New Release: Forged in Shadow, by @MeganPHaskell

In the chaos of war, not all heroes shine. Some must rise from shadows to claim the light.

As the youngest son of the greatest smith of the fae, Curuthannor should be aspiring to the forge. Instead, he would rather wield a blade than craft one. When the high elf king commissions a powerful enchanted sword requiring iron found only in the subterranean goblin mines of the Shadow Realm, Curuthannor seizes the opportunity to earn a place in the smithy that doesn’t require a hammer. But when dark elf treachery interferes, the lives of his entire family could be at risk…for the high elf king is unmerciful and will not suffer disobedience.

Especially from his own daughter.

Lhéwen is honored to be the only handmaiden selected to attend the high elf princess on what she believes is a diplomatic delegation to the dark elf king. She doesn’t realize it could be a one-way trip. While the princess forges an escape from her father’s ruthless will, Lhéwen is trapped in a foreign land. Betrayed and alone, Lhéwen discovers it is her own quiet power that may free—or doom—them all.

For when the pen fails, the sword will take its place.

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Forged in Shadow is the first book in the thrilling new epic fantasy trilogy by award-winning author, Megan Haskell. Set in the same universe as The Sanyare Chronicles, this is the story of the Great War between the nine faerie realms. If you like sweeping vistas, unexpected heroes, and world-shattering stakes, you’ll love this battle between Shadow and Light.

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Want to grab a copy now? You can find it over on

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

Legend has it, I was born with a book in my hands. When I was a kid, my mom would ground me from reading in order to get me to do my chores. To this day, I can readily ignore the real world in favor of the imaginary one lurking between the pages of my current addiction. My dad — also an avid reader — introduced me to Tolkien in my late elementary years, and I never looked back. I love escaping to worlds where magic and monsters are real, especially stories with kick-butt heroines and dangerously attractive heroes.

Despite my voracious book appetite, I didn’t start creative writing until I was working as a number cruncher in a big accounting firm. With an hour plus commute by train every day, and a demanding left-brain occupation, I needed a mobile creative outlet. A pen and paper are about as mobile as it gets! As the pages began to fill, I quickly moved onto a tiny laptop, and a writer was born. Now I get to create my own fantasies!

I currently live in Southern California with my wonderfully supportive husband, two daughters, and a ridiculously energetic dog.

Find out more:

Review: Once and Future, by @AmyRoseCapetta and @CoriMcCarthy

Title: Once & Future (Once & Future #1)
Author: Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy
Rating: 5/5 stars

I’ve been chased my whole life. As a fugitive refugee in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.

Now I’m done hiding.

My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.

When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.

No pressure. (description from Goodreads)

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Most people are familiar with the legend of and surrounding King Arthur. For me that’s mostly what it is; a familiarity. I’ve seen the Disney version of Sword in the Stone. I’ve also seen an early 2000’s movie called King Arthur, though I don’t recall anything from it. I also have picked up the basics of the main legend here and there. Do you need to know any or more of that to enjoy Once & Future? No. I don’t think you do. Will you finish the book and want to read more about the legendary king? Well, I know I do.

Retellings of classic tales, whether they’re Pride & Prejudice from a few hundred years back or the Iliad millenia ago, always catch my eye. Putting King Arthur in space grabbed my attention more than most other settings probably would have. How would it work to have knights in space? Where would the sword be stuck? How would magic work up there? My questions were answered in this book in a very entertaining and developed way.

I think one of the strengths of this book was that the authors didn’t just retel the King Arthur story. King Arthur himself already had his time to do his thing in the story. In fact, he had his chance 41 other times. It’s time for Ari, a wanted refugee, to try to bring humankind back together and out from under an evil empirical corporations rule. She’s a reincarnation of Arthur, thousands of years later. This allowed for things to change, modernize, all while sticking with tropes necessary to the myth all while being self-aware of them. The Merlin in this book won’t let up on how things “should” be and who is a version of who.

I flew through this book since it was hard to put down often. I haven’t had a read like this in awhile. While it was great as its own book, I’m eager to see what happens in book two of the duology. There was a little bit of a lead-in to that book, and I’d really like to see Ari finally fulfill her role as this future Arthur and finish her journey.

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You can find this book on:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Rebel Carter:

Amy Rose Capetta [she/they] is a bestselling and acclaimed author of YA fantasy, sci-fi, and mystery. Amy Rose’s first novels, Entangled and Unmade, comprise a spacepunk duet. Echo After Echo, a queer love story wrapped in a murder mystery and set on Broadway, was an ALA Rainbow List Selection and JLG Selection. The Brilliant Death, an Italian-inspired, nonbinary fantasy, made the Locus Reading List and Kirkus Best YA Books of the Year. Once & Future, a bestselling Arthurian space fantasy co-written with Cori McCarthy, received four starred reviews and was a finalist for the New England Book Award. The Lost Coast, aka queer teen witches in the redwoods, landed on Booklist’s Top 10 SF/Fantasy & Horror for Youth. Sequels to The Brilliant Death and Once & Future are forthcoming in 2020! Amy Rose holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA, and co-founded the Rainbow Writers Workshop, the first workshop for LGBTQIAP+ writers of YA and middle grade. AR lives in Vermont with Cori McCarthy and an adorable small reader.

For more:

About the Cori McCarthy:

CORY (aka Cori)…earned degrees in poetry and screenwriting before falling in love with writing for children and young adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. They have authored four acclaimed YA novels, with a middle grade series and nonfiction picture book forthcoming. Cory coauthored the bestselling ONCE & FUTURE, a finalist for the New England Book Award, with their spouse Amy Rose Capetta. They live in the mountains of Vermont where they champion queer teens and raise a young maverick.

For more:

 

Review: Pixie Tamer, by @MeganPHaskell

Title: Pixie Tamer (Sanyare Chronicles #0.5) Author: Megan Haskel
Rating: 5/5 stars

“A Short Story Prequel to Sanyare: The Last Descendant

It’s Nuriel “Rie” Lhethannien’s twenty-fifth nameday. She should be celebrating her rise to maturity, not sweating in the training hall. But life isn’t fair, and humans aren’t equal to the elves, at least not in the High Court.

After losing a practice bout to the one man she wants to trust, Rie is thrown into the most challenging test of her life. Will the rewards outweigh the risks? (description from Goodreads)

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I bought a copy of book one of the Sanyare Chronicles thinking it looked like something I’d enjoy. When I got home, I discovered that there was this prequel, Pixie Tamer, and decided to read it first.

I’m glad I read this quick short story. It’s not very long, but it felt like a good introduction to the world I’ll soon dive into in The Last Descendant. In its few pages I got a feel for who Rie is. I also got a feel for the world in which she lives. It’s a world I now want to explore more. I also think the characters will be even more interesting as the series does on.

This prequel story is just a taste of what I’m sure will be a series worth reading. I can’t wait to read more.

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Want to grab a copy now? You can find it over on

Amazon

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About the Author:

Legend has it, I was born with a book in my hands. When I was a kid, my mom would ground me from reading in order to get me to do my chores. To this day, I can readily ignore the real world in favor of the imaginary one lurking between the pages of my current addiction. My dad — also an avid reader — introduced me to Tolkien in my late elementary years, and I never looked back. I love escaping to worlds where magic and monsters are real, especially stories with kick-butt heroines and dangerously attractive heroes.

Despite my voracious book appetite, I didn’t start creative writing until I was working as a number cruncher in a big accounting firm. With an hour plus commute by train every day, and a demanding left-brain occupation, I needed a mobile creative outlet. A pen and paper are about as mobile as it gets! As the pages began to fill, I quickly moved onto a tiny laptop, and a writer was born. Now I get to create my own fantasies!

I currently live in Southern California with my wonderfully supportive husband, two daughters, and a ridiculously energetic dog.

Find out more:

#NewRelease: The First Vagabond, by @thesmboyce

Grimoire Saga fans, fantasy fans, and fans of incredible story telling…may I have your attention?

Today, S.M. Boyce has released the next book in her Ourean Chronicles series. If you didn’t know, this is a spin-off of the Grimoire Saga books, focusing on some key characters backstory. The first one, released last year, was The Misanthrope. That told the story of Stone. Today’s release is the first of two books telling the story of the first Vagabond. Originally planned as one book, his story was too much for one book to contain. And I’ve read this first one already, one book definitely wouldn’t have been enough!

If you’re new to Boyce (though I’m sure most of my readers have seen me raving about her for years), this may not be the best place to start. You can, but the significance of this character and what he becomes may be lost on you. I highly suggest starting with the Grimoire books. You can even find the first book, Lichgates, free everywhere (click that title a few words back).

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The First Vagabond

Rise of a Hero

(Ourean Chronicles #2)

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Unlock the dark beginnings of Ourea’s most famous political players in this Grimoire Saga origins series.

Ourean legends of the First Vagabond have survived a thousand years, blossoming in pubs and alleys even as the great Bloods of Ourea tried to squelch his name. But the myths glorify the deeds and forget the man he was—Cedric, a boy from a small Hillsidian farming village.

As a young man, Cedric discovers a terrifying defect in his nature. He has no blood loyalty, which means he can defy his king—something that has never happened in recorded history. But what begins as a flaw evolves into a strength. Citizens begin to listen to Cedric, and he discovers that if he leads, others will follow.

But there’s a catch. The more who follow him, the more famous he becomes. And the more famous he becomes, the more targets he finds pinned to his back.

He’s a wanted man. A traitor. And as Cedric begins to embrace the title he’s been given — the Vagabond, the only man alive with no master — he ignites a revolution. After all, no one has defied a Blood and lived to tell the tale. No one, that is, but Cedric.

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Want a copy of this book? You can find it on:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

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When S. M. Boyce graduated with a degree in creative writing, she realized that made her well-qualified for serving French fries. It would take years of writing hundreds of thousands of words of all kinds before she became the fantasy and horror novelist she is today.

Boyce specializes in action-packed stories that weave in fantasy, mystery, and heroines with a knack for mischief. All romantic leads are based loosely on her husband, who proves that soulmates are real.

She has a deep love for ghosts, magic, and spooky things. If you’ve already finished her books, check out her blog or twitter feed for a dash of adventure.

Connect with Boyce

#PoetryMonth – @thesmboyce reads A Life For Sale

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Today’s poet is S.M. Boyce. You know her as “author” S.M. Boyce, on the blog. She’s written the Grimoire Saga (which is one of my favorite series of all time) and Ari, the first in her To Each His Ghost series. There’s also a new series in the works, but you’ll have to wait until there’s more to share about that. The reason I get to call her a poet is because, aside from her novels, she published a poem last year. It came out near the end of April and you might remember me sharing it. You may even saw my review.

This year, I get to share that poem again. This year, I get to share that poem again in a more intimate way. Boyce was kind enough to let me share an audio recording she made of the poem. If you know anything about me and my views on poetry, you know that it’s not just about the words on the page, but the way a piece is read. And two people can read the work differently, even from the same text. Meaning can be altered and enhanced. Maybe you read this poem before and now, after listening, you’ll take something different away from it. I hope you do. And I encourage you to read poetry aloud, as well as silently. Experiment with it. It can be a fun exercise.

I’ll share links on where you can get the text for Boyce’s poem below the audio. She’s been generous enough to publish it for free on all the major ebook retail stores, so be sure to grab it. Maybe even leave a review once you’re done.

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A Life For Sale

by S.M. Boyce

A Life For Sale

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If you’d like to get the ebook version of this poem, you can find it on:

Amazon | Smashwords | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

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When S. M. Boyce graduated with a degree in creative writing, she realized that made her well-qualified for serving French fries. It would take years of writing hundreds of thousands of words of all kinds before she became the bestselling action and adventure author she is today.

Boyce specializes in action-packed stories that weave in fantasy, mystery, and heroines with an knack for mischief. All romantic leads are based loosely on her husband, who proves that soulmates are real. She has a deep love for ghosts, magic, and spooky things. If you’ve already finished her books, check out her blog or Twitter feed for a dash of adventure.

Find out more:

Guest Post by @AuthorLHerman: The Economics of Self-Publishing a Book

The Economics of Self-Publishing a Book

a guest post by Louise Herman

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Hello everyone, and I hope you are enjoying the week.

I have decided to take a week’s respite from writing the third book in my YA urban fantasy series, Split Blood, to catch up with author interview and guest post requests. I am looking forward to discussing my thoughts and opinions on the economics of self-publishing a bookas well as giving some advice on what aspects of self-publishing is essential to a budget and what I have experienced as a waste of time and money.

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Why did I decide to Self-Publish my books?

I would love to say it was a choice, however, after I sent a number of emails to literary agents and received no replies, I decided to close my eyes and jump straight into the self-publishing ocean.

It was nerve-racking at first because I had no idea about self-publishing but after a lot of research and learning from my mistakes along the way, I am enjoying the self-publishing journey.

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What are the common misconceptions of self-publishing?

I think the biggest misconception about self-publishing is anyone can publish a successful book in today’s technological world.

For example, you have a great idea for a story, you get so engrossed in writing it, you take the leap and self-publish it on the internet and then you sit back and wait for the big bucks to start rolling in, along with literary agents fighting to represent you, right?

Not quite!

The reality is only a handful of self-published authors break even (the total cost of publishing against the profits of the sales, after each website has taken its percentage) and if you do not have a regular presence on social media sites then you could find it difficult to be seen and network with influential people who can help potential readers find your books.

These people are bloggers and reviewers.

I have built up a good relationship with many bloggers and have added them to my list of ‘Go to People’ when I need to do author interviews (to discuss my past, present and future. This is not all about promoting my work. It is for potential readers to get to know the person behind the books), Guest Posts (topics related to writing that are important to me) and Spotlights (a full discussion about myself, my work and upcoming projects).

It’s also fun to communicate with these bloggers because it is a two way process. They advertise an author on their blog and social media sites, therefore, as an author, I also do the same (I will post the promotional item on my blog, which advertises their blog to my followers, and on my social media sites).

However, not all bloggers work the same way.

Some specialise purely in reviews but some are open to other forms of promotion.

I have found that trying to get reviews can be quite hard because many are overwhelmed with requests and often close their review request channels until they can catch up with the backlog.

While others will state they do not accept requests from self-published authors, with some going as far as to state that they have a problem with the quality of the self-published books they have previously read.

I used to find this slightly insulting but when you take into consideration that they are doing these reviews for free, they should be allowed to have an opinion on what types of books they want to review.

NOTE: Reviews are usually free and reviewers usually have full or part time jobs but review in their spare time. This means try to give at least three months’ notice to your reviewer. If you are asked to pay for a review, try somewhere else! Not only is it slightly frowned upon in the self-publishing industry but it’s just an unnecessary, extra cost to your ever rising budget!

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What are the advantages of self-publishing?

I like that I have the opportunity to learn about online publishing first hand and that I have the chance to communicate with a range of people with similar interests.

I learn something new every week to help enhance my writing and advertising skills and I really enjoy having full control over every aspect of publishing my books.

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What are the challenges of self-publishing?

Although I enjoy having full control over publishing my books, I do sometimes think that it would be nice to have a literary agent to help take on some of the advertising tasks because having full time job, restricts the time I can dedicate to writing and sometimes the advertising infringes on the writing time.

I have also found that it takes a lot of work and effort to gain a strong following. I write Young Adult Urban Fantasy novels, which is a popular genre and I have found that it is extremely difficult to get new followers interested in looking at my new pieces of work if there are no reviews to give them an inclination of how the book has been received by other readers.

There will be potential readers and followers who will read the synopsis and give the books a try but there are some who use reviews to help them decide whether or not it is the kind of story they would enjoy reading.

It is the latter type of follower that bad reviews can affect your potential sales.

Some reviews that are lower than five stars can be disheartening to an author but if they offer constructive criticism (e.g. “there was too much fighting in it”) then it could be a case of what one person dislikes about the storyline, another reader maybe looking for this type of drama.

However, if they give you one star because they “just couldn’t read it because you should never write again”, it offers nothing to a potential reader about the story and many would not take this type of review seriously.

And lastly, I have given out copies of my eBooks for a review in the past, only to be disappointed to never receive one.

It is disheartening but all these things are part of the learning process and have helped me focus on what works and avoid what wastes time and money.

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What are the costs to publish your own book?

Here are the basics of what it cost me to self-publish my first book (The Orcus Games: Blood Moon):

  • Book cover artist –  This is difficult because it depends on the type of cover you want? You can get book cover images from a variety of stock photography sites and prices vary on each site. For a basic book cover with an image that does not need to be edited and text, I would estimate between £50 (~$70) and £150 (~$212).
  • Proof-reader or Copy Editor –  Between £600 (~$850) and £1,000 (~$1418) (depending on word count, how many hours it takes them to work on the book and how much work the book needs).
  • eBook Conversation Costs  If you cannot convert your eBooks yourselves then it might be worth getting a professional to do this for you. I convert my books myself but I have received quotes in the past for this type of work and the prices were between £50 (~$70) and £150 (~$212).
  • Distribution costs –  (for reviewers who only accept hard copies): I have heard that some websites do give a small discount to authors who buy their own books but I am yet to find these sites. Therefore you would be paying the same price as a customer to purchase your paperback books to send to reviewers. Many authors buy in bulk for this purpose and can spend between £599 (~$849) and £1099 (~$1558) for an order of 100 books.
  • URL for website Having your own website is essential for an author and you can buy domain names from nearly anywhere on the internet at the moment.

I have a website through Fat Cow and bought my URL through them as soon as I set it up.

It cost me approximately £8.99 (~$12.75) to buy the domain name + £60 (~$85) for the year (with added extras).

However, different extensions can either increase or decrease the cost (e.g. com, co.uk, org. Etc.)

  • Publishing sites percentages
    • Amazon – There are two royalty options. (correct as of January 2016)
      • Option 1: Keep 70% of the royalties. However this option is only available to books sold in a specific territory of countries set out by Amazon Kindle. Any books sold outside of these regions will give you a 35% royalty.
      • Option 2: Keep 35% of the royalties. This is the standard royalty rate.
    • Smashwords – (correct as of January 2016)
      • “Smashwords authors and publishers earn 85% or more of the net proceeds from the sale of their works. Net proceeds to author = (sales price minus PayPal payment processing fees)*.85 for sales at Smashwords.com, our retail operation. Authors receive 70.5% for affiliate sales. Smashwords distributes books to most of the major retailers, including Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and smaller retailers.  Sales originated by retailers earn authors/publishers 60% of the list price.”
    • Lulu – (correct as of January 2016)
      • Lulu prides itself on working on a 90/10 royalty split, therefore if you have published your book after 6th September 2011 and it is priced at $1.24 or higher then you can qualify for a 90% royalty revenue.

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What advice would you give to someone wanting to self-publish their first book?

There might be something I have missed out because every week I am learning something new about the self-publishing world but so far I have eight tips that would help a new author get started:

  • Test it out on free sites like Wattpad first to see if there is an audience for it and find Beta readers in these groups to help highlight elements that may need extra attention (e.g. such as continuity issues, plot holes, creating believable characters or scenes, etc.)
  • Build up a following and make amendments based on the feedback
  • Get a professional book cover artist (unless you are good with graphics software or you are a good artist)
  • Get your work proofread or copy edited
  • Publish on the main publishing sites
  • Build up a group of regular reviewers
  • Be active on social media (not just to talk about the book but share your interests and get involved in group discussions)
  • Remember success doesn’t happen overnight (it could take years), so continue with your passion and never give up!

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About the author

Louise Herman is a North London Fantasy author obsessed with pear drops sweets and 80s Fantasy films.

In between reading James Herbert novels and drinking too much coffee, she writes Young Adult Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance novels.

Louise Herman has currently written five YA Fantasy books to date (December 2015); The Orcus Games Prequel Trilogy and The Split Blood series, which take the reader on a journey of magic, mystery, obsession and forbidden love with seductively dark consequences.

For more information, please go to: www.louisehermanauthor.com

Find out more:

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#NewRelease: Obsidian – #FREE – from @KaylaCurry1

You may have heard of Kayla Curry in the past. If so, you probably know about her novel Obsidian. Well, I have a treat to share with you today! Obsidian has been re-released…and it’s FREE!!! Before you go out to grab this book, here’s a message about the release, from the author.

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“This book has kicked my you-know-what. It was previously released in 2012 by my former publisher. The rights to the book reverted back to me earlier this year and I decided to make it better and (much) more affordable . . . how does free sound? The reason it’s taken so long is because I’ve gone through the publishing process of this book once before and I experienced a lot of resistance the second time around. I worried if it was going to be good enough, but I was finally able to kick it and get it ready for you to read.

You can grab the completely remastered edition of Obsidian (Mystic Stones Series #1) from your favorite retailer right now.”

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Obsidian

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The Big Island of Hawaii is a beautiful place, but deadly vampires move in for the kill.

In the year 2020, Ava wakes up to discover satellite technology has been compromised. It doesn’t take her long to find out who’s behind it, but it’s something more than a corporation out to monopolize technology. It’s a legion of vampires out to monopolize blood.

After falling for the charm of a powerful vampire, Ava is forced to make difficult decisions for herself and her loved ones.

Tom Walker is relentless. He wants her to join him, not only as a co-worker and a love interest but also as a vampire. After fleeing Hawaii, Ava meets Jesse Sutton, but something’s off about him too.

A war is brewing, and Ava’s part is bigger than she realizes.

Previously released in 2012, now remastered.

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You can grab your own copy of Obsidian from:

Amazon | B&NKobo | iBooks

Is one book not enough for you? Well, Obsidian is part of The Mystic Stones series. That means there are more books to read! Right now, you can pre-order book two, Moonstone, before it’s February 1st release.

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Moonstone: Mystic Stones Series #2

Releases February 1st, 2016

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MoonstoneBefore Ava Tanner discovered Psytech was behind the satellite virus, a destined meeting took place in a hotel on the American East Coast.

Dorin was just a cursed vampire looking for his next meal. Although his curse meant he needed to get creative with the way he ensnared his victim, Aila easily fell within his crosshairs.

One simple kiss could be the mistake that leads Aila to her grave. Dorin is an exquisite man with taste, charm and a way with words that fall from his perfect lips in a Romanian accent. Her chance meeting with him leads her into a dangerous world, which becomes even more treacherous when she meets Dorin’s devious brother.

When the dust clears, Aila must make a difficult decision which will determine the fate of her relationship with Dorin and the rest of her life.

The dark shadow of Psytech looms in the background of this romantic and daring tale.

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Pre-order Moonstone from:

Amazon | B&NKobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

Kayla Curry author picKayla Curry’s creative mind never sleeps. Literally.

At night, her active imagination produces dreams all night long. It’s those dreams that provide much of the inspiration for her stories which have a little Victorian charm mixed with a fairy tale flair.

Her works include Where the Carnies Are, Obsidian (Mystic Stones Series #1), and many short stories.

She lives in North Platte, Nebraska with her husband and two sons and she plans to keep writing and creating for the rest of her life.

For more: