Book Blitz & Excerpt: Gambit + Giveaway

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Gambit
by C.L. Denault
(The Prodigy Chronicles, #1)
Publication date: April 3rd 2021
Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult

The Core wants her DNA. She wants her freedom. Let the game begin.

In Earth’s battle-ridden future, humans have evolved. Those with extraordinary skills rise to power and fame. Those without live in poverty.

Sixteen-year-old Willow Kent believed she was normal. But when a genetically-advanced military officer shows up in her village and questions her identity, long-buried secrets begin to emerge. With remarkable skills and a shocking genetic code the Core and its enemies will do anything to obtain, Willow suddenly finds the freedom she craves slipping through her fingers. Greed, corruption, and genetic tampering threaten every aspect of her existence as she’s thrust, unwilling, into the sophisticated culture of the elite Core city. To ensure peace, she must leave the past behind, marry a man she’s never met, and submit to the authority of a relentless officer with a hidden agenda of his own.

Her life has become a dangerous game. How much will she sacrifice in order to win?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

I stood at the hearth to warm myself. The heat felt good against the room’s deep chill, and the dancing flames intrigued me. My family couldn’t afford wood as a fuel source. Trees were a precious resource in the Outlying Lands. Burning them required a permit and cost a fortune. Given the heaping pile of logs stacked beside the fireplace, neither of those obstacles had been a problem for Reece.

He approached me with another strange device. “Turn and face me.”

I did as he asked, noting the way firelight flickered over his dark hair and reflected off his eyes. The effect was startling. Who was this man, that he gave the order for a bluster’s death one moment and shimmered like a cat the next?

The device he held began to glow. A warm ray of light extended above me and washed over my entire body. When it finished, an image in my shape hovered above his palm. A red dot blinked on the lower right half.

Exactly where my dagger was hidden.

“Well, look at that,” he said. “My little butterfly has a stinger.”

I took a step back, knowing what he was going to ask of me. But I wouldn’t give it up, not the gift Mum had given me long ago, the one valuable thing I owned.

“Hand it over, Morrigan.”

“Don’t call me that. My name is Willow.”

He shrugged. “If you prefer. Now do as I say.”

I hesitated, and his icy-blue eyes narrowed.

“We can handle this one of two ways. Either you give up your weapon willingly, or I take it from you. And I assure you, I won’t be gentle about it.”

“But this is my only protection,” I said slowly.

“You won’t need it. I’m all the security you require.”

I didn’t want his security. I had my own, and his silky arrogance was starting to get on my nerves, calling forth an unreasonable yet potent desire to challenge him. “My mum gave it to me. It’s mine, and you’re not taking it.”

He cocked an eyebrow. “Oh, yes, I am. I won’t risk your attacking me when my back is turned.”

“It’s not for attacking, it’s for defending,” I argued irritably. “Which is exactly what I’ll do if you come any closer.”

“You are no match for me,” he said, with a husky laugh. An infuriating smile played at the corner of his mouth. “Do yourself a favor, and cease this childish game before you get hurt.”

Something desperate slid through my belly, hot and unrecognizable. It shook me with its intensity, and I had no strength against its will. Retreating another step, I felt for the weapon through my skirt. Vibrations tingled across my palms, and the skill’s power rushed through my veins. When I pictured the flat, silver surface of the blade, it trembled inside the scabbard as if ready to leap into my hand.

Let him try for it. He would regret laughing at me.

“Keep your distance,” I warned him, “or we’ll see who gets hurt.”

Author Bio:

C.L. Denault is a speculative fiction writer who loves dreaming up tales of adventure and intrigue. A former systems analyst, she gave up her nerdy code-writing skills to care for her family (including a son with special needs) and currently lives among the vast stretches of cornfields in Illinois.

Writing and working out are her biggest passions, along with coffee and sci-fi. When she’s not hanging out with her husband and kids, she can usually be found at a library or tucked away in the shadowy corner of a hip coffeehouse. She’s also been glimpsed sneaking into her garage, late at night, to work on her time machine.

She enjoys connecting with people—especially those from other planets, nearby dimensions, and the future. To find her, just visit her website or social media pages. Or use a Stargate. Whichever is easiest.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Allmother + Giveaway

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Allmother Rising
by Elexis Bell
Genre: Dark Fantasy with Straight and LGBTQ Romance

 

A broken-hearted priestess and a deposed prince team up with a ranger and a rebel with one too many secrets. In the name of The Allmother, they go to war to save their lands.

A coup in a neighboring kingdom brings threats of invasion and fire to Priestess Rising Veliana’s home in the forest. Under the guidance of her goddess, The Allmother, she forms an alliance with the deposed prince, Tyrvahn, and his ex, Garle, the leader of a rebellion that’s been brewing for years.

But Garle has many secrets, one of which could unravel Veliana and Tyrvahn’s budding romance and the future of these uneasy alliances. Veliana’s best friend, Kivala, tries to soften Garle with the ways of their fallen homeland, but what she learns chills her to her core.

At war with a vicious man twisted by the god of greed, they can’t afford to fight amongst themselves. Can they overcome their differences to save their home and their goddess from the new king? Or will the forests burn over blood-soaked earth?

Fans of magic and grit, high stakes and godly secrets will love this dark high fantasy novel with straight and LGBT romance.

 
**Only .99 cents until June 1st!!**

allmother rising

allmotherrising- excerpt
A maelstrom stirs within me as the doors click softly shut. Suddenly far more anxious, I ache for something to do. My eyes wander to the tray of ointments, but I know my parents will tend to each other’s wounds when I leave.
The sun of renewal hides, seeking shelter behind clouds and letting us fend for our own warmth. It sends only faint light in through the windows, so I light a few candles and gather furs from a chest. I drape them around my parents’ shoulders, careful not to nudge their maimed, bloody ears as I pull the plaits of their hair from beneath the thick pelts.
They settle into carved wooden chairs near the window and motion for me to join them. Nervous glances pass between them, and the storm inside me intensifies. A million terrifying scenarios play out in my mind.
Are King Kelgon and Queen Halde really dead? Did Paikon really murder his own sister, his brother-in-seal, his nephew… All for the throne?
I can’t imagine a land with so little of the Allmother’s influence as to allow Aia, the god of greed and power, to poison someone so deeply.
Do they not know her? How will the new King lead without her hand to guide him?
My mouth goes dry, and I swallow hard.
Does the new King want some of the Allmother’s land?
My questions go unanswered as my parents struggle for words. I glance out the window at Kin territory, eyes lingering over every branch of the magnificent Sailon Forest. Homes dot the trees at varying heights, connected by rope bridges. Moss hangs from them, and vines wrap around rope railings.
The High Seal has governed this forest, guiding the Kin according to the Allmother’s will for so many generations.
If Paikon or his son, Tumai, want part of this land…
I shudder at the thought and turn my attention back to my parents. “Are the rumors true?” I ask, unwilling to wait any longer.
My mother nods, crisp blue eyes finally meeting mine. “Paikon has… taken the throne. The Furen family rules with no intention of peace.”
The churning in my stomach intensifies and my palms begin to sweat. I rub them gently on my robes but it does little to help.
“He demands a third of the Sailon Forest,” my mother says.
I gasp and my jaw falls slack. “He can’t! They control so much land, already!”
“Aye,” my father says. “But they have abused their land. Trees are scarce, and they tear great swaths of minerals from the earth for the sake of ‘progress.’ The Allmother’s presence faded quickly as we moved into Jun.”
“I wept for the loss of her, for the loss of so many feats of nature,” he continues. “Crops and animals are butchered in great numbers. The surplus is gluttonous, yet so many go without.”
He touches my cheek and the silver undertones of his skin glitter in the faint sunlight. “Darling Daughter,” my father whispers apologetically.
My mother’s hand finds mine upon the table, and she squeezes it tight.
“Paikon demands more than land.”
A choked sob escapes my mother’s lips, and I tense, preparing myself.
How bad is it?
“He wants a third of the forest, now. But he knows it is unusual for a Priestess Rising to go unsealed for so long…” my mother says, trailing off.
My stomach drops, filling me with dread. She struggles for words, mouth opening and closing silently.
Please… No…
A burst of loneliness spreads through me at the mention of my seal status, colored by images of Materva, the Light Watcher I could have been sealed to years ago. Shadows flood my mind, tinged by his betrayal.
The smiles he seemed to save for that other girl, another Light Watcher. Laughter shared only with her. The sound of his voice telling me that he wanted her, wanted a life in the sun at the top of the trees with the freedom of the skies… without the burden of Rising.
Finally, Mother continues, “His son has recently… come unsealed. He wishes the two of you to be sealed so that, on his own death, Tumai will rule all of Jun and Kin territory. Kin will be no more.”
“What?” Outrage burns hot within me, coursing through my veins, but it is not strictly my own. The Allmother’s fury surges alongside mine, boiling my blood. “What makes him think we’d agree to that?”
“If we don’t,” my mother says, voice so small I barely hear her, “he promises to burn the entire forest to the ground.”

Elexis Bell writes gritty and emotional novels. Born and raised in the midwestern United States, she dreams of a cabin in the woods rather than a house surrounded by cornfields.

She loves writing well-developed characters facing real problems in vibrant, magical worlds. Armed with a degree in psychology and a rollercoaster past, she sprinkles gut-wrenching emotions over high fantasy romance, science fiction, and the occasional thriller.

 

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Spotlight: Whispers For Terra + Excerpt

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Whispers for Terra
By Nancy Houser-Bluhm
Genre: Magical Realism

Suffering from job fatigue, Mary, a speech pathologist, finds herself at a crossroads. Feeling a diminished sense of purpose, she finds solace in a nearby woods. It’s in these woods she discovers she is more than she knows. The earth spirits sense her ability to communicate and choose her to deliver a message that will influence our earth’s soil and everything that comes from it.

Seeking to enlighten humanity, an initially reluctant Mary is emboldened by a ninety-seven-year-old patient to embark on a journey of inner healing and outer discovery. Mary soon encounters others who have also been marked to carry the earth’s message. As their collective efforts turn into an expansive movement, the impact of the earth’s message amplifies, and the earth begins to sense something new: relief.

Whispers for Terra is a story of hope, inspiration, and finding one’s path, showing us the impact individual and small group actions can make to heal our earth.

All we have to do is listen.


Excerpt:

I didn’t know my World Was about to be rocked. As I prepared to step into the patient’s room, I only knew how my jaw felt as it tightened when I saw the last-minute speech language evaluation order placed at my station. My body had been settling into a feeling of relief for the end of the day. Barbara, a nurse, knew I would be off in ten minutes, but she also knew the policy stated that new evaluations had to be initiated the day they were ordered. Somewhere in me, I knew this wasn’t her fault, but I also sensed too much pleasure in it for her, and irritation was an easier emotion for me right now.

As I entered the patient’s room, I lifted my head and smiled broadly. As a kid, I was told my smile could light a room. And now, Mr. Talbot would never know I was anything but excited to help him. My soul knew the real story.

I reached for the clipboard and my sleeve slid down. I saw Mr. Talbot look at the mole on my arm, then look questioningly at me. He had no idea the mole had developed over a few short months. I shrugged and gave him a look of “Eh,” but my inner self was mirroring his same questioning look. Although most of my patients qualify as elderly and look the frailer part, Mr. Talbot, with his twinkling blue eyes, allowed me to envision the handsomeness he carried when he was younger.

I was relieved to read he was NPO, meaning nothing by mouth, and only tube feeding for now. He’d be safe from the risk of aspirating for the time being; he needed more strength and the medical staff needed more time to put a plan in place.


Author Bio

Nancy Houser-Bluhm author photoNancy Houser-Bluhm has lived in the foothills west of Denver, Colorado for over 20 years with her husband and miscellaneous pets. She hails from Michigan but always had a longing for the mountains after growing up watching Bonanza. Their current piece of heaven is called the Bluhmerosa. For some years she and her husband, Jon traversed the country moving from Michigan to Oregon, back to Michigan and then to Colorado. Once a rock climber, she now spends time with biking, skiing, camping, enjoying nature and yoga; oh yes and with writing.

Nancy received her first monetary writing award of $3.00 for a poem submitted by her middle school. Coinciding with the late 1960’s it pertained to war. About the same time, she won a statewide essay contest which took her to a presidential inauguration. She realizes she has outted herself and can never again use attending a presidential inauguration in the party game One Truth, Two Lies.

Like the character in her first novel, Nancy’s pursuit of personal growth and awareness, led her down numerous paths. In the 1990s, Journey Seminars was her effort to bring entry level knowledge on such topics as dreamwork, Feng Shui, and homeopathy to her community.

Authentic communication with herself and others has been an ultimate life quest, sometimes to the chagrin of others. A lifelong journaler, Nancy produced her own journal with excerpts from her past journal wisdoms and her husband’s art. She offered classes highlighting the power of the practice through gathered techniques. Nancy has had numerous prompted memoir-based articles in a local mountain newspaper. After working forty years as a Speech-Language, both in the schools and health care, she retired from being a full-time worker bee. It was then she began a blog and ventured into the arena of writing her first novel.

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