Spotlight, Excerpt & Guest Post: Through Rain and Missing Mantaurs + Giveaway

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Through Rain and Missing Mantaurs - Jeanne Marcella
Jeanne Marcella has a new MM/MMF dark fantasy out: “Through Rain and Missing Mantaurs.” And there’s a giveaway!

Her past is postage due and centaurs are ready to collect.

Through Rain and Missing Mantaurs is a dark fantasy most daring and eccentric. A tale not for the faint of heart. Pony is a bipedal half-breed centaur with no desire to waste tears on a past she can’t remember. She’s busy enough with her mail routes and package deliveries, and of course, floundering through hot-cold love affairs with the high class courtesans Mardyth and Lullaby.

The mundane drudgery of her life shatters when Konstantine Bywater takes over as Lightfoot Delivery’s new boss. He asks questions she can’t possibly answer, and stirs up a tragic past better left dead and buried.

But running away is no longer an option. Not when Kon and his minions accuse Mardyth of an unspeakable crime. With her lover’s life at stake, Pony won’t stop until she uncovers not only the truth of Mardyth’s innocence, but the truth of the past as well.

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Giveaway

Jeanne is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47167/?


Excerpt

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Chapter 1

Saddle-sweating, horse-humping, gods-cursed bastards! The rumors were true. Shit! Bad luck must be in love with me or something. Maybe it could give Mardyth lessons.

Arms pumping high and heart hammering in her parched throat, Pony pushed to reach her top speed. The rumble of centaur hooves behind her vibrated both earth and air. She absorbed those rumbling shock waves into her svelte, bipedal runner’s body. And knew her two human legs—versus their four equine ones—would not be enough.

Still, she would try.

The sweltering heat weighed heavy. Her ratty brown and tan courier’s tunic clung like a starving tick. Rocks and pebbles further split the threadbare soles of her worn-out boots as she pounded down the rutted road. She grimaced at the sweaty slap of calloused arches sliding around in rotted footwear that could fall apart any day now.

Pony squinted at the onslaught of bright blue sky. Her brain cooked in its own juices as the summer sun withered the forest corridor. Her brown hair slipped from its limp topknot; stray strands plastered her sunburned cheeks. It was almost too hot to breathe. Too dry to live. And the damn fools giving chase wanted to die of heatstroke right alongside her.

As it always did in situations like these, Callum’s unfavorable input surfaced to harass her. Stupid, gods-damned centaurs—worthless scraps of horsemeat to toss to the dogs. Her former guardian’s mantra, though crude and offensive, might hold slivers of truth. It was most certainly stupid to be running full-out in this blistering heat. At any other time, she might’ve been curious about this, her first ever centaur encounter.

Just to say she’d finally met one.

Give a lecture about overexertion in extreme weather.

Maybe engage in some harmless flirting.

To finally decide, once and for all, that Callum was right about them.

Or wrong.

But not when this chase proved that they were hunting for courier blood.

Any courier’s blood.

Keep running. Don’t look back.

She looked back.

Six tall shapes, the merging of man and equine. Hooves kicking up clouds of rising dust. The whip of long, flashing manes. The distance between them shrank with each passing second.

Her mail satchel, empty except for the meager bait of Escape Plan Number Two, bounced against her spine. Slung across her chest and anchored into the strap of her mailbag, a dozen small throwing blades awaited use. The large knife hanging at her hip, anchored at her thigh, allowed slight consolation.

Escape Plan Number One took the form of the few coins she couldn’t spare; the bits of metal jingled in her trouser pocket, muffled by a scrap of cloth.

Your job is to run, but hold strength in reserve. Callum’s voice echoed in the back of her mind. If cornered, kill without hesitation or remorse.

Okay. Good advice. She was good at running. That was all she ever did.

Pony crushed dry cracked lips between her teeth. Escape Plan Number One never failed. But would this tactic work on centaurs?

Wait. She had to revise that. Would Escape Plan Number One work on murderous, marauding centaurs who’d probably noticed she was a half-breed suffering through the last few days of her estrus?

If Callum were alive, he would’ve wagered against her.

Might as well give the plan a go, Horsemeat.

She sensed the distance closing between them. Imagined their hot breath blowing down the back of her neck. Their tall, bizarre forms hovering over her. Their hands tearing at her tunic to confirm the hidden tail braided and wrapped around her waist like a belt…

Pony shook off the terror. No time to panic.

Dipping into her trouser pocket, she pulled out several bronze skull coins and flung them over her shoulder. It was back to rummaging through garbage cans when she got home. The currency thudded along the highway and pinged off rocks. On her old southern routes, tossing money always worked with the undesirables skulking around looking for a mark.

The thundering sound of hooves sped up and deepened. Pony ground her teeth. All right, so they weren’t after money. Not typical highwaymen then. Why couldn’t they be greedy bastards like everyone else?

Escape Plan Number Two.

Reaching into the mailbag, Pony pulled out the four carrots she’d pilfered from the company stables. She glanced at the vegetables, shrugged, and took a bite out of one. Then she proceeded to fling the orange darlings over her shoulder in two-second intervals.

High-pitched squeals of disgust and indignation answered.

Oh well. It’d been worth the try. Maybe they weren’t all animal after all. Or maybe centaurs were fussy eaters. Maybe she should’ve grabbed a salt brick instead. Then she could’ve brained them with it.

Escape Plan Number Three then.

The road continued to bend, the thick forest jutting into her direct line of sight. She darted for the ferns and scrub brush. Towering pines blotted out some of the sun’s glare—for a few seconds she was running blind.

Two centaurs armed with longbows jumped out in front of her. The younger one took aim at her heart.

Horseshit! She was speedy, but not quick enough to outrun a flying projectile. Gulping, she dropped into a slide, feet first. Gravel tore open her calloused palms and ripped holes into the back of her trousers.

Great. Bleeding in several places, and now she had clothes to repair. “Arggh!” She slammed slick fists to the ground. “What’s wrong with you swag-bellied tail-waggers? You’d shoot one of your own?

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Author Guest Post:

The Journey to Finding Just the Right Planner by Jeanne Marcella

At the start of 2020 I had great plans. Everyone did. In January, I’d started off running. My mind was full of words and worlds and fun characters that were just flying from my fingertips to the keyboard. I was proceeding along very well with one of my lighter works—an urban fantasy set in the year 1900. For the first time in YEARS, I thought I was finally getting it together and picking up the pace to get books out.

Then we all know what happened.

It’s taken me nearly the entire year, but now that I’ve picked myself up mentally, I’m turning back to consider what I can get done in 2021. And see if somehow, I can make up for lost time.

Now, I know that’s nearly impossible, so I won’t be completely stressing myself out. I’m going to at least try to see how much focus I can regain.

Recently, I found that some writer friends are big supporters of the planner systems. It sounded like a marvelous thing to try, so I jumped right in. And I easily got hooked by all the colorful stickers. I fell headlong into a new obsession with Washi tapes!

Calming down and composing myself from all the sparkly stuff (I’m like a damned crow.) I opted to try one of the more popular calendar planner brands. I picked a short, three month option where you write in your own calendar dates.

I tried several times over those three months to make it work, but it didn’t. There was too much distraction. Too many detailed pages that needed three ribbon dividers attached to keep your place in each section. Too many questions listed that weren’t relevant to my writing. Questions that often made me just sit there and try to fill out, and couldn’t. Meaning lots of time wasted.

Another planner I tried was specifically geared toward writers. While it worked somewhat, I still felt too scattered with all the side options and questions.
What annoyed me about the writer’s planner was the weekly calendar work space section was too narrow and restrictive to be of much use to me.

So I went back on the hunt to uncover what else was available. I found a nice, thin paperback that was a five year calendar planner off of Amazon. It was one of those print on demand ones. While I wouldn’t mind having a few more blank pages for notes, this one was nearly The Three Bears perfect. All it is, is calendar pages for each year, for five years. There’s a column for notes in each month.

It seems this is all I need for now—just a broad overall view of information and a bit of space for self-tracking my progress. Maybe once I get the hang of these planners, I can start expanding back into more detailed options.

A big lesson re-learned here is what works for someone else doesn’t necessarily work for you. That’s why there are so many wonderful planners out there. There’s something suitable for everyone.

Crossing my fingers now that the plans I had in 2020 will cascade down into 2021 without any more world-altering events. I do so look forward to diving back into both my dark, and light fantasy worlds and adding even more of a twist to them. So getting set and getting ready, here’s to a new year!

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Author Bio

Jeanne Marcella writes dramatic, and often character driven fantasy fiction not for the faint of heart. Quests, adventure, danger, and the grit of living are foremost, but relationships and mild romance might also share the pages.

Granted unlimited access to books at a very early age via the library, she quickly acquired a fondness for creating her own stories through word and drawing. She was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Spotlight & Excerpts: Weeps Indigo Series, by J.K. Jones

weeps indigo SERIES REVIEW TOUR

BOOK 1

Book Title: Weeps Indigo

A Fall From Grace

Author: J.K. Jones

Publisher: Self-Published

Length: 370 pages

Release Date: May 18, 2019

Genre/s: Dark M/M Romance, Murder Mystery, LGBTQ horror and tragedy

Trope/s: Forbidden love, underage love, infidelity, mental illness  

Themes: Coming out, forgiveness, cheating, lies, secrets, prostitution,

psychological abuse, physical abuse, unreliable narrator

Heat Rating: 3 flames      

It is not a standalone story.

Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

Blurb 

The Sheriff of Byrmonville, Richard Clayson, has a dark secret.

That night he found Beau walking down the familiar bleak streets, he knew exactly what he was doing. Watching him in the interrogation room, his eyes coveting the way that cigarette easily slid between his lips, the way the tattoos wrap easily around his flesh. Those eyes haunting and familiar, awakening something in him long since beaten dead.

He knew exactly what Beau’s nighttime occupation was.

It was his job. To investigate the things unknown, the things hiding in the darkness. He loved a good puzzle piece, a good riddle he could unravel.

Richard wasn’t a cop for nothing.

This is dangerous. Reckless. He could lose everything, hunting Beau like this.

So why can’t he stop?

Excerpt

It’s all about a boy.

A boy who changed his life. He’s not just any kind of boy. Not someone of social status or unforgettable features. Not a boy that throws tantrums or is the sort to excel at everything.

Richard bets he isn’t particularly athletic, nor is he quick when it comes to arithmetic. However, he isn’t ordinary. In retrospect, there’s absolutely nothing ordinary about him. For one thing, his attitude is foul, so much so that half the guys in the office cringe when he opens his mouth.

He’s rough around the edges with a boorish attitude which does nothing to inspire the idea that the youth of today will amount to much in the world. However, there is something incredibly striking about his pitch black, thick curly hair, his long straight nose, thin lips, dimpled grin and a beauty mark hovering the corner of his upper lip.

Richard mentally runs through the Blackwell’s sordid history in town. His brother’s been arrested more times than he can count and it seems Beau was headed in that same direction.

Beau smokes too much, drinks too much, swears too much—hell, he does everything he shouldn’t do in abundance.

Richard even spots a couple tattoos peeking out from underneath his shirt, and is immediately repulsed. How old is he anyway?

Beau takes out a packet of smokes, slides one between his thin lips, tilting his chin up exposing that beauty mark in a way that makes Richard feel things—things long since beaten dead.

 

BOOK 2

Book Title: Cage The Night

A Battle Within

Author: J.K. Jones

Publisher: Self-Published

Length: 600 pages

Release Date: November 20, 2020

Genre/s: Dark M/M Romance, Murder Mystery, LGBTQ horror and tragedy

Trope/s:  Forbidden love, underage love, infidelity, mental illness  

Themes: Coming out, forgiveness, cheating, lies, secrets, prostitution,

psychological abuse, physical abuse, unreliable narrator

It is part two in the Weeps Indigo series. Book 3 is due for release in September 2021.

Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

Blurb 

What happens when the hunter becomes the hunted?

When instead of running he is being chased? Richard doesn’t understand when or how things turned. He just knows the tightness in his chest intensifies, the demon is growing restless.

All he wants to do is go back in time and stop this whole thing from happening. Starting with the first day when he saw Beau in the interrogation room, Richard wants to stop himself from becoming mesmerized by those haunting emerald eyes and that otherworldly face.

He would stop the world from turning, the heavens opening up and beaming sunlight down on them. He would stop his heart, his lungs, and all the creatures in the world just so that he would never ever have to meet Beau.

Excerpt

By the time he makes it to the Blackwell residence the blood is pounding in his ears.

He can barely see straight. The rage is boiling over and there isn’t anything stopping the demon from tearing its way through.

The house comes into view, dilapidated on the hillside, crumbling piece of shit that Richard loathes more than anything. He presses harder on the gas, dirt and debris flies everywhere as he drives recklessly up the pathway. Sirens blare loudly, as he slams his foot on the brake, nearly crashing into the front porch. Richard flies out of the vehicle, leaving the door hanging wide open and stumbles up the porch with his gun heavy in hand.

There is nothing, white noise, air bustling in his ears and the tunnel vision of paralyzing vehemence. It’s dark, raw and savage, the demon’s lips curl, breathing fire and brimstone as he clatters his way up the stairway of the Blackwell property.

The M1191 is secure in his grasp, fingers tightening around the trigger because there will be nothing, but brutality, sickening violence of blood and guts and gore.

Wooden stairs creak and groan under his foreign weight, the screen door is hanging off its hinges and he knows, that there is something very very very wrong here.

 

About the Author

Heaven and hell, demons and angels. J.K Jones has always had an affinity for other worldly things. From her debut novel it’s easy to see she loves all things crawling in the shadows. As it so happens, J.K Jones is the author of a gritty, fun, action-packed, soul-rending novel. Her characters are so dark and twisted they defy the dimensions of this world. She is an avid reader, poet and LGBTQ activist. She is a York University graduate with a BA in Sociology, also has a TESOL certificate for teaching English as a Second Language.

 

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