Spotlight & Excerpt: Darkness Awaits + Giveaway

darkness awaits

Darkness Awaits

Virtus Academy , #2
by Jamila A. Stone
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, LGBTQ
Publisher: Black Glory Publishing House
Date of Publication: April 2021
ISBN: 978-1-7356641-0-1
ASIN: B08LVJ7GXD
Number of pages: 524
Word Count: 141,850
Cover Artist: Michael Corvin

Unexpected secrets stand to change two witches’ lives forever…

Having narrowly survived their last semester, Natalie King and Alexandra Aurelius are prepared to revel in victory…but, while preparing to become Juniors, it soon becomes clear that peace has been dismissed. 

Relationships are tested and new ones formed, as shadowy souls push their way into Natalie and Alexandra’s lives. Now, more than ever, the witches must stick together and protect their loved ones. Unexpected secrets stand to change their lives forever. 

Darkness impends from every direction, and even the fiercest friendships will be tested. What harmony that existed between human and supernatural governments has been shaken to the breaking point. Should it crumble, hellish truths are sure to be exposed.   

Despite impossible odds, Natalie, Alexandra, and their alliances will unite against unprecedented evil. After all, the only exit often is a wall to break through… 

——–
 
With her much-anticipated sequel to Strange Things Await, Jamila A. Stone delivers devilish thrills and a dizzying spin on the genre. One thing through the dark is seen: where mystic and mortal subcultures meld, the pages turn themselves. 
 

Black
Glory Publishing House
 

Amazon      BN

 

Excerpt

It’s the last week of January and the new school semester since Christmas break starts tomorrow at Virtus Academy. Nat and all her friends, except Alex, have already moved back to their dormitories. Nat is brushing her teeth, getting ready for bed when she suddenly feels like she’s falling. A moment later, her surroundings change, and she finds herself in a dark alleyway. Nothing makes sense, and she jolts around with labored breathing, trying to understand what is going on. When she turns around to her other side, she spots Alex and momentarily forgets her anxiety. Running over to a hunched Alex, she hugs her and is so distracted that she doesn’t notice the four guys in the alley with them.

“What are you doing here?” Alex winces in pain, struggling to straighten up.

Using her toothbrush, Nat taps the ring she’s gifted Alex. “Someone must have missed me a whole lot to get me here,” she jokes.

The good news is that the protection spell she had Sheila help her put on the ring works. If Alex ever needs her badly enough, she’ll appear.

“Crap, it worked! So that means…” Nat looks around further and finally takes in the situation. “I guess you’re still having trouble making friends.” Throwing down her toothbrush, she gets in front of Alex, who’s badly bleeding from cuts on her face, and the arm she holds that seems disjointed.

“Nice outfit, girl.” One of the guys speaks sarcastically.

“This is your backup?” Another speaks, pointing at Nat before they all laugh.

“Remind me to take you shopping.” Alex picks up her fallen blade, and it elongates into a sword as it recognizes its owner.

“What!? This is comfortable and my pajamas. I was going to bed.” Nat keeps her eyes on the guys who are starting to approach. She cannot believe Alex is choosing right now to insult her.

“What do you need to be comfortable?” Alex turns fully toward Nat with her face scrunched up. “Did you sprout something since we were kids?”

“No! Can you focus before we die, you asshole? Boxers can be unisex.” She tries to defend herself, but Alex just scoffs.

Nat, annoyed, blasts Alex to the furthest point of the alley and decides to take on the men herself. It looks as if Alex softened them up enough for her to handle alone anyway.

Two of the men reach her before the others. One throws a punch at her face while the other tries to punch her abdomen. Nat is light on her feet and spins away from the one aiming for her face and shoves him into the other male before she uses her magic at the remaining attackers.

“Instead of attacking young women to stroke your egos, maybe you all should go to the gym.” She blasts one with a scar on his cheek into a wall knocking them out before she is blasted herself. In complete shock, she did not keep her guard up, she grumbles as she slowly gets back up to her feet. Nat blocks another blast of magic as she parts her feet for better balance. Nat sends a few blasts back, but her adversary blocks them all. Nat should have known these men were not mere humans if they were able to beat up Alex.

Nat is so preoccupied with the witch that she fails to deflect the attacker on her left properly, who charges her with his clawed hand in the air, ready to come down on her hard. There was little for her to do, so she stopped shielding herself from the witch’s attack, so the attack would knock her away from the attack that would be the deadliest.

The impact of the witch’s attack does the trick and sends Nat backward. The claws of the man from her right give her a nasty gash, nowhere near the damage which would have been inflicted if she did not think quick on her feet and use the witch’s attack to save her own life.

“Alright, playtime is over.” Nat lifts her hands and moves them hastily in front of her creating a linkage of pentagrams all while beads of her blood float into the amber symbols. She sees the shock on the witch’s face, and it makes her grin before she locks her fingers over each other, bends her arms inward, then thrusts her arms out, causing the spell to wrap around the first body, and the man explodes.

Nat moves her arms until everyone is dead. One black eye and a gash on her arm later, Nat walks over to Alex, who is hunched over.

“I should leave you here. I can’t believe you got back without telling me. How long have you been back in town? Tomorrow is the first day of school back from break.” Nat places her hands on her hips, letting Alex suffer for a bit more before she attempts to heal her.

Alex stands straighter, leans her head back against the wall behind her, and closes her eyes. “I forgot how much you love to bitch and moan.”

Nat is opening her mouth to respond, but promptly stops when she spots a smile creeping on Alex’s face.

“I missed it.” Alex turns her head and smiles so charmingly even with her face all beat up, Nat’s walls break.

“Ugh, I can’t stand you.” Nat shakes her head and starts to heal Alex’s easy wounds, then wraps Alex’s good arm over her shoulder and helps her to stand off the wall. “We’re too far from the dorm or my house for me to teleport us both.”

“And here I thought an overachiever such as yourself would have become a pro by now.” Alex coughs then halts her steps taking time to take deep, ragged breaths.

“Hey, that month was our break. I can get us near the school gates, but it might knock us out if I use all of our energy combined. Or worse.” Nat struggles to keep Alex upright.

Alex struggles to stand on her own feet as she pulls her good arm away from Nat so she can grab her cellphone out of her pocket. Nat watches as Alex makes a call, trying to keep her upright by the waist. “Julian, are you on campus? Good, sneak out with Olivia and come find me by the gate…just do as I asked, Olivia, will be able to track us. Yes, us, bye.”

Nat arches a brow at Alex before focusing her mind on the school gates. Once she has that clear in mind, she works on syncing her magic with Alex.

“What’s taking so long?” Alex grumbles.

“You, that’s what. I’m trying to find your source, but you’re too weak.”

“You’re a weirdo.” Alex sighs exaggeratedly.

Nat finally syncs successfully and teleports them. They land hard a few yards away from the school gates. 

 

About the Author:

Jamila A Stone lives in Washington, D.C with her two dogs. Jamila is driven to tell stories without censorship and for the continued creativity in the world of literature. As an African American woman, she understands the lack of opportunity persons of color have to let their artistic creativity be seen on equal platforms, so she created her own publishing company called Black Glory Publishing House. She thinks not just of herself but of the current and future of literature namely increasing the diversity and inclusion within the literary community.

Website

Twitter

Facebook

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spotlight & Excerpt: Takakush + Giveaway

takakush

This is my stop during the blog tour for Takakush by Raine Reiter. Takakush is the first book in the contemporary dark fantasy series Genus Magica where a family of priestess deal with normal life and fight monsters.

This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 1 till 14 March. See the tour schedule here

Takakush

Takakush (Genus Magica #1)
By Raine Reiter
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy/ Dark Fantasy/ Urban fantasy
Age category: Adult
Release Date: 25 January 2021

When Professor Elena Lukas returns to her cozy Pacific Northwest hometown with a broken heart, she’s plunged back into the fate she tried to escape. Like her mother and grandmother before her, Elena must now dedicate her life to a powerful ancient Lithuanian goddess. Although she is prepared to live as a priestess hiding in a contemporary tourist town, she arrives to find that a series of so-called animal attacks have terrorized her forest.

With the help of a handsome detective from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Elena uses her expertise in invasive and endangered species to identify that these are no normal animal attacks. The woods are stalked by a dark, mystical creature bent on ravaging the area in an attempt to quell its insatiable hunger. When her little sister goes missing, Elena realizes that the beast can only be vanquished if she is brave enough to face it in-person, embrace her identity as a high priestess, and expose her powers to the man she is growing feelings for.

“A fantastic tale that weaves a spell of ancient mysticism and modern charm.” –Tim Marquitz, Author of the Demon Squad series

Links:
Goodreads
Bookbub
Amazon
Kobo

Excerpt:

Regana – Home
Regana stood between the two worlds, watching her sleeping body. When did I become so old?
The wrinkled face, spun-sugar mop, and gnarled fingers in Real-Time bore little resemblance to her divine avatar in the Penumbra. Marks of time mean nothing. She chuckled.
Lithe and nimble as a sprite, Regana kicked off from the boundary and floated through the between, sorting threads of possibility as she passed.
“Goddess of the Crossroads, why draw me here?” She waited for an answer.
Thick fibers of probability whirled and pulsed with light around her, while others faded into implausibility and blinked out.
Soon, her temper frayed. Braiding destinies and untangling misfortunes amused Regana, but her fatigued human body in Real-Time called for rest. “Show me the blasted job and let me get out,” Regana said. “Lady of thresholds, doors, and portals, your priestess readies to serve you.” Her cry echoed through the Penumbra. “What must I do?”
A scarlet rope, thick as an anaconda, whipped out of the tangle and garroted her waist. Hot, near burning, it reeked of dark magic and death.
“See.” The voice hit her like a hammer, and a kaleidoscope of images overwhelmed her mind’s eye. “Be present,” ordered her goddess.

Across the field, wind stirred the chimes, bells, and bamboo noisemakers hanging from the eaves of the main house.
Galahad dozed in the pasture with an ancient horse blanket covering him.
Frost on the grass and pasture fence resembled snowfall. A freezing fog surged along the paddock, encircling his legs.
He woke. Something was different, unfamiliar. It wasn’t fear, it was curiosity.
With drowsy eyes, he surveyed the tree line. His nostrils flared, sampling the air. There. Hiding beneath the aroma of evergreens, a sickly-sweet stench. A predator.
The old warrior’s heart sped as he readied for a fight. At sixteen hands, he was massive and courageous. Last spring, he ran off a pack of coyotes come to snatch a newborn kid.
Galahad snorted and shook his mane. The frigid air transformed his breath into plumes of steam. He pawed the earth, kicking up divots of soil.
The wind ceased. The chimes quieted.
It struck Galahad, mounting him from behind and wrapping its limbs around Galahad’s belly. The horse arched his back as incisors sank into his neck.
Claws raked his abdomen and up his flanks, scoring slashes through the blanket into his hide. The metallic tang of his blood joined the beast’s stench.
Galahad’s hind legs kicked into his attacker’s midsection, but it only embedded its fangs deeper. Blood spurted from the wound.
The embrace tightened. He bucked, rearing and struggling for footing. The attacker threw Galahad to the ground and remounted.
The stallion screamed.
Teeth ripped flesh from Galahad’s throat, severing his jugular. His sight darkened, and his blood melted the frosted grass. Passing through and away, the horse saw the blackness clinging to his murderer.
The malignant thread released, and Regana’s vision ended. In the mundane world, her eyelids flew open, her heart hammering in her chest.
“Blood-red magic rings the waxing moon.” Her voice croaked with the remains of sleep. “Medžioklė begins.”

About the Author:
Raine Reiter weaves together an empowered, female-centered narrative with rich descriptions of nature and an ever-present sense of mystery. Her vivid, flowing prose takes readers of dark fantasy into a world that looks and feels real, while still evoking the enticing paranormal creativity shared by authors such as Richelle Mead and Kat Richardson.

A fifth generation Washingtonian, Raine lives in the gloomy Pacific Northwest and prowls the rainforest with her silly spaniel, Luke.

Author links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Goodreads

Takakush banner

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Takakush. 4 winners will win a Takakush prize pack containing a Takakush t-shirt, sticker, magnet and a signed copy of the book. US Only.For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lola's Blog Tours graphic

Spotlight & Excerpt: Strange Things Await + Giveaway

strange things await Tour Banner (1)

Strange Things Await
Virtus Academy, #1
by Jamila A. Stone
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, LGBTQ
Publisher: Black Glory Publishing House
Date of Publication: April 2019
ISBN: 978-1-7339717-6-8
ASIN: B07QN8W9YH
Number of pages: 288
Word Count: 98,270
Cover Artist: Michael Corvin

Book Description:

At Virtus Academy a boarding school for the supernatural, the students are not your average High Schoolers. They might go through some of the same social problems, these students are powerful and many dangerous. From vampires, witches, werewolves, and werecats these youngsters must learn how to navigate classes and other species who might on the outside of campus be a natural enemy.

Virtus Academy’s walls are going to be shaken up this year as they never have before. Not only do the walls have to contend with two young Sophomore witches (Natalie King and Alexandra Aurelius) who despise each other so much so they constantly wage war against the infrastructure, there’s a monster on the loose killing students.

Will these two witches who once were best friends rekindle that friendship in time to help each other through all that’s about to hit them this year? Or will they fail to unite even after a mutual friend of theirs get captured by the same monster killing students?

PublisherAmazonBN

Excerpt:

The night had felt better and it came from that one kiss she had shared with the dashingly handsome vampire who fought hard for her. For Nat, it capped off the beautiful night even with Hamilton humiliated and leaving with promises of getting her, she couldn’t help but feel somewhat proud of herself.

Doing her bid to avoid more drama from the other kids, she had chosen the alternate route leading to her dorm room, cutting through the almost worn off pathway just behind the rave house, heading north with the dorm house not yet in sight. It was going to be within her reach as long as she continued on her path for another ten minutes.

It was at that moment everything slowly began to feel odd. The air changed, followed by an uneasy feeling growing down her spine in form of tingling sensation which she had come to trust to mean that trouble was heading her way. It was something her mother had always asked her to watch out for; the sixth sense embedded into witches right from their time of birth.

“What now?” a rather embattled and worried Nat asked herself. She wished she had taken the normal quick route.

“Is anyone there?” Nat asked turning to her left, nothing. She clung unto her purse tightly.

The air grew colder, and fog soon began to fill her surrounding oddly.

She began to quicken her steps and managed her breathing so her hearing could remain focused and sharp enough to pick up any odd sounds. The sounds came in plenty; from leaves being rustled aggressively, to twigs being stepped on and snapped. Yet, Nat choose not to look back; she couldn’t deal with the thought of having a bunch of vampires hunting her down on Hamilton’s behest.

“Russel!” she called out softly, wondering if she should have taken his advice and allowed him to walk her to her dorm before heading to his.

All she could do was to keep her unsteady breathing pattern steady as possible, while her feet walked as fast as they could carry her.

Yet, the dorm room seemed further away the more she attempted to get closer. In fact, for the past five minutes, she had managed to walk on the same spot without realizing it until she stepped on a large trunk of wood which had almost tripped her and then she first realized she was being tailed by someone.

“Witches!” Nat sounded in fear and mumbled underneath her warm breath.

Her lungs stung and her eyes burned as the fog slowly began to clear and grant her vision of her surroundings.

“One…” Nat counted the incoming figure from her left before looking around. “No… two… three… four!”

“I don’t know what you want but I’m not going down easily!” she declared with her fists raised barely keeping them up. School grounds were supposed to be safe.

One to her left cackled in a dark laughter, while the others simply closed in without giving off any sound asides the crunching sound from the snapping twigs and dried grasses beneath their feet.

“This should be fun,” one of them mumbled.

Another cut right in, “She seemed to have a lot of spark in her earlier.”

Nat’s mind raced wildly with thoughts and her entire body grew numb as the four finally came to full view. She stared at them one at a time and felt her inside walls collapse as she struggled to figure out what exactly it was that she was dealing with.

“What are… what are you?” she stuttered, noticing the same faces staring right back at her.

The four figures were impossible to tell apart and they donned nothing different as regards to their clothes nor their faces. She had never come across such an anomaly in her life and it threatened to topple her to the ground just by the eeriness of things.

Boxing her in, one stepped closer and smiled right into her face. “What’s the matter little witch? You never seen perfect shape shifting before?”

Nat had never come across their kind before. She had indeed heard of them, but they never showed themselves out in the open a lot.

“But… but…” she stuttered.

“News flash!” another replied. “We aren’t as hidden as many would believe.”

Feeling the one to her left shove her hard to the ground, the four slowly transformed into girls of the same liking before turning into elderly men as they morphed their skin and facial features impressively, before finally settling to their initial look. It sickened her stomach and she was about to feel even more nauseated as they drew closer.

“We won’t hurt you,” one promised.

“We just want some sugar,” another joked.

Nat struggled to fight them off with punches, but they succeeded in pinning her down regardless. With her hands pinned on either side by two of the shape shifters, one stood watch and the fourth slowly began slipping his pants down, Nat forced her hands free and ripped her nails into the fourth’s face, causing him to shriek in pain as he struggled with his already fallen pants.

“You bitch!” he cried, yanked at his belt and began to wrap it around his knuckle.

Yet, she wasn’t done and upon sighting a large branch in the nearby bush, she waved her hand at it and watched it levitate but not convincing enough in the air, while her captors laughed and made a mock of her. Feeling her anger fueled, she swung hard with every intent possible within her bones and the branch struck one of them in the face immediately.

It would be the act that got them even more enraged, and most notably, the one she had struck.

Nat watched his fast swinging hand reach her face, and suddenly knock her into a barely conscious state. He still wasn’t done. He came swinging hard for the second time, but his fist didn’t connect as something seemed to hold him back against his will. A glowing light, burning brightly in the distance approached and seemed to startle the shape shifters who turned their attention to the person.

“Leave the girl alone!” a feminine voice warned.

“This isn’t any of your business bi…” one of the shape shifters had barely spoken when he started to clutch his throat with both hands.

Nat watches her assaulter choke and her savior approach in a steady walk, Nat managed to make out fuzzy images from her somewhat swollen eye from where she had been punched. They weren’t having a good time with whoever had come to her rescue. The girl bore what appeared to be fire in both hands, before ramming it hard into one which caused the others to slowly crumble to the ground in agony.

“Show your real self you coward!” the girl demanded.

The four bodies slowly began to merge into one, while the single figure coughed and slowly got to his feet with a rather enraged look on his face.

“Who do you think you are?” he asked.

Lunging forward and hammering down Nat’s savior, Nat could only attempt to crawl towards the fight to try and assist but it proved more difficult than she had imagined it would. Her spine felt stiff and her joints were unresponsive. Her rescuer seemed to be in trouble as the huge framed attacker now in his true form reached for a rock to his right and threatened to hammer it down on the girl he had pinned to the ground.

“Watch out!” Nat felt herself scream and try to warn the other girl.

Thankfully, the girl had managed to draw out a silver knife from within her boot, rammed it hard into the shape shifters’ chest which sent it squabbling backwards in a painful roar. It struggled to hold the knife as he felt it burn his hands as he continued to growl then began to burn violently from the magical knife jammed into his heart.

Nat felt her heart threaten to give way. Sweat rolled down her face immediately as she came to the realization that someone had just killed for her. Her hands trembled while her weakened frame struggled to get back into a sitting position but found it to be almost impossible. The blow to her head not only left her with impaired vision but some way left her struggling for balance.

“You shouldn’t try to overly exert yourself,” the feminine voice said before laying her hand to rest on Nat’s forehead. The voice is familiar.

Nat could hear the girl mumble words she recognized to be mild healing spells. Warmth quickly spread through her face and around the wound, causing it to close back up.

“You’re good as new,” she said, gently backing away while she held her hand out for Nat to grab hold of.

Nat opened her eyes and looked up at her savior, Alexandra, who slowly began stepping away.

“Alexandra!” another girl in a low-cut top came rushing through. “Oh my god, what happened?”

“Alexandra? Why the hell would she come to save me, she hates me,” Nat thought with a soft gasp.

Alex motioned for her friend to remain where she was, before leading Nat out from the dark woods and turning around upon getting to a more lightened clearing leading towards the dorm. Nat motioned to speak with her, but Alex obviously wasn’t interested in having a conversation. It was typical of Alex after all and after all those years, she still seemed to have a chip on her shoulder.

Nat felt rather happy to have been saved by her, though somewhat sad by the situation of things between her and the girl she used to call her best friend.

About the Author:

Jamila A Stone lives in Washington, D.C with her two dogs. Jamila is driven to tell stories without censorship and for the continued creativity in the world of literature. As an African American woman, she understands the lack of opportunity persons of color have to let their artistic creativity be seen on equal platforms, so she created her own publishing company called Black Glory Publishing House. She thinks not just of herself but of the current and future of literature namely increasing the diversity and inclusion within the literary community.

Website / Twitter / Facebook

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway