Audio Spotlight & Excerpt: Burglary At Barnard, by Lynn Morrison

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Title: Burglary At Barnard

Author: Lynn Morrison

Narrator: Pearl Hewitt

Length: 8 hours 32 minutes

Series: Oxford Key Mysteries, Book 2

Released: Nov. 16, 2021

Publisher: Marketing Chair Press

Genre: Cozy Mystery

A secret chamber. A dead body. And one ghost who won’t tell the truth!

When Nat agrees to meet a friend in the archives of historic Barnard College after hours, she doesn’t expect to find a hidden chamber or stumble across another dead body.

The Master’s assistant has been murdered, and although Nat figures out who is responsible, finding the evidence is a challenge. Especially when the one ghost who witnessed the crime refuses to say what happened.

The closer Nat comes to finding the proof she needs, the more tempers flare and threats fly. The situation becomes a race against time, and just when she thinks she’s won, Nat realizes the murderer is willing to do whatever it takes to escape justice, including getting Nat out of the way.

Permanently.

Nat’s miscalculation will cost someone their life, but whose?

If you like cozy mysteries where ghosts walk the halls, paintings come to life, wyverns play around, and magic seems within reach, the Oxford Key Mysteries are sure to delight.

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Lynn Morrison lives in Oxford, England along with her husband, two daughters and two cats. Born and raised in Mississippi, her wanderlust attitude has led her to live in California, Italy, France, and the Netherlands, in addition to the UK. It’s no surprise then that she loves to travel, with a never-ending wish list of destinations to visit.

She is as passionate about reading as she is writing, and can almost always be found with a book in hand. You can find out more about her on her website LynnMorrisonWriter.com.

If you want to chat with her directly, join her Facebook group – Lynn Morrison’s Not a Book Club – where she happily talks about books, life and anything else that crosses her mind.

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Narrator Bio

Originally from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in Northeast England, audiobook narrator Pearl Hewitt currently lives with her husband and two children in Houston, Texas. Over the years she has worked as a customer service rep, a teaching assistant, and a teacher, but deep down there was always a performer wanting to get out. In 2007 her twelve-year-old son told her that he believed she was so good at reading stories out loud that she should do that as a job. That was her defining, eureka moment, and she’s never looked back. Pearl immersed herself in training and pursued a career in general voice acting but in 2012 she decided to focus her attention to narrating audiobooks in a wide range of genres. It was then that her professional career blossomed. She regularly works directly with indie authors but also narrates for a number of major publishers and has gained lots of recognition in the process including IAAIS awards, a Voice Arts Award nomination and Audiofile Magazine reviews. Pearl’s is comfortable narrating both fiction and non-fiction titles and has been very successful reading British Regency romance, cozy murder mysteries, fantasy/science fiction, children’s literature, the classics, history, biographies and more.

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Spotlight & Excerpt – Arigale: Spite in the Spirit + Giveaway

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Arigale: Spite in the Spirit

by Denise O. Eaton

Genre: Dark Epic Fantasy

 

Judith and Chit are called to the lonely tower outside their city with little explanation. The one who summoned them is an old Elven wizard named Maleth, who will send them on a quest to lower their floating city of Arigale to where it once resided. Maleth is intrigued by Judith’s strange form of necromantic magic, yet he is also certain of the anxious young man training to be a spearman and scholar.

Judith, a bubbly yet mysterious young woman, is eager to accept. Chit remains withdrawn and cautious, a remnant of being raised by the Order that presides over their land. Soon, both discover their meeting with the wizard carried dire consequences. Can they accomplish what has been asked of them and save Arigale by exploring the land below, no matter the lengths they must go to?

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Judith let go of Jacob’s power and hit the ground hard. She grunted as she raised herself to her hands and knees and placed a hand on Chit’s back. He was breathing hard through his nostrils as they flared, and he gripped the sword he held. The echoes of more footfalls from the hall hit her ears and she grabbed Chit around the waist from behind. Blood soaked into her robes from how wet his own were.
Chit struggled as he heard them approach, but she held tight as her wings sprouted again, and they were both carried into the sky and over the wall of the church. He screamed as he fought against her, “Let me go!”
“No! I’m not letting you get yourself killed like that! Besides, Chinea begged you to leave! Do you really not care about how she wanted to help you?”
Her words struck him mute, and he hung there limp in her arms as she endeavored to carry them both as far as she could away from the church.
Then, as they crossed the barrier that led outside, she peered over at her house from far above and sighed, “Nothing worth keeping from my place anyways. Guess I’m really an outcast now, huh? We can’t head back.” Her words came with weight, but she tried to chuckle to ease up on things. No matter what she said over their flight, Chit remained limp.
Her strength began to give way over the forest at the Edgelands, and she carefully navigated the trees to descend in the thick of it. The sounds and smells here were familiar to her, but also pulled at distant memories. Enough that the darkness of the trees unnerved her. Life sprang back into her staff with her sister’s green glow. The light was helpful to check on Chit for wounds.
“I can’t see much with this heavy robe,” she muttered to him as she leaned him against a tree trunk. “I’m just going to remove the top layer, ok?” She waited a moment, but he didn’t even blink at her. As the long robe that swallowed him was lifted up over his head, she could see the wound to his shoulder more clearly. It was already crusted into his tunic, which she wasn’t even surprised was also black as night, as were his pants. Her hands traced him along his sides checking for broken bones or any sign of a pained reaction, until she hit his legs and he threw his head back into the bark with a sharp hiss.
“Dammit!” He hollered and drew his legs back closer to him.
“Sorry! Sorry!” Judith winced and stretched her legs out in front of her. When Chit saw the arrow still sticking out of her leg, he hunkered down and turned his head away. Judith pressed her lips into a firm line and gripped the shaft. The injury was only as deep as the head. She took a breath and ripped it out with a muffled scream into her sleeve that made him shrink even more.
“I-I… should have b-been looking out for you b-better.”
“You weren’t even looking out for yourself that well. I get it.” Her voice trailed off into the sounds of nature that surrounded them. Crickets, owls, and frogs were abundant, far more so than anyone in the city limits ever heard unless they worked the land in the daylight. With her sister’s help, she could even hear a stream not too far away from them under the chirping of insects.
“Still, I-I…” He folded in on himself as his tail wrapped around him and covered up to his waist.
“It’s alright. There’s water near. I can try and support you, but I’m limping myself. First, we should try and clean these wounds out.” She kept her voice soft as she hoisted his arm onto her shoulder. “Like you helped me before, ok?”
“This is more than th-that,” he whispered, and she patted his back. Then, before they could move an inch, new noises caught her off guard. The grass crumpled, a flicker of a small flame, and someone’s breath that wasn’t their own filled the night.


Denise O. Eaton grew up in a small town in southern Missouri, and from a young age, she chose fantasy literature as a means to broaden her horizons within her rural community. Following this passion and wishing to give back to others, she went on to earn a degree in Creative Writing from Webster University in December 2014. The Arigale series is her first foray into publishing, and she has been working on it since 2019. When she isn’t writing she enjoys meeting with her Dungeons and Dragons group, watching fantasy and anime shows, practicing tarot, or planning her next cosplay costume.

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: The Magi Menagerie + Giveaway

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The Magi Menagerie
by Kale Lawrence
(The Magi Menagerie, #1)
Publication date: September 7th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, New Adult, Young Adult

Some stars aren’t meant to be followed.

For seventeen years, Ezra Newport and his parents were habitual immigrants, traveling from their Ottoman Empire home across 20th century Europe. As the Newports migrate to Belfast, Ireland, Ezra wants nothing more to settle into a consistent life and lay the foundation of his architectural dreams. But after a strange, mechanical bounty hunter murders his mother and prompts the disappearance of his father, Ezra discovers that his parents had actually been on the run. Now, their enemies are targeting him, and they won’t stop until he is dead.

In a moment of desperation, Ezra’s fate collides with the Third Order of the Magi, a secret society dedicated to using their supernatural powers to protect their communities. With increasing violence around the world, the Magi are fairly certain they know who’s behind the attacks on Ezra and his family since the same group could also be threatening their own existence.

Both Ezra and the Magi’s survival hinges on knowledge only Ezra’s father has and the key to saving them could be buried within history itself. In a race across continents and time, both Ezra and the Magi must secure an ancient Babylonian artifact before hell is unleashed on the world. And, against all odds, Ezra must decide where his allegiances truly lie, despite what is written in the stars.

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EXCERPT:

Ezra

A blinding white light illuminated the compartment then faded just before a concussive shockwave sent the scene around them into oblivion. Reeling in confusion, Ezra found himself lying prostrate in a barely conceivable jumble of his former surroundings. Splintering glass shattered around him. A warm stream of a substance—oil? Blood? —trickled down his forehead and along the corner of his mouth. Ezra wiped it away with the sleeve of his coat, cringing at the crimson trail left behind. His equilibrium—as much as he tried to control it—spiralled in a vicious vortex, rendering it nearly impossible to get his bearings.

Anne?” he croaked in Turkish. His voice, hardly louder than a whisper, was drowned out by the infernal ringing in his ears.

Reaching for the compartment door handle to pull himself to his feet, Ezra recoiled when he noticed the door had been smeared with cruel red streaks. Smoke billowed throughout the walkway, choking him as he navigated on hands and knees through the devastation.

Anne?” he called again.

“Ezra!”

His mother was within arm’s reach, but the look in her eyes seemed dangerously far.

Ezra crawled to her side where she lay gasping for air. His stomach contorted into knots at the sight of a dark, liquid halo surrounding her headscarf.

“Let’s get you out of here,” Ezra insisted, attempting to prop her up into a seated position. He frantically looked around for any sign of his father. “We need to find Baba!”

“Shhh,” she insisted, shakily reaching up to her son’s face. “Don’t worry about us. Flee. Get as far away from here as you possibly can.”

“What are you saying?” Ezra said, wondering if somehow his brain had lost all ability to comprehend language.

“Your baba and I knew this day would come,” she whispered, tears swimming in her eyes. “They have found us. They have found you.”

“Who? Who has found—” Ezra began but was silenced when her complexion faded to a ghastly white. He hesitantly followed her gaze over his shoulder.

Distorted by smoke, an inky black shadow materialised at the end of the walkway. The figure plodded toward them with an uneven gait, accompanied by ominous, mechanical whirring. But when the being finally stopped, and the smoke cleared just enough to expose his anamorphic features, Ezra could not bring himself to move.

“By the Order of Babylon, you are hereby commanded to follow and obey,” his deep voice warbled through some type of amplification apparatus. His breath’s condensation—or rather, steam—fumed from the steel grates around where his mouth should have been.

Ezra’s own breath faltered as the orange light from nearby flames illuminated the figure’s head. Slits in his mask revealed rugged skin and dark shadows beneath an organic eye, but the other portion consisted entirely of an intricate web of gears and piping. While at one time, the figure might have been an ordinary person, whoever now stood before him was nothing close to being human.

“We shall not!” his mother barked defensively, feigning a physical strength Ezra knew she lacked. “We will never yield.”

“Hmm,” the shadow mused. “So be it, Magus.” A snap of his fingers sent ruby sparks into the haze and, upon deteriorating, revealed a massive cobra. Its thick body slithered across the wreckage and advanced straight for Ezra.

“Ezra, go!” cried his mother as a deluge of glass fragments rained upon them.

Crab-walking backward, Ezra manoeuvred as fast as he could away from the serpent, but it navigated the debris as if nothing stood in its way. The reptile snapped its jaws centimetres from his leather shoe, a fierce wrath in its eyes.

“Leave him alone, devil!” yelled Leyla, summoning what strength remained to kick at the snake with her boot.

Almost in slow motion, the cobra turned its fiery eyes toward his mother and bared its fangs as if overjoyed to set a course for its new target.

“No!” Ezra screamed in terror. “No, no, no!”

The cobra paid no attention to his pleas. It struck in one sickening flash, almost too fast for the eye to comprehend. As it withdrew, Ezra choked back arduous smoke—and a wave of tears—as his mother reflexively reached for her neck.

Narrowing its eyes as if perversely satisfied by the work of its venom now coursing through her veins, the cobra turned back to Ezra.

Trembling, Ezra tried to move but could not persuade his petrified limbs to cooperate.

“Go, my love!” Leyla rasped. “Go!”

Using his elbows to help pull him down the corridor, he furiously attempted escape. If the half-man, half-machine could grin or show any form of expression, Ezra imagined he was elated beyond measure at the persistence of his pet. The mysterious being advanced, his boots ravishing the ashy remains of pencil-sketched architecture.

“Where is your father, boy?” demanded the figure. “Tell me!”

Ezra could barely breathe as the figure hovered above him. A true vision of the Grim Reaper. The last thing Ezra saw before his vision faded was the cruel twinkle behind the mask of the stranger.

 

Author Bio:

Since the early age of 6, Kale Lawrence knew she either wanted to be an astronaut or an author. Obviously, the astronaut gig didn’t work out, so instead, Kale turned to fantastic fictional worlds. When Kale is not writing creatively, she works as a Marketing Manager at a pet product company, and pretends she’s an Olympic swimmer at the gym. She has also served as a board member for the South Dakota Writes organization.

In addition to books, Kale has lent her writing prowess to television, and her writing has been featured on nationwide PBS television programming, NBC newscasts, ABC newscasts, and the Travel Channel.

Kale currently lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with her feisty tortoiseshell calico cat, Emma Bug and sassy Siamese, Seattle Bean.

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