Category Archives: Book Events

Blog Tour: You Can Do Magic by R.L. Merrill

You Can Do Magic - R.L. Merrill

R.L. Merrill has a new MM rock ‘n roll fantasy/paranormal romance (bi, gay) out in the Carnival of Mysteries shared universe: You Can Do Magic. This is also book three in Merrill’s Summer of Hush series. And there’s a giveaway.

From the author of Foreword Indies Finalist Summer of Hush and BookLife Prize Quarterfinalist Brains and Brawn comes a new installment in the series, a contemporary gay romance with a side of time travel and magic.

Musical prodigy Kallos Alexandrou has played his calliope for countless visitors at Errante Ame’s Carnival of Mysteries, but his one-year residency has come to an end. Scars from a terrible tragedy in his past are the only explanation he has for his loss of speech and memory, but it’s time to move on, so when a music festival sets up next to the carnival, Mr. Ame sends him off with identification, a bottomless billfold, and a set of new clothes. Outside the carnival’s perimeter, Kal finds himself in an unfamiliar world surrounded by strange instruments and vibrant people like nothing he’s ever seen.

Ryan Wells is the troubled and celebrated lead singer of the metal band Backdrop Silhouette. He’s brought more than his share of baggage on the last cross-country Warped Tour, including harsh restrictions placed on him by his parole officer and the band’s label, but it’s the treatment from his bandmates that have him feeling unsettled. After a tough morning, he spots a strange young man playing carnival music on a keyboard backstage, and the sound takes him back to a particularly vulnerable time in his youth. Intrigued, Ryan asks the young man’s name, but he flees only to appear later as a replacement stagehand for the tour.

An invitation from the band Hush to ride on their bus gives Ryan and Kal a welcome distraction. They find the camaraderie and support they’ve both been craving…as well as a little magic and a fresh new romance. But the music business makes personal relationships difficult to maintain, and when the tour ends, Ryan and Kal will have to make a choice: move forward together on an uncertain path, or let fear keep them from trusting that sometimes you really can have everything you desire.

You Can Do Magic is part of the multi-author Carnival of Mysteries Series. Each book stands alone, but each one includes at least one visit to Errante Ame’s Carnival of Mysteries, a magical, multiverse traveling show full of unusual acts, games, and rides. The Carnival changes to suit the world it’s on, so each visit is unique and special. This book contains a Depression-era calliaphone, a Ouija board with a purpose, and tour bus hijinks that will warm your heart and make you gigglesnort. Reading Summer of Hush and Brains and Brawn before this book will give you the full Warped Tour experience, but You Can Do Magic can be read as a standalone as well as the other books in the shared universe. Recommended 18+.

Warnings: Mention of prior sexual abuse, off-page, no descriptions

About the Series

Welcome, everyone, to the Carnival of Mysteries! In this shared element multiverse, we invite you to partake of an array of stories by an eclectic group of authors. You’ll find action, intrigue, mystery, danger, sweetness, and sorrow, but, above all, true love! So grab your ticket, indulge in some treats, experience a few thrills, maybe have your fortune read… there is something for everyone at the Carnival!

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R.L. is giving away a $30 Spotify gift card with this tour:

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You Can Do Magic meme - R.L. Merrill

Chapter One

A new day breaks
Under the blue skies above
A new crowd waits
All they need is a little shove
The Carnival is here
With mysteries galore
To satisfy your cravings
To leave you wanting more
We’re here today, gone the next,
Taking along our magic and song.
Come inside, take a peek
Surprises like these won’t wait long
Here we have the fantastical calliope,
come dance with our talented Kal
His music will delight and seduce you
With the power of the siren’s call
So step right up, and don’t be shy
For his time is coming to a close
Come shimmy and shake with this talented guy
And celebrate the last of his shows…

I’d memorized the ringmaster’s introduction, though it was more sensational than I deserved. And last night’s version had a new ending, one I’d been expecting, but hearing it brought a sliver of anxiety to my bones.

The instrument I played was actually a calliaphone—a more efficient and portable version of the forced-air organ—and I’d built it myself, that much I knew. It was my voice. It spoke all I knew to say, my own words lacking. I possessed the ability to speak, but I’d mostly forgotten how, therefore I preferred to let my music speak for me. I played for the crowds. I smiled for them, but I was transparent to the onlooker.

One year had passed in this way, one year of my life, and I had nothing of my own. No friends to help, no family to love, and no safe place to lay my head away from the carnival. What would I do, where would I go, and would someone see me for me?

The boss, Mr. Ame, told me soon it would be time to move on to the next phase. I’d no clue what that meant other than I would no longer travel with the carnival. There was nothing to pack, nothing to carry, only the clothes—and the scars—I wore on my body. I would miss my calliaphone and the crowds, but I knew it was time. My stay had been healing, educational. My time taught me plenty. The carnival would go on without me and my music, on to the next place to entertain…and seduce the locals. They’d fall under the spell of my fellow travelers. Some might even be chosen to come along.

I remembered little from my time before I, too, had joined the carnival. Humiliation and regret reverberated within the structures of my cells, but I didn’t recall more than that, much less the reason for the debt that forced me into servitude. The boss took me away from the darkness, and promised to set me free one day. But what was free, what would it mean, who would I be? A musician, a man, alone? I’d forgotten my past. I’d learned all I could in this place. Would I survive what lay ahead?

I took my questions to the man in charge, the one they call Errante Ame, and he confirmed that my time with the carnival was at an end.

“My dear, Kallos,” the boss said to me. “The world has done you wrong, not the other way around. You have been a part of something important here, and we shall never forget the joy your music has brought to our clan and our guests. But now it is time for you to move on, as all in the crew must do.

It is your choice where you’ll go once you leave the perimeter, what you will do with the time you have left.

“You have been invisible to our guests for so long, adored for your playing, of course, but who you are remains unseen, unspoken. A blank canvas, a puzzle. Only you can solve the riddle of your life. The time is near when you will set out on your greatest adventure, the journey to find your purpose. Being reborn can be frightening. You will have questions, but the answers you seek can be found within yourself. All you must do is follow your instincts, and your heart’s desire. Do what you feel is right and true. Be good to yourself and your fellow creatures, and walk the path of least harm.

“When the next sun rises, you will step outside the bounds of the carnival. You will have all that you need to begin anew. By the following sunrise, our carnival will have moved on. A traveling music festival will share these grounds with us tomorrow. Perhaps you can start there.”

I knew down deep in my bones that he was correct, that something momentous was about to occur.

Author Bio

R.L. Merrill

Whether she’s writing swoon-worthy contemporary romance featuring quirky, queer, and relatable characters or diving deep into the supernatural to give readers a shiver, R.L. Merrill loves creating compelling stories that will stay with readers long after closing the book. Ro writes inclusive romance for the Happily Ever After collective, contributes paranormal hilarity to Robyn Peterman’s Magic and Mayhem Universe, and pens horror-inspired tales and music reviews for A mom, wife, daughter, and former educator, you can find her rocking out in her Bronco with Great Dane pup Velma, being terrorized by feline twins Dracula and Frankenstein, or headbanging at a rock show near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area! Stay Tuned for more…

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Why I Love Ryan Wells…

Greetings and thanks for stopping by the blog tour for You Can Do Magic: Carnival of Mysteries. My story features a troubled rock star who meets a mysterious musical prodigy on the last cross-country Warped Tour. It’s a contemporary romance with a little magic and woo woo, which I think is becoming my brand! I’ve written both contemporary and paranormal stories, but several of my recent books have blurred that line a little more than usual. While I love vampires and shifters immensely, I’m also fascinated by the everyday magic that occurs when ordinary folks meet the extraordinary. When people are faced with the unexplained phenomenon such as spiritual intervention or the manifesting of the things in life you desire, that’s the magic I love to explore. 

Enter Ryan Wells, lead singer of metalcore band Backdrop Silhouette. Ryan is a conglomeration of several different real-life musicians I enjoy listening to and reading about. He’s the embodiment of sexuality, so naughty he can’t help himself. Never intentionally hateful, but never the best decision-maker, Ryan struggled through a childhood of neglect and abuse to become a star, only to plummet to earth after a series of bad decisions land him in prison. He’s out on parole and trying to make things better by following his 12-step program, going to therapy, and making amends to those he’s hurt. Through all of this, he’s taken responsibility for his misdeeds and is attempting to live a life in service to the people he cares about. But doing the right thing isn’t always met with acceptance, and Ryan is tired and on the verge of hopelessness when he meets carnival musician Kallos Alexandrou. Whose got secrets. Big ones. 

Ryan first appeared in my book Summer of Hush where he is a sort of playful rival of Silas Franklin, the lead singer of metalcore band Hush. The two have a mutual respect for each other, but Ryan tends to keep to himself. We soon learn that Ryan and the former guitarist for Hush—Gavin West, who committed suicide two years prior to the start of the books—became close friends and even wrote an album together after Ryan got out of prison, however Ryan’s label put the kibosh on their plans to produce it together. Ryan grieves with his acquaintances in Hush, and throughout the two books, he appears at times to commiserate with the members of Hush. I loved him from the start in all of his black-leather-wearing, ass-shaking, crotch-grabbing, sex-on-a-stick persona. This collaboration with the authors in the Carnival of Mysteries shared world was the perfect opportunity for me to give him his own book and show a bit more about his connection to Hush as well as to bring those characters back for more tour bus hijinks and backstage tomfoolery. 

Here’s a little bit from Ryan’s POV:

I stood in the bathroom of my band’s tour bus applying the day’s sunscreen, foundation, and eyeliner while I listened to the new guy bitch.

Getting ready for a performance, putting on makeup, was a ritual that helped me focus. I liked to get a little creative with the corners of my eyes and tops of my cheekbones, but I wasn’t good at makeup like Brains from Hush, or Chris Motionless from Motionless in White. I was more old school, like Scott Weiland maybe. He’d been one of my role models growing up. Same with Chester Bennington, Chris Cornell, Layne Staley. Notice anything those guys had in common? 

Yeah, me too. 

Every day I woke up was a gift. I had to remember that, especially when I was trapped on a tour bus with my closest friends and biggest detractors. Those two characterizations fit all the members of my band at one point or another. Over the course of a day they’d love or hate me within minutes. This was our fifth Warped Tour, and though I was sad it was going to be the last one, I was also ready for a break from touring. We’d only been on the road together about six weeks at this point, but that was enough. 

They were all on my last nerve, and I wasn’t their favorite person either. 

That should all be par for the course in a rock band, but we had some extra baggage thrown in there, namely my prison term, my parole requirements, oh, and my sobriety. 

I guess it was fair to say I was the baggage in this scenario. 

Someone pounded much louder than was called for on the bathroom door. “You almost done in there?”

I opened the door to find TJ, one of the two newest members of Backdrop Silhouette. When I got locked up, our previous rhythm guitarist and bass player quit the band. They weren’t original members either. 

Burke, Parker, and I founded the band seven years ago and were used to each other’s quirks. We didn’t have a lot of tolerance for assholes, and yet we kept ending up with them on the payroll. After my little “fuck up,” I guess I’d become one of them myself. Parker and Burke hadn’t come out and said it, but there was a deep, dark crevice between us that hadn’t existed previously. They’d tried to have me fired, but the label assured them they could hang up their instruments if they chose to do so. My face, my ass, my sparkling personality, my stage antics, and my voice were our moneymakers. Probably those five traits could be a band on their own. 

That thought had me chuckling to the point that I forgot TJ wanted something.

“What’s so fucking funny?”

TJ was four years younger than me, and damn he had a chip on his shoulder bigger than he had any right to have. I don’t think he’d always hated me this much, but lately he looked as if he wanted to throat punch me every other minute. For that reason, I delighted in fucking with him.

“Your face. Oh, come on. What did you think I was going to say?” I pushed past him, being sure to knock him off his unplanted feet. Dude should have been on his toes. I was always on mine. Prison will do that to you.

He stumbled over his words, scoffed, and told me to fuck off before slamming the door. 

“You’re going to pay for that when it breaks,” I said in my sing-songiest voice. 

“Do you have to start with him every morning?” Parker sat at the booth in the kitchen drinking coffee with Burke. My other big fan, Oscar, was out jogging. He ran every morning, which I admired. Fitness was important in this life we led, a fact some of the guys could stand to get on board with. I had my own routine that I’d done every day for the past three years save two days: the first full day I had out of Soledad, and the day my best friend died. 

I hope you fall in love with Ryan as much as I have. I spent 27 years of my life as an educator, most of which working with kids in alternative education programs, and I have a soft spot for the ones who work hard to make that second chance count for something. It’s for them that I wrote this book. 

Thanks for checking out You Can Do Magic: Carnival of Mysteries. I hope you enjoy! For more fun, check out the other stops on the blog tour and pick up the books in my adjacent series, Summer of Hush and Brains and Brawn, both in KU for a limited time. And Stay Tuned for More…

Blog Tour: The Magic Users of Greenford by Lisa Oliver + Exclusive Excerpt

The Magic Users of Greenford Trilogy - Lisa Oliver

Lisa Oliver has a new MM paranormal romance trilogy out: The Magic Users of Greenford. And there’s a giveaway.

Lucifer Fireborn is a high magic user with a taste for the high life. He spends his days, along with his anchor brother Darwin, chasing the rogue magic users who don’t follow the rules all magic users live by. When his brother claims his own fated mate, and can’t anchor for Lucifer anymore, Lucifer has to find someone else to anchor for him, or risk setting everything and everyone around him on fire. But there’s a problem… Lucifer really doesn’t want anyone drooling over him, because that’s what people do.

Stefan de Marco is homeless again. Ranking as one of the highest scoring anchors in the country doesn’t count for anything when a man leaves his employ just so he can keep his pants on. It’s not the first time he’s been in that situation, and with his familiar Garrick, Stefan gets by. He was raised in the Trades Sector and he knows the value of hard work. When his path crosses with a desperate Lucifer, sparks fly, but not the ones Lucifer was hoping for.

Underneath it all is the insidious Brethren who believe high magic users should be able to use their magic without the grounding effects of an anchor. They seek to enslave or kill anchors in their bid to gain attention. Lucifer and Stefan have to find a way to work together to bring down the organization, but it’s not an easy thing to do when the two men come from different sides of the track.

The Magic Users of Greenford Trilogy should be read in order. It follows the one couple, Lucifer and Stefan, as they learn to manage their magic, and their love for each other in the face of adversity.

Warnings: Some violence.

Get Them on Amazon


Lisa is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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The Magic Users of Greenford meme - Lisa Oliver

“Why would I be angry with you?” Stefan was looking steadfastly out of the passenger window. They were on their way to the airport, as planned. It was just their destination that had changed.

“You have to admit the situation with Foster was unusual. His anchor, Ethan was never found.”

“I doubt anyone ever looked for him. Ethan was just an anchor after all.” Stefan sniffed. “As for Foster, we got told, once we dropped him off at the facility Monty recommended, that the hexing case was under New York’s jurisdiction and therefore not our concern.”

“You weren’t curious about where his new anchor Helen got the hex?” Lucifer checked the traffic, and then risked a quick look at Stefan. Who still wasn’t looking at him. Catching Creed’s glance in the rear-view mirror, Lucifer got the impression the dog was judging him, too.

“I might have been, under different circumstances.”

Yep, Stefan was still angry.

“I mean, if my mate was still working as a Wielder of the Magic Sword, which was his occupation when I met him, and Foster’s case came across our desk as an authorized case, I would’ve jumped right on it with you. But, no, my mate told his boss, Ben, in no uncertain terms that he wouldn’t be doing that job anymore. I believe you told him that after our holiday, we were going to work at the Anchor Division.”

Stefan had an amazing memory. “Yes, I did say that.” Lucifer flicked on his indicator and took the turning for the airport. “But this case isn’t being investigated by the Council.”

“No. No, it’s not.” Stefan turned to face him then, and even out of the corner of his eye, Lucifer could see the hurt and anger on his face. “You’ve taken a case, on our behalf, from the one group of people who want to see people like me either subjugated, or completely wiped off the face of the earth.”

“If this is about the holiday…”

“What holiday?” Stefan didn’t have to raise his voice. He could snap out a sentence and make Lucifer feel as though he’d been whipped. “Are you talking about the holiday that you promised me nothing would get in the way of? That holiday?”

“I’m sure this won’t take long…”

“What the hell difference does it make how long this case takes? I’m not some spoiled society brat you have to appease with holidays and gifts. I’m from the Trades sector. I’m not afraid of hard work.”

“Then what…?”

“You really don’t get it. I can’t believe it, but you honestly don’t get it. Fine. Seeing as you clearly left your brain in your suitcase, I can tell you there are two things I’m upset about.” Stefan never used strong language, or interrupted Lucifer for any reason. But he was on a roll. “One. There’s the fact you didn’t consult me at all before you took the case. You reverted to Lucifer the arrogant ass, and made decisions for both of us, never once considering my feelings on the matter.

“And secondly, and by far the most important to my mind, did you miss the part when I said you’ve been employed by people who want to see me dead? Did you hear what they said about Technic? Council propaganda? Bad press? Excuse me? And that’s without the derogatory tones they used when they referred to me. How could you?”

Author Bio

AUTHOR LOGO - The Magic Users of Greenford - Lisa Oliver

Lisa Oliver lives in the wilds of New Zealand, although her beautiful dogs Hades and Zeus are now living somewhere else far more remote than she is. Reports indicate they truly enjoy chasing possums although they still can’t catch them.

In the meantime, Lisa is living a lot closer to all her adult kids and grandchildren which means she gets a lot more visitors. However, it doesn’t look like she’s ever going to stop writing – with over one hundred paranormal MM (and MMM) titles to her name so far, she shows no signs of slowing down.

When Lisa is not writing, she is usually reading with a cup of tea always at hand. Her grown children and grandchildren sometimes try and pry her away from the computer and have found that the best way to do it is to promise her chocolate. Lisa will do anything for chocolate… and occasionally crackers. She has also started working out, because of the chocolate and the crackers.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers and other writers (I really do, lol). You can catch up with her on any of the social media links below.

Author Website:

Author Facebook (Personal):

Author Facebook (Author Page):

Author Instagram:

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Exclusive Excerpt

Hello and thank you so much to Author Anthony Avina and your wonderful blog readers, for letting me share an exclusive excerpt with you today from my Magic Users of Greenford Trilogy. This excerpt is from book three in the trilogy – Validate – and Lucifer has put his foot in it again. I do hope you enjoy it. 

“You’re angry with me, aren’t you?” The question was a conversation opener and nothing more. Lucifer didn’t need to be a rocket scientist, or use his powers as a high magic user to realize his mate was furious. His mate’s anger throbbed through their bond like a boil on the point of exploding.

“Why would I be angry with you?” Stefan was looking steadfastly out of the passenger window. They were on their way to the airport, as planned. It was just their destination that had changed. 

“You have to admit the situation with Foster was unusual. His anchor, Ethan was never found.” 

“I doubt anyone ever looked for him. Ethan was just an anchor after all.” Stefan sniffed. “As for Foster, we got told, once we dropped him off at the facility Monty recommended, that the hexing case was under New York’s jurisdiction and therefore not our concern.”

“You weren’t curious about where his new anchor Helen got the hex?” Lucifer checked the traffic, and then risked a quick look at Stefan. Who still wasn’t looking at him. Catching Creed’s glance in the rear-view mirror, Lucifer got the impression the dog was judging him, too. 

“I might have been, under different circumstances.” 

Yep, Stefan was still angry. 

“I mean, if my mate was still working as a Wielder of the Magic Sword, which was his occupation when I met him, and Foster’s case came across our desk as an authorized case, I would’ve jumped right on it with you. But, no, my mate told his boss, Ben, in no uncertain terms that he wouldn’t be doing that job anymore. I believe you told him that after our holiday, we were going to work at the Anchor Division.” 

Stefan had an amazing memory. “Yes, I did say that.” Lucifer flicked on his indicator and took the turning for the airport. “But this case isn’t being investigated by the Council.”

“No. No, it’s not.” Stefan turned to face him then, and even out of the corner of his eye, Lucifer could see the hurt and anger on his face. “You’ve taken a case, on our behalf, from the one group of people who want to see people like me either subjugated, or completely wiped off the face of the earth.”

“If this is about the holiday…”

“What holiday?” Stefan didn’t have to raise his voice. He could snap out a sentence and make Lucifer feel as though he’d been whipped. “Are you talking about the holiday that you promised me nothing would get in the way of? That holiday?”

“I’m sure this won’t take long…”

“What the hell difference does it make how long this case takes? I’m not some spoiled society brat you have to appease with holidays and gifts. I’m from the Trades sector. I’m not afraid of hard work.”

“Then what…?”

“You really don’t get it. I can’t believe it, but you honestly don’t get it. Fine. Seeing as you clearly left your brain in your suitcase, I can tell you there are two things I’m upset about.” Stefan never used strong language, or interrupted Lucifer for any reason. But he was on a roll. “One. There’s the fact you didn’t consult me at all before you took the case. You reverted to Lucifer the arrogant ass, and made decisions for both of us, never once considering my feelings on the matter. 

“And secondly, and by far the most important to my mind, did you miss the part when I said you’ve been employed by people who want to see me dead? Did you hear what they said about Technic? Council propaganda? Bad press? Excuse me? And that’s without the derogatory tones they used when they referred to me. How could you?” 

End excerpt. 

Have a wonderful day everyone, and a huge thank you again to Anthony Avina for allowing me to share my work here today. 

The Unshakeable Road to Love by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna Blog Tour + Excerpts

Book Summary

The Unshakeable Road to Love (Value Centered Relationships) is based upon Eternal Principles from all world scriptures, including Zen. These tried and true Eternal Principles, the Pillars of Love, show how to build foundations for relationships where happiness and well-being are inevitable. And where pain and conflict can dissolve on the spot. 

A radically different approach to love and psychology, the book offers a completely new perspective on fulfillment and what is truly needed to thrive. For example, one of the Pillars of Love upon which the book is based is:

To Be Happy, You Do Not Have To Be Loved, You Have to Learn What It Means to Be Loving.  

The book explores the difference between Real and Counterfeit Love. We discover how all suffering in relationships is due to being caught in the trap of Counterfeit Love. And how easy it is to break free from bondage and leave that trap behind.

This is a book of practice, filled with Turning Points, Pillars of Love, Interventions, and many enjoyable exercises so the reader can practice these principles in all their relationships and in their everyday lives.

Written by a psychologist, Interfaith Counselor, and long-term Zen practitioner, the book combines the practices and principles of both East and West, helping us to discover and celebrate the best in ourselves and others.

Publisher: Brenda Shoshanna (October 2022)

ISBN-10: 1094378046

ISBN-13: 978-1094378046

Print length: 208 pages

Purchase a copy of The Unshakeable Road to Love on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.


About the Author

Brenda Shoshanna is an award-winning author, psychologist, Interfaith counselor, and long-term Zen practitioner and speaker. Her work is dedicated to integrating the teachings of East and West and making them real in our everyday lives. Brenda has offered over five hundred talks and workshops on all aspects of personal and spiritual development, relationships, and living an authentic, meaningful life.

You can find her online at:

Author Website:

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Blog Tour Calendar

August 28th @ The Muffin

Join us as we celebrate the launch of The Unshakeable Road to Love by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna. We interview the author and give you a chance to win a copy of the book for yourself.

August 30th @ Create Write Now

Visit Mari’s blog for a guest post by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna about what is a true conversation.

 August 30th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews

Lisa interviews author Dr. Brenda Shoshanna about her book The Unshakeable Road to Love.

 September 1st @ Word Magic

Join Fiona who shares a guest post by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna about the simple laws of love.

 September 5th @ Choices

Madeline shares a guest post by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna about the end of loneliness.

 September 10th @ A Storybook World

Join Deirdra’s blog for a guest post by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna about the difference between real love and counterfeit love.

September 10th @ Just Katherine

Join Katherine’s blog featuring an excerpt from Dr. Shoshanna’s book The Unshakeable Road to Love.

 September 13th @ Katherine Itacy’s blog

Join Katherine for her review of The Unshakeable Road to Love by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna.

 September 15th @ The Faerie Review

Don’t miss Lily’s review of The Unshakeable Road to Love by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna.

 September 18th @ Thoughts of Maddness

Visit Maddie’s blog for her review of The Unshakeable Road to Love by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna.

 September 19th @ Just Katherine

Join Katherine again for a guest post by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna about how to dissolve conflict and pain in relationships on the spot.

 September 20th @ Author Anthony Avina’s blog

Join Anthony for his feature of an excerpt from The Unshakeable Road to Love by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna.

 September 22nd @ My Beauty, My Books

Join Nikki for her review of The Unshakeable Road to Love and the chance to read an excerpt of the book.

September 25th @ School Librarian In Action

Join Zarah for her review of The Unshakeable Road to Love by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna.

 September 29th @ The Frugalista Mom

Join Rochie’s blog for her review of The Unshakeable Road to Love by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna.

September 30th@ Jill Sheets’ blog

Visit Jill’s blog for her review of The Unshakeable Road to Love by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna.

October 1st @ Jill Sheets’ blog

Jill interviews author Dr. Brenda Shoshanna about her book The Unshakeable Road to Love.

October 1st @ Boots, Shoes and Fashion

Join Linda for her fascinating interview with Dr. Brenda Shoshanna about her book The Unshakeable Road to Love.


Take in These Exclusive Excerpts


We are all treasure hunters, looking for the secret to fulfilling relationships. Usually, we believe the secret lies in finding the right person, acquiring the best relationship skills and learning to communicate our needs more clearly. Our relationships are usually dedicated to finding happiness, getting our needs met, being powerful or in charge. Basically, we are using our relationships to feel good about ourselves. 

However, despite all our efforts, relationships often become a source of pain and suffering. And when a partner stops meeting our needs, love often turns into rejection. Conflict, anger and loneliness arise endlessly.

When our thoughts are primarily absorbed with what we are needing and receiving, or how to build up our self esteem, we live in a prison without bars. It becomes impossible to truly see the person we are with, or what is really happening.  The harder we try to make things right, the more complicated they can become. How can we ever find fulfillment in this manner?

A Completely New Perspective

It is time to offer a completely new perspective on psychological and spiritual suffering and the road to unfailing happiness. As we turn to the world’s Eternal Scriptures we see that suffering has been dealt with throughout the centuries.  Profound relationship insights along with powerful forms of healing have been offered again and again. However, this fundamental, eternal wisdom has not been recognized or invited into our relationships. That is why we suffer so. 

A Radical Alternative

       These eternal truths present a radical alternative to the ways we function in relationships and what we expect of them. They also present a radical view into what it means to truly love. Like the laws of gravity, these principles are infallible, cannot fail.  

An Unshakable Road To Love (Value-Centered Relationships) is based upon these eternal truths found in all world scriptures. They are the perfect medicine for what is truly ailing us. Not only are these principles fundamental to our happiness, they are also simple, easy to understand and enjoyable to perform. And when we apply these principles to our relationships, pain and conflict often disappear on the spot.

This book and program are dedicated to sharing a new form of psychology based upon these Eternal Principles. This is a Book of Practice, simple, direct and filled with specific insights, exercises and interventions, which carefully guide us in ways of applying these truths with whomever we meet, including ourselves. 

                                              EXCERPT TWO

Relationship Koans

All relationships can be thought of as koans, teachings coming to us from the world of Zen. A koan is a question given to a student by a teacher that has no logical or rational answer. And yet an answer must be made. The same is true of relationships.

In the beginning we try to figure our koans out, strategize, demand certain outcomes. That never works. Before long, we find new ways of handling koans, or so called problems. We learn to enjoy them and let the answer reveal itself. When we approach our relationships the  same way as we do our koans, it is easy to see many of the illusions we have been living with, and how they have destroyed our joy. 

Relationship Myths and Mirages

         These illusions, or relationship myths and mirages steal our trust, hope and love.  Once they are dissolved, and the truth bubbles up, our entire perspective changes and new horizons open.

Ultimately, we do not work on our koans, they work on us. Koans wake us up, alter what our view and present possibilities we never imagined were there. This is true in our relationships as well. Relationships, truly understood and practiced, are an incredible gateway into the heart of our lives.  

Here is a wonderful instruction given to students working with a koan. It is wonderful

 instruction for being in a relationship as well.   

 Be With Your Koan as if You Were a Mother Hen Sitting On Her Nest, Keeping Her Eggs Warm. (Do the Same with Your Relationship.)

  Don’t leave the nest or desert the chicks. And don’t interfere with their growth, or constantly peek in to see how they’re doing. When the perfect moment comes the chicks will peck out of their shells and be born. Do the same with your relationship! Then the relationship will naturally become fully alive.

  “Kabir says, Fantastic!

Don’t let an opportunity

Like this go by.”

Interview with Author Stephen Pollock

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’m a child of the enlightenment.  I believe in science, rational thought, and the value of knowledge.  At the same time, I’m fascinated by philosophical questions that stubbornly reside outside the sphere of scientific truth:  the phenomenon of consciousness; the origin of the universe; the nature of time; and the formation of the first living cell.  In my later years, the limitations of logic and reasoning have left me more receptive to the numinous in our world — a novice in the realm of spirituality.  Above all, I strive to perceive beauty wherever it may exist.

I began writing independently of schoolwork when I was nine.  As was true for many children of my generation, I was introduced to the world of poetry through the work of Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss.  His book “Yertle the Turtle” was a particularly strong influence (though I had no idea at the time that the story was allegorical, a satire of Adolf Hitler).  Not surprisingly, all of the poems I scribbled on shirt cardboard rhymed.

In my sophomore year of high school, I maintained a poetry notebook as part of the curriculum.  But my interest in poetry really blossomed at Amherst College where, as a biology major on the pre-medical track, I took four rigorous poetry courses.  During the last of these, in what I like to describe as an act of love masquerading as mania, I stopped attending classes, isolated myself from friends, ate and slept reluctantly, and spent five straight weeks writing a metaphysical poem on the theme of subjective versus objective reality.  This represented my first serious attempt to write poetry.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

Most of the poems that appear in Exits were written between 2003 and 2021 without a book in mind.  It wasn’t until two years ago that I decided to incorporate what I considered to be my best work into a book entitled Line Drawings.  However,

during the process of reviewing my modest oeuvre, I noticed that a significant number of the poems were related to one or more aspects of mortality.  This led me to curate a more concise, themed collection of poems, and Exits was born.

One might wonder where the focus on life’s transience derives from.  In retrospect, I can identify three sources.  First, I was raised without any religious training, so from a very young age, I was left on my own to ponder the enormity of the universe, time and eternity, and the meaning of existence.  My fear of death was such that I often fought against falling asleep, which to me resembled nothing so much as a rehearsal.  Second, as a physician and neuro-ophthalmologist, I’ve cared for numerous patients with serious and/or life-threatening diseases.  And third, since 1999, I’ve had to deal with the spinal cord variant of multiple sclerosis and the ramifications of that disease for life expectancy.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Death is an integral part of life.  It exerts a profound influence on how we think about the limited time granted to us and the meaning we attach to it.

Exits will resonate with different people in different ways.  Some readers will gravitate to the visual imagery and nature metaphors.  Others will enjoy the wordplay.  Still others will find satisfaction in the resurrection of formal elements.

It’s important to keep in mind that we live in a time of great uncertainty.  War, climate disasters, and a recent pandemic have led many to contemplate the prospect of their own demise.  Exits speaks to this anxiety and angst.  It also may provide fresh perspective on mortality, the cycles of life, and the possibility of renewal.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

My mom, now deceased, deserves a great deal of credit in this regard.  A lifelong visual artist, she made it a point to instill in her young son a deep appreciation for

art.  I recall sitting on her lap at age four or five as she paged through artbook after artbook.  As a result, I could distinguish a Monet from a Cezanne before I could read!

Over the course of my life, I’ve written in multiple genres, including: engineering and technology (U.S. Patent 4,477,158); clinical research articles published in medical journals; chapters in neuro-ophthalmology textbooks;  business papers; short fiction; and poetry.

My attraction to poetry is multifaceted:

The thrill of creating art with words

Permission to access the subconscious

The marriage of sound and sense

The fact that anything can appear in a poem

The fact that anything can happen in a poem

The surreal, dreamlike, associative way that poems move the mind

The surprising connections and juxtapositions

Fun with form

The paradoxical precision of poetic ambiguity

Metaphor and the multilayering of meaning

The sonic extravaganza of rhyme, alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, meter, and non-metrical rhythms

Non-linear narratives

Emotional intensity

The potential to enlighten

The potential to console

Oblique routes to ineffable truths

5) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

None!  I’ve never had an account on any social media platform.  The lone survivor of the Jurassic Period, I tend to use long-forgotten methods of communication, mainly face-to-face chats, telephone calls, and handwritten letters.

6) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Write poems that represent your unique aesthetic sensibilities.  Try not to be overly influenced by prevailing trends or by contemporary poetic styles.

Edit mercilessly over an extended period.  Satisfying first drafts often begin to show their flaws only after sufficient time has elapsed to afford an objective assessment.

Begin your foray into publication by submitting poems to literary journals.  This will help you determine which of your poems resonate with experienced reviewers.  Before each submission, make sure that your poem is a good fit for the journal.

7) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

Given my age, history of MS, and undisciplined writing process, I’m doubtful that any additional books are forthcoming.  But you never know…

About the Author

Stephen C. Pollock is a recipient of the Rolfe Humphries Poetry Prize and a former associate professor at Duke University. His poems have appeared in a wide variety of literary journals, including “Blue Unicorn,” “The Road Not Taken,” “Live Canon Anthology,” “Pinesong,” “Coffin Bell,” and “Buddhist Poetry Review.” “Exits” is his first book.

Available on Amazon:


Interview with Author Tim Stobierski

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

• I honestly don’t know why, but I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I have distinct memories of myself as a child, maybe five or six, writing stories and poems. I’d carry a notebook around with me everywhere.

• But what’s funny is that I was never much of a reader as a child! I had my favorites. I devoured Harry Potter and other books. But I don’t think that my drive to be a writer came from a love of reading.

• In college, I majored in English with a concentration in creative writing. As a part of my studies, I took workshops each semester, and that’s where I finally began to come into my own as a writer — developing my own voice and style instead of just mimicking other writers. I credit my professors at the time — Sharon Bryan, Darcie Dennigan, Penelope Pelizzon, Gina Barreca — with helping me find my voice. 

2) What inspired you to write your book?

• To be quite honest, when I sit down to write poetry, it isn’t with a book or some greater collection in mind. All I’m doing is writing a poem. So I can’t really say that anything inspired me to write the book, because in my mind there never was a book — until there was.

• That being said, with a few exceptions, I wrote these poems during the pandemic. The early days of the pandemic were very lonely for me. I was single during the lockdown, and found myself longing for human connection at a time when it was impossible to have. Those feelings of love and longing and loss really permeate the poems that eventually made it into the collection. In that way, writing Dancehall was a way for me to make sense of the world.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

• More than anything, I want readers to connect with the poems and come away with a sense that love is universal.

• The poems in Dancehall follow the narrative arc of a single relationship from start to finish. I call the book a queer love story, because I myself am queer and I see the book as coming from that perspective. But I also made very conscious stylistic decisions so that the poems would appeal to everyone — gay or straight, single or partnered, male or female or non-binary. 

• You may notice, for example, that except for in two instances the poems don’t make use of pronouns. Instead, the speaker (“I”) is talking directly to the subject (“You”). I did this so that it would be easier for the reader to put themselves in the poem — either as the speaker or the subject — and feel the immediacy of the work. 

• If I, a queer man writing about queer relationships, can write a poem that allows a straight person to feel something about their own relationships, then I think I’ve succeeded in my mission. It’s kind of cliche at this point to say it, but love is love. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

• I think I was drawn to poetry because I myself read poems that triggered an intense emotional response in me, which made me realize that poetry could be powerful. Some of the most powerful poems I’ve ever read were short poems — under 10 words — and yet they had the power to conjure memories and emotions in what is really an awe-inspiring way. Once I experienced that, I knew that I wanted to learn how to do that myself. I wanted to make people feel something, and I personally haven’t found a better way of doing that than through poetry.

5) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

• I have to admit, I’m terrible with social media. I use it mostly for personal reasons — staying in touch with friends, etc. But I’m starting to get a handle on it as a means of building my reader network! I’ve just begun sharing videos and pictures of my work on Instagram (timstobierski) and TikTok (tendre_croppes) and they’re definitely both powerful tools. I think TikTok has the most potential to get your work in front of millions of people quickly, but it’s also tricky to know what’s going to go viral or do well and what’s going to be a flop. I guess I’m still learning. 

6) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

• I think the most important bit of advice I have is to not let rejections get to you. If you submit a poem or a story or an entire book to a press and get a rejection, do your best not to take it personally. Brush yourself off, think critically about whether or not there’s a way you can make your submission stronger, and find a new press to submit to. Just because your work isn’t for someone doesn’t mean that it’s for no one.

• When I first pulled together the manuscript for Dancehall, it was very different from what the book now looks like. I was submitting it to contests and presses that wanted books of poetry consisting of 30 poems max, so that’s how I arranged the book. It wasn’t until I got my fourth or fifth rejection that I looked at the collection and thought, “Well, they keep turning me down when I send them what they say they want. I’m going to submit what I want.” I doubled the poems, reorganized the book, and gave the collection a narrative arc that didn’t exist before. And when I sent it out the next time? The book was accepted by not one, but two presses.

• The moral of it all: Rejections are a part of being a writer. So do your best to build up a thick skin.

7) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

• The way I write poetry is slow. It takes time. I don’t set out to write a collection — they amass over time as I write a poem here or there and realize that a theme has emerged. 

• Recently, I’ve been writing a lot about grief, tied specifically to my father’s death. I think that those poems will eventually form the body of a collection. Likewise, I’ve been writing more explicitly about my experiences coming to terms with my sexuality, and I think that will eventually form a collection

About the Author

Tim Stobierski writes about relationships. His work explores universal themes of love, lust, longing, and loss — presented through the lens of his own experiences as a queer man. His poetry has been published in a number of journals, including the Connecticut River Review, Midwest Quarterly, and Grey Sparrow. His first book of poetry, Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer, was published by River Otter Press in 2012. 

To pay the bills, he is a freelance writer and content strategist focused on the world of finance, investing, fintech, insurance, and software. In his professional writing, he prides himself on his ability to help the reader understand complicated subjects easily, a quality that informs his poetry. 

He is also the founder and editor of Student Debt Warriors, a free resource for college students, graduates, and parents who are struggling to make sense of the complex world of student loans.

Blog Tour + Interview with Timoteo Tong, author of Magic, Monsters and Me

1.When you got your very first manuscript acceptance letter, what was your initial reaction and who was the first person you told?

I was so nervous about being rejected that when I got the email, I made my husband read it watching his face carefully. Well, he has poker face so he kept me on edge until he said, “Wow, they love it and want to offer a contract! I immediately told my brother because he was the one who pushed me to write down the stories I’d dream up with my legos as a kid.

2.Post on how you came up with the plot and/or character(s) and/or worldbuilding:

I grew up on welfare as a kid. And I remember worrying where our next meal would come from and if we’d have enough money to meet rent. I dreamed up the fantastically wealthy Delomary family as a coping mechanism, shrinking myself into their world so I could escape the reality I was living in. For the worldbuilding, I was inspired by the works of L. Frank Baum and Tolkien. I created this fantasy world growing up during the Reagan years and imagined a world that was similar to ours only better, there was no crime or hunger or violence, and especially, free of racism and bigotry. 

3. Have the character share a favorite recipe.

Elijah loves his Mom’s Roast Beef, slow roasted with onions, mushrooms and simmering in red wine (My mom put wine in almost every dish, I think it’s a Sicilian thing) served with mashed potatoes and peas. 

4. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

I would definitely want to fly. In my books, I feature a lot of characters flying, floating and walking on air. I was inspired by Wu Xia movies from Hong Kong, where the characters can fly while they fight. I think this is so cool!

5: What is your favorite food.

Cheese, hands down,I love it sliced, in cubes or chunks, melted down and dipped with bread, stuffed into lasagna and shells and especially cheese pizza. I can’t get enough of cheese, to the chagrin of my doctor.

Magic, Monsters, and Me - Timoteo Tong

Timoteo Tong has a new MM YA sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal romance out: Magic, Monsters, and Me. And there’s a giveaway.

Sixteen-year-old Elijah Delomary loves the City of Angels. The sunshine, the palm trees, the ocean. He especially enjoys battling the monsters infesting the dark corners of the vast metropolis.

As he starts his junior year at Burbank High School he meets a new friend, Austin who also fights monsters to keep Angelenos safe. As their friendship develops and love blooms, Elijah’s arch nemesis Devlina reappears, threatening to use magic to destroy the world.

Elijah must now juggle pursuing his feelings for Austin, meeting the lofty expectations of his affluent and influential family, and fulfilling his destiny to combat the forces of evil and save his hometown.

Warnings: Bullying, racism, homophobia no HEA cliffhanger

Publisher | Amazon


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Magic, Monsters & Me Meme

Fifteen-year-old Austin Kang Jr., well over six feet tall, lean and lanky with a mop of black hair falling over his eyes, adjusted the thick black glasses on his face. He studied the white stone and glass mansion jutting out over a hillside on North Sunset Canyon Drive. The house appeared to have good feng shui, with a Southern exposure to allow absorption of positive chi, a panoramic view of the Valley below, and a clear path to the front door.

Feng shui was important to Austin and his parents. They believed it helped center their family and keep them grounded and safe. Austin and his parents were descended from a long line of Magicals called Glimmerers who could tap into a glimmer of magic and twist, turn, and manipulate it as if it were hot ore being turned into a sword.

Coaugelus, as they were known in the Old Language, the mother tongue of the Magicals, were a class of warriors. They defended Magicals and Ordinaries, or humans without magic, from dark forces, creatures, and monsters that lived in the dark shadows of Earth—a place called the Gloom.

Coaugelus, Magicals, and Ordinaries lived in the light in our world, also known as the Shimmering. Everywhere that the sun touched was part of the Shimmering. Austin, his parents, even the people driving by in cars, walking their dogs, and watering their lawns shimmered and lived in the light.

Long ago, the Gloom and the Shimmering met face-to-face in a great war that killed and destroyed countless Ordinaries, Magicals, and monsters. The war raged on and reached a crescendo. A Pàcifimenta, a treaty among Ordinaries, Magicals, and the Gloom was signed. The war ended. Peace settled over the Shimmering and the Gloom.

Still, many in the Coven, the collective of monsters in the Gloom, did not agree with the Pàcifimenta. They didn’t like that they had to sacrifice feeding on Ordinaries or haunting, possessing, or simply terrorizing them. Others wanted power to control the Coven, and to defeat the peace created by the Pàcifimenta. Some creatures didn’t like peace as part of their nature. These monsters were fought by Coaugelus like Austin and his family.

Austin loved three things in life: playing soccer (known as football back home in Hong Kong), listening to grunge music like his dad, and fighting the Coven. For Austin, being a Coaugelo gave him a purpose in life and a place where he felt like he belonged. He particularly enjoyed kicking, punching, and using Xem Sen Ou, the ancient martial art from Minerva in Old Earth in the Seventh Dimension where all Magicals came from.

He also fancied his PlasmX, a purple plasma staff that folded into nondescript metal object akin to a lighter that he always carried with him. He had used it only last night while hunting down a group of rather angry werewolves, or Malloupus, that were attacking tourists at the night market in Kowloon. Austin enjoyed watching the pure purple plasma slice through the heads and arms of werewolves that were in the middle of reaping the souls of innocent Ordinaries.

Austin loved saving Ordinaries from monsters.

“What’s our assignment?” Austin asked his parents.

“Trouble is breaking out within the Coven here in Los Angeles,” said Austin Sr.

Austin and his family spoke with posh accents, a holdover from when Hong Kong was a colony of the UK. “We’re here to investigate and report back to XAQ2,” continued Austin Sr.

“Bleedin’ hell,” Austin complained. “XAQ2 are wankers. Full of rules. Can’t we simply report to the Anti-Coven League and be done with it?”

“Xutactiendo Allégansa Qu’elicallen Duzo have moved more operations of the League from the clandestine to the legal,” said Austin Sr.

“What does that mean?” Austin asked.

“The Alliance is strained and weakened. As leaders of the Alliance, the Còngréhassa are trying to placate their counterparts in the Coven and maintain the Pàcifimenta. Part of that entails relying more on formal procedures. The League works in secret, whereas XAQ2 works through formal channels as the official body of the Alliance.”

“Tossers,” Austin said. “XAQ2 can all go to hell as far as I’m concerned.”

Austin glanced at his parents, who were standing beside him holding hands. His parents were madly in love, even all these years later. He wanted to be in love. He was going to find it—here in Burbank where he’d have four passions: soccer, grunge, being a Coaugelo, and being in love with a cute, wonderful, and smart boy. That was Austin’s secret.

Coaugelos shouldn’t kiss other boys, or so some said—at least, the old-timers in the Alliance. He didn’t care what they thought, but he worried what his parents would think. They were his best friends.

Austin fought and traveled all over the world with his parents. He was worried that if he told them his secret, they wouldn’t understand or accept him anymore. Losing the closeness with, and love of, his parents would hurt more than the bite of a Qu’muqa, a monster with green scales and ten mouths on two heads.

His parents worked as agents for the Anti-Coven League. When they got a new assignment from the League, they took on new day jobs for cover.

“What jobs are you supposed to be doing?” asked Austin.

“This time around, I manage a highly profitable import-export business specializing in Chinese antiquities,” responded his mother.

“Jolly right you are,” Austin quipped. “How many bloomin’ vases do we have?”

Austin Sr. frowned. “Too many,” he observed.

“What about you, Dad?”

“I run a gas station somewhere called Van Nuys,” Austin Sr. said.

Austin glanced at his mom and dad. “Looks like you got the shit job this time, eh Dad?” he said.

They all laughed.

“I ran a nail salon in Bangkok last time for six months,” Austin’s mother said. “I hate salons.”

“Yeah,” his father said. “I had to collect garbage in Berlin for a year. Remember?”

“How could I forget the smell? I had to be a maid in Buenos Aires.”

Austin tuned them out. This was one of his parents’ games: try to top each other in who had the worst fake job while they were out in the field fighting monsters for the League.

Austin caught sight of his cousin Barnhard “Barn” Wong strutting up the street toward him and his family.

Barn was Austin’s best mate. His father was Austin’s uncle. Austin was an only child, as was Barn. When they were together, they acted like brothers.

Barn waved, jumping up and down. Barn was always full of life and energy. Austin loved being around him. Life was better around his cousin.

“Oi, Kangs!” Barn shouted in Cantonese.

Austin noticed a red-haired boy with brown eyes and a band of freckles on his nose walking next to Barn.

Austin’s heart melted. He was the most beautiful boy Austin had ever seen—from Mumbai to London to New York and Tokyo and Sydney. He felt the universe shift inside him. He could feel the boy pulling him in as if Austin were a satellite circling the Earth.

Austin liked that feeling. His parents orbited each other, and like them, he wanted to circle this boy—forever.

Barn and the red-haired boy parted ways. Austin watched the boy walk across the street under the canopy of jacaranda trees, disappearing into a four-story white stucco Spanish colonial mansion.

“What’s my assignment?” Austin asked as Barn arrived, pausing to hug his uncle, aunt, and Austin.

Barn was affectionate and loved hugs and kisses, or smooches, as he called them. “Reconnaissance with my mate here? Hunting down Àzmadus? Orgmas?” Austin continued.

Barn high-fived Austin. “Let’s destroy monsters!” Barn exclaimed.

Barn was a Coaugelo like Austin. Barn’s extended family owned the Wong Aero-Magicals Corporation that made the PlasmX in factories in Chicago, Tokyo, and Bangkok as well as other equipment used by the Alliance to fight the Coven.

“You’re just a high school junior,” Austin’s mother said. “You need a break from hunting and fighting. You need to have fun!”

“You need to be a boy,” his father echoed.

“Killing monsters is fun,” Austin responded.

“Really fun, Auntie!” Barn added. “Austin can train at the Dáu Xhà, the dojo with Dáumo Máurso, the sensei.”

“Who?” asked Austin.

“He’s an Immortal—Mars, the God of War. He runs the best Dáu Xhà in the world. You’ll learn the most powerful Xem Sen Ou with him,” explained Barn.

“Oi,” Austin said, “training with an Immortal. That’s amazing.”

He’s amazing,” Barn said. “He’s nearly ten feet tall, a knot of muscle, and his voice makes the earth tremble.”

“Sounds a tad frightening,” Austin admitted.

“He’s the God of War, mate,” Barn explained, nudging Austin in the side with his elbow.

“Fair enough,” Austin replied.

“He likes cats—he has a dozen at his home. He also likes hot dogs—a lot—and slushies,” Barn said.

“Yuck,” Austin said, rolling his eyes. “I hate slushies.”

“Let’s go to the Dáu Xhà after you drop your stuff off,” Barn said, “So I can introduce you to Máurso.”

Austin glanced expectantly at the moving truck, the boxes on the sidewalk, and his parents.

“Go,” his mother said in Cantonese. “Have fun, boys! And no killing monsters!”

“Oi,” Barn said, already ignoring his aunt. “There’s a poltergeist at Dirk Delomary’s department store in the mall—third floor, women’s hosiery. We can destroy it after we get hot dogs and hang with Máurso,” he said. “And I know a cute girl at Chicken on a Stick who’s an Encantreina. She can turn satay into powerful silver daggers that will kill any monster.”

Austin grinned. He loved Burbank already.

Author Bio

Timoteo Tong grew up on a quiet street in Burbank, a suburb of Los Angeles located in the San Fernando Valley. He dreamed of one day living in a Victorian mansion with many rooms filled with antiques and artwork. He imagined himself fighting monsters.Timoteo grew up and began writing stories of a family of fighters battling monsters to save humanity.

Timoteo currently lives with his husband and a plethora of houseplants in San Francisco. He enjoys reading, writing, drawing, naps and binge watching TV. He loves cheese pizza, Pepsi and Vans.

Author Website:

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Blog Tour: A Riff of Retribution by Amir Lane (Heavy Metal Hunters Book 1)

A Riff of Retribution - Amir Lane

Amir Lane has a new gay paranormal vampire book out, Heavy Metal Hunters book 1: A Riff of Retribution. And there’s a giveaway.

Dead men are filled with life.

Eleven years ago, world-renowned guitarists Hale and Aleksandr learned that monsters were real. Hale lost the love of his life, and Aleksandr lost his brother.

When the carnage was over, they vowed to make sure no one else had to go through what they did.

But since then, another band’s bassist has been killed at a festival, and she wasn’t the only one. Hale suspects a vampire was responsible, and that their drummer — the singer of his new band — knows more about it than she’s letting on. When a member of their new act is also attacked by a vampire, everything Hale has tried to keep in the shadows comes to light.

Hale has made a bargain with the gods for the power to heal. But he can’t save everyone.

The dead are rising. The gods are angry. And even they won’t be Hale’s biggest problem.

From USAT Bestselling Author Amir Lane comes a story of music, magic, and mayhem.

Warning: Substance abuse, self-harm, mentions of attempted suicide.

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A Riff of Retribution meme

A woman’s voice cried out in the darkness.

“Help me! Help me!”

Hale ground his teeth against the instinct to find her. He didn’t know if this tactic was something they learned or if it was ingrained into them. The nearest cabins were all empty right now. They had checked before sundown and found no sign of human life.

That had been several hours ago. Somebody very well could have wandered up into the mountains and gotten hurt or lost in that time.

Hale doubted it.

The same cry came from behind him. This time, it was a man’s voice.

“Help me! Help me!”

Hale stood and raised his crossbow with both hands. Though it was fairly light, he was mindful of the way the weight tugged at the scars behind his left shoulder. In his periphery, Aleksandr sheathed the dagger and raised his own crossbow instead.

This wasn’t right.

Draug weren’t like European or North American vampires. They didn’t move in pairs. It was likely why Hale and Aleksandr had survived doing this so long. It was always two against one.

They had a strategy. His job was to slow the bastards down so Aleksandr could finish them off. Two of them coming from different directions complicated things.

“Hale,” Aleksandr said.

Hale knew that tone.

“Don’t,” he warned.

“You’ve been a good brother.”

“Fuck off.”

Aleksandr laughed softly.

“I love you too, Hale.”

Hale’s lip twitched into a smile despite himself.

“Come on, you fucks,” he muttered.

The silence was worse than the noise. Had they seen the weapons and retreated?


From his left—


Hale spun.

Eyes glowed yellow in the light of the fire. His finger twitched on the trigger. The bolt went wide.


The draug moved fast, too fast for Hale to follow. There was no point trying to see it. He allowed instinct to take over. He turned in the direction of the hairs prickling on the back of his neck as he released the bolt without letting himself think about it. A howl of pain rang through his eardrums. The draug paused long enough that Hale could see the bolt sticking from her thigh. She stared at him with sharp teeth bared and wide eyes a blue so pale, they were nearly white. She was thin enough that he could make out the bones of her skull and collarbones where her torn and bloody clothes hung loose from her body. It was impossible to tell how old she’d been as human.

Jeans and a t-shirt.

Had she been killed in the summer?

Hale smothered down the guilt before it could distract him. One week a year. That was the agreement. Anything outside that week wasn’t his responsibility. All he could do was put the poor thing out of her misery and keep her from killing anybody else.

His weak shoulder gave out a little as he pulled the trigger again. The bolt stuck between the draug’s ribs instead of her heart.

“How are you doing, Aleksandr?” he shouted.

The lack of verbal response wasn’t encouraging.


“I’m fine!”

Hale slipped his shoulder to the side, narrowly avoiding the woman’s claws aimed for his face. The ash poisoning was slowing her down already. She was too close for the crossbow. He let it fall to the ground and moved his right leg back.

A sharp cry rang out behind him.


Hale made the mistake of looking back. He didn’t see Aleksandr or the other draug.


Gods, where was he? Where—

The woman slammed into him. The snow broke his fall, and the pain was muffled by the spike of adrenaline in his veins. He braced his left hand against her rotting throat to keep her teeth from his face. Cold pain pulled at the scars behind his shoulder. The weak muscles quivered with the effort of holding her back against gravity. Her ugly snarl looked even more inhuman in the firelight.

Hale’s pendants were hot where they’d fallen back against his skin.

Protect him, you bastards, not me. He’s not a fighter!

Hale could handle himself, but Aleksandr—

Aleksandr could hold his own. He wasn’t as soft as he looked. Hale couldn’t think of him while the woman’s short claws raked at his arms. She was clearly young enough they hadn’t had a chance to grow long yet. The sleeves of his jacket kept them from breaking his skin.

Hale shifted to push the woman back a few inches with his good arm. He wedged his knee up between them. His fingers scrambled over his thigh until they found the hilt of his dagger.

Blood splattered on his face as he drove the blade into the underside of her jaw. She howled and screamed around the metal. He kept his grip on the hilt as she jerked back, dislocating her jaw. She fell back, and Hale was on her in a less than a breath. He dropped his weight onto the dagger. It took two tries to get it between the ribs and into her heart.

It was concern for Aleksandr that made him stand as the draug woman thrashed on the snow, not the sick feeling that came with watching her die.

This never did get easier.

Author Bio

Amir Lane author logo

Amir Lane writes supernatural and fantasy with LGBT+ characters. From the frigid and mysterious land of Northern Canada, Amir is obsessed with loud music and black magic. They spend most of their writing time in a small home office or doing the circuit of local coffee shops. They live in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence, and they strive to bring that world to paper.

When not figuring out what kind of day job an incubus would have or what a necromancer would go to school for, Amir enjoys visiting the nearest Dairy Queen, getting killed in video games, and watching cat videos.

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Jade: First and Last by M.D. Grimm Blog Tour + Excerpt

Good day lovely readers! Thank you for joining me. I am M.D. Grimm and I am here to promote my newest release, “Jade: First and Last.” This is the latest entry in The Stones of Power, and the structure became a quest story, much the same as the first book in the series. I kept making it worse for my guys as they searched for the jade stone of power. And I had a bit too much fun doing so. I only have four books left before I wrap things up for Lord Morgorth and Aishe, and I am both excited and saddened. They’ve been with me for a decade, and it will be an end of an era when I let them go. If you like magic, surly, anti-hero mages (wizards), their loyal, long-suffering mates, and a fun setting with quirky supporting characters, this series might be for you!

Enjoy this exclusive excerpt!


I stared in fascination as Morgorth’s skin rippled and the air around him shimmered. He’d confirmed how agonizing the change was, and I gritted my teeth at the sounds of breaking bones and snapping tendons. His proportions shrank, his skin erupted in feathers, and his face grew a beak. His low moan turned into a ruckus caw.

A long moment later a large black bird stood on the floor, ruffling his feathers, and clicking his beak. He flapped his wings and cocked his head, familiarizing himself with his new form.

I knelt in front of him and slipped the small cord over his head. The thumbnail-size crystal lay against his chest. “You are beautiful.”

He let out a soft sound, almost a coo, and flapped his wings hard, gaining lift. I stood and he fluttered over to land on my shoulder.

“Are you ready?”

He nipped at my hair.

I hid him under my cloak as we snuck out. Once outside, I drew up my hood, since Morgorth advised against using the same disguise potion as yesterday. He didn’t want to make me sick. I stepped around the corner once outside, and Morgorth took flight, wheeling a bit unsteadily through the air. I watched for a moment, anxious before following him on foot. The city was far busier in the early afternoon. Everyone moved with a purpose and rarely made eye contact or even greeted each other. I didn’t sense unfriendliness, more unease and a bit of fear.

As I followed Morgorth down a few side streets we’d tried the other night, I noticed the graffiti on the walls and spots of vandalism. I hadn’t spotted them in the dark. The words were in the local dialect, but I could understand the meaning well enough. Calls for revolution or for someone to depose the king.

I got a bit distracted, trying to decipher a few of the words and graphic pictures, and wondering if the current state of the city, and the kingdom as a whole, could have an impact on the thief’s actions. A group of children, none at puberty yet, ran past me, screaming and hollering in manic glee. I flinched at the noise but found myself smiling. Even in this devastated city, the perseverance of children couldn’t be dampened. But their ragged clothing, dirty faces, and bare feet, concerned me. They were far too skinny, and their body odor lingered in their wake.

“What’s all this noise?” an old man bellowed as he stuck his head out of his door. “You get out of here, you little maggots! None of us wants to hear you carrying on.”

The kids jeered and called him names, making the old man red in the face.

I was moving forward before I knew it, hoping to stop an altercation. But then the swooping of wings, and the brush of feathers against my hood brought me back to our mission. Morgorth cawed as he soared higher. I gritted my teeth against the instinctive urge to interfere. But the kids had already run away, and the old man turned his attention to me.

He glared. “What you looking at, you davish?”

I stiffened, the insult burning. “Nothing.”

He snorted. “Get back to your own country and out of our city, tree whore. We don’t want your kind here.”

I gaped as he shut the door.

Did he just…? Was that a derogatory name for dialen? Had to be. And how dare he call me a davish! The nerve of accusing a perfect stranger of rutting with animals. The old man’s vitriol staggered me. He hated me for even existing in his presence. It appeared that generations of war turned some bitter and hateful, and irrationally bigoted.

How had he known I was a dialen, though? My hood was still in place, and the cloak was big enough to cover my clothing. Could it be my bow? Perhaps. It wasn’t the same shape and style as the bows of the city.

I sighed and tried to shake it off as I turned and followed Morgorth again. The encounter shook me despite my best efforts. The despair permeating the city was even worse in the daytime when I could see the faces of the citizens and the resignation in their eyes.

I lifted the crystal to my lips. “We have to do something about this war, Morgorth. After we find the jade, we have to… I don’t know. This place, it… we have to help if we can.”

He gave two clicks.

I sighed.

The afternoon wore on, and I witnessed a half dozen thefts, and it sickened me to turn away. But when I spotted three men harassing a woman, I couldn’t stand by. They had her backed into the end of an alley and were tugging at her arms, her clothes. I didn’t want the attention of the patrols or soldiers, so I kept my arrows and sword sheathed and used my bow as a club instead.

“Hey, you should leave her alone if you know what’s good for you!”

They all turned to me. I kept my hood up, bow at the ready.

“Who are you?” one of them asked, the one gripping her arm.

“And if you know what’s good for you, you won’t interfere,” another said.

The two speakers were rather scrawny, underfed, and their clothes were more patches than fabric. The third was a wide, short stump of a man who scowled and said nothing.

“Please help me!” the woman said, struggling against the first man’s hold.

“I won’t offer another warning,” I said, wondering where in the underworld the patrols were.

“Neither will we. Ander!”

The stump of a man charged me.

I braced and lifted my bow.


The Stones of Power 1-9 are available for purchase at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. I have a newsletter that I send out monthly with all the goodies you can expect in the future. That’s the best way to find out about my current and future projects.

I’m currently working on the next Shifter Chronicles book, as well as the first book in a duology concerning two sisters and their love lives with dragons and wolves.

More information on my catalog can be found at my website.

I hope you stay safe and healthy, and may dragons guard your dreams,

M.D. Grimm

Jade: First and Last - M.D. Grimm

M.D. Grimm has a new MM fantasy book out, Stones of Power book 9 – Jade: First and Last.

Morgorth and Aishe must contend with a deadly threat that could spell disaster for their world.

Payshthas were the first of the Mother’s intelligent children. It is rare for true friendship to form between them and another species—which makes Morgorth’s bond with Enfernlo unique. And it is due to their friendship that Morgorth doesn’t hesitate to answer Enfernlo’s plea for help.

A thief has stolen something vital from Enfernlo’s colony—a stone of power.

Their hunt for the stone leads them to a war torn kingdom, and Aishe can hardly stomach what he sees. The devastation urges him to assist however he can, no matter the risk. Meanwhile, Morgorth is faced with reminders of the monster he used to be, and contemplates how far he’s come, and yet how far he still has to go. And when his estranged mentor joins them on their search, Morgorth is forced to confront his resentment and sense of betrayal, and use Master Ulezander as a tool to save the payshthas.

Forced into a deadly quest where trust is in short supply, and faced with challengers for the stone, Morgorth must put his faith in those he loves and in himself… and become a champion not just of the Mother but for Karishian itself.

Warnings: magic violence, dragon violence, war-torn country

About the Series:

Lord Morgorth is a dark mage on the planet Karishian. His peers consider him a villain, but there is more to him than they choose to understand. Cursed by a dark destiny and tormented by painful memories of the past, Morgorth struggles to find his place in the world. Far from innocent, Morgorth has teetered between embracing his destiny and fighting against it his entire life. A decision that is made easier when Aishe comes into his life.

Aishe is a creature of the forest, a warrior and healer. He has the moral compass that Morgorth needs, and Morgorth gives Aishe the companionship he craves. Together, they forge ahead, weathering the storms and fighting the enemies fate puts into their paths.

However, their greatest enemy is not a living being, but gemstones infused with deadly power. They are addictive, seductive, and completely treacherous. Morgorth hates them and is determined to find and imprison all of them. But he soon realizes they are keys to a greater power. He learns his destiny is not all he thought it was. And an even greater enemy stirs in the darkness.

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Jade: First and Last meme

Morgorth snarled a word, and his magick speed shot him like an arrow into the tunnels. I followed in his wake, focusing on the eight gVattaren who were running away. The hard sand didn’t hinder us, and I caught up with their shorter strides. I shot two in the neck before those remaining reeled around and attacked. They cursed and squealed as their blades blinded me when the sun broke the horizon. I dropped my bow and grabbed my short sword.

With my own snarl, I barreled into them. My blade sang as I swung at their arms and heads while also dodging and swerving as they tried to stick me with their knives. The six surrounded me, and while a few broke through my defenses and slashed at my legs, their blades glanced off my armored clothing. It didn’t take long for the gVattaren to realize they couldn’t puncture through the cloth to my flesh.

One sneaky fellow sliced the back of my uncovered hand while another threw a blade at my face. I ducked and hissed at the sting on my hand. I cut off their arm while slashing at the one who’d flung the knife.

“What do you hope to accomplish?” I asked, spitting mad. “Do you not see the payshtha over there? He can burn you to a crisp in an instant!”

“Then why hasn’t he?” one of them said, voice raspy and filled with dark amusement.

I turned to the mocker and found an opening to kick them in the head. They dropped like a stone and the other five hissed and snarled.

“I’m not done having fun yet,” I said.

I trusted Morgorth to recover whatever they’d thrown into the tunnel as I gradually moved them farther away from the Jesllan. The small group was vicious and quick, fueled by rage. I would have been bleeding from many shallow wounds if Morgorth hadn’t enchanted my clothing. But then they surged toward me all at once, and one leapt upon my back, trying to stab my face. I gripped their wrist and twisted sharply. With a snap and a scream, they fell off me, dropping the blade. Unfortunately, with their other hand, the stabber grabbed my wrist and used their weight to force me to drop my sword arm. Then they clung and bit my hand, turning the previous slice into torn and mangled flesh that gushed blood.

I screamed, unable to shake them off.

I dropped my sword.

Seizing the opportunity, the other four attempted to saw their way through my clothing. They clung like leeches, and their combined weight made it hard for me to move.

“Get off me!” I punched at their heads with my free hand and struggled to keep my face beyond their reach.

“Close your eyes!” Enfernlo bellowed.

I snapped them shut an instant before hot air slammed into my back and engulfed me. The gVattaren shrieked in agony as the five spasmed against me. Then all the weight vanished, and it was silent except for the roar of the wind. Then that, too, dissipated.

I swayed and fell to one knee, panting. When I opened my eyes, I grimaced. The streaks of ash against the crystallized sand told me it hadn’t been hot wind, but payshtha fire. He’d disintegrated the gVattaren, just as I’d warned them he’d do.

Payshthas, like mages, could control their fire and who it harmed. To some extent, at least. But while mages needed to retain the connection to their fire, payshthas could direct it even when the bond was severed.

I tucked my mangled hand to my chest and grabbed my sword with the other. It was no worse for the wear, much to my relief. I turned and jolted. Enfernlo stood just behind, towering over me, his teeth bared, his eyes glimmering dark with rage. His wings were unfurled to their full span, and his posture reminded me of a striking snake or diving bird.

I was grateful my bowels didn’t betray me.


I turned and Morgorth engulfed me in his arms.

“Careful,” I said, grunting.

He jerked back and swept his gaze over me before focusing on my hand. His mouth twisted and his magick flared. “I’m sorry. Right after I retrieved that bomb they threw in, another group leapt out of the sand and attacked.”

I cupped his cheek with my good hand and met his gaze. “I’m all right.”

“Show me your hand,” Enfernlo said.

He no longer looked about to attack, and I breathed easier as I held out my hand. A gentle stream of fire blew out of his mouth and landed on my wound. It seeped into the torn flesh, glowed yellow, and then vanished. The pain stopped, my hand as good as new.

“Thank you.” I touched his snout.

Then I turned to Morgorth and cupped his cheek again. “And thank you for the clothes.”

He grunted. He covered my hand on his cheek and kissed my palm.

Author Bio

M.D. Grimm has wanted to write stories since second grade (kind of young to make life decisions, but whatever) and nothing has changed since then (well, plenty of things actually, but not that!). Thankfully, she has indulgent parents who let her dream, but also made sure she understood she’d need a steady job to pay the bills (they never let her forget it!).

After graduating from the University of Oregon and majoring in English, (let’s be honest: useless degree, what else was she going to do with it?) she started on her writing career and couldn’t be happier. Working by day and writing by night (or any spare time she can carve out), she enjoys embarking on romantic quests and daring adventures (living vicariously, you could say) and creating characters that always triumph against the villain, (or else what’s the point?) finding their soul mate in the process.

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Blog Tour: Lord Manetu (Blackwood Pack Series Book 12) by Mary Rundle + Exclusive Excerpt

Hi Everyone! So glad to be here and today there’s an exclusive excerpt from Lord Manetu, Book 12 of the Blackwood Pack series. It’s about Theo, Norm, and Smokey who have a rocky path  to their HEA but not to worry because the Blackwood Pack is always ready to step in with a helping hand. Please enjoy! 


After promising Jackson he would not seek out Theo until given permission, Smokey left the study, heading outside. He needed the peace of the forest to help settle his thoughts about what his options were concerning his mate. Opening the front door, he stepped outside, ignoring his bear’s objections. While he could understand and even agree with his animal’s demand for vengeance, he knew they belonged here with their mate. Revenge would have to wait. 

Pausing on the porch, Smokey glanced around, smirking at the enforcers casually scattered around the edge of the forest. There wasn’t a doubt in his mind what their assignment was but that wouldn’t be necessary. He had no intention of doing anything that would cause his mate more anxiety. Nodding briefly to the leader, he stepped off the porch, heading for a path leading into the trees. 

The quietness of Smokey’s footsteps on the thick bed of pine needles had the effect on his bear he hoped for. The anger was gone, stripped from his animal by the stillness of the forest surrounding them. Now he could think without dealing with the wild mood swings of his bear. 

Moving slowly through the trees, Smokey let his senses savor the forest sounds and scents, reminding him of the many times spent with his grandfather learning the ways of the ancient ones. He kept that knowledge locked up, guarded against all who might seek to destroy it or use it for nefarious purposes. It was a part of him that had remained a secret—at least most of it—from even his two best friends.

But somehow Ghost had found out about some of it, which is why he’d insisted Smokey use it to save Harte. Thinking it over as his mind cleared in the peaceful surroundings of the forest, the impact of Ghost’s knowing about his power chilled him to the core. Not only did it expose him to danger, but it also compromised his friend—who couldn’t possibly know how vulnerable he might now be. Dammit! 

Continuing on the path, Smokey headed deeper into the forest, letting the shadows cool his agitation. Ghost’s knowledge would have to be handled soon, but there were other matters he needed to figure out first. Turning his attention to his mate, the image of Theo filled his mind, causing his bear to roar in approval. I agree…our mate is gorgeous…and brave…and smart! Everything he learned from Jackson told him the Fates had found him a mate worthy of sharing the world he was born into; the problem was Theo was already spoken for.

Fucking hell! Slamming his fist into the trunk of the nearest tree, Smokey howled in frustration, cursing the turn his life had taken. Nothing had ever been easy, so why did he expect his mating to be? Rubbing his fist, he resumed walking, concentrating on the questions Jackson asked him, questions he hadn’t been able to answer. 

He decided to start with the easiest one. Can you raise Theo’s cub even though you’re not the father? Smokey carefully examined his feelings and those of his bear and after talking it over with his animal, he knew the answer. Blood alone did not make a father, but the love he already felt for the cub certainly did. And the thought he might never get to show the cub his love caused a deep ache in his heart.

Trying to ignore it, Smokey moved on to the next question. Can you accept the father of the cub and welcome him into your mating? Listening to his bear growl in response, he knew it would be a problem—not for him, but definitely for his animal. That was the reason he couldn’t immediately give Jackson the assurances he was looking for. As far as he was concerned, he owed…what was his name? oh yeah, Norman…Norman for saving Theo’s life. According to Jackson, Norman was the reason his mate made it through the hell of Arald’s prison.

Pausing as the growls of his bear grew louder, Smokey gave his animal the finger, refusing to kowtow to his demands this time. It was rare for Smokey to stand up to his bear, but too much was at stake to give in. Finding a fallen tree trunk, he sat down on it and called to his animal’s spirit, seeking a meeting with him. Once the spirit appeared, Smokey closed his eyes and released control of his human spirit. Falling into a trance, he watched and listened as his spirit explained the issues to his bear’s spirit. Smokey knew the only way to gain his animal’s cooperation was if their spirits were in agreement. 

Lord Manetu - Mary Rundle

Mary Rundle has a new MM paranormal romance out, Blackwood Pack book 12: Lord Manetu. And there’s a giveaway.

This is part of a continuing series by Amazon Bestselling Author, Mary Rundle – reading the previous titles is advised. Readers will enjoy catching up with members of the Blackwood Pack and reading about what is happening to them as the pack does what it does best ̶ caring for one another and helping shifters everywhere.

Barely surviving Arald’s prison, Theo’s luck has finally changed. Discovering an unknown passion for cooking, he’s settled into his new life with his fiancé at the Blackwood Pack. He’s excited about tying the knot with Norm in the company of all their friends. It’s everything Norm promised him during their bleakest days of incarceration and he doesn’t think he can be any happier.

Waking up at Arald’s, Norm’s sole mission in life is to help his Fated Mate, Theo, survive the horrors inflicted on them both. Now free, he sets about to make all of Theo’s dreams come true, including the most important one, the cub his mate so dearly wants.

Smokey heads North to pick up Kevin’s parents and deliver them to the Blackwood Pack before hurrying back to LA. Easy-peasy…right? That’s what Smokey thinks but then, what is supposed to be a simple mission, turns into a race to avoid human hunters who have already shot Kevin’s father. Using his skills honed as a secret agent, Smokey manages to elude the hunters, heal the father’s wound and then successfully transport them to safety only to find the Fates have a surprise waiting for him.

After a series of misunderstandings and then with some help from Jackson, the pack’s Alpha, Theo and Norm finally accept Smokey as their mate and set upon a journey to unite the three of them. Discovering truths about their past lives leads to uncovering long-kept secrets that end up bonding Theo, Norm and Smokey together, giving each more love and happiness than they ever knew existed.

Astounding surprises, rare and unique gifts, an action-packed mission, and many unexpected twists and turns make this passionate love story by Mary Rundle impossible to put down once you’ve read the first page.

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Peering into the underbrush to his left, Smokey found the glowing eyes of Ivan’s mountain lion staring back at him, waiting for the signal to attack. Then swiveling his head to the right, he found a pair of gleaming wolf eyes focused on him. Satisfied, he looked up through the branches of some huge pine trees, searching for Hawkeye, but the sky was empty. Huffing quietly, he turned his attention back to the three men in front of the cave where Kevin’s parents were holed up. Studying his preys’ body language, he deduced that the man on the left was the leader, while the other two were carrying out his orders.

Gesturing with one of his paws to Ivan, Smokey pointed out the man he was going to kill.

Ivan nodded, impressed by the giant paw with razor sharp claws.

Suddenly a hoarse screech broke the silence as a Red-Tail Hawk dive bombed the clearing at the mouth of the cave, causing the men surrounding it to scatter and duck. Before they could recover, a thunderous roar froze them in place.

Smokey’s bear rushed forward, his paw aimed at the leader, his four-inch claws easily piercing the man’s back. Ignoring the ear-splitting scream of pain, he clutched his prize then, pausing for a moment, he tore the man’s heart out. Swinging around, he saw Ivan’s mountain lion momentarily incapacitated by bear spray. Smokey’s eyes glowed red with anger as he aimed a paw at the man with the spray, his claws sinking deep into his stomach, eviscerating him. Scooping out his victim’s guts and scattering them on the ground, he then moved on to the next target.

Though all three men had now been killed, Smokey’s bear was still in a frenzy. Anger pulsed through him, demanding further revenge against those who dared hurt Kevin’s parents. Lifting up his head, Smokey’s bear roared again, silencing the forest as he broadcast his displeasure. Finally, after several more bellows, Smokey forced his bear into a shift and reclaimed his human form, his body still filled with adrenaline. Opening and closing his fists, Smokey slowed his breathing, calming himself. Standing in the clearing, he surveyed the bloody scene before turning to Ivan. “Anyone injured?”

Smirking, Ivan’s eyes lingered on the bodies of the men lying on the ground. “I’m assuming you don’t mean them. In that case, nope, other than a few scratches, everyone’s fine.”

“Smartass!” Before Smokey could say more, he heard Elen calling his name. Whirling around, he ran toward the cave, his gut tightening at the sound of panic in her voice. Once inside, he blinked several times until his eyes adjusted to the darkness, then spying Elen kneeling next to Harte, he rushed over to her. Dropping down beside her, he asked, “What happened?”

“He’s been shot and I can’t stop the bleeding, Gabriel.”

“Lemme see.” After Elen removed her hand from the blood-soaked cloth, Smokey gently lifted it, inhaling sharply at the still-bleeding wound. With the amount of blood Harte was losing, it was impossible for him to be moved. Replacing the bandage quickly, he said, “Here, press down as hard as you can.”

“Gabe, he needs to shift now. His heart has already stopped once.”

“I know…” Lifting his right hand, he extended a claw before cutting open his left wrist. Waiting a second until blood flowed from the wound, he put the open cut tightly against Harte’s mouth. “C’mon Harte…drink,” he muttered.

“Will it work?” asked Elen, trying to hide her fear.

“I don’t know…he’s weak.” Reaching down, with his right hand, he pinched Harte’s nose closed, hoping the lack of air would cause him to open his mouth. Waiting for Harte’s survival instinct to kick in felt like hours for Smokey, who was running through other options in his mind. But suddenly he felt a tugging at the cut as Harte started swallowing his blood. Removing his fingers from the man’s nose, Smokey was relieved to see the rise and fall of Harte’s chest as his breathing became steady.

Harte drank for several minutes before Smokey gently pulled his wrist away, licking his cut to seal it. “That should be enough for it to work,” he murmured, leaving the part ‘if it’s gonna work’ unsaid. There wasn’t any reason to stress out Elen anymore than she already was, especially since she was critical to her husband’s survival.

Glancing at the man she regarded as her second son, Elen softly said, “Thank you for coming, Gabriel.”

“No thanks needed,” Smokey smiled. “Kevin would kick my ass if I hadn’t.”

A shadow passed over Elen’s face at the mention of her son. “You haven’t found him yet.”

Placing his large hand over Elen’s delicate fingers, Smokey squeezed lightly. “No, but I will…promise.”

Author Bio

Mary Rundle logo

A few years ago, I wrote my first book, Dire Warning. Readers loved it and I was on my way to chronicle the Blackwood Pack, seven brothers who are gay wolf shifters in search of their fated mates—stories about love at first sight with twists and turns, angst and humor, romance and adventure and, of course, happy endings. Since then, the pack has expanded, allowing more stories to be told and different paranormals to be included. The series has become, as one reader described it…an “Epic Saga.”

Now, twelve books later, Lord Manetu, has just been published. I love the M/M paranormal genre because it gives my imagination a lot of territory in which to roam. My mind can really run wild and come up with some amazing stuff when it doesn’t have to stay inside the box. My story ideas come to me as if they were being channeled by my characters, all of whom I love (except for a few villains). They are eager to recount their lives, loves and adventures, and are not reluctant to let it all out when it comes to revealing steamy details. My writing style is free-wheeling and uninhibited and my readers tell me they love it that way; that it makes them feel like they’re right in on the action and a member of the Blackwood Pack.

I live in the Northeast and love the beautiful change of seasons, my husband, and our quirky calico cat, though not necessarily in that order. I read a lot (good for the mind) and love gardening (good for the soul). And I’m always happy to hear from my readers and can be reached through Facebook, my private Facebook Group, Twitter, Instagram, or my website.

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