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Dark Fantasy

The Case of the Disappearing Blogger!

““No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
― Gautama Buddha, Sayings Of Buddha

It is amazing to realize just how long it has been since I last published. As we all know, life has a tendency to get in the way of where we want our present and future to go. Instead, we are at times forced onto other, more winding paths, often into a bleak landscape we fear to tread.

Other times we must put our heads down and hook up to our own personal plow, digging the rows of life, planting crops we wish to one day reap. I can’t say all my rows are planted, but I can say that I am seeing my way through. It will require discipline to start up again, but I can’t tell you all how much I am looking forward to it.

I have been editing books by various authors, Susan Bliler and Michael Angel in particular. If you haven’t checked out their works, I highly recommend them. I have also been editing business manuscripts, as well as supporting COBRA client agents. COBRA is a continuing program which allows employees to continue their benefits after they leave their previous position until they are insured by another employer or health insurance plan. And yes, that does veer wildly away from my love of books, but you do what you can to retain a steady income, right? I have been given the opportunity to work with a publishing house to edit for them, and I am thrilled about it! I will still be soliciting books from Indie Authors, so if you have a book that needs a keen eye, my rates are good! (Hint Hint)

So. I will be posting reviews again, though not steadily I imagine – at least for a while. I have to ‘get my feet under me again’ and get organized, but I am working on it. Currently, I am reading Bad Magic: 10 Novels With Demons, Djinn, Werewolves, Vampires & Rogue Gods . . .”  if you haven’t picked it up yet, I can Highly Recommend it so far. I Have read Chosen The Djinn Wars: Book 1, and Dead Rising The Templar – Book 1 so far, and both were wonderful stories. I am getting ready to start Hidden Blade Soul Eaters #1. I wasn’t familiar with the first story, but I have added the series to my reading list. The second I had already read, as I am a big fan of Debra Dunbar, but that was the only one of the series I had read. Both of these series are going on my “to read” list. If you previously followed my blog you will know that I have widely ranged, very eclectic tastes in books, and a bad case of “Oooooooo! Shiny!!!” so series often drop by the wayside when I find a new toy.

The last anthology I just finished was From the Shadows: 13 Tales of Urban Fantasy, Witches, Werewolves, Magic, Romance, Shifters, Fae, Demons, Vampires, Dark Fantasy & More!  While I can’t say that I will love all the books in any one anthology (who does?) this one was, in a word, stunning. With eleven different authors offering thirteen stories (Annie Bellet offers The First Three!!! of her The Twenty-Sided Sorceress books!) there are plenty of stories here to please anyone with an interest in strong, well-developed female characters, males who don’t run over the top of them but stand by their sides, and storylines that grab your interest and hold it. While I discovered that I am not really a Dannika Dark fan based on the story in the anthology, that is simply a matter of taste, not a snark against the writer. To each her own.

As I have gotten more into reading again after a long drought, I have read books by a wide range of authors, from Margo Bond Collins’ Under Her Skin to Devon Monk’s Ordinary Magic series books one and two.

My favorite stand alone recently was Playing with Fire: A Magical Romantic Comedy (With A Body 

 

Count) by R.J. Blain. I adore R.J. anyway, and this start to a new series is a Hoot!

“You really are a one-track mind when you’re a unicorn.”

Yep. Get it. Read it. Review to follow 😉

Besides, it is free on Kindle Unlimited, and only $0.99 to purchase.

OH! And I read the first three of SM (Sara) Reine’s Preternatural Affairs Series (again!) and purchased the next three books in the series. If you haven’t read it, and you are fond of supernatural policing, this series is wonderful. I know I wouldn’t want to be a witch allergic to magic!

So, that is it for now. Reviews to follow. And if you need an editor or just a beta reader, be sure to drop me a line!

Hugs,

Leiah

 

Review: Demon’s Daughter by Amy Braun – A Must Read!

Demon's Daughter: A Cursed Book“I had seen horrible things in my life. Men spread-eagled on a table, slowly being skinned alive with rusted knives. Women bound to chairs, beaten with brass knuckles until their attackers chose to rape them. A knife sawing roughly through a screaming man’s neck until his head was severed from his body. A traitor whose knees were shot out, leaving him unable to run to his family when they were set on fire.” – Constance, Demon’s Daughter

These are the things that humans do. Even the demons, as debauched as they are – and Constance knows all about demons – aren’t this depraved. No, it takes humans to commit these atrocities. But Connie will protect her sister, Andromeda, no matter the cost. Even if the cost is working as an enforcer for the Espanis de Sangre – The Blood Thorns – the most brutal, vicious cartel to ever ooze out of Mexico. But now Connie and Dro are on the run, not only from The Blood Thorns, but from the demons who are Ddetermined to have Dro, no matter the price.

Constance was four, the daughter of destitute Mexican immigrants who fled across the border with a price on their heads – a price set by the Blood Thorns – when she found Andromeda as a tiny baby, abandoned by a stream. Connie gained a sister, and someone to care for. Pale, white-blond Dro, who grows more beautiful every day, is Connie’s life, and she will protect her no matter the cost. Even if it means their life is lived poor, starving and on the run, stealing and fighting for survival. Connie is a weapon. Hard, harsh, untrusting, and absolutely brutal in the protection of her sister. The demons are coming from every direction, and there is no one to turn to. Until they meet Mannie and Max, and a picture begins to appear. Will the dusty town of Amarillo, Texas be their final stand?

The atrocities, savagery and utter evil of humankind, the brutality of demons, the utter soulless disregard for anyone but themselves of the angels – sanctimonious, holier-than-thou, mid-Victorian era Fops, refusing to get their lily-white fingers dirty – unless someone can be twisted to their advantage.

“The archangels would be saving your world. Collateral damage is irrelevant.”

God is love”. Yea, right. In what universe? Certainly not this one.

“Why do demons want to kill her and angels want to protect her? It can’t simply be because of what she is. The angels never cared enough to stop any demons from chasing us.”

But they are more than willing to slaughter innocents if it means they get what they want. Amy Braun doesn’t wield a pen, so much as a microscopic laser scalpel, slicing away the shroud of what humanity would like to be seen as, to reveal the rotting essence of blackness, the vile intent inherent in every entity from the church’s beliefs in what constitutes ‘goodness’, who would damn a child to the pits of hell for doing everything she could to save the life of an innocent, to the actions of humans who would put the most vile of christian ‘demons’ to shame.

http://www.jmdarhower.com/extinguish.htm
Art courtesy of J.M. Darhour, from her book “Extinguish“. All rights reserved. Click the art to go to her site.

“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” – Blaise Pascal

I first ‘met’ Amy when I was asked to read Path of the Horseman and absolutely fell in LOVE with her writing.

“Amazing inventions, colossal failures, and countless wars. We watched it behind the scenes. Watched the monkeys from beyond the glass. We were intrigued, Hell was amused, and Heaven was losing patience.
Finally, the monkeys threw too much shit on the windows. They sparked a third World War, one that the Big Boss upstairs knew would obliterate the world.
So he sent us instead. We were much more effective. We were much more eager.” –
Avery, The Rider Pestilence

Only the Second Coming never came, and the Four Horsemen were stuck there with a few demons, the Plagued, the Soulless, and devastation all around. A wonderful analogy for so many things wrong with this world, and religion in particular. Amy has done it again with Demon’s Daughter. She rips the shields off of faith, humanity, and reality and shows the pus and rot within. It. Was. AWESOME. For until we lance he boils, the wounds can’t heal. And walking blindly will never allow any of us to see the light of the real truth – the truth that says, until we grow beyond our greed, hatred, and superstitions we have no hope of avoiding total destruction of not only humanity, but the Earth and all her beauty.

“The difference between a saint and a hypocrite is that one lies for his religion, the other by it.” –   Minna Antrim

Amy Braun doesn’t write for the foppish, the blindly religious, or the weak of heart. She rips apart sanctimony and blind faith, setting sunlight to darkness. She is one brave author, who can go toe-to-toe with the greats of both modern and ancient literature. She shines the light of truth, and blast the consequences – and I love her for it.

I received Amy Braun’s Demon’s Daughter in exchange for a realistic review.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND HER WORK. I can’t speak highly enough of her writing, and I can’t WAIT for the next.

Amy BraunAbout the Author:

Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, is an active member of the Writing GIAM community, participates in NaNoWriMo, and is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery.” When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.

Coming Soon:

Short story SURVIVALISM to be featured in THE DEAD WALK VOLUME 2 from FoF Publishing.

Short story DISMANTLE to be published in THE STEAM CHRONICLES from Zimbell House Publishing.

Short story HELL TO PAY to be published in LEGENDS OF SLEEPY HOLLOW from Myth Ink Books.

Review: Marked by Sarah Fine – My New Auto Purchase Author!

21805566Stand close around, ye Stygian set,
With Dirce in one boat convey’d,
Or Charon, seeing, may forget
That he is old, and she a shade.
– Walter Savage Landor – Pericles and Aspasia (l. 5–8)

If we do not change our negative habits toward climate change, we can count on worldwide disruptions in food production, resulting in mass migration, refugee crises and increased conflict over scarce natural resources like water and farm land. This is a recipe for major security problems. – Michael Franti

We cannot permit the extreme in the environmental movement to shut down the United States. We cannot shut down the lives of many Americans by going to the extreme on the environment. – George Bush (b. 1924), U.S. Republican politician, president. Speech, May 30, 1992, at campaign rally, California on the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit.

Yeah. How’s that workin’ out for everybody but you? – Me

 

Lachesis measures out the thread, while Clotho weaves upon the loom, but Moros walks amongst us still, personification of impending doom, drives mortals to their lethal fate, while deadly Atropos cuts the thread. . . OK. I wrote that part, but Sarah Fine’s Marked made me feel poetic. I literally got lost in her words, in her story of Cacy Ferry and her family. The Ferry’s have a secret – their father, Patrick, is the physical manifestation of Charon, the ferryman of the dead. And Cacy and her siblings all carry the weight of the souls they guide to the afterlife. One gold coin for a lifetime of lost happiness. The fee paid to the Ferrymen, and women, to carry out their duties.

Ah, but the fee must be shared – shared with the Kere, scions of Moros, bringer of death through violence and disease. Is it that simple, that these gold coins are the cause in the disruption of the warp and weave measured and spun out by the Moirai? For something is badly wrong in the world, and Cacy and her family are right in the center of the widening gyre.

But they stand not alone. For when Cacy meets Eli and Galena Margolis, what she understood as right takes a sudden turn into shocking – and her life, and her jobs, will never be the same. Nor, possibly, will the existence of the very Fates.

Jobs? Well, yes. For while Cacy could hold a white glove position in her family company, Psychopomps Incorporated, she chooses instead to become an EMT in Boston. Which doesn’t sound all that bad – except for the fact that The Great Flood of 2049 has placed Boston mostly underwater now, massive canals and dams the only thing between the populace and total inundation. Being underwater is bad. Really bad, as disease organisms make the water deadly, and canal pirates make life for most a living hell. Poor to no police or fire protection, minimal power, and the aforementioned pirates make Boston a dangerous place to be. But the fact that it is actually one of the safest cities still extant proves just how bad the rest of the world must be. Running water? He’d never actually seen such a thing. Clean water was like gold in Pittsburgh, and carefully rationed. Eli and Galena are from “The West” – better known as Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh – desert lands. Is Pittsburgh truly the farthest reaches of the US? Is it all a barren desert past Pittsburgh? Or is the country past that desert wasteland, a land of cactus and sand, simply gone – subsumed by rising waters?

So. Two tales here, in this wonderful, wonderful book. On the one hand, a tale as old as life, and death, itself – Eli, Galena, Cacy and her family will find their lives woven together, in a race against time and murder – and possibly to save the tapestry upon the loom – the divine machine that churned out the endless fabric of life. The Fates themselves cannot hold the centre – the warp and weave is failing. Are Eli and Galena the answer? Or will Atropos rule over all?

The second story is just as poignant in its own way – and more terrifying. It is simple to see the story, wrapped within the story, as flooding and desertification take over the world, climate change wiping a brutal hand over what humans have built. Voltaire had it right when he said, “Men argue. Nature acts”. We laugh at the dragon, as Tolkien pointed out. While he was talking of real dragons, we laugh at the dragon of the changes we have wrought upon the world, and in our blindness, we determine our own fate.

This MARVELOUS book is the first in the Servants of Fate series. Book two, Claimed, is waiting for me on my reader and I can hardly wait to get started. I received Marked from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review, but no matter what, I cannot speak highly enough of this book. Life, death, betrayal, horror, romance – it’s all here, and all marvelously written. I highly recommend the series. I also intend to pick up Ms. Fine’s previous series, Guards of the Shadowlands. Sarah is already on my auto purchase list.

If you like my reviews, please mark “yes” at Amazon under “is this review helpful?” It helps my Authors garner more attention!

Free Today: How To Kill Yourself In A Small Town By Eden Hudson

9640626It’s Snarky Humour Day! In the tradition of Diana Rowland’s White Trash Zombie series, meet Eden Hudson and her new series The Redneck Apocalypse.

Free today on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, I couldn’t resist adding it to my “must read” pile! If you read it before I get a chance to, don’t forget to review!


How to Kill Yourself in a Small Town (The Redneck Apocalypse Series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

21395662

eden Hudson


Digital List Price: $3.99 What’s this?
Kindle Price: $0.00
You Save: $3.99 (100%)

Book Description

February 19, 2014
The holy champion chosen to save the world is enslaved to a beautiful, sadistic fallen angel and losing the battle for his sanity.

The guy chosen to save the holy champion is his binge-drinking redneck brother.

So, basically, the world is screwed.

Meet the Whitney boys:
Colt—a mentally unstable holy soldier with a rapidly deteriorating hold on reality. His last plan to rid the world of evil either failed horribly or went off without a hitch. With the constant torture and brainwashing, it’s getting hard to be sure of anything but the sick attachment he’s developing to his beautiful tormentor.

Tough—a smart-mouthed honky-tonk hero trying to drown his problems in music, women, and good times. He hasn’t spoken to Colt in five years—not since their disagreement over a nymphomaniac vampire turned into a drunken slugfest—but they’re still brothers. Tough knows he can’t leave Colt fighting for his life and his sanity alone. The question is whether Tough can fight off his personal demons long enough to save Colt from the literal ones.

How to Kill Yourself in a Small Town is the first book in The Redneck Apocalypse series.

Review: Fade To Black By Tim McBain And L.T. Vargus

23279082The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. – Dante Alighieri

Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people. – Carl Jung

“Come on,” he says. “Maybe I want to offer some fatherly advice or some goddamn thing, right?”

Poor Jeff Grobnagger can’t catch a break. You see, he suffers from seizures. Seizures that fling him not only into the pain of the seizure itself. They throw him into another world – a world where he wakes to find himself hanging by his ankle in a filthy alley in a dark and grayscale world. And every time he gets free, usually falling both ungracefully and painfully to the alley’s filthy pavement, his reward is to be strangled to death by a shadowy figure in a hooded cloak.

“Any minute now a hooded man will come barreling out of nowhere and kill me.

So. That sucks.”

That first line of Fade to Black sets the theme for the rest of the book – an extraordinarily snarky, moody, broody, and oh-so-elegant and humourous fall into the absurd that kept me reading well past ridiculously late hours.

I first found L. T. Vargus, the co-author of the book, along with Tim McBain, when I read and reviewed her book Casting Shadows Everywhere. In that book, I wrote:

This book moved me, pained me, in so many ways. It brought up memories best forgotten, pain, heart break. But mostly, it opened me up with the wisdom and compassion shown by the author.

Happily, I can say much the same about this newest book by Vargus. I completely identified with Grobnagger. His lost soul, his pain and distance from others, and his quirky psychological musings touched my heart and carried me away to his world. A world where people still watch VCR’s and the questions of humanity are deeply felt, and pity is far, far away. But I still burst into laughter in what should have been the most inappropriate moments. You can’t help it. Grobnagger is just funny.

Vargus’s work weirdly resonates with me. It is sneaky in a way – it holds the things we fear up to the light – opening the reader up to honesty – to love and hope and the truths of our souls found in the darkest of nights. It’s weird and dark and twisted – and real. And I recommend the trip.

I received this book from the author in return for a realistic review. My weird thoughts are my own!

About The Authors:

Tim McBainAbout Tim

People say your author bio should tell the world why you write. I write because life is short, and I want to make something awesome before I die.

About L.T.L.T. Vargus

L.T. Vargus grew up in Hell, Michigan, which is a lot smaller, quieter, and less fiery than one might imagine. When not click-clacking away at the keyboard, she can be found sewing, fantasizing about food, and rotting her brain in front of the TV.

L.T. Vargus now lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan with her special man friend/writing partner, Tim McBain.

 

 

The Unholy – Paul DeBlaissie III, PhD

9780865349599-Perfect w modern.indd

Two Surprising Elements that Create a Dynamic Compelling Character in Dark Fantasy

About The Unholy

A young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil Archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, the Unholy is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. native lore of dreams and visions, shape changing, and natural magic work to spin a neo-gothic web in which sadness and mystery lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision.”

Guest Post by Paul DeBlassie

The stronger the character in terms of the capacity for both love and rage the more compelling they are and it is in this that the true character is birthed. Love and rage are in essence the nests in which the characters are cared for and nourished and then allowed to fly free.

I find that I must dip into my own capacity for primal feelings of love and rage in order to discover that aspect of myself that is like the character, has been like or felt like the character feels in the situation.
It’s critical to always allow this to move the story forward and not get stuck by over thinking the character, to just hit and go into the emotional life of the character and let the character then tell me what he or she wants to express. The rage in particular can be horrifying because of our human capacity to inflict injury on others or society.

To express this on the page leaves me feeling vulnerable yet also true to myself within this dimension of storytelling. It’s mind boggling for me to experience the rage of the character and what the character like Archbishop William Anarch in The Unholy wants to do and does to innocent human beings.

Claire Sanchez, the medicine woman, on the other hand needs to find rage, a healthy aggression, that has gone awry in Anarch, and only by doing this, if she can, will she potentially be able to discover the strength to fight the powerful archbishop.

Book Excerpt from The Unholy

As she ran forward, out of nowhere the two crows flew at her, scraping the air near her face with their sharp talons. Fists clenched, she struck out at one and grabbed at the other. They flew up, circled overhead, then dove, talons flaring. Unmoving, Claire placed her hands by her side and held their gaze. They fluttered above her head for a minute, then left. Claire turned and saw an eagle soaring—a healer’s spirit manifestation. Medicine women said it came only when needed, when danger lurked.

Frantically tugging away bush, bramble, and cacti, she uncovered the mouth of the seventh cave and stepped in. She had the feeling somebody was watching.

Her eyes adjusted and she made out the contour of something. Squinting, she stooped and touched what seemed to be a circle of stones and charred, cold logs. She stood up and pulled back. A bat flew at her. She waved it away.

She stopped, waited for her breathing to slow, and, stepping sideways, touched the walls of the cave. They were damp and the stink of blood and guts was everywhere. Using the hard surfaces as a guide, her fingertips suddenly brushed through a hollow space roughly the size of a human body.

amazonBig amazonUK amazon-ca

About the Author

DeBlassieCMYK4x6419F1233[1]PAUL DeBLASSIE III, PhD, is a psychologist and writer living in his native New Mexico. A member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association, and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, he has for over thirty years treated survivors of the dark side of religion.facebook logotwitter logo

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