To Hunt a Sub by Jacqui Murray

THAS-small [16806]An unlikely team is America’s only chance

A brilliant Ph.D. candidate, a cynical ex-SEAL, and a quirky experimental robot team up against terrorists intent on stealing America’s most powerful nuclear weapon, the Trident submarine. By all measures, they are an unlikely trio–one believes in brawn, another brains, and the third is all geek. What no one realizes is this trio has a secret weapon: the wisdom of a formidable female who died two million years ago.


Preview Chapter from To Hunt a Sub

Three days before present

Ten hours and thirty-seven more minutes and the crew of the USS Hampton SSN 767 would be home. Seasoned submariners, the six-month covert intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance tour down the eastern seaboard of South America had gone flawlessly and silently. The Atlantic is a large ocean and the Los Angeles-class sub’s noise footprint small. Once the boat cleared Cuba, the crew would relax.
The Captain sipped the morning’s fourth cup of burned coffee when the hair on the back of his neck prickled. He glanced around, trying to identify what bothered him.
“Captain,” the Watchstander’s gaze bobbed from the Executive Officer to his watchstation. “Navigation is non-responsive.” Confusion tinged his words.
That was it. A change in the deck’s subtle rumble. Before the Captain could react to the impossibility that guidance controls had crashed, every monitor in the sub’s nerve center shut down.
He hadn’t seen this in twenty years of driving subs. All personnel made a hole as he rushed toward the Control Center, shadowed by the XO.
“Sonar readings?” The Captain called to Sonarman Second Class Andy Rikes in the compartment just aft of Control, barely larger than a broom closet but elbow-to-elbow with operators, fingers flying across keyboards and eyes locked onto screens that blinked a dull grey.
Rikes answered, “Negative, Sir. The hydrophones are working, but aren’t sending raw data, like someone pulled the plug and flushed everything out to sea. Trying to fix it.” His voice was hopeful.
If the screen had worked, Sonarman Rikes would have seen the ping, a final gasp before everything electrical collapsed.
The COB—Chief of Boat—interrupted, “Captain. Reactor Scram!” The sub’s nuclear power had evaporated. “Nuclear technicians isolating the problem. Battery back-up is being attempted.”
“Shift propulsion from main engines to EPM,” an auxiliary electric motor that could turn the propeller.
“Negative, Captain. Non-responsive.” Fear leaked from his voice.
The depth meter no longer worked, but the XO guessed that the sub was angled downward at 10 degrees
“Blow main ballast tanks!”
“No response, Captain.”
“How deep is the ocean floor in this sector of the Atlantic?”
The Sonarman answered, “It varies between 1,000 and 16,000”
16,000 feet was well below the sub’s crush depth.
“There are seamounts and ridges spread throughout. We could get lucky and land on one. Or not.”
“Inform US Strategic Command of our situation.”
“Sir, comms are down.”
“Release the message buoy,” though all that told the world was they were in trouble. It could quickly drift miles from their position.
The Captain continued, voice calm, face showing none of the worry that filled his thoughts, “I want all department heads and Chief Petty Officers in front of me in five minutes. I want the status on every system they own and operate. Wake up whoever you need to.” He had a bad feeling about this.

“Gentlemen, solutions.” The Captain looked first at XO, then COB and finally NAV, the Navigation Officer who turned to the senior chief of navigation.
“It’s like an electromagnetic pulse hit us, which can’t happen underwater…” then he shrugged as though to say, I have no idea, Sir.
They practiced drills for every sort of emergency, but not this one. No one considered a complete electrical shutdown possible.
“We’re checking everything, but nothing is wrong. It just won’t work.”
“Where’s CHENG?” The Chief of Engineering.
“Troubleshooting, Sir.” COB’s voice was efficient, but tense.
The Captain didn’t wait. “Condition Alpha. Full quiet—voices whispers, all silent, no movement not critical. Defcon 2,” the second-highest peacetime alert level.
No one knew who their enemy was or why they were under attack, but they had one and they were.
“XO, get lanterns up here.”

Within an hour, the massive warship had settled to the ocean floor like the carcass of a dead whale. It teetered atop an ocean ridge, listing starboard against a jagged seamount, and the gentle push of an underwater current from a cliff that plunged into a murky darkness. Every watertight door was closed. As per protocol, the oxygen level was reduced to suppress a fire hazard. Without climate controls, the interior had already reached 60 degrees. It would continue dipping as it strove to match the bone-chilling surrounding water temperature. Hypothermia would soon be a problem. For now, though, they were alive.
The hull groaned as though twisted by a giant squid.
The Captain peered into the gloomy waters that surrounded the sub. “Thoughts, XO?”
“We’re stable for the moment, barring a strong underwater current.”
Based on the creaking protests from the hull, they were at or beyond crush depth. Any deeper, the outside pressure would snap the HY-80 outer hull and sea water would roar into the living compartments. Everyone would be dead in seconds, either drowned or impaled on the ragged remains of the sub by a force in excess of a Category Five hurricane.
“We’re beyond the depth of the Steinke Hoods,” escape equipment that included full body suits, thermal protection, and a life raft. Budget cuts had eliminated funding for more advanced solutions.
XO pointed toward a darker expanse of black just yards from the sub. “No telling how deep that crevice is.”
“Gather the crew in the Forward compartment. Seal all other compartments. Ration water. Start O2 candles when levels reach 50% normal. Did the message buoy launch?”
“Yes, sir.”
That was a relief. The Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) deployed in emergencies from shore couldn’t assist if it didn’t know they needed help.


Quote from author:

What sets this story apart from other thrillers is the edgy science used to build the drama, the creative thinking that unravels the deadly plot, and the captivating prehistoric female who unwittingly becomes the guide and mentor to Kalian Delamagente as she struggles to stop a madman from destroying her life.

Book information:
Title and author: To Hunt a Sub by J. Murray
Release Date: August 15, 2016 by Structured Learning
Genre: Thriller
Cover by: Paper and Sage
..
Available at:
Kindle August 15th

Purchase Link

jmm pic [16808]

Author bio:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

Author Spotlight: PS Bartlett

It’s my pleasure to introduce PS Bartlett and her series – The Razor’s Adventures Pirate Tales. Below you will find details on the series, more information about Peggy, and a sneak peak of Chapter One from Jaded Tides. Enjoy!

The Razor’s Adventures Pirate Tales: The Series to Date

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00047]
IVORY DAWN: Prequel Novella
Ivory Shepard didn’t want to be a pirate when she grew up but she didn’t plan on being orphaned and alone at thirteen with her three cousins either.
After a Spanish raid in Charles Towne left them with nothing, Ivory held her cousins together, trained them to fight for their lives and led them to a life of quiet refuge on the banks of the Ashley River. Believing they were out of reach of the hands of unscrupulous men, they found life on the farm a tolerable substitute for the traditional alternatives life would force onto them—until the night the pirates showed up.
Unfortunately for the pirates, these handy young women were ready, and they weren’t going anywhere without a fight.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00070]DEMONS & PEARLS: Book One
Had I known the repercussions of murdering the captain of a pirate ship, I may have taken the time necessary to rethink the act. As if I’ve ever had a choice that didn’t involve a fight or at the very least, defending myself against some man, hell bent on destroying me or my kin.
All we wanted was our freedom. All we found were demons disguised as men.
A woman pirate needs friends, big strong male friends, to survive in this unforgiving land of thieves and murderers—at least until she gets on her feet. Of course, trying to find one person you can trust is like finding an oyster with a perfect pearl in it—you have to break a few shells and get your hands dirty. We were lucky. I found the biggest, baddest and most honorable man in the Caribbean and he just happened to be in the pearl business.

Jaded Tides Front CoverJADED TIDES: Book Two
After finding love in the most unlikely of places, Ivory’s life appears to at last be falling into place. Having proven herself a force to be reckoned with, she has at last set sail for the first time as a pirate. The only problem is she’s a woman and must disguise herself in order to set foot on a ship. Being in love with her captain isn’t helping matters either and whole new set of obstacles are presenting themselves at every turn. Her brash style and tenacity, however, could prove to make her, her own worst enemy.
With a sword in her hand and her new found love at her side, Ivory Shepard is about to embark on a mission to rescue and return every young woman she can who has fallen prey to the jaded tides of the Caribbean sex trade. Armed with a secret log book she acquired from a pirate captain—who also happened to be an evil smuggler, she believes herself well prepared for the task. As she’s already learned the hard way, pirates always prove to be unpredictable and ruthless. Unfortunately for them, so is she.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00019]THE BLUE DIAMOND – THE RAZOR’S EDGE: Ten years in the future…if you like to read ahead.
Ivory Shepard didn’t want to be a pirate when she grew up but she didn’t plan on being orphaned and alone at thirteen with her three cousins either.
After a Spanish raid in Charles Towne left them with nothing, Ivory held her cousins together, trained them to fight for their lives and led them to a life of quiet refuge on the banks of the Ashley River. Out of reach of the hands of unscrupulous men, they found life on the farm a tolerable substitute for the traditional alternatives life would force onto them—until the night the pirates showed up.
Setting foot on that first pirate ship was nothing compared to the life of freedom and adventure awaiting them, once Ivory and the girls were through playing nice. Only one man believes he can stop her and he won’t need a ship full of guns to do it.
If it were only that easy…

Amber Wake
COMING DECEMBER 2015: AMBER WAKE: GABRIEL FALLING
Where do I begin? That’s a difficult question in and of itself but when your life is transformed in a matter of minutes into something else, do you begin when you’re born or when your life truly began?
I was born in London as Gabriel Wallace, a child of high society; although I was raised to appreciate everything that softly landed in my hand. I followed all the rules. I worked hard, studied hard and ended up a captain in the Royal Navy before my twenty-fifth birthday. Unfortunately, I saw the world through my own eyes, not the eyes of the crown and my vision was clear. I knew my duty. I knew my job. I also knew deep down, regardless of the loyalty my commission required, my stance was in opposition and it was but a matter of time before I’d be forced to stand alone.
Fortunately for me, my crew was loyal too and I had the full support of my closest friend and confidant as well. I didn’t know where I’d end up but I knew one thing for sure; I needed to get the hell out of England and thanks to them, I was taking my ship with me.

PS Bartlett Book Fair
Me and my fabulous pirate hat at the Baltimore Book Festival 9/25/15

I suppose it would be easy for me to just give the canned speech about myself in third person ( aka inside the backs of my books) but tonight, I’m actually in the mood to ramble on about myself…LUCKY YOU!

First, the canned speech:

P.S. (Peggy) has always had a love of books and writing. She also paints and draws and although writing takes up the majority of her free time by choice, she loves spending time with her friends and family.

Her first novel “Fireflies” was published in March of 2013 with GMTA Publishing and her second, “Hope From the Ocean” was published in March of 2014, also with GMTA.

As of March 2015, Peggy now independently publishes her own novels.

Peggy’s goal is to become a full time writer and spend the remainder of her days creating worlds, characters and stories that will carry on long after she’s written her last word.
Her motto is:
“I’m taking a fantastic voyage. Won’t you join me?”

A- Age: Seriously? Um…no.
B- Biggest Fear: Losing my loved ones.
C- Current Time: 8:29pm EST
D- Drink you last had: Coffee
E- Easiest Person To Talk to: My sister in law, Kim. We ride to work together every morning and ponder the universe.
F- Favorite Song: Right now, Go All the Way by the Raspberries. Something about that tune just makes me swoon.
G- Ghosts, are they real: Absolutely. Ask me sometime and I’ll elaborate.
H- Hometown: Baltimore, MD born and raised in the inner city.
I- In love with: My granddaughters.
K- Killed Someone: Only in my novels.
L- Last time you cried: Watching a video on Facebook. Sometimes those puppies and kittens are so damn cute!
M- Middle Name: Sue.
N- Number of siblings: 10. I’m number 11…yes, I’m serious. Unfortunately, there are only 5 of us left.
O- One Wish: To live long enough to see my grandchildren grow up.
P- Person who you last called: I just checked and it was my husband the other day.
Q- Question you’re always asked: How are you doing with the book thing?
R- Reason to smile: My grandbabies!
S- Song last sang: Fixer Upper from Frozen
T- Time you woke up: 6:50am
U- Underwear Color: Today? Beige
V- Vacation Destination: St Thomas.
W- Worst Habit: Grinding my teeth
X- X-Rays you’ve had: Recently, my right foot.
Y- Your favorite food: Japanese stir fry.
Z- Zodiac Sign: Aquariuuuuuuusssss….
How’s that? 🙂

Jaded Tides Front Cover

CHAPTER ONE – THRESHOLDS

When one finds themselves in a predicament where something they’ve longed for is finally in their grasp, it is customary for them to be grateful, thankful, and every other joyful emotion a living creature can feel. However, success itself is a predicament when you are standing with your arms full, without a free hand. That is precisely what I was feeling as I watched the Thunder Cay dipping forward until her bow was completely underwater. Within minutes, her stern rose up and it, too, vanished from view.
As I stood on the deck of the Demon Sea, surrounded by death, I was holding a life of my own in my hands for the first time, and I hadn’t stopped for a second to consider it. I wasn’t foolish enough to believe I was at the summit of anything but the first of a hundred mountains I’d yet to scale. As I bathed and dressed my crewmen’s injuries and drew that burning needle through wound after wound, a numbness from my newly acquired familiarity with the blood of battle grew within me. With every scream and shriek of agony, a cold shudder would shake me and keep me in motion. The inertia of constant stillness within me declared I’d crossed a threshold from which I could never go back.
I wanted to feel. I wanted to care. I wanted to cry or shout or perhaps even vomit, but there was nothing. Once my clothes were splattered and soaked with the blood of men I hardly knew for maybe the third or even the fifth time that morning, I reached a point where I could neither see it nor feel its sticky chill against my skin. My face went flat, and my voice was silenced, and somewhere a compartment in my brain opened up and collected it all until I was through. When the last man was laid in his hammock by late afternoon, I stood on the deck and washed all of them away with a bucket of water and soap, snuck away to the girls’ cabin, and changed my clothes as if nothing had happened.
They were visibly shaken, but silent as well. Yet I knew their silence was far different from mine. Theirs was sadness and regret. Theirs was exhaustion, disgust, and sympathy. I hadn’t seen them this way since the night of the pirate raid in Charles Towne, and as with that night, my next thought was that there had to be something on this ship in a bottle that would soothe me again and help me find my voice, as well as my spirit.
I found one alright, and it found me. I carried it close as I drug myself along the gangway in the shadows to my swaying bed. I stood there, looking at the two empty hammocks, and swallowed a long drink. Almost immediately, my insides felt warm and sweet, and I rushed it to my mouth again. I strained to hold my eyes steady and leaned against the beam that kept my bed suspended above the floor. I stared at the vacant place where hours before I’d smiled to myself while listening to River Watts’s voice. I was glad we took down Thunder Cay for what they did to River, and I’d have murdered every last one of them myself had we not.
My heavy eyes and vacant soul longed for sleep, and my hunger for revenge, sated with the peace of sweet vengeance, afforded me the right to rest my head. Then, all at once, a sadness came over me, and I slid myself into his hammock while clutching my cozy glass rum filled blanket and fell into a deep sleep.

We’d reached Port Royal by nightfall as Captain Rasmus Bergman predicted, and he found us a charming inn a few miles from the McCormack estate. It was all white and sat quietly on a hill, surrounded by a lovely garden. A stone pathway wrapped around from the front to a spacious courtyard. The house was home to a minister and his wife, who rented out the rooms to support their small parish on the estate.
Rasmus insisted that I stay there with the girls at night, but I spent the majority of my days on the Demon Sea with him, helping with the repairs to the ship and plotting our course to take down the filthy business of smuggling girls. When I’d been able to get a peek inside that book of Barclay’s, I was shocked at the number of young women, some as young as fourteen, whom these men were ferrying to islands throughout the Caribbean from as far away as America and even England. What they’d been doing was no different than a slave trade, and I was hell-bent on putting a stop to it, aside the man I loved.
Spending all of my time with Rasmus had turned my life from fear and uncertainty into a reason to breathe. Throughout our unorthodox courtship of swinging mallets and sanding deck boards, we’d grown to know everything about each other that two people who were planning a future together could, or should, know—at least, that’s what we believed. That comforting numbness the bloody battle had left me with had completely settled into its compartment in my mind, and I was able to keep it locked away most of the time, but in those hours I shared with him, I found the most peace.
He’d sworn not to lay a hand on me again until he made me his bride, which was extremely disappointing to me at first, but I trusted that he knew what was best. I put all of those swirling emotions to use through the sweat of hard work. I envied his restraint and thanked God for it, because at the time, I had none at all. Just watching him working on that ship shirtless, glistening in the sunlight or the rain, sent deep feelings of desire to places within me I longed for him to find. I wondered, though, if the idea of him making love to me only excited me until the realization that it would inevitably happen scared me to death.
Day in and day out, I’d rise before the sun, saddle my sweet horse, Peppi, and start off down the road to the wharf to meet Rasmus and the crew. My first job as a real sailor was sewing sails. I hated it. My fingertips were raw and had more holes in them than a sponge. I tried to use the leather gloves Rasmus had given me out of pity, but my hands swam in them, and they made things even worse. I never complained. I never even so much as winced as I drew that needle through and through. When I was finally done, the callouses had hardened until I knew I was pricked only when I saw the droplets of blood.
I was a young man named Razor in the eyes of the crew, and so far no one suspected otherwise. I was questioned once by one of the old crew we called Fin, as to why I didn’t sleep aboard the ship. He was one of Barclay’s old crew, and although he seemed decent enough, I still harbored doubts of any man who’d sailed with a captain like that. I wove a story that I had three sisters I had to watch over at night. He simply nodded and went on about his work. Since he liked to talk most of the time, I just listened.
On one occasion, he told me of how he missed his home back in Ireland, and his light brown eyes sparkled as he spoke. Lying became a way of life for me, and as long as I made the stories simple, they were easily recalled and repeated. Not speaking much at all, however, was much easier.
“Razor, if you’re finished with those sails, we can use some help sandin’ down these new starboard gunnels!” Captain Bergman shouted to me… but I was starving.
“Have we any time to eat, Captain?” I asked, shielding my eyes from the midday sun until he approached me and blocked it with his big silhouette.
He checked his pocket watch and turned his head to the sun and said, “Look at the hour. Your stomach must be set like a watch, Razor. Okay mates, take a break. Hawk’s got some grub for ye all below.”
“Thank ye, Captain,” I muttered and stood as I straightened my ragged clothes and started off to eat.
“Razor, I’d have a word with ye,” Rasmus said as he stepped in front of me.
“Aye, Captain?”
He waited a few moments until the deck was clear and then patted me firmly on the back. “I have to give ye credit, little Razor, you’ve really pulled your weight getting her seaworthy.”
“Oh, she’s more than seaworthy, sir, she’s a real gem. I’ll be proud to sail her with ye, Captain,” I said with a smile and a wink.
“She’s all but finished. Just a few more nails and a bit of paint, and she’ll be ready. I just want ye to know I saw ye and everything you’ve done to help. Now, get ye some grub before those sea dogs finish it off.” He looked down and that curl grew at the corner of his mouth. I could barely see it anymore since he’d grown his beard. His amber mustache draped almost completely over both his lips, but I always saw his smile in his eyes.
“That means the world to me, Captain.” I was beaming at him, and I nodded and started to go when I felt his palm press lightly against my chest through my vest and binding.
“Tonight, our cove?” he whispered aside to me from the corner of his mouth.
“Yes, or I’ll feed ye to the fish,” I said with a laugh. After months of strenuous labor, my body was hard and strong. I knew every inch of this vessel and could climb the ratlines faster than any other lad on the crew. Yes, it’s true, I raced them all. Of course, they cited my youth and wiry stature as an advantage, but to me, they could use any excuse they had and I’d still be the fastest. I was, however, so ready for her to be finished. I couldn’t wait to get to sea and start hunting, but I also wanted to get on with spending as much time as I possibly could with Rasmus before we sailed. The knowing that by dusk I’d be draped in his waiting arms made those long hot days worthwhile.
With every evening we spent watching the sun set and the moon rise, I could see his desire for me deepen. His touch was determined and less fearful of exploring me, and his kisses were wet and seething with hunger. Somehow though, he always managed to find his head and stop before shattering that vow he’d made to bits.
He spoke of how well I’d sewn his wound and encouraged me to learn the ways of doctoring, in hopes that would be my place aboard ship. Yet he always wandered back to his true wish, which was that I’d just set those thoughts aside and be his wife and the mother of his children.
“Razz,” I said as I peeled myself away from him and sat up from the blanket in the sand to breathe. “Sometimes, I wish we never had to leave this beach.”
He laid there for a few moments, finding his own breath, and then leaned upon an elbow. His blank expression worried me until at last he spoke, “What would you say if I told ye you’d never have to leave this cove if ye didn’t want to?”
“Well, what will we do, pitch a tent?” I sniped at him and folded my arms.
He rolled up and sat facing me and chuckled. “Do you honestly think for one moment I’d allow my wife to live in a tent?” He mimicked my actions and sat straight-backed and folded his arms as well. “What sort of man do ye think I am, lass?”
“Well, I…” I stammered and looked into his light blue eyes, and I knew what kind of man he was. I pressed my lips together to hold in a laugh and gave him a smirk.
“I was going to surprise ye, but there’s no surprising ye. Now that the repairs and such are close to being finished on the ship, I’ll be building ye a house of yer very own right here.”
“You’re going to do it, Razz?” I said, sitting up from where moments before I had laid back in his arms, as he spoke of our own little home.
“How can I not? I can’t keep carrying on this way with you forever. It isn’t healthy for a man to get all stirred up night after night and have to jump in the sea to cool off. Besides, I can’t be bringing my bride to a ship, now can I?” He laughed and pulled me back into his arms. “Our own little love nest, aye?” He pumped his bushy red eyebrows and winked with a devilish grin.
“How long will it take?” I asked him as I pushed a long lock of that glowing fire away from his face and behind his ear.
“I figure I’ll round up a bunch of the lads from the Demon, and with a little gold and rum…the rum at the end of the day of course…we could have it put together in a couple of weeks. Which reminds me, by the way,” he said as he sat forward and reached into the pouch on his belt. “Stand up for me now, lass. If I’m going to take this leap, I’m going to need your hand.”
“What is it?” I said as I climbed to my feet.
I watched as he stood up in front of me and took my hand. “I’ve never even come close to doing anything this brave, Ivory Shepard. So, if I promise to give ye my love, my loyalty, and my big body to take care of ye, all I ask is your promise not to steal my heart and run off with it.” He knelt down on one knee in the sand before me and slid onto my finger a simple, but beautiful, gold band with one small, perfect white pearl. The pearl was laid into the band as part of the ring, not set on top as most rings were.
“Wait, does this mean…” I paused.
“It means I must have lost my mind, but there’s not another woman alive I’d rather lose it for. Will ye be my wife today, tomorrow, and for as long as ye can stand me?” he asked as he raised his eyes to meet mine and then reached again into that pouch and slipped the most beautiful jade bracelet on my wrist and tied it closed. Between the smooth stones of my favorite color, which were each about a half an inch in diameter, were small seashells. I knew before he even told me that they were shells he himself had collected and hand-picked.
“I’m frightened. What if I’m a terrible wife and won’t make you happy? There’s no chance I’ll run away with your heart, but I’m afraid I’ll not handle it well. You know how I am, Razz,” I said as my eyes beamed at his beautiful gifts for only a second before I reached out and took his splendid face in my hands and waited for one of us to say something—anything.
“You are my pearl. I’ve loved you since the first time I saw you. My heart is as big as my fist, and that’s a lot of heart to handle. I believe it can take any punishment you might put it through. But the point is, it’s a risk I’m willing to take,” he finally said.
I fell to my knees in front of him and shouted, “Yes!” again and again as he kissed my face from cheek to cheek, then my forehead to my chin, and then he swept me on top of him on the blanket. His hands pulled me so tightly against him that I began to fear what our first time together might be like. I was afraid the passion he’d suppressed for so long would leave me as no more than a sail battered by a hurricane. I panicked when I felt his hands sliding inside the back of my breeches and gathering my shirt between his fingers. I gasped and jumped off of him.
“What are you doing?”
He leaned upon one elbow and smiled at me. “I believed we’d crossed a threshold tonight, lass. I suppose I should have asked for your permission before I tried to remove your clothes.” He laughed.
“I don’t want to ruin this perfect evening, but I’m not ready yet. I thought I was, but I’m not. I promise, when I am, you’ll be the first to know.”
I knew immediately by the time I was back at the Chandler’s estate and tucked away in my bed, I’d regret this decision. In the end, waiting until I knew the time was right far outweighed a momentary leap over a line in the sand that I could never cross back over. Making love had now become a decision I wanted to make with the greatest of care. Having thrown myself at him before, only to be rejected, I didn’t want to ever rush things with him again.
Rasmus, the ever-patient, ever-strong and constant, wouldn’t be shaken by this rejection. I’d seen him at his best and at his worst and every way in between, and never once did I see any mood or emotion concealed. He’d have never tried to manipulate me through false sentiment or behavior to make me feel I’d disappointed him. I’d thought for a moment I had when he sat up and fell silent, staring at the lagoon but almost instantly, I knew the guilt was mine to bear. He carried on as usual, snuffing out the fire and gathering our things to head for home. I turned and looked back at this beautiful setting and imagined our little cottage. It didn’t take long before I could walk through the door.

Within a week, our quaint home near the beach was well under construction. All of the repairs to the Demon were complete, and she was like a shiny piece of gold. Rasmus had made some modifications, but for the most part, after having been careened, cleaned, and all signs of battle now nothing more than a memory, she was the finest lady in the harbor and looking for a capable crew.
After the battle with the Thunder Cay, some of the younger hands moved on to find work on land. They weren’t pirates as we knew pirates to be, and they certainly weren’t looking for a fight. Rasmus was a captain, not a jailer, and he still to this day refused to name himself as such. Piracy wasn’t in his blood; it came by him through an injection of betrayal and fate, and a man this mighty and absolute wasn’t going to be defined by his circumstances forever.
Unfortunately, I believed he loved me too much to deny me anything I wanted…I wanted the sea. I wanted to explore every aspect of discovering where it would take me, and most of all, I wanted to bring down every name in Barclay’s secret catalog of shame, and I wanted to do it with the man I loved.
Rasmus held tightly to the book and kept it hidden away. I believed he was afraid I’d go running off alone after them, but that wasn’t going to happen. I struggled each day aboard the Demon not to seek it out and memorize every last ship and captain, as well as the young women. Nearly three months had passed since we took down Thunder Cay, and I was aching to sail and get on with our mission. Rasmus wanted us married as soon as possible and refused to set sail with me again until I agreed to the doctoring and keeping what was now my short, scruffy blond head and every other part of me concealed. He also reminded me that I was never to enter his cabin alone. Having not yet felt the man’s love upon my body, I easily agreed.


Thanks for stopping by, and to Peggy for sharing her work with us.

Mel

Shadow Stalker: Destiny Reconciled Part 2 (Episode 6)

Shadow-Stalker-ButtonIt’s Shadow Stalker time! Episode 6 is out today, which is the second part of Destiny Reconciled. You’ll find all the relevant links below. But first, Renee would like to share with you some of her writing experiences.

My Five Biggest Distractions While Writing

By Renee Scattergood

I have ADHD, so I am very easily distracted. Quite often I need to multitask just so I can distract myself from the distractions. Some are just unavoidable, though, and they seem to get to me regardless of what I do. Here are five of them:

1) My daughter. She is probably the biggest distraction I have. She has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and ADHD as well, and right now I am the only person she seems to want attention from. That means every time she needs something, even if her dad is available, she insists on coming to me. Anyone who knows about ASD knows it’s hard to sway a kid like this once they get something in their head, and you learn that they have a reason for it, even if you don’t know what that reason is (in other words, they’re not doing it to annoy you…in fact, that is something they would never consider doing). So I try to encourage her to go to her father, but if we start hitting the meltdown yellow zone, for now I have to just humor her and take care of things myself.

2) Outside noise. Any little bit of outside noise is a distraction to me, whether it’s a car going by, the ice cream truck, or kids playing. Generally I have to wait for the noise to pass before I can concentrate on writing again.

3) The clouds. Yes, the clouds. If I can see the clouds through my window while I’m writing, they will distract me. I love watching the clouds and the minute I see them passing by, I either have to turn myself around or allow myself to succumb to the momentary distraction until the cloud finally passes. Sometimes I get some good ideas while cloud watching, though, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

4) My husband. If he finds something cool on the internet he just has to show me right there and then. No, it cannot wait. I’ve even told him to email things to me and I’d look at it when I’m done, but no. It’s easier for him to just tell me about it right then. Sigh…

5) My own thoughts. You know, it just happened right after I wrote that. LOL My brain is always going a million miles a second, and it’s hard for me to keep up sometimes. Most of the time multitasking helps with this, but other times even that’s not enough. I might have other things on my mind, in which case I will need to take care of those things first, or I’ll never be able to write. Other times the story I’m working on plays through my head so quickly, I can’t keep up with the typing. I can end up three or four chapters ahead before I realize I’ve got to catch up with the actual writing.

There are other things that distract me as well, but these are my five biggest distractions. What things distract you from writing, or doing what you’re supposed to be doing?


Renee ScattergoodRenee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn’t start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing fantasy. She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker series, and she has also published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter.


Destiny Reconciled Part 2

Cathnor has been arrested by the Council of Elders and everything is out of control on the Dark Isle. As the future Foramar of the shadow stalkers, Kado is determined to return to his village and help his people, but he won’t risk Auren being captured.

On their way back to the village, Kado prepares Auren for the possibility that she may have to leave the Dark Isle without him, but will Auren have the strength and courage to leave her foster father behind and face her destiny alone?

Author Pages:

 Renee Writes: http://reneescattergood.com/

Renee’s Author Spotlight: http://reneesauthorspotlight.blogspot.com.au/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00NTJY1W2

Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/rscatts

Social Media:

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/reneescatts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReneeScatts

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/118427336236369690813/+ReneescattergoodAuthor/posts

Journey to Aviad by Allison D. Reid

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Following my interview with Allison on Tuesday, today I have details of her new release, Journey to Aviad, including a sneak preview.

GetAttachment (2}Threatening clouds and fierce storms besiege the city of Tyroc. More frequent and powerful than ordinary storms, young Elowyn, a weaver’s daughter living in the outskirts of the city, senses something disturbing and unnatural about them. She soon realizes that the storms are but a warning sign of much more frightening things yet to come.

Terrifying wolf-like creatures emerge from the depths of the wilderness at the bidding of a dark master. His name found only among the crumbling pages of ancient texts, the re-appearance of Alazoth and his Hounds is a dark omen for the people of Tyroc and beyond. Only legends remain of the heroes and prophets whose blood was shed ages ago to banish him into the abyss, which should have remained his prison for all time. How he has been released is a mystery, but all the old stories agree that death and destruction are sure to follow.

With the Hounds inching closer each day, the city of Tyroc caught up in religious and political turmoil, and her home life no less turbulent, Elowyn has nothing left to rely on but her meager courage and a budding faith in Aviad, the Creator. She and her sister, Morganne, set out on a remarkable journey that challenges everything they have ever known about themselves, the world, and the path that Aviad has laid out for them.


Preview – The Coin: Journey to Aviad

A lone man slipped cautiously through the quiet of the forest just before dawn. The sky was draped with a thick gray mantle of clouds, covering any waning moonlight that might have guided him along the treacherous path before him. The man lowered his face as he raised his hood against a sudden, heavy burst of rain. Only the most urgent of tasks could have brought him to the very edge of the Deep Woods at this early hour. But he was a man of honor, and he had made a solemn vow that would not be broken. His nerves and muscles were stretched taut as he made his way slowly forward. He prayed for an end to the rain, so that the sight of the sun’s first gentle rays might break through the clouds and ease his troubled mind. The rain diminished, but the darkness persisted.

A twig snapped somewhere in the underbrush behind him. The man lowered his hood and instinctively turned to peer back down the path. Cursing the darkness under his breath, he listened intently for a moment. Unable to see, and hearing nothing more, he continued on, walking at a faster pace than before. Another twig snapped, from somewhere to the right this time. He withdrew an arrow from his quiver and held it ready in his hand. His senses were all on edge now as he broke into a run, only to hear more sounds of movement from somewhere ahead of him. He was being surrounded, by what he could only guess. He veered to the left, off the footpath, running erratically in the direction of a small stream he had crossed earlier. Any hope to shake his pursuers was futile; the noose they had drawn around him had already tightened. The man was quickly surrounded by a pack of wild beasts, larger than wolves, with red glowing eyes and fiery breath. Leading them was an enormously tall figure with an antlered helm who carried a staff taller than himself.

The man raised his bow and released as many arrows as he could into their midst, unsure if such beasts could even be harmed by them. He screamed as they set upon him, their teeth and claws tearing through his leather armor and into his flesh. But there was more at stake than his life. That was the difficult message he had received in prayer the night before. Perhaps his demise was fated, yet there still might be hope if he could only get to the stream. In spite of the agonizing pain, he rammed his way through the beasts, pulling a small cloth-wrapped object from beneath his shirt. The rain stopped and the clouds thinned. His prayer had been answered after all. The sun had not yet risen, but the moon still shone bright enough to reflect off the surface of the stream. He could see it now, bubbling and flashing not much farther ahead of him.

The man dashed toward the stream with the last of his strength. He dropped his bow, and frantically unwrapped the object. He flung it into the rushing water just as the beasts brought him to the ground with such force that his helm flew off. For a brief instant the moonlight caught the object’s silvery surface, flashing so brightly that he was blinded by it. His last moment of awareness was filled with hope as the creatures around him shrieked in painful fear of its brilliance.


GetAttachment (3)Allison D. Reid was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Her love for medieval fantasy was sparked by the Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis, which fed both her imagination and her spiritual development.  When at the age of thirteen her family moved to Germany, her passion for medieval history and legend only increased, and she found herself captivated by the ancient towns and castles of Europe.  Allison returned to the United States to study art and writing at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.  She earned her B.A. under the tutelage of the well-renowned and prolific writer Andrew Salkey, a student of her other great inspiration, and the father of fantasy, J. R. R. Tolkien.  After graduating from Hampshire College, Allison moved to Connecticut.  There she got the opportunity to attend seminary and further explore her faith before returning to her home state of Ohio.  Allison now lives in the Miami Valley area with her husband and children.  She continues to work on her first published series while taking care of her family, editing for other independent writers, and managing a home business.

Purchase Links:

Amazon & Kindle 

BN 

Social Links:

www.weavingword.com (main website)

https://weavingword.wordpress.com/ (blog)

https://www.facebook.com/JourneytoAviad (JTA facebook page)

Author Interview – Allison D. Reid

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Interview with Allison D. Reid, author of Journey to Aviad

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When and why did you begin writing?

I guess I’ve been writing longer than I can even remember.  My grandmother once told me that I won a poetry contest in 1st grade.  I have no memory of that event, but somewhere I still have the signed picture book that was my prize.  My first actual memory of writing was much later on in grade school.  Our teacher would give us creative writing prompts, starting us off with a sentence that we had to develop into a whole story.  I was always fascinated by how many completely different stories were born of that one simple sentence.  I began to understand that there was no limit to what I could create, and made a point to push my imaginative boundaries any time I was given the chance.

What inspired you to write your first book?

In a way, insomnia was my first inspiration.  When I was a kid, I had a very difficult time going to sleep at night.  I didn’t have a TV in my room (not that there was cable back then anyway), and cell phones and tablets didn’t exist yet.  There was nothing to do but stare up at the darkened ceiling of my room, cuddle with my cat, and wait for the sand man to show up.  So I started a story in my head.  It was a fantasy story, with castles, swords, a tragic young prince, a brave princess, and of course, the evil nemesis one kingdom over.  Every night I added on a little more to the story, picking up at whatever point I had finally fallen asleep the night before.  It became quite an expansive tale, and I totally fell in love with the world and characters as though they were dear friends.  Eventually I outgrew the need to put myself to sleep in this way, but the story stayed with me.  I knew one day I would have to write it down.

The opportunity finally came in college.  I was working on a fine arts degree, but sucking up paint fumes in the art building was starting to lose its charm.  One spring break, instead of working on my art, I borrowed a friend’s computer and started working on that story.  Once I started, I found that I couldn’t stop.  Art was fun, in small doses, but writing was my real passion.  The book turned out to be way too long, and not very polished.  I think I only shared it with one kind-hearted friend in the dorms.  But the process of writing it made me realize that I had to change my major—fast!  I kept art in my studies, but shifted my major to writing and was incredibly glad that I did.  Writing is still my passion and I haven’t looked back.  One day I just might go back to that original story and do it right, but that probably won’t be anytime soon!

Do you have a specific writing style?

An editor once told me that I have an older, more European writing style, and I guess that could be true.  All I know is that I write from the heart, and I tend write visually.  I see with my characters’ eyes, feel what they feel, smell what they smell, and try to write those experiences down in a way that allows my readers do the same.  Some readers demand instant, heart-pounding action or they lose interest.  For me, every book is a journey.  While there is plenty of action along the way, I tend to start a little more slowly, giving readers a chance to orient themselves and get to know their traveling companions.  I want them to experience quiet beauty, joy, magic, and mystery in the midst of the twists and trials that make up an exciting plot.

How did you come up with the title?

When I was thinking about titles, I wanted to come up with something that had layers of meaning.  Journey to Aviad speaks of the physical and emotional journey my characters go through.  It also refers to their spiritual journey as they come to better understand God (Aviad in my fantasy world) and His plan for their lives.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

If he was still alive (and I could stand in his presence without throwing up or passing out), having C. S. Lewis as a mentor would be an absolute dream.  I would love to have been a fly on the wall of The Eagle and Child pub when the Inklings were meeting there.  Lewis’ writings have mentored me since the day I first picked up The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and felt God reaching out to me through the pages.  As a child I read that series over and over again, until the books literally fell apart in my hands and had to be replaced.  I moved from those to his less well-known sci-fi series, and eventually the Screwtape Letters and his apologetic writings.  I don’t write the way he does, but his works and thought have definitely been my greatest teacher.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The Christian elements of my story are allegorical.  Presenting Christian truths through the lens of a completely different world and historical timeline proved to be more challenging than I expected, and a huge responsibility.  Aside from that, the biggest difficulty was keeping track of all the little open threads of storyline that are yet to be resolved in other parts of the book series.

Do you suffer from writers block?

Occasionally.    But usually I find that I’m stuck because I’m emotionally, mentally, or even spiritually not ready to write the section I’m supposed to be working on.  Even when I’m not writing, I’m constantly working things out in the back of my mind.  When I’m finally ready, the words start flowing again, and I’m never disappointed that I waited.  Some people say that you should just force yourself forward, and write even if you are uninspired.  That doesn’t work for me at all.  Patience and thoughtfulness usually serve me better, and result in a higher quality of writing even if it takes longer.  While I’m waiting for my “writer’s block” to resolve itself, I work on other things; research, editing, character sketches, outlines, etc.

Do you use an outline or just write?

I always start the writing process with an outline of every chapter, though sometimes that outline changes as the story grows. The outline keeps my plot, and key details, on track.  It also allows me better oversight for the entire series, so that everything connects and flows as one continuous story.

What are you working on right now? Tell us your latest news.

Right now I am very close to finishing the next book in my series.  I am really excited by the prospect of publishing it this year—there are exciting new characters and plot twists just waiting to be revealed!

Do you start with character or plot?

I almost always start with characters, and with the vision of a world—usually someplace beautiful or intriguing.  Emotional investment up front is key.  If I don’t care about the people I’m with, or the place I’m in, what happens to them doesn’t really matter all that much.

In your words, what defines a good story?

Real, three-dimensional, lovable characters are a must.  A good story also has layers of meaning, so that you can read the same book more than once and catch different things each time.  There should be an element of beauty and hope, but also plenty of mystery and suspense.  I want to be moved by a story without being traumatized by it.  I don’t deal well with dark, graphic, or tragic stories—they haunt me without mercy to the point where I wish I had never read them.  The real world has enough trauma of its own!


GetAttachment (3)Allison D. Reid was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Her love for medieval fantasy was sparked by the Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis, which fed both her imagination and her spiritual development.  When at the age of thirteen her family moved to Germany, her passion for medieval history and legend only increased, and she found herself captivated by the ancient towns and castles of Europe.  Allison returned to the United States to study art and writing at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.  She earned her B.A. under the tutelage of the well-renowned and prolific writer Andrew Salkey, a student of her other great inspiration, and the father of fantasy, J. R. R. Tolkien.  After graduating from Hampshire College, Allison moved to Connecticut.  There she got the opportunity to attend seminary and further explore her faith before returning to her home state of Ohio.  Allison now lives in the Miami Valley area with her husband and children.  She continues to work on her first published series while taking care of her family, editing for other independent writers, and managing a home business.

Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/332244833642253/

Social Links:

www.weavingword.com (main website)

https://weavingword.wordpress.com/ (blog)

https://www.facebook.com/JourneytoAviad (JTA facebook page)


Join me on Sunday when I will have an excerpt from Journey to Aviad, and information on how you can get your copy.

Thanks for stopping by

Mel

Interview with Renee Scattergood – Demon Hunt Blitz Tour

In honour of Renee’s Blitz Tour weekend for Demon Hunt, I asked Renee a few questions about her writing habits. I’ve also added information about the prequel to her Shadow Stalker series, and all the necessary links.

Interview with Renee Scattergood

1. If you could choose a writing retreat anywhere in the world, where would it be? Describe it to us.

This isn’t something I’ve ever really thought about to be honest. My first impulse was to say Disney World, but I’d be too distracted there. But then… if I could stay in one of those nice resorts where I can just go for a massage or something to take a break from writing, that would be so nice. Really, though, I feel most relaxed near the ocean. Maybe I’d go somewhere I could get a beach house or cabin or something. That would be really nice. Then I could sit out under an umbrella sipping drinks with my laptop, and I could write in peace. Yeah, that would be nice.

2. Who would you take with you?

I would have to take my husband and daughter because I wouldn’t be able to relax if I had to be apart from them. I’d never get anything written. And it would be fine because they would be too busy playing on the beach together to distract me. 😀

3. Do you have an unusual writing habits, any superstitions about your process?

I think I’m too practical for superstitions, and I can’t think of any habits I might have. The only thing I can really think of, but I’m not sure if it qualifies as a habit, is that I need to multitask when I’m writing. I’ve got ADHD and I have a hard time focusing on any one thing at a time (unless I’m really tired). So I usually chat and do other things while I write.

4. All writers are familiar with the dangers of distraction – what kinds of things can lead you down the slippery slope?

Getting drawn into other people’s dramas. That’s something that tends to get me distracted, so I avoid it. Another thing that distracts me is stress. If I’m anxious about something or worried, I can’t focus on anything else until that one thing is sorted out.

5. Do you belong to any writing groups?

No, I’d say they’re another distraction for me. One reason is because there is always some kind of drama going on (at least in my experience). Also, when I ask for feedback on my work, I want honest feedback. I don’t want to hear how great my work is, and they seem content to just feed each others egos in those groups. I’m sure there are some good writing groups out there, but I haven’t found one yet where I feel as though I could benefit from it. Besides. I have some really great beta readers to get feedback from. 😀

6. Finally, tell us what’s next for you? What projects do you have in the pipeline?

I’m working on a few things actually. I’m in the process of writing the first Savior of the Serpent Isle novel. It’s called, The Galvadi Invasion, and is based on the events of the first three episodes of the Shadow Stalker series. The only difference is, this series is going to be written in third person and it will show what’s going on within the entire Serpent Isles during this time, rather than focusing on Auren’s story. The POV characters for this one will be Kado, Auren, Shai (Kado’s daughter), Deakan (Auren’s friend from Episode 1), Drevin, and Makari (Drevin’s son).

Later this year I will be working on a stand-alone-with-the-possibility-of-a-sequel novel called The Four, which is a story about a girl who gets caught up in the world of shape-shifters. The shape-shifters in this story are mainly evil, with the power to control the minds of humans, but The Four is an organization started by a group of shape-shifters who feel it’s wrong to enslave humans in this way, so they fight against their own kind to protect humans. But imagine what could happen if one of The Four falls in love with a normal human girl who doesn’t love him back? 😉

I’m also working on planning another series that I will likely start writing next year. I don’t have characters or plot worked out yet. It’s just an idea that popped into my head that I’m playing with, but it involved a society where magic users rule and non-magic users are little more than peasants or slaves. Of course there’s more to it at this point, but I don’t want to give too much away, yet.


Demon HuntAuren longs for adventure and a break from her tedious life on Appolia. It’s the start of summer, and she is looking forward to her yearly camping trip with her foster father, Kado. She believes these trips are for fun, but when they arrive on Luten Isle, Kado informs her that she is a shadow stalker, and she is in training.

One morning, Auren decides to take her training into her own hands. She only means to practice seeing the veil to the shadow world, the world of the shadow people and the source of their power. Instead, she opens the veil releasing a demon, a guardian of the shadow world, into the physical world.

With the deadly beast loose, she and Kado don’t have long to hunt it down and return it to where it belongs, or many innocent people could die.

Createspace: Paperback

Kindle: Kindle
Smashwords.com:Smashwords.com

Renee ScattergoodBio:

Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn’t start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing high fantasy, and has recently began publishing her first series, Shadow Stalker. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter.

Links:

Shadow Stalker Double Feature Tour – Spotlighting Episode 5

SSE5 Cover JPGToday is all about Shadow Stalker: Episode 5. I’ll begin with a review, and lead into a special character interview. Kathryn Jenkins from DKC pinned Drevin down for us, though I’m told he was reluctant!

Destiny Reconciled Part One: Review

I enjoy two-part episodes because it’s a sure thing there will plenty of tension and an ending that will make you want to shake your fist at the screen (it still works – I read the book on my computer!).

In the end it was the emotions evoked in this episode that had me by the throat. It opened with Auren and Etan being led back to the village to face their punishment. In Episode 4 the pair were found in a compromising position, by Kado no less! Since they were forbidden to see each other, and Etan had been banished, you can imagine that didn’t go down too well. The worst part, I think, and the part which held the biggest emotional impact, was the fact Auren broke her connection to Kado in the process. His sense of betrayal was heart-breaking, and Renee conveyed this really well.

Following Auren’s punishment, Kado led her from the village to continue her training. The ensuing scenes were intense, and as they worked out their differences, the sorrow and regret all but leapt from the page. As if that wasn’t enough, Auren’s training kicked up a gear and she found herself face to face with the deadly Igwangala tree in all its carnivorous glory. I shudder just thinking about it – the descriptions were superb.

The cliff-hanger was totally unexpected, and after such a fraught episode, I think I need the time to recover until Part 2!

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Purchase links: Destiny Reconciled: Part One

Character Interview with Drevin from the Shadow Stalker Series:

Hello Drevin. Thank you for stopping by!

*Drevin nods*

I’m sure Renee’s readers are looking forward to getting to know you.

*wry grin* I’m sure.

Why don’t we get started then?

 Lets.

Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?

I was born on the Dark Isle. My life there was great until I found out the Foramar had done a horrible thing to my parents. I had grown up believing they were dead, but it turned out they had been forced apart because they had mated against the will of the shadow people.

Is it true that the Foramar spared your life when it was well within his rights to kill you when you were born?

It was the only sane thing he’d done as the Foramar.

I see. So is that why you keep him prisoner?

I keep him prisoner because he would unleash an unspeakable horror on our world just to spare his child.

But sparing you was okay.

*icy glare*

Okay, moving on. Did you have many friends growing up?

I did, and they are still my friends today.

Oh? Who are they?

*laughs* Kado could tell you. He watches them like criminals and believes they don’t know.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned in your life?

Trust no one.

That seems to be a pretty lonely view. Haven’t you ever been in love?

I do not need to get tangled in emotional affairs to have women. As the emperor of a great nation, they flock to me.

I see. And it doesn’t bother them that you do not love them?

They feel honored just to be with me.

You are very driven to capture and kill the delohi-saqu. What are your plans for the Serpent Isles once you’ve achieved that goal?

I have many plans that I will not speak openly about. You never know who is listening.

Of course, but wouldn’t you like to be able to just relax and maybe go on vacation?

There is no time for such trivial things.

Well Drevin, that’s all we have time for. Thank you for joining us. It’s been…interesting.

I’m sure it has. Be sure your readers understand that siding with the delohi-saqu is dangerous. Don’t be fooled by her innocent appearance or one day she may enslave your world too.

Of course, I’ll let them know.

See that you do.

***

Renee ScattergoodRenee Scattergood, author of the high fantasy series, Shadow Stalker, lives in Australia with her husband and daughter. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter.

Shadow Stalker Double Feature Tour – A guest post by Renee Scattergood

On Thursday I provided a review of Demon Hunt by Renee Scattergood as part of her double feature tour, organised by Dragon Knight Chronicles. The final day of the tour, which takes place on Tuesday the 6th, will be dedicated to the next episode of the Shadow Stalker series, so you can expect another review from me.

Today Renee joins us for a guest post, in which she shares her experiences, and her hopes for the coming year. I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing her the very best of luck.

demon hunt banner

My 2015 New Year’s Resolution

By Renee Scattergood

I know a lot of people aren’t big on New Year’s Resolutions, but I always like to have at least one goal I set to accomplish throughout the year, so when the next new year rolls around, I have something to reflect on and hopefully be proud of.

Last year, my goal was to overcome my fears that were keeping me from getting something written and published. I knew writing an entire novel would be hard for me. I’m a perfectionist, and I had a bad habit of loving my work until I got close to the end then scrapping it. Plus I was always overly concerned about how to deal with people once they started reading my work. I didn’t expect everyone would like it, so I wasn’t worried about that, but I’m a very introverted person and I have a hard time with socializing with people.

So about half way into the year, I decided to try writing and publishing in smaller chunks. That’s how I came up with the idea of writing the Shadow Stalker episodes. It was much easier for me to write shorter pieces and get them published, taking baby steps, so to speak. When I published the first episode it was like a dam breaking, and I’ve been so excited about writing since then. I feel ready to move on to bigger and better things.

Which brings me to my 2015 New Year’s Resolution! This year I want to focus on writing and publishing my first full length novel. My goal is to publish it in April of this year. So wish me luck!

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Shadow Stalker Double Feature Tour – Review of Demon Hunt

I’m thrilled to be part of Renee’s double feature tour. Not only is she sharing with us the details of the next episode of Shadow Stalker, she has also just released a prequel to the series. The cover design for Demon Hunt is by Kathryn Jenkins, and I’m sure you’ll agree it’s pretty great.

Demon Hunt

Review

I thoroughly enjoyed Demon Hunt, the prequel to the Shadow Stalker series. I’ve come to know Kado and Auren pretty well over the last four episodes, so this was a wonderful opportunity to explore their earlier relationship. Their camping trips play a big part of the journey, and reference is made to Auren’s childhood training, so taking this adventure with them was a special treat.

My favourite thing about Demon Hunt is undoubtedly the fact I got to see things from Kado’s point of view. I was drawn to him from the first episode, but since the series is predominantly told from Auren’s point of view, there were times when I wanted to get inside Kado’s head.

Demon Hunt gave me a chance to learn his motivations and, more importantly, to see a lighter side to his nature. I really enjoyed Renee’s descriptions of him. As a character he is extremely compelling, and his relationship with Auren is one of the things I love about the series.

The story also revealed more about the bond Kado and Auren share. Due to the way they lived in the beginning, and the necessity to hide Auren’s identity, Kado had to to wipe her memories on a regular basis. He could not risk detection, but he also needed an opportunity to train her without barriers. The conflicts, as always, were handled beautifully. Seeing both sides brought me closer to them as a reader.

Demon Hunt is a peek into the past, allowing readers to uncover some of the mystery behind Auren’s training regimen and also her past. It is also an adventure. As she unwittingly releases a demon into the world, the pair must hunt the creature and deal with the aftermath of her mistake. It made for an emotional, exciting and engaging read.

***

Demon Hunt – Synopsis

Auren longs for adventure and a break from her tedious life on Appolia. It’s the start of summer, and she is looking forward to her yearly camping trip with her foster father, Kado. She believes these trips are for fun, but when they arrive on Luten Isle, Kado informs her that she is a shadow stalker, and she is in training.

One morning, Auren decides to take her training into her own hands. She only means to practice seeing the veil to the shadow world, the world of the shadow people and the source of their power. Instead, she opens the veil releasing a demon, a guardian of the shadow world, into the physical world.

With the deadly beast loose, she and Kado don’t have long to hunt it down and return it to where it belongs, or many innocent people could die.

***

Renee ScattergoodRenee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn’t start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing high fantasy, and has recently began publishing her first series, Shadow Stalker. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter.

Echoes of Narcissus in the Gardens of Delight by Jo Robinson

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Donna thought there was something wrong with her. That she was suffering from a mental illness that has caused her husband to despise her, distance himself from her, and cheat on her. She blames herself for the desolate, miserable thing that is her marriage and her life. Then she comes across a book that will change everything for her, and reading it, she discovers that there’s nothing wrong with her mind at all, but that there is something very wrong with her husband instead. Marco, she realises, is a malignant narcissist. A text book case. He has a real and documented mental disorder, and that he’s been controlling, manipulating, and abusing her for decades. The sudden full knowledge of all that he’s purposely done to her enrages her. Not sure how to leave after thirty years of what she finally knows has been intentional mental and emotional abuse from him, and believing that she has nowhere to turn, being so physically isolated, she bides her time.

Then she meets and befriends a group of unusual people who share her passion for gardening, and so begins her journey to escape. She joins her new friends in their project to assist elderly people in old age homes care for their small gardens, as well as secretly supplying those suffering from painful and terminal illnesses with medicinal herb and plant remedies, including illegal plants such as cannabis. As weeks go by, she delves into her memories, relearns what it is to be respected, liked, and loved again, and slowly she formulates a plan to safely leave her dangerous husband. But unbeknownst to Donna, Marco is in serious trouble, and has desperate plans of his own, and absolutely no regard for her safety.

** This is a work of fiction, but malignant narcissists really do exist, and it is a recognised mental illness. Unfortunately, many people never realise that they are involved with a narcissist, because their actions are so demonically bad as to be unimaginable and unbelievable, and so they spend their lives in misery, depression, fear, and isolation. If only by the accidental reading of a fictional story, I hope that this book will help even one person, unknowingly suffering narcissistic abuse, to realise that they don’t have to, and that it’s never too late to start over, be happy, be fulfilled, to love and care for yourself, and be truly loved and respected by others.

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Available now from AMAZON

Jo Robinson very recently returned to her homeland, South Africa, after having lived in rural Zimbabwe for eighteen years. Her obsessive affection for the African continent, most humans, and all creatures feathered and furred are what inspire her writing. She is the author of African Me & Satellite TV, the science-fiction/fantasy series Shadow People, and a couple of short stories, which will be free to download from Amazon from 26 to 30 December, Fly Birdie and The Visitation.

To win eBook copies of Shadow People and African Me & Satellite TV, send Jo a message from THIS page.

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