Spotlight & Excerpt: Rarely Pure and Never Simple + Giveaway

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Book Title:  Rarely Pure and Never Simple

Author: Angel Martinez

Publisher: Mischief Corner Books

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Release Date: June 28, 2022

Genres: Science Fiction, M/M Romance

Tropes:  Enhanced Humans, Slow Burn Romance, Annoyances to Lovers

Themes: Minority oppression/exploitation, law vs. justice

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length:  67 000 words

It is the first book in a new series and does not end on a cliffhanger.

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Variant children are vanishing at an alarming rate. It will take a uniquely mismatched pair of trackers to untangle a web of conspiracy and misdirection to find them.

Blurb 

In his isolated cabin, variant Damien Hazelwood avoids human contact as much as possible to prevent attacks of blind berserker panic. But his rare talent as a locator makes him the go-to contractor for tricky missing person’s cases and when agents bring him a troubling contract involving missing variant children, he finds it impossible to refuse. Licensed tracker Blaze Emerson can’t help being irritated when he’s expected to follow the strange, twitchy locator’s lead on his latest case. He works alone, he’s damn good, and as a variant sparker, he has both the fire and the firepower to take on anything out there. Though he has to admit there’s something intriguing about a man who can find people with his brain. ​ With vastly different temperaments and backgrounds, Damien and Blaze need to negotiate quickly how to work together if they’re going to crack this case. Add in the sudden appearance of Blaze’s outlaw ex, the perils of tracking in the wilds, and a maddening lack of discernible motive or method, and they soon find themselves in as much danger as the kids they’re trying to rescue. Variant Configurations takes place in a future Earth where humanity is reclaiming its spot in a gradually healing world. This book contains mentions of past abuse, action-adventure style mayhem, and the beginning sparks of a slow burn, series-spanning relationship.

Excerpt

The ice around the weed bed glowed blue as first morning rays stretched tentative fingers across the lake. Even the sun was smart enough not to rush out of bed on a cold-as-a-penguin’s-pecker Vermont morning. Damien, however, apparently suffered from some intellectual deficiency since he was out on the lake already with his ice chisel, chipping away at a likely spot for a fishing hole.
His breath ghosted in front of him, every gulp of air biting into his lungs. It wasn’t that he liked the cold or enjoyed the self-sufficient, mountain-man lifestyle. He hated it. His hands always hurt. He was always hungry. It took him forever to warm his lonely bed at night no matter how many pairs of socks he put on, the frame rattling with his shaking for an hour or more.
Chip-chip-chip. The ice chisel on six-inch lake ice echoed back to him off his cabin in a strange, one-sided conversation.
The move wasn’t for his health or even part of a dream of a better life. He had left Raleigh to escape. Yes, he could have taken it a step farther and vanished. Away from the coasts, out in the abandoned wilds to the west, he might have found somewhere to hole up. Much of the land surrounding the Mississippi was still poisoned, but farther out toward Kansas, the remains of chemical skirmishes diminished.
The life of a wilding was dangerous for a lone person, though, and the constant need to be on high alert against scavengers who roamed the wastelands would have worn him down to nothing within a few months. Here, he was close enough to civilization for relative safety, far enough away for some peace. He’d given a promise for a promise, after all—his promise to Dr. Parma that he would still take the jobs he was uniquely suited to and her promise that he would be a last resort.
Mostly, the arrangement worked.
Up here, they couldn’t hound him so easily with every minute need. Up here, anyone seeking him out had to go to considerable trouble to reach him. They knew where he was, of course. The inconvenient locale enforced the mandate that they think long and hard before paying a call, and now they only showed up when they had exhausted other options.
So he pretended not to hear the crunch of the snow-crawler’s treads as it trundled up the snow-crusted hill accompanied by the whisper-hum of its solar battery engine. Then he deluded himself a few more minutes with the fantasy of late-season sport fishermen. The voices, when they reached him, shattered his careful illusion.
Chip-chip-chip. If I ignore them this time, will they give up and go away? Probably not. Please go away.
“That’s him? He’s kinda puny,” an unfamiliar voice rasped.
They hadn’t sent Cummings? What idiot was in charge now? They’d sent some stranger as the messenger, someone who didn’t understand him?
“Variants come in all the usual shapes and sizes, Wirth.”
There was Cummings. Thank God for small favors.
“But Sledge—”
“Is just one guy,” Cummings snapped, obviously losing patience with what had to be a rookie.
Footsteps crunched through the snow toward him. Damien tried to block them out, but his muscles tensed. The terrible sensation of having someone walking up behind him crawled up his back on millipede legs.
Chip-chip-chip.
“Wirth, hold up! You don’t want—”
Something touched Damien’s elbow. The millipede crawling up his spine leaped into his brain and exploded in a thousand spiny pieces. He whirled, snarling, and swept the ice chisel at whatever had put a hand on him without permission.
“Holy fuck!” A dark-haired man leaped back from the makeshift halberd. He fell on his ass and scrabbled backward on the ice, his eyes cow-patty huge in shock.
“I tried to warn you,” Cummings said calmly from the bank. A squared-off man with salt-and-pepper hair, he was the perfect bland-faced federal agent. He stood with his hands in his trench-coat pockets, stance relaxed and nonthreatening. There was a reason they usually sent him alone instead of sending a team or someone from the Guild, as they’d done once or twice. Cummings didn’t judge. Cummings understood Damien’s boundaries. “Maybe you’ll learn to listen now.”
“He tried to fucking kill me!” The intrusive man, presumably Wirth, still scrambled backward as he failed to get his feet under him.
“No. You invaded his space without warning. You don’t do that. I might kill you if you don’t stop acting like a jackass,” Cummings grated out, shaking his head. Then he gave a nod to Damien and said more evenly, “Hazelwood. Good to see you.”

About the Author  

Angel Martinez is the pen name of a writer of several genres who writes both kinds of queer fiction – Science Fiction and Fantasy. (What? There are others?) Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware, (and full time inside the author’s head) Angel has one husband, one son, at least one cat at any given time, a changing variety of other furred and scaled companions, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.

Author Links

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Giveaway 

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Audio Spotlight & Dream Cast: Charlotte and the Twelve + Excerpt

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Title: Charlotte and the Twelve

Author: Andi Cumbo-Floyd

Narrator: Aven Shore

Length: 5 hours and 41 minutes

Series: Steele Secrets, Book 2

Released: April 26, 2022

Producer: Audiobook Empire

Publisher: Andilit

Genre: Paranormal; Young Adult

It’s not every day a ghost curls up in your lap …

But when little Henrietta decides I’m trustworthy and introduces me to her teacher, Charlotte, I find myself wrapped up in the story of their murders.

Before long, my friends and I are saving a building, solving a murder, and telling the stories that a lot of people in our small town would rather be left untold.

Our best hope for ourselves and for Henrietta and Charlotte is that the truth really will set us free.



 

Cast of Charlotte And The Twelve: The Film

I always enjoy imagining the cast for the books I write, but this book is tricky because 12 of the cast members would need to be young children. And since I don’t yet know who our youngest superstars will be, I’ll just say this – these kids need to be smart, cute, and sassy enough to upstage the adults. I’m thinking Rudy from The Cosby Show but with the panache of the Jaden Smith and the wiles of Lonnie Chavis.

The rest of the cast is easier to choose:

  • Mary Steele – Sophia Lillis – fierce, a little odd, and already practiced at performing supernatural abilities.
  • Charlotte Braxton – Lovie Simone Oppong – strong, poised, charismatic without being flamboyant.
  • Shamila – Dawnn Lewis – a wise, mature woman who is confident and informed and who can lead without aggression.
  • Ms. Steele – Laura Linney – smart, savvy, but not needing to be the center of the action
  • Marcie – Marsai Martin – soft-spoken and loyal, dependable, resourceful
  • Javier – Marcel Ruiz – sweet, gentle, fierce but soft, and very wise for his age
  • Nicole – Sienna Agudong – unassuming and very All-American but not in a banal way.
  • Mr. Meade – Matt Frewer – quirky, super smart, very kind, a little reserved
  • Isaiah – Omar Epps – put-together, savvy, kind but no-nonsense, incredibly devoted.
  • Stephen Douglas – Jeremy Renner – able to be the hero but doesn’t need to have that role.

All in all, my goal would be to have this cast work as a true ensemble since those are my favorite kinds of films. Everyone’s strengths would come out, and they would balance out each other’s weaknesses.

Additionally, since we are working with two different time periods for the cast, we’d need actors who could manage the historical work to play Charlotte and her students but also the savvy to begin to pick up on modern conventions as the interactions with the 21st century continued.

Finally, my hope is that the film would be both humorous and honest and, of course, have great costumes. Plus, I definitely retain rights to be on set at all times because these actors need to become my besties, of course. 😉


Andi Cumbo-Floyd lives in the Southwestern Mountains of Virginia with her young son, an old dog, and a puppy who likes to eat furniture. When she’s not writing she likes to cross-stitch, binge magical shows, and garden.

Aven Shore is an audiobook narrator living in her off-grid tiny house in rural Eastern Canada, surrounded by forest and chicken friends, and honeybees. She loves books so much she’s listening to one almost every minute she’s not narrating one (she narrates romance as Avie Paige). She narrates live on Discord with other romance narrators on the Haven server. She is longing to travel and hike in mountains again, and dreaming of sleep in the lava fields of Iceland under Northern lights again, her favorite place in the world. Her past lives include being a carpenter, firefighter, tax accountant, and competitive snowboarder.

At Audiobook Empire, audio reigns supreme, narrators are hailed as heroes, and headphones are worn with pride.

Marrying pomp and circumstance with quality you can count on, Audiobook Empire is a full-service production house that produces and promotes audiobooks with gusto.

Give your audiobook the imperial treatment by producing it with Audiobook Empire.

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Spotlight: A Glimpse of Music + Giveaway

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A Glimpse of Music

Sunlight and Shadows Book 3

by Sydney Winward

Genre: Historical Fantasy Romance

 

If fate gives you a third chance, would you take it?

Joel Harrington has been in love with the same woman for as long as he could remember. But he had to watch her court his best friend, and then marry his king. Now that she’s once more unattached, he refuses to let her slip through his fingers for a third time.

Darkness torments Nyana’s memories, and even after her cruel husband is killed, he still haunts her from the grave. When her past refuses to leave her alone, it puts not only her, but her daughters in danger. She has no choice but to lean on the man she has called a friend for the past eight years, a friend whose charms she tries hard to resist.

But along with the growing threat to her family, she keeps an even more dangerous secret—a secret that could change her life forever.

This book is part of the Sunlight and Shadows series, and each can be read as a standalone with their own happily ever after.

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A Taste of Shadows

Sunlight and Shadows Book 2

 

The faintest sound of her voice can kill.

Lyyli Ives has lived her entire life in silence. Those who have heard her voice never live to tell the tale. When she accidentally nearly kills her sister, she is sent away to the only person who can help her—the Archmage at Darkest Star Arcane.

Lord Killian Graves’ life is falling apart. His mother is cursed into a deadly enchantment. His title and school are threatened to be stripped from him. But when a mysterious woman who doesn’t speak pleads for his help, he finds he cannot resist the allure of her beauty nor the mystery of her predicament.

However, a great evil is after the power she wields, threatening not only her life but the lives of everyone they love. Killian must save her from her fate. Or die trying.

This book is part of the Sunlight and Shadows series, and each can be read as a standalone with their own happily ever after.

Add to Goodreads

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A Breath of Sunlight

Sunlight and Shadows Book 1

 

They ordered her to kill him. She couldn’t help but save his life. And now she must keep it a secret or risk banishment. Or worse, death.

No one knew he was alive…

Calle Everdon has nothing left to live for. His brother killed his sweetheart, took over the Sun Fae kingdom, and hid him in the Pits to slave away for the rest of his years. But when a valkyrie attack gives him an opportunity to escape, he takes it.

Skaja has been taught that men are the enemy. They all must die in the name of freedom and justice. But when she comes across a fae man who shares an unexpected blood bond with her, she is unable to kill him, and instead breaks all the rules to save his life.

Torn between her growing feelings for the fae prince and her fealty as a valkyrie, she must make the hardest choice. Love? Or duty?

Hunted by both valkyries and his brother, can they take back his kingdom? Or will their forbidden love get him killed?

This book is part of the Sunlight and Shadows series, and each can be read as a standalone with their own happily ever after.

Add to Goodreads

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Sydney Winward is a fantasy and paranormal romance author who dabbles in the occasional historical fiction. She loves building complex worlds filled with magic, strong characters, and emotional stories that can make you laugh and cry.

Sydney is the author of The Bloodborn Series and the Sunlight and Shadows Series. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, thinking about stories, or going on adventures with her children. She lives in Utah with her husband and three amazing kids.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads


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