Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Release Day Spotlight & Giveaway: Dream Walker by Kimberly Dean

Dream Walker
Dream Weavers Book 2
Kimberly Dean
Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Publisher:  Tiger Eye Productions, LLC
Date of Publication:   9-29-15
ISBN:  978-0-9846511-8-4
ASIN:  B01507U570
Word Count:   67,000 words
Cover Artist:  Kim Killion

Book Description:

Research scientist Shea Caldwell has always had a thing for security consultant, Derek Oneiros.  He’s smart, handsome, and built like a Greek god.  As attracted as she is to him, though, she’s afraid to let him into her bed – because she’s dangerous when she sleeps.

Derek is known among his brothers as “The Machine,” yet his carefully cultivated control is put to the test whenever he’s around Shea.  The woman is as beautiful as she is intelligent, but they’ve always kept things professional – until Derek learns why.  Shea is sleepwalking again, but what she doesn’t know is that he may be the only one who can help her.  For he is a Greek daemon, and he’s charged with protecting her dreams.

With Shea threatened, Derek makes things personal, and their nights together turn steamy and intimate.  He’s ready to battle against the Somnambulist that’s been controlling his lover in her sleep, yet is the night creature really causing all the harm? When Shea’s groundbreaking research notes are stolen, it’s clear that other evil forces may be at work.

Amazon | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo



He’d let her fall asleep.

It was the first clear thought that ran through Shea’s mind when she opened her eyes. That and the fact that Derek was still with her. His heat pressed against her back, and his arm draped heavily across her waist. They were lying side by side on her bed, her body tucked up close against his.

Yet even as she responded in pleasure, she tensed.

Darkness was falling. They’d spent the day making love, and now the sun was setting. Night was creeping in. She stared at the oil painting that hung on the wall until her nerves began to crawl. Even the littlest thing could set her Somnambulist off—and today had been anything but normal—yet she’d let herself be lulled into sleep.

What had she been thinking?

“There you are,” a deep voice rumbled. The hand against her stomach flexed, and she was pulled more tightly against the big male form behind her.

A muscled thigh slipped between her legs, and Shea arched as a soft kiss was placed on the side of her neck. The intimate embrace had her groaning. Obviously, she hadn’t been thinking. Her brain had been shorted out, disconnected, and thrown right into the bathwater.

How could she have let her guard down like that? The freedom had been fantastic, arousing and intoxicating as fine wine, but how could she have forgotten what had been happening to her? What had happened just this morning?

Had she… Oh, God. Had she done anything in her sleep? With Derek here?

“How long have I been out?” she asked in a rush.

“Not long.”

That rumbling voice was too disconcerting, too sexy. She had to look into his eyes. Tucking the sheet up high under her arms, she rolled over to face him. When she did, her breath caught in her chest. His short hair was mussed, and dark shadows lined his jaw. The bad boy look didn’t fit his character, but it was so incredibly hot she had to press her legs together.

Unable to help herself, she let her gaze drop. She took in the well-drawn lines of his body, his muscled chest and rippling abs, but the sheet sitting low on his hips wasn’t what made her look up again. It was the relaxed look on his face. She’d never seen him so calm, so relaxed, so at ease in the moment. It made her belly warm.

Relaxed had to be good, right? If she’d gotten up and danced zombie pirouettes around the bedroom, he wouldn’t be relaxed.

Or so obviously ready to make love to her again.


About the Author:

When taking the Myers-Briggs personality test in high school, Kimberly was rated as an INFJ (Introverted-Intuitive-Feeling-Judging). This result sent her into a panic, because there were no career paths recommended for the type. Fortunately, it turned out to be well-suited to a writing career. Since receiving that dismal outlook, Kimberly has become an award-winning author of romance and erotica.

She has written for seven publishing houses, both domestic and international, and has recently focused her efforts on the exciting world of self-publishing. When not writing, she enjoys movies, sports, traveling, music, and sunshine. In her mind, a beach, some rock ‘n’ roll, and a good book make for a perfect day.

Website/Blog:  http://kimberlydean.com

Twitter:  @KDean_writer

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/212025.Kimberly_Dean

Amazon Author Page:  www.amazon.com/author/kimberlydean


Tour Giveaway:

Teddy bear to help you dream at night + a $10 Google Play gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Cover Reveal: Girl of Myth and Legend by Giselle Simlett


About the Book

Title: Girl of Myth and Legend
Author: Giselle Simlett
Genre: Fantasy / Romance

A girl with a past she tries to forget, and a future she can’t even imagine.
Leonie Woodville wants to live an unremarkable life. She wants routine, she wants repetition, she wants predictability. So when she explodes in a blaze of light one morning on the way to her college, it’s enough to put a real crimp in her day.

And things only get weirder…

Leonie learns from her father that she is last of the Pulsar, a phenomenally powerful member of a magical species called the Chosen. It will be her sole duty to protect the Imperium, a governing hierarchy, from all enemies, and to exceed the reputation of the Pulsar before her. So – no pressure there, then.

Leonie is swept away from her rigorous normality and taken to a world of magic. There, she is forced into a ceremony to join her soul to a guardian, Korren, who is both incredibly handsome and intensely troubled, a relationship for which ‘it’s complicated’ just really doesn’t cut it.

But Leonie is soon to learn that this ancient world is no paradise. With violent dissidents intent to overthrow the Imperium, and dark entities with their own agenda, she and Korren find themselves caught in a war where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to survive.

Dare to dream. Dare to hope. Dare to be a legend.

Book One in The Chosen Saga.

Author Bio

Giselle Simlett was born and raised in England. She has studied Creative Writing at both Gloucestershire University and the Open University. She has a diploma in Creative Writing, Language and Literature and will soon complete her BA Hons Open Degree.

She does not as yet have a degree in the power and responsible use of magic, but she does have a young son, which amounts to the same thing. She currently lives in Australia with her husband and son.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Release Day: Rival Seduction by Alexandrea Weis


About the Book

coverTitle: Rival Seduction
 Author: Alexandrea Weis
 Genre: Erotic Romance

 Strong willed, independent, and competitive as hell, Heather Phillips isn’t going to let anyone beat her in the show ring … that is until Grant Crowley started taking away her blue ribbons.

A wealthy cattle rancher with an attitude and taste for beautiful women, Grant is the only person who ever made Heather feel second best. Yet she is determined to beat him, no matter the cost.

When an accident brings the two rivals together, their heated dislike has to be put on hold. Outside of the show ring, they slowly get to know each other. But what happens when these passionate competitors discover a different kind of spark? Will Heather use what she learns about Grant to take advantage of him in the ring, so she can be number one? Winning can mean everything until something sexier comes along.

Author Bio

Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans. To read more about Alexandrea Weis or her books, you can go to the following sites: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Wattpad | Goodreads | Pinterest

Buy the Book

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Sunday, 13 September 2015

Author Interview Whispers from the East by Amie Ali

Whispers from the East
by Amie Ali
Historical Fiction / Literary Fiction
Date Published: 7/1/2015

Ammi, a pregnant 24-year-old, flees New Delhi with millions of Muslim migrants in the early hours of the 1947 Partition of India, clawing her way through a controversial caste system and into the heart of Lahori society.

A family broken by betrayal. 

Two of Ammi's beloved sons immigrate to the United States and secretly marry dazzling, contemporary American brides. One bride converts to Islam. The other commits apostasy, the sin of all sins.

Three women who stand to lose everything.

The collision of two belief systems—two worlds—come to a head as Ammi, Carolyn, and Ivy fight to keep their own marriages, families, and futures secure.

Amie Ali's stories focus on the lives of Western women who find love among the cultural breadth of Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian countries. Weaving western expectations of love and family with extensive cultural and religious differences, she enjoys writing stories that bridge divides and offer a peek into these diverse, often controversial relationships.



Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

I'm a pantser and not a planner. I fly by the seat of my pants, but have a notebook I scribble into while writing so I can remember dates...but that's all the planning I can commit to.

Do your characters ever want to take over the story? 

I don't think I would like characters that didn't!

What is your favourite food?

Fried chicken. Served with a side of shame.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I am totally a morning person. It annoys the heck out of my husband, who is the ultimate night owl.

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

I'm actually on my fourth passport in under ten years...I travel a ton! I'm an American who lives in Europe, so I've ticked a lot of boxes by zig-zagging. My heart pulls me to Africa frequently, and the food in the Middle East and South America knock my socks off. The most awe-inspiring place I have ever been is in the shadow of Mount Everest. The only place I probably can't go and would love to is to the moon.

Do distant places feature in your books?

They consume them, almost as another character.

Do you listen to music while writing?

I don't. I wish I could, but I really can't.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?

It is, to put it very simply, a short chronicle of the married lives of three women—a South Asian mother and her two American daughter-in-laws—through cross-cultural and interfaith relationships. Each woman gets to tell her own story from her own perspective, and together they form the patchwork of the whole novel.

What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?

I think the biggest thing I have learned about both writing and publishing is that, between the first draft and the final, with all the editors and readers and input, there are a handful of uncredited authors for every good book. There may only be one name on the cover, but the final product is not the result of just one person. And that's the truth.

Is there anything you would do differently?

It's always a learning process. When you learn, you grow—and there is no growth without change. There are probably a hundred things I should be doing differently, and I'll find all that out as I continue to grow.

Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?

Women in general have influenced my writing. Their life, their love, their hopes, their expectations, their families. Land has also influenced my writing. If there is a corner of the world I can see and then put a character in, you better believe you'll know what the water tastes like there by the time I've finished.

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?

When I felt overwhelmed at first my mentor told me that, no matter what, write a page a day. If you write one single page a day, in a year you will have completed a full novel. This is what I parrot to anyone starting out. Just keep writing and, if nothing else, crank out your page a day.

What are three words that describe you?

I don't know.

HA! But really...I don't. Can you wait a minute while I ask my grandma?

What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?

My favourite book is The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I read it as a teenager as part of the required school curriculum, and I think that was the turning point for me in my love of literature.


Contact Information

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorAmieAli

Twitter: @amietheauthor

Purchase Links

Amazon | BN

Saturday, 12 September 2015

SF & Fantasy Sale 41 books at 99 cents each

41 books, all 99c for the weekend of 12-13 September.

There is a great range of books, from science fiction to urban fantasy to young adult and epic fantasy. We also have four entire box sets for 99c.


Here is just a small selection:

Shifting Realities by Patty Jansen

A few years ago, a military doctor walking the corridors of New Jakarta Space Station saved Melati's life. She signed up for the International Space Force to pay back her moral debt to him. But her family thinks she has betrayed her people. It was ISF who forcefully removed their grandmothers and grandfathers from the crowded slums of Jakarta to work in interstellar space stations.

It is Melati's job to teach six-year old construct soldiers, artificial humans grown in labs and activated with programmed minds to serve in an interstellar war. Her latest cohort has one student who claims that he is not a little boy, but a mindbase traveller whose swap partner took off with his body. It soon becomes clear that a lot of people are scouring the space station for this fugitive, a scientist with dangerous knowledge about interstellar space.

The best place to hide in the space station is amongst the many cultures and subcultures of the expat Indonesian B-sector. Looking for him brings Melati into direct conflict with her people. She does not want to be seen as one of the enemy, but if the scientist's knowledge falls in the wrong hands, war will come to the station.


The Chosen by Annette Gisby

he neighbouring kingdoms of Oscia and Arcathia have been at a tentative peace for three years after centuries of warfare. Prince Severin of Arcathia has been brought up to put duty before all else and as the only son of the King and Queen, it is his duty to marry and produce an heir. His parents want him to marry an Oscian princess to cement that tentative peace. Unfortunately Severin isn't interested in princesses. Now, if he had his pick of princes that would be another matter.

Havyn has been a slave all his life. When his aptitude for wizardry is discovered, he finds himself purchased and freed by Prince Severin and apprenticed to the royal wizard, Ildar. His duty is to stay chaste to keep his powers strong, but his feelings for Severin sorely test his resolve.

With kingdoms at war, the throne hanging in the balance, magic in the air, and outside forces trying to keep them apart, can the two men find happiness together, or is duty more important than love?


Dark Legion by Paul Kleynhans

The Empire made him a slave. They should have killed him when they had the chance. 

Saul and his allies plot to steal the crown of Ubrain from the Emperor's vault. In the crown, he sees the means to unify his enslaved people and bring them to freedom. But their road is not a straight one and brings them face to face with the Inquisition. Beyond that, they get caught in the middle of an unseen war as older powers work to twist the world to their own design. Saul has never been one to set easy tasks for himself, but he is determined to break the Empire's grip on his people, no matter the cost. 

It was a mistake to let him live. One the Empire will pay for with blood. 

Dark Legion is the exciting series starter for the Blood of Blood trilogy. Get it today.


Wyrd Calling by Shen Hart

In the streets of the city, someone or something is killing sirens, and the Wyrd Sisters want it stopped. 

They send their bound creation Thalia, the wild-child shifter, to track the killer down. Thalia would much rather be making a quick buck or playing with the fae, but bound is bound and Thalia must turn her new pack of shifters into an effective team to try and stop the killings. Time is as short as Thalia's temper. Can she make her pack work together and find the killer, or will the killer find her first? 

Wyrd Calling: Dark urban fantasy just shifted. 

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Run Ragged Kickstarter by Kari Aguila


About the Book

RUN RAGGED 8-24-15Title: RUN Ragged
Author: Kari Aguila
Genre: Suspense / Science-Fiction / Women’s Fiction
RUN Ragged is on www.kickstarter.com in September!
Visit RUN Ragged on Kickstarter here!

Find RUN Ragged on KICKSTARTER this month! Kickstarter is a crowdfunding site where you get to choose which projects sound interesting to you. There are great rewards and you make a powerful impact on bringing RUN Ragged to fruition!

Would anything change if women ruled the world?

Fifteen years after the Last War devastated families and infrastructure, women have taken over under the banner of peace and equality. Only too late do they realize it’s a slippery slope to oppression. In RUN Ragged, Rhia, a strong and independent sea captain finds herself trapped in The Center, a re-education facility designed to help people fit into the rules of the new matriarchal society. The warden claims to be guiding those in her care, but Rhia quickly sees the cracks in the system. Faced with the terrifying torture and brainwashing the warden inflicts, those cracks become gaping holes that threaten to pull Rhia down into the depths of despair. Can she resist this slow subversion and become the reluctant hero the inmates need?

RUN Ragged is the suspenseful second story by the award-winning author of Women’s Work. It’s a disturbing look at what price we are willing to pay for peace and how much we are willing to ignore to keep our conscience clear.

Author Bio

Kari Aguila was the recipient of an IndieReader Discovery Award for her first novel, Women’s Work. Her stories are gripping and thought-provoking looks at gender stereotypes and relationships set in a dystopic future. She is also an avid gardener, outdoor enthusiast and mother of three. Aguila lives in Seattle with her family, and loves to visit Book Clubs, Wine Clubs, or Book Clubs with Wine. RUN Ragged is her second novel.


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Fandemonium by Rick Schindler

Rick Schindler
Genre: Adult fiction, fantasy, satirical novel 
Publisher: Wattle Publishing 
ISBN: eBook 9781908959218 | Paperback: 9781908959225
Number of pages: 400
Word Count:  125,000 approx.
Cover Artist:  L. Whyte  and Cover design: Wattle Publishing

Book Description:

Ray Sirico used to have it all. Once, he was the brilliant and outrageous Clown Prince of Comics, who reinvented the venerable superhero Skylord, and ranted and rollicked everywhere from TV talk shows to Hollywood premieres.

But that was in the ’70s and ’80s. Now it’s 1993, and Sirico is a drunken has-been. His wife has left him, his movie flopped, and his comics’ publisher is doing so poorly that its new corporate parent has come up with a radical marketing stunt: the Death of Skylord.

Still, Sirico has one last chance to recapture the limelight: Fandemonium, the nation’s biggest fantasy convention. But others are coming to the con too: Harmony Storm, the sex-crazed actress who broke up Ray’s marriage; his former collaborator Tad Carlyle, who now has his own company, and a troubled relationship; Fred D’Auria, a fanboy fleeing adolescent traumas, and corporate conspirators who are plotting to sacrifice Sirico’s greatest creation for motives deeper than even his fevered imagination could conceive.

Together, antihero Sirico and his superhero Skylord stand at the crossroads of comics and commerce, where quirky creators, fervent fans, conniving businessmen and preening celebrities converge. Deal-making, drug-dealing, lovemaking and truth-telling all collide at the riotous climax of a fateful weekend that leaves no one unchanged.

Fandemonium uses the colourful world of comics and fantasy as a microcosm and metaphor for media consolidation and the excesses of global mass culture. It is at once a hilarious satire of business and society, a portrait of an artist no longer young, and a sometimes poignant look at a universal challenge: to grow up, face the world, and put away childish things.

Amazon Kindle | Amazon Print

Amazon UK Kindle | Amazon UK Print



Once words had flown free as birds from his fingers. Now it had taken days for just two to come crawling out like tiny snails: The end.

Still, what wonderful words they were. How neat their symmetry on Sirico’s screen, how sweet their taste on his tongue as he spoke them silently like a prayer. This called for a toast. He raised his chin, emptied the tallboy down his gullet, and erupted a hearty belch.

Yes, a promising start. He clattered on before his momentum could flag:

The end of Skylord, who lies fallen at the feet of the maniacal Baron Brain atop the villain’s Tower of Fear as it stabs the heavens like an obscene gesture in the face of God!

He could already hear Lenny howling about that one. Mustn’t offend the cherished beliefs of any inbred, slack-jawed yokel who might chance to pick up a copy of Skylord along with his chewing tobacco at the corner Shop N’ Go in Mooseturd Hollow. Well, tough shit.

The end of life, as the Baron’s diabolical Chrono Cannon stains the skies with sinister energies like the chimney of hell itself! The end of hope, as the Soaring Sentinel faces his fateful final battle!

Fakeful final battle, more like; just the idea of comics’ greatest superhero being killed was preposterous, even if Skylord was going to return miraculously from the dead after a few perfunctory months of suspended publication. Hell, Sirico could come up with a dozen ways for Sky to beat the Baron in the time it took him to pee. In fact, he decided, he would, just for exercise.


About the Author:

Rick Schindler is an award-winning journalist and a lifelong comics fan and collector. He is an editor, writer and producer for NBC News Digital. Fandemonium is his first novel.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fandemoniumbook

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RickSchindler

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7730757-rick-schindler

Publisher Twitter: @wattlepub

Publisher Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WattlePublishing


Tour giveaway 

2 paperback copies of Fandemonium for giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Release Day: In Shadows Waiting by Stewart Bint


About The Book

in-shadows-waiting-by-stewart-bintTitle: In Shadows Waiting
Author: Stewart Bint
Genre: Paranormal, Horror

Young Simon Reynolds lives a bucolic life at his family home, White Pastures, surrounded by a loving family and a charming community. Simon finishes his A levels and looks forward to unwinding while his sisters work on their tans.

Meanwhile the tiny community of Meriton has been plagued by a spate of burglaries, and White Pastures seems to be next. A shadowy figure stalks the house, but the police can find no signs of an intruder.

Inspired by the author’s real-life experience with the supernatural, In Shadows Waiting recounts a summer that changes the Reynolds’ lives forever. As the summer progresses, the shadows take on an altogether more sinister implication, and White Pastures begins to reveal a terrifying secret.

The epicenter of an event that has scarred an entire community, White Pastures grows more and more dark, possessed by a shadow that yearns, a shadow that will not be denied. At White Pastures, someone will die — but love never will.

Author Bio

Stewart Bint is a novelist, magazine columnist and PR writer. He lives with his wife Sue in Leicestershire in the UK, and has two children, Christopher and Charlotte. As a member of a local barefoot hiking group, when not writing he can often be found hiking barefoot on woodland trails.

Buy the eBook on Amazon
Buy paperback on Amazon

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: American Woman by Joanne Sexton

Contemporary G/G Romance
Date Published: June 17, 2015

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Rock chicks are more complicated than they look, especially when one is becoming her destiny, the other following a classical career, and the third wheel the steaming hot lead singer of the new big thing. Scarred hearts bleed pain when the pulse of love blurs to jealousy and rage. Between family, ex-lovers, and their own clashing issues, this complicated love triangle becomes a tangled mess, leaving the shy and the reckless reeling. The future is bleak, they're isolated and misunderstood, and pride ruins passion.

Drunken mistakes haunt Molly and Justine; their spiral into misery riveting. Strumming emotions more than guitar strings, the dynamic Justine, Tessa, and Molly, will keep you on tenterhooks of suspense in this lady-on-lady romance.


Darkness and light tango across the ceiling when wind strip searches trees, blocking the streetlight's glow when the bluster sways branches. The eerie shapes skittering overhead would be frightening if I was a child, or if I allowed my imagination to take hold.

Instead, lying in the darkness, they are soothing somehow. I shiver as the howling outside mimics the shadows stretching in front of me.

The snoring besides me escalates, and I sigh. I love Alex, in my own way. As much as I can love him. It isn’t his fault our relationship is mundane and our sex life so routine. It took both of us to destroy the foundation of our life together. He can't read minds.

About the Author

Joanne Sexton is an Australian romance writer and mother of two. She had always dreamed of writing novels and has been an avid reader most of her life. In between being a mum and writing, she runs a small bookkeeping business. She has recently become a qualified florist.

Contact Information

Purchase Links

eBook Copy

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Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Chaos Worlds Beyond by C.W. Holcomb

Reflections of Infinity Book 1
Epic Fantasy
Date Published: February 2015

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Amid the power struggle for the throne of a vast Empire, mortals and newly born magical gods come into contact for the first time on the Known Worlds. Meanwhile a young boy is swept along with a fierce group of warriors on their expedition to a only recently discovered Wild World where otherworldly dangers and treasures await!


Chapter 1


Deep in the heart of a colossal blue giant star

Something stirred suddenly in the rotating light and fire of the stars core. A little girl clothed in dense layers of blue light, wearing a gleaming white locket around her neck, sat up, slowly coming awake, her eyes popping open to reveal the same blue light that rotated around her; burning in her eyes. She looked around at the star’s heart blazing all around her curiously for a moment before yawning and exploding off into space in a blue blur looking for someplace to play.
The tiny toddler lifted her little fingers out in front of her as she streaked through the void, grasping the liquid fabric of space and time and pushing it out ahead of her, warping it until it formed a tunnel stretching away around her: allowing her to travel across thousands of stars in moments.
Planet Kalemia
Northern Continent

     Pillus tried his best not to drop the heavy buckets of water, the wooden rod holding them digging into his shoulders, his back burning painfully as he trudged up the steep hill towards his master’s estate dominating the skyline on the hill top above. “I’ll be WHIPPED if I don’t get back on time!” He thought to himself in anxiety, stumbling distractedly, both buckets sliding to the right tipping his slight form over to plop down on his backside.

      He sat there beginning to cry, watching helplessly as the water from the buckets ran down the hill, thinking: “great, now I’m gonna get the worst lashing by my master that I’ve gotten in all fourteen sunstrokes of my life!” He wiped his running nose with the back of his thin bony arm as he hugged his knees to himself sitting where he had fallen in the dirt feeling like giving up completely.
         Then, suddenly he saw beautiful blue light reflecting in the tiny pools of water left in the buckets, frozen in mid sniffle in shock as he stared at it; his eyes widening as he spun around to stare at the late afternoon sky. There, plummeting through the cloudy sky was a streaking ball of liquid sapphire blue fire, lighting up the clouds sporadically as it blazed toward the ground. Pillus rose to his feet, absently dusting off the burlap rags the noble kids made him wear as he started running down the hill; his dark violet eyes locked on it; the water he was supposed to be fetching for his master completely forgotten.
     There was a small plume of blue fire as the fireball slammed into the ground, half a league a way, near where he remembered the ice rapids to be. Taking a deep gulping breath of air in preparation, he broke into a loping run; his growing excitement giving him an intense adrenaline rush as his short brown hair whipped around wildly in the wind.  He concentrated on nothing but the rhythmic sound of his gasping breaths as he forced his burning legs to keep churning, feeling exhilaration for the first time in his meek and dreary life.

     The hundred span high Kalemian vines streaked by, looming overhead in a thick interwoven canopy, leaving glaringly bright shafts of yellowish white sunlight streaming down through sporadic gaps as he pressed on; beginning to feel his heart pounding in his temples as his body screamed at him to stop and regain his breath. He checked his position, using the towering glacial mountains to his left as a landmark, all locked in ice even in the height of summer. Suddenly he stumbled over a rock as out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of an orb of pulsating white light off to his right.
     Slamming into the ground with a high pitched shriek, he sat up moaning spitting out a mouthful of dirt, his dark purple colored eyes locking on the orb immediately. He jumped to his feet his wounds forgotten in growing excitement as he ran over, stumbling up to stand over it; the light beginning to fade: revealing a beautiful pearly white locket.

It lit up the ground around, giving off its own soft white glow, just barely visible in the diminishing daylight within the thorn patch that it lay in. He reached in excitedly cursing in pain and anger as one of the thorny vines whipped out and wrapped around his arm, tightening viciously.
     He screamed in pain as he tried to rip his arm back, the thorns sinking deeper into his arm, staring at the locket, appearing blurred through his tears; his brow furrowing in determination. Shrieking in growing agony he reached down as quickly as he could and snatched up the locket with his other hand, jerking it back in fear as more thorns reached for it. He gasped in surprise as the vines surrounding the arm holding the locket pulled away as if injured; the locket suddenly beginning to glow more intensely in his clutched fist: turning his hand a warm red color.

     He stared wide eyed down at the luminescent piece of jewelry, holding it up to his other arm and watching in amazement as the thorns uncoiled, slithering away leaving him staring down at it, completely oblivious as blood pumped from his arm through the gaping holes covering it. He reached up and placed the locket around his neck, swaying dizzily from loss of blood; leaving bloody hand marks on the pristine chain as he ran his fingers over the casing for a moment before carefully opening it. His gaze became glassy as if only half awake as the swirling bluish white light within reflected in his eyes. Completely forgotten was the streaking ball of blue fire which had brought him to the vine forest in the first place as he stared down mesmerized, the soft white light coming from the locket growing stronger as unnoticed to him; the wounds covering his arm slowly healed closed.

Tikus pulled tight his bow, the muscles under his tan skin tightening as he glanced over at his watching eight sunstroke old son to make sure he was looking, and then retraining his aim at the forest stag grazing on small, thorn less bright red flowering vines covering the forest floor; the foamy white ice rapids: swollen with snow melt blocking its escape. Just as he released the arrow, a ball of blue fire roared past deafeningly overhead, throwing off his shot as he lowered his bow and looked skyward: reaching down to pat his son, Piccus on the head as he felt the child clutching his leg in fear.
     He shaded his yellow colored eyes with his hand as the ball of fire slammed to the ground fifty spans away in a large ground shaking explosion, sending a plume of blue fire expanding up into the air. “Piccus, stay here my boy.” He yelled over his shoulder as he broke into a run towards it, overwhelming curiosity filling his mind. He swore in frustration as he heard Piccus following behind him, turning and glaring at him suddenly; stopping him in his tracks, the child’s green eyes going wide with fear; before continuing on through the huge interlacing vines stretching away on all sides.
     He stumbled suddenly into a large clearing of devastation created by the explosion, looking around in amazement at the scorched remains of giant vines all around and then he caught sight of something at the center of the blast crater. There within the large crater at the center of the blast zone was a small girl, barely out of infancy, staring curiously up at him, somehow wearing blue light as if it was clothing: her eyes filled with swirling light of the same shade.

     “What are you?” He whispered in awe as his wide yellow eyes glanced around at the leveled forest then back at the mysterious child. She cocked her little head to the side in confusion for a moment before giggling, saying: “you talk funny! My name is Taisa, what’s yours?” Tikus just stared down at her dumbly, his jaw hanging open in disbelief as little Piccus ran up beside him, his brown hair fluttering in the breeze; looking up asking: “what is it father?” 
“I don’t know son.” He whispered, slowly pulling Piccus behind him as the little girl looked down at her herself frowning in puzzlement before looking up at them asking with a pout: “have you seen my locket?”


 Pillus stumbled back up the hill towards his sleeping cot in the slave quarters, scarcely taking his eyes off the luminescent pearly surface of the locket, the last rosy light of dusk lighting the sky turning his pasty skin a deep red shade. At the last possible moment, he saw his master rounding the corner of the quarters; hurriedly taking off the locket and shoving it in the folds of his burlap rags. He squeaked in fright, running towards his cot as his master spotted him reaching for his whip with an angry scowl adorning his wrinkled aging face.
     He cringed, cowering deeper in his hiding spot in a crawl space behind the wall that he had concealed with a large pale of hay as his master’s booming voice resounded through the paper thin old wooden walls beyond: “you miserable whelp, come out here or I’ll have you fed to the wild hounds!” He covered his mouth, tying his hardest not to make a sound, his eyes clinched shut in anticipation as he listened to the vicious old man lash out in frustration, cursing as he smashed what little tables and clay plates his slaves had before stomping off into the night leaving Pillus alone in the quarters: all of the other slaves having already left for meal time.
     He lay in the pile of straw he had strewn in the hiding place absently scratching at the maddeningly itchy folds of his burlap rags as he pulled the locket forth, placing it around his neck once again; the itching ceasing instantly. He gently ran his fingers across the pearly white casing, shimmers of rainbow colored light trailing his caress as if it was reacting to his touch. Suddenly the thought popped into his drowsy mind: “I’m going to run away tomorrow. I’d rather die in the wilderness than live as a slave.” He smiled at that, hoping that his parents would be proud of him in the Realm of the Dead; curling up into a comfortable position and staring down at the fiercely beautiful locket until he nodded off to sleep.

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