Spotlight & Excerpt: Torch of the Defiler + Giveaway

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Torch of the Defiler

The Devourer Book 1

by Julie McCord

Genre: Epic Dark Fantasy


You can’t hide from destiny forever.

Lorothiel has spent her life hidden away among the elves with her cousin Loren. But when sorcerer-king Adran starts laying waste to his neighbors, Prince Eric crosses the haunted no-man’s land surrounding the elven forest in a quest for the magic that can save his people.Magic Lorothiel carries as her birthright.All magic comes at a price, and as ancient hatreds re-awaken, the cost will rise.

torchofthedefiler - excerpt

Although the forest never completely receded from any gathering place of the elves, it was in the background here. The wooden stage was very low to the ground and semicircular, ringed by benches. Loren and Eric took seats in the front— places of honor, Loren said, although the other elves seated in the front were a handful of children. Along the back of the semicircle were musicians, some with flat, handheld drums; some with drums that were long and tall and played with sticks resembling crooks; others with harps, flutes, and various other instruments that were harder for Eric to identify.

Censers were lit at either end of the stage and Loren gestured that the performance was about to begin.

It began with a cacophony of drums and gongs and dancers running in disarray, swarming over the stage. Abruptly, the noise fell silent and the dancers collapsed to the floor.

Loren had explained that this dance was about the creation of the world, so he was able to deduce that the three dancers who slowly rose to their feet in the silence were the gods. To his right was the one who was playing Gweron, dressed in red and gold. He was stocky for an elf, his movements blunt and precise, and his pale hair was stained reddish-brown. To the left was Elarren, a girl of quintessentially elven features, dressed in opalescent green and gesturing delicately with her hands and eyes.

In the center, dominating Eric’s attention, was Morgan. Morgan’s skirts shimmered blue and black and silver, but her blue shirt was cut like a man’s. Although this costume was intended to represent Morgan’s ambiguous nature, the dancer’s gender was clear, for she was more curvaceous than the other female elves; in fact, the strange cut of the shirt only served to draw more attention to this fact. Also unusual was her coloring: her hair was raven black and appeared to be so naturally; her skin was pale and her eyes crystalline blue.

She was the girl from the pond, and she was beautiful.

He watched her step back as the music began again, this time in a more orderly fashion. The melody was strange and wandering by human standards, with rhythms that made no sense; but the result was pleasant enough despite its foreignness. One by one, under the direction of the three gods, the others arose, performed impossible leaps and turns and flips, then moved into a line around the back of the stage. The ordering of the elements, Eric supposed.

Then came the shaping of the world. Gweron took up a staff and strode to center stage. His music was loud and clanging, and he alternated between stomping so that the stage shook, hitting his staff against the ground, leaping into aerial somersaults using the staff as a center, and whirling in battle-inspired fury using the staff as a weapon against a host of invisible assailants. The children in the front row winced and held their ears, not only against the noise but because they seemed afraid of him.

It was definitely for the best that Eric had declined the role.

Next came Elarren, whose music was soft and lilting, full of harps and flutes and bells. She moved in graceful steps, making delicate small movements with her hands and smiling gently into the crowd. Two attendants came forward and helped her slip into a rainbow-colored robe they had brought. Out of the bag sleeves she produced sweet-smelling herbs and flower petals and cast them into the audience. The children in the front row went wild.

Morgan came forward to the sound of drums, played more sensually than Gweron’s, and cymbals, and long strange pipes with nasal voices. Her movements were slow, mournful, yet seductive. Her arms and hips swayed and curved like serpents, her long jet hair moving behind her in a single sheet except for the wisps falling into her delicate face, half-hiding her closed eyes.

She arched forward, her eyes snapped open to punctuate her flirtatious, knowing smile, and she pulled at her skirts. They fell away around her into a winding scarf, blue and black and sprinkled with dots of silver like stars, leaving only a simple black skirt to cover the dancer’s legs. Majestically, she swept the scarf through the air over her head, sweeping it in spirals around the stage as if she were spreading the sky with her hands— which of course, Eric realized, was exactly what she was doing.

The children in the front row admired her but seemed unsure what to make of her. Her dance was for the older members of the audience.

As she retreated, she pulled a dancer all in white from near Elarren and one all in yellow from near Gweron: the moon and sun. They performed a stately paired dance to which Eric paid substantially less attention.

Gweron and Elarren resumed the center stage, hand in hand, breaking up the sun and moon. They shared a long embrace, then stepped apart, and beneath their clasped hands swarmed younger dancers, students of ritual theater, Eric imagined, dressed in rags with their hair dyed brown, jumping and howling and pretending to fight.

Men, Eric realized. He glanced at Loren, who scratched at his neck in embarrassment.

Now Morgan came behind Elarren and Gweron, taking their hands in her own, separating them. She kissed Elarren and when the elven goddess stepped back from her, there was a second swarm, these in something very like normal elven garb, in as stately and tender a dance as teens were likely to manage, swirling gracefully to either side.

Morgan moved to the other side to kiss Gweron and from between them came a third group, their hair dyed off-black, wearing intentionally mournful faces painted white and blue, their movements strange and apparently symbolic, and howling mournfully. The last of these were moving in a unified line, carrying sticks which upheld a thick, multicolored rope with an ornate head that must have been meant as a dragon. The dragon circled the entire troupe three times to a flailing of gongs, screaming, then landed at the very front of the stage.

And with that, abruptly, the dance was over.

Julie McCord is a mythology and folklore enthusiast, collector of wayward religions, and author. She has been addicted to telling fantasy stories ever since winning an award for “The Princess and the Serpent” in the second grade. They’ve gotten longer… and darker… since then, but they’re still full of strong women and smart alecks. When she’s not writing, she sings, crochets, reads and watches a lot of fantasy and horror, and drinks copious amounts of sweet tea. She lives in Orange County, California with her husband, daughter, and two cats.

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Cover Reveal: Happily Ever After, by Cheryl Holt

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On Tour with Prism Book Tours
Welcome to the Cover Reveal for
Happily Ever After
By Cheryl Holt


Coming SPRING 2022…

Happily Ever After
By Cheryl Holt
Historical Romance

CHERYL HOLT takes readers on a new and fun journey to the seashore, where she delivers another thrilling story of passion, drama, and love forevermore…

James Covington is an explorer who’s been away from England for years. After a catastrophe at sea, he’s returned to find himself presumed deceased and his world completely changed. He’s inherited the family’s earldom and is the new owner of the seaside resort town of Baywick, built to entertain the rich and glamorous of High Society. But he’s weary and suffering quietly over his failed expedition. He’d like to simply sail away to a spot where he can be alone with his tormented thoughts.

Miss Emily Shaw is a poor cousin with no dowry or prospects. She’d like to marry and have a home of her own someday, but she can’t imagine how it would ever happen. She’s accompanied her cousin to Baywick, where they will spend the summer, reveling as if they are wealthy ladies of leisure.

When Emily meets James, sparks fly and romance sizzles. But he’s a handsome, dashing earl, and she realizes he would never stoop low enough to love her. Yet she just might be the woman who could help him to live Happily Ever After…

About the Author

CHERYL HOLT is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon “Top 100” bestselling author who has published over sixty novels.

She’s also a lawyer and mom, and at age forty, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer. She’d hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn’t sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance where she was stunned to discover that she has a knack for writing some of the world’s greatest love stories.

Her books have been released to wide acclaim, and she has won or been nominated for many national awards. She is considered to be one of the masters of the romance genre. For many years, she was hailed as “The Queen of Erotic Romance”, and she’s also revered as “The International Queen of Villains.” She is particularly proud to have been named “Best Storyteller of the Year” by the trade magazine Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.

She lives and writes in Hollywood, California, and she loves to hear from fans. Visit her website at

Tour Giveaway

Signed print copy of Someone to Love by Cheryl Holt, book one in the Lost Girls trilogy (US only)

Ends October 5, 2021

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Cinders Like Glass + Giveaway

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On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Cinders Like Glass
(Victorian Retellings #2)
By Clarissa Kae
Historical Romance, Fairy Tale
Paperback & ebook, 234 Pages
July 29, 2021 by Carpe Vitam Press


Grieving her father’s sudden death, Lady Ada Whitworth’s childhood stutter resurfaces. She seeks solace in her charcoal sketches secretly published in London’s Thames & Times newspaper. Her brother’s sharp tongue and quick temper shame Lady Ada into complete silence but not before she overhears his traitorous plot to kill the queen at the upcoming International Ball.

Mute and heartbroken, Lady Ada’s private pain is mistaken for arrogance, earning the ire of society. The Duke of Girard is tasked with sniffing out the elusive French spy called Tailor while an anonymous artist pokes fun at the duke’s failed pursuit, taunting him every step of the way. With the upcoming International Ball just weeks away, the Duke will stop at nothing to bring stability back to his beloved Britain-including finding the artist behind the sketches.

When Lady Ada’s accused brother disappears, she becomes the target of the Duke’s wrath, assuming her silence is from guilt, not grief. To loosen her tongue, the Duke demands Lady Ada be interrogated at his estate, a home hidden in the wild Welsh countryside. She sweeps the chimney, launders her clothes and helps the cook-she will do anything but speak to the Duke.

Lady Ada’s quiet service softens the Duke, his mind often turning to thoughts of her. But can he earn Lady Ada’s trust in time to save the queen?

(Affiliate links included.)


She froze, unwilling to back down. This was the man who’d made her feel safe. And seen. She struggled to breathe. Grief pierced her—a completely absurd emotion. She’d danced with him only once.

He waited for a beat—she assumed for a reaction. He came closer, anger flowing from him. He knew. She shivered. Girard knew it was her last night. She could feel his disdain. Her heart sank.

He searched her face. Then her clothes. He opened his mouth as if deciding on his words. He stepped back and quietly said, “I have been tasked with finding every traitor to the crown.”

She forced herself to take a slow breath. She forced out a clipped, “And?”

The duke groaned. “Why is everyone so impertinent?”

At that, Ada retreated. Her tongue loosened. “I’d no idea I was everyone.”

His gaze snapped to hers. “I am not a man to be trifled with.”

Excerpted from Cinders Like Glass by Clarissa Kae, Copyright © 2021 by Clarissa Kae. Published by Carpe Vitam Press.

Other Books in the Series

A Dark Beauty
(Victorian Retellings #1)
By Clarissa Kae
Historical Fiction, Fairy Tale
Paperback, ebook & audiobook, 212 Pages
February 9, 2021 by Carpe Vitam Press


A Victorian Twist on Beauty And The Beast

Bold and brilliant, Georgiana has a gift for fixing machines—from clocks to carriages—while her father has a penchant for finding trouble. In an accidental fire, Georgiana and her father scar the once handsome face of Lord Pichon, cousin to the queen.

Rumors of Georgiana’s gift raise her family’s status. Her incomparable beauty captures the eye of many gentlemen and the wrath of Lord Pichon. Abandoned by his peers and alone in his cold castle, Lord Pichon is determined to enact revenge.

When Georgiana’s father makes a terrible mistake, she sacrifices herself to pay his debt—as a lowly maid in Lord Pichon’s castle.

Her wit and warmth begin to thaw Lord Pichon’s estate, making him question his version of the past. Will her kindness break the beastly lord or will he hold her family hostage forever?

(Affiliate links included.)
About the Author

Clarissa Kae is a preeminent voice whose professional career began as a freelance editor in 2007. She’s the former president of her local California Writers Club after spending several years as the Critique Director.

Since her first novel, she’s explored different writing genres and created a loyal group of fans who eagerly await her upcoming release. With numerous awards to her name, Clarissa continues to honor the role of storyteller.

Aside from the writing community, she and her daughters founded Kind Girls Make Strong Women to help undervalued nonprofit organizations—from reuniting children with families to giving Junior Olympic athletes their shot at success.

She lives in the agricultural belly of California with her family and farm of horses, chickens, dogs and kittens aplenty.

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

Five winners will receive one of the author’s backlisted titles: Once And Future Wife, Pieces To Mend, Taming Christmas, Of Ink And Sea, or A Dark Beauty
(ebooks to international winners, print to US winners)

Ends October 6, 2021

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