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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Release Day Blitz: The Watcher by Louise James



A classic struggle between good vs. evil! 




The Watcher
(The Ent Chronicles Series, Bk 1)
by Louise James

Blurb:

Long ago a powerful coalition of wizards and witches—The Seven—began a quest to recover hallowed grounds in the Earthling Realm. The day had arrived to claim Hailstone Hamlet! A Dark Wizard, Lord Haydron expects no one to survive the destruction, but he was wrong.

An apprentice Healer miraculously survives with no memory of what occurred but, why was she spared?

Unexpectedly, her locket opens as if by magik, and a cheery old woman speaking in a funny accent appears.

“Come for ye have I. Away from here ye must stay.
Troubles come with darkness of night; The Watcher protects and The Lantern lights.” 

Ewallea assures her that she will remain by her side as they seek answers. Overwhelmed and injured, Amellea passes out only to wake in the arms of a handsome young man, riding upon the most beautiful creature she had ever seen. The Hunter believes she was spared for a purpose and their destinies are entwined. He pledges to help her locate friends and family. 

The feisty beauty and her new companions find themselves on a journey of unexpected adventures to reach an enchanted forest, filled with mischievous fantastical creatures.


Available for purchase at 



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Excerpts 


Chapter Two – Nymph Dreams
      Suddenly, Amellea was all alone in a dream…or she was hallucinating again, she guessed. No one was with her in the forest. The night was bright below a starlit sky. The cool, crisp air was filled with a heady, hypnotic smell from flowers she could not identify.
Startled, Amellea saw three lights she thought must be fireflies zoom past her. The lights glowed and circled around her until they appeared to be a single, large, glowing light. Were those wings she saw? No, it can’t be. She’d heard legends about fairies, but she had never seen one.
      “Legends, humph!” Then, right out of thin air, materialized three beautiful creatures who were no doubt Fairies, glowing as though a light followed them while casting glitter about with each step they took. Amellea was face-to-face with real Fairies—three, to be precise! “Amazing…”
      “Hootie-whooo, look at you! Sisters, I think she is a beauty, even to rival our Ewa. Well, do you have anything to say for yourself?” The surly Nymph pranced around Amellea, inspecting her. Amellea just watched, completely dumbfounded, as the glowing Fairy addressed her.
      “Lylahbelle, honestly! Do not taunt the fair maiden. Can’t you see she has been hurt? She’s had a terrible shock!” Annabelle, the dark-haired Nymph and clearly the oldest of the three sisters, chided.
      “Merabelle is not jealous. No, you would not even look at a Halfling sideways, even if he is Chief Hunter and leader of the RealmWalkers.
Are you Annabelle? This one certainly does enjoy the comforts of Maleek’s strong arms. He seems to enjoy looking at her, too. Her hair is the color of sunset and soft as corn silk.”
Lylahbelle continued her inspection of Amellea, touching her hair. “But…it is very tangled.”
Merabelle sensed explosive energy radiating off Amellea. The two Nymphs looked at each other, and with a nod, they grabbed Amellea’s arms, preventing her swing from contacting with Lylahbelle’s face.
Amellea struggled and could not free her arms from the delicate but very strong Nymphs. Electric sparks snapped and crackled around them.
      “Why did you try to hurt me…you, you, you dirty Earthling?” Lylahbelle thought.  You will pay dearly for this indiscretion; if not today, very soon.
      “Uh-oh…we are being summoned.” Annabelle and Merabelle released her arms and stepped closer to Lylahbelle.
      “I don’t think I like Fairies at all; you are rude!” Amellea stomped her foot. Annabelle and Merabelle looked at each other, moving between the adversaries and stepping closer to Lylahbelle.
      “Uh-oh, this can’t be good!” Merabelle exclaimed, reaching for her sister. She could see the volcanic tongue-lashing Lylah had planned to explode on Amellea.
      “We. Are. Not. Peedie. Folk. Thank. You. Very. Much!” Lylahbelle screamed. “Nymphs are who we are. I could sing you straight to your death! You silly Earthlings know nothing of the power we wield.”
      Amellea straightened her shoulders, rising to her full height, albeit shorter than the Nymph. “No. I just decided. I don’t like ‘Nymphs,’ if they are as rude as you are, Lylahbelle! Now you three get out of my ‘dream’ or ‘head’ before I punch ‘you,’ Lylah, in the face. You just go wherever you came from before I use some of this electricity pouring out of my hands and zap you with it!”
Amellea wiggled her fingers, reaching out toward the Nymph as sparks crackled from the tips. “I hope I have this Magik gift when I am awake. It might come in handy.”
      “The Earthlings do not know much about Magik folk. I am sure she meant no harm, Lylah. Do not continue to provoke her now, because we have work to do. The Watcher calls, sisters. We must not delay,” Annabelle spoke with authority and smiled kindly at Amellea.
“We three will receive Ewa’s ire when she finds out we visited the Earthling’s dreams. She warned us to be on our best behavior, sisters.” Annabelle reached for her sisters’ hands, moving a safe distance away from Amellea. The Nymphs rotated in a circle as the clock hands moved once, then rotated in the opposite direction twice, repeating the motion faster and faster. With each rotation, the three became smaller and smaller until they were just tiny glowing dots. Fireflies, just like the first time Amellea saw the Nymphs.
      “Quick! Hit her with the dust so she will go back to sleep, thinking this was all a bad dream. Don’t use too little dust or she will remember us when she wakes!” cautioned Annabelle, but Lylahbelle smirked and shook her wings vigorously as the three retreated to see the Watcher.
      “I know just what to dust her with, sisters! I have the perfect remedy!”
Lylahbelle had no qualms about using the strongest sleep remedy she knew to take care of Amellea. She could be the next Sleeping Beauty. Her sisters could not blame her for taking care of an Earthling slandering her race and attempting to harm her. No matter if she deserved it. Ewallea would never know, unless her palsy-walsy sister, Merabelle, spilled the beans.
“My goose is cooked. Merabelle will spill. I better lay low for a while until this all blows over.” Lylah had a plan.


Chapter Six – Haydron Castle

. . . At dusk, they saw Haydron Castle on the horizon.
      “I want a fresh start before I report, so we make camp here tonight. We meet Lord Haydron in the morning. Send a messenger announcing our arrival tomorrow at sunrise.” The Chief Hunter dismounted Que and wearily stretched his aching frame. Soon after everyone had dismounted and began to construct a make-shift camp, haunting song filled the copse of trees surrounding the grounds of the camp. Que trumpeted the day’s benediction signaling the herd to feed and rest, but the Elk Song meant much more than the close of the day. The entire herd bowed their heads in unison at the end of the haunting melody. She was also thanking them for their service to all, great and small. Que heard stories and witnessed her mother following this tradition. Que honored her parents in this way at the close of each day while on a mission. Maleek bowed in deference to the CrownHead of the RealmWalkers, to show his respect for her as she ruled with grace in the tradition of her parents.
      “Que, I need rest and fast. I have burned my candle at both ends and twice in the middle.”
      “That is not possible unless you break the candle, your royal hinny-ness!” teased the Great QueMayReign.
      “What about my rear?” Maleek looked over his shoulder, checking to make sure it looked okay. “What? I do’na take your meaning, Que.”
Maleek walked over to the fresh, clear pond, sampling the cool spring water flowing from the falls. He removed his leather shirt over his broad shoulders, stretching to relieve the aching muscles. Tiredness had begun to paralyze those tense muscles. He glanced over his shoulder amused, remembering Que teasing him.
      Maleek stripped out of his leathers and plunged into the brisk water. As he bathed and relaxed his mind, Maleek drifted away, thinking of a beautiful sunset-red-haired lass. Were their destinies entwined as QueMayReign and Ewallea conveyed to him? What defines his destiny?
Just as he started to drift off, floating in the cool water, Maleek thought he heard a voice in the distance. Startled, he stood and listened more closely but could not catch the sound again. Something sounded very familiar about that voice, but he could not remember. It was a gut feeling; Maleek usually acted on those feelings because they were important.
“Aye! Ye feel it too, my beauty. Magik mischief is near.”
“Yes, I do, but I am more worried about you catching your death of cold right now! Que sensed it too, impatiently snorting a warning her Hunter knew well. Maleek, get into some dry clothes! The night air is brisk, and autumn is but a few days away. Put these Elven-woven garments upon your tired body and sleep for a while. I will wake thee in time to prepare for your meeting with Lord Haydron,” Que chattered quickly while advising her Hunter.
      “Ye fuss too much, Que, like my ‘mam. I take my leave of ye now until then, Que.”
Que watched her Hunter with amusement, as if knowing a secret. Maleek rested on a grassy spot near a log and finally allowed the weariness of the past event-filled hours to take him into a restless sleep.
In his fitful slumber, visions of Trolls, meddling Nymphs, and dangerous TreeHoppers filled his dreams as he battled Ents of all kinds. Somewhere in the chaos, he could hear a melody hummed by the sweetest voice he had ever heard.
Wondering away from the chaos, Maleek walked toward the sweet sound, and his distress seemed to melt away. He stepped into a clearing and saw the source of the song—a beautiful maiden combing her sunset-red hair as she sang a Siren’s song.
He carefully watched from a distance until the maiden’s song ended. She stood and turned, making eye contact with Maleek.
      “Amellea, I did ’na ’no ye were a Siren!”
      “I am no Siren! I was just a singin’ and enjoyin’ a bath. I needed a good wash to remove the ash and grime.” Amellea nervously adjusted the robe she wore to cover her shoulder as the couple cautiously approached each other. “And pray tell, when did you return to the Ewa’s home?” the beauty stopped walking to question Maleek once more.
      “‘Tis but a dream, Amellea. I am not there in the Enchanted Forest. I am sleeping. ‘Tis my dream, ye are visitin,’ slowly understanding himself how all this could be happening. Aye! I heard the song, ye were singin’. I am near Haydron Castle; I must report to Lord Haydron at sunrise. ‘Tis required of the Chief Hunter, after each fortnight. I also have prisoners to interrogate. Much has happened, too, most of which is not favorable. Unfortunately for me, Lord Haydron will not be happy with the report.”
Maleek noticed he tweaked Amellea’s curiosity when he mentioned prisoners.
      “Who are the prisoners? Could they be from Hailstone Hamlet?” hopeful that her family might be among the prisoners.
      “Aye, yer quick minded lass! I do’na ‘no anything yet because I have not interrogated them.”
      “So, I am in your dream, laddie, or are you in mine? Amellea teased.
      “I venture to say ye have intruded in my dream with your Siren song, dearest. Aye! It is quite pleasant to be here alone with ye at last, for I have wanted to speak freely to thee for many a fortnight.” A flustered Amellea stepped backward and sweetly smiled, but she became leery and guarded.
      “And why did you want to talk to a, a simple peasant girl, a Healer’s Apprentice? I am nothing special.”
The Hunter walked closer at a brisk pace, grabbing her by the shoulders. “I will ‘na hear ye speak of yourself in such a way ever, dearest. Lass, ye skin is as fair as a dove’s wing; eyes the color of the sky…. ‘Bonnie hair…hair the color of sunset, just as SilverTongueTee described.” Maleek reached to touch her cheek and stopped short to touch a lock of her hair instead. He gently rolled the lock between his fingers, enjoying its soft corn-silk feel.
      “Who is SilverTongueTee?” Amellea looked up into Maleek’s vivid silver eyes and nearly swooned.
Amellea quickly moved away from Maleek as he leaned in to fully kiss her pink lips. Maleek did not give up that easily, walking to stand behind her.
Amellea was clearly overcome, desperately trying to control herself. Whirling around to ask another question, she was caught in his strong arms. She quickly put her hands on his broad chest.
      “What are you wearing? It’s so soft and thin. What is that heady smell? I…I can’t place….” Maleek took her face in his hands and inched closer, placing a gentle kiss on her lips.
Swaying, Amellea melted and bit her lower lip, stunned but enjoying the attention. Before she knew what happened, Maleek placed another heated kiss on her mouth, and she willingly opened to deepen it.
She was suddenly so hot—suffocating hot!
Firmly pushing away from Maleek, Amellea came to her senses.
      “I did not give you permission to kiss me, Hunter! And what is that smell? Do you smell it?”
      “Lass, do’na ye think ye should be callin’ me Maleek now? I mean, since we know each other much better.” The Hunter stepped closer to Amellea again, touching his nose to her soft hair, breathing in her scent of spring rain, sunshine and lavender. He cradled Amellea gently in his arms as though she were as fragile as a newborn. She snuggled into his embrace, forgetting her objections.
      “It’s you Ma–Mah–Maleek, is it? You smell of leather, cedar wood, and cinnamon. Hmm….” Amellea shook her head slightly, realizing she had to get control of herself, but she did not want to let go of Maleek once he had her in his arms. She felt safe…and hot…and bothered!
Something unexplainable was happening to her. Something deep inside her core clenched every time Maleek was near. And that smell… It drove her crazy!




About The Author


 I am a creative, loquacious Southern artist who has always liked to tell a good story. After I retired as a public and collegiate art educator, I needed to reinvent myself.  Thanks to the encouragement of professionals, friends and family, and God’s amazing grace, I have found a new passion—writing fantasy and paranormal stories.
I have always been a mental traveler, reading books and physically traveling across much of the USA and Canada. I have been actively writing for three years, publishing late in 2017. It is my hope that my novels reach across generations, entertaining multiple audiences. I want my readers to escape through fantasy to mentally travel to other worlds and to find a smile, friend or foe written between the pages of the stories I write. It is my sincere hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing! –lj




You can connect with Louise James at







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Friday, October 27, 2017

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Haunting Magic By Neely Powell



The highly anticipated second book of The Witches of New Mourne Series, HAUNTING MAGIC is now available! 




Haunting Magic
(The Witches of New Mourne, book 2)
by Neely Powell

Blurb:

Fiona Burns is a witch who sees dead people. Bailey Powers sees her as the next cable star—and a fake. Even so, she’s tempted by the dynamic producer in more ways than one.
But she has a big distraction—a vicious curse on her family coven.

The ghosts of New Mourne warn of the return of the Woman in White, a vengeful spirit who claims the life of a Connelly witch from every generation. In fighting back, Fiona unwittingly fuels the demonic forces, and black magic brings death and heartbreak to her family.

Initially a skeptic, Bailey is soon caught up in her supernatural battle with forces of evil. He’s also beginning to think Fiona can help him escape his haunting past. 

With magic and mayhem at war and survival on the line, the Witches of New Mourne face a new challenge from their ancient foe. Will another generation fall? Or does the curse end here?


Available for purchase at 


Excerpts


Overgrown weeds covered the back of cemetery. In the deepening gloom, Fiona stumbled over a stump. The baby’s screams filled her head. She had to help this child.

The grave markers in the back of the cemetery were the oldest ones. Some of them were so weathered it was impossible to read the names and dates on them. When they reached the back corner, Fiona knelt. All she could hear was the baby’s cry.

She dug through the weeds and scruff in front of her, ignoring the sting of thorns on her hands. Bailey dug with her, and soon she touched the cool stone of a broken grave marker.
“Baby MacCuindliss” was carved in uneven letters deep in the stone.

“This is the Woman in White’s baby.” Fiona traced the name on the marker with tender fingers. “Please don’t cry,” she whispered. “I’ll try to find your mother, I promise.”

The baby’s cry faded to a whimper. The mist blew away, leaving Fiona and Bailey under a canopy of threatening clouds.

“MacCuindliss,” Fiona breathed. “The Woman’s name.”

Lightning streaked over the mountains, and the ominous stink of sulfur infused the air.






Fiona’s cape billowed though the air was still, heavy, and hot.

She took out a long, curved knife, drew a circle at her feet and crossing marks. She placed five candles around her—red, orange, purple, violet, and yellow—and raised her hand. The candles flamed bright, and Bailey blinked. How had she done that?

He saw storm clouds gather in what had been a clear, blue sky.

Fiona looked like a beautiful red bird getting ready to rise to the sky. The wind roared, a sound amplified in the oppressive silence. She began to chant.

The ground on the ridge in front of her fell away in big chunks. When the trembling stopped, a dark opening had been torn into the land. Fiona walked in.

Bailey remained on his knees, stunned. She had just moved a mountain.

Foreboding washed through him as he scrambled toward the cave’s entrance. He had to stop Fiona or something terrible would happen.


Just inside the opening, he started to call out. Then he heard a sound behind him and whirled. Pain shot through his head. His legs buckled, and the world went black.


The Witches of New Mourne Series


Awakening Magic
Bk #1


Purchase at 




About The Author


Neely Powell is the pseudonym for co-writers Leigh Neely and Jan Hamilton Powell. Long-time friends, they’re the authors of “The Witches of New Mourne” a paranormal series about a family coven, a centuries’ old curse and an enchanted town. AWAKENING MAGIC is available from The Wild Rose Press, and now HAUNTING MAGIC continues the story. Their first paranormal novel, TRUE NATURE, is also available from The Wild Rose Press.



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Monday, October 16, 2017

Gina Conkle's "Meet a Rogue at Midnight" Blog Tour




Tour Stops

October 16, 2017 
Share My Destiny

October 17, 2017 
Books, Dreams, Life

October 18, 2017 
Lisa Book Blog @ LEL

October 20, 2017 
Eskimo Princess Book Reviews






Meet a Rogue at Midnight 
(Midnight Meetings Series, Bk #4)
By Gina Conkle

Blurb
:
A Saved Scoundrel…

Jonas Bacon Braithwaite wants to make peace with his grandfather before departing England. Once Nottinghamshire’s favorite trouble-maker, he’s since become an upstanding man of honor. But, the lushly curved thief hiding in his bedchamber makes him think twice about one last conquest.

A Stubborn Siren…

Livvy Halsey bristles at life’s rules. Always has. Sneaking into the Braithwaite house to reclaim a treasured family heirloom is one way she upends the conventional life that awaits her. Duty demands she marry. But what harm is there in having a little fun with her childhood friend before the Twelfth Night ends?

And Twilight Temptation…

Stolen kisses fan hot flames. Surprising passion intertwines with friendship…but will it be enough to last forever?

(NOTE: This book will be a full novella. Please ignore the page count listed on Amazon.)



Available for purchase at



Excerpts

Jonas cracked a smile. “At least they don’t sound like howling cats.”

Their bodies shook with gentle laughter. She could lose herself in him, the comfort and the thrill. Jonas dipped his head, his vivid blue gaze taking her breath away. Infinite stillness lit the depths of his eyes. Her lips parted to announce she was leaving, but Jonas slipped both hands into her unbound hair, urging her close.

Her breath hitched at large, warm hands cradling her head. Gentle heat melted her. Her thighs brushed his. She wanted Jonas…his touch, his friendship…whatever morsel of happiness he could share during his short stay in Plumtree.

Her lashes drooped. The world was his spicy soap, big hands riffling her hair, and baritone whispers of, “You’ve grown up, Livvy….beautiful, lively…”

Carnal lips rubbed hers, softly coaxing her mouth open.

Tender, poignant messages poured through her limbs, saying you were made for his kisses.

His mouth opened over hers…the lusty shock of it. She gripped his coat, fisting the wool. Her lips parted for Jonas, and the world was unsteady.

Plumtree’s rebel son tasted of sharp cider and sweet, sensual promises. He teased her, his tongue skimming her lower lip before slipping into her mouth. Her body swayed into him. Their kiss deepened, and her tongue touched him back. Tremors rocked her from head to foot from the long, intimate kiss. Wet heat shot anew between her legs, but the strongest ache banged inside her heart.

Kissing Jonas was a sampling of life as it was meant to be. Vibrant. Complete. Perfect.

His mouth on hers was an invitation.


And she was ready to say yes.

“He is a fine man, but I’m unofficially betrothed,” she said, speaking above the clamor.

“It’s a business arrangement. My family duty. Friendship is all that Jonas and I have.”

Humph! Did the good Lord put Adam and Eve together for commerce?” The proprietress fisted the rag on her hip. “A business arrangement makes cold comfort in your bed. A woman should count herself lucky to marry her best friend.”

“But Jonas doesn’t want to stay in Plumtree.”

Mrs. Bainbridge groaned. “All men need their minds changed. It’s the first lesson of marriage, luv. Convince your blue-eyed pirate to stay, and if you can’t, go with him.”

She balked. “Leave Plumtree?”

“Come now, you’ve never been missish. There’s a whole world out there. You ought to know that from helping your father.”

True. She was bold in every other aspect, yet when it came to Jonas, her heart thudded and her legs stuck in place. Behind her, the room was cleared. Fiddle music hummed the first notes of a reel. Shoes scraped the floor as men and women lined up.

“Do you want him?” Mrs. Bainbridge asked.

“I do.”

“Then don’t stand there like a lost lamb.” The proprietress shooed her away. “Go after him.”

She rushed to the door and snatched her cloak off the hook. Throwing open the door, horses and humble dog carts cluttered the village road outside. A few coachmen tarried in the cold, hands cupped over their mouths. The skies were clear, a thousand stars glimmering from heaven.

Where was he?

She ran to the middle of the road and spun around. She hadn’t asked how Jonas came to the inn. By horse? One of the carts? Or did he borrow the Captain’s flat cart once used to deliver furniture?

Hooking the frogs under her chin, she called out to the coachmen. “Pardon me, gentlemen, have you seen a tall man in black exit the inn?”

“A big gent.” The coachman tapped his ear. “Had a gold earring right here?”

“Yes, yes! That’s him.”

A lanky arm stretched to the east end of the road. “He went that away, miss.”

She barely said her thanks before grabbing handfuls of her cloak, her legs pumping hard.  She sprinted up the road, leaping over deep ruts. Tight stays manacled her ribs. There was nothing lady-like and proper about her mad dash through Plumtree. The main road curved east with a fork heading north to Halsey and Braithwaite land. She took the northern turn, and it was there she spied Jonas, his stride eating up the road. Blast it, but he was fast.

“Jonas!” she yelled, her run easing to a trot until she stopped.

He halted his progress and slowly, slowly turned around. Her feet were made of lead, and her heart lurched. Lungs billowing, she let go of her cloak and smoothed it if only to occupy her hands. Jonas stayed put, all six feet and several inches of him. The brim of his hat shaded his face, yet she felt his blue-eyed gaze rake her from head to toe.

A shiver skipped her spine.

Was it possible a man’s hostile stare could stop a woman in her tracks?



Midnight Meetings Series






About The Author



Writer of Viking and Georgian romance, which makes for interesting characters in my head. I grew up in Southern California and despite all that sunshine; I love books over beaches and stone castles over sand castles. Now I live in Michigan with my favorite alpha male, Brian, and our two sons where I’m known to occasionally garden and cook. Living in where there’s snow is the perfect excuse to lose myself in reading and writing.






You can find Gina at



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