mammoths, Coca-Cola, men in kilts, and has never been to the moon, but hope springs eternal. Meg’s short fiction and poetry have appeared in Weird Tales, Masques of Darkover, The Temporal Logbook, and other short story anthologies both in print and online. She was editor-in-chief of the semi-pro SFF magazine PANDORA back in the day and credits that experience with nurturing her love of short fiction, honing her critical skills, and delaying her writing career by at least a decade.

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https://kyrrimar.com/
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The Harpy, by Julie Hutchings

Charity Blake survived a nightmare. Now she is one. Punk-rock runaway Charity Blake becomes a Harpy at night—a treacherous mythical monster who preys upon men just like the ones who abused her. Struggling through an endless stream of crappy coffee shop jobs, revolted stares, and self-isolation during the day, Charity longs to turn into the beast at night. Doing the right thing in all the wrong ways suits her. But a Harpy’s life belongs in Hell—the gruesome Wood of Suicides, where the Harpy queen offers Charity just what she’s looking for: a home where she can reign supreme and leave behind the agony of her past. The choice to stay in Hell would be easy, were it not for a rock-and-roll neighbor who loves her for the woman she is—even when he discovers the creature she becomes—and unexpected new friends with their own deranged pasts and desires who see Charity as their savior. But salvation isn’t in the cards for Charity. Not when her friends see through her vicious attitude and fall in love with her power as the Harpy. Struggling between the life of an injured outcast and the grizzly champion of a blood-red hellscape, Charity must thwart her friends’ craving for her power enough to fear her corruption—and determine once and for all where her salvation lies: in eternal revenge or mortal love.

The Harpy, by Julie Hutchings is dark. Characters deal with abuse, violence, and a touch of gore when they deserve it. Charity is a flawed protagonist, but who wouldn’t be with the same backstory? Always snarky, with a brutally honest look at humanity’s underbelly, The Harpy is an excellent voyage into darkness. Characters are not who and what they claim to be, and everything’s fair game. If you like your stories dark, and your protagonists covered in blood, then this is the book for you.

Julie’s a mythology-twisting, pizza-hoarding karate-kicker who left her ten-year panty peddling career to devote all her time to writing. She is the author of Running Home, Running Away, The Wind Between Worlds, and forthcoming The Harpy. Julie revels in all things Buffy, Marvel, robots, and drinks more coffee than Juan Valdez and his donkey combined, if that donkey is allowed to drink coffee. Julie lives in Plymouth, MA, constantly awaiting thunderstorms with her wildly supportive husband, two magnificent boys, and a reptile army.

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https://juliehutchings.net
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Spell Caster, by Clara Coulson

After discovering a startling secret about his own history, Cal’s been forced to split his time between honing new skills and healing old wounds. So when what appears to be a routine supernatural murder drags him out of the DSI office and onto the streets once again, Cal is initially overjoyed at the prospect of returning to some sense of “normal.” His hopes are dashed, however, when the seemingly simple crime suddenly morphs into a violent murder spree that leaves bloody bodies scattered across Aurora. With scant clues to the perpetrator’s motives and identity, Cal and his teammates find themselves in a race against time to stop a magic practitioner hellbent on killing anyone related to a man that everyone at DSI was hoping they’d be allowed to forget. But in the supernatural community, old wounds always reopen and old enemies always rear their heads again in the ugliest of ways. And while Cal now has more power at his disposal than ever before, the adversary pitted against him this time around may just be unstoppable.

I continue to enjoy Clara Coulson’s “City of Crows” series. After the events in Day Killer, Cal has to be careful. Revelations could mean the end of the line for Cal Kinsey. Zombies are just the start of Spell Caster. Cal reunites with an old friend, but in a world subject to Fae whim and politics, who can be trusted?

Can Cal stay out of the Emberverse for once? The Methuselah Group, The Black Knights, and the High Fae Court continue to be the bane of Cal’s existence. You start to feel sorry for the guy. When will Cal get a break?

Spell Casteris another action-packed tale with twisty turns and mysterious magician machinations. Just like the five books before it, Spell Casteris fast-paced with realistic characters with a diverse cast that lifts the veil to our own world. I look forward to Dawn Slayernext year. Five stars for Spell Caster.

Clara Coulson was born and raised in backwoods Virginia, USA. Currently in her mid-twenties, Clara holds a degree in English and Finance from the College of William & Mary and recently retired from the hustle and bustle of Washington, DC to return to the homeland and pick up the quiet writing life. Clara spends most of her time (when she’s not writing) dreaming up new story ideas, studying Japanese, and slowly reading through the several-hundred-book backlog on her budding home library. If she’s not occupied with any of those things, then you can probably find her playing with her two cats or lurking in the shadows of various social media websites. In the publishing sphere, Clara is currently occupied with the City of Crows urban fantasy series, and its companion series, Lark Nation.

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https://claracoulson.com
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Anthony’s Blue Crayon is out now!

Guess what came out yesterday? Yep, Erika’s third children’s book, featuring illustrations by Alex Rudolph. Also, just in time for Christmas, the hardcover trio is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Wal*Mart (next week). We’ll have a digital version out on the first Tuesday in January, just in time for the recent Christmas tablet purchases. You should be able to pre-order next week.

Aubrey's Beautiful Crown Alyssa's Blank Canvas Anthony's Blue Crayon
Aubrey’s Beautiful Crown:
Amazon

Alyssa’s Blank Canvas:
Amazon

Anthony’s Blue Crayon:
Amazon


The Complete ABC Trio (hardcover):
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Wal*Mart


Be sure to head over to the children’s book page for more links and art and stuff.


Wireless, by Greg Dragon

Waking up in a brothel with no recollection of previous events, Tricia, an android, is on a desperate quest to find her true creators. Trapped in the hands of gangsters and slavers, she’s done being abused and manipulated by the men of this world. But what she discovers after regaining her memory is more terrorizing than she ever realized. Now, it’s up to a robot with a conscience to carry out an impossible mission. Will Tricia prevail or is her fate already sealed?

Those that follow my haphazard book blog know that I like Greg Dragon. I find his writing to be excellent, and I’ll read anything that he puts out. I asked him for a review copy of Wireless, and he acquiesced.

I’m not sure if Wireless is the final book in the “Wired for Love” series, if so, it has been an exciting series to read. The ending is quite satisfying, and if I must bid the series farewell, it’ll be with a sense of completion. This series, plus Greg’s futuristic detective series, “The Synth Crisis,” offer an imaginative view of a possible future.

Not quite dystopian, not quite mystery, and not quite post-apocalyptic, the “Wired for Love” series blends all these elements, while focusing on human interactions, be they with synths or other humans. We cheer for Tricia when she succeeds, and cry when she fails. The series has something to say on the nature of being a person, discrimination, the dangers of an overreaching government, and the corruption of corporations and wealth.

As is the rest of the series, Wireless is must read, and like everything I’ve read by Greg Dragon, highly recommended.

Greg-Dragon-2

Greg Dragon has been a creative writer for several years, and has authored on topics of relationship, finance, physical fitness and more through different sources of media. In particular, his online magazine has been a source of much pragmatic information, which has been helpful to many. As a result, his work continues to grow with a large and loyal fan base.

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http://gregdragon.com/
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Limited Time Sale

Hey everybody! I’m participating in this awesome sale that runs today through cyber monday. A bunch of us indie & hybrid authors are making our story collections 99-cents. There are a ton of great books for very little cost.

My book in the collection is an electronic version of the print-only Five by Five. It contains the following novellas: Sundered Rock, Warmache, Brass Automaton, Body Rentals & Forlorn Hope. Each of these are available as a stand-alone digital product at $2.99 each. The paperback collection is about the same price – $14.99.

So pick up my digital collection at $14.00 off, and while you’re al it, get some more by the talented authors participating.

Here is the promotion page: http://promo.thrillsandmystery.com/


Closeness

I’ve been neglecting this story with so much going on this quarter, so here’s a very rough draft of another chapter. I’m going to try to finish up the rough draft this year, and it’s probably gonna be shelved while I work on finishing up Lady by the Window to complete the Tupper Jones Mysteries contract with Amber Cove, and Starfall with Cindy to wrap up the first superhero trilogy. This installment is 1560 words.

 


Robert watched Steven very closely over the next few days, and he didn’t like what he saw. He definitely seemed happier, and he was acting like his old self, only more carefree than he had ever been before. Ruby still sat by him every lesson, but now David and Leonard had moved across and sat with him, too. He was smiling and laughing with his three friends, and was doing his school work quite happily. If the teacher’s overheard comments were to be believed, he was even catching up to where he had been before Lindsay’s death.

It seemed Steven’s three friends were making a profound effect on everyone else at the school. People were questioning everything, and many were acting almost normal toward Steven again. It seemed that Steven’s life was returning to how it had been before the trial, but things were changing dramatically for Robert.

He was the only who flat-out refused to forgive Steven. He maintained that Steven killed Lindsay and should be absolutely hated for it. He made sure he never talked to Steven, and tried to convince everyone else to think the same way he did. Unfortunately for him, no one did, which left him the odd man out more often now.

As things progressed, Robert was sitting by himself in class all the time. He refused to speak to anyone who considered Steven a friend, so he spoke to practically no one. It seemed to Robert that their roles had reversed. Steven was becoming popular and happy, while Robert was becoming isolated and depressive.

Steven typed happily away on the computer while Ruby spoke to Leonard about something and David did nothing as usual. Robert typed in a corner of the room with his eyes glued to the screen. Ruby turned around and said to Steven, “So, what do you want to do tomorrow?”

Steven stiffened for a moment before he spoke slowly and quietly. “Well, would you want to spend the day in the city?” he finally asked with a tense smile.

Ruby smiled back, her voice at normal volume. “Sounds great! What time do you want me to meet you?”

Robert stiffened as he listened to his ex-girlfriend make plans with his ex-best friend. Ruby and Steven were heading into the city together, alone? Was it a date? Was something going on between them?

Leonard winked at Steven and the boy quickly looked away with a nevertheless proud smile. David and Leonard started to talk about what they were going to do the next day without “the lovebirds” while Ruby blushed and gave Steven a smile, then continued with her work. Steven sighed heavily and looked at his screen like it was making him want to throw up.

An idea popped into Robert’s head that he couldn’t ignore. What if Steven was planning something? What if he was going to do something terrible to Ruby like he had to Lindsay?

Lindsay hadn’t deserved to date someone like Steven, and neither did Ruby. They were both too good for him.
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