Within the world of Popla, the gods rule over mankind. Thanks to their order, mankind lives safe from the dangers of the world’s monsters and demon beasts. However, even with their protection, there are some who have chosen to rebel against their benevolent masters.
Having lost his sister to a mysterious sickness called the Seventh Blessing, rumoured to have been created by the gods themselves, A young man named Luna will attempt to rescue her soul from death. Armed with a living blade, he will oppose the order of the gods – going as far as to request the aid of a legendary demon named Ten.
Within this epic fantasy adventure, the trio will explore a world together, where divinity and mortality are intertwined. However, at the end of their journey, will the true secret of the Seventh Blessing tear them apart?
As the dark cloud disappears, the waning sunset shows itself once more – allowing for us to take a clear look at the dark and mysterious girl. Her hair is short and black, making her look almost boyish. Upon her forehead, a third closed eye can be seen. Behind her, a long scaly tail shows itself, extending down to her feet. On close inspection of her so-called cloak, they look to be wings, folded to resemble that of a cloak. More importantly, what should I do right now? If she comes at me, I won’t have the energy to fend her off. My only choice is to perhaps persuade her not to fight me.
Slowly standing to my feet, I hide my nerves and state “My name is Luna and I have come here, requesting your help. I seek the Land of the Gods and I believe you know where it is.”
Eyes perked with interest, she responds “The Land of the Gods? Hmph, if you knew anything about that land, you’d know that its whereabouts cannot be spoken” confirming the words of the defeated god moments earlier. Shifting her gaze to Adamas, her smile drops and she utters “Furthermore – what are you doing with Adamas? It doesn’t belong to you!”
“Huh? How does she know my name?” Asks the surprised sword – looking to me for answers.
“How the hell should I know?” I reply to it – equally surprised by her knowledge of my companion sword. None of this makes sense. If she knows of Adamas, then does that mean it too was alive over five thousand years ago and played a part in the so-called calamity? If that’s true, why doesn’t it know of her?
Suddenly, the demon girl unfolds her dark wings – revealing a tight vest and short skirt. Shouting forth she says “I asked you a question, worm! What are you doing with Adamas? Everybody knows that it belongs to only one other person!”
Within the palm of her hand, a great ball of fire appears and grows larger by the second. “Shit… could this day get any worse?” I whisper, watching as the fireball grows to be the size of a house. Holding it above her head, she screams to me.
“You’re dead meat, mister!”
About the Author
Ricky Baxter is the author of Gideon and the Crimson Samurai, a fantasy novel newly released for Amazon Kindle. He is an avid blogger, giving advice and thoughts to fellow creators from all walks of life. His other works include Colours of Destiny, a Youtube visual novel. Currently he lives in London England where he writes and blogs.
Starting out as a composer since graduating with a Ba(Hons) in music and multimedia, Ricky worked for many independent short film directors – for over six years, gaining notable IMDB credits . Since then, he has embraced his earlier passion of writing fictional stories.
The Resistance T.H. Hernandez
(The Union Series, #5)
Publication date: February 25th 2020
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
After the Union is invaded by the Uprising, life for Evan and her friends becomes even more dire. If they have any hopes of saving the world they know, they’re going to need help. And it looks like there may be someone already out there trying to accomplish the same thing.
Now living in an encampment in the Ruins, life is hard for most Unis in the Resistance. For Cyrus and the other Ruins survivors, it’s just more of the same.
While they train for their ultimate mission, tragedy strikes, upending everything once again. Complicating their plans, someone in their midst is working against them. Evan, Cyrus, and the rest of the Resistance need to locate reinforcements to help them bring down the Uprising while rooting out the traitor. With trust at an all-time low, no one is above suspicion as danger walks among them.
Finding balance between whatever you do and your life priorities is always tough. I have a full-time job, three kids, and a husband who travels for work half the time. Which is why I didn’t get serious about writing fiction until my kids were older. My oldest was ten and my youngest two were seven by the time I decided to sit down and finally write an entire novel, start to finish, and not just some random chapters that went nowhere.
I’ve been lucky enough to work from home since 2010, which means the time I used to spend commuting to and from the office became my free time. And because my office hours are 9:30 to 6:30, I had two hours after my kids had to be at school that I could devote to writing. It helped in those early days to be in a carpool so that I would drop the kids off and someone else would pick them up after school.
But now that they’re older and driving themselves, I grab time here, there, and everywhere when they’re not home and I’m not working. I’ve actually become a night owl over the years and find my most productive hours are late at night after everyone is asleep.
My family will always come first and since my kids were very small, we’ve eaten dinner together as a family as many nights as possible. That used to be seven nights a week, but with one child in college and two in a number of after school activities, it’s closer to three or four days a week, but it remains my favorite time of the day to reconnect with everyone.
As far as housework goes…well, don’t come over without at least 48 hours notice or you’ll see how bad I really am at prioritizing THAT particularly life activity over my writing.
With flawed strong characters, characters you can relate to, New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Lorhainne Eckhart writes the kind of books she wants to read. She is frequently a Top 100 bestselling author in multiple genres, and her second book ever published, The Forgotten Child, is no exception. With close to 900 reviews on Amazon, translated into German and French, this book was such a hit that the long running Friessen Family series was born. Now with over sixty titles and multiple series under her belt her big family romance series are loved by fans worldwide. A recipient of the 2013, 2015 and 2016 Readers’ Favorite Award for Suspense and Romance, Lorhainne lives on the sunny west-coast Gulf Island of Salt Spring Island, is the mother of three, her oldest has autism and she is an advocate for never giving up on your dreams.
Ransom Canyon welcomes you back for a Christmas that has everything you’re looking for: romance, family, and a whole lot of Texas.
Cooper Holloway would take nature over people any day—especially visiting relatives. That’s why he’s headed for a rustic cabin in remote Winter Valley, where he’ll care for a herd of wild mustangs. But Cooper’s plans are quickly thwarted by the arrival of two unexpected guests: one, a stranger in desperate need of his help, and the other, a very attractive young veterinarian.
Elliott is busy trying to keep Maverick Ranch running smoothly with Cooper gone, which is no easy task with family visiting. And when a long-lost love suddenly reappears in his life, Elliott knows he’ll have more than just books to balance this season.
With a big, chaotic family Christmas around the corner and love blooming in surprising ways, the Holloway men will have to make big choices about the future—just in time for the holidays.
PRAISE FOR CHRISTMAS IN WINTER VALLEY:
“This book has everything you would want. Laughter, drama. And tears both happy and sad. I highly recommend this book.” — Patty Champion (5 Stars, Goodreads Review)
“I could not put this book down once I started it and longed for more once I was done.” — Melanie (5 Stars, Goodreads Review)
“I got lost in the world that she [Jodi Thomas] has created and enjoyed seeing her characters with their overlapping and interconnected stories find a happiness that none of them expected to ever find.” — B. (5 Stars, Goodreads Review)
With millions of books in print, Jodi Thomas is both a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 50 novels and countless short story collections. Her stories travel through the past and present days of Texas and draw readers from around the world.
In July 2006, Jodi was the 11th writer to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. With five RITA’s to her credit, along with National Readers’ Choice Awards and Booksellers’ Best Awards, Thomas has proven her skill as a master storyteller.
Thomas was honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, and served 16 years as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.
When not working on a novel, or inspiring students to pursue writing careers, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating an historic home, and “checking up” on their grown sons and four grandchildren.
Young Adult / Magical Realism / Historical / Contemporary
Publisher: Atheneum / Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Date of Publication: March 12, 2019
Number of Pages: 336
Scroll down for the giveaway!
An ocelot. A slave. An angel thief.
Multiple perspectives spanning across time are united through themes of freedom, hope, and faith in a most unusual and epic novel from Newbery Honor–winning author and National Book Award finalist Kathi Appelt.
Sixteen-year-old Cade Curtis is an angel thief. After his mother’s family rejected him for being born out of wedlock, he and his dad moved to the apartment above a local antique shop. The only payment the owner Mrs. Walker requests: marble angels, stolen from graveyards, for her to sell for thousands of dollars to collectors. But there’s one angel that would be the last they’d ever need to steal; an angel, carved by a slave, with one hand open and one hand closed. If only Cade could find it…
Zorra, a young ocelot, watches the bayou rush past her yearningly. The poacher who captured and caged her has long since lost her, and Zorra is getting hungrier and thirstier by the day. Trapped, she only has the sounds of the bayou for comfort—but it tells her help will come soon.
Before Zorra, Achsah, a slave, watched the very same bayou with her two young daughters. After the death of her master, Achsah is free, but she’ll be damned if her daughters aren’t freed with her. All they need to do is find the church with an angel with one hand open and one hand closed…
In a masterful feat, National Book Award Honoree Kathi Appelt weaves together stories across time, connected by the bayou, an angel, and the universal desire to be free.
A heartfelt love letter to Houston that acknowledges the bad parts of its history while uplifting the good. – BCBB
Shows the best and worst sides of humanity and underscores the powerful force of the bayou, which both holds and erases secrets.
— Publishers Weekly
Narrative strands are like tributaries that begin as separate entities but eventually merge into a single thematic connection: that love, whether lost or found, is always powerful. — Horn Book
Richly drawn and important. — Booklist, starred review
Kathi Appelt is the author of the Newbery Honoree, National Book Award finalist, PEN USA Literary Award–winning, and bestselling The Underneath as well as the National Book Award finalist The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, Maybe a Fox (with Alison McGhee), Keeper, and many picture books including Counting Crows and Max … Attacks.
She has two grown children and lives in College Station, Texas, with her husband and their six cats. She serves as a faculty member at Vermont College of Fine Arts in their MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program.
Mirror Bound (The Witchling Academy #2) By Monica Sanz Genre: YA Paranormal/Mystery & Suspense Release Date: September 2019 Entangled Teen
Conspirator. Failure. Murderer.
Seraphina Dovetail is used to being called all these things. As the seventh-born daughter to a witch, and the cause of her mother losing both her powers and her life, Sera has always felt isolated. Until Nikolai Barrington.
The young professor not only took an interest in Sera—he took her into his home, hired her for his moonlighting detective agency, and gave her the one thing she’d always dreamed of: a chance. Under Barrington’s tutelage, Sera can finally take the School of Continuing Magic entrance exam to become an inspector and find her family. Now if only she could stop her growing attraction to her maddening boss—which is about as easy as this fiery elementalist quitting setting things on fire.
But when ghosts start dragging Sera into possessions so deep she can barely escape, and then the souls of lost witches and wizards appear trapped in mirrors, these two opposites will have to work together to uncover a much deeper secret that could destroy the Witchling world…
The office door groaned open. Magic rushed from Sera’s stomach and filled her veins with heat, and sweat sprouted like liquid fire from her pores. A stout man with a blunt nose and pockmarked skin walked in, thin strands of his gray hair combed over the bald patch atop his head. He wore a hard-set expression and a white, ankle-length robe with the name Samson stitched below the Aetherium crest on the upper-left breast.
He moved to a wood desk mastering the back of the exam room and never once looked at her.
“Why are you here?” he asked by way of a greeting—a rather harsh, cold, and bestial one. “Speak quickly. I’ve other appointments.”
He thrust down her medical file, and Sera’s mouth bowed at the reason for his unkindness. The thick, brown dossier was marked with a dark stripe along the length, akin to the seventh-born tattoo wrapped around her wrist. The thin black line telling the world she was the seventh-born daughter to a witch, her birth the cause of her mother losing her powers and, in turn, her life.
Though used to the hostility impelled by her birth order, anger still prickled the underside of her skin, but she stifled the urge to set his paperwork on fire. At least not while her file remained on his desk. “Yes, sir, I know. I have waited four hours to be seen.”
“Then perhaps you should have made an appointment.” He set her file aside, plucked up another patient’s record, and, flipping open the cover, reviewed its contents.
She folded her fingers into her palm, their tips itching with suppressed magic. “I had an appointment.” And she’d paid half of her wages to the secretary outside to attain it.
He continued to scribble notes on the other file and never once spared her a glance. “Yes, well, be grateful I’m even here.”
As grateful as I would be if I were trampled by a horse, she mused bitterly but cleared her throat. The faster she finished with this wretched brute, the quicker she could get back home to study. “I require a physical examination for the Aetherium entrance exam.”
He paused mid-script and finally looked at her from over his glasses, close-set brown eyes narrowed under a thick, reddened brow. “But you’re a seventhborn.”
A blush gathered in her cheeks, but she held her chin a touch higher. “Yes, sir, I am. But the exam is open to anyone and everyone, should they meet the necessary qualifications. Given my extensive education during my time at the Witchling Academy, I will not be denied.” At least she hoped this was the case. Her approval letter had yet to arrive, though it was only two weeks until the exam. This didn’t matter. It would come, and when it did, she would be ready.
About the Author
Monica Sanz has been writing from the moment she could string together a sentence. Her stories have come a long way from mysterious portals opening in the school cafeteria, transporting classmates to distant worlds. A classic by the name Wuthering Heights is responsible for that. She’s been lost to dark romances and brooding fictional men ever sense. Now she writes about grumpy professors, cursed ringmaster, tortured soul collectors, and the girls they fall in love with. Monica’s books have received many accolades on the social writing website Wattpad. She’s accumulated over six million reads, eighty thousand votes, and fifteen thousand comments since posting her books on the website. She is also a member of the Wattpad4, a group of writers who host weekly Twitter chats on the subjects of writing and publishing.
Max Logan longs for the joys of home and family he missed growing up in foster care. He fills that emotional void by becoming a kick-ass Marine, and for eighteen years, led his band of brothers from one hellhole to another…until the one that nearly destroyed him. Sixteen months of therapy and rehab put his body back together, but some wounds can’t be seen. Some can’t be healed.
Skylar Ward dreams of a life that includes someone beside her. Someone to share her life with, to be a father to her young daughter. But if she learned anything from her failed marriage it was that you don’t rush into a relationship. Options in her small town are limited, and those who approach her lack appeal. Only Max Logan sparks her interest. But the handsome, brooding war hero remains aloof.
Intelligent and intuitive, seven-year-old Maddie overhears a neighbor tell her mother she needs a male companion, so she Google’s it to see what it means. Convinced her mom needs a boyfriend and Max needs a girlfriend, Maddie sets out to make it happen. He needs a family. They need him. If she can make them see that.
Can one precocious child be the catalyst that heals a wounded warrior’s soul and brings joy back into her mom’s heart?
Or will ashes of the past bury hope once and for all?
PRAISE FOR CHASING HOPE:
“The pace was fast, the love was simple yet energetic, and the dialogues were lively enough to make me want to know more about the characters. To say that I loved this novel is not enough! Absolutely beautiful. It deserves these 5 stars.” – Readers’ Favorite
“I could not put Chasing Hope down! From the first few sentences, I was hooked and read over half of it the first night finishing it the following night. The main characters, Sky and Max, intrigued me right off the bat but feisty little Maddie wormed her way into my heart immediately! What a breath of fresh air.” – Mary McCormack, ARC reader
Skylar Ward hated crying. It never solved anything and left her with red, puffy eyes that no amount of makeup would hide. So what if the rent was due, her car hovered one crank away from the scrap heap, and Christmas loomed a month away? That wasn’t reason enough to host a pity party for one. Yet here she sat in the predawn hours blubbering like the world just came to an end. Who knew? Maybe it had, and she didn’t know it yet.
Never one to feel sorry for herself, at least not for long, Sky wondered what sparked this infrequent event. The upcoming holidays? Maybe. But in her heart, she knew it went beyond that, beyond monitoring her young daughter’s health or pinching pennies.
She loved her daughter more than life itself and did not regret the steps she took to ensure her health and happiness. But more and more lately, she missed not having someone to share her life with, to snuggle on the couch and talk about anything or nothing. She was so tired of watching life from the sidelines, doing everything, facing everything alone, with no one to watch her back or hold her close in the darkness.
“Suck it up, buttercup,” she mumbled when the waterworks ceased. “It’s not like you have a lot of options.” She got up from the table and splashed her face with cold water. A quick glance at the wall clock produced another groan. No point in going back to bed now. She started the coffee maker, then leaned against the counter, arms braced on either side. Surrounded by a sense of imminent doom and a loneliness so profound it bordered on physical pain, she sucked in a ragged breath.
I’ve been alone practically my whole life, why is it bothering me now?
Her father died when she was young. Her mother was a physical therapist, and they lived in a modest yet comfortable home. A drunk driver turned her once vibrant, happy mother into an invalid a week after Sky turned sixteen. The only relative was a grandmother whom she hadn’t seen since her father died, so Sky left her carefree life behind and became her mother’s caretaker, working after school and on weekends at a local pharmacy to make ends meet. Despite the burdens she shouldered, she managed to graduate from high school and then enroll in nursing school.
Memories of those dark days threatened to initiate another round of self-pity, and she gave herself a mental shake.
Deal with the problem at hand – how to pay the rent this month – and save the rest for another day. Mr. Jenkins was a kind-hearted older gentleman, but kindness only went so far when money was involved.
A tingling on the back of her neck pulled her to the window where only darkness and the house next door loomed. The occupant, Max Logan, had moved in about six months ago and was a frequent customer at the diner where she worked. Maddie had more conversations with him than Sky, and when they did talk, it rarely went beyond casual conversation. His demeanor, heightened by tips that exceeded the norm and covert looks cast her way, indicated more than casual interest. Sadly, as a single mother barely making ends meet, she focused on getting through the next crisis, which left no room for a personal life, no matter how badly she wanted one.
Max was the only man she’d met in Bakersville to even halfway draw her attention, and she briefly considered encouraging him. The few men who had expressed interest up to now quickly cooled when they discovered she had a child. Max, however, didn’t seem to mind. He would patiently answer Maddie’s multitude of questions and occasionally encouraged more. He appeared to enjoy their interactions, which provided Sky an opportunity to get to know him better.
Her best friend and neighbor, Gail Brown, said Max was a former soldier. She didn’t need that last piece of information since everything about his bearing screamed military.
She guessed him to be a little older than her thirty-three years. Tall, maybe six-three or four, his well-muscled body moved with an easy grace, despite a slight limp. He wore his dark chestnut hair in the traditional buzz cut favored by soldiers, and heavy brows rested above unsmiling, coffee-colored eyes. His features were hard, chiseled like an unfinished sculpture, and he possessed an air of authority that commanded attention.
The beep of the coffee pot brought her back to the counter, where she filled a mug and, with only a brief hesitation, scooted a chair near the window and sat down, calling herself a pathetic fool for pretending she wasn’t alone.
Dana Wayne is an award-winning author and 6th generation Texan. She resides in East Texas with her husband (and biggest fan) along with a Calico cat named Katie, three children, and four grandchildren. She routinely speaks to books clubs, services organizations, writers’ groups, and other organizations on writing and publishing, and is a frequent guest on numerous writing blogs.
“I grew up listening to my father read passages from the stack of paperback westerns beside his chair. I was fascinated at how someone could paint a picture with words so vivid, I saw it in my mind. That’s when I knew that one day I would be a writer. It wasn’t until I retired in late 2013 that I was able to devote the necessary time to achieving my goal. I published my first book in 2016 and never looked back. My stories are heartwarming, a little spicy, and all about the romance because I believe romance is more about emotion than sex, and the journey is more important than the destination.”
A staunch supporter of new authors, she is a member of Romance Writers of America, Texas Association of Authors, and Writers League of Texas as well as several local writers’ groups.
The Union Army wants former Confederate Army general Beau Kerry for alleged war crimes, but he’s hiding out where the Yankees least expect to find him: in the United States Cavalry. Beau is fighting Apaches out West and praying nobody recognizes his famous face.
But Lieutenant Kerry’s luck changes when he runs into Sergeant Ike Jefferson and says, “The last time I saw you, I had you bent over a barrel and I was whipping you.” Ike is not only Beau’s best friend (or worst enemy, depending on the day), he’s Beau’s former slave — and Ike knows there’s a $5000 price on Beau’s head.
Caroline Dietrich has vengeance on her mind. Married to Colonel Wesley Dietrich, the Union fort commander, Caroline believes the best path to getting revenge against the Yankees, her husband included, is seducing her husband’s officers. Especially Beau.
From the killing fields of the Civil War, to the savagery of the Indian wars, the characters are also battling each other and searching for what it means to be human.
5-STAR PRAISE FOR THE STAMP OF HEAVEN:
“Her characters are vivid, relatable, and endearing. She brings to life the rigors of frontier duty, the harsh beauty of west Texas, and the complexity of war and reconciliation. A must read!”
“Julia Robb creates a masterful tale of friendship, loyalty, cowardice, deceit, and redemption in this fascinating story set in the aftermath of the War Between the States…Not a simple western yarn, this novel will keep you thinking and asking the Big Questions long after you finish reading it.”
In The Stamp of Heaven, Beau and his men ride to Fort Stockton, Texas, to gather supplies the War Department has neglected to send them.
The detail then runs into a camp meeting, which was typical for its day.
“Hundreds of people stood under the brush roof supported by cedar poles … It was dusk, but light lingered in the rose pearl sky. Lanterns hung from poles. A black-frocked preacher stood on a bench in front, leading the singing with outflung arms.”
This revival has a pivotal effect on Beau, and that was natural because he was raised in the South.
Southerners are a revival people.
I know, because I’m also Southern and was raised attending revivals on the lower Great Plains of Texas.
We sang Softly and Tenderly (Jesus is calling) and Dad’s voice rose more urgently than it did when he preached on Sunday: “Is there something in your life you’d like to change? Do you have guilt in your heart? Jesus can take that guilt away, right here, tonight.”
“Amen, amen,” floated up from the congregation.
Sometimes people wept. They flocked to the altar while the pianist broke their hearts with Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me….Oh Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Christians are not scarce north of the Mason-Dixon line, but revival in both black and white Southern churches evokes blood memory.
Maybe that’s because the South’s two greatest revivals took place in the middle of tragedy: Confederate camps during the Civil War, and in slave quarters.
More than a quarter of all Confederate soldiers were “converted” around campfires and tents.
Hunkering under a hail of canister and bullets does tend to convert the ungodly to another way of thinking, but the same Christian revival did not take place in northern ranks.
Years after the war, sociologists conducted a survey to find out if the conversions were permanent. Yes, they were.
Southern revivals are still poignant because we have such a bitter history.
We not only lost the war, reconstruction destroyed the South economically. We did not fully recover until World War II. The South was so poor all we could do was sing “Revive Us Again.”
Revivals were also called camp meetings because they were often held outside, under tents, at night services lit by kerosene lanterns. Many a Christian came to Jesus in a circle of light, surrounded by warm darkness, inhaling the smell of grass and red dirt.
This is not the same thing as innocence. Not only did many Southerners keep slaves for 200 years, after freedom, trees hung heavy with “strange fruit,” including around the historic courthouse in Marshall, Texas, where I live.
Guilty cultures need God. Perhaps the stricken have an easier time hearing the call.
At the same time, not only have many white Southerners loved African-Americans (and visa-versa), we in the white churches have adopted many African-American attitudes.
No people worship God with more uninhibited joy than do African-Americans.
When the late Roosevelt Washington’s deep bass voice sang, “Joshua fit de battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho, Joshua fit de battle of Jericho, and the walls came a tumbling down,” at some of Marshall’s First United Methodist Church revivals, you could hear the crowd’s gasp of excitement.
We oppressed African-Americans, but somewhere along the way we began resembling them.
Some historians believe most of the African-American revivals were held in the early 19th Century, and again in the 1840s and 1850s.
So black revivals are almost blood calling from the ground because it’s a heritage that saved them as a people. The only thing sustaining many slaves in bondage was their faith in Jesus. You can hear the expression of that in African-American spirituals: “Deep river, my home is over Jordan, deep river Lord, I want to cross over into camp ground.”
Julia Robb is a former journalist who writes novels set in Texas. She’s written Saint of the Burning Heart, Scalp Mountain, Del Norte, The Captive Boy, and The Stamp of Heaven.
Julia grew up on the lower Great Plains of Texas and lived in every corner of the Lone Star State, from the Rio Grande to the East Texas swamps.