The Big Release Day is Here: Cusp of Night #supernaturalthriller #mystery #suspense

After all the prep and behind-the-scenes pulling my hair out, the big day is here! Cusp of Night is now available from all booksellers.

Banner ad for cusp of Night, a mystery/suspense novel by author, Mae ClairI’ve got a crazy launch day, with an appointment that falls smack in the middle of the day, sure to keep me offline for a time. I’m apologizing in advance because I have so many wonderful bloggers helping me out, and I fully intend to make rounds and visit all my host blogs. I just may be a little late.

I’m also going to be reblogging posts here. I hope you don’t get sick of me, but I’d love for you to meet the wonderful people who have agreed to host me. These are fabulously supportive friends and excellent authors in their own right. I’ve also taken the time to write individual posts for this tour (eighteen at last count) so there should be something new to discover at each stop.

I’ve put a ton of effort into this book and have my fingers crossed all that work will pay off in the long run. There are a number of early reviews already floating around the blogosphere which have me giddy.

I have one more that I hope you’ll indulge me with. Yesterday, Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie shared a review post from a different blogger as part of my tour. Today, they’ve posted their own review (along with a short excerpt of their choosing—which incidentally I love 🙂 ). If you get a chance, check it out, and show them some blog love. You can find the review here.

I’m closing comments on this post because I’m going to be reblogging throughout the tour and the day. If you have time, I hope you’ll visit some of my stops and also scope out my host bloggers. They’re a fab group of friends 🙂

If you’ve pre-ordered Cusp, THANK YOU, and I hope you enjoy the tale. If you haven’t, and would like to, you can use this universal purchase link to discover the town of Hode’s Hill, and a mystery that lingers on the Cusp of Night and the cusp of a century!

Has it really been that long?

I took a look at my last blog entry and realized it was over a month ago. Wow! How does time past that quickly? I’ve wanted to blog more consistently this year, but once again, that goal was shoved behind the eight-ball. So, what have I been doing?

The day job has kept me busy covering two positions—occasionally three—with staff out for various reasons. Thankfully, everyone is back now, but two weeks of double and triple duty took a huge toll on my energy level. I also did a book signing the end of April, which was a bust, at least in relation to sales. The day turned out to be the first nice Saturday my area had seen in ages, and no one wanted to be inside. There were about thirty authors who participated, but no one was selling. On the plus side, I did a lot of networking, made new friends, and enjoyed myself.

End of Day was finished on time and sent to my editor. She asked for a few changes, thankfully, nothing too large. I made them and shipped them off, but still had one problematic scene that required additional tweaking. We chatted on the phone about that, and I delivered the changes the next day. Content edits are done and now I’m waiting on the copy editor.

In the meantime, I drafted the synopsis, blurb, and tag for book three, completing the information forms my publisher requires. I’m ahead of schedule and have them ready to go when requested. The last time I had nothing when asked and narrowly avoided  a panic attack and meltdown. I feel pretty good about book three—even though it doesn’t have a title yet. Once again, I’ve got past and present timelines. For the past, I’m able to play off a hodgepodge of ideas I used in an old decaying trunk novel, and my lead character in the present is one who popped up unexpectedly in book two, End of Day. Originally, I planned for other characters to carry the lead in three, but Madison Hewitt pantsed her way into the spotlight. Even better? I have a pseudo outline for this book, something I rarely have. Jazzed!

In some ways I feel like I’m juggling a three-act play. Book one, Cusp of Night is up for pre-order, releasing on June 12. I’m working on promo for Cusp, while doing the edits on book two, End of Day. My publisher has also asked for the first chapter of book three to include in the back matter of End of Day. I’ve never been able to deliver that before, but I think I might pull it off. So, despite a crazy April of covering dual jobs and being buried in edits and promo, it feels like my head is above water. For the moment. We all know how easily everything can come crashing down.

I apologize if I haven’t been as visible lately or able to make my usual blog rounds. I try to keep up with rounds as much as possible, but sometimes, it’s hard to squeeze everything in. And I think most of you who are regular followers know I disappear offline from Friday to Sunday night for me and hubby time. 😊

Anyway, it’s good to post again. In parting, I thought I’d share some snazzy postcards and Twitter ads I made for a few older novels (and one new one). What do you think?

Banner ad for cusp of Night, a mystery/suspense novel by author, Mae CllairBanner ad for Myth and Magic a romantic suspense/mystery novel by Mae ClairBanner ad for Eclipse Lake, a a romantic suspense/mystery novel by Mae Clair

New Release: Gamble by Staci Troilo #Thriller #Romance #ExMilitary

Hey, everyone! I’ve got another goodie to share with you today. Staci Troilo has a new release in her high-octane Nightforce Security Series. I devoured Password, the first book, and promptly did the same with Gamble (cheating here: I got to read this one before release).  

Once again, Staci has hooked me with her characters, plot cyclone (it moves that fast) and clever mystery. Today, she’s introducing Gamble’s hero, Noah Crawford. Trust me—this is one guy you’ll want to meet.

Take a look . . .

graphic teaser for the novel Gamble by Staci Troilo


Hi, everybody. Thanks for indulging me today. I promise I won’t take up too much of your time.

I consider myself a multi-genre author. My novels are broadly categorized as romance, mystery, and mainstream. The subgenres vary considerably, and my short stories add even more options to the mix.

I started writing romance because I have a thing for the alpha male. Yes, he can be (and often is) in many genres—crime fiction, western, sci-fi, paranormal, etc.—but I initially associated that type of character with the romance genre. I liked to read about this guy. Only stood to reason that I’d enjoy writing about him.

That brings me to my new novella Gamble (part of the Nightforce Security Series), and its hero, Noah Crawford. Noah is ex-military (former SEAL, to be specific) and he works with a bunch of guys whose histories are similar to his. We don’t learn too many specifics; those missions are classified, after all. But we know there were some dark days in their pasts. And whether these men served together or not, that kind of shared experience forms a bond. These guys are tight.

I’m not related to any SEALs, but many of my family members (and my husband’s) have served. Some are still active. I wanted to write a series that paid homage to these heroes, putting them in settings we could all recognize rather than in combat theaters in countries we’ll never see. So, my heroes have retired from the military life. You know alpha males, though. They’re never far from action. The Nightforce guys are no different.

We meet Noah at their hangout—One Ugly Mug. The bar is owned by another veteran, so far only known to us as Cap. It’s a special night because a friend of theirs is in town. The drinks are flowing as liberally as the stories. Noah is comfortably buzzed and not thinking as clearly as usual.

That’s when she walks in.

Noah is interested in his one-night stand becoming so much more. But there are hurdles to jump, games to play, and gunmen to thwart. That’s right, I said gunmen. But we’re not talking about the bad guys today. We’re talking heroes.

Noah fits into this group so well not just because of his history, but because he can hold his own when the barbs start flying. These guys talk fast, act faster, and always have a sarcastic comeback. Heck, they often are the ones who start with the insults.

Noah’s no different.

If you like fast-paced stories with quick-witted, sharp-speaking, fearless, and (sorry, guys) drool-worthy heroes, I think this novella is for you. Noah might just become your next book crush. I know he became mine.

book cover for Gamble, a Nightforce Security novel by Staci TroiloBlurb for Gamble:

Sometimes stakes are too high to gamble. Other times they’re too high not to.

Noah Crawford is a consummate bachelor—until a one-night stand piques his interest in something more. The only problem is, she wouldn’t give him her name, and he has no way to find her.

A week later, resigned to forgetting her, he accompanies his friends to a casino. Floor traffic promises to be light while everyone clusters at the sportsbook for the college basketball championship game. But Noah isn’t in the mood for frivolity and sets off on his own. No one is more surprised than he is when he bumps into his mystery woman.

He’s playing a far different game than cards when armed criminals take over the poker room. Noah is separated from his friends, and somehow the room has been cut off from security. Help isn’t coming. It’s up to him to keep everyone safe while he tries to thwart the gunmen.

Noah quickly realizes he’s trying to prevent more than a simple heist. And he doesn’t know who he can trust. The stakes have never been higher, and he’s all in. But one of the thieves might have an ace up his sleeve, and that could cost Noah everything.

More Information | Universal Purchase Link

Author Staci Troilo in a candid poseAbout Staci:
Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.

Web | Blog | Newsletter | Facebook Group | Twitter | Facebook | Other Social Media Links

Cover Reveal: Cusp of Night by Mae Clair

Today is uber-exciting for me! At long last, I’m able to share the cover and blurb for Cusp of Night, the first book in my upcoming Hode’s Hill series. Cusp of Night  will release on June 12th, but in the interim, it’s available to add to your TBR on Goodreads.

I have many good friends sharing this cover across the blogosphere today and tomorrow, so you’re likely to see it pop up in various places. Thank you to everyone participating in my cover reveal splash, and to everyone dropping by to share in my excitement.   Here’s my new baby . . .

book cover for Cusp of Night, a mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair

Release Date: June 12, 2018
Genre: Mystery/Suspense

BLURB:
Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house—a woman whose ghost may still linger.

Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .


What do you think? I love what Kensington Publishing did with my cover art suggestions. Should you choose to read the book, you’ll discover why that corner street lamp, alley, and the brownstone buildings looming in the background are perfect—like a scene plucked from my book!

Cusp of Night is a mystery/suspense novel but it has a healthy dollop of urban legend and the paranormal.

Thanks for hanging out with me today! 🙂

Welcome to One Ugly Mug #Password #NewRelease #RomanticThriller

Welcome friends! Today, Staci Troilo is back with her latest release, Password. She’s got a great behind-the-scenes glimpse of the fictional bar she created for use in the story (how can you not love a place called One Ugly Mug?).

I’m always jazzed when Staci has a new book, because I know I’ll get to disappear into the pages of a riveting tale. Password is no exception. You can read my complete 5-star review on Amazon, but I’ll leave you with this snippet of my impressions:

“The twists and turns in this novel really surprised me. Not only do we get two great lead characters who experience plenty of romantic ups and downs, but the story is chock full of suspense, and a mystery that will keep you guessing right up until the end.”

And now, here’s Staci with . . .

Welcome to One Ugly Mug

Thanks for inviting me here today, Mae. I appreciate having a chance to talk to your readers about my new novel. Hi, everybody!


You remember how pretty much every Cheers episode had a scene showing Norm walk in.

He says, “Hey, everybody.”

And they all say, “Norm!” in return.

It is, after all, the place where everybody knows his name.

Keep that image in mind. Now, make the bar a little darker, a little edgier. Dangerous enough that families don’t stop in for the chicken wings but clean enough that feet don’t stick to the floor and the bathrooms don’t look like crime scenes. Imagine many of the patrons are affiliated with the government, but they’re not postal worker Cliff Clavin types. Rather, they’re current and former special forces types.

You’re picturing One Ugly Mug.

shot of bar with with stools, glasses, bottles, beer signs

This fictional bar, set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the local hangout for the guys of Nightforce Security and their military buddies who sometimes come to town to visit.

The waitresses wear whatever they like. Most choose jeans or shorts and button-downs or t-shirts. Even the youngest, flirtiest of them doesn’t wear Hooters-style clothes, but you can be darn sure no one would dare proposition a waitress who chose to. Bouncers aren’t necessary at One Ugly Mug. The patrons take care of each other. And if it happens to be a slow day, the bartender has it covered.

What’s his story, you ask? Well, we’ll learn more about him as the series goes on. He’s only in the periphery in Password. Not named, not even referred to. But we know he’s there… someone has to mix the drinks. He’s a mysterious and compelling guy. I’m looking forward to digging into his background.

When the Nightforce guys get antsy, they can play pool or shoot darts. There’s never a live band, never karaoke (God forbid), but there is the occasional rendition of a song belted out by a too-tipsy barfly. The retro jukebox in the corner is regularly fed quarters. Classic rock is pretty much the only choice. Rap is only allowed if the guys are celebrating the end of a mission or if the bartender has the day off. (For the record, that doesn’t happen often.) Because the guys respect him so much, they never play rap at One Ugly Mug when he’s there. Well, it’s part respect and part the fact that the most recent rap track put in the jukebox was the Beastie Boys’ “Fight for Your Right”. In fact, no songs, rap or otherwise, have been added since the bar opened in the 1980s.

There are private booths, semi-private tables, and of course there are always stools where a patron can belly up to the bar. The lighting is dim, the banter is smart, and it’s a good thing One Ugly Mug is so compelling. Why? Because it’s going to be a frequent location in the Nightforce Security series.

book cover for Password, a romantic thriller by Staci TroiloBlurb:

Some passwords protect more than just secrets.

Danny Caruso was glad to be back in the United States, back to his regular job. Back to his comfortable routine of all work and no play. But when his friend Mac asks a favor of him, he can’t refuse. He owes the guy everything. So he accepts the job, even though it means a twenty-four/seven protection detail guarding a particularly exacerbating—and beautiful—woman.

Braelyn Edwards is careful to stay out of the spotlight, preferring to hide in the background and skip the trappings of a vibrant social life. But her privacy is threatened when there’s an attempt on her life and a bodyguard is foisted on her. Compounding problems? He doesn’t just want to protect her. He wants to investigate every detail of her life, starting with her top-secret job.

Danny casts his sights on Charlie Park, her coworker, her partner… the one man who knows all Braelyn’s secrets. She’s frustrated by the distrust until she realizes jealousy fuels Danny’s suspicions as much as instinct and proof. One of them is right about Charlie—but by the time they figure it out, it may be too late to save their relationship. And Braelyn’s life.

Universal Purchase Link

Password is the first story in the Nightforce Security Series. A sequel is already in the works. The next installment will be a novella released in March as part of Susan Stoker’s Special Forces Kindle World. So if this series interests you, you won’t have long to wait.


Author Staci Troilo in a candid poseAuthor Bio
Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.

Connect with Staci on Social Media:

Web | Blog | Newsletter | Facebook Group | Twitter | Facebook | Other Social Media Links

 

Charles Yallowitz on Writing a Series #tips #epicfantasy

I’m kicking off the New Year with a guest post from fellow writer, Charles Yallowitz. Charles has just released the final book in his Legends of Windemere series. Last summer, I completed the final book in my Point Pleasant Series, and found the experience both challenging and rewarding. It was my first time creating story arcs that spanned multiple books. Three books to be precise. The Legends of Windemere spans fifteen books. Mind-boggling! How does Charles maintain the focus and energy needed to write such an involved series? Check out his tips below—and don’t forget to check out the Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age while you’re at it!

Book cover for The Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age by Charles Yallowtiz

Thank you to Mae Clair for letting me write a post for her blog and helping to promote, Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age.  This is the final book of my fantasy adventure series and it’s been a long road that has spanned 19 years and 15 volumes. It isn’t easy to keep things flowing, especially when you’re publishing 3 books a year. This goes along with a heavy outlining, writing, and editing system, which wear on the mojo. Avoiding burn out is a key to making it through such a massive project, so here are some tricks that I’ve used over the years to push forward.

  1. Rewards for finishing a stage of the process can be a great motivator. I know many say that writing and publishing are their own rewards.  That’s true, but you can’t have enough bronze rings on a long journey.  Just ask Sonic the Hedgehog.  This can be anything too.  I use pizza to celebrate finishing a first draft and publishing a book, which is something I don’t treat myself to when I’m working.  So, there’s a denial aspect in here too.
  2. Side projects can help because they take you away from the main one. You know how people tell you to leave a book alone before you edit?  Well, this is the same thing only it adds the idea of doing something else. Now, this can be poetry, another book, or even something that has nothing to do with writing.  By the time you finish this other project, you’ll be returning to the main one with renewed energy and excited.
  3. Push yourself to the limit, cry in public, and rant about how nobody understands artists. Throw in at least one mention of ‘suffocation’ or ‘stifling’.  End this by thanking everyone for coming over for the holidays.  You can get a good week or two of focus out of this one, but it might cost you some birthday cards.
  4. You know how I hinted that sitting there and doing nothing might not be a good idea? Well, don’t knock lounging around for a weekend or week. It really depends on how worn you are and what you want to do for recovery.  My favorite thing is to choose a DVD boxset and watch that while keeping a notebook nearby.  I don’t consider outlining and character designing as heavy work, so they’re part of my relaxation period. Other options are reading a book, doing a thorough cleaning of the house, and seeing if your family remembers who you are.
  5. Never be afraid to take a day off from writing if you feel that something is off. I’ve had quite a few instances where my mood wasn’t right because of something going on in my life or some other outside influence. Even the weather can wear me out in hours, which puts the writing at risk. Pushing yourself through these periods can work in your favor, but it’s just as likely that you burn out. This sensation of feeling off could really be the onset of a writer’s block or doubt, so pay attention to your instincts.
  6. Believe it or not, exercising can be a good energy booster. It surprised me too when I started using my stationary bike every other morning. Aside from building up some adrenaline and waking up your body, you can let your mind wander on the writing of the day.  Consider the scenes and decide on the points you want to hit or simply imagine what it might turn out like.  This has a secondary benefit of helping you go into the writing with less mental clutter since you’ve already sorted through stuff to some extent.
  7. Talk to other authors. Sure, we aren’t known as the most sociable bunch, but that’s only with outsiders. When you need someone to understand your worries and pains, another author is the way to go. Maybe somebody has a tactic to help you over a hump or you’ll find inspiration for something that was giving you trouble. In the end, it’s just nice to share your thoughts without being judged.

Again, thank you to Mae Clair for giving me this time.  Please feel free to check out Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age or help spread the word to those who love fantasy adventures.  Enjoy the adventure.

Author, Charles YallowitzAbout the author:
Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Connect with Charles at the following haunts:
Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Website

All cover art done by JASON PEDERSEN

Catch the rest of the LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE on Amazon!

A Writer’s Life: Euphoria and Frustration

Happy Last Day of November. Whew! In a little over a month, we’ll be looking at the start of a brand-new year.

Fresh starts are always great. We set out to achieve new goals and break old habits. When it comes to writing, a fresh start—i.e, a new manuscript—falls somewhere between euphoria and frustration for me.

I love beginning a new book.
There are character names to decide, backgrounds to construct, settings to create, and plot bunnies to round up.

I hate beginning a new book.
There are character names to decide, backgrounds to construct, settings to create, and plot bunnies to round up.

Getting the picture? Euphoria and frustration.

I’m currently constructing book two of my Hode’s Hill series. The original plan for this novel was to tie in the life of a carnival sideshow performer of the late 1800s (think freakshow). What can I say—I like odd. I even spent a good deal of time on research.

It was only after I finished book one of the series, Cusp of Night, that I saw too much similarity in theme. Since I didn’t want End of Day to appear repetitious, I scratched the idea and came up with a new one that utilizes old legends of Church Grims and Folk Memories.

Great, right? I was jazzed about the change until I wrote the opening. I read it through once and thought it was crap. Not the power passage I was looking for to start a new book. It left me feeling like this…

woman with glasses has head down, hands clasped in hair, looking exhausted. Open laptop and blank notebook on desk in front of her

Sulking, I avoided the file for three days before I opened it again. Guess what? Everyone says wait and read with fresh eyes. My beginning needed a few tweaks to spruce it up, but they were minor when I put everything in perspective. Frustration gave way to euphoria.

Close up of woman screaming in excitment

It’s made me realize that as much as I love dreaming up a new project, sitting down and writing the first few scenes is the hardest part of the novel. At least, for me. I second guess everything—and I do mean everything. From the strength of the opening scene to the way my characters behave—to the segues between scenes and chapters, I drive myself batty. I don’t think I truly get comfortable until I’m at least halfway through the manuscript.

As an example, I wrote half of Cusp of Night feeling disconnected from my main character, Hannah Norfolk. It took me that long to realize she needed a stronger background, and the name “Hannah” didn’t fit her. Once she became Maya Sinclair and I beefed up her history, she started to write herself. Of course, those changes—especially her personal background—meant altering earlier chapters and a major plot thread. It’s a good thing I have an understanding and adaptable critique partner (thank you, Staci!).

For now, I’m in euphoria-mode again. I like my beginning, I have direction, and things are going well. I know it’s only a matter of time until frustration rears its ugly head, but I’ll ride this wave for as long as I can.

How about you? What aspects of working on a new project do you find the most maddening? What inspires moments of sheer bliss? Am I the only one who waffles between euphoria and frustration, or is it simply the norm for a writer’s life?

When Your Novel Is Retitled

Sometime ago, I ran a blog post about needing a title for the first book in my new Hode’s Hill series of novels. I submitted the manuscript to my publisher with the title of The Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill.

I liked it, but it is long, and probably not the best for marketing. No surprise that the publisher asked for a new title. Many authors have their book titles changed, but this was a first for me. I’ve written six other traditionally published books all without title changes. The hardest part was, I had already written the entire book and was waiting on content edits when the request for a title change came through. My head was already wrapped around The Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill. I’d even been blogging about the book using that title. Worse—and I don’t know why this was so hard for me—all of my computer files had that title attached to them.

Title Ideas message on a white background against view of an old typewriter and paper

The good news is that my editor asked me for new titles, rather than the publisher assigning one. I was asked to submit multiple title choices from which the head editor would select. Over the course of four days, I submitted nineteen choices. Titles are not easy for me, so coming up with nineteen was not a simple feat. From those, my editor sent a handful to the head editor. Naturally, the very last title was the one he chose. 😊 Now that I’ve had time to unwrap my head from Blue Lady, I’ve grown fond of it.

So, what did we end up with?

*drum roll*

Cusp of Night

I hope it inspires thoughts of mystery and something lurking in the dark.

I’ve received the official blurb and am just waiting on a cover. The release is scheduled for June 12, 2018. If you like mysteries with dual story lines (one set in the late 1800s, the other in the present), whispers of a mysterious creature from folklore, old spiritualist practices, and ghostly occurrences, I think you’ll enjoy Cusp of Night. I can’t wait to share the cover and blurb with you. Be on the lookout.

Hopefully, it won’t be long before I can unveil both!

Book Release: Path of the Traitors #Epic Fantasy #LegendsOfWindemere

Charles Yallowitz has a new book release in his Legends of Windemere series. I’m late in sharing the fanfare due to—ahem—a certain deadline, but wanted to help spread the news. Check out Path of the Traitors. Love that cover!

On the eve of destiny, the fate of the champions are in the hands of those they once called Enemy.

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Hated and distrusted, Queen Trinity must leave the shadows and reach for redemption.

With their final battle on the horizon, the champions are faced with a long-lost piece of the prophecy. Unable to search for the crests that are rumored to be the key to survival, they must turn to a band of their former enemies for help. Sinister desires and hopes for redemption collide as Queen Trinity of the Chaos Elves leads the hunt and struggles to keep her companions on the path of heroism. Monsters, traps, mysteries, and their own pasts will rise up to stand in the way of these people who have spent their entire lives committing sins. Throughout it all, another old enemy is lurking in the shadows and determined to claim her own delicious prize.

By the end of their journey, those who survive will learn that being a hero is more than simply stepping into the light.

Dive into the adventure on Amazon for $2.99!
Find it on Goodreads!

Excerpt: The Aura Syphon

A gurgling causes the two women to pause and look into the pit where the shadows are swirling among the jagged stones. Two black tentacles lance out of the ground and wrap around Yola’s waist, the ooze-dripping projections turning silver at the taste of her magic. Attracted to the stronger energy, the aura syphon yanks the immortal into its slime-covered maw and becomes a metallic beast. With its armored skin, the camouflaged predator is now visible and resembles a sea anemone with the body of a beetle. The jagged rocks are fused to the animal’s exoskeleton and there are six jointed legs that help it scurry out of the pit. Standing over Trinity, the creature opens a faint crease on its body to reveal a bulbous eye with a star-shaped pupil. It pauses to shove a few tentacles into its mouth and hit Yola with pulses of electricity to stop her from struggling. It changes from silver to gold when she attempts to break free, her efforts being quickly drained by the monster.

“Let the crazy woman go before you get killed,” Trinity whispers to the aura syphon. She creates a fireball in the hopes of getting its mouth open, but her spell is ignored. “No reason to have a snack when you have an eternal meal in your belly. Maybe we can have a trade. Can’t believe I’m trying to bargain with this thing. Well, I gave you a chance, so I’m going to blow you up before things get worse. Hope you heard that Yola and are bracing yourself.”

The beast gurgles before releasing a blast of sticky strands that lock Trinity in place. Instead of going after the trapped chaos elf, the creature turns its attention to the helpless army. Having had its fill of magic, the aura syphon is ready to gorge on fresh meat and opens a second mouth that is filled with knife-like teeth. Heading for Sir Harbiss, it is stopped when a chunk of earth erupts beneath it and flips it back into the pit. Unsure of where the attack came from, the aura syphon leaps out and reveals several eye stalks that search for an unseen enemy. A cutting wind lops off half of the projections, but Yola’s potent energy revives them and protects the crystalline armor plates. When the spell comes back around, it bounces off the new defense and bursts against a hill. Blasts of fire strike the beast from behind, so it sprouts a fan-shaped tail of water that douses the flames.

Looking around, the aura syphon stops when it sees that Trinity is nowhere to be seen and there is a hole where she once stood. Spikes grow from the predator’s belly and it slams against the ground in the hopes of impaling the chaos elf. The hiss of escaping gas is heard an instant before an explosion sends the shrieking animal into the sky. Careening towards a solitary cloud that is very low to the ground, the beast catches the scent of an aura that revives the one currently in its gut. Passing through the cloud, it finds its legs caught in a net that runs down to where Trinity is hiding behind a hill. With enhanced strength, the channeler slams the aura syphon into the ground and delivers a leaping stomp to its soft upper body. Instead of ejecting Yola, the creature opens its skin to swallow the chaos elf’s leg up the knee.

“Fine. Backup plan it is,” Trinity mutters, synching her aura to that of the imprisoned immortal.

Releasing as much magic as she can without killing herself, the channeler creates a power surge within the aura syphon. Unable to absorb or redirect so much energy at once, the predator tries to reject the grinning chaos elf. Plunging her fingers into its flesh, Trinity refuses to be thrown off and continues her assault. Blisters appear on the hard exoskeleton and the metallic color flakes off to reveal the natural black of the tentacles. Without warning, the gold returns and the animal explodes with enough force to collapse the ground. Before she can escape, the channeler falls into the pit and is buried beneath the icy dirt.

Need to catch Legends of Windemere from the beginning? Then click on the picture below! First book, ‘Beginning of a Hero’ is free!

Ready for the newest adventure in Windemere? Find out if Queen Trinity earns redemption or will return to the Baron’s side!

About the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Connect with Charles at the following haunts:

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

Surviving a Deadline

I am so happy to be back in the blogging world!

Most of my regular followers know I’ve been burning the midnight oil on my latest manuscript to meet a publisher’s deadline. I’m happy—make that ecstatic—to say I finished on time and my editor graciously gave me another week for clean-up. I also have to send a huge shout-out to my excellent critique partner, Staci Troilo, who went above and beyond in turning sections around quickly—and expertly—so I could meet my deadline. Staci, my friend, you rock!!

I’ve been up against deadlines before, but this one was the toughest by far. Part of my problem was I languished on the beginning, and by the end of July only had 19K of the 80K I needed. I ended up writing 61K in 6 weeks—while working full-time! It’s amazing what you can produce under pressure, but it’s not something I EVER want to duplicate again. I can do without the anxiety attacks at 3:00 A.M.

Fortunately, my deadline for book 2 has more of a buffer. This one was tight because my publisher didn’t want to go over a year between releases from A Desolate Hour. I fully respect that decision. It’s all about keeping your name forefront in the mind of readers—not easy to do even when you have multiple releases close together.

I’ve already got my revamped blurb from Kensington. Earlier, I submitted my suggestion. Their gurus work from that and send an updated version. I liked theirs better, but did ask for a few minor tweaks. No cover yet, but I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

The book delves into the old Spiritualist practices of the late 1890s—think mediums and séances—but also has a full storyline set in the present. I’ve got two mysteries going on in this book, along with a haunted house, and an urban legend about a Spring Heeled Jack-like creature. The research was riveting!

This is a Ouija board with lit candle on the antique setting.

One thing my publisher wants to change is the title—The Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill. We’ve already decided this will be book one of the Hode’s Hill Mystery Series, but Kensington’s marketing team isn’t in love with my title. I can understand why. When it comes to marketing, it’s a mouthful. So we’re currently debating other titles. I’ll definitely be spreading the word when we’ve settled on one.

I’m expecting first round edits from my editor tomorrow and hope to have changes back to her by Monday. I’m heading out of town the end of October and she’s already agreed to work with my schedule. I’m sure we’ll finish things up before I leave. In the meantime, I’m steadily getting back to visiting everyone again and will be sharing blog posts of my own. Thanks for sticking with me while I worked through my deadline hurdle.

It’s great to be back among friends! 🙂