Spotlight & Excerpt: Torch of the Defiler + Giveaway

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Torch of the Defiler

The Devourer Book 1

by Julie McCord

Genre: Epic Dark Fantasy

 

You can’t hide from destiny forever.

Lorothiel has spent her life hidden away among the elves with her cousin Loren. But when sorcerer-king Adran starts laying waste to his neighbors, Prince Eric crosses the haunted no-man’s land surrounding the elven forest in a quest for the magic that can save his people.Magic Lorothiel carries as her birthright.All magic comes at a price, and as ancient hatreds re-awaken, the cost will rise.

torchofthedefiler - excerpt

Although the forest never completely receded from any gathering place of the elves, it was in the background here. The wooden stage was very low to the ground and semicircular, ringed by benches. Loren and Eric took seats in the front— places of honor, Loren said, although the other elves seated in the front were a handful of children. Along the back of the semicircle were musicians, some with flat, handheld drums; some with drums that were long and tall and played with sticks resembling crooks; others with harps, flutes, and various other instruments that were harder for Eric to identify.

Censers were lit at either end of the stage and Loren gestured that the performance was about to begin.

It began with a cacophony of drums and gongs and dancers running in disarray, swarming over the stage. Abruptly, the noise fell silent and the dancers collapsed to the floor.

Loren had explained that this dance was about the creation of the world, so he was able to deduce that the three dancers who slowly rose to their feet in the silence were the gods. To his right was the one who was playing Gweron, dressed in red and gold. He was stocky for an elf, his movements blunt and precise, and his pale hair was stained reddish-brown. To the left was Elarren, a girl of quintessentially elven features, dressed in opalescent green and gesturing delicately with her hands and eyes.

In the center, dominating Eric’s attention, was Morgan. Morgan’s skirts shimmered blue and black and silver, but her blue shirt was cut like a man’s. Although this costume was intended to represent Morgan’s ambiguous nature, the dancer’s gender was clear, for she was more curvaceous than the other female elves; in fact, the strange cut of the shirt only served to draw more attention to this fact. Also unusual was her coloring: her hair was raven black and appeared to be so naturally; her skin was pale and her eyes crystalline blue.

She was the girl from the pond, and she was beautiful.

He watched her step back as the music began again, this time in a more orderly fashion. The melody was strange and wandering by human standards, with rhythms that made no sense; but the result was pleasant enough despite its foreignness. One by one, under the direction of the three gods, the others arose, performed impossible leaps and turns and flips, then moved into a line around the back of the stage. The ordering of the elements, Eric supposed.

Then came the shaping of the world. Gweron took up a staff and strode to center stage. His music was loud and clanging, and he alternated between stomping so that the stage shook, hitting his staff against the ground, leaping into aerial somersaults using the staff as a center, and whirling in battle-inspired fury using the staff as a weapon against a host of invisible assailants. The children in the front row winced and held their ears, not only against the noise but because they seemed afraid of him.

It was definitely for the best that Eric had declined the role.

Next came Elarren, whose music was soft and lilting, full of harps and flutes and bells. She moved in graceful steps, making delicate small movements with her hands and smiling gently into the crowd. Two attendants came forward and helped her slip into a rainbow-colored robe they had brought. Out of the bag sleeves she produced sweet-smelling herbs and flower petals and cast them into the audience. The children in the front row went wild.

Morgan came forward to the sound of drums, played more sensually than Gweron’s, and cymbals, and long strange pipes with nasal voices. Her movements were slow, mournful, yet seductive. Her arms and hips swayed and curved like serpents, her long jet hair moving behind her in a single sheet except for the wisps falling into her delicate face, half-hiding her closed eyes.

She arched forward, her eyes snapped open to punctuate her flirtatious, knowing smile, and she pulled at her skirts. They fell away around her into a winding scarf, blue and black and sprinkled with dots of silver like stars, leaving only a simple black skirt to cover the dancer’s legs. Majestically, she swept the scarf through the air over her head, sweeping it in spirals around the stage as if she were spreading the sky with her hands— which of course, Eric realized, was exactly what she was doing.

The children in the front row admired her but seemed unsure what to make of her. Her dance was for the older members of the audience.

As she retreated, she pulled a dancer all in white from near Elarren and one all in yellow from near Gweron: the moon and sun. They performed a stately paired dance to which Eric paid substantially less attention.

Gweron and Elarren resumed the center stage, hand in hand, breaking up the sun and moon. They shared a long embrace, then stepped apart, and beneath their clasped hands swarmed younger dancers, students of ritual theater, Eric imagined, dressed in rags with their hair dyed brown, jumping and howling and pretending to fight.

Men, Eric realized. He glanced at Loren, who scratched at his neck in embarrassment.

Now Morgan came behind Elarren and Gweron, taking their hands in her own, separating them. She kissed Elarren and when the elven goddess stepped back from her, there was a second swarm, these in something very like normal elven garb, in as stately and tender a dance as teens were likely to manage, swirling gracefully to either side.

Morgan moved to the other side to kiss Gweron and from between them came a third group, their hair dyed off-black, wearing intentionally mournful faces painted white and blue, their movements strange and apparently symbolic, and howling mournfully. The last of these were moving in a unified line, carrying sticks which upheld a thick, multicolored rope with an ornate head that must have been meant as a dragon. The dragon circled the entire troupe three times to a flailing of gongs, screaming, then landed at the very front of the stage.

And with that, abruptly, the dance was over.


Julie McCord is a mythology and folklore enthusiast, collector of wayward religions, and author. She has been addicted to telling fantasy stories ever since winning an award for “The Princess and the Serpent” in the second grade. They’ve gotten longer… and darker… since then, but they’re still full of strong women and smart alecks. When she’s not writing, she sings, crochets, reads and watches a lot of fantasy and horror, and drinks copious amounts of sweet tea. She lives in Orange County, California with her husband, daughter, and two cats.

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Cinders Like Glass + Giveaway

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On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Cinders Like Glass
(Victorian Retellings #2)
By Clarissa Kae
Historical Romance, Fairy Tale
Paperback & ebook, 234 Pages
July 29, 2021 by Carpe Vitam Press

*

Grieving her father’s sudden death, Lady Ada Whitworth’s childhood stutter resurfaces. She seeks solace in her charcoal sketches secretly published in London’s Thames & Times newspaper. Her brother’s sharp tongue and quick temper shame Lady Ada into complete silence but not before she overhears his traitorous plot to kill the queen at the upcoming International Ball.

Mute and heartbroken, Lady Ada’s private pain is mistaken for arrogance, earning the ire of society. The Duke of Girard is tasked with sniffing out the elusive French spy called Tailor while an anonymous artist pokes fun at the duke’s failed pursuit, taunting him every step of the way. With the upcoming International Ball just weeks away, the Duke will stop at nothing to bring stability back to his beloved Britain-including finding the artist behind the sketches.

When Lady Ada’s accused brother disappears, she becomes the target of the Duke’s wrath, assuming her silence is from guilt, not grief. To loosen her tongue, the Duke demands Lady Ada be interrogated at his estate, a home hidden in the wild Welsh countryside. She sweeps the chimney, launders her clothes and helps the cook-she will do anything but speak to the Duke.

Lady Ada’s quiet service softens the Duke, his mind often turning to thoughts of her. But can he earn Lady Ada’s trust in time to save the queen?

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Excerpt:

She froze, unwilling to back down. This was the man who’d made her feel safe. And seen. She struggled to breathe. Grief pierced her—a completely absurd emotion. She’d danced with him only once.

He waited for a beat—she assumed for a reaction. He came closer, anger flowing from him. He knew. She shivered. Girard knew it was her last night. She could feel his disdain. Her heart sank.

He searched her face. Then her clothes. He opened his mouth as if deciding on his words. He stepped back and quietly said, “I have been tasked with finding every traitor to the crown.”

She forced herself to take a slow breath. She forced out a clipped, “And?”

The duke groaned. “Why is everyone so impertinent?”

At that, Ada retreated. Her tongue loosened. “I’d no idea I was everyone.”

His gaze snapped to hers. “I am not a man to be trifled with.”

Excerpted from Cinders Like Glass by Clarissa Kae, Copyright © 2021 by Clarissa Kae. Published by Carpe Vitam Press.


Other Books in the Series

A Dark Beauty
(Victorian Retellings #1)
By Clarissa Kae
Historical Fiction, Fairy Tale
Paperback, ebook & audiobook, 212 Pages
February 9, 2021 by Carpe Vitam Press

 

A Victorian Twist on Beauty And The Beast

Bold and brilliant, Georgiana has a gift for fixing machines—from clocks to carriages—while her father has a penchant for finding trouble. In an accidental fire, Georgiana and her father scar the once handsome face of Lord Pichon, cousin to the queen.

Rumors of Georgiana’s gift raise her family’s status. Her incomparable beauty captures the eye of many gentlemen and the wrath of Lord Pichon. Abandoned by his peers and alone in his cold castle, Lord Pichon is determined to enact revenge.

When Georgiana’s father makes a terrible mistake, she sacrifices herself to pay his debt—as a lowly maid in Lord Pichon’s castle.

Her wit and warmth begin to thaw Lord Pichon’s estate, making him question his version of the past. Will her kindness break the beastly lord or will he hold her family hostage forever?

(Affiliate links included.)
About the Author


Clarissa Kae is a preeminent voice whose professional career began as a freelance editor in 2007. She’s the former president of her local California Writers Club after spending several years as the Critique Director.

Since her first novel, she’s explored different writing genres and created a loyal group of fans who eagerly await her upcoming release. With numerous awards to her name, Clarissa continues to honor the role of storyteller.

Aside from the writing community, she and her daughters founded Kind Girls Make Strong Women to help undervalued nonprofit organizations—from reuniting children with families to giving Junior Olympic athletes their shot at success.

She lives in the agricultural belly of California with her family and farm of horses, chickens, dogs and kittens aplenty.


Tour Schedule



Tour Giveaway


Five winners will receive one of the author’s backlisted titles: Once And Future Wife, Pieces To Mend, Taming Christmas, Of Ink And Sea, or A Dark Beauty
(ebooks to international winners, print to US winners)

Ends October 6, 2021

Spotlight & Excerpt: Blink + Giveaway

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Book Title: Blink: MM Supernatural Suspense

Author: Morgan Brice

Publisher: Darkwind Press

Cover Artist: Lou Harper

Release Date: September 2, 2021

Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy M/M Romance, action/adventure, romantic suspense

Tropes: Second chance love, hurt/comfort, true soulmates, psychic, medium, witches, ghosts, haunted theater, Mafia, mobsters, ex-cop, ex-Interpol, resort town, starting over

Themes: Learning to trust, taking a chance, making a commitment, daring to dream, letting go of the past, being haunted by the past, established relationship, ex-cop/PI, former art fraud investigator, mobsters, medium with a ghostly lover, haunted theater, awesome and heroic food truck, mystery, cold case

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 65 000 words/228 pages

It is part of series but could be read as a stand alone. It does not end on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads 

 

Buy Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  

 

Ghosts always remember. Mobsters never forget.

 

Blurb 

Erik Mitchell helped Interpol bust cartels, oligarchs, and spoiled billionaires for art fraud. As an undercover cop, Ben Nolan helped bring down a Newark crime family. Now Erik and Ben have started over in Cape May, leaving their danger-filled jobs behind them, excited about a fresh start and their new relationship.

Plans to renovate a historic old theater stir up dangerous ghosts and revive interest in unsolved Mob hits. The curse of a murdered witch strikes a close friend, old movie props reveal clues to long-ago crimes, and a shakedown scheme sends Ben’s cousin running for cover. 

Time is running out to lift the curse. The Russian Mob wants revenge on Erik, and the Newark Mob is gunning for Ben. A grieving ghost seeks justice. Secrets, lies, and deception unravel in the blink of an eye. 

Erik and Ben were planning for happily ever after. But unless they can outwit witches, wraiths, and wise guys, they could go down in a hail of gunfire and a blast of dark magic—and see their plans go up in smoke. 

Blink is a suspenseful MM paranormal romance mystery-adventure filled with second chance love, hurt/comfort, true soulmates, awesome food trucks, dangerous secrets, restless ghosts, psychic visions, powerful witches, angry mobsters, and a very haunted theater.

 

 

Excerpt 

“Hi everyone. Are we going in?” A dark-haired woman in her early forties with olive skin and black hair sauntered up, dark eyes sparkling with curiosity. Alessia Mason always seemed calm and controlled, but now she clearly radiated excitement at the possibility of glimpsing the old theater.

Alessia owned the Spirit of the Sea gift shop and had married into one of the old Cape May families, but right now what mattered most was her role as the head of the local coven and the powerful magic she had inherited from her Sicilian mother.

“Right this way,” Jaxon said, brandishing the key. “The Arts Council officially owns the building, so we don’t even have to sneak in.”

He unlocked the door to the convenience store, which was a shell of its past self. All of the fixtures had been sold off, but the faded signage around the top of the walls remained, directing customers toward soft drinks, sundries, and restrooms.

They followed him inside, and Jaxon locked the door behind them. Then they headed toward the back, past the break room and offices to an unmarked door.

“The store was here for over twenty years, and most people never knew that the Regent Theater lay behind it,” Jaxon said. He gestured toward the area they had just navigated.

“Imagine coming through the big glass doors, past the ticket booth,” Jaxon said, pointing back the way they had come. “You’d enter a high-ceiling lobby with a bar, concession stand, and seating for patrons who came early to see and be seen. Then you’d move farther inside, and there would be double doors leading into the actual theater.”

Erik looked behind them, struggling to imagine the way it had once been. A grid of acoustic panels hid the original molded plaster ceiling several feet higher that he had seen in photographs. The plain walls and stained tile floor made it difficult to picture lush red carpet, velvet rope swags, cocktail servers, and a concession stand that not only had popcorn but according to the stories Jaxon shared on the drive over, also served foie gras.

Jaxon opened the door and reached inside to flip on a light. Erik hesitated to get a psychic read on the space ahead.

“Definitely haunted,” Alessia said, staring into the distance with a glazed look that told Erik her attention lay elsewhere.

His own touch magic worked differently. To get a strong reaction, Erik usually had to be in physical contact with an object. He had avoided touching anything since they had arrived, but even so, the theater itself gave off unmistakable vibes. Both he and Alessia had extra perception which included seeing ghosts, although neither was a full medium able to summon or speak with the dead.

“Bad things happened here.” Erik found himself speaking before he realized it. “Dark magic. Death. Cursed.”

 

 

About the Author

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.

Series include Witchbane, Badlands, Treasure Trail, Kings of the Mountain and Fox Hollow. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

 

Author Links

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