Focus Friday: Rout of the Dem-Shyr


Rout_ebooksmFear and confusion once again overwhelmed her. Where was she? Why was she in a dark, contained space? Why couldn’t she mentally connect with the man she loved?

As each question ran through her mind, her strength amplified. She shoved against the surface above her until her muscles protested. The sound of creaking prompted her to push even harder. It didn’t matter what awaited her outside of wherever she was. She’d greet it with open arms.

It took several minutes of heaving with her enhanced strength, but eventually, the surface gave way. She tossed aside the entire length of whatever was containing her, giving her freedom to sit up. As she did, a wave of dizziness almost made her fall back down. Terror kept her upright, clinging to the sides of her rectangular prison for support.

She looked around and saw she was in a dimly lit room. She also realized that she was sitting in a death box.

Another scream built in her throat. In an instant, she was standing beside the death box rather than inside of it. She had no memory of climbing out, nor did she know how long she stood beside it, staring at it as though it could offer her answers to the long stream of questions running through her barely functioning mind.

The sound of a door handle turning sent her skittering back into the shadows. She clung to a tall column in the middle of the room and tried not to make a sound. She wished she had thought to cover the death box, but knew there was nothing she could do about it now. Hushed whispers reached her ears as the door opened and closed. Unable to resist, she eased her head around the column to see who had entered the room.

Zasha, the Wrym who had seen to Kyr’s comforts since her return to Alametria, stepped into the dim light of a wall sconce. Her hair was covered by a red scarf. She wore a simple red dress, as well, reminding Kyr that the Alametrian color of mourning was red…the color of blood and pain. The flowers Zasha carried, however, were purple. Kyr’s favorite color.

Behind Zasha walked a male that Kyr didn’t recognize until he stepped into the light: LeoVawn. The pair walked all the way into the center of the room, stopping short when their eyes adjusted enough for them to see that the death box was now open and unoccupied. The container of flowers dropped from Zasha’s hands with a jarring thud.

Kyr couldn’t stop herself from stepping out of the shadows. She had to get some answers, and the only thoughts she received from the male and female in the room were shock and confusion. Those emotions heightened when Leo and Zasha saw her and recognized her. Their eyes went wide. Their complexions turned the color of wax.

And one single thought got through: But she’s dead.

Their reactions told Kyr why she had been in the death box. “Zasha,” she said, finding her voice at last. “Where’s Ty?”

The Wrym female stood rooted in place as Kyr approached her and took her by the upper arms. Leo watched with a slack jaw, but made no move to intervene.

Kyr tried again. “Please, Zasha. Please tell me where Ty is. Where is Dem-Shyr TaeDane?”

“Ma’jah,” Leo said in a hoarse voice. “This cannot be.”

Frustration made Kyr want to shout, but she knew anyone could be outside the doors and listening. Drawing on her growing abilities, she centered herself and sent calming thoughts to Zasha and Leo. She needed their help.

“I’m fine, Leo. You can see that. Please tell me where I can find the Dem-Shyr.”

Leo swallowed audibly before he replied, “I’m sorry to say that he’s been banished to the Dark Lands, Ma’jah.”

Kyr sifted through her still-muddy memories of her home planet. “The Dark Lands?” she repeated. “But I thought only murderers are sent there. It’s the punishment of eternal exile.”

“Yes, Ma’jah,” Leo whispered.

Emotion rose within Kyr. Disbelief. Horror. Anguish. Her gaze moved between Leo and Zasha, reading only truth in their thoughts and expressions.

“But…who did he kill?” she asked at last.

“You, Ma’jah,” Zasha answered with tears in her eyes. “He killed you.”

About the book


Touted as the future ruler and savior of worlds, Ascendant KyrVawn is ready to put her growing power to good use. She intends to begin with her home planet of Alametria, where hints of corruption have infiltrated the highest levels of the palace. It’s a monumental task, but one she won’t undertake alone.

By her side is her personal bodyguard and secret lover, Dem-Shyr TaeDane. Together, they’re determined to uncover the truth behind the changes that occurred while they were off-planet…changes that violate long-standing Alametrian laws.

But it’s hard for them to champion the rules when they don’t live by them. Their love is forbidden by official decree, and with every illicit touch, they edge closer and closer to discovery and disaster. Despite their good intentions, they’ll find out that sometimes love doesn’t conquer all.

In fact, it might just be the very thing that destroys them.

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Ascendant series trailer

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 About the author 

Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine recently signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn’t writing or glued to email or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Visit Raine’s

And follow her on Twitter @Raine_Thomas.



Monday Musings: Does music fill your writing soul?


by Patricia Sands

musicDiscussion on this topic is like a never-ending symphony: some find that music stimulates and helps get them in the mood for writing while others see it as a distraction.

Some authors prefer silence to concentrate, while others crank up the decibels to find inspiration. Then, there are the in-betweeners, happiest when soft background sounds bring calm to their creativity.

Whether the writer is a plotter or pantser, does not appear to factor into the equation. The research was often surprising! Writers of high drama and action sometimes chose quiet soothing classical pieces, while hard rock backed the sweetest romances. Who knew?

In his book, On Writing (one of my favorite reference books on the craft), Stephen King disclosed that he listened to Black Sabbath and AC-DC at ear-splitting decibels as he wrote his horror novels in his early days. Years later, he now leaves the music until the end of the day when he reviews his work. In an interview with The Paris Review in 2006 he admitted, “I used to have a dance mix of that song “Mambo No. 5,” by Lou Bega, that goes, “A little bit of Monica in my life, a little bit of Erica”—deega, deega, deega. It’s a cheerful, calypso kind of thing, …”. Would you ever have guessed?

Today creating playlists for a complete work has become popular, often with a wild variety. I seem to make my decision based on the nature of what I’m writing at the moment and how easily it’s coming to me. There are days when I turn on the music first and let it guide me where I want to go. At other times, I’m so focused on what I want to say, that I forget to put any music on. Those are generally the days when I find myself still in my nightgown at noon!

When I was writing The Bridge Club, the time frame of the story spanned from the 1960’s through to 2010. What a trip down memory lane! There’s no question that the tunes playing as I worked on each section were major influences in bringing back the feelings I needed to write the story.

I began with Bob Dylan, Gord Lightfoot, and their folk cronies and worked through the Beatles, Stones, and Woodstock era, Motown, the Eagles, Leonard Cohen, the Tragically Hip, Elton John, the Eurythmics, U2, Coldplay, Diana Krall, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson: to name just some.

The songs from such different times and places had the power to evoke the same emotions as then and bring memories flooding back. As the characters aged in that story, there were definitely days when my choices leaned more to classical and jazz. Somehow though, our Boomer generation has never abandoned the musical history we experienced in our younger years. The proliferation of ‘oldies’ radio stations bears testament to that and this was definitely the music that most inspired my words. At times the music relaxed me and at other times it was loud and invigorating.

When I began writing The Promise of Provence, we were living in France for five months and I listened to French music most of the time. My happiest discovery was Zaz, a young woman with an eclectic Gypsy jazz style that I found energizing. The lyrics to the song “Je Veux” could have been written for one specific scene in my novel. That was uncanny. You can find Zaz at

Since I also was writing about the pain and joy of romance, Adele was another constant companion. When I typed “The End” I felt I should list her as a contributor!

There are most certainly times when music is my muse. What would you say?


Wordless Wednesday:


Now out: Sydney Landon's latest, Pierced With Pierced, Sydney Landon begins a new series outside of her Danvers novels: the Lucian and Lia trilogy. About the book Lucian Quinn is the wonder boy of the business world. At twenty-nine, he owns one of … [Continue reading]

Monday Musings: How Horrible Do I Have to Be?

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Friday Focus: The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall, by Kathleen Valentine

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Wordless Wednesday: The Bridge Club by Patricia Sands

How far would you go to help a close friend? Is there a place where you might draw the line and simply have to say no? Eight women. Four decades of friendship. One unimaginable request. Where can you find a story about friendship, laughter and … [Continue reading]

Monday Musings: Building Character(s)


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Focus Friday: A Silent Prayer, by Samreen Ahsan

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Wordy Wednesday II

Take No More ACX cover

What to look forward to from your favorite BestSelling authors Samreen Ahsan, author of A Silent Prayer and A Prayer Heeded, is  writing a story about an angel who is sent to Earth on his vacation with a gift of "free will." Seb Kirby is a busy … [Continue reading]

Monday Musings: Cliffhangers

cliff hanger

by DelSheree Gladden This is a topic of some debate among authors and readers, and I’d like to the pose this very question to readers today. I have taken flack at time for the way I end my books from readers and fellow authors alike. Personally, I … [Continue reading]