My dear friend Joanne is celebrating the release of the final installment of her fantasy trilogy! She has been kind enough to allow me to share an excerpt from this exciting YA fantasy novel.
(Note from the author) – Elora gets a chance to explore her life beyond her friends and family in a new posting in Fated. Her new commander, Marcus, asks her to share the events in Africa (at the end of Reflected). This scene was interesting to write for me, to explore the sensations of being trapped in the power that consumed Elora at the end of the previous book. It was also exciting to explore the link between Elora and Zak. Enjoy!
The light. The power. It burns.
Save me! Save her! Siva? Mom?
The arms. The arms that saved me. My eyes scoured the ground for him, for his body. Tendrils of fear squeezed my already exhausted heart and the threatened tears now fell furiously.
Then I realised where he must be.
I ran forward to the edge of the pit where the circle had been formed.
“Zak!” It was more a gasp than a word.
Lying at the bottom in a crumpled heap of blood and cloth was Zak.
“On the Spirits, no!” I couldn’t feel him within me. I pushed aside each person, forced out each voice, searched desperately for his mind.
There was nothing.
“NO!” I gasped as I tore myself from my own thoughts. Marcus rocked away from me, clearly shaken by everything he had seen. It had been mere seconds, such a lot to process in such a short space of time. Zak. All I wanted right here and right now was him. The need was core deep and binding. I leapt to my feet and stumbled as the blood pounded into my over-exhausted skull. Frantic, I looked around, needing to see Zak. Needing to be sure he was safe.
I had the great pleasure of being a co-author in the anthology in which Johnathan Alvey made his first public appearance. Now, the amazing Mr. R. M. Ridley has started us on the dark road that will follow Alvey through the White Dragon Black series of novels. Ridley’s latest work, Blondes, Books and Bourbon, brings us back to the short story format in a collection of stories from within the White Dragon Black universe and staring your favorite embittered, brooding detective, Johnathan Alvey.
I’ll be honest, the level of dark paranormal and surprisingly detailed real-world mysticism in the WDB series is on the edge of what my sensitive self can handle. But then again, so are some of the things that I write myself… It is really Ridley’s talented writer that keeps me coming back for more. What I really love about Ridley’s writing, is that it’s not all about the magic and the occult. At it’s heart WDB is really about the life and struggle of Alvey, trying to make a difference, while struggling with the figurative inner demons that threaten to slowly strangle him (though there are also plenty of not-so figurative demons with the same goal).
Blondes, Books and Bourbon is an excellent example of this Ridley’s character driven writing. While Alvey is constantly faced with supernatural doings his most impressive solutions are those where he engages his Sherlock quality wit and Continue reading
Today I would like to spotlight one of my fellow authors in ‘Mechanized Masterpieces 2, an American Anthology’; J. R. Potter and his short story ‘Rise of the House of Usher’ based on Poe’s classic work ‘Fall of the House of Usher’.
A lover of graphic novels and the occult fiction of the late great John Bellairs, James gravitated towards the paranormal world from an early age. Watching the first episode of The X-Files with his older brother was a transformative experience, as well as an education in great storytelling and myth-making.
Since “growing up,” James has devoted his time to finding his voice through writing, publishing short fiction in The Portland Review, and winning two international short story competitions for science fiction and horror. When he’s not writing, he tours with his incredible wife Amy as “The Crooked Angels,” an Americana duo specializing in rocking your socks off.
Be sure and enter the RAFFLECOPTER contest to win some great prizes from Xchyler Publishing!
Today I would like to spotlight one of my fellow authors in ‘Mechanized Masterpieces 2, an American Anthology’; D. Lee Jortner and her short story ‘Payoff for Aire-Pirate Pete’.
D. Lee Jortner – “I grew up in the West and love and miss the mountains here in the midwest, so I was happy to place my story out where the sky is big and the mountains reach past the clouds.”
Playing with imaginary friends and writing and directing plays in the neighbor’s garage filled D. Lee Jortner’s childhood. Today she lets her imagination flow onto her keyboard as she writes mystery, fantasy and steampunk stories and novels. “Payoff for Air-Pirate Pete” is her first short story for Xchyler Publishing. She also enjoys her marketing role with the company and teaching English composition at Ivy Tech Community College in Valparaiso, Indiana. When not writing or working, Jortner is usually busy with her husband, children or grandchildren.
Be sure and enter the RAFFLECOPTER contest to win some great prizes from Xchyler Publishing!
I caught up with Miss Jortner to talk about her writing:
Please share how you came up with the concept for your story?
I always loved O.Henry. I remember my Dad reading Continue reading
Today’s post is a transcript from a recent conversation with author Miss Ginger Mann, which occurred during her visit to my little corner of the etherverse. Mann is an up and coming novelist and acquaintance of mine through Xchyler Publishing.
Aurel: Hello Ms Mann, It was so good of you to accept my invitation for an interview.
Mann: Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to talk to you today.
Aurel: As I understand it, you have a new work of fiction just released. What can you tell us about it?
Mann: Yes, I have had a new work released. It’s a story called “Jilted River.” Here’s a look at it:
A river siren lives in an Appalachian forest. She lurks at the bottom of a sinkhole, where a mountain collapsed more than a hundred years ago. Her magical voice haunts the underground river there, where she Continue reading
Mechanized Masterpieces 2 will be steam upon the world February the 28th of 2015. That’s next month. What if I told you I could put an electronic copy of this amalgamation of cogs gears and American Literature into your hands TODAY. Yes indeed, the Advance Reader Copies of this anthology are winging their way across the internet as you read this and one could be yours.
But… There is a catch. In exchange for early receipt of this collection of short stories, the authors ask, beg, and implore you to provide feedback of the most honest and brutal kind on the commonly known locales, such as Amazon and Goodreads. We are so confident in the quality of our combined efforts, that we have no fear of asking your most honest reviews.
Willing souls can contact me by Twittermaphone via @Losthawken.
Ride into the Wild West with ten steampunked expansions of classic American tales:
A Princess of Jasoom: An intrepid young researcher reaches for the stars from the Arizona desert, and finds love where she least expects it. – J. Aurel Guay
Winged Hope: The widow of a brilliant inventor fights insurmountable odds to see her husband’s dreams realized and save the life of her daughter. – Megan Collins Oliphant
The Van Tassel Legacy: A stranger arrives in Sleepy Hollow to unearth old conspiracies and bring the Van Brunts to justice. – Jay Barnson
Invested Charm: A mysterious woman doles out justice in Boston society, but who will catch her first: organized crime or the law? – M. Irish Gardner
‘A Charm invests a face…’ by Emily Dickinson
Payoff for Air Pirate Pete: A pair of train-robbing outlaws bite off more than they can chew when they kidnap the son of a railroad bigwig. – Diane Lee Jortner
The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry
Rise of the House of Usher: A mad scientist gains power over life and death at the cost of his family’s sanity, if not their very lives. – J. H. Potter
The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe
Nautilus Redux: Captain Nemo’s crew stumble upon an island castaway who claims to be Captain Ahab of the Pequod. Only Moby Dick knows the truth. – Scott E. Tarbet
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne and Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Mr. Thornton: Hounded by tragedy and betrayal, a gifted young blacksmith wanders from The Ohio to The Yukon searching for honor, loyalty, and justice. – Scott William Taylor; Call of the Wild, by Jack London —
West End: A heartbroken Theodore Laurence follows the siren song of steam to Jamaica, where love and law collide with explosive results. – Neve Talbot
(All image rights belong to their respective owners)
Coming February 2015
In the sequel to Mechanized Masterpieces an Amarican Anthology, the authors of Xchyler Publishing were challenged to add a steampunk flavor to their favorite works in American literature. The result is ten fantastic stories full of cogs, gears, and the love of classic literature. So what can you expect from this anthology? Here is a breakdown of the authors and their inspirations:
Jay Barnson; The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving --- Scott William Taylor; Jack London --- J. Aurel Guay; A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs --- M. Irish Gardner; Emily Dickinson --- Megan Collins Oliphant; Emily Dickinson --- J. H. Potter; Edgar Allen Poe --- Diane Lee Jortner; The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry --- Neve Talbot; Louisa May Alcott and Charlotte Bronte (Currer Bell) --- M. K. Wiseman; Hans Brinker by Mary Mapes Dodge --- Scott E. Tarbet; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne and Moby Dick by Herman Melville
I have had the privilege of being collaborating with Xchyler Publishing Author, Alyson Grauer several times in the past and it is my pleasure to provide this review of her break out novel ‘On the Isle of Sound and Wonder’. An author of several published works of short fiction, Alyson take the next step in this long work and invites us in to a world woven with Shakespeare, magic, and steam.
On the Isle of Sound and Wonder (OISW) is, in a word, impressive.
From the very outset of the book you find yourself in an engaging world of magic and machines. Grauer leads you through the mystery of Mira’s peculiar past, and always toward the inevitable destiny one can’t help but anticipate with excitement.
The work is based around Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’, a work that I am not intimately familiar with. However, this novel stands quite well on its own two feet. Interwoven into the tale is a great deal of magic, and some rather fantastic creatures that complicate every step for Mira and her friends. On top of that, there is yet another layer of steampunk flavor where airships, automatons, and other instruments, classic to the genre, are applied to further enhance the unique style of the tale.
I’ve read a fair number of indie and breakout author novels. Miss Grauer really impressed me. Her world was vivid, her prose polished and engaging, and her characters were so well developed that you empathized even with the villains for the sake of the distraught back-stories that brought them to their sinister deeds. Most of the time, the book read like the work of a veteran author.
My favorite character’s were the monster Karuburan, and the wicked imp Aurael, though I was a little suspicious that his name was only one letter different from mine… The protagonist of the story is a true ‘strong female character’ if ever I saw one. She leads without either belittling, or emulating the opposite sex. Vulnerable and real, she does her acts of heroism simply because it is ‘the right thing to do’.
I won’t complain too much, since I collaborate with Miss Grauer occasionally, and you wouldn’t believe me anyway. All I will say is, while there are dirigibles and automatons aplenty I, was hoping the story would be more driven by steampunk. The major genre forces that drive the OISW are magic, which are great in themselves. However, I was hoping for something more steampunk motivated, like Grauer’s short story ‘Lavenza‘ where the plot is driven by the protagonists discovery that she is an automaton. It’s a petty stylistic preference really. My only other comment, and not even a complaint, is that the story, while never graphic or scandalous, has some elements that might be mature for very young readers. I will admit that I have an overly sensitive nature, and was really upset by some of the abuse the characters suffered, even if it was only evidenced in its repercussions.
I will certainly read OISW again, and that says a lot coming from someone with a long list of books waiting to be read! Take a read of OISW for yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Click the banner below and get yourself a copy!
Delve into myth and legend, where the Fates force post-modern man into a world of the unknown—a world long since dismissed as ignorant superstition.
The Brother-Sister Fable by Alyson Grauer: a young boy disappears into a realm where only his sister can follow.
Faelad by Sarah Hunter Hyatt: Claire Whitaker didn’t even know she was Irish, let alone The Morrigan, the goddess of war.
By Skyfall by Emma Michaels: a mer-couple from Atlantis find themselves in the middle of a human murder investigation.
Charon’s Obol by. R. M. Ridley: Jonathan Alvey didn’t believe in gods, until he helps a lost child find her all-powerful parents.
Peradventure by Sarah E. Seeley: a jinni must choose between the woman he loves and destroying the city that persecuted her.
Natural Order by Lance Schonberg: when Carlos Vasquez is kidnapped, he discovers powers within himself to change the world.
Two Spoons by Danielle E. Shipley: A little girl’s soul meets its match in the family diner’s most mysterious patron.
Grail Days by A. F. Stewart: Living forever has its drawbacks, especially when you spend it clearing away the messes of other immortals. Downward Mobility by M. K. Wiseman: they say love conquers all, but can it save a Valkyrie when she breaks all the rules? Continue reading