Blood of Azure

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Jonathan J. Michael and his epic fantasy series, Blood of Azure.

Author’s description



Four races with powers dictated by the seasons seek balance and prosperity. However, life instinctively primes itself for survival, and when one race commands the touch of death, all others fall in line. Tyranny plagues Azure as an immortal ruler governs the knowledge of the seasons and those wielding its power.


Four young protagonists, Stone, Jaymes, Goose, and Astor, each navigate their way to escape his shadow and reclaim their freedom. Simple ambitions for young souls. But little did they know, they would uncover the secrets the realm is built upon, and the unique talents they each carry. Their ignorance allows the knowledge of the seasons to escape into the world around them little by little, and with it, a power loosing anarchy upon the realm. A power most aren’t worthy of wielding. It is up to Stone and his companions to tame that power and reclaim the balance.


Four seasons to balance the land. Four sages to balance the life.




Courage is for the bold. It is not for Stone McLarin. He’s been in hiding for four seasons after being orphaned by the Taoiseach. He doesn’t care for the heroic antics of avenging his parent’s death or securing his freedom. He only desires one thing—to protect his sister’s life.

This proves challenging when his sister, Jaymes, possesses a rivaling power of decay to that of the tyrant ruler’s. She’s a threat to his dominance, and there will be no escaping his shadow.

When the Taoiseach manipulates his way into Jaymes’s life and steals her away, Stone has no choice but to follow. He must venture into the heart of the tyrant’s domain and figure out how to penetrate the impenetrable. And if he succeeds there, he will have to slay the most powerful man in Azure.

In a world ruled by decay, what chance does life stand?

Season of Sacrifice is part one of the Blood of Azure series—an epic fantasy full of grim encounters, heroic adventures, unique magic, and a captivating world to explore.

Author’s Note: Contains explicit language and some graphic descriptions.




A villain in his own mind, Stone McLarin is labeled the hero for murdering a man.

Not only is Stone weighted down as a hero, but he’s idolized by the dominant religion, and he’s the sole protector of the knowledge of the ages. The pressure of the entire realm is on his shoulders.

Carib Reign, a shapeshifter building an army of immortals, plans to purge the Crimson Capital to find this hidden knowledge. His motive, to give the people of Azure the freedom they deserve.

With many adventures along the way, Stone will lead the charge to defend the Crimson Capital against the Immortal Army. Should he fail, anarchy is inevitable. Death for all Azure, a possibility.

Where there is life, death anticipates. But what if death is abandoned? Life will rebel.

Season of Suffering is part two of the Blood of Azure series—an epic fantasy with both light and dark hearts. You’ll experience many fantasy tropes, clashing swords, unique magic, fantastical beasts, and a wide range of Azure’s scenic terrain.

Author’s Note: Contains explicit language and some graphic descriptions.

About Jonathan J. Michael

Jonathan J Michael was born and raised in the greater Seattle area in the scenic state of Washington. Jonathan is an advocate of science, nature, and exploration, which has a heavy influence in his debut series, Blood of Azure.

When I drive down the freeway, I often want to veer onto the backroads and head for the mountains. When I’m at an evening gathering, I’m eager to step outside and gaze at the stars. When I’m on a ferry, I’m at the guardrail staring into the depths wondering what kind of leviathans lurk below. I’m an explorer, and since I’m not on the next Crew Dragon headed for the ISS, fantasy novels let me have what I seek. I write to explore a world of wonder.

Why I Write Fantasy

by Jonathan J. Michael

A waterfall pours from the clouds. Flying fish dance around it in a thrum of idiocy, searching for food. My spear flies, piercing two or three. The predator becomes a meal today. I move to retrieve my catch, and the looming shadow appears again. I halt, wary of its existence. What is it? It hovers above the clouds, just over the waterfall. A thin line drops from the fluffy ceiling, something glowing on the end of it. Something sweet. Is that…is that neverweed? It only blooms once in a cycle. It’s not time. I beat my fins. The sweet aroma draws me in, nearly irresistible. The idiocy of fish continues to circle around themselves, and only scatter when I get within an arm’s reach. With a swift jab, I snag the neverweed. Bubbles fill the dense air around me as high velocity projectiles shoot downward. A dark net encapsulates me, sending me skyward.

My imagination is my limitation. If there’s consistency within the realm, it works. Even if it’s consistently inconsistent. The thrill of discovering ridiculous ideas is fun. I intend to write an entire series surrounding that paragraph. And when I find a way to pull all the ridiculousness together in a logical manner, it will be exhilarating. That is why I write fantasy. I can turn idiocy into brilliance with the right flow of words.

The dense air grows denser as I’m pulled upward. I touched the ceiling once. When I was a child testing my limits. But never have I flown into the clouds. We don’t go into the clouds. The air is nearly unbreathable. As it thickens, I can feel the heavy weight on my lungs. Suddenly, all is clear. The pressing weight lifts and shocks my system as the air above the clouds is quite the opposite. Too thin to breathe. I gasp, trying to fill my lungs, but I cannot get enough air. I must return to my world, beneath the clouds. I don’t belong up here. I pause for a moment, as I realize the serenity of the space surrounding me. A blue ceiling spanning across the sky. Not the marbling whites and greys I’m accustomed to. And the sun shines brightly. I only ever witness it once a cycle, but in a fraction of what I’m sensing now. Its warmth fills me. The energy pours into me. I try to sprawl out to take it in, and remember I’m trapped within a net, being hoisted to a dark silhouette above me. And I struggle to breathe. How do I escape?

My protagonist pops into a new world. A world with a taste of beauty and novelty. But also, a world of threat and toxicity. It creates wonder. Wonder I have no limitations to explore. My protagonist has limitations, perhaps, but not the writer. That’s why I write fantasy. To explore new worlds.

I can breathe, but hardly. I’ve trained for this. It’s no different than when we submerge ourselves to the depths where the neverweed grows. Deep beneath the dense oceans. I flatten my lips, allowing a slow stream of the thin air to fill my lungs. I continue letting it in and balloon my chest as far as it will go, then slowly exhale. This is just to calm my nerves. It’s a new world up here. The tribe will be thrilled to hear about this. If I return. I continue my slow breathing exercises. I open my diaphragm as I inhale, hold my breath for a short second, then slowly exhale. The fresh air replaces the low-quality air hunkered deep within me. I do this several more times, and my breathing gets easier, as long as it’s slow and methodical. Once I have my breathing under control, I unsheathe the sickle at my waist and slice at the netting. A hole opens, and I fall through it—an experience I’ve never encountered. Panic takes hold. I haven’t trained for this. My fins beat against the air but do nothing. My arms flail but have no grasp on the air around me. I’m too heavy up here, the air cannot support my mass. I gasp, forgetting my breathing techniques as I plummet. A puff of clouds catches me, and it quickly turns back into my ceiling. A dull, grey, comfortable ceiling. I’m safe.

A common experience for humanity. A wonder to my protagonist. Can you imagine not knowing what it’s like to fall? He lives in a world where falling doesn’t exist. It’s an untouched experience for him. That’s why I write fantasy. To experience the world from different perspectives.

There are so many reasons to write fantasy, but for me it all boils down to exploring ridiculous ideas, discovering new worlds, and experiencing them through different eyes. Fantasy opens the mind and hacks away boundaries.

Find Jonathan J. Michael


Buy the Blood of Azure Books

Season of Sacrifice – Amazon:
Season of Suffering – Amazon:

Yes, there is a giveaway

Jonathan J. Michael will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish.

My Favorite Excerpt

From Season of Suffering: I step away from the blood-soaked terrain and reach into my belt pouch, withdrawing a few seeds. I ponder over them for a moment. My fury subsides. But not completely. Just enough for me to regain my senses. Pain floods my body. I get down to one knee and drop the seeds into the soil, brushing remains of the decaying forest floor over top of them. I press hard into the soil with both hands.

One sprout emerges from the ground ahead of two others. All three grow to knee-high in size before a plumage of green needles sprouts from the top. Then branches spill away from the still thickening trunk and begin to form digits. The trunk itself, on all three saplings, rips from the ground and splits at the base, each forming digits as well. Dark eyes spring open and flutter as they wake.

I rise above the forest children. They stand attentive, awaiting instruction. “Arbormen, there is no battle this time, my apologies.” I speak candidly to them. “I require you to send a message. Find Iron Valor and tell him of what happened here. Tell him it is time. Go.” The forest children scurry into the waking forest without hesitation and vanish amidst the undergrowth.

Retribution will be delivered. But first… First, I must deliver my family back to Azure.

Thank you!

Jonathan J. Michael — we appreciate your sharing your series Blood of Azure with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Witchslayer’s Scion

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author L.T. Getty and her Sword and Sorcery fantasy, Witchslayer’s Scion.

Author’s description

Koth’s life was decided for him since before he was born, for his ability to heal wounds by touch is rare even among his people. When an attempted kidnapping turns to sacrificial murder, he embraces vengeance and the sword. As he journeys far from his small isolated village in the north, he learns the truth as to why his bloodline is targeted by strange magic, in a world still rebuilding from a time when dark sorcerers didn’t bother with secrecy.

Koth thinks his quest is straightforward enough–find the men responsible, and kill them–and any who aid them. He will soon learn that those who have both privilege and power, there are few things they lack–and in the pursuit of godhood, their allies can prove even more sinister as mere mortals seek to advent empires and dynasties.

About L.T. Getty

L.T. Getty is a rural paramedic from Manitoba. She enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy and generally being creative.

Find L.T. Getty on her blog at:

Buy Witchslayer’s Scion

Amazon (American):
Amazon (Canadian):
Champagne Books:
Barnes and Noble:

Yes, there is a giveaway

L.T. Getty will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish.

Thoughts on Secondary Characters

In my books I usually have a minor character who insists on playing a larger role in the story. So I asked L. T. Getty if there was such a character in her novel? Here is her answer.

In Witchslayer’s Scion, it was the character of Nisiris. I think the reason as to Why was because he and and the main character Koth initially had very similar motivations, but whereas Koth eventually put aside his revenge for doing what was right, Nisiris kept going down a dark path.

Nisiris is a young fisherman living under colonial rule on his island of Tredonia. He’s all but actively rebelling at this point, feeling generally resentful towards mainlanders on his island. He and several others chance across a badly damaged imperial warship, and find that the crew was trying to limp to safety after a battle, with most of the crew sick or dying as their ship had been dead in the water several days, but finds a noble-born he thinks he can ransom back. He and his friend arrive back on deck to see that the Imperial ship also spotted the damaged ship, and his fisher boat crew has abandoned them. He strikes a deal with the prince, only for the prince to turn on him, demanding a blood duel between the friends with the winner to be sold as a pit fighter (gladiator) back in in the Imperium, with them both to be sold into hard slavery if they refuse to fight. Nisiris curses the prince and swears revenge, but waits until the bad weather starts to jump ship, and is washed out to sea. He washes up on the small island called Mazala and takes up service with the Lady of the Island Elza, eventually becoming her lover and beginning the journey of becoming a mage.

This first part of the novel takes place about twenty years prior was written at the very end of my draft. I started out with Koth and came back to the beginning at the very end because I felt it felt too long to take us to the Tenageen plot. When I got feedback from a blue pencil session, I was told that my choice could be confusing for some readers. I still preferred starting with Nisiris, as it set up this giant backdrop and gave the idea about the bigger picture of the world before we got to it, as opposed to this creep towards this rising empire in the south. It set up the theme that things were going on before the main character was around, and how the past shapes the world we’re in now, even when the people responsible for the state of the world are often long gone.

I wasn’t expecting Nisiris to have a breakout role of villain. I thought it was going to be Elza or Lamont, but they were cunning and calculated, so it took a lot for them to deviate from the plan, and really out of the two of them only Lamont did at the very end.  Nisiris on the other hand wasn’t a centuries old being who learned patience and was acting more like a regular human being as opposed to the others, so he was relatable  to the audience. Nisiris also fit the definition of what I call a Battle Mage.

I never really think about the trope of Squishy Wizards but t find that a lot of my mage characters lean this way because as they become more powerful in magic they don’t have to rely on their physical prowess. Mages aren’t all one in the same, as they have different natural abilities with powers, as well as roles in their covens, but one relatively low-level mage can cause massive damage to a group of regular people. They also typically have people with weapons to guard their backs, so assuming that you are the rare person able to ward off a spell, you now have to get through their body guard. And because it takes a very long time to get that real power, mages tend not to focus on the physical other than the aesthetic – and I’ve often implied that they use their magic to make themselves more attractive or fierce.

A Battle Mage is someone who can use a weapon or fight physically as well as with magic. The main reason I have for this not being so common is that the majority of apprentices are selected from a young age and discouraged from using weapons. They do the cloak and dagger thing, but if you’re a high wizard on the cusp of ultimate power, you’re at a disadvantage if your apprentice decides to start taking down your allies physically with an axe and you’re grasping at the Ultimate McGuffin. But if you’re an Archmage and you picked someone knowing they won’t get very far in with magic, they can be useful to have around. It’s just usually not a bad idea to keep a bodyguard kicking around in case anyone gets any clever ideas.

As for making characters behave well – I say let your characters act up, but in a way that’s entertaining to the reader. Give them a satisfactory story arc and really delve into their mindset. I don’t want to manipulate puppets, I want to be surprised and tell a better story when I’m done then when I sat down with my original ideas.

Thank you!

L.T. Getty — we appreciate your sharing your book Witchslayer’s Scion with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Beauty in the Beast

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Emily-Jane Hills Orford and her fantasy/science fiction novel, Beauty in the Beast.

Author’s description

Priya, a name that suggests beautiful. Amell, a name that suggests all powerful. One is a beautiful young lady; the other a beast. Their paths have crossed before, only Priya doesn’t remember Amell from her past. Or does she? And what does it all mean? The Amell she meets is part beast. So are the others at Castle Mutasim. Is she one of them, too? How can this be? What manner of creature would experiment on other living creatures, to mutate them into something bizarre and, sometimes, downright dangerous? Priya has to know. She wants to know. And she wants to make things right.

About Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Emily-Jane Hills Orford is a country writer, living just outside the tiny community of North Gower, Ontario, near the nation’s capital. With degrees in art history, music and Canadian studies, the retired music teacher enjoys the quiet nature of her country home and the inspiration of working at her antique Jane Austen-style spinet desk, feeling quite complete as she writes and stares out the large picture window at the birds and the forest. She writes in several genres, including creative nonfiction, memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction.

Find Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Twitter: @ejhomusic

Buy Beauty in the Beast

Amazon buy link:

Characters Who Won’t Behave

In my books I usually have one minor character who insists on playing a larger role in the story. I’m always curious as to whether other authors experience this, so I asked Emily-Jane Hills Orford if she had such a character in her novel, Beauty in the Beast? And if she didn’t, I wanted to know how she got the characters in her head to behave so well! She answered both questions and it appears she and I have similar problems. Enjoy her delightful response!

Priya’s best friend (BFF, of course) was her rescued dog, Bear. Only, upon arriving at Castle Mutasim, she discovers that Bear is really a mutant dog/human and who knows what else. Sitting next to her at the grand table in the castle’s dining room, Priya is stunned.

““Bear?” she gasped.

          ““Yes, Priya,” the creature replied. “It is I. The one you call Bear. Perhaps you could come up with another name. Like Gawain. Or Wayne, for short.”

          “His suggestion was met with guffaws all around the table. “He fashions himself after the great Sir Gawain,” Roderick paused from his eating long enough to explain, pointing a fork at Bear. “Knight in shining armor. Rescuer of damsels in distress and all that.””

          From BFF as a dog, to BFF as a mutant, Bear, now Wayne, aspires to capture Priya’s attention, only he has a hidden agenda which is not in Priya’s best interests or that of the other castle’s occupants. He always appears to be elbowing his way into the action. I really can’t say anymore without giving away the story.

          As for your second question, how I get the characters in my head to behave so well, I didn’t think they did. They haunt me in my sleep and plague my every waking hour. I’m forever fixing them up and molding their moods to suit the plot. No, they don’t behave: it’s a smoke screen, an illusion.

Yes, there is a giveaway

Emily-Jane Hills Orford will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

“Amell,” she screamed. “Amell. Help me.”

She was pinned in a hunk of metal, the world around her growing darker by the minute. And it was cold. Bitter. Bone-chilling. A soft tongue licked her cheek. Whines and a warm breath slipped into her ear. Bear. Her three-year-old mutt, a Border Collie-Black Lab mix. Black and white. Full of love and mischief. Her strength in a time of need. Like right now.

She had rescued Bear. A puppy tossed in a dumpster. Left to die. The two were inseparable. Now, she was failing Bear. And they would die.

One final scream, “Amell.”

“I’m so sorry, Bear,” she whispered.

As she slipped into oblivion, she felt a fog of confusion slither through her brain. Who is Amell?

Thank you!

Emily-Jane Hills Orford — we appreciate your sharing your book Beauty in the Beast with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

The Gingerbread Curse

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author April Marcom and her fantasy fairy tale novel, The Gingerbread Curse.

Author’s description

All her life, Falon’s grandfather told her the age-old tale of ‘The Gingerbread Man’. Even as a teenager, she’d fallen asleep to his favorite bedtime story, a special tradition she knew she’d never outgrow.  However, when he makes a dying wish, asking her to visit a secret underground world of magic to rescue the best friend he left behind fifty years ago, the tale begins to come to life.

Setting out with her self-obsessed cousin and a cure for the magicked man with skin like gingerbread, she finds herself tangled within an adventure nothing like the story her grandfather always told.

Once having found the long lost man of her grandfather’s youth, her only hope of ever returning home, or even surviving his world, lies in the talons of a deadly hybrid she scarcely trusts. Together they must face the animals taken from the children’s tale and magicked into monsters, a man who can move mountains who is bent on killing them all, and a labyrinth rumored to have never allowed a survivor.

About April Marcom

April Marcom works as a Pre-K teacher’s assistant, but her true passion is writing. When she’s not teaching or creating stories, she’s enjoying the country life with her car-obsessed husband and three fabulous children.

She also enjoys rainy days, traveling, and her very rowdy dogs. April grew up a southern bell in Mississippi, but is now a proud Oklahoman.

Find April Marcom


Buy The Gingerbread Curse

The book will be $0.99 at
Amazon –
Apple –
Kobo –
B&N –

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

A thrill shot through me as I approached the spectacular tree. Something wonderful was about to happen, or something I might very well regret for the rest of my life. Either way, I was simply too hungry, and there was too much time ahead of me with no food, to have a choice in eating it or not…

I stared at all the tear drops. None stood out especially. The ones closer to the trunk of the tree were the biggest. My appetite was pushing me in their direction. I followed one of the branches inward, wondering if a larger crystal meant a stronger ability. No amount of time trying to decide which one would make any difference. And part of me was terribly excited to discover which of Sierra’s ‘gifts’ I was about to inherit.

The leaves twinkled and sparkled against one another. I reached out for the largest one in sight, wondering if it might give me fearlessness or musical ability or wisdom beyond my years, but stopped at the last moment when I noticed the one hanging just above it. Frost-like patterns etched over the higher crystal created a perfect calligraphy F. It was as if my name was written on it. This was the one.

I reached out with both hands and cupped them around the leaf, catching nearly every purple petal. They had a chill to them, and felt damp as if they’d been painted with fresh morning dew. The rest liquefied, one by one, as they hit the ground.

Cautiously, I ate one petal. The sweet burst that erupted like grape juice inside my mouth was so delightful, I ate the rest without restraint.

April Marcom answers a question

just for us!

In my books I’ve always had one minor character who insisted on playing a larger role in the story. So I asked April Marcom if there was there such a character in her novel.  It looks like there was.  I’ll let her tell you about it …

I guess I’d say Aurora’s kind of like that. She starts out as a minor character (Falon’s new cousin by marriage), but has become rather good at bullying her way into the spotlight throughout her perfect Barbie doll-style life. Once she and Falon are trapped underground and immortality’s at their fingertips, Aurora’s number one reason for wanting to escape and return to normal life is that everyone down there seems to like Falon better than her. That’s not something she’s used to, nor is it something she’s willing to put up with. 

Spoiler Alert: When she and Falon reach Sierra’s magical island and each are offered a special, surprise ability, Aurora receives the gift of seeing people based on their inner beauty. She realizes she’s hideous and accuses Sierra of ruining her life, but knows she’s got to make some changes.

Thank you!

April Marcom — we appreciate your sharing your thoughts and your book The Gingerbread Curse with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Celestine and her mom both get some love

I worried that my fifth sister wouldn’t be likeable enough. For starters, she’s really pretty. She’s a little fixated on her appearance too, and those who aren’t fond of her consider her shallow.

Of course, there’s much more to her than that, but would my readers stick with her long enough to find out? I hoped so.

Well, Celestine and her story have gotten three reviews in the last two days and I’m delighted that people like her. They really like her.

Reviewer Gina Rae Mitchell said “This is perhaps my favorite so far in the series.”

Ally of Fabulous and Brunette called the book “Another fantastic addition to an already successful book series!!!”

And Merissa of Archaeolibrarian said Celestine’s book was a “brilliant addition to a fantastic series.”


One thing almost every reviewer has mentioned is that they liked the way I told the story of two women in love. This means a lot to me. Family and friends have forged my strong support of and alliance with the LBGTQ+ community and I wanted this part to work well.

The other thing that got mentioned often is a few small scenes revealing more about Celestine’s mother. Originally I wasn’t sure I would include this information, but when I began to write it, it jumped from my brain through my fingers and onto the page with an electrical current I couldn’t stop. (And I know better than to try.)

This happens once in a while when I write and it is one of the greatest highs I know. I barely rewrote a word of those scenes later, and I’m glad readers have found them as powerful as I did. Obviously, Mom needed the chance to have her say.

I know there are many more reviews to come. They won’t all be good … I’ve been to this rodeo before. But today I’m savoring the moment.


Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Michael Leon and his Sci-fi/ Fantasy Romance novel, Chandelier.

Author’s description

Chandelier is the genre-bending sci-fi/fantasy-romance novel follow up of Michael Leon’s 2019 fantasy-romance book, Phantoms. A century has passed since the fabled Phantom ruled the Garnier Opera House. Technology has advanced, and AI has evolved beyond human knowledge. They reside in a virtual Earth, free from the ravages of an environmentally damaged Earth where humans and post-humans live under AI’s qualified governance. Chandelier follows one AI sentient’s journey, Benny, whose loyalty for a famous opera singer, Madame D’Arenberg, sets him on a dangerous course, entangling him in The Phantom of the Opera’s deadly web.

About Michael Leon

Michael Leon is an explorer, writer and author of the new novel, Sentient. Professionally trained in international trade, Michael has spent the last decade reading and writing SFF novels about new worlds to be explored in the future. His latest work, Sentient, imagines Earth in the year 2120. His next novel, Chandelier, will be released in 2022. Michael has traveled extensively around Europe, walking the paths of his characters, from the famous European opera houses in Phantoms to the mountain tops of Switzerland in Emissary.

Find Michael Leon


Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

The twilight between tired revellers and early morning risers had become Erik’s refuge, a place where the pains of past and present could coalesce in his ritual of the macabre. He’d dreamt of his tormentors again, beasts controlled by masters who understood their canine’s savagery as intimately as a mother knew her child and recurring nightly, taunting his mind.

Chilly breezes flowed down from the Lepontine Alps, carving patterns across Lake Como, so he drew his coat closer, protecting all but his face, but he wouldn’t feel an arctic breeze there. He touched his pale cheeks, not to warm them for they were permanently cold, an immovable party mask. Instead, he felt the rough texture of the implanted skin, grafted to his face. Habitually, he reached into his coat pocket for a medicated ointment that soothed and camouflaged his face in equal measure.

A single boat predictably made its way toward the Bellagio port, the first for the day, in wait for the steady procession of commuters and tourists that would navigate the Lombardy region, Italy’s foothills to the Swiss alps. The light from the slow-moving boat cast a darker than usual spotlight on the famous U-shaped lake, lit by its twin light, a crescent moon. It took Erik back to a dark past when he ruled the Garnier from the recesses of its famous lake chamber. His rule was cut short through carelessness, a mistake he would not repeat. He’d return to the jewel of the opera crown and rule that grand world again, but this time he’d lead it from the stage rather than Garnier’s hidden lake.

Were similar dark secrets contained in the black depths of Lake Como? The thought made him grimace, drawing pain. He held his mouth and cheeks, soothing the scar lines camouflaged beneath a thick beard. The scars, like his name, Erik, were all that remained of his past life, contingencies needed to protect him from those who’d seek to destroy him.

Thank you!

Michael Leon — we appreciate your sharing your book Chandelier with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Feature me? I’ll feature you.

Today I want to offer a big thanks to author Deb Bailey for featuring my new release “She’s the One Who Can’t Keep Quiet” on her lovely blog!

More than that, I want to thank her for noticing that she and I write the sorts of stories likely to appeal to overlapping readers and for suggesting we try to promote each other’s new releases. It’s a great arrangement!

Do you write fantasy? Any kind of speculative fiction? Drop me a note in the comments section if you want to look into whether we have enough overlap to enter into a similar situation.

I love the idea of promoting other authors, and of course we all are happy to get a little more publicity, especially when it is free.

Meanwhile, check out Deborah and her stories — she has written some fascinating ones!

The Defender

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Larissa Soehn and her Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel, The Defender.

Author’s description

A woman battling depression and anxiety finds herself trapped in her own life, but when an alien device rips her away from Earth, she is forced to fulfill an impossible role and save the galaxies from destruction.

On Earth, Alexia Harmon is a mother and wife, but in a foreign galaxy, she is so much more. Torn away from her family, Alex is in an epic battle to escape from Gatlin and return to Earth. But little does Alex know, Gatlin is on the verge of destruction. The galaxy faces annihilation; a prophetic doom that was set in motion thousands of years ago.

Alex struggles to stay alive as she fights against an alien government that is trying to kill her, a species of genetically engineered creatures that are hell bent on her destruction, and the demons of her own mind that threaten to overthrow her. Join Alexia Harmon as she works to fulfill her role as THE DEFENDER.

About the Author

Larissa Soehn is a budding new author from the cozy city of Red Deer, Alberta, where she lives with her husband, daughter, two cats and a dog. She started this journey as a recovery method for severe depression. She found that creative writing helped her process her emotions and work through the struggles of depression. As a child, Larissa enjoyed writing and telling stories, a passion that has recently reignited inside of her. Currently she is working to finalize the Gatlin Series, as well as publish a series of children’s books to help families discuss the importance of mental health, amongst other social issues facing children today. Larissa is an advocate for mental health and uses her personal experiences to help others work through their struggles. She uses social media platforms to help spread her message and give people permission to speak up and speak out.

Find the Author

WEBSITE – Larissa Soehn – Author Website
FACEBOOK – Larissa Soehn | Facebook
INSTAGRAM – Larissa Soehn (@larissa_soehn) • Instagram photos and videos

Buy the Book

The book will be free.

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.


My Favorite Excerpt

With Stellie’s last words still hanging in the air, the lights go out and Alex is slammed into darkness. Immediately, her mind begins to race, and she can feel the panic rising in her stomach, starting to choke her throat. Darkness has always been a weak point for her. It’s the moment where she is left alone with only her thoughts to keep her company. With a strangled feeling in her chest, she manages a breath, and then another.

The darkness stretches on for longer than Alex thought possible. There is no noise from the aliens in the crowd; there is only black. The darkness begins to press in on her as if she is being compressed, her breathing becomes more rapid, and she begins to feel sweat bead on her forehead. She can feel a panic attack coming on, something she frequently experiences, but they still have the ability to leave her paralyzed, unable to make decisions or do anything to help herself.

Breathe, Alex, just breathe, she says to herself. She crouches down to place her hands on the ground and puts her head between her knees. She can feel the ground beneath her vibrate lightly, but she knows enough not to trust her senses right now. Panic attacks allow her mind to play tricks on her, altering the way her surroundings look and feel, taking everything that is real and skewing it into something negative, something scary. Her steady breathing starts to return, and the panic attack is narrowly avoided. What is going on? Has something gone wrong with the test? Alex thinks to herself.

Just as the thought enters her mind, a very faint light starts to appear in the far corner of the room. She stares at the light, unsure if her mind is playing tricks on her. As she stares, the light grows brighter, illuminating one of the tables she saw when she first entered the room. With a curiosity that she cannot control, she moves to a standing position and starts to take a tentative step forward.

Some thoughts from the author

I got the chance to ask Larissa Soehn a question, so I asked her which character in The Defender most turns from a caterpillar into a butterfly and what makes their transformation special? Here is her answer …

Alexia Harmon is a troubled young woman. Her mind, riddled with anxiety and depression, plays against her, twisting and darkening her everyday thoughts and actions. Alex faces challenges that extend far beyond the typical housewife repertoire throughout her story. 

As the Galaxy of Gatlin continues to push against her, Alex finds herself forced to grow and change. Her challenges extend beyond the necessity to adapt; she must also remember who she is and where she came from. For Alex, family is everything. Forced to move through the paces of a foreign galaxy, she struggles to find herself as thoughts and memories of her family dance through her head.

Alex has a mantra, “You are strong, you are independent, and you are worthy.” Repeating her mantra, Alex steps through the trials of Gatlin and, with a bit of help, becomes a stronger person, both mentally and physically. With the help of sixth sense mental training from her newest alien friend, she learns to control her thoughts and still her busy mind. Watch Alex as she goes from a naive and mentally plagued into a true hero.

Thank you!

Larissa Soehn — we appreciate your sharing your book The Defender with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

I was fascinated by the Velka …

Just a quick post to say that I’m so happy for my book review on The Faerie Review Blogger Liliyana Shadowlyn “liked the idea of a commune of strong, magical women living in the woods” in She’s the One Who Thinks Too Much.

As to my main character Ryalgar, she loved “how no matter the odds, she’s determined to make sure everything she holds dear is protected, whether those who rule want to help or not.” She added that she is “definitely looking forward to book two.”

And look at the great displays she made!

It’s worth checking out the rest of The Faerie Review, too –it’s a wonderful blog and a fun place to visit.