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Review: By Tooth And Claw S. M. Stirling, Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, and Jody Lynn Nye

By Tooth and Claw

S. M. Stirling, Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, and Jody Lynn Nye
Baen Books
Pub Date: Apr 7 2015

There is a core of authors that we all have, or should, read in the fantasy field. While the list may be rather short, I was thrilled to find that four of those authors are all included in By Tooth and Claw. How exciting!

In this sequel to Exiled: Clan of the Claw, these four amazing authors carry on their stories all about the Mrem, a cat-like species who share the earth with humanoid dinosaurs – dinosaurs who have evolved after the asteroid didn’t strike.

All the works in these two books are linked, with each author carrying on the work of the previous. In this sequel edition, the stories continue as the Mrem battle the face the Lishkash, a magic wielding, slave holding Dinosaur Empire.

This is an exciting group of innovative stories by the masters of fantasy – and you really shouldn’t miss it, or the first book in the series!

I received this book from the publisher in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

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Are You Stuck In WASP Land? Embrace Diversity In Your Reading!

One of the people I follow online is B.D. Hesse. On B.D.’s site you will find, in part, this “About” information:

My name is B.D. Hesse. I am a university student who is studying History of Religion and Philosophy. I am an atheist, a Feminist, a supporter of LGBT rights, and an activist. I am a genderqueer (born female, but does not identify as either a man or a woman) demisexual (basically, romantic attraction comes before sexual attraction).

B.D.’s  writing and attitude are often brilliantly refreshing,  reaching out to everyone with a sort of all-inclusive mental and emotional brilliance.

Back on February 27, B.D. posted, Do You Have Any Book Recommendations?

Asking for recommendations for good books by and about people who aren’t straight white men/women – different races, religions, sexual orientations, countries. I enjoyed the post, and checked it out again today.

The list of books that people posted is amazingly diverse. You can check out the post by clicking above, but here are some of the books I found interesting enough to add to my TBR pile, in no real order.

Orleans, by Sherri L. Smith
Following a series of hurricanes and a deadly outbreak of Delta fever, people in the Outer States believed life in the Delta to be all but extinct. Fen de la Guerre, one of the few people still in the Delta, must get her leader’s baby to safety after the ambush of her tribe.
The Summer Prince, by Alaya Dawn Johnson

In a futuristic Brazillian city, artist June Coast and the Summer King, Enki, team up to fuel rebellions against the government through demonstrations. As June falls in love with Enki, she will have to wrestle with the fact that he, like all Summer Kings, must die at the end of his yearlong term.

Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafar

In a post-apocalyptic, future Africa, Onyesonwu, or “Who Fears Death,” is born to the only survivor of a slain Okeke village. Marked by skin and hair the color of sand, Onyesonwu must learn the ways of sorcery and confront her destiny — ending the genocide of her people.

Malinda Lo

Malinda LoMalinda Lo’s first novel, Ash, a retelling of Cinderella with a lesbian twist, was a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award, the Andre Norton Award for YA Fantasy and Science Fiction, and the Lambda Literary Award. Her second novel, Huntress, a companion novel to Ash, is an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Her young adult science fiction duology, beginning with Adaptation, will be published in fall 2012. She lives in Northern California with her partner and their dog. Visit her online at http://www.malindalo.com.

Tananarive Due

Tananarive Due is a former Cosby Chair in the Humanities at Spelman College (2012-2014), where she taught screenwriting, creative writing and journalism.  She also teaches in the creative writing MFA program at Antioch University Los Angeles. The American Book Award winner and NAACP Image Award recipient is the author of twelve novels and a civil rights memoir.  In 2010, she was inducted into the Medill School of Journalism’s Hall of Achievement at Northwestern University.

Due’s novella “Ghost Summer,” published in the 2008 anthology The Ancestors , received the 2008 Kindred Award from the Carl Brandon Society, and her short fiction has appeared in best-of-the-year anthologies of science fiction and fantasy. Due is a leading voice in black speculative fiction; a paper on Due’s work recently was presented at the College Language Association (CLA) Conference. Her website is at www.tananarivedue.com.

I picked up Almanac several years ago to read on a very long international flight. It is still a “go-to” novel.

Almanac of the Dead, by Leslie Marmon Silko

At the heart of Almanac of the Dead is Seese, a haunted, enigmatic survivor of the fast-money, high-risk world of drug dealing–a world in which the needs of modern America exist in a dangerous balance with Native American traditions. In Tucson she encounters Lecha, a well-known psychic hiding from the consequences of her celebrity, whose larger duty is to transcribe the ancient, painfully preserved notebooks that contain the history of her people–the Almanac of the Dead.

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An Indigenous Australian Young Adult science fiction/Apocalyptic story featuring illegal mutants. “There will come a day when a thousand Illegals descend on your detention centres. Boomers will breach the walls. Skychangers will send lightning to strike you all down from above, and Rumblers will open the earth to swallow you up from below. . . . And when that day comes, Justin Connor, think of me.”

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Year One-Knife, Tenochtitlan the capital of the Aztecs. The end of the world is kept at bay only by the magic of human sacrifice. A Priestess disappears from an empty room drenched in blood. Acatl, High Priest, must find her, or break the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead.


As I said, just a few of the recommended books that caught my attention. Now, I have to find the time to read them!

Get The Cupcake While It Is Warm!!! Or, In This Case, FREE!

 

If Cupcakes trinkets and other deadly magic by meghan ciana doidge

Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic

By Meghan Ciana Doidge

Jade has never wanted more from her quiet life than cupcakes, dancing, and occasional witchcraft. But everything is about to change — the undead werewolves are on their way, and she’ll either have to step it up or be swallowed alive.

Free!

Originally: $3.99

Get Deal:

Amazon B & N Smashwords

If you haven’t read Meghan’s work yet, this is the perfect time to start. I guarantee – once you start, you won’t be able to put it down!

Enjoy-Cupcakes is delicious!!!

Review: Things To Do In Denver When You’re Un-Dead

11326685We stumble and fall constantly even when we are most enlightened. But when we are in true spiritual darkness, we do not even know that we have fallen.Thomas Merton

Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it. – Terry Pratchett

This is certain, that a man that studieth revenge keeps his wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well. – Francis Bacon

 

Revenge. Kal Hakala has sought revenge since childhood – a childhood where his much loved sister, his sister who smelled of sunshine and summertime, who radiated joy – was ripped from his life, slaughtered by Iku-Turso – a Finnish god. Now, Kal searches out monsters, protecting those of us who have no idea of the World Under from the things that go bump in the night. Most agents don’t last two years before they get very dead in very ugly manners. Kal has lasted ten years – longer than any other agent.

His visit to Denver started out as a zombie hunt. No big deal, in the overall scheme of things. But something is more wrong than he thought, when a serial killer, the Organ Donor, shows itself to be a lot more than your common-and-garden psychopath. Now, Kal and his team are in more danger than they possibly expected – danger that will cost team member lives, and possibly destroy the Unit itself.

Kal is one tough guy, as is to be expected from someone who is eight years past his “use by” date. Still, he has a streak of funny, and a wider streak of snark, a soupcon of literary quotations and no patience whatsoever with any small recklessness. Well, the team is his responsibility – and after ten years, the number of remorseless losses is enough to ascertain that he indeed has no patience – no patience at all. You can’t help but respect that fact. He is broken, brittle and furious. But for all that, he is worthy. And worthy of your reading time.

Anger is a killing thing: it kills the man who angers, for each rage leaves him less than he had been before – it takes something from him. – Louis L’Amour

I listened to the Audible.com version of Things To Do In Denver When You’re Un-Dead narrated by Damon Abdallah. Mr. Abdallah is brilliant – his voice is perfect for Kal, and his female character voices are very well done, something that is hard to find in audio narration.

 

Overall, there is darkness in the story, but I completely enjoyed it.

Sensational Six Anthology

23622939As I have said before, I love anthologies. You can find both old friends, and new authors to enjoy. This collection of six stories, from shorts to a full-length novel, proves to be exactly the case.


Still Sexy ( a Hunter Protection Group story) by Sasha White, is only 30 pages, but it is so tightly written and well-paced that I am looking forward to reading more of the series. 1149251

When human, Caleb Mann, and his wife the psychic Gina (stars of Sexy Devil) decide to get away from the hectic life of raising their baby and spend a weekend away, they expect a nice, sensual weekend. Only, as is apparently the case in their lives, nothing turns out the way they intended . . . well, almost.


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Phantom Warriors 2: Saber-tooth by Jordan Summers is another paranormal. Katy Manfred is a trapper for what appears to be a biological corporation. Sent out to capture what appears to be a saber-tooth at the LA Brea Tar Pits, she finds much more than she expected. . . ‘otherworldly lover’ anyone? This story seems to be from a group of other shorts – the sort of short, sexy read that you can chill over for an hour or two. Summers has a large catalog I will check out at another time.


 

A Soul in the Hand by Marsheila Rockwell and Jeffrey J. Mariotte is a 94 page fantasy tale. Honestly? I wasn’t in the mood for swords, so I only scanned it. Meh. Not my taste if the parts I read. If you like more ‘high fantasy’ you may like it – I hope you do!


I enjoyed Glimmer by Vivi Anna, a Romantic Urban Fantasy of 12310579642 pages. I felt deeply for Nina Decker, abandoned by her fae mother at 10 and left to watch her father slowly waste away from fae sickness. Nina is an RN in a Vancouver hospital, and when a victim rolls in, supposedly the victim of a werewolf attack, she finds her whole life changing. Running into the wolf alpha as she leaves the hospital she is dragged kicking-and-screaming into a world she never wanted a part of. And when things begin to go disturbingly wrong, being a hated enemy to a wolf pack is a minor issue compared to what her life is truly becoming – what she is truly becoming . . . murderous pixies, evil fae, and more things than she can count that go bump in the night. Add in a vicious fae mum, and could life get turn into any more of a pain in the arse? Well. Yes, actually. Dawning and Portal are the others in the series.


 

The Darkening by Caris Roane is based on a series called The Guardians of 17318863Ascension which I haven’t read. This story contains death vampires and war, a damaged heroine and a warrior hero all set on Second Earth. It comes across as a sci-fi/fantasy/sword and sorcery series filled with ancient evil and magic. I tried, couldn’t do it. If you are a follower of the series, you will be adding it to your collection. I just couldn’t focus on it. That doesn’t make it bad, just not to my particular tastes.


15728681And finally, there is The Night Beat. I have read this book before, I realized that the minute I started it, and was tickled to no end. I had lost track of the book, but it crossed my mind occasionally over time, and I was thrilled to find it in its whole in this anthology. The first of the Necropolis Enforcement Files I remember thinking at the time I finished it back a few years ago that I absolutely wanted to put the second book on my ‘TBR’ stack. Then, of course, I got distracted. Come to find out, the second in the series comes out in 2015, so I won’t have to wait all that terribly long for the second. Go me!

 

It’s time to kick icky butt and take unpronounceable names . . . and undercover cop and werewolf Victoria Wolfe is there to take them on. Take them all on, along with an eclectic cast of famous dead musicians and writers, zombies and ghouls and mummies (oh, my!) all fighting on the side of right for whatever god or monster they have chosen to follow… and stopping ‘The Prince’ is on the very tippy-top of all their ‘must do’ lists. The good guys include a few who are not at all who you were taught to think they were, and sometimes even the bad guys can be the good guys under the right situation – but of course, when they are bad, they are so very, very bad . . . Can’t wait for the next in the series!

So, four out of six isn’t bad – not that the two I didn’t finish were bad, per se, the writing was good, they just didn’t trip my particular trigger. Another great .99 cent anthology!

The Deer Prince Visits! An Interview With Liam, Prince of the Fayleene

Yesterday I was pleased and proud to have a visit by Liam, the Fayleene Prince from The Fantasy and Forensics Series by Michael Angel. I was surprised and so very pleased when he arrived!

princeLeiah:  Liam! It is so good to meet you! Welcome to Golden. To what do I owe this honour?

Liam: It’s so nice to be here, Leiah. Your grass and leaves are succulent, and my guards find the peace and quiet here quite pleasant, as do I. But to answer your question, I know that you are reading Michael’s The Detective and the Unicorn, and I just wanted to stop by and see how you like it?

Leiah:  I love it! Of course, I love the books featuring you the most, how can I not? But The Detective and the Unicorn is marvelous.

Liam: Michael has a video about the book I wanted to tell you about, as well as copies of his other books. I know you love his work and, well, I really did like your review of The Deer Prince’s Murder, which was about me, of course. Well, I wasn’t murdered, but my father the Fayleene Protector of the Forest, Quinval, was. Of course, with the help of Dayna Chrissie and the rest of our friends, Grimshaw the Griffin, better known as Shaw as you well know, and Galen the Centaur, we tracked down the murderer. Uh, anyway . . . I had meant to talk about Derek Ridder and Tavia the Daughter of the Warder of Cavilad. You see, Derek’s partner at the LAPD was murdered by magical means, and Tavia has come to help track him down. There is mystery, suspense, and of course lots of magic! I know you already wrote your review of the book, but I wanted to stop by and thank you for reading, and tell you how glad I am that you love our stories!IMGP1878

Leiah:  Oh, I do love them, all of Michael’s stories I have read so far. And I am really hoping that Michael is planning to write more Fantasy and Forensics!

Liam:  Well, I can’t let the deer out of the bag on that, but I just know you are going to like  Strangelets With A Side Of Grilled Spam: Episode 1 which I see on your desk here.

Leiah: Yes! And I have Quarantine On The Black Nile set to listen on my audio book reader as well!

Liam: That is wonderful! I am looking forward to hearing what you think, but for now, my guards say it is time to go. Tavia is due to stop by the Forest, and I promised to bring her news on what Derek and his niece are up to. Have a wonderful time reading, and it was so nice to finally meet you!IMGP1880

Leiah: And you as well! I am honoured that you came by, and am looking forward to more stories about you and your friends. And stop by any time – next time I will make you a carrot cake!

About Michael Angel:

Michael Angel’s worlds of fiction range from the unicorn-ruled realm of the Morning Land to the gritty ‘Fringe Space’ of the western Galactic Frontier. He’s the author of the bestselling Centaur of the Crime – where C.S. Lewis meets CSI. His books populate shelves in languages from Russian to Portuguese.

Michael currently resides in Southern California. Alas, despite keeping a keen eye out for griffins, centaurs, or galactic marshals, none have yet put in an appearance on Hollywood Boulevard.

Book Series:
Fantasy & Forensics: Centaur of the Crime, The Deer Prince’s Murder
Strangelets with a Side of Grilled Spam: Strangelets Episodes 1-4, Strangelets Season One
Fringe Space Tales: A Shovelful of Stars, Pay To Pray, Dogfight, A Planet Torn

Standalone Novels:
The Detective & The Unicorn
I Married the Third Horseman
The Wizard, The Warlord, and The Hidden Woman
Treasure of the Silver Star
The Adventures of Amanda Love

Collections and Novellas
So a Dragon, a Muse, and an Alien Walk Into a Bar…
Gatekeeper and Goddess
Sylph
Predators and Prey
Deepest Fears
Three Acts of Courage
Strange Powers, Stranger Places
Crisis Points
Love’s Origins
Blood, Sweat, and Fears (an 18-story compendium)
Fringe Space Tales – All of the books in the Amanda Love Universe

Short Stories
23 and counting! Check them out in Amazon’s listings.

Michael Angel’s welcome mat is out at www.michaelangelwriter.com. Or, feel free to stop by and say ‘hello’ to the kind folks who publish his material at www.bantyhenpublishing.com.

The Whisperings Paranormal Mystery Series by Linda Welch

But, soft: behold! lo where it comes again!
I’ll cross it, though it blast me. – Stay, illusion!
If thou hast any sound, or use a voice.
Speak to me. – Hamlet 1.1

Why, what care I ? If thou canst nod, speak too, –
If charnel-houses, and our graves, must send
Those that we bury, back, our monuments
Shall be the maws of kites. – (Macbeth, 3.4)

There is no ghost clause in that lease.David Simmons

Along Came A Demon (Whisperings, #1)I know it is silly, but when I find an author I wasn’t previously aware of who really catches my interest and makes me go Ooh! I always feel smug. Like I am the first person who has found this particular author and deserve a pat on the back. Ha! As If!!

Anyway, when I found Linda Welch and Along Came A Demon I got that same feeling. A giggly, bubbly feeling as I read an Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Mystery that is just enough different than the norm, and just far enough along the curve of creativity to make me sit up and take notice. And spend way too many of my sleeping hours reading to be healthy when I have a bad cold and need my rest. Ah well! It was worth it…

Tiff Banks (don’t ever call her “Tiffany” if you know what is good for you – hey, she is 6’4″ – does that sound like a Tiffany to you?) Got a short, sharp shock a few years ago, when she realized the woman she was passing in the doorway of a cafe in San Francisco was covered in blood, apparently shot. Screaming for someone to call 9-1-1 and trying to talk the woman into sitting down until the ambulance arrived, she was horrified that everyone around her just stared at her and turned away. Well, that is how crazy people screaming about ambulances and dying women get looked at when there is obviously nobody standing there with blood all over them, right?

Since that time, Tiff has moved back to her old home town of Clarion, in the Utah mountains. Well, it has to be better than dealing with the massive number of dead people that surround her in San Francisco, right? Humm…. well, there may not be as many, but they are still there. Wow, look at that. She even has two of them living in her house. Jack and Mel were murdered there, though it wasn’t in the realtor’s disclosure forms. Well, no wonder, since the guy who owned the house before didn’t really advertise the fact that he had kidnapped and murdered two people and buried them in the basement. Well, it’s done now, and Tiff is stuck with her ‘roomies’ – even though their murderer has moved on, which should allow them to do so as well, neither intends on being reasonable.  Although, with  her roll as ‘speaker to the dead’ for the Clarion PD their assistance is often useful as she helps the PD track down murderers. And then again, sometimes they can just be a huge pain in the backside.

“There’s a naked woman in the garden,” Jack said.

Huh? Will you look at that? The dead aren’t supposed to wander from where they died, but Coralinda Marchant certainly has. And what happens next is one of the more creative takes on the supernatural I have found for a while – a take I am certainly enjoying! In this first book of the series Tiff is drawn into the murder of Coralinda and the search for her missing son into a world she knew was there, but really, really didn’t want to get into. For there are demons in the world, and those demons want the boy. And they aren’t hesitant to come after Tiff to get him. The concepts and ideas in play are fun, creative and at times kept my right on the edge of my seat as I held my breath, wondering why demons would want a little boy born on November 9, 2002 – or why so many little boys born on that date are now dead, murdered in unspeakable ways.

The second book of the series, The Demon Hunters, is just as good. Now partnered with a7315607 demon ex-cop from the first book, Tiff and Royal have opened their own detective agency. With Royal’s preternatural connections, strength and speed, and Tiff’s ability to talk to the dead, they make a good team – and the ‘bad guy’ demons still being after the two of them, working together gives them an edge. But now, they have new clients. And these clients could be even more deadly than the monsters they are chasing. The Dark Cousins of Royals people, the Gelpha, the good old DC are scary beyond all reason, and not afraid to mind bind, or murder, to reach their goals.

Townsman #1: Hey, Pacha, you just missed your relatives.

Pacha: My relatives?

Townsman #1: Yeah, we just sent them up to your house.

Pacha: What’d they look like?

Townsman #1: Well there was this big guy, and this older woman who was… well, how would you describe her?

Townsman #2: Ah, scary beyond all reason?

Townsman #1: Yeah, that’s it.

They have Royal’s mind locked up tight, and now Tiff is more on her own than not in trying to help Daven Clare and Gia Sabato, a monster in her own right, find her lover, Alissario Arellano (Rio) Borrego, who has been captured by an unknown party for an unknown reason. Well, not totally unknown. For both Dark Cousins and Gelpha are being burned and beheaded, just like a human would think to kill a vampire . . . but how is the murderer finding his victims all over the world? How are they being recognized, when no one other than Tiff seems to be able to recognize them under their glamour?

Welch as a way with a turn of phrase, a strong streak of humour, and a way of looking at life and relationships that is highly appealing. This isn’t your typical “vampires and werewolves” urban fantasy. Instead, Welch has gone in another, more creative direction that I am tickled to have found!

I know, I have to put down the Linda Welch and get my work done. Lots of books to read and review, edits to do. I know, I know . . . but these things are like potato chips – I can’t just eat one and walk away! Well, I read two, one after the other, but you know what I mean. And I don’t even know how Along Came A Demon wound up on my reader! Maybe she did a giveaway at some point and I grabbed it them? Anyway, I am just glad it did. And I will absolutely be reading more of this series. I just have to     not . . .        do  . . .         it . . .            now . . .

Review: Among The Unseen by Jodi McIsaac

…the Tuatha De Danann or Sidhe, the ‘Gentry’, the ‘Good People’, and the ‘People of Peace’ are described as a race of invisible divine beings eternally young and unfading. They inhabit fairy palaces, enjoy rare feasts and love-making, and have their own music and minstrelsy. They are essentially majestic in their nature…Mythologically they are gods of light and good, able to control natural phenomena so as to make harvests come forth abundantly or not at all. — W. Y. Evans-Wentz; The Faerie Faith in Celtic Countries, 1911 (quoted by Michael Tsarion)

Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.
W.B. Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire

15852288Tír na nÓg. Ancestral home to the Sidhe, a land of tremendous beauty, bounty and growth. At least, until one monstrous member of the Gentry goes mad for power, destroying the lands and it’s people, annihilating the very thing he means to possess. In the words of R.A. Salvatore, “A king is a man strong of character and conviction who leads by example and truly cares for the suffering of his people, not a brute who rules simply because he is the strongest.”

 Among the Unseen is the third and final volume in Jodi McIsaac’s “The Thin Veil” Series. The series is billed as ‘contemporary fantasy’ and McIsaac does a marvelous job of blending not only fantasy, but also concepts and ideals that are reflected in today’s modern world. War and the destruction of beauty. Whole countries laid to waste, ravished, and left destitute and uncultivated, unable to support life.

Through the first two books in the series, Cedar McLeod, her daughter Eden, and a small group of Sidhe have fought to regain the lands of Tír na nÓg. The lands are finally regained, with all in their proper place. But things are far from safe, as Cedar is betrayed by one she considered family. Now in her proper place as queen, Cedar must help restore her new country, while still missing her family, friends and life back on Earth. And the problems don’t stop coming, as disease spreads, and Eden is less safe than Cedar had thought.

Among the Unseen is a beautifully crafted book, as were the others in the series. Filled with well-crafted and well-researched fantasy lore, McIsaac weaves modern life through a story filled with light and darkness, pain and love in equal measure.

This series is highly recommended for any lover of contemporary fantasy – especially if you are a purist who is educated in mythology. I loved the whole series.

Into The Fire (The Thin Veil Book 2)
Beyond the Pale: A Thin Veil Novella (The Thin Veil 2.5)
Among The Unseen (The Thin Veil Book 3)

jodi

 About Jodi:

I grew up in New Brunswick, Canada. After stints as a short-track speed skater, a speechwriter, and fundraising and marketing executive in the nonprofit sector, I started a boutique copywriting agency and began writing novels in the wee hours of the morning. I currently live with my husband and two feisty daughters in Calgary, Alberta.

I love to connect with readers, so come say hello on FacebookTwitter, or Goodreads!


I received this book from the publisher, 47North, in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own and are not influenced by this fact. If you enjoyed my review, please click “This review was helpful” at Amazon.com. Thank you!

Twice Lost by Jennifer Field – Blog Tour

 Twice_Lost_banner[1]

linedorothyTwice Lost Blog Tour

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Twice_Lost_2[1]Jenna Thanatos is discovering that life isn’t what it always seems. Just an ordinary girl with a healthy sexual appetite, she soon learns there are such things that “go bump in the night” and she’s one of them. Can she accept who she really is? Can she save the sexy men in her life and herself before it’s too late? Join Jenna on her life altering journey and learn what it’s like to be a Harbinger.

Title: Twice Lost
Author: Jennifer Field
Publisher: Forever Red Publishing, LLC
Pages: 379
Genre: Paranormal Erotica
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 

 

Jennifer_Field[1]About the Author

Jennifer lives in Massachusetts and works full-time in the Bridal Industry. With a daytime job surrounded by simple romance, it is her love for adventure that makes her who she is. She has a love for all things 80’s and has a very mild Diet Coke addiction. As an avid mountain climber, it is not unusual for Jennifer to be hanging off a 5.9 in the Adirondacks or the Shawangunk Mountain ranges. During the off season of climbing, also known as winter, she attends the New England Center for Circus Arts where she studies static trapeze (think Cirque rather than circus). She is an only child so she has her mother to thank for her over active imagination and knack for storytelling. Over the years she has written several short stories of the “naughty” nature for friends but never had envisioned herself as a writer; Just someone who enjoyed telling a steamy story from time to time. Throughout school she had difficulty with spelling and English, but it never stopped her love for reading, especially a good romance, horror or mystery! To this day she still spells so poorly that even spell check has to ask what the heck she is trying to spell.

Her latest book is the paranormal erotica, Twice Lost.

BOOK TRAILER!

 

For More Information

 

Book Excerpt:

The Underworld

The rain and stench of rotting flesh permeated the Harbinger’s senses. He dragged his victim through the massive gate leading to the ferry. The man, whose name he didn’t care to learn, was another fine upstanding citizen of the human race: child molester, rapist, murderer. This fate was almost too kind for him.

The man kicked and screamed obscenities at the large winged creature that held him. “Where are you taking me, you ugly fucking beast?” The screaming man looked around and the scene he saw was something out of a horror movie. Several massive winged creatures dragged both men and women to the edge of river, unfazed by their victim’s screams or cries for help. Each stood sentinel, waiting for their turn to board the ferry.

The mountains and terrain were charred black. No life grew here; no sunlight penetrated the sky above that swirled with red and black clouds unlike any he had ever seen. The lightning marred the landscape, setting fire to brittle, lifeless trees. He held back gagging as the smell of burning flesh overwhelmed him.

“I never did anything, bring me back.” He struggled against the thick chain wrapped around his neck, pulling with all his might; yet, unable to budge the beast that dragged him further into this nightmare.

The Harbinger lifted the man by the thick chain, cutting off his supply of putrid air; his black claws dripping with blood from where he had reached into the man’s chest, pulling out his soul to drag it to hell.

The man stared into eyes that were solid black pools, devoid of any feeling. “I am not your judge, nor your jury.” The creature pulled him closer, revealing his massive fangs. “But, I have seen what you have done. Death is too lenient for you.” The creature flared its black wings and let out an unearthly growl.

Urine ran down the man’s leg and onto the Harbinger’s booted foot. He tossed the man back down onto the ground, still holding tight to the chain. He heard the distinct crunch of breaking bone as the man’s body hit the ground in the most unnatural of positions.

A smile curled along the Harbinger’s lips, the soul had corporeal substance in the underworld. More importantly, it felt pain, but would not die. This man would beg for a death that would never come. Each day would bring endless pain and suffering, no other existence waited for him.

“You have no right to bring me here, I repented!” The man’s screams were one among many as the souls of the unrighteous waited to cross one of the five rivers.

“Did your victims beg? Did you show them any mercy?” His clawed hand came down over the man’s skull and inundated his mind with images from his young, helpless victims. Flashes of an innocent face stricken with fear, a mother’s grieving heart as she identified her child’s broken, lifeless body.

“Stop please, I repent, I repent! I’m sorry for everything I have ever done. Please, I repent my sins.” The man shook with such fear, and broke into prayer. “The lord is my Shepherd…”

The creature looked down at him as he heaved him closer to the river’s edge. “There is no God that will save your soul now, it belongs to me. And, my payment lies beyond the river.” He pointed across the river to their destination.

The man watched as creature after hideous creature approached the ferry with their victim dragging behind. The ferryman held out his hand for payment to cross. The man watched as the creature held out its hand, revealing a coin that floated just above its palm. The ferryman took the coin and turned it back and forth, inspecting it, testing its weight. When he was satisfied, he nodded his head and the creature and victim entered the ferry.

This was repeated as several of the creatures and their charges entered the ferry. His creature stood, waiting, as the boat drifted into the mists of the river.

“Why did we not board the boat? There was clearly room left.”

The creature, again, lifted the chain and looked into the man’s eyes as he watched him struggle for breath. His eyes began to bulge and his face puffed out in bright crimson. “Those people still have hope. You, do not. Our destination lies elsewhere.”

The creature dragged him along the river’s sulfur coated banks. He looked in and saw that the water was full of bloated bodies that still wriggled with pain, their skin bursting open and oozing a black liquid.

“Where is our boat?” Though he tried to sound as if he were the one in charge, the man’s voice rattled with fear. He picked up a stone within his grasp and threw it at the Harbinger’s head, hitting him square in the back of his skull.

The Harbinger swung around, grabbing the man by the throat and pinning him against the dead trunk of a tree. His features seemed much more demon-like now that he was truly angry. His cheekbones jutted out at an extreme angle, his horns curled back along his bald head, and his fangs protruded from his mouth.

A growl emanated from him as he sniffed at the air, scenting nothing but the man’s fear. “Perhaps you are unaware of the severity of your predicament, human.” He spoke with ultimate disdain for the man. His claws began to penetrate the struggling man’s throat, small drops of blood running down his neck and arm, dripping onto the ground.

“You are the lowest form of vermin down here. You have no idea what true torture is.” A grub-like creature crawled from the petrified bark of the tree. Its mouth was rows upon rows of rotating teeth. It was attracted to the blood that dripped down. He watched in horror as its head began to burrow into his arm, its body slowly disappearing under

his flesh. The man screamed as the creature ate its way up his arm, under his skin.

The grub continued to work its way up the man’s arm, its white body covered in an acidic slime causing the skin above it to bubble. The Harbinger held the bug under his skin and sweat ran down the man’s face, the stench of feces permeating the air.

“Your skin will be flayed from your body, your eyes will be gouged out, and every orifice you have will be violated by creatures so hideous, your nightmares couldn’t conjure them.” The Harbinger continued his detailed description of what the man’s eternity would be like, projecting the images into the man’s thoughts as he spoke. “Then, finally, when you think you can’t take another minute, your body will be healed, your pain will be gone, and the process will start again.”

The Harbinger let go of the man and he slumped down the tree trunk to the burnt ground. Tears and uncontrollable sobs left the man. Covered in his own waste, the man crawled to the massive creature that stood in front of him and groveled at his feet.

“What can I do? Please, tell me what I have to do.” His words were barely understandable between his sobbing and screaming as the grub ate its way out of the man’s neck and dropped to the ground, having gorged itself.

The Harbinger looked down at his palm that now had a light glow to it. The coin that usually sat as a tattoo now hovered just above his palm. It’s distinct and unique emblem of a skull surrounded by thorns clearly evident.

He looked down at the man groveling at his feet. “Our ride approaches.” He grabbed the end of the chain and hauled it over his massive shoulder, allowing the man to dangle and scream behind him as he made his way to the dock.

The Harbinger walked toward the ferry, holding out his hand. Charon took the coin and nodded for him and his charge to board. No other passengers boarded this ferry.

“Why do no others board?” The man had to know why he was the only passenger aboard this ferry.

The creature put the man down and let go of the chain, knowing that if the man decided to jump into the river, his fate would be the same as the other bloated bodies that drowned for eternity. A far better fate than this man deserved, but would allow no option for payment.

The ferry drifted slowly down the river instead of across as the other boats had done. Again, the man questioned his fate. “Why does this boat not cross the river? Surely this is the famed River Styx. My doomed fate must await me on the other side.”

The Harbinger looked down at the man. “Your fate does not lie on the other side of the River Styx. We will cross Phlegethon, the river of fire.” He pointed down the river to a fiery orange glow just beyond the horizon.

“And, what if I jumped and swam to freedom? Wouldn’t I then be allowed a second judgment, having made it to shore?” The man looked at the shore line a mere twenty or thirty feet from the boats edge. Surely he could make it.

The massive man-creature approached him, grabbing him by the wrist. “You are more than welcome to try.” He lowered the man’s hand into the black water of river.

Pain shot up the man’s arm as he watched his skin then meaty tissue melt from his hand, leaving only bone. His bloodcurdling scream did nothing to stop the creature from lowering his arm further into the muck. The black water seemed to grab onto his arm and crawl up to his elbow, blood gushing into the water.

The creature released the man’s arm and looked at his own hand that was unaffected. The man clutched his arm, now nothing more than bone and dangling tendons. “You are more than welcome to swim.” The Harbinger laughed out as he spoke.

At the sight, the man vomited bile over the side of the boat. Curling his knees against his chest, he watched as the fiery glow grew closer, the stench of sulfur and rot overwhelming him once more.

As the ferry drifted down the River Styx and slowly began its turn onto the River Phlegethon, the black, murky water slowly changed. It smelled of petroleum and the surface burned around the boat. The deeper the boat traveled, the hotter and higher the flames became.

The man peered over the side, straining to see past the inferno that burned before him. He was sure that the flames would consume the boat before they reached their destination. Yet, the ferry drifted through them, unaffected.

The Harbinger stood as still as death, looking out past the flames. His wings stretched out from his massive back, spanning across the width of the boat, the tips now singed from the flames.

As the boat glided through the river of fire toward its final destination, the man had to know what this creature was that held him. “Are you death? The grim reaper? The devil?”

Black eyes immediately met his. “For you, I am all those things and more. Your very soul now belongs to me and it is mine to do with as I see fit.” The demon slowly turned back to look at the approaching shore.

“Then you can be bargained with, I would presume.”

No matter their background, each soul he brought across Phlegethon thought that bargaining would gain them passage to another, better place. In the countless millennia that he had been taking souls across, no bargain was ever worth consideration, but all tried.

Again, the creature turned to face the man. This time, his eyes were no longer the black, endless pools that had faced him before. They were now as blue and clear as a summer’s sky. “I have riches beyond your wildest dreams, what could you ever have that I would want?”

The ferry hit the shore with a clank as the ferryman wrapped the chain around a post. At a second glance, it was not a post at all, but a pillar of skulls and bones stacked at the river’s edge.

The creature grabbed the chain that was around the man’s neck and pulled him to his shaky feet. Fear overcame him and the man’s legs refused to move, his muscles freezing in protest. With a tug of the chain, the man lunged forward, tripping over his own feet into the back of the creature that held him.

This new land made the place they had just come from look like a paradise. The sky was no longer a swirl of black and red, but an ominous gray-green that kissed the molten landscape; fire and stone encompassing his line of vision. The creature pulled him toward two massive gates made of human bone. The screams of pain and despair could be heard beyond the gate.

The man pulled on his chain, begging the hell spawn to stop his forward trek. “Please, again, I beg you. I can give you something no one else can. All I ask is that you let me go here. I’ll make my way on my own.”

The gate and the payment for this soul laid within reach. Yet, something in this human’s voice made him pause. He had been offered everything and anything to bring a soul back, but never had he been asked to just let a soul go. Here at the gate of Nephtal, of all places.

“Why would you have me just let you go? You have crossed over the river of fire, there is no way back. All hope for you is gone.”

“My soul is damned, I know that. But, in there…” he nods his head toward the tall gates, “I won’t be able to even attempt to make up for the sins I have committed.”

The creature pulled the chain, dragging the man’s face up to his own. “There is no do over, your time has come. Your soul has been damned to this place.”

He continued his walk to the massive bone gate, dragging the man behind him; kicking, screaming, and begging to be set free.

Finally reaching the gate, a creature of massive proportions stepped out, pushing the immense gate open. This new monster, an odd combination of wild boar and almost human, stood twice the height of the one who dragged him across the river.

Its skin was black and scaled, appearing almost grey with the dirt caked into his features. Greenish pus oozed from welts around its wrists, ankles, and neck where huge shackles bound the creature to the gate.

“Please, there’s a girl I know you would be interested in.” The man tried to dig his heels into the burnt and smoking ground.

The demon stopped, looked at the man he had chained, and laughed. “A woman? You expect me to let you go by offering me a woman?” He laughed once more, condescendingly, and continued through the gate.

The Harbinger dragged the man passed the gatekeeper to a small tent just on the opposite side and pulled him past the threshold. Silently, the soul wondered what creature he would see next. He expected a cloven footed devil or another winged beast, but what sat on the other side of a golden desk was neither of those things.

Leaning casually back in the chair with her perfect, black, stiletto heels crossed on the top of the impressive gold desk was a woman, her make-up and features model perfect. Her long, blonde hair was neatly pulled back in a high ponytail.

She wore a white, button-down shirt that barely closed over her ample breasts and a black pencil skirt. The man eyed the woman and followed the lean curve of her legs to her thigh, revealing the lace at the top of her thigh-high, silk stockings.

She looked like an angel in the otherwise hellish nightmare. She could have been his angel sent from heaven to save his damned soul. But, the fiery glint in her deep brown eyes led him to believe she was anything but the angel he saw seated before him.

She stood as they walked in, giving the creature that dragged his chain a devilish and familiar smile.

“Hello, Harbinger.” Her voice was sultry and oozed sex.

The Harbinger slipped the end of the chain over a six foot tall spike in the ground. “Hello, Pesta. Where’s my payment?”

Pesta tossed a sack of gold onto her desk, continuing to eye the Harbinger that stood in front of her. He reached for the sack of gold but was intercepted by her hand running up the length of his muscular, tattooed arm.

“I’m sure you’ve had a long, hard journey, wouldn’t you rather something a bit softer and hotter than gold to soothe your weary bones? The offer of my bed isn’t something I give to just any…man.” She ran her tongue over her perfect, red, glossy lips.

“I’ve told you before, Pesta, I never mix business with pleasure.” With that, he picked up his bag of gold and turned to leave.

The man he had brought in stepped in front of him, a feeble attempt to block his path. The Harbinger raised his arm to backhand the man out of his way.

The man quickly whispered into the Harbinger’s ear words he never thought he would hear—an offer too good to turn down.

“What’s your name human?”

“It was Laird.”

With his arm poised to strike, he instead flicked the chain off of the spike, leaving the man free to escape into an eternity of pain. The man stood still for a heartbeat, staring into the Harbinger’s still blue eyes. “Well, Laird, I would run if I were you, she’s not as angelic as she looks.”

The Harbinger casually walked out of the tent, past the gate, and back to the ferry, holding out the coin that floated above his hand to Charon. As the ferry drifted back toward the River Styx, he heard Pesta screaming for someone to stop the man that now ran past the boned gate and into the fiery landscape.

Timoteus folded his wings against his back and relaxed himself into the ferry as it floated back through the fiery river. He reflected on what that man had said. A female Harbinger had never existed, yet he was intrigued by his statement. “Her name is Jenna, she’s one of you.”

 

This book tour brought to you by my friend Dorothy Thompson at Pump Up Your Book!  Contact Dorothy to work her magic for your book as well!

Dorothy Thompson
Pump Up Your Book
P.O. Box 643
Chincoteague Island, Virginia 23336

Email: thewriterslife@gmail.com

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