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Monday, August 29, 2016

#Interview - Loyal by Yasmin Shiraz

 Loyal 
by Yasmin Shiraz  

Interview:

Crystal: Today I have the pleasure of hosting Yasmin Shiraz today. Welcome Yasmin! I'm so happy to have you here today. Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today?

Yasmin: I'm an author, screenwriter and producer. Though I've written 7 novels, I've ghostwritten several others and have written a couple of non-fiction books. In addition, I've won a couple of awards for my documentary films. I'm a wife and mother and I love yoga, meditation and great friends. The book Loyal is dedicated to the close relationship that I shared with my brother when we were teens. Though it was far from perfect, we were always close.

Crystal: Do you have a favorite scene you would like to share with us?

Yasmin: There is a scene in the book where, for the first time, Khalil realizes he's paralyzed. There is an exchange between him and Tashera that embodies them both sharing fear of the unknown. It speaks to the bond they share and how they both were afraid without any words being exchanged. With my brother and I, we can sense each other feelings sometimes without saying anything. I tried to capture those kinds of emotions in that scene.

Crystal: Where did you come up with the idea for Loyal? 

Yasmin: The book is about loyalty. When the first scene came to me, the title came at the same time as did the general flow of the story. I did not search far and wide for the title, it just appeared. The concept of the story was really about telling the fans of Retaliation how Khalil became paralyzed in the first place. 

Crystal: What are you currently working on?

Yasmin: I am currently putting my novels on audio book. I've worked with a vocal coach but narrating my books is quite the challenge. However, new readers have begun to listen to my audio books and I'm getting great feedback. So, I'm so thrilled.

Crystal: Do you have any special routine that you follow when you are writing?

Yasmin: When I have scheduled a project, I stick to a minimum word count per day. On deadline, no matter what happens, I stick to my word counts. 

Crystal: Did you have to do a lot of research this book or any other?

Yasmin: I present teen empowerment workshops, conferences, bookclubs, girls' teas, and rites of passage programs with youth across the country. I also produce documentaries on those subject matters. So, I write stories about issues that I'm familiar with due to my work with teens. The Retaliation series takes place in the inner city and deals with youth and gang violence. My work with teens has allowed me to be up close and personal in that area. In addition, I interview members of law enforcement as well as teachers and community activists in order to make those aspects of this series even more authentic. 

Crystal: Who are some of your favorite authors that you like to read?

Yasmin: I love poetry and so I still re-read the works of Maya Angelou, Paul Lawrence Dunbar but also Antwone Fisher. I love E. Lynn Harris--his prose was so effortlessly beautiful. I love the authenticity of K'wan and the skillful writing of Brandon Massey. 

Crystal: Is there a genre you haven't written that you would like to try?

Yasmin: I've never tried to write a vampire story, but as much as I have discovered my recent interest in vampire novels, I probably could write a good one. 



About The Book:

When a gang member is shot at a heist, his sister copes with trying to help him heal while he proves his loyalty to his crew. In the prequel to Retaliation, brother and sister, Khalil and Tashera find themselves on different sides of loyalty. Khalil's loyalty to his gang threatens the loyalty he should have to his family. This book illustrates the dynamic between a brother and sister and shows their love, challenges and desire to be there for each other. Loyal, Retaliation and Accused make up the Retaliation Young Adult trilogy.

 Young Adult Novel
ASIN: B01KIIRARO


Purchase Link


About The Author:
               
Yasmin Shiraz is an author, filmmaker, speaker and activist. She uses her passion for life to fuel her books, documentaries, speaking engagements and social activities. She’s spoken at over 100 colleges, universities, middle schools and high schools as well as non-profit organizations. She’s an award winning Writer/ Director and enjoys producing work on youth and community issues. By day, she’s the President of Still Eye Rise Media and runs the Yasmin Shiraz website.

Connect Socially:


Tour hosted by WNL Book Tours www.wnlbooktours.com


Friday, August 26, 2016

#GiveAway - FURIOUS RUSH By S.C. Stephens

 FURIOUS RUSH
By  S.C. Stephens


ABOUT THE BOOK:

The first in an emotion-fueled, New Adult series from the #1 bestselling author of the Thoughtless novels!

Too fast, too furious—and way too hot to handle…

Mackenzie Cox has a lot to prove. Daughter of a racing legend, she is eager to show the world that she has inherited her father's talent in the male-dominated sport of professional motorcycle racing. The last thing Kenzie needs is to be antagonized by her rival team's newest rider, Hayden Hayes. Plucked from the world of illegal street racing, Hayden immediately gets under Kenzie's skin. His insinuations that Kenzie is a spoiled princess who was handed her career fuels her desire to win, and much to her surprise, Kenzie soon learns she performs better when she's racing against Hayden.

As Kenzie and Hayden push each other on the track, the electric energy between them off the track shifts into an intense—and strictly forbidden—attraction. The only rule between their two ultra-competitive teams is zero contact. Kenzie always does her best to play by the rules, but when her team slips into a financial crisis, she has no choice but to turn to Hayden for help. The tension simmers during their secret, late-night rendezvous, but Kenzie has too much to lose to give in to her desires. Especially when she begins to doubt that Hayden has completely left his street life behind...

On Sale: August 23, 2016
Publisher: Forever


BUY THE BOOK HERE:



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

S. C. Stephens is a #1 bestselling author who spends her every free moment creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance. In addition to writing, she enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family. She and her two children reside in the Pacific Northwest.



FOLLOW FOREVER ONLINE: 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

#FreeBook - Entwined Fates TRUST Book 1 by Cristiane Serruya




Entwined Fates (TRUST Book 1) by [Serruya, Cristiane]

Entwined Fates 

TRUST Book 1

by Cristiane Serruya 


BLURB:

Ethan, an international steel tycoon, traumatized by sexual experiences in his youth, has never believed he would be able to love a woman—or be loved by one. Until he meets Sophia. 
Sophia, a wealthy Brazilian widow, fled her own country after a tragic incident that killed her husband, and something terrible she did—but can’t remember. She starts a new life in London with her 3 year-old daughter, living a lonely existence, torn between the love for a dead man, the angst of living with partial amnesia, and the fear of being discovered. 
She starts a relationship with Ethan, not counting on meeting Alistair, a powerful banker from a traditional and noble Scottish family, who commands his bank with a strong hand, and yet knows better than anyone that money truly cannot buy love or happiness, but it can buy distraction. 
Handsome and guilt-ridden, Alistair has no trouble finding women for one-night stands, who will indulge him in his desire to physically punish them to abate his own tortured soul. Any woman would do. Even Sophia. 

Entwined Fates is the first installment of the TRUST series, a romance, made of pain, loss, desire, redemption, forgiveness, and love. Don’t miss the sequels: 
Second Chances 
Dark Obsession 
Unveiled Memories 
Untamed Passion 
Dangerous Illusions 
Pandora’s Box 
Eternal Hope

(Please be sure to check the price before purchasing. This is a limited time sale)

Amazon Buy Link

#GiveAway - Defragmenting Daniel: The Organ Scrubber by Jason Werbeloff


 Defragmenting Daniel: The Organ Scrubber
by Jason Werbeloff

Jason will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour locations. You may find those locations here

~*~*~*~*~*~
BLURB:

7 stolen organs.
1 vengeful victim.
A gruesome sci-fi thriller.

Organ scrubbing was a bloody job, but somebody had to do it. Daniel, an orphan from the Gutter, was put to work scrubbing kidneys at aged twelve. The job had its perks: a warm bed, Law and Order reruns, and an all-you-can-eat Mopane worm buffet.

Until the Orphanage stole Daniel’s parts, and sold them on the organ market.

Now Daniel has grown up, and yearns to become whole again. The cybernetic organ replacements just aren’t the same – he needs his parts back. But the new owners of his organs won’t give them up. Not without a fight.

Just how far will Daniel go to regain his missing pieces? And how much more of himself will he lose along the way?

Defragmenting Daniel is a cyberpunk crime thriller that will unnerve you. Every part of you.


GENRE: Sci-fi Thriller

“A work of great imagination. Powerful and gripping.”
“A stark and moving experience.”
ReadersFavorite.com, 5 Star Review


~*~*~*~*~*~
EXCERPT:

The sun beat down on the crown of Daniel’s mop of thick, black hair. The hanging smoke in the air thickened. His left eye cried. His lungs protested, spasming as he penetrated deeper into the warzone. About a hundred yards into New Settlers Ways, the sweet stink of burning flesh competed with the smoke. Daniel remembered that smell from the operating theatre, when they’d removed his amygdala. But it was stronger here. Omnidirectional. As though the entire area were a seeping wound, and the sun its surgeon.

Daniel tried to count. To find sevens in the chaos. But the buildings weren’t in rows or columns. There was no order here.

We had you cleaned

We had you eat

He rubbed his eye. Tried to bury the memory of the song.

We love your toes

We love your meat

Odin crawled out of the rucksack and perched on Daniel’s shoulder. They surveyed the destruction together. Daniel could hardly feel the cat’s claws burrowing into his clavicle.

“No good,” said Daniel, echoing the old shopkeeper.

He walked over to one of the mounds of rubble. Heat radiating from the stones baked his cheeks.

Odin meowed. Dug his claws deeper into Daniel’s chest.

“What do you want here?” called out a voice.

Odin darted into the satchel as Daniel whirled around. His cybernetic knee grinded with the sudden turn.

“You have no business here,” said a man. He wore a holey t-shirt and a week-long beard. His eyes were swollen. Frantic.

“I’m looking for Porcu–”

“We don’t need your help,” hissed the Holey Man.

“I’m not here to help. I’m looking for Porcuperry Road.”

“You PeoPle …” The man spat his P’s “… from up north think you better than us. What with your implanted parts and such.” He nosed the air in the general direction of Daniel’s cybernetic knee.

“Sir, I mean no disrespect, but I don’t like my knee. I’d rather have my original.”

The filthy man’s eyes snapped back to Daniel’s face. “What’s that you say?”

“The Orphanage took my parts to pay my debt. I never wanted the replacements they gave me.” Daniel flexed his leg. The joint wheezed as he lowered it slowly to the earth.

“Hmmm.” The Holey Man stroked his grizzled chin. He had a gash along the bottom of his arm. Were those maggots wiggling along the edges? The man needed a good scrub of Rejek.

“What was it you’re looking for?” asked the Holey Man.

“84 Porcuperry Road.”

“Porcuperry was … fi-si-seven blocks down.”

Daniel’s heart quickened. He eyed the broken streets. Doubted he’d be able to make out city blocks in this mess.

The man sighed. “I’ll take you.” He turned on his feet and walked off, not waiting to see if Daniel followed.

~*~*~*~*~*~
AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Human. Male. From an obscure planet in the Milky Way Galaxy. Sci-fi novelist with a PhD in philosophy. Likes chocolates, Labradors, and zombies (not necessarily in that order). Werbeloff spends his days constructing thought experiments, while trying to muster enough guilt to go to the gym.

He's written two novels, Hedon and The Solace Pill, and the short story anthology, Obsidian Worlds. His books will make your brain hurt. And you'll come back for more.

Subscribe to his newsletter to receive a free novel, and a lifetime of free and discounted stories: http://smarturl.it/werbeloff

**Amazon Author Page – http://smarturl.it/AuthWerbeloff  - download all of Werbeloff's fiction from Amazon.

**Newsletter – http://smarturl.it/werbeloff - subscribe to get 'The Solace Pill' free, as well as VIP access to Werbeloff's latest fiction.

**Soud Cloud –  http://soundcloud.com/jason-werbeloff/ - listen to stories from Obsidian Worlds narrated by the inimitable Marc Ryan Rees.

**Goodreads –  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7340789 - read and submit reviews of Werbeloff’s fiction.

**Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/solaceseries  and Twitter  https://twitter.com/JasonWerbeloff – follow Werbeloff for release date information on upcoming shorts and novels.

**Website -  http://www.jasonwerbeloff.com/ -  read about the author, and the philosophy behind his fiction.

Purchase link for Defragmenting Daniel: The Organ Scrubber - The book will be free on Amazon for 4 days, August 24 – 27 2016.


The Organ Scrubber is the first fragment of the Defragmenting Daniel trilogy:
Fragment 1 – The Organ Scrubber
Fragment 2 – The Face in a Jar
Fragment 3 – The Boy Without a Heart

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

#GiveAway - Unchained Melody by Cynthia Roberts


Unchained Melody
by Cynthia Roberts


Cynthia will be awarding the first six E-books in the Love Song Standards Series to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour locations. You may find those locations here.

~*~*~*~*~*~

BLURB:

Pamela Landers had it all, a senior partnership with a top law firm, expensive car, and a luxurious condo. What she desired most was a loving husband, children and a life filled with precious memories that would comfort her through her golden years.

Funny how fate has a way of steering you down that path where dreams really can come true. When Pamela encounters Gavin Templeton along her journey, she has some life-altering decisions to make that eventually lead her to happily ever after.

GENRE: Contemporary Romance

Buy Links:  

The book is on sale for only $0.99 for a limited time!!!

Amazon | B&N |  Apple iBook | KoboSmashwords (Please use Coupon Code: AN23P)


 ~*~*~*~*~*~

EXCERPT:
  
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Templeton. I’ve been trying to get to Sugar Run for the past two years, but …” she paused. “I just don’t know how to say no to my boss.”  

He chuckled and pointed her way.

“Well, good for you. All work and no play … well, you know the rest.” He interjected.

Then she thought. I’ll be damned. She knew that name. Everyone knew the Templeton name. She was rather titillated by his attention. The Templeton’s, were quite known in the Northeast. Not only was Sugar Run a rather luxurious five-star resort, but his family had acquired over fifty acres of prime lakefront property and started developing it into one of the most eloquent gated communities that would offer luxurious 2-3-bedroom town homes, a 9-hole golf course, and private country club.
The cleft in his chin was more prominent when he smiled and it pleased her to know she was the cause of the sparkle in his eyes.

“And, please, call me Gavin.”

Her voice shook a little. “Pamela Landers … my name, that is and, thank you for sharing your table.”

The waitress arrived, took both of their orders, and refilled their coffee cups.

“So, tell me Pamela, what line of work occupies your every waking moment?”

“Law,” she answered. “My niche is wrongful death.”

The look that registered on his face made her wonder, if the legal field was something he found distasteful. She did not know why, but she wanted his approval. His opinion of her somehow mattered.

“Do you ski, Gavin?”

“Not an Olympic hopeful mind you, but I manage to make it to the bottom without breaking my neck.”

Pamela giggled.

His cell phone went off and he excused himself, as he rose and moved from the table. He was only gone for a matter of moments. When he returned to the table and rejoined her, he asked the waitress to bring him the check right away.

Pamela tried to hide her disappointment.

“Pressing business?” She asked, trying to keep the disappointment from her voice.

Gavin’s was evident as he sighed heavily. “I’m afraid so. There’s something I must attend to in Ashbury that needs my attention.” He rose and handed the waitress two twenty-dollar bills and told her to keep the change.

Pamela shook her head and raised her hand to argue but, he waved it off.

“Please, it was my pleasure to meet you.” His smile was warm and genuine. “Perhaps, you’ll join me for a cocktail this evening. I’ll send a note to your room.”

Pamela returned his smile. “Um, that would be nice,” she waved her finger at him, “but, the drinks are on me or, it’s a no.”

Gavin reached for her hand, and drew it to his lips, and stroked it tenderly with his thumb. “How can I refuse? Until later this evening then.” He bowed slightly and turned to exit.

Pamela was exuberant as she watched him leave, appreciating how well the jeans he was wearing fit around a rather nice tight ass and well-muscled thighs. Pamela relaxed and played back their meeting in her mind. Talk about fate … it was all rather unexpected and the immediate attraction she felt for him was even more surprising. She looked down at the thick, crisp waffles on her plate and began devouring them with a hunger that was as strong as her desire to meet up with the dashing and charming owner of Sugar Run.

  ~*~*~*~*~*~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

My love of reading romance fiction goes back to those early years when I was raising a young family. It wasn't until much later in life I actually took up the pen to write my first historical romance, Wind Warrior. I really don't fit into one specific niche. Once a story starts to flow, it's only then I know what genre/sub-genre it will fit under.

I have only one regret, and that is not getting to this point in my career much sooner, rather than later. Life has a way of setting up road blocks, which for me, was supposed to work out that way. Because of those detours, I have become a more passionate and expressive writer, allowing me to create the kind of raw human emotion I want my readership to feel.
It is my hope you walk away with not just an entertaining read, but the importance in knowing, "Without imagination & dreams, we lose the excitement of wonderful possibilities."

Social links:


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Saturday, August 20, 2016

#ReleaseBlitz - Rush By Nicole Edwards

NOW AVAILABLE: 
Rush
THE SEASON
By Nicole Edwards 


About the Book:

Kingston Rush

Becoming a goaltender in the NHL is the only thing I ever wanted for myself.

Goal accomplished.

Two years ago, I was the best goalie in the league, for the third time. With our Stanley Cup win, the Austin Arrows were on top of the world. Nothing could possibly bring us down.
Wrong.

Turns out, even when you’re at the top, you can find yourself back at rock bottom.

But it gets worse.

Not only did the team fall from grace, then I did too. I was accused of something I didn’t do. And now I’m being forced to repair my tarnished reputation.

Only I don’t know how to do that.

When the suggestion is made for me to pull off this ruse for the media, I know what I’m getting into. I also know there’s only one right answer.

But it’s complicated, and I’m not the only one who could get hurt.

There’s only one major problem.

I can’t say no.

m/f contemporary hockey
Release Date: August 16, 2016

 GRAB IT FOR YOUR EREADER HERE:





“...And watching as we lost six of the seven preseason games gave me a bit of heartburn, as well, but I’m holding out hope for this year. We’re skating well, have solid puck handling, the team looks strong. Much stronger than last year, but we’ve still got a long way to go.

Admittedly, I couldn’t let go of some of my key players, no matter how much of a disgrace they’ve been to the team. But I’ve got my eye on one of them in particular right now. Kingston Rush, a.k.a. Mount Rushmore.

Here’s a guy who was the league’s top goalie two years ago, with three Vezina Trophies under his belt. Quite frankly, he’s a beast and a huge asset to this team—when he’s on his game, that is—so I’m hoping a little extra attention might go a long way.

I have an idea of what got his jock strap in a twist; I simply need to dig deeper to get to the root of it. Something, or rather someone, turned him from the easygoing, mysterious badass to an instigator who started picking fights with everyone.” - Phoenix Pierce, Owner - Austin Arrows

Learn more about Phoenix, the owner of Rush's Austin Arrows in Nicole's standalone novel A Million Tiny Pieces








New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nicole Edwards lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, their three kids, and four rambunctious dogs. When she’s not writing about sexy alpha males, Nicole can often be found with her Kindle in hand or making an attempt to keep the dogs happy. You can find her hanging out on Facebook and interacting with her readers - even when she’s supposed to be writing.

Nicole also writes contemporary/new adult romance as Timberlyn Scott.

Nicole would love to hear from you!

Friday, August 19, 2016

#GiveAway #Interview - Book of Angels by K.H. Mezek

Book of Angels
Night Angels Chronicles, 2
by K.H. Mezek




Crystal: Today I have the pleasure of hosting K.H. Mezek. Welcome K.H. I'm so excited to have you here today.  Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today?

K.H.: Hello! My name is KH Mezek and I am from Los Angeles, California. I am currently on a journey, traveling and writing and training in gyms that I find along the way. I made a decision about six months ago to do this and I’ve been on the road ever since. It’s fantastic. I am currently in Costa Rica for three months, on Lake Arenal.

Crystal: Do you have a favorite scene you would like to share with us?

K.H.: Hmmm. So many! I’ve chosen a scene towards the beginning of the book, where Sera first discovers some of the truth—not all—of how the Night Angels feed, and how she will now feed, off of the Ancient Ones:

We climbed down steep stairs and the farther we went the more nervous I became. By the time we stopped, I figured we were fifty feet beneath the bottom of the lake … at least….
I stared in awe across the long, arched, low-ceilinged vault. Damp and cool water dripped down the walls, forming small puddles on the stone ground. Ninety-eight sarcophagi, forty-nine to my left and forty-nine to my right stretched before me. A path down the middle, narrow enough so that I could reach out and touch the coffins on either side, led to the ninety-ninth and one hundredth sarcophagi. They were raised on a stone platform in a position of honor above all the rest. Each sarcophagus was made of marble, covered in unique carvings and strange markings.
I licked my lips, feeling that my fangs had grown. I felt tense and excited. My mouth was dry and a terrible thirst filled my head with strange hallucinations. I could hear the strong, steady beats of one hundred hearts and a loud rush of blood through veins. A sigh escaped from my throat. 
With fearful anticipation, I followed after Peter and Marek the length of the room until they stopped in front of the two on the raised platform. The one on the right bore the words across the top and on all sides:
Mehmed II, The Conqueror, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
The one on the left bore the words:
Vlad Tepes, The Impaler, Prince of Wallachia.
Peter and Marek positioned themselves at the foot and the head of the Sultan’s sarcophagus. Together, they raised the heavy lid and placed it on its side against the wall with a thud. A horde of bats, frightened by the loud sound and roused from slumber, swooped down from the darkness above and flitted across to the other side of the vault, disappearing as quickly as they had appeared.
An unexpectedly sweet, heady aroma wafted up from the interior.  Curiously, I peered inside, along with Peter and Marek.
“Praise be to Allah!” whispered Marek.
Inside lay the Sultan, the Ottoman prince I had seen in my Turning, his head resting on a white silk pillow, a wooden stake through his heart. His body was not at all decomposed. He looked alive and yet as if he was under some kind of spell. His yellow eyes were wide open and staring straight up, his complexion unblemished, his long red velvet robe looking as fresh and clean as it had on the day he'd been dressed it in. His mouth was slightly open and I swallowed hard when I realized that the Sultan’s mouth was filled with bright red, shining blood.
It didn’t frighten me. Rather, when I saw the blood I became ravenously hungry. I wanted to bend down and drink it. Again, I licked my lips, dryer than ever, and Peter smiled at me.
“Now you know where we harvest our blood,” he said.
So it was true, the answer to my question of how denizens fed was here. Still, I didn't want to understand it, so filled was I with the conflicting emotions of desire and revulsion. 
“What do you mean?” I barely whispered the question.
Grandly, Marek strode down the path between the sarcophagi as if showing them off. “Welcome to our greatest treasure, our ancient vampires. They were evil and so we destroyed them. With the help of the Archangel Michael, we keep them here, well-guarded. We feed off their immortal blood, a fountain that never dries up.”
“No!” I cried, appalled. Was this something I now had to do, feed off of these monsters?
I found myself staring down at the Sultan, his eyes drawing me like a magnet. How still he was, how blank his eyes. Did he think, could he see me? Did he feel anything when they took his blood from him? He had been so alive, so vital in battle. There was something obscene in having imprisoned such a raw force of nature, in taking away all his power, in feeding off of him while he could do nothing to defend himself.
“It's disgusting,” I said, softly, unsure. 
Peter spoke, mockingly. “Really? You saw in your Turning the evil of this creature. He stole me as a child—he did this to hundreds of children, took us from our families. He made us into monsters like he was. He condemned us to this living hell. Now he can do no more harm.”
“But you feed off him—off them?” My voice shook with horror and I looked down the length of the room, imagining who, or what, must lie inside each one. Masters of violence and death. I could hardly bear to say it, but I knew I had to. “And I will, too?”
“Yes!” cried Marek, his long black dreads swinging left and right in the passion of his movements and speech, his eyes shining, his fangs bared. “This is perfect justice, Sera. We rose above the evil, locked it away and now we control it. We turned from being vampires and became denizens.”…..
“Let’s finish with this,” said Peter, motioning to Marek to help him withdraw the lid from the other sarcophagus. Again, we all looked inside, relieved to see that Vlad lay there, his blue eyes staring, his skin flawless except for the thin red line around his neck where he had been decapitated, his black robe immaculately clean. Resting by his side was a magnificent sword, the sheath carved in gold and inlaid with jewels. Through his heart, too, was driven a wooden stake. His slightly open mouth held a pool of blood.
“Praise be to Allah, they are both still here,” said Marek.
Peter dipped his finger into Vlad's mouth and withdrew it, dripping red. He held it up to me tantalizingly.
My eyes locked onto the sticky red liquid. I had never felt such strong desire, mixed with revulsion.
“Come on young one, try it.”
I hated that he called me that. But the desire was too strong. My fangs were bared, as were Peter’s and Marek’s. It was horrible to stand there surrounded by the undead and to do what I did.
But I did it. I leaned forward and licked the blood from his finger, every last bit. My eyes must have closed without me knowing it because I felt Peter’s cold breath on my face. When next I could see, his eyes were staring into mine, and I was sure I saw desire there. For me, or for the blood … or for the key. It was unbearable to always question and never know the answer. Was this to be my existence from now on?
I hissed and drew back from him.
“What have you done to me?” I whispered.
He smiled. “Given you everything you could possible dream of … and more.”
I wanted to cry, and yet at the same time, my desire for more blood was so strong it overcame my feelings of guilt and fear.
Peter shook his head. “No more, little one. Not yet.” He reached out and caressed my forehead.
I closed my eyes, only to open them to find Peter was reaching into Vlad’s coffin and when he withdrew his hand I gasped. He was holding the sword that had been lying beside Vlad’s body.
To my astonishment, he held the sword out to me. “This is yours,” he said solemnly. “Your first blood after your Turning came from Vlad. It's fitting that you have his sword.”
I don’t know why, but I didn’t object. My shock was gone and it now seemed the most natural thing in the world that I should take that sword. It was mine, just as he said. Reverently, I gripped the gold handle and withdrew the blade from the sheath, a surge of confidence running through me. I traced my finger down the length of the blade, delighting in the feel of the smooth, cold steel. Unable to resist the urge, I sliced through the air with swift precision, first down and then up, the action making a whooshing sound that echoed through the vault.
Although the sword was heavy and in my natural life I would not have been able to hold it with ease, now, my movements were effortless. And my knowledge of sword-fighting came from a deep place—strange that this sword and the act of using it gave me my first spiritual experience. The first I had ever had.
But then, I had drunk of the blood of the five most powerful denizens to ever walk on earth. I was a descendant of the Pharaoh and the Queen. A daughter of Lucifer. Was it possible that I would become an even greater assassin than all of them—than Fabian Gore?
A surge of excitement ran through me. I would kill him. I was a denizen warrior, destined to be the greatest of them all.
As if in confirmation of my thoughts, Peter said, “You are one of us.” It was the first time I had heard him speak with humility, and I knew that something profound had just occurred. I had passed some sort of test, although I didn't fully understand what it was.
Marek bowed his head in assent. “It's fitting you should have the sword. Here it has lain for all these centuries, awaiting a worthy bearer.”
“Carry it at all times, by your side,” said Peter. “Humans are blind creatures and can't see our weapons. But other denizens can. They will respect you for it.”
I found myself bowing my head, remembering the first time I had seen Peter and Strejan do this at Oak Haven High, and how weird and old-fashioned it had seemed. It was not that way now. I appreciated the importance of the gesture.
“Thank you.” I could say no more than that. My feelings overwhelmed me.
While Peter and Marek sealed the coffins, I struggled to control my emotions once more. The sword in my hand, the intoxicating lick of blood, and the feel of it coursing through my veins was as if a door had opened, revealing a glimpse of paradise.
Crystal:  Where did you come up with the idea for your current release?

K.H.: Book of Angels is the second volume in the Night Angels Chronicles, so it continues where Key of Mystery left off. One the fantasy side, I was inspired to take this direction, with Sera stealing the Book of Angels and having to keep it safe, because I love illuminated manuscripts, mysterious spells, powerful words and pictures, and magic. A few years ago in Ireland, I visited Trinity College and saw not only The Book of Kells but other ancient, incredibly meticulous and intricate Middle Eastern manuscripts. Standing in front of all those hand-drawn manuscripts, shining as if from an inner light from behind glass in darkened rooms, and the vastness and beauty of the library, had a profound influence on me. Sera has the opportunity to possess such a book, which is one step on her journey to find the tablet containing the Secrets to the Origins of Life. It is a dangerous journey towards knowledge that fascinates me. I wonder myself what I would do if I had such an opportunity to gain the knowledge of God.

On the urban side, I am a single mother who raised three children on the borders of a wealthy suburb very similar to the one Sera and Salem live in. I learned first-hand how cruel that world could be to those who didn’t fit in. I co-founded a creative writing program for incarcerated youth and saw the prejudice against inner city youth and the injustice that they face. Many of the young people I worked with are inspirations for my characters.

The foundation of the story is that under Los Angeles there are over 280 tunnels and an underground transportation system that has been stalled for years. Even more, there is an old Hopi legend about a 5,000 year-old enormous Lizard City (built in the shape of a lizard), beneath the tunnels, built by an advanced race to escape a reign of fire. Within the city is a hidden chamber with a treasure and a tablet upon which is written the Secrets to the Origins of Life. Everyone in the NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES has their own reasons for wanting to possess this tablet, but Sera is the only one with the key to unlock the door—and now, also, the Book of Angels.  

Crystal: What are you currently working on?

K.H.: I have finished the last draft of the third book in the series, Cave of Secrets, and now I am moving on to the fourth, Land of Talismans. The more I write in this series, the deeper I go into the story. It’s a wonderful experience. I’m also working on my childhood memoir, Into the World, about my adventures traveling with my conservative Christian family in the tumultuous 1960s, and how those experiences relate to world events today.

Crystal: Do you have any special routine that you follow when you are writing?

K.H.: I don’t have a special routine as such. There are some things I require. 1. I must do some sort of physical training every day, or almost every day. I have trained in martial arts for thirty years, Eskrima (Filipino stick and knife fighting) and boxing and kick-boxing. I also teach it. My training helps me be disciplined in my writing. And, I find great reward in training others. 2. I require a window. I have to have light and something beautiful to look at. 3. A candle—enough said. 4. A clean and uncluttered environment. I don’t mind noise, I learned to deal with that when my kids were little, but I can’t write in a mess. It’s like my mind can’t organize anything if my surroundings are disorganized. 5. At the moment, I require an interesting country in which to write! I made a decision about six months ago to travel and write as much as possible. Since that time, I have been at a writer’s residency in Martha’s Vineyard for three weeks, in Costa Rica for a month, in the Sahara Desert, Morocco for a month, in Sucre, Bolivia for two months, and now I am back in Costa Rica for three months! Two years ago, I was in Istanbul where I worked on Key of Mystery. It is my favorite city.

Crystal: Did you have to do a lot of research for this book or any other? If so do you have a fascinating fact that you have learned you would like to share with us?

K.H.: Yes! One of the things that’s so cool about this story is that the fantastical premise of searching beneath Los Angeles for the Lizard City is based on a man who really did search for it. I discovered a Los Angeles Times January 29, 1934 article about a mining expert named Schufelt who gathered enough evidence of this city to convinced the LA City Council to fund his search for this city. When he claimed to have almost reached his destination, he mysteriously disappeared. http://reptoids.com/Vault/Schufeltsearch.htm.

Crystal: Who are some of your favorite authors that you like to read?

K.H.: So many! C. S. Lewis and Tolkien were the biggest influences on my as a child. Into my teenage years, Daphne du Maurier and other authors like her. Agatha Christie—I love a cozy mystery and none does it better than she. Barbara Nadel, her mysteries set in Istanbul take me away completely. Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire had a huge effect on me. Gregory David Roberts book, Shantaram, is epic. The first paragraph gives me shivers every time I read it. Also, his life story greatly inspired me. Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White and The Moonstone—love, love, love! All the Sherlock Holmes books. Right now I confess to an obsession with the Pendergast novels by Preston and Child. I’m reading Crimson Shore right now. I think I should stop now….Oh, Dracula and Frankenstein. They will never be beat.

Crystal:  Is there any genre you haven't written that you would like to try?

K.H.: I would love to write a contemporary mystery/thriller series. I have one in the works….   


About the Book:

All Sera ever wanted was to solve the mystery of her dad’s death and find out whether or not the Night Angel, Peter, really loved her. Now, there are bigger issues at stake. After being saved from death
by the Night Angels, Sera returns to Oak Haven to find her brother, Salem, has been saved by her nemesis, the sinister Los Angeles mayor-to-be, Fabian Gore. Sera and her brother meet again in their hometown of Oak Haven as powerful denizens. And as enemies. Someone is channeling power to the Queen, imprisoned in St. Catherine’s Monastery. If she escapes, the Ancient Ones will rise up from their sarcophagi beneath churches throughout the world and wreak vengeance on denizens and humans alike. 

To thwart the Queen, Sera has no choice but to form an uneasy alliance with Gore. Meanwhile, Sera’s power and her connection to the Key of Mystery is growing.
Only she can open the Book of Angels. But whoever does that will become something that Sera never wants to be: the Seventh Angel. How can Sera solve her own problems when everyone else wants her to solve their problems as well?  




Romance, Fantasy, Suspense, Urban Fantasy
81K /
Evernight Teen Publishing

Buy Links: 



14+ due to adult situations

Excerpt:

The next thing I knew I had leapt
into the air with the two of them, my mind on St. Catherine’s Monastery, and I
found myself hurtling through the Passage, horribly aware of every atom in my
body and the indomitable forces of the universe that were trying to pull me
apart.
As if it were a part of my very
being, I held myself together, “remembered myself”, and traveled through the
Passage.
Within seconds, I was floating down
from the sky, surrounded by the immense, desolate beauty of what looked like a
moonscape. Except that the moon shone brighter and bigger than I had ever seen.
Behind me, sand stretched, wave upon wave of it, with not a hint of grass or
trees, while in front rose a sheer cliff, taller than a skyscraper. The
monastery seemed to grow out of the rock, so closely was it pressed against the
cliff.
“All looks peaceful,” observed Peter.
“Maybe too peaceful,” said Blanca.
Together, we jumped over the fortress
walls, landing in the empty courtyard. We entered the sixth century basilica.
We walked from the vestibule into the ornate nave and down the aisle, toward
the sanctuary. I gazed in awe at the ancient artifacts and the icons shining
with gold. Hundreds of lamps hung from the high ceiling like glittering
galaxies, bathing the vast room in an eerie light. Out of the shadows the
figure of the Abbot appeared, wearing a long gray robe and a cylindrical,
flat-topped hat. His long black hair was tied in a knot at the nape of his
head, a frizzy beard spreading out from his face like tangled wire. His large,
hooked nose resembled a bird’s beak and his dark eyes burned uncannily from
deep sockets.
He greeted us with a humble bow and
wordlessly led us through a dark and narrow arched doorway into a small,
circular, windowless chamber, padding silently on bare feet. The chamber was
empty except for one plain wooden table. On the table sat the black lacquered
Life Box, looking just as insignificant as the Object Holder had when I had
first seen it and fought over it with Salem. This box, though, was about twice
the size of the one that had held the key. And, whereas the Object Holder had a
gold lock and tiny gold key to open it, the Life Box had no lock and no visible
way to open it.
On either side of the table stood two
impressive Bedouin warriors. Each had one hand resting on a curved scimitar and
the other holding the hilt of a knife tucked into a belt. Their faces were
lined and weather-beaten and expressionless, as if carved from the rocks of the
mountain. The desert surrounding the monastery was home to many Bedouin. They
were devout Muslims with a long history of guarding the monastery. They had
made a vow to guard the Life Box with their lives.
The Abbot motioned for the Bedouin to
stand at ease.
Bowing low to us, the guards said in
unison, “Assalamu alaikum.” It meant, “peace be upon you.”
Along with Peter and Blanca, I
responded, “Alaikum assalamu.” This meant, “upon you be
peace.”
Like everything else in my crazy life
these days, I had no idea how I knew to say that, but I did.
The Abbot didn’t speak, just gestured
for us to gather around the box.
“He has taken a vow of silence and
hasn’t spoken in thirty years,” said Peter.
My attention was drawn to the box. I
realized it vibrated and hummed in an almost undetectable manner. Only when I
remained completely still and stared fixedly did I notice it. 
“This it does without stopping and
just today, it gained in force,” said one of the Bedouin.
Sure enough, as we watched, the box
jumped slightly, shuddered, and jumped again before falling back into its
continual vibration. It hummed a little louder now.
As I watched in fascination, I slowly
became aware that the key around my neck was growing heavier and beginning to
burn.
The box vibrated more violently and
hummed louder. As it did, it rose into the air and hovered about two feet above
the table. The vibrating and humming grew so loud I thought the box might split
apart.
The key was searing my skin and I
yelled in pain. I tried to tear it off, but it was stuck to my chest and my
hand burned when I touched it. I felt the Queen’s presence, reaching out to me.
It was pure evil and I felt attracted to it. I wanted to bow down and worship
the Queen, give her the key. I became brutally aware of her perfections and my
own failings. I loved the Queen! I despised and hated myself! Horrible thoughts
rose in my mind, the impulse to do horrible things.
Blood was pouring from my eyes. Tears
or something worse, I didn’t know.
“Take me away!” I cried out to the
others. “She’s grabbing at me. Take me away. Please!
The Bedouin had drawn their swords
and whipped out their daggers, but there was nothing they could do except stand
there, at the ready. Blanca and Peter had drawn their swords, too. They’d
placed themselves as a shield between me and the box. The Abbot ran in front of
us all and pushed Blanca and Peter back.
He turned to face the box, bracing
himself as if against a great wind, and raised his hands to heaven in prayer.
Peter and Blanca were then able to
pull me out of the chamber. I don’t think I could have moved before the Abbot
faced the box. As soon as we were back in the nave, I collapsed onto the
ground, gasping great gulps of air, thankful to find the heat of the key
subsiding. With a great cry, I tried to take it off, but it was stuck.
Completely stuck now. To my skin.
“Fuck this key! Why am I cursed with
it?”
My entire body was bathed in red
sweat. I looked down at myself in horror. What had I become? What nightmare had
I entered? I pushed back my hair and swallowed, my throat dry and constricted.
I had to get control of myself. I breathed in and out deeply.
“She’s getting stronger all the time.
She’ll get out. Maybe soon. And I was ready to help her!” I shuddered.
“But you didn’t,” said Peter.
“At least now we are sure she is
still inside,” said Blanca.
“She won’t stay there.” I could see
my fate, as I had already seen it in my Turning, and it was clearer than ever.
One day I would face the Queen. 
And I would fail! How could I not,
when she was so easily able to deceive and confuse me?
One of the Bedouin exited the
chamber. “The Abbot wants you to know he is now sure someone is channeling
power to the Queen, but he cannot see who.”
“It’s just not possible,” said
Blanca. 
The Bedouin bowed respectfully. “I
only tell you what the Abbot believes.”
“Thank you,” said Peter.
The Bedouin continued. “The Abbot
further believes that you must discover who is doing this. You must stop them
or she will escape.”
He bowed again and returned to the
nave.
“He’s right,” I said, as we walked
out of the sanctuary and into the vestibule. “She and her sons will kill me and
take the key.”
“Coward.” Blanca kicked the church
door open with her foot. “We might as well be protecting a pile of trash! If it
weren’t for the key around your neck, I’d kill you myself!”
For the first time, Blanca’s words
didn’t bother me. “You can call me what you want, I don’t care. But you better
listen because she will escape and we won’t be able to stop
her. We need to figure out what to do instead of arguing all the time.”
“Well said,” said Peter. “Let’s get
back to the castle and tell the others.”
We were outside of the basilica now
and we stood for a moment, surveying the courtyard, the full moon casting eerie
shadows across the ground. I looked more carefully and saw that some of the
shadows moved like living things.
“What’s that?” I asked.
Peter and Blanca looked up to the sky
and I did the same. A gathering storms of wispy black tendrils snaked across
the sky, mirroring the moving shadows on the ground.
“What the hell…” I said.
“Wind demons,” said Blanca.
I looked at Peter inquiringly.
“Seventy-two demons were captured by King Solomon and then released by mistake.
Up there you see maybe twenty of them.”
The Abbot and the two Bedouin had
joined us in the courtyard.
“We have never seen them here
before,” said one of the Bedouin.
“And so many,” said Peter. He sighed.
“I hate wind demons.”
The Abbot was motioning us to follow
him. We hurried across the courtyard, which was now filled with a howling wind,
the shadows of the wind demons slithering back and forth across the stones like
snakes. A group of monks appeared, running in the opposite direction, heading
for the church.
“They will pray,” yelled one of the
Bedouin above the din.
This was not making me any happier. I
had just escaped the clutches of the Queen and now I had to contend with wind
demons? Was there no end to the problems I had to face in one day?
The Abbot led us into the Fatimid mosque
that stood across from the church. Standing on its own, opposite the gigantic
bell tower, was the minaret and we entered and climbed swiftly up the stairs.
It was from this highest point that the muezzin sang across the desert, calling
the followers of Islam to prayer, five times a day. We climbed out onto the
little platform that ran around the top of the minaret, and from here, I felt
the full force of the gale. The shadows screamed and I could see cavernous,
greedy mouths appear and disappear as they whipped around the tower, creating a
whirlpool of darkness. Only when I looked straight up could I see clear sky and
stars. But that opening was growing narrower by the minute. All around was
completely empty of light, as if the very sky itself had been sucked into a
giant black hole of whirling mouths and tails, into which we, too, would be
sucked if we tried to fly upward.
Peter and Blanca unsheathed their
swords and I did the same.
Peter pointed with his sword. “We
must fly straight up. They don’t dare come too close to the minaret.”
The Abbot nodded, making motions that
we should hurry.
“Put your sword away,” Peter said.
I began to object, then obeyed. This
didn’t seem like the time to argue.
He gripped my arm. “Listen carefully!
Jump onto my back. Once we’ve achieved the Passage, we’ll be safe. Until then,
you must hold your breath—don’t breathe, understand? If you do, the shadows
will enter and steal your soul.”
I nodded, terrified.
I jumped onto his back and held on
tightly.
The Abbot raised his arms, while the
Bedouin brandished their swords at the swirling darkness. It seemed to abate a
bit, and Peter and Blanca seized that moment to leap into the air. I breathed
in deeply and held onto my breath.
All was chaos in the tunnel through
the shadows, the terrible wind trying to push us back down, a screaming noise
like a thousand pigs being gutted. Flying straight upward, the two Night Angels
fought the demons with their swords, slicing into the tendrils that tried to
encircle them.
I was sure we had almost made it when
I felt an icy tendril touch my leg. I almost opened my mouth to scream. As it
was, I let go of Peter with one arm and tried to reach down to bat at the
tendril. I felt myself slipping halfway down his back and scrambled to pull
myself back up again.
I was falling!
The snaky thing had my ankle now. I
tried to kick with my foot to shake it off, while struggling to get a better
hold on Peter. I was growing weaker. I had to take a breath. My chest was
exploding.
And then, the Passage was achieved
and we were through. I pushed away from Peter with relief, feeling the now
familiar force of my molecules trying to split apart and me holding them
together, as we rocketed through space and time, landing within seconds in the
little garden of the castle. 




Key of Mystery, Book 1,  is also available now:  Amazon   Evernight Teen    ARe



About the Author:

Karen Hunt aka KH Mezek is the author and/or illustrator of nineteen children’s books and numerous essays and short stories. 'Reflections from Istanbul,' an excerpt from her childhood memoir, won the 2015 New Millennium Writings Nonfiction Award. She is the co-founder of InsideOUT Writers, a creative writing program for incarcerated
youth in Los Angeles, and the founder of the MY WORLD PROJECT, connecting youth in remote areas around the world through art and writing. She is a 2nd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, a first degree brown belt in Eskrima, and a boxing and kick-boxing trainer. As a child, she and her family escaped out of Egypt right before the 6 Day War, lived in a 17th century castle in Switzerland and smuggled Bibles into communist countries, to name a few of her
adventures. As an adult, she continued her adventures, living between London and a village in Yugoslavia. Key of Mystery and Book of Angels, volumes one and two in the NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES, are published with
Evernight Teen.  


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