Thursday teaser: The Bonding Spell

Share

Read on to find out how you could win a free e-book and a signed paperback copy of this week’s paranormal suspense #except, from The Bonding Spell

by M. L. Doyle

Prologue

I’m strolling around, looking around while on a personal security detail. I’m carrying my M4 at port arms, but we’re all relaxed, no real fear of attack. I listen to the curator giving yet another tour of the pyramid—the Ziggurat—in the town of Ur. We bring all the distinguished visitors here. The Iraqi guide is telling the senator about the ancient towns throughout Iraq, how the war is destroying so much history.

The senator doesn’t give a shit. She’s so uncomfortable in the heat, her makeup is melting and her hair is damp and flat against her head. I can tell she’s annoyed and would rather go somewhere to cool off, but the reporter following us around forces her to stay on her good behavior, so she smiles and we continue to bake in the desert furnace.

I see something glinting in the sun, partially buried in the sand. They tell us over and over, if you didn’t drop it, don’t pick it up. It could be a bomb, a booby trap, something dangerous meant only to hurt you.

If you didn’t drop it, don’t pick it up.

The group has stopped while the curator keeps talking about the pyramid, the way the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers met here, making the town a thriving center of civilization and culture.

I stroll over to the shiny thing. Standing over it, it looks like something ancient, something important. My curiosity is so intense, it feels for a second like energy vibrating around me, a kind of humming in my ears.

If you didn’t drop it, don’t pick it up.

I pick it up. It’s a large gold coin, rough around the edges, the profile of a woman on one side, the other side decorated with an eight-pointed star. I turn to ask the curator about it, when I realize everything has stopped. The people around me are frozen in place. The senator is caught with a bandana hiding her face, as if she were in the process of wiping sweat from her eyes. The curator’s mouth is open, but nothing is coming out. The other soldiers are frozen too. Masterson stands as if in mid-stride, one foot in the air. If I pushed him, would he topple over? I gaze about, amazed, looking at how everything is at a halt but me.

In the pulsing silence, I hear laughter that sounds like the beauty of a waterfall. I turn to see her. She shimmers in front of me, close enough to touch. Her brown skin glows in the sunlight. Her wide, almond-shaped eyes are outlined in kohl. Her full lips are stretched in a smile that makes me want to smile back—warm, friendly, familiar. Her long, ebony, tightly curled hair floats in the non-existent wind and she wears a golden crown laced with jewels with one large ruby sitting in the middle of her forehead.

I think her splendor could stop the earth from spinning and I don’t even swing that way.

Her golden plate armor over a white, silken dress makes her look like a warrior. She carries a shield with the eight-pointed star on the front, and the hilt of a sword sticks up at an angle over her right shoulder from where it hangs on her back. She speaks to me in a language I shouldn’t understand, but somehow do.

“Hello, Hester. I have waited long and forever for you. I am Inanna, and you are my vessel now.”

I open my mouth to ask her how she knows my name, a question minuscule in the scope of things I should be asking, but can’t get the words out before I am blinded by an explosion of white so intense my eyelids provide no barrier from the assault. My body stiffens, as if from an electrical charge, my arms and legs spread wide and I am inches from the ground, lifted up and up. I’m shuddering in ecstasy, hearing myself scream, not in pain, but in pleasure so overwhelming I think I’ll die from it. An icy cold feeling shoots out of my fingers and toes and latches me to the earth. Another jolt of frenzy shoots through me as I feel a sudden connection with the universe, the sun and the fine grains of sand beneath my feet. Everything. I can feel and see and be all.

When I open my eyes, I am breathless and confused, and the curator is still talking. Everyone is acting as if nothing has happened, but I know that everything has changed. Then I hear a voice in my head.

“You and I will do great things together, my vessel.”

About The Bonding Spell

Hester Trueblood can’t deny having an ancient, Sumerian goddess in her
head has its perks.

She enjoys her new strength and fighting abilities, things that would have
been useful when she was a soldier. And the two handsome men dedicated to serving and protecting her are a nice bonus too.

On the other hand, there are drawbacks.

Having Inanna’s voice inside her head 24/7 can be annoying, and the constant threat of demons and monsters is a dangerous nuisance. The bitchy goddess and the evil hordes are problems Hester can handle, but the adoration of a demigod has Hester off balance.

None of that matters when an old secret threatens to destroy Hester’s family. To battle the goddess of witchcraft, Hester will need all of Inanna’s powers along with the help of her devoted soldiers–and even a love-struck demigod–if she wants to survive.

What readers have said about The Bonding Spell 

“A blending of Iraq war vet meets demigods, goddesses and witches…a delicious read. Like a captivating lover, it will leave you satisfied, but wanting more.”
—Susanne Aspley, McKnight Award winning author of Ladyboy and the Volunteer.

“M.L. Doyle delivers a captivating, well-paced tale of urban fantasy that will intrigue you and leave you wanting  more … it will keep you entertained from the first chapter to the last.” 
—Amazon reader, Jill

Find it on Amazon.

The sequel, The Bonding Blade, will be available on Amazon this summer.

Subscribe to BestSelling Reads to make sure you don’t miss the announcement of this awaited book.

Win a signed copy and a paperback signed by the author.

M.L. Doyle will choose two winners from the correct answers to the following question:

Why didn’t Hester leave Iraq after she was wounded?

Answer this question in the Comments below.

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

Bestseller joins BestSelling Reads: Meet M.L. Doyle

Share

Bestselling and award-winning author M.L. Doyle has joined the ranks of BestSelling Reads.

Mary Doyle is the author of two memoirs, three mystery novels, a four-novella erotic romance series, and the first of a series of urban fantasy novels. Her first novel, The Peacekeeper’s Photograph, won the Carey McCray Memorial Literary Award for best unpublished novel from the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop. It has since been published and received consistent five-star reviews.

“When I published my first book in 2010, I thought writing was a solitary thing. It’s still up to me alone to put words on the page, but I’ve learned that working within a writing community means you can find the support you need when you need it,” she says. “I know and have worked with many of the authors in BestSelling Reads already and I am honored to be invited to join such a talented group.”

Mary Doyle’s first book was as the co-author of  I’m Still Standing: From Captive Soldier to free citizen—my journey home (2010, Touchstone) which chronicles the story of Spec. (Ret.) Shoshana Johnson, a member of the 507th Maintenance Company who was captured during an ambush and held prisoner in the early days of the Iraq War. The book was nominated for a 2011 NAACP Image Award in the literary category for best Autobiography/biography, a year in which the category included books about Nelson Mandela, Jay Z and Ray Charles.

Mary has also co-authored another military memoir. A Promise Fulfilled, My life as a Wife and Mother, Soldier and General Officer tells the compelling story of Brigadier General (retired) Julia Cleckley, the first African-American female general of the line in the U.S. Army National Guard. The book chronicles Cleckley’s journey from joining the Women’s Army Corps, to a position of power wearing the star of a military general. The story details her journey to success while facing the most devastating losses a woman can endure: the loss of a husband and of a child.

Originally from Minnesota, Mary Doyle served almost two decades in the Army Reserve. She was stationed in Germany, Korea and the U.S., and her career took her from Central America, the Middle East, and across western and eastern Europe.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast communications from Metropolitan State University and a Master of Arts in International Relations from the University of Oklahoma.

The Peacekeeper’s Photograph was planned as the first in a trilogy that now includes The Sapper’s Plot and The General’s Ambition, both featuring Master Sergeant Lauren Harper. But experience has shown that Mary isn’t done with writing about Master Sergeant Harper and her British companion, Sergeant Major Harry Fogg. Mary has written companion short stories, The Ceremony and Canceled Plans. She is planning a fourth and perhaps a fifth book in the series.

Mary’s adult romance series is called Limited Partnerships. It comprises Part I – Charlie, Part II – Luke, Part III – Wolf and Part IV – Derek, are available as individual ebooks format and as the Limited Partnerships Omnibus in ebook and paperback.

Her current project is a second novel in her Desert Goddess urban fantasy series that began with The Bonding Spell (2015). “I’ve been working on The Bonding Blade for a couple of years and I can’t wait to release it to the world,” she says. “It’s the second book in the Desert Goddess series aand I think it moves the story in a whole new direction. Ever since I released The Bonding Spell, my readers have been clamoring for the next book. I’m so happy to be closer to delivering it and can now promise that I’ll announce a release date by very soon.”

Mary loves to hear from readers. Find out more about her and her books on her BestSelling Reads Author page; check her out on Facebook.com/mldoyleauthor, or Twitter @mldoyleauthor.

You can read excerpts of all of her work on her website, www.mldoyleauthor.com.

 

Share

Thursday teaser: A Silent Prayer

Share

A Silent Prayer coverThis week’s teaser is from the first paranormal romance

By Samreen Ahsan

Is that really her? Is she the same woman who cast the spell on me?

“Sylvain, get in here immediately,” I say to my personal assistant in a very unpleasant manner, without looking at her. She follows me into my office.

“Is something wrong, Mr. Gibson?” she asks in a motherly tone.

“There is some breakfast meeting or get-together going on in sub-basement…umm…in the Maple Room. Find out all the details about it—who is holding it; what it’s about. Ask the security department to fetch me the list of all the invitees along with the pictures from their security badges.” I have never been so insistent about anything.

Sylvain leaves immediately. I sit down behind my huge dark wooden desk and swivel my leather chair to face the view outside. It has started raining again. My office is on the fifty-fourth floor. It feels powerful to take in the view and own a place so high, yet I felt so weak in front of that girl.

What is in her that I couldn’t articulate?

She is undoubtedly the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and it was quite unsettling to me that the charm that other women usually see in me was completely invisible to her. Is she truly an enchantress from some other world, or is she a part of my fantasy that I have conjured? I am spellbound. A human can’t cast a spell. There must be some witchcraft going on.

At the sight of her, my heart had begun beating like a drum. It’s the same feeling I had eight months back when I met the woman dancing passionately in that old building. I can never forget how those ebony eyes looked at me from behind the mask, how she was trying to catch her breath, her breasts resting on me.

Is she the same girl?

No, she can’t be. Rania is an ordinary girl, doing a regular job. There was magic in that enchantress, in her eyes, in her lips, in her movements, yet the same magic exists in Rania’s eyes too. And her fragrance, it was so familiar. The same aroma that intoxicated me that day, when I lost my mind. I lost it today too. The spark that I got when her hand touched mine, did she feel the same sensation?

I look at my hand carefully to check if it has turned blue due to the electrical current. Nothing like this has happened to me before.

What the hell is wrong with me?

A Silent Prayer

The Prayer Series, Book 1

WINNER OF 2014 LOS ANGELES BOOK FESTIVAL.
WINNER OF 2014 PARIS BOOK FESTIVAL.
HONORABLE MENTIONS, 2014 NEW YORK BOOK FESTIVAL
“An intense, joltingly modern love story.”—Kirkus Reviews

Adam Gibson is a young and powerful Toronto millionaire. Despite his many blessings, he is an atheist, though he has an altruistic soul. He denies there is a God—until he meets a beautiful stranger in a place that does not exist for anyone but him.

Rania Ahmed strongly believes in God, but has lost hope she will ever find her soul mate. Endowed with hypnotic beauty and cursed by a brutal past, Rania has no idea she has cast a spell on Adam, who has never received more from a woman than physical pleasure. As Adam slowly discovers the true meaning of love from Rania, he begins to face his demons and reconsider his beliefs. He learns to love, forgive and repent. But as Adam grows closer to Rania, a series of strange, unexplained events threatens to drive them apart. To keep her from being destroyed by her past, he must persuade her to trust him with her deepest secrets.

In this spiritual romance, an atheist embarks on a path of enlightenment with a tormented soul who may just have the power to change everything he has ever believed to be true.

About Samreen Ahsan

History, art and literature are my passions. I love digging out information about prophecies, divine miracles and paranormal events that are mentioned in history and holy books, that don’t sound possible in today’s modern world.

Since childhood, I have been into reading and writing—and yes, it can’t happen without imagination, which luckily has no boundaries. Dance and music are also pastimes I enjoy, as well as reading romance fiction. I love to travel and explore historical cities.

A Prayer Series” is my first Multi-Award-Winning Series about paranormal events, based on Islamic concepts.

Share

Monday musings: When you didn’t realize art mimicked reality …

Share

By DelSheree Gladden

I started writing “Invisible” based off one of those random questions that gets stuck in your head. “What if a child’s imaginary friend wasn’t imaginary, but invisible? How would they ever convince others that person was real? How would the invisible friend carry on when only one other person in the whole world could actually see them? Okay, so that’s a series of questions, but they stuck with me until I started putting those thoughts down on paper, so to speak.

I didn’t plan out Mason and Olivia’s story. I had little more than a vague idea of where their lives might go: a normal human girl and the invisible boy who was in love with her but knew she saw him as little more than a brother. I rarely write with a plan and prefer to let a story go where it may, but with this one I had that experience where I felt like the characters wrote the story themselves and I was simply along for the ride.

It wasn’t until much later, when the book was published, maybe all three books in the series (I can’t remember at this point), and I was asked to do an interview with a blogger (I also can’t remember which blogger, which I’m so sorry to admit!). One of the questions asked which character I identified with most. I had to think about that for a while, mostly because the characters had taken on a life of their own and seemed like their own people at that point and not so much a part of me anymore.

When I really considered what had been the impetus behind writing a story about an invisible boy, I realized it was because Mason was me, in many ways, as a young child and even as a teen. I often felt invisible growing up. Partly that was because I was painfully shy and had a hard time making friends. Another part of that was a very strained and complicated relationship with my mother and siblings that made me feel isolated and unimportant.

There were many times I felt as Mason did, frustrated that no one seemed to notice me or care about what I could do in life. I wanted to wanted to get people’s attention, show them who I was, but I didn’t know how. It wasn’t until a few friends took me under their wings and helped me realize I wasn’t invisible and definitely was worthwhile that I felt that cloak of invisibility begin to slip away.

My own story isn’t nearly as exciting or world altering as Mason’s but, to a person who feels invisible, that friend who truly sees them does change their world and how they see themselves.

The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities.

DelSheree lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. When she is not writing, DelSheree is usually reading, painting, sewing, or working as a Dental Hygienist.

Visit:

And follow her on Twitter @Delsheree.

Share

Monday Musings: Life imitates fantastic events

Share

By Corinne O’Flynn

It’s interesting when life imitates art, but pretty strange when events in a fantasy author’s life echo something from their fiction. When this question was first posed to me—to share a moment when something from my fiction seemed echoed in real life, my instinct was to dismiss it. I mean, I write paranormal suspense and fantasy adventure with telepathic talking animals and ghosts—what could there possibly be that reflects on something that happened in my life after the books were written?

I sat down and thought about my character’s journeys, looking for events in their inner growth that later appeared in my own life. But then I remembered a particularly amazing moment I had with what I feel was a ghost that could have come directly from the pages of one of my books. 

In my book, Ghosts of Witches Past, the main character, Wavy McClintock is a witch with the rare ability to see ghosts. She cloisters herself in her village because she knows where the local ghosts are and how to avoid them. During the course of ths story, she has a moment where she sees her mother’s ghost. The sight doesn’t scare her; she is intrigued and curious and tries to catch up with the ghost. 

As someone who writes about the paranormal, it should come as no surprise that I am interested in all kinds of new age things. One afternoon, I was with a friend at her house so she could perform Healing Touch on me. For those of you who may not be familiar, Healing Touch is a modality of energy work for stress reduction and relaxation to promote healing of the body, mind, and spirit. Like Reiki, it is performed fully-clothed, on a massage table, and in my case, under a blanket.

I should preface this story by sharing that my friend is someone who was a very close friend of my mother’s while she was alive. It isn’t odd for her to share that she had a dream about my mother or felt her presence with her from time to time. In fasct, she almost always shared these things with me because I so rarely have them. 

This one evening, while laying on the table during a Healing Touch session, I had the strangest sensation. The room was dark and I lay on my back with my eyes closed. The session was nearing the end, and I had the sensation that the table was floating; almost as if it were suspended from the ceiling instead of standing on the floor. 

When the session was over, I was overcome with a lovely sense of calm. As I opened my eyes, I saw my deceased mother’s shape. She appeared in black and white, like chalky fog. She had been laying her ear on my chest, as if listening to my heart. As I sat up, she pulled away, smiled at me, and disappeared. 

I sat there stunned for a moment before mentioning it to my friend. We usually sit on the couch and chat after each session and discuss random things and catch up. My friend told me that she felt my mom with us the whole time, and wanted to mention it to me, but the session had already started and we don’t speak while she’s doing her energy work.

I know it sounds bizarre to share something of the paranormal, but I personally have had too many of these kinds of experiences to dismiss them outright. I want to believe that my mother is checking in on me. And now that I have made this connection to a moment in my book, I wonder if my subconscious was directing that part of the story. 

If nothing else, it’s intriguing (at least to me)!

Corinne O’Flynn

is a productivity geek, graphic designer, ghostwriter, and the author of an ever-growing list of fantasy and mystery novels and short stories.

Married, raising four kids, she is the founder and executive director of a non-profit organization, and a professional napper. She also serves on the board for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW).

You can check out all of her books here on this website or on Amazon.

Get to know more about Corinne on her:

And follow her on Twitter at @CorinneOFlynn.

Share

Magic Thursday: Song of the Sending

Share

This week’s teaser is from Book 1 of The Expatriates children’s magic fantasy series

By Corinne O’Flynn

Song of the Sending: children's magic fantasy I dodged Sam’s sword by dropping to the ground and rolling away, then waited for the tiger to do the same. My best friend’s blade fell in a wide arc beside me, but Cotton stood still, the spotlight overhead making his white fur like frosted glass. I got to my feet and glared at the tiger as if I could guilt him into complying. The walls of the old big top puffed in, then out as if the tent were sighing my frustration. Cotton watched me for another moment before he crouched and rolled, a belated mirror of my movements.

“He’s too slow, man.” Sam pointed out the obvious. Always had, since we were kids. He rubbed the sweat off his face, leaving light dusty stripes on his brown skin. I tried not to laugh as he leaned on his sword. The blunted point pried a triangle of packed dirt from the ground.

“I know.” I let my sword fall and pulled off my gloves. The tang of diesel fumes choked the still air inside the tent.

“He’s not in sync.” Sam wrinkled his nose. “Can’t you make him do it like Bak?”

“It’s not the same, and you know it. Bak doesn’t need me to teach him.” I stepped over to Bak and scratched the fur between my tiger’s ears.

I slipped my mind into his.

You don’t need me, do you, boy?

Bak pressed himself into my side. Bak need Jim. My tiger’s thought whispered through my head like the swish of canvas moving in the stifling summer breeze, and the sun wasn’t even up yet. Way too hot.

I need you, too, Bak. Me too.

Sam loosened the straps of his dented chest plate and plopped on the ground next to Cotton. “He’s gonna make us look stupid. We should scrap the new stuff.” He tilted his head to indicate Cotton. “Maybe it’s time we really change the show. You know, leave him out of it.” He lifted his dark hair off his neck. “Freaking hot in here.”

“Yeah, you try selling that to my Uncle. What would Sweetwater’s be without the Dueling Knights of Mysteria?” I pictured the carnival without its signature event. With makeup and armor, nobody would ever guess a sixteen- and a seventeen-year-old played the two knights beholden to the powers of Heaven and Hell. Along with our trusty tigers, Light and Shadow, we settled the eternal fight over good and evil—nightly at 8:00 PM and 10:30 PM.

Sam snorted. “A monkey might do better as my sidekick.”

I ran my hand down Cotton’s shoulder and wondered if the animal could tell Sam was ripping on him. “Don’t talk about him like that. You’re supposed to be the good guy. The white knight.”

The big cat sat there, licking his paw.

“Dude. Then let’s switch and you be the good guy. Besides, if Cotton knows what’s going on, then he should be able to keep up. Right?” My friend turned to the tiger as if waiting for a reply.

“Give him a break. It’s a new move. He’ll get it.” I connected with Cotton. Watch me and Bak, boy. You know what to do.

The tiger stopped licking his paw and locked his pale eyes with mine.

That’s right. Good boy.

“Come on, Bak, let’s show him how it’s done.” I pulled on my gloves and picked up my sword and turned to face Sam and Cotton. Bak took his place next to me. I mind-tapped my tiger.

Get down low. Sword right. I bent my knees and raised my sword over my right shoulder. Bak lowered his body and tensed as he lifted his right paw, claws extended.

Slice. My sword flew toward my invisible opponent. Bak raked the air in front of him with his paw. His tail whipped out behind him to compensate for the shift in his balance.

Down. Roll right. I dropped and rolled, pretending to dodge Sam’s blade as I rose to my knees. Bak moved in perfect sync, coming to rest on his belly, paws on the ground.

Up and—I got to my feet, feeling like I’d been punched in the side of my head. My connection to Bak broke. I looked at my tiger, a little dazed and unsure what had happened. Bak’s attention went upward, near the roof of the big top. But aside from the lights and the normal rigging, there wasn’t anything to see.

“What’s wrong?” Sam said.

“Don’t know.” I tapped Bak again.

A siren screamed through my head. I covered my ears, but it did nothing to ease the pain. It felt like my brain was trying to fly out of my skull. The pressure was unbearable. Bak rolled on the ground, swatting at his nose and shaking his head as if a swarm of hornets had attacked him.

Bak. You okay? I sent the thought to my tiger—but I couldn’t get through to him. He lay on the ground, writhing.

Children’s magic fantasy: Song of the Sending

They told him his world was destroyed.
And they were the last to escape.
They thought he was safe.
They were wrong.

Jim Wales can communicate with animals, but that’s not why he lives with a traveling carnival. Turns out his family’s been hiding him there since he was little, since someone started hunting all the scholars. Jim is a scholar—someone who can manipulate energy using magic—and he has no idea.

When a message arrives from Jim’s supposedly-dead father, Jim’s whereabouts are discovered, their carnival is attacked, and his mother is kidnapped. On the run with a strange glass map and a single coin, Jim finds himself racing to reclaim the father he thought he’d lost, plotting to save his mother, and discovering the truth about who he is.

But going home isn’t the same as being safe, and trust is everything.

If you liked this excerpt from this magic fantasy story for young readers, get the whole book on Amazon.

About Corinne O’Flynn

Corinne O'Flynn author of children's magic fantasyProductivity geek, graphic designer, ghostwriter, Corinne O’Flynn is the author of an ever-growing list of magic, fantasy and mystery novels and short stories.

Married, raising four kids, she is the founder and executive director of a non-profit organization, and served on the board for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW).

Get to know more about Corinne on:

Check out all of her books on BestSelling Reads or on Amazon.

Share