Book Blitz & Excerpt: The Dark Cluster, by Jane Shand

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 The Dark Cluster

The Darkling Duology, Book Two

by Jane Shand

YA Fantasy

Release Date: January 17, 2022

On a quest to unlock the secrets of her goddess-given powers, can one young woman defeat the ultimate evil?

Nalani is basking in her newfound contentment. But when her once-loathed ability surges back to life, the determined girl is convinced it holds the key to tracking down her long-lost father. So she’s horrified when her arrival on the mainland to investigate makes her the target of discontented warmongers.

Focused on pursuing the tiny clues she’s found, Nalani recruits old friends to cover dangerous new territory. Yet even as she grows closer to learning the truth, she’s terrified by its growing connection to an ominous Lord lurking high in the mountains.

Can Nalani beat back the creeping malevolence before it claims everything she loves?

The Dark Cluster is the second book in The Darkling Duology of YA fantasies. If you like authentic characters, charismatic villains, and quests driven by hope, then you’ll love Jane Shand’s tense adventure.

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Other books in The Darkling Duology

The Shard

The Darkling Duology, Book One

Her touch is the only cure for an all-consuming corruption. When she sets out to change her fate, will she condemn her world to despair?

Nalani is certain she’s cursed. Although everyone else claims her odd powers are a Gift from the goddess, the lonely young woman feels them cutting her off from those she loves. So when she’s called to leave her verdant island home and travel to the mainland, she seizes the journey as an opportunity to shed her unwanted magic.

Slow to surrender her innermost secrets to those who could offer help, Nalani gradually opens her heart to the new city and its fascinating denizens. But after she learns of a strange experiment with dark consequences, even her newfound allies can’t defend her against the ruthless forces she’s disturbed.

Will Nalani’s hunt for answers reunite a broken people or push her beyond salvation?

The Shard is the first book in The Darkling Duology of YA fantasies. If you like bold heroines, coming-of-age adventures, and lush worldbuilding, then you’ll love Jane Shand’s vivid escape.

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Excerpt

Nalani closed her eyes and gasped as the salt spray stung her face. She gripped the ship’s rail as it ploughed through the waves. The winter seas bullied the ship, so much rougher than on her last trip to and from the mainland. Luca’s warm arm snaked around her waist and pulled her into the warmth of his body. She raised her head towards him and his lips brushed her forehead. She opened her eyes as his laugh rumbled through her.

Everything tastes of salt!” he complained.

He grinned down at her, his eyes so much bluer than the sky over the grey and lurching sea.

I wish we could have waited until spring,” she said.

Luca nodded, saying nothing. He knew she could not wait any longer. The Gift wouldn’t let her. He turned away to where the mainland hid behind waves and low-lying clouds. Nalani followed his gaze. That was where she would find her father. She was sure of it. Why else would the Gift send her back to the mainland? They had destroyed the source of Darklings, back in the summer.

It has to be my father.”

Luca’s arm tightened. “We’ll find him or what happened to him.”

Nalani blinked; she hadn’t realised she had spoken aloud. “I have to find him. I have missed him so much for all these years. He is also the only other person I am aware of who has this Gift. He will help me understand it, accept it fully and learn what it is truly capable of.”

Luca’s fingers tipped her head up so that she had to look him in the eyes again. He had a tiny furrow between his brows. “I understand you need to find out what happened to him. Who wouldn’t? But I don’t think you need him to understand your Gift. You can do that yourself.”

Nalani made a sound of agreement yet didn’t speak. After she had taken back her Gift in the summer and understood that she needed it to heal the Orb and stop the spread of the dark energy, she had accepted it as part of her. She no longer thought of it as a parasite or a curse. But it remained an alien part of her. Luca couldn’t understand what it felt like to be controlled by a part of you. Her father did. He could help her; no one else could.

Nalani couldn’t help smiling as her thoughts dwelled on Luca. She had so quickly become accustomed to his presence. Her mother, her aunt and Arifi were all fond of him. She had never doubted it, yet it had been a relief to have it confirmed. It made life easier if all those you loved were on friendly terms.

Nalani invited Arifi to come with them to the mainland, as Arifi had asked to come last time, but Nalani had not allowed it. She was not entirely surprised when Arifi, somewhat regretfully, declined.

I wish to stay with Kahua. I am certain he is the one for me and I can’t leave him to have an adventure with you. Besides, I am doing really well with Ellara’s lessons. I love the silkworms and the gathering and the weaving.” She shrugged. “I like the life I have.”

Nalani had understood A pang of envy jolted through her chest. What must it be like to own your own destiny and to not be manipulated by your own Gift? Then her thoughts had turned to Luca, and she couldn’t remain envious. Her Gift had brought her together with him. It might prod her into doing its missions, but it also allowed her to help children who no one else could.


About the Author

Jane Shand has always been an avid reader of fantasy and mystery and is an author of YA Fantasy.

She got hooked on fantasy after reading ‘Lord of the Rings’ at a young age and was determined to write books full of magic and adventure.

She lives in Hampshire, England with her family and two cheeky cats who would love to help her write.

She published her first novel, The Shard, in 2020 and her second, The Light Wielders came out Aug 2021. The Dark Cluster is her third novel, and she is now working on the brand-new Crystal Mages Trilogy.

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RABT Book Tours & PR

Spotlight: Realm of Darkness + Giveaway

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Realm of Darkness

A Limited Edition Collection

Genre: Fantasy and Paranormal

 

When darkness falls, beware of the creatures that come out to play…

Fall under their spell over and over again in this ultimate paranormal and fantasy romance boxset! Over 40 full-length novels with heart-melting heroes and devastating anti-heroes, full of romance, magic, mystery, and adventure can be yours for an insanely low price.

 

Ready to be swept away? Your book boyfriends are waiting…

 

Enemies-to-lovers, alphas, fae, werewolves, dragons, shapeshifters, vampires, gods, angels, demons, and more: with novels ranging from sweet to spicy, there’s a flavor to sate your every craving.

 

You won’t find these exclusive novels anywhere else, so don’t miss your chance. Over ten thousand pages by New York Times, USA Today, and International bestselling authors and at less than three cents per book, this collection is a steal, but only for a limited time. Grab it today before it’s gone forever…

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Creatures of the Night

by C.A. King

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Zoe spent her whole life training how to fight demons—how to kill them. Not once did that curriculum include falling in love with one. Now, she’s faced with a hard choice: betray one to save the other. Will she side with the family and friends who have always been at her side, or trade it all for the romance she so deeply desires?Odds are, no matter which path she follows, her heart won’t make it out unscathed.


I was diagnosed with clinical depression after the loss of my mother, father and husband within three years of each other; all to cancer. 24/7 in-home care, coupled with the loss I felt, left its mark on my psyche.

Depression takes up a lot of my life. Reading and writing are the only things I have found that help (in connection with regular medication), even if only for a short time. To escape to a different world can make a big difference in my mood in real time.

To put things in perspective, when I was at my lowest point, I couldn’t open mail, talk on the phone, or even drive to the store. Walls of sadness surrounded me. As they closed in, tears would fall. There didn’t need to be a reason or trigger.

People ask me why I started writing. My answer is simple: I wanted to create a world into which other people with similar problems could escape. I wanted to share the one place that had helped me for many years.

I have always said that as long as one person finds a little bit of happiness out of my books, I am, in my opinion, an accomplished author. The same is true for every writer out there. Please don’t ever let anyone tell you different.

I read books as well as write them and have visited the worlds many different authors have created. Those worlds not only make me feel better, but give me the strength to face real life again. I want to thank everyone who writes—I want them to know they are making a difference.

Fast forward to today…

C.A. King, USA Today Bestselling Author has over 60 books available across multiple fantasy sub-genres.

Awards include:

Hamilton Spectator
Readers’ Choice Award in the Best Local Author category 2017 & 2018 & 2019

Brant News Readers’
Choice Award: Best Local Author 2017

Readers’ Favorite
International Book Awards: Best Novella/Short Story 2017 Silver medal

2017 SIBA Awards –
Best Novella

2017 SIBA Awards –
Best New Adult

2018 Readers’
Favorite International Book Awards: Gold Medal in the Fiction –
Supernatural genre

2018 Readers’
Favorite International Book Awards: Bronze Medal in the Fiction – New
Adult genre

2019 Readers’
Favorite Gold Medal Winner in the Fiction – Supernatural genre

2019 Readers’
Favorite Gold Medal Winner in the Young Adult – Fantasy – Urban genre

City of Brantford
Featured Artist February 2020

Burlington Post
Readers’ Choice Award in the Best Local Author Category 2020

Toronto Star
Readers’ Choice Award in the Best Local Author Category 2020

Cambridge Times
Readers’ Choice Award in the Best Local Author Category 2020

Burlington Post
Readers’ Choice Award in the Best Local Author Category 2021

 

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Audio Spotlight: The Sparks & Author Interview

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Title: The Sparks

Author: Kyle Prue

Narrator: Jon Eric Preston

Length: 9 hours 14 minutes

Series: The Feud Trilogy, Book 1

Released: Feb. 24, 2017

Publisher: Cartwright Publishing

Genre: Fantasy; Young Adult

One teen assassin-in-training must unite three warring supernatural dynasties before death comes to them all…

Find out why USA Today calls The Sparks “a crackling read” that “builds a vivid world (both) otherworldly and relatable.”

Neil Vapros just wants to make his father proud. The sixteen-year-old aspires to serve his family as an assassin, but he nearly dies in the process. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Neil’s family, as well as two rival dynasties, have abandoned an ancient promise to protect their city. An unknown evil has begun hunting all three houses from the shadows…

As Neil’s relatives fall one-by-one, he attempts to unite the three supernatural families against a common enemy. But earning trust after years of assassination attempts could prove impossible. Neil’s fight may involve more than a bloodthirsty empire, as betrayal rears its ugly head…

The Sparks is the first book in the award-winning Epic Feud trilogy of young adult fantasy novels. If you like captivating characters, inventive world building, and supernatural battles, then you’ll love Kyle Prue’s action-packed coming-of-age tale. Buy The Sparks today to ignite your thirst for adventure!

“A crackling read. The Sparks builds a vivid world that is at once otherworldly and relatable. Characters spring from the page in a deft twist on mythology that belies Kyle Prue’s young age. He’s a voice to be heard.” (Scott Bowles, USA Today)

Winner of numerous national awards including: Best Book in Florida and Best Fiction for Young Adults 2015 from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association. The Sparks was runner up for Best Young Adult Fiction at the Florida Book Festival and won Honorable Mentions at the New England Book Festival, Midwest Book Festival, Southern California Book Festival, and the International London Book Festival. Prue also won an International Moonbeam Award and Indie Fab award for Best Young Author.

Buy on Audible

Q&A with Author Kyle Prue
  • Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
    • I think Fantasy stands head and shoulders above other genres as far as audiobooks go. Fantasy, especially high fantasy, is filled with so many deeply textured characters with their own rich traditions and sets of values. These worlds also come with so much dramatism. All that pomp and circumstance is just dying to be read aloud.
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    • My writing has always been written with the spoken word in mind. (Side effect of my time in the theatre.) Often I would read monologues aloud to make sure that if they were performed they would carry the necessary weight. Preston took that and ran with it.
  • How did you select your narrator?
    • Preston auditioned against dozens of his talented peers. However at the end of the day my team and I decided that there was no way it could be anyone else.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    • All writing is on some level autobiographical. If an author says otherwise they might be hiding something.
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
    • The Feud Trilogy is filled with so many larger than life characters. Preston’s narration REALLY makes that evident. Whereas when you’re reading on your own it’s possible to fall into a rhythm and start to hear characters talking in the same voice, Preston does an incredible job of adding interesting nuance to every single role.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • I’d probably say, “hey maybe it’s weird to care so much about this distinction. When was the last time you went outside? It’s nice out there. Let’s touch some grass.”
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
    • I took a shower.
  • What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
    • The more I write the rarer I find writer’s block, however when it does come it hits HARD. My advice, while it might seem counterintuitive, is to step away. Sleep. Eat. Watch something. Do some life living. So much of good writing is about finding a flow and forcing words out usually just leads to later rewrites.
  • In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
    • Writing a series is such an advantage from a story perspective because you’re allowed to put things on simmer. You don’t have to force characters through their narrative arcs on a ticking clock. I also think that the more pages you have to work with the more layers you get to add. While one book is a simple machine, a series is a swiss watch, with gears clicking away against each other. The con of writing a series is that you have to write more than one book.
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    • Read. Sorry that’s not a very glamorous answer, but that’s what any author will tell you. You have to read.

Kyle Prue is an award winning author, actor and comedian. Kyle wrote The Sparks: Book 1 of the Feud Trilogy when he was just 16 years old. Kyle has spent the past year on a national book tour visiting over 80 middle and high schools and meeting over 60,000 students. Kyle is now a freshman at the University of Michigan, studying acting and creative writing. He still visits schools and is a keynote speaker for conferences.

Kyle is the founder of Sparking Literacy, a non-profit dedicated to lowering the high school dropout rate by inspiring teens to read, write and follow their dreams. The Sparks has won numerous national awards including Best YA Fiction awards from: The Florida Authors and Publisher’s Association, the Florida Book Festival, New England Book Festival, Midwest Book Festival, Southern California Book Festival, and the International London Book Festival. Kyle also won an International Moonbeam Award and IndieFab Award for Best Young Author.

Narrator Bio

Jon Eric Preston received his Theatre degree from Florida State University after returning from the London program. He earned top honors narrating in the Dramatic Interpretation category on the Speech and Debate team, and performed professionally in Children’s Theatre companies and did National Tours of A Christmas Carol, Twelfth Night, and Othello.

As a SAG BookPAL and a father reading to his two boys for more than 12 years, moving into the booth to record audiobooks was a natural and joy filled progression.
He is thrilled to be narrating and giving voice to the characters for Kyle Prue’s Feud Trilogy.


 

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