Monday 27 May 2013

Blood Rush

Today's post is another feature for talented author Ash Krafton, and this time the spotlight is on her urban fantasy Blood Rush, the second volume in The Books of the Demimonde.

Cover Artist: Duncan Eagleson

Blood Rush (The Books of the Demimonde, Book 2) by Ash Krafton

Sophie doesn't believe in happily ever after. These days, she'd settle for alive after sunrise.

Advice columnist and newly-appointed oracle to the demivampire, Sophie Galen has more issues than a Cosmo collection: a new mentor with a mean streak, a werewolf stalker she can't shake, and a relationship with her ex's family that redefines the term complicated. And then there's her ex himself, who is more interested in playing leader of the vampire pack than in his own salvation.

Becoming a better oracle is tough enough, but when Sophie encounters a deadly enemy - one she never dreamed of facing - it will take everything she's ever learned in order to survive.

You can find Blood Rush on Amazon 


I don't believe in happily ever after. These days, I'd settle for alive until sunrise.

I never thought I'd become a nine-to-fiver. Certainly never thought I'd be too pre-occupied to make fun of myself for being one. Sometimes the irony was too great to appreciate.

While I waited for the elevator to arrive at The Mag's foyer, I smoothed my scarf along the back of my neck and hefted my tote bag a little higher on my shoulder. Every chime increased my trepidation, tightening the fist of anxiety in my chest and the sensation of bees swarming in the top of my stomach. I hated quitting time.
More underappreciated irony. Why not?

People chatted around me but I fidgeted with my zipper, keeping my gaze lowered and my mouth closed. Leaving at five in the afternoon meant more than crammed elevators and crowded buses; it meant the light would fade soon and with it my peace of mind. The autumn wasn't a happy golden foliage time of year for me anymore.

Although it was only early October, already the longer nights and shorter days made me feel nervous and brittle. Bad enough I didn't have a sweetheart to share the long nights but even worse now that I knew what came out when the sun went down. Although I hadn't had any problems with vampires over the last year, the threat never left my mind.

Vampires were out there. It was just a matter of time until I had to deal with them again.

Halfway during our descent, I felt a vibe. It was a mild one but, over the past year, my empathy had become sensitive to the point of being squirrely. The thin thread of power wound its way around each of the passengers as the DV who owned it checked out who else was in the car. When it reached me, it felt like a poke on the arm. I glanced over my shoulder, catching the eyes of an older dark-eyed woman near the back. She sent a tiny pulse of apology-ladened power and lowered her eyes.

I smiled politely and concentrated on tugging my scarf loose. The DV didn't approach me in public where any old human could see. We kept our dealings distant and private. That was the way I preferred.

The door opened and I flowed out with the crowd, sunglasses on and scarf over my hair. I hoped everyone would more or less continue on together today so I could hide in the crowd a bit longer.

Without turning my head, I saw a rail-thin guy, his scruffy head and jeans out of place amongst the exiting office employees. He leaned against the wall, scanning the people emerging from the other elevators. Seemed to have missed me—good. Taking shelter behind a taller woman and her chatty companion, I hustled out the front doors.

Outside, my luck ran out. My camouflaging crowd of co-workers suddenly scattered like roaches when the kitchen light is turned on. I hesitated, taking too long to pick a direction.

It was all he needed to spot me. I looked back through the glass into the foyer of The Mag's building. He was on the move, eyes locked onto me.

I bolted.

Startled faces blurred past as I hurried through the five o'clock exodus, bumping into one man, dodging another, and rounding the corner at a speed unfitting for heeled pumps. Steve Madden would be horrified if he knew what I did in his shoes.

Well, Steve could kill me later. Right now, I was facing a much more immediate threat.

At the corner, a bus was loading and at this point I didn't care if it was mine or not. An elderly lady with a big shopping bag struggled on the steps and I danced behind her like a first grader with a full bladder. Once she cleared the last step I leapt up, slamming my token into the fare box.

The door closed behind me just as my pursuer caught up. For once I was glad for the driver's rude efficiency. The bus leveled and lurched forward. I grabbed the bar, almost swinging into the laps of the front seat passengers. As we pulled away from the curb, I met the man's stare through the grimy glass of the door.

Rusted-orange eyes with wide pupils.

Non-people eyes.

Werewolf eyes.

I sank onto an empty seat, heart thumping, gradually slowing. Glancing up at the sign over the driver's seat, I realized I'd ended up on the round-about route. Close enough for me. I tugged my necklace out of my shirt and kissed the pendant, my good luck charm, and offered a silent thankful thought to whatever divine powers had saved my behind, yet again.

Reaching into my bag, I pulled out a book of poetry and readied for a long ride home. Ironically, when I'd flipped to a random page, I opened to one of Dylan Thomas's poems.

Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
I had no energy left for rage. All I could muster was a thankful thought because at least today's escape had gone better than most.

About the Author:

Ash Krafton writes from the heart…of the Pennsylvania coal region, that is.
She is the author of the Books of the Demimonde (Pink Narcissus Press).
BLEEDING HEARTS (Demimonde #1) is a six-time RWA finalist and was voted "Reviewer Top Pick" by Ash continues the story of Sophie and her Demivampires in her latest release BLOOD RUSH (Demimonde #2). She's hard at work (when she isn't watching Doctor Who) writing the third book, WOLF'S BANE.
Ash Krafton's poetry and short fiction has appeared in several journals, including Niteblade, Bete Noire, Abandoned Towers, and Silver Blade. She's a member of Pennwriters, RWA, and Maryland Writers Association. She lurks near her blog and contributes to the QueryTracker blog.
Ash lives with her family and their German Shepherd dog deep in the Pennsylvania wilds, awaiting the day the TARDIS appears in the driveway (the dog most likely keeps the Doctor away. What a beast.)

Until then, she writes.

Find Ash at:
The Demimonde blog

Saturday 18 May 2013

Stranger at the Hell Gate

Today's post is a feature for the book, Stranger at the Hell Gate, an urban fantasy from the talented author Ash Krafton.

Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor
Stranger at the Hell Gate by Ash Krafton

Jagger Sintallon, a half-demon warrior, has dedicated his existence to fighting demons who enter the world through Hell gates. A loner of conflicting ideals, he offers shelter to a troubled woman but knows he is too rough, too dangerous, and too cocky for her delicate nature.

Dedicated to Divine Will, Sonya Camael, a Seraph, is determined to discover why she is drawn to Jagger's doorstep and the reason behind her mission. She needs the demon's help but fears he may get himself killed before she can figure it out and the world slips into Hell's dominion.

Sonya faces grave danger with evil stalking her every move, and Jagger shouldn't care but realizes he cares more than he'd likely admit. Sonya knows Jagger cannot win this war alone, but will her divine intervention mean his imminent end? Or will just the right combination of Heaven and Hell set the world right once again?

Short Excerpt:

Jagger hung his head, looking very much out of patience. With an exasperated huff, he turned in place, his boots clomping. Cocky stance, head back, and eyes daring her to say something. But these things she only partially registered because when he turned to face her, his entire upper body—chest, face, arms—glowed with the marks of past insult and injury. And that sickle shape burned into the skin over his heart—
She whimpered, heart-sick to see him in this way. Her mother's blood cried out at the thought of what agony he must have endured to stand here now, so marred and wounded. Covering her eyes, she dispelled the Seraph sight and fought the tears.
"Hey." He was in front of her within moments, pulling her hands down and leaning to peer at her downturned face. "Hey, what's wrong?"
"You. You've been through so much. Just look at you."
"I'd rather not. I'm not a pretty guy."
"Jagger. These scars. You have countless hurts. I can't see a part of you that isn't injured." She raised her eyes, tears brimming on her lower lashes. "Let me help you."
"What, you're a plastic surgeon?"
She swallowed and regained part of her composure. "Better."
He looked alarmed and rocked back on his heels. "You don't mean—"
"Yes, I do." She held onto his hands and kept him from backing away. This felt right, this decision.
His eyes shifted. "Ah, I don't think it's a good idea, doll. Our kinds don't mix well."

Available from:  Amazon

About the Author:

Ash Krafton writes from the heart…of the Pennsylvania coal region, that is. 
She is the author of the Books of the Demimonde (Pink Narcissus Press). 
BLEEDING HEARTS (Demimonde #1) is a six-time RWA finalist and was voted "Reviewer Top Pick" by Ash continues the story of Sophie and her Demivampires in her latest release BLOOD RUSH (Demimonde #2). She's hard at work (when she isn't watching Doctor Who) writing the third book, WOLF'S BANE.
Ash Krafton's poetry and short fiction has appeared in several journals, including Niteblade, Bete Noire, Abandoned Towers, and Silver Blade. She's a member of Pennwriters, RWA, and Maryland Writers Association. She lurks near her blog and contributes to the QueryTracker blog.
Ash lives with her family and their German Shepherd dog deep in the Pennsylvania wilds, awaiting the day the TARDIS appears in the driveway (the dog most likely keeps the Doctor away. What a beast.) 

Until then, she writes.

Find Ash at:

Thursday 16 May 2013

Evoking A Fantasy World: A Guest Post by Rahima Warren

Today a guest, author Rahima Warren, drops by as part of her blog tour for her new book, Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer's Prophecy.  She discusses the art of creating a world of fantasy, introduces us to her book and shares a great giveaway at the end of the post.  So read on, and enjoy...

Evoking a Fantasy World

When reading a fantasy set in a different (non-historical) world or time, I find it jarring if the characters’ names are old familiar ones from our everyday reality. Why would people in a strange time/place have names like Steven or Julia? Also, why would they use the same words to refer to time or distance that we do? Convenient for the writer perhaps, but too familiar for me as a reader.


In my fantasy trilogy, The Star-Seer’s Prophecy, I tried to evoke a different world in subtle ways. For example, I avoid using our familiar measures of time. Instead of “minute,” I use “moment.” Instead of “week,” I use “quarter-moon.” Many cultures measure time by that clock in the sky, the Moon. For distance, I just referred to how many days a trip took. And I had fun making up names and words to help evoke a different world. I used two methods for creating these new words: listening/intuition, and research.


For most of my characters’ name, I start by ‘listening’ for a name, using my intuition. Sometimes, that’s it. I get it on the first try, like Zhovanya as the name of the Goddess in my trilogy. For others, I play around with the sound of the name until it fits the character. And for some, the name evolves as I get to know the character better. For example, originally Kyr’s name was Arik (which I believe relates to an old Nordic word for eagle). Somehow, I didn’t like the hard ‘k’ as the last sound of his name, so I changed it to Kyr (“keer” like “peer”), which to me sounds like the high, lonely cry of a hawk or eagle, and suits his character.

Over time, I noticed that there was a pattern in the way I was naming men vs. women, and changed a few names to fit that pattern, though there are some exceptions. You might check out the Cast of Characters (in Book Extras- on my website, and see if you can detect the pattern. I also ‘listened’ for the magical commands used by the Warrior-Mage, Rajani; for the names of magical potions; and for the sacred chants. (See the Glossary in Book Extras


In the case of the evil sorcerer-king called the Soul-Drinker, I found his name through researching the roots of words in the Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto. The Soul-Drinker’s name is Dauthaz, which comes from the Old English and Germanic roots of the word ‘death.’

This is also how I created the name of the land where the story takes place, and the terms used at the Sanctuary. The land is named Khailaz, which is a prehistoric Germanic word, ancestor of our word, ‘whole.’ Adding the suffix –itha to khailaz produced khailitha, the root of our words, ‘health’ and ‘heal.’
From this, I made up the words kailitha (divine healing energy); Kailithana (a priestess-healer); Kailithara (healing work of the Kailithana); Kailithos (one who is undergoing the Kailithara); and Kailithama (sacred chamber in which the Kailithana works with the Kailithos).

I don’t recall exactly how I tracked down the roots from which I constructed AithanĂ© (Listener, Confessor), Phanaithos (Speaker, Divulger), or Phanaithara (Divulgence, Confession). I believe they come from Greek roots meaning to listen, and to speak.

A few other words, I just made up. For example, I derived zhan (life force energy) from Zhovanya.

Now, admittedly, I am not Tolkien, creating whole languages, and races of fantastic creatures. My focus is more on the inner world and healing ordeal of my hero, Kyr, than on detailed world making. However, I did do my best to evoke a different place/time by creating new words and names, and avoiding overly familiar names and terms.


As a reader, which do you prefer: familiar names and terms; or new and different ones?
As a writer, what is your approach to evoking a different world?

Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer's Prophecy by Rahima Warren

The “twin-souled dark innocent,” Kyr, is a youth born and raised to blindly carry out the Soul-Drinker’s brutal commands. At first, Kyr’s one desire is death, the only escape from the Soul-Drinker’s hellish rule. Just when he is about to get his wish, the secret Circle rescues him. Now he has to choose between the familiar easy path of despair and death, or the hard path of healing, living, and a greater destiny, about which he knows nothing. How can a slave who has known only evil, pain and obedience choose to become a man of courage and compassion, and fulfill the Star Seer's Prophecy?

Rahima Warren’s Bio:

Rahima Warren is the author of Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer's Prophecy, a deep, rich novel of the healing journey. With Master's degrees in Clinical and Transpersonal Psychology, she was in private practice as a licensed psychotherapist for over 20 years. In 2006, Rahima retired to focus on her expressive painting, creative writing, and spiritual studies.

In her work with clients recovering from abuse, she was awed by the human capacity to heal, and to reach new levels of forgiveness, wholeness and happiness. She also learned to trust the psyche's own process. This enabled her to allow a dark and mysterious story to flood forth unhindered: Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer's Prophecy.

Rahima is a third-generation native of California and resides with her husband in Northern California, where she periodically chases squirrels off the wild bird feeders, and deer away from her roses. Her life-long love of fantasy is her parents' fault: they left sci-fi & fantasy magazines with fascinating cover art lying around the house.

Rahima Warren’s website:
Read an excerpt of Dark Innocence:
Rahima Warren on Twitter:
Rahima’s Facebook Fan Page:
Rahima Warren on Pinterest:
Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer's Prophecy on Amazon:
Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer's Prophecy on Barnes and Noble:

Giveaway Info

Rahima is giving away prizes, including an e-copy of her book at each blog stop on her tour AND a Grand Prize Giveaway of a Custom Jumbo Tote Bag with your choice of fan art, chosen from here:, plus other goodies, including a signed copy of Dark Innocence for one lucky winner, shipped to anywhere in the world!

1)      To win a book: Leave a comment on this blog post to be entered to win a book. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments so we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. This giveaway ends five days after the post goes live.

2)      To win the Custom Jumbo Tote Bag with Rahima’s fan art of your choice, or a signed copy of Dark Innocence, or other goodies, click the link to go to Rahima’s website here: and enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the page. A winner will be selected on June 21st.

Enter for the Grand Prize on Rahima’s website here:

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Come Join Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective

Today author Christine Amsden releases her new novel, Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective and you dear readers are getting a treat. For the author has stopped by to share with us a delightful extra, a mini-story, featuring the main character from the book.  So read on...

Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective

Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.

This story expands on a brief mention from the book's first chapter.  Enjoy.

Cassie Scot: Normal Detective

            Last night, I was just about to close up and go home for the day when an old woman walked into my office with a cat carrier. Inside the carrier, a black cat hissed and yowled. I suppose I would have felt that way too, if someone had locked me inside a little cage. I felt instant sympathy for the cat. Not so much for the old lady.
            “Cassandra Scot?” she asked.
            “Cassie,” I corrected automatically. Only my parents called me Cassandra.
            “I knew your grandparents.”
            I tried not to groan. My grandparents had been highly respected sorcerers until they died in a lab explosion a few years back. I never knew what they had been working on, but since that day there has been a swirling vortex in the lab.
            Don't ask – I really have no idea.
            “Have we met?” I asked.
            “Miranda Cleaver. Mrs. Cleaver.”
            “Nice to meet you, Mrs. Cleaver.”
            If she heard my sarcastic emphasis on the honorific, she didn't mention it.
            “Your grandparents used to set wards in my house to keep the demons out,” Mrs. Cleaver said. “Since they've died, the wards have failed. There are now demons running amuck in my house, and Sylvie – my poor cat – has been possessed by the devil.”
            “I... see.” What was I supposed to say? She had just walked past a sign proclaiming, “Cassie Scot: Normal Detective.”
            “I read your web site,” Mrs. Cleaver said.
            “Really? Did you see my list of services and exemptions?”
            “Of course.”
            “So what do you need?”
            “An exorcism. I told you, Sylvie is possessed by the devil.”
            I glanced again at the hissing cat, whose yellow eyes shone with very typical feline anger. “I don't do exorcisms. It was listed under exemptions.”
            “But you're Cassandra Scot, aren't you?”
            “Your parents are Edward and Sheila Scot?”
            “Yes.” I felt my face burning. Just because I had powerful sorcerers for parents, didn't mean I was one as well. Okay, so it wasn't just my parents – it was my grandparents, aunt, uncles, cousins, brothers, and sisters. Still, there had to be a second cousin out there somewhere without any magic at all.
            Why couldn't people just read the sign?
            “Well, then.” She sounded as if the whole matter were settled. She plunked the carrier on my desk and took a vacant chair in front. “I went to your father first. Your grandparents always told me to go to him if I needed anything after they were gone. Your father said you were ideally suited for this sort of work.”
            “He did?” My dad wasn't above a practical joke, but this sounded more like something my brother would do. My brother, who looked more like Dad's twin than his son, thanks to Dad's egregious use of youthening potions.
            “Nicolas,” I muttered under my breath. “This is war.”
            “What's that, dear?”
            “Why don't I take a quick look at the cat?”
            “Of course, dear.” Mrs. Cleaver clearly had not expected any other result.
            I opened the door to the cage, but carefully did not reach my hand inside. The cat stopped hissing. After a moment or two, it poked its nose outside the cage, sniffing the air. Then it stepped outside.
            That's when I noticed how very pregnant Sylvie was.
            “She needs to see a vet,” I said. “She's going to have kittens.”
            “I know. Little demons. It never used to happen when your grandparents were alive.”
            “I... see.” I seemed to be saying that a lot. “You know what? I think I'll need to keep her for a few days. I'll call you when she's free of the... demon.”
            “You will?” Mrs. Cleaver's eyes shone with relief. Crazy or not, I knew I'd said the right thing. “How much will it cost? I don't have a lot of money.”
            “Don't worry about it.”
            “I really must pay you.” She dug through her beaded handbag, closing her fist around a bill, which she handed to me with the air of someone bestowing a treat on a young child. “Thank you so much.”
            I watched in bemusement as she walked out the door, leaving me to deal with the pregnant cat. I figured I'd take Sylvie home to my sister, Juliana, a gifted healer. She had been begging our parents for a cat lately, anyway.
            As soon as the door closed behind the old lady, I glanced at the bill she had pressed into my hands. A single dollar. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry.
            At least my parents are rich.
            “This is the last paranormal case I'm taking though,” I said to whoever might be listening.
            Sylvie meowed. I think she knew I was kidding myself.

You can find more about Christine and her books at her website: 

Christine Amsden

Or at

Twilight Times Books

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Be Popular Now: An Interview with Jonathan Bennett

Today author Jonathan Bennett stops by for an interview to chat about his book, Be Popular Now: How Any Man Can Become Confident, Attractive, and Successful (And Have Fun Doing It), co-authored with his brother David.

An Interview with Jonathan Bennett

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

I’m thirty-five years old, married with a family. I live near Columbus, Ohio (USA). I have a background in education and currently work in drug and alcohol treatment. I own a speaking and consulting business with my twin brother David dedicated to helping guys become more confident and successful. We wrote the book together.

Can you tell us a little about your book, Be Popular Now: How Any Man Can Become Confident, Attractive, and Successful (And Have Fun Doing It)?

We studied the science of attraction and popularity and turned those theories into practical tips. Essentially, the book is a handbook of general male popularity and attractiveness. We focus on such topics as self-improvement, advancing at work, making friends, getting dates, etc.

What motivated you to write a book on the topic of being popular?

We had done a lot of research to improve our own popularity and success and what we developed worked quite well. We noticed that while others focused on specific areas (like dating), no one was really writing about popularity. Yet, being attractive to others and winning them over for companionship (our definition of popularity), is a basic human need. We felt the book was needed in a Western world that is only getting lonelier.

What are your goals for this book?

We hope to help other guys achieve some of the success we've had in our own lives. Being popular isn't about being selfish or taking advantage of others. When people are attracted to you, their needs are being met as well. It could be receiving laughter, friendship, meaning in life, or anything really. Popular, attractive, and confident men truly make the world a better place. Of course, the same is true of women, but we didn't feel qualified to write that book!

Who is your intended readership?

Any guy who wants more out of life is a part of our target audience. It could be someone who simply wants a little self-improvement to a guy who feels his entire life needs rebooted.

Can you tell us something about the about your writing process for the book?
I personally like to do the research and preparation for my writing in advance. So, David and I did the difficult work first, studying the science behind popularity. Then, we developed practical tips and tested them out. By the time we started to write about them, we’d so lived the theories that the writing was easy. We were essentially describing what had become second nature.

Did anything surprise you about writing your book?

Nothing was really too surprising since we’d already completed another book (on crafting positive affirmations). But, this book flowed in such an incredible way, with little writer’s block. That may have been the most surprising aspect.

What sort research went into the book?

We really looked at the hard sciences, areas such as brain research, evolutionary biology, psychology, etc. The subjective art of being popular and attractive is grounded in a pretty objective human nature.

Any future plans for more books?

We are ready to release a teen popularity book. It focuses on similar themes, but is focused on helping both sexes develop confidence and social skills. It’s going to be marketed as an anti-bullying book because it creates what bullies hate: confident, assertive people.

You can find out more about Jonathan, David and their book at:

Author Bio:

Jonathan Bennett is a self help writer and speaker who co-owns and operates several informational websites that receive over a million visitors a year. He writes about such topics as popularity, health, spirituality, and success. His websites include The Popualar Man (, The Popular Teen (, and ChurchYear.Net.

Jonathan was born and raised in a small town in Ohio. He received a BA in history from Ohio University and a Master's Degree from Emory University. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, as well as honors fraternities in history, theology, and the classics. He has a background in education and currently teaches at the University of Phoenix. He also handles administrative duties at a drug treatment center.

In 2007, he started a communications company with his twin brother, David. It has grown significantly since that time, and now includes two publishing companies, Theta Hill Press and Cedar Grove Press.

Although he spent most of his life in school and was naturally popular, he realized he (or anyone else) was never taught the social skills that lead to genuine success. Working with his brother and friend Joshua Wagner, he decided to study (and model) the ways that successful people think and act. This research led the three friends to focus on helping men make friends, get dates, and be successful.

His study of cutting-edge social research, along with his natural popularity and personality, led him to consult, speak, and write about popularity and other topics related to success.

In his spare time, he enjoys reading and writing. He drinks a lot of coffee and has a passion for health and fitness. He enjoys spending time with his friends and family, especially his wife and children. He enjoys going to concerts (modern adult alternative acts primarily) and running extreme races like the Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash.

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