Guest Post: “The five essential elements of my modern-day fantasy series, THE TAROT SEQUENCE, as told in tarot card imagery” by K.D. Edwards

Guest Post

Meet K.D. Edwards

K.D. Edwards is the author of The Tarot Sequence urban fantasy series. The Hanged Man (PYR; December 17, 2019) is the follow-up to Edwards debut The Last Sun.

Edwards lives and writes in North Carolina, but has spent time in Massachusetts, Maine, Colorado, New Hampshire, Montana, and Washington. (Common theme until NC: Snow. So, so much snow.)

Mercifully short careers in food service, interactive television, corporate banking, retail management, and bariatric furniture has led to a much less short career in Higher Education.

Social Media Links:

Website: kd-edwards.com

Twitter: @KDEdwards_NC

The Guest Post.

The five essential elements of my modern-day fantasy series, THE TAROT SEQUENCE, as told in tarot card imagery.

  The World

Let’s start with the World card, one of the major arcana of the tarot deck. World-building is a massive part of The Tarot Sequence. I created a backdrop to my story that is unashamedly broad and deep; with elements both familiar and completely alien; strange yet approachable. You’ll see iPads and water hags; smart phones and thunder spirits; grocery stores and ghost ships. 

In my series, Atlantis had always existed, once invisible to the eyes of the world. When humanity reached out to space in the 1960s, they managed to finally pierce the illusions that had kept the island nation secret. Once revealed, Atlantis and humanity clashed, resulting in a World War with devastating consequences.

In the modern era, Atlanteans have fled their ruined home and relocated to Nantucket, an island off the coast of Massachusetts. Using powerful magic, the Arcana – the rulers of the city — translocated abandoned human ruins from across the earth and created a new, patchwork, world-class city. The city is now wealthy and safe, and still relatively isolated from the rest of the planet.

The true centers of power in New Atlantis are based on the tarot deck’s major arcana cards, such as the Sun, Death, the Tower, the Hierophant… The hero of my story is Rune Saint John, the last prince of the destroyed Sun Throne. He survived the fall of his court under the protection of his sometime-employer, Lord Tower; and lives now by taking on assignments too dangerous for the average citizen.

Rune lives with his lifelong bodyguard, Brand – a human bonded to him in the crib. 

And that? That’s the world around my story. I spent a great deal of time developing it. For every single detail I put in a book, there are likely 10 pages scratched in a handwritten binder. World-building is a huge part of my series’ identity.

    The Fool

The Fool is the card of a capering man. His is carefree and capricious; he is considered either the weakest or most strongest character in the major arcana class; and, designated the number “zero”, can come either at the very beginning or end of the story.

I chose this card to symbolize an element of my story because humor is one of the main pillars of my writing. I never considered myself a writer who could successfully use humor in a story; but, then again, I’d never created Brand until I started this story.

Brand is sarcastic, snarky, foul-mouthed, temperamental, and massively useful for trying to inject humor into my dialog. Because he shares a telepathic bond with Rune, Rune knows that all of Brand’s sharp wit comes from a place of true caring and love, which allows him to enjoy Brand as a performance and not an antagonism.

I think I succeeded, too. Of all the feedback I get, very little comes close to readers who comment on Brand, and what he brings to the novel.

  The Tower

The Tower is a card of secrets and betrayal. It’s ideal for spies and interrogators; espionage and mystery. In my story, Lord Tower is one of the wealthiest Arcana on the island, certainly one of the most powerful. He appears to have a great fondness for Rune; though readers comment often that they’re not sure whether he’s a good buy or bad guy.

I picked this because it’s a good card for an unreliable narrator. My story is told in first person, and Rune tends to be very engaging with the reader. He holds little back…..except for one thing. He is very cagey about describing what happened the night his court fell. He was hurt very, very badly; he was tortured and assaulted, and the trauma of that still infects every part of his life. But there are details he refuses to share with anyone around him.

As the author, I am very careful with this, because Rune is being unreliable. I’ve left breadcrumbs about this for two full novels. It’s interesting to see what people have guessed – especially on the Discord channel, where there’s an entire reader-created chatroom dedicated to spoilery guesses.

It’ll all come out in TAROT 3, which is the last novel in the first trilogy. After that, I’ll move onto a 3-book arc about the secrets being kept from Rune, rather than what he’s keeping from you. But I’d planned this arc from the start – before LAST SUN was even finished. I can’t wait to see what my readers think of the climax of it.

  The Three of Cups

I’m wandering outside the major arcana now. The 3 of Cups is a good card to denote community or found family. (Thank you to tarot author Jaymi Elflord for this suggestion!) Found family is the third pillar of my writing style – along with world-building and humor. 

There is so much toxicity in our world. From the moment our eyes open, to the moment they close, we’re hit with a steady stream of negative messaging. The news? Social media? Even people’s general impatience in driving on the road, or waiting in long lines. There’s a ton of good stuff, sure; but there are also a lot of frayed nerves in 2020, especially in the U.S.

So I write stories with lots of found family. Misfits who find a home; outcasts who find their people; and strong, noble characters who look over the whole motley collection. When my first novel began, Rune and Brand had each other to look out for. By the end of the second novel, Rune has a boyfriend; Rune and Brand have a minor teenager as their ward; and there are a handful of other strong but misplaced young people needing Rune’s protection. I’m trying to find the laughter and love in this. I want people to come back to TAROT 3 like they’re coming back to their own found family.

And in a way, that’s even been my experience as a published writer on social media. I have so many incredible readers. They share their stories with me. They share artwork inspired by New Atlantis. They make drink recipes base on the character, and cookie recipes, and create image boards. I am so damned lucky to have the support and attention of these amazing readers. They’ve become like a little family to me.

Time

Photo Credit: Alex W @blinkingkills
on Twitter

And last but not least? The most powerful card in my own major arcana pantheon: Time.

I’ve got 9 novels planned. I know what happens in each one. I know the major turning points; the successes; and the defeats. I know the very last scene, and the last thing Rune says to readers. I can’t wait to take this journey with my readers.

Blog Tour & Guest Post: Guardian

Blog Tour

warrior ebook BN

Decisions can haunt you.

Five cycles ago Y’keta’s fear of responsibility drove him into exile. Now, settled in a new village, he faces the same choice again.

The Utlaak horde is on the move. Destroying village after village in their search for the mysterious Lifebinder Crystal, and Siann, the young shaman who controls it.

Soon, they will find his village, and her.

On that day Y’keta must decide if he will risk losing everything he has come to love, or will he finally become what he was meant to be? The Guardian.

Book Links

Amazon

 

Guest Post

The most divisive, hurtful, downright skanky word in the English language isn’t hatred, or prejudice, or anger, it is much, much older and more basic than that. It is the word, them. . .

Coming from the old Norse word ‘theim’ its meaning is literally ‘of them’. The word epitomizes the plight of the other, the exile, the outsider. If you are ‘of them’ are not and can never be ‘of us.’

Every war that has ever been fought, every political movement that has sought gain at the expense of a minority of the population, every high school clique that turned someone’s difference into a reason for exclusion; all started with a ‘them.’ They are not us so its okay to demonize, persecute, tease or bully them.

So, if being ‘the other’ is such a downright nasty position to be stuffed into, why would I take a character and deliberately put them in that position? Force them into the situation of not belonging, not fitting in?

Well, one of the biggest things I try to create in my writing is the sense of connectedness between the writer and the characters. Although they live in an unreal world, I want readers to understand that my characters, even the bad ones, are real people who have been pushed outside their comfort zones and forced to become something new.

Managing that horrible balance between the need to be who you truly are and the risks of stepping out of that self-imposed isolation is something that everyone deals with at some point.

In Exile, Y’keta refuses to blindly follow the expectations of his elders. Because he won’t just shut his beak and be quiet, he is exiled and forced into living among the people of Esquialt knowing that revealing even a hint of who he really is could destroy him. He truly is different, more different than the people of the village can possibly imagine. Will revealing his true nature destroy his chance to find a home? Can he take that chance?

In Guardian, Siann faces a different kind of isolation as she is forced to deal with the darkness within her own nature. She has the power and responsibility she has always wanted but it’s out of control. The price for using her power is terribly high. Conversations stop as she walks by. The little children are frightened by the magic that echoes in her voice. She’s a stranger, a freak in her own home.

Can Y’keta accept his responsibility to the Village? Will Siann control the power within her before it kills again?

The decisions these two outsiders make will change the People’s lives forever.

Teaser

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Author Bio

Biopic

A mythmaker at heart, Sandra Hurst has been writing poetry, fantasy and science fiction since her school days in England. Hurst moved to Canada in 1980 and was deeply influenced by the wild lands and the indigenous cultures that surrounded her. Y’keta, her first full-length novel, is set in a mythical land, untouched by science or technology, an ancient world where legends walk and the Sky Road offers a way to the stars.

A member of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society, the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, and The Mythopoeic Society, Hurst works to build fantasy worlds that allow her readers to join her in exploring the depths of human interaction in a mythical game of ‘what if.’

Her first novel, Exile, was long-listed for the prestigious Aurora Award, for best Canadian fantasy novel (Young Adult) and the American-based RONE award for break out fantasy novel.

She now lives in Calgary, Alberta with her husband and son, both of whom she loves dearly, and has put up for sale on e-bay when their behaviour demanded it.

 

Author Links

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Guest Post: A Thoughtful Person’s Discussion of “The Queen of Xana”

Guest Post, Misc.

Meet Fred Pilcher.

Fred_Pilcher300.jpg

Fred Pilcher is a retired college physics teacher who knows from experience with his pupils that through nurturing, nearly all young people can become productive citizens. His great sadness is that in American society and in many other countries millions of underprivileged children are denied this nurturing. Both the children and their countries are poorer for losing what they could otherwise produce. As a scientist, Fred understands that critical thinking and following where the evidence leads are the only reliable ways to understand the real world.

Away from the real world of hard evidence, Fred reads science fiction and fantasy. His favorite childhood movie was the Walt Disney 1950 cartoon, Cinderella, and he greatly admires women who are both strong and compassionate. Fred brings together all of these ingredients in this story of a princess who becomes a wise and inspired queen with a personal mission to achieve productivity, prosperity, and happiness for all of her people.

Fred says “In describing her means to achieve her glorious dream, I have, through a series of adventures, presented numerous viewpoints of moral, educational, and political philosophy with which readers may agree or disagree. If these viewpoints stimulate vigorous discussion and argumentation, pro and con analysis, and the like, then this book will have achieved a useful place in the world of literature.”

Social Media Links:
https://twitter.com/thequeenofxana
https://www.facebook.com/thequeenofxana/

 

The Guest Post.

A THOUGHTFUL PERSON’S DISCUSSION OF “THE QUEEN OF XANA”

Since the dawn of civilization and of writing, people have contemplated what qualities a good leader must possess, and what constitutes a just and equitable society.  Starting with the earliest writings, people have also introduced elements of fantasy and the supernatural.  “The Queen of Xana,” set in the Middle Ages, is a different kind of story combining these ancient themes. Might the methods to achieve the worthy goal of prosperity for all in the Middle Ages also work in modern times? I invite you, the reader, to decide.

Fred Pilcher The Queen of Xana.png“The Queen of Xana,” an adult fantasy, not for children, is complete with a princess beautiful on both the inside and the outside, her fairy godmother, and an evil sorcerer.  But this is not the usual story of the handsome prince finding his beautiful princess. To save her people from the ravages of the sorcerer and become a magnificent queen, the princess must identify her handsome prince incognito in the crowd, and on her first try. She will not have a second chance, and, if she fails, she and all her people will be destroyed. Most readers probably believe she will succeed, and it is no spoiler to say that she does. But you will have to read the story to find out how. I believe you will find it heartwarming.

The princess becomes a queen, and marries her prince. As in most fairy stories, they are thereafter devoted to one another for life. They have frequent and fabulous sexual couplings. In a land in which promiscuity is apparently rampant, the queen and prince set a wholesome example of absolute fidelity and monogamy.

But this story is just beginning. The new young queen asserts her right to rule and inspire her people to create “the greatest prosperity the world has ever known, and to be shared by everyone.” Since the origin of the written word, authors have pondered the worthiness of the ruler to rule. Can she remain calm and rational when her country is in profound danger? Does she spend the resources of her country on the welfare of her people, or on extravagance for herself and wars of conquest? Can she identify people both honorable and capable to assist her in running her country? Does she listen to her people express their needs and respond positively to them? In all of these measures and more, the Queen of Xana through a series of adventures proves herself meritorious.

People are given great freedom to do whatever they do well, but abusing others is not allowed. Abusers are prevented from ever repeating their wrong acts. People should keep the fruits of their labor, but also be required to do useful work and not be allowed to become welfare parasites. The society of Xana is both gender neutral and age neutral. Talented children are valued by the queen.  On nearly every page there are allegories about what constitutes good government, good education, good service. These allegories may be controversial, and provoke argumentation and discussion.

People who admire strong women, like occasional sexual innuendos, and whose sympathies lie with the common people ahead of the fabulously wealthy, will find much to like in “The Queen of Xana.” Diehard conservatives probably won’t like it.

 

“The Queen of Xana” is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions at

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Queen-Xana-Fred-Pilcher/dp/0692988963

 

Blitz: Shadow’s Voice

Blog Blitz

 

Shadow’s Voice
Natalie Johanson
Publication date: January 2nd 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy

Rose Trewin is on the run. Pursued by memories of her father, she runs from city to city, seeking normalcy. But Rose can’t escape her past, or the magic running through her veins, the magic that allows her to slip through the shadows unnoticed. The magic her father once used to mold her into a mercenary sent to destroy his enemies.

Now her magic is growing and changing, becoming something new and untamable. Rose is unable to rest. Wolves wrapped in fog follow her relentlessly along the countryside. Desperate, she uses her magic to escape, but the shadows are pushing her towards the center of a conspiracy.

Now, her country teeters on the brink of a civil war as a Lord Governor gathers power against the king. An enemy, with magic similar to her own, emerges in the chaos of political intrigue.

Faced with a country at war and a king brought to his knees, Rose must accept who she is and harness her powers in order to save her country and herself.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Rose stretched her neck and sighed. the low setting sun was hot on her neck and sweat trickled down her back. She groaned and pushed away from the spinning wheel, dropping the bundle of wool back into the pile at her feet.

“Miss Trewin, you haven’t finished.”

She rolled her stiff shoulders and turned to the older, white haired woman. “No, ma’am. But the sun is setting and I’m hungry.” She dusted her lose skirts free from the wool fibers. “I’ll make it up tomorrow.”

The shopkeeper glowered at her but relented with a wave of her hand. “Fine then. Business has been slow anyway.”

“Thank you, Marg.”

Rose smiled softly and slipped past the gruff woman—the first to offer

Rose a job in this small town. She wasn’t a great seamstress or spinner, but she worked hard, and Marg wasn’t a cruel shop owner.

“Are you still staying at the inn?” Marg asked as she passed.

She tucked stray hair behind her ear. “Yes. It’s clean and not too expensive.”

Marg snorted softly at her. “You should look for a room somewhere else. There are plenty of people who would rent you a room. I even know of a small cottage or two near the woods.”

“Perhaps,” she said as she dusted off her skirts.

Rose looked up when her boss cackled at her. “You’ve been here nearly six weeks. Living in an inn can’t be enjoyable.”

“No, it is not but . . .” She trailed off. “Thank you again.”

Slipping outside, she wandered down the uneven cobblestone street toward the pub and inn. It was a small building, dingy and worn. The ceiling had a haze of smoke clinging to it, but it had decent food, mostly, and clean beds. It was a small town, smaller than she liked, but it seemed to suit her. The buildings were a ramshackle collection of stone and wood, many wedged next to each other as if the city grew too quickly.

Rose settled herself at a small table in the corner. “Dinner ma’am?”

She looked up at the tired barmaid and nodded. “Some ale as well, please.”

The barmaid quickly returned with a bowl of stew and a mug of ale. Rose sipped at the thin broth and poked at the chewy chunks of meat. She wrinkled her nose at it and pulled the mug of ale closer. Leaning back in her creaky chair, she watched the room.

Her view was interrupted by a man stopping in front of her table. “Yes?” Rose drawled and slowly dropped her hand closer to the dagger sheathed in her boot.

The thin man gestured to the empty chair across from her. “Might I join you for some conversation and a meal?”

She glanced at the stranger and looked him quickly up and down.

Worn and cracked boots, old but nice clothes, dirty face but clear eyes. Before she could shake her head no, he was dragging the chair around and sitting next to her, his back to the wall.

Rose raised an eyebrow at him as he settled in the chair and waved over the barmaid. “Yes, of course . . . help yourself,” she drawled and shifted so she could face him.

He snorted. “A horse makes for stale company after so long.” He turned to the woman. “Some stew and ale, please.”

She sipped her ale and watched him. “I’m Nico.”

“Rose.”

Nico gulped down half of his ale before stopping for air. “Have you lived here long?”

She clucked her tongue and finished off her ale. “Born and raised.” She stood from the rickety table. “Now, I must be off. Enjoy your stew.” Rose walked steadily and calmly toward the narrow stairway in the corner without looking back. She didn’t care for strangers and cared for questions even less, no matter where they came from. Let that traveler think she was born in this rotting little town and forget all about the strange girl he met in the tavern when he left.

Rose unlocked the door to her small room and slipped inside, locking it behind her. She walked to her narrow bed and pulled the dagger from each boot, dropping them onto the small table next to it. She slipped off the simple skirt of browns and reds and yanked off the constricting bodice. Rose climbed into bed, ignored the sounds of a tavern below her, and tried to sleep.

The night was restless, with the wind howling outside all night. Dreams of her father and life before made for a long night. When morning came, it was gray and cold. Rose looked at the sky from her small window and thought grimly how it fit her mood. She dressed quickly in more reds and browns before heading out of the inn for another day of tedious work. She liked the flashy bright colors of turquoise or green, but those stood out. She paused as she passed the small mirror hanging on the wall. Her hazel eyes and straight brown hair were simple. Too young to have wrinkles, but life didn’t care that she was barely in her second decade and there were small lines at the corners of her eyes. Rose loved bright colors when she was young. Now, reds and browns were her col- ors. They don’t stand out. She snorted at her reflection and left her room.

Rose pulled her long jacket closed against the wind. The walk from the inn to the shop was short but the wind was cold and hard. By the time she reached the shop door, she was half running. The bell dinged softly as Rose tried to smooth her hair back into place.

“Oh, hello dear.”

She gave up pulling her hair out of her face with a huff. “Nasty wind picking up, there better not be a storm coming.”

Marg snorted and turned the page in her ledger. “Oh, someone came looking for you after you left yesterday.”

She snapped her head up. “What?” Alarm made her insides twist. No one should be looking for her. No one should know to come here. Marg licked her thumb and turned another page. She spoke without bothering to look up, “Yes, tall man. Had quite a lot of black hair. He said he was an old friend of yours.”

Rose tried to swallow but her mouth had gone dry from fear. “What did you tell him?”

Marg finally looked up. “That you’d gone for the day.”

“Anything else?”

Marg frowned at her. “No, dear. What’s gotten into you?”

She rubbed her lips with her shaking fingers. “I need to run an errand. I’ll be back later. I’ll make up the missed work tonight.”

Marg frowned at her. “You only just got here, girl. What am I paying you for?”

“I’ll be back.” Rose turned on her heel and went back out into the wind. Her hair whipped around her face as she turned down the narrow alley between the drapery next door. Her light skirt wrapped around her legs in the wind. She took another turn and headed along the back of the buildings toward the inn.

“Morning, Flower.”

Rose jerked to a stop. She turned faced the speaker. “You know I hate that name.”

A tall man leaned against the wall, his dark hair hiding most of his face. She could never tell if it was to be sensual, to hide his face, or if he simply couldn’t control his messy locks.

“I thought I’d wait around for you.”

“Why are you here, Gavin? Have you finally found someone who will hire you?”

He leaned against the shop wall, trying to look relaxed, but Rose could see the strain in his neck and the clench of his jaw.

“I’m looking for better employ, if you must know. You, however, are a long way from home. Your father must be so worried.”

Rose pulled her hands out of her pockets and kept her arms lose at her sides. The wind pulled her hair from the loose braid and it whipped around her face. “I’m sure,” she drawled. “Is that what you’re going to do, Gavin? Rush back to him with news of my whereabouts, hope that lets you back into his fold? Do you think presenting me as a gift will get you work?”

He jerked away from the wall and grabbed her hard by the arm. “He’ll be mighty pleased to know your location. Might even pay me good coin for the information. And if he won’t, others will. You know they will.”

A quick, hard whirl freed her arm from Gavin’s grip. Before he could say more, she turned away. He shouted after her but she ignored him; keeping her back straight. She slipped in through the servant’s door near the stables and used their hallways to get up to her room. She locked the door behind her and let out a deep breath.

Her little room was barren: a small bed against one wall, a short rick- ety desk along the other. She had no decorations and her few personal items were still packed in her bag. If she were to leave, no one would remember she’d been here. Her spot at the small spinner shop would be easily filled.

Rose slumped onto her small bed. This was the farthest west she’d been, had even crossed the province borders into Amora and still her past found her. She’d been here too long already, and Gavin couldn’t be allowed to sell his news of her. She curled onto the bed, tucked the scratchy wool blanket around her, and set in to wait for the night.


Author Bio:

Natalie Johanson has been interested in writing and reading since she first held a pencil. What first began a short story for her own reading turned into a world with a story to tell the world. When her time isn’t being monopolized by her ferret, work as a police officer, running Dirty Dash races or reading she is writing.

Check out Natalie’s website, nataliejohanson.com, for news, updates and more.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook

 

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Guest Post: “A Howling Good Time”

Guest Post

Meet Katherine McIntyre.

Strong women. Strong words.

Katherine McIntyre is a feisty chick with a big attitude despite her short stature. She writes stories featuring snarky women, ragtag crews, and men with bad attitudes—high chance for a passionate speech thrown into the mix. As an eternal geek and tomboy who’s always stepped to her own beat, she’s made it her mission to write stories that represent the broad spectrum of people out there, from different cultures and races to all varieties of men and women. Easily distracted by cats and sugar.

Author Links:
https://katherine-mcintyre.com/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6473654.Katherine_McIntyre
https://www.facebook.com/kmcintyreauthor/
https://twitter.com/pixierants
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1816179461992109/
https://www.amazon.com/Katherine-McIntyre/e/B00J8U4VNU

 

The Guest Post.

A Howling Good Time

 

One of the best parts in writing shifter stories and characters is getting to choose their animal counterparts. Out of all of the predatory animals and even prey to choose from, the most common is the wolf. And why not? Werewolves have so much lore behind them, and the mythical creatures have been told a retold a thousand times over in different shades and variations.

When I sat down to work on my shifter series, while I included other animal shifters in the mix, the predominant pack I focused on was a wolf one. The best part of being able to research wolves for me is that there’s a wolf sanctuary under an hour from where I live. What better excuse to observe their behavior?

The Wolf Sanctuary of PA does full moon tours once a month at night, which I love to go to as they’re a great source of information, and it’s so much fun to see the wolves. One of the first things I was initially surprised by was the size of wolves—I always imagined them as far larger, but their deadliness comes more from their hunting abilities and the force of their bite rather than sheer size. While there were varying sizes, a lot of them ended up being more lean than bulky.

The other fascinating aspect of wolves is the fact that they don’t actually howl at the moon, which is a common myth that’s been extended into werewolf territory. The nights of the full moon are when there’s the most light visible to hunt, so they howl because they’re calling to each other to signal a kill. The benefit of going to the tour isn’t just the information though. The experience of actually hearing a wolf howl is beautiful, especially when they start calling back to one another.

After watching the wolves interact, it’s easy to appropriate an almost human element to their affections and attachments to one another, which is probably why wolves work so well for shifter stories. You have these hunters who live in communities like humans do, all while being some of the most ferocious predators in the woods.

Yet, the biggest challenge when approaching something that’s been done frequently—werewolves, wolf shifters, etc, is adding a unique spin. That’s where some in-depth worldbuilding comes in. When I was originally planning out the series, I had the garden variety shifters where they can transform from human to beast at will. However, I needed something more to really establish what the main conflict would be beyond simple pack infighting.

In came the shamans. By integrating a different, magical element into the universe, I was able to really expand what the wolves could do and where the shifters first came into being. On top of that, it allowed for Tribe members, the shifter governing force, who were imbued with the Great Spirits of the original shifters created by the shamans. From these basic building blocks erupted an entire series worth of conflict, and the ability to really set these wolf shifters apart.

So when you’re sitting down to work on a shifter story or gearing up to read a new one, pay close attention to the animal choices, because oftentimes, they add an entire other layer to the book.

 

Book Info.

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Sierra and Dax’s alliance is already rocky. He’s a cocky wiseass, and she doesn’t put up with bullshit. So, when a mating bond appears between them, it threatens to send them both running.

Sierra Kanoska fought hard for her position as wolf alpha of the Red Rock pack, and intruders in her territory receive the full brunt of what her claws, fangs and smarts can accomplish. So, when Dax Williams, de facto alpha of the Silver Springs pack, pays an unwelcome visit, Sierra’s ready to toss him out. However, the pack elders sabotaged Dax’s fight for alpha against his brother, driving him from his lands. Sierra hates underhanded crap like that, so she agrees on an alliance.

As they work together, she witnesses an alpha who wants to do right by his pack, not just a cocky wiseass. Their growing attraction blazes hot, but the moment she and Dax lock lips, a mating bond emerges. Sierra sure as hell isn’t ready to share that intimate connection with a stranger and the thought of forever sends Dax running.

Before they can talk, the Tribe commanding the East Coast shifters arrives to settle the dispute. Dax and his brother’s punishment for their pack’s civil war is a free-for-all on their lands. Not only does he have to defeat his brother, but any challenger in the region. Despite Dax and Sierra’s initial resistance, his wily charm relaxes her control-freak tendencies while her steadfast support bolsters his strength. Yet every new opponent places their newfound relationship under siege—one misstep, one wrong blow in the ring, and Dax could leave in a bodybag.

Buy Links:
https://www.totallybound.com//forged-alliances
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35786011-forged-alliances
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HX64VXW/

 

Forged Alliances is out today!

Unexpected Outcomes Release Blitz

Blog Blitz, Misc.

Unexpected Outcomes An Angela Panther Mystery is the 4th book in the Angela Panther paranormal Mystery series.

Angela is a stay at home mom who just happens to be a psychic medium. Join Angela, her dead mother Fran, and her best friend, Mel as they help Atlanta are detective Aaron Banner solve crimes and cross over spirits in this women’s sleuth mystery.

 

unexpected outcomes cover.jpgLIES, SECRETS AND THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL.

When a frantic 911 call stumps a suburban Atlanta police department, psychic medium Angela Panther is asked to help. Without a body or a ransom note, the cops question whether there’s even a crime, but Angela’s certain the woman’s no longer among the living.

On the outside, the woman’s family seems run of the mill, but Angela’s sixth sense tells her something different, she just has to find the evidence—and the victim’s remains, to prove it.

With the help of her best friend, Mel, and Fran, her celestial super sleuth mother, she sets out to find it and stumbles into a web of dark, dangerous family secrets worse than she ever imagined.

When a desperate spirit forces Angela to act on impulse, she makes one wrong move and lands right in the path of the killer. Alone, and begging for her life, Angela realizes she might not make it out alive.

This book is the 4th in the series but as with all the others, can be read as a stand-alone.

 

Purchase link for Unexpected Outcomes: 

https://goo.gl/UfSCqr

 

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Meet the Author

Carolyn Ridder Aspenson currently calls the Atlanta suburbs home, but can’t rule out her other two homes, Indianapolis and somewhere in the Chicago suburbs.
She is old enough to share her empty nest with her husband, two dogs and two cats, all of which she strongly obsesses over repeatedly noted on her Facebook and Instagram accounts, and is working on forgiving her kids for growing up and leaving the nest. When she is not writing, editing, playing with her animals or contemplating forgiving her kids, she is sitting at Starbucks listening in on people’s conversations and taking notes, because that stuff is great for book ideas. (You have officially been warned!)
On a more professional note, she is the bestselling author of the Angela Panther cozy mystery series featuring Unfinished Business An Angela Panther Mystery, Unbreakable Bonds An Angela Panther Mystery and Uncharted Territory An Angela Panther Mystery, The Christmas Elf, An Angela Panther Holiday Short, The Ghosts, An Angela Panther Holiday Short, The Inn At Laurel Creek, a contemporary romance novella, Santa’s Gift, a Cumming Christmas Novella and 8 To Lose The Weight, a lifestyle eating program. Carolyn is also a freelance writer and editor with Literati Editing. For more information, visit http://carolynridderaspenson.com

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Email: carolyn@carolynridderaspenson.com

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CHAPTER ONE SAMPLE:

Chapter One

“I CAN’T BELIEVE I’m gonna die. Please, no. Why are you shooting at us?”

I pulled the trigger and watched as the bullet raced through the air, smacking my best friend in the center of her chest.

I bolted upright; sweat dripping from my forehead, tears streaming down my cheeks, my heart beating faster than ever. I’d just dreamed I’d shot my best friend, my best friend. I mumbled under my breath. It’s just a dream, just a dream.

My husband Jake rolled over and rubbed my leg. “You okay, babe?”

I lay down and snuggled into him. “Another nightmare. I shot Mel.”

He wrapped his arms around me and squeezed. “We both know that would never happen. It was just a dream. Don’t let it upset you.”

I glanced at the clock. It was four AM, and I knew I wouldn’t fall back asleep, so I kissed Jake and got up for the day, resigned to the fact that I’d be exhausted before nightfall. I shuffled to the bathroom, closed the double doors, and flipped on the light. My eyes sunk like anchors in the blue and black pits swelling below them. Sleep eluded me most nights, and the nights I did catch a few z’s contained restless and fitful slumber, and it showed.

Downstairs, I made a fresh pot of coffee, and while waiting for it to finish, replayed the dream in my head. Nothing was clear except Mel. Fuzzy images of gravel and trees flashed briefly in my head, but their pictures remained too blurred and indistinct to identify with any clarity. My gift allowed me to communicate with the dead, not predict the future, and half of me thought the dream meant nothing. The other half though, threw red flags up all over the kitchen, practically screaming “Danger, Will Robinson”, like that old TV show. That half knew the Universe didn’t have a rulebook, and the fear of what it could mean crushed my heart like a ton of bricks. Six months ago I couldn’t feel what a ghost felt, but that had changed, so I knew endless possibilities existed, and that scared the bejesus out of me. I powered on my phone and pounded out a text to Mel.

“I had a bad dream,” I wrote.

It didn’t take long for her to respond. That’s how best friends worked. No matter what time it was, they were there when we needed them. “Wow, me too. It was so strange. I shot you.”

My heart raced into the anaerobic zone. I snatched my keys from the key box, slipped on my tennis shoes and bolted out the door and into my car in the garage. Both of us having the same dream wasn’t a coincidence. It meant something, and I didn’t need my spidey sense to tell me that.

I sped fifteen miles over the speed limit and made it to Mel’s house in record time. I killed the lights as I drove into her driveway and sent her a text. “Don’t freak when the garage door opens; it’s just me.” I’d had the code for years, just like she had mine because best friends shared that kind of stuff.

She met me in her kitchen, her long black hair pulled into a bun, and her feet snuggled into the fuzzy teddy bear slippers I’d bought her for Christmas last year. “It’s a little early for coffee, doncha think?”

I couldn’t speak. I just flung myself at her and wrapped my arms around her neck, holding on for dear life.

“I…I…you’re cutting off my oxygen.”

I softened my vice-hold but didn’t let go.

She broke free and raised her eyebrows my direction. “I’m sorry I killed you, but it was just a dream.” She shuffled over to her coffee maker and grabbed the pot. “Flavored or regular?” Clearly, ending my life didn’t impact her as much as her death did me. Then again, she didn’t know I’d bumped her off, too. The double sucker punch would surely knock her out, or at least I’d hoped it would.

I sat at the counter feeling a bit embarrassed for freaking out, but based on the changes in my life over the past few years, I was justified. “Either is fine.”

She rinsed the pot and asked again why I’d showed up at such an ungodly hour.

I knew Mel’s dream increased the probability of the Universe giving me a message I didn’t want to hear. Was Mel going to die? Was I? If one of us did have a death date sooner rather than later, would it be by the respective best friend? I couldn’t imagine any situation where I’d kill my best friend, but then again, a few years ago I couldn’t imagine talking to dead people, and that was a daily occurrence.

She placed a fresh cup of coffee next to me. I held it to my nose and took in the spicy, fruity smell, stalling to answer her question.

“So, you gonna spill it, or are we gonna sit here and pretend you’re just here to hang out at butt-early o’clock?”

“How did you kill me?”

“Why? You do something that would cause me to carry through?” She giggled, but I didn’t think it was funny, and my expression told her so. Her smile flipped over. “Come on, what’s going on?”

“I dreamed I killed you, too.”

She dropped into the seat next to me. “Well, that’s alarming.”

I nodded.

“I shot you twice in the chest. Some place outside, but I’m not sure where. It was a quick dream.”

 

 

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