Lisa, the Robot Girl Talks Viral Blues and Grenades #SomethingWickedTour @Virgilante @StoryEmpire

It’s Friday, and the final day of the Story Empire Something Wicked Blog Tour. I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts this week. I’ve had a blast! To wrap things up, you can find the complete tour schedule here.

And what better way to close, than by having one of my favorite guests visit. Lisa, the robot girl, spokesmodel for C.S. Boyack has been here many times. I’m delighted she dropped by again to help me close out the tour. As always, Lisa is a class act…


Hi, Mae. Always a pleasure to see you. I understand that you’re over at P.H. Solomon’s place today with your own promo, so I hope you’re killing it over there.

Craig sent me to push his newest book, “Viral Blues.” This is a sequel to “The Hat,” but it’s so much more. A bunch of Craig’s characters got a sequel in a way. Including your favorite robot girl.

Gina Greybill gathered us all together under her Host Program. This is kind of a secret society that deals with paranormal threats. Someone, or something, is tampering with the nation’s vaccine supply. It’s our job to sort it all out, and still keep the general public from knowing about us at the same time.

Craig’s making me take excerpts around this time. This one is kind of embarrassing, because I’ve just been taken out by an electro magnet. Sometimes, robot girls have problems the regular folks don’t face.

Anyway, we’re in a fenced area that seems to be the place where the tampering is going on. Our position is inside a junkyard where the magnet moves cars to the crusher.

***

Lisa leaned against the Jeep. She spoke in a chorus of three different women’s voices. “Hi, guys. Welcome to Jurassic Park.”

“She’s still incapacitated,” Gupta said. “Where did the others go?”

“Those disgusting smelly people keep coming from the garages, and they’re even wading out of the river. Gina went into that building to talk to their boss. She took Clovis with her to make sure they listen. They’re going to stink up our garden party.”

“Stack the grenades across the car. When you get a cluster, let ‘em have it,” the hat said. “We’ll head for the river.”

“Wait.” Gupta leaned against the wrecked Jeep. “How do they work?”

“Such children,” the hat said. “Unscrew the cap at the end of the stick. There’s a bead in there. Grab it and pull. Throw it at the bad guys.”

Gupta removed the cap and found the bead. “I think I have it, and – Oh my, God.”

Lizzie and the hat turned to face Lisa. She used one of the grenades to repair her hairdo, and stuck bobby-pins to keep the victory rolls in place. “These things are great. Wish I had a blow dryer to go with them.”

Lizzie took the grenade away. “We need to borrow your curler for a minute, okay.” She turned to Gupta, and the whites of her eyes flashed wide. “You’re going to have to watch her.”

***

What would one of my visits be without a free poster for your readers. This is me trying to fix my hair with one of the grenades. Honestly, it was working pretty well before they took it away.

illustration of sexy red head in revealing midriff plaid shirt and jeans, curling her hair with a grenade

Lisa, definitely gets herself in a few fixes in this story.  Good thing she’s a robot, girl, and has options for turning the tables on the bad guys. It’s always fun when she drops by to promote one of Craig’s books. While I trot out the blurb for Viral Blues, Lisa and I are going to talk shoes and accessories. 🙂

BLURB:

Someone knows about the hat. The creature from another dimension that helps Lizzie fight against the creatures of darkness.

They are summoned to a cryptic meeting with a secret society, where they meet other people with enhanced skills. It turns out someone, or something, has been tampering with the world’s vaccine supply. The goal doesn’t appear to be political or financial, but biblical pestilence.

Can this group of loners come together in time to make a difference when even the proper authorities are obstacles?

Check out Viral Blues, for your dose of paranormal adventure, with a strong sample of dark humor. And in recent superhero style, don’t miss the secret last chapter after the back material.

PURCHASE FROM AMAZON

bio box for author, C.S. Boyack

Connect with Craig at the following haunts:
Blog | My Novels | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest 

What can be better than zombies for Halloween reading? This is a fun, imaginative story with a diverse cast of characters who keep every page entertaining. Highly recommended.

And to close out the week, I’m visiting with P.H. Solomon talking about a very specific curse that has haunted a town for centuries. I hope you have an opportunity to visit!

All is Not as it Seems in The Glade #SomethingWickedTour @harmony_kent @StoryEmpire

Welcome to another day of Story Empire’s Something Wicked Blog Tour! I hope you’re enjoying the shivers, goosebumps, and eclectic fiction the SE gang has been trotting out. You can find the complete tour schedule here. My guest today is Harmony Kent, here to share her very creepy novel, The Glade. Bwahahaha!


Hello everyone, Harmony here. Thanks for hosting me today, Mae! It’s great to visit with you and your readers to kick off my third stop on Story Empire’s Something Wicked Blog Tour. In true Halloween-month fashion, I’d like to visit The Glade, where malignant forces are gathering power …

All is not as it seems in The Glade

What possessed me to turn an idyllic setting into a place of horror, you might ask? Well, it all started with a news story about bringing people back from the dead, and my warped imagination took it from there.

According to the BBC news in April 2013 …

A doctor says people can be revived several hours after they have seemingly died. Should this change the way we think about death?

It most certainly changed the way I looked at it, lol. And it begged the question, What Would Happen If … some of my characters came back from the dead? My demanding Muse also wanted to set this little disaster in the middle of a spooky forest.

My first struggle came in finding a vast and remote woodland in the UK. The sad truth is that we just don’t have such a thing anymore on our small island. The nearest I could come up with was The Forest of Dean, located in Gloustershire, a little north of the River Severn. While this forest is fairly large, it’s a long way from remote and has lots of busy roads running through it.

The corner stone I put on the cottage built in my lovely little glade is based on The Standing Stone, which actually has one of those well-travelled roads running right past it. For my purposes, I took some artistic license and moved it to an isolated glade. Which quickly turned malevolent … te hee he he.

Local folklore says that the stone will bleed if pricked with a pin at precisely midnight.

Of course, that little snippet grabbed my Muse by the scruff of the neck and rubbed its nose right in the supernatural delights on offer.

And then my research of the area brought up the topic of Ley Lines. I hadn’t intended to include these in the narrative, but what I discovered was too good to miss. So, between the energy and the stone and the local folklore, I wove a wicked tale of supernatural evil, and Something Wicked most definitley this way came. Thus, The Glade, was born.

Here’s a bit more about the book:

You’re arrested for the murder of your husband.

You have a secret you can’t tell.

The evil is gathering …

This gripping, edge-of-your-seat mystery/thriller will have you thinking twice about booking that idyllic cottage in the country. Nothing in this woodland paradise within the Forest of Dean is what it seems.

The Wenstrops have it all: health, wealth, and happiness. Until everything falls apart. Helen gets arrested for murder, and yet is either unable or unwilling to give a defence. During her detention, vital evidence goes missing and tensions run high.

Meanwhile, in the woods, malignant forces gather power.

Praise for The Glade:

“The glade is a horror story in the mould of Stephen King, rendered the more so by its faint echoes of Pet Semetary and the even stronger resonance of the pervasive malignancy of It. “

“Lock the doors and light up every room, for this book will have you on edge for the entire journey through its pages.”

“Readers who like to curl up during the long winter evenings and feel the delicious chill of fear running up and down their spines need only turn to The Glade to have all their expectations fulfilled.”

Purchase Link

To Learn More About Harmony Check Out:

WebsiteStory Empire (co-authored) | Amazon Author Page |
Twitter | LinkedIn | Goodreads | BookBub |

I’ve read The Glade and can vouch it’s going to inspire plenty of goosebumps and shivers.
I wish you happy lights-on-in-the-dark reading! 🙂

Harmony and I did a blog swap today, so you can find me hanging out at her place talking about a spooky house in the neighborhood where I grew up. I hope you’ll pop over to check it out! 

Playing with Fire #SomethingWickedTour @JoanHallWrites @storyempire

Welcome friends! Pull up a computer, tablet, or phone, and sit a spell as Story Empire’s Something Wicked Blog Tour continues. You can find the complete tour schedule here. My guest today is Joan Hall, who shares a very scary and very human kind of wickedness . . .


Mae, thanks for hosting me today for this second day of the Something Wicked Tour. It’s a pleasure to be here and interact with your readers.


Hey everyone. More often than not, the greatest evil we face isn’t with the paranormal or encounters with aliens. Real people often commit serious crimes—among them are espionage, murder, kidnapping, and arson.

During a six-month period in 1992-1993, a series of arsons occurred in Seattle, Washington, and the surrounding area. Before a task force identified a suspect, over 107 fires occurred. Three people died as a result of a fire in a retirement home.

Paul Kenneth Keller was arrested and charged with the crime. His father identified him from a composite drawing and criminal profile. Keller had a fascination with fires from an early age. After his arrest, he admitted to setting seventy-six fires and is currently serving a ninety-nine-year prison term.

Does a serial arsonist sound like the basis for a novel? That’s what I did with Unknown Reasons, a romantic suspense novel and the second in my Driscoll Lake Series. The arsonist targeted houses, businesses, and a nursing home.

The common factor? My main character, Brian Nichols, has a connection with each place. He’s trying to build his business while overcoming his past. He’s also in the middle of a new romance.

But someone is intent on destroying him. What’s worse, he becomes a prime suspect.

Excerpt: 
He stepped out of the shadows, leaving the cloak of darkness, and crept toward the abandoned factory. His pulse quickened with excitement as he neared the building. On the other hand, it could be nerves. A solitary streetlight illuminated his path for several feet between the fence and an abandoned boxcar.

But there was little to worry about. It was Friday night, and many of Driscoll Lake’s residents would be at the football game.

It was hard to remember a time when fire didn’t captivate him. He learned how to start a flame without the benefit of matches or a lighter and delighted in holding a magnifying glass in a position where the sun reflected on dry leaves, causing them to smolder.

Fire was essential. People used it for cooking. It gave off warmth and provided a source of light.

One small spark could quickly develop into a roaring flame. And a roaring flame was powerful. It could destroy. Even kill.

Book cover for Unknown Reasons by Joan Hall shows sun reflected in lake, golden water, ghost profile of man's face superimposed over wanterBlurb:

If you can’t stand the heat…

Rachel Jackson hails from one of Driscoll Lake’s wealthiest families. Like her father, she became a doctor and is now a respected physician. But despite her successful career, Rachel feels something is missing from her life—until she crosses paths with Brian Nichols.

The son of a hard-working mother and alcoholic father, Brian acted out when he was young, earning a reputation as a troublemaker. As an adult, he’s worked hard to clean up his act and now owns a burgeoning construction company.

Rachel and Brian form an unlikely friendship which begins to blossom into something more. But a series of structure fires—determined to be arson—puts Brian in the hot seat. The properties are all associated with his work, making him the prime suspect. Toss in his juvenile history, and he finds himself the focus of a tenacious investigator. Even Rachel starts to have doubts.

Brian struggles to save his relationship, his company, and his reputation. But unless the real arsonist is caught before striking again, everything Brian holds dear may go up in smoke.

Universal Purchase Link

Connect with Joan:
Website | Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | BookBub

This is another great read you’re going to want to grab. I’ve read this entire series, and enjoyed it immensely, especially the small town setting and characters who feel like neighbors and friends.

Today, you can find me haunting Staci Troilo’s blog with a look at Home Circles. Sounds pretty un-spooky, right?  Well, they’re likely not what you think. Find out here and say hello!

Serpent Mound Lore #SomethingWickedTour @stacitroilo @storyempire

Hello and welcome to the first day of Story Empire’s Something Wicked Blog Tour! The SE authors will be sharing posts all week long, visiting the blogs of our colleagues  with posts and books offering shivers and goosebumps. We hope you’ll join in the fun and, hopefully, discover some chill-inducing reads along the way. You can find the complete tour schedule here.

But don’t expect all of those goosebumps to come from creepy-crawling things or ghosts and ghouls oozing from the crypt. As my first guest, Staci Troilo, explains, darkness comes in all shapes…


Thanks for welcoming me here today, Mae.

The Gate

Ciao, amici! When my SE cohorts came up with the idea for a Something Wicked tour, I was initially concerned about how my current writing would fit into the theme. Sci-fi felt like a far cry from malevolence. Then I realized aliens with a nefarious agenda were just as wicked as demons; they just had a different origin. I don’t think it matters if a being is from a star in the Hydrus constellation or from Hell… evil is a matter of intent, not origin.

My Astral Conspiracy series is a combination of futuristic tech and ancient history. If you (like me) are obsessed with—or even aware of—Ancient Aliens, you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

In The Gate, the first of my five-book series, the characters visit the Great Serpent Mound in Adams County, Ohio. They’re there to steal a buried artifact, which is absolutely fiction. But the lore behind the effigy is pure fact. And it’s fascinating. Serpent Mound (aerial view)

Photo Attribution: Timothy A. Price and Nichole I.; uploaded by the authors. [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Serpent Mound was built by Native Americans. I wish I could tell you when, but that’s still up for debate. A set of charcoal pieces was found in 1996. Two of the pieces were carbon-dated to 1070, which would make the builders the Fort Ancient society (a mound-building culture from the Late Prehistoric era, 900-1650 AD). But the third was dated two thousand years earlier to the Adena culture (2920 +/-65 years BC). The current theory, and the one that makes the most sense to me, is that is was built during the Adena period and then renovated by the Fort Ancients. Adena graves nearby strengthen that theory.

The Great Serpent Mound is a 1,348-foot long, three-foot-high earthwork of a snake. It’s the largest known serpent effigy in the world. It’s located on an astrobleme (an asteroid impact structure whose center is raised sedimentary strata). At the west end, the snake’s tail is coiled into a spiral; at the east, its mouth is open as though eating an egg, the sun, a giant eye, or the body of a frog (experts can’t decide). There are seven curves to its body.

But what was it built for? The oval and head area of the effigy is aligned with the summer solstice sunset while the tail is in line with the winter solstice sunrise. It’s also been suggested that the undulations of the body are correspond to certain lunar events. So, the mound may be a calendar marking the seasons.

The sculpt mimics the constellation Draco, with the star Thuban mapped to the first curve of the body. Thuban was used as the North Pole star from the fourth to second millennium BC, so there is an argument to be made that the effigy was a compass of sorts.

And nearby graves suggest this may have been a mortuary of sorts, a place that would help guide spirits to the great beyond. (It’s worth noting the graves were nearby, but none were found at the site itself.)

Whatever its true purpose, it has a great significance in my novel, The Gate, book one of my Astral Conspiracy series. If you’re curious about how I used it, I encourage you to read the book.


The Gate

He lost his job. Lost his girl. Now it’s all he can do not to lose his life.

Landon Thorne is a disgraced archaeologist, a laughing stock in his field because of his unconventional beliefs – he’s an ancient astronaut theorist. No one takes him seriously.

Until an alien armada targets Earth.

Now Landon’s in high demand – by the US government and someone far more sinister.

They race across two continents to the Gate of the Gods, the one place on Earth that might give humans an advantage over the aliens. But no one is prepared for what they’ll find.

And not everyone will make it out alive.

The Gate is the first of five novels in the Astral Conspiracy Series, part of Sterling and Stone’s Invasion Universe.

Universal Purchase Link

Other Links:

Staci’s Amazon Page | Staci’s BookBub Page | D.L.’s Amazon Page | D.L.’s BookBub Page

Bio box for author, Staci Troilo

I found this fascinating, just like the book. The Gate is an excellent story that moves at a break-neck pace. I highly recommend adding it for addictive reading.

Finally, in closing, Joan Hall is hosting me today, where I’m sharing a scary historical encounter. Hop over if you can and check out Red Eyes and Winged Beasts.

New Release: Lazy Days by Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie #Family #Adventure

I have a first time guest on my blog today—or more precisely, guests. Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie, sister authors, are celebrating the release of their new book, Lazy Days. I’ve read two of Anita’s wonderful novels, Let it Go and Secrets already, and Jaye’s are on my list. I will be adding this co-authored work to my TBR as well. I hope you’ll make them feel welcome and check out Lazy Days. They also have a very active blog and welcome new followers. You can find connect with them here.

And now, here’s Anita with a guest post to tell us how their journey toward writing began:

Book tour promo ad for Lazy Days by Anita and Jaye Dawes

Two years ago, when I first started hearing about Indie publishing, I never thought it would be something I could actually do, as the thought of anything to do with a computer filled me with dread.

I had been writing for years, and submitted my work to most of the mainstream publishers. Very nearly made it too, but as they say, a miss is as good as a mile! Which was a shame, for many people liked what I wrote.

So it didn’t take long for the idea of doing it yourself to become something I was determined to do. I enlisted the help of my sister, Jaye, as she is far more computer literate than I. More stubborn too!

What Jaye had to learn was incredible, and unbelievably hard. I tried to keep up with her, but there were days when even she was pulling her hair out. Some of it was easy, which tended to lull us into a false sense of achievement, but we persevered.

Eventually, we learned how to upload one of my manuscripts to Amazon, and I was finally a published author. (Well, sort of).

We didn’t stop there. We wanted to upload my other books and create paperback copies too, proof positive that I was truly a writer. One little success meant there could very well be others, and that was the best incentive in the world.

Learning how to do all that was a nightmare, but soon, four of my books were on Amazon and we were like a couple of Cheshire cats. We were tempted to stop there; after all, I now had four paperback copies of my books on my shelf, as well as the Kindle editions.

But we soon discovered that this was only half of the battle. Apparently, you need a platform, a reader friendly website to promote my books or they would remain in limbo. Then there was all the socialising and networking. So many writers were publishing their own books; we were a very small pebble in a very large pond!

We managed to create a passable website and established a presence on the internet. Not that this is the end of the story, there is no way you can rest on your laurels (that is if you even have some!)

Even if nothing monumental comes from all our efforts, we know we have tried our hardest. But we won’t stop writing, for that’s the fun part!

Book cover for Lazy Days by Anita and Jaye Dawes shows trees over stream, idyllic settingLazy Days Book Blurb:
This novella is the true story of our family’s first proper holiday back in the Seventies. Looking back, I wonder what made us think it was a good idea, but despite all the things that could have gone wrong, we had a fantastic time. I was the Skipper most of the time, and for some reason decided to record our adventures in a small notebook. We were young and without husbands, Anita was a widow, and I was glad to be rid of mine. (and that is another story) Money was precious and scarce back then, but all the saving and sacrifice turned out to be worth every single memory we all cherish.

This notebook has been treasured and kept safe, despite numerous house moves and family disasters, as a symbol of our courage and determination. Renting a boat on the Norfolk Broads could so easily have been one of the stupidest things we had ever done, but even after 40 years, we have such good memories of that time.

Over the years, we often thought of making it into a proper book, but along with everything else in our often-complicated family life, it was something we never got around to. Until just recently, when we were looking for some old photographs, found the now fragile notebook and knew it was time.

It wasn’t as easy as we imagined it would be either, for our logbook writing skills leave a lot to be desired, but there was just enough information entered on those pages to get us started.

banner for Lazy Days Book tour Quiz with starry sky background

Click HERE to join the Lazy Book Tour event on Facebook and take the quiz!

Connect with Anita and Jaye at the following haunts:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Anita’s Amazon Page | Jaye’s Amazon Page 

Purchase Lazy Days from Amazon 

 

Pre-Order Ninja School Mum by Lizzie Chantree

Banner for the book Ninja School Mom by Lizzie Chantree

Today, I’m participating in the blog launch tour for Lizzie Chantree and her new book, Ninja School Mum. Isn’t that a cool title?  And how about the cover—very snazzy!

The official release date is January 30th, but you can pre-order below. I’ve already reserved my copy and look forward to diving in!

Since this is the first time Lizzie has been on my blog, let’s get to know her better through a quick Q & A:

How do you celebrate when you launch a new book?
I jump up and down a lot! 🙂 I don’t usually do too much as my family are all a bit bewildered by the whole process. It’s hard to explain the emotional attachment you have to the stories that have taken so much time and energy to write. Launching them into the world for others to read is pretty scary!

So true, and I don’t think that ever gets easier. I do like your enthusiasm with the jumping up and down, LOL. What’s the best way to market your book?
Networking. Making contacts and actually interacting with them. Don’t just bombard people with marketing, get to know them and tell them about yourself and your writing.

Speaking of writing, what is your process? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a panster. I have a basic idea of the story and work out chapter ideas and then I make it up as I go along! The story unfolds to me as I write it. It makes the process so exciting, as I feel like I’m reading the story while I’m writing it and I can’t wait to see what will happen next in the story.

I definitely relate to that. I’m a panster too. What is your favorite color?
Any shade of blue. It relaxes me and I find it inspiring to look at. I love to sit and write by the sea.

Great choice. Blue is my favorite too, with green a close second. How long did it take you to write Ninja school Mum?
It has taken about ten months to write, edit, proof and get Ninja School Mum ready for publication.

Book cover for Ninja School Mom by Lizzie Chantree. Black silhouette of a young woman ninja, hair blowing in a breeze, orange background

BLURB:
Obsessive-compulsive  school  mum, Skye, is a lonely  elite  spy,  who is running from her past whilst trying to protect the future of her child. She tries hard to fit in with the other parents at her son’s new school, but the only person who accepts her unconventional way of life is new mother, Thea.

Thea is feeling harassed by her sister and bored with her life, but she suspects that there is something strange about the new school mum, Skye. Thea has secrets of her own and, although the two become unlikely friends, she hesitates to tell Skye about the father of her own child.

Zack’s new business is growing faster than he could have dreamed but, suddenly, he finds himself the owner of a crumbling estate on the edge of a pretty village, and a single parent to a very demanding child. Could he make a go of things and give his daughter the life she deserved?

When three lives collide, it appears that only one of them is who they seem to be, and you never know who the person next to you in the school playground really is.

Author, Lizzie ChantreeABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Award-winning inventor and author, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now runs networking hours on social media, where creative businesses, writers, photographers and designers can offer advice and support to each other. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex. Visit her website at www.lizziechantree.com or follow her on Twitter @Lizzie_Chantree

Connect with Lizzie at the following haunts:
Website | Author Page | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY OF NINJA SCHOOL MUM

Staci Troilo with a Deleted Scene from Bleeding Heart #StoryEmpireRoadshow

Hey, everyone! It’s the last day of our Story Empire Roadshow Bookmobile blog tour. The week went so fast, I can’t believe it’s winding down so soon. Even though the fun is ending, I have a fabulous post from my wonderful friend and SE sister, Staci Troilo to close things out. She’s got a number of goodies to share with you too, so let’s close this Roadshow out with a bang! 🙂


Hi, Mae. Thanks for hosting me today. And hi, Mae’s followers. It’s nice to be back here with you today.

We’ve been making the rounds on the Story Empire Roadshow, and this is my last stop. I’ve been talking about my Medici Protectorate series, and I thought I’d close out with a deleted scene. This was originally the opening, but as many writers will tell you, sometimes your beginning starts too far back. So, the beginning to Bleeding Heart starts a little farther along the timeline. I also considered using this as a prologue, but it wasn’t necessary; the relevant information from this scene is organically revealed throughout the series.

But I really liked this scene, and I didn’t want to get rid of it entirely. The interplay between the guys reveals a lot about their characters. Reading it might give you a good idea of who the Brothers are. Without further ado, here’s the deleted opening to Bleeding Heart, book one of the Medici Protectorate series.

“Okay, Vinnie. Good job. Gianni, sweep… now watch for the—”

“Oooph.” Gianni took a bo staff thrust to the right side, and his breath left him with a whoosh. He took a knee on the mat and struggled for air while Nico and Coz stood snickering, waiting for their turns, and his sparring partner Vinnie leaned on his staff and grinned. Their instructor showed about as much amusement as Gianni felt.

Silhouette of two men engaged in martial arts“He gets you every time.” Marcus offered Gianni a hand and hoisted him to his feet. “Just because you’re on the attack doesn’t mean you can let your guard down.”

“He’s not left-handed. It doesn’t seem natural for him to thrust leading left.”

“You aren’t left-handed. You attack on the left.”

Gianni rubbed his side. It was going to be bruised. Again. Vinnie didn’t hold back. He narrowed his eyes and squared off.

“Bring it.” Vinnie grinned and spun his staff in front of him.

“Hey, it’s our turn,” Coz said.

Marcus stepped between Gianni and Vinnie and pushed them each back a step. “Ladies, stand down. Your sisters want a go.”

Usually talk like that would garner equally sarcastic retorts, but Gianni was grateful for the break.

Vinnie must have been tired too, because he bowed and gestured to the sparring arena. “Have at it, girls.” Then he joined Gianni against the wall. Marcus stayed on the mats to coach Nico and Coz through their fight.

“Did I get you too hard?”

No way was Gianni admitting his pain to Vinnie. “Nah, I’m fine. Just tired. It’s wicked hot in here today.”

“No argument there.”

Usually the men wore full dobaks, or martial arts uniforms in the gym, but that day they had all stripped off their shirts, even Marcus, and were battling in nothing but the wide-legged black pants. While Marcus worked with Nico and Coz, Enrico taught a young black belt class across the gym. Poor kids didn’t have the luxury of working shirtless. Rico kept them in their full uniforms.

Gianni rubbed his side until he and Vinnie got up for round two. Just before they started, Paolo came in with a young boy in tow. “Marcus, this is Ben. He’s going to start training with us. Ben, this is Marcus, one of my partners and an instructor here. And these are four of our associates, Gianni, Vinnie, Nico, and Bobby.”

“Everyone calls me Coz.” No one called him Bobby except Paolo, and Gianni suspected Coz didn’t care much for it.

Paolo grinned at Coz over Ben’s head, but Ben didn’t pay attention to any of it. He stared at Marcus’s chest. “Cool tattoo, man. Does it have any special significance?”

Marcus grabbed a towel off the floor and hung it around his neck, covering the ink with the tail of the cloth and his hands as they grasped the edges.

Students in a martial arts class watching two men practicePaolo turned Ben toward Enrico and the young black belt class. “First, you should learn right away we don’t address elders here as ‘man’ or ‘dude’ or any other nonsense. Second, we need to let these gentlemen get back to their training. Let’s go meet Enrico and the students who are more your age. You should be at their level in about three years.”

They turned to walk away, and Marcus donned his dobak shirt, securing the waist with a plain black belt. The lack of stripes didn’t mean anything. Everyone used plain black belts in the gym, but they all had embroidered ones with their names and ranks for competition. Marcus had a belt in his possession with seven stripes on it. Gianni’s and his brothers’ belts had six each.

While Marcus dressed, his cell phone beeped. So did Paolo’s. Quick glances at their screens caused them both to frown then exchange worried looks. Enrico left his class and joined them. A senior instructor had already taken over his class. The three men bowed their heads together and discussed the message in hushed tones.

Gianni nudged Vinnie and caught his attention, but he looked as puzzled as Gianni felt.

Paolo turned back toward his young charge. “Ben, go sit in that room and watch those boys. Someone will be with you shortly.” He shoved the boy toward the class Rico had abandoned and gestured to a senior black belt to assist the new student.

Marcus turned to Gianni and the others. “Keep practicing. Bo staff, not daggers. At least another hour. We need to go.” And he, Paolo, and Enrico ran out of the gym without any further explanation.

“What the hell do you think that was all about?” Vinnie asked.

“It’s gotta be something for work,” Gianni said.

“Yeah, but which work?” Coz asked.

Since they had graduated college, they had been hired at MDH, a multi-national conglomerate with offices in Italy, the United States, and Argentina. The three men who had just left, plus one who wasn’t there, had been their mentors since they had been young boys, training them in martial arts, getting them into elite colleges, making inroads for them at MDH, and even helping them get graduate degrees in their respective fields. There had been talk of another job that they were being groomed for, but no one would give the guys more information. Gianni suspected it had something to do with the tattoo Marcus had.

On Marcus’s left pec, near his heart, was the outline of a dagger. All four of the mentors had them. Marcus’s was white, Enrico’s was green, and Paolo’s was black. Sal, the mentor that Gianni was closest to, had a red one. The daggers were simple enough when you looked at them, yet there was something exquisite about them. Each one of them alone was a true work of art, but for the few people who had ever seen them when the men were all together, they were stunning. Each pointed in a different direction, as though they were parts of a whole picture. Gianni didn’t know the significance of the colors or the directions—even Sal wouldn’t tell him—but he was certain they had to do with the other job the Sal kept alluding to. The most he could get out of him was that Gianni and his brothers were likely the chosen, and they’d learn about it all when the time was right.

Whatever that was supposed to mean.

“Well, if it was important and had to do with MDH, you’d think one of us would have been notified,” Nico said. “We cover pretty much the whole company. We definitely overlap their departments.”

“That leaves the other job. Whatever it is,” Vinnie said. “What do you think it is?”

“My luck it’s something illegal,” Coz said.

“Why would you say that?” Nico asked.

Coz shrugged. “Track record.”

“Sal wouldn’t do anything illegal.”

“There goes Gianni with his man-crush again.” Vinnie put his bo staff down and grabbed a dagger.

“I don’t have a man-crush.” Gianni grabbed a dagger and squared off against Vinnie.

“Didn’t Marcus say we were supposed to practice staff for another hour?” Nico asked.

“Are you going to tell?” Vinnie continued circling Gianni.

“I like daggers better, anyway.” Coz grabbed the remaining staffs and put them away. He selected two daggers and offered one to Nico, keeping the other for himself.

Nico sighed but accepted it.

“So, when do you think they’ll tell us what’s really going on?” Vinnie struck at Gianni. “Those guys are getting old. It’ll be our turn soon enough.”

Gianni started circling. “Old? They’re in prime fighting condition.”

“We’re in prime fighting condition,” Vinnie said. “They’re in great shape for their age, but they’re not young anymore. If they need to fight for their job, they’re past prime.”

Gianni swept Vinnie’s legs and held the dagger to his throat. “Submit?”

Vinnie tapped out.

“They can still kick our asses.” He helped Vinnie up and immediately tripped him again. He pointed his dagger to Vinnie’s throat, but Vinnie just laughed.

Then Coz swore. Nico had cut this left bicep, and it gushed.

“Sorry. Let’s go stitch it up.” They left their daggers behind and went to the medical room for Nico to clean and stitch Coz’s arm.

Most of the men at the gym had wounds in some stage of healing. They had all gone through medic training and could administer CPR as well as stitch wounds. A few of them had performed minor surgeries on occasion.

Gianni and Vinnie continued practicing dagger drills and speculating what the big secret was. Nico and Coz returned in ten minutes and rejoined the practice and the conversation.

None of them came close to guessing the big secret, but they’d learn it all too soon.

So, there you have it. Something that happened before what happens, if you get what I mean. I appreciate the chance to share this scene with you and to close out the tour on familiar ground. Thanks for having me here today!


To show my gratitude, I’m offering two prizes to commenters.

One commenter will receive a free eBook of their choosing, not just from the Medici Protectorate series (although you can choose one of those), but from any of my works (the complete list can be found by clicking here).

Another commenter (US only) will be sent a Medici Protectorate gift pack. Every day this week I gave away a little Medici swag. Today, one commenter gets the whole bunch: bookmark, refrigerator magnet, pen, and sticky note pad. Good luck!

Swag gift pack from author Staci Troilo


display ad for the Medici Protectorate book series by Staci Troilo

Medici Protectorate Series
Premise:
The four Notaro sisters are the secret legacy of the Medici, famed rulers of Italy. Michelangelo promised his Medician benefactor that he’d always watch over the family, and as such, he formed the Medici Protectorate to guard them throughout the generations. Now, Italy is in political turmoil and revolution is imminent. The people are calling for new rulers, and the Notaros are poised to assume control. But a nefarious opposing faction wants the power for themselves. Never was the family in more jeopardy. The four sisters are protected by the Brotherhood—four elite warriors of the Medici Protectorate prophesied to keep the family safe until they fulfill their destinies. They journey around the world in an effort to keep the family safe and the future of Italy secure.

Book One
Bleeding Heart: Gianni, a warrior destined to defend the secret legacy of the Medici, protects his charge Francesca from a prophesied assassin. Their worlds collide in passion and violence, and he must conquer her fears and his demons in time to save them both.

Bleeding Heart is only $.99 throughout the duration of the tour.
Click the universal link for purchase information.

Book Two
Mind Control: Vinnie copes with his own identity issues while he struggles to protect the one prophesized Medici descendant, Jo, who refuses to embrace her heritage. With lives in peril, can they find the strength to overcome their tragic pasts, or is it too late?

Mind Control is only $1.99 throughout the duration of the tour.
Click the universal link for purchase information.

Book Three
Body Armor: Nico works to increase his powers and save the Notaro family matriarch, but his private agendas put his charge Donni’s life at risk. When secrets and lies result in three abductions, the group will need to place their trust him to save them all.

Biography box for author, Staci Trolio

Social Media Links:
Web | Blog | Newsletter Signup | Twitter | Amazon | Additional Social Media Links

Continue to follow the Story Empire Roadshow at these
blogs for more giveaways, prizes and fun!

Staci Troilo | C. S. Boyack | Harmony Kent | Joan Hall | P. H. Solomon

 

Visiting the Playground with C. S. Boyack #StoryEmpireRoadshow

The Story Empire Roadshow continues today with an appearance from C. S. Boyack. Craig is here to share the scoop on his book The Playground. Gather ’round the bookmobile and grab your copy before the tour is over. There’s only one more day left to score great prices on great reads and accumulate some nifty prizes along the way.

Take it away, Craig!

vintage photo of a bookmobile with crowd gathered around itThanks for having me over today, Mae. This Story Empire Roadshow has been a blast. All of us are doing different things, and in my case it’s something different every day. I think today’s stop is a good one. I’m offering my paranormal novel, The Playground, free for two days.

This story involves a ruthless businessman who has a line of toys for children. They’re called Playground dolls, and they come with access to a social network for kids. Children can interact with each other from all around the world.

Behind the scenes, he’s using the system to brainwash our children into his own homegrown army. Imagine the invasion happening from within our own homes.

This becomes what I like to call a chase for the maguffin, when the next generation of software goes missing. The businessman turned to the occult when things weren’t happening fast enough, and now his position is tenuous at best.

The Playground is told from three different points of view. You get the victim, the heroine, and a badass street thug who’s been sent after the missing software at all costs.

I think it has similarities to the works of Frank Miller, and Quentin Tarantino. If you like something on the dark side, with paranormal themes, this might be the one for you.

Book cover for THE PLAYGROUND, a novel by C. S. Boyack shows dramatic image of young girl's face over a sinister looking house at night with a car in the foregroundBLURB:
The hottest new toys of the Christmas season are the Playground Network dolls. They contain a worldwide social network for children. Except the network is controlled by a ruthless businessman with dreams of power.

To reach his goals he turns to the occult. Will our children make up his personal army? Could we have an enemy soldier in every home?

Gina Greybill is a cancer survivor who stumbles into her own brush with the paranormal. She wants nothing to do with it, but may be the only one who can bring down the Playground Network. To do it she’ll have to embrace her new situation, and recover the next generation of Playground software.

There is competition for the software in the form of a brutal thug named Clovis. He’s bigger, more ruthless, and more experienced. To top it all off, he has a head start.

The Playground is suitable for mature readers, due to violence and mature themes.

 The Playground is available at this Universal Purchase Link 

Story Empire is a cooperative effort of six outstanding authors. While I’m here at Mae’s visiting, she has her own bookmobile parked at Joan Hall’s blog. Joan is over at Entertaining Stories, so make sure you stop by my place too.

As an incentive to keep following the tour, my two most prolific commenters will win a huge coffee mug featuring my Romanesque bust, and Lisa Burton my robotic personal assistant. These are awesome mugs, and you’re going to want one.

Coffee mug with character and author bust

Connect with Craig at:
Blog | Amazon | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook

Biography box for author C. S. Boyack

Continue to follow the Story Empire Roadshow at these
blogs for more giveaways, prizes and fun!

Staci Troilo | C. S. Boyack | Harmony Kent | Joan Hall | P. H. Solomon

 

Welcome Multi-Genre Author, Harmony Kent #StoryEmpireRoadshow

Hey, blogging friends! It’s day three of the awesome Story Empire Roadshow! Gather round the bookmobile to welcome Harmony Kent. She’s here with part two of a post she started yesterday on SEer P. H. Solomon’s blog. Harmony is out of town today, away from internet access, but she’ll be checking in tonight to reply to comments, so please leave her one one below!

vintage photo of a bookmobile with crowd gathered around it

Hello, everyone, Harmony Kent here. Welcome to my tour stop on the Story Empire Roadshow. First of all, I would like to give Mae a huge thank you for hosting me today. Because I have so many books published, I broke yesterday’s and today’s topic into two posts. So, for the first installment, check out yesterday’s post. And, remember, throughout this week, I shall be offering Kindle deals on some of my books, so keep checking in for details of which books and when the discounts are happening. The most prolific commenter at the end of the tour will get to choose ONE copy of any TWO of my ebooks!

What I write (part two) 

A firmly established mulit-genre author, you’ll not pin me down to any one thing. I’ve written various fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. Read on for more details on my books. My book trailer videos can all be found on my Amazon author page and my website.

My fifth book, Finding Katie, while fiction, tackles a serious topic, that of self harm and the affects of abuse. Readers have proclaimed that everyone should read this book.

I killed someone, you see. I killed the girl, who used to be me.

I’m Kate … Kate Charlesworth. I’m seventeen, and self-harming. This time I cut too deep, and I’m in hospital. I hadn’t meant for it to be so bad—it just sort of happened. I needed a lot of distraction that day.

You’ve had bad days, right? Days it hurts too much to think. Days you just wanna stay in bed. Days when the world needs to go away for a while. Right?

What do you do when you’ve hit rock bottom? When there’s nowhere left to turn?

This one little mistake lands me back on a psych unit—the last place I wanna be. Only this time, the nurse I end up with isn’t content to stick on a band-aid and send me home. She wants me to face my demons. But to do that, I’ll have to face who I am … who I used to be … I’ll have to find Katie.

books banner for author Harmony Kent

My sixth book, Slices of Soul, takes us into the realm of poetry and covers a multitude of topics.

Slices of Soul is a collection of contemporary poetry from author Harmony Kent that will both delight and call for deeper reflection. ‘Phantoms’ gives a gritty account of pain that you can never catch. ‘Enough’ expresses the contentment of Zen. ‘Diamonds’ shows the beauty to be found on a drab and rainy day. While ‘The Alchemist’ shows you how a guitar can turn lead into gold. This wonderful arrangement of fifty poems takes you from the abstract of Zen to the melody of music, and will reach into your mind, your heart, and your soul.

My seventh book, Interludes, takes a jaunt on the naughty side in the form of erotic short romance stories.

A collection of short erotic fiction that will tickle more than your taste buds and wet more than your appetite.

With a range of genres and styles, this book has enough steam for everyone.

GREY MANCHESTER—contemporary romance in 1000 words. Will Nadine choose to drop her knife or her knickers?

DOUBLE TROUBLE—ménage à trois in 2000 words. After a dry spell, Sophia gets more than she bargained for with a solicitor and a teacher.

DRAGON KISSED—shifter romance in 3000 words. Jenna’s life is fairly run of the mill until she has a flying accident. With a dragon. All is not as it seems in this fiery romance.

TRYST—contemporary romance in 4000 words. Polly pushes the boundaries on a workplace night out.

LOVE ON THE CORNISH LINE—contemporary romance in 5000 words. Becky falls flat on her face, and madly in love. Her weekly commute home proves to be anything but routine.

THE INLAW—contemporary romance in 6000 words. At 43, amputee Carla never expected in her wildest dreams to be called a MILF by a hot young stud. Trouble is, he’s her son in law’s brother. And young enough to be her son. Sparks fly when she’s caught with her hands in the biscuit tin.

NIGHT NURSE—contemporary romance in 7000 words. Denise has only weeks left to live. What constitutes life, though? What fills the yawning hours of empty days? Who are you once the chemo and the cancer have stripped you bare? What to do?—Go out on a slow fizzle, or with a big bang?

OVERBOARD—contemporary romance in 8000 words. When Stella falls overboard in the middle of the Pacific, she gets more than she bargained for. Sharks and storms not withstanding.

ALIEN LIAISON—alien romance in 9000 words. When the military transport, Lunas Two, crash lands on Zorth, Jay is given the job of liaising with the locals. She’s seen plenty of aliens in her four years of service, but never one as finger licking good as Lemo. How far will she have to go to keep the peace?

SAVING FACE—historical romance in 10,000 words. Non-related step brother and sister, David and Annalise, break all the rules in this steamy historical romance. Forced to live apart from the love of her life and into an arranged and loveless marriage, Annalise has to grow up fast. When all is lost, will she be able to save face?

READER ADVISORY: This book contains explicit sex scenes and language hot enough to melt your Kindle. For mature readers only.


My latest book, Moments, is available on pre-order on Amazon. Pre-order HERE (US) and HERE (UK). This is a collection of short stories and poetry that touches upon death, grieving, war, fresh starts, hope, courage, change, choices, and encouragement. Take a moment to delve into tales from the dark side, have fun with fantasy, dabble in dystopia, and court danger in a little science fiction.

I’d love to hear what some of your favourite reads are. Thanks so much for stopping by!

bio box for author Harmony Kent

Connect with Harmony at:
Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon UK | Amazon US

Continue to follow the Story Empire Roadshow at these
blogs for more giveaways, prizes and fun!

Staci Troilo | C. S. Boyack | Harmony Kent | Joan Hall | P. H. Solomon

 

P.H. Solomon on Writing Roots #StoryEmpireRoadshow

Happy Monday and welcome to the first day of the Story Empire Roadshow Blog Tour!

vintage photo of a bookmobile with crowd gathered around it

The authors of Story Empire have banned together on a week-long tour spanning all of our blogs to bring you entertaining posts, fabulous deals on books, giveaways and other prizes. To kick things off, please welcome P.H. Solomon!

Book cover for the Bow of Destiny, a fantasy novel by P.H. Solomon

Hello to everyone and thanks to Mae for hosting me today. I’m P. H. Solomon and I’m a fantasy author, living in greater Birmingham, AL. It’s great to be a part of Story Empire and be on the Roadshow this week. I hope you’ll enjoy all the stops and authors this week and take a look at our books. To see our schedule and information about our prizes, please click to our Roadshow page and see where we are making appearances each day. This week I’m giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card to the most active commenter.

close up of fountain pen with tip on paperI like to write and have for several decades, even though I’ve taken several long breaks from it. During each hiatus, writing always nagged at me and I often thought of ideas and toyed with them from a writing perspective. But one of the main reasons I like to write is that I’m a reader. While I like to read mainly speculative fiction, I do dabble with mysteries, action-thrillers and non-fiction so I have a variety of interests.

But reading influenced me to write long before I ever made my first attempts and it always called me back to writing over the years, simply for the love of a good story. I suppose one of my first memories of reading a good book on my own as a child was when I read The Hobbit by Tolkien, probably about my fifth-grade year. I read all about Bilbo’s adventures while sitting on a grate of our old furnace because it was warm in a drafty old house. The reading warmed my mind as much as the furnace warmed me bodily. That was a nightly ritual for some weeks as I plodded through a much bigger book than I was used to reading on my own. But it led to reading all of The Lord of the Rings over the next year which greatly increased both my reading comprehension and vocabulary. It also led me to other books.

One summer after that, I dealt with a case swimmer’s ear infection for a week or so during June. During that time, I read all of The Chronicles of Narnia. The series kept me company but I was soon finished with it since I was free to devote most of each day to reading. Of course, when I finished and was well, I was more than ready to get out and be active the rest of the summer but the characters stayed with me all that time as I remembered their adventures.

Later, I read other fantasy books and really enjoyed Patricia McKillip during my teen years. I once picked up her newest book, Heir of Sea and Fire, the sequel to The Riddlemaster of Hed, and read it on Christmas break by the fire. It was another story of wonder and adventure and the cozy fire each night was a good setting for reading about characters often visiting new locales with their own campfires to which the characters gravitated for warmth on their journey.

Book cover for An Arrow Against the Wind, a fantasy novel by author P.H. SolomonThese reading memories are much of what gave me a love of story and eventually led me in to writing. Books have been life-long friends to me and they’ve often lent comfort in difficulty which is the case of stories since people started telling them around their nightly fires thousands of years ago. What books influenced you when you were young? What are your fondest reading memories? Thanks for reading this post today and be sure to check out our schedule. While you’re here, feel free to have a look at my current book, The Bow of Destiny and the upcoming release of An Arrow Against the Wind. You can click on my bio banner below to pay me a visit at my website and learn more about me and the rest of The Bow of Hart Saga. Please follow me all week as I share more about my writing each day.

Here are some of the places where you can catch up with me on social media:
Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Pinterest | Google+ | Wattpad | Amazon Author

bio box for author P. H. Solomon

Continue to follow the Story Empire Roadshow at these
blogs for more giveaways, prizes and fun!

Staci Troilo | C. S. Boyack | Harmony Kent | Joan Hall | P. H. Solomon