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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

What Lies Within Book Tour + Giveaway



What Lies Within
by Robert Smith
Genre: Crime Thriller

There are four kinds of Homicide:
felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy.”
Ambrose Bierce




This is a story about duty, revenge, murder, and horror.
The system failed Tyler McDermitt. He and his brother have vowed to protect unfortunate youth from a similar fate - or at least make those responsible, pay. The McDermitt brothers, victims of child abuse and molestation, escaped their hell and have decided to clean up after the failings of a flawed justice system.
The rough streets of Dorchester, south Boston, have hardened two aspiring vigilantes and prepared them for a mission. One brother has a good heart, a conscience, and a burning

compassion. His twisted sense of morality has burdened him with a deep sense of responsibility. The other brother is as hard as nails and as cold as ice. He is hell-bent on revenge and aims to ensure the other stays the course.

A motivated young detective is on their scent; she and her veteran partner look to foil McDermitt brothers' plan.
Something from the boys' past - something dark - is also closing in.




Robert Smith (A.K.A. TyCobbsTeeth) hails from Prince Edward Island (off Canada's east coast).

On this small island, ocean waves drive hard against red cliffs. So, with fears that the sandstone island might soon melt into the Atlantic, Robert finished his studies in Information Technology and moved to Canada's capital.

Robert has worked in network design, administration and security. He recently transitioned from a job managing a digital forensics team (supporting investigations) to Enterprise Architecture. That's his day job. At night, he writes.

This author writes thrillers (psychological, suspense, crime and horror). Pick one up if you like that sort of thing.




Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!






Capture My Heart Release Blitz + Giveaway

Title: Capture My Heart
Author: Erin Crisofoli
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Red Umbrella Graphic Designs
Editor: Schwartz Fiction Edits
Publication Date: July 17th, 2018
Blurb:
Avery Clarke was like any typical senior in high school – obsessed with her boyfriend and looking forward to partying at graduation. Except, sometimes life has other plans.
Fast forward seven years; Avery’s world consists of her waitress job at the local diner and more importantly her six year old son, Jacob.
One morning, a chance encounter with a hot construction worker named Reece, turns Avery’s world upside down.  Avery is set on maintaining the delicate balance of her world and there’s no room for romance.
PReece is determined to prove to her that she can have it all. But when Avery gets the scare of a lifetime, will it pull the couple closer or will she walk away?
Erin Cristofoli resides in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and two kids. She loves to write and is thrilled to have fulfilled a dream to publish a book of her very own. When She is not writing, she thrives on many creative ventures, including photography, painting and crocheting.
Author Links:

More or Less a Countess Teaser

And just how does a rake like the Devil of Dare end up with a sharp-witted bluestocking...? More or Less a Countess by Anna Bradley releases August 7th!!!

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER TODAY: Amazon → https://amzn.to/2MRNf8u Google Play → http://bit.ly/2K0iC2M iBooks → https://apple.co/2K1c1VF Kobo → http://bit.ly/2yuiXp0 Nook → http://bit.ly/2ttL5CT

BLURB:
Finding a worthy husband should be simple for three beautiful debutantes in Regency London. But the Somerset sisters have a way of making it delightfully complicated . . . Violet Somerset has always preferred a library to a ballroom, but to please her grandmother she agreed to one London season. With nothing to show for it but heartbreak, she’s reconciled to spinsterhood. Until a notorious rogue known as the Devil of Dare requests an introduction to her timid, gentle youngest sister, Hyacinth. Violet will do anything to stop the match—even if it means posing as Hyacinth herself . . . Nicholas Balfour, the Earl of Dare, is enjoying the life of a rake far too much to take a wife. But he must keep his promise to his grandmother. He’ll simply choose the meekest bride he can find, install her at his estate, then carry on as before. Hyacinth sounds perfect—until he discovers that her sweet demeanor hides the tongue of a viper and the mind of a bluestocking . . . As Violet’s ruse threatens to unravel, however, she may find the tables turned. Soon she may have no choice but to tolerate her handsome fiancée—or fall in love with him . . .
The Somerset Sisters are quite a handful!!! Meet wickedly wild Iris today: Amazon https://amzn.to/2LgwhiH Google Play http://bit.ly/2Ljgb8d iBooks https://apple.co/2LmPgIq Kobo http://bit.ly/2zD6EHK Nook http://bit.ly/2JpA0ZA
Iris Somerset has no intention of being wed to any man that isn't completely taken with her. There's just one problem: the more she exerts her newfound rebellious independence, the more desirable she becomes to one man she's already spurned. Can the Lord of Huntington convince the wild, beautiful debutante to finally be his bride?
 
About Anna
Anna Bradley is an award-winning author of Regency Historical Romances A WICKED WAY TO WIN AN EARL, A SEASON OF RUIN, LADY ELEANOR'S SEVENTH SUITOR, LADY CHARLOTTE'S FIRST LOVE, TWELFTH NIGHT WITH THE EARL, MORE OR LESS A MARCHIONESS, and MORE OR LESS A COUNTESS, coming in August, 2018. Anna lives with her husband and two children in Portland, OR, where people are delightfully weird and love to read. Readers can get in touch with Anna via her webpage at http://www.annabradley.net, or, for all things romance (and an occasional "hot hero" pic!) please visit Anna on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/annabradley472.
Find Anna Online! Amazon → https://amzn.to/2MfGNXH BookBub → http://bit.ly/2Mh34US Facebook → http://bit.ly/2KbMu8v Goodreads → http://bit.ly/2tiuliC Google+ → http://bit.ly/2JY8Eit Pinterest → http://bit.ly/2JYDGXi Twitter → http://bit.ly/2K3fwLm Website → https://www.annabradley.net

A Mage’s Power Release Blitz + Giveaway




Title: A Mage’s Power
Series: The Inquisition Trilogy, Book One
Author: Casey Wolfe
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: July 16, 2018
Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 70800
Genre: Paranormal, mages, witches, shifters, dark, magic

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Synopsis

Built on the bones of an ancient city, modern-day Everstrand is where master mage, Rowan, has set up his enchantment shop. When not hanging out with his werewolf best friend, Caleb, or studying, he dabbles in herbology and the controversial practice of blood magic. A prodigy who has already earned two masters, Rowan’s bound and determined to reach the distinction of grandmaster, a mage who obtains a masters in all five Schools of Magic.
Shaw works for the Inquisition, the organization charged with policing the magical races collectively known as magicae. Recently, it has come under scrutiny as magicae begin to disappear and reports of violence increase. With secrets of his own on the line, Shaw is willing to risk everything to find out just what is going on behind all the locked doors.
When Rowan and Shaw are entangled in each other’s worlds, it becomes evident that their hearts are as much at risk as their lives. They must find the truth and stop a conspiracy before it’s too late.

Excerpt

A Mage’s Power
Casey Wolfe © 2018
All Rights Reserved
Chapter One
The city of Everstrand came into view when Rowan’s dirt bike broke through the last of the forest. The engine whirred as he caught a little air over a bump, wind whipping at his blond hair. He laughed, leaving dust in his wake. Spring was fast approaching and Rowan was enjoying the sunshine and warming temperatures perhaps a bit too much.
The dirt roads leading from the Sacred Timber, where he lived, gave way to the paved roadways of civilization. Rowan much preferred the solitude of nature to the bustle of Osterian’s capital city, so it was just as well he tended to keep his trips there to a minimum.
Not that the city was completely horrible. It was ancient, and a lot of the original structures had been well-preserved as the city expanded over the centuries. The Everstrand Mages Guild was part of the oldest section. It sat on a broken piece of land that was enchanted to float in the air above the Grey Tides—visible even now. Chains kept it bound to the cliffside so that it didn’t drift away.
Rowan needed to stop by the Guild at some point, but he wanted to go to his shop first. One wouldn’t think he’d be able to make a living by being open a few days out of the week; however, an enchanter’s services were always a valuable commodity. Considering Rowan was the sole master enchanter in the entire city offering his services to the public, he wasn’t worried about losing business.
Having timed his arrival after the morning rush, Rowan had no problems getting to the shop. He cut through a few narrow side alleys to the Orchard Street Mall. He loved that it was all outdoors, restricted to foot traffic only, instead of a typical mall complex. It gave the area a certain charm, with the unique facades and plentiful landscaping.
Rowan parked his bike in the section reserved for vendors, permit tag sealed in place with magic to prevent theft. Satchel strap over his shoulder, he made his way down the cobblestone paths, past shops of every size and type.
Nestled between a bookstore and a pastry shop—that he frequented probably more than he should have—was Charmed to Meet You. Even now, the name made him cringe a little. It had been his late grandmother’s suggestion, and with no counter-name in hand, Rowan had relented. It seemed he was stuck with it too—at least his customers thought it was cute.
Once inside, he flipped on the lights and tossed his satchel onto the counter. He shrugged out of his brown leather jacket, hanging it on the rack. The weather may have been breaking, but riding his bike still required protection from the chill. It was nice enough to open the windows, which he did with a flick of his hand. A breeze swept inside, the fresh air swapping out the stale from over the weekend.
It was a small shop, designed more as a work space than a storefront, with all the shelving behind the counter holding his supplies. There were no displays or little charm trinkets lying around. Everything he did was custom. Let them go to a kitschy tourist trap if they wanted some run-of-the-mill good luck charm. He had better things to do.
Already finished with current orders, Rowan decided today was a good day to work on his own projects. He sat on his stool and pulled a thick book from his satchel before stowing the bag under the counter by his parchment, ink, and quills. It might have been old-fashioned of him, but he enjoyed the feel of a quill in his hand and handmade paper under his fingers—his grandmother’s influence, no doubt, as she had been the one to give him his first grimoire filled with parchment. After that, a notebook and pen simply wouldn’t do for anything involving his magical studies.
“Now, where was I?”
One of the few things he’d taken from his grandmother’s cottage was her magic books, but he hadn’t been able to read them until recently. Even looking at them had invoked powerful memories of her, and it was far too heartbreaking to consider. They had sat around, gathering dust, for the last half-dozen years, and Rowan thought it was about time to get over it. Thus, he’d begun pouring over her old grimoires and spell theory books in earnest.
Naturally, no sooner had he gotten settled, his cell phone chimed. It turned out to be his best friend, Caleb, and Rowan wasn’t surprised at the inquiry: “Lunch today?”
Rowan smiled while typing out a reply text: “Of course.” As though Caleb didn’t come out to Rowan’s cottage enough, the werewolf was always on him to hang out when he was in town. “Now hush. I’m studying.”
The returned zipped-lip emoji made Rowan laugh. “Damn wolf,” he said affectionately, shaking his head as he set the phone aside.
Not that the silence lasted long. From the back of the shop, Rowan heard a soft meow. He turned to find the brown tabby cat that roamed the neighborhood, slipping through the window and landing gracefully on a stack of books. “Hey, Badger.”
The cat meowed again, making his way along the shelves before jumping onto the front counter. Badger purred, rubbing his head against Rowan’s arm, demanding attention. Rowan scratched behind the cat’s ears. He certainly was an animal magnet.
Badger had shown up in the shop one day when Rowan had opened one of the back windows to vent the smoke from a failed experiment—not one of his prouder moments. Rowan had no desire for a cat, but he couldn’t just throw the guy back out into the wet snow either. Thankfully for Rowan, the cat didn’t exactly want to be kept.
Badger came and went on his own whims, although it seemed he’d picked up Rowan’s schedule and was sure to drop by to see him. Rowan figured part of it had to do with the fact he was keeping meat treats around. Not that he minded. Badger was a quiet, comforting presence who mostly took advantage of the warm, dry place by curling up on the counter and napping.
Caleb had saddled the cat with his name. Rowan wasn’t planning to name him—after all, he had proven to be his own animal—but Caleb had pointed out they couldn’t keep calling him “the cat.” Badger should have been thankful Rowan vetoed Whiskers.
The bell above the door announced the arrival of a customer, one of Rowan’s regulars. Most of Marian’s requests were idiotic, but he wasn’t about to turn down her money. If she wanted to keep wasting it at his shop, that was fine by him.
“Rowan, hon, there you are,” the older woman gushed, coming up to the counter. “Did you get my message?”
“I actually just got in.” Rowan may have sounded apologetic, but he wasn’t in the least. Marian had the habit of freaking out over nothing and believing she needed magical interference to deal with every little challenge. Think of the money, he reminded himself.
“Oh, I am in desperate need of your help. It’s my neighbor. The old fool has been trying to curse me.”
Rowan had to hold back an exasperated sigh. This was going to take a while. He closed his book regretfully.
“Curses are serious business,” Rowan said. “Are you sure?” Despite his words, he was already moving toward the shelves. They were set perpendicular to the counter, so he was still able to see Marian as he searched for various things he would require.
“I’m certain,” Marian insisted, as Rowan knew she would. “It’s my garden! Everything is just…dying. It was fine one day, and the next…” She threw her hands in the air, which was apparently supposed to mean something.
Rowan hummed in false agreement. “Yes, that does sound serious. Have you thought of reporting it?” Humoring her didn’t mean he couldn’t take a few jabs at her expense.
“Heavens, no. Those fools don’t do a thing. You should know that, dear.”
Rowan rolled his eyes. This is what I got a masters for?
It wasn’t the first time he’d thought it, and not even with Marian’s ridiculous requests. There he was, the youngest mage ever with a masters degree—now two—and he was humoring people who needed to keep plants alive despite their lack of green thumb, prevent a neighbor’s dog from shitting in their yard, or protect from griffin attack—because somebody told them they were rampant in the south of Osterian where they planned to vacation. Money was money, though, so Rowan stomached the inane requests and prayed for those that were a good use of his time.
“Do you think you can help me?” Marian asked, before cooing at Badger. He was thoroughly unamused, relocating himself to one of the shelves near Rowan. “He is such a beautiful cat. It’s so precious how he follows you.”
“Yes, he is,” Rowan agreed, Badger rubbing his head against his shoulder. “And, yes, I can most certainly help you out. If you have more shopping to get done, I can have it ready in about an hour.”
Marian clapped her hands together. “Oh, that’s wonderful. I do appreciate it.”
“No trouble at all.” He kept the fake smile in place until the door shut behind her. “One charm to stop you from murdering your own plants, coming up,” he griped. Looking at Badger, he raised a brow. “Why is everything a curse or whatever with her? I swear I don’t understand mundanes.” He spoke of those without magic.
Badger meowed as if he understood. Rowan smiled at him, gathering up the supplies he needed to make the charm in question.
He turned to another shelf, pausing when he saw the potion sitting there. “I forgot about this.” Rowan had been dabbling with potion-making lately. Despite not being an actual School of Magic, herbology—like divination and runes—was an offered course at many guilds. While anyone could learn such skills, magic could often enhance the effects.
“This…wasn’t exactly the color I hoped for,” Rowan admitted, turning the small glass bottle over in his hand. The sickly green liquid sloshed around, unchanged. “So much for that.”
He may have been something of a prodigy—passing his apprenticeship at eighteen, and earning his first masters at twenty-one—but he was far from great at all areas of magic. Likely, his grandmother would have kept him on track, except she’d died shortly after he opened Charmed to Meet You. She missed his second masters at twenty-four, and without her around to scold him, he’d spent the last four years messing around here and there with all sorts of other magic—including intensive study in blood magic—without truly settling on a new course of study.
Perhaps two masters would have been more than enough for any mage to have, but not him. He was bound and determined to reach the distinction of grandmaster, a mage who had obtained a masters in all five Schools of Magic. First, he needed to get through his next exam.
~

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


Meet the Author

Author of gay romantic fiction, from contemporary to paranormal and everything in between.
For Casey, existence equals writing. History nerd, film enthusiast, music lover, avid gamer, and just an all-around geek. Add in an unapologetic addiction to loose-leaf tea and you get the general picture. Married, with furry four-legged children, Casey lives happily in the middle of nowhere Ohio.

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Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive a $10.00 NineStar Press Gift Code!

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Bodies Beautiful Release Blitz + Giveaway


Title: Bodies Beautiful
Series: Summerskill and Lyon, Book Two
Author: Steve Burford
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: July 16, 2018
Heat Level: 2 - Fade to Black Sex
Pairing: No Romance
Length: 72400
Genre: Contemporary Thriller, contemporary, crime, murder, bodybuilders, detectives, MP, family drama, mystery

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Synopsis

“Y’know, time was when the serial killers went after helpless young women. Now they’re taking out bodybuilders.” When promising young bodybuilder Paul Best is found gruesomely murdered, DI Claire Summerskill and DS Dave Lyon find themselves deep in the unfamiliar territory of hard core gyms and weights, supplements and steroids. But when the one thing linking the growing list of murder victims is that they are the last men you’d expect to be victims, Summerskill and Lyon are faced with their toughest case yet. “Bodies Beautiful” is the second in the Summerskill and Lyon series of police procedural novels.

Excerpt

Excerpt Bodies Beautiful Steve Burford © 2018 All Rights Reserved Chapter One 7:00 p.m. Pain. Fierce fire across his chest, up his arms, burning the muscles. More intense than any he had ever known. It was…awesome! “Go, Paul!” “C’mon, man!” “Push it.” “Push it!” With one last, titanic effort and with a strangled, inarticulate bellow, Paul Best pushed the massively stacked barbell that last, all important, near impossible centimetre up over his heaving chest, locked his arms, held for one second, two, then let go. The men on either end of the barbell staggered as they took its weight, hauled it back, and let it drop with a crash on the support framework behind Paul’s head. “Sweet!” “Brilliant, mate!” “Un-be-fuckin’-lievable!” Face flushed, near blinded by his own sweat but grinning like a loon, Paul lay momentarily exhausted on the bench, gasping like a landed fish, and accepting his mates’ extravagant praises. A new gym record. A new personal record. A whole one point two five kilos over his last best weight, way beyond anything any of the other guys in that gym could bench-press. But still not good enough. It was never good enough. Paul waited for his heart and breathing to slow back to something like normal, dragging a towel one of the guys had thrown at him across his eyes to clear the sweat. The small crowd of enthusiastic admirers who had surrounded his bench drifted back to their own workouts, some inspired by what they had just seen; a couple completely demoralised. Still grinning, Paul sat back up on the bench and accepted the water bottle held out by one who had stayed, one of the two men who had taken the weight from him. “Thanks, Rob.” His mate stood to one side, shaking his head in amazement. “That was just beyond, man, y’know?” Paul wiped the towel across the top of his pumped chest and under both armpits before hanging it around his thick neck. “Was, wasn’t it?” “Want me to spot some more, or do you want to stretch off?” Paul squinted at the clock on the far wall. “Nah,” he said, standing up from the bench. “Think I’ll just grab a shower and get going.” Rob frowned. “You sure?” It was a standing joke at the Heavy Metal gym that Paul would be there all the hours God sent if he could, and the staff frequently almost had to throw him out at closing time which was still three hours away. Even Paul might not have anything left to give after that last display, but hitting the showers without stretching off? That was like… Rob struggled for an appropriate comparison but couldn’t find one. Similes weren’t really his thing. But whatever it was like, it was wrong. Paul Best didn’t cut corners in the gym. “Okay.” Rob sounded uncertain. “Fancy a shake then? I’ve got some of the new protein formula from that show up in Brum. Doesn’t taste like shit. Pure protein. That’s what it says on the label. I mean,” he added, “it doesn’t say, doesn’t taste like shit, just…well, y’know what I mean.” “Nah, mate. Thanks all the same. Save it for tomorrow, yeah?” Paul pointed his finger at Rob as if aiming a gun, winked, and made a clicking sound with his tongue. “Things to do tonight, y’know?” Rob shuffled his feet uncomfortably. “Oh yeah. Right.” Paul laughed. “You in tomorrow?” Rob nodded vigorously. “Course.” “Good man!” Paul thumped his friend on the shoulder then made his way across the crowded gym to the small changing room and shower area. All around him, standing, sitting, lying and squatting, men, and some women, pushed, pressed, pulled and lifted barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells and, in one instance, a sandbag. Soft grunts, gasps, and the occasional guttural cry punctured the air which was heavy with sweat and muscle rub. He stopped just short of the changing room door. On the bench there lay a man, stretching out his arms and pectoral muscles, eyes closed, psyching himself to press the impressively loaded barbell resting over his head on its stand. Either side of the stand were two other men, ready to lift the weight up and over to him and stand by in case he needed their help. Paul came and stood over the man on his back. To the untrained eye, he might have appeared as built as Paul himself. His skimpy vest, like Paul’s, did little to conceal his massively overdeveloped chest and arm muscles. But with the eye of the obsessive, Paul could see the differences: the lack of definition here, the extra eighth of an inch of fat there. And the weight this man was going to try to press… Paul’s grin became positively wolf-like. It was heavy all right, heavier than anything else anyone was pressing in the gym right then. And a good five kilos short of what Paul had just shifted. “Warming up, Danny?” Paul said, just loud enough for everyone around to hear. The man on the bench hissed in what might have been a reaction to Paul’s words or might have been part of his mental preparation. He opened his eyes but stayed staring at the ceiling. He nodded once to the men on either side of his head. They heaved the weight up from its rest, brought it forward until the bar was over his chest and he could grasp it, waited until they were sure he had a firm hold, arms locked, then let go and stepped back. For a moment, the weight stayed right where it was. Then, very slowly, teeth bared in a rictus of effort, his breath a series of sharp hisses, the man on the bench let the bar come down until the metal was just resting across his heaving chest. With a cry like a yelp of pain, he then thrust powerfully upwards. The bar moved, an inch, then another. On either side of him, the helpers shifted uneasily. Veins stood out on the forehead of the man on the bench as he strained against the weight. The bar moved another inch, then part of another. Then inexorably sank back downwards. The two standing men stepped in, seized the ends of the barbell, and hauled it back into its place on the stand. Paul laughed out loud. “Bad luck, Danny,” he yelled, as he threw open the changing room doors. “Like to stick around and help you out but things to do, people to see. You know how it is.” He turned and stood for a moment in the doorframe, arms held out at his side as if inviting everyone there to gaze adoringly at his powerful body. “I mean, you know how it was. Keep taking the tablets.” Dan Thompson lay on his bench, gasping like a man who had run a marathon, while his training partners shuffled uncomfortably off to one side, avoiding any eye contact with him. “Prick!” Dan gasped. “Fucking little prick!” The door swung shut behind Paul but didn’t completely muffle the sound of his mocking laughter. In the changing rooms, Paul pulled his sweat-sodden vest up over his head, tossed it to one side, and stood in front of the mirror, admiring his body in the almost dispassionate way a car enthusiast might admire a sports car he had built from scratch. Biceps pose. Triceps pose. Quad flex. Yeah, looking good. Looking big and looking really good. And burning Thompson had felt good too. So good it had just about made him forget the nagging in his gut. But not quite. Rob’s confused surprise at his early exit from the gym had been a laugh but tearing himself away from his training so early had not been easy for Paul. Not at all! The obsessive compulsion that was part of his life, that was almost all of his life, that drove him through the pain and privations of bodybuilding day after day, week in, week out, was all but impossible to ignore. Besides, it would have been cool to hang around and bask some more in the mingled admiration and envy of the other guys there. But when sweet deals came along, you had to make the most of them. And tonight’s deal promised to be so sweet Paul would be able to keep himself in allegedly delicious protein drinks for many months to come. And not just milkshakes. He whistled happily to himself as he took one last admiring look over his shoulder at the reflection of his flared lat muscles and enviable narrow waist before padding off to the showers.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Steve Burford lives in one of the less well-to-do areas of Malvern mentioned in the novel. When not writing in a variety of genres under a variety of names, he tries to teach drama to teenagers. He has only occasionally been in trouble with the police. You can reach Steve via eMail.

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The Seeds of Dissolution Book Blitz + Giveaway




William C. Tracy is a North Carolina native and a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy. He has a master’s in mechanical engineering, and has both designed and operated heavy construction machinery. He has also trained in Wado-Ryu karate since 2003, and runs his own dojo. He is an avid video and board gamer, a reader, and of course, a writer.


In his spare time, he wrangles three cats. He and his wife enjoy putting their pets in cute little costumes and making them cosplay for the annual Christmas card.

You can visit him at williamctracy.com.




On a bright August day, the sun disappears.

Sam van Oen barely escapes freezing to death in his house, as his watch stops and fire ceases to burn. He is pulled into the Nether—a nexus between ten diverse alien cultures—where he meets two maji who can control the musical foundation of the universe. While coping with anxiety attacks prompted by his new surroundings, Sam must learn to hear and change the Symphony, and thus reality, in order to discover what happened to his home.

Sam is surrounded by aliens, both strange and familiar. Soon, he meets sister and brother twins, also new to the Nether, who support him during his anxiety attacks. Sam finds he is attracted to both of them, and does not want to choose.

But more freezing voids like the one that started his journey are appearing, and Sam’s chances of getting back are fading. The Assembly of Species is threatening to dissolve and the maji are being attacked by those they protect, while rumors grow of an ancient, shape-changing species of assassins, returning to wage war.

The Dissolution is coming.




Snippet:

Sam was reading when the sun dimmed.
As he looked up from his book, he caught the sky outside his window shading into twilight. Overhead, the light blinked off, then on and the music playing on his laptop—Beethoven’s 7th—croaked a discordant jumble of notes before the screen went black. A breath of cold air left goosebumps on his arms.
“What the—” Sam pushed up from the chair as the overhead light faded again. His breath caught in his throat, like he had swallowed a lump of ice. His room was not large, made smaller by the piles of boxes making up his collection, and now shadows rose between stacks of waist-high containers. He wormed through them in the dim light, heart racing. Was this really happening, or was he having an attack? Why now? It took two tries to pick up his grandfather’s pocket watch from where it rested on an end table beside his bed. His hands shook, and the thump of his heartbeat nearly overpowered the rhythmic ticking transmitted through his palm. He focused on the mechanical beat—let it inform his body with the regular beat of time.
Calm down. Stillness evaded him, left him unsteady. Everything is going dark in the middle of the day. At least the watch was working. He made sure to keep it wound, and kept it safe in his room.
While watching the darkened sky, his other hand fingered the lid of a small shoebox. His collection of boxes contained grass clippings, shells, sand, and other things, bought by friends and customers of his aunt. They reminded him of favorite sights and smells. However, the shoebox contained things more precious than the rest: half a belt, stiff from water damage, and the heel of a woman’s left shoe, sheared off cleanly.
No. Can’t think of them now. They’re gone, and I can’t change it. He shivered at another gust of cold air. His room felt like late January instead of August. He eyed the window, but the thought of opening it—letting in the places he didn’t know—made his hands sweat. His hand left the box, moving to the windowpane. He hissed and shook his fingers. The window was colder than the house, which meant outside must be too. He breathed out and raised his watch to his ear, listening to the steady beat.
Is this all in my head? He hadn’t heard a transformer blow, and there was no storm. It was so quiet his rough breathing was like a train. He rubbed his arms, and a quick touch on his laptop’s case nearly numbed his finger. His cellphone was powered down and wouldn’t restart.
Aunt Martha will know what to do. Get to safety. Sam weaved through the precise stacks of boxes, trembling. She would be in her sewing shop. Sam wiped sweaty hands on his shorts before pulling a coat from the closet and socks from a drawer. He dropped his watch in a pocket of the coat, but kept one hand on it. If the power outage kept up, he couldn’t log in for his shift in technical support. What will they think? Will they fire me? He couldn’t get his ethics essay done either, and he had to email it in by tomorrow night for the ethical theories class at his online community college.
The chill air in the hall made him regret the shorts, but he shrugged his coat on, then leaned against the wall, pulling his socks on carefully. If the seams were going the wrong way, they’d just distract him, and there was too much going on already. He closed his eyes. Don’t shut down. Keep moving.
The dark wood-paneled hallway was cold even through his socks, and Sam made a detour to the front door to get his sneakers, adjusting his feet in them, making sure the laces were the same length. It took two tries with his shaking hands. The dark was deepening outside, and by the time he got to the other end of the house, he was using his sense of touch more than sight to navigate.
He met Aunt Martha coming from the small one-room addition that served as her workshop. She held a flickering beeswax candle in her hand. It’s not just in my head.





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Finding Magic Book Tour + Giveaway





Melissa's Quest
Finding Magic


Book One
Blair Drake

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Magic Quest Books

Date of Publication: June 7, 2018

ASIN: B07DFTFGGV

Number of pages: 233
Word Count: 81,550

Cover Artist: Jennifer Zemanek/Seedlings LLC

Tagline: What would you do to find your magic?

Book Description:

Lost and bewildered after being unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend, seventeen-year-old Melissa wants nothing more than to curl up with her pain. But then she’s summoned by the headmaster of Gray Cliffs Academy and finds herself on the roof in the middle of a wild and tumultuous storm. Before she realizes what is happening, a vicious wind sends her flying through the darkness and she lands in the frozen north. It is then she discovers the true meaning of feeling lost. Though full of mystery and magic, there is something sinister about this strange new world…

All Melissa wants is to return home, but first she must learn the rules of this strange new reality and how they will help her in her quest before it’s too late and she’s stuck in this place forever…


Excerpt:
She stared at it for a long moment, then ran her fingers over the bright ring to see if it would change. Maybe a genie would appear to help her out, but nothing happened. It was pretty but useless. She glared around her and yelled, “Pretty doesn’t cut it, guys. What am I supposed to do with this thing?”
A voice whispered through her head, “You know what to do with it.”
She froze, her breath caught her in her throat. “Who said that?” She spun around, but no one was here. “Show yourself!”
Nothing happened.
“Don’t go crazy on me now, Melissa,” she said to herself. She bowed her head and struggled to get her thoughts together. The school taught meditation classes to help deal with the stress of exams and being away from their families—or the stress of going home to families.
She didn’t have much of a family life, but she didn’t let anyone know that. She never let anyone know how her quest for a happy home life bothered her. Since Luke moved on without her, she’d been more than lost...and more aloof. The two of them had been an item, and for her, he’d been the only one. Except she hadn’t heard from him since his graduation. It was horrible.
Every day she kept expecting to see him, expecting to hear from him.
And never did.
That abandonment had been complete, surgically quick, and without explanation. Even now she felt the loss whispering through her soul. If he was out there, would he know what happened to her? Would he care? So many things in her life she wished she could change. He was the one bright light that kept her going, and she had no idea what she did to make him cut her out of his life like that—to hate her so much.
Despite Luke’s silent departure, she loved being at the school—knowing she belonged to something special, that she made it into something so much more than she thought she deserved, that an exciting future was out there for her.
And none of that helped her right now. She sat with a thud. And pulled her knees to her chest, burrowing her face in her arms. She wouldn’t last much longer. Not in these temperatures.
Still, she was alive and that surprised her. This cold was brutal. She could still feel her fingers and her toes. As she pondered that, she wondered, as cold as she was… she wasn’t numb. Hypothermia hadn’t set in. She wasn’t dying… at least not yet.
Hearing a tiny scratching sound beside her, she leaned over and scooped away some of the snow. A small arctic mouse stared at her, its nose twitching as if figuring out what she was.
With a delighted gasp, she whispered, “Hey, little one. Don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you.”
In an odd movement, it stretched up, its huge eyes studying her.
She chuckled, afraid to move too fast and scare it off. As it was the only animal she’d seen, and it was alive, she welcomed his presence.
He wasn’t terrified of her and clambered over the snow to see her closer.
She lowered her hand to the side so he could sniff her. Her smile widened at the sight of his whiskers going crazy, but the mouse kept getting closer.
“Are you hungry?” she asked instinctively. Yet, she didn’t think she had any food in her pockets. She turned her pockets out, looking for something, but found nothing edible, not even a mouse-size snack.
Terrified of scaring the little one away, she continued to talk to him in a low, crooning voice. She’d never get this close to a mouse in her world. She was surprised to see this guy in such an inhospitable place as this. “How do you survive, buddy?”
The little she knew about mice said they burrowed under the snow all winter. With her luck, she’d sat on his tunnels and collapsed them.
The mouse stretched out a paw and placed it on her finger. She caught her breath and waited.
A second paw landed beside the first. She grinned when the mouse hopped up on her hand, totally unconcerned she might be a danger to him.
Too bad no one witnessed this. She was too scared to pull out her cell phone for a quick photo in case she disturbed the little guy.
“I’m going to call you Winter,” she whispered.
The mouse didn’t seem to mind. He sniffed her jacket, then wandered up her arm.
She stared, transfixed. For all the shittiness of her situation, this little guy was a light in her otherwise dark world.
Still, if the mouse was here, maybe someone else was here too. But, if she yelled right now, the mouse might take off.
She closed her eyes and whispered, “Anyone there?”
And got the shock of her life.
A voice inside her head said, “I’ve always been here.”
She struggled to recognize the voice. She thought the speaker was male, but the words were distorted and distant, so she couldn’t be sure. She kept an eye on the mouse sitting on her sleeve. He worked his way up to her shoulder, his nose and whiskers wrinkled at every step. She had to admit she wondered if the mouse had talked. “Who are you?”
“Somebody who loves you very much.” The voice spoke inside her head again.
Her mind struggled to identify the speaker who had no trouble making such a bald-faced lie. With the cold her thoughts were sluggish, her mind fogging up. Surely that voice was her imagination. No one cared about her—she wasn’t sure anyone ever had. “Can you get me out of here?” she asked hopefully. “Help me go home?”
Silence was her answer.
She frowned. “Is this a trick?”
The voice was sad, heavy. “No, it’s not a trick. I’m sorry to see you so distrusting.”
“How can I not be? Look where I am. I have no idea how this came to pass or who did this to me.” She shook her head, momentarily forgetting about the mouse. “Am I really here, in the middle of some kind of winter wonderland, all alone?”
“Yes.”
“I don’t even have a proper coat for this weather. Am I going to die here?” Melissa asked, wiping the tears burning the corners of her eyes. “Can’t you help me?”
“I’m not even supposed to be talking to you.”
“Why are you then?” she asked in frustration, more tears burning, clogging her throat. “It’s despicable to torture me like this.”
“I tried to talk to you many times, but a wall was always between us. Right now the wall is thin, like crepe paper,” the voice said in exasperation. “So I tried again. This time I got through.”
“Can you tell me who you are?”
The voice paused, then said in a low tone, “No, I can’t.”
“Then what can you tell me?” she asked, trying not to cry. But the wind and cold were stealing her spirit. Until she caught a movement out of the corner of her eye. The mouse had crawled up to her shoulder, where it settled down in the crook of her neck. She couldn’t see it tucked in there, but she could feel it. Her spirit warmed from the inside, along with her heart.
“I’m allowed to tell you that you have to get back on your own. Time is running out. A clock started ticking from the moment you landed. Your life force is also disappearing.”
Her head jerked up at that. “What do you mean, my life force? Like my health? Do I have a disease? Have I been shot or something? What are you talking about?”
“Your talisman.”
“Talisman? Is that what this is? I wondered. It’s my school pin but…different. Somehow it transformed on whatever weird trip I took to this place,” she said, slowly trying to figure this out. She stared at the talisman in her hand. “Is that what the ring of lights on the outside means?”
“Yes. When those run out, you will not have enough energy to get back again.”
“So it is possible to get back again?” Her mind locked on to the one thing she could handle.
“Yes, definitely. That’s what this is all about. You’re on a quest to learn what you can do, what talents you might have, but you have to start moving fast.”
Instantly, she scrambled to her feet, only to freeze at the startled squeak from her new friend. She reached up a hand to stroke the mouse gently, amazed it was still here with her. It was a least used to the terrain whereas she was starting to shake violently as the wind whipped her face and body. Hunched against the cold, and trying to move carefully, she took several steps forward. Her mind caught on two words. Quest? Talents? “I’m happy to move. Just tell me where to go.”
“I can’t.”
Frustrated and angry, and terrified she would lose the voice in her head, she rushed to say, “Can you tell me whether to go up or down?”
“I have to go now. I’ll try to contact you later.”
“Wait,” Melissa cried out, “Can you give me a hint? Something? I’ll freeze to death soon.” Even as the words leave her mouth, her teeth start to chatter.

Just as the voice disappeared from her mind, it let out a sigh and whispered, “Think of a portal.” And then the voice was gone.

About the Author:

Blair Drake believes in magic, especially the magic of stories with fantasy, adventures, romance, action, and surprises. She has loved writing and living in the stories of the Finding Magic series and is so excited to share the quests of the Gray Cliffs Academy students with her readers.

When she’s not writing about magic, she’s reading about it. Her influences are Cassandra Claire, Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, Garth Nix, and many more.

In the mortal plane, following the lure of magic has drawn Blair into strange and wonderful adventures from Australia to New York City, with many stops in between. She currently lives near Denver. Her very favorite spot is a red loveseat in her office, frequently shared with two cats, an outnumbered Dalmation, and occasionally her bewitched husband.

She might have gone to a school similar to Gray Cliffs Academy and would love to go through a magic portal. In the meantime, she’s creating her own in more books of magic.







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