Last Time She Died by Niki Kamerzell @Niki_K_Writes @darkstrokedark @rararesources #Promo #BlogTour

Hello lovelies! Today I’m shining a spotlight on Last Time She Died by Niki Kamerzell plus a fab giveaway (US Only. See bottom of the post) as part of the blog tour organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. First a little about the book: 

Title: Last Time She Died by Niki Kamerzell 

Publisher: Darkstroke books

Date Published: 10th February 2021

Genre: Dark Paranormal Fantasy

Description:

A rainy night. A slick road. A car crash.

‘A puff of yellow dust blew from the vent, and the car filled with a strong sulfur smell. Laughter whispered through the speakers, then blared at full volume.’

Everything changes for Alexia Harper the night she leaves late from her waitressing job. When voices threaten her through the radio, she wonders if she’s gone crazy. Then lightning explodes close by, and Alexia crashes.

Following the accident, every day is the same. Every night the same nightmare stalks her. It’s like her life is on repeat, but she can’t shake the fearful warning her subconscious is screaming at her.

When Leland starts working at the diner, Alexia is drawn to him. He’s kind, funny and handsome, and he’s…familiar. It’s like they’ve spent the past eight lifetimes getting to know each other.

Now, the memory-like dreams make sense. She recognizes people she doesn’t know—and they are giving her clues; answers she desperately needs to stop the thing that’s coming for her.

Coming for all of them. Again.

You can buy you copy here – http://mybook.to/lasttimeshedied

About The Author: 

Niki Kamerzell lives in Colorado and spends her summers out in the wild enjoying camping and fishing. Her favorite place to visit is Yellowstone National Park.

She spends her free time reading and writing and will read just about anything recommended to her. She’s been known to sacrifice eating and sleeping to finish a good book. Niki writes fantasy and has been writing for the last ten years. When not writing or reading, Niki is probably distracted by her Corgi or out hiking in the Rocky Mountains with her husband.

Her other distractions include driving around and singing off key with the radio and scrapbooking. Always willing to make things awkward, sarcasm is like a second language to her and, next to her passion for writing, probably one of the things Niki’s most proud of.

Social Media Links – 

https://www.instagram.com/niki_k_writes/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21126046.Niki_Kamerzell

Giveaway to Win a signed copy of Last Time She Died, a set of themed stickers, and a bookmark (Open to US Only)

*Terms and Conditions –US entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494426/?

#CoverReveal Technopaladin by Elizabeth Corrigan @ERCorrigan @RRBookTours1 #Technopaladin #RRBookTours

Hello lovelies! Today I have a fabulous cover reveal for Technopaladin by Elizabeth Corrigan organised by R&R Book Tours. First a little about the book:

Expected Publication Date: May 2021

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/ Fantasy

Description:

Clarity’s paladin order forbids her from entering the Azure District, the one location in her high tech city that refuses paladin rule and technology. When she receives an illicit invitation to violate the prohibition, spurred on by rumors of suffering in the district, she passes through the crumbling brick entryway into no-man’s land. Within, she finds the residents lack not only the ocular implants and three dimensional computers she takes for granted, but also medicine to fight a disease infecting the children.

Clarity knows her order isn’t perfect—after all, they stole her from her parents when she was a small child to raise her with their values—but she cannot believe they know what’s going on in the Azure District. When she confronts the head of the order, he refuses to aid people who have rejected his help in the past, even the children. Unwilling to take no for an answer, Clarity enlists the help of the leader’s son Cass and takes matters into her own hands.

Desperate both to cure the children and keep her place in the order that is her only home, Clarity engages in increasingly questionable behavior—deleting official records, lying to her friends, and manipulating people who can help her. As the nefarious nature of her actions tarnishes the purity of her cause, she must determine what it truly means to be a paladin, in both name and action.

Now here’s what you’ve been waiting for, the gorgeous cover:

About the Author:

Elizabeth Corrigan has degrees in English and psychology and has spent several years working as a data analyst in various branches of the healthcare industry. When she’s not hard at work on her next novel, Elizabeth enjoys playing tabletop role-playing games and cooperative card games. She refuses to watch most internet videos and is pathologically afraid of bees. She lives in Maryland with two cats and a very active iphone.

Elizabeth Corrigan | Twitter | Facebook

Cover Reveal Organised By: 

R&R Book Tours

Pixeldust by T. K. Arispe @rararesources #Promo #Excerpt

Hello lovelies! Today I have an excerpt from Pixeldust by T.K. Arispe as part of the blog tour organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. First a little about the book:

Title: Pixeldust by T. K. Arispe

Date Published: 20th July 2020

Genre: NA Urban science fantasy

Description:

Maria Elena thought she’d sworn off gaming forever. But she hates her new internship, so her brother Balt convinces her to play Heroes of Avonell, a cutting-edge virtual-reality video game with such complex programming that it’s like the non-player characters are self-aware.

Disappointed with the usual cliché job class offerings, Maria Elena’s character Quinny stumbles through a glitch in the game and ends up in Caed Dhraos, a strange city populated with friendly monsters. Quinny decides to work for the resident dark lord as part of his magic personnel, but she can’t tell anybody she’s playing in off-limits areas of the game—not even Balt. Soon Quinny finds herself getting to the bottom of a mystery surrounding an ancient demon and why Caed Dhraos is suffering from the Blight.

But the artificial intelligences in the game really are self-aware, and some of Avonell’s so-called “heroes” have decided they don’t like humanity very much. The game has gone out of control, and Maria Elena and her new friends have to find a way to set things right. Can she save Avonell – and Earth – while juggling her real job and trying to salvage her crumbling relationship with her brother?

Pixeldust is a dive into a fantastical, fun virtual world where the universe may be made of data, but the dangers, friendships, magic, and lessons learned are very real.

You can buy your copy here: 

https://www.amazon.com/Pixeldust-T-K-Arispe-ebook/dp/B08DD612GR (ebook)

https://www.amazon.com/Pixeldust-T-K-Arispe/dp/B08DBZD91T (paperback)

Excerpt:

Intro: In the MMO Heroes of Avonell, Maria Elena’s player character Quinny has just taken a job working as a lucent mage under the mysterious Lord Zaragoz, in an area of the game Quinny isn’t sure she’s supposed to be in. When Zaragoz’s fortress staff discovers Quinny has pixiedust, she finds out what pixiedust is used for in the dismal city of Caed Dhraos.

As they walked through dimly-lit corridors and down several flights of stairs, the architecture looking much more primitive than the rest of the fortress, Quinny felt an odd sense of foreboding fall over her. She shuddered and had to remind herself that this was just a game and she wasn’t in any real danger. Still, something felt off, in a bad way, and it set her on edge.

“What is this place?” she asked, and the darkness seemed to choke her words as they hit the air.

“The oldest part of the fortress,” Zaragoz said. “Most of what you’ve seen so far, my subjects and I built up after we found this place. It was once just an abandoned ruin. We never did find out who had lived here before.”

Finally they reached a corridor that dead-ended at a wall with a faded mural painted on it. As Quinny approached, she inspected the ancient pigmentation, trying to figure out what she was looking at and why it filled her with such terror, like a nightmare. It appeared to be a painting of a black mass with shadowy tendrils that curled out to fill all the space on the wall. In the middle of the mass sat a gaping round maw ringed with sharp teeth.

Zaragoz stood in front of the mural and held up the dust vessel. “Shargothi!” he said. “I bring you pixiedust!”

The mural pulsed with power, and Quinny’s feelings of dread heightened. It was almost enough to make her want to log off of the game, and she wondered why a video game would make her feel so unsettled. It wasn’t real, after all. So why did it suddenly feel so real?

Black mist began to leach from the wall. It was subtle and weak, and seemed to strain as if trying to get more of itself out. A sound like thousands of whispers filled the air, and Quinny found she didn’t want to hear what they were saying.

Two vaporous tendrils latched on to the dust vessel. The top of the vial started to glow, and the sparkling pixiedust coursed out of the vessel and through the tendrils, into the wall. A noise like a satisfied sigh filled the heavy air, and then the black mist withdrew and the wall fell dormant.

“Shargothi thanks you,” Zaragoz said as he gave Quinny back her dust vessel.

The dwarf fastened it to her belt with trembling hands, wondering why she felt ill all of a sudden. “Wh-what was that?” she asked.

“The demon Shargothi,” Rin said. She tried to sound nonchalant, but she shifted her weight as her tufted tail swished nervously.

“Don’t let Shargothi frighten you,” Zaragoz said as they walked back to the lift. “She is benevolent. Someone sealed her away down here long ages ago. When my subjects and I found these ruins and decided to call them home, I discovered Shargothi. I needed her help to build Caed Dhraos back up into a suitable kingdom, but she could not utilize her full power in her weakened state, and required nearly all of our pixiedust to aid us.”

“Is that why you don’t have any pixiedust?” Quinny asked as they boarded the lift again.

“Not quite,” Zaragoz said. “Pixies used to live here in abundance. But when we’d gotten Caed Dhraos up and running, the land began to wither and die. All of the pixies left. We called it the Blight, and none of our magic or engineering could cure it. In fact, lately it’s been getting worse and those chaos beasts have been cropping up.”

“I’m sorry,” Quinny said. “I wish I could do something to help.”

The dark lord looked down at her in surprise, and then he smiled. “It’ll be all right,” he said. “Shargothi told me that she can cure the land. But she’ll need much more pixiedust to do so. So I thank you for your donation.”

About The Author:

T. K. Arispe is an illustrator, gamer, and unashamed nerd with a background in animation and webcomic production, including the webcomic Trainer Wants to Fight! which somehow got its own page on TVTropes. She loves interesting stories, well-crafted worlds, and memorable characters, and is passionate about creating quality, intelligent, slightly offbeat media that everyone can enjoy. Most of her story ideas come from random research binges, usually in the fields of theoretical physics, computer science, or oddly enough food history. She lives in California, where she enjoys not having to deal with snow because it is terrifying.

Social Media Links – 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tkarispe

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tkarispe/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9833615.T_K_Arispe 

#CoverReveal Morgan Le Fay: Giants in the Earth (Fata Morgana Book III) by Jo-Anne Blanco @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Today I have an exciting cover reveal for the third book in the Fata Morgana series Morgan Le Fay: Giants in the Earth by Jo-Anne Blanco. The series is for readers of all ages (as Rosemary Sutcliff once said of her own work, “for readers aged nine to ninety.”) The books follow Morgan from her early childhood in post-Roman Dark Ages Britain and through her teenage years to adulthood. Elements of Celtic folklore, fairy tales, and mythologies of diverse cultures are woven throughout the books, but each novel is an original adventure story that can be read either as a standalone or as part of the ongoing series.

Here’s blurb for the book:

WHEN MONSTERS COME TO LIFE…

In the aftermath of Ambrosius’ attack on Tintagel Castle, young Morgan is sent away to the fortress of Dimilioc with her family, friends and tutor. But when bandits ambush their party, Morgan gets lost in the forest with nothing but her wits and her magic powers to rely on.

In her battle for survival, Morgan faces a cruel, hostile world that is suspicious, afraid and jealous of her magic. Silver-tongued faeries who are not what they seem. Vengeful Piskies and Muryans holding her friend Ganieda captive. Angry Giants and Spriggans who have awakened in the earth. And the ever-present threat of Ambrosius and his army, waiting to strike again…

To rescue her friends and outwit her enemies, Morgan must draw upon all her gifts, magic and mortal, in a perilous journey that will test her strength, faith and loyalty to the utmost…

Now here’s the wonderful cover:

About The Author:

Jo-Anne Blanco was born in Brazil to an English mother and Spanish father. She has spent much of her life travelling around the world as a teacher. Her travels, together with her lifelong passion for reading, writing and storytelling, inspired her to embark upon her Fata Morgana epic fantasy series, about the life and adventures of Morgan le Fay. Mythology, fairy tales and Arthurian legend are all major influences on her work, and her ongoing journeys to countries of great landscapes and folklore are never-ending sources of inspiration.

She is the author of Morgan Le Fay: Small Things and Great and Morgan Le Fay: Children of This World. These novels are the first two books in the Fata Morgana series.

Morgan Le Fay: Giants in the Earth, the third novel in the series, will be published in 2020.

Tsalix Silverthorn and the Scepter of Destiny by Richard M. Siddoway @RMSiddoway @CayellePub @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Today I’m shining a spotlight on fantasy novel Tsalix Silverthorn and the Scepter of Destiny by Richard M. Siddoway, with an exclusive excerpt, as part of the blog tour organised by Love Books Tours but first a little about the book:

Title: Tsalix Silverthorn and the Scepter of Destiny by Richard M. Siddoway 

Publisher: Cayelle Publishing 

Date Published: 25th August 2020

Genre: Fantasy

Description:

King Elosha is dying and his twin sons, Princes Abadon and Johona, are deeply embroiled in a battle over the throne of Sodizen. One is noble and the other is a psychopath. Hoping to end the bloody chaos and restore peace, the King summons three men from the small village of Aravah, tasking them with the impossible of retrieving talismans that are prophesied to unlock the Scepter of Power on Mount Destiny. 

To aid them on their fantastical quest, King Elosha bestows upon each of them, vials of elements to be opened when needed most. Amidst their honor and duty, they find their hometown torched to the ground, with surviving family and friends imprisoned by Prince Abadon. They are faced with choosing between rescuing them or completing the mission.

The brave men choose to obey the King, overcoming tumultuous weather, terrain, dangerous and helpful mythical creatures alike. With scarce food and water, led by Tsalix, the three men embark on an arduous odyssey across the kingdom to retrieve the Scepter on Mount Destiny and restore peace in the realm.

Excerpt:

The sound of steel on stone rang loud and clear as war hammers pounded on the hillside, and a shower of rocks began to rain down into the opening of the cavern. With a shout from the men outside the cave, a slab of rock broke loose and thundered into place blocking Tsalix’s exit and sealing his tomb.

“Sleep well,” Nash Doitsoh roared, although Tsalix heard it only faintly through the pile of rock.

Through the stone, Tsalix’s ears picked up the muted raucous laughter of Abadon’s men as they turned their wolacs and rode away. One of them pounded the butt of his tsenil against the stone slab as a final goodbye. It sounded like a bass drum as it reverberated through the cave.

Tsalix waited a few minutes, hoping his eyes would adjust to the darkness of the cave, but it was black and he could see nothing. He slipped off the shelf, to the floor. Rocks the size of cobblestones had bounced through the opening, and he had to tiptoe to keep from stumbling over one or stepping on them and turning an ankle. He put his hands in front of him as he moved around the small room. There was no opening he could find except the fissure, which was now covered. He thrust his sword through the narrow gap against the rock slab, but there was no give. All the cave’s walls felt like polished glass.

Despair filled his heart. He sank to the floor and rested his head in his hands. How did this happen?

The walls seemed to press in against him as he struggled to swallow the panic that threatened to fill his throat. It was all he could do to keep from screaming.

Air. I need air!  Tsalix sprang to his feet and pressed against the polished wall.

After what seemed an eternity, he gave up and sank back to the floor. 

You can buy your copy here:

https://amzn.to/2ZZKzxF

About The Author:

Richard Siddoway was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and reared in Bountiful.  He was a professional educator for over forty-five years.  In 1994, he was asked by Governor Michael O. Leavitt to create the nation’s first state-wide virtual high school –The Electronic High School–which served students nationwide.

He served three terms in the Utah House of Representatives; the last two years, as Speaker Pro Tempore.  He is the author of a dozen books, including the New York Times Bestseller, The Christmas Wish, which was made into a movie starring Debbie Reynolds, Neil Patrick Harris, and Naomi Watts.

He and his wife, Janice, have eight children, twenty-six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Follow Richard on Facebook @RichardMSiddoway

#BookReview A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook by Richie Billing @Magpie_Richie

Title: A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook by Richie Billing

Date Published: 12th June 2019

Genre: Non Fiction/Writing

Description:

‘A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook’ provides detailed guidance on the pillars of storytelling as well as aspects of writing that rarely feature in other books, such as writing fight scenes and world-building. At times the focus shifts away from the technical elements and considers the philosophies behind writing, ways to help you maintain focus, and methods of battling the demons of doubt that forever loom over our shoulders.

Section two explores the thriving genre of fantasy and the many facets that make it what it is, before looking at the histories of our world that so often inspire our fantasy tales.

The final part looks at the things that come after you’ve finished your story—formatting, peer-reviewing, finding publishers—and other things the contemporary writer can do to enhance their careers, such as making and maintaining a website, blogging, and marketing methods.

By the end, you’ll have a sound foundation upon which to build as well as the tools to venture on alone with courage and confidence.

Review:

This is a seriously overdue review, Richie Billing himself sent me a copy of this last year and I’ve only gotten round to reviewing it now!

I write mostly mystery but I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with fantasy but I thought there was no way I could write something like that, so I was interested to see what A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook had to offer.

Written in a friendly conversational style, A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook offers advice on characters, world building and even editing.

Don’t be put off by the title A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook because there are plenty of practical tips on things like characters and plotting that are helpful to any wannabe author no matter the genre.  

What made this standout for me was not only was there loads of writing advice, there were suggestions of extra reading on writing and editing which I really appreciated. 

Like most writing advice books, not everything will work for you but writing is a learning curve afterall!

A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook is a well written and helpful book that I’m glad I’ve got a copy of on my kindle shelf for when I want to tackle a fantasy story in the future.

About The Author:

Richie Billing writes fantasy fiction, historical fiction and stories of a darker nature. His short fiction has been published by, amongst others, Kzine, TANSTAAFL Press, Bewildering Stories, Liquid Imagination, The Magazine of History & Fiction, Aether and Ichor, and Far Horizons. His debut novel, Pariah’s Lament, will be published by Fiction Vortex in Summer 2020. He co-hosts the podcast The Fantasy Writers’ Toolshed, a venture inspired by the requests of readers of his acclaimed book on writing, A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook. Most nights you can find him up into the wee hours scribbling away or watching the NBA. Find out more at www.richiebilling.com.

#Bookreview Nightborn by Jessica Thorne @JessThorneBooks @Bookouture #BooksonTour

Title: Nightborn by Jessica Throne

Publisher: Bookouture

Date Published: 26th May 2020

Genre: Fantasy

Description:

Like deep dark water, it pulls them down. The faint fire of magic within them flickers and dies. Their eyes turn black as night. They are nightborn now.

Grace Marchant has been many things: streetwise orphan, rebellious servant, and now beloved companion of Prince Bastien, heir to the throne of Larelwynn. But their sunlit happiness is not destined to last. The golden magic which brought them together in purest passion is threatened by strange and ancient forces. Innocent people are becoming nightborn – cruel, deadly, unrecognisable to their loved ones – and these two young lovers are the only ones with power enough to stop it.

In times of peace, striking a deal with their closest enemy would be unthinkable, but now their only hope is to ally with the neighbouring Valenti royal family: manipulative, cunning, and always with an eye on the Larelwynn throne. The partnership comes at a devastating price… if Grace wants to defeat the nightborn, she must watch Bastien marry a Valenti princess.

Grace knows she must make this heart-wrenching sacrifice for the good of the whole kingdom – but she also fears the magic in her veins, usually so warm and bright, is turning cold as deepest midnight. A beguiling darkness whispers to her from within. Is Grace herself becoming nightborn?

Time is running out. With Bastien promised to another, and a stony distance growing between them, will Grace find the source of the nightborn curse before every last soul is consumed by the darkness?

Combining sizzling romance, courtly intrigue, and heart-in-your-mouth action, this dark and addictive fantasy series is perfect for fans of Graceling and Emily R. King.

You can buy your copy here: https://geni.us/B086K22S4VSocial

Review:

I want to thank Noelle Holten at Bookouture for inviting me on this tour and providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Nightborn is the second in the Hollow King series and I would recommend that you read the first, Mageborn just to get a fuller picture of the characters and story line.

Nightborn really improved on the first book. We get to know the characters even better as it strikes the right balance between romance, action and adventure.

I enjoyed the fact the story got a little bit darker for the second outing too, with an almost fairytale quality to it. 

The relationship between Grace and Bastien was more fraught and tense in this novel too, with plenty of roadblocks to their happily ever after.

I do feel like the ending was a little rushed, in fact there were certain aspects that I would have liked to have seen fleshed out a little more and explained a little better but fingers crossed for another book.

Nightborn is a magical fantasy/romance novel that left me wanting to see more from these characters.

About The Author:

Jessica Thorne saw Star Wars at an impressionable age and life was never the same. She’s loved fantasy, romance and science fiction ever since and spends her time looking for adventure – in the pages of her books.

Sometimes she is Ruth Frances Long and won the European Science Fiction Society Spirit of Dedication Award for Best Author of Children’s Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2015.

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessThorneBooks/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessThorneBooks

Website: http://www.rflong.com/jessicathorne/

#BlogTour #Excerpt The Accidental Hero of the City of Brotherly Love by Richard J. O’Brien @RRBookTours1 @btwnthelinespub

Hello lovelies and welcome to the blog tour for The Accidental Hero of the City of Brotherly Love, by Richard J. O’Brien! I have an excerpt, plus a giveaway to win a digital copy of this novel but first a little about the book:

Title: The Accidental Hero of the City of Brotherly Love by Richard J. O’Brien 

Date Published: March 31, 2020

Genre: Contemporary/ Magical Realism

Description:

In the tumultuous days following 9/11, Spencer Lee Kavanagh works as a security professional, juggling jobs, relationships, and his writing craft while trying to figure out where his life is headed. One autumn day in 2002, Kavanagh’s life changes forever after he crosses paths with Khalid Neshar, a promising graduate engineering student who recently became radicalized thanks to a less-than-scrupulous imam.

A workplace accident caused by Kavanagh results in Neshar’s death. Freshly arrived in the afterlife, Neshar strikes a deal with Allah. He goes back in time as a djinni so that he can haunt Kavanagh and thereby alter the course of events that led to his untimely death; only, Neshar isn’t much good at it. Meanwhile, in the post-9/11 hysteria of the day, Kavanagh’s anonymity and his literary ambitions are sidelined when he’s hailed as a hero for stopping a would-be terror attack. Like the stranger he accidentally killed, Kavanagh just wants his life back. The television news crews camped out in front of his apartment building have other ideas.

You can buy your copy here:

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Accidental-Hero-City-Brotherly-Love-ebook/dp/B085RQPDK4/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+accidental+hero+of+the+city+of+brotherly+love&qid=1584485308&sr=8-1

Amazon UK:

Excerpt:

No sooner than I passed the edge of my building the lights came on atop a half-dozen cameras. Reporters jostled to stick their microphones in my face. As they blasted me with questions, I couldn’t help thinking two things: one was that the author of the ninja book was full of shit, and the other was that he probably no ninja at all.

“How does it feel to foil the terror plot that would have killed countless commuters?”

“Care to comment on the phone call you received from Vice President Cheney?”

“There was no call,” I mumbled as I inched my way past them, keeping my head down so that the bill of the baseball cap masked most of my face.

“Mr. Kavanagh,” one of the reporters stepped in front of me. “Do you have any remorse?”

“Will you continue to work at Tiffany and Company?”

“Is it true that the city will pay to have the Atlas clock restored?”

“Are you at liberty to tell us which agency you actually work for?”

“What?” I cried. “I’m just a guy.”

“Lee, are you afraid of retaliation?”

“Will you relocate?”

“Is the government offering to put you under their protective custody?”

“What’s your position on invading Iraq?”

“Do you support our troops?”

“Were you scared that the device might have blown up while you stood over the terrorist’s body?”

I inched closer to the steps.

“Would you be willing to disclose the names of the operatives in your team?”

“Operatives?” I asked.

“Do you think Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks?”

“What’s your position on immigration?”

“Did law enforcement officials disclose to you whether there are any other threats in the city?”

One of the reporters followed me up the steps to the main door. She reached out and took hold of the door handle as I inserted my key into the lock.

“Is this a safe house, Mr. Kavanagh?” she asked. “If it is, now that it’s compromised, where will you go?”

I managed to unlock the door and slip into the foyer. When I did, they kept at it with their questions. Once the door was closed behind me, the reporters banged on the door as the camera lights lit up the foyer. They filmed me checking my mailbox. For once I was grateful that there were no letters from Maggie. After I locked the mailbox, I turned to the cameras crowding the door windows. With my head down, I offered them a salute before I entered the first-floor hall.

About the Author:

Richard J. O’Brien is a graduate of the Fairleigh Dickinson University MFA in Creative Writing Program. Richard’s novels include Under the Bronze Moon, Infestation, and The Garden of Fragile Things. His short stories have appeared in The Del Sol Review, Duende, Pulp Literature, The Dr. T.J. Eckleburg Review, Weirdbook, and other magazines. Richard lives in New Jersey, where he teaches at Rowan College at Gloucester County and Stockton University.

Richard J. O’Brien: https://obrienwriter.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Richard-J.-OBrien/e/B0096UJEPW

Giveaway: Digital Copy of Book:

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f164/?

Blog Tour Schedule

May 25th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

B is for Book Reviews (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Cocktails and Fairytales (Spotlight) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales

Misty’s Book Space (Spotlight) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

May 26th

The Magic or Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

Tales of a Natural Spoonie (Review) https://talesofanaturalspoonie.com/

May 27th

The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

May 28th

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

LIBRORUM IN SEMPITERNUM (Spotlight) http://libroruminsempiternumhome.wordpress.com

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

On the Shelf Reviews (Spotlight) https://ontheshelfreviews.wordpress.com

Life’s a Novelty (Review) https://lifesanovelty.blogspot.com/

May 29th

Bri’s Book Nook (Spotlight) https://brisbooknook.wordpress.com/

Bamshee Irish Horror Blog (Spotlight) www.bansheeirishhorrorblog.com

Scarlett Readz & Runz (Spotlight) https://scarlettreadzandrunz.com/

Blog Tour Organised By: 

R&R Book Tours (Link: http://rrbooktours.com)

#BlogTour #AuthorInterview When Darkness Begins by Tina O’Hailey @tohailey @rararesources

Hello lovelies! Today on my blog I have a fantastic Q&A with Tina O’Hailey as part of the blog tour organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources but first a little about Tina’s new book:

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Title: When Darkness Begins by Tina O’Hailey 

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Date Published: 28th May 2020

Genre: YA/ Sci-fi/ fantasy

Description:

If you could change time to save your first love—even if it meant turning your back on the universe—would you?

It is time for the Vechey youth to earn their place as time-guardians. The near-immortal Vechey protect the universe from the devastating Manipulators—devourers of souls, mindless seekers of chaos. First, the youth must survive a mysterious and deadly ritual created by the all-powerful clan leader Eterili. Having regenerated thousands of times with the birth of each universe, Eterili is taking this one as hers and bending all in it to her grand designs. 

Catha’s time-slipping skills are underdeveloped. She is time-blind—unable to see through time, unable to protect herself from the ritual. The Vechey shun her for being different. Her parents ignore her as if she were already dead.

Aithagg loves Catha unconditionally and will do anything to save her. He tries desperately to unlock the ritual’s mysteries and find a way to help Catha survive with him. Or will saving Catha enable the Manipulators to destroy the universe?

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Q&A with Tina O’Hailey

Can you tell me a little bit about your book? 

This book is a coming of age vampire tale. But, not like anything you just pictured in your head. Firstly, Aithagg and Catha are average teens – living in a cave – 40,000 years ago. They are maturing as their people, the Vechey, do and getting ready to go through a ritual that pushes them into their nearly eternal lives as time-guardians. Aithagg and Catha are promised to one another, much to the chagrin of their parents. They will go through the ritual together and if all goes well become untangled from time itself. But all isn’t going well. Catha is not able to see through time like all of her peers. She can only ear grown food like a child, or a Linear (mortals). Her parents treat her like she is already dead—killed by the ritual—like most of her siblings.  Aithagg tries to find a way to help Catha survive the ritual. Their people’s matriarch, Eterili, who is as old as dirt and smells like it, sees all and manipulates all. Aithagg and Catha are unsuspectingly part of her grand-design. 

Where did the inspiration for your book come from? 

I became very interested in Alexander in the previous book Absolute Darkness. His world, where he came from, all of his secrets—I didn’t know what they were yet. My editor from that book had written a one sentence idea in the margins—“wouldn’t it be neat if…” and she gave me a glimmer of an evolution of Alexander’s people. That one sentence compelled me to look into Alexander’s origin story and that became When Darkness Begins. It turned out to be YA, which isn’t even something I read as a teen. So, I wrote a book for 16 year old nerd me who would have liked Alexander’s time-traveling ability and the ill-fated, strong-willed girl that he falls in love with. Alexander is 10,000 years old. His people are older than that.  He’s had many names in his life. In his youth he was called Aithagg. What intrigues me now is what was he doing for those 10,000 years. I know he’s seen the world. Wonder what he saw? I want to write more in this area of the series but have a thriller slated next. I’ll come back to Alexander again soon.

If you could describe your book in one sentence what would it be? 

Destined to protect time, Aithagg risks the universe to save his first true love.

What is a typical writing day like for you? 

It depends on the day really. For 22 weeks out of the year I work as a part-time professor or I am on the holiday break. It is during this time that I do the bulk of my writing. During the other weeks I work as a complete FULL time professor where there is little to no room for writing. But there are, at times, moments for editing, making marketing material, doing virtual blog-tour interviews, etc. Though, I’m always thinking about writing and what’s next when I’m not thinking about grading, lectures, or University events.

I’ve found that I think about the setting, world, basic outline, and characters during the early summer while on motorcycle rides; research and read books in the genre in the fall during my commute to work, finalize the outline by October; then blurt out the rough draft in Novel November (4-8 hours a day); write more at a slower pace in December (1-3 hours a day); then edit gently from January–June (5 hours a week); edit harshly the following summer, and turn it into the publisher by September. That said, I MAY slow down just slightly this next year to write in a new genre. 

If you could recommend just one book to read what would it be and why? 

Good heavens. That is a tough one but maybe not so tough: The dictionary. It doesn’t get read enough, but maybe an older version with solid, old words. The kind of words you can mortar bricks with.

Who are your favourite authors? 

Cormac McCarthy for his ability to describe a mountain sunset 5,000 ways. Koontz for his snappy dialogue. Chelsea Quinn Yarboro for her amazing research and cross-referencing in her books. 

Is writing your only job? If not, what is your other job?

I wish I was able to say I am a full time author and I can gracefully ignore this question. My day job isn’t bad though. I teach animation and that keeps a whole other part of my brain happy.  I was in academic administration for 9 years, and I did write while there but wanted a predictable writing schedule. It worked out a little while ago that an animation professor position opened up and I could step right into it, thus, opening up 22 weeks a year to part-time and holidays for writing. It was a frightening leap. I can’t believe I waited so long to do it. There are so many supportive people around me who helped me in making that leap. Luckily, it worked and I have more time to write.


Tell me something interesting about yourself (that’s not in your author bio!) 

All of the interesting things about me are in that bio. Let me go read what it says there. Ah – here you go: I’ve been on motorcycles since I was 12, maybe even younger. My current ride is a BMW R1200C (the James Bond bike). It’s an odd looking thing but the most comfortable ride ever. I’ve had it for years and if the weather is good—I’ll be riding tomorrow.

What are you currently working on? 

Up next is a thriller. I truly enjoyed the characters, Brandy and Susan, in Absolute Darkness. That book was a love letter to my fondness for caving and my fear of drowning. I think the cave-diving scenes were gripping and enjoy making people sweat.  A new character has appeared in my life, Jude. She also enjoys caving (but not cave-diving) and this next book, A Dark Drink, is a love letter to Tennessee and all of the places I enjoy, while also being absolutely gruesome. 

Jude rides motorcycles and works for the presidential motorcycle motorcade. Good gal. Jude wants a simple, introverted, quiet life: caving and motorcycles—safe from dead psychopaths & a past she wants to forget.  Sudden internet fame, stalkers, and a severed finger in the mail rudely threatens everything she loves. 

The interesting thing about this Darkness Universe, to me anyway, is that all of these books cross together slightly somewhere. Jude knows Alexander, Brandy, and Susan. There will probably be some call back from Dark Drink to When Darkness Begins even though they are different genres completely and Dark Drink will have no awareness of the fantasy/sci-fi realm that Alexander actually lives in.  There’s something in dualities (if not more layers than that) that I love. 

About The Author:

Tina O’Hailey is a professor in animation and game programming, caver and occasional mapper of grim, wet, twisty caves (if she owes a friend a favor or loses a bet), whoseWDB - HAILEY_AD_incave_TomPack passion is to be secluded on a mountain and to write whilst surrounded by small, furry dogs and hot coffee. Tina was once struck by lightning.

She has served as an artistic trainer for Walt Disney Feature Animation, Dreamworks and Electronic Arts. Any movie credit she has is minimal and usually found in the special thanks section. The meager credits do not account for the great honor it was to teach talented artists who worked on numerous feature films and games.

She has authored animation textbooks “Rig it Right” and “Hybrid Animation” published by Focal Press and the Darkness Universe novels “Absolute Darkness” and “When Darkness Begins” published by Black Rose Writing.

Social Media Links – 

https://www.facebook.com/DarknessUniverseBooks  

https://www.instagram.com/tohailey/

https://twitter.com/tohailey

https://coffeediem.wordpress.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/TAOHAILEY

#PublicationDay Aroha by L.C. Conn @ConnLoraine @btwnthelinespub @rrbooktours1 #Aroha #Books #Fantasy #RRBookTours

Huge congratulations to author, L.C. Conn on the release of her epic conclusion to the One True Child Series, Aroha! To celebrate, the entire One True Child series is on sale today!

Read on for more details and a sneak peek at chapter one!

Cover (13)

Title: Aroha (One True Child Series #7) by L.C. Conn

Publication Date: 28th April 2020 

Genre: Fantasy

Description:

Aroha, born of the Universe, needs her godmother’s help. Danger is once more swirling around Claire and her family as Chaos seeks domination over the world. The continuing quest to protect them all will take them on a journey around the world, discovering things about themselves of which they had no prior knowledge. But will it be enough to finally defeat Chaos in the battle that will decide all?

Excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE 

As she stared out of the kitchen window drinking her coffee, Claire Drummond was feeling a little pensive. There was something happening up at the stones that sat on the hill behind the cottage, hidden away in a valley in the highlands of Scotland, her adoptive home. For days now she had felt the changes slowly emerging and spreading out to encompass its surroundings, including the old house in which she now stood. If she were asked how to describe it, Claire honestly did not think she could give a coherent answer that anyone would be able to understand. It was just a feeling.

Claire and her husband, Matt, now lived in the house that had been the home of his mother and grandmother. They split their time between Glasgow ‒ where they both worked at the university ‒ and the small hidden valley. But the cottage always felt more like home to her. Having been born and raised in New Zealand ‒ which Claire still loved fondly ‒ Scotland was where she felt she belonged and needed to be. There was a connection to the land, especially the valley, that she had never felt anywhere else. 

Reflecting back over her life, she was in awe at how much it had changed since she had discovered the beginnings of her Abilities at the age of seventeen. The many Talents that were once buried deep inside had grown from the initial two: Hide and Flight. Claire had been born into a very special group of people; so too her husband and their children. Her studies in the library in the outbuildings of the farm had revealed a rich history and insight into this group, more than she could ever have hoped. 

Claire and her family were descended from an ancient race of people, the first to live in these lands, and created by the Coimheadair. These people had openly used their Abilities until it was necessary to hide them away, as the rest of the world came to their shores. Claire had read with fascination the references to the Coimheadair, the Guardians of the lands, the creators of this world and, now, a new name she had discovered: Ancient Ones. She had just finished reading an account of an old creation story that had fascinated her and was still wondering if it were true or just some fanciful way of explaining how things had come to be. The Coimheadair were real – of that she was certain; she had seen and spoken to them herself.

Claire had emerged from the library with new wonder and, as always, she looked up to where the two hills joined behind the house. The large upthrust of rock was clearly visible and standing guard as it hid the stones, marking where the brook started with the spring at the top and tumbling down the rocks into the length of the valley. 

She placed the empty mug down on the bench and looked at the brook once more. It sparkled under the weak winter sun that had managed to push its way through the clouds. According to the story it had been opened up by an Ancient One to give water and life to the family of people who would guard the stones. Before she knew what she was doing, Claire was out of the house and flying through the air, finding herself already halfway up the hill. She rose up and landed carefully beside the spring. It burbled and bubbled up from the depths under the hill, tumbling down the first few rocks and disappearing over the edge.

Kneeling down she plunged her hand under the cold water and lifted it to her lips. It tasted sweet and crisp. Claire stood and slowly, almost hesitantly, made her way around the guarding rock. They stood as they had done since the beginning of time, tall and straight; they were dark pillars, with only the clinging lichen giving any hint as to how old they really were. The standing stones still called strongly to her; she could feel their vibrations and the anticipation of her touch. She felt the energy swirling around and inside them as they reached out for her, pulling her closer. They had always healed and calmed Claire in her times of need.

Now she reached out her hands that seemed to have aged since the first time she had touched the stones. The energy immediately raced through her fingers and into her body; it filled her up and she felt revitalised. The energy surged and Claire felt the stones searching, seeking more of her. The feeling frightened her. With great effort she pulled her hands away from the dark stone. Always she was wary of touching them for too long, afraid of being lost to them. She walked around the large stones on the outside, touching each one briefly as she went. 

This time as she walked it was different. The peace she normally felt was interrupted by voices. Faintly the murmuring came to her as if carried on a breeze from far away, and she frowned as she tried to hear them, only for it to slip away each time, just as she thought she could make out what they were saying. Reaching the entrance stones, she stopped in the gap. Very rarely did she step inside the circle. The last time had been with her family when Aroha, her niece, had been given the blessing of the Coimheadair of the north and south. It was also when Claire had pulled evil from Aroha that had lain hidden away in the depths of her soul, something she had inherited from her great-grandfather.

Stepping through the entrance Claire made her way to the centre of the circle. She stood and looked around her. The change she had felt grew and increased in intensity. It was urgent now. She wanted to turn and leave, it was expectant and weighed heavily on her, holding her in place.

From around the rocks a procession came, seven beings in all, dressed in dark hooded cloaks that covered them from head to toe. Their faces, hands and feet were concealed under the heavy robes. They entered the circle in single file and arranged themselves around her, standing in the gaps between the large stones. Claire did not fear them; she knew they were the Coimheadair.

“Greetings to the One True Child,” they called in unison.

“My greetings to the Guardians of these lands,” she replied.

“Carling,” One of the figures stepped forward, greeting her with the name she had been told was hers. “You once asked that we give you an explanation of what has happened to you.” 

“I remember. It was shortly before I disposed of Marcus’s remains,” Claire said, nodding.

“It is now time that you knew everything, Carling. That you were made aware of who and what you truly are. The many lives you have lived down the ages have been hidden from you, your actions and deeds only hinted at and drawn on when those skills were needed. You are so much more than just a wife, mother and scholar. You are the Protector, the Staff and Sword of Order. Your spirit born from two who stand here and sent out into the world to guard against the darkness.”

“I don’t understand. What do you mean, ‘born from two who stand here’? I knew my parents. Is part of them still with me in my mind?”

“We know, we helped them be there to guide you and love you,” the figure said gently. “The time for your education to begin is now, Carling. It is time for you to come into your full potential in order for you to act as Guide and Protector to the Ultimate One, to help her achieve her goal. It has been written in the Book of Destiny and cannot be erased.”

“The Ultimate One is Aroha, our god-daughter?” Claire asked, seeking confirmation to what she already suspected about her niece.

“Yes, it is she that the world has been waiting for. The Universe has sent her daughter to us.”

“What is the task that lies ahead of her?” Claire asked, feeling anxious for her niece.

“That will be part of your education,” another cloaked figure said in a deep male voice.

Claire looked at each Coimheadair that was present; they all stood upright, taller than her. Never once had she glimpsed what was hidden in the depths of those cowls.

“When does my education start?” she asked them.

“When Galen arrives.” A third figure stepped forward, referring to Matt’s true first name. “He will need to be with you. You need to draw on his strength and his love as it has always been between you. That is the reason my son was born.”

“That is tonight,” Claire said quietly, biting her lip a little.

“It is the reason we called you up to the stones. There is so much you must learn, so much you must understand and not one piece can you doubt or reject. The writings in the library are all true, Carling. They were made so that you could read them now, to prepare for tonight. We cannot lie; it will be hard on you, and maybe a little painful. But the time is coming when you need to use everything you have learned over all of your lives to survive and protect Aroha.” Yet another figure spoke now, in a woman’s voice this time.

“You have told me in the past that you are the Coimheadair, the Guardians. But you are so much more, aren’t you?” she asked them.

“We are, Carling, and so are you,” the first figure said. “We must leave now and will meet you here tonight. You will know when it is time. Galen is not far away.” 

Slowly the host of beings began to file out of the entrance to the stones and Claire was left in the middle as she watched them disappear around the rocks. All she could hear was the wind as it wound around the stones and the lonely, haunting cry of an eagle on the wing, high up in the cloud-strewn sky above.

Claire made her way back down the hill, taking her time as she pondered on the Guardians’ mysterious words. The texts she had been deciphering came to mind and she flicked through the pages in her mind. It was part of the Abilities she had acquired – understanding their ancient language. It was knowledge that she had shared with her father-in-law and with his help she had made great inroads into the myriad volumes in the family library. 

Walking around the house to the front she saw a car making its way up over the rise in the track that led to the ford and the main road. She waited by the door of the cottage for it to arrive and smiled broadly as her husband got out of the car. Claire ran to him and flung her arms around his neck. Matt Drummond was tall; his dark hair now showing traces of grey and the beard he had grown was now almost completely white. He was still the most handsome man to her, still so full of life and love for her. Claire clung to him.

“Hey, what’s up?” he asked, pulling away. He placed his hands on the side of her face, leaned down and kissed her gently. He could always tell when something had happened.

“Just when I thought I was free to live my life, they called me back,” she told him.

“They said… They told you that you were free.” 

She could see the agitation growing in him. His hands dropped from her face and he stepped back from her embrace.

“We have to be at the stones tonight. Apparently, I have to finish my education and I get to learn who I am.”

“But we know who you are. They told you that your tasks were done!” Matt said, a little forcefully. 

He reached out and took her hand. They walked together into the house and headed to the kitchen, which always felt warm and comforting. The traces of Matt’s grandmother were still there, and Claire had never tried to erase them.

“They want me to guide and protect Aroha as she faces her own task,” Claire informed him.

“This is not fair, Claire,” Matt growled. “You have already done so much for them. You have done everything they asked of you, and it almost destroyed you. They ask too much!”

The deaths of Jack and his father Marcus had affected her greatly, as had the ordeals that Marcus had put Claire and their family through. They were things that they had not spoken of for years; the memories were still too painful, and they had actively sought to suppress them.

She leaned up against the bench and looked out of the window up to the hill. Matt came up behind her and put his arms around her waist, his lips seeking the spot between her neck and shoulder.

“They want so much from you,” he whispered to her. “I fear they want your life, that you will leave me behind. I can’t live without you, Claire. I love you.”

Claire turned in his arms and wrapped her own around him. “I love you, too. I couldn’t have done what I did back then without you, without knowing how much you love me and feeling it within my heart. I still feel the rose that you created for me; it still surrounds my heart and protects me. It fills me with love and hope every day.”

“That is not just my love, but everyone’s.”

“But the rose and dewdrop from your tear is from you. It is the source of my strength and my love.”

“I guess we must go, then, and find out what they want,” Matt said, seeming resigned to the fact. “I’m pleased that they want me there too. In the past they have kept me in the dark and I’ve been floundering around trying to help you.”

“I know they have. I will make sure they include you in this; you have every right to know. Our lives are shared, we are one,” she told him and kissed him again.

They stood in the centre and waited. Inside the circle it felt warm; the wind and rain that blustered in the darkness beyond the stones did not affect them. Matt clasped her hand in his and was growing impatient. Claire turned to face him, her arms going about his waist as she drew him into her. He looked down at his wife and smiled, his bright blue eyes sparkling in the fleeting moonlight and showing the love he felt for her. He reached up and pushed her blond hair away her face and kissed her. 

There was no need for words, they had been together for twenty-eight years and they knew each other too well. The connection between them ran deep inside their minds and was unbreakable. Claire rested her head on his chest and closed her eyes, taking comfort from his arms and his presence. Memories of their times at the stones came floating up and she smiled at the ones that meant the most to her.

“Claire,” Matt said, softly bringing her out of her memories. 

Pulling away from the warmth of his body reluctantly, she watched the Coimheadair enter the circle. Each figure took their place once more in the gaps between the large stones and faced the couple. With increasing nervousness Claire waited for the Guardians to begin. 

“Greetings to the One True Child, daughter and sister of the Sentinels, Staff and Sword of Order, Guardian of the Stones and wife of Galen the Protector,” one of the hosts proclaimed, as he stepped forward from his place.

“My greetings to the Guardians of the lands,” Claire said.

“Greetings to Galen of the Boar, Protector and husband of the One True Child,” another said, moving forward.

“Greetings to the Guardians of these lands,” Matt said.

“That is a lot of titles and some I have never heard before,” Claire spoke to the first. 

“The time for all knowledge is now. What once was hidden and kept from you, will now be laid out and revealed to you, Carling,” he replied

“Before we begin, there is something I must ask,” Claire said, her hand still clasping that of Matt’s.

“If it is within our Abilities to grant it to you, Carling, then we shall,” the first Guardian told her.

“I ask that the knowledge is also passed on to Galen,” she requested, using her husband’s real name. “He has a right to know what I do, we share everything, and we are one.”

“My son shall know what you do as far as your joined history together. But there is still knowledge that my son will not be able to comprehend or understand. I do not intend to insult you, Galen, but some of the knowledge is specific for Carling to do with her Abilities,” the second Guardian replied.

“I understand, Guardian,” Matt inclined his head.

“I thank you, Guardians.” Claire bowed her head to them.

“Carling and Galen, it may pay that you sit. I fear that the knowledge will be weighty and hard for you.” Yet another figure spoke with a gentle feminine voice.

The couple sat facing each other, legs crossed, and hands held together. Their knees were touching, and Claire couldn’t tell if it were her hands that were shaking or Matt’s. She gave him a small smile of encouragement and closed her eyes.

The Guardians’ chanting started slowly and quietly, rising in tempo and volume. Some the words Claire understood and recognised as a blessing. The words then formed a request from a higher being than the host gathered, to grant knowledge to the couple. The pressure inside her mind increased as she saw her beginnings here in the stones. Claire witnessed her birth from a great being clothed in sunshine yellow, surrounded by others in multiple hues. Lights under their skin swirled as a storm raged overhead and around the stones. The scene shifted before her, showing Carling as a child with golden hair, her small hand clasped in that of a tall boy with bright blue eyes. Claire recognised the spirit of her husband. They had been destined for each other from the moment of her conception. 

Deeds played out before her, travels and people. Marveling as she recognised the spirits of so many, linking them with those she knew in this life. They had followed her down through the ages to be at her side, to support and love her. So many were there her mind began to rebel at the enormity of it and a flash of pain seared through her.

“Peace, Carling. Accept it,” a gentle voice called to her. It was familiar and she relaxed under its smooth tones.

The imprisonment of Chaos was before her. The crystal cave and its bright light she understood. Order was still standing guard over its brother, who was bound to two large pillars of pure clear crystal that pushed their way up through the floor of the cave. 

The scene changed quickly. She saw the lives of her children and that of her husband, the love she felt for her ultimate parents, and the Guardians. She saw them once more transform into the seven great trees to stand guard around the sacred lands.

Another life rose to meet Claire. Another called Carling. The same in every single way. The house which sat over the water, flames leaping from the thatched roof and the roar that frightened the small child, the fire that claimed her family. The scene changed and once again she saw the spear as it pierced her grandmother, the blood and the sound of her cries. The man who had taken her and who wanted to possess her. The hazel eyes, the face the same as the Marcus Claire had known, only younger. She saw the evil begin in him.

She saw the great fire she had caused at the Roman fort and the final battle. Galen killing the man, the first Marcus, as he cried out for him to do so. The darkness had not fully possessed his soul; there was a part that was still human and capable of love. Claire also understood where that love had come from: the Guardians.

The aftermath of the great fire and the life as she lived it with Galen with their children on the side of the mountain. The broch she recognised, the little village she knew, and had helped to rediscover, where she had dug the stones from the earth with her own hands. The pendant Matt had found, with the image of a boar, the one she had once worn at her throat, the work of her husband Galen. It all came to her and she smiled at the memories.

Other lives she had lived: in the area around Loch Tay; some later on, further afield in America. She saw the lines of her children. Galen and her offspring spread far and wide across the world, so many now. One she recognised and she stood before its spirit – that of Maddison, her brother Tony’s first wife.

She saw her own home. The small settlement in the valley in New Zealand. The stones as they had once stood at the head of the gully, green stones from the ground, polished and gleaming in the southern sun. She felt the Sentinels of the south as they gathered there, joining their energy to that of the north as they imparted all their knowledge to her. 

With the memories finished, it was now time for the truth. In the darkness of her mind, in a small corner, where the glow from the crystal that was the facilitator for her Abilities could not reach, she found herself. It was there that Claire tried to centre herself and accept the new memories. 

From the shadows of that corner came another to stand in front of her. Identical to herself in every way except for golden points of light which danced and swirled under her skin. Her hair was the same, her eyes the same shade of blue. Dressed like one of the Sentinels she smiled at Claire.

“We are one,” she said.

“I take it you are the one I call Crystal?”

“I am. It was necessary for the Sentinel side of us to manifest itself in such a way. It was too early for us to understand and accept it. Our first life showed us that the human side would take a little convincing.”

“This is what the Sentinels look like?”

“It is. They were born of the light of Order, although for ourselves we were born from the bodies of Yellow and Blue.”

“This is a lot for us to take on, Carling,” Claire said to her twin.

“It is, Claire. There is more – the Abilities that we used in our first life must now be released. It will be painful as our mind grows to accept them all. To do this, Claire, we must wake from here and open ourselves up to the Stones. Do not be afraid of losing ourselves to them, they will not absorb us. The energy we have felt inside the stones is that which has been stored for us, to draw on at this moment.”

“We shall trust in the knowledge that is stored in your side of our spirit.” Claire told the glittering being.

“Are we ready?”

“We are ready,” Claire nodded and opened her eyes.

Matt was sitting watching her, still clasping her hands in his own. His bright blue eyes widened as he came to terms with his own history and that of his wife.

“The time is now, Carling,” one of the male Sentinels intoned. “Open yourself to the stones and take the knowledge that is yours. Use it well and protect the world and the Ultimate One. The task is yours to take on and once more we ask you to be the Staff and Sword of Order.” 

“I accept the task,” she told them and turned to Matt. “I must do this, Galen, it is the reason I was created and born.”

“I understand, Claire. And where you go, so do I, as your support, love and protector.”

“We cannot touch you, Carling, while you are communing with the Stones. This task is for Galen to support you. You must hold her onto the stones, my son, and do not let her release until it is time.”

“I understand, my Ancestor,” he nodded to the Sentinel.

“I’m ready, Galen,” Claire told him, and he walked with her to the largest of the stones.

Standing in front of it and feeling very small in comparison, Claire could sense the knowledge already reaching out to her. She raised her hands and placed them on the flat hard surface and found it warm to the touch. It vibrated with energy as it started to impart knowledge, releasing all the Abilities and so much more. In her mind a bell began to toll, it was a sound she had heard before at the stones and the understanding of where it came from washed over her. The Universe herself was giving Claire her blessing. 

When Claire was first granted access to some of her Abilities, she had trouble controlling the influx of information. It was the same feeling she was now experiencing. Everything around her was blocked out, including the feeling of Matt holding her.

“Let it in and do not try to control it. Accept it,” the calming voice told her. 

“We are trying to,” Claire replied gritting her teeth and she forced herself to relax, and the pressure eased some.

Beads of sweat appeared on her brow as she concentrated on the knowledge. Her body shook with the force and weight of it. Matt held his wife tightly and was amazed at the capacity she had. He noticed small points of lights flickering to life just under the skin of her hands. They spun and swirled as they made their way slowly up her arms. Looking around at the Sentinels who stood guard over them, he was concerned and sought their guidance.

“The side that has been hidden from her, she is now accepting, my son. Keep her there, the time is not right to release her,” the Guardian reassured him.

“What are they?”

“They are the lights of the Universe. When Order created us, he took the light from his own body, the light that was created from the explosion of the old world and split it into its many facets. We are those facets. A rainbow of colours to stand guard over this world and protect it from the darkness. Carling’s light is purer than ours, her light is greater. It burns brighter and the Abilities she has been granted by our Mother Universe far exceeds our own. She is a gift from the Universe to help bring back balance. Chaos was never meant to be only darkness, the Universe created Order from Chaos’s destruction to bring balance. But unfortunately, it never came to pass. The great plan of Carling was only the beginning. She was always meant to be a tool to be honed and used to prepare and protect the Ultimate One. Aroha is meant to replace Chaos and Order. The balance shall be returned when she has banished them.”

“And what is to become of Claire when it is over?” Matt asked with a great fear beginning to grow inside him.

“It will be decided on the day of the banishment. We cannot see the outcome. Carling, when she does pass, will join us and take her rightful place with the Sentinels, at our side to continue our work. This has been seen.”

“So, I will lose her…?” He looked at Claire. The love he had for her was written clearly on his face, and the pain of knowing they would be separated from one another.

“We cannot see that,” another spoke gently.

“But you said…”

“Yes, it is written in the Book of Destiny, but we cannot see what becomes of either of you,” she told him.

The lights that had started underneath the skin on Claire’s hands were now spreading faster up her arms. They pushed their way with a surging force, advancing and then retreating a little until Matt saw them reach under the pushed-up sleeves of her jacket. They emerged at her throat and he could see them seeking out the rest of her body. The moment they reached her face she grimaced in pain and he almost pulled her off the stone.

“A little longer, my son.” A thin, bony hand was raised over Claire’s head and a spark of light jumped from the hand to Claire, like a little piece of golden lightening. The Guardian pulled back and held the hand under its robe.

The others stood their ground, waiting for the moment when all knowledge had been passed onto Claire. Matt could feel her tremble under the pressure, and she began to weaken. He held onto her, holding her in place. The weight of her body slightly pushing him off balance as he tried to adjust. The lights were now rushing through her body, streaking and pulsating like a meteor shower in the heavens. Under his hands he could feel her racing heartbeat as she absorbed all that she should be, and it became a part of her.

“Now, Galen.” One of the gathered hosts placed a hand on his shoulder and gently pulled him back.

Claire’s hands released their hold on the stone, and she collapsed into his arms. Matt gently lowered her to the ground and cradled her, smoothing the damp hair from her face. Claire’s eyes flickered opened and the lights had even invaded the soft blue of her iris. They flashed for a moment before disappearing and she focused on his face.

“Claire,” he said softly to her.

“Galen, my Galen. So long have we loved,” she said in wonder as her golden laced hand reached up to his face.

“And we shall continue forever more,” he promised as he bent and kissed her lips. 

Now Available!

OTC Series

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About the Author:

L.C. Conn grew up on the outskirts of Upper Hutt, New Zealand. Her backyardL C Conn - Author Photo encompassed the surrounding farmland, river, hills and mountains which she wandered with her brothers and fed her imagination. After discovering a love for writing in English class at the age of eight, she continued to write in secret. It was not until much later in life that L.C. turned what she thought was a hobby and something fun to do, into her first completed novel. Now married, L.C. moved from New Zealand to Perth, Western Australia, and became a stay at home mum. While caring for her family and after battling breast cancer, a story was born from the kernel of a dream. The first book of The One True Child Series was begun, and just kept blooming into seven completed stories.

Author Links:

L.C. Conn: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17714374.L_C_Conn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LCConn

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ConnLoraine

Email: raindropc1970@gmail.com

The One True Child Series: https://www.amazon.com/One-True-Child-Book/dp/B07NJD8X6K/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=L.C.+Conn&qid=1587909572&sr=8-1

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