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The Beguiler

Title: The Beguiler
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Urban Fiction/Apocalyptic Fiction
Editor: Tia Silverthorne Bach with INDIE Books Gone Wild
Publication Date: November 5th, 2018
Blurb:
It’s one year until the apocalypse of 12.21.12 is supposed to take place.
Burning buildings, screaming babies, and death will surround us.
It will be the end of the world.
That can’t be allowed.
When six powerful women come together with one goal—to save humanity—they’ll get much more than they bargained for. They join forces and learn to use the gifts hidden within themselves to battle a monster feeding off something too many of us feel in our souls: Hate. But they must first learn how to forgive—themselves as well as others.
Hate is birthing a creature dwelling under Central Park in New York, and the fiend is eager to burst forth and sink his fangs into the Earth.
The Fury, The Visionary, The Beguiler, The Siren, The Prophet, and The Mystic are our last hope, and even they aren’t sure if they can win.
The end is coming, but with it, there may be a new beginning.
 
 
Buy Links:
The Visionary: https://amzn.to/2RXtH4W
Jo Michaels is…
Hi, I’m Jo. Let’s forget all the “Jo Michaels is blah, blah, blah” stuff and just go with it. I’m a voracious reader (often reading more than one book at a time), a writer, a book reviewer, a mom, a wife, and one of the EICs at INDIE Books Gone Wild. I have an almost photographic memory and tend to make people cringe at the number of details I can recall about them and/or their book(s). My imagination follows me around like a conjoined twin and causes me to space out pretty often or laugh out loud randomly in completely inappropriate situations.
I have a degree in graphic design, and my journey to the end was one few students who begin that program ever complete. However, this was one case where my memory and OCD tendencies helped me. Graduation was one of the most amazing days of my life. But, my most amazing day was when my now husband proposed. Every little girl dreams of being Cinderella someday, and he pulled off the proposal of fantasies.
At the risk of sounding cliché, I’m going to let it out there and say how much I absolutely adore the man I’m married to. Along with my children, he’s my whole world.
I’ve lived in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Georgia, but I’ve had my feet in almost every state. Traveling is something I adore, and have plans to someday see the Mongolia I’ve written about in Yassa.
One of my favorite things is hearing from fans! You can find me on social media most any day of the week. Connect! I’d love to hear from you.
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Chapter One ~ Mom and Dad
Little Shelia Morgan stood in her living room, using her chubby, six-year-old arms to hold her teddy bear while she cried. Recordings of her dad’s violin music played in the background and people kept walking through the room and hugging her. It was making her more scared than she was when Aunt Ivy told Shelia she’d have to go live somewhere else because her parents wouldn’t be coming back again.
Aunt Ivy and Uncle Melvin didn’t come around very often. Shelia didn’t know why, but she’d been to visit them once and didn’t like it there. Their house smelled like old people, and Aunt Ivy hated kids. As Ivy sat in Shelia’s mother’s favorite recliner and chatted, the child watched with intensity. Aunt Ivy never smiled at anyone coming in and hadn’t shed a tear since the news of the deaths had come. Shelia couldn’t figure it out; even the police officer had cried when he’d given them the terrible news. She knew her mother and Ivy were sisters but had no idea why she wouldn’t be crying. It all seemed wrong somehow. All Shelia knew was, she did not want to go live with her Aunt and Uncle—not ever.
A nice lady from Child Services showed up after everyone left and offered to help Shelia pack her things. They chose seven outfits, two pairs of shoes, and a few photographs to put into the tiny suitcase. When the locks clicked, Shelia began to cry in earnest. It all felt so final, and the “click” seemed to lock it into place in a way nothing else had. She launched her little body at the social worker and cried into her shirt.
The woman pet Shelia’s hair and whispered, “It’s okay, baby. I know you’re scared. You’re gonna be okay. Shh…”
Shelia jerked back and looked the lady in the face. “I don’t have to move with Aunt Ivy and Uncle Melvin, right?”
“No. I found you a really nice place to go where you’ll be very loved.”
“But Mommy and Daddy won’t know where to find me as angels,” Shelia said, stepping away and wiping her nose on her sleeve.
“They always know. But if it makes you feel better, we can leave them a note, okay?”
Shelia’s head bobbed up and down.
“Do you have paper and pencil?” the woman asked.
Racing around the room, Shelia gathered her drawing paper and crayons. She sat down, and the lady helped draw a picture telling the angels where to find their little girl.
The lady held Shelia’s hand, and they walked out to the car where she was put in the back seat and buckled in. Aunt Ivy watched from the porch as they drove away but never lifted her hand to wave.
After a time in the car, Shelia saw they were turning up the driveway of a little blue house with a swing set in the yard. She was hustled out of the car and brought to the door.
The lady that answered was thin, tall, and pretty, wearing a flower-pattered apron over her t-shirt and jeans and no shoes. There was flour on her nose, and the scream of a baby could be heard from the depths of the house.
She smiled and squatted down so she was Shelia’s height. “Hello there, Shelia. I’m Mary Alice. It’s nice to meet you.”
“Hi,” said Shelia. She turned and grabbed the other lady’s pants, feeling shy.
Mary Alice stood up to talk to the social worker. “I’m sorry to hear about her parents. We’re happy to take her in. I’m so glad you called me.”
“Yes, it’s a tragic story. Poor kid. She’s too little to even understand what’s going on. You have my number; call me if you need anything.”
“I will.”
Turning and looking down at Shelia, the social worker said, “You’re going to stay with Mary Alice. She’s really nice, and there are other kids here you can play with, too. Don’t be scared, honey. We told your mom and dad where they could find you.” She peeled the child off her legs, turned Shelia and the suitcase over to Mary Alice, and left.
Shelia stood on the porch and cried, her teddy bear dangling from her hand.
“Sweetheart, why don’t you come on in, and I’ll introduce you to the other kids.”
Tilting her head back, Shelia looked up into the twinkling eyes of Mary Alice before taking her hand, sniffing, and nodding.
“There’s a good girl.”
In the kitchen, there was chaos. The baby was still crying, and two kids around Shelia’s age were running around, whooping and hollering.
“Janet, Michael! You two stop that! You’re makin’ Cleo cry!” Mary Alice said. She snatched the two mid-stride and deposited them in front of Shelia. “This is Janet; she’s eight. This is Michael; he’s five. That,” she said, gesturing to the baby in the highchair, “is little Cleo; she’s just seven months. My husband’s name is Herb, and he’ll be home later. You can meet him then. Do you want somethin’ to drink?”
Shelia shook her head and clutched her teddy bear to her chest.
Janet narrowed her eyes at Shelia and the bear.
Michael smiled.
Cleo wailed.
Mary Alice threw up her hands and said, “Okay. Ya’ll go outside and play. I gotta get this baby to stop screamin’ or I’m gonna tear out my doggone hair.”
Janet and Michael bolted for the door, but Shelia hung back. Instead, she curled into a corner of the couch where she cried into her teddy bear’s fur until she fell asleep.
Sometime in the middle of the night, someone moved her, and she woke up in a bed with bright, colorful sheets on it. When she opened her eyes, she began to cry again until she remembered where she was and why. Those thoughts made her want to snuggle back under her covers and go back to sleep. Maybe forever.
Instead, she got out of bed and went in search of a bathroom. She did her business and was on her way back when she found her path in the hall blocked by Janet.
“What?” Shelia asked.
“How come you sleep all the time? You sick or somethin’?”
“No, I’m sad.”
“How come?” asked Janet.
“Because my mommy and daddy went to stay with God, and they didn’t take me with them,” Shelia answered, her voice faltering.
~~~~
Shelia relaxed into the buttery leather of the couch and closed her eyes. A voice that seemed too far away was like a mosquito buzzing in her ears, and she just wanted to shut out the woman’s words. Shelia took a deep breath and let it out in a rush.
“Now, Shelia, you need to remember what happened when you were little. Hypnosis has never hurt one of my patients, and it might help us unlock what’s in your head, making you sad.”
“Look, lady, I’ve been to countless shrinks like you. They all say they want to help me fix this and help me fix that. Nothing’s wrong with me.” Shelia lifted herself into a sitting position. She adjusted her too-tight shirt and squirmed.
“That can’t be true. You’re battling some kind of personal demon. The problem is: you won’t tell anyone what’s really making you sad. Is it moving out of your aunt and uncle’s house?”
She snorted. What a ridiculous thought!
Dr. Candy sat forward in her chair and leaned forward. “Why did you snort like that? Did I ask a stupid question?”
“Um, because those two treated me like a slave? I cooked and cleaned and mowed and washed my whole life while I lived under their roof. I was happy to be out of there! I thank God every day Ivy didn’t spend the money from my parents’ house being sold.”
“But there must be something you’re repressing or you’d be happy now,” said the doctor.
Repressing, my ass, thought Shelia. She knew damned good and well what demons she was battling. Sinner! For the previous few months, she’d been trying to work off the weight she’d put on since her twelfth birthday. Seven years of overeating in an attempt to disgust Melvin had taken its toll.  A lot of good that did. That bastard still came after me. She hid her thoughts with a smile. “I am happy. Why would you think I’m not?”
“Your posture, the way you never have a kind word to say about your relatives, and the look on your face right now,” answered the doctor.
“So I’m uncomfortable in my skin. Big deal. I’ve been working out.”
“I’m not talking about your weight, Shelia. I’ve read in your file that you were in a foster home after your parents had their accident. Can you tell me what happened there?”
“Nothing. I cried in bed for a day, and then I was taken away and given to that pair of vipers that call themselves my family.” Shelia bit her bottom lip at the memory of Janet and her fear of being taken away from Mary Alice; that little girl had obviously seen horrors Shelia couldn’t even have begun to imagine at that age. She thought she’d learned just how the girl had felt and why. Thinking about anyone doing something to Janet like Melvin had done to Shelia made her shudder.
Dr. Candy pressed for more. “Tell me about the years you spent with your aunt and uncle.”
“What are you pushing me for? You have everything in your stupid file, right?”
“I want to hear what you felt, not read what your papers say.”
“Fine! I got taken away from a real nice lady and put into the hands of slave drivers. I cleaned, cooked, and took care of the house from age six to age eighteen. Never did they give me anything I wanted. I wore second-hand clothes and got a haircut once a year. Because of them, I couldn’t even make a friend and keep one. Is that what you want to know?” Shelia was breathing hard as she finished her speech and hoped like 

Broken World

Title: Broken World
Author: Kate L Mary
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic
Blurb:
Follow a group of survivors on a journey that spans eleven books and twenty years as they search for safety in a world overrun by the dead…
When a deadly virus sweeps the country, Vivian sets out for California in hopes of seeing the daughter she gave up for adoption. Then her car breaks down and she’s faced with a choice: give up or accept a ride from redneck brothers, Angus and Axl. Vivian knows getting in the car with strangers is a risk, but with time running out, she’s willing to do whatever it takes to reach her daughter.
The virus is spreading, and by the time the group makes it to California, most of the population has already been wiped out. When the dead start coming back, Vivian and the others realize that no electricity or running water are the least of their concerns. Now Vivian must learn how to be a mom under the most frightening circumstances, cope with Angus’s aggressive mood swings, and sort out her growing attraction to his brooding younger brother, Axl.
While searching for a safe place to go, the group meets a pompous billionaire who may be the answer to all their problems. Trusting him means going into the middle of the Mojave Desert and possibly risking their lives, but with the streets overrun and nowhere else to turn, he might be their only chance for survival…
Kate L. Mary is an award-winning author of New Adult and Young Adult fiction, ranging from Post-apocalyptic tales of the undead, to Speculative Fiction and Contemporary Romance. Her YA book, When We Were Human, was the 2015 Children’s Moonbeam Book Awards Silver Medal Winner for Young Adult Fantasy/Sci-Fi Fiction, and the 2016 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Winner for Young Adult Science Fiction.
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Shattered World: https://amzn.to/2Jm14No
 
Movement catches my eye. My heart goes into double time when my head jerks up. There’s a man across the street, walking slowly up the hill. He has his head bowed and he stares at the ground.
“A man,” I say, pointing at him.
Axl looks over and we both stand quietly for a few seconds, just watching him. He’s alone and unarmed, but my heart still pounds. We should just walk away. Leave him alone.
Axl cups his hands around his mouth and shouts, “Hey!”
The man stops and lifts his head, but he doesn’t look around. He just stands there. I hold my breath while we wait for him to respond, to acknowledge us in some way. But he doesn’t. He doesn’t do anything. After a few seconds he starts walking again. The same sluggish pace as before: his head down, his arms slack and swinging at his sides. It’s creepy.
“Guess he don’t want company,” Axl says.
I nod, but something inside me tightens. It makes me think of that man we saw in the field a few days ago. He was walking the same way. Aimless. Defeated. There’s something unnerving about it.
My scalp tingles and the sensation of being watched sweeps over me. “Let’s get back inside.”
We walk into the lobby and both freeze in our tracks at the sight of a woman standing there. She’s wearing a uniform—looks like housekeeping—and stands perfectly still, staring at the ground. She slowly raises her head and I suck in a deep breath. She’s sick. Her face is pale and gray, her skin droops and her eyes are cloudy. She looks awful. Death can’t be too far away.
“Son of a bitch,” Axl mutters, pulling his gun out. His body goes rigid and his hands even shake a little.
“What’s wrong?”
“That’s the maid.”
What does he mean? She’s wearing a uniform; it’s obvious she’s a maid. “What?”
“The maid we took the key from,” he says, stepping back. “She was dead.”
I laugh a little, but it comes out strained and nervous. I can’t process what he’s saying. She’s clearly alive. She’s standing in front of us, staring at us.
“You’re wrong,” I say.
“I ain’t wrong,” he growls, grabbing my arm and trying to pull me back.
I shake him off and take a small step forward. “She’s sick.”
“Vivian, get back!”
I move forward again. “Are you okay? Can we help you?”
She doesn’t talk, but she tilts her head to the side and studies me. A chill runs up my spine, but I ignore it. Axl is freaking me out, but he’s crazy. There’s nothing to worry about.
 

Animus

Title: Animus
Author: Kindra Sowder
Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy
Editor: Edd Sowder
Cover Designer: Rue Volley
Publisher: CHBB
Publication Date: April 10th, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb: General Quinn Ragnarok is a lot of things. Fierce. Dedicated. Intelligent. Skilled. And one of the only women to become a General within the Sentinel of Hydra, sworn to serve the Dominion of Archer’s State as a warrior against those who would dare rise against them. Her beloved dragon, Apep, is bonded to her not only in battle, but in their existence. A bond not taken lightly, for dragons from beyond the Long Realm of the Channel are among the most intelligent, extremely powerful, and do not bond easily with humans.
Betrayal is just around the corner, with the conspirator being one of her own, and war is imminent as proof of betrayal must be presented to the Council. She must rise to the Council’s wishes to fight against the Royals of Paderborn alongside her lifelong friend, Private Victor Shroud. Not only a soldier, but her trusted ally.
Will Quinn have the ability to lead her garrison to war, ensuring victory? Or will she fall to their sword?
Animus is a new high fantasy novella from award winning author, Kindra Sowder. Delve into this new tale and immerse yourself into a realm where war is coming, Halflings are controlling the forests with swords and arrows, and the skies are filled with dragons.

Kindra Sowder was born and raised in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA until the age of 12, when her family moved to Spartanburg, SC. She graduated from high school in 2006 with full honors and as a member of her high school Literary Club and the Spanish Honor Society. In January 2014, she graduated with her second degree in Criminal NeuroPsychology. She married her husband Edd Sowder in May 2014 and still lives in Spartanburg, SC where she is basing Burning Willow Press. Her works have earned multiple award nominations.
Author Links:
“Where is Apep? Have you seen her?”
“Not after she saved us. I felt that I needed to find you first, and from what I’ve seen, we are the only two that are unharmed,” he answered.
“I’m sure she is out here somewhere. She wouldn’t have taken off without us,” I said as I turned, attempting to locate her amongst the smoke and embers. Nothing. “Apep!” I cried. “Apep!”
I turned and settled on a direction to begin moving to find her. From what I could tell, this destruction went on in every direction for at least a quarter of a mile, the fires still burning in the distance and overtaking the forest around us. Her fire had created a massive clearing in the middle of the forest once she had unleashed it, obliterating everything except those who she loved. I walked past Victor, jerking my arm away from him when he tried to hold me there.
“Where are you going? There’s nothing else we can do here. We have to get back to Archer’s State and report this to the Sentinel’s Council.”
“Then go, Victor, but I’m not leaving without her.”
“This is crazy,” he said.
I had only made it a few paces before I turned back to him, rage filling me, and stalked toward him. He didn’t move or even flinch despite my anger.
“You can turn back and report this without me if you want, but I am not leaving without Apep. When she chose me, we made a vow that we would never leave one another, and I will not break it now. She trusts me.”