Monday, February 28, 2022

The Nantucket Beachfront Inn (Sconset Beach Book One) by Ainsley Keaton


The Nantucket Beachfront Inn

(Sconset Beach Book One)

by Ainsley Keaton


GENRE: Women’s Fiction



She's 54, broken-hearted, and starting over....

High-powered New York attorney Ava Flynn finds herself without a job or a future. Unemployable at her age, and broken-hearted by a husband who left her in the lurch, she desperately needs a Plan B. Her prayers are answered when a wealthy benefactor wills her a large house in the 'Sconset Beach area of Nantucket. She heads out to the picturesque New England island with her two best friends, Luna and Mila, going along for the ride.

One catch...her estranged daughter also lives there. Charlotte Killeen, Ava's daughter, is battling a crisis of her own. Her new husband, Matthew, wants a divorce, even though the couple have a newborn baby. Charlotte needs her mother more than ever, but the two have never seen eye to eye. Her marriage on the rocks and with few prospects for income, Charlotte is near the end of her rope. Then a life-threatening illness brings into focus what's important after all.

Ava's other daughter, Samantha, also lives on Nantucket Island, with her best friend and roommate, Grayson. Samantha suffers from a lack of direction in her life, and longs to meet a rich prince charming who will sweep her off her feet. When she meets the man of her dreams, she's leaving behind the one man who loves her unconditionally - Grayson.

Jackson, Ava's son, is an aspiring actor in Hollywood. Everything has always come easy to him, that is until Willow, Matthew's cousin, shows up. Free-spirited Willow is just the kind of girl to break Jackson's heart, which is difficult to do, as Jackson is always the heartbreaker.

And speaking of Willow...she's a feminist island witch and artist. She and Jackson have been through many, many lifetimes together. Yet, Willow wants nothing to do with Jackson in this lifetime. She has no desire to give up even an ounce of her power, not even for her soul mate. Willow also is hiding a devastating secret from Jackson. A secret that is guaranteed to upend his life for good.

Mila, Ava's best friend, is battling a devastating illness, information that she hasn't shared with Ava and Luna. She never wants to be a burden, so she just doesn't ask for help. But she's going to need all the support she can get. She finds this support in a very surprising place, and, in doing so, gets closer to her own destiny.

Ava busies herself with fixing up her beautiful new beach home, so that she can open up a bed and breakfast. Contractor Deacon Cromwell, whom Ava hires to do the renovation, is the man who might thaw Ava's cold heart, if only she'll let him. However, he's almost 20 years her junior and, Ava believes, out of her league. Can Ava overcome her insecurities and allow herself to love again?

In this feel-good beach read with a touch of magick, Ava and her friends and family will become your best friends. Come and share their joys and heartbreaks, their tragedies and triumphs. For fans of Susan Mallery, Jude Devereaux Nantucket Bride series and Elin Hilderbrand!


Excerpt :

"You don't need me to do another spell to bring that guy back. What you need is a spell to make you tougher, stronger. More of a badass. Mentally, that is," Willow clarified as she looked at the delicate waifish-like figure of her friend.

"I don't want to be a badass. I just want him back."

"The sex couldn't be that good," Willow said. "No sex is good enough to make you give your power away like this. And why do I think that you guys aren't even having that good of sex?"

Sara's pale face grew crimson. "I don't like to talk about that," she said.

"I knew it. I knew it. The guy's not even that great of a lay, is what you're telling me, or not telling me, yet here you are, desperate to get him back. What kind of hold does he have over you?"

"He…he…he…" Sara couldn't seem to find her words, so Willow found them for her.

"Listen," Willow said. "Here's the thing. You're a hotty, in case you don't know. Here's a mirror." Willow kept a small mirror in her pocket to ward off negative energies. In this case, she didn't want to use it for magickal purposes. She just wanted Sara to see herself.

Sara looked into the mirror. "Oh, God, I look like crap. No wonder Jamie left." Then she shook her head.

"That backfired spectacularly," Willow mumbled to herself. "Let's see, what kind of spell can I do to make you like yourself? Let alone love yourself?"

She was going to have to go to her personal Book of Shadows, where she wrote down all of her spells, incantations and poetry, and find the right spell to work so that Sara could see herself as the world saw her. Sara was objectively beautiful - even without makeup, her skin glowed from within, as did her enormous blue eyes. Somehow, her eyelashes were thick and dark, even though the woman was a natural blonde. Her nose was thin and delicate, her lips full and lush. She also appeared to be naturally slim, although Willow wasn't sure about that. It could be that she just had an eating disorder.

Or, maybe like Willow herself, Sara just couldn't afford to eat. That was always a possibility.

Sara was gorgeous, yet she still clung to the jerkiest jerks in Boston. And, yes, Sara lived in the city, which meant that every time she came to see Willow, she had to shlep her carcass an hour east to Hyannis, catch the ferry, then Uber her way to Willow's cottage. Willow was still astounded that anybody could be that motivated, especially about getting some loser back in one's life.

"I don't care about that," Sara said. "I just want him back."

"You don't care if you love yourself or not?" Willow asked. "Let's go for a walk to the beach, shall we?"

"No," Sara said. "I didn't come here for a nature hike."

"I know, I know. You came here because you lost your regular booty call. Because that's essentially what Jamie was, you know. And, from your reaction earlier, it sounds like he wasn't all that great of a booty call at that."

Willow stood up and started walking towards the beach, making it clear that the topic of whether or not the two women were going to take a walk wasn't up for discussion. If Sara wanted Willow's help, she would do it on Willow's terms, not her own.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Ainsley Keaton lives in Southern California with her husband and two fur-babies, Bella and Annie. When she’s not binge-watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Downton Abbey and Succession, she’s reading historical and women’s fiction or scouring the beach for sea glass and sand dollars.

Amazon Pre-buy link:



One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Sex and Sexuality in Tudor England by Carol McGrath

 Today, I welcome fellow Headline Accent author, Carol McGrath, to my blog! 

Carol writes wonderful historical fiction, but today she's here to talk about her newest nonfiction book, published by Pen and Sword History,  Sex and Sexuality in Tudor England 

A Visit to a Tudor Stew

What might you discover if you time-travelled to a Tudor brothel?

Scene in a Bathhouse
During the early modern period ordinary English attitudes to sensuality were probably freer than in many other parts of Europe. Foreign visitors to England from the late fifteenth century to the eighteenth century noted how persons of different sexes greeted each other with a kiss on the lips. The scholar Erasmus found it an attractive custom: ‘Wherever you come, you are received with a kiss by all; when you take your leave, you are dismissed with kisses; you return, kisses are repeated. They come to visit you, kisses again; they leave you, you kiss them all around. Should they meet you anywhere, kisses in abundance; wherever you move, there is nothing but kisses.

Tudor society had double standards. Any sexual positions other than the missionary position with the man on top and woman beneath were rejected as other positions might incite lust.  Any approach from behind was condemned because it suggested man was imitating the behaviour of animals. Any position with the woman on top was frowned upon as it inverted sex roles making the woman the dominant partner. Also, the Tudors believed, it reduced the possibility of conception. Use of unnatural orifices such as the mouth or anus and contraceptive notions such as coitus interruptus or the newly invented Venus glove (a crude early condom) was forbidden.

Venus glove 
These rules were most likely bent in the stews, the name given to brothels of the time. Sex has always been traded and attitudes to selling sex has always been in flux. Patriarchal and puritanical stances developed in the West by the sixteenth century. For example, in Augsburg after 1508, cockatrices, the euphemism attached to prostitutes, had their noses cut off if they were found soliciting on Holy Days.

It is difficult to research the details of sexual practices within brothels during this period as there is no unbiased testimony of everyday people. We know the opinions of doctors and moralists, but, to my knowledge, we do not have sources representing the voices of sex workers themselves from the early sixteenth century.

A Tudor brothel
To cast back in time, during the thirteenth century sex was at the heart of a good deal of public bathing. In fact, sex and bathing were so closely related that phrases such as ‘lather up’ became sixteenth-century expressions for ejaculation. The medieval word for a brothel was a stew which derives from bathhouses. William Langham’s Garden of Health of 1579 recommends adding rosemary to a bath: ‘Seethe much rosemary and bathe therein to make thee lusty, lively, joyful, liking and youngly.’ Musk harvested from the glands of a civet cat became a luxury item in the stews, along with castor from the anal glands of a beaver and ambergris (which is whale vomit). Lavender was frequently associated with illicit Tudor sex, and prostitutes often smelled of it.

Women in bathhouses used homemade, and often dangerous, dilapidory creams. Whores plucked their eyebrows. An abundance of pubic hair, on the other hand, was a sign of youth, health and sexual vitality. However, pubic lice could only be eliminated by shaving and this is where the merkin emerges. A merkin was a pubic hair wig which first appeared in 1450, according to the Oxford Companion to the Body. A well-thatched prostitute might be more desirable than a shaved one. Equally, a merkin might be looked upon as signifying disease, concealing the effects of mercury used to treat syphilis. It could, of course, be titillating if tied in place with a silky fine ribbon. 
Bathhouse attendants

The stews of Southwark were where you might find the most notorious brothels of Tudor London, situated between Maiden Lane and Bankside, close to arenas for bull and bear baiting. They gained their name from the ‘stew ponds’ where the Bishop of Winchester bred his fish (estuwes also was the name of the stove used to heat water for the bathhouses). Southwark was outside the jurisdiction of the Lord Mayor of London and under rent control of the Bishopric of Winchester. During the Reformation the Catholic bishop’s lands passed to the new Anglican Bishop of Winchester. Ironically, the Catholic bishop Stephen Gardiner cemented his relationship with the King by providing him with Winchester geese. This was the name given to Southwark prostitutes, which derives from the bishop’s association with prostitutes.

The stews were closed for a while by King Henry VII in to halt the rising levels of syphilis. The thousands of prostitutes who were evicted from the brothels had no choice but to ply their trade in the streets. A year later, though, they were reopened. On 13 April 1546 his son Henry VIII shut down the Southwark stews again, issuing a royal proclamation forcing the closure of all houses of prostitution in England. This did not end prostitution. In fact, it increased the practice within the City when the ladies moved over the river from Southwark into ale houses or other premises used for purposes other than selling sex.

A map showing the stews of Southwark

Single women working in the stews were forbidden the rites of the Church so long as they continued their sinful life. They were excluded from Christian burial if they were not reconciled before their death. A plot of ground called the Single Woman’s Churchyard was appointed for them. John Stow writing in the Elizabethan era describes the Bishop of Winchester’s house in Southwark as ‘a fair house, well repaired, and hath a large wharf and landing place called The Bishop’s Stairs.’ Interested merchants and nobleman must have landed close by, ferried over the Thames, to visit the stews.

Carol McGrath

Following a first degree in English and History, Carol McGrath completed an MA in Creative Writing from The Seamus Heaney Centre, Queens University Belfast, followed by an MPhil in English from University of London.
The Handfasted Wife, first in a trilogy about the royal women of 1066 was shortlisted for the RoNAS in 2014. The Swan-Daughter and The Betrothed Sister complete this highly acclaimed trilogy. Mistress Cromwell, a best-selling historical novel about Elizabeth Cromwell, wife of Henry VIII’s statesman, Thomas Cromwell, was republished by Headline in 2020. The Silken Rose, first in a Medieval She-Wolf Queens Trilogy, featuring Ailenor of Provence, saw publication in April 2020. This was followed by The Damask Rose. The Stone Rose will be published April 2022. Carol is writing Historical non-fiction as well as fiction. Sex and Sexuality in Tudor England will be published in February 2022. Carol lives in Oxfordshire with her husband. Find Carol on her website:

Follow her on amazon and on Twitter @CarolMcGrath 

Subscribe to her newsletter via her website (drop down on the Home Page).

Buy Sex and Sexuality in Tudor England 


Secrets of a River Swimmer

by S.S. Turner


GENRE: Literary Fiction



As Freddy gazes at the majestic river gushing past him in the depths of a Scottish winter, he's ready to jump in and end his life. But what happens next is not what Freddy expects. From the moment he enters the river, Freddy starts a journey which is more beautiful, funny, and mysterious than he could have imagined. And through this journey Freddy's story becomes interweaved with a cast of unforgettable characters who are equally lost and in search of answers. Eventually they all unite in their quest for an answer to the biggest question of them all: will the river take them where they want to go?

In the tradition of inspirational works of fiction like The Alchemist and Life of Pi, Secrets of a River Swimmer is at once a profound exploration into living with meaning and an affecting story of people on the cusp of change.


Excerpt :

I dip my toe in.

It’s fucking freezing.

I sit and watch the majestically sinister Scottish river hurtle along below me. I’m not sure whether to be in awe or terrified, but that was always going to be the case today, my last day. The idea of jumping into the river reminds me of the feeling you experience when you arrive at the beach, and you’re thinking about jumping into the sea, but you know it’s going to cause you grievous bodily harm from your nether regions up. For some reason, your legs are the one part of your body which can handle intense cold without too much stress. But all body parts above your legs are a whole different story. My voice just rose an octave, and I’m not even talking.

So you sit and watch the sea while contemplating your next move, as if this thinking time will give you the required mental strength to leap into the cold blue water. However, this thinking time just gives the water an opportunity to look you in the eye with laughing menace, because the water knows the questions you are grappling with deep in your soul. The water understands it is strong and you are weak—the eternal power imbalance at play.

The waiting period only makes it worse, of course. All it does is allow you to hand more mental power over to the cold water than a short and simple jumping-in maneuver would have done. Why do we employ such counter-productive strategies in our lives?


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

S.S. Turner has been an avid reader, writer, and explorer of the natural world throughout his life which has been spent in England, Scotland and Australia. Just like Freddy in his first novel, Secrets of a River Swimmer, he worked in the global fund management sector for many years but realized it didn't align with his values. In recent years, he's been focused on inspiring positive change through his writing as well as trying not to laugh in unfortunate situations. He now lives in Australia with his wife, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and ten chickens.

Buy Links:








One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card.

<a href="">Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC - a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

Author Interview: 

If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?

I’d love to be able to fly so I could travel to far flung parts of the world whilst gazing down at earth from above.

What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

Whilst I don’t speak any languages fluently when I’m sober, I’m fluent in Italian when I’m drunk.

When writing descriptions of your hero/ine, what feature do you start with?

When I write about Freddy, I first mention his mental state as being lost.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m more a pantser by nature but I’ve learnt to combine some solid plotting work with my fly-by-my-pants tendencies to ensure my writing reaches its full potential.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? If so, what?

Yes. I learnt about how to navigate through life’s challenges. I also learnt about healing, friendship, and ultimately about how to live a meaningful life. As you can tell, writing this novel was a joyful experience for me.

Thank you for featuring on my blog, and for answering my questions.  I'm sure readers have learned a lot about you and your writing technique! (And LOL about your sometimes fluent Italian)! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Intentional: How to Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully by David Amerland


Intentional: How to Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully

by David Amerland


GENRE: Non-fiction/smart book



Live your life the way you want to. Manage stress better. Be more resilient and enjoy meaningful relationships and better health. We all want that. Such life leads to better choices, better jobs, loving romantic partners, more rewarding careers and decisions that are fully aligned with our aims.

What stops us from getting all that is the complexity of our brain and the complicated way in which the external world comes together. The misalignment between the internal states we experience and the external circumstances we encounter often leads to confusion, a lack of clarity in our thinking and actions that are not consistent with our professed values.

Intentional is a gameplan. It helps us connect the pieces of our mind to the pieces of our life. It shows us how to map what we feel to what has caused those feelings, understand what affects us and what effects it has on us and determine what we want, why we want it and what we need to do to get it.

When we know what to do, we know how to behave. When we know how to behave we know how to act. When we know how to act, we know how to live. Our actions, each day, become our lives. Drawn from the latest research from the fields of neuroscience, behavioral and social psychology and evolutionary anthropology, Intentional shows you how to add meaning to your actions and lead a meaningful, happier, more fulfilling life on your terms.



Because all this is serious I can afford to be flippant, though as you will see even my flippancy has a very serious intent. So, I will add here that the one ‘rule’ we all need to keep in mind is that favourite of William S. Burroughs’ from his Naked Lunch “Nothing is true; everything is permitted”. Burrough, of course, borrowed this from Vladimir Bartol, who used it in his novel Alamut. Bartol, himself borrowed it, and slightly changed it in the process, from the teachings of Hassan-i Sabbah who was the founder of the Order of the Assassins, historically known as the Nizari Assassins. The tale, writings and doctrine of the Order was incorporated in the storyline of the popular video game Assassin’s Creed which is where I first came across it and filed it away for future reference which brings us to here and now. You reading what I’ve written.

What do we, what can we learn from this? That life is circuitous but the circuit has polygonal junctures with cultural jumps and bends that require an open mind and a thirst for cultural learning in order for the metaphorical dots to connect? Or, that nothing is truly original, that everything is borrowed from somewhere else and made to fit the moment and its time?

Both, I’d argue. If you are truly living and if you truly feel alive you are aware of both context and history. Moment and time. Alamut was written as an implied rebuke to Mussolini’s fascism. Naked Lunch is a chronicle of the messiness of life and its often unplanned trajectory where the brain makes sense of basically senseless moments of existence. This book is about learning to behave in ways that help you get more out of your life.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

David Amerland is a Chemical Engineer with an MSc. in quantum dynamics in laminar flow processes. He converted his knowledge of science and understanding of mathematics into a business writing career that's helped him demystify, for his readers, the complexity of subjects such as search engine optimization (SEO), search marketing, social media, decision-making, communication and personal development. The diversity of the subjects is held together by the underlying fundamental of human behavior and the way this is expressed online and offline. Intentional: How to Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully is the latest addition to a thread that explores what to do in order to thrive. A lifelong martial arts practitioner, David Amerland is found punching and kicking sparring dummies and punch bags when he's not behind his keyboard.

Email & Social Media Accounts

Reach David via email:






Represented by The Knight Agency

For Goodreads Reviews and where to buy the book follow this link:



David Amerland will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Interview: Hello and welcome to my blog! Can you tell me a little about yourself, and how you became an author?

What is your book about?

Intentional: How to Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully is the work of three years’ worth of research in the worlds of neuroscience, social psychology and anthropology. It is based on my previous book The Sniper Mind which itself represented a groundbreaking, three-year-long dive into the same fields of research. Despite this apparently daunting complexity the book is written in a very conversational style to answer a seemingly simple question: “How do I behave in each situation I encounter in my life?” 

To honestly answer that question as completely as possible we must tackle subjects such as identity, motivation, beliefs, values, goals and intentions. These are the modules that make up a person which we usually address in a holistic way when we talk about “character”. When viewed individually and analyzed we see that each of these plays a role in behavior. And behavior are the actions we engage in as a result of stimuli we receive from our external environment. 

Intentional then is a guide here. It helps us understand why we behave in some of the ways we do and then how to modulate that so we can behave better. 

Who is your hero/heroine? Is he/she based on someone in real life?

This is a non-fiction title so everything in it is based on research and real-life, and yet somehow we manage to find both Captain America and Spiderman mentioned in its pages. I know this sounds like a little teaser so I will leave it here and let you discover how this happens. 

What are your favorite times for writing? Morning? Evening?

Life is always chaotic and even the best-planned days can go awry very quickly. So when I write I focus more on completing a specific number of words per day than when I actually write. In short, I write when I can. But, I always write.

Who are your favorite authors? Did they influence your writing, and if so, how?

I grew up wanting to write like Robert Ludlum or Frank Herbert and both writers’ styles now are a little bit outdated. Writing is always a product of its place in time and culture. So, these days, I have no role model when it comes to writing. This helps keep me honest. I strive to make every book better than the one before and every mistake I make in that regard is entirely mine. 

Did you have a favorite book as a child? Did it influence your choice to become an author?

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a house which had a full-stocked library. I was read to from very young and I was helped to read better the moment I could. The same adults who so wonderfully helped me do that were not around to supervise what I read. As an eight and nine-year-old I cut my teeth reading Moby Dick, Lady Chatterley’s Lover and The Last Of The Mohicans. Traditional children’s books with fairy tales came into my reading a lot later, as a teen when I started reading them for the sociological undertones and social modelling in them.

Did the books I read as a child make me want to become a writer? I remember that, at the time, they made me want to be a whaler, an estate manager or a frontiersman. In retrospect, through the lens of neuroscience, we now know that what they did is rewire part of my young, developing brain to model the complexities of the worlds depicted in those books and the countless others I read which made me want to be a cowboy out seeking justice, a detective who was comfortable dealing with the social strata of a large city’s nightlife or an inventor who was willing to risk his life to experience the adventure of his creations. 

I guess this rewiring, which happens even to adult brains when we read a book, then enhanced the narrative-creation drive of my brain. It led me to see life as a narrative waiting to be told and I was more than willing to do the telling. 

Did I have a choice? In Intentional: How to Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully I document how the young, developing brain has all the hallmarks of the character that will emerge in adulthood by the time it is seven. There is now a sizeable corpus of research supporting this idea. So, no. I had no choice but to be a writer. It is something which I felt as a physical need by the time I was nine or ten. Because writing was not seen as a respectable profession in my parents’ house I chose Chemical Engineering and graduated with an MSc in Quantum Mechanical Perturbations In Laminar Flow Processes. Writing, however, was what I was not what I did. I only truly feel alive when I write. That’s when things make sense in my head.   

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

The Last Keeper by J.V. Hilliard


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. J.V. Hilliard will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A young boy’s prophetic visions.

Blind at birth, Daemus Alaric is blessed with the gift of prophetic Sight. Now, as a Keeper of the Forbidden, he must use his powers of the Sight to foil the plans of a fallen Keeper, Graytorris the Mad.

An elven Princess with a horrifying secret.

Princess Addilyn Elspeth travels from Eldwal, the magically hidden home of the Vermilion elves, to begin her life as a diplomat to the human capital of Castleshire. During her journey, she stumbles upon a mystical creature foretelling ill tidings. A terrifying force of evil.

Daemus’ recurring nightmare vision threatens to catapult him into a terrifying struggle that will leave the fate of the Keepers—and the realm—hanging in the balance. Daemus and Princess Addilyn must set out to face the menace that threatens their very existence. Will the entire realm fall to its knees?

The Last Keeper is the first book in The Warminster Series. With gripping, epic action and heart-pounding adventure, you’ll love this new adventure series.

Read an Excerpt

“Drenering uderforer dodt,” the blind man uttered.

All the men surrounding him winced in agony, grabbing at their chests and throats. A pain grew in Graytorris’s arms, pulsing through his veins. A magical necrosis drained the energy from the trees and grass around him. The wave of energy inside him morphed from life to death, temporarily becoming one. The spell was working.

“Drenering uderforer dodt,” he repeated, with some difficulty.

The troops writhed and collapsed to their knees, as did Rhron, though Radu had evidently escaped. Graytorris did his best to ignore their groans, as well as the brutal, scorching pain that racked his entire body as the spell took effect.

Almost unable to stop himself, Graytorris repeated the incantation one final time, completing the spell. He fell to his knees, trying not to faint, but the spell had taken something from him, too. He realized that Rhron’s knights were dead, as much from a rising stench as through his own magical senses. But the spell kept moving on to the valley itself, leaching life out of the flora, stilling the limbs of insects, seeming to even deaden the noise of the nearby stream.

He felt the stolen strength of the living things in the hollow rush into his limbs. The pain was still there, but as seconds passed it became less intense and he found he could stand tall.

Before he knew what he was doing, he made his way to his former friend’s corpse, where it lay in the grey and ossified grass. The plants, once green and pliant, now crunched harshly under his feet, and once or twice even broke his skin. Graytorris knelt among them, feeling for Rhron’s body.

When his fingers found the mail-covered torso, it rose slightly under his hand.

He started. One hand flew to Rhron’s mouth to check for breath, and he felt the faintest gust touch his palm. Stunned, he sat back. The captain was clearly on the edge of death, but by all rights he shouldn’t have survived the first wave of the spell, let alone the last.

Graytorris paused, listening to Rhron’s quiet, labored breathing. Apologies and explanations sat just under his tongue, but his lips twisted against them.

“You brought this on yourself,” he told the dying man.

The two of us must make a grim picture, he thought, sitting in the middle of a stillness born of death rather than peace, surrounded by petrified trees and scorched earth. This hollow will never be a natural place again.

His heart skipped a beat, then slowed to a deathly pace as the spell continued to exact its toll on his body. The pain returned with a vengeance, searing through his flesh like hellfire.

In his agony, a single, wild thought suddenly entered his brain, and he quickly spoke the incantation of another spell—one that would both save and damn Rhron. One that would preserve their friendship, even if only in its most twisted possible form. In that moment, his only wish was to not be alone.

Though still unconscious, Rhron drew in a harsh breath, followed by a loud, keening scream.

The cracking of bone met Graytorris’s ears as the man beside him began to transform. At the same time, his own pain intensified so that he too was unable to keep from crying out. His strength finally drained to its limit by the necrotic ravages of the spell that had petrified the hollow, Graytorris lost consciousness and collapsed to the ground.

Moments later, the nameless beast that had once been Rhron Talamare stirred and whuffed quietly, sat back on its haunches, and waited for its master to awaken.

About the Author:
Born of steel, fire and black wind, J.V. Hilliard was raised as a highlander in the foothills of a once-great mountain chain on the confluence of the three mighty rivers that forged his realm’s wealth and power for generations.

His father, a peasant twerg, toiled away in industries of honest labor and instilled in him a work ethic that would shape his destiny. His mother, a local healer, cared for his elders and his warrior uncle, who helped to raise him during his formative years. His genius brother, whose wizardly prowess allowed him to master the art of the abacus and his own quill, trained with him for battles on fields of green and sheets of ice.

Hilliard’s earliest education took place in his warrior uncle’s tower, where he learned his first words. HIs uncle helped him to learn the basics of life—and, most importantly, creative writing.

Hilliard’s training and education readied him to lift a quill that would scribe the tale of the realm of Warminster, filled with brave knights, harrowing adventure and legendary struggles. He lives in the city of silver cups, hypocycloids and golden triangles with his wife, a ranger of the diamond. They built their castle not far into the countryside, guarded by his own two horsehounds, Thor and MacLeod, and resides there to this day.

Amazon Author Page

Amazon a Rafflecopter giveaway

Juche 1-4 Box set by Adria Carmichael

 Juche 1-4 Box set by Adria Carmichael ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ GENRE: YA Dystopian ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ BLURB: Just when Areum - daughter of a privileged fam...