J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “fantasy”

Speaking Engagement at UCCS

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Yesterday, I had the privilege of speaking to a group of students at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS). This event was held in conjunction with NaNoWriMo. If you are unfamiliar of this acronym, it stands for National Novel Writing Month, which is held during the month of November. The object of NaNoWriMo is to provoke writers and prospective authors into writing a novel. Authors don’t have to finish their projects. The goal is for them to complete writing a total of several thousand words by the end of the month, and the NaNoWriMo website tracks their progress. Since its start, NaNoWriMo has grown internationally. I have completed the challenge three times. In fact, I even got a t-shirt several years ago to prove it!

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My audience at the Writing Center was very attentive as I told them about my journey as an author and how my writing has evolved over the years. It was fun to see their expressions when I explained how I was originally inspired to write about the Civil War, how I conducted research, chose characters, and constructed plot lines. We talked about my writing process in general, how much time I spend researching each book, and self-publishing vs. traditional.

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Because all the students are participating in NaNoWriMo, I was curious to find out what projects they’ve been working on. I loved their enthusiasm as they told me about their prospective novels. Most are writing fantasy and Sci-Fi, which I found interesting, since they are all in their late teens and early twenties. One attendee said his novel is historical fiction with a bit of fantasy thrown in. He said he heard that all a writer has to do is include a unicorn to make their story a fantasy and then that author doesn’t have to be completely historically accurate. I thought his analogy was amusing! Speaking at UCCS was a great experience, and I’m grateful to have participated. Seeing new writers bud is the best!

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Enchanted Waves by Ciara Lake

About the Book:

Enchanted Waves Cover

Tabitha Lock’s mundane life changes when her future walks out of the sea into her arms.

Attorney Tabitha Lock has put her career before everything, including her love life. Exhausted from too many late nights, early mornings, and endless days spent in court, Tabitha is at the end of her rope. Add to that the sensual dreams and voices that haunt her sleep, and she’s driven to the edge of her sanity.

Jax Aquila, Mer prince and son of Poseidon, is ordered to locate a mortal female in the twenty-first century. Although this woman is unaware of it, she has vampire heritage, but her immortality was forsaken to her due to the sins of her ancestor. Old hatred and prejudice toward vampires push Jax toward pursing his own agenda and avoiding his assigned task.

When Jax meets Tabitha, he has no idea this enticing woman is the one he was sent to find. The magic of their attraction drives him to pursue the beautiful woman. When he discovers the truth, can he accept Tabitha for what she is? And can Tabitha accept herself? As they struggle with the issues at hand, an ancient evil stirs, waiting in the darkness to reclaim their lost position among the immortals. When the evil ones make their move and Tabitha’s life hangs in the balance can Jax find her in time, or will she be lost to him forever?

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

Read an Excerpt:

Calypso’s breasts heaved with each breath she took beneath the supple black leather. Stretching out beyond the full-length windows, lightning ripped through the night sky as Calypso opened the french doors and stepped out onto the patio. The subtle glide of leather-overheated flesh sent shards of heat through her.

A fine shiver raced over her body and she gasped. Somewhere out there he waited…the culmination of all her lust. From behind her the sound of Angrail and his mate’s passion could be heard and it fired her own. Long denied, her lust stirred, slithering through her body like some beast she longed to kill.

She closed her eyes, the image playing across her mind… Sweat slicked skin heaved with each swing of a massive blade. Thin, black lines danced across his chest, swirling down into the curve of a hip, the bulge of his shaft behind his pants teasing her. Muscles bunched and flexed with each step, each blow. Powerful, deadly, his essence called to her, seduced her with its warmth and need.

Calypso stepped to the edge of the balcony and peered over the ornate banister. Beneath her the roaring of the falls drifted upward in a silvery cloud of noise and mist.

She glanced over her shoulder, her fists clenching with emotion. Centuries of service, of loyalty, had been rewarded with freedom, yet she didn’t yearn for such a gift. Nay, she yearned for what was beyond her. Angrail was content, he was loved, and out of her grasp. Accepting it hadn’t come easy, long nights of bitter envy and tears had come before she’d realized it was necessary.

Come to me. As soft as the wind playing with her braid, the whisper slipped through the chinks in her armor and shot straight to her heart.

With a soft sigh, Calypso hopped onto the banister and inhaled a breath. Arms outstretched, she stepped into mid-air, years of training and skill set in her muscles. Fresh, sweet wind flowed along her body, wrapping her in a warm shawl of familiarity. Without a sound, she landed on the rocks below, her knees folding beneath her as her body coiled in to brace itself.

About the Author:

Ciara

Welcome to Ciara Lake’s World. Meet Gorgeous Werewolves, Vampires, Dragons, Mermaids, Wizards, Witches, Mythological Gods and Goddesses, Mere Mortals And More! Fiction has always been a passion of mine. Creating worlds and developing characters is a great way for me to relieve the stress and strain of my everyday world. In fantasy (paranormal) and sci-fi stories, the author has the unique ability to invent wonderfully exotic places and people. I do that in my books. These fantastic genres provide a limitless ability to be creative and inventive. My stories provide an escape into a special world filled with unique and otherworldly things. And there is always a happy ending.

Contact the Author:

Website * Twitter * Goodreads

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Cover Reveal – The Vengeance of Indra

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VENGEANCE IS A CAGE

FORGIVENESS IS FREEDOM

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In their greed to possess the deadly Halahala, the devas and the asuras have employed every dirty trick against Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine. But the humans are still standing, bloodied but unbowed.

When the wily Shukracharya discovers the secret to breaking the Council’s strength and unity, he forges an unlikely alliance with his arch-enemy, Indra, to set a deceitful plan in motion.

As cracks emerge between the councilors and their king, ghosts from the past threaten to ruin Vikramaditya and Kalidasa’s friendship, signaling the beginning of an eclipse that will cast a long shadow over all that Vikramaditya holds dear. And into this shadow steps Indra, bearing an old grudge — and a devastating new weapon.

How much longer before the Guardians of the Halahala finally fall apart?

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About the Author:

Shatrujeet Nath is the creator of the runaway national bestseller series Vikramaditya Veergatha, a four-book mytho-fantasy arc which includes The Guardians of the Halahala, The Conspiracy at Meru and The Vengeance of Indra. Described as “a new face to Indian mythology” by DNA, Shatrujeet writes for movies and web shows as well. He is also the author of The Karachi Deception, an Indo-Pak spy thriller.

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Book Review: The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to Osm

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I recently read this book and wrote a review about it, which is posted below. But first, here is an excerpt from the novel.

About the Book

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“The metal horned unicorns are doomed!” That’s what Lauda Lead Horn wailed when she first saw the tribe’s new savior. OK, so his horn was not metal. . .and he did not have a magic power. . .and he was really a puny little runt. But doomed? Were things really that bad? 

Well, things were pretty bad in the land of MarBryn. Magh, an evil sorcerer utilized unicorn horns and hooves to create his magical potions and spells. Those he used, to increase his power and to conquer everyone in his path. All of the unicorns from the Tribe of the Metal Horn were now gone . . . except for twelve survivors. 

Before the blue unicorn was born, Numen told Alumna, the aluminum-horned oracle, that he had a plan to bring the tribe back home to Unimaise. His prophecy was, “Only the blue unicorn can join with the Moon-Star. Until then, no new unicorns will be born.” Blue was the last unicorn born. Twenty years later, his horn was still covered with a plain blue colored hide. There was not a glint of metal to be seen on it or his hooves. And he still didn’t have any magic. But he was no longer scrawny and he had his wits. Though no one else in the tribe thought he had a chance, Blue felt ready to make Magh pay for his evil deeds. And he went off to do it alone. That was Blue’s first mistake. If the entire tribe was not standing horn-tip to horn-tip at the proper time and the exact place to help usher the Moon-Star Spirit into Blue’s horn, he would die. Then, the rest of the tribe would really be doomed. 

Readers will follow along two journey paths in this book. Blue is joined in his travels by his mentor Gaiso, the Stag and his friend, Girasol the Firebird as they try to find their way across a danger-filled MarBryn to Muzika Woods. The rest of Blue’s tribe is forced to follow another route due to Nix Nickle Horn’s unfortunate incident with a Manticore. Nix, the great unicorn defender must safely lead the way for Ghel, the Golden-Horned unicorn; Silubhra Silver Horn; Cornum the Brass-Horned unicorn; Steel Horned Style; Cuprum the Copper-Horned unicorn; Tin-Horned Tinam; Dr. Zinko; Iown the Iron-Horned unicorn and the others in an action packed adventure to their destination in Muzika Woods. Both journey paths converge there in the Nebulium Circle.

Goodreads * Amazon * Barnes & Noble

About the Author

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I’m Sybrina. . .. . .Just one of millions of wannabe author/singer/songwriters out there but I hope, after reading or hearing my books and songs, you’ll think my contributions to the world have as much value as any other famous artist out there today.

Fame is all in being in the right place at the right time but at least with the internet and venues like this, all of us have opportunities to share our creativity with the world. I’m so happy that I am able to share my works with you. That is awesome!

The books I’ve written span a wide range between illustrated picture books, coloring books and YA novels to technical and how-to books. If you’re so inclined you can read a little bit about the inspiration for each one below.

My latest effort is “The Blue Unicorn’s Journey To Osm. It is a book I started writing 30 something years ago and never finished. At the time, it was meant to be an epic fantasy along the lines of novels written by Tolkien, Piers Anthony, Ursula K. Le Guin and other amazing fantasy writers. I’ve pulled out my notes, dusted off the outline and began rewriting and expanding upon the 50 pages I had began. This story is now available as an Illustrated Book for teens and older readers in full color and in black and white, too. The black and white version is a “Read and Color” book. Read a chapter, then color the following pages. How fun is that? There is also a picture book for pre-schoolers called Unicorns From Unimaise – The Magical Metal-Horn Trobe. A longer version of the chapter book will soon be available as an Illustrated Novel with a companion glossary called, The Marbryn Compendium. All of the fantastic fantasy illustrations are by Dasguptarts. There is also a companion coloring/character description book, edited by Calyie Martin. It will introduce potential readers to the myriad of characters, places and things in the story.

Website * Twitter * Goodreads

My Review

I really loved this book! From MarBryn to Unimaise, this enchanting book kept me enthralled to the very end. The writing was captivating, and author Sybrina Durant included enough description so that I could envision each individual creature, as well as the mystical land of MarBryn. The artwork throughout the book is creative and colorful, and artist Dasguptarts has a unique, distinctive style that defines the novel. I also liked the options at the end of the book, so that readers can purchase coloring books, a picture book, and various other merch in relation to the series. The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to Osm was so imaginative that I would recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy fiction.

The Xenton Chronicles: The Lost Heir

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If you had superpowers, would you give them up to be normal again?

The Xenton, being victorious against the world’s most notorious villain, Griflore, and stopping a full-scale invasion, have achieved world peace on their planet of Earth. Still, unexplained happenings are occurring all over the world. With the maniacal bounty hunter, Shuriek, still on the trail of the unknown Prince Ziehr, our heroes will have no time to waste. Meanwhile, Dye, who has become an unsuspecting target for the new Xenton, Cymber, is experiencing an identity crisis. Riley has been getting stronger and the war for dominance over Dye’s body escalates. He is beginning to see his powers as a curse and wants nothing more but to become normal again. Of course, that would be asking too much. When Dye has a dream that he believes to be foretelling the destruction of his world, he has no choice but to remain faithful to his duties. With the help of his siblings, Corrine, Sam, Jason, Mack, and guardian, Arayan, they race to HELP the Prince, and save the world once more.

Everything you know about the Xenton will change. Startling revelations and hardships await our heroes. However, answers to many questions still remain, who is the Prince? Can the Xenton reach him before Shuriek does? And who is the Man in the White Suit? These and many more questions will be answered in this third installment and first half of the epic finale of the Xenton Chronicles. Hope is nothing without courage.

The Xenton Chronicles: The Lost Heir is set for release September 29th, 2017.


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About the Author

  1. M. Calloway is the creator of the Xenton-Verse. His flagship superheroes, the Xenton made their debut in the book series The Xenton Chronicles which spans four books that chronicles the adventures of his superheroes. With the success of his original series, Calloway decided to expand on that universe and introduce new characters, concepts, and story arcs.

    In 2012, he launched his brand Heroic Studios. Since then, Calloway has produced and published a comic book series, The Wrath of Steelis, which expands on the story and concepts introduced in The Xenton Chronicles. Since then, Calloway has been working on various projects to release. In light of the 5-Year anniversary of Heroic Studios, Calloway has revised, re-edited, and will be re-releasing the The Xenton Chronicles book series as Special Anniversary Editions quarterly throughout 2017.

Some of his inspiration for writing are various superhero stories such as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Spiderman, various comic books such as The Flash and Superman as well as anime such as Naruto, Bleach and some sci-fi. One of the major elements in his writing is time travel as well as the conundrum of interdimensional travel as well as multiverse travel. The Xenton-verse is very specific to Calloway as he plans to explore the multiverse of the Xenton with alternate timelines, time travel and various other quantum leaps in the form of books and comic books in the near future.

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Visit Heroic Studios website at 2Bheroic.com. You can also follow Calloway (Heroic Studios) on social media to keep up with current projects and what’s happening within the Xenton-verse as well as his Patreon in which has exclusive perks for fans of the series!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeroicStudiosComics/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/heroic_studios

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heroic_studios/

Snapchat: Heroic Studios

Tumblr: https://heroicstudios.tumblr.com/

Webtoons: http://www.webtoons.com/en/challenge/the-xenton-chronicles-the-wrath-of-steelis-/list?title_no=90826

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/HeroicStudios

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/W.M.-Calloway/e/B00F1QIIRU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1506470918&sr=8-1

 

A special note to readers: In celebration of Book 3’s release, you can download Book 1 for free and purchase Book 2 for only $0.99. Hurry before this great sale ends!!!

Soul Warrior Book Blast  

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15th to 17th September, 2017

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The Age of Kali is a series of mythic fantasy novels by international bestselling novelist Falguni Kothari. The first book of the series, Soul Warrior, introduces readers to a fictional law-governed Cosmos made up of heavenly, demonic and human realms and its protagonist, Lord Karna, the legendary guardian of the Human Realm, who is coerced into training six godlings into demon hunters against a rising demon army. The series arc interlocks into a war of domination between the Light and Dark forces of the Cosmos and the race to control the one soul capable of total cosmic annihilation, demi-god Karna’s and Draupadi’s secret child.

Get Your Copy from AMAZON

Praise for Soul Warrior:

“A beautiful exploration of fantasy and mythology, Soul Warrior (The Age of Kali) is the latest release from Falguni Kothari and by any stretch of the imagination she’s delivered an awesome story. Rich, enchanting, evocative, she effortlessly blends an ancient Indian epic and South Asian mythology with grace and quiet elegance to create the canvas upon which her miraculous world finds form…. Beautifully written and enviably imaginative, Soul Warrior proves an exemplary example of Fantasy Fiction. Definitely deserving of your attention it is recommended without reservation!”

   —Book Viral 


“I loved the writing which… hit that nice spot between being evocative and descriptive and still keeping the story moving….It has a huge cast of fascinating characters, a deep and rich world and definitely something I’m interested in following.”

   —Fangs for Fantasy 


“I loved the way Ms. Falguni has shown an eye for the details scattered throughout the novel…. Will I recommend this book? Oh yes, and be assured you will grab the next one too just to know more about the Soul Warrior.”

   —Global Asian Times 


“The plot is intriguing, much in the tradition of a modern thriller…. Precisely sketched and nuanced with quirky detail, the characters enrich the story they inhabit…. The vibrant characters in the multi-hued setting are the stuff superhero animation films are made of. Soul Warrior engrosses and enthralls. A thumping good read, I would say.”

   —Of Prose and Poetry blog 



Read an Excerpt:

 

SHUNYA: NOTHING AND EVERYTHING



Kuru Kshetra Battlefield.

        Day 17 of the Great Kuru War, seven thousand five hundred years ago.



Death is hot.


That surprises me. I’d imagined death as cold and brutal. Merciless. But in truth, death is hot as blood, and constant like a heartbeat.


Thrum. Thrum. Thrum. My lifeblood ebbs to the rhythm. My head ripped from its torso by Anjalika, the arrow of death that burns even now with the energy of the sun. Struck from behind like some novice. Felled in battle by that lily-livered usurper the Heavens smile upon—Prince Arjun. Brother Arjun.


What have I done?


I harness the thought. Cease all reflection and wrench free of my mortal body. I soar up, up into the gloaming, snapping the ties that tether me to life. Dead, I have no use for ties.


“A matter of perspective, Karna, O son of my godsire.” The unearthly words strum through the air, and I quiver like a plucked bowstring, overcome as much by the voice as its blasphemous claim. 


“Bonds of devotion nourish the soul, brother.”


There is that word again. Brother. Unpleasant laughter wells up in me. Alive, I am abandoned, denied my birthright—Celestial or royal. Death, it seems, changes everything.


A bright, nebulous light brings forth Lord Yama, the God of Death, atop his divine mount. His elephantine thighs ripple beneath a silken dhoti, ochre and crimson of color, as he guides the mammoth water buffalo to a halt. An iron medallion sways against the God’s powerful cerulean torso, its center stone an ethereal blood orange.


Hypnotic. Pulsing with life. I am drawn to the stone.


“Piteous waste,” Lord Yama mutters, surveying the carnage of war far below us.


I trace the trajectory of his gaze and behold the battered remains of my army drenched in the evidence of its mortality. Is it true? Have we died in vain?


Words form inside me and I will them out. “Shall we go, my lord?”


“Ha! Impatient to be judged, are you? Anxious to have your fate revealed?” asks the Judge of the Hell Realm. His red-black eyes burn with intelligence and compassion in a blue-tinged face that is long and lean and hard. “Rest easy, brother-warrior. You are not bound for the Great Courtroom.”

Not bound for Hell? Where then? Fear has eluded me for so long that I take a moment to recognize it. 


A hollow-bellied feeling it is, as annoying as a bone stuck in my throat.


“My lord, I have done bad deeds…terrible deeds in my life. I have waged wars, this horrendous bloodshed, and all because my pride could not—would not abide rejection. I have sinned. I must atone for my actions.”


Lord Yama smiles in a way I do not like. “You have redeemed yourself admirably, Karna. You forfeited your life for the greater good today. The deed far outweighs any misguided ones. Be at peace, brother, and enjoy the fruits of your karma.”


There is but one place to enjoy such fruits—the Higher Worlds.


I’d rather burn in Hell for eternity. I say so. “I won’t live amongst the Celestials.” Coexisting with the very souls who’ve spurned me is unthinkable. Watching her—for she would surely reside in Heaven soon—will be eternal torture.


Yama shakes his head, the horns on his crown slashing to and fro. “I thought you might say that. Relax. Your destiny lies elsewhere.”


“Am I to be reborn then? Am I to begin a new life, and forget the past?” Pain, sharp as a blade, lances through me at the thought. Forget my past? My family? Even her? Was that my punishment? To forget all that made me human?


It must be so. For have I not betrayed them as surely as I’ve betrayed my prince regent?


“Human rebirth is not your destiny, either. You are chosen, brother. Your war skills are needed for a higher purpose.” The God slips off his mount, his garments rustling in agitation. “This unjust war has pushed the Cosmos to the vortex of a cataclysm. Tomorrow, the Kuru War will end. Fearing its outcome, the Celestials rolled the Die of Fate and have unwittingly bestowed on Demon Kali untold powers.” Lord Yama bares his fangs in disgust at the foolish gamble. “Imagine the havoc that asura and his minions will wreak on the weak if left unchecked. The Human Realm must be safeguarded during Kali’s dark reign.”


I can imagine the horror only too well as I have battled with evil all my life. But I am done with wars. 

I am done with defeat. I won’t waste another lifetime fighting.


“With due respect, my lord, I am not the man for this task.”


“You are not a man at all,” Yama thunders, fists shaking. “You are the son of Surya, the Sun God. Accept that you are no ordinary soul.”


I say nothing. I think nothing. I feel something but I squash it down.


Lord Yama’s thick black brows draw together. “Demon Kali will try to pervade every particle of good that exists in the Cosmos, beginning with the corruptible Human Realm. Once he obliterates all of humanity, he’ll set his sights on the Celestials. Kali will not stop until he’s destroyed our way of life. But you can stop him. You are light to his darkness. Do you understand now why you had to betray him? Your beloved humans need you, Karna. I need you. Our father believes in you. Claim your rightful place in the Cosmos.”


Impatiently, Lord Yama removes the iron medallion from his neck and holds it out. The vermillion sunstone glows as if its soul is on fire. Nay! It is my soul that is on fire.


Indescribable energy curls through me. I gasp, though not in pain. I shudder and feel myself grow large, grow hot. Was this rebirth?


I am strong, full-bodied and lethal once more. Then I roar as light bursts forth from my very core and I throb with glorious, blinding power. When I come to myself, my world has changed again. Bubbles of color shimmer all around me: cobalt and saffron, azure and rose. By karma! They are souls. Infinite floating souls.


“Behold the spectrum of life: the worthy, the notorious, the righteous and the sinners.” The God of Death’s soul was a worthy sapphire blue with a tinge of silver. “Your duty, should you choose to accept the office of the Soul Warrior, is to hunt down the red-souled asuras and crush them. Whatever you decide, I wish you a long and successful Celestial existence, Karna,” Yama booms out and vanishes into the purpling sky.


The parley has stunned me. The world of color holds me in thrall. I was dead. Yet, now I am not. A new path lies before me. Unwanted, unwelcome, I insist on principle. I close my eyes. Open them to stare at the medallion cupped in my hand—a golden-hued hand at once familiar and not—and know myself for a fool. I do want this. It’s what I am.


Bastard-born. Rebel. Son. Husband. Father. Warlord. And protector. I fist the talisman, buoyed by its concrete warmth. This is who I am.


I am the Soul Warrior.

 

About the Author:
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Falguni Kothari is a New York-based South Asian author and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a semi-professional background in Indian Classical dance. She’s published in India in contemporary romance with global e-book availability; Bootie and the Beast (Harlequin Mills and Boon) and It’s Your Move, Wordfreak! (Rupa & Co.), and launches a mythic fantasy series with Soul Warrior (The Age of Kali, #1)

I’m embarrassed to admit how many social media accounts I own :

Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Pinterest
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Historical Fantasy Book on Blog Tour

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I’m of Irish descent, and I love all things related to Ireland. Because this is Irish Heritage Month, I’d like to spotlight a new book titled Blood Ties by author Hazel West. Be sure to follow the tour.

http://hazelwest.blogspot.com/2016/02/blood-ties-virtual-book-tour.html.

Synopsis

In an Ireland that mixes high kings, faeries, and modern warriors who drive fast cars, Ciran, a descendant from the famous warrior Fionn Mac Cool, bands together with a company of young warriors from the legendary order of Na Fianna to go on a quest to recover their missing family members who were captured by the Goblins in a shaky peace between the two kingdoms. Ciran and his companions must figure out not only how they are going to rescue the prisoners, but how they are going to complete their mission without killing each other. Through trial and error, running battles, unexpected friendships, and daring escapes, Ciran and his company come face to face with the Goblin King himself in a final battle that will decide the fate of all involved and of Ireland itself.

The first book in a new series, Blood Ties takes the traditional Irish legends and puts a modern spin on them with a heavy helping of friendship and the love of family.

Title: Blood Ties (The Modern Tales of Na Fianna #1)

Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy, Alternate History

Purchase Links:

Createspace Paperback: https://www.createspace.com/5165155

Amazon Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1505596130?keywords=Blood%20Ties%20Hazel%20West&qid=1455604855&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01BTPAO7S?keywords=Blood%20Ties%20Hazel%20west&qid=1455651450&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/615849

About the Author

Hazel West lives in Purgatory, er, Florida, with her books and her hedgehog, Horatio. When she’s not writing, she’s reading other people’s books, studying folklore, or binge-watching something on Netflix—drinking coffee is also a given.

Links

Blog: http://hazelwest.blogspot.com

Writing blog: http://talesfromamodernbard.blogspot.com

Twitter

Goodreads

Youtube Channel

Pinterest

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Excerpt

“How did your training go?” Da asked as he pulled back.

“Well, but that isn’t what I came to tell you.” I quickly detailed the events of our patrol first to get that out of the way. Maybe I was stalling, but I felt I should tell him this before anything else.

He listened quietly, but I could tell that it bothered him that we had been attacked and so close to home. It wasn’t like we had been days up in the mountains, it was only an hour’s drive north. Well, an hour my driving, but still.

“There’s something else I need to tell you,” I said after I had finished and assured him Tierney was all right—he and Tierney’s father had been sword brothers as all men of our families were. “I know I should have told you before, but it was so uncertain, I didn’t want to let anyone know. But now that I do have something to show you for it, I felt I must let you know what I have been doing in my spare time.”

“Ciran,” he said warningly, but I shook my head, pleading with him to let me continue.

“Before Tierney and I left for Dublin, Eamon asked us to look into a few…things. Just some tracking—off the books. And at first we didn’t find anything, but this morning, on our way back, we had a new lead, and we checked it out.”

He had turned back to his bench and was gripping the edge tightly, his knuckles white, shaking his head, but I pushed on, unable to stop now that the damage had already been done.

“We went to the stone circle in Westmeath. They made their last stand there.”

“Ciran.” His voice was strangled with rage and grief.

“I found this.” I yanked the medallion out from under my breastplate and put it on the table in front of him, more and more anxious to finish and win him over to my side on this matter for once.

He stood there for a minute, shaking with emotion; of what exactly, I couldn’t be sure, but then he took the medallion that he had crafted himself and after a moment’s hesitation, threw it across the room, overturning the bench with a violent shove and a thundering crash. “It’s not my son, is it?!” he shouted.

I stepped back, more grieved than frightened. He swung around on me. “Why did you disobey me? This is exactly what I was afraid of. Finding something that would give us all false hope and for what? To find his corpse rotting on a spike someday in the north, or worse? You will not go back, Ciran, do you hear me? You will just forget this whole thing.”

“I can hardly disobey the High King, Athair,” I said, trying to keep my own emotions under wraps, fluctuating from indignant anger to fear and grief. “And what if he is still alive? What if we have left him and the others to die alone in pain, waiting for help that will never come? It’s not just Aeden, it is Eamon’s brother, our own crown prince, and as loyal country-men, subjects, and Fianna, we cannot give up so easily! It is our duty to push on!”

His good hand wrapped around one shoulder as the leather-bound stump crashed into the other, jerking me forward. “You will forget him, Ciran, and by Lugh, I swear, if you bring this up in front of your brothers…”

“Daegal already knows, and how can he not? His dreams were what guided me to the standing stones in the first place. Would he dream so often of these things if there was not some need to find them?” I asked.

“Ciran,” he shouted, then softened and hung his head, his jaw tight. “Ciran, mo fuaime, please forget him. There is nothing you can do for your brother now. He is gone, and you had best start believing that. We had all best start believing that.”

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