Spotlight, Author Interview, & Excerpt: Silver to the Heart + Giveaway

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Silver to the Heart
by Brien Feathers
Genre: Dark fantasy, urban fantasy (adult, not YA)

— So begins the apocalypse, with death and a story of love —

An old soul (several centuries old), the lover, fighter, and telekinetic Drake receives an order to safeguard Ana, a mortal with Elder Talent.

Ana, an artist beset by haunting visions, falls for the perfect stranger while venturing home to mediate emergent family chaos.

Past-warlord and present commander Sasuke wields his telepathic might to outwit Council traitors in an effort to save the human realm and its Guardian from a new Dark War.

Criminal and light bender Lou, now sought by the Council to answer for his sins, seeks shelter with the Reverend—an Elder fit to bypass rules of magic meant to be unbreakable.

As time’s last grains of sand deplete, an ancient battle may renew, with pieces of the fractured realm imperiling man’s modern world. Though few on Earth are cognizant, dark days now lie ahead. . .

One fate, two paths, six singular perspectives, and plethoric danger.
Contemporary fantasy at its polychromic finest—pure delight.

NOTE: This book is free.


Excerpt:

Drake held her around her waist with one arm. He needed at least one hand free. Seeing the harbor maybe 100 yards away, he landed them on the roof of a nearby building. With his Push, he broke their fall with a moment of levitation—Ana shrieked.

“Ana, you have to stay quiet, I have to be able to hear the arrows.” Preferably when he first releases one, so I can find him.

“What the hell is happening!” Not quiet, but loud. “Drake!” Still loud.

Drake couldn’t hear the Aerian or the arrows—they needed to take cover. As he leaped again with Ana, something grabbed his leg and swiped them into the side of a building. Midair, he turned to put himself in between the building and Ana and felt the impact as they slammed into it.

Pushing against the wall, he leaped with Ana as more arrows whizzed toward them. One, two, three arrows, one after another, struck the cement wall instead of them and fell to the ground harmlessly. They couldn’t kill Drake this way, but he didn’t want Ana hurt. He needed to take down that Aerian, but couldn’t leave Ana behind. In his decision to break direct order not to engage, he hadn’t accounted for Ana. Drake still wanted to capture one of the soldiers—alive, to inquire about the Reverend, but carrying Ana around like screaming luggage, this fight wasn’t going the way he wanted.


Author Interview:

1. 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 story that became ‘Silver to the Heart’, Book 1 of the Light of Adua dark fantasy series set in modern-day New Orleans, came to be from a single image— as most of my ideas do. I first see the scene that would become the central theme of the book or the film (I’m a screenwriter as well) as it unfolds. The rest of the time is spent discovering who they are and what’s happening: the characters, and the plot in essence.

For Book 1, the first scene I’ve seen was of Drake and Ana. He was a vampire and Ana was human. He was hurt, and I knew they’d lost a fight to something much bigger and nastier than himself. Although the initial scene I saw was in a hallway of Ana’s apartment, in the book it ended up being very different.

In the book, Drake gets kidnapped and imprisoned in a church basement in Texas, and Ana goes to rescue him. He frightens her using Talent (magic) and this is where she accepts what he is: a vampire or an Elder.

2. What, if anything, did you learn when writing the book?
Uuf, what an arduous but wondrous journey it has been. As a screenwriter, the beats, arcs, character motivations, settings, and theme— the moving parts that make the engine of the story become ingrained in the way you construct your writing; however, as an author, the craft of writing is very different. The heart of the story remains the same, of course, but I found that an author is not only the writer but also the director, the actors, the composer, and the whole nine yards. I learned this the hard way.


3. What surprised you the most in writing it?
Some of the characters for the series have lived rent-free in my head for years, which was one of the reasons I wanted to write the book, to tell their stories so they may live in another’s head as well. But most of the characters were conceived new for ‘Silver to the Heart,’ and it surprised me how quickly I’ve gotten attached to them.

I don’t start the story if I don’t see the ending. In that regard my characters had set arcs, an inevitable trajectory they’re on from the very beginning, of which some are tragic. As I was writing book 5, I had an incredible difficulty seeing through it. I didn’t want to cheat the character by robbing them of their arc, but… it was hard to let them go. I can’t say more without spoiling the series.

4. What does the title mean?
Silver, the size of a spearhead thrust through the heart, clean separation of the head from the body, or destruction of body and head altogether: those are the only three ways to kill an Elder or a vampire. Thus, the title, ‘Silver to the Heart.’


5. Were any of the characters inspired by real people? If so, do they know?
They’re all inspired by real people in a manner that we draw from our human experience when we write, but no one character is modeled after one particular person.


6. Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?
Although it hadn’t been intentional in the beginning, a theme emerged as I wrote the series: what is kindness? Is it different than politeness? Can you be kind and vicious at once? There is no intentional message because I don’t fancy myself a preacher, but the story itself asks questions about duty, honor, and how far one can go in the name of it and still be justified.


7. What is your favorite part of the book?
In ‘Silver to the Heart’, there is a chapter called, ‘Farewell, Father,’ and it is my absolute favorite. The book being perma-free, perhaps you’d like to check it out (hopeful thoughts and pleading puppy face)?


8. Which character was most challenging to create? Why?
In book 1, the most challenging character for me was Sasuke. He is a five-hundred-year-old Elder, who in human life had been a warlord in Japan. In the beginning, he just wouldn’t speak to me, and I had a hard time understanding him. But as the series progressed, he became my favorite, and in book 3, he is a prominent point of view character.


9. What are your immediate future plans?
I’ve just finished Book 5 of the Adua series, so Books 6 and 7 are in my immediate future— that will complete the series. Then I have a trilogy in mind.
Thank you for having me here, and I hope you’d give the series a chance.

However, I do have reader warning for mature content mainly for language and violence: centuries-old characters with various wounds, all wielding magic are at war with each other, so violence does tend to come naturally to the story. Although not gratuitous, pain and endurance is a reoccurring theme as well.

So, if that is all right, please give it a shot, and here is a wave all the way from Mongolia. I’m Mongolian by the way, and I live there. Thanks again, for having me here.


About the Author:

Author Image (1)Brien Feathers is a fantasy author living in the land of permanent frost, horses, and Mongols. She likes reading, writing (of course), riding (horses and husbands), drinking dark beer, and checking things off a to-do list.

Although she claims to love everyone equally, she really loves her youngest son the most. He has autism superpowers that allow him to speak all types of rare languages including drumbeats, elevator dings, and police sirens.

Miss Feathers loves grey days, orange cats, and all creatures human or otherwise. And she hopes you will love her world (fantasy) and people (characters) as well.

Website
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Giveaway:

Brien Feathers will be awarding $30 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Pack of Secrets + Giveaway

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Pack of Secrets
by Amara Mae
Publication date: September 6th 2022
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

As the daughter of the Seattle alpha, Grace is expected to carve out her place in a shifter pack still reeling from the horrors of war. Only Grace has two major problems with fulfilling her father’s expectations: she’s an omega—meant to support, not lead—and she was born with her inner wolf caged, unable to shift. Determined to become the asset her pack needs, she’s spent her life training to steal a magical artifact rumored to have the power necessary to release her wolf.

Unfortunately, things never go as planned.

The theft triggers an enraged guardian, one that her inner wolf can’t seem to resist, and Grace realizes she’s in way over her head. She’ll need the help of a small but capable team to journey to a foreign land and track down a mythical tree.

Easy peasy for an outcast burglar with a fractured psyche, right?

To complicate matters further, her father is acting weird, her best friend just made out with her, and she’s pretty sure a dragon is on their tail.

Across the world from the only home she’s ever known, Grace must face the questions she never dared to ask. Deadly secrets begin to unfold, and Grace will have to decide: Is unleashing her wolf worth risking everything?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play


EXCERPT:

I sniffed the air. Something smelled savage and… cold, like a wild beast trapped in ice. Definitely not another gargoyle; this was different. Unease crept up my spine as I drew my daggers and slowed my steps, slipping soundlessly through the night. Rounding a massive tree trunk, I sensed danger and froze. Something sliced the air in front of me, right where I would have been if I hadn’t halted. Moonlight glinted off metal. A sword! My heart leaped into my throat as I pivoted, narrowly avoiding a second slash. The attacker was lightning fast. Dropping into a crouch, I parried a third strike. Steel bounced off my daggers, the clash ringing through the silent forest as vibrations rattled my teeth and bones.

Damn! Fast and strong.

Surprised my blades didn’t crack under the force, I ducked and spun away. Like me, my weapons were built for speed and avoidance, and neither my blades nor my body would survive a vigorous pummeling. My best bet was to bail. Looking side to side, I tried to decide which way to bolt.

Leox!” exclaimed a deep, masculine voice.

Power punched through the ether. The burnt ozone stench of magic tickled my nose as bright light overpowered the darkness. Temporarily blind, I lifted one arm to shield my sensitive eyes so they could adjust. When I could see again, I lowered my arm and watched in fascination as light circled in on itself, growing to about a foot in diameter.

What the…

Since my aunt was a witch, I’d seen some nifty magical creations in my time, but nothing like the blazing blue orb hovering before me. In awe, I prepared to dodge if it came hurtling at my face, but thankfully, the orb didn’t move. It did, however, provide enough light to give me a good look at my attacker. He wore only a pair of black sweats, giving me an eyeful of rich walnut skin. I felt my eyes widen at the sight of him, but I couldn’t help but gawk. He was huge! He had to be more than six feet tall with broad shoulders, narrow hips, and an athletic physique of mouth-watering, jaw-dropping perfection.

I’d never seen anything like him. Every exposed God-blessed forearm, bicep, pectoral, and abdominal curve screamed for my attention. I didn’t know where to look first. My gaze snagged on a dusting of ebony curls that led from his navel downward, disappearing under the waistband of his sweats. The scandalously low waistband. How had they even stayed up during our scuffle? It seemed like one wrong move, and every inch of him would be on display. My mind hiccupped on the possibility.

My wolf panted at the sight. Yes, panted. She’d never done that before. I ignored the bitch and continued my perusal of the perfect male specimen before me.

You?” asked a deep, rumbling voice. “You are the beast? How can this be?”

Heat flooded my cheeks as I dragged my gawking gaze upward from his happy trail. Now, I realized he was wearing something besides the sweatpants. A leather strap stretched diagonally from his left shoulder to the right side of his waist before circling around his back. Had to be a baldric for the massive sword still clutched in his right hand. The blade that had tried to kill me. Then again, I wasn’t exactly there to plant flowers or lobby for world peace. I was a thief, and people tended to get pissed when I took their shit.

“Me?” I asked, trying to make sense of his words as my gaze finally snapped to his face. All the oxygen vanished from my lungs. “Beast?”

He arched one dark eyebrow at me in question. I’d clearly mystified him with my one-syllable sentences.

Fabulous first impression. You’re killin’ it, Chipmunk.

 

Author Bio:

Amara Mae is a new adult urban fantasy author who has written additional genres under other pen names for more than ten years. Fantasy has always been her first book love, and she’s researched and generally geeked out for years to build the Fractured Earth world which will be home to her Celestial Artifacts and several other series. She resides in the rainy Pacific Northwest, where she enjoys real and imagined adventures alongside her husband and their five boys and two dogs.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / TikTok / Pinterest


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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Wish Marked, by Lissa Bolts

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Welcome to Magic Pen Book Tours‘ organized release blitz for Wish Marked by Lissa Bolts taking place August 1-5, 2022! The first book in the urban fantasy series of Stones & Curses filled with adventure, treachery, magical beasts, tons of action and a dash of romance.
COVER Wish Marked - Stones and Curses Book One - Lissa Bolts
Title: Wish Marked
Series: Stones & Curses #1
Author: Lissa Bolts
Genre/Tropes: Urban Fantasy / Enemies-to-Lovers Romance, Slow-Burn Romance
Release Date: August 1, 2022
BLURB

Hi. I’m Nora, and I bring people’s worst nightmares to life.

Everyone needs a hobby, right?

Gah. Don’t look at me like that. It’s not like I do it on purpose. I’m cursed. Like bonafide needle-pricking, frog-kissing, poison-apple cursed. Except worse because in addition to slowly chipping away at my soul, this thing will eventually kill me too.

Let me start over…

It all goes back to wishes. The damned things come true around me but in the worst possible way. And I don’t mean that lightly because, well… sometimes people wind up dead.

The kicker? Once I grant my quota of ill-fated desires, that’s it for me. Finito. I know because there were others before me. Just our sick family heritage. We screw people over, and then we die. Hell of a way to live, right?

I think I might be the last one too. I’ve searched my whole life and found nothing. No answers. No cure. Not one hint of magic in this entire world besides me.

Well, that is… until today.

*This is the first book in the all-new urban fantasy series: Stones & Curses. If you like fierce heroines with hearts of gold, edge-of-your-seat adventure, a touch of swoony romance, and enough mind-blowing treachery to leave you wondering what in the world just happened, this is the series for you.

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PURCHASE LINKS
Free in Kindle Unlimited
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EXCERPT

Darkness settled around us, and I realized that the forest had gone completely still again. Goosebumps ran down my arms, making every little hair stand on end. I couldn’t quite put my finger on how I knew, but…

Something was watching.

“Where are we going?” I asked in a near-whisper.

Rafe put his finger to his lips, his footfalls silent. Every instinct inside of me was screaming for me to run. To hide. To get the hell out of here.

He crouched, sliding to his knees beside a massive tree. It wasn’t a palm and not a deciduous tree, but something in between that I’d never seen before. It had a dark, thick trunk the diameter of a small car that stretched toward the darkening heavens. The top held a plentiful array of branches, all draped with green leaves the size of my body.

I watched as Rafe pushed some ferny underbrush away at its base, exposing the tree’s huge, gnarled roots. The woody knots curled up and out, leaving a dark opening beneath—big enough for him to slip through. He crawled inside, waving a hand for me to follow.

Do I have to?

I glanced up one last time and instantly wished I hadn’t.

Several pairs of glowing red eyes blinked down at me from the treetops. My heart thumped like a drum, and I swallowed hard before scrambling after Rafe.

The cold, damp earth wedged beneath my fingernails as I tried to get situated in a way that didn’t put me right on top of Rafe. The pitch-black hollow was barely big enough for us to sit beside one another. Fine bits of dirt rained down, falling into my shirt while hairlike roots tickled my cheeks. It was gross, but I supposed it was better than out there.

Out there, we were dinner.

A soft glow illuminated Rafe’s face, and I turned to find the obelisk in his palm. He moved over me, reaching toward the entrance of our little hideaway. I tried to make myself as small as possible as he sealed us in, covering the way out with the broad leaves and ferns that he’d pushed aside earlier.

I watched in fascination as he used the small stone to draw a line in the dirt, and I felt the hum of magic splash against my senses. The line glowed white for just a few seconds before fading and returning to normal.

What was that?

“Protection spell,” he said, answering my unspoken question and making me wonder if he had powers of the psychic persuasion. “This is a zylas tree. Instead of spreading its roots deep, it stretches wide, often leaving hollows underneath. It also has inherent magic that, when paired with a stone like this”—he held up the obelisk—“can enhance magical properties.”

“The stone can do spells?”

“They call it a Lightbringer. It’s a protection stone with a minimal range of things it can do—like that spell. It’s not foolproof, but it should keep us safe tonight.”

I had a feeling his words were meant to reassure himself just as much as me, but it worked anyway. He had a way of making me feel safe.

A revelation that shocked me.

He settled back down beside me, pulling the small pack off his back. He rested the obelisk on a root where it continued to light our little enclosure with a faint glow. I shifted and ended up practically on top of him again.

“Well, this is awkward,” I said, only making it more so as I continued to try to get comfortable. There was a damn rock beneath my left butt cheek that seemed to follow me no matter which way I moved.

He chuckled and lifted an arm, gesturing for me to settle in the nook next to his body. I only hesitated a moment before giving in. He was the perfect balance of strength and softness, and I felt myself relaxing into it. His arm tightened around me, and he rested his cheek on the top of my head.

When did I stop hating Rafe again?

“You should get some sleep,” he said.

Right. Not happening.

With every blink, I heard the flapping of giant wings and felt the stare of red gazes. At least those thoughts kept me from reliving our blood pixie and drosera encounters. Those would come later; I was sure of it.

“What are the things in the trees?” I whispered.

“Predators. Big, big predators.”

A shiver rippled through me, and I caught sight of the tiniest hint of black smoke curling off my pinky finger. I’d begun to realize that it was a defense mechanism, triggered when I let the terror take hold. There was more to it than that—like how I sometimes seemed to run out of juice—but that was the gist. I clenched my hand into a fist.

No. I would not be afraid.

“Remind me, what keeps us from becoming their dinner again?”

I could feel him smiling against my forehead. “They can’t fit through the door.”

“Look, everybody, it’s Rafe the comedian.”

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AUTHOR BIO
Lissa Bolts

Lissa Bolts is an urban fantasy writer and the author of The Ruling Magic Series. She has a passion for creating new worlds, perilous situations, and villains you’ll love to hate.

A native to Utah, Lissa enjoys spending time with her family tearing up the powdery slopes in the winter and long lakeside camping trips in the summer.

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