Category Archives: adult

Whisper Bay: Oliver & Chloe: The Beginning

He had spoken in one breath and snatched mine from my lungs in the process.

Synopsis:

Meet Chloe Tyson and Oliver Pettigrew from Whisper Bay, a small community where everyone knows everyone or at least they think they do.

Oliver is a mysterious young man who has just returned home to Whisper Bay. No one really knows anything about him and really doesn’t seem to want to. Except for Chloe, she needs to know all she can—her life as she knows it depends on it.

Can a socially awkward young man and a lonely young woman that has been deemed worthless by everyone who is supposed to love her, find hope—together?

Buy Whisper Bay: Oliver & Chloe: The Beginning at http://bit.ly/WhisperBay

About the book/series: Important

This first book(novella) will introduce you to the lead characters and the full collection will feature 3, possibly 4 books! Each book in the Whisper Bay collection reveals a bit more about each of the characters, while still introducing more people and how they all tie together. It is important to remember this while reading the first book as not everything about the characters is divulged in this one. As the books progress in the series, more is revealed about each character, so if book one leaves you with questions or wanting to no more about a character, it will be revealed throughout the story collection.

I’m not that great with people, but I’m better with you.

Read a sample of Whisper Bay: Oliver & Chloe: The Beginning

Learn more about Sybil Shae

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IMPROMPTU is hive mentality at it’s best!

The Scarborough Scribblers are a writing group to be reckoned with.  Their new anthology, Impromptu, shows the power of the hive mind at its best. To backtrack: the Scarborough Scribblers are a group of writers that meet in Toronto’s Albert Campbell Library to write. The anthologies are the brainchild of their organizer and facilitator, Maria Samurin, former librarian at the site. Impromptu is the second anthology put together by this dynamic group.

As the title suggests, the stories in Impromptu are the result of a series of writing prompts the group executes during their meetings.  The plot and voice of each story is as diverse as their authors. Though it is hard to pick a favourite, of particular note were “In Defence of Eden” by Margaret Abela, for the sheer poetry of her prose and “KitshcyArt” by Brenda Dow, for creating the character of Constable-slash-artist Kitchener. “Spiders from Mars” by Larry Kosowan is an interesting take on the sci-fi, alien genre. Lastly, “A Chance Meeting” by Betty Stewart is a sort of “meet cute” love story that takes place in large part in Toronto’s transit system. Especially enjoyable are the short poems interspersed between the prose.

I was fortunate enough to have caught facilitator and author Maria Samurin in a talk she gave at the Bathurst Clark Resource Library for their author’s series. In it, Maria said the group spent hours editing each other’s work, and the results of that exercise really shows in their final product.

What’s next for the group? Maria says they plan to write a collaborative novel, for which they are currently in the planning stages.

You can pick up a copy of Impromptu by the Scarborough Scribblers from their website for free. Also available is their first anthology, Library Reflections.

“Shadow of Shame” by Barbara Goss only $0.99 through December 12th

shadowofshame-1Ivy Jeffries falls hopelessly in love with Jonas Armstrong, a man who has forced himself into a somewhat reclusive lifestyle owing to his sordid past.  Ivy is elated when he finally lets his guard down, and kisses her.  She thinks they are now moving forward into a relationship, when he tells her it meant nothing to him.  How could a kiss like they shared mean nothing to him, when it meant the world to her?  Then she discovers he is pulling away for a reason, to protect her.  Is the love they share enough to withstand his past and the child he is protecting?

About Barb Goss:

Barbara Masci Goss is now just Barbara Goss. Barbara Goss lives in Western New York and to date has written 22 Christian/Clean Romance books, mostly westerns. She enjoys crossword puzzles, penny slots, reading, swimming, and her two cats, but not necessarily in that order. She tries to write exciting stories with a bit of God’s word spread within, without dominating the story.

Barbara began writing in 1988 and her first book, Forbidden Legacy, won first prize for fiction at a Christian Writers Convention in Titusville, Florida, in 1989. This won her a book contract with publishers: Fleming Revell and later Baker Books. She wrote four books for them under contract. She then took a few years off to work full time as a secretary to the county hospital and the local school system.

Retired now, she is back to writing. Her first book was written on a typewriter! Since early 2015, she’s written twenty-two more delightful romances.

Barbara’s greatest influence in writing are the 100 books written by Grace Livingston Hill. As a Christian writer, she weaves a bit of godliness into the romance and adventure, yet her books are always clean. Barbara is well on her way to catching up to Ms. Livingston.

Learn more about Barbara Goss and her writing at

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Sweet Wild West Reads is a Facebook group and a wonderful place for sweet western romance authors and readers to discuss their favorite stories, thoughts, and authors. Join the group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1832790870336744/

“Mail Order Mishap” by Barb Goss only $0.99 through December 5th

final-for-mishap-imageAmber Wakefield travels to Hunter’s Grove, Kansas to meet her intended and walks into a very unwelcoming atmosphere. Charles Turner, her intended, seems cool and aloof, and his brother Garrett—downright rude. She wants nothing more than to rush back to Virginia, until Edna Smith, her chaperone, falls ill, and she’s forced to stay. She knows Charles harbors a secret, and she isn’t sure whether Garrett is her hero or her enemy. When she finally discovers the truth, she wants nothing to do with either of them. One of the Turner brothers vows to win her love. But which one?

About Barbara Goss:

Barbara Masci Goss is now just Barbara Goss. Barbara Goss lives in Western New York and to date has written 22 Christian/Clean Romance books, mostly westerns. She enjoys crossword puzzles, penny slots, reading, swimming, and her two cats, but not necessarily in that order. She tries to write exciting stories with a bit of God’s word spread within, without dominating the story.

Barbara began writing in 1988 and her first book, Forbidden Legacy, won first prize for fiction at a Christian Writers Convention in Titusville, Florida, in 1989. This won her a book contract with publishers: Fleming Revell and later Baker Books. She wrote four books for them under contract. She then took a few years off to work full time as a secretary to the county hospital and the local school system.

Retired now, she is back to writing. Her first book was written on a typewriter! Since early 2015, she’s written twenty-two more delightful romances.

Barbara’s greatest influence in writing are the 100 books written by Grace Livingston Hill. As a Christian writer, she weaves a bit of godliness into the romance and adventure, yet her books are always clean. Barbara is well on her way to catching up to Ms. Livingston.

Learn more about Barbara Goss and her writing at

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Sweet Wild West Reads is a Facebook group and a wonderful place for sweet western romance authors and readers to discuss their favorite stories, thoughts, and authors. Join the group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1832790870336744/

New release: The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen

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The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen

A faceless, nameless assassin. A forgotten past.  The Hunter of Voramis–a killer devoid of morals, or something else altogether? (The Last Bucelarii–dark fantasy with a look at the underside of human nature)

Author: Andy Peloquin

Official Launch Date: August 19th, 2016

Publication Date: July 21, 2016

Paperback Price: 15.99

Digital Price: 3.99

Pages: 340

ISBN: 1535388668

The Hunter of Voramis is no more.

Alone with the bloodthirsty voices in his head, fleeing the pain of loss, he has one objective: travel north to find Her, the mystery woman who plagues his dreams and haunts his memories.

When he stumbles upon a bandit attack, something within urges him to help. His actions set him at odds with the warrior priests commanded to hunt down the Bucelarii.

Left for dead, the Hunter must travel to Malandria to recover his stolen birthright. There, he is inexorably drawn into direct conflict with the Order of Midas, the faceless, nameless group of magicians that holds the city in a grip of terror. All while struggling to silence the ever-louder voice in his mind that drives him to kill.

From feared assassin to wretched outcast, the Hunter’s journey leads him to truths about his forgotten past and the Abiarazi he has pledged to hunt. His discoveries will shed light on who he really is…what he really is.

Fans of Joe Abercrombie, Brandon Sanderson, and Brent Weeks will love the Hunter…

Buy The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen on Amazon US, and Amazon CA.

Enjoy an Excerpt from The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen

He filled his lungs with the fresh night air. The taste of smoke mixed with the earthy scent of loam. The warmth of the fire soothed and relaxed him, the hypnotic rhythm of the dancing flames calming his mind. The fatigue of the day washed over him, and he allowed his eyelids to droop.

The visions came then; memories leapt out at him.

Within the bright depths of the flames, he saw the hell he had glimpsed in the Serenii tunnels. Lord Jahel’s face appeared in the fire, laughing, mocking. Bone and skin morphed into the faces of Lord Cyrannius and the First of the Bloody Hand. Shuddering waves of flesh and gristle writhed, shifting, transforming.

Demons roam Einan once more. People treat them as myth and legend, but I know the truth.

The Hunter retreated deeper into his blankets, his sword clutched to his chest. He told himself it was out of habit rather than fear.

He had left Voramis behind, not only to find the truth of the woman whose face plagued him, but to discover the truth of the demons. Curiosity drove him to learn of his past, and his own heritage as a Bucelarii—descendant of the Abiarazi horde.

The demon added its voice to the swirling maelstrom in the Hunter’s mind. ‘He disowns his blood, all to play the hero, the protector.’

The Hunter was too tired to fight it off.

I’m no hero. If it was up to me, they’d all rot.

He had no desire to save the world. He had no reason to save humans from themselves.

A vision of horror flashed through his mind. Creatures of nightmares seized a screaming child, tearing at pale skin with razor-tipped claws. Blood splashed across chitinous armor as the demons ripped the child apart in their haste to devour the flesh.

The girl bore Farida’s face. She lay bloody, mangled, discarded like refuse, gasping her last agonizing breaths.

Oh, child. I am so sorry.

He wished he could scrub the memory from his mind forever. With it gone, the sorrow would leave. He needed no reminder that he was once again alone.

He turned his back on the fire and buried his face in his cloak.

He could turn his back on those who had feared and hated him, yet he had not the strength to hide his face from the suffering of innocents. People like Old Nan, Ellinor, Little Arlo. They would suffer most should the Abiarazi find their way into the world once more.

The demon whispered in his mind. ‘Why must you protect them? You are not one of them, after all. You are Bucelarii.’

They do not deserve such suffering.

He squeezed his eyes shut and pushed back against the demon’s voice.

I’m doing this for them.

He pictured Farida the way he had seen her that day in the Temple District, with that same bright smile. She was happy. That was what mattered, and that was what he would remember.

I’m doing this for her.

 

About the author:andy peloquin author photo

Andy Peloquin–a third culture kid to the core–has loved to read since before he could remember. Sherlock Holmes, the Phantom of the Opera, and Father Brown are just a few of the books that ensnared his imagination as a child.

When he discovered science fiction and fantasy through the pages of writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R Tolkien, and Orson Scott Card, he was immediately hooked and hasn’t looked back since.

Andy’s first attempt at writing produced In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent. He has learned from the mistakes he made and used the experience to produce Blade of the Destroyer, a book of which he is very proud.

Reading—and now writing—is his favorite escape, and it provides him an outlet for his innate creativity. He is an artist; words are his palette.

His website (http://www.andypeloquin.com) is a second home for him, a place where he can post his thoughts and feelings–along with reviews of books he finds laying around the internet.

Here’s where you can find out more about Andy and his writing:

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COMING IN HOT – Author Spotlight Tour

coming in hot cover

Paramedical meets paranormal in this steamy set filled with doctors, nurses, paramedics, shifters, werewolves, vampires, and more!

Get a dose of romance, STAT!

Featuring NYT, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling authors, we’re Coming In Hot with paranormal to contemporary, and sizzling to seductive bedside manners by the doctors, nurses, paramedics, and more in this boxed set.

Today’s Spotlight: Bad Medicine by Red L. Jameson!

bad medicine cover

When you make a deal with the devil…

Don’t complain about the heat.

Luckily, I like it hot.

Nurse Ian Ryder, or just Ryder, is everything I want. He’s big. He’s tough. He’s oh-so-sexy with his leather jacket and motorcycle that I’ve had indecent fantasies about. And even better, he seems emotionally closed off. Not the kind of man who would ask a lot of personal questions. The perfect candidate to reveal my secret—I’m still a virgin, worried I’ll die this way if I don’t do something about it soon. Somehow, I’m going to convince Ryder to play doctor with me.

Dr. Asha Whitetail is completely out of my league. Intelligent and sophisticated. And those glasses she wears makes me think about steaming up her scrubs. When an awkward moment turns into a hot kiss, I realize I’m going to do everything I can to have her—not just her body but her heart too. Problem is, she seems to want only one thing from me. So I’m going to make her an offer she can’t refuse. I’ll give her what she wants, if she spends time with me, gets to know me, the real me, while I do everything in my power to convince her she can play doctor with me…for life.

The Wild Love Series is set in Wyoming and Montana, where things are little more…wild, where love can never tamed. Each book within the series can be read as a standalone and intended for a mature and adventurous reader. Enjoy and fall in love!

***BRAND NEW & EXCLUSIVE***

Now Available for pre-order at $0.99 for a limited time on AmazonNookiBooksKobo, and ARe.

bad medicine interview image

Hello! Thank you for this opportunity to talk about my newest release Bad Medicine, Book 4 of the Wild Love Series, featured in the Coming in Hot Anthology! I’m so excited to share more about this book, the anthology, and even titbits about myself!

Tell us about your title featured in this set: 

Bad Medicine is Book 4 of the Wild Love Series, which, although it is a series, each book is a stand-alone. I can write pretty quickly and wrote it in about three weeks. However, it’s the editing that always takes the longest with my own revisions, the back-and-forth between a beloved critique buddy of mine then the back-and-forth between my editor and me, polishing, moving on to my proofer, and polishing some more. My editing process takes anywhere between a month to two months. Oh, and the title…Hee-hee! I asked the other members of the anthology what they thought and we all agreed to Bad Medicine!

Tell us something about yourself. 

Hmm, where to start? Well, I was born in Montana, but as soon as I turned eighteen I wanted to move away, so I did. I’ve lived in a lot of places during my early twenties, mostly in the South. But something kept calling me back home. Eventually, I moved back to Montana to be closer to family, met a special fella, and, well, the rest is history as they say. I love learning and have tried to continue my education with now one Master’s Degree in US Military history and several certificates—including fitness instructing to grammar to coding to you name it. But my best teacher of all is my thirteen-year-old son, wise beyond his years. I’m the luckiest mom in the world!

Tell us about your writing process. 

It depends on the book. But most often an idea comes, then a few scenes, then the character “talks” to me. I know. That sounds goofy, but I’ll have days where a certain character become so clear to me it’s as if he or she is really talking to me, telling me about their background, their goals, what motivates them, everything. After a few days to months of this, I plot his or her story. Then I write it furiously down. As I mentioned above, it’s the editing that takes me the longest, and by the time I’m done, the character is done talking to me, letting another enter my mind. J

What is your favourite genre to read? 

Romance and almost anything non-fiction.

What would you say is the one thing are you most passionate about? 

Being a good mother. I want to be a good partner, friend, sister and writer, but every day I try so hard to be a good mom to my wonderful boy.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do? 

I like reading, hiking, taking pictures on my hikes, cooking, baking, playing games with the fam…gosh, so much! There’s no shortage of fun things to do.

If someone who hasn’t read any your books asked you to describe your story in this set (the elevator pitch!) what would you say? 

Nurse Ian Ryder and Dr. Asha Whitetail make the deal of a lifetime. She wants to get rid of her V-card; he wants her heart. Who will win?

About the author:

red l jameson image

Red L. Jameson is an award-winning and multi-published author. She writes in many genres. Her pen name, L. B. Joramo, includes the odd combination of historical and paranormal for the Immortal American Series. However, it is under her “Red” name, her nickname too, where all her stories are strongly laced with love, including contemporary, historical, time-travel, paranormal, and erotic romance. Red lives in the wilds of Montana with her family and a few too many animals, and is currently working on her next novel that she hopes will make her readers laugh, cry, think, and fall in love.

She loves her readers, so please feel free to contact her at http://www.redljameson.com

Or sign up for her sporadic emails at http://bit.ly/1jUgUhr

Readers can connect with Red L. Jameson at:

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New Release: ON HER HIGH HORSE by Lucy Felthouse

coming in hot cover

Coming In Hot Paranormal & Contemporary Medical Romance Boxed Set: Paramedical meets paranormal: Shifters, Werewolves, Vampires, and More!

Paramedical meets paranormal in this steamy set filled with doctors, nurses, paramedics, shifters, werewolves, vampires, and more!

Get a dose of romance, STAT!

Featuring NYT, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling authors, we’re Coming In Hot with paranormal to contemporary, and sizzling to seductive bedside manners by the doctors, nurses, paramedics, and more in this boxed set.

In Today’s Spotlight:

On Her High Horse bLucy Felthouse

Do first impressions always last?

 

When veterinarian Brett Coulson and stable owner Samantha Hanson-Bishop meet, it’s hate at first sight. He thinks she’s a snobby, stuck-up bitch who wouldn’t know nice if it bit her on the arse. She thinks he’s a blundering, inexperienced little boy who shouldn’t be within fifty miles of her prized horses. But it doesn’t matter much—they’ll never have to see each other again. Or will they?

When fate throws them into the same room together at a charity fundraiser, the resentment between them quickly resurfaces. But mixed in with that resentment is something they both tried to deny… attraction. Will the chemistry between them cancel out the animosity, or were their first impressions just too powerful to change?

Now Available for pre-order at #99cents for a limited time! ***BRAND NEW & EXCLUSIVE*** at  AmazonNookiBooksKobo, and ARe.

Don’t forget to add to your *want to read* list on Goodreads:https://goo.gl/kDTJ5L

Author Interview:

Hello—thank you so much for stopping by. I’m so excited to share a little bit about myself and my story in the Coming In Hot boxed set! 

Tell us about your title featured in this set: 

My story is called On Her High Horse, and is set in the Yorkshire Dales, in England. It’s an enemies-to-lovers story about a young vet and one of his clients.

Once I got going, it probably only took me a couple of weeks to write (I don’t write full time, so I have to squeeze my writing in around everything else I do to earn a living!).

The title was actually a complete nightmare to come up with! Sometimes titles come to me before I even write a story, and other times they pop up while I’m writing. This one eluded me for a long time. I was Googling horsey phrases and veterinary phrases for ages, until I finally came up with this—and it fits the story really well, I think. So it was worth waiting for!

Tell us something about yourself: 

I’m from Derbyshire, in England, where I still live with my dog, Scamp. As I mentioned before, I don’t write full time—I actually do lots of little jobs which make up a full time job; writing, marketing, editing, PR, web design, formatting, etc… basically, I eat, sleep and breathe books in one way or another, so it’s pretty awesome. I love being my own boss. I love spending time out in the countryside with my other half and my dog, reading (of course), films, and travelling.

Tell us about your writing process: 

It varies massively depending on what I’m writing. For novel length work, I do tend to have some kind of plan, or at the very least an outline, in place. But for short stories and novellas, I tend to just write and see where the characters take me. I write as and when I can, juggling it around everything else I do. The benefit of being my own boss is I can move projects around if I need to—as long as I meet all the deadlines, it’s all good! 😉

What is your favourite genre to read?

I don’t have one, really. I like reading different kinds of books—as long as there’s a gripping story, I’m happy.

What would you say is the one thing you are most passionate about?

The people I care about.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do? 

Read, relax, go walking in the countryside, watch movies, visit stately homes and ancient sites, travel.

If someone who hasn’t read any of your books and asked you to describe your story in this set (the elevator pitch!) what would you say? 

Hunky young vet and sexy older woman go from enemies to lovers with lots of drama in between!

Where can readers connect with you?

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About the author:

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller) and Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller). Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 140 publications to her name. She owns Erotica For All, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes

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THE XERCES FACTOR taps into a believable conspiracy mythology

rp_The-Xerces-Factor-FRONT-FINAL-JPEG-198x300.jpgIn The Xerces Factor by Rodney Page, Charles Arrington wakes up in a hospital room. He had lost an arm, an eye, and his wife in an explosion. Certain that the explosion was an assassination attempt on his life, due to some whistle-blowing calibre research he was engaged in, Arrington assembles a team to continue his research and expose the government for their back-door dealings. The stakes are high. Not only are the lives of Arrington and his associates in danger, but so is the country if not the world. Just how wide do the fingers of corruption reach?

The Xerces Factor is interesting and relevant, given the state of world politics today. His prose is easy to read, and his characters believable. If you like political thrillers, you are sure to love The Xerces Factor. Page’s story is contemporary and high-tech, which both piqued my interest and confused me at times. His characters are likeable and believable, and I found myself caring for them and in awe of how much they are willing to risk to expose corruption in the highest tiers of the government.

Admittedly, political thrillers, particularly those delving deep into American politics aren’t my favourite genre. Also, though I’m technologically-minded, I often get lost when I’m given acronyms, numbers, and lots of technological jargon, as I need more hands-on experience than instructional theoretics when it comes to science and technology. But to Page’s credit, I continued to read in spite of this. My overall analysis is that The Xerces Factor is a quick, relevant read, that taps into a conspiracy mythology that is totally believable.

Mamabear gives this book:

three-bears

Note: I was gifted an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

New Release: UNAWQI, HUNTER OF THE SUN

Unawqi, Hunter of the Sun

Unawqi_Hunter_of_th_Cover_for_Kindle-194x300In a time when supernatural and industrial worlds are staged to collide, an Andean boy finds himself in the center of an epic struggle between the cosmos and the earth. Unawqi is born with both insurmountable power and a fate of certain death, both of which are challenged by his hunt of the emperor, Aakti, the Sun: the very force that desires to abandon the earth unless Unawqi can overcome him.

Genres: Mythical realism, Folklore, Science fiction, Adventure, LGBTQ.

How easily we take the Sun for granted. We are conditioned to its rising and setting on time, and assume it enjoys doing so, or more likely is indifferent. Unawqi, Hunter of the Sunreveals a more perilous tale: the Sun, Aakti, is a being who is a reluctant player in providing light and warmth to our world, and even more has always desired to leave us to die if he didn’t have certain personal complications standing in his way. Aakti will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if that involves murder of his own kin or annihilation of an entire living planet. Ironically, what holds him back is the very life he is creating; the family from which he tries to but cannot wrest control, and among them a young intrepid boy emerges, a hunter who sets out on a journey, not to stop the Sun, but to overcome him with a force we also take for granted: our humanity.

Buy Unawqi, Hunter of the Sun on Amazon and Kindle.

Enjoy an Excerpt: Chaper 2 – The Unawqi Awakening

Titu Ilumán walked quickly, his steps close together, to keep the altitude from decaying his pace.  He was in a hurry, but he knew the Quijos canyon well enough to calculate it would defeat him if he broke into a run.

He clutched his treasure beneath his punchu, Aakti Amurugana, words from an ancient language no longer spoken, but everyone knew what they meant.

He was carrying the seeds of the Sun.

At that moment, Titu knew what he had, but he would not comprehend the devastation that would come from them.

He only knew of the seeds from legends he had heard as a child, legends he’d come to mock.  He was unlike most everyone else.  He was not a believer in legends, and so he had forgotten their important details.

The legends say Aakti, the Sun, is not an unfeeling object in the sky.  It is not an it, but a he, a being, no different than are we.  He has a relationship with us, albeit a contentious one.  He is none other than the emperor of earth and sky, who is to be both worshipped and feared.

And here, Titu, a rather common man, had stolen the emperor’s seeds from the hands of his newborn son while his first cries of life were still piercing his ears from the valley floor below.  Titu knew what he had done, but he bristled at the notion of his deed as a theft.  The way he thought of it was that if he were the father of the child, then the seeds delivered through this birth were his rightful property.

Besides, Titu had a further motive.  He was born in a place where his ancestors had been for thousands of years, but it was also on the edge of “the next world,” as his parents put it.  Just over the next few hills from his own village, a people with pale skin had built their own village, made up of strange buildings, with everything laid out in squares.  They were driven and ambitious. They behaved as if nature was theirs to command, and they used tools he had never seen before that were efficient.  Titu craved to be a part of “the next world” and was a malcontent at home, uncomfortable with leaving the supernatural to gods and magicians.  Mysteries were gifts meant to be unwrapped, he believed.  They should be studied, tamed, and put to use for the purpose of advancing the lot of people like him, and not just the pale town a few hills away.

His parents did not encourage him as much.  They wanted to maintain the family tradition and see Titu growing cassava and plantain as had they and their parents.  But from the first time Titu lay ill in the house of the local shaman, he wanted to know what was in the bowls and baskets lining the healer’s walls, and how it worked according to nature, and not according to magic.  His parents chided him for asking, for such matters were not his business to know, which made Titu all the more determined to know.

In a larger drama, Titu was the next in line to be in possession of the Aakti Amurugana, but this was the first transfer of hands in almost a millennium, as they had gone missing for 888 years.  The emperor and the world did not know where they were, but in truth, they had been held captive all that time by the sorcerer of Antisana, the one they called Moche.

Moche was a completely foreign entity to the people of the Quijos.  He was not of the family of the mountains, but a demon who had usurped the mountain in his control, burying its rightful goddess somewhere inside.  Where he came from, no one knew, but his ways, though different, were also wanting of the Sun.

The local people feared him terribly, for he would hunt them and bring them back to the mountain to be sacrificed, drinking their blood, saying it pleased the Sun, even though this was not according to anything they believed or practiced.

As far as Titu was concerned, he didn’t care to think about all of that.  The seeds were the most powerful medicine he could ever hope to find, and there were no parents this time to deny him from taking and demystifying this magic.  This was an extraordinary opportunity for him to become a legend himself, if he could but harness the power of the seeds.

Still, the fact that he was running arrested his conscience.  He was a fugitive, and he knew it.  He had to leave Tamaya behind, a woman whom, at one time, he could not keep himself from.  She was weak and without aid, the blood of her womb flowing, cold, onto the floor of her grass-roofed hut.

Titu loved her, and many times had thought of bringing her home to marry her, but he’d convinced himself he was protecting her from danger.  A great many powerful people–sorcerers, kings, witches–would kill to have Aakti Amurugana.  He needed to get them far away from Tamaya to keep her safe, so far that his footprints would be lost, even if it meant Tamaya would never be able to see him again.

Tamaya never laid her eyes on the seeds because her eyes were closed tight with labor’s pain when they were snatched from the child’s hand.  So for her, Titu’s sudden flight was as mysterious as it was cruel.

Lost in his thoughts, Titu stumbled over a stone in his path.  He rolled down the side of the canyon, and would have encountered his death if another death had not encountered him first.  The still warm belly of a dead, black goat was braced to the edge of a cliff, bleeding, having succumbed to a thicket of tarapacana.  Its bulging eyes stared directly into Titu’s as if pleading with him, a little too late.

Titu had been told to beware if he ever saw a dead, black goat in the wild, for it was an omen of a bad future, so he delicately raised himself to his knees, and blessed the goat with a nod of awe, fearing it might awaken from the dead.  The black goat’s eyes would not leave him as Titu pulled himself back up the hillside.

Those eyes would never leave him.

Through the indigo night he ran west over the Papallacta plateau.  The seeds under his punchu harassed him with a gravitational clash, some craving the fleeting sun in front of him, others pulling toward the cries of the child behind him.  He wondered if the seeds were his captives or his captors.  Who had the greater power, him or them? What if the seeds were to forever maintain two opinions?

When the Sun, the emperor Aakti, passed over the valley the next day, he sensed his amurugana had reemerged, and that they were pulling at him from the west.  This meant they had been stolen, yet again, after 888 years of captivity, and Aakti heated up with anger, ready to burn the grass roofs of the huts underneath him into ashes.

But Tamaya, who had only the knowledge of an abandoned child suffering in the merciless heat, and none of the seeds, cried out for Moche, the sorcerer of Antisana, to save her, to send wind or rain to contest the Sun.

Little did she know that Moche well knew why Aakti had been angered.  Moche himself had kept Aakti Amurugana successfully concealed from the emperor for almost nine centuries, and now he had been robbed of them, the same as Aakti.  He wanted them back, just as much as the emperor, and was pleased this call from a common woman would give him a head start on retrieving them.

Having heard Tamaya calling, Moche put some coca leaves in his mouth, chewed them, and spit out a plume, high into the air, making the sky sneeze, expelling a squall of hail into the valley, and throwing a blanket under the Sun.

When the squall settled, Aakti had fled west to hunt for his seeds.  Tamaya had barely a moment to be grateful when Moche showed up at her door to collect his debt.

He was a scrawny demon, no taller than Tamaya’s waist.  He looked like any of the other people of the valley, but seven times older than old.  His clothes were scavenged from whatever travelers had lost in the mountains: a white Cañari hat, loosely enveloping his tiny head; an Otavaleño scarf he had fashioned into a vest; and pants made from of a sack that probably had carried spices from the Amazon.

He held out his shriveled hand.

“I saved you from Aakti, but he wants what is mine.  Give me the child before the emperor returns.”

The startled mother looked at the little sorcerer, no bigger than her dog, but with enough strength to squash her like an ant between his fingers.  She knew well Moche’s traditions, and of his sacrifices.

“But this is my son!  I cannot let him go!” Tamaya contested.

“Listen to me,” Moche warned, “for I will only tell you this once.  You will not survive tomorrow if you stay, and you will surely die in the caves of Antisana where the child and I will live.  Run away, east into the cloud forest, where the emperor does not know your name and will pass over you.  The child will only be safe with me.  Everything else will die.”

Helpless and terrified, Tamaya ran from Moche, but though he was smaller, he was faster, and stronger.  He caught up with her and pulled the child into his arms, pushing Tamaya down and onto the ground.  She screamed at him for mercy, and tried to pursue him, but the sorcerer stamped his foot on the ground creating a wide hole between them that she could not cross.

Despite his size, Moche had no problem bearing the weight.  He carried the child away without hurry and disappeared over a hill, and Tamaya wept until she had no voice left with which to scream.  Now both Titu and her child were gone.  All that she had were the words of Moche saying the child will live.  She resolved to find a scheme to get him back.

Fearing for the emperor’s return and destroying the rest of her life around her, Tamaya quickly packed her things, gathered her goats, and fled down into the cloud forest, as Moche had told her to do.  But once there, the forest closed around her and she lost the trail she had made.  She could not find her way back to the valley, as much as she tried.

Moche brought the child into the cool underworld of Antisana, a spectacle of a thousand tunnels and crystal streams, with glowing pools of azure-colored lava emitting light and warmth.  It was a land the emperor had never seen, the land where his seeds had once been held prisoner.

The sorcerer entered a chamber so grand it seemed to have a sky of its own, its clerestory heights filled with flying bats, ventilating the air.  There, he laid the sleeping child down on a bed of eucalyptus leaves, and one of the bats flew down and hung over the child’s head to protect him.

“The day will come,” Moche whispered to the sleeping child, “when the Sun will forget you, but I, on the other hand, have found you, and you are now mine.  I will train you to be a hunter, but not of mere beasts.  You will hunt for the atama who stole my seeds in the night, and return them here to my keeping.  Aakti Amurugana: they are crying for you already; I know you hear them.  They need you to keep them planted, here in the world.  Until then, I know who you are.  You are the most gifted creature to ever touch the earth.  You are…Unawqi!”

The child awoke upon hearing his name, and cried like a shrill flute from another world, and all the million bats in the chamber fell stunned to the floor.

About the author:

papakaliPapaKali is the brainchild of Kali Kucera, an American artist, lorist, and entrepreneur.

Since he was 9 years old he has been composing plays, operas, short stories, and multi-disciplinary experiences. He has been both a teacher and performer as well as an arts mobilizer, and founded the Tacoma Poet Laureate competition in 2008.

After some time being a teller, Kali was concerned about the absence of both original and local lore, and no one seemed to be preserving the tradition of creating new narratives, tales, and myth about why the world around us is the way it is. He therefore devoted his energy to filling this void with PapaKali, beginning with tales of the South Sound and continuing with new tales emerging from the inspiration of the high Andes of South America, where Kali currently lives while also running a bus travel information service called AndesTransit (http://andestransit.com).

It is important to understand that in PapaKali lore, self-standing stories are often interconnected with other stories. Characters in one story will appear in a completely different context of another story, hence establishing a pantheon upon which lore can be constructed. The second important aspect is that the stories often change; they live and breathe as the influences of new narratives emerge to support the interconnectedness.

As a reader, therefore, we urge you to not read these like a book, but more like the oral tradition upon which they more appropriately relate. Check back on them to see how nuances have changed like you would listen to a story being told every year around a campfire.

Learn more about Papakali and Kali Kucera on his website at papakali.com.

Excerpt from WHEN IN ROME by J. Lynn Rowan

perf5.000x8.000.inddLove isn’t always picture perfect…

Kate Miller always thought of herself as the older, frumpier, and less desirable version of her effervescent sister, Sadie. Now that little sister has hooked herself a wealthy husband and seems to have landed the perfect life, all of Kate’s old insecurities rear their ugly heads. Doubting the existence of a fairytale romance, all she wants is to create her own happy ending through her Atlanta-based photography business. When the opportunity arises to join an exclusive fashion photo shoot in Rome, Kate jumps on the chance to gain international recognition of her work. But she’s not counting on an instant attraction to the charismatic, sexy, and irritatingly arrogant director of the shoot.

Domenic Varezzi is used to calling the shots and getting his own way, and his status as a well-known, prolific photographer has earned him worldwide fame. He’s long been on the lookout for a partner, someone who can work beside him as well as fill a lonely void in his life. He thought he’d found “the one”, only to have his hopes dashed by betrayal. Kate’s eye for detail in her photographs has caught his attention, and every challenge she sends his way drives him to break through her tough-as-nails exterior to reach the vulnerable heart that matches his own.

With Italy’s “Eternal City” and the Sicilian town of Taormina as his backdrop, Domenic sets out to win Kate over, and the attention he sends her way can’t be misconstrued. She’s determined to keep him at arm’s length in order to protect her own heart. But she wonders – is Domenic just looking for a fling, or is he in it for the long haul?

Buy When in Rome by J. Lynn Rowan on Amazon.

Excerpt

“Let’s get moving,” Domenic says, taking the boarding passes from Joe. “Pilot wants to be cleared for takeoff in twenty minutes.”

The team lines up, toes tapping, as he thumbs through the boarding passes and starts calling out our names. “Corrine. Rafe. Dave.” Each person steps forward to take their passes and heads toward the gate agent. “Lauren. Joe. Miranda.”

Then it’s just me. Domenic and me, staring at each other steps away from the jet bridge. He holds my boarding pass out to me, and a little surge of indignation heats my face. I want to hear him say my name, the way he said everyone else’s, like it’s validation for my spot on his team. My brows lower and my mouth tightens. I stride toward him, close enough to take my boarding pass.

But I don’t.

I glare at him.

Waiting.

A little coil of something hotter than indignation winding through my core at the amusement shining in his emerald eyes.

He thinks this is funny. My discomfort and impatience is a freaking joke to him.

“Well?” I grind out.

Slowly, he extends my boarding pass toward me. A half-grin pulls at one corner of his mouth as I continue to wait. Something else appears in his eyes alongside that irksome amusement.

My stomach flips.

“Kate.” His voice is low and sonorous, just loud enough for me to hear.

The flip, and the simmering annoyance that’s been building over the past three minutes, explodes into an eruption of raging butterflies. Dizziness threatens the stability of my stance, and my cheeks are on fire. Short of breath, I snatch my boarding pass from his artistically elegant fingers and march myself down the jet bridge.

About the author:

jlynnrowan-headshotJ. Lynn Rowan started writing stories as a small child, usually starring her favorite cartoon characters. Most of her work through middle and high school was filled with typical teenage angst and melodrama, and usually mirrored the books she loved to read. But eventually she found her own author’s voice and decided to seriously pursue a writing career.

Historical fiction remains J. Lynn’s “first love”, but she has enjoyed the journey to becoming an author of romance and chick lit. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Central New York Romance Writers, and the Historical Novel Society. She is also a teacher who tries to instill a love of learning, reading, and writing in her students.

When she’s not writing, J. Lynn enjoys travelling, gardening poorly but enthusiastically, studying various topics in American history for her own expertise, and channeling Julia Child every time she steps into the kitchen.

A native of Oswego, NY, she now lives in Charlotte, NC, with her own Romantic Hero of a husband and the most adorable baby on the planet.

Here’s where you can learn more about J. Lynn Rowan and her writing

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