Thursday teaser: Return of the Ascendant


Ascendant Series #1
By Raine Thomas

You could WIN a signed copy of Return of the Ascendant. Find out how at the end of the excerpt.

Return of the Ascendant_ebooksm

Looking up, Kyra realized she was walking in shadow. Typically, the quad was well-lit by tall lights designed to look like old-fashioned gas lamps. The posts stood about twenty feet apart and surrounded the square area, offering plenty of luminescence and providing a sense of safety. Now, at least three of the lights along Kyra’s route had gone out.

Her steps faltered. She looked to her right, where the school’s science building stood. Rows of bushes cast deep, uneven shadows along the brick face. A muggy breeze rustled the leaf-covered limbs, generating an eerie scratching sound as they brushed the harsh surface of the wall.

Feeling as though someone was watching her, she cast a furtive look around the quad. On any normal evening, there would be plenty of people walking around the area. Now, however, not another soul was in sight. Kyra supposed they were all either still moving into their dorm rooms or had already left for the big party.

Despite the visual confirmation that she was alone, she had the pressing urge to call out and ask who was there. An image of herself acting like a horror movie cliché kept her lips firmly sealed, however.

Another scraping noise on her right had her starting. She clutched her purse closer to her body and picked up her pace. Surely the shadows were just making her jumpy, she reasoned. That didn’t explain why every hair on her arms and neck now stood on end.

Swallowing her rising fear, she almost broke into a run as she reached the last twenty feet of darkness. Her eyes didn’t move from the gloomy bushes. She couldn’t explain her reaction, as the university was in a small, sleepy town and had a low crime rate. But every instinct in her told her to run.

Just as she neared the halo of light cast by the closest lamppost, it went out. She staggered to a halt.

That was when the darkness moved.

Not possible, she thought.

She watched the shadows take shape, growing ever taller. Five feet, six feet, seven feet tall…like a creature advancing and casting a longer and longer shadow. Her heartbeat accelerated. The voice in her head ordered her to flee.

Run now!

Before she could command her limbs to move, she felt her arm taken in a firm grip. She barely avoided issuing a terrified shriek over the contact. Her fear had escalated to a point where she couldn’t even get a sound past her throat.

Her head whipped to the side. She realized the man who had grabbed her was a good eight or nine inches taller than her, even in her heels. She got a sense of a chiseled profile and broad shoulders as he urged her to move. Her gaze flew to the ground as she tried to avoid breaking an ankle. Only when they emerged from the darkness did her sense of panic begin to ease.

Her unexpected companion’s pace also slowed once they reached the light. She turned her gaze to him once again. Had he been the one who had cast the shadow?

She didn’t think so. Although she couldn’t tell much about him from his profile, she didn’t sense that he would harm her.

“It isn’t me you need to worry about,” he said in a deep voice. “You were right to fear the dark.”

Win a signed copy of Return of the Ascendant by describing your favorite alien-related book or movie in the Comments section. The author will choose a winner.

About Return of the Ascendant

Expecting to enjoy another typical college night at a frat party with friends, Kyra Vaughn’s plans derail when she’s almost killed…twice. Her savior, a tall, sexy stranger who calls himself TaeDane, claims that he’s the personal bodyguard for the Ascendant of Alametria. She’s convinced he’s crazy.

Especially when he insists that she’s the Ascendant.

With dark enemies hunting her down, Kyra has no choice but to trust her supposed bodyguard. Ty vows to help her remember her past and return her safely to Alametria, but someone seems intent on interfering, challenging his abilities at every turn.

As Kyra’s memories emerge, she remembers that Ty is more to her than he’s let on…much more than he’s allowed to be. She’ll also discover that there are many things about her planet and herself that she’d rather forget. In the end, she’ll have to make a choice: cling to the life she knows, or risk it all to become the person she’s destined to be.

Where to get it:

About the author

Raine-Thomas-Headshot-small-233x300Raine 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 e-mail 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 her:

And follow her on Twitter @Raine_Thomas.


Book launch today: Road Blocked


A Reed Ferguson Mystery by Renée Pawlish

Launching May 10!

Road BlockedReed Ferguson returns in a gripping tale!

A dead body on a beach in Tahiti. A Medicare scam. A doctor who believes hired killers are after him. It’s all part of Denver private investigator Reed Ferguson’s latest case, where he matches wits with a dangerous adversary who will stop at nothing short of murder. Working with his wife Willie, and his quirky friends, Reed must unearth a killer before he becomes the next victim.

Road Blocked is a suspense-filled mystery, with a Bogie-wannabe detective, a dose of humor, and a clever homage to film noir. It’s available today from Amazon.

From the award-wining author of This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies.




Focus Friday: Forgive No More



The third James Blake thriller

By Seb Kirby


Sera Monastery, Lhasa

Everyone knew him here as one of the most devout, one of the few who had risen to the rank of Ajahn. Devout because of the time he spent in meditation and prayer. He was honored they would think of him in this way within the monastery, given he was not Tibetan.

It was the center of his universe, the place he went back to in order to replenish his life, to regenerate his energy and regain what was lost when he went out there, into the wider world.

The last time he’d been out into that world he’d killed fifty men and not a few women without a thought. Because he served a higher goal. And because, when looked at from here, from the center of the universe, the deaths were not important. In the great flow of energy passing through this place and through him as he meditated and chanted, the lives of these people were as nothing. Could be nothing.

Still a slew of naked thoughts ran through his mind and threatened to disrupt the state of truth to which he was all the time aiming in these two hours alone in the monastery cell — why had he been concerned that the little girl would have to die? Why did he have to meet her? Why did she have to speak to him before the killings at Town Lake? He’d checked the lists of those who’d died. The little girl had been spared. But that was not the point. It was the simple fact that her innocence had touched him and he’d been made to care what would happen to her. It would not leave his thoughts. Try as he might to let these ideas go, they hung on, confronting him.

With time and mental effort, his mind focused once more on the flow of energy through him, the flow that gave him the glimpse of the divine.

He turned to face the door as a novice samanera came for instruction.

Strange, he thought, that he was so far away now from the world where they knew him by a different name.

Wolfgang Heller.

About Forgive No More

Dark secrets revealed in a thrilling climax

James Blake and his family can only be safe if the truth about the conspiracy threatening their lives is brought into the full light of day. Follow James in this intriguing thriller as the conspiracy widens and he must return to Italy to confront those seeking to destroy his family. Forces from around the world, from Washington and Tijuana to Munich and London, are ranged against him. As the mystery comes to a resounding climax, he discovers that dark secrets have survived down the centuries and are in the hands of those who threaten all those dear to him.

From international bestselling author Seb Kirby, Forgive No More continues the intriguing story of crime, corruption and conspiracy begun in Take No More and Regret No More. It is a must-read for fans of Harlan Coben, Daniel Silva and all who enjoy a thought provoking and exciting thriller.

Exclusively on Amazon.

About the author

Seb KirbySeb Kirby was literally raised with books – his grandfather ran a mobile library in Birmingham, UK and his parents inherited a random selection of the books. Once he discovered a trove of well-used titles from Zane Gray’s Riders of the Purple Sage, HG Wells’ The Invisible Man and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to more obscure stuff, he was hooked.

He’s been an avid reader ever since.

He is author of the James Blake thriller series, Take No More, Regret No More and Forgive No More, the science-fiction thriller, Double Bind, and the upcoming second installment of that series.

Visit his

And follow him on Twitter @Seb_Kirby


June iPad Mini Giveaway + $$$ + Books !


June Giveaway Badge

Win an iPad Mini, one of four $25 Amazon gift cards, or one of 20 free e-books by any BestsellingReads member.
That’s right, this month there will be 25 winners!
We’ve got reading covered at BestsellingReads, and who loves avid readers more than we do?
Enter today and win an e-book of your choice.
Happy reading!



Win an iPad Mini


June Giveaway Badge


Win an iPad Mini, one of four $25 Amazon gift cards, or one of 20 free e-books by any BestsellingReads member.
That’s right, this month there will be 25 winners!
We’ve got reading covered at BestsellingReads, and who loves avid readers more than we do?
Enter today, and win an e-book of your choice.
Happy reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Reading with Renewed Eyes, by Scott Bury


ScottAs I take out the tools and toys I stored away last fall and brush off the dust and accumulated grime of the winter, as I find things lost under the snow, as leaves begin to bud on the trees (I’m in Ottawa, so that doesn’t happen as early as for you in the tropical USA), I cannot help but look at the world with renewed vision. To see things I hadn’t noticed for months or more. To look more carefully at familiar things. To take in what I had taken for granted.

That includes my reading material. Over time, it’s easy to narrow our focus, to read the same kind of thing and to dismiss entire categories in favour of the familiar, the safe — the books that the commercial publishing industry tells us we’re supposed to like.

I began reading “new fiction” extensively a couple of years ago — about the time that I decided to publish my own book. And now I read with a refreshed view of literature.

 My focus on style

After many years as an editor (day job), it’s hard to read anything without questioning a writer’s choices in words and phrasing, or to think of different, better ways to organize a section, a chapter or a whole book.

When I read good writing, fiction or non-fiction by a talented author, I find it a treat. I find I’m reading genres and categories that I never would have five years ago. Romance? Me? Police thrillers? Erotica? Steampunk? Urban paranormal?

I immediately recognize the signs of an inexperienced writer — or worse, text that has not seen an editor. Here are some of the things that bug me in fiction:

          A surplus of sentences that begin with an “as” phrase:

o   As they entered the two-storey living room, Brenda and Tomas heard a sound they had never heard before.

          Too many sentences that open with a dependent clause:

o   Blowing his wife a kiss, Alan opened his car door for the last time. Pretending to catch it, Vonda managed to hide her scowl. Turning quickly, she stepped into the house and closed the door just in time to avoid the explosion.

          Passive sentences:

o   The victim was sitting in the driver’s seat, the side of his head blown apart by what must have been a large-calibre bullet.

          Needless detail (I have to admit, I’m guilty of adding this in my own work, occasionally):

o   Jesse stepped down the hall and stopped in front of room 616. She reached up to knock, but hesitated. Holding her breath, she lowered her hand to the knob. Her eyebrows drew closer together, and she unconsciously held her breath as her palm wrapped around the faceted glass. She twisted, softly at first, then harder, but was still shocked when the knob turned and the door swung silently away from her, revealing a dark room.

 Inexperienced writers often try to cram way too much into their first paragraph, like this one, where the author is trying to evoke a futuristic world, describe his characters’ jobs and their relationships all at once (details changed to protect the feelings of the author):

“Bergstein’s stomach clenched. Without Glide, Henri was just too much of an asshole to bear. Henri ran his fingers along his orange belt, which happened to match his suit. Bergstein had never trusted men who wore color-coordinated outfits, one more reason to hate the plump bastard.”

 This kind of writing is not restricted to independent or self-published authors. It fills books that bear colophons and logos from any of the thousand-headed beasts that the commercial publishing conglomerates have grown into.

For example, unnecessary detail made the monster bestsellers of a few years ago —The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels — so thick. I cannot think of any reason other than product placement for the details about the heroine’s laptop computer, her Ikea furniture, nor Billy’s Pan Pizza.

The current blockbuster, Fifty Shades of Grey, is replete with the kind of writing that gets mortal writers (like me) slapped by self-appointed writing coaches and seminar leaders. Consider this gem from the beginning:

She hands me a security pass that has “visitor” very firmly stamped on the front. I can’t help my smirk. Surely it’s obvious that I’m just visiting. I don’t fit in here at all. Nothing changes. I inwardly sigh. Thanking her, I walk over tothe bank of elevators and past the two security men who are both far more smartly dressed than I am in their well-cut black suits.

 You try that at your next writing workshop. I can hear the leader shrieking now (as I sigh inwardly): “Adverbs! Adverbs modifying more adverbs! Sighing inwardly? You could pop an eardrum doing that! And what do you mean by a well-cut suit, exactly?”

 Fresh authors, fresh writing

Today, I’m reading with refreshed eyes, with a renewed appreciation for craft, skill, passion and the willingness of a writer — an artist — to try new ways to express ideas, feelings and experiences.

Here’s one I especially like: Scott Morgan. 

Two years ago Victor carried a gray plastic Star Trek lunchbox, and that was cool. Bill Wharton carried a red one with a Michael Jackson sticker on it, and it was acceptable.

Kyle Stigman never carried a box. As far back as anyone could remember, he had brought his lunches in brown paper bags. He drew pictures on them with a black Sharpie. New ones every day. People noticed, but two years ago, it was OK to be noticed.

          “Brown Paper Bags,” in Stories my Evil Twin Made Up

Or this from fellow Best Selling Reads author Rachel Thompson:

She’s unsure how it started, moving from found to lost. One day she watches birds fly on apathetic wings, the next he stands behind her—his hands inside her heart.

He damages her new home, where she now lays her head, the place where guilt and lust meet.

          “Caged,” in Broken Pieces. 

 New expressions. Close observation of details, of feelings and experiences that we can identify with, and that are a hell of a lot more meaningful than pan pizza or well-cut suits. I love that stuff.

I find that in new fiction. As long as the writer knows the craft of writing and writes with his or her own voice, his or her own vision, I’ll enjoy it.

     § § § § § § §

Scott Bury is a journalist and editor based in Ottawa, Canada. He is the author of The Bones of the Earth and One Shade of Red.