Spotlight & Excerpt: How to Kill a Dragon, by J.A. Culican

how to kill a dragon

How to Kill a Dragon
Heir of Dragons, #1
by J.A. Culican
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Dragon Realm Press
Date of Publication: 4/29/2021
ISBN: 9798728327523
ASIN: B0913DJ46D
Number of pages: 368
Word Count: 72k
Cover Artist: Christian Bentulan

  The dragons are gathering, which can only mean one thing. Death.
 
Minx, a royal Fae has been tasked with saving her people. Problem is, the only way to do that is by slaying a dragon and bringing their hide back to Paddling Grounds. The magic that resides inside dragons is strong and without it her people will die.
 
Except Minx has never slayed a dragon, she hasn’t even ever seen one, but she knows where to find them. With help from her Faelyr, half fae and half tiger companion, Minx sets out to Talon Range.
 
Kaleb, the dragon heir to the Pyra clan isn’t looking for war. But then again no one has ever asked him what he wants. He has a duty and he will do whatever is needed to keep his people safe. Even if that means taking on the darkness himself.
 
When Kaleb and Minx come face to face, a battle erupts. Neither are giving up, neither will fail. Until they realize they share a common enemy and only together can they defeat them.
 
With a pull between them that is strictly forbidden, Minx and Kaleb find they are on their own and time is running out.
 
A fae, a dragon and a war neither are prepared for. The end of both species is near and only they can save each other.
 
How to Kill a Dragon is the first book in the Heir of Dragons trilogy by USA Today Bestselling Author J.A. Culican. Full of dark magic, dragon shifters, and forbidden romance. Fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout and Sarah J. Maas will love this new epic fantasy romance with a dose of dragon-riding and magic bonding.

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Excerpt

“It sounds like the Fae are going to have a big fight on their hands,” said Kaleb, arms crossed. “We’ll find some way to protect the realm—”
“I’ll say we will,” interrupted Minx.
“I’m going to find myself a dragon’s hide and get it to the elders before time runs out. That’s the mission. Nothing’s changed.”
The dragon shifter sighed, kneading his brow with a few fingers. “We’re going to find a way to protect the realm,” he repeated. “Another way.”
“If we don’t reset the shields, then—”
Kaleb raised a hand to silence her.
“You want to protect your home, your people. I understand that. In fact, I respect it.” He donned a genuine smile, motioning at the chair she’d just abandoned. “You know, that’s what I was raised to do, too. To defend my kind at
any cost. You only get one homeland, one people. Only a coward wouldn’t risk
everything to defend their own. But what you’re asking for…” He shook his
head. “There has to be another way. And together, I think we can find it,
Minx.”
***
Watching the movements of the sword very closely, he’d managed to reach out and grab the Fae’s thin arm before she could connect with her weapon, and applying his forceful grip, the dragon shifter put pressure on her forearm till she cried out in pain and the sword fell from her grasp. She fell to her knees, tugging and panting but ultimately unable to pull away from him.
He heard the smooth nocking of an arrow, the drawing of a bow. “No!”
Minx had wasted no time. With her opponent disarmed by the dragon shifter, she’d loaded a fresh shot and prepared to deliver a point-blank coup de grace. The arrow had begun to fly, only to meet its terminus in Kaleb’s waiting hand. The sharpened tip of the arrow sheared the skin of his palm neatly, but he was able to stop the thing before it reached its intended target, and he cast it away with a wince.
“What are you doing?” demanded Minx, pulling another arrow from her quiver.
At this, he reached out and took Minx by the arm, pulling her close with such unexpected force she dropped her bow. A wide-eyed rag doll in his furious gaze, she found herself nearly nose-to-nose with him, his hot breath streaking across her reddening cheek. “No more. You can’t kill her, Minx,” he ordered. “The fight is over. Understand?”
They remained in this way for several beats, the race of her pulse felt clearly against his wounded palm. From this distance—closer than he’d ever been to her before—he couldn’t help taking in the faint quiver of her soft lips, the innocence of her wide, watery eyes.
Sure, she was a Fae—but he couldn’t deny her loveliness. She didn’t pull away from him, didn’t make an immediate effort to break free, and the quickening of her pulse almost gave him the impression she liked being in his grasp.
Get ahold of yourself, he thought, letting her go gently when he was sure she would no longer lash out. He shook his head, sporting an almost embarrassed grin. There are more important things to worry about. Are you really going to let yourself get carried away with this girl? She’s a Fae, after all! What are you thinking?
Minx’s face had taken on an uncharacteristic flush. She drew away from him, lowering her gaze and slowly picking up her weapon. Running a hand through her dark, tousled locks, she couldn’t seem to find her voice and stood silently beside the cage where Mau watched in silence.
He had to force himself to look away from Minx, to distract himself and quiet the thumping of his own heart. A Dragon and a Fae? You’re really losing it, aren’t you? But then, maybe…
***
Kaleb, having regained his breath, struggled to his feet. “You’re not taking her anywhere, you understand me?” He stood upright with a pained grunt, arms hanging at his sides.
Torrent pointed at the dragon and shot Alla a sharp glance. “I’d love to leave them out of it, but they insist on butting in. I suppose I have no choice.” He thrust out an open palm, fingers arrayed rigidly like claws, and turned toward Kaleb. “You should have stayed down the first time.”
There was, in the next instant, a flash of blinding light.
The sound of splitting metal and splintering trees sounded, and Minx felt a powerful burst of wind wash past her. It came so intensely that she fell onto her back, unable to remain seated on the ground, while Kaleb was hurried off his feet entirely and thrust against the nearest tree.
When the dust had settled and her eyes had adjusted after the brilliant flash, Minx turned to Kaleb and began crawling toward him.
And then she halted, heart seizing and guts churning.
Slack-jawed and moaning, Kaleb had been pinned to the massive trunk of the tree—not by any invisible force or psychical trick, but by arrows. Three stone-colored arrows, conjured by Torrent, had penetrated Kaleb’s dense armor and impaled him at various points through the chest and stomach. The tips of said arrows had passed straight through him, and were buried in the trunk of the ancient tree, which had rattled and creaked as though a mere sapling.
It was impossible. Everything she’d witnessed was impossible. No normal arrow could hope to pierce Kaleb’s thick plate armor. But Torrent had stuck the dragon shifter with three at once, summoning them from thin air. He remained pinned to the tree, bleeding profusely. His end was very near. No one could sustain that kind of damage and hope to recover.
***

I’ve not only disgraced my father, but my entire people. I’m not worthy of the title of Dragon Hunter—or Royal Fae, even.
I feel like I’ve betrayed them all…

“What are you talking about?” blurted Minx.
“He very nearly killed you, Kaleb! We need to be careful around him.”

“You’re right,” he conceded, “but he faced me this way, man-to-man. Let’s see how he fares man-to-dragon.”
***

Minx had been waiting for this day. The wait had seemed to her an eternity. Journeying across the land with Kaleb and Mau, finding herself in one mess after another, she had begun to wonder whether the fateful clash would ever arrive. Now, as Kaleb lumbered on with her on his back, the wait was over. She squinted into the distance, spying untold hordes bearing down on her precious homeland. There were more marchers flooding in from the horizon than she could hope to slay with a hundred full quivers, and she felt almost dizzy at the immensity of their ranks. It’s like a dream, she thought absently, clinging to the dragon shifter’s scales. Minx knew what it meant to fight in a battle; this, however, was a war.

  

About the Author:


J.A. Culican is a USA Today Bestselling author of the middle grade fantasy series Keeper of Dragons. Her first novel in the fictional series catapulted a
trajectory of titles and awards, including top selling author on the USA Today bestsellers list and Amazon, and a rightfully earned spot as an international
best seller. Additional accolades include Best Fantasy Book of 2016, Runner-up
in Reality Bites Book Awards, and 1st place for Best Coming of Age Book from
the Indie book Awards.

J.A. Culican holds a Master’s degree in Special Education from Niagara University, in which she has been teaching special education for over 13 years. She is also the president of the autism awareness non-profit Puzzle Peace United. J.A. Culican resides in Southern New Jersey with her husband and four young children.

For more information about J.A. Culican visit

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Goddess Of Everything

Goddess of Everything

Goddess of Everything

by Paul DeBlassie III
 
Genre: Paranormal Thriller
Publisher: Hallowed Realms Press
Date of Publication: 2.11.20 
ISBN: 978-0-578-81368-4
ASIN: B08R13FQSH
Number of pages: 199
Word Count: 57,900
Cover Artist: Aaron C. Yeagle
 
Goddess of Everything is a blood-curdling tale of the affection of one mother for her son and her son’s struggle for truth, freedom, and love.
 
In the mystic land of Aztlan del Norte, a realm of supernatural happenings and unexpected turns of fate, psychiatric healer Gabriél de LaTierra encounters appalling evil within the Orphanage of the Holy Innocents. Children disappear for reasons kept secret by Mother Juana de la Cruz, Superior of the Nunnery and the Orphanage.
 
Love for Mother Juana, Gabriél’s widowed mother turned religious superior, clouds her devoted son’s mind. Consuela, Gabriél’s wife, confronts his wall of denial. Torn between love for mother and wife, Gabriél turns inward.
 
It is Consuela who propels Gabriél’s discovery of the nighttime blood sacrifice of children in the desert, a centuries-old ritual that imparts immortality to Mother and her nuns. Gabriél is further enraged by Mother Juana’s vengeful attack on Consuela and her kidnapping of their four-year-old son, Cuauhtémoc. But his actions will determine whether Consuela and Cuauhtémoc live or die, and the fate of Mother Juana de la Cruz.
 
Goddess of Everything is a blood-curdling tale of the affection of one mother for her son and her son’s struggle for truth, freedom, and love.
 

 

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Excerpt

His mother wailed again. Nighttime darkness continued to descend, and the wind stayed its brutal course at Father’s funeral. Mother Juana hadn’t noticed the spirit of a man cloaked in light beside Gabriél. He wasn’t Gabriél’s father. He was more than a man; he was everything that Father was and more. Through the corner of his eyes, Gabriél saw the white-bearded old man. In many ways, in many forms, I will come. The words were close as heartbeats and breath. He knew if he turned and looked directly at him, the man would disappear. The light was intense, like rays of the sun. The old man had something to say.

Suddenly, unclean sounds went into Gabriél’s ears and chest—crackling and squealing voices rising from under the earth and into his body, trying to block out the lingering presence of the old man and his words. Like a god, the white-bearded man lifted his right hand, fingers spread. The noise went up from the ground into his palm, a mighty hand with powerful magic.

Gabriél’s mind became silent as a windless autumn night, magic making him still inside, just like he was when in his bedroom reading alone. The old man was strong and made what was bad cease. Even as the underworld racket stopped, the graveyard winds kept up their awful screams.

The quiet of the man and the moment wrapped strong and warm arms around Gabriél. Invisibility stood guard around the old man. Mother could not see him. No one could see him. He was there only for Gabriél. He bent down beside Gabriél and touched his shoulder. A crystal clear calm made the shrieking wind and the crying women and the priest’s strange prayers seem far, far away.

Mother’s red hair blew in the wind like it was on fire. It didn’t scare Gabriél because of the old man, his warm and solid hands steady on Gabriél’s shoulders. His kind eyes said he was ten thousand times ten-thousand-years old. His mother’s red hair and shrieking prayers no longer scared him.

Then the old man spoke, and through Gabriél’s mind sent a message, LISTEN… WHEN THE DAY GOES AWAY AND THE NIGHT COMES, REMEMBER I AM HERE. He touched Gabriél’s heart. LISTEN.

Gabriél’s mother abruptly glanced down at him. He looked into her eyes and knew she hadn’t heard the old man, but she had a squint in her eyes. Her eyes glowed red, and the old man’s hands did not move from Gabriél’s shoulders.

Big branches from the cottonwoods cast long moon shadows over the grave. Now they looked like skinny people scratching at each other, cloaking the old man. The wind picked up its screeching.

Gabriél’s heart pounded like stampeding horses.

Mother squeezed his hand. His fingers tangled together, tips burning with pain. Then she looked away and wailed more loudly than ever.

The old man continued, TELL NO ONE ABOUT ME. I WILL HELP YOU AS A BOY. I WILL HELP YOU AS A MAN. LISTEN. The old man motioned again to Gabriél’s heart and then touched between Gabriél’s eyes, the brow point.

The old man stopped and looked up.

Gabriél caught his mother’s gaze.

She’d seen the old man, pointed at him, and screeched like the evil winds.

Blistering dust and grit blinded Gabriél. He pulled his hand away from his mother and rubbed his eyes and tried to clear them, but when he looked again, squinting, he saw that the light of the old man had vanished.

His mother was wrapped in a cloud of dust. Out of the cloud came a coyote, foam curling from its mouth. It howled, and an instant later legions of dust devils took over the landscape and swallowed it in clouds of dust, trash, and tumbleweeds.

Mother reappeared beside him and picked him up. She screeched with a million hateful voices. His heart beat rapidly, fluttered like a flock of sparrows flying away. Catching his breath was hard.

“The night plays tricks,” his mother seethed, her breath hot and rank.

The winds suddenly ceased. Brown and gray clouds gave way to blackness that closed in and covered the full moon. Spirits of children rose out of their graves. They pointed at Gabriél and his mother. Their hands and fingers grew and reached to grab him, take him away under the earth.

Mother swept her black shawl over Gabriél. She whispered, “I will protect you, mijo.”

They escaped into the jet-black night.

 

 

About the Author:

Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D., is a psychologist and award-winning writer living in his native New Mexico, crafting visionary thrillers energized with trickster mischief and natural magic.

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Spotlight & Excerpt: A Cat for Troy + Giveaway

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A Cat for Troy
Wishes and Dreams, #3
by Allie McCormack
Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication:  March 4, 2021
ISBN: 9798580580678
ASIN: B08P2SMY52
Number of pages: 400
Word Count: 107,000
Cover Artist:  Dar Albert

Troy’s new roommate was loving, demanding ,possessive, sometimes even bad tempered. But he loved her anyway. After all, she was just a cat. Wasn’t she?

Veterinarian Troy Shelton has no idea what he’s letting himself in for when he rescues a friend’s cat from the shelter after a dog attack. The friendly but demanding calico soon has Troy and his pregnant collie wrapped around her furry paw. But strange things begin happening in Troy’s home when he’s away, and he could almost think someone else was living there besides him.

Torn and hurting, Katerina appreciates Troy’s gentle care. She also appreciates his strong form and handsome face as much as the way he cuddles her. She’s trapped in her cat form until her wounds heal, but once she’s well again she finds herself oddly reluctant to resume her human form and life away from Troy. But someone else is interested in Troy, and that someone else has already tried to kill Cat once.

EXCERPT

Troy paused, standing stock still, watching in amazement as Cherie greeted Katerina with the enthusiasm of an old friend, her whole hind end wagging along with her plumed tail.

“Well, I’ll be darned.”

Katerina leaned down to pet the collie’s head. Cherie took advantage of the moment, and swiped at Katerina’s cheek with her tongue.

Oh, yuck! She’d swear Cherie was grinning at her. She was so going to get that dog.

“That’s amazing,” Troy told her. “I never saw Cherie take to someone so quickly.”

Katerina hid a smile, fondling the collie. “She knows an animal person when she sees one, don’t you, Cherie?”

Jacinth seemed to be having spasms in the background, and as Troy turned away to unlatch the door of the horse trailer, Katerina crossed her eyes and stuck her tongue out at the unrepentant Djinn.

Benny came bouncing up to them, wide-eyed with excitement.

“Hi, Miss Kat,” he said respectfully.

He then stood staring at her until she sighed, leaning down close to the boy’s ear.

“Stop that,” she whispered. “Or I’ll sharpen my claws on your pool raft next time I’m at your house.”

His eyes rounded, impressed at the awesomeness of the threat. “Would you really?”

Katerina ruffled his hair. “No, but you have to be good and keep my secret, okay?”

“Yeah, I know. I won’t tell anyone, Miss Kat. I promise.”

“There’s a good boy. Now, Troy’s got the ramp down, why don’t you go help get Ladybug out of the trailer?”

“Oh, yeah!” He ran off.

A small hand slipped into Katerina’s. Surprised, she looked down to see Molly at her side.

“Well, hi, sweetie,” she said.

“I like you,” Molly announced, the innocent blue eyes solemn as she gazed at Katerina.

“Umm… thank you.” Katerina looked at the little girl helplessly. She’d never had anything to do with children before, except in her cat form. And then she’d never had to do anything but let them pet her, and purr.

“Up?” Molly lifted chubby little arms.

“Sure.” She bent down, and the arms wound themselves around her neck, and a somewhat wet kiss was placed on her cheek as she straightened, the little girl carefully balanced on one hip. “Shall we go see them put Firefly and Ladybug in their new home?”

“Uh-huh. I’m going to ride Ladybug.”

“Are you? How nice. Not today, I hope.”

“No. She’s too little,” Molly informed her. “I have to wait til she grows up.”

 

About the Author:

 

A former career medical transcriptionist and disabled Veteran, Allie McCormack is now writing from home full-time. Allie has traveled quite a bit and lived many places all over the U.S., and also a year in Cairo, Egypt as an exchange student, and a year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia under contract to a hospital there, plus a short stint with NATO while she was in the Army. Allie now lives in the beautiful southern California with her family and her two rescue cats.

Allie says: “A writer is who and what I am… a romance writer. I write what I know, and what I know is romance. Dozens of story lines and literally hundreds of characters live and breathe within the not-so-narrow confines of my imagination, and it is my joy and privilege to bring them to life, to share them with others by writing their stories.” 

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