The Bonding Blade—Out today!

Share

Thursday teaser

By M.L. Doyle

The follow-up to M.L. Doyle’s acclaimed The Bonding Spell is out today on Amazon. You’ll only need to read this sample, featuring the 21st-century incarnations of the Sumerian goddess Inanna and her demigod lover Gilgamesh, to be convinced to get the whole book.

I checked my cell phone for the time again. Waiting for Fredricks began to grate at my nerves. “How does he manage to make an immortal feel like she’ll die before he finds what he’s looking for?”

Gil flashed his teeth at me before turning his most intimidating glare to the wizard.

“I thought you knew where everything was in this hovel of yours,” Gil said. “What is taking you so long?”

“I apologize, my lord. There are many references to blood contracts and many more that claim to be a way to break the contract, but upon further inspection, the breakage usually involves the death of the person who entered into the agreement.”

“Well, that won’t suit our purposes, will it, wizard?” I said.

“No, my goddess. I understand. I think I’m getting close.” He held a large book open, his hand skimming over the words. “This one is a bit different. I’m just working out the translation now, but roughly it says, ah… blood is the permanent bond for which the promise lives. Ah, it goes on, and this was the part I was unsure of. Oh yes, right here it says, ‘but the trials of Shamash bring the … the …  I just can’t figure out this word. Sword maybe? The dagger?”

“Blade,” Gil said, his voice heavy. He leaned both hands on the table in the center of the room. “The blade of Utu.”

Fredricks and I waited for him to elaborate, but he didn’t.

“Gil?”

He straightened, ran a hand through his hair and took a deep breath. “You won’t like it, my queen.”

I crossed my arms and leaned a hip against the table. “I don’t like what’s happening to my Quinn now, sooooo…”

Gil held his hand out to Fredricks, who hefted the large tome into his hand. Gil held it up as if it weighed nothing. He skimmed the page, running his finger back and forth over the same passage a few times. His face hardened as he read. Finally, his gaze flicked up to me. “You know of Utu?”

I was so happy when that one was crushed into oblivion, Inanna said.

“Nope, but evidently, Inanna does.”

“I would hope she would. Utu is or was the lord of justice in her time. He meted out punishments, adjudicated disputes …”

“And contracts, I assume.”

“Exactly. He is quite well known for having several items which, after his death, could be used to determine the right and the wrong of things as he did while alive. A staff that would bend and twist when someone told a lie. A ring that would glow to identify the righteous party.”

“Handy. Too bad we don’t have doodads like that these days. Are you saying one of these items could be used to break Quinn’s contract?”

“No. Both of the items I spoke of were destroyed.”

“How do you know that? And how could an immortal die in the first place?”

Gil lay the large book on the table and leaned over it, a rigid set to his shoulders. “I know this because I killed him myself, and destroyed his talismans.”

Fredricks shrank back, sucking in air with a hiss, his hand to his throat. The drama queen.

 I waited for Gil to elaborate, but he didn’t. The longer I waited, the more disturbed he looked. Finally, he slammed the book shut and picked it up, holding his hand out to me.

“We’ll be back, wizard. Speak to no one about this.”

The Bonding Blade

Can the embodiment of an ancient goddess live a balanced life in modern times?

Former Army Sergeant Hester Trueblood struggles to find the answer, seven years after fate bonded her to the ancient Sumerian Goddess, Inanna. Whether engaging in battles to the death with demons or entering fight club scraps, Hester’s life is forever subjected to Inanna’s whims and insatiable lust. It hasn’t been easy to juggle the mounting perilous challenges, or to tolerate the demands of her demi-god lover, Gilgamesh.

When her warrior Quincy is stricken with a mysterious illness, Hester thinks a supernatural blade could be the answer to save him. Or it just might destroy the world.

One thing is for sure. Nobody is immune from the painful reality of loss and suffering—not even a goddess.

Read the exciting second instalment of The Desert Goddess series. A blend of fantasy, action adventure, mystery, and romance with a biting sense of humor.

Get it today in paperback or e-book format on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Scribd, Angus & Robertson (Australia), Playster or 24Symbols.

M.L. Doyle

aimed to prove her brother wrong when she joined the Army on his dare. Almost two decades later, she not only confirmed that she could, contrary to his warning, make it through basic training, her combat boots took her to the butt-end of nowhere and back countless times and she lived to tell about it … or write about it as it turned out.

A native Minnesotan, Mary lives in Baltimore where her evil cats force her to feed and care for them including cleaning up their poo. To escape from her torture, Mary loves to hear from readers. Check her out on Facebook.com, or Twitter @mldoyleauthor, and you can read excerpts of all of her work on her website at www.mldoyleauthor.com.

Share

Fight to Survive

Share

Thursday teaser

This week’s #excerpt comes from the upcoming third Eva Driscoll action thriller

By Alan McDermott

Pre-order the third Eva Driscoll thriller on Amazon.

As Eva Driscoll arrived home from the restaurant, violence was the last thing on her mind.

She could still taste the buttery lobster and fruity wine she’d had for dinner, and all she wanted to do was curl up on the couch with a box set and a cup of hot cocoa.

The screams coming from the house next door put paid to those plans.

Eva had lived next to Sally and Jake for three months, ever since arriving in Melbourne, Australia. Raised voices had become a regular occurrence. Based on what she’d observed, they seemed like a normal couple most of the time, but when the sun went down it was a different story. Eva didn’t know if it was alcohol-related, or the stress of Jake’s job as a cop, but most evenings she had to turn up the television to drown out the shouting.

But the sounds currently coming from the neighboring house were on a whole new level.

As Eva locked her car and got her key ready to open the front door, a female scream made her pause.

Eva had had coffee with Sally a few times, but the state of the marriage had never come up in conversation. She’d delicately probed, but Sally had dodged the issue like a pro. That in itself told Eva that something wasn’t right within the Holman residence.

Jake was a big man, at least six-two and 230 pounds, with a physique that told of an athletic youth. Sally was built like Eva, a few inches shorter than Jake with a lean body. Hardly a fair match if things got physical.

Leave it, Eva told herself as she put her key in the door. It wasn’t her fight, and she didn’t need the aggravation. She was lying low, staying off the radar, and that meant she had to avoid confrontations that could quickly escalate. She would visit Sally tomorrow when Jake was at work and give her some friendly advice.

She almost jumped at the sound of something heavy hitting a wall in Sally’s house, followed by a burst of shouting and another high-pitched scream.

Eva sighed. She really didn’t want to get involved, but she also hated the idea of leaving the diminutive Sally at the mercy of her much larger husband.

Eva had met Jake on just one occasion, at a barbecue the couple had hosted. He’d come across as a real man’s man, full of confidence and aware of his good looks. He’d flirted with Eva a couple of times that day, though she’d been careful not to reciprocate. Her appearance attracted unwanted attention wherever she went, and being married hadn’t seemed a barrier to Jake. He also didn’t seem the type to put up with anyone questioning his actions—male or female.

Another cry came from their house, and Eva recognized the sound of a woman in pain.

She had to act, but she couldn’t simply rush in. This needed to be handled delicately, without any chance of blowback. She would try to defuse the situation, but if Jake pushed it, she’d need a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Eva went back to her car and locked her purse inside, then walked across the lawn to the Holman residence. She opened the camera on her phone, set it on top of the mailbox by the sidewalk, and zoomed in so that the front door filled the center of the screen. She pressed the Record button, then walked up the path and rang the doorbell.

Fight to Survive

is the third Eva Driscoll thriller following Run and Hide and Seek and Destroy.

She’s working for her enemies. Or so they think…

Ex-CIA assassin Eva Driscoll has found a new life in Australia and believes she’s outrun the Executive Security Office, the most powerful and secretive organization on the planet. But the ESO has been watching her every move and when they approach her with a high-risk mission in North Korea, Eva is forced to co-operate with the organization she once vowed to destroy.

But releasing a high-ranking defector proves costly, and Driscoll is captured and imprisoned in a secret camp on the Chinese border. What she witnesses there will haunt her forever . . . so she decides to take matters into her own hands. But how long can she keep the ESO thinking she’s working in their interests rather than her own?

When her handlers become suspicious, Eva knows time is not on her side. Can she defeat the evil at the heart of the camp and get out alive—or will this final installment really be her last?

Alan McDermott

is a husband, father to beautiful twin girls, and a full-time author. Alan lives in the south of England, and in 2014 he swapped writing critical application for the NHS to penning thrillers that have gone on to sell close to a million copies. His debut novel, Gray Justice, was well received and earned him membership of Independent Authors International. That book launched in July 2011, and by the time he’d written the follow-ups, Gray Resurrection and Gray Redemption, it had attracted the attention of a major publisher. Alan signed with Thomas & Mercer in 2013 and has now written six novels in the Tom Gray series and a spinoff called Trojan. Alan’s eighth novel introduced a new female lead, Eva Driscoll, and a new thriller series.

Alan can be found:

BestSelling Reads author page   |   Amazon Author page   |   Website   |   blog   |    Facebook    |   Twitter

Share

Monday musings: Life inspired writing inspired life

Share

By Autumn Birt

I love adventure, especially traveling. One of my remaining bucket list trips is cave rafting in New Zealand (seriously).

The only thing that makes a trip more interesting is throwing in some local history and artifacts and I’m pretty much in love. Hiking the Inca Trail in Peru to Machu Picchu was an experience that will live with me and color my writing. How could following an ancient pathway of stones and steps through mountain passes and by a handful of stunning ruins, each unique, to end at one of the wonders of the world not show up in a story somewhere, especially when you are a fantasy writer?

My hobbies of hiking, kayaking, and sailing have lent a realistic air to many of my books. I know what it is like to carry everything you need on your back for days at a time, slogging through mud and crawling over steep ledges. I’ve ridden horses, though prefer motorcycling over long distances. I know the feeling of stepping into a new land and feeling equally lost and fascinated.

Those are the easy details that permeate my writing, often without me realizing it. But it was a conference in Miami in 2010 that not only changed my worldview but inspired an entire series.

The guest speaker was a proponent for an Everglades National Park, but had given up because he didn’t think the Everglades would exist in fifty years. Slide by slide, he unrolled more scientific details on climate change and historic trends in past climate changes than I’d ever seen. He ripped away the idea that the seas would rise slowly and lethally. Instead, he showed the ancient benchmarks where the land dropped feet at a time due to storms. A storm surge would arrive, inundate everything, and never leave.

The future we have crafted due to past actions is not going to be predictable or follow a smooth chart laid out by scientists doing the best they can with predictive modeling. It will be messy, chaotic, and cause havoc we can only guess at. Working as I did in sustainable agriculture for a government agency, my mind whirled with how would governments respond? How many such storms as Katrina in the US would it take for an area to be abandoned? How many would it take to weaken a government to the point it could be overthrown or bought?

Throw in increasing droughts, lack of clean water, and a pandemic or two, and you have a world in chaos.

It took years with those ideas planted in my brain to finally grow into the post-apocalyptic series, Friends of my Enemy. A twisted tale of a dark future rife with conflicted relationships, it is nevertheless one of my favorite things to have written, even though it is so far different from the epic fantasy books I usually prefer. It is my nightmarish dream and imbued with a bit of hope for mankind in our not-so-distant future.

Plus, the unruly roots sprouted out of that conference eventually lead me to quit my job.

I’m not a prepper or survivalist by any means, but when the future looks unstable, the government you work for is not responding to mitigate anything of what might be coming, and you are going to be in your late 60s by then anyway, grasping life and seeing the world while you can still enjoy it feels so much better than saving for retirement because some guy in a suit said you should. Ok, I might be a bit of a rebel at heart too.

And, you know, it doesn’t hurt that I live in a self-contained, all-terrain adventure vehicle. I’m totally prepared for the zombie apocalypse. 😉

Autumn Birt

is a bestselling author in fantasy, epic fantasy, and war – not all on the same series though!

She is the author of the epic fantasy, adventure trilogy on elemental magic, The Rise of the Fifth Order. Her newest series is Games of Fire, an epic continuation of the world and characters begun in The Rise of the Fifth Order. Book 2, Gates of Fire & Earth, is also a Fantasia Reviews 2017 Book of Year nominee and winner of Best Worldbuilding.

She is also the author of Friends of my Enemy, a military dystopian/ dark fantasy tale laced with romance.

Stop by her website and blog to learn more about the worlds of her books at www.AutumnWriting.com. You can also find her on Facebook at Author.Autumn.Birt or more frequently on Twitter @Weifarer. Check out Exclusive Stories page to pick up free short stories.

Learn more about her on her BestSelling Reads author page and Amazon Author Page.

Share

When fiction meets fact

Share

By Alan McDermott

Your favorite bestselling authors have noticed times when real events seem to mimic events they depicted in their fiction before. This week, Alan McDermott describes something that should give us all pause, where reality seems like a page from his spy fiction.

spy through your cell phone

Photo: Andy Rennie, Creative Commons

After I released my fifth novel, Gray Vengeance, in May 2015, I had a few reviews that suggested the idea of the security services being able to take control of just about every device in the country was a bit fanciful.  I’d created a fictitious program called Brigandicuum that allowed the US and UK governments to gain access to any device that contained a chip.  Mobile phones, TVs, laptops, computers, nothing was beyond their reach.  Not only could it intercept communications, it could recognize every keystroke and send the information to a facility where analysts would action it.  The spyware was concealed within the kernel of the device’s software and was activated when a file was placed on an NSA server.  The moment the device found the file, it was an open book.   In Gray Vengeance, MI5 used Brigandicuum to track down and neutralize a domestic terrorist cell and find the man ultimately responsible.

In response to those reviews, I was tempted to point out that the thing about fiction is, it isn’t real, but Edward Snowden beat me to it.  In an interview with the BBC in October 2015, he revealed that smartphone users can do “very little” to stop security services getting “total control” over their devices.  According to Snowden, GCHQ had the power to hack into phones without their owners’ knowledge.  While not as sophisticated and all-encompassing as Brigandicuum, GCHQ’s Smurf suite of spyware could turn phones on and off, access the microphone at any time, and track it more accurately than the well-known triangulation method.

So how exactly does GCHQ get control of your phone? “It’s called an ‘exploit,’” Snowden explains. “That’s a specially crafted message that’s texted to your number like any other text message but when it arrives at your phone it’s hidden from you. It doesn’t display. You paid for it [the phone] but whoever controls the software owns the phone.”

So next time you read a novel and think, “Yeah, right, like that could ever happen”, you have been warned.

Gray Vengeance spyingGray Vengeance

An African militia has a new leader—and Tom Gray has a deadly new problem.

Da Sunan Annabi has a ruthless new leader whose aim is to train British nationals to bring England to its knees.

As their plans unfold with deadly precision and Britain is crippled by a series of attacks, the government is forced to deploy its new secret weapon: a surveillance network that can spy on nearly every human being on earth. It is nearly foolproof—but is it ethical? And does that even matter now?

Soon, Tom Gray and his daughter are in the militia’s sights, and their lives depend on Gray finding the man behind the recent atrocities. His desperate search leads him to Africa and Cuba, for a final showdown with an enemy he could never have imagined.

Gray Vengeance, the fifth book in the action-packed Tom Gray series, leaves you breathless until the very last page.

Bestselling author Alan McDermottAlan McDermott

lives in the south of England,  and is married with beautiful twin daughters. He recently gave up his job of creating critical applications for the NHS to write action thrillers full time.

His debut novel, Gray Justice, was very well received and earned him bestseller status. The next two books in the series — Gray Resurrection and Gray Redemption — were enough to attract the attention of a major publisher, and he has since added Gray RetributionGray Vengeance and Gray Salvation to the list.  Alan’s seventh title, Trojan, is a spinoff featuring MI5 agent Andrew Harvey, Trojan, was shortlisted for an ITW thriller award.

His new series will begin with Run and Hide, launching on August 22. You can read a preview on BestSelling Reads right now.

Alan can be found:

BestSelling Reads author page  |    Website  |  blog  |  Facebook    |   Twitter

Share

Thursday teaser excerpt: A Lovely Night to Die

Share

This week’s excerpt is from Caleb Pirtle’s newest book.

By Caleb Pirtle III

HE LAY ALONE in the dark and waited to hear footsteps outside the front door. It was nothing new for Roland Sand.  He had been waiting for an invitation from the grim reaper for the past three months, sixteen days, eight hours, and six minutes, provided the digital clock on his motel nightstand was correct.  Hotel clocks hardly ever were. A few minutes of lost time here and there made little difference to a man on the run, and he had been running most of his life. Sand doubted if the running would last much longer.

One day, probably sooner than later, or maybe sometime in the middle of the night, it would all be over. The door would be torn from its hinges, and he would hear the sound of a single gunshot. Then again, he might not hear anything at all. And the cool darkness that wrapped itself around him like the arms of an unfaithful woman would remain dark for a long time. Lying with his back against the wall in the early morning hours, dying didn’t seem like such a bad way to make his final exit. So why was he determined to fight so hard for a chance to catch another breath – and who was trying to rip it from his throat?

Sand crawled out from beneath the damp, wrinkled sheets and walked to the window. He opened the drapes just wide enough for him to look out across the parking lot and toward the lights of Durango, Colorado, lodged against the backdrop of the San Juan Mountains. The timbered ridges were dark bruises against the sky, and the stars had been wiped away by a thunderhead that promised bad weather.

Sand smiled faintly. He must have come to the right place. It was far easier to hide away in bad weather. Sand knew how to become one with the rain and the fog. He would be another faint shadow without a face, a ghost in the mist, a name without a voice, and names were the easiest things he had to throw away. Thunder rumbled in the west like a slow-moving train, and lightning reached down to touch the top of the mountains. The winds crackled with electricity.

His gaze swept from one end of the street to the other. Two Atlas trucks and an aging Chevrolet van were the only vehicles on the road.  Sand ignored, then forgot them. He was searching only for black SUVs that would bring men wearing black suits and armed with enough firepower to leave the little Colorado town in ruins. They were somewhere behind him. He didn’t know how far.

Roland Sand knew the kind of man he worked for. He realized he had been reduced to a vague number on some out-of-date death certificate. Sand’s name would not be released. He would be just another John Doe in an unmarked folder at the back of some clerk’s filing cabinet. A pauper’s grave might be too good for him.

Who was Roland Sand?

Don’t know.

When did he work here?

Don’t recall.

Whatever happened to him?

Maybe he retired.

Everyone would know he didn’t quit.

No one quit the Association.

A man worked until the day he died. For some, the day always came earlier than they expected.

About the book

Roland Sand has killed two government operatives sent to execute him. He is arrested and represented in court by a beautiful young public defender, Eleanor Trent. Their eyes connect. So do their hearts, but both keep their feeling buried deep inside them.

Eleanor does not know that Sand is an assassin for a rogue intelligence agency that sells its deadly services to foreign nations as well as to its own country. He has angered his chief, the one-eyed Bohemian, by refusing to kill an accountant who accidentally saw the details of a top-secret mission. Sand sees no reason why an innocent man should die.

The Bohemian’s agents kidnap Sand and take him from the Durango, Colorado, jail. He is given one chance to redeem himself. He must carry out the assignment to assassinate the President of the United States. It is a mission sanctioned from inside the United States government.

Eleanor is furious, and she is frightened. She has lost cases before. But never has she lost a client. In desperation, he calls Navy SEAL Commander Patrick Hurt to help her track down the missing Roland Sand. She handled a case for one of Hurt’s friends years earlier, and he said she could count on him if she ever needed him.

At Midway Airport, Sand awaits the arrival of Air Force One. The President comes down the steps, and Sand sees Eleanor in the greeting committee. He is told, “Kill the President or we kill the lady.” He has only a second to make up his mind. And Hurt knows, if necessary, he must kill Sand to save the President.

If you liked this excerpt, check out the book on Amazon.

About the author

Caleb Pirtle III is the author of more than seventy books, including the Ambrose Lincoln series.

Pirtle is a graduate of The University of Texas in Austin and became the first student at the university to win the National William Randolph Hearst Award for feature writing. Several of his books and his magazine writing have received national and regional awards.

Pirtle has written three teleplays, and wrote two novels for Berkeley based on the Gambler series: Dead Man’s Hand and Jokers Are Wild.

Pirtle’s narrative nonfiction, Gamble in the Devil’s Chalk is a true-life book about the fights and feuds during the founding of the controversial Giddings oilfield and From the Dark Side of the Rainbow, the story of a woman’s escape from the Nazis in Poland during World War II. His coffee-table quality book, XIT: The American Cowboy, became the publishing industry’s third best selling art book of all time.

Learn more about Caleb on his:

And follow him on Twitter @CalebPirtle.

 

Share

Thursday teaser: 6 Hours 42 Minutes

Share

Vigilante series, book 5

By Claude Bouchard

Claude Bouchard

Gina Tomasso had remained speechless with fear ever since the little man, the one they called Sparks, had ushered her and Leslie out of the kitchenette at ten that morning. The most communication she had managed since was to shake her head twice, once when asked if she needed to use the bathroom and once when Sara and Leslie had tried to coax her to eat a slice of pizza.

She could not understand how the others could just sit there as the minutes dragged by, one leading to the next, and seem relatively calm. Some, like Simon Chase and Leslie, maybe, because they thrived on conflict, nothing ever seemed to faze them, but even Annette and Erin didn’t seem too concerned, under the circumstances.

In comparison, she was certain that the terror, the panic she felt, was slowly ripping bite after ragged bite within her, an accelerated form of psychological cancer which would actually kill her if this nightmare did not end soon.

She had almost screamed, in fact, she had tried to, when Sara had been selected to be set free a little earlier but had found herself unable to, as if the relentless, evil dread within her had left even her vocal chords paralysed.

She watched with dead eyes as the head robber, Bull, closed the phone and approached the hostages once again.

“Here’s the deal,” he announced. “I’m sure, positive, in fact, that the captain out there is stalling with bringing in the helicopter he promised me but I’ve decided to give him another hostage, just to show him the kind of guy I am.”

Gina felt her heart lurch at those words and prayed, “Me! Please! Please choose me!”

As before, Bull scanned the group, his eyes roaming past the faces, past hers and onwards then back to her.

“How about you?” he asked, his tone almost kind as he gazed at her.

“Oh My God,” thought Gina as she frantically nodded and scrambled to her feet, almost falling back down in her haste.

“Just wait there for a second,” said Bull as he pulled his phone back out and placed a call. “Leblanc, just to show you that I’m a man of my word, I’m sending you another hostage. You tell your guys to stay back.”

He closed the phone, looked at Gina and smiled. “Let’s go.”

Juice took a step forward and Bull stopped him. “I’ll let her out. You keep an eye on our other guests.”

He motioned Gina towards the front door with an almost gallant gesture then followed her. Once there, he looked through a gap in the vertical blinds to ensure that the coast was clear then pulled out a key and unlocked the door.

“Thanks for being so brave,” he said to Gina as he pulled the door open for her. “Don’t run, just walk.”

She smiled with relief and walked quickly down the pathway leading to the street crowded with cops and their cars. Bull watched her go from the partially open door and  when she was ten feet or so down the path, he raised his gun and shot her twice in the back then closed and relocked the door.

About 6 Hours 42 Minutes

Though most of them dabbled in a variety of criminal activities, they weren’t experienced in this particular field and had never been involved in a job like this before. However, with proper planning, careful organization and the inside information available to them, they were certain that this bank heist would be a piece of cake. Ten minutes, in and out, was all it would take and they’d be sharing 2.5 million dollars. Nothing could go wrong as they had thought of everything … how could they possibly know a new member of the board was visiting the bank that morning? And how could they know that new board member was Chris Barry?

Get it on Amazon.

Win a free copy from the author

You could WIN a free copy of 6 Hours 42 Minutes from the author, Claude Bouchard. All you have to do is leave a comment telling us the title of the sixth book in the Vigilante series.

About the author

USA Today bestselling author Claude Bouchard was born in Montreal, Canada, at a very young age, where he still resides with his spouse, Joanne, under the watchful eyes of two black females of the feline persuasion.

He completed his studies at McGill University and worked in various management capacities for a handful of firms over countless years. From there, considering his extensive background in human resources and finance, it was a logical leap in his career path to stay home and write crime thrillers.

His first novel, Vigilante, was published in 2009.  Since then, besides writing Asylum, a stand-alone, the Vigilante Series has grown to thirteen thrilling installments with his latest release, Make It Happen.

Claude has also penned Something’s Cooking, a faux-erotica parody and cookbook under the pseudonyms Réal E. Hotte and Dasha Sugah, as well as Nasty in Nice, his contribution to Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World. His books have topped the chart in the Vigilante Justice category on Amazon and some 600,000 copies have been distributed to date.

Claude’s other interests include reading, playing guitar, painting, cooking, traveling and trying to stay in reasonable shape.

Visit his:

And follow him on Twitter @ceebee308.

 

Share