Book Blitz & Excerpt: The Upside Down of Nora Gaines + Giveaway

TheUpside Down of Nora Gaines

The Upside Down of Nora Gaines
by Cathrina Constantine
Publication date: March 5th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

Nora has visions of horrific things. Things that lurk in the shadows and feast on bones. After moving with her mother into an old farmhouse, Nora discovers a blank journal that fills itself with an ominous warning. A cursed beast is coming for her and time is running out. When the blood moon rises, so shall the beast.

Local teen, Rebel, has his own trepidations about the house. His parents, both paranormal scientists, were investigating it when they died under mysterious circumstances. His growing feelings for Nora motivate him to battle the ghosts of his past, if it means keeping her safe.

Allies to turn to enemies. Fiction turns to fact. The past and the present collide. All in an epic battle to claim unfathomable power. Can Nora unlock the secrets buried within the farmhouse in time to save herself and those dear to her from a grisly fate?

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TheUpside Down of Nora Gaines

EXCERPT:

Nora liked birds, except when the choirs assembled at the break of dawn outside her window. Slitting one eye she peered into the dimness and grumbled. Ugh! She flipped onto her stomach and burrowed her head underneath her pillow. Drifting into a restive slumber was when she’d experience her crazy daymares. Normally, those frittered into nothingness, but, a few would haunt her…

 

The beast’s strong fingers clamped the young man’s throat, not to strangle, but to subdue him. Suddenly, he felt bored. The thrill was gone. In spite for his jaded mood, he squeezed the man’s larynx, harder. 

When the young man’s lips parted, to scream or to breathe, a visceral grin spread over the beast. The moment had arrived. The beast opened his mouth, drinking in all of him. But not his soul. His soul he couldn’t claim, only his spirited innocence, and this young man had zilch to quench his addiction.

With the deed accomplished, the beast wasn’t fulfilled as in years past. The unpalatable murdering of innocents lost its flavor, and there was no tolerance for the mundane. “You were too simple,” he grumbled at the young man’s ashen face as it purpled into a death mask, eyes open. “No struggle. No fight. You offered yourself without resistance. What fun is that. Your brother at least provided me incentive.”

He turned to the adjoining twin bed. “Youngsters can surprise me. You were tastier,” he said, peering down at another boy, roughly twelve, brown curls littering the pillow, eyes open, dead. “Fighting until the end. Your spirited demise has strengthened me. Thank you for that.” 

He gathered the boy in his arms, carried him downstairs, and sat him on a chair facing the fireplace. Then the beast repeated his action with the young man, depositing him on the couch, between his sisters. 

Grabbing the iron poker, he revived the flames. He set the poker aside and turned to admire his handiwork. “What a perfect family. You should be happy to spend eternity together on the same day.” Scrutinizing their faces, he reenacted each termination. “Mama in her shawl, and papa in his nightcap. What a hoot.” He readjusted papa’s cap, then swerved to his staged bodies. 

“Demure Louisa, Elizabeth, and wimpy Stephen.” He shelved his hand beneath Stephen’s chin and raised it to speak to the young man. “You were born with a burden of wickedness, and groveled like a cowering worm before me. Pleading I took you anyway which was a grievous error. Your foul spirit embitters my gut even now.” He removed his hand from Stephen’s chin, letting it drop like a lead weight. 

“Lastly, Edward. Ahh, Edward, you did not disappoint. An unsullied spirit.” The beast petted the boy’s hair. “Vulgarity and iniquity I have in abundance.” Forlorn tears bathed the beast’s eyes as if seeking absolution. “You must understand,” he sobbed, grimacing in anguish. “I crave virtue and purity. I need it to survive.” He spread his arms in front of his victims, begging for their forgiveness. 

“I devour spirits. The more chaste the better, and they are hard to come by. Virtues keep my urges at bay.” He browsed his knuckles over Edward’s supple cheek. “My brave boy. Your purity astounded me. To lay down your life to save your family is a gift. Alas, I had already consumed their spirits.”

 The beast’s face distorted into a scribbling mess as if whiffing rotting flesh. 

Performing a flamboyant bow, he said, “Your hospitality was most welcome.” The phantom beast evaporated, leaving in his stead a wisp of vapor.

A gasp parted Nora’s lips, snapping open her eyes. Her rapid beating heart slammed against her ribs like a warning mallet. She didn’t or couldn’t move, her body a frigid plank. Her eyes had the capacity to flit about the room, which was now bathed in sunlight.

 

Author Bio:

I am blessed with a loving family and forever friends. My world revolves around them.

I grew up in the small village of Lancaster, NY, where I married my sweetheart. I’m devoted to raising 5 cherished children, and now my grandchildren.

I love to immerse myself in great books of every kind of genre, which helps me to write purely for entertainment, and hopefully to inspire readers. When not stationed at my computer you can find me in the woods taking long walks with my dog.

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Book Blitz: Josie Fowler and the Mirror of Ankusha, by Maria Schindlecker

Josie Folwer and the Mirror of Ankusha

 

Josie Fowler and the Mirror of Ankusha
by Maria Schindlecker
YA Fantasy Adventure

Published: July 2020

Publisher: Austin Macauley Publishers

Thirty something year old Josie Fowler is a history student that’s grieving the mysterious disappearance of her uncle, Frank. To her surprise and confusion a mirror is delivered to her with a note from her uncle. Frank’s note tells Josie that all will be explained by his assistant Peter.

When Peter enters Josie’s life they not only discover that the mirror she has been given is magical, but that it is also the link to her uncles disappearance. Josie and Peter embark on a journey to Ankusha, a world that is unlike their own.

Loyalties are tested and every move Josie makes is detrimental to their lives and rescuing her uncle.

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About the Author

Maria lives in Sydney, Australia and is a fiction buff and an avid traveller. Her love of fiction began as a child this spawned her first novel.

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Spotlight + Excerpt: Silver Dawn Afire + Giveaway

Silver Dawn A fire

Silver Dawn Afire
by Sonja J. Breckon
(The Seventh Age Saga, #1)
Publication date: March 16th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Myridians are coming, each wielding one of Six Cataclysmic Powers that will lay waste to the world and wake the God of Neutrality. What happens when one refuses to succumb to her myridian nature and sets out to save the world instead?

***

SIDRA ANATOLA will soon die a human death and be reborn as one of the myridian, beings destined to destroy the World of Aetheria. In a desperate attempt to change her dark fate, she flees home and the young man she loves to seek help from a powerful entity who has lived through all the ages. But she may not make it in time before she is killed by hunters—or by the love of her life, also a myridian, who fights every day to hold onto the emotions that made him human.

BRESEIS ERISWEN was expelled from the academy and failed her father who expected her to carry on her late mother’s profession as a myridian hunter. But Breseis never wanted to be a hunter—she refused to kill, and she never believed in myridians, to begin with. She leaves home with big dreams, lacking experience, and a broken heart, to prove that she is more than a failed hunter.

Two contrasting paths converge to become a turbulent one. A mouthy intellect with a colorful personality, and a skilled warrior with a frosty attitude, put their differences aside and travel the rest of the way together, robbing temples, angering false gods, and escaping numerous predicaments with their lives. Amid the chaos, they form a friendship despite a gut feeling that both hide dangerous secrets that can save or destroy the world and each other.

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Excerpt:

The susurrus of voices and the shuffling of bodies filter in from the parlor just outside the room where a small crowd has gathered, though not for Sidra’s sake. Most either don’t know she’s here, don’t know she’s dying, or don’t care. Some are people from the streets who, like Sidra and me, have gone into the brothel to take shelter from the rumbling mountain and the chaos in the streets; others are the brothel’s residents, Eslanda’s girls who live and work here.
“They found her,” Eslanda announces from the doorway.
She enters the room with a young woman embellished by a thin yellow dress that clings to her naked form underneath. She has reddish-brown skin; her cheeks and nose splashed with dark freckles, and her hair falls just below her ears in springy reddish-black curls. She reminds me of my good friend, Evolet, back in Valdania: lovely and kind and incredibly talented.
Can it be that simple? That Eslanda can send someone into the city to find a healer, and Sidra be magically cured as a result? I don’t think anything is that simple, so there are no feelings of hope or relief when the woman steps into the room. Okay, maybe some hope, but not much.
“This is Nesrin,” Eslanda says. “She’s the best healer I know; I’ve seen her do extraordinary things.”
“But Sidra’s not sick,” I point out kindly. “She’s cursed.” I grasp the top of Sidra’s hand, absently trying to comfort her; Sidra’s fingers feel clammy against my skin.
The healer, named Nesrin, steps up closer; she smells of begonia and a hint of honeysuckle. I notice the woman carries no satchel or anything that might indicate she is a healer. Where are the salves and herbs that traditional healers often possess?
“I have banished as many curses as I have healed diseases,” Nesrin says in a honeyed voice. “I make no promises, but I will do my best to help your friend.”
I release Sidra’s hand, and I stand.
“You know Banishing Craft,” I say; it is as much a question as a statement.
“I am one of few left with the gift,” Nesrin says.
“Gift?” I make a face. “Forgive me for saying, but Banishing Craft is as much a curse as the curses and diseases it cures—why do you still practice it?”
Nesrin places the palm of her hand to Sidra’s forehead; then, she sits down on the bed beside her; I move out of the way to give her more space.
“Because it is my calling.” Nesrin runs her fingers through Sidra’s hair. “If I die banishing the maladies of others, then it will be a good death.”
Um…okay; have to admire her dedication, at least.
Banishing Craft is one of the most sought-after crafts in all of Aetheria—because it almost always works, even against so-called unbreakable curses and incurable diseases. But like all things involving life and death, there are consequences. The one using Banishing Craft is at risk of dying from the same curses and diseases they cure. It is why there are so few of their kind left. And few ever seem to care for the healer’s life when they are so worried about the lives of their loved ones, and I have always felt bitterly of such people—I’ll be damned if I became one of them.
“I don’t feel right about this.” I pace, one arm across my midsection, the other propped atop it at the elbow; my fingers curled underneath my chin. “I mean, of course, I want someone to help her, but I…” I bite my lip. “But by agreeing to it, I feel like I’m trading one life for another—it’s just not right.”
“Do you want your friend to die?”
“Of course not. But I don’t want you to die either.”
“Your conscience is clear,” Nesrin assures. “I choose to help her.”
“You don’t even know her.”
Nesrin smiles softly.
“One day you will understand,” she says and turns to Sidra. “I would like everyone to leave the room.”
My arms drop to my sides, and I just stand here, not liking the idea of leaving Sidra alone with anyone.
Sidra moans in her unconscious state, and her body trembles and sweats profusely against the linen that covers the small bed. I can only imagine what horrible images the fever is trying to burn from Sidra’s mind.
“All right,” I give in. “But if you need me…”
Nesrin nods.
“Let’s go sit in the parlor.” Eslanda reaches for my hand.
“And please,” Nesrin says, stopping us, “do not come into this room unless I tell you. Many curses, when removed from one body, find another one to attach itself. Let it be mine, as I am experienced in such things.”
With reluctance, I follow Eslanda into the parlor, where several people are all standing and sitting around in groups of three and four, discussing amongst themselves what they think might be happening with the quakes in the city. I can’t bear to sit or stand still, so I pace, arms crossed, my bottom lip wedged between my teeth.

 

Author Bio:

Sonja J. Breckon is a builder of fantasy worlds and not ashamed to admit she lives in them more than in the real world. Besides writing books, she works with various programs to create her own cover art, interior art, design, formatting, and fantasy maps. She loves nature, the universe, coffee, and bookstores. Oh, and chicken potato enchiladas.

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