Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Book Spotlight: The Gaia Solution

Today I have a dystopian sci-fi book spotlight for you, for The Gaia Solution, book 3 of The Gaia Collection series by author Claire Buss. Enjoy.


The Gaia Solution (Book 3: The Gaia Collection)

by Claire Buss






Kira, Jed and their friends have fled New Corporation and joined the Resistance, but their relief is short-lived as they discover how decimated the human race has become and learn of an environmental crisis that threatens to destroy their existence. 

Kira and Jed must travel up the mountain to the New Corporation stronghold, City 50, to bargain for sanctuary while Martha and Dina risk everything to return to City 42 and save those who are left. 

With the last of her reserves Gaia, the fading spirit of the Earth uses her remaining influence to guide Kira and her friends but ultimately, it’s up to humanity to make the right choice.







More about The Gaia Collection series

The Gaia Collection is Claire's hopeful dystopian trilogy set 200 years in the future after much of the planet and the human race have been decimated during The Event, when the world went to war with high-energy radiation weapons. In The Gaia Effect, Kira and Jed Jenkins – a young couple who were recently allocated a child – together with their closest friends, discover Corporation have been deliberately lying to them and forcing them to remain sterile. With help from Gaia, the spirit of the Earth, the group of friends begin to fight back against Corporation eventually winning and taking over the governance of City 42.
In The Gaia Project, Corporation fight back under a new, more terrifying organization called New Corp and Kira, Jed and their friends end up fleeing for their lives trying to find a safe place to live. They travel to City 36 and City 9 in vain and must go further afield.
In the final book, The Gaia Solution, the main characters have ended up with the Resistance and not only do they have to deal with surviving against New Corp but an extinction environmental event is looming on the horizon and they’re running out of time to save what’s left of the human race.

Book Buy Links
The Gaia Effect – mybook.to/gaiaeffect
The Gaia Project – mybook.to/gaiaproject
The Gaia Solution – mybook.to/gaiasolution


About the Author

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet based in the UK. She wanted to be Lois Lane when she grew up but work experience at her local paper was eye-opening. Instead, Claire went on to work in a variety of admin roles for over a decade but never felt quite at home. An avid reader, baker and Pinterest addict Claire won second place in the Barking and Dagenham Pen to Print writing competition in 2015 with her debut novel, The Gaia Effect, setting her writing career in motion. She continues to write passionately and is hopelessly addicted to cake.



Social Media Links



Tuesday, 15 October 2019

October Frights Day 6: Inktober


For today, the last day of the blog hop I have some visual stories for you.

I've been doing the writer's version of Inktober over on Instagram where you write a 50 word story for each day's prompt. I thought I'd share a few of the graphics I whipped up. Enjoy.







If you'd like to see more of my Inktober writings, check out my Instagram.




 So that ends the last October Frights post for this year. 
Be sure to hop on over and check out the last offerings of the other participants as well. 
Here's the list.


Monday, 14 October 2019

October Frights Day 5: Killers and Demons.


Today I'm showing off the new covers for my horror series, Killers and Demons.
I think they're spiffy.


Killers and Demons



Sometimes the villains win…

This time the heroes don’t rise, there are no knights in shining armor, and good doesn’t triumph. It is time for the villains’ story.

Craving a little blood or perhaps some horrific death? Slake your gruesome thirst for vicarious thrills with five chilling stories that go inside the twisted lives of serial killers and beyond to the dark, disturbing company of demons. Turn the pages and delve into the dark and murky world of evil.

The Tales:

A woman wakes up afraid, alone, and in complete darkness.
A collector of hearts stalks Valentine’s Day.
One man on the edge of being London’s most famous serial killer.
Hell has a bounty hunter.
Demon vs. knight with one soul as the prize.

Killers and Demons, where the macabre murderers don’t get caught and evil triumphs.
Come watch the blood drip slowly, sweetly from their fingers.


Killers and Demons II: They Return



Evil is back, with a greater appetite for death.

Killers.
Demons.
They lurk forever in the shadows, smile at you in the morning, and haunt your dreams at night. You can’t hide, you can’t run, and there’s no escape. You can only scream when they come for you.

Killers and Demons II: They Return is a collection of thirteen tales, blending short stories and flash fiction, tales where the blood lingers on your tongue or spurts quickly from the swift cut.

The Villainous Roster:

Wade, every parent’s nightmare.
Hannah and Mr. Greeley. Who is the victim and who is the villain?
Simon and Zoe, a married couple who are dying to be single again.
Norman and his "cookie" of a wife, Mabel.
Millicent and Jane, a delightful duo you shouldn’t invite to your Regency tea party.
Amanda, who literally has a skeleton in her closet.
Balthazar, the demon bounty hunter on the hunt once more.
Sarah, a young woman going through some changes and craving new tastes.
Emmeline, hanged as a witch, now back from the dead for revenge.
Gabrielle, a woman haunted by shadows.
The Dollmaker, she showers death, and an umbrella won’t help.
Nightmare Demons bent on driving a town insane.

And then there’s Alice, a little girl locked in the basement by her Daddy…

Together they form a spine-chilling cadre of predators. Who will survive and who will fall?




So that ends today's post. Be sure to hop on over and check out the offerings of the other participants as well. Here's the list.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

October Frights Day 4: Dark Drabbles




Today's offering is small but spooky, with three drabbles...



Knock, Knock 

The grandfather clock in the hall ticked in unison with Sally’s fingers as she drummed her digits against the stone fireplace. She barely breathed, her only movement beating against the hearth. 
Tick, tap. Tick tap. Tick, tap. 
She crouched by the iron grate, staring into the cold ashes. She murmured, repeating the same soft words. 
“Can you hear them? Knocking, knocking at the mirror? When it breaks they’ll get out.” 
Suddenly her hand stopped and Sally looked up. Somewhere in the hall, a tapping sound reverberated in unison with the ticking of a clock. 
And somewhere glass began to crack. 





 Underneath the World 

Can you feel it? That sensation of peculiarity? A strange reverberation of the uncanny running beneath your feet. A thought or two, perhaps the earth is alive with… something? Your step quickens as the twilight deepens. You avoid shadows, and the thickening mist. Who knows what eerie perils lurk in the hidden places? Best not indulge any curiosity. You want to make it home alive. 
And there you are, hand on the door, home. Safe at last. All imagings left in the dark. 
Yet… are they truly imaginary? 
What if it is all real? 
What if there is no escape? 




Aftermath 

In the boneyard, the ashes rained down, velvet grey petals coating the bare ground in a soft layer of soot. Above, the sky still flared with hues of red and purple and the few remaining trees were shrivelled and cracked. 
The automatons sorted piles of remains, as they always had, more broken skeletons stacked weekly as the mechanical retrievers brought in the flesh-stripped corpses. It was the way of things now, the clean-up. Years since the end, but the routine went on, a cycle of programming and efficient energy cells. 
One apocalyptic war, billions dead, and only the machines remained.



So that ends today's post. Be sure to hop on over and check out the offerings of the other participants as well. Here's the list.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

October Frights Day 3: Dark Poetry Corner




Today I bring you my Dark Poetry Corner, with three poems dripping blood...





Rhythm

Can you hear the drumbeats pound?
Thump, di di dum, thump, di, di dum
Calling, calling, against the midnight moon

Can you hear the drumbeats quiver?
Thump, di di dum, thump, di, di dum
Singing, singing, to raise the dead

Can you hear the drumbeats quicken?
Thump, di di dum, thump, di, di dum
Screaming, screaming with the darkened moon 


Now the drums fall silent
and the midnight air is still
The dead emerged from the dark
in blood have claimed their due






Ghost

A reflection 
dancing in a silver mirror
A whisper 
floating past the staircase
An echo 
of footsteps in the hallway

You ignore what you can
tremble at the rest
You never thought...
You are afraid
Alone
Surrounded by 
the consequence
of what lingers
Surrounded by
your death





Shadow of the Grave

I can feel Death creeping ever closer. It lingers in the shadows, its footsteps outside my door. Soon I will hear the knock of its bony fingers and I will let it in. Then we will sit, Death and I, and talk as friends before I save good-bye to this mortal world.

In the night, knocking
A shallow breath, a cold shade
Hello, my old friend


And today I come bearing gifts as well. Until October 15 you can download one of my Horror Haiku books from Prolific Works for free!


Horror Haiku and Other Poems


Download for Free



So that ends today's post. Be sure to hop on over and check out the offerings of the other participants as well. Here's the list.

Friday, 11 October 2019

October Frights Day 2: Scarecrow

A little creepy story for you today...




Original Image by Screamenteagle from Pixabay


Scarecrow


The air smelled of damp earth and moonlight glistened off the dying corn stalks. I shivered when the cold wind hit my face. The field seemed to stretch for miles, dozens of decaying plants and a grassy meadow beyond. I didn't recognize any of it, but it felt familiar. Something else felt familiar too.
I was scared.
Fear cramping my gut, I crouched behind the withering stalks to hide from… I wasn’t sure. I slowed my breathing, peering between the vegetation, staring into the shadows and the shifting moonlight. I listened, but heard nothing. Slowly I rose and glanced towards the distance, wondering if I could run.
Where? Where would I run?
A dark shape caught my attention. Something stood at the edge of the corn rows. As light drifted into the gloom, I saw outstretched arms, a figure wearing a straw hat, stuck on a pole. I sighed in relief. Just a scarecrow. Then I frowned.
Funny, I didn’t notice it before.
I tried to look away, to search for an escape, somewhere to run, but I kept staring. It drew me in, this black silhouette of a raggedy man stuffed with straw.
Wait, did it move? Must have been the wind.
Except there was no wind.
I shuddered, unable to break my gaze from the scene. Its spindly arms grasped the pole and thrust itself off, the scarecrow landing on the ground with a rustle of grass and a faint thump. I whimpered as it turned and I saw its contorted face and black eyes. I shivered at the sight of its lopsided grin.
I’m dreaming, I must be dreaming.
Straw crackled loudly, too loudly, and the creature lumbered towards me, arms outstretched, fingers curled like claws. Bile and terror surged in my throat but I couldn’t move. It lumbered closer and closer, my brain screaming, but my feet refused to budge.
Run, damn you, run!
But I stood, as immobile as a statue, until I felt the thing’s breath on my face. It stopped,  somehow staring with black button eyes. A hand lifted, touching my shoulder. My body went cold and rigid and I screamed. When the sound of my fear faded, I heard its raspy voice speak, even though it’s painted smiling mouth didn’t open.
“Come with me.”
Only then did I bolt, wrenching away from its grasp, stumbling over my feet, racing through the dusky field and across the moonlit meadow. Running, running, always the dim edge of the field in sight, yet…
I glanced back. The scarecrow stood in front of the corn rows watching me. I tripped, falling to my knees. For a moment I closed my eyes. When I opened them I was back among the corn, the scarecrow a foot away.
What is happening?
The plants rustled and the scarecrow moved, kneeling down beside me.
“Stop running. Accept what is to come. What you lost.”
“Accept what?”
“You know.”
I shook my head, terror consuming me. The thing reached out a hand, but I shrank back. If it touched me again, I was done. I knew that.
“Stay away! Stay away!”
I crawled on all fours before scrambling to my feet and racing away from…
I don’t know. I don’t know. 
Whatever the thing was it would be the end of me if I let it near. It’s words triggered something in my head, a voice, almost like a hazy memory.
Time of death, 1:59 PM.


That's it until tomorrow, remember to hop on over to check out the other participant's offerings as well. And come back tomorrow for my dark poetry corner.


October Frights Blog Hop




Looking for some new books? Check out our October Frights Spooktacular



Thursday, 10 October 2019

October Frights 2019 Begins!

Welcome to the October Frights Blog Hop!




It's that time of year again when the blog gets all creepy and spooky and the creatures of the night come out to play. It's time for October Frights. This year during the hop week I'll have some stories for you, some new book covers, some poetry and lots of ghosts and ghouls. So pull up and chair and get comfortable, but be sure to leave the lights on...

We kick things off with a blast from the past and a little story I wrote a while back. Settle in for a strange spooky tale ...



Leaking Out


Drip, drip, drip.
The sound dances with the sunbeams streaming through the bedroom window. It’s a rhythm, a mind-numbing vibration of liquid striking metal. Such a strange sound to hear in the morning, the drip, drip, drip of the tap.
Or is it the tap?
Maybe it isn’t a leak. Maybe it’s something else. Blood flowing through the veins of the house. Drip, drip, dripping someone’s life away. All oozing out over the sink. Or the floor.
I wonder why I thought that?

I smell coffee.
I’m in the kitchen.
How did I get here? I’m not sure. My memory plays tricks these days. Or maybe time is playing tricks. Either way, I’ve gotten used to it. Mostly. But the dripping noise is gone. Maybe it never was. Maybe it was in my head. Probably was. Too many things are in my head.
But I still smell coffee. And toast. He made breakfast. He always made breakfast when we were first married. Or maybe I did. No, that’s not true. He did. He was sweet in the beginning.
I don’t think he’s here anymore. I think he left. But I don’t know why. Why would he leave? None of this feels right. All I know is the house is empty. Shut up tight. It’s so quiet.
And there’s no breakfast on the table. Just dust.

We were happy.
I thought we were happy.
I must’ve been wrong.
Something must’ve been wrong.
Our happiness had cracks.
He didn’t love me.
Or he wouldn’t have… no, I won’t… he didn’t… couldn’t have… he left me?
No.
I left?

Drip, drip, drip.
I can hear it again. The wet noise.
It isn’t coming from the kitchen. It sounds like it’s coming from the bathroom.
But it may not be coming from anywhere, except my head. It’s hard sometimes to know.
I’m standing outside the bathroom door now. But I was just in the kitchen. Wasn’t I? I think I was. Maybe not.
I don’t want to be here. Why? Why do I want to run? Something happened in there? I think it did. My hand is shaking.
I’m afraid.
But I can still hear the dripping.
I open the door.
The room is empty. A cheerless room.
I look down.
The stain’s still there. It’s been scrubbed and scrubbed, but it wouldn’t come out of the tile. Where the blood dripped into the widening pool of red. Bright, bright red. The stain’s pinker now.
It’s even kind of pretty. If I forget what made it.
Blood. Too much blood.
Painted on my memory. Scarlet and screaming, and all jumbled with questions. Why's and how’s. I don’t have answers. I’m not sure I want answers. I might not like them. I’d rather forget. I like it best when I don’t remember it at all. Those are the best days.
But that’s not today. Today’s not a day when I don’t remember.
Today I know what happened.
Someone died.
No, someone was murdered.
I remember.
My husband murdered me.



So that ends today's post. Be sure to hop on over and check out the offerings of the other participants as well. Here's the list.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Book Spotlight: Humans, Volume 1: The Mark

Today I bring another spotlight, this time for the science fiction novel, Humans, Volume 1: The Mark by Alexandra L. Yates. Enjoy.


Humans, Volume 1: The Mark by Alexandra L. Yates




In 2125, Cathy and the other seven Elite students are training in Kantas City to become the future leaders of the Red World Government. Cathy, Tabitha, Stephanie, Leah, James, Jesse, Chris and Max are all descendants of the few humans left after the Ecological Wars of 2025 eradicated nearly all earth's inhabitants. The eight Elite students have been chosen to govern over a stark new world with an uncertain future. As part of their training, the Eight must endure an important test. While meeting new people and learning more about the world outside the walls they’ve grown up in, the Eight begin to question their chosen path and the history they’ve been made to believe.

What is beyond the Red World?
What really happened in 2025?
Most importantly, who are they?




In this post-apocalyptic science fiction adventure, eight young adults embark on a dangerous journey to uncover who they really are.


Humans, Volume 1: The Mark is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Lulu





About the Author

Alexandra L. Yates started her career in finance working for a number of major international companies in France, Germany and the UK. After the birth of her two children, she was inspired to join an international NGO in Amsterdam and help make the world a better place for them to live. Now, she is embracing a new challenge through writing, and her debut novel is dedicated to all those fighting to save the planet. She currently resides in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland with her husband and children.


Friday, 13 September 2019

Book Review: Shields in Shadow

Today I have a book review of the new military fantasy, Shields in Shadow (The Silent Champions #1) by Andy Peloquin. Enjoy.


A Review of Shields in Shadow (The Silent Champions #1)



Shields in Shadow is a well-crafted military fantasy that does not disappoint.
The book begins with a big action-packed battle scene which sets up the Roman-style legion army, their enemies and the tone of the book. One of the battle survivors, Aravon, is recruited into a covert ops company and the story evolves from there.
I loved this novel. The pacing is more deliberate and slower than some of the author’s previous novels, but it works well for this book as it builds layers onto itself which pay off in the later chapters.
The characters are top notch with their development happening with a nice subtle touch which I appreciated. Their interaction is believable, and the trust of their team gradual and solidly written.
I was also impressed with the battle scenes as they are well crafted as to strategy and accuracy in regard to their real-world counterparts. You still have some fantasy elements, but nothing distracting or eye-rolling and grounded in realism. I especially liked the special armour colours and the nod to the different types of metals and weaponry. The superior quality of some of the blades reminded me of the legendary Damascus steel.

Overall, I give the book first rate marks and highly recommend it.


You can find the book on:




Shields in Shadow (The Silent Champions #1)



Burdened with legend. Hardened by battle scars. Hellbent on bloody revenge. As the son of a famous general, Aravon is proud to captain his own company against his people's enemy. But the experienced veteran’s march toward glory dissolves into pain as ruthless barbarians massacre every last one of his soldiers. Burning for vengeance, he leaps at the chance to spearhead a specially-trained company and pay back his tragic defeat with blood. Desperate to not repeat his tragic past, Aravon trains his new warriors relentlessly. But the captain fears that all the tactical drills in the world may not matter when they’re forced to defend a helpless village against overwhelming odds. As his quick raids sow chaos amongst the enemy, the bloodthirsty savages threaten to make Aravon's nightmarish history repeat itself… Can the captain take command of his fighting spirit before the kingdom falls to barbarous invaders?

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Interview With Author Elka Ray

Today I have a great interview with mystery author Elka Ray, where she talks books, suspense and a little romance. Enjoy.


Interview with Elka Ray




Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I'm Canadian, write mysteries and suspense, and live by the beach in Vietnam.


Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Divorce is Murder is the first book in a new romantic mystery series set on Canada's Vancouver Island. After being bullied as a teen, Toby fled her small hometown as soon as she could. Now a successful divorce lawyer, she returns to the island to spend time with her mom, who just beat cancer. Toby thinks she's put her past in perspective until her teenage crush, Josh Barton, asks her to handle his divorce. Things get worse when Josh’s estranged wife is murdered, and he's the main suspect. As she tries to help clear him, Toby encounters all the people who made her life hell as a teen. Worst of all, one of them is a dangerous killer.


How long have you been writing, and how many books have you published to date?

My first book, a romantic mystery, Hanoi Jane, came out in 2011. A much darker thriller, Saigon Dark, was released in 2016. Divorce is Murder is somewhere in between - a fast, easy read that touches on the legacy of old traumas.


Do you have a favourite character? If so, why?

Toby's mom, Ivy, reads tarot cards for a living and is constantly trying to inflict alternative remedies on her highly skeptical daughter. I love how Toby is endlessly embarrassed (yet secretly fascinated) by her mom's rampant New Ageyness. While it'd be easy to dismiss Ivy as flakey, she's actually very astute - and funny.


Why did you decide to write in the romantic mystery genre?

Life is hard. We're all busy. We're tired. We need a break. I want stories that are smart yet easy to read - books that will entertain me without feeling like a vacuous waste of time. I read and write mysteries because they're fun yet expand my understanding of human nature.


Why did you write this book? What was your inspiration?

Like many little girls, around age six my daughter announced her desire to be an actress when she grows up. She's a natural comedian but instead of thinking 'cool, you have talent!' my first reaction was dismay. The problem? She's half Asian and all I could think of was the roles she'd land - or not. I pictured her relegated to playing "Asian" characters instead of the lead or the love-interest. While I can't change Hollywood I can write more stories starring smart, funny, and strong people who aren't all white and blond.


What did you enjoy most about writing your book?

While I consider myself a mystery/suspense author, I had a lot of fun with this story's romantic dilemma.


Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?

Some years back, after reading one of my books, a friend said: "Wow. Where do you get this stuff? I mean, you don't even watch TV!" I loved the implication that most mystery writers sit around lifting their material off CSI."


What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

I'm psyched that my publisher has given Toby Wong and her cohorts a series. In the second book, Toby gets roped into searching for a wealthy friend of her mom's, who's gone missing after being romanced by a conman. In this book, Toby finally realizes where her heart belongs.



About the Author






Elka Ray is the Canadian author of Divorce is Murder.

Born in the UK and raised in Canada, Elka has two previous novels, Saigon Dark and Hanoi Jane; a short-story collection, What You Don't Know; and a series of children's picture books about Vietnam, where she currently lives with her family.

Elka grew up in Victoria, B.C. Canada, the setting for her latest mystery. When she's not writing, drawing, or reading, Elka is in the ocean.







CONNECT WITH ELKA ONLINE
Website: ElkaRay.com
Facebook: /elkaraybooks
Twitter: @ElkaRay
Instagram: @elka.ray
YouTube: Elka Ray
Goodreads: Elka Ray





DIVORCE IS MURDER

A Toby Wong Novel



Toby Wong visits her quiet hometown in British Columbia, where nothing ever happens--until her old high school rival is found murdered.

Shortly after returning to her sleepy hometown on Vancouver Island, Chinese-Canadian divorce lawyer Toby Wong runs into Josh Barton, who broke her heart as a teen at summer camp. Now a wealthy entrepreneur, Josh wants to divorce Tonya, the mean girl who made Toby's life hell all those years ago. Not long after Toby takes Josh's case, Tonya is found murdered. Josh is the prime suspect.

Together with her fortune-teller mom and her pregnant best friend, Toby sets out to clear Josh, whom she still has a guilty crush on. While he seems equally smitten, can Toby trust him? The handsome cop charged with finding Tonya's killer doesn't think so. 

Since Tonya stayed in touch with everyone from that lousy summer camp, Toby keeps running into ex-campers she'd rather forget. Could one of Tonya's catty friends be her killer?

Are Toby's old insecurities making her paranoid? Only too late does she realize that she really is in danger.


 Divorce is Murder is available at Amazon




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