Spotlight: Love of the Sea + Giveaway

Love of the Sea
by A.R. Masterson
YA Fiction, YA Romance, YA Mermaid Fiction

Date Published: 4/27/18

Publisher: Ink Smith Publishing

As crown prince, Cormack is required to take a bride and his place as king. His father’s choice is Princess Nephara of their neighboring ally, the Kingdom of Caraway. But the appearance of Asrai, a fiery mermaid determined to get what she wants, and an heir to her own throne, has Cormack wondering where his heart’s loyalty lies.

Exiled from her underwater kingdom, Asrai is determined to do whatever is necessary to return to her throne, but Cormack, once a means to an end, has enchanted her. Can Asrai get the best of both worlds, or will she sacrifice her heart for her kingdom?

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The candle sputtered as Pamela opened the worn tome. The pages were curling, and the painted illustrations were smudged from curious fingers. She settled into the overstuffed chair next to the fire grate.
“Come on then,” Pamela patted her knee, “it’s time for a story.”
Cormack trotted over and lay on the woven rug. His chubby feet tapped the floor as he swung his legs up and down. “Tell me about the  mermaids again, Pamela!”
She chuckled and held up the book. “Already ahead of you, dear.”
Long ago, the gods brought life to the world and all the creatures in it. Poseidon wanted to show the gods that he was the best creator, and so he made mer people in his own image. The other gods were so impressed by Poseidon’s works that they crowned him king of the gods. One god was jealous and felt that he could form something better, but no matter how hard he tried his creatures all melted back to mud. This god was  Kataraménos, the Cursed One. Realizing that he could not beat Poseidon,  he chose to steal his creation instead.
Kataraménos dove deep into the realm of the mer people and tricked one of the tribes into coming on land. He coaxed them with the beauty of green trees and plentiful fauna to hunt. He helped mould their bodies so they could stay on the land, producing the first humans. As a last affront to Poseidon, he gave them little seeds from the stars so they would one day pass on from their flesh and be immortal like the gods.
Poseidon was furious when he discovered what Kataraménos had done. Unfortunately, the humans could not go back to the sea after living on land for so long, nor were they willing to give up their new claim to immortality. As punishment, Poseidon cut the humans off from the wellspring, rendering them blind and dumb to magick.
The mer people wept for their lost kin, and soon, the humans forgot about their former lives in the sea. For many years the humans and the mers fought, as the humans were filled with the false superiority that  Kataraménos poisoned them with. They believed themselves to be equal to the gods, and that all the world was theirs for the taking—the land, the sea, the air, and all the things in it. The mers would tear down their ships and eat the sailors, warning the humans to stay away from their watery kingdoms. Even Poseidon raised his hand on occasion to beat back the human ego, sending squalls that tore ships asunder and sent wailing sailors to the deep abyss.
After a time, the mer people were defeated, as the humans kept building larger and stronger ships. No longer could they pierce the hulls with their claws and wrent the lumber to splinters. In fact, humans would sometimes catch the mers, forcing them to grant wishes, or worse, curse them to a half-life bound on land.
Eventually, the humans turned away from the Cursed One, as his path only led to destruction and death. Those who find favour with Poseidon are able to wheedle tiny drops of magick from the ancient wellspring. Today, these are the practicers of the White Veil and other shadowy clans who understand the ancient ties we rejected so long ago.
Though never will humans again know the true might of the wellspring, as we are all stained with the sins of the Cursed One, and seek the forgiveness of Poseidon and his pure waters of the sea.
It is believed today that there are no mers left in the world, and if there are, that Poseidon has hidden them well. They say that if a human is able to shed his ego, relinquish his immortal soul and enter the watery kingdoms in peace that the curse will be broken, and humans and mers will be one people, at peace once more.
Pamela closed the book, and set it aside. Cormack’s eyes were wide as he came out of his childish imaginings. He curled himself into a sitting position and grabbed one of his toy wooden boats.
“I shall find the mer people!” he declared, waving the boat in the air. “I will be a great sailor someday and be the very first to find them!”
Pamela ruffled his hair. “I’m sure you’ll find all sorts of kingdoms and peoples when you grow up, lad.”
Cormack scowled at her teasing words. She drew him up by the elbow. His body was heavy, and showing the first signs of coltish adolescence.
“To bed with you.” She sighed as she steered him to the great four-poster. “You can have more adventures tomorrow.”
He clambered up onto the bed, and Pamela pulled up the heavy quilts. Cormack rolled his eyes up to her. “Don’t worry, Pamela. I promise I’ll visit you and write you letters.”
Pamela’s eyebrows rose. “What on earth are you talking about?”
“No, under the sea!” Cormack laughed. “When I find the mers, I’ll still visit you and write you every day!”
She smiled and kissed his forehead. “Dream of your mers, lad. But be careful they don’t gobble you up!”
Cormack nodded, a yawn escaping his lips. “Goodnight, Pamela.”
“Goodnight, lad.”


About the Author

Lauren A.R. Masterson graduated from Columbia College of Chicago with a degree in Fiction Writing. During her college days, she began working as a freelance model eventually making it her full-time profession after graduating. She toured nationally, met scores of creative people, and had many adventures. After retiring from modeling, and experiencing a divorce, Lauren felt the drain of her creativity. But after finding a loving and supporting community she began exploring her writing talent and art again. Lauren is now a regular in the local Chicago writing communities and is dedicated to enhancing her craft.

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Spotlight & Excerpt: BloodLaw + Giveaway

Vampire Chicago #1
by Blaise Ramsay

Urban Fantasy, Noir, Detective

Date Published: November 25, 2020

Publisher: Indies United Publishing, LLC


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Former ADA Alastair Maddox pursues Prohibition Chicago’s most dangerous monsters after witnessing the deaths of his parents and grandparents as a boy. When a former colleague in Chicago PD comes to ask Alastair for help, he comes face to face with the mysterious Alexandra DeLane. But something’s off. DeLane is way too calm and her eyes are the color of blood. After she escapes, Alastair goes on the hunt only to find himself the prey of an ambitious and mysterious mob boss who plots to have him murdered. The problem? Alastair doesn’t stay dead and comes back as something else. Something more dangerous and straight out of a horror novel.

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Creeping back out of the pen, I saw the lightening of the sun coming over the horizon. Instinct drove me back to the room where the elderly couple offered me a place to sleep. Never had I experienced this level of fatigue before.
Once inside, I took one of the blankets and a pillow off the bed into a nearby closet where I closed the door and fell into a deep sleep.
As I drifted off, I couldn’t help but think about everything. Rest didn’t come easy and it wasn’t something I could call a deep sleep.
POUNDING on the door accompanied the grumbling I emitted the further into consciousness I became. God, what is so wrong with wanting to get some sleep?
I opened the closet door to find Edna staring down at me, her eyes fraught with wrinkles around her eyes and the corners of her mouth.
“Oh thank goodness, we thought you might’ve breathed your last,”
She said.
If only, I thought.
“You slept like the dead all day. Are you sick, dear?”
Sick wasn’t the word I’d use. More like a man plagued with a “condition” that no amount of medicine could cure.
The pressure receded enough to let me climb out of the closet, setting the pillow and blanket back on the bed. Why I slept in the closet eluded even me, but why question it at this point?
Edna offered me a place at their dinner table. Again, I refused, saying my stomach hurt, playing on her mentioning of my “sickness”
by saying I needed to lie back down.
“Of course, dear. You’re welcome to stay as long as you like.”
Herbert didn’t say anything other than a hmph.
I didn’t complain considering the scrutinizing gaze he’d kept on me the whole time at the table.
“You look familiar,” he finally said in that heavy drawl.
I swallowed. Oh no. I am not in the mood to answer any questions.
Laughing, I said, “Must be one of those mugs. You know the type.
Average Joes resembling other less average Joes.”
I never said it was smart.
Dismissing myself, I made my way back up the stairs. Guilt at leaving so soon after what the two of them did for me made me feel horrible, but I wouldn’t find any of the answers I needed here. I crept down the side of the house towards the nearby road I knew led me back to the place it all began.
I WALKED ALONGSIDE THE ROAD, almost at a loss of hope of getting a ride back to Chicago. If I was what I thought, I needed to avoid coming in contact with the sun unless —
I ended that thought on a gulp, not wanting to finish it.
Soft glows of headlights behind me renewed hope of getting to safety.
Holding out a thumb, I waited until the dark colored, rundown Nash pulled up alongside me.
From the conditions of its headlights, I’d surmised the driver hadn’t been too careful and been in his fair share of accidents.
“Going somewhere?” the woman sitting in the passenger’s side called to me after rolling down the window. “My God, don’t you look like you’ve had it rough.”
I couldn’t deny it. I felt like hell.
A lean at my waist got me a good look at the man sitting in the driver’s side.
God only knew what I looked like to them. I probably displayed the appearance of a vagabond or homeless person who relied on the mercy of his fellow man to take care of him.
The woman introduced herself, though I didn’t catch what she said on account of my head focusing elsewhere. “This is my husband.
Where you heading, hun?”
Anger swelled in my chest, my body tight in lieu of everything that happened. Some of it remained elusive, but I did remember the more important parts.
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About the Author

Blaise started her journey in writing at the age of the fifteen with her first unfinished urban fantasy novel based on a popular video game series known as .Hack. From there she moved her journey into designing characters and doing concept art for various paying clients. In her older career, Blaise moved into working for the Indie Gaming industry where she did concept art for the company HollowRobot and their debut game, Johnny Reboot and various other clients. Sadly, the game didn’t go anywhere and Blaise found herself losing interest in what she had done for fifteen years.

In 2017, Blaise embarked on her first ever NaNoWriMo challenge where she finished the Paranormal Shifter Romance, Blessing of Luna which she indie published. It has then produced a second installation into the Wolfgods series titled Bane of Tenebris. Both have recently been picked up by BlackRose Writing.

Both of these books gave birth to the first of Blaise’s three businesses. The first, FyreSyde Publishing, a small press, has recently opened its doors to authors and works alongside them in the ever difficult challenge of book marketing. A running joke is Blaise considers herself an “odd duck” in the sense that she loves the marketing phase more than the writing phase of production. Her other two businesses include full-time freelance ghostwriting and the independent bookstore, GreenWood Grove Booksellers.

After falling in love with the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher and later Saints & Shadows by Christopher Golden, Blaise found a new love for Urban Fantasy. Reading the beloved Vampire Files by PN Elrod prompted Blaise to initiate her next phase and begin producing paranormal detective and noir novels. Now she combines the two and loves every minute of it.

She currently lives in the hometown of Bonnie & Clyde with her husband, two adorable kids, two cats and a dog.

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Book Blitz: 58 Farm End, by Natasha Murray

58 Farm End
Waterfall Way series, #1
by Natasha Murray
Genre: Noir
Pages: 222
Out 18th December 2020

After Ivy Brown is found dead in a silent pool at Farm End, Julia Bridgewater and Seth Hearn, from two rival farming families, declare their love for each other.

Their passionate affair does not go unnoticed.

As their bond grows stronger, dark and twisted secrets are unearthed and cause chaos.

Somebody is watching Julia and is becoming impatient.

Julia and her brother Peter are finding their new life at Farm End challenging. Their dairy farm in Findon, is not doing well. Their Dad, who is struggling with depression, wants to sell the farm and move on. One night, Julia meets the enigmatic Seth Hearn, from the neighbouring Crow Farm and she is instantly drawn to him. How does he know so much about her?

Are Julia and Seth star crossed, lovers? Will they be able to deal with those that mean to harm them?

The question is: Who killed Ivy Brown?

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“Absolutely brilliant! Really, really enjoyed it and I can’t wait for the next in the series.” –reviewer

Author Bio

Natasha Murray is an award-winning West Sussex author. She is a diverse writer and produces books for all ages. During a lockdown, Natasha has written a romantic crime thriller series 58 Farm End, Julia’s Baby and Waterfall Way (The Waterfall Way Series). These books are set in Findon, West Sussex and Cork, Ireland. She says, “I love writing and it is both a pleasure and a compulsion. My dream of course is for my creations to be well known and to make people smile.”

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