Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Book Blast & Giveaway: Colors of Us by @SandraBunino

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clip_image002_thumb[1]Colors of Us

McAvery Brothers

Book One

Sandra Bunino

Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult

Publisher: Evernight Publishing

Number of pages: 240

Word Count: 62,000

ISBN: 9781771309783

ASIN: B00MwFP98E

Cover Artist: Sour Cherry Designs

Book Description:

Everything she knew to be true fell apart. Then fell apart again…

Michelle Willis is running from her past. What better place to hide than in the anonymity of New York City. Finding refuge in a tiny SoHo art gallery, she rebuilds her life one painting at a time.

A wrong turn sends Hunter McAvery on a crash course with disaster. He fights his own demons by following his big brother’s lead - drinking and bed-hopping his way through Manhattan.

A glance at Michelle’s self-portrait triggers emotions Hunter can’t tamp down. Driven to meet the artist, he discovers a fiery chemistry as their lives collide. But when their past threatens to tear them apart, can their love survive?

Available at Amazon Amazon UK

Evernight Publishing ARe Smashwords

Music Playlist: https://play.spotify.com/user/12134886106/playlist/07orDaxcxJE4sfSZW59Loa

excerpt

“I think pink is your color. It looks great against your dark hair.” Reaching past her shoulder, he curled a strand of her hair between his fingers and tugged gently before letting it fall onto her shoulder.

Meeting his gaze, she smiled. “Thanks.” Michelle wasn’t used to compliments. It’d been her goal to fade into the crowd and not to call attention to herself. But her self-imposed rules seemed to float away around Hunter McAvery.

Returning her smile, he continued the lesson. “After you slide your hands into the opening, you’ll wind the long strap around your fingers and wrist like this.” Holding her fingers in his hand, he wound the dangling strap around her palm and over her knuckles. “You want to protect the part of your hand that meets the bag.”

He stepped closer as he slipped the strap around the base of her thumb. When he brushed his fingertips against the sensitive area just below the fleshy part of her palm, a shiver shot up her arm and traveled to her belly. His warm breath ghosted her face as he circled the end of the strap around her wrist and secured the Velcro tab. Before she knew it, strong fingers captured her left hand and guided her arm to the warmth between their bodies. She itched to graze her fingers along his muscled chest, capturing his heat with her palm. Her gaze bounced to his neck and stubbled jaw, which clenched as he slid the other wrap over her hand. Slowly wrapping her other wrist, he secured the strap and held both of her gloved hands in his. “Make a fist,” he said huskily.

Tightening her hands into a ball, she tucked her thumb around the outside of her fingers like he showed her at the gym.

He squeezed her fists. “They look good. You’re a badass.”

Michelle snorted. “A badass in pink.”

“Let’s see what you got. Show me some upper cuts. Right here.” He tapped his abs.

“You want me to hit you?” She giggled.

“Sure. I can take it.”

Turning her palms up, she made a fist and alternated soft punches to his belly. His rock-hard belly. Each strike made her aware of how alive he made her feel. The force of impact sent ripples up his tight shirt, awakening the planes of his muscular form. She gulped back the desire to open her fists and run her fingertips along the line of each thick muscle.

His hands came to rest on her forearms, halting her movement. The pads of his thumbs stroked the sensitive skin near the inside of her elbow causing a delicious shiver up her arm. Michelle’s eyes met his. The fire brewing in his darkened gaze drew her in. Hunter stepped between her legs, nudging her back against the wall next to the mural. She closed her eyes and choked back a groan, wanting—no, needing—to grind her heat on his leg. Raising her arms above her, he pinned them against the wall on either side of her head. His scent flooded her senses as she lifted her chin to close the gap between them.

“I’m trying like hell not to kiss you.” Hunter straightened his back but didn’t loosen his grip on her arms.

Her skin prickled from the nearness of his body. She let her gaze drift to his lips. “Why?” she whispered.

He blew a slow breath between his teeth. “Nothing good would come of it. I’m not capable of giving or feeling… or offering anything much to you.” He shook his head but he didn’t move from her body.

“I don’t believe that.” Michelle wriggled her arms from his grasp. Her fingertips lingered on his corded forearms, which flexed under her touch. Easing a trail toward his shoulders, her fingers reminded her of a paintbrush’s first dab of color on a fresh canvas. She’d always believed each canvas had a personality of its own, and it was the symphony of the brush, artist, and canvas that created the work of art. She wanted to explore the blank canvas of Hunter McAvery.

She studied his arms, still caging her in. Protecting her. Wanting her. Her eyes met his gaze. He stared at her, unmoving, but a spark burned in his eyes. She held her breath, afraid to break his trance. Her palms smoothed over his shoulders and down his chest, stopping at the center of his ribs. Pushing into the muscles of his chest, she felt the strong beat of his heart on her fingers. “Kiss me, Hunter.” Raising her eyebrows, she dared to look him in the eyes, almost afraid of what she’d see.

“You don’t understand. You’re too… good.” He averted his gaze.

“Maybe you should let me decide what’s good for me.” She moved closer, his breath burned hot on her face, and he squeezed his eyes closed.

“Michelle….”

Her hands traveled up his chest and rested on the bulk of his strong shoulders. Pulling him in, her breasts molded into his chest and, finally, he crashed his lips down on hers. She met every stroke of his tongue as her fingers raked through the ends of his hair. Moaning into his mouth, she straddled his muscular thigh as warmth flooded her sex. She’d never felt more alive.

His hand grazed her cheek before taking her chin between his thumb and index finger and pulling away from their kiss. He tipped his forehead to hers, his raspy breath hot on her mouth. “Shit.”

Michelle widened her eyes. “What?” she whispered.

“You. Me. This just can’t happen. Not now. Not like this.”

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  abouttheauthor

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Sandra Bunino is a romance author of several novellas including The Satin Rose Experience series. Her first full-length novel, Colors of Us from the McAvery Brothers series, released in August. She makes her parents proud by putting her MBA degree to good use dreaming up heroes who resemble David Gandy whenever possible. When not staying up past her bedtime torturing her oh-so-sexy heroes, she can be found shopping for shoes or saving turtles.

As a social media junkie in need of a ten-step program, you can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and her new addiction, Pinterest. Sandra loves to read and chat with other readers, so she formed the Bunino’s Bookalicious Babes group on Facebook where they currently share their love of Jamie Fraser from Outlanders…and David Gandy, of course.

Website: http://sandrabunino.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5406952.Sandra_Bunino

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SandraBunino

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SandraBuninoAuthor

Bookalicious Babes Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/597429020306289/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sandrabunino/

Bookalicious Babes mailing list: http://eepurl.com/LuwPL

Friday, September 26, 2014

Book Blast, Giveaway & Interview: Blood Diva by @VM_Gauthier

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clip_image002_thumb[1]Blood Diva

VM Gautier

Genre: Urban Fantasy

ISBN: 9781620154663

Number of pages: approx 450.

Word Count: 120,000

Book Description:

The 19th century's most infamous party-girl is undead and on the loose in the Big Apple.

When 23 year-old Parisian courtesan, Marie Duplessis succumbed to consumption in 1847, Charles Dickens showed up for the funeral and reported the city mourned as though Joan of Arc had fallen. Marie was not only a celebrity in in her own right, but her list of lovers included Franz Liszt – the first international music superstar, and Alexandre Dumas fils, son of the creator of The Three Musketeers. Dumas fils wrote the novel The Lady of the Camellias based on their time together. The book became a play, and the play became the opera La Traviata. Later came the film versions, and the legend never died.

But what if when offered the chance for eternal life and youth, Marie grabbed it, even when the price was the regular death of mortals at her lovely hand?

In 2014, Marie wonders if perhaps nearly two centuries of murder, mayhem, and debauchery is enough, especially when she falls hard for a rising star she believes may be the reincarnation of the only man she ever truly loved. But is it too late for her to change? Can a soul be redeemed like a diamond necklace in hock? And even if it can, have men evolved since the 1800′s? Or does a girl’s past still mark her?

Blood Diva is a sometimes humorous, often dark and erotic look at sex, celebrity, love, death, destiny, and the arts of both self-invention and seduction. It’s a story that asks a simple question – Can a one hundred ninety year-old demimondaine find happiness in 21st century Brooklyn without regular infusions of fresh blood?

excerpt

Her bathroom was en-suite, but could be accessed through a second door from the living room. Rosa, who came in the mornings to clean, routinely filled the bath. There was a timed heater that kept the water warm. Alphonsine slipped into the oversized tub.

She dove under the bubbles. While her kind needed to breathe, they could control respiration and stay under for hours. She enjoyed soaking this way in very hot water, allowing herself to think and dream. Her morning kill had been so unusual, so exciting, she wanted to relive every detail.

She hadn’t been planning to feed that night, though it had been almost four weeks. She could go five, even six in a pinch, but after that long she felt so fatigued it was hard to distinguish day from night. Pierre and she were planning to get out of town to feast together. He often chided her for her recklessness, pointing out it was not like the old days. Trains, planes, and automobiles made it easy to place distance between oneself and one’s prey. No reason to kill where one lived, but sometimes, one couldn’t help oneself.

She had left the party feeling a particular restlessness. At first believing sex alone might be enough to stave off the hunger, her plan had been to head downtown or back to Brooklyn to find some pretty thing to hook up with. Then she caught a scent, felt something unique was waiting. Violent images flooded her mind as she entered the bar. It was coming into focus – a mortal who killed, not in war, but for fun. While her telepathic powers were weak – she was after all still quite young, she could sense emotions, especially strong ones, and he had been a seething caldron of barely suppressed rage.

Under the warm water, she could still taste it on her tongue, his blood, his essence – all of that delicious hate, and yet in the intimacy of the death-grip, she felt more, his humanity, as though they both were spiraling backwards in time to a moment when even he was innocent.

She’d given him peace. It had been a good death for him. True, she had frightened him when she jumped out. They said in the best hunts the prey never suspected, never felt a moment of unease, but allowances had to be made. After all, he believed he had killed her. She couldn’t let him go to his grave thinking that.

Blood was more than nourishment. It was a sacrament. Some said the blood itself contained the very soul. She doubted such a thing existed. She only knew it had something – a power, a magic like nothing else. Strange how easily satisfied beings like her were, hardly the monsters depicted in myth. As pleasurable as it might be to hunt and feast every night, like the noble lion, they only did so when hungry.

No two people tasted the same – not father and son, nor brother and sister, not even twins. This she knew from her own experience. Children’s blood had a sweetness like the candied grapes young men once brought her as tokens between acts at the opera. There was a freshness to young blood, like apples picked in the summer at a perfect moment of ripeness. Teenaged girls tasted of secrets, and boys of lust. Women, pretty ones, whose hearts had been broken had a certain tenderness and resignation, especially if you came to them when their looks were fading, and there wasn’t much hope. There were men who had an edge like a wine with a bitter after taste, while others were warm and smooth. The old, whom she wasn’t fond of, tasted of sadness, disappointment, and defeat, though they would certainly do when convenient. Human blood, like the human voice, had different timbres. Some had the richness and depth of a bass-baritone while others were light but agile like a coloratura soprano.

A killer, however, especially one who dispatched his own so remorselessly, this was a rare treat indeed. The essence would hold within it all whom he had taken. For her to act so boldly, to take so many chances to have him, was a risk, but what would be the point of immortality without gambles? And she had always loved games of chance.

When she walked in and saw him, saw those thick arms, the sandy hair, could already feel what it would be like to fuck him, to take him perhaps when he was inside her, she knew she had to go through with it. The combination of lust and hunger made her almost giddy, barely able to contain herself.

Still immersed, Alphonsine began to touch her thighs, working up to her pussy, replaying the night.

As soon as she sat down at the bar it became clear he had picked her, imagined her as his next victim. It was too delicious! A chance for play-acting. Something different and rough.

Alphonsine lifted her head above the water, feeling the urge to breathe. Her breaths became quick as she felt her release, the first taste of his blood a vivid memory. Her kind not only felt everything more strongly than mortals, but could recall in full sensory detail.

It had been everything she hoped. Feeling him draining, feeling his life force leaving his body, merging into hers. That final beat of his cruel heart. A rush of something – all his anger, perhaps? It overwhelmed her for a second and then was gone. And he had looked so tranquil – transformed by death – beyond the desire to hurt and kill, beyond it all, finally at rest – a gift she had bestowed on him.

She had closed his eyes, and kissed him once softly on the lips before beginning the task of clean up.

The act of remembering left her not hungry for more blood, but still unsatisfied.

character

Character Name: Camille St Valois (born Alphonsine Plessis, known as Marie Duplessis during her Paris "career.")

Character Bio: French courtesan born 1824, her alleged "death" at age 23 inspired a novel, a play, an opera and a ballet. Blood Diva is the story of her "afterlife" as a blood-sucking immortal.

 

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Describe yourself what is your worst and best quality?

People may see me as selfish and manipulative, but they don't really know what I've had to go through. My best quality? Resilience.

What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?

That I'm capable of love.

What is your biggest secret something no one knows about?

No one knows what is in my heart. That's my true tragedy.

What are you most afraid of?

That I will let someone in, really feel something and then be rejected.

What do you want more than anything?

Acceptance, that someone would know me, the real me, and still love me truly and deeply -- as a woman, not as a possession.

What is your relationship status?

Complicated. In the novel Blood Diva, I fall totally and completely for a mortal, but my loyalty must always be to my immortal community.

How would you describe your sense of fashion?

I move with the times, but like to set my own pace. If I'm wearing it, it's in style.

How much of a rebel are you?

I've always lived as I wanted to, but I've never felt completely free.

What do you considered to be your greatest achievement?

My survival.

What is your idea of happiness?

Hmmm, that's tough. As a diva, nothing gives me more pleasure than a sweet kill and the taste of human blood, but thinking with my human brain, I'm just an old-fashioned girl looking for a rich, handsome, young man who "gets" me.

What is your current state of mind?

At the onset of Blood Diva, I'm living as I've lived for over a century and a half. It's pretty much non-stop murder, mayhem, and debauchery. But once Dashiell comes into my life, I feel things I haven't felt for a very long time. It's terribly confusing.

What is your most treasured possession?

I try not to hold on too much to the past. There are few things, a book someone gave me once...

What is your most marked characteristic?

I suppose it would be my "innocence." Of course, I've never been innocent. I had no childhood. Did I mention my father actually sold me to the gypsies? But I've always looked innocent -- childlike. You'd think it might hold a girl back in my profession -- the lack of some obvious assets. But it became my claim to fame -- my "delicate" beauty and good manners.

What is it that you, most dislike?

Cruelty. I tease sometimes, but I'm never really mean. I don't understand why anyone is. Even when I have to take human life to feed, I try to do it humanely.

Which living person do you, most despise?

It depends on how you define "living." I still feel Anton tricked me into accepting his offer of immortality. I may have been a whore, but I was never a murderer.

What is your greatest regret?

I was on my own when I was so young. I did the best I could. I regret nothing.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Passion. I'm drawn to men who feel strongly and act on those feelings -- especially talented ones who can turn their pleasure and pain into music or drama or art.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Tenderness.

Who is your favorite hero in fiction?

There is a French novel, Manon Lescaut, about a man who loves what they call a fallen woman. She doesn't deserve him, but he is completely loyal to her nevertheless. He sees the good in her.

Which living person do you most admire?

Dashiell Alexander, my lover in Blood Diva. He's everything I ever wanted. He makes me want to be better.

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

I'd be good. I wouldn't need to kill to survive.

What is your motto?

I'm quoted as having said, "It's not me who is dancing too fast. It's the violins who are playing too slowly." But I'm not sure whether or not it was just something the press made up. It sounds like something I might have said.

 

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abouttheauthor

VM Gautier is a pseudonym. This is not the author's first book, but it is his or her first book in this genre. You haven't heard of him or her.

Web: http://www.blooddiva.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22731729-blood-diva

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blood-Diva/1478472872374508

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VM_Gauthier

Book Blast, Giveaway & Interview: Tim on Broadway: Season One by @rbettenc

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clip_image002_thumb[1]Tim on Broadway: Season One

The Complete First Season

Books 1-5

Rick Bettencourt

Genres: New adult, gay fiction, LGBT,

humor, paranormal,

show business,

personal growth,

M/M Romance

Publisher: Bettencourt Concepts

and Beaten Track Publishing

ISBN: 978 1 909192 86 7

ASIN: B00M4N1L9K

Number of pages: 268

Word Count: 75,000

Book Description:

Carolyn Sohier, the Greta Garbo of divas, is giving a once in a lifetime concert that Tim can’t afford to attend. Tim—an overweight, twenty-something virgin—regrets lending the hunky bag boy at the grocery store money that could have bought him a ticket. Tim needs to call in his debts, but money isn’t the only thing holding him back.

The first time Tim met Javier, he was blown away by the attention. He didn't often—actually ever—get a guy, let alone a hot one, pay attention to him. The problem, Javier is straight; yet he gives Tim mixed messages. Tim can’t get Javier off his mind, unless he is pursuing his love for theater—or talking with his best friend, Julia, about the “unattainable” crushes they share on some of the guys back home.

With the Carolyn Sohier concert fasting approaching, Tim struggles to get tickets. If he hadn't lent Javier the money to, well, have his way with him in the beer cooler at the store they worked at together, maybe Tim wouldn't have lost his job, and would be able to see Carolyn perform. But Tim’s learned his lesson from all this…or so he thinks.

Available at Amazon Smashwords iTunes Kobo Scribd BN Inktera

The entire first episode (over 70 pages) is available for free at Amazon

excerpt

Chapter 1: America’s Got Divas

I put down my doughnut, picked up my iced coffee and took a sip. The extra-extra cream and extra-extra sugar gave me a nice little rush. It wasn’t quite as good as Starbucks’ but being unemployed I had to make the best of my homebrewed pot.

I had my cell phone cradled in the crook of my shoulder, talking to my best friend Julia. “With my Kindle,” I said, “I can read them without people staring at me on the subway.”

“I still can’t believe you like girly romance books,” Julia said. I could hear her slurping her own coffee, probably an iced Double Mocha Grande, being that she was at our old Starbucks in Salem. “You’re the only guy I know who has every Chippendale Publishing book ever released.”

I didn’t really but I didn’t want to quibble over details. “Oh my God,” I said, as a bit of powdered sugar sprayed from my mouth and landed on the blanket I had covered over me. I was getting ready to watch TV. “I almost forgot to tell you.”

She slurped some more of her coffee. “What?”

“Guess who’s doing a comeback concert?” I brushed the sugar dust off the blanket.

“Who, Cher?”

“No,” I said, raising my voice.

“I don’t know. You got me,” she said, and from her muffled speech, I could tell she was eating, probably a slice of carrot cake or a blueberry scone. I know what Julia likes. When she eats desserts, she usually goes for something that has a vegetable in it or some antioxidant fruit, because, of course, they’re healthier than my powdered doughnuts.

I pulled the blanket closer to me. “Carolyn Sohier,” I said. “She’s finally coming out of seclusion and doing a concert.”

“Carolyn, who?” I heard the clinking of the fork against the plate. Carrot cake, I bet.

“Carolyn Sohier― you know, the singer who was in Witches of Salem, that movie we saw the night I slipped on the ice in Danvers? And she was also on Broadway in―”

“Oh, her. That movie was terrible.” I could practically hear her nose wrinkle in disgust. Julia was brutally honest.Well, I liked it,” I said. “She’s an amazing singer.”

“She didn’t even sing in that movie,” she said, with her voice trailing off at the end.

“Well, it wasn’t a musical. But she did sing the theme song. Remember, we saw her on last year’s America’s Got Divas. She was the guest judge.”

“I suppose you’ll want me to go with you,” she said.

I clicked the remote control. “We’ll see. Tickets are expensive. She’s decided to come out of seclusion, out from her Greta Garbo cocoon. It’s a one-night only performance up in Bar Harbor.”

“Maine? Who the fuck gives a comeback performance in Maine? Bar Harbor, nonetheless. What, is she going to come out on stage riding a moose?” She laughed.

My neck was beginning to ache. I rubbed it. “I guess that’s where she lives. It’s a benefit of sorts.”

“So are you going to take the train or bus your ass up here to see her?”

By here Julia was referring to New England, where we had both grown up.

“You wanna go?” I asked.

“You mean will I go?” Julia wasn’t a huge fan of divas like I was, but she knew I had no one else to go with and wouldn’t travel alone.

“C’mon, you like her,” I said. “You even said her rendition of that Barry Manilow song was better than his.”

“Is that the song she sang when she shit herself on stage?”

“Whatever,” I said and tossed the remote onto the seat cushion next to me. Julia was referring, of course, to Carolyn’s fairly well-publicized stage fright. Carolyn had suffered a particularly bad spell several years back and, well, embarrassed herself on live television. It was pretty sad. Julia thought it was funny.

I turned as an ambulance’s siren rang out from the street below, followed by a blare from its horn. I hated the sound of ambulances. I got up to shut the window as it took a turn down Charleston Place.

“Five floors up and it sounds like the cops are right next door,” she said. “I don’t know how you can stand living in New York City.”

“It was an ambulance and I’m in Brooklyn.”

“Whatever.”

I looked at the wall clock, a gift I bought myself. It had logos from nearly all the big Broadway shows over the past two years. “Shit. It’s almost time for America’s Got Divas and I haven’t even set the DVR.”

“Alright, I’ll let you go. Besides, I should check the dryer.” She was at our old Starbucks across from the Laundromat. “Oh and how are you going to come up with the money to buy tickets for this reclusive diva? Didn’t you just get done telling me you’ve already spent this week’s and next week’s unemployment check?”

I didn’t want to get into it. “Javier,” I said. “This week, he’s finally going to pay me the money he owes me.”

“Oh, God. Not Javier.” I knew her well enough to know that she was probably rolling her eyes as she said it.

“Shut up,” I said, with no real force behind it. Julia could be such a bitch. She was always reminding me of the things I did wrong, which were plenty, and the things I should be doing to better myself, which, quite honestly, were spilling out of my inbox.

I didn’t want to be reminded of the humiliating experience I had had with Javier, the bagger at the Good Barn, my former place of employment. In short, he got me fired. “He’s getting money from his student loan,” I said. “He is going to pay me back on Wednesday.”

“We’ll see about that. Didn’t I tell you not to give him that money? Didn’t I tell you you’d probably never see it again? But no,” she said, holding onto the vowel a bit longer than necessary. “You still went off and gave it to him after giving him a BJ in the beer cooler behind Produce. He’s going to ruin your wholesome, good-natured reputation.”

authorinterview

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

Funny, I started out wanting to be an actor. I had a few bit roles here and there—my biggest being with James Earl Jones in an ill-fated TV show set in Seattle—but I quickly discovered that I liked the scripts more than the acting.

While I’ve been writing stories since an early age, I didn’t start to take it seriously till I was much older. Several years ago I came up with a concept for a TV show. I wrote the screenplay and hated it. I couldn’t get into the structure of screenwriting, so I turned the idea into a novel. It’s still in development.

When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?

I recently moved to Florida to pursue writing more earnestly. So I guess the answer to that question would be driving down here, with no source of income lined up, and knowing I had to rely on myself to make it. That was about a year ago. Prior to that, while I had already published, I considered it more of a hobby.

How long did it take to get your first book published?

My first published book was Not Sure Boys in August of 2013. It’s a collection of short stories that read individually or, to the careful reader, as one novella. The screenplay I mentioned earlier, which I turned into a novel is still in the works. It’s actually the prequel to my most recent book, Tim on Broadway.

The Indie market has opened up a world of opportunities for many writers. We no longer have to be get miniscule royalties by being bound to an agent’s limiting contract. Along this Indie journey, I’ve met some incredible people. One of whom is my publisher Deb McGowan from Beaten Track Publishing. She loved my novel Tim on Broadway so much she practically twisted my arm to get the paperback under contract.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?

It’s called Tim on Broadway: Season One (The Full Season). I know, lengthy title. Twenty words or less? OK here goes:

An overweight man in his twenties—who happens to be a virgin—is infatuated with theater and the bag boy.

My word count clocks that in at exactly twenty!

Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?

I do both. I have my own company called Bettencourt Concepts, but I also work with others publishers such as Beaten Track in Lancashire, England and Dreamspinner Press in the US.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?

The definitely varies, but I’ll give you a for instance. For instance, Tim on Broadway took me about a month to get the final draft done, and then another couple months afterward as it went through Beta and finally editing; on the other hand, the prequel to Tim on Broadway, which I call Summerwind, has been in the works for years!

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?

I am polishing up the aforementioned prequel, Summerwind. And, I have already started the second season of Tim on Broadway. Plus in November, my Christmas story called One Nightstand will be released both separately and as part of Beaten Track’s Boughs of Evergreen: A Holiday Anthology.

As for genre, Summerwind is less gay and probably would fall into Women’s Fiction. It’s probably something you’d find in Oprah’s book club.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?

Well this may not be so much a routine, but I do get inspiration from music. For Tim on Broadway, I listened to a lot show tunes and stuff from Bette Midler, Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. I’ll often come up with a scene, or even a whole book idea, just by playing music.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?

Absolutely. You can learn a lot from them, especially the bad ones. However, you do need to take all reviews with a grain of salt. It’s only one person’s opinion, and the review is really more about them than it is about the book.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?

Great question. For Tim on Broadway I had the title first, but for my other books I chose the title last. In fact, I let my readers pick the title for Painting with Wine. I had so many choices I couldn’t decide.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?

Many times they just come to me. I write down what comes to mind. As for setting, all my books have some connection to the area I grew up, Boston’s North Shore.

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")

I like to keep moral issues very, very subtle. Otherwise I think people get turned off by the soapbox shouting. That being said, I believe we are all a product of what we think. In my own life, I have made great strides just by looking at things differently. I like to embed the power of belief into my stories and watch my characters transform—physically, emotionally, psychologically. Sometimes it’s a minor change, other times more drastic, but the impact to the character’s life is usually profound.

So the moral there is that you have the power to make a difference in not only your own life but in other’s as well.

I also like to promote the LGBT community in a “normal” light, in everyday situations. I think it’s a shame that in this day and age there are still kids being disowned by their family for just being who they are. I’m working on a campaign I’m calling “It’s OK to be gay!” If you think it’s OK to be gay, you can sign up for my mailing list here.

Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?

That’s a tough one. It’s definitely a toss-up between eBooks and paperbacks. I love my Kindle, but there’s something about holding and smelling a physical book. You can’t get that from an eReader. Maybe one day they’ll develop an app for book smells.

Your favorite singer/group is?

I love Bette Midler. In fact, I dedicated Tim on Broadway to her.

Your favorite Author is?

I’m a huge Armistead Maupin fan. He wrote the Tales of City series, which was made into the popular PBS television run of the same name.

 

 

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  abouttheauthor

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Rick Bettencourt is the author of Tim on Broadway, Painting with Wine and Not Sure Boys. He lives with his husband and their little dog, Bandit, in the Sarasota area of Florida. Rick originally hails from Boston’s North Shore where he learned to speak without pronouncing the letter “r”— and say things like “tonic” when he wanted a Coke, or “bubbler” when getting a drink from the park’s water fountain.

A few years ago, Rick was adopted by a Cairn Terrier named Bandit. Recently, Bandit moved Rick, and his husband of several years, to Florida to escape the New England winters and avoid being engulfed by snow drifts when going about their business.

When Rick is not being walked around the block by Bandit, he might be found working on a story about an underdog character triumphing over adversity. Or you might catch Rick watching The Walking Dead or Once Upon a Time, reading something like Running with Scissors or some personal development book, or writing to a group of folks on his mailing list.

In addition, Rick enjoys theater, art, old postcards, and amusement parks. He also loves to hear from his readers.

You can follow Rick on Twitter @rbettenc or subscribe to his mailing list at www.rickbettencourt.com

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Cover Reveal: The Green Dagger by Kelly Hess

 

The Green Dagger (BlackMyst Trilogy) by Kelly Hess

Publisher: Booktrope

Expected Publication: December 2, 2014

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy

Green-Dagger

Tensions rise between Delvengard and Sorak as the Sorak queen demands the return of the Blade of Torrill. As Delvengard scrambles to locate the mythical weapon, many fear war is inevitable. Fritz, who secretly possesses the dagger, is tormented by its evil. Eager to take control of its power, he journeys in search of a mysterious being who may be able to help. The Green Dagger, Book Two of the BlackMyst Trilogy, continues the adventure, five years after the events of Book One, Eyes of the Enemy.

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About the Author

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Kelly Hess grew up with a love of reading science fiction and fantasy that inspired him to write his own fantasy trilogy. He lives in Vacaville, California with his wife and son, and is putting the final details on the last two books of his BlackMyst Trilogy: The Green Dagger and The Third Power.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book Blast, Giveaway & Interview: Serpent on a Cross by @wendygarfinkle

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clip_image002_thumb[1]Serpent on a Cross

Book One

Wendy C. Garfinkle

Genre: Medieval Fantasy/ Jewish Fantasy

Publisher: Booktrope Publishing

Date of Publication: September 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62015-507-3

ISBN: 978-1-62015-523-3

Number of pages: 176

Cover Artist: Loretta Matson

Book Description:

Dennah Dubrovnika is a formidable hunter and talented healer. However, she cannot control her own powers, which have suddenly reawakened in the aftermath of her mother’s violent capture by a powerful warlord who destroyed their village in his wake. As she races to free her mother, Dennah is accompanied by Jeth, the man she loves. But she’s increasingly, inexorably drawn to the mysterious Skallon who is allied with her greatest enemy.

Will Dennah be able to gain a measure of control over her magic or will she lose everything and everyone she loves to its raging inferno?

Serpent on a Cross is Book One in a Jewish fantasy adventure series set in Medieval Eastern Europe.

Available at Amazon and BN

excerpt

Stomach churning, a sour taste in her mouth, Dennah hovered above the massacre from her nest in the ash tree she’d climbed at the edge of the forest.

Guilt twisted a knot in her belly as she remembered Mamen’s order to flee, but she couldn’t leave; she might be needed. So she’d climbed the tallest leafiest tree she could quickly find, its branches extending almost to the roof of their cottage. She fastened the leather bracer on her left forearm, finger guards on her drawing hand, in case she was forced to shoot the ash bow. After stringing it, she set it and the bag of arrows in the cradle of two limbs a little above her and out of easy reach so she wouldn’t be tempted to fire down upon the invaders.

From her perch she saw the soldiers enter the shtetl, thundering over the ramparts as if they were fagots; they crushed the golden fields of barley, and wheat, forcing the defenders to give way or be trampled beneath hammering hooves. Seeing the guardsmen attack the horses to unseat the soldiers, her heart raced. Get them! What right have they to attack our home?! Anger boiled just under her skin. Her gaze sharpened and the branch grew warm beneath the grip of her fingers. Though there was no breeze, the limbs of her tree swayed gently.

Almost without thought, as if her hands had a will of their own, she pulled bow and quiver within reach and nocked an arrow. With precise aim, she inhaled, drawing the cord back, hearing the soft familiar creak as it stretched. She released on the exhale. Gracefully, the arrow sped toward its target, a soldier who’d edged up behind Marek and raised his sword. The shaft caught him in the throat, sunk deep and broke through the skin at the back of his neck. He fell with a thud, blood mixing with fertile ground in a muddy pool beneath him. Relieved of its burden, the soldier’s horse veered away from the melee.

Marek, eyes narrowing, seemed to find her hidden in the ash. He nodded slightly and turned to face another foe. A surge of pleasure warmed her at his wordless approval. Then there was no more time for thought; only action. Again and again her arrows flew true; but she was careful to watch for enemy soldiers looking in her direction. Her stomach dropped when she saw first Yuri, then Selwyn, and finally Yakkov surrounded and disarmed. A quick inventory of her quiver yielded only four arrows. Not enough to free the guardsmen. I’m sorry.

  character

Character Name: Miraum (aka Baba Yaga)

Character Bio: Miraum is the wise woman also known as Baba Yaga. She is Althea’s mother and Dennah’s grandmother, and trained both of them in their weather magic. Miraum is Jewish, though she doesn’t talk often about this fact. She seeks revenge against Tarkan for past betrayals, including his choosing another woman over her.

Describe yourself what is your worst and best quality?

 My best quality is my loyalty and my vengeance. These are also my worst qualities.

What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?

 I am not the Baba Yaga everyone tells their children to fear, who will eat them if they get lost in my woods. That Baba Yaga was my mother. She is dead.

What is your biggest secret something no one knows about?

 If I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret any longer. But here is something I am willing to tell: I know who Tarkan’s “allies” are, and they are more dangerous than he. He believes he holds their leash, but they will soon escape his tenuous hold and turn on him.

What are you most afraid of?

Failing in my duty as Guardian, and failing to teach my granddaughter, Dennah, everything she needs to know to be my successor.

How much of a rebel are you?

What do you mean, “a rebel?” I’m Baba Yaga; I have no lord or master to rebel against. I am my own mistress.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

She’s still a work in progress, but someday Dennah will be my greatest achievement; my legacy to the world.

What is your most treasured possession?

My medicine box. It was passed down through generations of Baba Yagas and contains powerful magic and the recipes for poisons and remedies that no longer exist anywhere else in the world of mankind.

What is it that you, most dislike?

Disloyalty and cowardice.

Which living person do you, most despise?

That’s an easy one: Tarkan Maksimov.

What is your greatest regret?

 Training Tarkan Maksimov to use the spark of magic within him.

Which living person do you most admire?

 Corma. He who used to be Aleksandr, son of Tarkan. When Tarkan killed his wife, Aleksandr vowed vengeance, and instead of getting himself killed in some reckless attempt upon his father’s life, Aleksandr changed his name, his entire life, and became Corma, my spy in his father’s network of magi.

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

 Why would I want to change? I am who I was always meant to be. Mistakes and all.

What is your motto?

 If you try, you will succeed.

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  abouttheauthor

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Wendy C. Garfinkle was born and raised in South Florida. She moved to Northwest Texas in her early 20s, but returned to South Florida eight years later. She holds five degrees, including MA and MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She’s a poet, reading addict, and collector of interesting clothing tags, which she recycles into bookmarks.

She has served as a copy editor and reader for Hippocampus Magazine, an online nonfiction lit journal, and as a reader for the James Jones First Novel Fellowship. Wendy is a crime analyst for a local law enforcement agency, and lives with her teenage son.

http://wendycgarfinkle.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wendy-C-Garfinkle/667623273323781

https://twitter.com/wendygarfinkle

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6913803.Wendy_C_Garfinkle

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22911766-serpent-on-a-cross

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Book Blast: Chandrea: The Return of the Avatar Queen by Marlene Wynn

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clip_image001_thumb[1]Chandrea:

The Return of the Avatar Queen

Marlene Wynn

Book Description:

Chandrea Averill thinks she’s just like any other normal young woman. But, on the day of her 23rd birthday, her life changes forever. Surrounded by magical creatures, dangerous sorcery, and insidious political intrigue,

Chandrea desperately wants to return to Earth and the only life she’s ever known. But, the longer she stays, the more she realizes that she may be the only one with the power – both magical and political – to save the people of Lyrunia.

Will she find the courage to remain and fight for her home world?

Book trailer http://youtu.be/lzJpY3nai34

Available at BN Smashwords Amazon Kobo iTunes

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excerpt

The morning sky was overcast and cloudy and a stiff southwesterly wind blew the grasses erratically. A bank of heavy, dark grey clouds were visible over the horizon to the south, and it was moving quickly towards her. The constant flashes and murmur of thunder confirmed that she was in for a bad storm, and had nowhere to take shelter. She didn’t know how long it would take for it to reach her, but she wanted to be closer to civilization when it did. And she did not want to get caught in an electrical storm out in the open.

Chandrea started to walk, and after a few minutes began to jog, though it was not easy to do on the uneven ground. Her pulse quickened as her body warmed up to the accustomed exercise, and she made quick work of the first couple of miles. But, you can only push an already weakened body so hard before it starts to reach its limits, and, as she anticipated, she began to labor, her breaths coming in short ragged pants, her throat hot and dry. She slowed to a walk until she got her breath back.

Looking anxiously to her right, she saw that, despite her brief run, the clouds had come much closer, and that the clashing lightning and thunder were almost on top of her. Flutters of fear crawled down her spine and made a home in her belly. This was not good. Chandrea looked around for some place to find protection. Though the grasses seemed to be thinning out and she was seeing small scrubby bushes here and there, there still weren’t any signs of civilization, so she continued to walk tiredly east.

The brisk wind turned into powerful gusts, and she had to lean to avoid being thrown off her feet. Dust and debris were torn from the ground and swirled all around her, and she was forced to raise her hands to shield her eyes. Lightning struck nearby, followed by a powerful blast of thunder that shook the ground. Chandrea cringed and screamed in raw fear.

She felt the first few warm splashes of water on her skin, and looking up, saw that the bulk of the sky had turned a deep heavy looking grey. She began to run again, the flight instinct now in full control of her.

The heavens opened up and rain came sheeting down. The drops were huge at first, but quickly became small and piercing as they pelted her skin. Her clothing soon became saturated, weighing her down.

Lightning flashed all around her, dazzling bursts of light followed closely by violent claps of thunder. The strikes blew chunks of dirt and debris into the wind. The world was shaken by the repeated crack of thunder and her eardrums throbbed in painful harmony from the overwhelming sounds.

Animal instinct took over. Throwing herself to her knees, she clawed at the dirt. Her breath came in terrified, ragged gasps, but she was all but oblivious to it as she dug and tore at the stubborn soil. Every time lightning struck near her, she screamed and ducked, covering her head with her arms in an unconscious effort to protect herself, and then continued digging.

She tore at the web of roots, desperate to dig a hole she could take shelter in, but to no avail. The old grasses had been in the dry plains for a long time, and had grown their roots long and wide to find any available ground water. Without a shovel or a pick, she could make no headway, and only managed to tear her hands to the point of bleeding in the effort.

Gasping, she stopped and looked around with wild, frightened eyes. The world around her had gone mad. Lightning struck rapidly now, all around her, for miles in all directions, and the sharp booming thunder was close on its heels.

A small, sane portion of her mind recognized that she should hunker down and try to make the smallest target of herself possible, but that was akin to taking your eyes off the hungry lion crouched nearby and hoping it wouldn’t notice you. Instead, she knelt and watched with horrified fascination as the prairie took a beating from mother nature. Her entire body shook from the fear that washed through her, and she knew that at any moment lightning would strike and kill her.

Without conscious thought or effort, her magic bloomed to life. She gasped at the suddenness of it, yet welcomed it with a desperate hope. She felt it growing and expanding inside her, filling her completely with an eerie, tingling sensation. What was happening? What would her magic do this time?

Her skin began to glow a soft ethereal white. She held her hands out in front of her, and, despite the dangers surrounding her, wonder filled her at the sight. She’d seen her skin glow before, but never so clearly. The glow rapidly enveloped her until she was encased by a soft white ball of energy that extended a few feet out from her on all sides. The wind and rain no longer affected her, apparently unable to penetrate her protective sphere.

Curious, she poked a finger at the ball. It rippled like water when she touched it. She became bolder and stuck her whole arm out. Once again, the wind, rain, and nearby grass stalks pelted her tender skin. She pulled her arm and hand back inside and the sensations ceased.

She looked around with a newfound sense of security. The storm raged on around her, but in her sheltering bubble, it seemed that none of the elements could touch her. She gasped as a bolt of lightning struck nearby. She could only hope that the bubble would protect her against the lightning strikes as well.

With a frightening intensity, suddenly a new roaring sound filled her senses, causing her to gasp and duck involuntarily. It was followed immediately by anther, and another, each successfully competing in volume and depth with the crashing thunder. But, these new sounds weren’t caused by mother nature.

It was almost as if a whole pride of hungry lions were surrounding her, and roaring in excitement of the hunt and the kill to come.

But, it couldn’t be lions, for, like the thunder, these sounds came from the sky itself.

Some had a deep, throbbing quality to them. Others were shrill and almost metallic. All of them were terrifying.

Chandrea tried to determine what was up there in the deep dark grey of the clouds. It was difficult to see through the soft glow of her bubble. When several lightning bolts struck, causing a strobe effect, she sucked in her breath in disbelieving terror at what she saw.

Silhouetted in brief, white-clad glory, were dozens upon dozens of dragons of various shapes and sizes. Each time the lightning flashed, it would cause a still-life effect of the great beasts circling in the sky with an almost playful air about them. With huge, earth- shaking roars, some shot massive flames from their mouths, causing the heavens and the ground far below to be lit by the intense yellow-red flare.

But what was the most astonishing to Chandrea was when one of the monsters would get hit by a bolt of lightning. It would open its immense, toothy maw in what appeared to be almost a silent scream, then arch its back and long serpentine neck as though in ecstasy.

She watched in awed amazement as one of the airborne dragons was struck by a large bolt of energy. The massive creature’s blue scales briefly burst into glittering brilliance. Small electrical charges snaked and popped across their surface. A large, bright turquoise nimbus shimmered around the rapturous dragon. It temporarily highlighted the dragons surrounding it until the dazzling luminescence died down to a soft glow. Once the strike was finished, the dragon would start to swoop and circle faster, almost daring the lightning to come again.

Chandrea felt her heart would beat its way right out of her chest. She could actually feel her chest vibrating from the intensity of her heartbeat. She panted, feeling cornered and very small. Her protective shield may keep the lightning and elements at bay. But its glow might be noticed by the serpents in the sky. Would a human make a tasty treat during a dragon sky party?

God, she wanted to go home.

The storm went on for what seemed like an eternity. Chandrea felt rather like the little field mouse trapped in the corner of a covey of cats, hoping upon hope that it wouldn’t be noticed, but knowing in its heart that eventually it would be. A part of her couldn’t help but be fascinated by the colorful display of serpentine bodies soaring high above her, at times almost floating in their deadly dances. Death, it seemed, had a very mesmerizing effect on her.

Eventually, the storm started to weaken, the lightning and thunder to come less and less, and the bulk of the dragons began to disperse. Though it was still quite dark around her, she started to breathe a little easier, thinking she might just come out of this alive. Her magical ball, reacting instinctively to the lessening threat, dissipated then vanished completely.

Then one of the dragons swooped down out of the sky and landed right in front of her, folding its wings flat against its back.

It was difficult for Chandrea to see the beast clearly in the gloom of the storm clouds, with only the occasional lightning flash. But, boy, could she smell it. Its body reeked of moldy ash, its hot breath of rotten flesh. Its eyes, as large as her body was tall, glowed a sullen dirty yellow in the grey light of the day. It was immense. Its head and shoulders were about thirty feet over Chandrea’s head, and looked like it was no less than 140 feet from the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail. Its legs were as thick as tree trunks, and long, wickedly sharp claws adorned its massive feet. Its scales dully reflected the dim afternoon light in shades of rusty red, while the underside of it was a soft tan color. Copper colored spikes of different sizes ran from its snout, along its spine and down the length of its long tail. At the end of its tail were numerous long, sharp spikes. Nestled atop its massive head was a pair of lengthy horns that pointed straight back.

Lowering its head, it sniffed at the air above her, apparently trying to determine what she was, and if she was edible. Its long, forked tongue licked the air. Chandrea tried not to gag as its foul breath washed over her in hot waves.

Rearing back, the beast then cocked its head to the side, and eyeing Chandrea, it said in a soft, deep voice filled with menace, yet somehow female-sounding, “Ah…what do we have here? A lone, unprotected human out in the grasslands.”

Narrowing her sulfur-colored eyes, the dragon moved a bit closer to her and murmured in satisfaction, “Yes… you’ll make a nice meal for my hatchling.”

Chandrea blinked up at it in stunned surprise. The creature could speak!

Belatedly, the dragon’s words finally registered in her mind. Terror lanced through Chandrea. She was trapped! She could never even hope to out-run this creature even at her top physical best. In her weakened condition, it was a laughable concept at best. She had nowhere to hide, and nowhere to take shelter, surrounded as she was by miles of grass.

Unbidden, her magic rushed to the surface, once again responding to her fight or flight instinct. This time, though, it came much faster, absent one moment, there the next. She could feel it rushing through her, instantly filling her every fiber and pore. Energy snapped around her, and her eyes and skin glowed with a pearlescent sheen. Her breathing deepened as she stood up from the ground and faced the beast before her.

The dragon growled in anticipation. Flame and smoke started to lick out of its snout, and in a rush, it lowered its head, roared, and shot out a huge column of white-hot flame, aimed right at Chandrea!

Feeling as though she were a distant observer of her own body, she watched as she raised her hands in a defensive position and her magic called up a shield.

She had a mental flash of the dream the Dark Fairy had cast on her, where she drew the energy from all the objects around her to fuel her magic, and attempted it again. She siphoned the energy from the dragon’s flames into her body, using the very thing that was threatening her to protect her. She could feel the intense heat pouring into her body, almost burning her from the inside out, and, before they could even reach her, the flames from the dragon sputtered harmlessly out.

Upon seeing this, the dragon narrowed its eyes, lowered its head, and growled menacingly. Her body throbbed in harmony with the deep resonation and the very ground seemed to vibrate beneath her.

Chandrea frantically tried to figure out what she could do to scare this creature away. She was supposed to be the most powerful sorceress in this world, but her magic was untested and very unreliable. However, she didn’t see as she had much choice in the matter. She couldn’t very well use her Taekwondo on this monster! And running was definitely not an option. So, even as the dragon’s growl was echoing off in the distance, she decided to stand and fight as best she could with what she had, and hope that the dragon didn’t eat her before she could conjure anything up. Were dragons like birds? Did they eat their prey and then regurgitate it for their young? She quickly banished that horrifying image from her mind and focused on the task at hand. She would try to use fire again. She would just have to do it better than last time. And quicker.

Chandrea concentrated. She could feel the dragon’s hot energy swirling around inside her, growing ever stronger, mixing with her own fear and panic to create a maelstrom of intense power.

She stopped focusing on the shield in front of her and it simply disappeared, the energy rushing back into her. Her skin suddenly glowed a fiery red. She raised her hands, and, as Adelaide had taught her, with a mighty mental and physical shove, she flung the energy from her own body out at the beast. Chandrea watched as a great ball of flame materialized and was cast out at the dragon. Like before, when she’d tried to create fire, this ball was intensely white hot on the inside and deep yellow and red on the outside. However, this ball didn’t have as far to go as the first time, and instead of plowing through huge swaths of trees, it plowed into the dragon directly in front of her…

…and blew out as it struck, as though nothing had happened at all.

Unable to fathom what had just happened, Chandrea just stood there in stupefaction. Her magic had just dissipated on the scales of the dragon and done nothing at all.

The dragon looked somehow amused by this turn of events. Chandrea would’ve sworn the beast even smiled. Lifting her mighty head, the serpent then carried the motion even further and stood on her hind legs. Clawing at the air in front of her and spreading her massive wings wide, she bellowed out a trumpeting call that echoed up and down the grasslands and throbbed painfully in the tiny earthling’s ears.

Chandrea threw her hands over her ears in a feeble attempt to lessen the sound, but to no avail. Then, the massive reptile lowered its body, jaws open, clearly intending to finish this one-sided battle by devouring her whole.

An answering bellow washed over her from above as a second dragon plummeted from the sky to crash into the first one, knocking it from its feet with a powerful blow. Chandrea screamed and jumped to the side, narrowly missing the powerful swipe of a tail studded with spikes. Chunks of dirt and grass were gouged out of the ground where she’d previously stood, showering her with grit and hard rocks.

This new dragon was unlike any she’d ever imagined or seen in fairy tales. It had scales on its belly, but its back and wings were covered with feathers. Its head and legs were a bright, scarlet red. The feathers on its legs were short and spiky, while the ones surrounding its head were long and stiff, and puffed out, making it look both fierce and dangerous. The beast’s back, body and tail were covered with short, dense feathers in a striking deep indigo color. Its deep and muscular chest narrowed down into a snakelike torso and a tail that was covered in spikes. It had what appeared to be two sets of wings. One was a feathered set, shaped rather like immense eagle wings and were the same indigo color as its body. The second set were over the first, and were covered with ocher-colored scales, the same color of its belly. This second set of wings were much larger than the first, and tipped with razor sharp claws. Where the first dragon was large and muscular, the second one was long and slender. The first dragon was the stronger of the two by far, but what the second one lacked in strength, it made up for in speed and its sinuous body. Its movements were a blur to watch, as it snaked its way around its bigger foe, striking with lightning quick attacks and then slithering out of reach of the larger dragon.

With ear-splitting snarls and growls, the two beasts flipped and rolled across the prairie, savagely tearing at each other.

Chandrea, panting from the fear of the sudden attack, scuttled backwards in the grass, trying to get as far away from the two battling titans as possible.

When no headway could seem to be gained by either one, the two monsters backed warily away from each other. Growling fiercely, they flapped their wings, extended their necks, and slammed their tails on the ground, all in an attempt to show strength, power and dominance over the other.

The larger dragon rushed the smaller one, but in a sudden blur of motion, the blue one slithered its body around its larger opponent. Using its own momentum against it and reminding Chandrea of a javelin toss, the blue one spun the rusty red beast back around and threw it across the field. The dragon landed with an earth-shaking thud that threatened to throw Chandrea from her feet.

Spinning around, the blue dragon jerked its head back and forth until it found Chandrea. It hunched down, then gave a mighty leap, and flapping its massive wings, swooped up then back down, heading directly for Chandrea.

With a scream, Chandrea spun on her heels and tried to run away, but what little speed she could muster was nothing in comparison to the flying monster. To her horror, its sharp claws grabbed her up and before she knew it, they were airborne.

Chandrea clutched at the long talons that held her in their grasp. The grasslands dropped away below and her stomach dropped. The huge wings of the dragon flapped quickly in an effort to get the beast and its prize higher in the air. She could feel the rhythmic motion of its muscles working, and the roaring sound of the wind assaulted her ears.

Craning her head down and around, Chandrea frantically checked on the whereabouts of the red dragon. Her eyes widened as she saw it taking to the air in pursuit of her stolen meal.

Dear God…how did she get into these things?

And how was she going to get out? The claws, even though none of them had actually pierced her skin, were holding her as securely as any jail cell. And, as far up in the air as they were now, even if she could get out, she would fall to her death.

Watching behind her in horrified fascination, she saw the larger dragon was having difficulty keeping up with its prey. But it clearly was not giving up. With a roar, it doubled its efforts, cutting through the misty clouds.

Up the trio soared, higher and higher, until they were engulfed in clouds and Chandrea couldn’t see the ground anymore. Nor could she see the rusty red beast that had been chasing them, which was particularly worrisome to her.

Cool, misty air rushed over her as the blue dragon climbed with powerful thrusts of its wings. Her wet clothes and hair whipped around in the wind, and she found herself wishing for a ponytail holder. A hysterical giggle threatened to burble out of her throat at the thought, but at the last minute she was able to halt it. She knew that if she let it out, she might never stop.

Without warning, they reached the top of the storm clouds, and with a final flap, burst out into bright sunshine. Once above the clouds, the blue dragon settled in and took to soaring, only flapping its wings occasionally to maintain its altitude.

Squinting against the glare, Chandrea couldn’t help but look about her in wonder. Spread out for miles below them was the massive storm, its dark clouds large and menacing. Even heading away from the storm as they were, she could still hear the occasional rumble of thunder and see the clouds light up with the strobes of lightning encased within. Above them, the sky was pristinely blue, the sun a huge golden ball of light. Warm air now gently passed over her as the dragon glided in the stillness of the heavens.

But as beautiful and peaceful as it was, Chandrea could not fully relax and enjoy it. She knew her life would soon be cut short in a horribly violent fashion. Against her better judgment, she pictured the dragon landing amongst its young then standing back in peaceful satisfaction as the babies tore her to bloody pieces with their sharp teeth and claws. She began to tremble violently, her breath coming in short, sharp pants.

However, eventually the gentle peace of the heavens did help to make the mortal fear coursing through her veins a little more bearable. Trying to make herself as comfortable as possible in the hard claws of her cell, she did the only thing she could at that point: she settled back for the ride.

They flew for hours. It was rather like flying in a passenger airplane, but with a much better view. She saw farms, cities, forests, and hills all passing beneath them. People and animals looked like tiny ants scurrying around on the ground. Were they even aware of what was flying up here?

The one thing that she didn’t see, thankfully, was the red dragon. The speed of her captor must have finally worn the bigger dragon down.

As the day wore into evening, the dragon finally started to descend toward a large grassy meadow filled with wildflowers. Large leafy trees surrounded it in an uneven circle, and the sounds of night insects were humming in the air. Off to the side was a small crystalline lake, the sun glistening off its gentle waves.

Fear started to flutter again in her chest, and her breathing hitched. If she’d had anything in her stomach, it would’ve come back up. So this lovely, serene place was where she would die.

She wondered where the beast’s nest was.

She wondered if it would hurt terribly when the hatchling tore her apart.

She wondered how long it would take her to die.

 

abouttheauthor

 

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Marlene Wynn is a Utah native - fondly referred to as "Utonian" by a friend. She transplanted herself in 1992 from the majestic Rocky Mountains to the beachy shores of sunny Virginia Beach, Virginia and has been there ever since. Though she has worked in the benefits field for several years, she finally worked up the courage to chase her dream as an author.

Website: https://www.marlenewynn.com

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