Showing posts with label Mythology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mythology. Show all posts

April 26, 2016

Teasers, Guest Post & Double Giveaway! Daughter of Isis, Descendants of Isis #1 by Kelsey Ketch

“Her mouth parted slightly, waiting for Seth to breathe life into her own body, just like in the story. She wanted him to awaken her senses.”

Their worlds collide in California’s high desert.

The last thing Natara “Natti” Stone wants to do is to start anew at Setemple High School. She wished she had never left London. Yet the brutal murder of her maternal grandmother has made her life very complicated. The only clue related to her murder is an ancient, encrypted necklace Natti discovered after her grandmother’s death. And if trying to adjust to American life is not enough, Natti is being stalked by a mysterious, charming high school senior, Seth O’Keefe, who is annoyingly persistent in his attempts at seduction.

Seth O’Keefe is secretly a member of the Sons of Set, an order that worships the Egyptian god of chaos. Seth’s blessing from Set, his “charm,” never failed, except with one person: Natti Stone. Her ability to elude him infatuates and infuriates him, and he becomes obsessed with the chase. But the closer he gets to her, the more his emotions take a dangerous turn, and he risks breaking one of the most valued covenants of his order. The punishment for which is a fate worse than death.

The adventure this unlikely couple becomes engulfed in could cost them their lives and their souls.

*Note: Content for Upper YA*

Descendants of Isis Personality Quiz

1. Choose your favorite color from the list.

a. Red

b. Black

c. Blue

d. Green

e. Pink

2. Pick a food item you most likely eat.

a. Steak, mushroom, and ale pie

b. Anything is good.

c. Tex-mex

d. Corn dogs

e. Salad

3. What interests you most?

a. Tennis

b. Flirting with the opposite sex

c. Reading

d. Gaming

e. Cheerleading

4. What word best describes your personality?

a. Stubborn

b. Charming

c. Hardworking

d. Loyal

e. Subservient

5. What drink would you like to have with your order?

a. Tea

b. Coffee

c. Water

d. Soda

e. Diet soda

6. If you could live in any one of these cities, which would it be?

a. London, England

b. Luxor, Egypt

c. San Francisco, California

d. Los Angeles, California

e. Paris, France

7. How do you describe your fashion style?

a. Sporty

b. Designer

c. Casual

d. T-shirt and jeans

e. Bold

8. How would you describe your love life?

a. Honest

b. Passionate

c. Disappointing

d. Complicated

e. Misleading

9. Which Egyptian god/dess do you relate to most?

a. Isis, goddess of magic

b. Osiris, god of death and rebirth

c. Nephthys, goddess of protection

d. Anubis, god of cemeteries

e. Hathor, goddess of love


If you got…

Mostly A’s: You are most like Natara. You embrace life. Being healthy is important to you. You eat well and exercise, but you also don’t lose sight of what is truly meaningful in your life. You have the gift of seeing people for who they really are, and you accept them for it, no matter your differences. You also value honesty and trust in all your relationships.

Mostly B’s: You are most like Seth. You are extraordinarily confident. You have the looks and charm to win everyone over. Unfortunately, you feel there’s still something or someone keeping you from your greatest potential. You seek more from life. A destiny that will give you purpose. Look deep into your heart to find it.

Mostly C’s: You are most like Alison. You hide behind your work in the hopes that it’ll speak for itself. You tend to be a little too serious, making it harder to connect with others or even make friends. Yet behind the mask, you are still a sensitive individual with an uncanny ability to see things that others let go unnoticed. Your perception will serve you well.

Mostly D’s: You are most like Kevin. You are the classic small town American. You’re all about hanging with your friends, and visiting all the usual haunts you’ve known since you were five. You have a pure American palate, loving hotdogs and hamburgers; as well as enjoy American pass times such as American football and baseball.

Mostly E’s: You are most like Mandy. You have a presence that makes itself known the moment you step into the room. You are attractive, confident, and know exactly what you want in life. And you often wish to please others, some of whom might not have your best intentions in mind. When setbacks and bad choices lead you a stray, cling onto the hope that something better will be waiting on the other side.

During her high school years, Kelsey Ketch could always be found tucked away in a little corner of the hall or classroom, writing her fantasy worlds and creating illustrations and maps. Today is no different, except now she’s writing in the break room at her office building or at the tables of the Barnes and Noble Café in Cary, North Carolina. She is also an avid reader, a part-time book blogger at Ketch’s Book Nook, and lives with her two orange tabbies and awesome and humorous flat-mate.

For more information, please visit her site at

April 18, 2016

Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway! Broken Fate by Jennifer Derrick

Zeus gave her one simple job: Kill every human. Atropos—daughter of Zeus and the third goddess of Fate from Greek mythology —spends her eternal life snipping human lifelines when their mortal lives are over. As if being a killer doesn’t make life miserable enough, she and her Fate-wielding sisters must live amongst the humans on Earth thanks to a long-running feud between their mother and Zeus. Living on Earth means they must mingle with the mortals, attend the local high school, and attempt to fit in—or at least not stand out too much.

Killing and mingling don’t mix, which is why Atropos’ number-one rule is to avoid all relationships with the humans. Caring for the people she has to kill is a fast track to insanity. However, when Alex Morgan walks into her first-period English class, she knows she’s in for trouble. He’s the worst kind of human for her to like—one with a rapidly approaching expiration date. And he makes Atropos want to break all the rules.

The Easter Eggs of Broken Fate

People often ask, “What elements of your novel come from your personal life or experiences?” Well, I try not to base my characters on people I know in real life, simply because I don’t want to deal with the backlash. “Why did you make me into such a jerk?” is not a question I want to answer. I also don’t include actual events from my life for the same reason. I don’t want to hear from some outraged family member who’s upset that I aired our dirty laundry. 

Objects and animals, though, are another story. I frequently include things from my life in my stories. Partly this is due to the fact that things I already know are easier to describe, and partly because it’s just silly fun to stick little bits of my life into a book. Here are just a few of the things in Broken Fate that were culled from my own life. 

The shears. Atropos’ shears have alternating rubies and emeralds on the handles. Why? I chose alternating rubies and emeralds for my sorority pin in college. Everyone said it would be ugly and too Christmas-like, but when it came everyone thought it looked great. Several girls ordered their pins to match mine the next year and by the time I graduated, there were probably twenty girls who had pins like mine. Who knew I was so trendy? (My awesome cover artist at Clean Teen Publishing, Marya Heiman, even worked the stones into the cover.)

The car. A friend of mine had a fully restored 1959 Thunderbird that I lusted after. I begged him to give me first dibs on it if he ever wanted to get rid of it, reminding him of my interest regularly. Yet when the day came to sell it, he sold it without telling me. I’m still bitter about that. Since I’ll never get to drive it, I let Atropos enjoy it. 

The dog. Maggie, the beagle-corgi mix that Alex adopts in the book, is modeled on one of my dogs. Sadly, the model for Maggie died before I could finish the book. I now have another dog that doesn’t look a thing like Maggie. However, it’s nice that “Maggie” lives on in the book. 

The books/bookshelves. Alex and Atropos are both huge readers. All of the books featured in Broken Fate are personal favorites of mine, as well. You can read more about the books of Broken Fate on my website at Alex’s bookshelves are also modeled on those in my childhood bedroom. Like Alex, it’s a wonder I didn’t die young, crushed by books. 

These are just a few of the things in Broken Fate that were mined from my life. There are others. I think of them like Easter eggs in movies. If you’re ever reading the book and you find something else that you’re curious about, you can always contact me at and ask whether it’s real or fiction. 

When he struggles to sit up, I help him. He looks down at the blood and goo splattered on his clothes and the wounds on his chest. Then he looks at me and takes in the blood splatters on my clothes. Finally, he looks toward the cave entrance and sees my sword standing at attention there. Turning to me again, he asks the only reasonable question. 

“What the hell was that?”

He follows it with

the only other reasonable question and the one I’m dreading more than any other. 

“And what the hell are you?”

My heart breaks a little at the betrayal in his voice. I was a fool for thinking I could keep my true self a secret. 

“I always knew you weren’t normal,” he says. “Always running off, missing school, never talking about yourself except in the most general terms, never mentioning your family. I knew there was something you were hiding. But I never dreamed it would be this, this—” He falters, unable to find the right word to describe what he’s just witnessed. 

“Disgusting? Frightening? Horrifying?” I try to finish for him, hanging my head in shame. “You’re right. It’s all of that and more.”

He thinks for a moment, and I see the most amazing transformation pass over his face as he processes what just happened. He actually smiles at me. 

“No, no. The word I’m looking for is badass. I had no idea. I mean you were so cool with that sword. And those horses! That was so awesome.” His smile is huge now. He’s thrilled by what he’s seen, not scared. 

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, so I end up giggling a little hysterically. Here I am expecting recriminations, fear, and hatred, and he’s complimenting me? This guy is crazier than most of the gods. I force myself to stop laughing and to treat this mess with the seriousness it deserves. 

“You’re not traumatized? Scared? Afraid to be in the same room with me because I might do to you what I did to the Keres?”

“No. I’m a dead man anyway. Even if you intend to kill me, it doesn’t matter, does it? But I would like to know what you really are and what that was about.”

I hang my head. “I’m not supposed to tell you,” I say, knowing the right course of action is to flush his memory immediately, not engage him in conversation. 

“Hello,” he says, motioning to the still-bleeding wounds on his chest. “I’m the one with holes in me, here. I deserve to know the truth, don’t you think?”

He’s right. Even if I can’t let him remember it forever, in this moment, I owe him the truth. 

“You’re not going to like me when I’m finished,” I warn.

“I’ll judge that.”

I inhale and decide to begin with the simplest yet hardest fact. The one that will turn his admiration of me into hate and fear. 

“My real name isn’t Sophie. It’s Atropos.”

When that doesn’t get a reaction, I press on. “I am the third goddess of fate. I am the one who cuts human lifelines and ends your mortal lives.”

Jennifer is a freelance writer and novelist. As a freelancer, she writes everything from technical manuals to articles on personal finance and European-style board games. Her interest in storytelling began when she was six and her parents gave her a typewriter for Christmas and agreed to pay her $.01 per page for any stories she churned out. Such a loose payment system naturally led to a lot of story padding. Broken Fate, her first novel, earned her $2.80 from her parents. 

Jennifer lives in North Carolina and, when not writing, can often be found reading, trawling the shelves at the library, playing board games, watching sports, camping, running marathons, and playing with her dog. You can visit her at her official

February 11, 2016

Excerpt & Giveaway! The Prophecy of Shadows, Elementals #1 by Michelle Madow

Filled with magic, thrilling adventure, and sweet romance, Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows is the first in a new series that fans of Percy Jackson and The Secret Circle will love!

When Nicole Cassidy moves from sunny Georgia to gloomy New England, the last thing she expects is to learn that her homeroom is a cover for a secret coven of witches. Even more surprisingly … she’s apparently a witch herself. Despite doubts about her newfound abilities, Nicole is welcomed into this ancient circle of witches and is bedazzled by their powers—and, to her dismay, by Blake—the school’s notorious bad-boy.

Girls who get close to Blake wind up hurt. His girlfriend Danielle will do anything to keep them away, even if she must resort to using dark magic. But the chemistry between Blake and Nicole is undeniable, and despite wanting to protect Nicole from Danielle’s wrath, he finds it impossible to keep his distance.

When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole, Blake, Danielle, and two others in their homeroom are gifted with mysterious powers. But the comet has another effect—it opens the portal to the prison world that has contained the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes and attacks Nicole and Blake, it’s up to them and the others to follow the clues from a cryptic prophecy so that they can save their town … and possibly the world.

“Run!” Blake yelled, grabbing my arm and pulling me off the merry-go-round. 

It spun under our weight, and I held onto the metal bars, pushing off them to leap over the edge. The cedar chips on the ground cushioned my landing. The car was behind us, which would mean running towards the monstrous hound, so I bolted for the playground, hurrying up a ladder of rubber tires that led to the closest platform. Blake followed close behind. The second he was up he took the lighter out of his pocket and aimed a blue fireball at the tires. They melted to the ground seconds before the hound reached them. 

It looked up at us and growled—a low, menacing sound that if I spoke dog I would have assumed meant “I’m going to have you for dinner”—and tried to jump onto the platform. It missed by only a few inches. 

Blake flicked on his lighter and threw a fireball at its chest, but the hound jumped to the side to get out of the way. It turned all four of its eyes up at us, one head letting out a deep roar as the other snapped its teeth together, taking bites out of the air. 

My hands shook, and I gripped one of the log posts behind me for support. “Have you learned how to fight these things in homeroom?” I asked Blake, my voice rising in panic. 

He threw another fireball, and it missed the hound again. “No,” he snapped, the flames lighting up his face. “Fighting legendary creatures isn’t on the syllabus.” 

“Maybe it should be,” I said as he launched another ball of fire, hitting the hound on its front paw. Both of its heads yelped in pain. The scorpion tail lowered between its legs, and it growled again before turning away from us and running around the side of the playground, woodchips flying behind it as it gained speed. 

My heart pounded, and I looked around to figure how to get off the platform. The exit was a slide that dropped off at the monkey bars. I could get down and run to the car, but I didn’t know where the hound was, and leaving the platform could give it the perfect opportunity to pounce. 

Then the hound growled again. I turned around, spotting it clamoring up a ladder of logs that led to a nearby platform. Only a wobbly bridge separated that platform from our own. My entire body shook, and I moved closer to Blake, grabbing his arm for support. 

The hound reached the top of the platform, and its glowing eyes narrowed, ready to attack.

Not having anywhere else to go, I launched myself down the slide and hurried to the monkey bars, climbing up the ladder and hoisting myself on top of them. Gripping the sides, I crawled to the center bar, but the ground spun beneath me, my lungs tightening as I looked down. I had to take a few deep breaths to steady myself. A six-foot fall wasn’t deadly. Now wasn’t the time to let my fear of heights get to me. 

Blake scrambled behind me, and I turned around to make sure he wasn’t hurt. Sweat dripped down the sides of his face from the flames, but other than that he looked okay. He took his lighter out again, holding it up in preparation to create another fireball. 

I looked back at the hound in time to see it run along the bridge and hurl itself towards us. It bared its teeth as it flew through the air, its arms outstretched as it came closer to the monkey bars. But it must not have had enough force behind the jump, because it fell to the ground with a loud thump. It stood and shook the woodchips off its fur, a low growl coming from somewhere deep in its throat as it turned its heads up to look at us. 

Before I could say anything to Blake about how completely screwed we were, he threw two balls of fire towards the hound, hitting both of its faces. It howled and collapsed, whimpering as it buried its snouts in its paws. The smell of burnt skin filled the air. My stomach swirled with nausea, and I lifted a hand to my nose to block out the smell.

Only a few seconds passed before it stood up again. The fur on its faces had changed into a charred grey. Its yellow eyes glowed brighter now, both snouts chomping madly in the air, strings of saliva dripping to the ground as it waited to devour whichever one of us lost our balance first.

Michelle Madow grew up in Baltimore, graduated Rollins College in Orlando, and now lives in Boca Raton, Florida. She wrote her first book in her junior year of college, and has been writing novels since. Some of her favorite things are: reading, pizza, traveling, shopping, time travel, Broadway musicals, and spending time with friends and family. Michelle has toured across America to promote her books and to encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. Someday, she hopes to travel the world for a year on a cruise ship.
To get instant updates about Michelle's new books, subscribe to her newsletter and follow her on Amazon!

December 23, 2015

Excerpt & Giveaway! Nicolas by Dianne Hartsock

Betrayed by a lover, Jamie rents an isolated cabin on Lake Huron, wanting only to be left alone. Instead, he is pulled from his solitary existence as an artist and tumbles headlong into the legend of Saint Nicolas.

As a young man, Nicolas accidentally killed a man intent on murdering three children, only to have the man's malicious spirit rise up against him. Fleeing through the centuries from the Krampus, the evil troll-like creature that dogs his steps, Nico finds refuge with the young artist who takes him into his home and bed. But Jamie has questions. Who is Nicolas, and why does the Krampus want to destroy him?

When the Krampus begins to torment and torture anyone Nico comes in contact with to punish him, Jamie’s life is put in danger. And Jamie isn’t sure whether he can help Nico defeat his nemesis or if he’s merely a pawn in the Krampus’s game.

Jamie startled awake. “What?”

He had trouble breathing, the crushing weight on his chest seeming to have followed him up from his dreams. But that couldn’t be right. He’d rented the cabin for its isolation. No one should be there. Did he still dream?

A warm breath brushed against his cheek, sending a shiver of dread and strange anticipation through him. “Easy, baby,” a silky voice whispered in the darkness. Sharp teeth nipped his earlobe and pleasure and pain sparked along his nerves. His eyes adjusted to the moonlight filtering through the sheer curtains, and he stared in amazement at the man gazing at him with wild green eyes, long pale hair, high cheekbones and a slender neck he craved to run his tongue along.

The stranger laid his weight on him, driving the air from his lungs and making Jamie struggle for every breath. Shifting position, the man sealed his full lips over Jamie’s, drawing a long groan from Jamie when an impossibly large cock slid against his. In sudden panic he reached to shove his unknown visitor away and touched hot skin and lean muscles. Of their own volition his hands roamed lower, following the curve of the stranger’s back to the rounded swell of his ass. He drew a quick breath and the man laughed into his mouth, pushed his tongue deep, thrusting inside to match the movement of his hips as he ground against Jamie’s aching dick.

Heat pooled in Jamie’s stomach. God, what was happening? The thing in his bed looked like a man, but his every instinct shouted otherwise. His skin was warm when it should have been cold from being outside. And how had he gotten in? All the windows and doors were locked tight against the winter storm. It was as if he’d just materialized in Jamie’s bed. “Who—”

He cried out when a hand pushed between them and grabbed their cocks, stroking them together until he lost the ability to think. So close! He grabbed onto the man’s firm ass and yanked him tighter against him, rising up to shove into his strong grip.

The triumphant hiss in his ear shot ice through his veins. “So naughty.”

“No!” Jamie struggled to sit up, scrambling back against the headboard. He blinked, finding himself alone in the room, only his ragged breaths disturbing the silence of the cabin. A forgotten anxiety knotted his stomach. Naughty. He hated that word, tossed about by the boys he once knew in school. The ones he’d suck off behind the gym, desperate for a gentle hand in his hair, balm against his loneliness. He’d been terrified his parents would find out he was different, that he liked girl things and found boys much more exciting than he should. They would know he was gay and there would be hell to pay for their freak of a son.

He scrubbed a hand over his face. God, that had been ages ago. The last shreds of the dream dissipated, and he reached for the bedside light, fumbling in the darkness for the switch. Low light stung his eyes and he blinked at the empty bedroom, unable to believe the attack hadn’t been real.

He flung off the heavy quilts and slid to his feet, clinging to the post at the foot of the bed as a wave of dizziness struck him. Laughter from the other room jolted him. Heart pounding, he bolted for the door and it crashed into the wall as he flung it open. The reddish glow from the banked fire on the hearth lit the main room of the cabin, though the kitchen area remained in shadows.

Jamie’s gaze swept the rooms, focusing on the dark corners. No one jumped out at him. Nobody sat on the couch. His coffee cup remained undisturbed where he’d left it on the hearth. Of course. The cabin was isolated, miles from the nearest neighbor. Who would bother to come way out there, especially with the threat of another snowstorm on the way?

He ran a trembling hand through his hair, pushing the sweat-drenched bangs from his forehead. Christ, the dream had seemed so real. The cold of the great room finally registered, creeping up from the hardwood flooring. Shaking, he crossed to the fireplace and stirred up the coals, adding another log.

With a sigh, he sank into the cushions of the worn couch and pulled the woolen afghan around his bare shoulders. The log caught and the fire crackled, sparks dancing up the flue. Recalling his dream and the hard body against his, he shrugged when his cock perked up.

“It’s been a while,” he acknowledged, watching the flames lick at the oak log. He’d signed a year’s lease on the cabin, right after catching his boyfriend in the stairwell of their apartment building, making out with their neighbor. It hadn’t been the first time, either, though again Patrick had his apologies ready. That had been over six months ago, and since the cabin stood miles over rough terrain from the nearest town, he’d rarely seen another human being in all that time.

“Just the way I like it,” he told the indifferent fire burning its way through the wood. But the stranger’s lips in his dream had been soft, his thrusting tongue sweet in Jamie’s mouth. He hadn’t liked the violent aspect of the dream, but if that had been a lover in his bed? His dick pressed against his thigh, and Jamie reached under the heavy blanket, moaning when he took its heavy weight in his hand. Drawing lazy circles on his balls, he let the pleasure build slowly, lifting his cock while in his mind the stranger licked the glistening head, his pale gold hair a curtain of silk against Jamie’s sensitive skin. He moaned as the man slid his tongue down the thick vein on the underside of his cock.

His mind flitted over the question of whether the guy would fuck him or want it the other way around. Didn’t matter to him. He liked it both ways. Rolling to his back, Jamie continued to stroke himself while he tugged his tight balls, then pressed a finger against his hole. He remembered the lube in the nightstand drawer by the bed, but he wasn’t about to stop, and hissed when he pushed the finger inside. The man’s cock had been huge in his dream. What would it feel like as it stretched him open? Would it be enough to fill all the empty spaces inside him?It was a moment before the tolling of a bell outside the cabin registered. What the fuck? Jamie sat up, trying to hear past the pounding of his pulse in his ears. His cock throbbed and he groaned in frustration, knowing he couldn’t chase his pleasure until he found out what was going on at the dock. The only one to boat in was the man who dropped off his monthly supplies, and he’d been and gone two days ago. Who else would be using the dock? Jamie had been isolated for months without anything disturbing his peace. But this night he’d had a wildly erotic dream and now this. What made tonight so special?


Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Dianne Hartsock, author of NICOLAS. Hi Dianne, thank you for agreeing to this interview. 

Hi Mikky. Thank you for inviting me over today.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing come from?

I grew up in a family where everyone read. It was rare to see one of us without our nose in a book. I couldn’t wait until I learned to read so I could join them. My love of storytelling came from my older sister, who would tell us the most thrilling bedtime stories. As for writing, once I learned to write in first grade, I naturally wanted to write down all the stories crammed into my head.

What were your goals when you started this book? Do you think you met them?

I really wanted to show Nicolas as a passionate, conscientious man, trying to do what good he could in the world. But I wanted to do this without sounding too preachy or making him out to be some kind of saint. As for the Krampus, he’s the evil counterpart to St. Nicolas, the one who punishes the wicked children. This touches on the theme of good vs. evil, a subject I wanted to flirt with but only as a running theme in the background. I think I managed to write an exciting, sometimes frightening story of a good man battling his demons. 

Tell us about your favorite character in this book.

That would be my sweet Jamie. Both Nico and Piter, the Krampus, are strong men, capable of taking care of themselves. They have had to for centuries. But Jamie is vulnerable, lonely, a man who only wants to be left alone in a world that can be cruel. He befriends and comes to love Nico, finding strengths he never knew he had. He becomes the inspiration Nico needs to face the Krampus and hopefully be rid of the creature forever.

What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

It’s those pesky transitional scenes, when you want your characters to confront the bad guy already, but first they have to put their boots on, pack their gear, grab something to eat and a cup of coffee, drive to the prearranged meeting spot. See what I mean? All this has to be taken care of first, and done with excitement and a sense of urgency, when all I want is for them to BE THERE already.

List five foods you can’t live without.

Coffee, chips and salsa, spaghetti with vegetable marinara, dark beer, yogurt.

Dianne grew up in one of the older homes in the middle of Los Angeles, a place of hardwood floors and secret closets and back staircases. A house where ghosts lurk in the basement and the faces in the paintings watch you walk up the front stairs. Rooms where you keep the closet doors closed tight at night. It’s where her love of the mysterious and wonderful came from.
Dianne now lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play. She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house with a fire crackling on the hearth and a cup of hot coffee warming her hands, which kindles her imagination.
Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

October 13, 2015

Review & Author Interview: Cronin's Key III by N.R. Walker

History isn’t always what it seems… 

Twelve months after his change, Alec MacAidan is still getting used to his many vampire talents. While most vampires would give anything to have more than one supernatural power, Alec craves nothing more than peace and time alone with Cronin. But when Alec meets entities from outside this realm, he’s left powerless in their presence. 

Zoan are half-lycan, half-dragon creatures that have slipped through time and reality, seemingly undetected by man and vampire. Or have they? They bear an uncanny resemblance to gargoyles, leaving Alec’s view on all things weird to get a whole lot weirder. 

This new quest leads Alec, Cronin, and their band of friends to Paris, Rome, and Moscow, where they learn that gargoyles aren’t simply statues on walls. In the underground pits beneath churches all over the world, Alec discovers the Key’s true destiny. Facing the Zoan might take every talent he has. And he may need help from the dead to get them all out alive. 

As soon as Alec’s feet hit the soft earth, he took a deep breath of fresh air and reveled in the silence. 

His life hadn’t exactly been quiet in the last twelve months. 

He felt the warmth of Cronin’s hand in his, smelled the sweet aromas of heath and moss from both the vampire beside him and the cool air of the long-abandoned battlefield, and Alec exhaled loudly. 

Cronin had somehow learned to quiet his mind a little and it gave Alec the silence he so desperately needed. In the last twelve months, Cronin had taken Alec on more time-outs than he could count. Knowing when he’d had enough and was reaching breaking point, Cronin would simply remove Alec from the situation, leaping him somewhere quiet where his mind could have some much needed solitude. But with a gentle squeeze of his hand, Cronin reassured him he was there. 

“I’m sorry,” Alec said. 

“Don’t apologize,” Cronin said adamantly. “I can’t begin to imagine your frustrations.” 

“Jodis is only trying to help. I behaved badly.” He could very well speak words directly into Jodis’ mind and tell her privately that he was sorry. But he’d prefer not invade the thoughts of others, preferring to apologize in person. 

“She understands,” Cronin said, trying to pacify him. 

Alec sighed loudly and allowed the quiet to envelope him. “I love it here,” he said eventually. 

The field at Dunadd, Scotland, had become a sanctuary for Alec. No voices in his head, no city of millions with flurrying thoughts unbidden through his mind, no politics of vampire councils, no meetings, no one hovering. 

Just Cronin. 

“It affords you a great privacy,” Cronin said. His Scottish accent and formal tone still made Alec smile. “Your talents as a vampire are a burdensome gift.” 

Alec had learned very early on to block out the voices and thoughts of those around him, but living in a city of millions made it a constant effort, and his display of anger at Jodis just minutes ago bothered him. “These talents are a pain in my ass.” 

Cronin laughed quietly. “Your control over them still astounds us all.” 

“The control you keep talking about is a talent in itself. It’s like casting a net over a thousand different fish.” Alec sighed loudly. “I’ve told you that before.” 

“I know. Though it amazes me still.” Cronin squeezed Alec’s hand again and looked out across the field of long grass to the line of trees that fronted the river. “Lie down with me.” 

Cronin simply lay flat on his back in the middle of the field and when Alec lay down next to him, Cronin snatched up Alec’s hand again. And together in the mind-clearing silence, they watched the blanket of stars glide across the sky. 

It was a clear autumn night in Scotland, cold and dark. Neither of those things impeded a vampire of course, and Alec would never tire of the simple changes he’d gone through when he became a vampire. It was the complex changes he was beginning to struggle with. The talents he’d been given made him unique: the only vampire ever to have all vampire talents, some he was still discovering a year after his change. It was these talents that made his life hectic, his obligations as the key to the vampire world that gave him a great responsibility, and as Cronin had said, it was becoming a great burden. 

Alec loved that Cronin would leap them to the very field where his human life had ended. The old battlefield in Scotland was also where they’d first made love, where they came to talk, to be by themselves. Like now. 

“Thank you for bringing me here,” Alec whispered, his anger and frustration from before almost gone. “I feel like I can breathe here.” 

“Is that not what husbands do?” Cronin asked with a smile. “Save the other from the myriad of madness?” 

“Husbands,” Alec said, bringing Cronin’s knuckles up to his lips and kissing them softly. “Now that is something I’ll never tire of.”

The amount of research this Lady does for her books is incredible. There’s no mystery that I’m a big N.R. Walker fan and she’s still able to surprise me. 

I fell in love with Alec and Cronin from day one and I’m a little bit sad to bid them Adieu. 

And, what better way for them to go than with another epic adventure? 

In book one, Cronin and Alec took us on a trip to Egypt, then, China followed in book two. We’ve met ancient pharaohs and the legendary clay soldiers. 

Now, they embark on a journey to Europe. London, Rome and, finally, Paris. 

And what mythical creatures can be found all over Paris? If you don’t know you’re in for one big surprise. 

I’ll tell you one thing, my life in Paris has become a lot more interesting all of a sudden. I’ll never look at Musée D’Orsay or Notre Dame the same way again. 

I’ll be too busy looking for hidden clues of ancient stories at every corner. 

Thank you for that, Mrs. Walker. 

But, let’s get back to the story. 

Alec might be a vampire now but he’s still the Key and he has one last mission to accomplish before he can settle down and enjoy eternity with his beloved husband. 

His struggle to understand and control the huge amount of power he’s been given it’s taking its toll. 

The fact that an ancient enemy has risen again doesn’t help make things easier and, this enemy, seems to have no kind of vulnerabilities. 

As the story unfolds, more and more secrets are revealed, new alliances are forged, lives are lost and destinies entwine. 

You’ll laugh, and cry, and love every minute of this wild ride. 

As usual, this novel, too was exceptionally well written, fast paced, intense and very emotional. 

When I say emotional I’m not talking about only Alec and Cronin. There’s so much going on in Cronin’s Key III. Everyone gets a moment in the spotlight for one reason or another and not all those moments are happy ones. And that’s all I’m going to say. 

Thank you, N.R. Walker for another wonderful series. I’m sure I’ll go back and re-read it many, many times just like all the other ones you’ve written so far. 

Looking forward to read you next novel. 

Our guest today is N.R. Walker, author of Cronin’s Key trilogy. Welcome on Mikky’s World Of Books and thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Thanks for having me!!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Something that is not in the official biography.

I have red hair and am ambidextrous. J

This was your first fantasy series. How did you come up with the idea for CK? And, is their journey over or we can expect a volume 4 sometime in the future?

Well, I didn’t actually set out to do the history aspect interweaved throughout the plot, that took me by surprise too. The characters that started talking to me were vampires, and I thought “oh boy, here we go”. LOL

I don’t envisage a fourth book. There might be some outtakes—I’m sure Alec still needs to teach Eiji to drive JBut I’ll just post them as freebies on my blog when I get them written.

I’ve had quite a few people ask for Kennard and Stas’ story, but I’m not the kind of author who can write-to-order. The characters need to talk to me. I can’t force stories unfortunately. If there’s a small outtake for those two will solely depend on Kennard and Stas. But I believe they’re pretty busy right now in some Lithuanian forest… lol

Looking back at all your novels, which was the hardest & easiest to write and which character gave you most trouble?

The easiest was Red Dirt Heart Series. Hands down. I think its ease was because I grew up in the countryside of regional Australia. Those characters are all snippets of people I know and have known—down to nicknames, descriptions and the way they talked.

The hardest would probably have been Starting Point, the third book in The Turning Point series. I almost didn’t finish it. I don’t know why. Self-doubt, probably. Most writers suffer terrible and crippling insecurities in their writing and I am no different. Maybe I put too much pressure on myself to do those boys justice. But I pushed through it and in the end they got the story they deserved J

Could you tell us a little bit about your current project?

I have put my current series WIP (titled the Spencer Cohen Series) on hold to finish a novella called Exchange of Hearts. I actually found 20,000 words of a story I wrote years ago. It was pretty bad LOL. I had entered it into a contest and didn’t get anywhere (for obv reasons lol) but it’s at 35,000 words now and has been tidied up. I have two more scenes to write, some more fixing, and I’ll be sending it off to my pre-readers. I’m hoping for a release date in early November. 

It’s the story of an Australian guy who is eighteen and completing his HSC in a prestigious school in Sydney. Along comes an English exchange student, and Voila! Love and music ensues.

What advice would you give to all the aspiring authors? Especially those who want to write M/M fiction?

I get asked this quite often and my answer is always the same. Just keep writing. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do it. If one publisher says no, find another one, but remember contracts should be mutually agreed to—which means it needs to suit the author as well, not just the publisher. Yes, it’s exciting to get a contract, but don’t sign it without seeking legal advice first. Seriously.

And just keep writing. Write the story that speaks to you, not what you think people want to read.

Great advice! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions. 

Thanks for having me!! 

N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance.
She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn't have it any other way.
She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don't let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words. 
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things...but likes it even more when they fall in love. 
She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal. 
She's been writing ever since... 

August 4, 2015

Release Day Blitz! Excerpt & Giveaway! Public Enemies (Immortal Game #2) by Ann Aguirre

In Book 2 of the Immortal Game trilogy, Edie must learn the rules of the game . . . and then play better than anyone else.

Through a Faustian bargain, Edie Kramer has been pulled into the dangerous world of the Immortal Game, where belief makes your nightmares real. Hungry for sport, fears-made-flesh are always raising the stakes. To them, human lives are less than nothing, just pieces on a board.

Because of her boyfriend Kian's sacrifice, she's operating under the mysterious Harbinger's aegis, but his patronage could prove as fatal as the opposition. Raw from deepest loss, she's terrified over the deal Kian made for her. Though her very public enemies keep sending foot soldiers--mercenary monsters committed to her destruction--she's not the one playing under a doom clock. Kian has six months...unless Edie can save him. And this is a game she can't bear to lose.

“Better?” he asked.

“A little. How long have we been here?”

“I’m not sure. But probably not as long as you think.”

“More of the Harbinger’s tricks?” I tugged at my clothes, only to notice that they’d shifted back at some point. So… was I wrong before? Am I wearing the same dress? The constant unreality might wreck my brain.

“Mostly. I think.”

The Harbinger stopped his bizarre frolicking to clap his hands, and the sound rang out like thunder, much louder than anyone else could achieve with two palms. “We have one final diversion before the feast is ended. Shall I show you?”

Like before, the mob practically destroyed the ballroom with enthusiasm. By then, numbness had taken over; I could only exist in a state of abject terror for so long. Along with everyone else, I watched as two giant amorphous moth-beasts dragged someone up onto the dais. At first glance, I thought it was a girl but when the person rolled over, I realized it was a boy, probably fourteen or so, and small for his age. Definitely human, unless this was the best illusion ever. His terror was palpable, and it made the immortals nearby stir with avid anticipation.

“Delicious,” something with sharp teeth hissed.

The boy came up onto his knees, resting delicate hands on the floor before him in a posture of defeat so abject that I took a step forward. Bruises ringed his throat and his wrists, and what he had on could barely be called clothes; the shirt was torn in three places and the pants had frayed until they hit his knees, revealing filthy calves and feet that were sliced up as if he was routinely forced to walk across broken glass. On his right hand, two of the fingers were bent at unnatural angles, either broken now, or they had been, then they healed badly afterward.

“Kian…” I whispered. “I don’t like where this is going.”

“This one has a most impressive survival instinct,” the Harbinger said, indicating the cowering boy with a flourish. “He’s been my favorite pet for some time. But his luck might run out today. Shall we find out?”

The audience rumbled in agreement, and the room changed. I had no explanation for it, but suddenly it seemed as if we’d moved from the ballroom entirely. We were standing outside an arena now with a blood-stained pit below. Bones littered the floor of it, along with broken weapons. Snarls came from the sublevel, enough to chill my blood.

“Time for a bit of fun,” the Harbinger said.

Before I knew what I planned to do, I broke away from Kian. He reached for me but I wasn’t stopping. I’d been passive for too long, waiting and hoping that things would get better. It was time for me to fight, even if I didn’t know how. Yeah, there might be fallout, but the Harbinger had to protect me, right? Even if I interfered with his grisly show.

Scared didn’t cover how I felt just then. This is a death match, a gladiator fight, and you’ve never even played Mortal Kombat. You don’t know shit about knives or swords or whatever. You’re probably going to lose. Horribly. 

But I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I stood by and watched.

When I climbed up on the stage, the Harbinger was a statue, lightning eyes flashing astonishment and displeasure. But he held still and waited for me to play my card. Maybe Dwyer was right, and I’d end up broken if I participated in their game. I only knew that I was sick and tired of being moved on the board.

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.