Join the Monstrous Book Release Party! All day, Dec. 4!

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Bathory Gate Press is hosting an all-day book release party for Bound by Blood by Margo Bond Collins and Night Home by Rose Titus. Join guest authors for games and prizes, 9 a.m. CST until 10:30 p.m. CST!


Sometimes the monsters in the dark are real…

As a child, Lili Banta ignored her grandmother’s cryptic warnings to avoid children outside their Filipino community in Houston. When many of those other children fell ill, Lili ignored the whispers in her community that a vampiric aswang walked among them.

Years later, Lili returns to Houston to work for the Center for Disease Control—but she is plagued by dark, bloody dreams that consume her nights and haunt her days. When a strange illness attacks the city’s children, Lili is called in to find its source, and maybe even a cure.

But in order to save the city, she must first acknowledge the sinister truth: A monster stalks the night—closer than she ever expected….


Sitting straight up in bed, I gasped and threw myself back against the headboard, the thud dying away along with the remaining shreds of my dream.

But the word still ricocheted through my mind.


Until yesterday, I hadn’t thought of the term in years—not since I’d left Houston for med school in Maine, determined to get as far away from home as I could.

But this resurgence of the same, odd illness that had swept my city years before was apparently also dredging up the old stories from deep in my subconscious: the aswang, a vampiric woman who lived a quiet life by day and fed on children in the night, flying back home on bat-wings just before dawn.

My unconscious mind had clearly also expanded on the idea, casting me in the role of aswang and adding schizoid conversations with a chorus of internal voices.

Great. I’m insane in my dreams.

And I’m a monster.

Shuddering, I wiped my hand across my gritty, raw eyelids.


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About the Author 


Margo Bond Collins is the author of urban fantasy, contemporary romance, and paranormal mysteries. She has published a number of novels, including Sanguinary, Taming the Country Star, Legally Undead, Waking Up Dead, and Fairy, Texas. She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. Although writing fiction is her first love, she also teaches college-level English courses online. She enjoys reading romance and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about heroes, monsters, cowboys, and villains, and the strong women who love them—and sometimes fight them.


Connect with Margo

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Twitter: @MargoBondCollin


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She’s inherited more than just an old house…she’s also inherited an old enemy.

When college student Muriel Aubrey inherits an old house in a small town, she imagines that moving into the rural community will be deathly dull. But the old house once belonged to her eccentric granduncle, a professor said to be researching something mysterious before his untimely death.

Then Muriel finds the research notes that had been hidden away in the old Victorian, and she discovers what the professor was researching: vampires. It isn’t long before Muriel meets residents of the small town who knew the professor almost a century ago, and learns that everything he wrote in the notes he kept is true

And then she finds herself stalked by a vampire hunter…



The first one began with, “I have made an astonishing discovery. The legends are true. ”

What the hell is this stuff?

And she read on. He called his secret project his “Nocturnal Studies,” and she wondered what on earth that could be about, and what the hell could he be studying in a quiet little town where nothing would ever happen anyway, especially at night?

Some of the notes were often more personal than scientific. All his academic life he had wanted to make a great discovery and finally he had found it—or it had found him. “The Nocturnal Race has made itself known to me after their search for a man of science with a suitably open mind…” Yeah, the Prof was known in the family history as being eccentric. But what had killed him? His discovery? And what was this Nocturnal Race he scribbled on about?

She sat in the out of date but functional kitchen and read on with the whir of the old refrigerator for background music until she noticed an old yellowed and faded news clipping dated September 7, 1936 tucked inside the notebook. Professor Shot Dead. “Oh my God.” Her eyes scanned through the fragile paper. It was a colleague of his from the University who apparently suddenly went mad and shot him. The police hauled the murderer off after apprehending him at his office at the University. He was dragged away in shackles, raving about vampires.

What? The man who killed her granduncle  was also wanted in connection with another murder.

And the Professor was studying the Nocturnal Race?


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About the Author

Rose Titus works two jobs to support her writing habit.  She exists somewhere in cold, dreary New England, with two manipulative cats and a very out of date Macintosh with which she creates horror and fantasy fiction.  She also has a restored classic car to ride around while in search of adventure.

For travel she has stayed for the night in an allegedly haunted castle, has taken a boat ride on Loch Ness, and has visited the fabled Bermuda Triangle without getting lost.

Her work has previously appeared in Lost Worlds, Lynx Eye, Bog Gob, Mausoleum, Midnight Times, Blood Moon Rising Magazine, The Bugle, Weird Terrain, Descend, Wicked Wheels, and other literary magazines.  When she’s not writing or working or messing around with her old Buick, she waits by her mailbox for the next issue of Fortean Times to arrive.


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Dangerous Hero(ine) Challenge: November Update

Hi, everyone! I have an update on my participation in the Dangerous Hero(ine) Challenge!

As a reminder, here’s what the challenge entails:

I am participating in the Dangerous Hero(ine) Challenge, hosted by Paranormal Cravings.

Dangerous Hero(ine) Challenge


1. Dangerous Hero Challenge runs from August 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014.

2. Sign up at Paranormal Cravings to start your challenge.

3. The challenge is to read 10 books (of the paranormal romance or Urban Fantasy genre) that have a Dangerous Hero as a main, or supporting character.

4. Books can be in any format and should be at least 150 pages. You may also post about your rereads.

5. Post about the Dangerous Hero Challenge on your blog or website stating that you are participating or create a new shelf on your Goodreads profile.

6. Include that link to that post or shelf on Paranormal Cravings.

7. Please be courteous and include a link back to the Paranormal Cravings blog post.


I’ll be posting about these as I complete them. I’ll also include links to my Goodreads shelf.

My Recent Dangerous Hero(ine) Reads

I’m updating my list with the following books:


Cormac, the Kitty Norville series’ most popular supporting character, stars in his first solo adventure.

Carrie Vaughn’s Low Midnight spins out of the series on the wave of popularity surrounding Kitty’s most popular supporting character, Cormac Bennett, a two-minded assassin of the paranormal who specializes in killing lycanthropes. In his first solo adventure, Cormac, struggling with a foreign consciousness trapped inside him, investigates a century-old crime in a Colorado mining town which could be the key to translating a mysterious coded diary…a tome with secrets that could shatter Kitty’s world and all who inhabit it. With a framing sequence that features Kitty Norville herself, Low Midnight not only pushes the Kitty saga forward, but also illuminates Cormac’s past and lays the groundwork for Kitty’s future.


I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in order to participate in a blog tour, so I’m not going to give a full review yet–but the short version? I LOVED IT!! Finally getting inside of Cormac’s mind(s) was wonderful–and it was great to see his relationship with Amelia developing! More on this soon . . .


Human life has value.
The poor living in the gutter are as valuable as the rich living in a manor.
The scoundrel is no less valuable than the saint.
Because of this, every life a reaper takes must be redeemed.

Raven has lived by this first tenet since she was trained by her father to become a reaper. But since his death, she’s been spending years redeeming the lives she’s taken. By her count, she’s even and it’s time for that life to end. If she settles down and becomes a wife, she might just feel human again. But on the way to the life she thinks she wants, the baron of New Haven asks her to complete a task which she cannot ignore… Just when Raven decides to give up on her life as an assassin, she’s pulled right back in.


(I did a full review of this one when I read it, so this is a repeat!):

Although the serial version of this book has been coming out for a while, I have resisted picking it up until I could have the complete story. Now I almost wish I hadn’t waited–although I would have had to deal with the time between releases, I would have been reading an amazing story all along! I picked up my copy the other day and started reading, planning to get in an hour or so before bed. Instead, I finally went to sleep only when I could no longer hold my eyes open to read. This is an excellent story!

Pauline Creeden is incredibly active in the indie publishing world, and is a kind, caring mentor to any number of newbie authors–willing to share information and ideas freely and openly. It should therefore, perhaps, come as no surprise that she has created a protagonist with a deeply held sense of honor and duty. Raven is fascinating precisely because that sense of honor doesn’t always fit in with the rest of her culture (or ours), and yet it guides everything she does.

Don’t miss this one.

And put Pauline Creeden on your auto-buy list–I just did!


The past is Darker than they thought…

Between helping her mother with the Darker Agency and laying the smack down on monster baddies, Jessie Darker puts the “normal” in paranormal. But lately, things have gotten a little crazy…even for a smart-assed half-demon teenage girl.

For starters, Jessie’s been contracted into fifty-five years of annoying servitude. To a demon. Then there’s Lukas Scott, her sexy new boyfriend. Once the former incarnation of Wrath, he’s been going through some…uh, changes. Like residual anger. And trading chaste hangouts for lusty make-out sessions.

But it’s when Lukas and Jessie accidentally release a Very Nasty Demon that things get really bad, setting into motion a chain of death and mayhem that threatens both Earth and the Shadow Realm. Jessie has exactly four days to fix it…before all of Hell breaks loose.


I’m scheduled to post a full review of this book as part of a book tour soon, so for now, I’ll just say this: at the beginning of the novel, I was worried that Jessie and Lukas might have used up all their sizzle in book one–and I’m happy to report that I was wrong, wrong, wrong! I ended up loving this one at least as much as the first book. Hooray! 🙂

The next two books don’t exactly fit the criteria, in that they’re even further away from urban fantasy than most of the other books I’ve included. But I’m including them because of their interestingly dangerous heroines. . .


Cloud Atlas meets Orphan Black in this epic dimension-bending trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray about a girl who must chase her father’s killer through multiple dimensions. Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite’s father is murdered, and the killer—her parent’s handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul’s guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is far more sinister than she expected.

A Thousand Pieces of You, the first book in the Firebird trilogy, explores an amazingly intricate multiverse where fate is unavoidable, the truth elusive, and love the greatest mystery of all.


I had the great good fortune to sit next to Claudia Gray at the Indie Book Fest ’14 Author Speed-Dating Roundtable and I heard her discuss this book several times–and knowing how excited she was about it, I could hardly wait to go online and pre-order it. I’m ever so glad I did! I honestly expected something a little more Sliders, so I was especially delighted by the amount of time we spent in each of the worlds, learning about each Marguerite’s life as the narrator tried to fit in and function appropriately.

Gray doesn’t hesitate to deal with the ethical questions that her characters face: what constitutes identity? do people linked through a multiverse share a soul? what would it mean to pilot someone else’s body? And her characters don’t come up with satisfactory answers to these questions–they are, instead, beautifully and realistically searching for meaning.

The mystery is also nicely done–giving just enough information to make it possible for a reader to figure out the basic solution, but not so much that it’s obvious. I loved pretty much everything about this book, except for the fact that it ended. I can’t wait for the next one!

When she disappeared from her rural hometown, Wendy White was a sweet, family-oriented girl, a late bloomer who’d recently moved out on her own, with her first real boyfriend and a job waiting tables at the local tavern. It happens all the time—a woman goes missing, a family mourns, and the case remains unsolved. Stacy Flynn is a reporter looking for her big break. She moved east from Cleveland, a city known for its violent crime, but that’s the last thing she expected to cover in Haeden. This small, upstate New York town counts a dairy farm as its main employer and is home to families who’ve set down roots and never left—people who don’t take kindly to outsiders. Flynn is researching the environmental impact of the dairy, and the way money flows outward like the chemical runoff, eventually poisoning those who live at the edges of its reach.

Five months after she disappeared, Wendy’s body is found in a ditch just off one of Haeden’s main roads. Suddenly, Flynn has a big story, but no one wants to talk to her. No one seems to think that Wendy’s killer could still be among them. A drifter, they say. Someone “not from here.”

Fifteen-year-old Alice Piper is an imaginative student with a genius IQ and strong ideals. The precocious, confident girl has stood out in Haeden since the day her eccentric hippie parents moved there from New York City, seeking a better life for their only child. When Alice reads Flynn’s passionate article in the Haeden Free Press about violence against women—about the staggering number of women who are killed each day by people they know—she begins to connect the dots of Wendy’s disappearance and death, leading her to make a choice: join the rest in turning a blind eye, or risk getting involved. As Flynn and Alice separately observe the locals’ failure to acknowledge a murderer in their midst, Alice’s fate is forever entwined with Wendy’s when a second crime rocks the town to its core.

Stylishly written, closely observed, and bracingly unexpected, So Much Pretty leads the reader into the treacherous psychology of denial, where the details of an event are already known, deeply and intuitively felt, but not yet admitted to, reconciled or revealed.


The New York Times Book Review named this book the Best Suspense Novel of 2011. I don’t know about 2011, but it’s one of the best . . . or at least, most interesting . . . suspense novels I’ve read in a long time. As a literary suspense (literary mystery? mysterious literary novel?) it works. The characters are haunting, as is the depiction of the various horrors that arise from the clash of ideologies, cultures, genders, socio-economic statuses, and more. Part of the resonance of this novel is, I think, the recognition of our own complicity in the various kinds of rape and murder (both symbolic and real) that Hoffman includes in So Much Pretty. And I can’t think of a more dangerous heroine than Alice Piper–she is, as at least one other reviewer noted, a modern-day Fury, avenging a death in a way that shakes a community . . . but not in the way it should . . .

Cover Reveal: Scorch, by K. C. Stewart

Scorch by K.C. Stewart
Urban Fantasy
Date Published: January 5, 2015

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Hailey Holloway has a serious knack with running from her problems. At the first sign of trouble she can be found lacing up her Nikes and hitting the road. Dacea has been patient with her, but a man can only handle so much. He told her before that he would not chase after her again and is he nothing, if not a man of his word. Katherine is more than happy to pick at the wound that festers between them. If she picks enough, she just might make one or both of them bleed.
War is on the horizon. Together, they need to convince the leaders of Blue and Silver to join their crusade against the Council, but can they put their differences aside and stop fighting long enough to help those in the line of fire?
“Hope. That is your answer?”
He tilted his head slightly at her tone. “It is.”
 “Why should I hope for something that is doomed?” she asked plainly. “What would going back solve? We’d be happy for what? Five minutes before some new drama puts us at odds. I’m tired of fighting all the time. Loving Dak is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s like loving a frickin’ mountain. He’s stubborn and unyielding to the point that I just want to beat my fists against him but that would do nothing but make me bleed. I can’t take being built up again just to have him tell me how I’m supposed to live, feel or love.”
She gave a short humorless laugh and shook her head. “Hope is one of the worst promises I could give myself. Because if I allow myself to hope for him to come around, and it doesn’t happen…I will be broken. Dak is hard headed, inflexible and has arrogance coming out his ass. He is my Mate, and God help me, but I love him for all his faults, even if he can’t love me for mine.” While Silas listened he reached over and brushed his thumbs over each of her cheeks clearing away the tears. She batted his hands away and with a clear voice she continued, “If I walk away now, I can keep what little is left of me together. I can hold on to the cracked pieces that haven’t completely shattered and go on living. It might not be the best life, but it will be under my own terms.”
He should have been happy at her declaration. Silas could have his sister without Dacea’s interference. They could leave tonight and travel, go wherever she wanted for as long as she wanted. They could connect. But he could either have the Hailey that was full of pop culture trivia and was always good for a smile with her infectious laugh. Or he could have the reserved.
Hailey who watches the clouds pass by from the window of her room, never granting more than a brief comment to the mundane. He could have one or the other, but she couldn’t be both.
Silas may not have spent much time with her yet, but he knew who his sister was.
“Hailey,” he put his hands on her shoulders and tilted his head to the side trying to catch her gaze. “There is always reason to hope.”

About the Author
K.C. Stewart lives in central Pennsylvania with her three cats. She is currently attending college online for Library Science while working full time as a photographer. In her spare time, which isn’t easy to find, she reads an obnoxious amount and writes in between everything else. K.C. has a very real addiction to gummy bears and talking to her cats when no one is around.
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2 ebook sets of Spark and Singe

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Spotlight On: Hemlock Veils by Jennie Davenport

Hemlock Veils
Release Date: 11/25/14
Swoon Romance
Summary from Goodreads:

When Elizabeth Ashton escapes her damaging city life and finds herself in the remote town of Hemlock Veils, Oregon, she is smitten by its quaint mystery; but the surrounding forest holds an enchantment she didn’t think existed, and worse, a most terrifying monster. The town claims it vicious and evil, but Elizabeth suspects something is amiss. Even with its enormous, hairy frame, gruesome claws, and knifelike teeth, the monster’s eyes speak to her: wolf-like and ringed with gold, yet holding an awareness that can only be human. That’s when Elizabeth knows she is the only one who can see the struggling soul trapped inside, the soul to which she is moved.

Secretly, Elizabeth befriends the beast at night, discovering there’s more to his story and that the rising of the sun transforms him into a human more complex than his beastly self. Elizabeth eventually learns that his curse is unlike any other and that a single murderous act is all that stands between him and his freedom. Though love is not enough to break his curse, it may be the only means by which the unimaginable can be done: sacrifice a beauty for the beast.

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Another howl lifted from the forest and for the briefest instant a light flashed deep within the trees, their dancing shadows backlit by the panicked beam. Tightening her drenched strap around her shoulder, she crossed the asphalt and stopped in the mud at the other side. This forest was different than the rest, even different from its companion across the highway. Something lingered here. Someone, maybe. And if someone was here—a Good Samaritan, perhaps—it might save her the three-mile trek to Rhododendron. Taking just a half-step closer, she peered into the trees.

“Hello!” she called, trying to make her voice boom, but rainfall swallowed the sound. Her teeth chattered and water poured from the rim of her hood, impairing her vision. “Anyone there? My car broke down and—” She cut herself off. I’m a helpless woman, she may as well be shouting. Alone, with only my father’s rusty pocket knife to defend myself!

The forest didn’t respond, and she should have been relieved. Turning, she folded her free arm over herself and walked the slick shoulder, heading in a westerly direction and trying to avoid the largest puddles. A bend in the highway lay just ahead. Surely she would find something beyond its curve, maybe some sign of civilization.

Vegetation rustled behind her. Heavy heels scraped on the gritty, wet road.

She twisted, readying her stance—wishing her pocket knife wasn’t buried inside her bag—but what the beam of her flashlight caught wasn’t what she expected. A slender, elderly man with a coarse, whitish beard that came to his waist shielded his eyes from her light. His skin hung with wrinkles almost as pale as his beard. A large spotlight dangled from his neck, amidst the bristly facial hair, and lit his black leather boots. He wore a flannel shirt beneath fishing waders, an open yellow slicker, and a yellow sou’wester hat, the large rim falling down the back of his neck. He looked like a fisherman taken right off the Pacific Ocean and planted in the middle of Mt. Hood National Forest.

His hand still shielded his red-rimmed eyes, but it wasn’t until he cursed that she realized her light blinded him.

“I’m sorry,” she said, dropping the beam.

“Do you have any idea what you just did?” His vocal cords sounded compressed, perhaps from old age, making his voice thin and high. He took an irate step to-ward her.

Elizabeth stepped back. “I’m sorry?”

Drawing his decrepit thumb and index finger together, he grumbled, “I was this close!” The double-barreled shotgun in his dropped hand—why didn’t she notice this sooner?—now swung.

“Whoa,” she said, lifting a hand. With the current events of her life, she shouldn’t have been surprised to run into a nut job in the middle of the forest.

“I had it right in my sights! I could’ve changed everything for our town if you hadn’t scared it away!” He exhaled, clouding the air with an angry burst.

“My car broke down and I saw your light in the forest … ”

Wiping a hand down his face, he looked in the direction he’d come—through the forest—then in the direction she’d been headed—west—then finally at her broken-down car across the road. His breath puffed at a measured rate. He wasn’t crazy, just irritated. With a tone of defeat, he said, “There’s nothing I can do for you out here, ma’am.”

“Thanks for your time anyway.” She tried not to sound too deflated.

When she resumed her steps, he called from behind, “Not sure if you know this, but it’s a three-mile walk to Rhododendron.”

She turned back, adjusting her leather bag in the hope its contents weren’t completely soaked through. “It’s better than six miles back to Government Camp.”

“You know the area?”

She shrugged.

His eyes narrowed, and his beard dripped. “Walking alone isn’t a smart idea,” he said in that thin, almostbackwoods-sounding tone. “Not through these parts, ma’am, not at this time of night. You have any idea what’s out here?”

“More old men in fishing gear?”

He raised a brow then chuckled, and though she hardly saw it through his beard, his smile was warm. “Much worse, ma’am.” Her eyes followed his, but she saw nothing. His jaw rolled rigorously as he chewed, then he spat to the side, leaving specks of brown in his beard; they washed away quickly. Finally, with a twinge of regret, he said, “A town’s one mile south of here, right through these trees.” He motioned to his left, into the forest he’d emerged from. It seemed his admittance of this town was the result of some internal battle being lost.

“A town is … through there?”

“My town: Hemlock Veils. We call it Oregon’s best kept secret.” He spat again, giving a proud half-smile. “You feel like a midnight hike?”

About the Author
Though Jennie Davenport was raised throughout the Midwest, she now lives in the little desert mining town of Bagdad, Arizona, where six guys beg for her constant attention: a husband, three young, blond sons, a German shepherd with a name much mightier than his disposition (Zeus), and a black cat named Mouse. When she isn’t trying to run her home with as little casualties as possible, Jennie loves snuggling with her family, laughing with her friends, delving into brilliant entertainment of any vein, and playing outside. Despite the way being a writer is in her blood, and the wheels of her writerly mind are constantly turning, Jennie likes to think that in another life, she would have been a Broadway star. Or an American Idol finalist.

Jennie lives for the fall, and not just because of her adoration for the NFL (Go Broncos!). In her perfect world, she would have the springs, summers, and falls of Colorado, and the winters of Arizona—someplace where the climate and weather would allow her to go on a trail run all year round. But even though she prefers the pines and mountains, she is a devoted fan of all nature, from sandy beaches to woodsy cabins, and all are her greatest inspiration. She believes nature is one of the best healing remedies, with a magic all its own.

Jennie’s passion for writing is the way she survives, and is as vital to her sanity as oxygen, caffeine, food, and music. Even before she began writing it, well-told, original, and character-driven romance was always her weak spot. Add the paranormal or magical realism element and she may never make it back to reality. 

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Spotlight On: Anomaly by Tonya Kuper

Release Date: 11/25/14
Entangled Teen
Summary from Goodreads:
Reality is only an illusion.
Except for those who can control it…
Worst. Birthday. Ever.
My first boyfriend dumped me – happy birthday, Josie!- my dad is who knows where, I have some weird virus that makes me want to hurl, and now my ex is licking another girl’s tonsils. Oh, and I’m officially the same age as my brother was when he died. Yeah, today is about as fun-filled as the swamps of Dagobah. But then weird things start happening…

Like I make something materialize just by thinking about it.

When hot badass Reid Wentworth shows up on a motorcycle, everything changes. Like, everything. Who I am. My family. What really happened to my brother. Existence. I am Oculi, and I have the ability to change reality with my thoughts. Now Reid, in all his hotness, is charged with guiding and protecting me as I begin learning how to bend reality. And he’s the only thing standing between me and the secret organization that wants me dead…

Another bell rang. I spun wildly, searching for the source, and my foot slipped out from under me. My left foot joined my right, sliding down a rocky surface.

A scream tore past my lips.

My brain fought to figure out what was happening as my hands gripped for something—anything—because I was falling. My head swiveled.

I couldn’t comprehend the giant, gaping crack I’d fallen into. A fissure in the ground at least eight feet wide. My fingers sunk into the cracked concrete, barely holding on. Sliding.

Then I looked down.

No end in sight. An abyss.

Everything around me blurred, and all I could see was black. And in that blackness was the one thing I was terrified of: death. My stomach pitched and my chest heaved, but no air moved in or out of my lungs. I was suffocating.

Ripping my eyes away from the darkness, I focused on my hands, still grasping at the gravely terrain crumbling beneath them. My right foot slipped, and my fingers dug deeper into the ground. It was a mixture of rock, and mud, and I didn’t know what. It felt like glass shards were being shoved under my fingernails.

I dug in with my toes, using the muscles in my legs to slow my descent. I slid to a halt, but the rocks and substrate continued to crumble beneath me. I searched blindly for a sturdy foothold. My foot found a rocky lip, but as soon as I thought it was safe, it gave way. My right silver flip-flop plummeted into the darkness so eager to swallow me.

Attempting to force my gaze upward, I focused on the contrast of the dark surrounding me and the bright light above, the line where they met. Technically, I’d die in broad daylight.

“Think, Josie.” The voice was strong, demanding. It took a second for it to register. “Josie, look at me.”

Reid. Reid was here. That’s where I was. I was at Reid’s place. I’d come here to train. I’m an Oculi. It all became clear as I broke free from the terror.

I wrenched my head toward his voice, my gaze meeting his. He crouched above me at the surface, his eyes my lifeline because he didn’t offer a hand. He wasn’t about to coddle me. That wasn’t his style. He said, “Breathe. Think.”

Dragging in an uneven breath, looking into his clear eyes, something clicked in the far reaches of my mind.


I Pushed with no effort. No headache, no nausea. I blinked, and stairs carved themselves into the side of the chasm, jutted out as if they’d always been there. With great hesitancy, I climbed the stairs on all fours, close to the wall. I could see the surface, right within my reach.


The stairs were gone.

I felt myself tumbling, falling. Flailing along the wall of the abyss with nothing to stop my descent.

“React, Josie!”


I focused on the surface, on the light growing dimmer the farther I skidded. Earth. Ground beneath my feet. I Pushed. And Pushed.

Pain. Nausea. Dizziness.

Thunder sounded below, like the darkness of the chasm was rising up to swallow me whole. Something hit my feet so hard that it tossed me in the air.

Up. Up. Into the light.

My thoughts didn’t coalesce clearly, but I felt myself rising. The pain behind my eyes made my vision waver. I shot to the warehouse floor. Reid reached for me as I collapsed.

My lungs rebelled, and tears burned trails down my cheeks. Dirt covered my hands and caked beneath my fingertips. One fingernail had broken to the quick. It bled sullenly. I wasn’t about to look weak in front of him, though, so I held out my arm to ward off his offer of help. I stood tall on trembling legs.

Reid closed the gap between us, his arms extended like he would embrace me. “Josie—”

The light streaming through the warehouse windows dimmed and flickered. Darkness edged my periphery. I balled my trembling fist and slammed my knuckles into his cheek. White heat shot through my hand before everything went black.

About the Author
Tonya Kuper’s debut, ANOMALY, the first in the Schrodinger’s Consortium young adult scifi trilogy, releases November 2014 by Entangled Teen. She lives in Omaha, NE with her two rad boys and husband, is a music junkie, and a chocolate addict. Star Wars & Sherlock fan.
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Spotlight On: Winter Wolf by R.J. Blain

Winter Wolf by R.J. Blain
Urban Fantasy / Thriller / Supernatural Suspense
Date Published: November 24, 2014

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The Hunted Wizard
When Nicole dabbled in the occult, she lost it all: Her voice, her family, and her name. Now on the run from the Inquisition, she must prove to herself—and the world—that not all wizards are too dangerous to let live.
The savage murder of a bookstore employee throws Nicole into the middle of Inquisition business, like it or not. Driven by her inability to save the young man’s life, she decides to hunt the killer on her own. Using forbidden magic to investigate the past, she learns that the murderer is in fact a disease that could kill the entire werewolf race.
Forced to choose between saving lives and preserving her own, Nicole embraces the magic that sent her into exile. Without werewolves, the power of the Inquisition would dwindle, and she could live without being hunted.
Nicole’s only hope for success lies in the hands of the werewolves she hates and the Inquisition she fears, but finding someone to trust is only the beginning of her problems. There are those who want to ensure that the werewolves go extinct and that the Inquisition falls.
But, if she fails to find a cure, her family—including her twin sister—will perish…
I slammed my car’s door, spun on a heel, and swore I would have a perfectly normal visit to the mall. All I needed was one little book. Even I could walk into a bookstore, pick up a novel, and leave without causing any trouble.
This time, I wouldn’t blow out the lights. There wouldn’t be a single power surge. I wouldn’t turn on every unplugged device in the electronics store on my way across the mall. In the ten minutes it would take me to get in and out, the only thing anyone would notice about me was the fact that I wore a high-collared sweater in late summer. I had a mission, and I would complete it without fail. The novel my agent insisted I read would be mine.
For a long moment, I considered turning around and getting back into my car. Dominic would forgive me if I didn’t start reading the book until tomorrow. I could call in a favor and ask someone to pick up a copy for me. Then I definitely wouldn’t run any risk of blowing anything up. If I had been smart, I would’ve just ordered the damned thing on the internet, but I had waited too long.
Fishing my cell out of my pocket, I unlocked the screen with a swipe of my finger. The charging icon mocked me. Despite running every battery-draining app I could find, the battery held a full charge. I opened another app, a devilish program capable of killing the battery in ten minutes. It wouldn’t, not with me around, but if I was too busy keeping my phone topped up, maybe my mall shopping trip would prove to be mundane.
I shook my head, laughing at my foolishness.
No one would notice my phone. No one would notice me for more than a second. They’d notice my clothes, and then they’d file me away as yet another weirdo wearing something strange to catch attention. L.A. was full of people like that.
I had no reason to worry. Even if I managed to embarrass myself yet again by losing control of my powers, no one would know I was the cause of unplugged electronics turning on or unusual power surges.
Straightening my shoulders, I fixed my eyes on the line of glass doors and marched my way across the parking lot.
In and out. No blown lights. No power surges. No feeding power to unplugged electrical devices. No charging batteries for strangers. I was in control, and I would charge only my phone.
Making my way to the entry, I paused long enough to hold the door for a little old lady who insisted on making her way through the regular doors despite her walker. I couldn’t blame her. If I lived to be her age, I wouldn’t want to rely on automatic doors either.
She thanked me with a pat on the arm. Flashing her my best smile, I slipped inside.
Nothing happened.
I could handle ten minutes in the crowded corridors. Maybe if I told myself that enough times, I’d believe it.

About the Author
RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.
When she isn’t playing pretend, she likes to think she’s a cartographer and a sumi-e painter. In reality, she herds cats and a husband. She is currently on a quest for a new warrior fish.
In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Should that fail, her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until she is satisfied.
Favorite Books & Series
In no particular order:
Anne McCaffrey’s Pern
Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar & Gryphon Series
Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera & The Dresden Files
Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris
Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega, Dragon Bones, & The Mercy Thompson series
Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time
Author Links
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Interview with Candice Raquel Lee, author of The Innocent

Interview with Candice Raquel Lee, author of The Innocent

What do you write about? Tell us a little about your previously published works.

I like to write about love, myth, and impossible creatures. I use monsters as symbols to talk about being human because we all have a little bit of monster in us.

My novel, The Innocent, is a modern day, paranormal love story and retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It is set in New York which means it’s hip, full of diversity, culture and style. The story is about a relationship developing between a prudish virgin, who loves old romantic poems and novels and an incubus who lives off sexual energy. It is an impossible romance between an immovable girl and an irresistible boy and how love transforms them both. The Innocent is about the destructive and transformative power of love, how it can be vehicle for self-acceptance, redemption and forgiveness.

My second book, Effed: An Abnormal Romance is just me making fun of the Paranormal Romance genre. There is so much to laugh at, a lot of the sex, description and action is so full of purple prose and over the top.

How do you handle bad reviews?

Me? Get a bad review? Never. Okay. . . I have. First, I get a picture of the reviewer, then I print it out and put it on one of the little voodoo dolls I have lying around just in case this happens, then I. . . just kidding. No. I get mad like everybody else, but if you read all the bad reviews best-selling authors get, it makes you feel a lot better. Some reviewers may even have a point. Authors aren’t perfect. I just wish folks would realize authors are people too and not write like you punched their grandma in the face. A little civility goes a long way.

Tell us a little about your work in progress.

I working on the book after The Innocent, Innocent No More. The main character, Alexa, is married to her dream guy, so in most stories that means happily ever after. Not in mine. I’m married. I know the first year is when it really hits the fan because two strangers are trying to figure out how to become a unit and remain individuals at the same time. Plus, my girl is supernatural, so it’s not which way the toilet roll goes, or you left the toilet seat up again, it’s also what’s that crawling under my skin, and who’s that trying to kill us? The romance is dead, it’s time for Alexa, Cristien and Lance to fight for their lives against a force that cannot be defeated.


Any advice for aspiring writers?

I will give them the advice I got. Write. Keep writing. Writing is a skill. They say you need ten thousand hours of doing a thing to master it, so start writing. Now. I’m not joking! Go! Wait one more thing. Read. Read good books from all genres. Then write more.

What is your personal writing process?

I pace. I write. I pace and think of a scene. I imagine it as great, sterling and perfect. I write it out. It is crap and not as good as it was in my head, but I get it out anyway. I even write out of chronological order if necessary just to finish the darn book! Then I revise, revise, revise until I have trimmed all the fat, then I edit. Also, it is a good idea to walk away if you can and come back later with clearer eyes. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.

Who are a few authors you look up to?

Charlotte Bronte. Anne Radcliff. Patria Mckillip. Frank Herbert. Kurt Vonnegut.

What book are you reading now?

Andrew Lang’s Crimson fairy book.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I read a paranormal romance that had mythic themes and a cool quote from Cicero, and I thought, gee, if only the author took out some of the endless erections and concentrated on the story this would be a great book about some profound things. It could really say something important about life. I know many people would disagree with me, after all it was a romance and not a literary book, but I thought I could see something more past the penises.


What books have most influenced your life most?

Jane Eyre. Dune. Welcome to the Monkey House. The Mysteries of Udolpho. Dragon Riders of Pern. The Magical Beasts of Eld

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Sure. Everything except the Preface. No. Really we all want to change things, add things, make it perfect, but it will never be because nothing is. I had to learn that the hard way. We all have to learn to let go.

What do you find particularly challenging about writing?

Writing. You can make a hundred excuses a day and valid ones not to do it.

If there was one message you could send to everybody who reads your books, what would it be? Be gentle.  Be kind. We all want the same things.

Have you ever used characteristics from someone you know in one of your books? Sure. Everybody. My husband. Myself. In reality writers only write about themselves. They can’t write about anybody else. They only know how they will respond.


What inspires you to write?

My dreams. My heart. My desire to be more than I am. Oh, yeah and music. Weird music and romantic movies.

What’s one writing quirk you have?

I pace. I pace circles in the floor. I imagine I look like a caged animal at the zoo.

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Nothing is as it seems in The Innocent a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast that takes the reader beyond the skin.

When Alexa meets Cristien on Valentine’s Day and they have a whirlwind romance, she never expects to discover that he isn’t human and, even worse, neither is she. Can true love survive lies, betrayal, monsters and even death itself?

Alexa Wyndham is a painfully sheltered girl from Brooklyn, an innocent in every sense of the word. Her views of the world formed from the romantic poetry and literary novels she reads. Now attending college in Manhattan, she finds the big, bad city is just waiting to devour her. A stunning kiss from a stranger is her introduction to this new and dangerous world. Her would be lover is after her flesh. In fact, the supernatural creatures of the city are willing to do anything for a taste.

Cristien LaRoche is an incubus, a medieval knight, and a man tormented by his murderous past. Alexa is everything he desires, but with a touch that can kill, he is just as likely to take her life as he is to save it. To protect her, to be near her, he must spin a web of lies that will ultimately test their new found love, bring Alexa face to face with the white light and himself with his darkest nightmare.

Can a girl who wants love and a creature who feeds off lust ever find true happiness? It’s Virgin vs. Incubus and Beauty versus the Beast in The Innocent, a tale that goes beyond appearances to the soul of the beast.

The Innocent is a story about love and enlightenment that takes the reader on a funny and profound adventure and teaches, as good fairy tales do, about the nature of suffering, the necessity of truth and the importance of knowing, forgiving and accepting ourselves and others.

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About the Author

???????????????????????????????Candice Raquel Lee holds a BFA in Creative Writing. As a long time New Yorker who has studied myth, religion, poetry and philosophy from the Mahabharata to the Mabinogion, she has developed a healthy sense of the sublime and the ridiculous. She enjoys travelling with her husband through the Mediterranean where every street is an artifact and every sun-rise a poem. She is also a sculptor of mythic subjects.

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