Sunday, August 2, 2015

Book Review: WEAKEST LYNX (Supernatural Romance)

Weakest Lynx

The Lynx Series

By Fiona Quinn
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1hdXLpH
#Supernatural #Psychic #Romance #Mystery

It's official, I'm a Quinn Fangirl. This book has been on my reading list for a while, but I had to get through publishing my latest in my series and I had a couple of books ahead of this. I finally got to it just the week before my 'break between writing books' ended. And boy am I glad I did. By the third chapter this story grabbed me with iron hooks and sucked me into a powerful vortex and a week later I emerged having read every single one of Ms. Quinn's books. I couldn't stop. I wouldn't stop. I hoped fervently she wrote under a pseudonym so I could find more books, but no dice. Yeah, it was like that. One more point before I'm on to the review. This book isn't a paranormal shifter novel and has absolutely nothing to do with a Lynx cat. Instead, it is ohh so much better . . .

Lexi is orphaned a year before the story takes place and a fire forces her out of an apartment building where she's lived as part of a close-knit community all her life. She's been unschooled. By that, the author means she hasn't gone to traditional school, but has instead been tutored by and has apprenticed with many people. Some of these people she calls her Grandma's. They're six elderly women of different ethnic backgrounds who teach her different languages and cultures.  Other tutors are more specialized, such as her training to fly airplanes, her martial arts training by Master Wang, or her training by Spyder, a special undercover operative of a group called Iniquus.

Lexi also has some special psychic and supernatural abilities. She can perform Reiki, which is a method of healing using energy transformation, she has psychic 'knowings', she can perform simple searches for lost things, and most startling of all, she can go 'beyond the veil'. I'm not going to tell you what that is, but let me just say, it is freaking cool. It happens during the most shocking climax of the book.

Spyder recognizes that Lexi is a genius operative in the making as a young teen between her unorthodox education, her martial arts training and her supernatural abilities. She becomes his secret weapon and puzzles out complex crime scenarios to find the truth.

All of this so far is background and as you can see, it's very rich. The story really starts the day after Lexi's wedding. It opens with Lexi on her way to speak with her friend, a father figure, to tell him about a threatening note she received on her wedding day. She's near tears and scared out of her mind because her husband left for service in Afghanistan that morning and she's alone. She didn't tell her husband about the threatening letter because she didn't want him focusing on her when his life was at stake on his own mission. She's never been the victim of a crime like this, or involved in dangerous situations before. She's only lent her mind to puzzle out the crimes against other people.

The person she really needs to speak with is Spyder, but he's been undercover for about a year and a half after the last big case she puzzled out. She hasn't heard from him and though he suggested she go to a man named Striker if she has problems, she is independent enough not to want to get their help. Since she's been working directly in secret with Spyder, she doesn't even think they will believe her. Well, after more threatening notes she realizes she's being stalked by a crazed serial killer.

I can't really tell you more without giving away major plot points. The story covers some brutal scenes and holds a strong thread of romance. This is a phenomenal story. We have a serial killer, a team of hunky special operatives, supernatural powers, a genius heroine, and romance. What more can you possibly want?

You can want the next two books in the series and more that the author hasn't even written yet. And you will. You will want it bad . . .

Lilo Abernathy

Author and Book Lover

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Book Review: MELABETH THE VAMPIRE (Urban Fantasy)

Melabeth The Vampire

Melabeth Series: Book 1

By E.B. Hood
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1dGSWn5
#UrbanFantasy #Vampire #Necromancer #Sorcerer

As a little context, Melanie, the heroine, is fifteen years old so officially this book fits into the young adult category. But due to the adult themes I think it is more appropriate for an adult audience. On to the review.

Wow! This story is jam packed with action and drama. If I were to sum it up in one word, I'd enthusiastically say that this story is very interesting. And by that I mean it kept my attention riveted until 6 a.m. when I finally had to sleep a tiny bit before picking it up again.

Melanie is born to careless parents. Her mother dies of a heroin overdose and her father ends up allowing some thugs to take her from him when he couldn't repay a drug debt. She's brought to a house where a pedophile forces her take part in a pornographic movie with the same thugs who captured her. At the end of the movie, he has one of her "partners" kill her. Thankfully, all this bad stuff is highly glossed over and just sets the history.

A vampire named Nicks finds her in a trash can and tries to turn her. He puts her in the ground where she's supposed to arise in five days. Instead, fifteen years later she wakes up in the coffin, trying to remember what happened to her. She escapes the coffin and thus Melabeth is born. Her sole purpose in life is to find the men who defiled her and killed her. And she's not looking for justice. She's looking for VENGEANCE. Trust me, you will want her to find it too.

Naturally, after fifteen years Nicks gave up that she would ever rise and had moved on, so she has to navigate learning the rules of being a vampire on her own. Most of the story takes place after she's been born again as a vampire. It documents in vivid detail the confusion and cluelessness of a newly born bloodsucker as she navigates the new world.

The story that follows is filled with tentative love interests, first friends, necromancers, sorcerers, witches, a new vampire family, and plenty of blood, death, and destruction. Not to mention a crazy vampire named Alice who was turned at age fourteen but is over four hundred years old.

Besides Alice, who I absolutely hated at first then came to adore for her wicked ways, I really enjoyed the way Mr. Hood described Melabeth's awakening within the coffin. He also does some interesting things with flashbacks and memories, weaving them seamlessly into the story. Not all authors can do that well and Mr. Hood does.

I recommend this book for adults who enjoy vengeful minded non-sparkly vampires and great action. The romance is extremely light, so if romance isn't your thing, this book should still do the trick.

Lilo Abernathy

Author and Book Lover

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

COVER REVEAL: Breaking Faith




Breaking Faith

The JackholeS series part 1

by Joy Eileen

Cover Reveal



Synopsis


Faith made the mistake of giving her heart to someone who didn’t deserve her. After making the decision to leave, she sought refuge at a bar full of misfits. They accepted Faith without question, and now they protect her as if she's family. While putting the pieces of her life back together, she fights to keep her broken heart from falling for the moody lead singer of the JackholeS. A man named Kill. Killian has his own demons to battle, yet Faith brings out his protective side: a side he thought he’d buried long ago. Can Faith and Kill trust each other long enough to leave their pasts behind and find love? Or is the past too overpowering to allow anyone a chance at happiness?

WARNING: This book contains explicit non-consensual sex scenes. It contains strong language and adult situations. This book is not intended for anyone under 18. This is a series so this book does not end with resolution. Don't worry the second book is already done and the third is being created. :)

Pre-Order Now:


Add to your TBR on Goodreads: 

About the author


Joy Eileen is a born bibliophile who becomes deeply engaged with her characters, and has devoured more books than she would like to admit. She becomes obsessed with happily-ever-afters, and will read any genre that fulfills that requirement. Evading the library is something she has been known to do, because after befriending the characters returning them would be a heartbreaking event. Books are held hostage on her bookshelf, and any author that makes her ugly cry becomes her sworn enemy. Nicholas Sparks is one of the many on the list of villains.

As a massage therapist, most of Joy's stories come to her while working. With the sound of classical music, and snoring from a half covered hostage, characters are created. The victim (massage patient) has no idea that while their body is being manipulated, Joy has traveled into distant lands creating landscapes and inhabitants as she goes. Her patients should be wary as sometimes they are pulled into her stories and turned into characters. Hero or Foe? Well, that depends on how they tip.


Social Media Links:


Teasers







Saturday, June 27, 2015

THE LIGHT WHO BINDS is Released!

Yay! Today is the day! The Light Who Binds is out on Kindle!

A couple things to remember . . .
  • I'm offering it at a reduced price for this weekend only at $3.99.
  • For this weekend, any sales made for The Light Who Shines (Book 1) will be donated to the International Wolf Center. So this is a great time to share the series with friends if you love it.
Amazon link: http://amzn.to/1Jq3Qvh


Enjoy!

Lilo

Monday, June 15, 2015

THE LIGHT WHO BINDS: Release Date and Parties! Cover Reveal!

My Dear Readers and Friends,

It's finally time. That's such a simple statement, but if it weren't for the stern words of my editors and proofer, that simple statement would have about 300 exclamation marks after it. So, let's have a moment of silence while we thank them.

Oh, what the heck. It's finally time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That feels soooooo much better as it's closer to how I actually feel inside. Okay, onto the news because I have so much to share.

Release Date: Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Kindle ebook version will be released first and the print copy will follow as soon as possible after. There is some slim chance I can get it ready in time for the release of the Kindle version, but I can't promise.

Limited Time Reduced Price!

As a thank you to all of my loyal readers who've been waiting for Book Two, The Light Who Binds, I'm offering a reduced price of $3.99 for the first weekend. The price will also be reduced in other countries, but I'm not sure what it will be as Amazon handles the conversion automatically. So be sure to mark your calendar.

After that weekend I'll increase it to Amazon's recommended price, which should be $5.99 - $6.99 based on their current recommendations for Book One, The Light Who Shines.

Cover Reveal

Before going into details, I need to take a moment to thank Federico Musetti who created the awesome cover art. Federico is so amazing I want to share his work with you. If you love fantasy art the way I do, you will definitely check out his portfolio.

I'd also like to thank the beautiful Kristin Sallee, the model who provides the face of Blue and who humored me when I asked Federico to show some cleavage so people would stop thinking my novels are young adult! Not only is the heroine too old to be technically considered young adult, there's graphic violence and a few steamy scenes, though the stories are definitely plot heavy. Plus, the underlying theme is about the very adult topic of prejudice and hate.

Okay, back to the cleavage . . . I assure you that Kristin's photo were all modest, so I can only assume Federico has seen boobs in his time. (wink)

Drum roll please . . .


I know, there's so much action in that photo. But that isn't it! Federico also did a full cover spread so I can properly attire the print version.



We finally have Jack! And he has a mustache. Who knew! Okay, I'm desperate to know what you think is happening in this cover. Please do comment with your guesses. How will I know what people see if you don't? (If you hover over the image and right click 'Open link in new tab.' you'll see a larger version.)

Online Release Parties! 


Schedule and RSVP: click ======> here

Creating this book took much more work than birthing a baby, so I hope you will come celebrate with me. This is an open invite and everyone is welcome! I'm having four online parties; two on Facebook, one on Twitter, and one on Goodreads. Each party will have different games and entertainment and all of them will offer a Kindle copy of The Light Who Binds as the prize. Plus, as a door prize, all attendees will get a free copy of a new short story called The Binding of the Wolf. It's Varg's backstory and you can read details here.

The Twitter and Goodreads parties are my first of their kind. The Twitter party is bound to be noisy and who knows, we might even trend. The Goodreads party will be more of an intimate affair. I'm holding it in a group where I'll be able to have great discussions with all of you who attend.

International Wolf Center

In honor all of my fans who love the wolf Varg in the series, I'm donating 100% of my royalties earned during that weekend from the sale of Book One, The Light Who Shines, to the International Wolf Center. It's a great charity that receives four out of four stars from the Charity Navigator.

If you are feeling charitable, you can also donate directly here.

So, I hope you'll come to one of the parties and help me make some noise about this new release.

Lilo

Excerpt: THE LIGHT WHO BINDS

Dear Readers,

For those who cajoled me, here's an excerpt of The Light Who Binds . . . Enjoy!



The Light Who Binds

Bluebell Kildare Series, Book Two


Chapter 01 

Three Deaths


Bluebell Kildare
July 7, 2022, Red Ages

Lightning streaks across the twilight sky casting a brilliant glow on the building before me. Stone gargoyles loom above me, their eyes seeming to gleam and blink, their great amphibious wings, arched for flight. A slow roll of thunder fills the air as though the bowels of the earth are opening.

I behold the formidable oak doors of the Dragomir Magical Artifact Shop, wondering what mysteries lie inside. Oh, I know many spells, charms, and magic secrets reside within the artifacts, but those aren’t the unknowns I seek tonight. Tonight, I anticipate learning secrets about myself.

From behind me, the warmth of Jack’s chest radiates into my back, and Varg leans into my thigh. A measure of calm returns to me. Whatever news awaits me, at least I have friends at my side. I straighten my spine, lift my chin, and remove the remaining space between me and my future, pushing the heavy oak doors open to boldly stride in.

As I enter the shop, eddies of dust coalesce from the swish of the doors into a whirlwind at my feet. I’m instantly comforted by the familiar shelves of aged magical texts stacked on bookshelves and delighted by the glass-doored cabinet stocked with magical artifacts. I was last here just a few months ago, but I feel like an entirely different woman now.

Dragomira stands behind the counter and lifts her head with a weary expression, but a fierce glint fills her warm, brown eyes. She is not Dragomira right now. No, she is the Dragomir. Her movements, as fluid as rippling water, trace a path across the room as she quietly deadbolts the door behind us.

With a wave of her hand, she beckons us into her back room. A small fire flickers in the fireplace, casting dancing shadows across the walls. Jack and I take a seat in wing-backed chairs next to the hearth, while Dragomira, still curiously silent, pours three drinks from a beautiful decanter sitting on an ornate wooden table amidst the chairs. She places one in my hand in silent command, watching as I taste it. The shock of whiskey burns my throat and slides warmly to my belly. She sets a glass in front of Jack and keeps the last for herself.

As Dragomira takes her place, I notice again how strikingly beautiful she is. Her hair cascades in long, tumultuous brown waves against her olive skin, and her deep-set eyes gleam with life. Sitting back in her chair, she directs her scrutiny toward me. “Welcome, Illustrissima,” she begins. “I’m sure you have many questions.”

Her harmonious voice rolls through me in a soothing wave. I forget myself for a moment and tilt my ear to enjoy its song. Then I gather myself and say, “I do. Let’s start with the name Illustrissima. Why did you give this name to me?”

Dragomira blinks. Then she regards me steadily and answers, “I no more gave you the name Illustrissima than I gave you your blue eyes. It is a Latin word that has many meanings: the Shining One, the Bright One, the Lustrous One, the Famous One, the Distinguished One.” She waves her hand as though all of that is inconsequential. “You are all of these things. You simply are the Illustrissima.”

I take a slow sip of whiskey. “You can see my light.”

The Dragomir’s eyes flare with a glint of yellow in acknowledgement.

“How?”

She contemplates the fire for a moment before responding. “I am also many things. I have magic . . . gifts, you might call them, which allow me to see things that would normally pass unnoticed. However, what I have been most as of late is a scholar.” She looks at me intently again. “Tonight, your time would be better spent allowing me to share what I’ve learned about you.”

She’s right; after all, Jack and the Dragomir have kept me waiting on this information for months now. “Yes, why don’t you,” I answer curtly.

The Dragomir raises her eyebrows and Jack gives me a warning glance, but I am not so easily cowed.

She nods and settles back in her chair. “Let’s start at the beginning. I’ve told you the story of Patersuco and the inception of the Vampire race. As you know, it didn’t take long for him to kill in bloodlust and turn Dark, as corrupt as he was, but he had already started creating children. And so the curse spread.”

“What I did not tell you was that Patersuco was survived by his wife. Shaina lived in the village, and before the first winter of the Red Ages had passed, several of the townspeople had died at the hands of Patersuco and his Vampire progeny. The villagers turned on Shaina and burned her as a witch.”

I shudder at the thought of that pain, thankful I wasn’t there to feel it.

“Yes, these were rough times, Illustrissima. We have very few written accounts from that time, but from what we know, Shaina was Gifted. Like you, she was an Empath. The villagers tied her to an ash tree and used oak branches to burn her alive.”

“Both these trees have deep, old magic. Ash acts as a bridge between worlds, and oak provides strength. Somehow, the combination of the rage of the villagers, the strength of the oak, and the power of the ash all fed Shaina’s pain, creating a force strong enough to open a pathway from Shaina to the Great Demon Lilith. As she burned, Shaina was able to reach across to the Plane of Fire and lay a powerful curse upon Lilith.”

“What was the curse?”

Dragomira leans back, and her eyes glaze as her mind transports to another place and time. The firelight flickers, and shadows play artfully on the curve of her cheekbone. Then her husky whisper fills the room.
“Lilith, I call on you to hear me.
By my blood, you will be destroyed.
A light will come—
a light that shines through your evil;
a light that calls you to answer for your deeds;
a light that binds you as I am bound and burns you as I burn;
a light that rips you asunder and destroys your darkness. 
Lilith, hear me.
I call to you.
By my blood, you will pay for what you have done.
Lilith, by my blood, you will be destroyed.”
As these words wash over me, tendrils of fear sink into my flesh and thread through my soul. The curse grabs something deep and dark inside of me, and I start to shiver. I reach out for my drink and take another burning sip.

My voice comes, breathless but laden with protest against the implications of Dragomira’s story. “And you believe I am this light? You’ve proved no connection.”

She takes another drink of whiskey, a deep pull this time. I’m not sure if it’s the fire reflecting off them, but her eyes seem to swirl with yellow in their depths.

“Three times Shaina called Lilith’s name that night. Three times she demanded that Lilith listen. Three times she said that retribution would be by her blood. This cinched the curse. But what you need to know most is that while Patersuco’s son was sacrificed, his twin sister survived. Her name was Sorcha.”

“Still, how does that relate to me?”

She raises one dark eyebrow at me. “When Shaina said ‘by my blood,’ she meant her lineage, not the blood that flowed through her veins. You are Shaina’s only remaining descendent, through Sorcha.”

I stand rapidly, knocking into the table and causing it to rock furiously, my glass of whiskey threatens to spill. The table eventually comes to a rest, but I do not. I fling myself across the room and pace as the thoughts roil around in my brain. Despite the cacophony of questions on the tip of my tongue, one thought rises urgently above the rest.

They think I’m supposed to destroy Lilith!

I spin around to see both Jack and Dragomira watching me with grave concern.

Jack sits tensely on the edge of his seat as though ready to leap to my rescue. The light glints off his cropped golden curls, and he reminds me of a fierce golden angel ready for vengeance. Every hard plane of his body speaks of coiled strength and lethal abilities. I’ve felt those enticing planes beneath my fingertips just a few times, and I’m honest enough with myself to admit I want more.

Dragomira says, “There’s more.”

Jack and Varg growl simultaneously, and I guess the more she’s talking about isn’t quite the more I want.

I swipe my drink from the table and knock back the rest. The liquid scorches my throat and traces a fiery path down to my belly, providing a momentary distraction. With a huff, I sit down again and cross my arms. “Just tell me all in one shot, please. I’d like to process this once, not five times.”

Dragomira deliberately refills my glass. I consider this a bad omen. She begins again, this time watching me intently.

“Shaina was close with a woman named Mor who had the gift of sight. She warned Shaina that the villagers were coming for her. Still, they could not escape in time. When Shaina saw that she couldn’t outrun them, she entrusted Mor with Sorcha.

“Mor watched the burning from the safety of the woods, and it is she who documented the events of that night. Afterward, she took the babe to the Dragon tribe, a clan who lived in the Sea Caves nearby. While she was there, she had a vision. That’s what brings us to you.”

Dragomira lifts her hand and a roll of parchment flies off the mantle and into her palm. She passes it to me, and I carefully unroll the aged hide. Quietly, I read aloud the ancient script that promises to reveal my fate.

The DARK ONE spreads her plague across the land.
Rivers run red and earth soaks black with blood.
Man will fear the Cursed and greatly decline.
When they hide like rabbits, the end is near.
The DECEIVER will dance in her triumph.
There is one way that Man can rise again:
trust their enemy
live as one people,
or all will perish.
If they succeed, the DESTROYER will rage;
mourn her loss of souls,
plot her artifice,
move forth with vengeance.
Beware! The PRETENDER has many ways.
Need changes to greed;
love corrupts to hate;
hope buckles to fear.
Foes renew and the Great Pact is broken.
When Man wrongs Man, the BEAST has all but won.
Yet one last path still remaining for Man,
Yet one last path to deliver the Cursed.
The scion of Shaina’s blood will shine BRIGHT.
The BRANDED ONE will thrice-fold be guarded:
blade preserves body;
bone benefacts mind;
Cursed entrenches soul.
The LUSTROUS ONE will thrice-fold be fitted:
light her palisade,
justice her design,
love her instrument.
The ONE WHO IS KNOWN will thrice-fold meet death:
once in trade for life,
once that is taken,
once that is given.
The LIGHT WHO SHINES will shatter the darkness.
The LIGHT WHO SHINES will deliver the Cursed.
The LIGHT WHO SHINES will assail the DARK ONE.
The ANNIHILATOR will be destroyed.
The ERODER OF SOULS will be rebirthed.
Be steadfast, for the end is uncertain.
The edges of the aged parchment nearly crumble under the force of my grip. I loosen my shaking hands, and color flows back into my knuckles. Varg, sensing my stress, leans heavily against my knee. He places his snout in my lap, raises his eyebrows and blinks his ice blue eyes. I wrap my fingers in his long fur, gaining strength from his comfort.

I turn my attention to Dragomira and Jack. They clearly knew the prophecy, as their faces are not filled with questions; instead, a great solemnity surrounds them like a thick mist. Dragomira seems weary but resolute. Jack’s eyes burn with an unnatural shine, and fear and pain wisps around him in an eerie dance. Most telling of all are the tentative vines of hope intertwined with his concern.

Once more, I fill the dark silence. “The first stanza refers to the beginning of the Red Ages. The second stanza clearly describes the creation of the Great Pact.”

An unhappy agreement with my interpretation weighs their expressions.

I study the parchment for another moment. “We have no way of knowing if the third and fourth stanzas have occurred yet. The beginning of the fifth stanza says that the Great Pact will be broken.”

My hands tremble at the thought of that. It is not an event I wish to see in my lifetime. The image of Daylight Vampires taking blood at will and Dark Vampires going unchecked by Daylight Vampires horrifies my very soul.

Dragomira prompts, “And what does the end of the fifth stanza predict?”

Suddenly, I feel older than the darkness of the sky and more burdened than the ground beneath the mountains. “It predicts my birth and says I am the last hope.”

I lay my hand on Jack’s arm. “The last hope to free the Vampires from the curse.”

His jaw clenches, and his body becomes taut. Shame wraps around him as guilt leaks from him like wine through a sieve, filling all corners of the room.

“Jack?” I ask.

He glances at me briefly, then stares straight ahead. “You should go over the rest.”

The parchment, all but forgotten in that singular moment, still remains in my hand. I wrestle my eyes away from him and examine the next set of stanzas. “I can see how the Lustrous One could refer to me, but what about the Branded One and the One Who is Known”

Dragomira responds, “Recall that Illustrissima means Famous One and Distinguished One. To say someone is known is equivalent to saying they’re famous. Remember, there was no technology in those days—no phones, cars, or news stations. People’s circles were small. If someone was widely known, they were famous.”

“But I’m not famous, and I’m certainly not branded.”

Jack grimaces further. “You are famous. When the slaves were found in Blackwater’s house, the Dilectus Deo staged protests across the land. Of course, you were missing at the time, so your name was spoken in every other broadcast. The Dilectus Deo cast aspersions on you, said that you were involved in the crime rather than a victim. You were a topic of much debate.”

“You’re also branded. Your birthmark is no ordinary mark. To be marked like that is to be distinguished. It connects you both to the name Illustrissima and to the prophecy.”

It feels as though the noose is tightening further. I can’t imagine that I’m special enough to be the savior of the breeds. Every scrap of my life has been a fight for even the smallest amount of respect, so to be cast in this light, as though I’m important . . . I just can’t grasp it. But, clearly, they believe it.

“So you really think that I’m the Illustrissima, and I’m supposed to deliver the Vampires from the curse?”

Jack replies softly, “You don’t have to do anything. I’m not sure that the entire Vampire breed is worth your life.”

“Jack, it isn’t just the Vampire breed at stake,” I point out. “According to the prophecy, the fate of all mankind hangs in the balance. That’s a large prize for destroying Lilith. If this is true, then it’s lucky that I’ve already died twice and I only have once more to go.”

Their heads snap toward me, four shocked eyes taking me in as though wings have suddenly sprouted from my back.

I narrow my gaze as I take in their befuddlement. I was sure they would have known.

“I was stillborn,” I explain, “and with a combination of my father’s healing skills and my mother calling to my soul, much the way you did, Jack, I came back to life. That’s the first death, which was in exchange for life. The second death, the death that was taken, was at Blackwater’s hands. That leaves a third death: one that must be given, though I have absolutely no idea what that means. And I’m not saying I believe the prophecy, but how does one go about giving a life and killing the Great Demon, anyway? I’m certainly not killing anyone in sacrifice.”

A wry smile slides across Dragomira’s face. “If I knew, and if it were within my power, I assure you it would already be done. I can tell you though, it’s no coincidence that the amulet found its way into your hands. This is ultimately a war between you and Lilith, and somehow the Grimoire is involved. I wouldn’t be surprised if that necklace of yours played a part as well.”

I lightly finger the Belladonna necklace, which drapes down my breasts and shoulders like a piece of archaic chainmail. “Can you remove it? Do you know how?”

Dragomira stands in obvious dismissal. “Come to me tomorrow evening, and I will see. Now, I have other things to attend.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Available Now!


Recommended reading order for the Bluebell Kildare Series:
The Light Who Shines
The Binding of the Wolf
The Light Who Binds

Now, did you enjoy it or was it too much of a tease?

Lilo

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Cover Reveal! BloodVault by Author Tima Maria Lacoba

BloodVault

Author Tima Maria Lacoba just shared the cover for BloodVault, Book 3 in The Dantonville Legacy Series. Isn't it gorgeous! I love the green gem on the key. She has kept her Gothic Fantasy Romance feel and included her serpent ring and the flowing curtain as a common element on all her book covers.



I haven't had a chance to read Book 2 yet, but I really enjoyed the historical and mythological aspects of Book 1, Bloodgifted. You can find my review of it here.

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/18mq9Bd
Nook Link:  http://bit.ly/1NZ9VMi

Lilo Abernathy

Author, Reader, and Book Lover


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Help Me Donate My Royalties To The International Wolf Center!

Dear Readers,
My release date and the release parties for The Light Who Binds (Book Two) will be announced very soon!

But I have more BIG NEWS!

I've decided that during the weekend of my release, I'll donate 100% of my royalties for The Light Who Shines (Book One) to the International Wolf Center. 
Hopefully with the hype of my release, I'll get a good number of sales. But I could use your help in three easy, free, and fun ways:

The first way is to consider leaving a review of The Light Who Shines on Amazon here if you haven't done so already. The more reviews a book has, the more people trust it's a good book, and the more likely people will buy it. Sure, I love those big long thorough reviews. But that isn't necessary.  Even a short one line review helps because so many people just look at the actual count of reviews and star rating. I consider this to be like polishing my shoes to prepare for the big day.

The second way is to attend one of my online release parties for The Light Who Binds. When the day comes, the more fun we have and the more noise we make, the more likely The Light Who Shines will sell as well. I know you can't commit to that until you see the party schedule, so just stay tuned! But consider signing up here for my Release News to make sure you don't miss the announcement. The parties will all be online and will be across a number of different social media. You're welcome to join even if you haven't read The Light Who Shines yet.

The third way is to simply like and share this post! 

This donation is in honor of all my readers who have told me how much they love Varg the wolf in the story. You can find more information on the International Wolf Center in the links below.

The International Wolf Center

The International Wolf Center is one of the world’s leading organizations dedicated to educating people about wolves. The organization is committed to advancing the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wild lands, and the human role in their future.

Founded in 1985 by a group of biologists led by world-renowned wolf biologist Dr. L. David Mech, the Center opened in June 1993.
http://www.wolf.org

It's rated four out of four stars on the Charity Navigator.
http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=9226#.VW-pXc9Viko

Thank you!

Lilo

Monday, May 18, 2015

Authors, Why You Should Retweet Your Book Bloggers!

Authors,

Chances are you have quite a few book bloggers on your Twitter feed that you've been neglecting. Instead, I suggest that you support your book bloggers, especially those who blog books in your genre. I'm not talking about authors who also have blogs or book bloggers who charge for reviews. I'm talking about good old fashioned book bloggers who read books or hear about books and talk about them to their people.

Why should you support them?
  • They love books. The world simply needs more people who love books. In fact, they are so passionate about books they can't stop talking about them. 
  • They instill a love of reading to the general public. We need more readers! 
  • Your readers want to hear from them. You can't write enough books to keep your readers busy all year long. So keep them entertained with other great content. 

But what do you get out of it? As my Grandfather would say, you get 'nutin' . . . Well, maybe not exactly nothing.
  • You get the appreciation of your readers. 
  • You further solidify the community interest in reading. 
  • If you retweet your bloggers all year long, they see your name and your books and it might inspire them to review YOUR book. No guarantee on this though as the best book bloggers operate outside of author influence. 
  • If they follow you back on Twitter, which I'm sure they will, they'll see your sales and new releases and they might post about it. Again, no guarantee. 
But if you don't start the relationship, you'll never know what benefits might come of it. So take some time to examine your follower list and identify your book bloggers. Add them to a Twitter list, then make a point of retweeting them.

Bloggers,

It isn't all on us authors. I've been looking through my blogger list and I see a general lack of uniformity on book blog posts. I use an automated retweeting service and I want to retweet your book blog posts to my 19K followers. But I can only do this if you use a hashtag that my retweeting service can find.

Based on this article, and comparing to the metrics on hashtag.org, I believe the best hashtags to use are:
  • #bookbloggers 
  • #bookreview 
#blog also gets a lot of retweets but it is way too general. It could be a blog about luxury cars and I don't want to retweet that. I'm absolutely retweeting #bookbloggers and #bookreview though because I know my readers want to hear about that.

Be careful about the plural forms because #bookbloggers gets lots of retweets but #bookblogger gets hardly any. Likewise #bookreview gets lots of retweets, but #bookreviews gets hardly any.

Authors,

If you use an automated retweeting service (like roundteam.co), I suggest you add those hashtags to the service as part of your regular retweeting schedule. Or, for a low tech solution, you can add your bloggers to a Twitter list and just check it occasionally.

Bloggers,

I suggest you use those hashtags on your book review posts so we can find them and retweet them.

Authors and Bloggers,

Please retweet this tweet to get the word out!
https://twitter.com/Lilo_Abernathy/status/600487308454924288 

P.S. If you're a book blogger who blogs Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance, I want to retweet you. So let me know. 
 
P.P.S. Isn't that book image on my post soooo cool. It's a book that can be read six different ways! 
 
Happy blogging and retweeting! 

Lilo Abernathy
Author, Book Lover, Retweeter 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

What's My Middle Name?!

If you're following me on Facebook you know I been searching for a middle name. I made a mistake creating a Google Plus account and had to create a new email address different from the first. So I stuck a 'J' initial in for fun. The only problem was I didn't know what the 'J' stood for. So after almost a year and a half of being only an initial, I asked my Facebook friends to help me pick a name. 

If you do follow me you also know I'm a tease, so it will come as no surprise that I'm making you wait until the bottom of the post for the winning name. I'll try to entertain you with humor on the way, but if you're impatient, you can skip to the bottom. Meanwhile, I'd like to hand out some Honorable Mentions by Category.
 

Most Humerous Names

First Place - Jay

Submitted by Keith Fritz, Giselle Marks Author, Raul Sprovieri, Jamie Lockett, And Adri Sinclair 
Keith says, "Homer J. Simpson's muddle name = 'Jay' lol. Just kidding." 
Jamie says, "Homer that shit. Lilo 'Jay' Abernathy."
I know you weren't kidding Keith. You can't fool me. And Jamie, I hate Homer Simpson, but even I have to agree this is brilliant! But thank goodness it didn't win. It was probably due only to that lucky horseshoe I have hanging over my computer.

Second Place - Jabberwocky

Submitted by Martha Fawcett Vincek
'Jabberwocky' is a nonsense poem written by Lewis Carroll and included in his 1871 novel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. Here are the first three Stanza's:
Jabberwocky

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
 Here's a nice post if you want to read the whole poem without reading Through the Looking-Glass. I can't read his work because my mind goes into insane land as it tries to put everything into correct boxes. There are no correct boxes with Lewis Carroll and I already have a headache.

Third Place - Juggins

Submitted by Joe Ward
This is humorous simply because it means I'm an idiot. Definition: a silly person; simpleton: one easily victimized:  "was a clumsy juggins and let the ladder get out of control."

Now I might be offended, but . . .
  1. Joe Ward is actually a relation through marriage so he's allowed a level of casualness I wouldn't necessarily like from others. Yes. My brother-in-law is calling me stupid.
  2. I'm not all that worried about my intellect.
  3. Joe isn't that bright and probably had no idea what it meant anyway. (Kidding Joe! Sorry, you walked into that one and I had to give it to you.)
  4. Let me remind you Joe that we're related through marriage so I'm allowed a level of casualness you wouldn't necessarily like from others.
  5. You started it.
 

Most Interesting Names

First Place - Jeronimo

Submitted by Kate Sullivan
I did a search on Jeronimo and kept coming up with Geronimo. So I assume this is Kate's attempt at telling me that I seem like a wild warrior woman capable of wreaking havoc on my enemies and being a celebrated defender of my people. Thank you for that Kate. For those who want the story of Geronimo, visit this nice post. It says that Geronimo means, "one who yawns." That's right. I'm such a bad-ass, I yawn in the face of my enemies.

Second Place - Jinx

Submitted by Ana Crow Clemans
Wikipedia gives Jinx a number of different meanings and the following are among them:
  • A type of curse placed on a person that makes them prey to many minor misfortunes and other forms of bad luck.
  • An object or person that brings bad luck.
  • A penalty that one person can invoke on another when the two of them say the same thing at the same time.
What makes this so interesting is that I'm about the least superstitious person on earth. I will laughingly:
  • walk under ladders,
  • take black cats home,
  • break mirrors,
  • spill salt,
  • stay in a motel on Friday the 13th,
  • open an umbrella inside,
  • forgo saying "God Bless You" after someone sneezes (Yes, that's a superstition mistaken for etiquette.),
  • drive by a cemetery without holding my breath,
  • put my hat on in bed,
  • wear my wedding ring on a finger other than my forth (Yes, another superstition!), and;
  • step on a crack. Though my mother has had back problems so perhaps I should rethink this one.
 One thing I won't do is place my shoes on my table because that is just gross! You were thinking the same thing, weren't you? Jinx! You owe me a Coke!

Third Place - Jupiter & Justice

Jupiter was submitted by Michelle Lewis
Justice was submitted by Annette Drolette Mardis and Deborah Ehling
I couldn't make up my mind on which of these were more interesting, so they're tied.

Justice would be a great name for me, though my sister would probably correct me and say I'm a "nark." I was quite the nark when we were growing up.

And being named Jupiter after the fifth planet from the sun and the largest planet in the solar system (one thousandth the size of the sun) is just way cool. It speaks to my geeky side. But my sister would probably say it speaks to a big head. You decide.

P.S. This is the same sister who is married to my brother-in-law who called me stupid. Are you drawing any correlations?

People Who Believe I am Their Child From Another Life

Now a few people like me so much they wanted to name me after themselves. I want to take a moment to thank you. I appreciate your self-esteem, err I mean, your esteem and regard. (Teasing!) I don't have a ranking for these so I'll just give them to you.

Jasper

Submitted by Kasper Beaumont
This one is sneaky. Kasper, I bet you didn't think I'd look it up. Kasper is the German form of Jasper. Busted.

Janice

Submitted by A League of Independent Writers
This one is in complete disguise. A League of Independent Writers is otherwise known as Janice Williams. Peeps, you REALLY should follow her. She's fantastic and you can find her on Google Plus and Facebook. She has been amazingly supportive.

Jeanna

Submitted by Jeanna Ford Read
Jeanna gets the prize for boldness since she brazenly gave me her first name as she displays it to the world.

To all three of you, I'm honored.

Most Beautiful Names

I don't have a ranking for these names either. I just loved the way they sounded with Lilo Abernathy.

Janae

Submitted by Pam Mastricola
Lilo Janae Abernathy

Jazina

Submitted by Giselle Marks Author
Lilo Jazina Abernathy 

Joella

Submitted by Itsjoysworld Blogger-Author
Lilo Joella Abernathy

If I were picking solely based on beauty, I would probably have picked one of these. Great suggestions!

Most Popular Names

Third Place - Jade, Jane, & Jay

All three of these tied for third place, getting six votes each.

Jay - Submitted by Keith Fritz, Giselle Marks Author, Raul Sprovieri, Jamie Lockett, and Adri Sinclair
I've already said a few words about Jay and I'm sure I have a four-leaf clover to thank for this one not winning. 

Jade - Submitted by Christina Lynn, Ann Marvin, Dawn Singh, and Arriane Alter
Not only is Jade the name of a beautiful semi-precious stone, but it's also the name of my author friend Rose Montague's first book. Suspiciously, all of her characters have names that start with 'J'. I wonder if she named them after my middle initial . . .
 
Jane - Submitted by Rebecca Stoneham Gladu, Arriane Alter, Ann Moynihan, Jeanna Bini, Rachel Mustain, and Annie Palone
My first thought was, "Are you all Edgar Rice Burroughs fans too?" Jane actually goes very well with Lilo Abernathy and I would have enjoyed it. But to me it sounds a little too innocent and I feel far from that. Speaking of innocence . . .

Second Place - Jezebel

Submitted by  Mary LoMar and Ann Doherty Jurmain
This one got seven votes, narrowly beating out the three above and almost winning. I do love Jezebel and wouldn't have minded it at all, even though it doesn't really flow with Lilo Abernathy.

According to Wikipedia . . .
According to the biblical accounts, Jezebel incited her husband King Ahab to abandon the worship of Yahweh and encourage worship of the deities Baal and Asherah instead. Jezebel is said to have persecuted the prophets of Yahweh, and to have fabricated false evidence of blasphemy against an innocent landowner who refused to sell his property to King Ahab, causing the landowner to be put to death. For these transgressions against the God and people of Israel, the Bible relates, Jezebel met a gruesome death - thrown out of a window by members of her own court retinue, and the flesh of her corpse eaten by stray dogs.

Jezebel became associated with false prophets. In some interpretations, her dressing in finery and putting on makeup led to the association of the use of cosmetics with "painted women" or prostitutes.

According to Israel Finkelstein, professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University, apart from the names of rulers and some of the buildings and battles mentioned, the Biblical stories of Jezebel and her family contain "very little verifiable historical material".
Doesn't it feel like we're playing the Telephone game? Now, Jezebel sounds like a radical trouble-maker and a regular bad-ass. If I were superstitious (and we've already covered this) I might be worried about the history. But I'm not. So you may call me Jezebel if you wish.
 

And the First Place Winner is . . . Leave it a Mystery!

Submitted by Dannika Dark

This got 10 votes, far outstripping the other options. Thank you so much Dannika for the suggestion. For your prize I'm giving you a big fat plug. Dannika Dark is a prolific author and highly rated by her readers. I've personally read her Mageri series and loved it. Chances are, if you like The Light Who Shines you'll like her work as well. You can find her books on Amazon here and her Facebook page here.

So I guess I'm back where I started and have no middle name. However, I'm planning on having fun with this and may start signing my emails and posts with a different middle name every time. I'll never explain to anyone why, and only those of you who were in on this process will know the secret.

Thank you all for participating!

May the rest of your week be successful and bright, knock on wood.

Lilo Jaracanda Abernathy

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Book Review: BLOODGIFTED (Urban Fantasy / Romance / Myth & Legend)

Bloodgifted

The Dantonville Series: Book 1

By Tima Maria Lacoba
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1zvdKIn
#UrbanFantasy #Romance #Historical #Myth #Legend

A deftly woven tale of myth, legend, action, and romance. 

Bloodgifted starts out with a prologue that takes us back to 263 AD when the battle between two warring parties, the Pictish and the Romans, culminates in a curse thus creating the first vampires and the bloodgifted.

Author Tima Maria Lacoba spins an exciting tale of romance and intrigue as her heroine, Laura, comes into her bloodgift and the vampire race grapples at a chance to shift the power. This story is an exciting recount of the struggle between two factions of vampires, those who want to maintain order and integrate with human society and those who see humans only as food to be devoured.

Trapped in the middle, Laura struggles to survive the violent power-plays between these volatile factions, who both consider her the winner’s prize. To spice things up further, Laura must deal with the rivalry between her current boyfriend Matt, a tenacious detective, and the irresistible Alec, a vampire from the new underworld she is just discovering. But there is more! An obsessive stalker is on the loose . . .

If you love action packed urban fantasy or paranormal romance, and have a taste for history, myth, and legends, you should definitely try this story.

Lilo Abernathy
Author and Book Lover

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Review: NIKO (Urban Fantasy / Science Fiction / Gene Mutations)


Niko


The Outsider Chronicles: Book 1

By Kayti Nika Raet
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1OGgLvO
#UrbanFantasy #ScienceFiction #GeneMutations #Monsters

Before I even go into the review, I feel this cover must be mentioned. IMHO it is kick-ass. Not only does Niko look tough, but she looks sexy with some great booty. And, pleases, let's talk about the bat. Chains and nails and dripping blood? Sweet . . .

Okay, moving on to the story. If you like original stories, creativity, and new creatures, this story is for you. 

Niko lives in a time where something happened to the atmosphere to turn all rain to acid rain. The acid is so strong you can't let it touch you, least it eats through you. Acid proof shingles have to be put on roofs. Your shoes have to be acid proof or they will melt away. And all water must be treated or it will kill you. This is a harsh world.

It's made even harsher because humans have divided into the Haves and Have Nots because there are limited resources. Only the wealthy can afford to live in the city where purified water is in plentiful supply. The rest are kept out by gates, guards, and guns, surviving by their brawn and wits.

If that isn't bad enough, there are genetically mutated humans who have transformed into scary as hell creatures called Slithers. Slithers eat people and move with incredible speed, far beyond the average human. Luckily, some rare people have an innate ability to move fast enough to kill them.

Enter Niko, a seventeen year old girl who's entire family is killed by Slithers, except for one brother who goes missing. When the insider populace finds out Niko can kill Slithers, she's taken to the city to protect the populace. However, her brother is on the outside and all Niko cares about is finding her brother. Outside of the gate waits Slithers galore, acid rain, starvation, thirst, gangs, and other people doing whatever required to survive their brutal existence. 

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants a unique kick-ass urban fantasy with science fiction elements in a dystopian environment.

Lilo Abernathy
Author and Book Lover

Book Review: JADE (YA Urban Fantasy / Action)

Jade

Three J’amigos Series: Book 1

By Rose Montague
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1bFej6S
#UrbanFantasy #Paranormal #Action #Shifter #YA

An Action Packed Story of Good Versus Evil
The story opens up with Jade Smith joining her new police partner, Rolfe, a shifter who takes the shape of a huge Kodiak bear. Rolfe initially thinks Jade will be a weak female partner, a liability if you will, but he is soon disavowed of that notion. Jade kicks butt. 

But what is Jade? She has the build of a shifter, but keeps mum about her shifter form. She has vampire fangs and fay relatives. One part of her is even more secret than all the rest. Where did Jade come from and what did she do in her life prior to working with Rolfe? How does she happen to know the secret of a weapon legend says was used by angels?

The plot is rife with twists and turns, new friends and lovers, and set-ups and betrayals. The mysteries are slowly revealed.

This story will be enjoyed by YA readers and adults alike. Kudos to Ms. Montague for weaving in a LGBT relationship into the story. There is considerable focus on diversity, which I really appreciate.

Lilo Abernathy
Author and Book Lover

Book Review: THE CALLING (YA Urban Fantasy / Romance)

The Calling

The Gateway Series: Book 1

by Louise White
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1Fz42Wb
#YA #UrbanFantasy #Romance #Action

I loved this book. The beginning was absolutely incredible. Carolyn walks in to see her family being destroyed and something happens to her. She becomes this beautiful feral wild thang. She is called the Destroyer and her purpose is to kill Demons who steal humans.

Let's just pause here a moment and reflect on the Feral Wild Thang. When I say feral, I actually mean feral, as in the movie Nell with the feral child, starring Jodi Foster. It's fantastic like that too. I am soooo envious that Author Louise White thought of this idea before I did. Now that she's written it and I've read it, I can't use it. Maybe in about 20 years. But for now, I can't. So . . . major envy here.

The story is filled with thrilling action as Carolyn completes her mission of destroying demons. Eventually, she starts to move toward a more aware mind and way from being a raving killing beast. The transition is fascinating to watch. Then, several possible love interests appear, each with potential ulterior motives, leaving the reader unclear who's safe and best for her. I'm rooting for one male, but I'm not sure if Louise is with me on that. :) Deception and betrayal complicate the plot and the characterization is excellent, allowing you to feel deeply for Carolyn's team.

Several side plots further enrich the story and mysteries abound. Do some of the secondary characters have a relationship? What is the relationship of the strongest Mage to the God-like Protector? What is this parasitic power that has attached to her first, and secondly to Note? So many mysteries . . .

I'm looking forward the next book!


Lilo Abernathy
Author and Book Lover

Monday, April 27, 2015

Book Teaser: THE LIGHT WHO BINDS

Exciting News: The Light Who Binds is coming soon!

I've just finished integrating the changes from my Beta Readers and I've sent it off to editing. At this point, I'm estimating about six weeks. So with the book complete now, I've drafted a teaser and wanted to share it with you. Please note this is unedited!

The Light Who Binds: Teaser


The Prophecy

Inspector Bluebell Kildare has waited months for her sexy Vampire boss, Jack Tanner to divulge the secrets he knows about her. She couldn’t be more shocked when he finally reveals her birth was prophesied over two thousand years go and she’s expected to save the Vampire souls so they can escape their fate of eternal damnation and burning on the Plane of Fire.

The Case

A savior she is not. Blue and her wolf Varg are busy battling several factions attempting to abduct her. Plus, she’s chasing a vicious serial arsonist who’s setting houses on fire and burning victims alive. Is it random or Genocide?

The Wolf

The furor accelerates when Varg displays new powerful abilities and a complaint is filed against him. But when the sorceress who sent him shows up, Blue fears she’ll lose him forever.
 

The Romance

Jack is the final straw. His eyes and sometimes his hands vow yes to her, but his delicious mouth murmurs no, until she puts her foot down and demands he makes a decision about them. What will he choose? And can she handle the answer?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Well, did that tease you enough to want it? This will become my Amazon description and the back of book blurb so I'd love to hear your opinions on it. Please comment below.

Want more?
You can read an excerpt of Chapter 1 here.

You can sign up here to be notified right before The Light Who Binds is released.

Best,

Lilo

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Swear Words in Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance Books?

I just checked my reviews today and saw a new one came in addressing swear words. The reader writes,

"I like that you told a great story and you didn't have to use curse words. Thank you for that."

This isn't the first time I've received a comment like this and I love that readers are communicating their thoughts on this issue. However, it wasn't really a goal of mine when I wrote the book to produce a curse word clean story. I'm not pro or con swear words. I'm fine with them when they fit the story. Interestingly, my book actually does contain swear words, but they are rather mild and infrequent.

The Light Who Shines is a cross-genre book that spans Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, and Mystery. The first two genres are known to be proliferated with swear words. When I first drafted my main character profile for Bluebell Kildare, I decided that she only said soft swear words, as this fit her personality. She says things like, "Holy cow!" "Holy smokes!" and "cripes!" That is just her way. She grew up in an orphanage associated with a Catholic church so hard swears are not comfortable for her.

One of the detectives she works with is Catholic and his expletives are things like, "Jesus Christ!" and "Jesus, Mother Mary, and Joseph!" He doesn't swear a lot because his image is important to him and he likes to be seen as cultured. One of my editors felt that the religious cusses would actually be disliked more than the non-religious hard swear words, but I haven't received any negative feedback on it. I should clarify that this is not in anyway a religious book, even though the various religions of the characters shape their actions and thinking.

The other main character, Jack Tanner, does say more common swear words, but not often and usually not in the presence of ladies. He's a five hundred year old Vampire and a bit old fashioned that way. He has been known to say, "Crap!" "Shit!" and may even say, "Fuck!" in future books, though he hasn't yet.

So, while I didn't set out to create a book purged of swear words, it ended up being fairly clean based on the personality of the main characters. I was pleasantly surprised with all the comments I've gotten from readers who have been hungry for a great action book in these genres that has cleaner language.

How do I feel about swearing in books that I read?

Naturally, I've read a considerable amount of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance to be able to write in those genres. I recall being turned off by a few where the main character cussed all the time and it seemed unnecessarily ugly. But other times characters will belt out the harder curse words during times of danger, pain, or when emotions run high and I'm fine with that. I'm also fine with no swear words.

When I first released my book, one of the negative comments I received was that I had too many exclamation marks. I took this to heart and removed almost all of them during my revision. I left them at only the highest points of emotion in the story. I think all those exclamation marks tired people out.

Similarly, I think hard swear words do the same thing. In my opinion, too many is too many. You risk losing potency.

Still, even though I know that many of my readers don't care for the hard swear words, I think others would be fine with them in any quantity. I think some people feel that if the book doesn't have sufficient hard language it's more of a young adult book, even though the official definition of young adult has nothing to do with swear words.

So, in light of all of these questions, I'd created a poll. The results of the poll are available here:

http://svy.mk/1Pe2ljF

I'd love to hear your comments!

Lilo

Friday, April 17, 2015

Excerpt: THE LIGHT WHO SHINES

Dear Readers,

It occurs to me that since so many people loved the excerpt of book 2, I should probably post an excerpt of book 1, THE LIGHT WHO SHINES. (smile)

I do have to give you a bit of warning. This excerpt contains graphic violence and a torturous death. So turn back now if you can't handle a taste of dark fantasy. The book in its entirety contains some very steamy sex scenes, though this excerpt does not. The dark scenes of the book are well balanced by magic, whimsy, love, and humor.

This excerpt is the entire Prologue which takes place 2000 years before the rest of the story. It begins in Year 1 of the Red Ages. The age was named thus because it's the year that Vampires were first created and the time that followed was so bloody, it's said the rivers ran crimson and the ground was cloaked in scarlet. This Prologue is the story of Shaina, the wife of the first Vampire.

So here goes!



The Light Who Shines
Book 1 of the Bluebell Kildare Series

Prologue

Shaina
Winter, Year 1, Red Ages

I wake to the sound of pounding on the door and Mor’s voice yelling, “Shaina. Shaina.”

Sorcha wakes up crying as I rush to open the door. A bloodcurdling scream tears through the night, destroying any illusions of a peaceful return to slumber. I swing open the door with trembling hands and see anguish in Mor’s eyes. The words that tumble from her mouth bring to the fore all the fears I’d been trying to suppress this winter.


“Shaina, Conor was found dead, killed by the bloodsuckers. Grainne and Aongus are calling you a Witch and gathering the town folks to burn you as one. Quick! We must run.”

I start gathering my things together, but Mor yells, “There is no time. Grab the bairn. We must go now!”

Sorcha is wailing now. Tears streak her little cheeks as she grips her blanket tightly in tiny fists. I grab my plaid and wrap it around us both as I follow Mor outside.

“You must quiet her,” Mor whispers.

I try to comfort Sorcha in a hushed voice. “Shh, Sorcha, you must be quiet. Shhhh.”

Sorcha pays no heed and cries all the louder as she clutches me with her little fingers.

I hear the voices of the villagers coming now, yelling and screaming, “Burn the Witch. It was her husband who brought this upon us.”

Aongus’ voice rises above the rest. “Let her die too. Why should she be spared?”

Mor leads me past the blacksmith’s shop, behind Fergus’ cottage, toward the forest. I see their torches at my cottage now. A voice yells, “They’re gone,” and the villagers continue to chant, “Burn the Witch. Burn the Witch.”

I cast through my mind wildly now, seeking a remembrance of a place to hide. My mind comes up empty, just as it did all winter when I feared a night such as this would come. I should have braved the cold and gone to the sea caves where the dragon tribe dwells despite the perilous winter journey.

Just then, Sorcha lets out a loud bawl, and I hear Grainne yell, “She’s over there.”

Mor and I run around Fergus’ cottage and make for the tree line. The throng is following us quickly with the younger men in the lead. The woods are just up ahead—if only we could lose them in the deep of the trees. If only Sorcha would stop crying.

We reach heavy brush, and I hear the thunder of feet behind me. Just at the edge of the woods, my foot catches on a tree root and I tumble to the ground. As I land on the hard dirt, I twist to protect Sorcha from being crushed by my weight, and pain shoots up my leg. Fear strikes my heart as I realize I’ve a choice to make.

“Mor,” I yell.

Mor glances over her shoulder and sees me on the ground. I try to stand, but my knee gives way. I see the torches through the dark coming swiftly closer.

“Mor, take Sorcha. It is too late. Run. Keep her safe.”

Mor stands there, petrified. She looks at me, she looks at the woods in front of her, and she looks at the torches that are almost upon us. I thrust Sorcha out while warm, wet tears stream down my cheeks and fall unheeded onto the snow. “Take the bairn! It’s me they want.”

Mor grabs Sorcha and my arms, bereft of their lovely burden, fall uselessly at my sides. I stare hungrily after Sorcha for one last moment, and just as Mor and Sorcha disappear in the dark of the woods, the torches are upon me. First the young men arrive, their faces ugly with rage. I know each of them, grew up with them, broke bread with them, bartered with them, sang with them, but it matters not. It’s fear that drives them this night, and no proclamations of innocence or fond memories will help me now.

Niall grabs my arms and drags me into the throng. I try to gain footing, but my right leg will bear no weight. Tadgh holds my other arm, and together they pull me to the center of town. The mob crowds around, cursing me, throwing sticks at me as I’m roughly tied to a large ash tree. The faces of my friends and neighbors swirl around me in angry confusion with rays of moonlight shining on a gaunt cheek here and a slashing brow there. The bindings are pulled tight, cutting into my wrists and ankles as I struggle, but I know it’s useless. It’s been useless since Torloch made his pact with the devil’s handmaiden, Lilith. It’s been useless since Torloch took my wee baby boy and returned home with his blood on his hands. It’s been useless since Torloch became a bloodsucking monster and spread his disease through the village.

I look out at the faces of the crowd, and I see anger and fear. I see despair. It’s a mercy they’ve let me live this long. I curse myself again for not leaving earlier despite the biting cold of winter. I hear one voice among the bloodthirsty yell, “Give her a Witch’s Trial.”

Another voice responds, “We’ll give her a trial of fire. If she’s innocent, let her be saved.”

Bundles of dry oak twigs and sticks are piled at my feet. Oak, the tree of strength. I wonder if the oak will give me strength in my last moments of life. I think of Sorcha, the twin of my poor baby boy. I hope only that Mor got her away safely and at least one of our family will be spared.

Grainne walks right up to me and spits in my face. “You filthy Witch,” she snarls. “Your monster husband and his kind killed my son. Shredded his neck.” Tears run down her dirt-smudged face. “We are going to watch you burn for what you’ve done.”

Una, who lost her husband to Torloch, grabs a torch and sets the wood at my feet on fire. The firelight reflects off her savage face, and I see months of grief and seething anger in the depths of her wild eyes. There is no mercy here.

I feel the heat rising, and it burns. I look at their faces, and even through my fear, I feel their sorrow and rage. I feel it in me as well. That has always been my curse: to feel others as myself. Their rage now feeds mine. The flames lick my ankles, and smoke fills my eyes.

I look up at the night sky and my fury overflows. Months of rage at Torloch, who took the life of our son to try to save himself. But most of all I rage at Lilith, who made him an empty promise and turned him into a monster for the price of our child. Tears stream down my face as I recall my own black pit of grief at losing my lovely little boy. I feel the grief and pain of everyone on this dark night.

I smell the smoke from the ash tree I am tied to mingling with the oak kindling about my body. My childhood learnings flit through my mind even in my last hour. While oak gives strength, ash is the bridge between Earth and other worlds. Good. Let it make a bridge to the Plane of Fire for me so that I might reach Lilith and pay her back in kind.

I shout to the blackness of the sky above. I call to the dark with all the rage of my soul. “Lilith, I call on you to hear me. By my blood, you will be destroyed. A light will come. A light that shines through your evil. A light that calls you to answer for your deeds. A light that binds you as I am bound and burns you as I burn. A light that rips you asunder and destroys your darkness.”

The pain is so great. The flames sear my legs. I can’t help but scream and convulse, though I know there is no escape. I writhe, trying to get away from the fire, but it just grows and grows as my calves blister and melt. A part of my mind wishes the fire were higher so this pain would end more quickly. The only escape now is death, and it fast approaches. The smoke is so heavy I cough as I scream. The fire has reached my waist now, and it envelops me in its excruciating embrace. I see the horrific faces of the mob, distorted and cast in red from the fire that consumes me.

I scream with all the strength I have, willing my voice to carry through the between spaces. “Lilith, hear me. I call to you. By my blood, you will pay for what you have done.” I cough and hack, unable to get a breath of air. I thrash my head as the tongues of fire lick ever higher, melting my flesh, binding me to the holy ash tree as though we are one. The pain is so great now that I know nothing but the feel of it engulfing me. It seems to be all that was before me and all that will ever come after. I’m being eaten alive by the ravenous fire. The agony and the rage are the whole of who I am now.

I think one last thought, unable to even catch enough breath to scream it, unable even to work my mouth to speak it as the flames lick my chin. My dying thought sears into my soul and lifts with me to the Plane of Light. “Lilith, by my blood you will be destroyed!”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Available Now!

If you enjoyed that excerpt, you can get entire book, The Light Who Shines on Kindle here: amzn.to/1zdMqub  It's also available on Audible and in print either on Amazon or through your local book stores. 

Coming Soon!

Be sure to sign up here to get notified when book 2 of the Bluebell Kildare Series, The Light Who Binds is released.  https://sites.google.com/site/lilojabernathy/home

Please do comment and let me know how you liked it.

Lilo

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Book Review: THE SUMMER SOLSTICE ENCHANTED (Fantasy, Magic, Greek Mythology, Romance, Fun)

The Summer Solstice Enchanted 
The Summer Solstice Series: Book 1
By Author K.K. Allen
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1bgapkq
#Fantasy #Magic #Greek Mythology #Romance #YA #Fun

Well, I've been in love with this cover for the longest time. Now that my second book is with my beta readers, I finally had a chance to read it. And let me just say that the cover exactly portrays the story. This was such a light fun read, I loved it.

Kat, recently orphaned, moves in with her estranged Grandmother and weird things start happening. Her sight and hearing senses become impossibly accurate. Disturbing and dangerous dreams haunt her sleep. She’s confused about what’s happening and her Grandmother isn’t giving her much. Plus, she’s lonely, and nervous about being the new kid in school. Then along comes the handsome neighbor boy. He gives her some confidence, but the two girls who feel she’s infringing on their territory give her equal measures of trouble.

Author K.K. Allen has filled this story with all the drama of a young girl in this situation. There’s suspense woven in through the enigmatic Grandmother, the unfolding of the family history, and the magic capabilities Kat is learning to control. Unbeknownst to her, danger is creeping up as she comes to the attention of evil forces. But, Allen keeps it light with the beach town setting and the threads of romance.

I recommend this lovely story for YA readers or anyone who enjoys YA and magic. It was quite an enjoyable read.

Let's give a collective sigh for young love. Sighhhh . . .

Lilo Abernathy

Author and Book Lover