Tag Archive | Adult Urban Fiction

The Sword of Souls

 

Title: The Sword of Souls (The Last Valkyrie, #2)
Author: Karina Espinosa
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Cover Designer: Orina Kafe
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb: Raven Romero lost the Sword of Souls to Fen and his sister, giving up the search for the only weapon that could kill Odin.
Instead, she teamed up with human detective William Callahan to find the drug lord responsible for Venom—a narcotic leaving dead humans and supernaturals in its wake. But priorities change when a greater evil threatens Midgard and the only way to defeat it is with the sword.
Being the humans’ champion isn’t easy, especially during withdrawal while trying to stay sober. And Raven is struggling with both.
Enemies become friends and new enemies emerge as the hunt begins for The Sword of Souls.
Buy Links
Karina Espinosa is the Urban Fantasy author of the Sins of the Fallen series and the Mackenzie Grey novels. Infatuated with travel, pop culture, and the need to write everything down, she spends much of her days in front of a computer working on her next book, shopping online, and listening to music. With nomadic tendencies, she is currently resting her head in South Florida until the itch to move strikes again. You can usually catch her on Facebook, Instagram and live-tweeting during episodes of Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Orphan Black. Follow her on social media!
Author Links:

The Bitching Tree

The Bitching Tree

by Scott Hungerford

An urban fantasy novel about a very small crow.

Available on Amazon Kindle for $3.99

Set in the modern-day world of the Corax Chronicles, The Bitching Tree is a story about a very small crow named Cobb.  A crow that loves to fly, he lives in Seattle as a member of the great flock that congregates around the majestic Bitching Tree. Serving both as a site of governance and a place to cast grievances, the tree is the center of Seattle crow society – and also a potent source of nature’s primal magic.

But when news arrives that an ancient enemy named the Red Crow is coming to claim the tree for his own, Cobb is given the task of journeying all the way from Seattle to Cordova, Alaska, in order to meet his new mentor and undergo the training he will need to both protect his flock and keep the Bitching Tree from falling into the hands of evil. But the quest will require Cobb to maintain a delicate balance between the crow he is – and the hero he needs to become.

Opening Pages of ‘The Bitching Tree’

Dawn rises over the Seattle skyline, painting rose over gray at the beginning of an early October morning. Bands of color warm the sky, spreading out across the sleeping city, warming cold brick and chilled metal with the first rays of day.

Hungry, desperately so, he keeps moving along the edge of the rooftop, ticking his way alongside the gutters, scraping along the tar paper, occasionally stopping to check out a glistening tidbit or morsel stuck in the old metal edges. Hunched shoulders, bent back, intent eyes—a wriggling bug becomes another tasty, crunchy snack. It doesn’t satisfy his hunger, but it’s an early morning start. Other crows taw and fly by in the distance, on their way to meeting points and secret breakfast spots they keep to themselves. By the sound of their calls they’re nobody he knows, but they’re kin nonetheless.

Hopping down, he makes an outstretched landing on the edge of an open garbage dumpster below, then conducts a hurried, quick series of motions along the rim, trying to mimic grace, balance, and dexterity. But just as he’s about to reach the center, without fluttering or flailing even once, he slip-slides off the slick metal. Instead of falling in, he falls out—and makes a hard landing on the pavement five feet below, a crash hard enough to clack his teeth, rattle his bones, and leave him sitting sprawl-legged on the sidewalk with pebbles and grit stinging his palms.

“Fuck!” he yells at the world, at the rose color already starting to fade out of the morning sky. Hungry and wet and exhausted, he’s tired of being tall, of everything being so out of proportion, so giant, so skewed. He knows that after the long trip on foot up the hill from the University he’s almost to his roost. It’s just up there in the square of glass and concrete situated above the alley, in the place his body knows deep down as his home.

He. He calls home.

“Fuck!” he yells again, frustrated, dragging it out, making his displeasure known. A dirty gray gull on the wing, feathers ruffling with the sound of its passage, flies over the alley and steadfastly ignores his plight. His eyes follow the scavenger to make sure it isn’t going to circle around and pick a fight. When he is sure that the gull is gone, the man looks back at the ladder that led up to the roof of the three-story tenement—the accursed ladder that got him nowhere but standing above where he lived, and most certainly not within it!

Reaching into his jacket pocket, he pulls out the ring of metal bits, shiny and jagged. He remembers the fluid feeling of key in lock, of long appendages wrapping around a protrusion and clenching hard to open the portal wide. Getting up from the concrete, regretting the pain in his tailbone, he limps around the building to the glass entry at the front. He fumbles with the ring of puzzles until he finds the one he thinks he needs.

Following the man’s memories, he manages to insert the metal bit and deceive the door into opening for him. Once inside, he intuitively sprints up the carpeted stairs and down the hallway to his own scratched white door, number fourteen, as if he’s running for his life.

This door yields for him as well. Inside, it’s warm and safe. He knows he’s alone, in a small number of rooms with nowhere to hide anyone but him. After a lifetime under open sky and living at the roosting bridge by the University, the empty, low-ceilinged set of chambers seems impossibly vast and impossibly cramped all at the same time. Pictures, drawn with lead and charcoal and chalk, are displayed on the walls, showing people and places from all around the city. The bed is a mess. Clothes are scattered across the floor and the laundry basket is full to overflowing. The sink is filled with dishes that stink. The bag in the plastic bin beneath the sink smells of metal and spoil.

Taking off his coat, he drops it on the floor by the edge of the bed. Struggling, he manages to wrest off his shoes without untying the laces, mostly by standing on the heels and shoving down with his misshapen feet with all his might. When he is barefoot he feels better, he feels—

—like his mind is breaking. Wriggling, naked white toes instead of talons. His beautiful feathers are gone and his face is ripped apart, delicate beak replaced with brittle teeth that feel like they would break if he accidentally chewed a stone. Panicked, his body reacts, and he flees by instinct into the tiled room off the hallway. Presented with a low bowl of water and an empty knee-high basin partly protected by a hanging sheet of plastic, he chooses the latter to vomit and splatter into, not wanting to foul any water he might need to drink later. He messily throws up all of the bits and bugs he’s eaten since it happened last night at dusk. He is shocked at the fluid feel of his body giving up precious sustenance so easily.

When the spasms cease and he has the strength to stand again, he rises and washes his face in the sink. Cold water numbs his fingers and the skin of his face. He looks up, and that’s when he sees himself for the first time. Ridiculous rounded ears and brown hair and slight nose, the curve of his jaw and the strange hollow depression resting between his nose and mouth. He touches the weird spot, the inversion, marveling at its distinction, its lack of purpose, even as his wide brown eyes dart back and forth between his hands and the mirror, trying to make sense of his reflection’s naked truth.

Eyelashes are ridiculous, he decides, then looks away, unable to take the shame of his visage. No one would recognize him now, no one he knew and loved. He is a human now, with feet and hands and a history. He is a crow, too, lost in this skyscraper of a body, looking out through twin round-lensed windows at the ground far below, without wings to carry him and prevent him from falling. Just useless hands and elbows and knees, a featherless automaton that moves and repeats and remembers without being told.

Drying his face on a towel, he staggers into the kitchen looking for something to clear the taste of sorrow out of his strangely shaped mouth.

On the countertop he finds bread, a whole dark loaf of it, filled with cracked bits of grain and seeds. Stunned, never having seen such a cornucopia unguarded before, he messily tears open the plastic bag and lets the pieces of bread fall and tumble to the floor. Dropping to his knees, he begins to eat, cramming in mouthful after mouthful with both hands, ripping at the soft fabric of the food, stunned at the taste of freshness and softness that fills every bite. He resists the nearly primal urge to call out, to alert other crows to what he’s found so they can share the meal and safety in numbers together, proof from jays and gulls and whatever other thieves are nearby. But he manages to keep silent, to keep his mouth stuffed with bread, preserving the prize all to himself.

When he’s had his fill, when most of the loaf is gone, he lays down among the torn, yeasty remainders to make sure that no other crow gets his feast. There, half tucked beneath the sink, his head resting on a fallen hand towel, he looks at the art-covered refrigerator. He looks up at the early morning clouds moving slowly outside the window and feels a strange calm coming over him.

He remembers himself for a moment, from back when he had feathers instead of fingers. Amid all the noise and words and images that are in constant tumult within the human mind, he grasps a fleeting memory of why he is here in the human world, lost and alone. Of how it all started for him yesterday morning beneath the canopy of the Bitching Tree, a great sprawling oak with branches reaching high enough to meet the sky.

Protected by Old Thom, the sacred tree is the center of every crow’s world for three days’ flight in every direction. It is where the flocks that live throughout the vast human city come to argue disputes and serve justice upon one another with all the authority the tree offers. The old oak is the heart, their sanctum, the shared place where the old power rises up to aid those who seek wisdom or waking dreams within its sheltering branches.

But he knows the Red Crow is coming. He knows their most ancient enemy is coming to claim the Bitching Tree as its own, with a winged army big enough to blot out the sky. That is why he is here now, in this body. He must find the two-in-one who will teach him to fight. Not just as a crow, but as a man, before all he knows is lost to war and death.

But as terrifying as this knowledge is, he is exhausted. He lets himself fade into sleep, gently, bit by bit, until he makes himself dream of interlaced branches and the smell of warm feathers. But that soon changes and fades as the sacred tree vanishes from beneath him, from around him. Then he is gliding silently down into the unknowable darkness, with only the cold, wailing wind beneath his wings.

About the Author

Hello, there! My name is Scott Hungerford, and I’ve worked as a professional game designer and storyteller over the last twenty+ years of my career.  While by day I currently work as a virtual reality game designer on game apps for medical therapy and training, by night I’m an urban fantasy novelist, an improvisational piano player, and a board and card game designer who just likes to build neat stuff for other folks to enjoy.

Beyond writing tons of short stories, novellas, novels, and all manner of game-related stuff, I’ve worked as a professional game designer and storyteller for the twenty-five+ years I’ve worked in the game industry, even running story for brands like Magic: the Gathering and Mage Knight. Through the course of my career I’ve worked on more than thirty published computer game titles, written for more than fifty board/card/RPG products, and have touched the lives of more than ten million people with my creativity!

While I’ve been publishing books since 2013, the first few fantasy novels I launched on Amazon are pulled down for the moment, as I want to do some rewrites and let my new book editor take a crack at them. But back in the day The Fire Cage landed #1 in Amazon’s YA Steampunk category, Goblin Girl landed #3 in Amazon’s YA Fairy Tales, and Wish landed in Amazon’s Top 20 Sword and Sorcery. With the recent success of Crossroads in August 2018, hitting #2 on Amazon’s Urban Fantasy lists, I’m really looking forward to seeing how my current series is going to play out over the next twelve months!

Care to follow?

You can follow me on Facebook on my author page at @ScottHungerfordAuthor, or use the following link to jump directly to my page: https://bit.ly/2DaOITm

I accept invites to my author page all the time – but know because of Facebook’s policy, I don’t mix my personal page and my business page at all. So, if you want to see information about my books, sign up on my author page, as I rarely post anything about the books on my personal page to make sure Facebook doesn’t get cranky with me!

Also, if you want to know a little more about who I am professionally, or read the occasional essays I post, you can also check out my full presence on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scotthungerford/

 

 

The Mystic

Title: The Mystic
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Urban Fiction/Apocalyptic Fiction
Editor: Tia Silverthorne Bach with INDIE Books Gone Wild
Publication Date: December 17th, 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.
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Chapter One ~ Being Psychic
Markaza sat at the table in The Clementine’s restaurant and chewed her food. Never in her life had she been so afraid of being alone. What if the monster’s description caused the other young ladies of Women Save the World to abandon her? There was no way she could fly solo. She’d die; they’d all die. Goosebumps lifted the hair on her arms, and she shivered.
They were bantering in their easy way, everyone seeming to feel deeply for the other after hearing their stories. Bronya being ostracized for being a lesbian, Lily and her self-image after the accident that left her scarred for life, and the other three, Shelia, Melody, and Coralie, all mangled or abused in some way.
Even though they were all damaged, each held a power that would determine the fate of the human race. Markaza hid her irritation over not being able to tell the ladies how to use their power, only help them discover it for themselves. She smiled as she watched Lily poke Bronya and point out the hottest woman in the room. Markaza’s ladies had a bond that would, hopefully, be difficult to break.
She was staring at her Reuben sandwich and pile of fries when the room went dark.
Blood.
There’s blood everywhere. It’s on the ground, her clothes, and her hands. Screams shatter the darkness.
A disembodied voice fills the air. “You’re next.”
She woke to someone shaking her. With her butt still in the chair, she blinked and looked around the table. “What happened?”
“Girl, you just fell into your plate. You scared the shit outta me!” Shelia was as white as a linen napkin.
“Oh, sorry.”
“What was that?”
“Nothing. Don’t worry about it. I’m fine. I just need to eat. I think.”
Shelia lifted an eyebrow. “You should probably start with the fries stuck to your face. Seriously, you okay?”
Markaza nodded. “Happens all the time.”
“We know. But not usually in the middle of dinner.” Bronya added. “I was about to make a scene if you didn’t come back around.”
~~~~~
Nancy arrived and sat down on the floor. “What is it, child? What did you see this time?”
Markaza threw herself into the woman’s lap, wrapping both arms around her waist. “Oh my God, it was horrible! Nancy, we have to do something!”
Rocking the distraught child, Nancy used an even voice when she spoke. “Calm down. I can’t understand you when you’re hysterical.”
Markaza gulped for air, taking it in as if she was being suffocated. Her stomach settled as her hair was stroked. “Sunny died.”
“Baby, you’ve seen these kinds of things every year since you were just a little thing. What was different this time that’s got you so upset?”
“I was inside her head. I saw what she saw; felt what she felt. I died, too,” Markaza whispered. She pushed away and trembled again. It started deep in her belly and radiated out through her limbs, causing her words to come through chattering teeth. “She went skydiving and got severed from her partner when he pulled the chute open. We hit the ground… What do I do?”
“Oh my God.” Nancy’s eyes were wide and blank, her lips were pressed together, and her hand flitted up to touch her forehead. “I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine…”
“It was horrible.” Rapid breathing ensued, and Markaza could feel she was losing her grip again. “What do I do? If I call her, she’ll think I’m a freak! She’s the only friend I have.”

The Prophet

Title: The Prophet
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Urban Fiction/Apocalyptic Fiction
Editor: Tia Silverthorne Bach with INDIE Books Gone Wild
Publication Date: December 3rd, 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.
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Chapter One ~ Death
Bronya lifted a hand. “Shhhh, I hear something.” Turning her head to the side so she could pay attention to the noises reaching her ears, she noticed Shelia crouching and staring straight ahead. Soft sobbing sounds were coming from inside the car parked across the street. Bronya’s eyes followed the line of Shelia’s gaze and fell on two figures, both male.
“I see you,” whispered Shelia. Before she could be stopped, she took off like a flash and ran straight for the men.
Cursing, Bronya followed; already igniting the power in her hand. Red sparks flew as she knocked the figures aside so Shelia could get to the car. Another red flash and the door flew off the hinges, revealing a third form huddling inside.
At once, the woman scrambled out of the car and fell to the asphalt.
Shelia stopped running and took a defensive posture, creeping slowly toward the mass of hair and limbs tangled on the ground.
Bronya could hear soft words being spoken. “It’s okay. We’re here to help.”
A shrill scream pierced the night air, and both girls put their hands over their ears to shut it out. Then, everything went quiet. It seemed the city hushed to listen to the momentary scream of the woman now lying silent and prone on the road.
“Shit!” Shelia ran forward and put her fingers to the young woman’s neck. “Call an ambulance! No pulse! We’re too damned late!”
“Hello? Operator? I need an ambulance!” Bronya rattled off the names of the cross-streets and approached the girl at the operator’s request. “Yeah, she has no pulse. There’s blood everywhere.”
Footfalls echoing in the distance signaled the retreat of the two men. Everything was quiet except Shelia’s heavy breathing.
She was frantically doing CPR, via instructions yelled out by Bronya, as the whining siren of an ambulance shattered the new quiet. Tires squealing, the vehicle pulled up and two EMTs leapt out, equipment in hand. Bronya clicked her phone off, pulled Shelia back, and stood nearby, watching.
After working furiously over the girl for a number of minutes, the medics lifted her onto a stretcher and everyone climbed into the ambulance. The two girls shrank back against the walls, trying to stay out of the way.
Dark hair, matted with blood, fell around the pillow and framed the girl’s face. She had a nasty bruise below her left eye and red welts here and there on her arms. But there was still no clue as to where the blood was coming from. Bronya scratched her head and chewed the inside of her cheek while her eyes roamed over the mess in front of her. One of the medics was suddenly in her face. “Do you know who did this?” he asked.
Bronya and Shelia both shook their heads.
His voice dropped to a low growl. “Are you the girls that called nine-one-one?”
Taking point, Bronya lifted her hand into the air. “I did that. We found her this way. There were two men, but they ran off when we got here.”
“Two men? Can you describe them?”
“No. It was too dark. I only saw silhouettes and figured they were men because of the way they were standing. You know, leaned to one side, hands in pockets, kinda puffed up like they were big, bad dudes.”
“Do you know this young woman?” He gestured to the girl.
“No.” Bronya shook her head. “We were just walking by and heard crying coming from the car. When we checked it out, we found her and called you guys.” She knew damned good and well who the girl was, but explaining how they knew where she was going to be would take too long and raise too many eyebrows. Playing dumb seemed the best option.
~~~~~
Coralie smiled. She’d been friends with Regina for years. Another search and the name of the understudy for the part of Elphaba made Coralie groan. Fawne Holt! Why did it have to be her? Their long-standing rivalry was just going to get in the way and cause tension on stage.
Damn.
A split-second decision was made to speak with the director about choosing a new understudy. Coralie headed off to see if he was in his office.
She walked up the stairs, knocked on his door, and waited. Just as she was turning to leave, the door flew open and a young-looking man with hair standing on end, a loose tie, rumpled clothing, and no shoes was suddenly staring at her. All ability to speak was stolen as she looked at him. This guy is the director?
“Well?” He held his hands out to the sides.
“Um, I seem to have caught you at a bad time. I’ll come back later.” Again, she turned to go.
“Bad time?”
She spun back around to find him scratching his head.
“Oh!” His face lit up. “You mean the way I look!”
Coralie nodded and gave a nervous giggle.
“No, no, this is the way I always look. I sleep here most nights when a production is in the works.”
“Oh, I see.”
“Well, come on in! I’m sure you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t want to talk to me.”
Stepping through the door, she was overwhelmed by the mess in front of her. Clothes were strewn all over the furniture, empty pizza boxes covered the tops of tables, and paper was scattered everywhere.
“Sorry about the mess.”
“No problem,” she lied.
He stuck out a hand. “Trenton Harris, nice to meet you.”
“Coralie Meyers. You, too.” She wiped her hand on her jeans when he released it.
“Ah, one of my leading ladies! Here, have a seat!” He tossed a jacket and pair of shorts off the couch into a pile on the floor.
Carefully, she lowered herself to the edge of the cushion and perched there. He plopped down on the chair across from her and leaned forward with his elbows on his knees and his hands clasped. “Now, what was it you wanted to talk to me about?”
“It’s my understudy…” She trailed off, not sure if she should even mention it.
“What about her?”
“Well, it’s just that… See, she and I have had…”
“You don’t like each other; right?”
“Yeah.” It was a lame excuse and she knew it. Trying to recover, she added, “I’m just afraid it’s gonna cause unneeded tension on stage.”
Nodding like he agreed, he asked, “And you’re playing the part of Elphaba, right?”
She nodded.
“I have to tell you, I don’t usually make changes once the cast has been chosen.”
“Mr. Harris, I completely understand where you’re coming from, but—”
He lifted a hand. “Changing a casting after it’s been posted is like cutting off and re-attaching a limb. It’s painful.”
“I understand. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask.”
Shifting in his seat, he narrowed his eyes at her. “If I accommodated your request, I’d have to do things for other people, too. It’s better to not set any kind of expectation. But I thank you for the warning that things may get difficult.”
“Yes, sir. I’m sorry I bothered you.” She stood up to leave.
Trenton rose with her and opened the door. “You didn’t bother me. I want you to feel comfortable coming to me with anything, okay?”
“Okay. Thanks.” Halfway down the stairs, she heard the door close. “Fat lot of good it did me. Now I just look like a damned diva,” she muttered.

The Siren

Title: The Siren
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Urban Fiction/Apocalyptic Fiction
Editor: Tia Silverthorne Bach with INDIE Books Gone Wild
Publication Date: November 19th, 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.
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Chapter One ~ Running from Me
Melody walked through her parents’ house feeling tiny and insignificant. Grand halls, famous paintings, and statues towering over her always made her feel less important. Stopping to examine a withered tulip, she thought how like the flower she was. It seemed it was passed over when the maid did the watering, and Melody was sure no one had noticed. Just like no one noticed her disappearing body. They were both hungry, but the flower seemed to show it much more gracefully.
She passed her fingers over the petals and reveled in how soft they were. What a beautiful thing left here in a corner to die because somebody decided it needed to be put on display, and it can’t speak up to make demands for what it needs. It made her breath catch in her throat as the burn of tears rose behind her eyelids.
Crushing the flower in her hand, she jerked it off the stem, threw it on the floor, turned, and walked back toward the practice room.
Once she closed and locked the door behind her, she fell back and slid to the floor, allowing her tears freedom as she pulled the letter out of her pocket once again and opened it.
On the day she’d gotten the note, she’d just given a concert in downtown Atlanta and was on top of the world. Since that day, she’d read the cruel words scribbled haphazardly on the page no less than two hundred times. It was worn, and the creases were deep, but she couldn’t bring herself to throw it away. She read:
Melody,
From the 1st time I saw u on TV I new u were nothing special. U have a gr8 voice but a lot of ppl do. Ur fat an ugly an no1 wants to see u. Y dont u go sing on the radio n not make us have 2 look at u? If not y not do something w/urself? Work out or give up a meal 4 needy kids. Ur a spoiled BRAT. Every1 nos. Ur mom n dad look like snobs. Grow up lose w8 or get lost. Either way get off my TV. I hate u. Fatty!
It wasn’t signed, and she’d never shown it to anyone. But she watched what she put in her mouth from that day forward and had taken to running three miles every day. When her mom commented that Melody was looking good with all the weight she was losing, it solidified her resolve, and she swore never to be large again. Over one hundred pounds down, she still felt fat when she looked in the mirror and compared herself to the poster of supermodel Lily Conyers, hanging on the wall by the bed. Those last few inches needed to go, and Melody was bound and determined to make it happen.
As she sat there, reading the hateful words repeatedly, she dried her tears with her hand and stiffened her spine. She knew her eyes were glinting with the malice in her heart as she rose from the floor and stuffed the letter back into the pocket of her baggy jeans.
A shiver ran down her spine, and she hugged herself to ward off the chill. Unable to get warm recently, she’d taken to wearing a sweatshirt everywhere she went. She rubbed the thick hair that had begun to grow on her arms. Ugh! Why can’t Mom and Dad save some money and turn down the air?
Flipping on the CD player, she hit play before taking her position on the stage her mother had demanded be built in the room. Allowing the music to swell, Melody opened her mouth and sang. A trickle of pinpricks began at her toes and inched their way over her skin as she orated the lyrics. Her head fell back, and her eyes slid closed.
~~~~~
After Markaza chugged two more cups of coffee, she got up and headed for the bathroom to shower and get ready to hunt down her quarry.
An hour later, she stepped out of her room with a smile on her face and a spring in her step. She got in the elevator, pressed the button for the main floor, and passed out.
It was dark; Bronya, Lily, and Shelia were walking down the streets of New York, laughing and carrying large cups of coffee in their hands. From an alley, a man leapt into their path and pointed a gun at Lily’s head.
“Give me your purses!” he shouted.
Bronya laughed, and Shelia flicked her hand in the air.
At once, the man started to weep.
Lily’s body emitted yellow light, and the gunman dropped his weapon, running like the hounds of Hell were on his heels.
From Markaza’s vantage point, above the scene and to the right, she could see flashes from a number of cameras. Her friends seemed to be unaware their photos were being taken.
Markaza gagged as she took in a gulp of air and was overwhelmed with noxious smells. Waking up to sour breath is bad enough without the added stench of body odor. Above her, the over-eager manager hovered, looking worried and barking orders into his cellphone.
“Wait a moment, she’s awake.” Putting his hand over the mouthpiece, he asked, “Are you okay?”
She nodded while holding her breath and gave him a small push backward as she got up off the elevator floor.
“Yeah, she’s fine. Thanks anyway.” He flipped his phone shut and stared at her.
Giving him a smile and thanks for his concern while trying not to breathe in any more of his stench, she bolted for the front door of the Ritz. Once she was outside in the open air, she checked the time and was pleased to find she’d only been out for a couple of minutes. She unlocked her phone and dialed Bronya’s number.
No answer.
Trying again, Markaza dialed Shelia. One ring. Two rings.
Shelia sounded chipper when she picked up.
Markaza smiled. “Hey, you. How’s it going up there in the Big Apple?”
“It’s okay here. How’s it going down there in Hotlanta? Did you find our girl yet?”
“Yes. But I haven’t made contact. I’ll call you with an update as soon as I make some kind of progress. I need to ask you for a favor.” Markaza chewed her lip.
“Sure! Anything for you. What is it you need?” Shelia’s voice dropped low.
“Make sure you guys don’t go anywhere until I get back there, okay? At least, not after dark. Please, don’t ask me why; just trust me.”