Book Blitz – DeadSteam II: More Dreadpunk Tales of the Dark and Supernatural

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It’s release day for DeadSteam II, the terrifying follow up to anthology DeadSteam: A Chilling Collection of Dreadpunk Tales of the Dark and Supernatural. This collection would be perfect to curl up with tomorrow evening, though you may want to leave a light on!

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DeadSteam II: More Dreadpunk Tales of the Dark and Supernatural

Publication Date: October 30th (Today 🎃)

Genre: Anthology/ Dreadpunk/ Dark Steampunk/ Horror

Just when you thought the nightmare was over, what was dead comes crawling back from the beyond. We warned you not to open that fateful tome. But you just couldn’t resist, could you? Back with more chilling tales of the dark and supernatural, the anthology of dreadpunk, gaslamp, and dark steampunk returns to haunt you with mummies, witches, vampires, gorgons, ghosts. The second installment in the DeadSteam series from Grimmer & Grimmer Books, DeadSteam II promises an even darker, grimmer gothic than the first offering. DeadSteam II includes stories by DeadSteam alumni David Lee Summers (Owl DanceThe Brazen Shark), Karen J Carlisle (The Adventures of Viola Stewart), Bryce Raffle, Ross Smeltzer, C.C. Adams, E. Seneca, and Rob Francis, while also introducing newcomers to the DeadSteam series. If you should sense someone lurking down by the river, some thing creeping through the forest, a sound from the attic, a strange pattern in the wallpaper that shouldn’t be there, a cold gust of wind on your neck…don’t look back. Just run. Run as far as you can. But know this…we’re still here.

Purchase your copy on Amazon today!


About the Authors Edited By: Bryce Raffle Stories By: DeadSteam alumni David Lee Summers (Owl Dance, The Brazen Shark), Karen J Carlisle (The Adventures of Viola Stewart), Bryce Raffle, Ross Smeltzer, C.C. Adams, E. Seneca, and Rob Francis, while also introducing newcomers to the DeadSteam Series: Artoria Sahnow, Renee MPT Kray, Melanie Cossey, RE McAuliffe, and Macy Harrison DeadSteam


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Spotlight & Excerpt: Eternity’s Gamble + Giveaway

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Eternity’s Gamble

by V.J. Allison

Genre: Paranormal Horror Romance

 

Can love beat the odds, or will the dice decide their fate?

Expecting the usual entertainment at the local Nova Scotia exhibition, Charles Hazard is less than impressed by the secluded corn maze his long-time friend and secret crush, Tiffany, drags him to. The repulsive state of decay, and the creepy dummy guarding the entrance of the maze have Charles anxious to leave, but his sense of self-preservation wars with his desire to make Tiffany happy.

Tiffany Morrow doesn’t think much of the tarot card reading she had only days before the annual exhibition, and has all but forgotten the prophet’s words and how she drew the Death card when she comes across a spooky corn maze. There’s only one person she wants to explore the stalks with. She’s been in love with her best friend, Charles, for as long as she can remember. His level head, introverted tendencies, and unique ginger sexiness call to the most intimate parts of her.

Their fun quickly takes a dark turn when the maze morphs into a game of life or death. From a quiet sunflower field, to a treacherous walk across a volcano’s cone, to an encounter with a creature out of horror legends, each roll of the dice forces them to work as a team or perish in a way they most fear.

Amidst the danger-filled labyrinth, they delight in small, stolen moments and find the soul mate they have been searching for. However, as with most games of chance performed at a devil’s will, there is more to this sport than there appears. Could they really be the only ones within the walls of their confines, or are other creatures lurking?

In a terrifying twist of fate, their chances at forever could be ripped away from them by a single roll of the dice…

Victory may linger out of reach, and a curse of eternal agony and loneliness could be their fate. Or, just once, the dice might roll in their favor. But what are the odds of that?

Eternity’s Gamble is a friends to lovers paranormal horror romance.

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eternitysgamble - excerpt

Tiffany felt like she was crawling out of a black hole. Each time she went forward, she was dragged back a step or two. A scream was wedged in her throat, her mouth dry, and her arms were cumbersome.
Light appeared as a slit that grew slightly larger, stabbing her eyes. Agony flooded her head, and iron spikes drove into her back. She squeezed her eyelids shut, hoping to block the searing torture in every cell of her body. A screeching echoed in her ears, raspy, akin to the soundtrack of a horror movie.
“Tiff. Tiff. Wake up,” a voice commanded.
No. Waking up meant pain and anguish. The silence of oblivion called to her. She drifted toward the peace it offered.
A hard shove made her shoulder ache. “Tiff! Wake up! We have to get up,” the voice commanded sharply. It was male and familiar. But who was it?
Her throat was on fire. Why was someone screaming? She tried opening her mouth but it was already ajar.
As awareness flooded her brain, the screeching became louder, more coherent. With a start, she realized it was her voice she was hearing. She scrambled around with a hand, looking for something—anything—to grasp and help her come back to reality.
A strong hand grabbed hers. “Open your eyes.”
Charles. What was he doing here with her? And why did she hurt so much? She shifted from her stomach to her side, and felt grass against her bare arm. Why was she lying on the lawn? Her last memory was going to the exhibition with Charles, and they were walking toward the show rings—
Her eyes flew open as the image of the hideous monster they had encountered flooded her mind. With a loud shriek, she flew to a sitting position. Nausea burned her mouth, stomach, and throat. The vision wouldn’t leave her mind.
She quickly turned her head and gagged. Whatever was left in her stomach came up, and it tasted horrible.
Charles patted her back and held her hair off her face. Disgusting. She hadn’t vomited that hard since the last time she was drunk, after having a few too many strawberry Jell-O shooters during the Canada Day party at their mutual friend Erica’s house.
“Sorry,” she mumbled and wiped a hand across her mouth. She would kill for a glass of water, but a glance around the room showed nothing but bare yellow walls, grass beneath her, and an odd-looking door covered in bright-green foliage with corn stalks and a few live ears of corn. There was a pink hue close to the ceiling.
Higher up, the hue became brighter. The word START was flashing at them in four-foot-high pink neon letters.
Acrid bile and gravel hit her tongue again. “Start? What does that mean?” She grabbed Charles’ hand, and her anxiety eased a little when his fingers entwined with hers.
“I-I don’t know,” he stammered.
He looked like she felt. His face ashen, his blue eyes looked tired, and dark circles ringed his eyes. His red hair looked like it hadn’t been combed in a few days, and his lips were as white as his cheeks. Hell, even the smattering of freckles across his nose seemed muted. His other hand was fisted, and there was fear in his eyes.
You were chosen. You drew the Death card. You will play my game! The deep, demonic-sounding voice echoed in Tiffany’s head. “The dummy. Didn’t he say we were chosen to play his game?”
Charles’ eyes widened. “Yeah, he did. But he didn’t tell us the rules.”
Tiffany scrambled to her knees. The room spun. She shook her head to clear it and managed to get her feet under her. “Surely there’s a rule book around here somewhere.” She bent over and slid her hand around the bottom of the wall, along the crease between it and the floor/ground. All she got was a handful of grass.
Charles sighed. “I checked. There isn’t.”
She stood and managed to stagger over to one of the corners. Nothing visible in the corner seam, but that didn’t mean anything. He could have easily looked with his eyes and not felt around like she had. Some days, she wished he wasn’t so damn cautious. It drove her crazy seeing him stick a toe in the water instead of jumping in full force. She felt along the seam as high as she could reach and down to the floor. Nothing but smooth walls of an unknown material met her fingers. “Did you actually touch anything?”
“No, but something fell out of the ceiling when I woke up.”
She turned her head to stare at him. “What was it?”
He sighed and lifted his hand, opening the fist. On his palm lay two black dice. The dots, totaling five, were glowing fiery red. His arm trembled.
“Dice? What are they for?”


V.J. Allison was born and raised in southern Nova Scotia, Canada, and her work reflects her strong Maritime roots. She is a stay-at-home mother to a son on the autism spectrum, married to the love of her life, and “mama” to a rescued Maine Coon cat named Marnie. She has been writing various stories of novel length and short stories since her school days, and sees writing as a vital component to her life.

 

She is a small town erotic romance author published by Extasy Books, and her novels have been received with great acclaim. Her second novel, Away to Me, is a recipient of the eXtasy Books and Devine Destinies’ Editor’s Choice Seal of Excellence and Enjoyable Reading.

Her first paranormal/horror romance, Eternity’s Gamble, was released by Decadent Publishing on October 1, 2021.​​​​​​​On January 4, 2021, she released her first independently published story, COVID’s Arrow, which had been previously released in the Together We Stand charity collection of stories about essential workers.​​​​​​​When she isn’t writing, she loves to read romance and science fiction novels (notably Star Wars); listen to music (heavy metal, rock, alternative); and do graphics design.

She runs her own graphics design company, Veridian Rose Designs, specializing in book promotional posters and Facebook cover photos.

​​​​​​​This self-proclaimed geeky rocker chick is a warrior and advocate for various chronic illnesses including Occipital Neuralgia, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Diabetes, Migraines, and Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia. She is also an advocate for the prevention of animal cruelty and is a voice for Autism Awareness.

Website * Facebook * FB Group * Twitter * Instagram

Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads * Books2Read

 


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Spotlight & Excerpt: Dead Man’s Hex + Giveaway

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This is my post during the blog tour for Dead Man’s Hex by Ani Gonzalez. In Dead Man’s Hex Paranormal investigator Claire Delacourt’s working vacation turns into a cruise ship to hell and it’s up to her and her trusty hellhound Chihuahua, Pookie, to save the ship…and the world.

This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours and the tour runs from 25 till 31 October. You can see the tour schedule here.

Dead Man's Hex book cover

Dead Man’s Hex (Drop Dead Witchy #2)
By Ani Gonzalez
Genre: Humorous Urban Fantasy
Age category: Adult
Release Date: 27 October 2021

Blurb:
It’s a cruise ship to Hell. Literally.

Sun, sand, and ghosts. Sounds like the perfect working vacation, no? The supernatural cruise would be a chance to get a tan, enjoy a variety of cold drinks with colorful umbrellas, and make some money leading ghost tours along the Mid-Atlantic coast…or so I thought. I didn’t count on a seasick hellhound Chihuahua, a stowaway ghost, and a crazy cult cramping my style. Now I’m fighting Octonomicron acolytes, trying to keep myself in one piece, and save humanity at the same time. Oh, and that tan? So not happening.

Links:
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Excerpt:

“NO,” POOKIE said. “Hellhounds and water don’t mix.”
“Hey, it pays the bills,” I replied, peering at my laptop screen.
We were in the Delacourt Manor dining room, a relatively peaceful space with an octagonal table, carved wooden chairs, and a brand new and rather expensive brass chandelier. The morning sun streamed through the windows, enveloping us in a comforting, summery warmth. I sat at the head of the gnome-carved table, checking my calendar as my hellhound Chihuahua lay on his pillow, soaking up the rays.
It would have been an idyllic scene, if it weren’t for the claw marks on the dining room door and the deep gashes on the floor. My newly acquired home—my family’s ancestral abode, no less—had a few Lovecraftian drawbacks.
Pookie’s obsidian eyes narrowed. “You’ve always been cheap, but you weren’t this concerned about money before. Did the television gig money run out?“
“Not yet, emphasis on yet, but I have a mortgage now.” I gestured toward a wall sadly in need of fresh wallpaper. “And a house that needs, er, maintenance.”
Pookie laughed. “Are you worried about feeding the tentacled beastie in the attic? Let me reassure you as to that. The sustenance it requires is not one you find at pet stores, and I’m not volunteering.”
Sadly, Pookie wasn’t exaggerating, for once. I’d gone as far as to let the government’s paranormal strike team, PRoVE, investigate the whole house with their computers, sensors, and magic users. Their best guess was that our unwanted housemate consumed only magical energy, preferably the kind found encased in a magical being.
A hellhound like Pookie would qualify as a full meal. As would I, given my necromancy. My ancestors, all witches, had also made the grade, as they were all killed by something very much like my supernatural cephalopod roommate.
Yes, it turned out my ancestral home was literally trying to eat me.
Oh, not right now. PRoVE had helped me install protections, so the creature was temporarily contained. As long as the house was standing, the transdimensional hexes implanted in it would be kept at bay, giving me enough time to figure who had put them there, and how I could take them out.
The house—an undeniably gorgeous Victorian that had so much gingerbread trim it could pass for a wedding cake—was extreme, even in this neighborhood. Yes, I lived in the famously haunted town of Banshee Creek. Yes, many people lived in haunted houses in this Northern Virginia village. However, I was the only who kept a magical katana—now resting against the table beside me—around for protection.
Which left me with an extremely difficult mission, and a big pile of home repair bills. I had a successful career as a paranormal investigator and—ugh, I guess I have to admit this—influencer. However, keeping the house and its newly installed protections in one piece wasn’t cheap, which was why instead of focusing on handing my supernatural squid housemate an eviction notice, my attention was on the big pile of house repair bills.
I already had a frighteningly large estimate from the electrician and a similar one from the plumber. The roof, I already knew, was in bad shape. Liam Hagen, Banshee Creek’s resident contractor, was now touring the house and likely daydreaming about the luxury pickup truck he’d buy with my checks.
I needed money fast, and Danny Demento’s Paranormal Summer Cruise paid extremely well.
“Uh-oh,” Pookie sighed. “I know that look. It’s a prelude to an episode of epic bad judgement.”
“Hey, you turned your back on the luxurious demonic lifestyle of Gehenna Heights,” I replied. “In this plane, my spoiled hellhound friend, money problems are not a state of mind. We need the cash. Look, it’s just three days. That leaves us plenty of time to hunt down the Octonomicron cultists. I promise I’ll let you bite some of them.”
“You don’t think Captain Eileen was acting alone then?” Pookie asked. “I thought that was the official PRoVE theory. She’d been in the organization a long time, had become obsessed with this particular old cult, and decided to bring it back all by her lonesome by triggering their old traps and the supernatural critters contained within.”
“No, I don’t,” I replied. “And neither does Caine. He’s just using that for his reports. He hates admitting that he doesn’t know.”
Caine Magnusson was the leader of PRoVE. You may have seen the group’s all-seeing eye logo, watched its YouTube channel, or heard about its goofy antics as harmless paranormal investigators, and thus you may have surmised they were just a bunch of adventure-seeking bikers and eccentric academics. But, believe me, that’s just a cover. PRoVe was a government organization tasked with investigating supernatural occurrences. The organization was old—created by President Andrew Johnson by an executive order dating back to the 1800’s—and Captain Eileen Childs was by no means their first renegade. She was, however, Caine’s first brush with betrayal, and he had not taken it well.
Eileen, burning with the hatred of the supernatural that had caused her to study magic and join PRoVE, had read the Octonomicron books and fused them to try to kill me, Cole Hunt, the town’s guardian ghost, and Sara Parker, the vampire who managed the pizzeria. Caine felt the betrayal deeply and was determined to find the cause of it. However, we had found no leads regarding the Octonomicron books, so PRoVE’s official story was that Eileen had acted alone.
None of us believed it, though. Whoever the Octonomicron people were, it was clear they were many. They had a printing press, they had blogs, they were distributing materials. Oh, maybe some of their victims, like Eileen, acted independently, but there was a group behind it. One that had likely been around for centuries. One that had killed my family.
And I had to find out who they were.
That is, right after I got my roof repair estimate. Liam’s footsteps echoed through the house, the spring in his step sounding ominous. Anything that made my contractor happy would be bad news for my bank account.
I drew in a deep breath. “I’ll take the cruise job, put down the repair deposits, and leave Liam to fix the house. Then, I promise, we’ll go on a long, productive road trip and get to the bottom of this.”
I pulled up Danny Demento’s e-mail. All I had to do to secure a last-minute berth was reply and show up. The VIP treatment was nice, and it explained how Danny had been able to assemble such an impressive lineup of presenters, entertainers, and hosts for his trip. Nearly every high-profile paranormal investigator, medium, and parapsychologist I knew was attending.
“The job,” Pookie drawled, “is a weekend cruise down the Mid-Atlantic coast with a bunch of weirdos doing silly magic tricks. Trust me—there isn’t enough money in the world.”
“Danny Demento is not a weirdo,” I replied, typing in my registration information. “He is a marketing genius. He started with a national chain of seasonal Halloween costume stores, expanded into a line of haunted house attractions, and is now doing haunted cruises. He’s brilliant.”
And he was pulling out all the stops for this tour. The materials promised arcane rituals, esoteric knowledge, and the fulfillment of one’s secret dreams and desires. The itinerary itself was a series of run-of-the-mill coastal paranormal investigations—spooky lighthouses, haunted hotels, and ghost ships—but Danny made it sound epic. He even promised world domination. Typical Demento over-sell.
“He’s had more bankruptcies than I’ve had reincarnations,” Pookie replied. “The haunted house gig went kaput, and he had to sell the stores at a loss.”
He had me there. Danny’s finances went up and down like a roller coaster. When he was up, he was minting money, but when he was down, he went totally broke. This cruise seemed to be one of his upswings.
“You need to stop watching financial news,” I mused, reviewing Danny’s email. “It’s not good for you.”
Three days of sand and surf, surrounded by some of the most influential people in the paranormal industry. That didn’t sound too bad. I’d be able to gather information and check out if anyone had noticed the Octonomicron materials and their distinctive eight-armed symbol around. My colleagues were huge gossips, so that wouldn’t be hard. By the time the job was over, I’d have some idea of what my next step should be. Right now, all I had was a pile of Octonomicron books, Eileen Childs’s tapes, Sara’s haphazard memories, and a long list of questions.
Pookie yawned. “I’m a demon. I can’t resist a train wreck. I just don’t want to be a part of it.”
“But disaster hasn’t hit yet,” I continued. “He has money now, and he’s willing to pay a handsome fee. That’s the bottom line. You can stay if you want to, but I’m going.”
Pookie snorted. “As if you could get by without me.”
“Try me,” I said, hinting the send button.
Pookie’s eyes went wide. “Well, aren’t you the independent—wait, a minute. Are you taking the ghost guy? Am I being replaced by Mr. Tall, Dark, and Only Corporeal to You?”
My head snapped up. “The ghost—you mean Cole? No, he’s not coming. Of course not.”
Cole Hunt wasn’t just the town’s resident guardian spirit. He was also my old high school crush. He’d helped us defeat Captain Eileen, and he also wanted to solve the mystery of the Octonomicron. He thought there was an older and more dangerous force at work, and he would be a useful ally—
“Oooooh,” Pookie sighed. “Cole and Claire, sitting in a ship, K-I-S-S-I—”
“Oh, stop,” I said, scowling at him. “That doesn’t even rhyme.”
“‘Nipping’ would rhyme,” he replied. “But then he’d have to be a werewolf, not a specter.” He frowned. “Can a ghost even board a boat? Isn’t he stuck here?”
“He’s not going,” I said through gritted teeth.
Even if I wanted to have Cole around, which I wasn’t willing to admit, it wasn’t worth enduring Pookie’s teasing. And the hellhound was probably right. Ghosts tended to stay put. Cole was likely bound to Banshee Creek, the haunted town he was devoted to.
So, no beach trip with Cole Hunt. I wasn’t disappointed about that, not at all.
“Turn that frown upside down, witch girl,” Pookie drawled. “It’s not too late to back out from this sand flea-infested three-day cruise to beach hell.”
“Actually,” I said. “The confirmation e-mail just hit my inbox, so it is too late. We leave for Norfolk tomorrow.”
“Oh, wonderful,” Pookie said with profound insincerity. “I’ve longed to see Norfolk again. We had so much fun there the last time.”
And by ‘fun,’ he meant the exact opposite. The Norfolk supernatural community could be strange, not that I was judging or anything. We were all a few nachos short of a combination plate in this business, but Norfolk was missing an entire enchilada.
“I’m glad you’re so excited,” I replied, ignoring his sarcasm. “We leave in the morning, which doesn’t give us much time to pack.”
“Luckily, I travel light,” Pookie said.
“But I don’t,” I said, as I pulled up my work packing list.
Monster hunting didn’t require a large wardrobe, but my day job was a different story. I’d become a paranormal celebrity thanks to my stint as the host of the Celebrity Medium television show. I liked to think that my popularity was due to my scintillating personality and my deep knowledge of paranormal history, but looks were a big part of it. My lavender hair and stylish clothes were part of the draw, and that, unfortunately, required a lot of effort and a ton of luggage.
I got up from the table. “I better go hurry Liam up. If I don’t start packing soon—”
I jumped as a shrill scream rang out. The sound echoed through the room, making the thin glass of the old windows vibrate. Pookie yawned and glanced up at the ceiling.
“Did you warn Liam about the attic?” he asked.
“No,” I replied, leaping out of my seat, my heartbeat quickening. “I forgot.”
Luckily, I remembered to grab my sword before heading for the stairs.


First book in the series:
Hex Marks The Spot book cover
Hex Marks the Spot (Drop Dead Witchy #1)
By Ani Gonzalez

“Going to Hell is easy. Going back home is a different story.”

Links:
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Amazon (Free Oct 29)


Ani Gonzalez author picture

About the Author:
I’m a USA Today bestselling author of paranormal romantic comedy and cozy mystery (whew, that’s a mouthful!) set in Banshee Creek, Virginia, The Most Haunted Town in the USA. My books feature feisty, irrepressible heroines dealing with a host of paranormal critters (ghosts, cryptids, pagan gods…the sky’s the limit) and mysteries. They find love and laughter (and sometimes corpses) along the way, and readers get to follow them every step of the way.

I love quirky towns with spooky stories, and, thanks to my books, I get to “live” in one year-around. In real life I live in a Virginia suburb (which is sadly lacking in ghosts) with my husband, three children, two cats, and one adorable dog.

Author links:
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Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Dead Man’s Hex. These are the prizes you can win:
– a $25 Amazon gift card
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– a $10 Amazon gift card

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