Book Blitz & Excerpt – S.H.R.E.D: Gorgon Rising + Giveaway

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S.H.R.E.D: Gorgon Rising
by Stu Jones
(Espionage and Defense, Super Humanoids for Reconnaissance)
Publication date: May 10th 2022
Genres: Action, Adventure, New Adult

THE MOST POWERFUL WEAPON KNOWN TO MANKIND ISN’T A MAN.

High above earth in a low orbit facility, an experimental clean energy project known as Erebos—which taps into the vacuum structure of space—destabilizes and is jettisoned into the planet’s atmosphere.

Far below, unaware of the danger rocketing toward her, nineteen-year-old Sasha Kino goes night surfing to clear her head after a fight with her father. When Erebos crashes into the ocean the device fuses her DNA with that of an orca and Sasha is altered beyond recognition. She is stronger, can hold her breath longer, and can swim deeper and faster than any creature on the planet—but her newfound abilities may come at the cost of her humanity.

Captain Alric Jager, head of the U.S. Navy’s Special Projects Division, is sent to clean up the Erebos situation. But when Jager learns of what the device did to Sasha he decides to steal them both. Driven by a dark and twisted legacy, Jager is determined to create the ultimate super soldier – no matter the cost.

Torn between the land and the sea, and ruthlessly hunted by Jager, Sasha must rediscover who she is and for what she is willing to fight.

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EXCERPT:

With one last yank, Sasha tore the restraint collar, popping and fizzing in a shower of sparks from around her neck. In a single stride, she vaulted forward. Her body crashed through the dark glass of the observation room, slamming one of the two men inside against the far wall. In a bumbling fit of terror, the other fell to the floor, scrambled to all fours, then ran screaming for the hallway. As he did, he slapped a large red button on the wall labeled containment breach.

The screaming high-pitched wail of an emergency beacon filled the air, the walls around Sasha flickering with intermittent flashes of red. Instinct, strong and powerful, told her to run, but her higher brain held her fast: what they’d done here was illegal, and she needed evidence. She scanned the various consoles. There, a flash drive. No time to waste. Jager’s men must be on their way. Any data she could grab was no good if she couldn’t get it off the ship.

Snatching the data stick from the console and looping the lanyard around her neck, Sasha gave one last look to the unconscious man slumped against the floor and turned for the door. She stepped into the strobe-lit flash of the corridor and hovered there, her heart beating fierce in her breast.

On either side of the corridor, two pairs of Strykers squared up, the dark brown tones of their flesh offset by midnight black BDUs. They tensed, the banded muscles of their arms taut. No one moved.

“I don’t want to fight,” Sasha said over the wail of the alarm, her heart still thrumming. “But I’m not staying locked up here anymore.”

“You don’t have a choice.” The one named Alvarez said through clenched teeth. “Get back in, or we’ll put you back in.”

Sasha knew she should be afraid of these men, but then she remembered about how easily, accidentally even, she’d killed the whalers. How moments ago, she’d torn a titanium collar from her neck and crashed through a seemingly impenetrable two-inch-thick layered sheet of armored glass.

Sasha steeled herself as the four Strykers advanced on her from either side, their fists raised. “I don’t want to hurt you,” she said.

The Strykers stopped, exchanging amused glances. One of them closest to her, a man with a cropped mohawk, let out a chuckle. “We’re not the ones who are about to get hurt, darlin’.”

Sasha’s skin flushed hot. Her eyes narrowed to slits as she flexed her clawed fingers. “That’s what you think.”


 

Author Bio:

SWAT Sniper. Adventurer. Multi-Award-Winning Author of Epic Genre-Bending Thrillers.

A veteran law enforcement officer, Stu has served in patrol, narcotics, criminal investigations, as an instructor of firearms and police defensive tactics and as a team leader of a multi-jurisdictional SWAT team. He is trained and qualified as a law enforcement SWAT sniper, as well as in hostage rescue and high-risk entry tactics. Recently, Stu served for three years with a U.S. Marshal’s Regional Fugitive Task Force – hunting the worst of the worst.

He is the author of multiple sci-fi/action/thriller novels, including the multi-award-winning It Takes Death To Reach A Star duology, written with co-author Gareth Worthington(Children of the Fifth Sun).

Known for his character-driven stories and blistering action sequences, Stu strives to create thought-provoking reading experiences that challenge the status quo. When he’s not chasing bad guys or writing epic stories, he can be found planning his next adventure to some remote or exotic place.

Stu is represented by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo-Helin-Fountain literary.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Youtube


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Spotlight & Author Interview: Shadows Over Milan + Excerpt

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Title – Shadows over Milan, book five of the Night Flyer Series
Author’s name – Edale Lane
Genre – Historical fantasy action mystery/lesbian romance
Cover Artist Enggar Adirasa
Release Date November 2, 2021
page count 260 PDF/print version (246 e-book page count)
Content Warnings fighting violence, ff kissing with assumption of off-scene sex, brief scene where a character recalls an act of animal cruelty

What happens when heroes fall?

Murder strikes Milan, threatening the city’s future under an ominous shadow of war. Was it the Spanish, the Germans, the Milanese, or were darker forces at play? The city is thrust into a frenzy only the Night Flyer can quell, but can she halt the wheels of war?

Maddie’s greatest fears are realized when the Night Flyer suffers a serious injury that leaves her just short of dead. Florentina suffers more than physical pain as she grapples with a crisis of faith. Will she be forced to choose between continuing as the Night Flyer and staying with the woman she loves?

The final installment of the Night Flyer Series is riddled with mystery, political intrigue, danger, and heart-felt moments as the various storylines from throughout the saga come together in an exciting conclusion you don’t want to miss!

Amazon / GoodreadsPublisher Past and Prologue Press


Excerpt:
That night Florentina stood on Madelena’s balcony in her nightgown and robe, gazing up at the stars. The rain had passed, leaving a fresh scent in the air. As she contemplated a myriad of subjects, she felt Maddie’s arms wrap around her from behind, and was comforted by her nearness.
“What are you doing out here?” Maddie asked as she pressed her body to Florentina’s back.
Fiore exhaled in blissful satisfaction, bringing her hands to cover Maddie’s at her waist. “Contemplating the mysteries of the Universe.”
Florentina caught Maddie’s chuckle as she squeezed her tight. “Of course you are,” she cooed with delight. “And what enigma have you discerned?”
Florentina sighed and turned in Maddie’s arms to face her. “That I have limitations,” she uttered in dismay, “and I would rather I did not.”
Over a year ago when Shadow Guild assassins in the employ of a chaos lord threw bombs through the church windows onto the very row she, Maddie, and the children occupied, her Night Flyer reflexes got them safely out of harm’s way. She still bore a few light scars from the glass and large splinters that were blasted into her back. But today….
“I would say that is a drawback common to all humans,” Madelena responded.
“I was so terrified, Maddie,” Fiore admitted. “I heard the thunderous hooves, then saw, and I ran. I tried to get to her, but I realized I wouldn’t make it. I knew the horses were faster and I could not save Betta. It felt like a sword slicing me from throat to gut,” she bemoaned.
“Sweetling, I heard, saw, and experienced the same panic, the same hopeless fear,” Maddie said. She kissed Florentina’s lips tenderly, keeping her in a tight embrace. “You were swifter than I was.”
“But I wasn’t fast enough,” she lamented. “It makes me feel like, if I can’t protect the ones I love, then what good am I?”
“Come to bed with me now, Fiore,” Maddie instructed, and she led her by the hand.
They snuggled in Maddie’s oversized bed, complete with pastel satin sheets and an array of goose-down pillows. Despite the lover nestled on her shoulder and being drowned in luxurious comfort, Florentina was troubled.
Maddie placed a kiss to her cheek and slid fingers across the smooth fabric of her gown, tantalizing the flesh beneath.
“We weren’t alone,” she explained as she lay facing Florentina propped on pillows. “Betta and Matteo would not have been so far ahead of us, and you would have had time to reach them. Benetto was closest; thank God he was able to protect her.”
Florentina locked eyes with Maddie, a bewildered expression on her face. “I kissed him; I was so grateful and relieved that I kissed him.” She breathed in and out and shook her head. “I am so conflicted now.”
Maddie pushed loose brunette hair behind Fiore’s ear and kissed her tenderly. “I can only imagine.”
“It was one thing to forgive him, to not think about him at all, to be indifferent to the man,” she continued. Florentina sensed the churning of too many raw emotions. “He killed my father, and yes, he is working to better himself and he has been grandfatherly with the children, but now I have all this thankfulness and appreciation for him. It just doesn’t feel right.”
“To be honest,” Maddie said, stroking Florentina’s cheek. “I am having some of the same mixed emotions, though not with the intensity of yours. People can change. They usually don’t, but it is possible, and I believe he has.”
Florentina nodded. “Would it be a betrayal of my papa if I were to develop any measure of affection for the man who murdered him? Forgiving and forgetting is one thing, but I see him all the time now; he is part of the family. I just don’t know how I should feel.”
Madelena kissed her again and asserted, “What you need to settle in your mind and heart is the answer to one question: is the Benetto who protected Betta the same man who killed your papa two years ago?”
“That is indeed what I must determine,” Fiore agreed. “Oh, Maddie, if he had not been there… I couldn’t…” Tears streamed from her eyes in a most unfamiliar way.
“You can do amazing things, mi amore; but no one can do everything or save everyone. Betta is safe, and you did everything humanly possible. Speaking of which, you haven’t said what happened when you and Antonio caught up with the coach.”
“Oh.” The tears dried up. Florentina propped herself on an elbow and turned her body toward Madelena. “We discovered Marquis Jaquet de Lozere’s dead body. He had been stabbed.”
Concern arrested Maddie’s features. “That is indeed an unfortunate turn of events.” They gazed at each other for a long moment. “I suppose the Night Flyer will wish to investigate.”
“You are quite correct. But there is nothing I can do about it tonight.”
Another pause hung in the air, then Maddie spoke. “Let me hold you. It has been a dark day and much weighs on your mind. It is my turn to be strong for you.”
Fiore caught her lips, kissing them with life-affirming fervor. When she released them, she breathed, “I love you so much. You always know exactly what I need and are happy to give it to me.”
“You are my life, my very breath,” Maddie uttered in a husky tone. “Now, come to me.”
Maddie pulled her in and Florentina snuggled close with her head resting on one full breast and a hand cupping the other in the sweetest embrace she had or would ever know, and prayed for sleep to capture them both.


Author Interview:

1. What inspired you to write this book? OR Tell us a little about how this story first came to be. Did it start with an image, a voice, a concept, a dilemma or something else?

The Night Flyer Series that this book concludes, began as a concept. I wanted to write something unique, so I set out to discover what time periods and locales are under-represented in historical romance novels. I also wanted to create a sort of superhero for the era. When I noticed not many recent books set in Renaissance Italy, my mind rushed to Leonardo da Vinci, one of my all-time favorite people. What if my leading woman had been a student of his and proceeded with knowledge of his many inventions? And what if an unscrupulous arms merchant killed her father leaving her to carry out the Italian Vendetta? She could invent a flying glider that would shock and awe her enemies. I then began to formulate my primary characters and the plot that would lead them through the trilogy. But, alas, Florentina and Madelena didn’t want to stop there, so I wrote two more books in the series to satisfy them.

2. What, if anything, did you learn when writing the book?

In Shadows over Milan, my main cast travels to Venice. Research taught me much about the fabulous city and one of its leading attractions – the Rialto Bridge. Did you know the current bridge has been spanning the Grand Canal since 1591? It began as a pontoon bridge in 1181, then was replaced in 1255 with a wooden one that could be raised to allow the passage of ships, because of the increased traffic to and from the Rialto Market that boomed on the other side; hence it became known as the Rialto Bridge. In 1444 a tremendous crowd gathered to witness the boat parade for the Marquis Ferrara’s wedding celebration and it collapsed under the weight. The version of the bridge at the time of my novel (which included space for vendors to sell their wares lining both sides) fell down in 1524 and the city decided the next one would be constructed of stone.

3. What surprised you the most in writing it?

How quickly I finished it! Missing in Milan was released in August and by the middle of October I had completed Shadows over Milan, the longest novel in the series. Every time I write a book, it seems I get faster at it, but I doubt that will be the case with my present work in progress as it requires all new research.

4. What does the title mean?

In the previous books in the series, the readers learn of an underworld organization that reveres war and chaos. They work behind the scenes to influence government leaders, spread dis-information to the people, and try to sow dissention within and between nations. They are called the “Shadow Guild,” and they are back attempting to manipulate France and the Holy Roman Empire into a war over Milan. The book opens with the murder of an important French nobleman, seemingly at the hands of a German, which casts Milan under an impending shadow of war.

5. Were any of the characters inspired by real people? If so, do they know?

While both Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo appear in the series and are mentioned frequently, neither one is cast in Shadows over Milan. Several historical leaders such as France’s King Louis XII, Emperor Maximilian I, and Spain’s Ferdinand and Isabella are mentioned, but none are characters in the story. Florentina and Maddie were both inspired by different sides of myself. I was a teacher for 24 years and I have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge like Florentina; I was a widow with two children at a young age like Maddie. And yep, you guessed it – I know when I draw upon my own thoughts, feelings, and experiences!

6. Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?

It does, or I wouldn’t have bothered to write it. To avoid giving spoilers, I’ll be very generic and list a few: forgiveness, redemption, trials of faith, seeking of wisdom, learning to let go.

7. What is your favorite part of the book?

My favorite part of the book is a scene I almost didn’t include because a few people advised me it may be disturbing to some readers, but it is so vital to understanding Don Benetto. In book one, Merchants of Milan, Don Benetto was a greedy, mean, ruthless arms dealer who was abusive to his wife and cared about no one but himself. After a life-and-death encounter with the Night Flyer, he began to re-examine his life in book two, to change his ways in book three, to learn to love in book four, and here we have him striving to make amends in book five. But why was he ever that overly ambitious brute to begin with? Villains are people too, and I felt strongly that relating Benetto’s backstory would add depth to the character and allow readers to understand how he became who he was, and therefore how he was able to transform his life.

8. Which character was most challenging to create? Why?

The most complex character to create was Don Benetto. Despite all the times assassins tried to kill Maddie, how many times Florentina was outnumbered in a fight, how disastrous Antonio’s battles while in the army, Don Benetto faced the toughest bout of them all – to become a better man, he had to defeat his old self. People can change, but they usually don’t. Few endeavors on this earth are more difficult, and to make the transformation believable, I needed to detail the steps and measures he took over the course of the series.

9. What are your immediate future plans?

I have begun work on a completely fresh novel, also in an under-represented setting: pre-contact Native British Columbia. I now live in beautiful Chilliwack, BC, and have started immersing myself in everything I can find about the First Nations people and their culture. It won’t be ready in under three months like Shadows over Milan; it may take a year to complete, but it will be done right.


Giveaway:

Until November 23rd, you can enter to win a Kindle copy of the first book in the series (Merchants of Milan (Night Flyer Trilogy, #1).

Enter here


Author information

Melodie Professional-minEdale Lane is an award-winning author (Rainbow Awards, Imaginarium Awards, Lesfic Bard Awards) who also drives a truck. She is the alter-ego of author Melodie Romeo, (Tribute in Blood, Terror in Time, and others) who founded Past and Prologue Press. Both identities are qualified to write historical fiction by virtue of an MA in History and 24 years spent as a teacher, along with skill and dedication regarding research. A native of Vicksburg, MS, Edale (or Melodie) is also a musician who loves animals, gardening, and nature. When not driving around North America, she resides with her partner in beautiful Chilliwack, B.C. Canada.

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Cover Reveal: Friends to the End, by C.L. Colyer

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Friends to the End
by C.L. Colyer
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Publication date: September 27th 2021
Genres: Action, Adventure, Middle-Grade, Supernatural

Zach doesn’t believe in ghosts…but he should.

Twelve-year-old Zach is convinced he’ll never be happy without his best friend Jeremy by his side. But both of their lives changed with a bang five months ago, and as far as Zach’s concerned, it’s his fault Jeremy will never see his twelfth birthday.

When Zach moves with his family to a Chicago suburb, he quickly becomes friends with a group of thrill-seeking kids trying to find a disappearing haunted house. But Zach’s not worried. He doesn’t believe in ghosts, so he follows them into a wild, dangerous encounter that becomes a battle to decide what’s real and what’s not.

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Friends to the End

 

Author Bio:

Professional network technician by day, novelist by night, Cherie lives a quiet life in the Chicago suburbs with her charming husband. She has four amazing sons who she loves dearly. Cherie magically weaves together stories with a paranormal twist. She’s the author of the Embrace series (Embrace, Hold Tight, and Entwined), Challenging Destiny, Damned When I Didn’t, and Friends to the End. She waltzes into the adult novel world with this enchanting holiday romance, Merry Little Wishing Spritz.

She happily visits schools, libraries, and book clubs, and is a member of SCBWI (Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators).

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