Book Blitz & Excerpt: The Crucible Kingdom, by Blair Bancroft

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The Crucible Kingdom

by Blair Bancroft

Sci-Fi Fantasy, Sci-Fi Paranormal, Sci-Fi Adventure/Romance

Published: April 14, 2022

Publisher: Kone Enterprises

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In this spin-off of the Blue Moon Rising series, the Crucible Kingdom, an obscure planet far, far away, is suffering from an ancient curse—periodic bouts of violent storms, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and wildfire. To break the curse, a widowed duchess and a starship captain from the disintegrating Regulon Empire (which her ancestors fled centuries earlier) are forced to work together. Although the duchess grudgingly concedes that the captain is highly capable in emergencies, she scorns the idea that a hard-headed Reg who does not believe in the power of sorcery can be helpful in ending the curse. And then the captain comes up with an idea no one thought of, setting off a quest that turns out to be as dangerous as the curse itself.

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“Command, Command,” Ryn called, “Yindan exploding. Repeat, Yindan exploding.” He paused, craning his neck to look toward their rear. “The whole fydding side of the mountain is collapsing, cloud rising. Black, roiling . . . Dimmit, that was lightning!” Ryn steadied his voice to captain mode, continued his narration. “We’re red-lining it out of here, but it’s right on our tail— Omni!” he breathed. “It’s leveling trees like toothpicks.” For Alora’s ears alone, he added, “Max it, Duchess! Show me this toy can out-run what’s chasing us.”

It was as if they were flying in a vacuum—no sound from explosion or thunder, but the sky darkened around them, leaving only a small blue patch in front. Alora, fingers white-knuckled on the steering stick, attempted to blot out all thought of the monster looming on their tail, but mind over matter refused to work. She could feel the target on her back, the force of the blast aimed straight at them.

Ryn was alternating his communication with Command with private words of encouragement that somehow rang false. Even though they’d kept a respectful distance from the volcano, their head-start was slim. But every kilometer they traveled toward home would lessen the force of the blast. So, keeping a wary eye on the instrument panel—how long could her precious baby keep up this pace?—Alora pushed their speed to faster than a PCC was ever designed to travel.

“Fyddit,” Ryn muttered as more flashes lit the gloom.
“The lightning’s gone weird. Pink and purple.” A short pause, and he added, “A story to tell our grandchildren, right?”

The PCC wobbled as air whooshed out of Alora’s lungs. He could make jokes at a time like this! Or maybe it wasn’t a joke, just an attempt to reassure her they would survive this. Have a real marriage. Strange as it was, it helped.

“Good,” Ryn muttered a few minutes later. “Passed the half-way mark. Blast shouldn’t be too bad at forty kliks.” But after another look over his shoulder, he did a swift recce of the forest below. Shouting over the now audible roar that was about to engulf them, he pointed toward the right. “There! That break in the trees . . .”

Alora followed his direction, even as his tone sent a warning shiver up her spine. They weren’t going to make it. Ryn was looking for a clearing . . .

“Give me the stick!”

No question which one of them was stronger. Alora gladly gave up control. A rushing stream with a slight clearing on either side, came into sight just as, thirty kliks from home, they lost the race. The forefront of the explosion, armed with ash, pumice, blocks of lava, snow, ice, and chunks of rock, sent the PCC into a spin. As hard as Ryn fought the onslaught, it was like an ant fighting a giant. Their world no longer silent, the PCC went down in a barrage of sound, from the bangs and thuds of the lethal contents of the black cloud to the ugly crack of a wing sheared off by a tree, the whomp of the undercarriage hitting the ground, skidding, bouncing, grinding to a stop. The noise finally settled to near silence, leaving only the soft hiss of falling ash that was already beginning to envelop the plane. And the unconscious occupants inside.

About the Author

Blair Bancroft is the award-winning author of fifty novels. Although best known for books set in the Regency period (Gothic, Historical & Traditional), she also writes Contemporary Mystery and Suspense, with a Medieval Young Adult and a Steampunk thrown in for good measure. Her awards include a RITA nomination and winning the Golden Heart (Romance Writers of America). “Best Regency” from Romantic Times magazine. “Best Romance” and “Best Young Adult” from the Florida Writers Association. She is also the author of Making Magic With Words, a 200,000-word book of advice on Writing and Editing.

Blair considers being able to create people, even whole worlds, from the imagination a never-ending joy. She is an “out of the mist” author. One of her favorite sayings: “I can hardly wait to sit down to my computer each morning and find out what my characters are going to do next.”

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Nobody’s Road + Giveaway

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Nobody’s Road

by Vera Jane Cook

Sci-fi fantasy

Date Published: 01-19-2022

Publisher: Indies United

In 2045 America is ruled by ‘The Brain’. It’s a country of dried-up rivers, computer project educations, holographs, and robots. Most species have died off and even fresh air is scarce. Children don’t form bonds and therefore can’t love. They become drones – dangerous killers. The answer lies on a road in Pindar Corners but to find it is to risk the loss of your soul.

In need of a hero, Harry Erin Cooper steps up to the plate and, along with his wife, Adina, they restore what should have been.

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My last memory from that time? That I was never to return to it. 

As I ran to the rhythm of my breath, the beat of my heart provided the music of being alive. I took a hill, not as bad as it looked; steep but short. Chestnut was a single-lane road that cut through the back of town and led me onto Bishop Farm, where I picked up Maple Lane. 

Dotted with sugar maples, Maple Lane wound out ahead of me, and like a lazy letter S, it snaked around for two long shaded miles. The sycamore trees had limbs that reached across the sky like Rorschach spills. The sweat on my back saturated my T-shirt, clinging like a second skin. The road had been nothing but dirt for over a hundred years; though the town kept threatening to pave it, they probably never will. A good part of the trail was a long narrow easement that took me past a mile of farmland. The dirt kicked up a gentle cloud of dust under my feet, soft and dry. The smell of freshly hoed hay and country pine lingered in the air. 

Maple Lane begins and ends at Pindar Corners, a fork in the road with a blinking light. I picked up Robin’s Nest Road from there, turning left at the traffic signal, as I always did. How many times? I’m not sure. But I do know this, or thought I did: Robin’s Nest is the road I lived on with my wife, Adina, and our children, Teddy, who was eight at the time and Lindsey, who hadn’t yet turned six. 

The scent of flower gardens hit me like a perfumed galaxy, overwhelmingly intense, from the abundance of flowers hidden behind picket fences and green bristly privacy bushes, odiferous and colorful. I saw irises, lilies and peonies that tilted in the breeze and slipped their scents toward me with flirtatious artistry. 

Hundreds of times, I have picked up fragrances whispering from the mountains. You see, for me, one of the pleasures of jogging on a country road was catching smells. Even running through traces of horse manure carried in the wind, or the mysterious scents of unrecognizable plants and animals just behind the weeds, scents like that thrilled me. Might be perceived as such a small thing but it isn’t, not when sweet, scented air was such a new thing for me. 

I breathed in deeply. I took in passionflower vines climbing up trellises, a cacophony of color. Sometimes I can catch freshly cut grass and the sizzled scent of meat lingering on a barbeque, whetting my appetite for lunch. 

Robin’s Nest Road is paved and wide, and I liked it because it dead-ends; the only drivers who take it know exactly where they’re going, and trucks are rare. Sometimes, I could run right down the middle with my arms outstretched. Feeling good for me was sweating hard … feeling good for me was pushing up the last half mile, knowing I’d make it. 

Jogging kept me centered ─ going at my own pace, my thoughts a free association of expression. No race to win, just moving through the silence of my mind, despite the rare chatter of birds or the occasional challenge of estival winds. 

The only smells picked up back in New York City were mornings drenched in the stench of garbage and the rancid, putrid odor of the homeless inhabitants who lined the streets of midtown. I tried not to think about that because I was one of the lucky ones: I wasn’t there. And I was where I was because of the foresight of a man a lot smarter than I am. I was in Pindar Corners. A place you might want to be a hundred years from now, or maybe a hell of a lot sooner. 

The reasons why I was there, in Pindar Corners, were too complex to fathom. Mistakes too great to lament. There was no sense dwelling on the past at all. Best to just breathe in deeply and try to let it go. Besides, there was nothing we could have done about it. No, nothing. Just concentrate on the aroma of gardenias, orchids and the delirium of lilac, and forget about everything else. We still had flowers, some species of birds, animals like skunks and rodents. We had life, and most of all, we had the solace and the surety of Pindar Corners. 

However, the luxury of forgetting was the one thing I couldn’t accomplish. I was a generation too late for that. And as I jogged that day, the sound of a distant gunshot jarred the aromatic titillation of my senses. So loud, it practically threw me off my feet. It certainly wasn’t hunting season. I knew that well enough, but there were those who didn’t give a damn about laws. Could have been someone wanting to frighten off a black bear. Then again, plenty of people liked target shooting in their back yards. It might have been some bored jerk shooting cans off a fence. Or it might have been one of the children. I don’t think I was able to let in that fear. As far as I knew, there had only been one murder in Pindar Corners committed by a child. Maybe the shot I heard was just random and unintentional. That was my thought that day: that was my prayer.

About the Author

Vera Jane Cook was born in New York City and has been a city girl ever since. As an only child, she turned to reading novels at an early age and was deeply influenced by an eclectic group of authors. Before Jane became a writer, she worked in the professional theatre and appeared on television, in regional theatre, film and off Broadway.

At the age of fifty Jane began to write novels. Some of her titles include Dancing Backward in Paradise, winner of an Eric Hoffer Award for publishing excellence and an Indie Excellence Award for notable new fiction, 2007. The Story of Sassy Sweetwater and Dancing Backward in Paradise received 5 Star ForeWord Clarion Reviews and The Story of Sassy Sweetwater was named a finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year Awards. She has published in ESL Magazine, Christopher Street Magazine and has written early childhood curriculum for Weekly Reader and McGraw Hill.

Jane still lives on the upper west side of Manhattan right near Riverside Park where she takes her delightful dogs for a jog, Peanut and Carly. She comes home to her spouse of thirty years and her two cats, Sassy and Sweetie Pie.

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Black Winter + Giveaway

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Black Winter
by Beauregard M. NeVille & Cole NeVille
Genre: SciFi Fantasy


In the near future the planet is covered in snow. Nobody knows why. A group of people are living inside a military facility that was designed to be self sustaining and can last forever. So long as the food doesn’t run out. Captain Alec Winter is among the people trying to survive and they will all be tested with the arrival of two strangers and something lurking in the shadows of the storm. Alec will have the fight for his life and everyone that he cares about. He just has to avoid becoming the very thing that threatens everyone’s survival.



I frantically begin looking around the room for Emily, Brian, Mya and my parents. None of them are here. I turn my gaze to the South hall, leading to the cafeteria and decide that’s where they must be. I continue stepping around the mangled bodies until I’m finally free of them in the hallway. I start to feel a knot form in my gut as I fear for the lives of my family and friends. The idea of my mom, dad and Brian lying there torn to pieces makes my heart ache for them. The thought of seeing Emily lying there with her throat ripped open makes the knot in my stomach even tighter and I have to stop. I gather myself quickly and force myself to move on. When I reach the cafeteria doors, I stop again.
Beauregard M NeVille

I was born in Rocksprings Wyoming, but grew up in various parts of Utah, from Provo to Brigham City. By the time I was in 4th grade was when I moved to Brigham and stayed there until after high school and I left to pursue my own life. I’ve always had a love for writing and knew it was what I wanted to do. I also love sports, played most of them throughout school and still try and play basketball when I can. I love the outdoors, going hiking and camping and would spend every day on a lake if I could. I love my family. My wife Amanda is a wonderful, hardworking mother that still manages to be in school, work as a teacher and still provides time for our children. I have three amazing boys, Kaden, Ryder and Maverick. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing them grow and getting to have fun with them. I love dogs and my Dog Mya was my inspiration for the dog in Black Winter. I owe everything I have to my parents for teaching me hard work and the value of a family. I’m forever grateful for the blessings in my life and I look forward to what the future will bring to me and my family.

Cole NeVille

I was born in Brigham City, Utah. I have lived in several states but Utah is my home. Reading and writing has always been a big part of my life. I used reading to escape from a lot of things when I was growing up. I also have played sports my whole life. I grew up playing football and basketball, and still play basketball whenever I can. I love everything outdoors whether it is hiking, camping, golfing, or fishing. Being able to get out into the wildlife and smell the fresh air is something my wife Sarah and I love to share together. We both love dogs and love our dog Kumba.


Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
Signed Copy of Black Winter,
$15 Amazon Gift Card
– 1 winner each!

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