30 Sep 2017

Farewell from Fiction Dreams – find me, book news, style posts and more at www.suzyturner.com

Dear readers and friends,

It's Suzy Turner here and, I'm sad to say, with my final post on Fiction Dreams. But please don't despair – I will never give up on my fellow authors. I will be continuing to review a select number of books over on my popular lifestyle blog where I will occasionally also post interviews and other book news as well. So please don't think this is it. If you have any interesting book news to share, please email me and I'll see if I can slot you in :)

With the launch of my yoga career in late 2016, and the continuing success of www.suzyturner.com, I came to the conclusion that I must devote my time to those areas of my life. Unfortunately, Fiction Dreams was just taking a little too much of my time and so I had to make this sad decision. If you've sent me books and they still haven't been reviewed, please don't worry as they will be featured on my lifestyle blog.

But, like I said, I'm still a huge supporter of my fellow authors and will always try to make room for them on my lifestyle blog (which, incidentally, gets more views than Fiction Dreams anyway) and elsewhere on social media. Also, I haven't given up on writing either! I'm still planning on producing many more books in the future!

If you'd like to find me online please visit:


If you're an author, please check out Yogadocious – where I specialise in yoga for authors (and anyone else who spends way too much time at a computer!). There's plenty of free videos to help ease your aches and pains for you to try at your leisure! 

In the meantime, I shall keep the Fiction Dreams domain going for the next two years and after that, you'll find the site situated on blogger at www.fictiondreams.blogspot.com – so if you've had a previous interview or guest post here, it will still be there for you to peruse.

Thank you so much for your continued support here at Fiction Dreams and I sincerely hope you'll come and follow me at www.suzyturner.com where you'll find lots of other fun stuff to keep you entertained – style for women (and men!) over 40, book news, travel, food and much more.

Suzy x

25 Sep 2017

Gate of Air by Resa Nelson


Gate of Air
Resa Nelson
(Dragon Gods, #1)
Publication date: June 19th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Frayka must find and convince the dragon gods of the Far East to appease the gods of her Northland heritage. If she fails, her own Northlander gods will destroy all the mortals who once promised to worship them.
The Far East is a mysterious place of legend to Northlanders like Frayka. Only an old map can show her how to get there. Once she arrives, all of Frayka’s sensibilities put her in danger. And every dangerous turn delays her from finding the dragon gods whose help she so desperately needs.
Although Frayka looks like a Far Easterner, she is a powerful Northlander warrior who is quick to voice her thoughts. She is trained to fight and won’t hesitate to do so.
But everything about Frayka puts her in deadly peril in the Far East, where the laws are strict and the punishment cruel.
Especially when the one being punished is a woman.
99¢ for a limited time only!

Excerpt
By the time Frayka and Njall sailed the ship close enough to guide it onto the smooth beach, everyone in Blackstone stood there waiting for them, waving and shouting. Like all Northlanders (other than Frayka), men and women alike had long blonde hair, pale skin, and blue eyes.
“They must have seen us coming in,” Njall said, waving back at them. “That’s what I call timely help.”
Frayka spotted her father, mother, and siblings in the crowd. Although happy to see them, her stomach remained in knots.
The men of Blackstone waded into the incoming waves, gripped the ship’s low rail, and dragged the ship onto the pitch-black sand.
Bright green grassy fields stretched beyond the beach. Beyond those fields stood Blackstone, the only settlement in the Land of Ice. Its small houses were made of stone walls and sod roofs growing long grass. Wisps of smoke escaped from the hole in the center of each roof.
Frayka’s father, Thorkel, wore green linen trousers and a bright yellow shirt. Sidling next to the beached ship, he held his arms open and beamed. “Frayka! You be home at last!”
Finally, the knot in Frayka’s stomach loosened. Climbing over the ship’s rail, she relished the feel of the hard, wet sand beneath her feet and welcomed her father’s embrace.
Thorkel sneezed.
Releasing him, Frayka said, “You’re drenched. We should get you home and into dry clothes before you catch cold.”
“I be fine,” Thorkel said while he watched his favorite daughter exchange embraces with her mother and siblings. “But you look worse for the wear. You be all right, girl?”
For the first time since leaving the Land of Ice, Frayka felt keenly aware of the sorry state of her clothing.
Like all Northlander women, Frayka wore an outfit made of layers. Her outerwear, a lightweight red coat gaping open in the front, bore dark stains and a large tear. Underneath, the dress that had once been bright blue now looked dreary and faded. A formerly light beige under-dress peeked above the blue dress’s neckline but now bore the color of mud. The two large silver brooches pinning the red over-dress to the blue dress at each shoulder were dented. And a string of amber and silver beads that once connected the brooches had been yanked free long ago.
The dagger tucked under the leather belt looped around her waist had seen better days.
“I’m fine, Father,” Frayka said. She smiled. “I just don’t look it.”
“Frayka’s a fine warrior,” Njall said, pushing his way through the crowd to join her side.
Following, Rognvald clapped a hand on his son Njall’s shoulder. “We know, boy. We got word.”
“Word?” Njall said, turning to look at Rognvald. “How, Pa?”
Rognvald winked. “Plenty of time to tell that story. More pressing matters at hand.” He grinned.
Entering the settlement of small stone homes, Frayka saw the life she’d left behind. Children ran and played around the houses. Young men and women carried empty pails as they walked toward a path leading to the nearby waterfall. Like Frayka, they all stood tall. Unlike Frayka, they all had long blonde hair, falling to the waists of men and women alike.
Frayka allowed herself to relax, happy to listen to her father babble while they walked arm and arm into Blackstone.
Thorkel sniffed. “I never be so proud and feared at the same time as when those ice dragons stomped the ground and made the land around Blackstone split apart. I figured you must have seen it happen in a portent. You be the only one to go across and fight those dragons before the chasm got too big for the rest of us to cross. Then you be gone missing. And later Njall be gone missing, too.” Thorkel’s voice caught. “Worried something fierce about you and Njall.”
Frayka squeezed his arm. “I’m sorry you worried. I didn’t mean for that to happen. But I did tell you I’d had a portent and that I would be fighting sorcery.”
Rognvald nudged Thorkel. “No sense in getting all sentimental. First things first. Tell them about the marriage house.”
“Marriage house?” Frayka said. “Someone is getting married?”
“This way,” Thorkel said, pulling her by the hand while the rest of their family followed along with Rognvald and Njall. “We got word about you heading home a few weeks ago, just enough time for the building.”
Thorkel led the way into a new stone cottage with a sod roof so fresh that the seams of the sod strips forming the roof had not yet grown together.
Stepping into the one-room home, Frayka paused at the change of bright sunlight to a dim interior. A hearth stood in the center of the room, ready for its first fire to be lit. The opening in the roof allowed a weak stream of light to filter inside. A few water buckets leaned against a stone wall.
Thorkel took Frayka and Njall by the hand and marched them toward a sleeping pallet large enough for two. Their families gathered round.
Exchanging a startled look with Njall, Frayka said, “I don’t understand. Is someone getting married today?”
“Of course!” Thorkel said with a laugh. “It be you and Njall!”
“We’ve been gone for the better part of a year,” Frayka said to her father. “Why do you think we want to get married? Njall always hated me and called me names.”
Rognvald nudged his son with a laugh. “Everyone knows boys tease the girls they like. Njall ain’t hating you. He called you names to show he noticed you.”
Njall considered his father’s words and gave Frayka a sheepish look. “Never thought much about it before, but I can’t argue with that.”
“There has to be more,” Frayka said. “What aren’t you telling us?”
Thorkel’s eyes gleamed with pride, but before he could speak, his own family cut him off.
Frayka’s five younger sisters broke into a fit of nasty giggles, gathered around their mother like chicks around a hen.
The gleam in Thorkel’s eyes faded, and he slumped like a man kicked to the ground by a group of thieves.
Frayka tensed. She remembered a time long ago when her mother beamed at the sight of Thorkel, happy to be married to him. She remembered when her mother had taken joy in the simple tasks of everyday life. But everything changed when her mother took up with a small cluster of gossips in Blackstone and became one of them. Bitterness and judgment replaced her mother’s sense of joy. Before long, all of Frayka’s sisters behaved the same.
“It’s all because of Thorkel’s silly story,” Frayka’s mother said with a poorly disguised smirk. “I told him it was nonsense. I told him you had no interest in marrying Njall.” She paused for effect. “Or any other man, for that matter.”
Frayka’s sisters burst into another round of cruel giggles.
Hands on hips, Frayka stared them down. “What is that supposed to mean?”
One by one, each sister slung her opinion at Frayka.
“You’re no woman.”
“You want to be a man!”
“Acting like you’re too good for woman’s work.”
“Acting like keeping the keys to the home is beneath you.”
“That’s why you’ll never get married!”
Anger bubbled inside Frayka like boiling lava. But before she let that anger loose, she felt the calming touch of her father’s hand on her shoulder.
“Never mind them empty heads, my girl,” Thorkel said. “They got no faith in what we saw. Me and Rognvald.”
Forgetting the female side of her family, Frayka turned toward her father. Although he had the height and pale features of all other Northlanders, Thorkel’s grandmother came from the Far East. More than ever, Frayka felt connected to him in a way that she doubted she would ever feel with her mother or sisters again. Put off by the way she saw her mother treat her father, Frayka gave her family allegiance to Thorkel alone. “What did you see?”
Gazing at his daughter, the gleam returned to Thorkel’s eyes. “We spent all these months worrying over the two of you, me and Rognvald. Wondering where you went to. Fretting we would never set eyes on you again. Then your friends came running to us after going to the waterfall to fetch water. Said they saw something magical in the water that asked to speak to the families of you and him.” Thorkel pointed at Njall.
“Only us believed your friends and what they said they saw in the water,” Rognvald said. Casting a dark look at the others gathered inside the new stone house, he said, “They was right to come to us. Me and Thorkel seen things none of you can ever understand.”
Frayka smiled, taking his meaning to heart. She relished her childhood memories of all the far-fetched stories her father spun. Stories about his days in the Northlands with Rognvald when they were brigands and the bad men who hired them. Stories about a Northlander woman covered with scars from being chewed up and spit out by a dragon, and how she became a blacksmith making swords for dragonslayers. Stories about dragons and ghosts and people who could change how they looked just by thinking about it.
Secretly, Frayka believed every word to be true. And now that she’d travelled and seen far-fetched sights with her own eyes, no one could convince her that anything her father told her was exaggerated or made up.
Catching Njall’s gaze, she saw the same conviction on his face. “What happened next?” she asked Rognvald.
Rognvald draped a conspiratorial arm around Njall’s shoulder and pulled his son close. “Me and Thorkel went to the waterfall and met the sprite.”
“Sprite?” Njall said. “A water sprite?”
Thorkel nodded. “Or some such creature. Pretty little thing. Standing like a woman in front of the waterfall, but made of nothing but water herself. Voice as sweet as morning dew.”
“That’s what you say about every female,” Rognvald scoffed. “Sounded irritating as a bleating sheep to me.” To his son and Frayka, he added, “But she claimed you two was safe.”
“She said you be coming home soon,” Thorkel said. “And we should expect you to marry. She likes you both quite a lot. Spoke fondly of you.”
Again, Frayka caught Njall’s gaze, and the solemn expression on his face convinced her they were thinking the same thing.
Norah. Last year we helped a water goddess. We assumed she’d abandoned us, but she helped us instead.
“Enough of this,” Frayka’s mother said, her voice hostile and coarse. “You spent the past few weeks building a house they’ll never use. Frayka has no intent of marrying Njall or anyone else. I dare say we’ll be stuck with her for life.”
The five sisters glared at Frayka as their mother herded them out the door.
Njall, his family, and Thorkel remained inside the house with Frayka.
“Be that what you want?” Thorkel said to Frayka. “Or be you wanting something else?”
When Njall smiled at Frayka, she remembered her long-ago portent that told her she must marry Njall because he alone had the ability to father children who would carry on Frayka’s ability to foretell the future. She remembered how her fondness for Njall had grown when he proved himself through kindness, loyalty, and respect. And during their return home by ship, they had spent every night becoming as intimate as a husband and wife.
The portents may not always come true exactly as I see them, but they do come true.
Frayka returned Njall’s smile. “I believe today is just as good a day as any to get married.”


Author Bio:
Resa Nelson is the author of the 4-book Dragonslayer series: The Dragonslayer’s Sword (nominated for the Nebula Award, finalist for the EPPIE Award), The Iron Maiden , The Stone of Darkness , and The Dragon's Egg . Her 4-book Dragonfly series takes place after the Dragonslayer series.
Her standalone novels include the mystery/thrillers All Of Us Were Sophie and Our Lady of the Absolute .
Resa has been selling short stories professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), and she is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop. Resa was the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years as well as a regular contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.

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22 Sep 2017

Book Review: The Boardwalk by the Sea - Summer Sundaes by Georgina Troy

The Boardwalk by the Sea - Summer Sundaes
Series: The Boardwalk by the Sea, Book 1
Author name: Georgina Troy
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance
Release Date: 15 July 2017
Publisher: Green Shutter Books

Wipe off your flip flops, it’s going to be a bumpy ride...
When Sacha Collins, cafe owner and sundae-maker extraordinaire, meets Italian archaeologist, Alessandro Salvatore in Rome, she's grateful to him for being her tour guide. Now he’s turned up in the seaside village where she lives, known locally as, The Boardwalk by the Sea and is setting up a gelateria in direct competition to her retro Summer Sundaes Café.
She's only been running her café for two years since taking over from her father. Until now the only other shops on the boardwalk have been a wool shop, an antique shop and a second-hand book shop. These have helped rather than hindered her custom. How will her creative sundaes made from fresh Jersey ice cream compete with his delicious Italian gelato?
Sacha is worried. Is there enough custom for both businesses to thrive? Who is behind the strange changes being made on the boardwalk? And when the oldest resident on the boardwalk is threatened with eviction can Sacha and Alessandro come together and find a way of helping her?
For a peaceful little boardwalk overlooking one of the quieter beaches on the island, there's an awful lot going on and some of it is going to lead to big changes.
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Review

Summer Sundaes is a charming tale of love and drama set in Rome, Italy and by the seaside in Jersey – two settings that the author made me quite eager to visit myself, with her detailed descriptions of both beautiful settings. If you're looking for a deep and meaningful tale full of twists and turns, you won't find it here. Instead, you'll find a very light-hearted story that's easy to read just about anywhere. I found myself quite fond of Sacha and Alessandro by the end. I also really rather liked Sacha's aunt – what a fun character she is!
If I had to criticise something, I'd say that I'd have liked more twists and turns, perhaps something just a tad deeper to make the story come alive just a little bit more. But all in all, it was quite a sweet tale.

Georgina Troy is the pseudonym of author Deborah Carr. Her first book, A Jersey Kiss was a finalist in the Contemporary Romance Category of the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards 2016 (RoNAs) and finalist in the Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers 2015.
Her WW1 historical romance, Broken Faces, written in her own name, Deborah Carr, was runner-up in the Good Housekeeping Novel Writing Competition 2012. She lives on the island of Jersey with her husband, two children and three rescue dogs. Her books are published by Accent Press and Green Shutter Books. Georgina is a member of The Blonde Plotters.
Georgina’s new series, The Boardwalk by the Sea, includes four standalone novels about friends, Sacha, Bella, Lexi and Jools. Each book is set in a different season. The girls live on or near a small seaside village known locally as The Boardwalk by the Sea and all of them make an appearance in the books throughout the series but each book will focus on one of the friends.
Summer Sundaes (book 1)
Autumn Antics (book 2) - due Spring 2018
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A character in Autumn Antics (book 2) named after someone the winner nominates, i.e themself/family member.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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18 Sep 2017

Finding You by Lydia Albano


Finding You
Lydia Albano
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: September 19th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Taken from home and family, all they have is each other.
Isla is kidnapped from a train platform in broad daylight, and thrust into a nightmare when she is sold to a sadistic aristocrat. Locked in a dungeon with a dozen other girls, Isla’s only comfort is a locket and the memory of the boy she loves. But as days pass and more girls disappear, she realizes that help is not coming… If they’re going to survive, they’ll have to escape on their own.
Swoon Reads is proud to present Lydia Albano’s debut novel, a powerful story of a teen girl finding strength and hope in even the worst circumstances.


What is it about the Young Adult genre that appeals to you so much?
I could say “everything” and not be exaggerating. When you’re a teenager, there’s something to reading about people your age learn who they are, learn to be strong, learn to love, that shapes your own mind and makes you feel invincible. I know for a fact that books like The Goose Girl, Inkheart, and The Hunger Games changed my life. I was a reserved, awkward (I’m still awkward) teen living in the boonies of New Hampshire when I got swallowed up by the world of YA Lit. My brother, sister, and I nearly came to blows over who got to read Inkspell and then Inkdeath first from the library (I won because I’d started the series first of all of us, for the record). I remember trading Mockingjay back and forth with my sister, chapter-by-chapter because we were supposed to be doing school work but neither of us could bear to put the book down. I’m probably preaching to the choir though. We can all attest that books have such an incredible ability to shape us into the people we’ll become, and so that YA room in the library is where I really fell in love with stories.
So I guess YA was just the obvious direction my writing would take me. Even when I was first starting to write “books” (they were so small and so cute and so pathetic) as a twelve- or thirteen-year-old, my heroines were always somewhere around sixteen. I think I knew already that sixteen was an age where something could happen- where you could grab a hold of your circumstances and decide to change them. And now I think, as I’m a few years past my teens, it’s become increasingly evident to me that young adults need stories of hope and resilience. They need to see themselves on covers, they need to meet characters with their struggles, they need to know they’re not alone, not too broken, not inadequate.
I’m twenty-four years old and there’s nothing I like to read better than YA; I dare anyone to find a more encouraging, accepting, and honest genre out there.
If every teenager read a book that told them dragons can be slain, princesses can save themselves, families can be made whole, marching for a cause can make a difference, everyone has a voice that merits hearing- imagine what a strong and empowered and accepting generation could be built. Stories do that in a way that textbooks can’t, and to get to be a part of that, to add my words to the library shelves, has been something I only dreamed about for so long.
Thanks so much for letting me ramble about something I love so much. And thank you to anyone who reads Finding You for letting me be a part of that world for you.

Author Bio:
Lydia Albano is a (self-proclaimed) Bunburyist living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she promotes Oxford commas, spends her money on musical theater, and demands the Myers-Briggs letters of everyone she meets. Her debut novel, Finding You, will be released in September, 2017, with SwoonReads/Macmillan.

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13 Sep 2017

Review: Shadows by Thorne Moore

Shadows by Thorne Moore
Genre: domestic noir. Psychological Crime. Women’s lit. Paranormal.
Release Date: 14 June 2017
Publisher: Endeavour Press

Kate Lawrence can sense the shadow of violent death, past and present. In her struggle to cope with her unwelcome gift, she has frozen people out of her life. Her marriage is on the rocks, her career is in chaos and she urgently needs to get a grip.
So she decides to start again, by joining her effervescent cousin Sylvia and partner Michael in their mission to restore and revitalise Llys y Garn, an old mansion in the wilds of North Pembrokeshire.
It is certainly a new start, as she takes on Sylvia’s grandiose schemes, but it brings Kate to a place that is thick with the shadows of past deaths. The house and grounds are full of mysteries that only she can sense, but she is determined to face them down – so determined that she fails to notice that ancient energies are not the only shadows threatening the seemingly idyllic world of Llys y Garn.
The happy equilibrium is disrupted by the arrival of Sylvia’s sadistic and manipulative son, Christian - but just how dangerous is he?
Then, once more, Kate senses that a violent death has occurred…
Set in the majestic and magical Welsh countryside, Shadows is a haunting exploration of the dark side of people and landscape.

My Review
I visited Wales for the very first time a couple of years ago and totally fell in love with that beautiful part of the world. So to read such a gripping murder mystery tale set in the wilderness of that country was a real treat.
It took me a little while to really get into it, but when I did, I found it quite hard to put down, finally reading the majority of it in one afternoon.
It was Kate's unusual gift that enticed me to read Shadows in the first place though – the ability to sense death really peaked my interest, and it didn't disappoint. There were a few twists and turns in the book that didn't exactly take me by surprise (I'm usually quite good at identifying the guilty party lol), but they were very well done.
Beautifully written, Shadows is certainly a book I'd recommend. I also look forward to reading more by Thorne Moore in the future.

Excerpt
‘Is it haunted, Kate?’ Sylvia clapped her hands, like a child wanting ice-cream. ‘Oh please, please say there’s a ghost down here.’
‘There’s a ghost down here.’
‘No seriously, please tell me. You’d sense one, I know.’
What the hell. I closed my eyes solemnly. ‘I detect – a definite shiver of fear.’
‘Is that all? I was hoping for a white lady. If only we had battlements. I’m sure we’d have had a white lady, walking in the moonlight.’
‘Perhaps we can persuade one to move in.’
‘Yes!’ Sylvia gripped my arm. ‘A ghost hotel! We could get a licence to serve spirits!’
We were still laughing as we climbed back to the buttery. To finish, she led me on into the second small room, under the upper chamber.
As before, a low square room. One tiny window, two doors, stained walls, stone floor, just another empty room. ‘Not sure what to call this one,’ babbled my cousin. ‘Think of a good name. The armoury! I wonder if we could get a suit of armour.’ She was already opening the far door, into a panelled arch through deep masonry back into the Great Hall.
Just a doorway to Sylvia.
But not to me. Oh God, not to me.
‘Come on,’ she sang. ‘Where next?’
I watched her pass through, amazed that she could sense nothing. Rigid in my determination to conquer, I followed her, trying to block out the shadow, to refuse it entry into my brain.
I couldn’t. It overwhelmed my defences, enveloping me in a black cloud. Huge atavistic fear, searing thirst, gut-wrenching despair. I could feel the interweaving strands of emotion like filaments of rot, tightening around me, meshing in my lungs, my veins, my bones. How could Sylvia possibly not feel this?
AMAZON UK
AMAZON US

Thorne was born in Luton and graduated from Aberystwyth University (history) and from the Open University (Law). She set up a restaurant with her sister but now spends her time writing and making miniature furniture for collectors. She lives in Pembrokeshire, which forms a background for much of her writing, as does Luton. She writes psychological mysteries, or "domestic noir," and her first novel, A Time For Silence, was published by Honno in 2012. Her second Motherlove, was published in 2015 and her third, The Unravelling, came out in 2016. A collection of short stories, Moments of Consequence, came out the same year. She's a member of the Crime Writers Association.
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12 Sep 2017

Moribund by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge


Moribund
Genevieve Iseult Eldredge
(Circuit Fae #1)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: September 12th 2017
Genres: LGBTQ+, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Dark Fae. Romance. Evil Plots. High school. Our heroines could be in for the greatest adventure ever.
If only they could decide whether to kill or kiss each other.
High school sophomore Syl Skye is an ordinary girl. At least, she’s trying to be. School photographer and all-around geek, she introverts hard and keeps her crush on sexy-hot glam-Goth alt-rock star Euphoria on the down-low. But when a freak accident Awakens her slumbering power, Syl is forced to accept a destiny she never wanted—as the last sleeper-princess of the fair Fae.
Suddenly hunted by the dark Fae, Syl’s pretty sure things can’t get any worse. Until she discovers her secret crush, Euphoria, is really a dark Circuit Fae able to harness the killing magic in technology. Even worse, she’s been sent to destroy Syl.
With mean girls and magic and dark Fae trying to kill her, it’ll take more than just “clap if you believe in fairies” to save Syl’s bacon—not to mention, her heart.
Perfect for readers of romance, urban fantasy, fairy stories and LGBT.

Excerpt
Chapter Two
Rouen
The Wild Hunt is coming
Over road, river, and rail
The dark Fae sluagh have your blood-scent, sleeper-princess
And there is no escape
For either of us
- Euphoria, “The Wild Hunt”

I plunge out of the busy club and into the night, onto the rain-soaked streets of Prague’s Old City. With a shrug, I hitch my violin case higher on my shoulder, the club’s neon sign flashing on my face, advertising Euphoria. Advertising me. A pang of wistfulness strikes me.
How I wish I could escape into my Euphoria stage persona forever.
But the show’s over, and it’s time to leave Euphoria behind and become who I really am.
Rouen Rivoche. Dark Fae. Sluagh, outcast.
I am a Huntress, and it’s time for the Hunt.
Even now, I feel the Huntsman’s command burning in my blood, compelling my obedience. I turn the corner into the cobblestone alley, and there he is.
The Huntsman. He’s waiting for me.
“Hello, Rouen.” He leans against the wall, every line of his leather-clad, muscular body brooding and coiled as if to strike. He looks up through a curtain of stark-white hair, his eyes as soulless as a shark’s, though I know he postures for my benefit.
In the hopes I might find him attractive.
Gross.
“Agravaine.” I try to keep it short and sweet. Just the facts, Roue. “I’ve fulfilled your Command. I made first contact with our prey.”
Agravaine’s eyes dilate darker, and I smell the hunger on him—the need for the Hunt, the chase, the capture, the fear of our prey—noxious as burning rubber. “And she swallowed the bait?”
“Yes.” She was down in the pit, at the front of the stage, the power of my music drawing her in, lulling her into thinking I am harmless, alluring, available. Lulling her into thinking I am the prey and she the huntress.
“She’ll follow you?” His doubt is as fake as the rest of his emotions.
Dark Fae magic is born of winter—cold and brutal, relentless, strong. I am one of the strongest.
I hate this part, but once the Hunt is engaged, I have no control over it. I shrug one shoulder like it’s nothing to me. “They always do.”
His smile is sharp as knives as he laces his voice with power. “Then reel her in, dear Rouen.”
His Command slams into me, stealing my free will. Strong as I am, I’m a puppet made to dance on strings. His strings, Agravaine, the Huntsman who enslaves me.
For now.
I nod stiffly and pull up my hood. Glad to leave him behind, I head deeper into the Old City, looking for the best place to lay my trap.
Some nights are born to nightmare and dream, dark yet achingly beautiful. Tonight, Prague is awash in ethereal fog and the light from a misty moon. Sounds muffle on the cobblestone streets, and people move like ghosts in a mythical place—Avalon, from the time of King Arthur, or the Irish Otherworld, Tír-na-n-Óg.
Nightmare and dream, so beautiful it can cut you.
Crap. I’m going all emo again.
Pulling my hood down tighter, I prowl the hazy, wet streets of the Old City, my battered, sticker-laden violin case bumping gently against my shoulder. The end-of-summer rain is passing, and fog curls in sheets on the riverside. It rolls in, filling the labyrinth of alleyways with mist and misdirection. It’s what the Fae, both fair and dark, call a “tule fog,” thick and good for cloaking mischief.
I know because I have called it. A breath of winter turned into rain and fog from the western sky, enough to mask my passage through the mortal realm.
It’s a thousand-percent emo to say so, but tonight feels made of nightmare and dream. A glimmering moment stamped on the fabric of time. That night on the train tracks was like that.
The night I saw her. The true sleeper-princess.
I saw her and I let her get away.


Author Bio:
Raised by witches and dragons in the northern wilds, GIE writes angsty urban fantasy YA romance--where girls who are mortal enemies kick butt, take names, and fall in love against all odds.
She enjoys long hikes in the woods (where better to find the fair folk?), believing in fairies (in fact, she's clapping right now), dancing with dark elves (always wear your best shoes), being a self-rescuing princess (hello, black belt!), and writing diverse books about teenage girls finding love, romance, and their own inner power.
She might be planning high tea at the Fae Court right now.
GIE is multi-published, and in her role as an editor has helped hundreds of authors make their dream of being published a reality.

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11 Sep 2017

Burning Cold by Lisa Lieberman


Burning Cold
Lisa Lieberman
(Cara Walden Mystery, #2)
Publication date: September 12th 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical, Mystery
Budapest: 1956. Newlywed Cara Walden’s brother Zoltán has disappeared in the middle of the Hungarian revolution, harboring a deadly wartime secret. Will Cara or the Soviets find him first?
Cutting short her honeymoon in Paris to rescue a sibling she’s never met was not Cara’s idea, but her husband Jakub has a reckless streak, and she is too much in love to question his judgment. Together with her older brother Gray, they venture behind the Iron Curtain, seeking clues to Zoltán’s whereabouts among his circle of fellow dissidents, all victims of the recently overthrown Communist regime. One of them betrayed him, and Cara realizes that the investigation has put every person they’ve met at risk. Inadvertently, they’ve also unmasked a Russian spy, who is now tailing them in the hope that they will lead him to Zoltán.
The noir film of Graham Greene’s The Third Man inspires Lisa Lieberman’s historical thriller. Burning Cold features a compelling female protagonist who comes to know her own strength in the course of her adventures.

Excerpt
Jakub had a reckless streak. During the war he’d been a courier in the French underground, passing messages practically under the nose of the Gestapo. One night he was apprehended near the Sorbonne while disguised as a priest. Some priest! With his dark eyes and that sensuous mouth of his, I can imagine his female parishioners swooning at the communion rail, women lining up ten deep outside the confessional, awaiting their turn to whisper fantasies in the darkness, fabricating sins and revealing their secret desires, all of them vying to be the one who enticed the young cleric to break his vows.
At least I didn’t have to invent steamy scenes out of thin air. If I closed my eyes, we were back in our atelier in Paris, undressing one another when we’d scarcely gotten inside the door. Jakub played jazz violin in a trio that also featured a bass player and a pianist. I’d joined them as their vocalist right after our marriage at the end of September, and my renditions of American standards went over pretty well in the touristy Saint-Germain-des-Prés nightclubs that were the trio’s bread-and-butter. I wore black, of course, and rimmed my eyes with kohl, fully inhabiting the role, and something of the sultry chanteuse I impersonated onstage carried over into our lovemaking.
We couldn’t get enough of one another. After our last set, the trio and I would head off to a café in Montparnasse, Chez Lázár, to jam with the house musicians. The sessions were purely instrumental, but I was content to sit off at a side table by myself, smoking and nursing a cognac while I watched Jakub play. The room might be crowded, but I felt as if he were performing just for me, seducing me with the sounds he coaxed from his violin. The soulful vibrato, the virtuosic riffs, bow sliding along the strings, tension mounting steadily, inexorably, to resolve at last in a sensuous purr. He seemed utterly absorbed in the music, but I found ways of distracting him; it was part of the game.
When he finished a solo, I’d toast him with my glass, holding his eyes as I brought the snifter to my lips and drank. The first sip was harsh, but its sweetness would soon spread across my palate, warming and emboldening me. I imagined kissing him, the peppery taste of his tongue in my mouth, the heat of his body as we drew close. Just the thought made me yearn for him, a longing I conveyed through my gaze alone, appraising him from head to toe as I drew languorously on my cigarette. Flustered, Jakub would somehow manage to tear his eyes away from mine and return to his playing, but the awareness that we would soon be in bed together lent his performance an exquisite edge. Soon I’d catch him sneaking glances at me, missing cues, pausing to tune his instrument with trembling fingers. Then we’d be hurrying upstairs to our studio, Jakub’s mouth on mine, his hand sliding up beneath my dress before we’d reached the attic landing. This was also part of the game, the risqué part, because our landlord, Lázár himself, lived on the floor below.
“Let’s not make it too easy for him,” I’d say, attempting to pull away. Or half-attempting. Half of me wanted to be a proper young lady, but the other half didn’t care if we made an exhibition of ourselves in the hallway, Lázár be damned.


Author Bio:
Lisa Lieberman is the author of the Cara Walden series of historical mysteries featuring blacklisted Hollywood people in exotic European locales. All the Wrong Places and Burning Cold are available from Passport Press in print and e-book.
Trained as a modern European cultural and intellectual historian, Lieberman abandoned a perfectly respectable academic career for the life of a vicarious adventurer through dangerous times and places. She has written extensively on postwar Europe and is the founder of the classic movie blog Deathless Prose. She now directs a nonprofit foundation dedicated to redressing racial and economic inequity in public elementary and secondary schools. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.
After dragging their three children all over Europe while they were growing up, Lisa and her husband are happily settled in Amherst, Massachusetts.

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