Thursday, June 13, 2013

Empire Betrayed in review

Empire Betrayed
The Fall of Sejanus

In 29 A.D., Emperor Tiberius Caesar, living in self-imposed exile on the Isle of Capri, entrusts his Praetorian Prefect, Lucius Aelius Sejanus, with the administration of the vast Roman Empire. Under Sejanus’ iron fist, and unbeknownst to Tiberius, the ranks of the Senate and equites are subsequently purged of the Praetorian’s enemies. Treason trials, once prohibited in Rome, have become commonplace as Sejanus relentlessly punishes any who would defy him in his quest for power.

After many years of commanding the cavalry of the Army of the Rhine, Tribune Aulus Nautius Cursor at last returns to Rome, amidst the turmoil. Two years later is elected as a Tribune of the Plebs; the representatives of the people who hold the power of veto over the Senate. It is Cursor who discovers Sejanus’ sinister plans; that he seeks to overthrow Tiberius and name himself Emperor.

Duty bound to save the Empire from falling further under a tyrannical usurper, Cursor resolves to unravel the conspiracy and bring the perpetrators to justice. Aiding him is an old friend; a retired Master Centurion named Gaius Calvinus. Regrettably, they know that if successful, Tiberius’ retribution will be swift and brutal, sparing neither the innocent nor the guilty. This leaves only two dark paths for Cursor and Calvinus; either allow the pending reign of terror under a ruthless usurper, or unleash the unholy vengeance of an Emperor betrayed.

BUY NOW LINK:     Amazon     B & N 

Born in Edmonds, Washington, author James Mace is currently a resident of Meridian, Idaho. He enlisted in the United States Air Force out of high school; three years later transferring over to the U.S. Army. After a career as a Soldier that included deploying to Iraq, in 2011 he left his full-time position with the Army National Guard to devote himself to writing.
His well-received series, "Soldier of Rome - The Artorian Chronicles," is a perennial best-seller in ancient history on Amazon. In his latest endeavors, he also branched into writing about the Napoleonic Wars. After he finishes the last of The Artorian Chronicles in 2013, he looks to expand into a series about the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.

·        Website
·        Facebook
·        Twitter
·        Goodreads

Bill's REVIEW:
This is a story of a man who tries to rise in the social system of ancient Rome through the Army. Of course being set in that time period there is corruption, struggles for power, and a tyrannical Emperor.  This is an interesting mixture of history and fiction  The book has an interesting concept and has the potential to be a hit if the characters are developed a bit more and  the arc of the story is developed and fleshed out more.  
It was an entertaining enough read and quick so I think people who love this era of historical fiction will enjoy it.   

Monday, June 10, 2013

Moonlight Serenade by Kate Hinderer Release Day Blitz

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00071]

Today is the Release Day for Moonlight Serenade (Fascination Island #2) by Kate Hinderer!

Title: Moonlight Serenade (Fascination Island #2)

Author: Kate Hinderer


 Determined to someday sing on the stage in New York City, Collette takes an internship at the luxury resort on Fascination Island. While she plans to hone her craft by singing nightly on the stage of the Moonlight Serenade restaurant, she never expected to be pushed outside her comfort zone. Shy and reserved, she is challenged to step outside herself and release the inner diva. When Falcon comes along, sparks fly and secrets are revealed. Before long Collette is forced to make life-changing decisions that will impact her future in ways she never even imagined.  

“Honestly Falcon. What is it that gives you the right to go around kissing any unsuspecting girl you want?”
I didn’t like the sound of that. Part of me had hoped that his instant reaction had been something that struck him as strongly as it had me. I didn’t like the idea he went around kissing any girl that happened to look at him long enough for him to make his move. I didn’t like that at all.
“I don’t kiss every girl,” Falcon argued, but it sounded weak even to me. Tristan cleared his throat in disbelief. “Ok, so I kissed you, Audyn, that first day. But it was more about punishing Tristan than you.”
“Glad we finally cleared that up.”
At this point I was beginning to think faking my continued faint wasn’t such a good idea. My romantic bubble had been thoroughly burst by the strange, impulsive boy who had given me my first kiss. The boy of my dreams had kissed my roommate to get even with Tristan. I already knew what that meant—this couldn’t end well. But as I was about to rouse myself, Falcon said something that nearly had me fainting all over again.
“I swear to you. This was different. She’s different.” His voice sounded closer now, as if he felt drawn to be near me.
“Why? Is she the first one to melt at your touch?” Audyn queried, her words still laced with cynicism.
“Not everyone breaks my toe like you did. But she’s different in a way I can’t explain. I’m sure you, of anyone, should understand that.”
Audyn scoffed at Falcon’s response while my heart began beating quicker. “Get out of here,” she commanded.
To my disappointment he didn’t argue. He didn’t utter a word. The sound of the door opening and then clicking closed echoed in the hacienda. I fluttered my eyes and moved about restlessly, pulling Audyn’s attention back to me.
“Thank goodness you’re all right. How do you feel?”
Dramatizing the act a little, I slowly sat up, dangling my feet over the bed and sitting up next to Audyn. She wrapped her arm around my waist to help support me. The room didn’t sway, proving beyond a doubt that it was the kiss that felled me instead of anything biological. Still, I pressed a hand to my forehead to verify my charade and make me appear less prone to fainting fits at the sight of a good looking guy. 
“Did I really pass out in some stranger’s arms?” I asked, looking around to find the place empty but for the two of us.
“Yeah. And that stranger happens to be Tristan’s younger brother, Falcon.” She shook her head in disgust. “I told you, meeting them is always an adventure.”
“Thank goodness you came along.”
“Tristan and I got here a minute after you passed out. Falcon had you laid out on the bed and stood over you like some avenging angel waiting to do battle if anyone got in the way.”
“I guess I owe him,” I said, attempting to sound uninterested even if the mental picture of Falcon continued to grow with each passing minute. He must have been so worried about me, fainting dead away and then not coming to immediately.
“He kissed you. Do you remember?”
My face turned red before I had the chance to respond. My fingers came up and touched my lips as the memory remained fresh and alive. “Yeah,” I whispered, sounding breathless, even to my own ears.

About the Author

In a nutshell: Writer. Blogger. Journalist. Marathon runner. Social media enthusiast. Beer drinker. Avid YA reader. Traveler. Chicago native. Milwaukee resident. Music fanatic. Fashion lover. Oldest of nine. Writing has been in my soul from the very beginning. In grade school I started my own local paper for the street I lived on. In middle school I wrote for the school paper and loved any English writing assignment. I started writing novels in high school. At the time my friends were the characters, the setting was almost always Regency England, and I scratched the story into lined notebooks. Now, I have a journalism degree and a dozen various business writing gigs under my belt. I’ve lived in a handful of US cities including Milwaukee, Chicago, Boston, St. Louis and New York. I pen a personal fashion and lifestyle blog,, and continue to write about commercial real estate. My first book, Aurora Undefined, was published in 2011. The Emerald Isle, the first Fascination Island book, came out during the summer of 2012, at which time I immediately began writing the second book in the series. Next up . . . stay tuned! I’m working on a new contemporary novel as well as the third book in the Fascination Island series. 


 Purchase on Amazon


Kate Hinderer Writes (blog)

ModlyChic (fashion blog)

Twitter: @kate_hinderer


 Amazon profile

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Family Magic by Patti Larsen First Chapter

Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of being ordinary. That my mom baked cookies instead of brewing spells. That my dad lived with us, not on the demon plane. All I ever wanted was to be like everyone else.

I know what you're thinking. You'd die to live in my world. How cool would it be if magic was real and you could do anything? 

You have no idea. Here I am in another new town, but it's the same old thing. Cheerleader bullies? How original. Friendless again? Who's surprised? I suck at fitting in. Especially when I'm in the middle of saving my family from total destruction.

My name is Sydlynn Hayle, and that's my life.

Trade you.
Chapter 1
Family Magic
Patti Larsen
Chapter One

I batted at the curl of smoke drifting off the tip of my candle and tried not to sneeze. My heavy velvet cloak fell in oppressive, suffocating folds in the closed space of the ceremony chamber, the cowl trapping the annoying bits of puff I missed. I hated the way my eyes burned and teared, an almost constant distraction. Not that I didn’t welcome the distraction, to be honest. Anything to take my mind from what went on around me.
Being part of a demon raising is way less exciting than it sounds.
The bodies of the gathered coven pressed close, shrouded in the same black velvet, the physical weight of their presence making it hard to breathe. I struggled to censor my clichéd thoughts and focus on the task at hand. The glow of other candle flames floated around me, barely lighting faces, enough for a serious case of the creepies. A low hum sounded from every throat, filling the room with an almost physical presence.  I participated half-heartedly, wishing I was anywhere but here, knowing despite my personal preferences I had no choice whatsoever.
The group swayed as one as the hum grew in volume. The first hint of power made its way around the half-circle. I felt my own power being drawn away, connected and shared despite my reflexive attempt to pull free. As much as I suppressed my magic from day to day and refused to use it at all, the draw of the coven and my attachment to it made it impossible to deny.
Totally crappy. Especially since anything to do with magic always made me feel slightly nauseated and off balance.
I wiped a smoke-laced tear from the corner of my eye and blinked at the pentagram etched in the stone at my feet. The lines of the star began to glow faintly blue, the candles at each point flaring as though with the heartbeat of the whole, the breath and life of each and every soul in the room. I wondered if anyone ever checked to see if our hearts really did beat in sync. Wouldn’t that be special?
I stifled a sigh as a tall, elegant form flowed forward from the circle to the center of the pentagram. She swept back the hood of her cloak, her long, thick and perfect black hair a flawless halo around her gorgeous face. Her eyes glowed with joy, cheeks flushed from the rush of energy coming from the coven, her coven. Miriam Hayle was everything every woman wanted to be. Beautiful, graceful, commanding, the perfect witch, the perfect leader, the perfect everything.
My luck? She was my mother.
I blew on the smoke from my candle as subtly as possible while barely managing to still the jiggle starting in my left knee. Somehow I always ended up in exactly the spot where a tiny little breeze pushed the white vapor the wrong way. A part of me was sure it was somehow contrived that way as an extra level of punishment piled on to my particular little corner of hell. And forget the sacrilege of blowing the candle out.  It’s not a whole lot of fun being the center of the displeasure of fifty-odd witches of varying power, so I suffered.
Oh believe me, I suffered. Every day, every moment, every breath. I, Sydlynn Hayle, sixteen-year-old all-American girl, was a witch. My mom was a witch. My grandmother was a witch, if a crazy one. My sister, my mom’s best friend and every single other person in my life, much to my disappointment, fell in that category, with a couple of exceptions. Lucky me. Except I spent my entire life wanting nothing more than to be normal, average, ordinary and just like everyone else.
Hard to do in a family like mine.
So there I was, another Saturday night, no friends, no social life, just the stupid coven and another stupid coven ritual. Could one girl’s life really suck that much?
I glanced down at my little sister as she stared at our Mom, rapt in attention, beaming a smile. Meira glanced up at me, red-tinted skin and amber gaze aglow as the power in the room built, triggering her demon blood. In the ‘real world,’ Meira had to disguise her unusual coloring, her overlarge eyes and cute little horns peeking out of her silky black curls. Within the safety of the family she was free to be herself and I know she loved it.
I always envied my eight-year-old sister her eagerness to embrace her birthright while I simply did everything I could to ignore it. Easier for me, I suppose, with my plain, dark brown hair and ordinary blue eyes, my white skin and handful of freckles. I did what I could not to look the part, to forget our dad was a demon.
Meira grinned at me, her candle’s trail curling perfectly upward toward the ceiling in an endless swirl. I waved at my smoke again, the tickle in the back of my throat and nose getting worse. Meira watched me struggle like she always did. With laughter wrinkling her upturned nose, she waggled her fingers at my candle. I felt her power reach out, the thin film of it forming a delicate tube around the wick. My smoke immediately behaved. She winked before turning back to Mom.
I felt stupid. So that’s how they did it…! Sixteen years of this crap, and it took my little sister taking pity on me to finally get the joke. Of course, if I ever paid attention or agreed to do magic, maybe I’d have known about it a long time ago. But the fact my suspicions were so dead on, that Mom obviously instructed the others to let me figure it out on my own or continue to suffer, made me grind my teeth in frustration. She would do anything to get me to use my talent, short of putting me in danger, and I even wondered about that.
I tried to focus on the stupid ceremony and not my urge to throw the dumb candle in her flawless face.
Yeah, that would go over well.
Mom, either unaware or not caring about my present state of mind, raised her arms, robe falling into a perfect puddle at her feet, revealing her model’s figure in a black satin gown, polished silver jewelry at wrists and throat. She positively glowed with power, vivid blue eyes in rapture. How pathetically stereotypical. I wanted to throw up.
I felt the strength flow out of me in a rush and struggled as I always did to control the weakness in my knees and the slow roll in my stomach. I tried to catch my breath as secretly as possible, furious this always left me on the verge of passing out. Of course, no one else showed any discomfort, just little old me. I guess knowing how to use your magic and being willing to share made the whole transfer easier. That’s me, fight tooth and nail, even to the point of pain.
Sometimes I wondered why I was even invited.
At least I had the diversion of being responsible for my grandmother. She stood next to me, as usual, about as into the whole thing as me, but for different reasons. She hummed softly under her breath, her watery blue eyes crossing and recrossing as she studied the tip of her protruding tongue. She turned to me, wisps of white hair escaping from the edges of her black cloak, fanning back and forth with a life of their own. Her powder white skin fell in crumpled folds, but her expression was pure childishness. She cackled, winning me a silent warning from my mother. I rolled my eyes at Mom before sneaking a caramel out of my pocket and slipping it to Gram. She made a face. Chocolate was her favorite, but I hadn’t time to track some down. Okay, honestly, I forgot and raided the candy dish on the way. I prayed the offering would be sufficient.
Ethpeal Hayle had once been an influential witch. When I was just a baby, an evil coven challenged our family. She stood against them alone, cutting herself off to protect the rest of us. The Purity coven fell thanks to her, but the fight scrambled her sanity. So, I waited for the old woman to make up her mind about the candy and tried to be patient. It wasn’t her fault she was nuts.
I saw the flicker of rejection as her wrinkled old mouth puckered and knew if I didn’t act right then the scene she could create would probably level the house. The fight with the Purities may have left her one fortune cookie short of a combo plate but it did nothing to reduce her power. Knowing I only had one chance, I curled my fingers and started to pull away.
Her hand shot out, dagger-like nails brushing my palm as she snatched the sweet and stuffed it into her face. She grinned at me, nose wrinkling, eyes full of mischief. I tried not to react, knowing yet again we were saved by careful manipulation of my crazy grandmother.
I returned my attention to Mom with some relief as, oblivious to the disaster I averted, she turned slowly, pivoting on manicured toes. I made a face at her fuchsia piggies, just in time to catch her disapproving frown. I could practically hear her whole body screaming at me to pay attention, the little hairs on my arms vibrating from it. I flashed her a half-grimace, half-smile so she would stop. Her expression softened. She turned away. Thankfully. I wasn’t sure how long I could keep up the whole fake happy thing without bursting into flames.
She faced the altar at the back of the room and the life-sized stone effigy of an impossibly perfect and handsome man with large muscles and tiny horns on his smooth forehead. She pushed magical force toward it.
“Haralthazar,” she glided closer to the statue, “we summon you this third night of Power, nine days and nine nights from Samhain Eve, to tighten our bond with you and your realm.” She knelt at the foot of the altar, the picture of the submissive handmaiden. Could she be any more ridiculous? Seriously. “My love, come and be welcome.”
The blinding flash leaping from her to the statue continued to pour out of her in a deep blue rush of light. I turned my head slightly to the side, squinting against the glare, grateful for the edge of the cowl and the shadow it made. The whole room started to thrum, the floor vibrating with condensed magic as Mom used the energy we gave her to make the doorway permitting my father through to this plane.
When it happened we all felt it rather than seeing it. The power swirled around us, drawing us all closer, forming us into one entity, one spirit, a seamless conduit to the other dimension. I always hated this part, the total and utter lack of self that came with the opening of the door. Every time I went through it I tried to pull back, but my own demon blood wouldn’t allow it. Even more so than the other witches in the room, my being was tied completely and without choice to what was happening at the altar. I was always helpless, tapped into, taken, and ended up on my knees behind my mother, Meira at my side, as the effigy of my father came to life.
The blue flared to gold and Haralthazar, Demon Lord of the Seventh Plane of Demonicon, flushed and filled out. Still with the properties of stone but the appearance of flesh, he materialized from a burst of light as the gateway to his plane slammed open. For a heartbeat he stood there, haloed in the back glow of his dimension before the power propelled him the rest of the way forward and he stepped through and into his statue.

Amazon         B&N    

Patti Larsen is an award-winning middle grade and young adult author with a passion for the paranormal. But that sounds so freaking formal, doesn't it? I'm a storyteller who hears teenager's voices so loud I have to write them down. I love sports even though they don't love me. I've dabbled in everything from improv theater to film making and writing TV shows, singing in an all girl band to running my own hair salon. 

But always, always, writing books calls me home.

I've had my sights set on world literary domination for a while now. Which means getting my books out there, to you, my darling readers. It's the coolest thing ever, this job of mine, being able to tell stories I love, only to see them all shiny and happy in your hands... thank you for reading.

As for the rest of it, I'm short (permanent), slightly round (changeable) and blonde (for ever and ever). I love to talk one on one about the deepest topics and can't seem to stop seeing the big picture. I happily live on Prince Edward Island, Canada, home to Anne of Green Gables and the most beautiful red beaches in the world, with my very patient husband and four massive cats.

a Rafflecopter giveaway