Featured Author · Spotlight Interview

Featured Author: Ash Gray

Wednesday Spotlight

Shh: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

AG: Whenever I’m asked this, I usually go into the I-am-really-a-dragon routine, because I hate talking about myself. And I hate talking about myself because I’ve had a crappy life and I’m sure bringing it up would just bring people down. I can’t even tell you where I grew up because I didn’t grow up in any one place.

Since I’m feeling broody this morning, I’ll share something real and not dragon bullcrap.

Just know that I was born loving stories out of the womb. And that’s not some cliché. My romance with novels began before I could read. My mother read to me every single night, even before I could talk, and I was constantly in front of the tv, and I only looked at things that had actual stories (and maybe the occasional Looney Tunes). I loved stories so much, that I had taught myself to read by the time I was three just because I wanted to be able to access those books without asking an adult to read to me. No one taught me. Not on purpose anyway. So how surprised were they when we were driving down the street and I kept blurting out what every street sign said – no matter how vulgar. I mean, I was three.

My mother told me this story the other day of how I taught myself to walk and actually walked early too. (This is remarkable because I was born with crooked legs and had to wear leg braces on them for a while – yeah, like Forrest Gump.) I was so eager to be in the world. It was like I didn’t even understand I’d only just got there. I also didn’t understand that the world was not for me but for someone else, and that I would spend the rest of my life on the outside looking in, trying to be valued as a human being and acknowledged. Of course, it took several more years to understand that.

Shh: What inspired you to write?

AG: I never wanted to write. When I was a kid, I didn’t yet understand that I was a blind dork with a bad back condition who would never play sports. I wanted to play soccer and tap dance and be a ballerina. People were astonished by how fast I could run. But the older I got, the more my nerdness caught up with me, the further I retreated into books.

Even then, it still never crossed my mind that I could or should write my own stories. I’m not sure who would have read them anyway. I was on my own a lot. Then when I was twelve, my aunt passed away. My mother, who has a degree in journalism and thus values writing highly, handed me a journal and told me to write as a catharsis. She believed writing would help me process what was happening in ways that she couldn’t.

So I wrote. And a bit over twenty years later, I’m still writing.

Shh: What inspired your novel?

AG: Since The Prince of Qorlec is what I’m working on right now (and having a friggin ball, I might add) I guess it’s the series I’ll talk about in this interview.

I was inspired to write book one Project Mothership when I realized how much I loved science fiction and that I should really, really be writing more of it. I came to this realization one evening when I was rewatching the first Men in Black film with Will Smith for the umpteenth time. I started thinking to myself, “Dammit, this is the sort of stuff I love and want to see more of, so why not create it?”

I grew up with movies like Men in Black and Alien and Terminator and even Mars Attacks! I didn’t realize it at the time – I mean, of course, I wouldn’t, I was a kid – but I was very, very lucky to have these science fiction films where people like me were on the screen depicted as human beings and not offensive and harmful stereotypes and caricatures.

It’s easy to get bogged down by negativity and feel like the world is a dark, dark place where you are not welcome and do not want to be – in fact, I feel this way every day, or else I wouldn’t write. But there is evidence that people are at least trying to be decent human beings. I’m not gonna hand out cookies or pat anyone on the back for that because we should all be trying to be good to one another every day anyway. But it’s still great to look back at my childhood and realize how damned lucky I was.

Basically, I realized I wanted to write the things I love, and I love humorous science fiction that is fun and silly and still manages to express some deep and profound truth, even in a lighthearted way. Or sometimes not. We don’t always need to philosophize about pancakes in every dang thing. So I sat down and wrote Project Mothership, which is the story of the last princess of an alien planet who was planted as a fetus inside a human woman so that she could escape the invading aliens who wished to take over her planet Qorlec.

The first book is really funny and lighthearted with some poignant moments here and there. I like to describe it as a cross between Men in Black and Terminator, except the aliens are the good ones (because me love aliens) and the FBI aka men in black and the robots/terminators are the evil ones trying to capture Quinn, the princess of Qorlec.

And because I adore action heroes in science fiction, I’ve always got at least one female action hero, who smokes cigarettes constantly and is sarcastic and tough and wields some kind of big gun. In The Thieves of Nottica, we’ve got Morganith as the action hero. In Project Mothership, it’s Zita, who I enjoy writing so much, I actually brought her back one book earlier than I originally planned. So she’s actually in the second book and meets up with Quinn again. I like to think of her as a cross between Bruce Willis in the Fifth Element (or, hell, Die Hard) and Linda Hamilton in Terminator. The difference between Zita and Sarah Connor is that Zita keeps her humanity. Even though she’s a soldier who’s supposed to be hard and cold, she never goes over the edge. She actually winds up being the person who keeps other soldiers (such as Quinn’s borderline psychotic aunt) from going off the deep-end.

I wanted to give the first book away free during my blog tour just to get people interested in the series. I actually plan to make it permafree once I’ve written at least four books in. I feel like it’s the series I’m going to be focusing the most on in the year to come simply because I love writing it so much.

Shh: What draws you to this genre?

AG: I’ll answer the last two questions together. The genre is science fiction > action adventure. Well, the first two are. The first two books are very action-packed, with crashing spaceships and chase sequences and people suddenly kissing as the fire and smoke are rising (just kidding on that last part).

In the first two books, Quinn is very young, so she’s not sitting around brooding about the universe. She’s got a mission in every book, and it’s not until she gets older that she starts slowing down to look around and smell the daisies. In the first book, she’s just trying to escape the zonbiri, amphibian aliens who are trying to conquer Qorlec, her home planet. In the second book, she’s trying to protect Earth from the zonbiri, who are at it again trying to make humans into mutant soldiers for their war efforts. In the third book, she trains as a warrior and learns what it means to be entirian, her species.

The third book is more quiet and reflective because this is Quinn learning and growing up and falling in love. It’s normally the sort of thing that would be skipped over in a montage if it were a movie, but I plan to use the third book to nerd-out and expand the lore and explore who the entirian actually are. So far in the second book, they are presented as a militant, cut-throat society, where their men are actually oppressed because of a physical disadvantage. They are not presented in a flattering light – which is supposed to be a sort of twist because these are the victims of an invasion by a brutal and more technologically advanced planet. Book three explores this and attempts to make the entirian more sympathetic while still showing they have flaws.

Shh: How did you develop your plot and your characters?

AG: This is a difficult question to answer because I don’t really have a process. I made this guest post recently talking about how to build a character with a character sheet, but in reality, I haven’t used a character sheet in years. I think the point of the character sheet is sort of like training wheels for when you’re just learning – though it can also serve to organize messy thoughts about a character. It has its uses.

As far as Project Mothership is concerned, I just sat down and started writing it one day. Rose was originally a cynical, sarcastic woman (which is why she tells Zita she has no gods), but I realized I hated that, and I went back and made her more soft and sweet. I don’t know why. It’s just the direction I chose to take.

The plot is half inspired by real accounts of alien activity and the young adult science fiction series Invasion America, in which a half-alien prince protects America from his uncle’s planned invasion. I actually didn’t do this on purpose. In fact, I didn’t realize how similar my story was to Invasion America until I found myself thinking one day of how sad I was when the series was cancelled. I remember reading the book that was loosely based on the show and being so miffed that the books were never continued. I guess in a way, I was subconsciously continuing David Carter’s story with my character Quinn Carmichael.

But at the same time, the stories are almost nothing alike. It’s their basic elements – lost prince/princess, fighting the alien invasion, human mother, whacked out aunt/uncle – that are similar.

Shh: What inspired your protagonist?

AG: Quinn’s story was inspired by a documentary I saw once of an alien abduction. Anyone who’s seen the documentary would read my book and instantly realize what I was retelling. I don’t feel like Quinn herself was inspired by anything, not even David Carter. Unlike David, Quinn doesn’t rely on a family heirloom to win her battles. I always thought David Carter needed to lose his handy-dandy glove at least for a while just to prove that he was a capable hero without it (and he did lose it for a while a couple times, but it still wasn’t convincing enough for me).

I’ve been playing with the idea of giving Quinn some alien weapon to defeat the zonbiri, but in the first couple books, she will be fighting without that weapon, just to show what she’s made of to the audience and that it’s her that has the strength, not some alien magic voodoo.

Shh: What inspired your antagonist?

AG: General Phorott hasn’t even made a real appearance in the books yet (I’m still writing toward that part). I can’t say what inspired him right now because right now he is just a name.

The villain of The Harvest, book two of the series, is a scientist named Dr Zorgone who is completely emotionless and cold and casually shoots his own colleagues mid-sentence. He’s been fun to write. He wasn’t inspired by anything that I’m aware of. I just wrote him (and snickered the whole time).

A lot of the villains in this series wound up being male because zonbiri women are so oppressed on planet Kahz, they can’t even progress to a point where they have enough power to be influential villains. But I’ve been playing with the idea of some self-loathing female minions who actually like the patriarchal power structure.

Shh: What was the hardest part to write in the book?

AG: The scenes with Oliver, Rose’s husband. And I think it’s because, after I’d written the first draft of Project Mothership, I went back and realized that Oliver was based on a real person. This was not something I did on purpose, but I’m not going to go back and change it now. Oliver stays. And . . . ha. I guess his inspiration is still on my mind. But you never forget the first person you loved. Even if they didn’t love you back.

Shh: What was your favourite part of your book to write?

AG: All the crazy chases and fight scenes. I can’t say because it’s a spoiler, but the scene in Project Mothership with Zita in the car and the FBI agent who tries to run up on her? I liked that.

Shh: Are you a full time or a part-time writer? If part-time, what do you do besides write?

AG: I’m a full-time writer, but I still do other things. I used to think I could paint. I also used to sew little teddy bears and make dolls. I was thinking one day I might start giving away teddy bears and dolls as swag for my books. If only I had enough talent to make dolls of my characters. That would be so cool.

Shh: What are you currently reading?

AG: I’ve decided to start reading, even more, science fiction. If I’m going to write it, I should be learning from my masters. So – after angrily trading in some copies of Constantine’s work – I grabbed some Isaac Asimov and am currently reading I, Robot. I’m still trying to get my hands on more Ursula K. Le Guin. I live down the street from two privately owned bookstores with huge amounts of books. It’s only a matter of time before I’ve got more science fiction on my shelves alongside the epic fantasy.

Shh: Who would you say are your favourite authors?

AG: I don’t know anymore. When people ask me that, I draw a blank. It’s because I just came from being an English Lit major, where I learned that most of my favorite authors are actually jerks, and even after earning my degree, I’m still learning that the ones with the greatest talent are some kind of bigot in some horribly twisted and disturbing way.

The authors I grew up loving, who haven’t let me down yet (or can’t because they’re dead) are Daphne du Maurier, Clive Barker, Ursula K. Le Guin, Dostoevsky, Herman Melville, Shirley Jackson, Mercedes Lackey and I’m sure there are more but I can’t think of them.

Shh: How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

AG: The Idiot by Dostoevsky, the story of a pure and good soul corrupted by a dark world.

Frankenstein was brilliant. And yes, misogynists. Mary Shelley – a woman – wrote it all by her onesy. And she didn’t “try too hard” and she didn’t write it to prove anything because – gasp! – women write books because we love to, not to impress men. Our lives don’t revolve around you!

Moby Dick is often blasted for its encyclopedic nature, but there are some truly beautiful passages. One of my favorites: “Our souls are like those orphans whose mothers die in bearing them: the secret of our paternity lies within their graves, and we must go there to learn it.” In other words, we can not know about death or “god” or an afterlife until we’ve died and it’s arrogant to pretend we do know. These words became more significant for me when I had a near-death experience and saw the light. Yeah. The whole trip.

Ursula K. Le Guin is amazing and I love A Wizard of Earthsea. My book The Seaglass Stair is heavily influenced by it.

Hmm. Let’s see. One more book . . . It would probably have to be The Thief of Always by Clive Barker, who is the king of horror and fantasy to me and always will be — unless he – like my other favorite authors – does something to prove he is anything less than a decent person and then I will have to sadly abandon him. So far, so good.

I abandon authors who are toxic because, more often than not, their venom is aimed at people like me and I can’t support authors who express hatred for me. May seem illogical to some people – amazingly enough – but to me, it makes perfect sense not to worship people whose bigotry contributes to systematically hurting me socially and economically. Yes, words have that power. You can’t be a writer and not understand that. So while everyone else is free to “separate the artist from the art” I can not.

Shh: What are your future projects, if any?

AG: After I finish my two series A Time of Darkness and The Prince of Qorlec, I plan on writing several spin-off books based on my short story collection Tales of Talithia. I might even start on it as I’m writing the other series because the spin-off books will all be standalone but based on the same world.

And because I’ve been actively trying to enter the publishing world for ten years, I have an entire pile of old novels that still need to be published. So polishing, revising, and rewriting those will be future projects too.

Shh: What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

AG: I am always lurking in the rafters of Goodreads, so if you want something from me, the best way to call the dragon out of the cave without getting singed is to contact me through my Goodreads. I’ll get your message in an email and get back to you. You can also access my Amazon page from there and download all my books through that.

Shh: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 

AG: Avoid eating people with bone marrow disease. Oh wait, you said “authors” not “dragons.” (Good advice for dragon’s, take note dragon readers out there! – Shh, I am Reading.)

I usually shy away from giving people advice because who the hell am I? I’m just some self-published slushpile reject. But here’s the best advice I can give.

If you want to develop your skill as a writer, read. Read for hours and hours every single day if you can. And read good things. Things that are written well. Things that are freaking fantastic. It’s the easiest and most inexpensive way to learn. In fact, it’s the best way to learn. All the best writers were readers first. Why? Because they learned from the masters.

Connect with Ash

Goodreads | Amazon | Patreon


Book Tour · Book Tour Wednesday · Excerpts · Giveaway

Heart of Time Book Tour & Giveaway

Heart of Time
Ruined Heart, Book 1
by Sky MacKinnon
Genre: Fantasy, Lesbian Romance
For Eona, manipulating time is second
nature. It gives her an edge in her dramatic circus performances, but
it also separates her from the other artists in her troupe. She has
always known that her unique kind of magic could make her a target,
but she couldn’t have prepared for being kidnapped, manipulated and
imprisoned by a megalomaniac sorcerer.
In order to figure out what he wants
from her, she needs to explore her own magic, the bond she feels with
a mythical creature, and the feelings she has for a certain beautiful
elven woman.
There are about twenty illustrations
in the book, drawn by artists from all over the world.

“A peryton! Of all the magical beasts there are, this is the most elusive, the most mythical of them all! I didn’t think they existed! There are a few legends and tales, conflicting and inconsistent, yet they tell of a beast combining the physical features of a stag and a bird. Never did I think that this bird might be an elvedritsch!”

Lassadar’s voice was full of awe and wonder. Inside, I agreed with him. The little thing was astonishing.

At the sound of Lassadar’s voice, he opened his big eyes and looked up at us. First, he turned his head to the man opposite of me, then he shook his head slightly and turned to me. The huge brown eyes looked straight at me. I stared back. I saw an intelligence waiting behind those watery pupils. This peryton was not simply a beast like any other. It was more than that, though I could not say what brought me to that conclusion.

His look was firm and steady, and when I cautiously smiled at him, he inclined his head.


Skye MacKinnon is a bestselling author
who tells stories about science for a living – but at night she
writes fiction, mainly fantasy. When she’s not writing, she’s out and
about with her camera, or spends time with mythical creatures and the
odd vampire living in her kindle. Usually, there’s tea and cake
She lives in Scotland with her two
overly spoilt house rabbits and a few hundred self-obsessed
characters constantly asking her to tell their stories. One day she
will. Promise.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!


Book Tour · Book Tour Wednesday · Giveaway · Silver Dagger Scriptorium

Spellsinger Book Tour & Giveaway

The Last Lullaby
The Spellsinger Book 1
by Amy Sumida
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Beneath your world lies another, a world of magic, monsters, and immortals.
I am the rarest of these; a spellsinger, able to weave music into
magic. With the right words, and for the right price, I can do
anything. Now a fairy duke has come to hire me, promising me a
fortune in exchange for one man’s life. But this man is a king, one
of the most powerful Shining Ones in existence. I could kill him with
a song or things could go horribly wrong. Hopefully, this job isn’t
my last lullaby.
A Symphony of Sirens
The Spellsinger Book 2

To sing with your heart you must first learn to listen. Sirens are some of the most dangerous denizens of the Beneath. So when they start going missing, it’s assumed that a supremely powerful being is behind the disappearances. But who and why? As Elaria struggles to find answers to the siren situation, even more questions arise.
Questions like: what kind of magic did the witch relic leave within her? And: what should she do about the three men who have become so important to her? One is her past, one: her present, and the third wants nothing more than to be her future. Can she find the solution in time to save her family? Or will love turn her symphony sour?

**On Sale for ½ price!!**

Amy Sumida is the
Internationally Acclaimed author of the Award-Winning Godhunter
Series, the fantasy paranormal Twilight Court Series, the Beyond the
Godhunter Series, the music-oriented paranormal Spellsinger Series,
and several short stories. Her books have been translated into
several languages, have made it to the top sellers list on Amazon
numerous times and the first book in her Spellsinger Series won a
publishing contract with Kindle Press.
She was born and raised in
Hawaii, and brings her unique island perspective to all of her books.
She doesn’t believe in using pen names, saving the fiction for her
stories. She’s known for her kick-ass heroines who always have a
witty comeback handy, and her strong, supporting male characters who
manage to be sensitive and alpha all at once.
All she’s ever
wanted to do, since she was a little girl, was to write novels. To be
able to do so for a living is a blessing which she wakes up thankful
for every day. Beyond her books, she enjoys collecting toys, to keep
herself young, and cats, to keep herself loved.
Sign up for Amy’s newsletter and get a free short story: 
Connect with Amy
The Four Clever Brothers:
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive content and a giveaway!
Book Tour · Excerpts · Giveaway · Xpresso Book Tours

Thrax Blog Tour

Christina Bauer
(Angelbound Origins #4)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: June 27th, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult







About the Book

Myla Lewis has married Prince Lincoln, and now they’re expecting! All the after-realms rejoice. Myla should be happy too, but she has a serious problem. The day after their honeymoon ended, Myla’s real husband disappeared.

The man who’s sharing her bed is an imposter.

Myla tries explaining about “Evil Lincoln,” but no one will listen. The reason? People think that Myla’s supernatural pregnancy is making her cray cray. Mostly because that’s what Evil Lincoln is telling everyone, and that man’s a great liar. What a creep.

There’s no way Myla will take this lying down, though. She’s going to rescue her man, and she has a pretty good idea where he’s being held. With her best friend, Cissy, along to help, Myla sneaks off to Earth. All she has to do is blend in with the humans, avoid Evil Lincoln, and find her real man before the baby arrives. How hard can it be?


My mouth falls open with shock. “I’m your wife. Myla Lewis. You just locked me up. Do you seriously think I want to fool around with you right now?”

Evil Lincoln shakes his head. “Your mouth is saying no.” He eyes me slowly from head to toe. My Scala robes are made of skin-tight white fabric. “But your body’s saying yes.”

That does it.

Whatever Queenly sanity I had? It vanishes into thin air. Using my mind, I command my Scala robes to change into heavy white body armor and kickass boots. This is a major perk of being the Great Scala, by the way. Instant battle readiness.

Once the change is complete, I lunge straight for Evil Lincoln. Sweeping his leg, I knock him onto the ground. Once Evil Lincoln is flat on his back, I take a seat right on his sternum. My tail arcs over my shoulder so its arrowhead-pointed end is aimed right for Evil Lincoln’s jugular.

He gasps. “What’s the problem, babe?”

If you so much as flinch the wrong way, my tail will take you down. It hates you.” To emphasize the point, my tail does its scary snake-slither move, where it shimmies in a zigzag.

By the way, my tail normally has a thing for Lincoln. In fact, it’ll sometimes do stuff for my husband that it’d never do for me. So the fact that my backside has gone straight for the jugular? It’s, even more, proof that I’m dealing with an impostor.

Call off your tail. I’m your husband. You don’t want to kill me.”

You are not my husband and we both know it. Death is the least you deserve.”

Honestly, I wouldn’t really murder Evil Lincoln at this point. Even so, I don’t want him to know that. A frightened enemy is a blabby enemy. This impostor simply must tell me where my real husband is hidden. To emphasize the amount of danger, I force my irises to glow demon red. “Tell me where my real husband is being held, and I won’t kill you.”

Evil Lincoln’s eyes go even wider. “I don’t know, I swear.”

I press my tail more firmly against Evil Lincoln’s throat. It’s not enough to break the skin, but it does show that I mean business. “Talk.”

No, no… Don’t hurt me.”

The tip of my tail slides farther down my fake husband’s jugular. The muscles in his neck twitch. I decide to use Evil Lincoln’s line right back at him. “Your mouth says no, but your body says yes.”

At that moment, the door swings open, and Lincoln’s parents step into the room. Both are in their thrax medieval best, so Connor is tall and barrel-chested in his velvet tunic. His white hair hangs gracefully to his chin. Octavia wears a long black gown with her silver hair curled into a neat bun. The two stare at Lincoln and me.

What’s going on here?” asks Connor.

Foreplay,” I say. At the same time, Evil Lincoln shouts: “She’s crazy!”

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


About the Author

Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best-selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult bestseller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers.

Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/CBupdates

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The Mercenary Book Blitz

Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: August 25, 2017
Pages: 213
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About the Book

She’s a prisoner of the Imperial Forces. He’s a nomad with a private mercenary army. Can a desperate girl’s risky gamble and a fierce warrior’s love turn the tide of war and alter the balance of power in their slice of space?

In a distant corner of the galaxy, Quadrant Five burns in the flames of a deadly war. The Budheya people are one of the worst affected. Once the most advanced civilization in the quadrant, they now struggle under the cruel yoke of Ketaari occupation.

Imprisoned by the Ketaari Imperial Forces, a young Budheya girl is sent to a distant space station to work in an alehouse. For a girl who has known only hardship in her short life, things could be worse. Until an old foe walks into the alehouse.

Zoran is Hadari’Kor – notorious across star systems for their prowess in battle. Their fierce reputation allows them to retain their independence, even as others are forced to choose sides in the war. Drawn to a weary-eyed server girl, Zoran is forced to confront age-old traditions and question his role in the war.

The Prisoner & The Mercenary
Alone, friendless and far from home, Saakshi makes a desperate gamble to trust a formidable and enigmatic stranger whose hot gaze haunts her dreams. The fallout from this improbable pact reverberates across space. As a relentless enemy hunts her, Zoran must fight to protect Saakshi through a minefield of shifting alliances. When passion ignites amidst the embers of a smoldering war, will a warrior’s quest for justice bring a mighty Empire to its knees …

Author’s Note : A spirited and resilient girl, a fierce warrior with a conscience, a fiery passion that flares amidst the debris of a deadly war and a love that will alter the fate of an entire quadrant forms the tale of The Mercenary, a standalone story that sets the scene for The War Chronicles – a collection of SciFi Romance & Space Opera tales with romance, swashbuckling adventure & a sprinkling of action.


He swam towards the shore, wading out of the water to where she sat watching him. Saakshi watched her large warrior arise unhurriedly from the tranquil lake, the water spearing off his hard body causing his myriad colorful tattoos to gleam brightly on his gray skin in the light reflected off the plasma torches. He shook his head gracefully, sending an arc of water off his dark hair. The scattered droplets hung over him like a short-lived halo around his large muscled frame. Saakshi stared at him, frozen in place and unable to take her eyes off him. In that moment suspended in time, to the young Budheya girl gazing up in awe at her warrior, it felt as if the Pura herself had sent him for her – her own personal guardian angel charging in when she’d needed him the most.

“Like what you see?” inquired the husky voice she remembered so well from before.
Saakshi flushed, looking away from those molten dark eyes.
He came down gracefully on one knee beside her, gloriously unselfconscious in his nakedness.
“I do, too. Like what I see, that is” he said scratchily, his voice like sandpaper.
He used a large finger to gently nudge her chin until she met his eyes.
“You have me at your feet, tseriya. I hope you will show mercy.”

Lost momentarily in the burning eyes and mesmerized by the husky voice, Saakshi realized dazedly that he seemed to be kneeling before her. She scrambled up with a muffled sob to throw her arms around him, smothering his face and neck with little kisses.
“Tseriya” he asked, a hint of uncertainty in his voice. “Why are you crying?”
“I’m just so happy that you came back” she sobbed into his neck.
“Of course, I came back” he reiterated in some confusion, trying to dislodge her from his neck to meet her eyes. “Why wouldn’t I?”
“I thought you were off doing more important stuff now that I was safe with the Alliance” Saakshi hiccupped into his neck, resisting all his attempts to get her to meet his eyes.
“Tseriya” he cajoled. “I could never stay away from you.”
He cupped the back of her head with one hand.
“Tseriya” he said urgently. “Haven’t I proved already that I cannot stay away from you? That is what I cannot forgive myself for.”

It was the note of despair in his voice that finally got through to Saakshi. She loosened her clasp around his neck to lean back and scan his expression. A callused finger brushed away her tears carefully as they spilled over from her eyes but Saakshi barely noticed the tender gesture.

“Forgive yourself? What do you mean …” she trailed off uncertainly.
He said nothing, but what she saw in the dark eyes had Saakshi straightening her spine.
“You helped a stranger who came to you for assistance. You could have chosen to walk away. Without you, the Unta-Golar …” she stopped mid-sentence, her words cut off by the large finger Zoran laid gently across her lips.
The expression on his handsome face shuttered right before her eyes.
“I’m no hero, Saakshi” he said steadily. “I shamed myself – I took advantage of a young and desperate girl.”

It was Saakshi’s turn to lay a gentle finger on his lips to prevent him from further self-reproach.
“No” she shook her head forcefully. “Nothing happened between us that I did not want. Believe that if you believe nothing else, Zoran Hadari-Begur-Kor.”
She withdrew her finger from his lips. He remained silent but did soften enough to allow her to see the regret and despair in him.
“You came for me every single time” she reiterated a tad desperately. “When no else did.”
Zoran shook his head, clasping her hand to plant a soft kiss in her palm.
“Yes” he acknowledged. “But I also took advantage of you.”
Saakshi shook her head vehemently, desperate to make him believe that she had never felt coerced into an intimate relationship with him.
“You … you loved me like no one else had, Zoran” she whispered, shyness and embarrassment forgotten. “I was drawn to you, even before I went to you. I just … I was too inexperienced to know it.”
His expression twisted subtly at her soft admission. “I was not.”

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About the Author

An avid reader all her life, only recently has Petra allowed her own imagination to run riot. She loves to travel, loves the outdoors and reads everything she can get her hands on, time permitting. Her taste in books is very eclectic – she tends to like stories with vivid and quirky characters that have elements of fantasy, adventure, romance and mystery interspersed together. A good book for her is one that makes the reader think long after it has been finished and set aside. And, one that draws the reader back to it, again and again.
To share the tales that have lived in her imagination for so long is a labor of love and a lifelong dream come true for her.

Connect with Petra

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(Ends October 5th)

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Book Tour · Excerpts · Giveaway · Xpresso Book Tours

Across the Darkling Sea Blog Tour

Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Kristina Ferrin
Publication Date: November 12, 2016
Pages: 157
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About the Book

Across the Darkling Sea is the first book in the new serial fantasy series Magicfall, by K. Ferrin!

Magic is forbidden in Brielle, but that never stopped Evelyn. Until Now. Because Evelyn has discovered she is magic, and now she is running for her life.

Her only hope is on an island cloaked in shadow, an island of dark magic and even darker beasts. An island warlocks call home.

Evelyn’s friends have turned against her, her own mother tried to kill her, and the place she calls home has banished her. Hidden away in the belly of a riverboat, a stowaway, her journey begins.

Across the Darkling Sea is book one in a serial series. Each book is roughly 50,000 words or about 150 pages. To emphasize, this is a serial series, meaning it’s one story that stretches across multiple books.


The black smear encased the house in a thick sheath that gleamed with a malevolent wetness. It towered above the house in a wildly twisting column, snapping like a loose sail caught in a heavy wind. She had no idea what it was, but it certainly wasn’t smoke.

The gleaming dark mass writhed and twisted like an animal caught in a trap. Fearsome and disturbing shapes formed in the shifting darkness, swelling and bulging as if they sought escape, only to disintegrate an instant later, sucked back into the deepest, darkest pinprick of night. A vibration filled the air, as if some beast screamed in agony, the sound of its voice too high or low for her to make out, but the force of its cry violently shaking the very air they traveled through.

That house was wrong somehow. Ling felt it in her very skin. It felt like worms burrowing just beneath the surface of her flesh, leaving itching tunnels in their wake. It shouldn’t exist, that house. Strangely, the twisting darkness that encased it seemed to belong. It was almost like a scar covering a wound sliced deeply into the flesh of the world itself. An attempt to heal a profound wrongness.

Strangest of all, the house stood out clearly against the trees behind it one moment, then faded out the next, becoming nothing more than a shadow on a cloudy day.

“You feel it too.”

It was not a question, and when Ling turned, she saw the captain standing just a few steps away, staring up at the dark mass.

“What is it?” she asked him. His eyes were open wide, with none of the usual sarcasm or harshness in them.

“It’s doom,” he said. “It’s death. All because of a man named Fariss.”


“What…” Ling’s throat was too dry for speech, but he seemed to understand the question anyway.

“It’s the foulest bit of magic ever done. Fariss and his ilk. Never was enough magic to satisfy them, so they opened a portal hoping to siphon it from some other place. Only it didn’t work, did it? Instead of pulling power in, it leaked it all out. It started this war, and it’ll be the death of all of us.”

Where to Buy

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About the Author

K. Ferrin spends her days surrounded by engineers, technology, and humming machinery, but her evenings are steeped in magic, myth, and adventure. She writes fantasy, loves gardening, and eats way too much pie. She lives at the foot of the Colorado Rockies with her husband and two pooches.

Her novels include the stand-alone YA fantasy novel Magicless, as well as Across the Darkling Sea, and A Dying Land, the first two books of a series.

Connect with K. Ferrin

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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50 Books 2017 · 50 Books in a Year · Book Reviews · Curiosity Quills Press · Thursday Book Reviews

Static Mayhem by Edward Aubry (Review)


Genre: Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Format: ePub
Pages: 303
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About the Book

A year after the world was thrown into magical chaos, Harrison Cody takes part in an expedition to learn the cause. What his team finds is an unfathomable enemy, who intends to finish what was started and wipe out every remaining survivor. Harrison is the key to stopping it, but doing so will come with an unbelievable sacrifice, one he might not be willing to make.

My Rating


4 half stars

My Interview

I received this eBook from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

After reading “Prelude to Mayhem”, I couldn’t wait to delve back into New Chicago, to see where Dorothy, Mitchell, Harrison and especially Glimmer are in their adventure of finding each other, and settling into their new roles.

However, this story had less of Dorothy’s point of view and it focused more on Harrison and Glimmer, and this new adventure that they take with the New Chicago team.

Harrison, while kind-hearted and well-meaning, he is a little bit clueless. Although he tends to be really aware of how people perceive him and Glimmer, which is adorable watching them defend their relationship.
I did notice that Harrison had some oblivious insensitivities going on. But many of the characters, especially Apryl, had no problem pointing out he was being a giant jerk to people.

I love Glimmer. Seriously. Because she is so full of snark, insane intelligence and she gives her whole heart to everything and everyone.

But ugh, this book gave me so many feels! Bring some tissues, you might need them.

Where to Buy

Amazon CAN | Amazon US | B&N

About the Author

Edward Aubry is a graduate of Wesleyan University, with a degree in music composition. Improbably, this preceded a career as a teacher of high school mathematics and creative writing.

Over the last few years, he has gradually transitioned from being a teacher who writes novels on the side to a novelist who teaches to support his family. He is also a poet, his sole published work in that form being the sixteen stanza “The History of Mathematics.”

He now lives in rural Pennsylvania with his wife and three spectacular daughters, where he fills his non-teaching hours spinning tales of time-travel, wise-cracking pixies, and an assortment of other impossible things.

Connect with Edward

Curiosity Quills Press | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


50 Books 2017 · 50 Books in a Year · Book in exchange for honest review · Curiosity Quills Press

Convergence by J.R. Rain and Matthew S. Cox

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 Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: July 31, 2017
Format: ePub
Pages: 258
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About the Book

Solstice Winters has spent most of her life halfway between normal society and the world of her magical parents. However, when getting caught between two worlds becomes more than metaphorical, being able to summon light or open locks might not be enough.

Neither her love life nor her professional life are going anywhere in a hurry. Her boyfriend is successful and handsome, but she constantly has to compete with his job for affection. At thirty-two, she works as a photojournalist for The Spirtualist, a small paper dedicated to magic and the supernatural―that most people regard as a tabloid. Desperate for that ‘one break,’ she’ll do almost anything to get that big story and get into a ‘real’ media outlet.

Years of always not quite fitting in begin to make sense after an error at a particle physics laboratory alters the dimensional alignment of the world, strengthening magic and revealing an unexpected truth to Solstice.

She’s not even human.

In the wake of an event her boss at the paper is calling The Convergence, magical beings are appearing all over the Earth. Solstice doesn’t hesitate, racing to be the first to capture indisputable evidence of mythical beasts. Alas, being a magical creature herself, she soon winds up in the cross-hairs of not only a three-letter government agency, but an ancient sect of mages with dark intentions.

My Rating

4 Stars


I received this eBook from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Solstice Winters walks between two worlds. The normal world and the magical world her parents brought her up in. Little does she know, she is much closer to that magical world than she ever bargained for. Especially when her cat, Mr. Moody, is as snarky as his name.

J.R. Rain and Matthew S. Cox make a really awesome writing team. The writing was seamless. You honestly wouldn’t know there were two different authors. Clearly, they were on the same track.
Solstice is a great lead character as well. She had a well thought out personality and she had some good lines involving her sense of humour. Especially when the cat started to talk and demand food, at regular intervals, haha. The other supporting characters were well balanced and well written as well.
The only problem I found that this story lacks is world building. While it had great conversational aspects to the story, but a little more focus on the surroundings would have been top notch for the story.

However, I do look forward to more by these two authors and more of Mr. Moody and Solstice.

Where to Buy

Amazon CAN | Amazon US | B&N | Alibris | IndieBound

About the Authors

J.R. Rain is the author of thirty-three mystery, supernatural, and romance novels and five short-story collections.

He’s sold over one million books online. Moon Dance, his supernatural mystery, has been translated into four languages, with audio and film productions pending.

The literary heir to Robert Parker, his novels feature challenging characters, complicated relationships, and page-turning modernist prose. The gritty realism in his mystery novels comes courtesy of years working as a private eye.

A So-Cal native, Rain relocated to an enigmatic and shadowy island outside Seattle.

Connect with J.R.

Curiosity Quills Press | Website | Twitter | Amazon | Facebook

Originally from South Amboy NJ, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Since 1996, he has developed the “Divergent Fates” world, in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, The Awakened Series, and the Daughter of Mars series take place.

More recently, he has forayed into young-adult and middle grade novels.

Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour, and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.

He is also fond of cats.

Connect with Matthew

Website | Curiosity Quills Press | Twitter 

Book Tour · Giveaway · Silver Dagger Scriptorium

A Confabulated Compendium of Anecdotes Book Tour & Giveaway

 Genre: Steampunk, Fantasy
Publisher: Ocean Reeve Publishing
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Pages: 87
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A Confabulated Compendium of Anecdotes is a Steampunk speculative collection of tales. The stories, herein, provide a glimpse into the imagination of a most anomalous Author.

Be swept away, if you dare, by sultry maidens with mechanical gadgets, hi-tech flying machines and grinding gears. Peculiar alien forms hell-bent on saving the earth, and a conglomerate of Vamps lead by Count Valdo.

Howbeit, why wait for me to tell you more, turn the book atop and be absorbed in the unputdownable.

Nephele’s first marriage ended in tragedy. And her second marriage seems to be headed in the same direction. Why do her husband’s die? Is she cursed? Or is she hiding a secret?

Valdo, a direct descendant of Dracula must enlist the help of beautiful Genevieve, a renown Professor. His coven is in peril and without her, their existence will end.

Jacques and his hired help, Bertram, find themselves crash landing to Earth, where they realise the extensive damage humans have inflicted upon the fragile environment, and who they thought were enemies, could actually be their friends.

Broderick is a private investigator and his assistant Abbey is an Automaton Humanoid prototype. When a series of murders in the small township of Whiteridge have Broderick baffled. The only clue, the last words of a dying man – Comic Book. He must use unconventional methods to solve the crimes.

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Writing has always been a hobby and cathartic experience for me. Turning my passion into a fulfilling career as an Author has been one of my greatest dreams. I write because creating something that didn’t exist before is as close to magic as I’ll ever get. All you need is imagination.

I’ve always been passionate about storytelling and impressed by the influence it has on people and the decisions they make in life. I love engaging with the projects I work on, diving headfirst into the research, investigation, and production of stories I feel are worth writing about. I am a curious and proactive Author, interested in preserving the foundations set by classical literature by adapting them to modern themes and trends.

Connect with Melissa

Website | Blog |Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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Book Tour · Book Tour Wednesday · Excerpts · Giveaway

H.A.L.F. Origins Blog Tour

 Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Publisher: Boadicea Press
Publication Date: August 24, 2017
Pages: 376
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About the Book

Alien predators attack Europe. A deadly virus spawns an epidemic. And a clandestine organization conspires to profit from chaos and forge a New World Order.In this heart-pounding finale of the award-winning H.A.L.F. series, Tex, Erika and the rest are in a race against time. For months they‘ve fought for their lives. Now they battle to save us all.Tex and Erika are fugitives again, running for their lives. But when Tex falls gravely ill, a Navajo healer is his only hope for survival. Tex emerges from the ordeal changed in body and mind but with vital information: how to stop the predatory M’Uktah from destroying those he has come to love.Erika Holt seeks a respite from the constant threats to her life but she’s not about to give up. As she and Tex launch a mission to shut down the galactic highway used by the predatory M’Uktah, she grows closer to her troubled half-human companion. But what about her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Jack?Jack Wilson, with his new friend Anna Sturgis, is determined to put an end to the Makers’ schemes for world domination. Complicating matters, an anti-viral that could save millions from an alien virus has been stolen.As both alien and human forces line up against them, the destiny of all mankind is hand the hands of these young warriors. And time is running out.What Others are Saying about H.A.L.F.: ORIGINS:“The latest satisfying addition to the H.A.L.F. series has something for everyone: exciting action scenes; great, complex love stories; fascinating new aliens; and relatable teen characters fighting to save the world and find their places in it.” ~Alyssa H., Content Editor, Red Adept Editing

Author reading excerpt of H.A.L.F.: ORIGINS, accompanied by photos and music that inspired the story. http://bit.ly/ORIGINS_Excerpt


Raindrops pelted the windshield of the rust-bucket truck Erika had borrowed from Ian’s dad. Nearly an hour had passed since she’d seen the lights of the last police car recede in her rearview mirror, but her fingers still shook as she turned on the windshield wipers. They were little help. The spittle of rain turned the dusty windshield into a muddy mess, and the sun-rotted rubber of the wipers streaked the glass.The jacked-up truck tackled the harsh terrain of the desert like a pro. The police cars were no match for barrel cacti and creosote bushes as large as small cars. The local Ajo police that had tried to stop them likely didn’t know that they were chasing a human-alien hybrid that had escaped, again, from a secret underground lab controlled by the clandestine organization known as The Makers. The Makers had surely spun the lies necessary to convince local law enforcement that Tex was a dangerous fugitive. Ironic. The lie had become the truth. Erika and Tex were, in fact, fugitives on the run and again fighting for their lives. It was like déjà vu all over again.Erika’s bottom was bruised from bouncing on the seat. Her wrists ached from gripping the wheel. After nearly an hour of rough riding, they hit a two-lane road going east. Erika was heading to New Mexico, where her Aunt Dana, her father’s sister, lived. Without complications, they would get to Aunt Dana’s in about eight hours. If she’ll have us.Tex had been quiet but awake as Erika navigated the bumpy ground. Once they reached the smooth pavement, he tucked his knees to his chest, hugged his arms around his legs, and became a silent egg-shaped blob on the seat next to her. Erika had seen him withdraw into himself before, but he was even more quiet and still than usual.Erika wished he’d have stayed awake longer. She wanted to pry answers out of him. She had questions about his time with the Conexus, when he had been linked directly to their hive-mind collective. Ever since Dr. Randall had unhooked Tex from the Conexus, he was acting distant and short-tempered. Erika wondered what had really happened to him during his time with the Conexus. And what did he mean when he spoke of struggles for humans to come and the knowledge he got from the Conexus? She hoped he would answer these questions and more when they got to Aunt Dana’s.The dribble of rain became a hailstorm. Peanut-sized ice balls pinged the metal roof of the truck. Within minutes, the hail turned into a deluge. Erika turned the wipers to full blast, but that only smeared the windshield faster. The Tex blob remained eerily quiet and unperturbed.Erika’s swollen right eye, a gift from one of the Makers’ guards during their escape from the school, made it difficult to see. Both eyes were heavy with fatigue. She blinked rapidly and shook her head, trying to clear the drowsiness. She switched on the radio, and raucous Tejano music blasted. She wasn’t a fan of the accordion-heavy genre. The ancient truck speakers distorted the sound, making it nothing but noise to her ears, but at least the booming music helped keep her awake.Erika had never been much of a life planner. Her current situation of living day-to-day did not bother her as much as it might have irritated some people. She was focused on her current task, getting Tex safely to a location where he could heal. She’d help him find a place to stay hidden from the Makers and Sturgis. She wasn’t sure what came after that. Just stay awake. And alive.Tex didn’t stir or acknowledge the radio. Is he dead? She poked at him with a finger. “Tex? You okay?”With his head still to his knees, his voice was muffled but cool and even. “I am alive if that is what you mean.”“You’ve been so quiet. With the escape back there at the school, the dogs, and now the rain… I was just hoping that you’re all right.”Tex raised his head slightly and turned toward her, his large eyes peeking over his arm. “I have been through worse.”The understatement of the century. She’d been through worse, too: the days of fever she endured after the Conexus gave her the virus, the long hours of watching Ian wracked with pain when she could do nothing but watch him inch toward death, weeks of hunger and thirst. She had been forced to take the lives of others or lose her own, and she had watched her mom breathe her last breath. They’d all been through hell and back.Tex’s indifference was still better than silence between them. The tinny horns and the beat of the music stopped abruptly.The radio announcer broke in, speaking in Spanish. “There has been a massive terrorist attack in Europe. The entire continent is without power. Communication systems are down. Though reports are sketchy, US authorities state that the attacks appear to be focused on London and Paris.”Erika’s chest tightened. For a moment, she forgot to breathe. “He said that communication systems are down in Europe and there’s been a massive terrorist attack. The terrorists hit London and Paris.”Tex unwound his arms from around his legs. “I understood what he said.” He sounded condescending, as though everyone could understand Spanish as well as English.“Oh. I just assumed that—”“You assume a great many things.”Erika didn’t know what he meant, but she was more worried about what the heck was going on in Europe than her traveling companion’s surly attitude. The radio announcer spoke of the apparent sophistication and coordination of the attacks. He stated that the terrorists had clearly used an advanced technology that took out the power grid across Europe. Terrorists with advanced technology? Could the Makers be behind this?Continuing in Spanish, the announcer said, “The US has raised the terrorist alert level to high and has closed all borders, effective immediately. There are reports of disruption to GPS and cellular service in the United States, indicating possible destruction or interference with multiple satellites.”“Just what we don’t need. First, the virus to deal with, now terrorists run amok.”“It is not a terrorist attack,” Tex said with total conviction.“You just heard the guy say it’s a terrorist attack. He said the report came from NORAD.”“Then this NORAD fellow is wrong… or lying.”During her time at Casa Sturgis, Erika had lost most of her faith in the authorities. Getting locked up in an underground city run by crazy government scientists and black-budget military would do that to you. Even if The Makers were behind AHDNA, that didn’t negate the fact that, somewhere along the line, some important people were very corrupt. Maybe even a lot of people.

Where to Buy

Amazon US | Amazon CAN | Amazon UK | Amazon DE

Other Books in the Series

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Buy on Amazon


About the Author

Natalie is the author of the award-winning science fiction series H.A.L.F., and The Akasha Chronicles, a popular young adult fantasy trilogy with over 2 Million reads on Wattpad. She lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband, teen daughter, and two cat overlords.Natalie spends her time writing, reading, geeking out over nerd culture and cool science, and meeting readers and fans at book festivals and comic cons throughout the western United States. Natalie appears frequently on radio, podcasts and vlogs such as The Speculative Fiction Cantina, Front Row Geeks and iHeart Radio.


Connect with Natalie

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google+ | Amazon | Goodreads


In celebration of the release of ORIGINS, the third and final book in the H.A.L.F. series, all pre-order customers have the opportunity to receive the following exclusive goodies: A full-color, digital book extra, Lost Chapter and Cut Scenes. This book contains the author’s commentary on cut scenes as well as photos illustrations. This book is only available to pre-order customers.A video retrospective of the H.A.L.F. series, complete with “soundtrack” for the series, an author interview, and tons of photos and illustrations documenting the series.

INSTRUCTIONS: It’s simple to obtain the goods. All a customer has to do is:Buy the book in any format. Digital, paperback, hardcover, or audiobook, and at any retailer.Email a copy of the receipt (again, in any format—photo, screenshot, email receipt, etc.). Email the receipt to: half.origins.book@gmail.comThat’s it. The author or her representative will follow-up and send the customer the awesome goodness of free gifts!Additionally, every pre-order customer that avails themselves of the pre-order giveaway will automatically be entered into the ORIGINS Launch Mega Giveaway and have the chance to win the following:

GRAND PRIZE: 1 Winner will receive the following: $100 Amazon Giftcard + Signed, Hardcover copies of the entire 3-book H.A.L.F. series + branded book swag, including metal bookmarks, complete set of H.A.L.F. Character Trading Cards®, keychain, and buttons + non-branded, retail swag themed to the book. Retail value of this prize is $240+ FIRST PRIZE: 1 Winner will receive: $25 Amazon Giftcard + Signed, Paperback copies of the entire 3-book H.A.L.F. series + branded swag (as listed above) + non-branded swag. Retail value of this prize is $75+10 Runner-Up Prizes: 10 Winners will receive: A gifted copy of Amazon Kindle version of an eBook of the reader’s choice from among Natalie Wright’s published, single-book works (Emily’s House, Emily’s Trial, Emily’s Heart, The Deep Beneath, The Makers, or ORIGINS). Retail value of this prize if between 99¢ to $3.99 (depending on book chosen and price at the time gifted).

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