Sorcerers’ Dynasty

 

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Sci-fi, Fantasy, Thriller
Publisher: Starborn Publishing
Published: October 2017
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What would you give up for immortality?
More seductive than sex. More addictive than any drug. More precious than gold. And one man is willing to sacrifice it all to get it!
Beyond the arctic wall of ice lies a new and unknown world. The CEO of the world’s most powerful corporation – Theodore von Buren – plans to sacrifice the known world and everything in it to gain immortality in paradise.
The world is filled with lies and liars and America’s most controversial alternative media journalist Dan Sheraton wants to find out why.
Strange things have been seen out in the deserts of New Mexico, and when an even stranger phone call leads him on a dangerous adventure to a mysterious destination, Sheraton discovers earth shattering epiphanies.
When an insidious plot hatched by a shadowy global corporation threatens the survival of mankind the most unlikely hero emerges.  But is the savior man, machine, god or devil?
Other Books By Stephen Perkins
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Twilight’s Last Glory
Publisher: Star Born Publishing LLC
Published: August 2018
It is more than just a game. A global spectacle of triumph and anguish. A grand pageant of violence and drama. In the future, America’s game has become the world’s favorite pastime, and she is not just the WFFL’s latest superstar…but the future of humanity!
In a world secretly ruled by an organized crime pyramid with strange and mystical powers known as the Octagonal, and while a legend who harbors a dark secret strives for one last short at glory in the twilight of his career, crime lord Gigi Salerno is the sinister hand casting the ultimate fate of victory or defeat.
And, he will utilize any means necessary to ensure the Octagonal remains in control of the world’s most popular game!
But when a brilliant team doctor envisions future WFFL rosters filled out with AI, Salerno’s masters secretly decide he’s expendable.
Now threatened by the intrepid ambitions of a young sports columnist determined to expose the Octagonal, and faced with the covert maneuvering of a once trustworthy lieutenant and the conflicted loyalties of an unscrupulous general manager, Salerno is confronted with a dilemma: he may have to befriend one of his enemies to vanquish his double crossing masters.
Will he survive long enough to capture what he secretly desires most – the reluctant affections of a beautiful woman?
About the Author

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In just his first year as an independent author, Massachusetts native Stephen Perkins thrilling, entertaining, thought provoking and epic science fiction/fantasy thrillers have gained a loyal and rabid audience.  While enjoying the books be sure to visit the author’s blog, Newsspellcom.org for an original perspective on the news of the day surely not to be discovered anywhere else. Or, stop by for a visit on Twitter @ Twitter.com@RAGEOFWORDS
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Leonardo da Vinci Gets a Do-Over

 

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Innovators in Action, Book One
Juvenile Fiction
Publisher: Science, Naturally!
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The passing of great Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci—artist, anatomist, engineer, inventor—marked the end of an era. The world hasn’t seen a visionary like him since.
… Until now. On a school trip to Florence, three American middle school students think they are in for a treat when a man who claims to be Leonardo da Vinci, brought back to life with a mission to better humankind, crashes their tour. Too bad he isn’t really the celebrated Master of the Renaissance … or is he? Tag along as Max, Tad, and Gina assist Leonardo on his quest while discovering the secrets of his life and teaching the Maestro about science, math, history, art, and more! Will the students be able to help Leonardo evade the mayor of Florence’s selfish grasp so he can complete his quest before his time is up… again?
Leonardo da Vinci Gets A Do-Over is the first adventure in this new and exciting Innovators in Action blended fiction series.
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About the Author

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Mark P. Friedlander, Jr. is an attorney in Fairfax, VA. An Air Force pilot in the Korean War, he loves studying technology, history and science. He has written extensively, for both adult and young adult audiences, on subjects ranging from Shakespeare to aviation history, contagious diseases to forensic science. He can be reached at Mark@ScienceNaturally.com.
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Death Opens a Window

 

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Mourning Dove Mysteries, Book 2
Mystery
Date Published: October 19, 2018
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
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Emory Rome is back in DEATH OPENS A WINDOW, Book 2 of the Mourning Dove Mysteries and the follow-up to the national bestseller MURDER ON THE LAKE OF FIRE.
As he struggles with the consequences of his last case, Emory must unravel the inexplicable death of a federal employee in a Knoxville high-rise. But while the reticent investigator is mired in a deep pool of suspects – from an old mountain witch to the powerful Tennessee Valley Authority – he misses a greater danger creeping from the shadows. The man in the ski mask returns to reveal himself, and the shocking crime of someone close is unearthed.
 
Excerpt
AT THIRTY-TWO STORIES, the Godfrey Tower jutted from the Knoxville skyline like a shark fin in the Tennessee River. Unseen through the frameless exterior walls of silvery, reflective glass, a young woman on the twenty-ninth floor sat with a phone held to her ear, pretending to be on a business call as she stared out the floor-to-ceiling window behind her desk. While her colleagues busied themselves on phones or computers at the dozens of cubicles throughout the large, open office space, Angie was not contributing to the organization’s productivity.
If she had looked down and across the street, the attractive brunette would’ve seen the unremarkable roof of the area’s next-tallest building fourteen floors below her. Instead she focused on the unobstructed view of downtown and the hazy, snow-peaked mountains beyond. She imagined herself hiking below the snowline with her new lumbersexual boyfriend and lying with him on a blanket before a tantric campfire. Angie could almost hear the crackling wood, until she realized the sound was coming from behind her.
She turned her chair around to see her boss tapping her desk with his pen. The hoary goat of a man stared her down, his pinched eyes straining to scold her through spotted glasses. “You’re having a rather one-sided conversation.”
Angie held up a silencing finger to her boss and made up something to say to her imaginary caller. “Thank you so much for your feedback, Mr. Watkins. We always appreciate hearing about good customer service, and I’ll be sure to pass along your kudos. Okay. Take care now.” She hung up the phone and greeted her boss with a smile. “I’m sorry, but I didn’t hear what you said.” She mimed a talking mouth with her hand. “He was talking my ear off.”
Mr. Ramsey, however, did not return her smile. In fact, a look of horror sprinted across his face as something behind her snatched his attention. Before Angie could turn around to see what it was, she heard a great shattering, followed by the pelting of glass on her back and right cheek.
A dark-haired man in a brown suit flew through the window headfirst and thudded face-up onto the floor beside her. The impact against the man’s back shoved the air from his lungs. He gurgled as he struggled to regain his breath – although no one could hear it over the screams of Angie and several of her co-workers. Shards of glass protruded from his head and neck, one at the base of an erratic fountain of blood that sprang from his carotid artery.
Angie, now shocked into silence, tore her eyes from the dying man and toward the broken window through which she had daydreamed just a moment earlier. Oblivious to the blood trickling from the small cuts on her own face, she took a step toward the large hole the man’s body had punched into the glass wall. She poked her head outside and looked all around.
Her boss grabbed her and pulled her away from the precarious opening. “Angie, what are you doing? It’s not safe!”
The young woman turned a confused face to him. “Where did he come from?”

 

About the Author

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Bestselling mystery and science fiction author Mikel J. Wilson draws on his Southern roots for the Mourning Dove Mysteries, a series of novels featuring bizarre murders in the Smoky Mountains region of Tennessee. Building on the success of the first book in the series, Wilson continues his “no guns or knives” philosophy for murder as he delves deeper into the lives of the characters and their evolving dynamics.

 

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FIRSTS

 

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Memoir/Creative nonfiction/anthology
Date Published: October 1st, 2018
Publisher: Oleb Books
 
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Take a step back in time with some of the best writers with disabilities as they recount their first adventure, their first heartbreak, and the first time the unexpected treaded into their life. From body transformations to social setbacks, to love affairs and family trauma, Firsts collects the most thought-provoking and exciting stories of our time by people with disabilities. Contributors include Nigel David Kelly, Kimberly Gerry-Tucker, Caitlin Hernandez, Andrew Gurza, and David-Elijah Nahmod

Review

I can tell you one thing after reading this. Not everyone will think this will apply to them and their life, but I think they are wrong. I think there is so much value to this book and these people’s words. These are very important lessons we can all learn, not just in our day to day life and seeing the bigger picture of the world.
About the Author

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Belo Miguel Cipriani is a columnist with the Bay Area Reporter. In 2017, his column on disability issues was recognized by the National Center on Disability and Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.
He is the author of Blind: A Memoir (2011), which received an Honorable Mention for Best Nonfiction Book by the 2011 Rainbow Awards, and an Honorable Mention for Best Culture Book by the 2012 Eric Hoffer Awards.
He has received fellowships from Lambda Literary and Yaddo, and was the first blind writer to attend the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Cipriani has guest lectured at Yale University, University of San Francisco, and University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, and was the Writer-in-Residence at Holy Names University from 2012 to 2016.
His writing has appeared in several publications, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, Business Insider, and HuffPost. He was a contributor to the Ed Baxter Morning Show on iHeart Radio, and was also a frequent commentator on San Francisco’s KGO Radio, as well as on several NPR shows.
Cipriani has received numerous awards for his disability advocacy work, including being named “Best Disability Advocate” by SF Weekly (2015), an “Agent of Change” by HuffPost (2015), and an “ABC7 Star” by KGO-TV (2016). He was also honored as the first blind Grand Marshal at San Francisco’s 45th Annual Gay Pride Parade.
He currently works at the Center for Academic Excellence at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN, where he helps students improve their writing skills.
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The Ugly Priest

 

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Contemporary Fiction
Date Published:  June 2018
Publisher: AuthorHouse
 
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The Ugly Priest is a telling story of a priest’s missteps with the women who haunt his life, and his struggle to repair his soul and restore his vocation. It is a story of deceit, vulnerability and the loss of commitment. It displays the devastation of human frailty and reveals weaknesses that even a priest can’t escape.
If Father George Bernard had only known early on that the job of being a priest pounds the hell out of a man, his life choices might have been different. That pounding hit him countless times over his twenty years as a priest inflicting considerable damage on his soul and resulting in some bad choices. Jennifer was one, Helen another. He succumbs to the vulnerability every priest battles throughout his lifetime. The temptations of the flesh have a power his vocation is hard pressed to withstand.
The Ugly Priest reveals a vocation in shambles, deteriorated not only because of Father Bernard’s moral lapses but also because of his life’s lack of substance and value. His duties at Immaculate Conception Parish on the West Side of Chicago are tedious and distressing. The sin, dying, dishonesty and infidelity of his parishioners drains him. Deepening his distress is his life at a rundown, disintegrating parish with an outdated liturgy and a pastor who is a rude, spiteful and offensive old man. Father Bernard’s attempt to save himself from his cheerless, desolate life leads him down a dangerous path. Can he salvage his failing vocation and repair his troubled soul? Will he find the strength to restore the spiritual meaning and substance that once guided him as a priest?
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Excerpt
That was twenty-two years ago, the last time he had seen Jennifer, but certainly not the last time she had entered his mind. But now there she was, her face so vividly displayed, her gentle voice, her seductive sense of humor, all of it summoned by a simple yet consuming scent. He didn’t notice it at first, but once it came to him, it was overwhelming.
 It began with the pungent odor of burnt tobacco radiating from the driver and flooding the interior of the taxi. Suspended from the rearview mirror, a bag of potpourri made a futile effort at masking the smell. Father George Bernard considered opening the window, but the typical brisk Chicago wind thwarted his wish for fresh air. The temperature was a bit chilly as well, an unusual occurrence for late September in the city. The taxi passed Midway Airport and the rectory of Immaculate Conception Church, his destination, was not much farther.
He could tolerate the smell for a couple of minutes. He inhaled deeply once and then immediately again, trying to decide which scent dominated – the foul odor of tobacco or the sweet smell of…. What was the odor wafting from that bag dangling from the mirror? It was one he knew, something from the past. His past before the priesthood? Before the seminary? Before every part of life became bland, colorless, unremarkable, never leaving an impression on anyone? He drew another deep breath. Yes, that was it. Hyacinths. The now recognized smell filled his nostrils; the image it reconstructed, many times buried and as many times resurrected, took shape, waiting only for the right moment, like the right bouquet, to reemerge.
Jennifer Roland. It was the cologne Jennifer wore. Hyacinths, the scent that overwhelmed him over thirty years ago under that viaduct and ten years later kissing again in front of the A & P when he was visiting his parents before their move to Arizona.
He never forgot. Twenty years a priest and he still remembered countless times; each time those wonderful and bizarre days of his adolescence arose and the thought veered to the viaduct; when from somewhere, or maybe someone who passed or just in his imagination, the smell of hyacinths wafted near him; when his vocation faltered and thoughts surfaced of that second kiss. He raised his face toward the ceiling of the cab and exhaled a noise from his throat that disturbed him. He recognized it; that imperceptible puff of air rising from his chest. That regular sound of embarrassment and shame his body crafted whenever thoughts of Jennifer surfaced. A deep inhale and a rapid exhale. His head shook slightly. Staring out the taxi window at the passing homes, his breath built a vapor on the glass with each heavy exhale. The waft of hyacinths continued to fill his nostrils. Jennifer Roland.
The taxi swerved to avoid something on the road as it sped through an intersection. His head bumped slightly against the window and with the minor jolt he smiled again at the recollection of Jennifer.
Hyacinths.
Again Jennifer forced the realization that he still had a weakness for that sweet-smelling scent. Images of her advanced to memories, and memories of Jennifer Roland made him perspire and shake. Glancing at his reflection in the taxi window he pressed his lips together and closed his eyes.
Jennifer Roland.
The kisses. They were dreadfully amazing. Delightful.
 
About the Author


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A former South Side Chicago boy and seminary student, Stickann’s Catholic upbringing sparked the need to write novels that illustrate the impact religion has on people. His two previous books – Glory Be To the Father, the Son… (2001), and Hobbledehoy Boy (2013) show how a strict religious upbringing can stunt the social growth of a person, particularly young boys. The Ugly Priest looks at the other side of the religious spectrum, the priest, and the religious implications of a weak vocation and unsettled soul.
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Don’t Expect Me To Cry

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Non-Fiction / Memoir
Date Published: October 24, 2018
Publisher: MBK Enterprises LLC / Spotlight Publishing
Don’t Expect Me To Cry is a powerful story of the horrors Janet experienced at the hands of multiple abusers, including her father, and her courageous journey to a life that is inspirational to other survivors.
Janet’s resilience is evident as she tells her story in three parts, reflecting her thoughts and experiences at critical stages of her life.
Don’t Expect Me To Cry – Starting with a child’s view of shocking abuse, Janet shares how she had to build defenses to survive the impact of the horrors of her childhood.
Don’t Expect Me To Lie – Continuing with her journey through early therapy, Janet describes the pain and fear she experienced as she started to share the ‘secret’.
Don’t Expect Me To Die – The final part tells how Janet hit ‘rock bottom’ and tried to end her life. From that place of despair, she learned that it is possible to heal from the dark shame and trauma.
 
About the Author

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Janet Bentley was raised in Southern California. She currently lives in Arizona where she founded the non-profits Courageous Survivors and Show Up For Children. Janet is a member of RAINN’s (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) Speakers’ Bureau, a facilitator of Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children training, and a co-author of the international best-seller, We Choose To Thrive. She also started and facilitates a support group for survivors of Child Sexual Abuse. Janet loves living in the beauty of the desert.

 

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SeaJourney

 

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Arken Freeth and the Adventure of the Neanderthals, Book 1
Middle-Grade Fantasy Adventure
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A young warrior stands at the precipice of war…
To succeed he must find his courage and survive a treacherous journey across the sea.
Arken Freeth has always wanted to prove himself worthy of his king’s appointment by becoming an officer in the Lantish Sea Service. Now the only thing standing in his way is his apprenticeship SeaJourney. But a peaceful training mission soon turns into a deadly struggle for survival as Arken’s fleet must come to the aid of a princess fleeing capture by Tookan pirates.
SeaJourney kicks off an epic and fantastical adventure that is a great read for all ages.
Other Books in the Arken Freeth and the Adventure of the Neanderthals series:
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Shipwrecked
Arken Freeth and the Adventure of the Neanderthals, Book 2
Publisher: AIS, Limited
As war looms like an evil shadow over the world…
Arken Freeth must save his crewmates’ lives as they traverse a deadly jungle filled with massive wolves and sabertooth cats.
In the age before the Great Flood, 13,000 years ago, a new alliance between the nations of Lanth and Tolaria is threatened by pyramid-building Amarrats out to conquer and enslave the world.
Fourteen-year-old Arken Freeth is swept up in the conflict when his Lantish Military Academy training ship is attacked by pirates and runs ashore. He and six classmates are the only survivors of the shipwreck, and they struggle to live in a jungle filled with saber-tooth cats, dire wolves, mammoths, and mastodons.
Arken has salvaged a necklace from the wreck–a necklace that bestows the gift of prophecy. If Arken can get it to the King of Lanth, he will turn the tide of war.
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The Toth Hunter
Arken Freeth And The Adventure Of The Neanderthals, Book 3
Publisher: AIS, Limited
Arken learns more about the secrets of his heritage and discovers the strengths it offers will help him to earn a place of leadership among his grandmother’s people.
Arken Freeth and Asher, the future king of Tolaria, find themselves trapped in the Nanders’ Water Cave as they await the recovery of Arken’s love, Talya.
While living among the Nanders, Arken earns the respect of the tribe as he hunts the deadly jalag and massive toth with the tribe. But Arken, Asher, and Talya soon anger the wife and son of the tribe’s leader, Jen. If Arken does not accept Jen’s challenge to the death, all their lives will be in jeopardy.
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Tookan Attack
Arken Freeth and the Adventure of the Neanderthals, Book 4
Publisher: AIS, Limited
A battle is looming between the Tookans and Arken Freeth’s band of Lantish, Tolarian, and Nander warriors. Who will survive?
The Pirate King Yolanta’s fleet has fled to Situn, a barbarian settlement on the northern coast of the Circle Sea. Once provisioned, Yolanta plans a return to the River Zash and a final battle that will secure the Necklace of Tol for the Amarrat King. Yet before Yolanta can return to crush the Nanders, he will face betrayal and death at the hands of the hostile residents of Situn, the treacherous walled city of the North.
A troubling vision has warned Arken Freeth that Yolanta and his men will soon storm the Nanders’ Water Cave. In order to save the Nander tribe and protect the Necklace of Tol, Arken, Talya, and Asher must forge weapons and train the Nanders in the art of modern warfare, an impossible task when the Nanders follow The Way and are so resistant to change.
Mar discovers that Arken is the Jalet-hoi, the one foretold to be the savior of the Nanders. But in order to fulfill this powerful prophecy, Arken must survive a duel with Jen, the tribal chief’s son, to save his friend Ord’s life. No one, not even his friends, believes Arken will win this fight with such a powerful warrior. Even if he does live, will their battle training be enough for them to build a Nander army skilled enough to survive the Tookan Attack?
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Arken Freeth and the Adventure of the Neanderthals Boxed Set
(The Boxed Set, Books 1-4)
Publisher: AIS, Limited
Part Neanderthal, but raised as a human, Arken Freeth finds that he doesn’t fit in either world as he struggles to survive.
SEAJOURNEY, BOOK ONE
Arken Freeth has always wanted to prove himself worthy of his king’s appointment by becoming an officer in the Lantish Sea Service. Now the only thing standing in his way is his apprenticeship SeaJourney. But a peaceful training mission soon turns into a deadly struggle for survival as Arken’s fleet must come to the aid of a princess fleeing capture by Tookan pirates.
SHIPWRECKED, BOOK TWO
Arken Freeth’s Lantish Royal Military Academy training ship is attacked by pirates and runs ashore. He and six classmates are the only survivors of the shipwreck and they struggle to live in a jungle filled with saber-tooth cats, dire wolves, mammoths, and mastodons. Arken has salvaged a necklace from the shipwreck—a necklace that bestows the gift of prophecy. If Arken can escape the Tookan pirates intent on stealing the necklace for themselves and deliver it safely to the king of Lanth, he will turn the tide of war.
THE TOTH HUNTER, BOOK THREE
Arken and some of his friends are rescued by the Nanders, only to find that many of the Nanders want to put them to death for fear they will escape and send slavers back to the Water Cave. Join Arken as he comes to grips with his heritage and struggles to keep himself and his friends alive while learning to live and hunt in the wild like a Nander.
TOOKAN ATTACK, BOOK FOUR
The bloodthirsty Tookans return for the necklace, but a surprise awaits them when they step on shore, for Arken and his friends have armed and trained the Nanders. Though outnumbered, the Nanders are powerful warriors in their own forest. The outcome for the Tookans is anything but certain as Arken fights alongside the Nanders to defend their home.
Excerpt
Chapter 1: The Rock Test
Mother, I weep for you each night. Our enemy’s campfires
seem to number more than the stars in the sky. Their soldiers
drum and chant all night and torment our sleep. I fear the worst
for my people, for I cannot read the Necklace of Tol to see the
Time to Come.
—Diary of Princess Sharmane of Tolaria
Thirty boys surrounded Arken in a circle, waiting for him to
lift the rock and prove he was strong enough to graduate.
“No more delays, Arken,” Lar ordered. “Sunset will leave you
too old to test!” Lar’s olive skin and dark beard turned his
sunken eyes into two caves in a rock cliff. He was a lean, tall,
and wifeless instructor who lived alone in the academy officer’s
barracks.
Arken could never tell if Lar liked him, since Lar was
sometimes friendly to him, yet now made fun and appeared to
enjoy his classmates’ laughter.
The circle of boys, all taller than him, carried sparring
swords and wore bronze armor over their white, knee-length
tunics. Bronze helmets shielded faces from the blazing sun.
“Class, form a seated square around the post and stone,”
Lar ordered. The moving armor rang with the music of bronze
and they joked as they sat. It was easy for Arken’s classmates
to laugh; they had all passed the test. As the youngest, he was
the last to reach his fourteenth birthday and take the test
before SeaJourney, a one-moonth-long apprenticeship, now
only days away.
If Arken lifted the rock, he would graduate and join his class
at sea. Failing the rock test today left only one way of going on
SeaJourney. He would have to defeat Gart, the class salcon, in
a sparring match.
“He’s taken so long I’ve grown a beard,” Gart joked in a loud
voice. Everyone laughed at Gart’s jokes, even if they weren’t
funny, because he was a year older than the rest of the class,
bigger than all of them, and their salcon, their squad leader.
Gart had passed the rock test the previous year, then failed his
final exams.
Given an additional year to study and the leadership
position as class salcon, the academy expected him to succeed.
A wave of depression swept over Arken. If he failed to lift the
rock, he had no chance of beating Gart in a sparring match. He
was a head taller and stronger.
“Arken, lift the stone!” Lar’s tone turned angry. “Why are
you stalling?”
“Yes, sir.” Arken scanned the second-story classrooms a
hundred legs across the courtyard. Girls in the Queen’s
Trackers often visited the academy for training and, being
scouts, they had good eyes. He didn’t want them to see him
fail.
But no girls watched from the openings in the gray stone
walls. Even the tower guards weren’t looking, probably due to
midmeal and the mid-day heat leaving them sleepy.
Arken turned towards Tok, the name given the rock five
hundred years earlier when the test began. He’d never lifted a
stone this big in practice. Father would be so disappointed if he
failed; he’d worked so hard with him practicing swords to help
keep up with his classmates. He stepped next to the rock.
“Don’t forget the warrior’s creed,” Lar reminded him.
“Sir! Fear none in battle, nor death at sea, nor those who
wish to torment thee, with Kal in mind and sword held high,
fight until you win or die.”
“Good! Now win your fight with that rock,” Lar ordered.
Arken squatted and picked up red, courtyard clay, then
rubbed it in his palms to improve his grip. Waves of heat from
the mid-day sun shimmered off Tok. Years ago they had run
laps from their classroom across the courtyard to the rock and
back while singing war songs. He and his young classmates
would slap the hot stone for good luck and shout “Tok” on the
turn.
A lingering touch of the stone could leave the palms warm
from the heat. Today he had to be careful and lift the rock’s
cooler, shaded side because touching the warm side would
make him drop the stone.
Arken was the only commoner in his class. All the other
boys were sons of noble families. The king had granted a
request by Arken’s father, a commoner, to send Arken to the
academy. It was a reward for his father’s heroism in battle.
Arken had endured bad treatment and bullying at the hands
of the noblemen’s sons since the age of six because he wanted
to prove himself to his father and he yearned for a chance to
explore the world in the Sea Service.
Now all those years of abuse would only be worth it if he
lifted Tok and graduated.
A swordtooth’s scream split the air. The class turned as one
towards the sound coming from beyond the fort’s north wall.
The high-pitched tone dropped to a long, low rumble that made
Arken’s neck hairs stand up.
“Remain calm,” Lar ordered. “The swordtooth is far away. I
promise, if it draws close enough for the guards to kill, we’ll go
up on the wall and watch.”
The boys all talked at once about the swordtooth and
seemed to forget about Arken. He wiped sweat from his face
that had run down despite the gastag leather strap holding
back his long blonde hair. He felt grateful for the swordtooth
because it bought time to get his nerves under control.
The swordtooth cat was old and couldn’t hunt toth and ton,
so it had moved in close to the city walls to attack King’s
Harsemen when they patrolled outside the fort. Two dead
horses and riders made it essential that the swordtooth die. So
the guards had tethered a goat next to the south wall before
dawn to draw the cat within range.
The swordtooth screamed again, sending chills down
Arken’s spine. The cats grew to twenty feet long. Though
terrifying, they inspired him. They were proof of the vast,
dangerous world beyond the city walls awaiting his exploration.
“Begin, Arken,” Lar said.
“Fourteen … I’m old enough,” Arken whispered to himself.
He rubbed the loose clay from his hands and rose to extend a
hand from the top of the post to his chest, measuring the
height he’d have to lift Tok to his belly button. A slight
depression in the top center of the post would hold the rock,
but to lift and gently place it so as not to roll off was the
challenge.
“He’ll never lift it,” Gart whispered loud enough for all to
hear. “He’s too small.”
“Silence, Gart!” Lar entered the square and strode towards
Gart. “You’re a salcon! Friendly teasing is fine, but a class
leader should never undermine his men.” Lar jabbed his heavy
walking stick into the back of Gart’s calf where the armor didn’t
protect his legs, making the boy wince. A grimace crossed his
face. Crying out during punishment lengthened the beating so
Gart made no sound.
“Yes, sir! Sorry, sir!” Gart pulled his feet in tight under the
skirt of his white tunic to avoid another poke of Lar’s stick. His
lower lip quivered slightly despite his stony face and Arken
knew he’d been hurt by Lar’s blow and comment.
“Arken, lift that stone now!”
“Yes, sir.” Arken said, but the swordtooth screamed,
drowning out his reply.
“It’s getting closer!” Lar exclaimed. “Arken. Hurry and lift,
we want to see that swordtooth killed!”
“Yes, sir.” Arken felt grateful the big cat had diverted
attention for now he felt ready.
He squatted, put his chest on the stone, and reached
around with his arms so he could lock his fingers. He’d always
thought his barrel chest was an advantage; it gave him more
wind when he ran. But now his chest prevented his fingers
from touching. Arken turned his head to the left, brushing his
right cheek against the stone. The hot rock stung his flesh as
his straining fingers locked together. For once his too big hands
were an advantage and not an embarrassment.
He held his cheek off the hot rock as he pushed with his
legs. But the rock didn’t budge. It felt alive and its weight
fought him. He struggled to breathe, his chest restricted by the
rock’s pressure.
He tipped back on his heels and the rock popped off the
ground. A thrill ran through him. I’m going to do it! But when
he strained to rise, nothing happened. Impossible! So heavy!
He thought of quitting, but his fingers slipped and to his
surprise he fought to tighten his grip instead of letting go.
I can’t disappoint Father. Dear God Kal, grant me a birthday
wish, Arken prayed. Help me lift this rock.
He screamed and it startled some of the boys. He didn’t
care; the scream gave him strength and the rock edged higher.
His inner elbows burned from the strain of the weight. They felt
as if red-hot fire pokers were being thrust into them. His legs
trembled.
I am strong enough! He simply had to endure the pain.
“Almost there!” Lar had stooped over to see the post’s top.
Arken lurched forward with his right foot but the rock
thudded against the top of the post. He advanced his left leg,
then leaned back, trying to raise the rock the last little bit to
clear the post.
Pain shot across his low back. He recalled Lar’s stories
about boys injuring their spine by tipping backwards too far.
“One finger width higher!” Lar yelled.
The pain straightened his spine against his will.
“No, you’re going lower, lift it higher!” Lar waved his hands
as if he could somehow help Arken lift.
Arken strained his calf muscles, trying to lift his heels off
the ground and raise the rock that way. He rose to his tiptoes.
“You’re clear, push it forward, Arken!” Lar stepped closer.
A final push, he could feel it! He strained to go forward, but
suddenly, his calves gave way as if they belonged to someone
else, no longer willing to do his bidding. He felt his heels strike
the ground as the rock pushed them down.
“Too low.” Lar bent down. “Can’t you get it higher? You were
close.”
“I’ll try,” Arken grunted. He strained to raise himself back on
his toes, but nothing happened. He tried to pull with his arms,
but the rock lodged against his chest and wouldn’t budge.
Suddenly everything started to go dark. He focused his eyes on
some palm trees across the courtyard outside the fort’s main
gate.
The green palms swayed in the light breeze as they receded
down a long black tunnel. He blinked, but opened his eyes to
only a pinhole of light.
“Clear!” His intended yell came out a whisper. He felt the
stone slip from his grasp. A hand snatched him back by his
arm and the world left him.
“Are you alright?” Lar’s voice echoed as if he were in a cave.
“I think so.” Arken opened his eyes. A seagull hovered in the
blue sky high above Lar’s hollow-cheeked face and Arken
realized he was lying flat on his back.
“You’re sure?” Lar leaned in closer and blocked the gull’s
view.
“Yes.” Arken rose to his elbows. “What am I doing on the
ground?”
“You blacked out lifting the rock.” Lar said.
“I didn’t pass the test?” The memory came flooding back.
“You will next year.” Lar offered his hand. “You’re strong
enough, just not tall enough.”
“I know.” He felt proud he’d at least been strong enough to
lift it.
“Do you want to try your luck sparring with Gart today?”
“Yes, sir, I do.” Arken surprised himself with his answer as
he rose to his feet. He didn’t care if he lost, or even if he got
hurt sparring Gart. He wanted so badly to go on SeaJourney
this week. Life at sea called him.
“Good, I admire your spirit, Arken, though you’ll probably
lose.” Lar chuckled and shook his head.
“Maybe,” Arken rubbed his hands to knock off the clay, then
tried to brush the red clay from the back of his white tunic, but
with little success. Arlet, their Nander kitchen slave, would
scold him tonight for the dirty uniform.
The swordtooth screamed again, this time so loud it echoed
around the courtyard.
“It’s close to the wall!” Lar turned his gaze to the
guardhouse where soldiers were running for the chariot
mounted, giant crossbow. “Arken will fight you, Gart, after we
watch the guards kill the swordtooth. Lead your class to the
top of the wall.”
“Yes, sir, I accept Arken’s challenge. Cadets to me!” Gart
jogged for the wall.
The cadets saluted and were gone, like armored quails
busting out of grass in fear. Tanned legs carried lean bodies up
the stairs to the wall top in seconds.
Arken jogged two steps to Lar’s one despite Lar running with
his ceremonial robe gathered in his hands to prevent tripping
on it. Arken was grateful for some time to regain his strength
before sparring with Gart. It was his last chance to go to sea
this year. He had been so excited about beginning his officer’s
apprenticeship as a saldet, a junior officer. Only Gart stood in
his way.
About the Author

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Alex Paul is the award-winning author of Arken Freeth and the Adventure of the Neanderthals books series, and co-author of They’re Mine and I’m Keeping Them.
Alex Paul lives with his wife Laura Ross-Paul (co-author of They’re Mine and I’m Keeping Them), and two faithful dogs, in Portland Oregon in the winter, and the Oregon Coast in the summer.
He trained as an Industrial Engineer at Oregon State University, working in a variety of fields before settling into a career as a real estate developer.
Alex Paul has been a life long outdoors enthusiast, having a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw on for his epic fantasy Arken Freeth series.
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Max Dedge in the Time of the Uniborg

 

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Book One of The BreakThrough
Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Date Published: July 29, 2018
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The time of the uniborg was foretold on a distant planet.
So, what does it have to do Max Dedge, loose wheel and occasional detective?
This is just the start of the galactic event known as The BreakThrough, an event that could erase human existence, an event that could spell doom for planet Earth and possibly for history itself. It’s also an event that Max Dedge is blissfully unaware of at the moment.
And that’s a good thing. Because Max Dedge is about to find himself shot at on an alien world, fried by magic in Mexico, investigating corporate underhandedness in New Jersey, following leads on a vanished Rabbi in France, and being chased by certain death from one world to another and in between. At his side, the wizard Jracilla who has trained all her life for this day, thief and nemesis Arturo Delgado who is forever up to no good, and Sylvester… a very special phone.
Max Dedge in The Time of The Uniborg combines a unique fantasy experience with a mystery that binds two worlds and beyond, setting the stage for the epic adventure of The BreakThrough. The BreakThrough is set against a dynamically changing universe filled with characters who will helm their own titles.
Max Dedge in The Time of The Uniborg is just the first step into a universe of magic and time travel, rogues and wizards, space jalopies and portals to other worlds, taking you to the precipice of what you thought science fiction and fantasy could be and then throwing you over the side.
 
Excerpt
Later, Max lay in the dark, in the most comfortable bed in the shittiest little motel that still had two rooms in Las Cruces. The motel sat on a lot with an abandoned Carl’s Jr. and a burned-out gas station, but none of that had mattered. Max had been falling asleep at the wheel and knew he’d never make it as far as El Paso. After a large dinner of chili verde, beans, rice, and enough chips and salsa to choke a mariachi band, Max had wanted nothing more than to stop and sleep. Thanks to Sylvester, he did.
Max rested peacefully, digesting his huge dinner, waking only when the alarm on his Velocity 3200 rang loudly. He turned it off, wishing for a snooze button (but he had disabled that feature after hitting it about a hundred too many times). He looked around the darkened room and asked, “What the hell time is it?”
Sylvester replied, “My apologies, sir. The time is 4:17am.”
Max thought for a moment. “I didn’t set the alarm for 4:17am, Sylvester.”
“No, sir,” Sylvester replied. “You did, however, ask me to notify you should I find any connection between Chambéry and your current case.”
Max knew that Sylvester would have been working on that problem around the clock. With Sylvester’s processing speed, that was like putting an army of college interns onto a case of beer. Telling Sylvester to let him know when he found something, without specifying when that was appropriate, was Max’s fault.
Max sank back into the soft, sinking mattress and sighed. “Okay, Sylvester. What did you find?”
“There is some historical evidence, sir, that the Tretonians may be distantly related to the people of Chambéry,” Sylvester told him.
And Max’s eyes opened in the dark. He’d been hoping for a connection to the bombs in San Francisco, to the gun in Leodinym, to the clock in Pentress, but…“Sylvester? What the hell are you talking about?”
Sylvester replied with an understanding, “The story is rather complicated, sir. If you would prefer, I can tell you in the morning.”
Max wouldn’t hear of it. “You’re not going to tell me you found Tretonians in France and not explain it,” he growled.
Sylvester hesitated. “That isn’t exactly what I was reporting, sir.”
Max practically jumped from the bed. “Just tell me the story!”
About the Author


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Author and occasional philosopher and monologist, Ken La Salle’s passion is intense humor, meaningful drama, and finding answers to the questions that define our lives. Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue collar roots, which have given his writing a progressive and environmentalist view. You can find a growing number of his books and performances available online. Find out more about Ken on his website at http://www.kenlasalle.com.

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Bad Blood

 

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Urban Fantasy
Date Published: Sept 28th, 2018
Publisher: Inspired Ink ( Self published)


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A reluctant knight.
A magical descendent.
A race against time.
A freak accident thrusts Nakeeta Alva into a dangerous world of secrets, ancient spells, and a legacy she never wanted. The last in a magical line, she’s tasked with restoring the balance to a supernatural world poised for ruin.
Tasked with the care of their savior, Crewe’s main focus is survival. Used to giving orders, the knight isn’t prepared for the sassy witch’s mouth or her lure. The powerful woman reminded him of his humanity and challenged his beliefs. Keeping her safe is his mission, but the real danger may be losing his heart.
Together, they will save the world … or die trying.
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My Review:

Connecting with the main character is key for a reader to determine whether they will not only relate, but be invested in the story itself. Nakeeta has one of those personalities that really drew me in. She was witty, entertaining, and real.
The plot flowed smoothly and I didn’t feel like anything was forced or majorly missing anything or too rushed to catch up with the new world I was in.
About the Author

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Shyla Colt is the sassy USA Today Bestselling author of the popular series Kings of Chaos and Dueling Devils M.C. This genre-hoppers stories feature three of her favorite things: strong females, pop culture, and alternate routes to happy ever after. Listening to her Romani soul, she pens from the heart, allowing the dynamic characters, eccentric interests, and travels as a former flight attendant to take her down untraveled roads.
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, this mid-west girl is proud of her roots. She used her hometown and the surrounding areas as a backdrop for a number of books. So, if you’re a Buckeye, keep an eye out for familiar places.
As a full-time writer, stay at home mother, and wife, there’s never a dull moment in her household.
She weaves her tales in spare moments and the evenings with a cup of coffee or tea at her side and the characters in her head for company.
 
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Tracker

 

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Outcasts, Book 3
Sci-fi Romance
Publisher: Anything-but-Ordinary Books
Published: September 2018
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Xorran, a famed tracker, is sent to find two human females kidnapped by the Outcasts’ enemy. His search seems futile until he encounters Sara and a feisty battle cat cub. He’s fascinated by the tiny animal, but feels an immediate and powerful connection with the wisecracking human.
Sara is still angry about being brought to the Outcasts’ planet without her permission, yet her stubbornness is no match for “the pull”. As they work together to rescue her friend, their passion flares ever hotter. Can Xorran prove to Sara that he wants more than a torrid affair? Now that he’s found a potential mate, he will settle for nothing less than forever.
Other Books in the Outcasts Series:
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Heretic
Outcasts, Book 1
Publisher: Anything-but-Ordinary Books
Published: April 2018
Restless and embittered by an abusive past, Arton the Heretic finds himself in a battle of wills with Lily, a gorgeous geneticist. She holds the key to the future of his people, but she was brought to this savage world against her will and that’s an insult she’ll not soon forget. Their attraction is instantaneous and intense, yet each has valid reasons for mistrusting the other. He wants her, is consumed with the need to claim her, but he can’t focus on the future until he deals with the past.
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Marauder
Outcasts, Book 2
Publisher: Anything-but-Ordinary Books
Published: June 28, 2018
Rex Dravon, a notorious smuggler, is one of the Outcasts’ most important allies. Many of the Outcasts’ philosophies and approaches to life in general appeal to him, but he’s hesitant to commit to any cause. Hoping to entice Rex into committing, Arton the Heretic, tells Rex that he is genetically compatible with one of the “captive brides”, a feisty blonde named Thea Cline.
Thea is still enraged that she was dragged from Earth without her permission, and she’s recovering from a horrendous tragedy. She sneaks aboard the Marauder hoping to steal a weapon. Instead she’s confronted by the ship’s handsome commander. She knows to be wary of Rex because of his reputation, but she’s instantly, and powerfully, drawn to him. His offer to help her escape comes a little too quickly and she fears he has ulterior motives. Is he simply hoping to lure her into his bed—a fate she’s not sure she’d mind—or is his motivation more nefarious?
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Excerpt
Outcasts 3: Tracker
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Copyright © 2018 Cyndi Friberg
Slowly, he lowered his face, gaze boring into hers. Time paused, trapping her in the moment and narrowing reality to Xorran and her. His warm breath stirred against her lips, his scent slowly filling her nose. He was strong and handsome, smart and kind. And he offered security and a sense of belonging that she’d longed for all her life. Why was she so afraid of making the promise reality?
His lips pressed against her and she closed her eyes, blocking out thought and insecurity. He’d lit a fire in her body and now he was going to fan the flames until there was nothing left but ash. She only hoped that she would survive the inferno.
He pushed his arm back beneath her neck as his mouth caressed hers. As before, the kiss was slow and coaxing rather than harsh and demanding. He could be aggressive. No one rose through the ranks of any military without being ruthless, even lethal. But with her, he was gentle, patient.
Tired of denying her body what it needed so badly, she parted her lips and raised her hand to his face. Bristle roughened his jawline, but higher, along the crest of his cheekbone, his skin was warm and soft. She explored his shapes and textures while he traced her lips with the tip of his tongue. All the while their breaths mingled and mixed, making her head spin and her nipples tingle. Her heartbeat accelerated, amplifying the throb between her legs. She needed him there, filling the emptiness, stretching her core until she screamed with pleasure.
As if sensing her thoughts, his tongue pushed into her mouth, sliding along hers until his taste exploded along her taste buds, sending a fresh rush of desire all through her body. She groaned, hips canting, legs thrashing restlessly.
He slid his thumb along the collar of her uniform top, triggering the seam release. Cool air wafted across her breasts as he parted the sides, baring her to the waist. His hand soon followed, cupping, gently squeezing, and then teasing the nipples with the pad of his thumb or a careful pinch. She groaned into his mouth as darts of sensation zinged from the tips of her breasts to her clit. Desire rose, burning brighter as his skillful touch awakened her senses.
Eager to feel more of him, she drew his shirt from inside his pants. He wore the clingy pullover style many of the men favored. The fabric came free and quickly bunched below his arms. She tore her mouth away from his long enough to whisper, “Off.” She tugged on the shirt, illustrating what she wanted. He tore the garment off, obliging her with nearly violent haste, then his mouth recaptured hers.
She stroked his chest and shoulders, lingering over his arms, fascinated by the bunch and flex of his impressive muscles. All the Outcasts were lean and fit. Some were even more handsome than Xorran. But he was hers, hers to touch and taste, talk to and depend on. If she allowed his claim, they would share thoughts and emotions. There would be no lies, no pretense or deception. But she had to be willing to give him the same access to her mind. She had to be brave enough to believe his promises, and risk her heart.
Something deep inside her shifted, she softened, opened, and not just physically. She wanted to make love to him desperately, but she wanted more, she wanted that deeper connection, the absolute intimacy only experienced by bonded mates.
She returned his kiss with greater fervor, arching into his touch. “Oh Xorran, I want—”
“I know, love. I know.”
About the Author

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Passionate Sci-Fi with a touch of danger and a whole lot of sass. Cyndi has written about rock stars, vampires, and cat shifters, but she’s currently focused on outer space. Her stories are fun, fast-paced, and seriously hot. She has made the USA Today Top 100, and every book in the Battle Born series landed on Amazon’s Top 100. She is currently working on Outcasts, a spin-off series set in the Battle Born universe.
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