9.15.2017

Guest Post: Spring by Lele Iturrioz


Spring
Lele Iturrioz
(Seasons Within #2)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: September 1st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Gaia finally knows who she is and what she’s meant to do. It’s only been a few weeks since the earth element woke in her. Now that she’s embracing her role as Mother Nature, she must journey with her group of power-wielding friends in a race against time to get back home before Azazel reaches them.

With the awakening of a brand new element, her true past with Edan, a dangerous decision that could change the very essence of who she is, and a traitor among her group, the broken road back to Terra will be a test of strength.

After all, even if Gaia doesn’t know it, war is closer than she thinks.


Author Bio:
Major geek by day, hermit writer by night! Love books, sugar gliders and everything that comes in a delicious taco.
I’m the author of the YA fantasy series, Seasons Within
I spend my time writing, planning on writing, reading, drinking coffee like there was no tomorrow, MMA and chilling with my friends and loved ones.

What has been the most rewarding and most challenging aspects of writing this particular series?

The three most challenging things about writing this series are:

1… the fact that I’m not writing in my native language. After a few years of living in Los Angeles I somehow decided to write the whole thing in English. It’s been a crazy journey in other to find the right way to convey my story in a language that’s not mine to begin with. At first, I made the mistake of trusting an editor with my final ARC and it was left without a single grammar correction (tip for aspiring writers, never say yes to the first person that believes in you. Your work deserves to be great, not just done), but luckily I found a new editor that proofreads my work like an angel and all was fixed! 
  
2… the diversity within the book. It is hard to create different personalities from different parts of the world and stay true to them. Each person is a whole new beautiful world ready to be discovered.    

3… I always pictured the Seasons Within series to be five books and writing a series that long is beyond challenging. Unlike writing a single novel, when you’re doing a series, you need to have a perfect track of details. If a character is hurt in the second book, then he’ll have a scar for the rest of the series. You need to track their feelings, their thoughts and how the characters mature through the pages. Every detail becomes the story. You can’t miss a thing. Also, you need to keep the readers interested, always wanting to know more.

As for the most rewarding aspect of writing… easy, the readers!! The moment when a person reads my story, it stops being mine and becomes theirs. Readers take a character and make it real with their imagination, with their own thoughts and taste. I love to see the difference between each reader. Some love a character but can’t stand another yet others like that character more instead.

Thanks for taking my story and making it yours. 


XBTBanner1

9.02.2017

Summer Reading Wrap Up


You may have noticed a pattern of silence during the Summers on the blog. I became the director of Youth Services two years ago, which means I'm the lone ranger in charge of everything to do with library patrons between the ages of 0 and early 20's. This year, I felt like I had that break through in my career where it all finally just "clicked," and our library experienced its most successful Summer yet. 
There is an old African Proverb that says, "it takes a village to raise a child." I found this to be true with the generous amount of sponsors, volunteers, educators, and families who committed to promoting literacy this year with me. With this momentum, I feel like it's time to expand The Indigo Quill to provide more than just spotlights and reviews. Partially because I want to connect with other librarians, and because I have less time to sit down and write reviews as thoroughly as before. I spend a lot of time rating books that come across my desk, so I will definitely be posting ratings at the very least.

With that, I have an exciting announcement! My Teen Advisory Board will soon be bringing you Young Adult book reviews for teens, from teens! Most of my Teen programs end with everyone discussing the books they've been reading and how much they love or hate them. I'll be adding an entire segment dedicated to my teens' work and unabridged opinions, while teaching them how to write for the book review world. I'm raisin' little book reviewers!

So as we gear up for our next chapter, I'd like to celebrate some of the awesome programs we did this Summer:
Teen Henna Party                                                
Constellation Boxes

Arnold Air Force Base's Discover Dome
An astronomy enthusiast and physics professor showing indirect solar viewing methods: 
And of course, our Harry Potter Escape Room. They made it out with 4 minutes to spare!

8.21.2017

Guest Post: Wings Unseen by Rebecca Gomez Garrell


Wings Unseen
Rebecca Gomez Farrell
Published by: Meerkat Press
Publication date: August 22nd 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
To end a civil war, Lansera’s King Turyn relinquished a quarter of his kingdom to create Medua, exiling all who would honor greed over valor to this new realm on the other side of the mountains. The Meduans and Lanserim have maintained an uneasy truce for two generations, but their ways of life are as compatible as oil and water.
When Vesperi, a Meduan noblewoman, kills a Lanserim spy with a lick of her silver flame, she hopes the powerful display of magic will convince her father to name her as his heir. She doesn’t know the act will draw the eye of the tyrannical Guj, Medua’s leader, or that the spy was the brother of Serrafina Gavenstone, the fiancèe of Turyn’s grandson, Prince Janto. As Janto sets out for an annual competition on the mysterious island of Braven, Serra accepts an invitation to study with the religious Brotherhood, hoping for somewhere to grieve her brother’s murder in peace. What she finds instead is a horror that threatens both countries, devouring all living things and leaving husks of skin in its wake.
To defeat it, Janto and Serra must learn to work together with the only person who possesses the magic that can: the beautiful Vesperi, whom no one knows murdered Serra’s brother. An ultimate rejection plunges Vesperi forward toward their shared destiny, with the powerful Guj on her heels and the menacing beating of unseen wings all about.
Readers of all ages will enjoy Wings Unseen, Rebecca Gomez Farrell’s first full-length novel. It is a fully-imagined epic fantasy with an unforgettable cast of characters.


Author Bio:
In all but one career aptitude test Rebecca Gomez Farrell has taken, writer has been the #1 result. But when she tastes the salty air and hears the sea lions bark, she wonders if maybe sea captain was the right choice after all. Currently marooned in Oakland, CA, Becca is an associate member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Her short stories, which run the gamut of speculative fiction genres, have been published by Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Pulp Literature, the Future Fire, Typehouse Literary Magazine, and an upcoming story in theDark, Luminous Wings anthology from Pole to Pole Publishing among others. Maya’s Vacation, her contemporary romance novella, is available from Clean Reads. She is thrilled to have Meerkat Press publish her debut novel.
Becca’s food, drink, and travel writing, which has appeared in local media in CA and NC, can primarily be found at her blog, The Gourmez. For a list of all her published work, fiction and nonfiction, check out her author website at RebeccaGomezFarrell.com.
The Dark Call of Wings

At one of my local sci-fi conventions last year, I attended a panel discussion on “An Aviary of Beasties,” meant to celebrate our fascination with creatures that fly. The theme of the convention was monsters, and something about that panel intrigued me beyond it simply being a cool topic—dragons! angels! vampire bats! I didn’t know what else the subject held for me; I just thought I’d learn about some winged monsters I hadn’t known of before.

Well, I did learn about a few of those. But I also learned something about me. It dawned on me over the course of that discussion: I write about creatures with wings A LOT. They’d taken up residence in my psyche, unbeknownst to me. And they usually aren’t the sweetest of creatures. Oh, the gentle coo of pigeons or beautiful pairing of doves might make me smile and occasionally grace my imagery on the page, but it’s the flying things that raise my hackles and most enthrall me.

In my horror short story “Thlush-a-Lum,” a young woman has heard a strange beating of wings her whole life, but she’s never been able to place it…until the night the monster to whom those wings belong enters her bedroom. Other short stories I’ve written revolve around a tiny sprite, a dragon, a butterfly, and I’ve just inserted gargoyle-like birds into my current work in progress. Those aren’t all scary critters, but they all fly onto the page from somewhere in my mind’s deep recesses.
Another short story, “Treasure,” is a fantasy fable that begins and ends with a gigantic flying sea creature named the Laklor. Its feathers are six feet long—the mental recesses that held it must be deep indeed. The Laklor will soon make its home in an anthology called…wait for it…Dark Luminous Wings.  

Did I mention that my first novel had just been accepted by Meerkat Press for publication when I walked into that panel discussion? My book’s main threat is a terrifying horde of flying, invisible insects and much of the culture revolves around feathers and bird imagery stemming from the three-headed bird of creation, which is part of their origin myth. My book’s title, of course? Wings Unseen.
You guys, I think I may have a thing for wings. And can you blame me? They’re fascinating! Who hasn’t dreamed about flying at some point? The way birds make aerodynamics feel like a miracle when watching them fly is amazing. Insect wings come in a multitude of shapes and sizes, from the thin oblongs of a damselfly to the glimpse of a butterfly’s beauty to the neon green flutter of a praying mantis about to dive bomb its next meal. Wings, and the creatures who bear them, induce awe and wonder. And when they’re just out of frame, unable to be seen but maybe heard or felt instead, they produce chills and suspense as well.

I’m suddenly not quite so sure that buzzing from the hallway is just a dying light bulb. I may need to check it out, flyswatter in hand…and perhaps birth a few new nightmares for my next story. It won’t be about things that creep and crawl in the night but ones that careen and soar from our darkest crevices instead. Fly with me? Or fly away?

Thanks to the Indigo Quill for hosting me today!

XBTBanner1

5.10.2017

Spotlight & Giveaway: Sonora and the Eye of the Titans by T.S. Hall


Sonora and the Eye of the Titans
T.S. Hall
Publication date: January 14th 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
The King is dead, and the capital city of Titanis has fallen. The world of Sonora is at war, and the only hope against the onslaught of the Titan army lies with the last royal descendant of Zeus, who is being covertly sheltered on Earth in the secluded mountain town of Sandy, Oregon.
Allora is a shy, intelligent sixteen-year-old, trying to get through the gauntlet of high school while coming to terms with her otherworldly origins. After getting into a fight at soccer tryouts, Allora’s emotions boil over, and her hands suddenly burst into flames. She has harnessed the power of hadrons at the highest level, but at extreme cost. The magical outburst projects an energy signature that is detected by a group of assassins tasked with killing Sonoran rebels.
To survive, Allora, Katie, Dax, and Tanner must find a powerful ancient artifact known as the Eye of the Titans. With the help of a guardian known as Sasquatch, they will have to fight off creatures, solve complex riddles, and navigate magical caverns, all while enduring advanced calculus, jealous girlfriends, and prom.
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Allora picked up one of the bottles and read the label out loud, “Balumar Family: Signature Slug Sauce.” She wrinkled up her nose, shrugged, put the bottle down, and picked up another, a very small glass bottle with tiny writing that couldn’t be read with the naked eye.
Seeing Allora uncork the container, Mrs. Ferris yelled, “Stop!”
Allora froze, unsure why her teacher had snapped. “Uh… sorry. I was just—”
Mrs. Ferris carefully took hold of Allora’s wrist and, like a puppeteer, directed her hand to place the cork carefully back into the top of the walnut-sized glass bottle. A hard sigh followed.
“That is Tiranis extract,” Mrs. Ferris said. “It is made from the Tiranis plant and is the stickiest substance on Sonora. One drop can deform the skin and you could possibly lose a finger or hand. If you are going to handle it, you must do so with extreme caution and only with gloves.”
Allora slowly lowered the bottle to the linoleum countertop and inched away as if it were a ticking bomb.
Mrs. Ferris neatly arranged the necessary items on the rest of the stations, then made her way to the blackboard. After she carefully wrote the instructions on the board, she said, “Please begin.”
Allora started by boiling two cups of slug sauce, then slowly poured in a half-cup of liquid spider web, followed by two teaspoons of crushed lilac powder and a tablespoon of dragon blood. She let the mixture cook for ten minutes, until a shallow film formed on the top.
“Um… Mrs. Ferris?” Dax said as the liquid boiled over the rim of his pot. “I think there’s something wrong with my recipe,” he confessed as an extremely large greenish-yellow bubble grew from the pot.
“Oh no! Don’t touch it!” Mrs. Ferris said, sprinting to the back shelf and extracting a potion from the inner wall.
The bubble grew larger, engulfing the lab station. In mere moments, it ballooned so big that it hit the ceiling.
Mrs. Ferris pulled out a smoky liquid from the potion bottle, like a rabbit from a hat, and magically pushed the contents toward the monstrous bubble. It exploded, covering everyone with a slimy film of greenish goo. “How much lilac powder did you put in there?” she asked.
“Two tablespoons,” Dax replied, wiping the slimy goo from his face.
Mrs. Ferris shook her head and grabbed several towels from a drawer.
“Teaspoons, you moron!” Katie yelled, aggressively swiping the slime from her shirt and pants.
Dax apologized profusely, all while trying to stifle a laugh at his sister, who had slime dripping from her bangs.
Mrs. Ferris threw each of them a towel. “It’s all right. You’re not the first to make that mistake. When the lilac powder mixes with dragon blood, it causes a reaction with the slug sauce.”

Katie bent down with arms outstretched and a look of disgust. “Ew! You mean I’m covered in slug boogers?"


Author Bio:
I’m a writer, skier, and wanderer. I grew up in Portland, Oregon, but currently live in the beautiful mountain resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho. I love history, mythology, and the fantastical interpretations that have been incorporated in my debut young adult urban fantasy series called Sonora.

XBTBanner1

5.02.2017

Review and Giveaway: Memortality by Stephen H. Provost


Memortality
Stephen H. Provost
Publication date: February 1st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal
Rating: 
Minerva Rus can raise the dead. And it might get her killed.
Minerva’s life has never been the same since the childhood car accident that paralyzed her and killed her best friend, Raven. But when the long-dead Raven reappears in her life, now as a very attractive grown man, she discovers that her photographic memory has the power to bring the dead back to life … heal her paralysis … and shape reality itself.
Pursued by a rogue government agent who wants to eliminate her and her talents, Minerva must learn to control her powers to save herself and Raven. Because if she dies, he dies as well―again.

Stephen H. Provost is an author of paranormal adventures and historical non-fiction. "Memortality," his debut title on Linden Publishing's new fiction imprint, Pace Press, is due out in February 2017 and is available for pre-order on Amazon.
An editor and columnist with more than 30 years of experience as a journalist, he has written on subjects as diverse as history, religion, politics and language and has served as an editor for fiction and non-fiction projects. His book "Fresno Growing Up," a history of Fresno, California, during the postwar years, is available on Craven Street Books, and his next non-fiction work, scheduled for release in June of 2017, will examine the history of U.S. Highway 99 in California.
In addition, the author has published several books as Stifyn Emrys, beginning in 2012 with "The Gospel of the Phoenix" and also including the nonfiction works "The Way of the Phoenix" and "Undefeated." He also has published three works of fiction: "Feathercap" (children's); "Identity Break," (young adult science fiction/adventure) and an accompanying novella, "Artifice."
The author served as editor of four young adult novels: the "Mad World" series by Samaire Provost - "EPIDEMIC," "SANCTUARY" and "DESPERATION" - and the award-winning "Lorehnin: A Novel of the Otherworld," Volume 6 in the Otherworld series by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson. He has worked in journalism as a news editor, sports editor and reporter for four daily newspapers in California, and is currently managing editor for an award-winning weekly, The Cambrian. He has worked as an educator and has been featured at occasional speaking engagements.
He lives on the California coast with his wife, stepson, cats (Tyrion Fluffybutt and Allie Twinkletail) and dogs.
Memortality is about a girl, Minerva, who discovers she possesses a very special power: the ability to bring people back from the dead. When she was younger, she was in a car accident with her best friend, Raven. The accident left Minerva paralyzed and claimed Raven’s life. However, when Minerva is left with no escape from her abusive mother, she finds herself remembering Raven. Suddenly, Raven begins materialising mysteriously back into her life.

Once Minerva discovers her powers, she is discovered by a secret government agent who begins tracking her down. It seems he wants to stifle her abilities, even if it means casualty. As we diver further into the story, we discover the agent has a deeper tie to Minerva than what was originally thought.

Provost’s Memortality was a very easy read. The chapters are short, so it’s easy to breeze through and find a stopping point when needed without having to leave a chapter unfinished. The preface is beautifully written, but I felt like we lost some of that eloquence once the story began moving. It’s kind of like we changed voice, and I found myself wishing we hadn’t. But it was still a light and easy read, and moved very quickly. The characters were believable and developed. I didn’t dislike the book, but it was almost too simple for my liking. However, it would be a great Summer read!


XBTBanner1

5.01.2017

Guest Post & Giveaway: The Waterfall Traveler by S.J. Lem


The Waterfall Traveler
S.J. Lem
Publication date: April 19th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
All eighteen-year-old Ri wants is to cure her adoptive father Samuel from his hallucination-inducing illness. Everyone in her village tells her it’s impossible. But when she meets two newcomers in the forest—a gruff rogue with a vendetta against the gods and a charming fugitive who saves her life—she’ll be torn away from Samuel and swept across the sea to an oppressive city governed by a ruthless tyrant. Once there, she’ll not only have to confront Samuel’s unlawful past, but a vicious evil that threatens all mankind.
In this tale of bravery, friendship, and unforeseen love, Ri risks it all to save those she cares for. But if she prevails, she’ll find the one thing she yearns for most—a cure for Samuel.


Author Bio:
S.J. Lem is a digital art director gone writer in hopes of expanding her creative aspirations. Whether it’s introducing dimensional characters, crafting imaginative worlds, or transporting readers into high-stakes adventures, she strives to deliver an immersive experience.
She lives in Chicago with her husband and son. When not writing, she enjoys pottery, gardening, and volunteering. Connecting with readers and fellow writers is one of her greatest joys.
How has digital art aided you in writing?

Like many new writers, I still have a day job. I'm currently the Manager of Digital Creative Direction for a large company, which requires me to have a strong understanding of our communication goals, creatively solve problems, and listen to feedback in regards to improving the experience or visuals of an app, website, electronic signage, etc.

Having these skills has greatly aided me in writing. For example, when I have writer's block, I often do the same exercises as I would when I encounter a design problem. I may brainstorm and jot down all ideas without immediately judging whether they are "good" or "bad." I may post some rough ideas online to gain feedback from others. Or I may just simply go for a walk so my mind has a chance to wander—usually that's when my best ideas come to me.

I also try to follow a process now (just as I would a design project), after years of letting the characters lead the way. I never outlined when I first started writing (and this works great for some) but I found that I ran into plot holes and inconsistencies. Now I outline! It keeps my story and me on track.

I also approached writing as a "team effort" much like I would a digital project. I joined a writing group, and it was the best decision I ever made. I received such valuable feedback from my critique partners—everything from character and plot development, improving dialogue, and increasing tension. And above all, they gave me the encouragement to finish. I honestly don't think I would have completed The Waterfall Traveler without their help.

What do you hope writers will take away from The Waterfall Traveler?

I wrote the type of story that I adore to read (fast-paced adventures with strong main characters who take action). I hope that readers with similar tastes will enjoy The Waterfall Traveler as much as I enjoyed writing it.

How have you overcome roadblocks in publishing?

I think the important thing is to keep moving forward when you encounter a challenge, and also be open minded to other solutions if something isn't working. Today there are many new opportunities for writers that didn't exist fifteen years ago. We have an opportunity to connect with other authors and readers via social media, self-publishing is no longer seen as a poor publishing option, and there are more tools available to us to make our writing projects run more smoothly. I think having that sort of mindset has really aided me in this writing journey.

Thank you so much for featuring me on your wonderful blog!

XBTBanner1
SaveSave

4.22.2017

#MarchforScience on #EarthDay!


It's a stormy day in Nashville, but people all over the world are fully equipped to stand up for science today! Some of my scientist buddies have gone all the way to D.C. to fight for the cause (jealous). I was ready to march in Nashville today, but as many of you know, I've been fighting some health issues the last couple months and am gearing up for a 48 hour heart monitor here in the next few days (thank the heavens for scientists, amiright?). So I put on my shirt I saved for this occasion, and watched the live videos from all over while I cheered on my fellow science supporters.

Oh, and I started watching "Bill Nye Saves the World," which I highly encourage (the Bill Nye theme song revamped made my inner childhood geek squeal with joy!). Now that the giraffe cam is officially down, I guess I have to find other things to watch besides a pregnant giraffe pacing around her pen. I'm going through withdrawals! I miss Baby G already!

Anyway! I'm so proud of the turnout today. From what I've heard so far, everything has been peaceful and passionate. This is how things get done, and it doesn't have to consist of name-calling and belittlement. It doesn't have to include riots and vandalism. It isn't about forcing people to listen, but hoping we allow ourselves to be educated.

If you've ever had to take medication, gone camping, used a computer or cell phone (not sure how else you'd be reading this), looked at the stars, gotten surgery, been in a library, lived on planet Earth, or you're a living, breathing human being...then you experience the very essence of science daily. Why are librarians up in arms? For starters, the degree for a librarian is Library Science, and for good reason. We strive to be pillars for STEM education. We are the main providers of free computer science classes and usage. We teach children coding, how to take care of the planet, and how to track down obscure citations. Information is a science, and it's our job to bring you facts, because there is a difference between a Google search and research.

I'm also incredibly impressed with those who spoke at various marches today! Young aspiring astronauts, wildlife defenders, Dan Abrams, Bill Nye, National Farmers Union, Cool Effect, Nation of Makers, and many more! I was also happy to see one of my favorite authors who has brought a fresh series of STEM books to the children's narrative, Andrea Beaty! If you've read Rosie Revere, Engineer or Ada Twist, Scientist, then you've read Andrea Beaty. She is all about harvesting curiosity!

 
So why was this march necessary? If you've been paying attention (like, at all), President Trump has been very transparent about rolling back actions to fight climate change and other very important environmental provisions. To name a few, the Clean Power Plan, Clean Water Act, and Environmental Protection Agency. Coming from the land of the Great Lakes, I've already watched the downfall of politicians choosing not to keep our water clean. Yes, right here in America. And as I've made very clear through various forms of social media, he has also proposed to cut major funding for libraries, museums, and free public broadcasting that allows equal opportunity for education.

Now that the march is over, how do we keep moving forward? 

First, join the conversation and Week of Action.

Second, participate in an open letter to the Trump administration to defend the role of science in politics.

Third, get in touch with your legislators and let your voice be heard.

Fourth, get a free Science Teach-In Toolkit to educate about the importance of science in your community. There are also several other ideas for getting involved on this page as well.

Fifth, get out and volunteer! Parks, museums, nature centers, libraries...all these places need help in preserving science and spreading knowledge. You can do your part by applying yourself to the cause and sharing the experience with others.

Just because we aren't in office, doesn't mean we can't make change. Honestly, I'd rather look back on my life and know I at least tried instead of sitting around doing absolutely nothing but holding an opinion. 

Before we go, I have to share some of my favorite signs and images from the marches today:

             

And for the honorable mentions:

Bill Nye Saves the World Trailer:

4.10.2017

Guest Post & GIVEAWAY: Spellbound by Ash Krafton




Spellbound: A Limited Edition Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Collection
Bleeding Hearts
Ash Krafton

Genre: fantasy/ paranormal romance/ urban fantasy
Publisher: genreCRAVE
Date of Publication: May 2, 2017
ASIN: B01N18NFS9
Number of pages: 5000+
Word Count: 1.5 Million +
Cover Artist: Rebecca Frank

Box Set Description:
The Spellbound Boxed Set is a compilation of 20+ Full-Length Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance reads!

Readers of all ages will be swept away by this fascinating mix of existing titles and brand new content, full of pages brimming with faeries, witches, vampires, shifters, psychics, Greek gods, angels, demons, and even ghosts!

With over a million words of fiction, this is your one stop shop for urban fantasy, epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, shifter romance, vampire romance, elemental magic, time travel, and MORE from today’s New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling authors!

Although some of these reads may be gritty and dark, this is a collection of clean reads that anyone will enjoy!
Pre-Order Sale Only .99

Amazon      Kobo      BN      Apple


The collection includes titles from…

International bestselling author Jade Kerrion
NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Joanne Wadsworth
International bestselling author Nicole Zoltack
International bestselling author Rachel E. Carter
International bestselling author Andrea Pearson
International bestselling author Alicia Rades
International bestselling author Sophie Davis
USA TODAY bestselling author Michael J Ploof
International bestselling author Megan Crewe
International bestselling author C.E. Wilson
International bestselling author Kelly Carrero
International bestselling author Jess Haines
International bestselling author E. Blix
International bestselling author Alexis Kade
International bestselling author GP Ching
International bestselling author Gaja J. Kos and Boris Kos
International bestselling author Dara Fraser
International bestselling author Ash Krafton
International bestselling author Jim Johnson
NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Tom Shutt
International bestselling author Emily Martha Sorensen
International bestselling author S McPherson

 The first chapters of books by each featured author are available in the Spellbound Sampler, available on Wattpad

Book Description Bleeding Hearts by Ash Krafton

Sophie Galen is an advice columnist whose work leaves her neck-deep in other people's problems. Thanks to her compassion, her gut instinct, and her magnetic charm, Sophie really knows how to attract little black clouds.

Marek Thurzo is no little black cloud; he's a maelstrom. Marek is Demivampire, a race with the potential to evolve into vampire. A warrior who's taken his share of spiritual damage, he hovers dangerously close to destruction.

He seeks salvation. She's driven to save him. But what if he can't be saved?

Sympathy for his plight becomes true empathy as Sophie's hidden nature is revealed. Marek suspects she may be one of the Sophia, oracle and redemption of the damned Demivampire. She alone can turn back the evolutionary clock.

All she needs is the courage to face her fears. Can she save him from Falling?

The following is an excerpt from BLEEDING HEARTS Demimonde Book 1 by Ash Krafton

In the great hall housing the Egyptian exhibitions, I immediately noted the change in the atmosphere. The room was cool and dry, its climate controlled to mimic the conditions in which the relics had existed in their native land.
The entire room had been designed to resemble an Old Kingdom temple. The main lights were dimmed while strategically-placed spotlights emphasized massive columns and magnificent wall carvings like sunbeams through temple windows.
I scanned the room. No other tourists. Even better. I meandered, enjoying the rare opportunity to linger.
Craning my neck, I ran my gaze up each of the columns, reading the images, admiring the palm leaves carved at the tops like great stone trees. Eyes toward the ceilings, I turned slowly around, admiring the handiwork of the ancient artists.
What was it like to live in those lands and those times? Could an ancient version of my spirit have been there, stepping barefoot and silently through a sandy temple like this one?
Lost in contemplation, I was completely unprepared for the shock of smacking into someone, bumping him hard enough to lose my balance. I'd have fallen had he not caught my arm. Wide-eyed with consternation, I stammered an apology to the handsome but serious-faced gentleman.
"You are not hurt, I hope?" His voice, deep and smooth, sent shivers marching down my neck, between my shoulders, down my spine.
"I'm okay." I shook my head, too shy to make direct eye contact, wishing I'd checked my hair and lipstick before coming in. "I'm far too adept at being inept."
He flashed a grin and I caught a glimpse of nice white teeth. "Temples are places for spiritual reflection. It is forgivable if your vision was turned inward, rather than toward where you were walking."
His expression softened by amusement, he tilted his head toward the pillars. "Majestic, aren't they?"
I stole another glance at him—black hair smoothed back into a discreet tail, clear light skin framed by long sideburns, strong jaw culminating in a square, cleft chin. Like the other items in the museum, something about him made me want to look closer, inspect each detail.
A subtle flush warmed my cheeks and ears so I quickly turned back to the heights of the exhibition. Murmuring a sound of agreement, I circled the column, stepping a few feet away so I could see both him and the stone. "Do you visit this museum often?"
Furtive glances allowed me to take in more of his appearance a tiny section at a time. Clothing dark as his hair. Long blazer, something in between a suit coat and an overcoat. In one hand he carried a bound book and fountain pen, as if he'd been making notes.
His gaze was calm and steady and entirely on me. Taking a deep breath I permitted the contact of the direct look. My boldness was well-rewarded. His Paul Newman lips brought to mind the sculptured busts on display in the Greco-Roman Quarters and he wore a stern expression that cast a veil of hardness upon his features, enhancing the impression he'd been carved from marble.
Except for his eyes. The Roman busts bore eyes that were blank and white but this man's eyes were alive with bright green color. Like gemstones, they glittered and drew my gaze.
"No, actually," he said. "My first time here. Although, I admit, I'm drawn to places like this." His voice made music of the words—deep bass notes and soothing rhythm.
"Ah!" I said. "A man after my own heart." His left eyebrow arched so sharply I thought it might disappear into his hairline and I hurriedly continued. "Are you a professor?"
"No, nothing like that. I do studying of my own, it's not a living. It's more of a hobby. Personal research, of sorts."
"Studying past times is one of my pastimes. It's my preferred form of entertainment."
"Mmm." Eyebrow cocked again, he cast a disapproving look at me and swept his hand around the contrived temple. "Would the gods be pleased to know they are reduced to the level of entertainment?"
"I hope so." I kept my tone light. Considering the seriousness of his expression, I didn't want to accidentally insult him. "Otherwise, they'd have to be content with staying dead, right?"
His gaze swept over me and I shivered again as if the touch had been tangible, a brush of fingertips against my cheek.
"Well, I'll leave you to your worship. I mean, your wanderings." He gave me a conspirator's wink. "Unless..."
He hesitated, with a quiet clearing of throat as he tucked his notebook and pen into an inside pocket. "You wouldn't mind a companion? Sometimes one sees things differently when seeing through another's eyes. I would appreciate a new perspective."
I mulled it over, listening to the rain spattering the windows and distant voices echoing faintly from other rooms. Although I'd looked forward to a quiet afternoon, it might be nice to spend it with someone who seemed to share my interests. He certainly was attractive, and his pleasant voice intrigued me.
I realized I'd become used to living inside a shell. This man made me want to step outside for once.
"I'd like that." I smiled at his pleased expression. "I'm Sophie, by the way." I stuck out my hand in introduction.
Instead of shaking my hand, he bent his head over it and pressed polite lips to the backs of my fingers. The quaint gesture would have seemed strange and out of place had we been elsewhere. "I am Marek. Pleased to make your acquaintance."
Fingers tingling from the unexpected kiss, I fought the urge to curtsy. "Well, Marek. Lead me into the past."
His almost-smile sent a thrill down the back of my neck. "That's exactly the sort of thing I'd hoped you say. Shall we?"
He turned on his heel and swept out a hand with a slight bow, indicating the archway to another exhibit. For the first time since I'd been coming to this museum, I wondered what I'd see on the other side, and was surprised to realize I wasn't afraid to find out.


A speculative fiction girl through and through, Ash writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels as well as poetry and short fiction. She also writes for New Adult audiences under the name AJ Krafton. Her work has won a bunch of awards and was even nominated for a Pushcart Prize. When she's not writing, she's practicing Tai Chi, listening to loud rock and metal, or crushing on supervillains.

Most recently, she's re-released her urban fantasy trilogy THE BOOKS OF THE DEMIMONDE because she never really left the world of Sophie and her Demivamps. She's also working on the next installment of her Demon Whisperer series.

You Never Forget Your First
…vampire sweetheart, that is.
What is it about these creatures that haunt us, possess us, and draw us away from the well-lit safe places of our everyday lives?
Is it…eternal love?
The promise of an eternity of dwelling in another's eyes, of being loved to the point of consumption. To quench the desire of someone who would starve without us. To become their life, their reason to exist.
Yeah. That's probably it.
Or…is it the danger, the rush of treading that silver blade between life and death, pleasure and pain?
But then again, with vampires, there is no "line between". Life and death, pleasure and pain, light and dark, good and bad.  They are everything, all at once.
Heroes with unimaginable power, undone by a brush of sunlight. Strength and weakness, entwined.
No wonder vamps ensnare us: we do like our men complex, after all.
I have to go back a long time to remember my first vampire crush. I cut my teeth on Anne Rice when I was in college. My boyfriend had an English assignment on Interview with a Vampire and wanted me to read it so I could help him with the paper. (Come to think of it, I read a LOT of extra novels in college for the same purpose.) I balked at first. Vampires weren't my thing.
Then, he turned big baby brown eyes on me and fluttered those long lashes. Seriously. He had eyes like the puppies on those rip-your-heart-out animal fundraiser posters.
So, I heaved a sigh and read it. I WAS BLOWN AWAY.
Louis had such depth, such tragic humanity. And Lestat? What an ass. I hated him. He was cocky, he was mean, he was so in love with himself that he eclipsed the sun. That jerk had little regard for anyone else, no matter how much I wish he would.
I didn't realize he was setting himself up to be a Bad Boy. Uh oh. My first human crush was a Bad Boy. Unrequited love all the way for six solid years. I listened to more miserable music over him than I did for the boys I actually dated. That crush was my secret agony.
Lestat didn't disappoint. And, unrequited? Heck, yeah. I still ache a little inside when I think of him (or when I see old Reutger Hauer movies.) I'd never invested myself in a character the way I did Lestat. I hadn't known it was possible.
It was tough but eventually I moved on and found other vampire crushes. Jean Claude: I never wanted him more than the way I did in the very first Anita Blake installment. That hint of a suggestion of a tease was a complete PHEROMONE. Eric Northman: I have not the words. (The suggestions, I got a million of them, but when I open my mouth, nothing comes out.)
There's Eric’c chum Bill Compton but he's off limits. That's Sookie's first vampire love. I understand the sacredness of that bond. Sookie needs to keep that all to herself, to keep it in her heart-shaped box and cherish it always.
Eric, on the other hand, is free game. =)
Not all vampires aren't loveable. I know there are some really bad ones out there and some of them are downright Nosferatu. Some of them—like Still-Heart in my debut release BLEEDING HEARTS—are beautiful creatures but don't be fooled: inside, he's a demon. He may act like a Bad Boy but deep down, he's just bad.
In fact, all the vamps in my Demimonde series are bad, bad, bad. But the Demivampire? Another story altogether. *wicked grin* Especially Rodrian…and there is a LOT of him in BLOOD RUSH (Demimonde #2). Readers got a taste of him in BLEEDING HEARTS and they wanted more. Who am I if not an enabler?
So…I’m not going to tell you that, when it comes to your first vampire crush, you just need to get over him or move on or any other silly piece of nonsense. Oh, no. I’m going to tell you to cherish him, hold on to the feels you felt when you met him, and never, ever let go.
You never forget your first…

…and, though you only get one “first”, he doesn’t need to be your last.
2 Giveaways to Enter:



Enter this Giveaway HERE



Ash Krafton Tour Giveaway



SaveSave