Beyond the Books

On the Spotlight: WRITE TO DIE, a legal thriller by Charles Rosenberg

The Dark Phantom Review

Cover (2)

WRITE TO DIE, Charles Rosenberg’s blockbuster legal thriller is set against the backdrop of Hollywood’s entertainment industry, and marks the debut of a new series. Write to Die introduces protagonist Rory Calburton, a former Deputy DA turned entertainment lawyer who is swept up in the trial of a lifetime when murder hits the heart of the movie business.

A sensational tale informed by Charles Rosenberg’s decades-long legal career, Write to Die sizzles. With its seemingly ripped-from-the-headlines storyline, exhilarating plot, and pulse-pounding action, Write to Die heralds the advent of an outstanding new mystery series. Resplendent with realistic courtroom drama, richly drawn characters that spring to life within the novel’s pages, and an insider’s view of the inner workings of Hollywood, Write to Die is to die for.

About Write to Die: Hollywood’s latest blockbuster is all set to premiere—until a faded superstar claims the script was stolen from her. To…

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Vampires and a Bad Ass Heroine: Review of ‘The Crimson Calling’ by Patrick C. Greene

crimsonThe Crimson Calling by Patrick C. Greene is a suspenseful, fast-paced tale featuring a strong, bad ass heroine, and lots of non-stop action. It puts a new spin on vampire lore by combining the old myths with the modern military.

In a world where just a few hundred vampires secretly remain after the eradication of 1666, Olivia–Liv–Irons is a young woman with unusual military talents who is emotionally tortured by the loss of her child and the man she loved. One day, she is a approached by an ancient alluring vampire with a proposition she can’t refuse.

Now, it rests in her hands to save the good vampires–as well as humankind–from a sect of the evil undead who want nothing more than to rule the world on their own terms. Including turning humans into foodbags. But at the heart of this mission, there lies a secret…

Olivia is a lovable character, strong and independent, yet kind and vulnerable, the perfect combination with her bad ass attitude. There is also an array of interesting secondary characters as well as a villainess readers will love to hate. Intense and entertaining fight scenes between the immortals will satisfy fans of the military/vampire fiction sub-genre. Adding to this mix are the alluring forests and rolling hills of Eastern Europe, as well as erotic descriptions of vampire transformation.

Greene has a gritty writing style that doesn’t shy away from the nastier side of things–and language. His combat descriptions are awesome. At the same time, he does a skillful job in getting into the mind of his young and vulnerable protagonist, showing us her doubts and fears with a caring touch. The ending seems to be open to a sequel so I’m definitely looking forward to read more. Entertaining and recommended!

Find out more on Amazon.

Character Interview: Freddy from Michelle Nott’s Early Reader Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses

We’re thrilled to have here today Freddy from Michelle Nott’s new Early Reader, Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses.  Freddy is an eight year-old student.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so much for this interview, Freddy.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers? 

Michelle portrayed the troubles I was having very clearly. I just hope it didn’t look like I am poor in math, because I’m actually rather good at math.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Yes. I actually really enjoy school, which is why I was hopping to get into class that day. But, I do get sad when my classmates laugh at me. Now that I have my glasses, though, I don’t do anything to make them laugh at me in a mean way anymore. I can see what’s going on now.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My imagination. When I didn’t know why everything was blurry, or why I couldn’t see the numbers on my ruler, or read the title of books at the library, I imagined Hoppie, a little frog that could help me.

Worse trait?

Stubborn. My eyesight problems had been going on much longer than you can tell from the book. I didn’t want to believe anything was wrong.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Elias Harger would be a great choice!

Do you have a love interest in the book?

No! I’m only eight years old!

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When I came home AGAIN with a terrible headache, I knew I had to tell my mom somehow.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I would not want to be my math partner who wouldn’t even put a star on my paper. He’s too negative.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I love it. I feel better about myself, and I know Hoppie is helping a lot of other children too.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

I didn’t get to show off my baseball talent in this book or how well I draw. Maybe she could write about all that one day.

Thank you for this interview, Freddy.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I hope so!


Title: Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses

Genre: Early Reader, ages 6-9

Author: Michelle Nott


Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing

Purchase link:


Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses is about a little boy and his imaginary frog named Hoppie. Whenever Freddy struggles, Hoppie helps out. Specifically, Freddy’s having problems at school that he doesn’t realize stem from his poor eyesight. Not sure how to tell Mom about his trouble, he explains that Hoppie is the one with headaches, etc. Of course, Mom understands that Hoppie is the tool that Freddy uses to express himself. So, she takes Freddy (and Hoppie) to see the eye doctor. When Freddy leaves with brand new eyeglasses, Hoppie stays to assist the eye doctor with the other young patients.


Before becoming an author, Michelle Nott enjoyed being a French teacher (pre-K to university levels) in the U.S., working for a French company in Paris and an art gallery in NYC. She has also edited and written articles for numerous on-line and print magazines in the American and European markets.

In 2004, Michelle moved to Belgium. When she noticed that her daughters’ book collection included more French titles than English ones, she decided to put her creative writing degree to use. Many of these early stories can be found on her blog Good Night, Sleep Tight where she also reflects on raising Third Culture Kids.

In 2015, Michelle and her family returned to the U.S. But with American and French citizenship, they travel to Europe regularly. Their favorite places include the French Alps, the Belgian countryside, and the Cornish coast in the UK. Her family’s life and adventures prove great inspirations for her stories.

Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses is Michelle’s first book for children. Her future children’s books are represented by Essie White at Storm Literary Agency. She is a member of SCBWI, Children’s Book Insider and Houston Writer’s Guild.

Connect with Michelle Nott on the Net!


The First Page: Interview with Davin Whitehurst, author of ‘I Have Faith’

I Have Faith

Title: I Have Faith
Author: Davin Whitehurst
Publisher: Childlike Faith Publishing
Pages: 26
Genre:  Children

Are you ready to get your child excited about faith? “I Have Faith” puts your child right in the footsteps of Danny as he begins to learn about faith. Danny and his older brother have been wanting a dog, but both know their parents don’t think they are ready for a dog. When Danny’s mom begins teaching him what the bible says about faith, he puts his faith into action. After praying and releasing his faith for a dog, doubt and even his best friend keep telling him that he will never get a dog. Over time Danny never loses his faith in the promises of God and finds that God is faithful and that faith works. Come along on this journey that is a real life event that took place in the author’s life as a child.

This book has great illustrations that support a wonderful story about finding faith in God. As you are teaching your child about principals in the bible; this book will help you teach faith. What a wonderful experience it is when we can see our children begin to develop their faith in God, and grow from a tiny mustard seed to a firmly planted tree. The back of the book has a parent/child discussion which will help children gain understanding in faith and some scriptures that Danny’s mom used to get him excited about faith.

The First Page:

(add photo)

Interview with Davin:

Welcome Davin. Can you tell us what your book is about?

The story is based out of my childhood. All names have been changed to protect the innocent, just kidding, but the names have been changed. Danny is a young boy who has always wanted to get a puppy. As his mom begins to teach him about faith, Danny decides to put his faith into action. Danny prays for a dog one night and believes it is a done deal. The only issue is everyone around him says the opposite of him. His brother, parents and even his best friend all say he can’t have a dog. Over time he comes home from school to find his dad with his prayer in his lap. The story shows how faith is developed and is a great way for parents to teach children about faith.

The first page is perhaps one of the most important pages in the whole book. It’s what draws the reader into the story. Why did you choose to begin your book this way?

I wanted to start the book from Danny’s prospective. It’s his story so he draws the child in and lets them know that he is going to show them what faith is and how they can develope it.

In the course of writing your book, how many times would you say that first page changed and for what reasons?

In my first draft I had it starting off with Danny and his mother reading and learning about faith. As the illustrations started coming together, I felt a void in the story. That’s when I came up with the idea of Danny telling the story. Not only did this show I needed a different first page, but I also had to change up the manuscript a little to reflect the change in storytelling. Once we had the first page done and the story change, it all seemed to fit.

Was there ever a time after the book was published that you wished you had changed something on the first page?

Because I was patient in getting the story and illustrations right, I never second guessed the outcome. I think it fits the story well so that children can relate to Danny.

What advice can you give to aspiring authors to stress how important the first page is?

To me, the start of anything is crucial. The first page is what sets the tone for the book in so many cases. I think that patience is a key element to the story line. Let the elements come together and when there is a hole in the story, fill it. Let the first page kick start the story and get the child or audience engaged with what is happening. Sometimes you only have a page to get them in. If that needs to be the first page, do it.

About the Author:

Davin Whitehurst

Davin Whitehurst lives in the beautiful high desert of Southern Arizona with his wife and son. He is releasing his first book “I have Faith” in May of 2016 but has so many more that are in the making. The motivation behind the books are deeply rooted from in his own past. He is a living testimony of Proverbs 22:6. Growing up in Southwest Kansas and in a Christian household, he was trained up in the way he should go. By the time he became a teenager, Davin turned away from God and left church. Fast forward into his late twenties and God brought him back with a powerful calling. He and his family have been faithfully serving at Seed of Abraham Christian Center International for over seven years now. Proof that when we teach our children the way they should go. When they get older, they know where to turn and will not depart from God. Davin wants each book written to be a resource that parents have to help train their children in the way they should go. He writes stories in a simple way that will be fun and practical for every child. He wants children to get excited about faith and the things of God.

His latest release is the children’s book, I Have Faith.

For More Information

In the Spotlight: Cocktales & Mock-Tales by Julianne McLean & Mark Lynch

Cocktails and Mock-TalesTitle: Cocktales & Mock-Tales
Authors: Julianne McLean & Mark Lynch
Publisher: ASJ Publishing
Pages: 90
Genre: Humor

Cocktails and Mock- Tales is not just about alcoholic beverages. The book is about sensations that tickle your tastebuds and humour that tickles your fancy. It includes non-alcoholic beverages that the whole family can enjoy and even herbal recipes for the adventurous.

Have one extremely tall high ball glass and a giant cocktail shaker at the ready


Unlimited centilitres of wit and humour

9 cl or 3oz titillating snippets of history and gossip

Add flavours of exotic destinations

A dusting of spice mixed with satire

Several centilitres of high spirits (optional)

Shake with vigour. Garnish with an open mind and your own sense of humour

Now you are ready to truly laugh and savour Cocktails and Mock Tales!

Amaze your friends and family with your knowledge of the origins of international beverages and excite their tastebuds with these exotic sensations.

For More Information

  • Cocktails & Mock-Tales is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt:


The daiquiri is a family of cocktails of which the primary ingredients are white rum, lime or lemon juice and sugar.

The drink was supposedly invented by American mining engineer Jennings Cox who was in partying and experimenting in Cuba at the time of the Spanish American War. Daiquiri is also the name of a beach and an iron ore mine near Santiago in Cuba.

Serves 1

6cl white rum

3cl lime juice

2cl sugar syrup

Sugar on the rim of the glass.

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Strawberry Daiquiri Mock-tail


2 large strawberries

1⁄4 cup of white sugar

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

¾ cup of chilled lemon lime soda

4 ice cubes

In a blender, mix the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and lime soda. Add the ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled Tom Collins glass. Garnish with a slice of lime or lemon

Raven’s Peak Book Blast! Win a copy of RAVEN’S PEAK! Ends Today!


We’re thrilled to be hosting Lincoln Cole and his RAVEN’S PEAK Book Blast today! Fill out the form at the bottom and leave a comment on this blog post to win a FREE autographed copy of his book! Good luck!


Raven’s Peak
Author: Lincoln Cole
Publisher: Kindle Press
Pages: 276
Genre: Horror/Paranormal Thriller/Urban Fantasy
A quiet little mountain town is hiding a big problem. When the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak start acting crazy, Abigail Dressler is called upon to discover the root of the evil affecting people. She uncovers a demonic threat unlike any she’s ever faced and finds herself in a fight just to stay alive.
Abigail rescues Haatim Arison from a terrifying fate and discovers that he has a family legacy in the supernatural that he knows nothing about. Now she’s forced to protect him, which is easy, but also to trust him if she wants to save the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak. Trust, however, is something hard to have for someone who grew up living on the knife’s edge of danger.
Can they discover the cause of the town’s insanity and put a stop to it before it is too late?

Raven’s Peak is available at Amazon.

Book Excerpt:

“Reverend, you have a
He couldn’t remember when he
fell in love with the pain. When agony first turned to pleasure, and then to
joy. Of course, it hadn’t always been like this. He remembered screaming all
those years ago when first they put him in this cell; those memories were
vague, though, like reflections in a dusty mirror.
“Open D4.”
A buzz as the door slid open,
inconsequential. The aching need was what drove him in this moment, and
nothing else mattered. It was a primal desire: a longing for the tingly rush of
adrenaline each time the lash licked his flesh. The blood dripping down his
parched skin fulfilled him like biting into a juicy strawberry on a warm
summer’s day.
“Some woman. Says she needs to
speak with you immediately. She says her name is Frieda.”
A pause, the lash hovering in
the air like a poised snake. The Reverend remembered that name, found it
dancing in the recesses of his mind. He tried to pull himself back from the
ritual, back to reality, but it was an uphill slog through knee-deep mud to
reclaim those memories.
It was always difficult to
focus when he was in the midst of his cleansing. All he managed to cling to was
the name. Frieda. It was the name of an angel, he
knew. . . or perhaps a devil.
One and the same when all was
said and done.
She belonged to a past life,
only the whispers of which he could recall. The ritual reclaimed him, embraced
him with its fiery need. His memories were nothing compared to the whip in his
hand, its nine tails gracing his flesh.
The lash struck down on his
left shoulder blade, scattering droplets of blood against the wall behind him.
Those droplets would stain the granite for months, he knew, before finally
fading away. He clenched his teeth in a feral grin as the whip landed with a
sickening, wet slapping sound.
“Jesus,” a new voice whispered
from the doorway. “Does he always do that?”
“Every morning.”
“You’ll cuff him?”
“Why? Are you scared?”
The Reverend raised the lash
into the air, poised for another strike.
“Just…man, you said he was
crazy…but this…”
The lash came down, lapping at
his back and the tender muscles hidden there. He let out a groan of mixed agony
and pleasure.
These men were meaningless,
their voices only echoes amid the rest, an endless drone. He wanted them to
leave him alone with his ritual. They weren’t worth his time.
“I think we can spare the
handcuffs this time; the last guy who tried spent a month in the hospital.”
“Regulation says we have to.”
“Then you do it.”
The guards fell silent. The
cat-o’-nine-tails, his friend, his love, became the only sound in the roughhewn
cell, echoing off the granite walls. He took a rasping breath, blew it out, and
cracked the lash again. More blood. More agony. More pleasure.
“I don’t think we need to cuff
him,” the second guard decided.
“Good idea. Besides, the
Reverend isn’t going to cause us any trouble. He only hurts himself. Right,
The air tasted of copper,
sickly sweet. He wished he could see his back and the scars, but there were no
mirrors in his cell. They removed the only one he had when he broke shards off
to slice into his arms and legs. They were afraid he would kill himself.
How ironic was that?
“Right, Reverend?”
Mirrors were dangerous things,
he remembered from that past life. They called the other side, the darker side.
An imperfect reflection stared back, threatening to steal pieces of the soul
away forever.
“Reverend? Can you hear me?”
The guard reached out to tap
the Reverend on the shoulder. Just a tap, no danger at all, but his hand never
even came close. Honed reflexes reacted before anyone could possibly understand
what was happening.
Suddenly the Reverend was
standing. He hovered above the guard who was down on his knees. The man let out
a sharp cry, his left shoulder twisted up at an uncomfortable angle by the
Reverend’s iron grip.
The lash hung in the air,
ready to strike at its new prey.
The Reverend looked curiously
at the man, seeing him for the first time. He recognized him as one of the
first guardsmen he’d ever spoken with when placed in this cell. A nice European
chap with a wife and two young children. A little overweight and balding, but
Most of him didn’t want to
hurt this man, but there was a part—a hungry, needful part—that did. That part
wanted to hurt this man in ways neither of them could even imagine. One twist
would snap his arm. Two would shatter the bone; the sound as it snapped would
be . . .
A symphony rivaling
The second guard—the younger
one that smelled of fear—stumbled back, struggling to draw his gun.
“No! No, don’t!”
That from the first, on his
knees as if praying. The Reverend wondered if he prayed at night with his
family before heading to bed. Doubtless, he prayed that he would make it home
safely from work and that one of the inmates wouldn’t rip his throat out or
gouge out his eyes. Right now, he was waving his free hand at his partner to
get his attention, to stop him.
The younger guard finally
worked the gun free and pointed it at the Reverend. His hands were shaking as
he said, “Let him go!”
“Don’t shoot, Ed!”
“Let him go!”
The older guard, pleading this
time: “Don’t piss him off!”
The look that crossed his
young partner’s face in that moment was precious: primal fear. It was an
expression the Reverend had seen many times in his life, and he understood the
thoughts going through the man’s mind: he couldn’t imagine how he might
die in this cell, but he believed he could. That belief
stemmed from something deeper than what his eyes could see. A terror so
profound it beggared reality.
An immutable silence hung in
the air. Both guards twitched and shifted, one in pain and the other in terror.
The Reverend was immovable, a statue in his sanctuary, eyes boring into the
man’s soul.
“Don’t shoot,” the guard on
his knees murmured. “You’ll miss, and we’ll be dead.”
“I have a clear shot. I can’t
This time, the response was
weaker. “We’ll still be dead.”
A hesitation. The guard
lowered his gun in confused fear, pointing it at the floor. The Reverend curled
his lips and released, freeing the kneeling guard.
The man rubbed his shoulder
and climbed shakily to his feet. He backed away from the Reverend and stood
beside the other, red-faced and panting.
“I heard you,” the Reverend
said. The words were hard to come by; he’d rarely spoken these last five
“I’m sorry, Reverend,” the
guard replied meekly. “My mistake.”
“Bring me to Frieda,” he
“You don’t—” the younger guard
began. A sharp look from his companion silenced him.
“Right away, sir.”
“Steve, we should cuff…”
Steve ignored him, turning and
stepping outside the cell. The Reverend looked longingly at the lash in his
hand before dropping it onto his hard bed. His cultivated pain had faded to a
dull ache. He would need to begin anew when he returned, restart the cleansing.
There was always more to
They traveled through the
black-site prison deep below the earth’s surface, past neglected cells and
through rough cut stone. A few of the rusty cages held prisoners, but most
stood empty and silent. These prisoners were relics of a forgotten time, most
of whom couldn’t even remember the misdeed that had brought them here.
The Reverend remembered his
misdeeds. Every day he thought of the pain and terror he had inflicted, and
every day he prayed it would wash away.
They were deep within the
earth, but not enough to benefit from the world’s core heat. It was kept
unnaturally cold as well to keep the prisoners docile. That meant there were
only a few lights and frigid temperatures. Last winter he thought he might lose
a finger to frostbite. He’d cherished the idea, but it wasn’t to be. He had
looked forward to cutting it off.
There were only a handful of
guards in this section of the prison, maybe one every twenty meters. The actual
security system relied on a single exit shaft as the only means of escape.
Sure, he could fight his way free, but locking the elevator meant he would
never reach the surface.
And pumping out the oxygen
meant the situation would be contained.
The Council didn’t want to
bring civilians in on the secretive depths of their hellhole prison. The fewer
guards they needed to hire, the fewer people knew of their existence, and any
guards who were brought in were fed half-truths and lies about their true
purpose. How many such men and women, he’d always wondered, knew who he was or
why he was here?
Probably none. That was for
the best. If they knew, they never would have been able to do their jobs.
As they walked, the Reverend
felt the ritual wash away and he became himself once more. Just a man getting
on in years: broken, pathetic, and alone as he paid for his mistakes.
Finally, they arrived at the
entrance of the prison: an enclosed set of rooms cut into the stone walls
backing up to a shaft. A solitary elevator bridged the prison to the world
above, guarded by six men, but that wasn’t where they took him.
They guided him to one of the
side rooms, opening the door but waiting outside. Inside were a plain brown
table and one-way mirror, similar to a police station, but nothing else.
A woman sat at the table facing
away from the door. She had brown hair and a white business suit with matching
heels. Very pristine; Frieda was always so well-dressed.
“Here we are,” the guard said.
The Reverend didn’t acknowledge the man, but he did walk into the chamber. He
strode past the table and sat in the chair facing Frieda.
He studied her: she had deep
blue eyes and a mole on her left cheek. She looked older, and he couldn’t
remember the last time she’d come to visit him.
Probably not since the day she
helped lock him in that cell.
“Close the door,” Frieda said
to the guards while still facing the Reverend.
“But ma’am, we are supposed
“Close the door,” she
reiterated. Her tone was exactly the same, but an undercurrent was there. Hers
was a powerful presence, the type normal people obeyed instinctually. She was
always in charge, no matter the situation.
“We will be right out here,”
Steve replied finally, pulling the heavy metal door closed.
Silence enveloped the room, a
humming emptiness.
He stared at her, and she
stared at him. Seconds slipped past.
He wondered how she saw him.
What must he look like today? His hair and beard must be shaggy and unkempt
with strands of gray mixed into the black. He imagined his face, but with eyes
that were sunken, skin that was pale and leathery. Doubtless, he looked
thinner, almost emaciated.
He was also covered in blood,
the smell of which would be overpowering. It disgusted him; he hated how his
daily ritual left him, battering his body to maintain control, yet he answered
its call without question.
“Do you remember what you told
me the first time we met?” the Reverend asked finally, facing Frieda again.
“We need your help,” Frieda
said, ignoring his question. “You’ve been here for a long time, and things have
been getting worse.”
“You quoted Nietzsche, that
first meeting. I thought it was pessimistic and rhetorical,” he continued.
“Crime is getting worse. The
world is getting darker and…”
“I thought you were talking
about something that might happen to someone else but never to me. I had no
idea just how spot on you were: that you were prophesizing my future,” he
spoke. “Do you remember your exact words?”
“We need your help,” Frieda
finished. Then she added softer: “I need your help.”
He didn’t respond. Instead, he
said: “Do you remember?”
She sighed. “I do.”
“Repeat it for me.”
She frowned. “When we first
met, I said to you: ‘Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the
process he does not become a monster
He nodded. “You were right.
Now I am a monster.”
“You aren’t a monster,”
she whispered.
“No,” he said. “I am your monster.”
Rage exploded through his
body, and he felt every muscle tense. “That is not my name!”
he roared, slamming his fist on the table. It made a loud crashing sound,
shredding the silence, and the wood nearly folded beneath the impact.
Frieda slid her chair back in
an instant, falling into a fighting stance. One hand gripped the cross hanging
around her neck, and the other slid into her vest pocket. She wore an
expression he could barely recognize, something he’d never seen on her face
She was afraid of him. The
realization stung, and more than a little bit.
The Reverend didn’t move from
his seat, but he could still feel heat coursing through his veins. He forced
his pulse to slow, his emotions to subside. He loved the feeling of rage but
was terrified of what would happen if he gave into it; if he embraced it.
He glanced at the hand in her
pocket and realized what weapon she had chosen to defend herself. A pang shot
through his chest.
“Would it work?” he asked.
She didn’t answer, but a
minute trace of shame crossed her face. He stood slowly and walked around the
table, reaching a hand toward her. To her credit, she barely flinched as he
touched her. He gently pulled her fist out of the pocket and opened it. In her
grip was a small vial filled with water.
Will it work?” he
“Arthur…” she breathed.
The name brought a flood of
memories, furrowing his brow. A little girl playing in a field, picking
blueberries and laughing. A wife with auburn hair who watched him with love and
longing as he played with their daughter. He quashed them; he feared the pain
the memories would bring.
That was a pain he did not
“I need to know,” he
He slid the vial from her hand
and popped the top off. She watched in resignation as he held up his right
arm and poured a few droplets onto his exposed skin. It tingled where it
touched, little more than a tickle, and he felt his skin turn hot.
But it didn’t burn.
He let out the shuddering breath
he hadn’t realized he was holding.
“Thank God,” Frieda whispered.
“I’m not sure She deserves
it,” Arthur replied.
“We need your help,” Frieda
said again. When he looked at her face once more, he saw moisture in her eyes.
He couldn’t tell if it was from relief that the blessed water didn’t work, or
sadness that it almost had.
“How can I possibly help?” he
asked, gesturing at his body helplessly with his arms. “You see what I am. What
I’ve become.”
“I know what you were.”
“What I am no longer,” he
corrected. “I was ignorant and foolish. I can never be that man again.”
“Three girls are missing,” she
“Three girls are always
missing,” he said, “and countless more.”
“But not like these,” she
said. “These are ours.”
He was quiet for a moment.
She nodded. “Two showed
potential. All three were being fostered by the Greathouse family.”
He remembered Charles
Greathouse, an old and idealistic man who just wanted to help. “Of course, you
went to Charles,” Arthur said. “He took care of your little witches until they
were ready to become soldiers.”
“He volunteered.”
“And now he’s dead,” Arthur
said. Frieda didn’t correct him. “Who took the girls?”
“We don’t know. But there’s
more. It killed three of ours.”
“Michael and Rachael Felton.”
“And the third?”
He cursed. “You know she
wasn’t ready. Not for this.”
“You’ve been here for five
years,” Frieda said. “She grew up.”
“She’s still a child.”
“She wasn’t anymore.”
“She’s my child.”
Frieda hesitated, frowning. He
knew as well as she did what had happened to put him in this prison and what
part Abigail had played in it. If Abigail hadn’t stopped him…
“We didn’t expect . . .”
Frieda said finally, sliding away from the minefield in the conversation.
“You never do.”
“I’m sorry,” Frieda said. “I
know you were close.”
The Reverend—Arthur—had
trained Abigail. Raised her from a child after rescuing her from a cult many
years earlier. It was after his own child had been murdered, and he had needed
a reason to go on with his life. His faith was wavering, and she had become his
salvation. They were more than close. They were family.
And now she was dead.
“What took them? Was it the
Ninth Circle?”
“I don’t think so,” she said.
“Our informants haven’t heard anything.”
“A demon?”
“Probably several.”
“Where did it take them?” he
“We don’t know.”
“What is it going to do with
This time, she didn’t answer.
She didn’t need to.
“So you want me to clean up
your mess?”
“It killed three of our best,”
Frieda said. “I don’t…I don’t know what else to do.”
“What does the Council want
you to do?”
“Wait and see.”
“And you disagree?”
“I’m afraid that it’ll be too
late by the time the Council decides to act.”
“You have others you could
“Not that can handle something
like this,” she said.
“You mean none that you could
send without the Council finding out and reprimanding you?”
“You were always the best,
“Now I am in prison.”
“You are here voluntarily,”
she said. “I’ve taken care of everything. There is a car waiting topside and a
jet idling. So, will you help?”
He was silent for a moment,
thinking. “I’m not that man anymore.”
“I trust you.”
“You shouldn’t.”
“I do.”
“What happens if I say ‘no’?”
“I don’t know,” Frieda said,
shaking her head. “You are my last hope.”
“What happens,” he began, a
lump in his throat, “when I don’t come back? What happens when I become the new
threat and you have no one else to send?”
Frieda wouldn’t even look him
in the eyes.
“When that day comes,” she
said softly, staring at the table, “I’ll have an answer to a question I’ve
wondered about for a long time.”
“What question is that?”
She looked up at him. “What is
my faith worth?”



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About the Author


Lincoln Cole is
a Columbus-based author who enjoys traveling and has visited many different
parts of the world, including
Australia and Cambodia, but always returns home to his
pugamonster and wife. His love for writing was kindled at an early age through
the works of Isaac Asimov and Stephen King and he enjoys telling stories to
anyone who will listen.
For More Information




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Cole is giving away an autographed copy of RAVEN’S PEAK!!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering
    the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner
    will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one autographed copy of RAVEN’S
  • This
    giveaway ends midnight July 11.
  • Winner will
    be contacted via email on July 12.
  • Winner has
    48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Character Interview: Lynch from Thomas Rottinghaus western/fantasy Graaywullf: Book One of the Dragonspawn Trilogy

GraywullfWe’re thrilled to have here today Lynch from Thomas Rottinghaus new western/fantasy, Graywullf: Book One of the Dragonspawn Trilogy.  Lynch   is an ageless Dark Wizard living in the country of Norland.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Lynch.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

First of all, I must maintain my innocence in any wrongdoing. Also I feel that I have been portrayed as a self serving, arrogant, egotistical, murderous, cold blooded man with only a sliver of morality…wait, I guess that is correct. But, in my own defense I do feel that I evolved throughout the story, and I did play a huge role in all of the action.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

I could have been portrayed as a new and improved Dark Wizard, with a more prominent sense of humor. But, I have to admit that being known as the most daring, handsome, rugged and dangerous man in the known World is somewhat flattering.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I have so many strong traits it’s hard to choose. Perhaps it’s my unwavering determination.

Worse trait?

I am a little quick with my blade at times, but only with those who truly deserve it.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Hugh Jackman, without a doubt. He’s strong and dangerous. Think Wolverine. With magical capabilities and a sword.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

I’m Lynch. I have many love interests.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Oh, I’ve knocked on Death’s door so many times I was never really nervous. I found myself in some very tight situations, but Lynch always perseveres.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I would hate to be anyone who opposes me. Why? Really, do you have to ask? Look at me. I am the epitome of strength, intelligence, daring and good looks.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Personally, the ending of the book was quite frustrating. But from a more neutral standpoint it is the perfect introduction of the World of Norland and the bloodline of Graywullf.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

Please don’t be so reluctant to heap praise and admiration on me. We both know I deserve it.

Thank you for this interview, Lynch.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Absolutely. I have a HUGE part to play in the rest of this story!


 Title:  Graywullf

Genre: Western / Fantasy

Author: Thomas Rottinghaus

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:

The Dark Wizard Lynch had lived several ages of men being loyal only to himself. But when he was accidentally rescued from certain death by the Warrior Lorn Graywullf, he found himself in the unfamiliar position of being indebted to another. To repay that debt, Lynch offers to help the Warriors reverse a spell that would wreak havoc on their World. Of course, he neglected to mention that action would serve his own interests as well. In the process, Lynch discovers much to his chagrin that he does still have a soul and a conscience.

He also discovers that the Warriors are fighting a battle they can’t win against a common enemy, a Wizard named Timon Backhelm. Only Lynch knows his complicated history with Timon, and the real reason he has sworn to kill him or be killed trying. But when Lynch realizes the extent of Timon’s power, he knows the only way to win is to initiate the creation of the Dragonspawn, a magical, physical blend of the strengths of a Dragon and an ultimate Warrior. The question is, will the Dragonspawn be loyal to those who created him, or will he simply destroy them all?



Thomas Rottinghaus has been an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, as well as a student of the written Word, since becoming enamored with J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” as a freshman in high school. Drawing from influences as varied as Tolkien, Stephen King, and Isaac Asimov, he wrote his first foray into the publishing world, “Graywullf: Book One of the Dragonspawn Trilogy” Thomas studied literature and journalism at Colorado Mesa University before pursuing other interests. He resides in beautiful Western Colorado with his wife, Lisa, a herd of barn cats and their friend Scout, a shepherd and Labrador mix.

Twitter: Graywullf1



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