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Book Spotlight: The Unseen Kingdom by Daniel R. Mathews

About The Book
Title: The Unseen Kingdom
Author: Daniel R. Mathews
Publisher: Lost Legacy Press
Publication Date: September 19, 2015
Format: Paperback – 562 pages / eBook  / PDF
ISBN: 978-0990710721
Genre: YA / LGBT / Horror / Science Fiction
Book Description:
A group of friends must band together to defeat an ancient evil in Daniel R. Mathews’s terrifying debut, The Unseen Kingdom.
In a small New England town, thirteen-year-old Tommy Wilson’s biggest worry is coming out to his close-knit group of friends. All of that changes, however, when the boys discover a dream portal to R’lyeh—home to the Titan god Cthulhu himself.
Inhabited by monstrous creatures and eerie children who have appointed Tommy and his friends their new “apostles,” R’lyeh becomes a horrifying yet darkly fascinating world that proves to be increasingly real.
Meanwhile, the town’s population is suddenly overrun with a mysterious epidemic that threatens everyone. As the boys struggle to cope with what is happening, Tommy comes closer than ever to discovering the dark secret that lurks within R’lyeh itself—but will the price prove to be too costly? And, can the boys unlock the link between the secrets of R’lyeh and the devastation of their town’s population before it’s too late?
A truly unique work of fiction, The Unseen Kingdom is an LGBT coming-of-age novel skillfully infused with edge-of-your-seat horror, resulting in a wildly entertaining novel that will leave you guessing until the very last page.
Book Excerpt: 

CH A P T E R 1The dust covered yellow school bus rumbled down the cracked asphalt road,
shaking the children inside. Tommy’s body was inclined back against his
seat, his feet planted at the top of the green vinyl covered seat in front of
him. He alternated between glancing at his best friend Brian and peering
out the window at the blur of the fading autumn colors along the road.
Kevin was sitting rather imperiously at the back of the bus, grimacing down
at his cell phone that he removed from his pocket every couple of minutes.

Unable to resist commenting, Carlos leaned across the aisle. “Alright,
what’s the deal, Kevin? You got a hot date or something?”

Kevin’s face flushed slightly. “Uh…yeah! Jealous much?”

Despite his retort, his hands were shaking. Sunlight streaming through
the windows revealed a rather puffy ring of black and blue flesh underneath
his right eye. Tommy spotted the clumsy attempt to hide the bruise with
makeup. For an instant, the two boys’ eyes met but Kevin cast his eyes
downward, looking ashamed. He looked at his phone again, and Tommy
knew why.

A smirk curled across Carlos’ lips as he quipped, “Yeah, right. Your left
hand isn’t a date!” A chorus of chuckles emanated from the kids sitting in
front of the group of boys.

Kevin turned to face him and punched the boy in the shoulder with a
dull thwack. Before he could say anything, Kevin leaned back in his seat
and said, “Just FYI, it’s my right hand.” The children in earshot giggled at
Kevin’s assertion.

After rubbing his shoulder, Carlos looked back at Kevin. “Seriously,
dude, what’s up?” Tommy looked over at him and discreetly touched his
own face, to draw Carlos’ attention to Kevin’s bruise. After Carlos had realized
what he meant, the group became quiet.

Kevin put his phone away, leaned back against the window facing his
friends and forced a smile. “The only problem I have is your ugly face.”
Carlos flipped Kevin off, and poked Jacob who was giggling at his expense.

Tommy glanced at Brian and smiled. When he returned the smile,
Tommy looked down, his face brightening. Carlos and Jacob nudged one
another and pointed at the pair. Carlos was dozing in the sunlight, while
Jacob leaned against him listening to music on his headphones, watching
Tommy and Brian with bemused interest.

Kevin shook his head and grinned knowingly back at Jacob. Tommy
caught the boys’ conspiratorial glances and turned his head to the side. He
felt he was the punch line of an inside joke sometimes, but wasn’t quite sure
why. His curiosity was interrupted by his cell phone vibrating in his pocket.
He dug the phone out and read the text message from his mother.

“Yeah! It’s here!” Tommy exclaimed as he pumped his fist in the air

His voice rousted Carlos from his slumber. “What’s here? Another My
Little Pony?” he asked.

“Your birthday was last month, dork. No, my Halloween costume,”
Tommy responded matter-of-factly.

Kevin spun his hand around in a circle. “Uh, and…”

“It’s a surprise!” Tommy said with a mischievous grin, staring into
Brian’s grey eyes.

Carlos huffed with annoyance. “Dude, if you wear the same costume as
me again this year I’m going to kick your ass.”

“You’re still going as the red Master Chief, right?” Tommy asked with
sudden concern.
Carlos nodded affirmatively. “You’re going as a Templar, right,

Brian responded affirmatively, “I got some chain mail, and Mom
bought me a historically accurate tabard and helmet to go with it! Now if I
could use Dad’s old sword, the outfit would be perfect.”

“Even with the sword, I’m still going to own you,” Carlos said confidently.
He looked over at Kevin. “You decide on an outfit yet?”

Kevin shrugged, breaking eye contact with the others. “I don’t know if
my father’s going to let me go.”

“He’s gotta! There’s going to be ten thousand dollars in prizes. This is
going to be the best Halloween ever!” Tommy said exuberantly.

“And, you know, nobody does Halloween better than us!” Brian proclaimed

“Alright…alright. I’ll come up with something, I’m sure,” Kevin assured
his friends.

“What about you, Jacob?” Kevin asked.

Jacob smiled. “It’s a secret.”

“I’ll take care of this,” Carlos said, poking him mercilessly in the side,
causing him to squeal. The bus driver cleared his throat loudly, glaring at
the boys through the rear view mirror.

“Quit it!” Jacob protested, his face turning red enough to mask his pale
freckles. “I’m going as a vampire,” he surrendered begrudgingly.

“God, another sparkly vampire!” Carlos teased.

“No way, dork! A real vampire!” he retorted. Tommy and Brian laughed
and applauded.

Tommy leaned back and peered out the window again. The bus sputtered
to a stop, letting a few children out. He sang under his breath, “Eight
more days to Halloween, Halloween. Eight more days to Halloween, Silver
Shamrock.” Brian’s reflection in the window beamed at him while Carlos
and Kevin simultaneously rolled their eyes.

As the bus rounded a bend adjacent to the swamp that surrounded
much of the town, Tommy caught a glimpse of a boy wearing filthy blue
denim overalls and a wool beret. However, the boy disappeared behind the
veil of swirling white smoke left by the bus’s exhaust. There was something
inherently disquieting about the boy.

The bus ride grew progressively quieter as the bus approached the end
of its daily journey. His eyes widened when he saw the same boy from earlier
emerging from behind a row of wild hawthorn bushes. This time he
made direct eye contact with the mysterious boy. A wicked smile danced
across the child’s otherwise emotionless face, causing Tommy’s body to
shudder involuntarily. There was something terrible in the child’s visage,
forcing him to look away from those hollow, soulless eyes that invaded his
consciousness. Tommy looked up to see the bus driver staring intently at him through the rear view mirror. The rest of the group had fallen into
their own little worlds, lulled into virtual slumber by the constant droning
of the engine and swaying of the bus. He sank down in his seat, trying to
avoid the bus driver’s penetrating stare. He glanced over at Brian, who was
playing with his phone.

Tommy felt some relief when the final stop was reached and it was time
to offload. Carlos, Jacob and Brian were already halfway down the aisle
before the bus reached a stop, leaving Kevin and Tommy as the last passengers
to disembark. As Tommy descended the stairs, the bus driver reached
out and grabbed his hand. “You’ve seen them, haven’t you?” he asked.

A startled Tommy gave the bus driver a bewildered stare as he struggled
to withdraw his hand from the man’s tight grasp. “Seen who? What are
you talking about?” he asked, growing fearful of the man’s narrowing eyes.

“The children of the Great Unseen have revealed themselves to you,
and now it’s your turn to hear HIS call,” the man whispered in a raspy
voice. He tried to back away as the man’s eyes darkened, much like the boy
he had seen earlier.

“You’re hurting me!” an increasingly flustered Tommy stammered, trying
to pull away from the man’s grip.

Like a passing summer storm, the man’s face brightened, and he released
Tommy’s wrist. “Well, what are you waiting for, boy? It’s Friday night. You
got the whole weekend ahead of you. Now git!” He smiled warmly at the astounded
boy. Tommy stepped off the bus, confronted by Kevin and Brian.

“What the hell happened?” Kevin demanded.

Tommy could do little but shrug his slender shoulders. “I don’t know.
He was mad about something; it didn’t make any sense. Whatever it was,
he got over it quickly.”

Kevin watched with concern as the bus disappeared down the road, before
turning his attention to the dilapidated two-story greyish white house
in front of him. “Well, I can’t stall any longer,” he said with a sigh.

“What are you doing guys doing tonight?” Tommy asked.

Kevin shifted his weight. “I think I better stay in and work on

Brian said, “I promised Mom I’d clean up around the house tonight,
but I’ll have the rest of the weekend free after my homework is done.”
Tommy looked a little dejected, but at least this afforded him some time to
check out his Halloween costume.

“We’ll see you tomorrow morning, right?” Tommy asked Kevin

Kevin forced a smile and gave him a playful push. “Yeah, Bro, I’ll see
you guys tomorrow. We’ll go into town or something.” Tommy and Brian
said their good-byes and the boys parted company for the day.

Tommy’s house was a little larger than Kevin’s, painted a similar
weather-beaten white although clearly more care and maintenance has been
put into his house than Kevin’s. He bounded through the front door, his
eyes scanning the entranceway and hallway for any signs of his package. He
poked his head into the kitchen, spying the nondescript brown box sitting
on the table between his mother and father.

He made a beeline for the package before his mom intercepted him.
“Not even an acknowledgment of us being in the room?” she mockingly
admonished him, wiping the curly locks of blonde hair from his face.

“Stop, Mom! Hi, Dad!” he blurted out as he reached for the box.

“So, remind me why you needed to spend six months of your allowance
for this?” his father asked while Tommy tore open the package

“It’s a surprise for…” Tommy cut himself short. “I mean, I’m just
looking forward to Halloween.” The boy delved into the contents of the
package, procuring large sheets of fine brown fur wrapped in translucent

“Is there something you’d like to talk to us about?” his father asked
softly, casting a glance at his wife.

“You know, you can talk to us about anything,” Tommy’s mom said

Tommy pulled out the lower jaw of the werewolf costume, running his
fingers along the jagged teeth as he looked up at his parents with confusion.
“What are you talking about?”

“Well, we thought maybe you’d like to talk about someone,” Tommy’s
father said.

Tommy thought for a moment, unsure where his parents were going
with this line of questioning, though admittedly he felt embarrassed as a
sloppy grin crossed his face imagining Brian’s reaction when he sees the
costume. Before he could assemble the pieces in his mind, he blurted out
Kevin’s name.

“Kevin? What about him?” his mother asked, casting a confused gaze
over at her husband on this unexpected subject.

“I think his dad beat him up last night. He was wearing makeup to
cover up a black eye, but he didn’t have it yesterday,” Tommy said, looking out the kitchen window toward Kevin’s house. “I’m worried about him,”
he added.

“That’s a serious accusation, Tommy. Has Kevin given you any indication
of this?” his father asked, looking troubled.

Tommy shook his head. “No, but he acts afraid to go home. Every day
on the bus you can see him start shaking the closer we get.”

“That’s a worrying sign, Tommy, but we need to know the whole story.
Kevin is lucky to have you as a friend. I think the best thing you can do
right now is be there for him, and let him know that when he’s ready to talk,
you’ll listen,” his father instructed.

“Is there anything else, anything Kevin’s said that would make you feel
there’s trouble with his father?” his mother interjected.

Tommy thought for a moment. “Kevin’s mentioned his dad drinks a
lot. I think that’s when he gets in trouble.”

His mother rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Isn’t it always?” she
whispered to no one in particular. “Your father is right, Tommy. Let know
Kevin that you’re there for him. There is a counselor at your school trained
for this kind of thing, so Kevin has options if he’s in trouble.”

“Couldn’t you talk to his dad, make him stop?” he asked his father.

Tommy’s father leaned back in his chair and sighed. “It’s not that easy,
kiddo. Nobody likes to be told how to raise their child, and I’m afraid if we
stick our noses into his business, he might take it out on Kevin. It would be
best if the school became involved in this.”

Disappointed, Tommy knew this was a problem that couldn’t easily be
solved. He pulled out the remaining mass of soft brown fur and the upper jaw of his werewolf costume. “Some assembly required,” he moaned, pulling
out a plastic bag full of plastic claws.

“I hope you’re not expecting me to do all the work,” Tommy’s mother

“Uh, no, of course not, Mom!” he replied, his bright, blue pleading eyes
belying his underlying intent.

“Well, if you like I can take the measurements and help you get started
this weekend,” his mom offered diplomatically.

His face brightened. “Thanks, Mom, that’d be awesome!”

“Alright, go get started on your homework. Dinner will be ready in
about an hour,” she concluded, sending the Tommy and his costume out
of the kitchen.

His father shook his head and laughed. “I have a feeling this is going to
be an unforgettable Halloween.”

Tommy bounded into his room, and spread all the individual components
of the werewolf costume across his bed. The macabre mass of soft
fur, jaws and claws melded naturally with the horror movie posters hanging
on the far wall, above the shelves filled with rows of horror movie
DVDs and a couple dozen similarly themed novels. He plopped himself
down in his wooden desk chair and rummaged through his backpack for
his homework assignments.

Buy The Book:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Unseen-Kingdom-Daniel-R-Mathews/dp/0990710726/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1442868026&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Unseen+Kingdom+Daniel+Mathews

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-unseen-kingdom-daniel-r-mathews/1122709418?ean=9780990710721

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26795882-the-unseen-kingdom

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking here: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/17505392-the-unseen-kingdom-by-daniel-r-mathews
About The Author
An avid reader of science fiction, horror, and fantasy, Daniel R. Mathews is a novelist and nonfiction writer whose books feature LGBT youth braving danger with honor and dignity, including his personal memoir, The Demons of Plainville, and debut horror novel, The Unseen Kingdom.
For the past two decades, Mathews has worked as a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified ground instructor, meteorologist, and a member of the web development and Internet technical support community. He currently lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Connect with Daniel R. Mathews:
Virtual Book Tour

Book Spotlight: Lethal Game by Julie Rowe

About The Book


TitleLethal Game
Book 2: Biological Response Team Series
Author: Julie Rowe
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: October 12, 2015
Pages: 270
ISBN: 978-1459290198
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: eBook, PDF
Book Description:
Book Two of Biological Response Team Series
As the nation’s youngest virologist and hematologist, Captain Sophia Perry has always been one step ahead of her peers. But there’s one thing she can’t beat—cancer. She wants to make a difference in the time she has left, so when she’s sent to investigate a breakout at a Syrian refugee camp, she goes, saying nothing of her diagnosis. But saving the masses isn’t easy when the man tasked to protect her is so irresistible.
Communications Sergeant Connor Button is back on active duty after a deadly explosion, but he doesn’t feel whole again until he meets Sophia. Assigned to keep her safe, he’s prepared to die for her, but for the first time in months he truly wants to live—if only she wasn’t so determined to put them both in danger.
With a secret to keep and nothing to lose, Sophia is determined to find the source of the breakout at any cost. Violent attacks on the camp convince her that someone wants her to pay dearly. But as Sophia’s health deteriorates, Connor must find a way to help her defeat her enemies before her body defeats her.
Book Excerpt:
Security is mostly a superstition ~
Helen Keller
It had taken him three airplanes and over twenty-six hours
to travel more than seven thousand miles, and now he was going to have to kill
Ten feet from his room in the Navy
hotel at the American Naval base in Bahrain.
All Special Forces Communications
Sergeant Connor Button wanted was to find a bed and crash for a few hours.
What he did not need was witnessing
some idiot striking out with a hot blonde and not taking it well.
She’d just removed his hand from
her waist.
The man put it on her shoulder and
tried to bring her closer. “Aw, come on, sweetheart.”
She slid away, her voice clear
across the short distance. “No.”
dude, time to retreat.
Only, the guy didn’t. He grabbed her by the back of
the neck, hard enough to make her gasp in pain, and leaned down, his mouth
aimed for hers.
She slapped the moron, but he
didn’t get that hint either, just grabbed her hand and twisted it behind her
Con had to make himself stand still
for a second. One second, so he could throttle back the instinct to beat the
stupid fuck to death.
His jaw flexed. He wouldn’t kill the asshole, but he could hurt him real bad.
Con dropped his duffel on the floor
and stomped toward the woman and the moron whose arm he was about to break.
Into several pieces.
Small ones.
The stomping got the moron’s
attention. He glanced up, saw Con coming and his eyes went wide. He let go of
the woman so fast she wobbled off balance and fell to the floor. Con stopped to
help her while the moron ran like a track star down the hall and around a
call, asshole.
Con bent down and offered his hand
to the woman. “Are you okay?”
Her head jerked up and she stared
at him with eyes that didn’t miss a thing. She scooted away, leaving his hand
hanging in the air, then stood. Her shoulders went back and her chin rose.
He almost smiled. She was so not
interested in another man getting all up in her business. He’d make sure she
was all right, then he’d back off.
“Ma’am, did he hurt you?”
“I’m fine,” she said, retreating a
Blue-green eyes stood out in a face
framed by white-blond hair hanging in a sheet down to the middle of her back.
She was also stacked, though she wasn’t showing it off. She was following
military clothing requirements, wearing long pants and a collared shirt one
size too big, buttoned up to her neck. An asshole had just tried to sexually
assault her, but Con would bet a year’s pay that had he not come along, the
moron would have had his hands full with a pissed-off female trying to smash
his balls into paste.
He glanced down.
Her mouth was pressed into a thin
angry line, but her hands were shaking.
For the first time in months
something other than anger or despair slammed into him.
He knew just how she felt. Hyped up
on adrenaline and looking for a target.
It surprised him so much he opened
his mouth to make some inane comment or other to show her he was no threat, but
she raised a hand to stop him.
She spoke a quick, firm “Thank
you.” And then she was gone, inside the room closest to her. The click of the
lock being engaged echoed down the hall.
He blinked at the empty hallway. He
wasn’t sure she was okay, but those shaking hands and that locked door sent a
pretty clear signal that she didn’t want another man anywhere near her.
Sometimes other people just made
things worse.
He sighed, strode back to his bag,
checked his room number again and discovered he was next door to the blonde.
At least he wouldn’t have to go far
if Moron came back.
So much for getting some sleep. He’d lain awake, alert for
any noise that might indicate a problem in the room next door, but it had been
church-quiet. He got up at 0700 base time, then went in search of his new
commanding officer, Colonel Maximillian. The man had an interesting reputation,
but he trusted what his buddy, Jacob “Sharp” Foster, a former Special Forces
soldier, had to say about him. Everyone else said the colonel was one bullet
shy of a magazine. Sharp had warned him that the colonel wasn’t exactly regular
army, but he gave a shit about his people, and that was number one for Con. If
your CO had your six, at least you didn’t have to take your attention off what
was coming at you.
The colonel had a fancy lab that
didn’t exist on the base, according to official records. Officially, the lab
that did exist on paper was rated for level two containment. Good enough to run
the sort of tests any big city hospital conducted. In reality, the lab was
capable of level four containment testing. The stuff you needed to wear a
bio-suit for and breathe your own oxygen supply.
Con had to pass through two
internal checkpoints to gain entry to the nondescript building that was his
destination. Colonel Maximillian’s office was the first one inside the prefab
rectangle that housed the lab and offices. A soldier who didn’t look a day over
sixteen sat typing on a computer facing the entrance to the building.
The kid’s gaze darted over Con’s
uniform, then he stood and saluted. “Private Eugene Walsh.”
“Sergeant Connor Button, Special
“Yes, sir. Colonel Maximillian is
expecting you.” Walsh extended his hand in the direction of the first office.
“Go right in.”
Con gave him a nod, then walked
into the office.
He saluted the
salt-and-pepper-haired man, who stood and saluted back. “Sir, Sergeant Button
reporting for duty.”
“Welcome, Sergeant.” The colonel
came around his desk and offered his hand.
Con shook it once, twice, then
released a hand that hadn’t tested him beyond what would be considered polite.
“Take a seat,” the colonel said,
gesturing at one of the chairs facing his desk. “I’d like to go over your
assignment and answer any questions you might have.”
“Thank you, sir.” Con sat and
adopted a neutral body posture, back straight and hands resting lightly on his
thighs. It was harder than it should have been.
The last time he’d been in the
Middle East he’d been deployed with his unit, attempting to ascertain the
military strength of two groups of extremists in Northern Iraq and Syria. Both
groups had threatened multiple American and allied targets, as well as calling
for sympathetic citizens to carry out terrorist acts inside their own
The last time he’d been in the
Middle East, he’d been the only survivor of an IED that took out their vehicle.
Fortune had smiled on him that day. He’d been thrown clear.
More and more often, he wished he
hadn’t been so lucky.
Colonel Maximillian continued to
stare at him and seemed content to not say anything for several moments.
Con waited with the patience of a
man who’d waited days for just the right moment to take a shot at his target.
Finally, the colonel asked, “How
much do you know about your mission here?”
“Probably not enough.”
Maximillian’s face didn’t change.
“Sharp said you were smart. Are you, Sergeant Button?”
“That would depend on your
definition of smart.
“Observant, creative, organized,
able to see unusual relationships between people and information.”
“Sir, you’re looking for Sherlock
Holmes. He’s a fictional character.”
A brief smile crossed the colonel’s
face. “How would you describe yourself?”
“Flexible, determined, fuck the
Colonel Maximillian’s forehead
lowered over his eyes. “Were you aware General Stone had some reluctance in
assigning you to this mission?”
“Not directly, but it doesn’t
surprise me.”
How many conversations like this
had he had recently? Five, six? “Sir, I received injuries in an attack that
killed all the men in the armored vehicle with me. I’d be surprised if he
wasn’t hesitant.” No officer wanted to have a suicidal or homicidal soldier on
a mission. Survivor’s guilt could lead to either one. Or both.
“Do you consider yourself fit for
“Yes, sir.”
Goddamned why-questions. Why judged, weighed and measured what
was in a man’s head. What was in his head was not pretty, and not to be shared.
“Sir, I signed on to serve my
country. My service isn’t done.”
Maximillian tilted his head to one
side. “That is one of the best non-answers I’ve ever heard.”
. Con leaned forward and said in a less civilized tone, “I got thrown off
the horse. I need to get back on and finish my ride.”
“And if you don’t?”
Con’s throat closed up. “That
thought can’t be in my head.”
The colonel’s face lost its sharp
inquisitiveness for a moment, replaced by a surprising level of comprehension.
A second later it was gone and he was flipping through pages on his desk.
“You’ve had some problems with your temper since you returned to duty.”
“I’m working on that.” Anger was
easy. Acting on it was even easier.
The officer considered Con for a
couple more seconds, then nodded briskly. “My Biological Response Team is
tracking a very dangerous man who’s created his own extremely deadly strain of
anthrax. We managed to prevent an attack on a base in Afghanistan, but not
before nearly one hundred people died of the infection. We think he’s not done.
We think he’ll continue to strike at high-quality American or allied targets,
and we don’t know where he is or where he will attack next.”
Con straightened. Hunting down a
homicidal nutcase wasn’t the sort of duty he’d taken on before, but it sounded
dangerous. Good.
Holy fuck he was messed up.
Maximillian continued. “We were
successful in preventing the last attack because we had one of our infectious
disease specialists embedded with an A-team training members of the Afghan
military. General Stone agrees with me—until this man is found, we need more
cooperation between my team and army Special Forces. I asked for specific men
to work with my people. Men who are not only well trained and smart, but also
creative and who can take a step back and support his teammate or take charge
of a situation if that’s what’s needed. Jacob Foster says you’re that kind of
man. Are you?”
It might be nice to have a specific
enemy, with a face and a name, rather than a faceless one who could be anybody.
The need to kill, to avenge his dead, was a relentless voice in the back of his
head. This mission could get him the opportunity to give himself that, and
maybe a measure of peace.
“Sir.” He paused, trying hard not
to come on too strong. If he lost this chance, he might not get another. “I’m a
team player. That means I’ll play whatever role is needed by the team.”
Colonel Maximillian smiled. “Do you
mind working with a woman?”
“No, sir. Sharp mentioned the
possibility I’d be paired with a woman.” Man, woman, two-headed alien, he
didn’t care as long as they shared a common enemy.
“You’re okay with that? No
The colonel seemed unusually
the hell?
While he might smack down a fellow Special Forces soldier, he’d never lay a hand on a woman.
“Sir, I’m the youngest of five
children with four older sisters. Working with or for a woman is nothing new to
“Good.” Maximillian nodded. “I
don’t mean to sound paranoid, but the doctor you’re going to be working with is
somewhat high-strung.”
The colonel shook his head. “That’s
the wrong description. She doesn’t trust…people. I’ve been trying to find a
suitable partner for her, but I’ve been unsuccessful.”
“Most people look at her and see a
young woman who looks as if she’d have trouble with breaking a nail. Coddle her
in any way and she’ll find a way to make you miserable.”
The bottom of Con’s stomach grew
cold. “So why me?”
“Growing up with sisters is part of
This interview was a personality test.
“You’ve also been through some
challenging combat situations and I think that will give you a level of
experience she’ll respect.”
Con had to work to keep a growl out
of his voice. “I’m not going to sit around the campfire telling her war stories.”
What he’d seen wouldn’t instill confidence in anyone.
“I don’t expect you to. She works
best with people who are highly competent, who don’t brag or try to impress.”
First time he’d been complimented
on his ability to keep his trap shut.
“Another issue is her age. She’s
young, she’s a genius and she has absolutely no idea how to talk to anyone who
isn’t a scientist or doctor.”
That didn’t leave a whole lot of
people. “Genius, as in graduated from medical school really young?”
“She’s twenty-four and is the
youngest physician in the USA to have a double speciality in virology and
“Virology, I get. Hematology?”
“The study of blood cells.”
If she was an overachiever, he
could work with that. “So, work is her life, and before that, it was school?”
“S’okay. My second-oldest sister is
married to a physicist. He speaks math, and we get along just fine.”
Maximillian quirked an eyebrow.
“You speak math?”
“Nope. I speak barbecue. Everyone
has something to say about properly grilling a steak.”
The colonel laughed. “You’ll do.
Time to meet her.” He stepped out of his office and led the way down a hall.
“Oh, and call me Max. It’s shorter.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Max sighed as he opened a door with
a key and preceded Con inside.
The room they entered was part
office and part lab, with a couple of desks and two tall microscopes set up on
the end of each. Papers and boxes of slides littered both surfaces. Only one of
the desks was occupied.
A woman sat looking through the
lens of one of the microscopes. Her hair was white-blond and pulled back into a
severe bun. She wore an army uniform with a lab coat over top. When she saw
Max, she pushed away from the scope, stood and moved to meet them.
The blonde from last night. With
her hair pulled back, she could have passed for even younger than twenty-four.
He took that thought, hog-tied it and shoved it into a dark
corner. His personal mission left no room for anything beyond a professional
She also looked ready to rip
someone’s head off.
“Sophia,” Max said. “This is your
new partner, Communications Sergeant Connor Button.” He turned to Con. “Connor,
this is Captain Sophia Perry.” Her mouth, pressed into a thin line, convinced
him to pretend last night hadn’t happened. He nodded at her respectfully. “Good
to meet you, ma’am.”
“Ma’am?” she asked, crossing her
arms over her chest and displaying a huge bruise on her right hand.
Must’ve hurt.
“This is who you found to babysit
me, Max? A fossil?”
Damn, she came out swinging. Maybe
he’d let her win this bout. Con managed to keep a straight face and said in a
hesitant voice, “I’m only twenty-nine.”
“Would you rather I pair you up
with someone who follows all the
rules and regulations?” Max asked her, irritation showing in his rigid posture.
“This guy—” he pointed a thumb at Con “—hates inside-the-box thinking as much
as you do.”
“Oh yeah?” she said, looking Con
full in the face. A challenge. Why was she so pissed off? Because she didn’t
think she needed a babysitter?
He shrugged, then coughed to hide a
chuckle. If he laughed now, she’d think he was laughing at her. “I don’t like
boxes. They’re never big enough, and they’re too…square.”
She blinked at him, then narrowed
her gaze. “What did you do to draw this duty? It had to have been bad.”
Max opened his mouth, but Con
didn’t want to escalate things, so he spoke first, and went with the
unvarnished truth. “I got blown up. I spent almost seven months in hospitals
and physical therapy. The last three or four months I’ve been instructing and getting
back into shape.” He smiled at her. “When I found out what my first mission was
going to be, bodyguarding some army doctor, I thought what the fuck? I sure as shit didn’t want easy duty. But having talked with Max here, I’ve changed my mind.”
He shifted his gaze to Max’s face. “This isn’t easy duty, is it, sir?”
“No. It’s not a matter of if there will be another biological
weapon attack somewhere in this part of the world, it’s when.”
“My role isn’t just to bodyguard
Dr. Perry, is it?”
“No.” Max began pacing back and
forth between Con and Sophia. “We have intel that points to the Biological
Response Team as a specific target. I don’t want you to just protect Sophia, I
need you two to be a team. All of us are being paired with Special Forces
soldiers, even myself.”
“Assassination?” Con asked. The
idea of it made the back of his neck itch.
“Very possible. Sabotage is another
“Have any attempts been made?”
“Yes. Dr. Samuels and her Green
Beret were nearly killed in a trap I believe was set for them. We have an enemy
who is intelligent, ruthless and fearless.”
“Can I get everything you have on
this guy?” Con asked.
“My assistant will have it ready
for you in an hour or two.” Max turned to him. “Have you been assigned
“I’m going to have you moved to the
room next to Sophia’s.”
The woman in question opened her
mouth to say something unpleasant—he was sure from the way she’d screwed up her
nose—which is why Con spoke first again. “Are you sure that’s necessary?” He
looked down, like he was thinking hard. “Do you want to advertise to the whole
base that I’m her bodyguard, or would you like to keep it below the radar?”
Max gave him a dirty look. “Whose
side are you on?”
“Hers, sir.”
“Fine,” Max said, with bit of an
impatient edge to his voice. “I’ll check to see where you’re housed now. If
it’s not too far, you can stay where you are.” Max pressed his lips together,
glared at them both, then stomped off.
Con looked at Sophia.
She looked back at him, snorted and
went back to her microscope. “Nice attempt to come to my rescue. Again. But I
don’t need anyone to rescue me.”
She needed to talk to someone about
the moron. To prevent fear and anger from getting too deep a hold on her brain.
Despite how fast things had
happened, the human mind had a way of warping events so the memory of them
seemed to take a thousand times longer than the reality had.
Hell, he was a walking testament
for how three seconds of hell could totally screw up the rest of a man’s life.
Or take it.
Listen to him passing judgment on
her mental state, when he’d done his level best to keep the shrinks out of his.
Right now, he just had to convince her he was on her side. He wanted this assignment. “I know.”
“Really?” Sarcasm turned the word
into something sharp and heavy. “You just met me. How would you know that?”
“I saw you in action last night.”
She froze, and for a moment the
expression on her face was a mixture of anger, fear and disgust. A second
later, it was gone, smoothed away as if it had never been there.
What was that?
Without looking at him, she said,
“Babysitting me is going to be a complete bore for a soldier’s soldier like
you. I’ll tell Max to find someone else.”
Buy The Book:

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking here: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/17506509-lethal-game-by-julie-rowe

About The Author

Julie Rowe’s first career as a medical lab technologist in Canada took her to the North West Territories and northern Alberta, where she still resides. She loves to include medical details in her romance novels, but admits she’ll never be able to write about all her medical experiences because, “No one would believe them!”.

In addition to writing contemporary and historical medical romance, and fun romantic suspense for Entangled Publishing and Carina Press, Julie has short stories in Fool’s Gold, the Mammoth Book of ER Romance, Timeless Keepsakes and Timeless Escapes anthologies. Her book SAVING THE RIFLEMAN (book #1 WAR GIRLS) won the novella category of the 2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. AIDING THE ENEMY (book #3 WAR GIRLS) won the novella category of the 2014 Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in several magazines such as Romantic Times Magazine, Today’s Parent, and Canadian Living.


Connect with Julie:
Virtual Book Tour

Book Spotlight: Soulshifter by Barbara Pietron

About The Book
Title: Soulshifter
Author: Barbara Pietron
Publisher: Scribe Publishing Company
Publication Date: November 24, 2015
Format: Paperback – 290 pages / eBook  / PDF
ISBN: 978-0991602124
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Book Description:
Sixteen-year-old Jack Ironwood knew exactly what he wanted. Until he got it. Jack was content to stay unnoticed by pretty and popular track star, Natalie Segetich, until her best friend Emma disappears. Natalie swears something took Emma, and though most people write Natalie off as traumatized and confused, Jack is a soulshifter and he knows the human-stealing Enuuki—hell’s messengers—are real. As a soulshifter, Jack can cross into the underworld so he sees Emma’s rescue as an opportunity to prove himself a valuable member of his transcendental sect—and a way to secure a future otherwise out of his reach. Although he needs Natalie’s help to prepare for the mission, Jack intends to go to the underworld alone. But as a viable plan takes shape, it’s clear the best chance of success means Natalie must accompany him. On the eve of the quest, when Jack is promised the hand of a respected elder’s daughter—a dream come true—he realizes he’s no longer sure what he wants. But it’s too late to back out, not with the sect and Natalie counting on him. Pursued by the dark lord’s henchmen and ghastly mutant creatures, Jack and Natalie struggle to come out ahead in a battle and barter for souls. In the end, Jack will have to decide his own fate, because nothing short of a deal with the devil will get all three of them out of hell alive.
Book Excerpt:
Chapter 1
Revelations from the Dark Realm
Feedback shrieked from the electric
guitar amp, annihilating the harmonious blend of drums, bass guitar and
electric piano. Jack winced as he fumbled for the volume knob on his guitar,
pretending he didn’t see Tommy, the lead singer, shoot him a furious glare.
Head down, Jack concentrated on the next few chord progressions, until Tommy
launched into his signature vocal screaming. Then Jack stole a glance to his
left and caught the eye of his best friend, Wes, who skillfully delivered the
pulse of the track on his bass guitar. Wes lifted his eyebrows and Jack
answered with a slight shrug and an apologetic frown.
It was one thing if Jack screwed up
this opportunity for himself, but Wes had talked the band into giving Jack a
chance this summer when they’d lost their lead guitarist to college. Jack
didn’t want to embarrass Wes, or give Tommy a reason to give his friend a hard
time. The singer hadn’t wanted Wes in the band either, but when the other
members heard Wes play and realized he was a wizard on the bass guitar, Tommy
had been out-voted. It had taken two years for Wes to earn the lead singer’s
grudging respect and Jack hated to mess that up.
They finished the set and Jack
ducked out of his guitar strap, leaning the instrument against the cinderblock wall
of Fletch’s—the drummer’s—basement. He ran both hands through his thick curls,
for the first time thankful that his mom had insisted he get a haircut before
school started. Shoulder-length for most of the summer, his dark brown mane was
now tamed to a mass of loose curls that ended at the base of his jaw—not as
rock and roll, but certainly cooler.
He turned and nearly collided with
Tommy. “What’s up with the feedback, Ironwood? We’ve got a gig in two
“Sorry, man.” Jack shook
his head. He noticed John, the keyboardist, give him and Tommy a wide berth as
he beat a hasty retreat. “Just having an off day. I’m low on sleep.”
“Well you better get it
together by Monday. A lot of people come out to the park on Labor Day, and we
don’t need you making the rest of us look like amateurs.” He spun on his
heel and stomped up the steps before Jack could reply.
Fletch offered Jack a sports drink.
“You’ve been playing good all summer. Just don’t choke when you get on
stage.” He laughed, but his eyes were serious.
“Thanks.” Jack took the
plastic bottle and cracked the lid open. “I’ll be fine. I promise.”
He took a long drink, letting the slightly salty, citrusy liquid soothe his dry
tongue and throat before bending to put his guitar into its case.
An intermittent chink of metal on
metal sounded from the base of the stairwell. “Ready?”
Jack glanced up to see Wes tossing
a bundle of keys into the air and then catching them. “Yep.” He
noticed that Wes had decided to leave his guitar at Fletch’s. They were going
to rehearse again tomorrow, but Jack felt like he ought to go home and get in
some extra practice. He followed his friend out to the minivan, which smelled
like the burgers and fries they’d eaten on the way to rehearsal, and loaded his
gear into the back.
After Jack plopped into the
passenger seat and closed the door, Wes spoke up. “Dude.” He drew out
the solitary word and added a sigh, conveying both disappointment and sympathy.
“I know,” Jack said
quickly. “I’m not a hundred percent today. Yesterday was my end-of-summer
Buy The Book:
Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking here: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/17507791-soulshifter-by-barbara-pietron
About The Author
After years in the corporate world, Barbara Pietron found herself with a second chance to decide what she wanted to be when she grew up. Her lifetime love of books and the written word returned one answer: writer. Drawing from her technical writing experience, she began by writing non-fiction magazine pieces and achieved both regional and national publication before trying her hand at her true passion, fiction. In addition to Soulshifter, Barbara is also the author of Thunderstone, Book One of the Legacy in Legend series and a prequel to ThunderstoneHeart of Ice, is available in e-book format. Book Two of the Legacy in Legend series is slated for fall of 2016. You can visit Barbara’s website at www.barbarapietron.com
Connect with Barbara Pietron:
Virtual Book Tour

Interview with K.D. Hays, author of ‘Roped In’

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K.D. HaysKate Dolan began her writing career as a legal editor and then newspaper columnist before she decided she was finally ready to tackle fiction. As the author of more than a dozen novels and novellas, she writes historical fiction and romance under her own name and contemporary mysteries and children’s books under the name K.D. Hays. When not writing, she enjoys volunteering as a living history interpreter and riding roller coasters with her daughter.

Her latest book is the cozy mystery, Roped In.

For More Information

About the Book:

Life has settled into a more stable pattern for fledgling investigator Karen Maxwell of DS Investigations, but that stability is precarious. At work, she has an uneasy truce with Rodney, the “office maximizer” hired by her brother to Roped Indo some of the administrative work she used to do. Her brother has not assigned her any real cases and she thinks it’s because he doesn’t trust her after she was fired from her last major assignment.

But she soon gets her chance. The firm’s insurance agent calls in a favor and asks them to investigate whether a valuable parrot was killed as a result of snowfall damage to a house. Karen is pretty sure Dave will assign this to her, since the investigation will involve no money or prestige. But it may help earn back his confidence.

Then Gina Callaghan hires DS Investigations to find out who sabotaged her daughter Hayley’s rope at a jump rope competition. Hayley competes in power jumping events, and she failed to make the top four in the regional tournament. If Karen can prove that one of those top four jumpers behaved unethically, then Hayley, (who was fifth) will have a spot at the national competition, and a chance to go to the World tournament. Dave assigns Karen the lead role in this case, so now she has a chance to prove to her brother that she can conclude an investigation before the client is ready to pull the plug.

Karen bribes her son to take a jump rope class on the day when the jumpers she needs to watch have their practices. Initially, Hayley Callaghan does not want the matter investigated so Karen has to be a subtle as possible. Meanwhile, in the parrot case, Karen’s investigation seems to indicate that the parrot’s owners are telling the truth and not trying to defraud the insurance company. But the picture they offer as proof somehow arouses Karen’s suspicion.

At jump rope practice, she finds a lot of masked hostility and a host of possible suspects, but no one who saw anything. Then Hayley’s sister steps forward and admits that she saw someone rummaging through her sister’s rope bag. Circumstances point to two possible suspects, in addition to the sister herself. But Karen can find no proof of wrongdoing and thinks the break was most likely an accident. Then Hayley changes her position and urges Karen to follow through with her initial suspicions. She immediately wonders why.

But she doesn’t have time to wonder. Her brother insists that she stop working on the insurance case and her client insists that she write up suspicions against one of the other jumpers so they can file a complaint with the national sanctioning commission. Working against the clock, Karen finds proof that the picture is fake, proving that the insurance clients were trying to defraud the agency. But time runs out on the jump rope investigation—once again the dissatisfied client fires Karen before she solves the case. This time, she knows an innocent girl is going to face blame and could be banned from the sport she loves. So she digs on until she uncovers the truth —and possible destroys a family in the process.

For More Information

  • Roped In is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Kate. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Roped In is my tenth full-length novel, so I guess that makes me “multi-published,” but I still feel like a beginner in many ways.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?-

By the time I was ready to submit my work, most mainstream publishers were not taking unsolicited submissions directly from authors, so I tried to get an agent. I failed. In the process, though, I did submit my first novel, Langley’s Choice, to a mid-sized publisher who requested the full manuscript. I floated on Cloud Nine for about a week. Then I started to sink and as weeks dragged into months, I was hanging on tenterhooks (is there a cliché I haven’t used yet? Don’t worry, I’ll get to it by the end of this interview.) When the rejection came, it was almost a relief. Almost. Well, not really at all. But at that point I established a goal to always have at least two pieces “out”—either entered in a contest or submitted to an agent or publisher. That way, if I got a rejection or poor score, I still had hope that the second one would come through.

After that crushing rejection, I started looking online for small press publishers and eventually found an editor who liked my voice and offered me a contract. So I was back on Cloud Nine.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

It was almost exactly a year and I’d like to say I spent that time profitably marketing and working on my next novel, but I didn’t do enough of either. But I was still learning and it’s a long learning curve that never ends, so maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on myself.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I’m afraid I got a little smug once I was a Published Author. I entered contests and submitted my book for reviews thinking that of course my work would be well received because I was Published. I was Wrong. I wasn’t any better after publication than before. But it took me a few months to realize that. In the meantime, I had two huge book release pirate parties with my friends. One party was at Jerusalem Mill Village, the 18th Century historic site where I used to regularly volunteer as a living history interpreter. So most of the attendees at that party wore 18th Century garb and the atmosphere was just right – it was a blast. But then we had to drive 45 minutes to get home and that wasn’t so much fun. The second party was at my house with family and friends closer to home. The pirate decorations were left over from my son’s birthday party so it wasn’t quite as authentic as pirate parties go, but still quite fun.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I know the first thing I should have done, and that was to set up a website. But believe it or not, it took me at least a year to get a site going. I honestly can’t remember the first thing I actually did. I created bookmarks. And I sent out flyers. Probably the most unique thing I did was to make soap. Since Langley’s Choice has a scene where the heroine learns to make soap, I decided to wrap small pieces of homemade soap in period linen fabric and tie them up with a little note about my book. I gave those out at the Baltimore Book Festival. One lady thought I was handing out peppermint fudge and she ate it. Not surprisingly, she did not come back and buy my book. But some people did.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I’ve learned that I have a lot to learn and always will. There are always ways to improve my writing, and the best way that I know to do that is to read a variety of authors and think about what I like and don’t like about their work AND to give my writing to people I trust to give me honest feedback about what works and what doesn’t.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I am amazed that some publishers will invest money in a book, pay an advance, pay a series of editors and cover designers and the costs of print set up, and still put no effort into marketing the book to help ensure a return on their investment. I am also amazed at some of the truly awful covers that get approved (including at least one of my own).

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

A couple of times I have been able to get into historic sites when they were closed to the public because I begged and said I needed the research for an upcoming project. Of course, if I’d just done my research about the opening days and hours of the sites, I wouldn’t have needed to beg! But it still felt good to get extra access when I was desperate for it.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Unlike dreams of winning the lottery or being a movie star, the dream of being a published author is completely under your control and that means it’s within your reach. Technology has made it possible for anyone to turn a manuscript into a published book. But to make it a good dream, you need to put in the work to make your book the best it can be. First, you need to put your butt in the chair, as they say, and commit to finishing your book. And then you need to show it to someone who can help you make it better and then (this is crucial) don’t give up on it! Problems can be fixed. Storylines can be changed, awkward phrasing can be edited. But you can’t revise an empty page. So get your butt in the chair and make that dream a reality.

Thanks so much for having me here today!


Announcing Patricia Burroughs’ THIS CRUMBLING PAGEANT BOOK BLAST!

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We’re happy to be hosting Patricia Burrough’s book blast today!


This Crumbling Pageant

Title: The Crumbling Pageant (Volume One of the Fury Triad Series)

Author: Patricia Burroughs

Publisher: Story Spring Publishing

Pages: 607

Genre: Dark Young Adult Fantasy

The people of Ordinary England are unaware of a hidden magical England existing alongside–the world of the Magi. Their cathedrals are temples to the old gods. They are ruled not by poor mad George, but by the ailing King Pellinore of the House of Pendragon. The wars of the Magi, however, are no less deadly.

The Furys are known for their extraordinary music, their powerful magic, and their historic role as kingmakers. But the Furys have their secrets as well, none so dangerous as the Dark daughter whose Shadow magic spills from her unchecked. Unless Persephone Fury’s powers are concealed, she’s marked as a target for those who would use and abuse her power.

But these are desperate times, and this frightening daughter must make a good marriage. On the night of her debut, her world crumbles around her when she is abducted from the man she loves by the man she most loathes.

Evil powers circle, calling her to the destiny foretold at the moment of her birth, drawing her to the source of her power, to the one place she can finally be free. That can only happen, though, if she embraces the Dark magic within her.

Persephone is ruthless, devious, and clever, but when confronted with the truth, she must make horrifying choices. Can she defy destiny and seize her own fate?

For More Information

Book Excerpt:

Inside this rustic cottage she heard nothing but—

Her heart stopped.

She was not alone.

Whoever was with her was as still and watchful as she. Her fingers longed to flex in defence, but she kept them still. Was it someone she could overcome? With her magic tingling in her veins and her rage at what had been perpetrated upon her, she knew she could. She could overcome anyone who dared stand in her way.

She allowed her eyes to open completely and, after a moment, saw beyond the feeble light from the small window and into the gloom of the dark corner. Another blink, and shape emerged. Long legs stretched forward. Elbows were planted on the arms of a chair. Long, pale fingers steepled and glittering black eyes stared over them at her. A predator, watching. Waiting.

She shot up, the pain in her right shoulder tearing through her. “How dare you!”

His wand flicked out, aimed at her heart, though beyond the movement of that one agile hand, the rest of his body remained as still and dangerously relaxed as before. “Quite easily,” he purred.

Her purple gown, once a source of horror and then of wondrous pride, now was ripped open with a bandage and too much skin showing beneath it. She covered herself with both hands, enraged. “What sort of blackguard watches a young lady sleep?” she demanded, her heart pounding. “And… and…” She found herself unable to voice her shock and alarm at being faced with a wand again, much less the sort of man who would possess one.

A shudder of revulsion rippled through her.

“I’ve not been watching you sleep. I’ve been watching you awaken.” The wand twitched. “Consider carefully any move you make, because if I even suspect that you are about to attack me again, you will be chastened. Again.”

Chastened? Was that what he called it?

His voice was silky and menacing in the gloom. “Unless you’d like a wound in your left shoulder to match that on your right?”

She drew back in fear, despite herself.

“Ah, so we have an understanding.”

He twirled his wand through his slender, nimble fingers and then back into his palm again.

About the Author

Patricia Burroughs

Patricia Burroughs had insomnia throughout her entire teen years. This meant she read books in the middle of the night, and slept during class in the middle of the day. Unless, of course, she was hiding a novel inside a physics textbook. Who needed physics? She believed in magic. Eventually she turned her propensity for daydreaming and scheming into storytelling, which manifested in award-winning screenplays and books. She still can’t sleep at night, but now it’s her own characters keeping her awake.

For More Information

Giveaway Details:

Patricia is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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 $25 Amazon Gift Certificate
  • This giveaway begins November 2 and ends November 2.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on November 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!


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Book Spotlight: Between the Cracks She Fell by Lisa de Nikolits

About The Book
TitleBetween The Cracks She Fell
Author: Lisa de Nikolits
Publisher: Inanna Publications
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Format: Paperback / PDF
Pages: 350
ISBN:  978-1771332255
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Buy The Book: 
(Publication Date: September 15, 2015)
Barnes & Noble: TBA

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Book Description:
The award-winning author of The Hungry MirrorWest of WawaGlittering Chaos and The Witchdoctor’s Bones delivers an original and riveting new novel about societal betrayal, familial loss and religious jihad. A suspenseful and lyrical read, Between The Cracks She Fell is a powerful-first person narrative about the explosive consequences of betrayal, survival in troubled times and the pervasiveness of religious domination.

When Joss finds herself having to make mortgage payments without help from her depressed, stoner boyfriend who has just moved out, and the company she works for folds leaving her suddenly unemployed, she is forced to sell her house, on which she takes a financial loss. She decides to camp out in a vacant complex of school buildings to give herself time to decide what to do next. It turns out the building is used by a gang of teenagers for wild, drug-fueled parties and Jess soon finds herself both repelled by their charismatic evil leader, as well as sexually attracted to him. She knows he is dangerous even before she finds his girlfriend’s dead and violently abused body in the school library. During this time, she meets and befriends two other people in difficulty: Emma, a narcissistic thief living with her dog in a stolen car and Ashley, a young homosexual who is heartbroken by the fact that he has been expelled from the Jehovah’s Witness church because he is gay. When her former boyfriend reappears as a born again Christian, Joss is immersed in a journal she found that contains the thoughts of a Muslim teenager who becomes increasingly radicalized. Her struggle to understand her former boyfriend and this young man’s spiritual quests prepare her to make some hard decisions about her future. Between the Cracks She Fell is about a woman who falls off the grid and the explosive consequences of betrayal, survival in troubled times, and the pervasiveness of religious domination.

Book Excerpt:


I reached my destination with no great sense of joy but at least I wasn’t crying.

A purple, red and black pentagram marked the path ahead of me and the sea of grass rolled this way and that and my throat closed and my eyes stung but I swallowed the tears.

I tried to pretend I was Gibreel Farishta, a hero bigger than me; that tuneless soloist tumbling out of thin air; what an entrance, yaar.

First you have to die. Ho ji! Ho ji! How to ever smile again, if first you won’t cry?

But there would be no more crying for me. My former life was dead. I needed to escape for a while, hide out and then, once I got my energy back, I would figure out what came next.

Right now all I could say was that I was alive, and that is the point I guess, much like Gibreel, standing, with pigs falling out of his face and no God to help him.

I held my arms aloft and waded through the knotty field, as if paddling through an upward flowing river, pushing forward against the current.

The summer offered shoulder-high fragrant grasses laced with thistles and weeds and despite the misfortunes of past events, I was not blind to the beauty of the tiny lilac flowers or the red roses that grew wild and free.

I could see the buildings in the distance. It had been a while since I had seen them but they sprawled low at the other end of the playing fields, just as I remembered.

I had packed for the task at hand; knife, bottled water, flashlight, pillow. Kind of funny really, how natural this solution felt, like it was some kind of okay. It wasn’t the first time I’d purposefully left the grid; my first solo adventure had taken place when I was eleven. Tired of school, friends, mother, swimming lessons and tuck shop lunches, I hid out in a farmer’s shed, armed with books and apples and bars of chocolate. I stayed for two nights and two days, sleeping in a hairy horse blanket that I shook free of cobwebs and drew close around me, breathing in that rich scent of dry sage, dust, leather, sweat and all the other good things that horses smell of. I returned home when I ran out of food and reading material. Mum was furious but I wasn’t sorry; I’d done what I needed to do and it
was the same this time, although there was less choice in a sense, as I had in fact lost my house to the bank and my job to the recession and my boyfriend to a nervous breakdown.

I could think of no other way to heal, to regroup and to find the solo me that I could rely on. I had made a mistake, relying on Shayne but I would get over that. I would get over everything.

Book Trailer: http://bit.ly/1h9oqnN

 About The Author
Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has been a Canadian citizen since 2003. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain.
Her first novel, The Hungry Mirror, won the 2011 IPPY Awards Gold Medal for Women’s Issues Fiction and was long-listed for a ReLit Award. Her second novel, West of Wawa won the 2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction and was one of Chatelaine’s four Editor’s Picks. West of Wawa is available in bookstores and online.
Her third novel, A Glittering Chaos, launched in Spring 2013 to reader and review acclaim, and is about murder, madness, illicit love and poetry.

Her fourth novel, The Witchdoctor’s Bones was launched Spring 2014 to reader and literary acclaim. The Witchdoctor’s Bones is a thriller about the darkest secrets of African evil; the novel seamlessly weaves witchcraft and ancient folklore into a plot of loss, passion and intrigue and a holiday becomes a test of moral character.

Her fifth novel, Between The Cracks She Fell, will be published in Fall 2015 and has been called “a whirligig-ride into the dark recesses of “what-next? It is compelling and multi-layered penetrating and twisty tale of insurrection.”

“A lyrical and deeply moving examination of emotional pain and faith on a collision course with organized religion.  Lisa de Nikolits highly believable and human characters are outsiders struggling to find meaning, and perhaps hope, in contemporary urban society.  With a deft and confident clarity of style, she explores the complex interplay of faith, crime and social isolation. Highly recommended.” – M. H. Callway, award-winning author of Windigo Fire (Seraphim Editions).
Connect with Lisa:
Virtual Book Tour Event Page

Talking Books with P.I. Alltraine, author of ‘Heartbound’

P.I. AlltraineP.I. Alltraine is an award winning poet and author. She has won several international poetry competitions, and her poems have been published in separate anthologies.

She teaches English Language and Literature in London. She earned her degree in BA English from Queen Mary University of London, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Master’s in Teaching at the UCL Institute of Education, University of London.

Before moving to London, she lived in the Philippines where she was ensconced in the rich culture encrusted with dark myths and enchanted tales. She draws inspiration from these in her writing. Although she has lived indifferent places and experienced different cultures, she always enjoyed the constancy of writing in her life. Her favourite authors include John Milton, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce.

Her latest book is the YA fantasy romance, Heartbound.

For More Information

About the Book:

Petyr has never found it necessary to consider the humans as anything more than distant, inferior beings–until now. They are the cause of the fatal disease that has plagued his realm, taking the lives of too many of his kind. As a future Heartboundleader of a realm in peril, Petyr must find a way to resist and cure the affliction. He must enter the unfamiliar realm, appear to be an ordinary eighteen-year-old human, observe, and learn.

However, things don’t exactly go according to plan. Instead of embarking single-mindedly on his sober mission, Petyr meets an 18-year-old girl who does things to his emotions that he can’t quite fathom or control. Petyr is falling in love, and he almost forgets the gravity his choices have on his entire world. Despite the risk it poses to his life and hers, he wants to know her, and he wants her to know him–and his world.

For More Information

  • Heartbound is available at Amazon.
  • Watch the trailer at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Heartbound teaser 1

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, P.I. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Heartbound is my first published novel, though I’ve had some published academic essays and poetry.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

I chose a small press, Soul Mate Publishing, New York, to publish Heartbound. It was a very quick process for me. First, I did some research on credible agents and publishers that would be interested in my genre. I randomly picked one from the list, just to see how the process worked and what a rejection letter looked like. Two weeks later, I got a request for the full manuscript, and two weeks after that I was offered a contract. I had a difficult decision to make because I hadn’t really tried anything else at that point. However, from what I heard, querying agents could take months for a reply (even a rejection reply), and even if someone took me on, there was no guarantee they could sell it to a publisher—and I already had a publisher interested. In the end, it made sense to seize the opportunity.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

After I’ve signed the contract, the whole took about a year, including the rounds of editing, working with the cover artist, etc.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It felt great that I could officially call myself a writer. I celebrated with family and friends; they have been incredibly supportive.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I signed up for a blog tour. It’s really important to get the word out there!

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I learned a lot during the editing process. I’m thankful to my editors for all their invaluable advice. They definitely made me a better writer.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

It’s surprising how little control authors have in the process. I was lucky because, being published by a small press, my voice was heard (including the release date, cover art, etc.), but I know of many authors who had very different experiences and had very little control of what happened in the process.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Being able to share my work to people is incredible, and of course, being able to call myself a novelist whenever I feel like it. J

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Write for yourself and the rest will follow. It doesn’t matter if your style doesn’t fit the current trend or if some circles won’t consider it “good writing.” Write because you want to, and write whatever the hell you want. Writing is not a way to fit in or please others. It’s one of the very few things in the world that allows the liberty to be true to oneself.


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