Thursday teaser preview: The Bonding Blade


Book 2 in the Desert Goddess series

By M.L. Doyle

Now available for pre-order.

In my previous life, before I’d become a soldier and deployed to Iraq, I’d never have imagined that I would be running around in caves searching for supernatural creatures. All of that changed when I picked up a shiny coin in the desert and became the living vessel of the Mesopotamian goddess Inanna. I know. It sounds crazy.

There is nothing crazy about it, my vessel, said Inanna, her voice heard only by me inside my head. I have traveled throughout millennia, operating in the supernatural world. As the goddess of love and war, plenty and …

Yes, I know, I said, mentally rolling my eyes. You’re a goddess, you’re amazing, yada yada yada.

English may not be my first language, but I am certain yada is not a word.


Sometimes, my head felt crowded with my thoughts along with hers.

So unnecessarily insolent, she grumbled.

I watched as Rashid followed me up and away from the rat stampede. “Watch out for the stalagmites,” I yelled, my voice almost drowned out by the rush of rodents flowing through the cave.

Photo by Andy Mabbett, licensed under Creative Commons

“Stalactites,” Rashid shouted back.

“What?” I said.

“They are stalactites, my queen. Stalagmites are the ones that come up from the ground.” He had quickly, but far more calmly followed me to the higher perch and away from the rush of rodents.

“Okay, stalagtites.”

“Ah, it is, stalactites, my queen,” Rashid said. “With a k sound. Stalactites.”

I gave him a hard stare. “How is it you can speak English better than I can?” My Persian warrior spoke with a precise, clipped accent. Long hair, thick eyelashes, high cheekbones and naturally tanned skin made him movie-star handsome, which completely masked how deadly he could be in a fight.

“I can do nothing better than you can, my goddess.” A sly smile accentuated his snide remark.

Along with the goddess in my head came a few other accessories, like two warriors; Rashid and Quincy who are sworn to serve me. I also have two cougar-sized war cats for protection; Granite and Pearl, both of whom can switch into human form when necessary. Not to mention, becoming Inanna’s vessel made me immortal and gave me supernatural strength and the ability to propel myself from here to there. Oh, and there’s also a demigod. But I’m not speaking to him.

Precisely, my vessel. Such an infuriating man.

Photo by ZulaikhaN; licensed under Creative Commons

“Can we concentrate on what the fuck we’re doing here?” Quincy yelled at us from the other side of the stream. His raised voice and his barely contained fury made his usually pleasant, freckled face almost unrecognizable. He stood where we had left him, directly in the path of the thousands of rats that flowed from deep within the vast cave system directly under downtown Minneapolis. He remained rooted to the spot even as rats scrambled over and around his feet, making it appear as if he stood shin deep in oozing, thick mud.

“They’re obviously running from something,” he said, pointing his sword in the direction from which they came. “How much you wanna bet it’s the trolls?”

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.

The Bonding Blade publishes on June 20. Pre-order it now.

M.L. Doyle

has served in the US Army at home and abroad for more than three decades as both a soldier and civilian. She calls on those experiences in her award-winning Master Sergeant Harper mystery series, her Desert Goddess urban fantasy series, erotic romance writing and coauthored memoirs which all feature women who wear combat boots.

Check her out on, or Twitter @mldoyleauthor, and you can read excerpts of all of her work on her website at


Cheeseburgers and Literary Fiction by Shannon Mayer




Shannon Mayer

Here’s the thing. Books are a heck of a lot like food. Books feed the brain, food feeds the body. Simple, right?

Take literary fiction.

According to research literary fiction should have literary merit . . . “standing the test of time, realistic characters, emotional complexity, originality, and concern with truth”

This is the stuff that Oprah endorses, and professors rave about, the books you are required to read in school. In other words, the Salad of the book world. Healthy, good for your brain, but sometimes, a little hard to swallow. The kind of food you have to force yourself to eat; you’ll appreciate it when you’re done. Truly.

BUT there are days that to eat a salad in all it’s healthy glory; well, you might as well ram it down your throat with a fork. Really, not fun. BUT, good for you, and that’s what matters right? That people see you being HEALTHY. Your friends say things like “Wow, what you’re reading, that is so deep, wise, brilliant.” Which makes you smile and feel like “Yes, I am getting smarter reading this, even if it takes me six months to get through half the book.”

On the other hand, you have genre fiction. The cheeseburger of the reading world. Think of Stephen King as the Big Mac of this genre and you have a good idea of what I’m talking about. Fast, addictive, and damn, we know it’s probably not the best on the calorie count, but we down them anyway, usually in multiples along with a hefty dose of fries.

This is the kind of food we all secretly crave, but when our snooty friends see us eating it, and they frown and whisper behind their hands, guilt rushes over us.

We should be better than this, we should have control of ourselves, only eat salad, forgo the juicy drippings of burger, cheese and condiments. #droolworthy

Hold on to your hats, I’m about to throw you a curve ball.

Genre fiction can surprise you. A cheeseburger can be tweaked. You can add avocado, bacon, mushrooms and a host of other things to make it MORE than just a cheeseburger. Lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and hot peppers bring the flavour to life! This is the equivalent of reading genre fiction with pizzaz, a romance with a moral and a dash of mystery, a horror with a warning for the world of what could be if we aren’t careful, an urban fantasy that makes us believe in more than what our eyesDarkFae1600x2400 can see and opens our hearts to the truth around us. That is the beauty of genre fiction, it can be a blending of flavours not found anywhere else.

On the other hand literary fiction, our salad—well, I have to say, I’ve never seen a burger patty sitting on top of a bed of lettuce. Sure, you can throw in some feta cheese or toasted pecans, but it just isn’t as healthy then, is it? Which, in my mind, is the point of literary fiction; to be good for us, to help us think more deeply and be more wise. Yada, yada, yada.

Literary fiction vs. genre fiction, for some people, there is no comparison. They love one or the other, and will never look back. That’s a shame, because “Variety is the spice of life” and without spice, life can be pretty damn boring. Why not have your salad and a cheeseburger? That, to me is the perfect combo. And here are a few books that fit that bill, a blend of genre and literary fiction that will whet your appetite and leave you fully satisfied!

Christine NolfiThe Tree of Everlasting Knowledge 

Micheal RiversMoonlight on the Nantahala

Toby NealBlood Orchids

Scott BuryBones of the Earth


§ § § § § § § 

Shannon Mayer is the author of the bestselling urban fantasy Priceless which has sold over 20,000 copies in its first two months. On her down time, she hangs out on the farm coming up with ideas for her next books, herds old people to the local cribbage club, and in general makes a nuisance of herself.


You can find Shannon on Amazon  Facebook  Twitter  or of course on her Blog



Stop in Saturday, February 2 and meet Dawn Torrens, bestselling author of the inspiring blockbuster, Amelia’s Story.

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