Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Memories of Us by Fabiola Francisco

Title: Memories of Us
Series: A Rebel Desire Spin Off (standalone)
Author: Fabiola Francisco
Genre: Contemporary Romance

The life I’m living was supposed to be ours, not just mine, 
and without her it means nothing

I couldn’t climb on stage and sing to a crowd, knowing the one person my songs were meant for was miles away from me. Writing songs about her is the best I can do until she comes back because I know we’re not over. We’re just on pause, like your favorite song when you need a moment to take it in. But as soon as I find her, I’m pressing play on our love story.



      I kiss her full lips, my tongue teasing the seam of her lips, begging for permission to deepen it. As soon as she grants me what I want, my tongue thrusts into her mouth. Our lips move together, speaking words we can’t hear with our own ears but can feel in the depth of our souls.
      Mackenzie shifts to straddle me and moans. “I can feel you against my underwear.”
      My hands reach under her dress and grips her ass. Her skin is cool against my hands, but the sensation burns me. I rock her into me and she moans again.
      “Fuck, Hunter.” Her voice is gruff.
      “I love hearin’ you like this. I fuckin’ missed it,” I drawl. Her tiny thong does nothing to stop her from feeling my dick in my jeans. “Bet you’re wet.” She whimpers when I move one hand around and run a finger against her soaked underwear.
      “Fuck, babe. Don’t think we’ll have time for much foreplay. I want to feel you wrapped around me, squeezing around me.”
      Mackenzie moans again, words gone from her mouth. I move my hand into her panties and feel her against my skin. She’s wet and ready, but I’m gonna make her feel real good first.
      I rub my thumb against her clit, and she tenses. “Relax,” I say into her ear.
      I continue to please her as she moves above me, her lips on mine in a desperate call for more. When she tenses around my fingers and her breath is labored, I stop and look at her.
      “I love you so damn much. I hope you believe me when I say there ain’t no one else for me.”
      “For me, either.” She reaches for my jeans, unbuckling my belt and pants, I kick my boots off, followed by my jeans. Mackenzie slips out of her underwear, keeping her own boots on.
      “I want you under me,” I lean her back on the blankets, cover her body with mine. I slip into her, slow and steady, and under a blanket of stars I make love to the only woman who has ever had a place in my heart and life.

*Copyright 2018, Fabiola Francisco

Meet The Author:  

Fabiola Francisco is a contemporary romance author from South Florida. Writing as been a part of her life since she was a teenager. Even at that age, she dreamed of happy endings with emotional twists. Her novels include Perfectly Imperfect, The Restoring Series, Sweet on You Duet, and Red Lights, Black Hearts.

Her passion for books and writing has inspired her to write her own stories. She writes novels readers could relate to and grow with. She’s currently working on writing more stories that connect with readers on a deeper.

Fabiola also loves expressing herself through art and spending time in nature. In her spare time, she loves to cuddle with a good book and a glass of wine.


Bare Naked Words

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Being Alpha by Aileen Erin

Title: Being Alpha
Series: Alpha Girl #7
Author: Aileen Erin
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult
Published by: Ink Monster LLC
Publication date: February 13th 2018

For the first time since Tessa met Dastien, life is quiet. The evil witch, Luciana, is six glorious feet under, St. Ailbe’s is closed due to human trespassers, and people are finally getting used to the fact that supernaturals exist in the world. It seems like the perfect time for a honeymoon.

Tessa and Dastien’s trip to the Caribbean is turning out to be the honeymoon that fantasies are made of—sunset cruises, long walks on the beach, and every romantic cliché you can imagine. She couldn’t be happier. So, when a local man turns up inexplicably dead on the beach, Tessa brushes it off. Not every bad thing that happens in the world is a supernatural mystery to be solved. And when Sebastian—one of the Council of Seven Alphas who rule all the werewolves—appears on the island, she thinks it must be a coincidence. Everyone needs a break now and then. Even council members. Right? Besides, Tessa is beyond determined to not let anything get in the way of her romantic vacation.

But when Dastien goes missing, the honeymoon is most definitely over. Tessa can’t ignore the signs anymore. Something huge is going on. And whoever messed with Tessa’s mate is in for a rude awakening. Because if there’s one thing fighting rogue witches and werewolves has taught her, it’s how to be Alpha.



      Dastien laughed and the sound warmed my soul. For the first time since I’d woken up, I took a full breath. “Why did you let me take so much of your power?”
      “It’s what you needed,” he said without hesitation.
      He was right. If he hadn’t given so much, I probably wouldn’t have survived, but I still didn’t like it. I’d drained him so much and that made me wonder how the rest of the pack was fairing.
      “I’m fine. The pack is fine. We know the drill. We’ll eat everything in sight and by morning, we’ll all be okay. But trust me, it’s better for them to get drained one time than for them to try fighting this demon by themselves. They won’t even think twice about it. By helping you now, the pack ensures that you’re around to protect them. That’s why we have packs. That’s why there are leaders. Like it or not, you’re an alpha. The Alpha.”
      “I’m not The Alpha. I’m an alpha at best. I don’t have a pack to rule over.” And I was pretty sure I never wanted one.
      “I know, but you’re too strong and—”
      That was bull. “You’re stronger than me.”
      “No. I’m really not.” For a second I thought he was being nice, but his tone wasn’t nice. It was dead serious. “I’m not being polite, chérie. I’m a better fighter than you, but I’ve had my whole life to train and you’ve only just turned. In a few years, you’ll be able to best me.” He squeezed my hand. “And one day you’ll have a pack. You won’t be able to help it. Alphas draw betas to them. It’s just in their nature.”
      I could believe that was the case for other Alphas, but I wasn’t sure that applied to me. I knew I was a strong werewolf, but that didn’t mean that I had to be a pack Alpha. That was a lot of responsibility. Would I ever want to tie myself down like that?

Author Bio:

Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd–from Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.

**Giveaway set up and managed by author

Monday, 16 July 2018

The Anmorian Legends by D.N. Pillay

Wrath of the Exiled

His world long since shattered following the invasion of his home planet, Rezaaran Valhara is abandoned by fate to slavery. However, his fortunes take an unexpected turn when he is offered a chance to join the Intergalactic Revolution of Independent Systems in the ongoing war against the Obsidian Dominion.

Initially consumed by anger and doubts, plagued by the memories of his parents' murder and a desire for vengeance, Rezaaran suppresses these demons in the pursuit of a purer purpose to restore peace as he becomes the last War-Mage of the fabled Vokarii.

On a quest spanning the galaxy Rezaaran begins to unravel the secrets of the four realms of Anmor and his destiny in an ancient battle.Yet his greatest challenge will be within. Will he find the strength to walk the path of a hero?


      Rezaaran placed his hands on the steel railing and tried to calm his mind. He knew that he had overstepped the line with his harsh words to Orin, but a small part of him was glad to have vented some frustration. He looked over the courtyard to the tree standing in the green grass and surrounded by white benches. He was glad that he was free of Mar-Karatheer. It had been his dream to explore the galaxy, to live a life beyond the slavery. Yet, now that the chance was here, why did he feel so hesitant?
      Xephyrus quietly came to stand beside Rezaaran as he watched several Zenorians taking a morning walk through the courtyard.
      “Are you here to get me back to the conference room, Xephyrus?”
      “Not at all. I am personally opposed to coercion tactics. I am just here to see if you are alright.”
      “I’m not entirely sure myself,” sighed Rezaaran. “I should probably apologise to Orin.”
      “That may be a good idea.”
      “He seemed to be quite hurt by what I said.”
      “Orin and your father were friends for a long time. You were just a child when they invaded Zenor and probably do not remember much of Orin. During their youth, each chose a different path. Orin enlisted, and your father decided to travel the galaxy. Despite the differences in their lives, their friendship endured. When the invasion occurred, Orin faced a terrible dilemma. He chose to protect the future of our race at the cost of his oldest friend. I do not envy him for the decision he was forced to make.”
      Rezaaran could feel a writhing of guilt in his gut. He watched the children running through the courtyard. Two Zenorian children were chasing a tall, green alien up a tree. Their laughter seemed so foreign to him yet reached a crevice in his soul he had forgotten. The sounds of their play opened the niche into which his childhood memories had retreated.
      “I know what Orin expects of me, Xephyrus.”
      “He expects you to live to your full potential.”
      “All of my life, I have been a slave. I have lived in fear, endured pain and pushed myself to survive to the next day. Throughout these years, the memory of my parents helped me to survive. That was my comfort. If I accept this new path, I will be leaving those memories behind me. I suppose I am still afraid. I am afraid of what I will find if I walk down this road. How can someone like that be what Orin is looking for?”
      Xephyrus thought about this for a moment as he watched the children playing. One of the Zenorian children climbed down the tree to his mother, who embraced him before carrying him to get breakfast.
      “I see the way you look at those children, Rezaaran. You are not bitter that they enjoy childhood innocence, while you did not. You feel saddened that the Dominion’s rule shattered your childhood memories. However, you also have a burning desire to protect those that are facing the same tragedies that befell you. That is what Orin sees in you. That is why he wishes you to join IRIS.”
      “Can you read my mind as well?”
      “No,” replied Xephyrus with a small smile. “I just understand people. I know there is more to you than the anger and pain that covers you now. The memories of your parents, the invasion of Zenor and your time on Mar-Karatheer are the sources of your greatest anguish. Nobody blames you or thinks you weak for the hold these memories have on you. But the time is coming for you to let these memories go.”
      “I just wish my life had been simpler.”
      “A simple life will invariably yield simple men. All great men have faced challenges and uncertainty. They were afraid, shaking even, yet they still found enough courage to take that step into the fire and emerged greater than before. Not every chapter in our life story may have the happiest of endings, yet these chapters teach us the most about what it means to live. You have yet to reach your final chapter, my young friend.”
      “How can I just leave all these memories behind me?”
      “They have each taught you some valuable lessons. Your training will help you to isolate these from the pain. The decision to walk this new path is yours alone. Nobody else will be able to make that choice. However, if you should choose to walk it, you will have to release your grasp on the past. A beginning is impossible without an end.”
      Xephyrus gave Rezaaran a reassuring pat on the shoulder before leaving him to think about their talk. Rezaaran watched the children leaving with their parents. He knew that the choice was his, but in his heart, there was no choice. There was only one path for him to take.

Legacy of the Sentinels

Following the battle between Thaedis and Rezaaran, The Anmorian Legends: Legacy of the Sentinels sees the young War Mage embark on a journey of redemption. However, in the wake of Thaedis's victory on Zynoo, the Intergalactic Revolution of Independent Systems (IRIS) has lost a considerable margin against the tyrant's Obsidian Dominion. The hope of freedom seems ever more distant.

Despite the odds, Rezaaran remains steadfastly determined and endeavours to unite a group of fabled warriors. But will this be enough to save Anmor from the coming darkness and defeat the nefarious villain who has bested him once before?


      A drumroll of thunder sounded from the depths of the dark clouds, morosely skulking after the lightning that flashed across the blackened sky.
      A single bolt sharply broke the dense shroud of the storm and struck a lone tree, setting its boughs alight. Fires crackled in the silence of this gloomy realm, briefly lighting the ghastly bastion of black steel that was the source of the ubiquitous evil in this once-sacred world. What had stood proudly as the Antarika Citadel, the outpost of the Light, was now in the clutches of a foul-hearted monster.
      The lament of the clouds, a sorrow-filled melody of slow thunder and bitter sobs of rain against the somber crackling of fire, was the only sound amid the grave stillness of this lonely world. The ethereal chorus of the free souls who had found peace in the Nuhremorn no longer sang aloud, adopting instead a more taciturn manner and retreating to the far corners of this realm. Whatever natural beauty had once existed here had withered into lost memories.
      Ash from the burning tree rose slowly on a choked gust of wind, rising ever higher as it climbed the walls of the corrupted Sanctum. Rain fell with greater intensity as the ash drifted upward past the fallen hero in an upper turret who had led the realm to this dire state. The heavens’ cold tears ran along his soaked brown hair, passing along his face and his exposed torso.
      He slowly turned his head aside as the water dripped off the tip of his nose. The rumbling thunder sounded again, this time with greater gusto as the storm attempted to rouse the fallen hero. He alone could correct the disorder that plagued this mystic realm.
      Rezaaran Valhara opened his eyes to a familiar walkway. The wind felt cold against his bare chest. This and the gentle caress of water running down his arms and face began to rouse his mind. There was a reason he was here, but he could not quite grasp it. He attempted to draw his hands over his face but felt a strong resistance as he tried to move them. Looking upward, he saw glowing red energy bands binding his wrists to the walls. The young War Mage closed his eyes and clenched his fists.
      His last memories were of meeting Lord Salvidawn, who had granted him another opportunity to return to save Kashari. The Guardian King had been emphatic that Rezaaran rescue her. Unfortunately, his return to the Maelinthian had been brief—he had passed into unconsciousness upon the outskirts of Prashorida and mysteriously awoke in the Antarika Citadel.
      He drew a deep breath and tried again to pull free of his bonds. Once more, he could not muster the strength. Rezaaran let out a weary sigh, and his shoulders slumped in defeat.
      How had it come to this?
      The power lust he had sworn never to succumb to had been his undoing. It had been the cause of his drifenira’s demise. At his core, he felt too fractured, too shattered, to summon any real resolve to contest the dark magic that was holding him prisoner.
      The cool water on his skin cleared his mind. His thoughts soon transcended the regrets of the past and entered a more lucid state. Despite the shadows around him, he sensed two echoes from across the bastion. The stronger was the unmistakable presence of Yudhara, the false mentor who had led him astray. The other was the waning echo of the Elder Mage, whose goodwill, trust, and friendship he had betrayed in a quest for power. Whatever his intentions may have been, the truth remained that they had been at the expense of Kashari. For all her sacrifices, she deserved a better-quality student than what he had become.
      He was the cause of her suffering, and he alone could be her salvation.
      He had betrayed her once.
      It would not happen again.
      Rezaaran concentrated his strength and started pulling his shackles from the wall. The muscles across his arms and torso tensed, pushing the veins to the surface. With nothing but his indomitable will, he forced himself to power through the burning in every sinew. He would not submit to the pain—not when his friend needed him most.
      That last thought was what he needed to rip the energy shackles completely from the wall. He fell to ground in a crouch and gathered his breath. The War Mage rose, feeling rejuvenated and ready to do what was necessary. Feeling the rain upon his face, he looked up, taking in the stormy skies.
      Antarika was no longer the beautiful citadel in which he had met Kashari at the time of his ascension. The very walls of the fortress had warped into a malevolent monument of steel and ire. The symphony of the free souls in song was now but a memory. There was only despair across this land. Beyond the walls of the fortress, against the backdrop of a dead forest, a solitary burning tree poignantly symbolized the affliction wrought upon the realm by Yudhara’s pernicious presence.
      Beyond this place of wickedness, wrath, and horror, Rezaaran sensed a flicker of hope that the Light would return. It resided in the presence of Kashari. She was the custodian of this realm, the mentor and dear friend who had saved him numerous times through her surreptitious interventions, never once asking for gratitude or recognition but selflessly fulfilling her role. It was now his turn to reciprocate the kindness the Elder Mage had shown him.
      Rezaaran set off at a run down the ramparts, his bare feet noisily splashing through puddles as he sprinted to the courtyard—where he sensed Yudhara.

Author Bio:

Dhesan Neil Pillay is a South African medical doctor who started his writing from a young age. Always a lover of stories, he began working on what would become The Anmorian Legends series from the ninth grade. Over the next few years, he slotted writing the manuscript between homework and classes, taking a momentary hiatus in his matriculation year. While studying medicine at the University of Cape Town, he continued finding time between studies to expand on the journey of his characters. Driven by a passion to share the surreal experience of his story he released his debut novel The Anmorian Legends: Wrath of the Exiled in 2014. This was followed by the release of The Anmorian Legends: Legacy of the Sentinels in 2018. Currently Dhesan is looking to diversify his writing portfolio with several new projects that are in the planning stages. To keep updated with the latest news, visit his website.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Interview with Jimmy Misfit

Last Sunday I featured The Silliest Stories Out of Bustleburg: America's Worst City, today I'm joined by the author, Jimmy Misfit.

Jimmy was born in North Carolina, grew up in New York, and now lives in Texas. He went to college in DC. He's been writing since about fifth grade, and has been published under a bunch of pseudonyms as well as his real name.

Hi Jimmy, welcome to Just Books.
Would you like to start by telling us when and why did you decide to become a writer…?
Hi, Rainne! I read a book called Dreams of Victory by Ellen Conford around fourth grade. The character had embarrassing experiences where she’d have to dance or ice skate, and she’d lose herself in daydreams where things went much better. What I learned was how vital imagination and creativity can be.

…and what motivates you to write?
I have ideas that won’t leave me alone and need to get down on paper. Also, I love making other people happy. So if I make people laugh or just put them in a better mood, then hooray.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?
An author named Alexis Glynn Latner recommended a book called The 10% Solution to a friend from my writing group. I try to live by it. In short, cut anything you’ve written by ten percent. It will be better.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
I’m of the Dorothy Parker school. I don’t enjoy writing, but I enjoy having written.

What inspired The Silliest Stories Out of Bustleburg?
I was seriously ill in 2005, and my respiratory meds triggered a massive bipolar high. I already had the idea of a tour guide blithely describing a dreadful city, but the project came in a flood then. The other inspiration was the game, SimCity 3000. What I know about terrible towns comes from being a rotten mayor on purpose.

Do you use your personal experiences in your writing?
Yes, but not much in this book. My experience with vampires, super villains, and Serbian mob bosses is limited.

Tell us about the cover and how it came about.

I wanted a cartoon skyline, so I searched for images. I also wanted the word “Bustleburg” curved as if it were Metropolis or some city known for power and heroism. The cover artist, Willsin Rowe, understood the titling I wanted and lit the skyline on fire for me. He did an outstanding job.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Yes. I’ve worked at book and record stores, so I’ve seen the evidence. Cover art captures the imagination.

Do you have any works in progress? Can you tell us a little about it/them?
I have ideas for two more Bustleburg collections. I’ve started working on one tentatively titled Benchmark Bustleburg: America’s Worst City Gets an F Minus. I think a new nemesis comes to town and decides the whole city should be a for-profit prison. She says “gated community,” but she means “build a wall. Or four.”

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Worry less about grades and where to go to college and more about knowledge. I had trouble with school, but I might have gained more from a C in physics than an A in band. Subjects like sociology, psychology, philosophy and religion can help inform almost any story about humanity. As for physics? I like space opera. If I wanted to write laser battles, my writing would sound more authoritative.

It’s time to relax! What do you do?
Watch cartoons! Or play video games. I’m a very peaceable person, but somehow I enjoy battling opponents in the Player versus Player zone of the Elder Scrolls Online. I’m terrible at it, but I still have fun.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Maybe surviving high school. High school is tough for everyone, isn’t it?

Are you an early riser or a night owl?
Night Owl. If banks, barber shops, and grocery stores were open at 3am, I’d be all set.

What foreign country would you most like to visit?
I’ve been so lucky with travel. I’ve been to amazing places: India. Italy. Spain. Of the places I’ve never been, I think I’d like to see Egypt or perhaps somewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa. People I know who’ve been to Egypt say they were left in awe.

What would constitute a "perfect" day for you?
Let’s see. My roommate lets me sleep late, and then he says, “Wake up, I made you a grilled cheese.” Then we eat and watch cartoons. After that, I’d get on the computer and see I’ve received some fan mail, a few awards, and an invitation to be a guest on a TV show that evening. (It has to be that evening so I don’t have time to be nervous.) Then, somehow, I have a really good suit in my closet which fits me. I get a nice haircut. Either the TV show films in Houston or my roommate and I are taken to a private jet followed by a limo to the studio. Naturally, the TV appearance is a smash success. The host says, “You’re brilliant! Come back soon. I insist.” Then we go to a hotel with an amazing skyline view and the comfiest beds.
That sounds ego-maniacal, so if that ever happens I’d have to dedicate the next year to charity work. Frankly, it’d be a great day with some good progress on a writing project. And a grilled cheese.

Which fictional character, book or film, would you like to meet and why?
Right now, I’d like to meet Arthur Less from Less by Andrew Sean Greer. I could say Holden Caulfield or Gandalf or Luke Skywalker, but I don’t know why they’d have interest in meeting. As another bumbling writer, I feel Arthur Less would enjoy a conversation with me.

Quick fire round:

Favourite colour?
Blue. No! Green!
Favourite food?
Vanilla cream-filled donuts
Favourite song?
It changes. For years it was “How Soon is Now” by The Smiths. Now it feels mopey. Based on my Google plays, it’s either “Lazy Eye” by Silversun Pickups or “Everybody Got Their Something” by Nikka Costa.
Favourite item of clothing?
A t-shirt that reads “Zoo In A Can”
Favourite quote?
A Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”

Thank you for joining us, Jimmy, and for making me chuckle. Is there anything else you’d like to share with us before you leave?
May I tell you about a free read? My story “That Feathered Menace” is a nice introduction to the book. I hope it makes you smile.
Thank you so much for the opportunity, Rainne, and thank you to all your readers!

Thank you. 😄

Catch up with Jimmy Misfit...
Website  Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads

...and get your copy of The Silliest Stories Out of Bustleburg: America's Worst City.
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Saturday, 14 July 2018

Shades of Fae

Title: Shades of Fae
Genre: Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: July 10th, 2018

Not every fairytale has a happily ever after.

We only know three things about the Fae: They don't lie, they cheat. What they aren't given, they take. And if they can't rule...they conquer. Now the fate of humanity lies in a battle between good and evil where lines are not easily drawn.

Time travel to 19th century France, brave the gritty streets of New York City, or enter the realm of the Fae itself in this darkly enchanting collection from today's hottest USA Today, award-winning, and international bestselling paranormal and fantasy authors.

Shades of Fae is your ticket to a mystical realm where Sinister Sidhe and Dark Elves manipulate mortals, vengeful fae warriors battle nefarious vampire lords, and an apocalypse rife with werewolves, dragons, nymphs, banshees, shifters, and supernatural hunters brings unparalleled danger.

In 2018... The Fae are Coming...

Find out who survives and who dies when you order Shades of Fae TODAY!


Participating Authors:

  • USA Today bestselling author CK Dawn
  • USA Today bestselling author Shawnee Small
  • USA Today bestselling authors Cheri Schmidt & Tristan Hunt
  • Elle Boon
  • USA Today bestselling author Pauline Creeden
  • Award-winning author Tameri Etherton
  • Award-winning author Cyndi Faria
  • USA Today bestselling author Isadora Brown
  • USA Today bestselling author Amy L. Gale
  • USA Today bestselling author Charlene A. Wilson
  • USA Today bestselling author Katalina Leon
  • USA Today bestselling author J.A. Armitage
  • USA Today bestselling authors Megan J. Parker & Nathan Squiers
  • Lynda Kaye Frazier
  • Kim Carmichael
  • Colleen Halverson
  • Danielle Rose
  • Lynda Haviland
  • Dyan Chick
  • Award-winning author Cate Rowan
  • Award-winning author JB Michaels
  • R.S. Broadhead
  • Jen L. Grey writing with Heather Renee

Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Friday, 13 July 2018

The Blood Lights by Elaine Pascale

The Blood Lights are the last thing you’ll see…

They victimize all…

Jezzie Mitchell is in anguish; with her brother’s murder still on her mind, she’s noticed strange behavior among the girls in the residential treatment center where she works. Is there a connection between the contagion on Cape Cod and the deadly Bahamas vacation that changed her life? Jezzie reaches out to former lover Lou Collins, a scholar who has chased proof of the lights for decades. Will he be able to solve the mystery of the lights in time? Intensely competitive, reporter Bridgette Collins knows the lights are a way to secure fame in her career. And while it’ll put the final nail into the coffin of her ex-husband’s career, she vows to know the secrets of the lights. Even if it means unleashing a world-wide epidemic…



July 28, 1981

The boy knows he is lost.

He is lost, and his former sense of normalcy has completely vanished.

He feels abandoned.

The irony, if he were old enough to understand the term, is that he is lost inside a closet that is only six feet in length. In the dark, the closet feels cavernous, endless. It provides adequate space for a trauma that will remain with him throughout his adult years.

His fear is nearly smothered by the heavy olfactory smog of mothballs and cedar chips, yet the fear constantly recuperates: a phoenix with dread for wings.

The boy’s face feels tight from the dried traces of tears that etch his cheeks. The hot air rushes his nostrils which are clogged with mucous; the hot air is working against him, forcing him to hyperventilate. The entire house is unfamiliar to him, and his eyes, in the darkness, struggle to make out the walls and ceiling of the place where he is being held captive.

He is not alone.

He can feel his sister’s stilted breath coming from the darkest corner. It is obvious that she is trying to hold her breath, hoping that the heavy shoes pacing the hallway would leave them alone.

The shoes fall heavily because they belong to a man that is larger than life. The shoes rhythmically block the small sliver of sunlight fighting its way between the door and threadbare carpet.

Being captive is not new to the boy or his sister, but it is always scary. Their father routinely puts them in closets. They never understand why. Today, for example, they had been playing on the beach during the morning hours. Those were happy hours. Their father had laughed with them, had built drip castles in the sand, had tickled their mother as she stood at the water’s edge. They had all come inside for lunch. More laughter. Their father had promised to take them to fly kites later.

But later had involved the closet. Their mother had been sent to her room and told to keep the blinds drawn. Their sandwiches had been deserted, half eaten. Abandoned, as the boy was.

Their father paced the hall, talking to himself. The boy could hear a buzzing sound coming from outside of their rental house. It was loud and their father cursed into the sound, having as much success as someone spitting into the wind.

The slim crack of daylight beneath the door grew brighter. The light exploded, like a bullet from a gun, but the closet door shielded the children from its brilliance. The boy could hear their father fall to his knees.

“Soon,” their father said, and their mother whimpered from behind her closed door.

Author Bio:

Elaine Pascale has been writing her entire life. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband, son and daughter.  Her writing has been published in magazines and anthologies. She is the author of The Blood Lights, and If Nothing Else, Eve, We’ve Enjoyed the Fruit. Elaine enjoys a robust full moon, chocolate, and collecting cats.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Labors of an Epic Punk by Mark and Sheri Dursin

Title: Labors of an Epic Punk
Author: Mark and Sheri Dursin
Genre: YA Fantasy, Myth Retelling

Mac is an epic punk. No wonder: after his dad went off to fight in the Trojan War and never came back, Mac spent his childhood evading his mom's scumbag suitors—all one-hundred-and-eight of them. Of course, he turned out this way—a moody, friendless sixteen-year-old who blows off work, alienates everyone at school, and pulls pranks. But when he trains a flock of birds to defecate on the headmaster, Mac (short for Telemachus) goes too far. The administrators give him an ultimatum: prove that he's truly the son of Odysseus by doing something heroic—or get out. A school story that just so happens to take place 3,000 years ago, Labors of an Epic Punk is a tale of friendship and transformation, regret and redemption, and a reminder to us all that even heroes need to survive adolescence.


At that moment, Mac felt a prickling sensation as the hairs on the back of his neck suddenly stood on end. Instinctively, he shouted, “Get down!” as he threw himself and Homer into the sand. He looked up to see a single arrow buzz over their heads.

“Homer!” A voice—gruff, but unmistakably female—boomed through the courtyard. “How many times do I have to tell you? Stop following me!”

Mac looked in disbelief down at Homer, pinned underneath him. “I said I knew her,” Homer shrugged. “I didn’t say we were best friends or anything.” As they both stood up, Homer called out to their secret attacker, in a lame attempt to sound chummy, “Hey, Andie! What’s up?”

“How did you find me? Did you follow me? Did my roommate tell you? She told you, didn’t she? I’m gonna kill her!”

Homer glanced nervously at Mac before calling out, “So, what are you doing way out here?”

“Why should I tell you?” the mystery girl shouted back. Meanwhile, Mac’s eyes flew around, trying to determine the source of this shouting. As he squinted, he could make out someone, silhouetted against the sun, half-hiding at the top of one of the stone towers.

“Now, get out of here,” the voice called out. “This is my beach!”

“Well, OK, but first, how ‘bout you come on down?” Homer continued. “My friend and I want to ask you something.”

“You don’t have any friends, you freak!”

“As a matter of fact, I just made one. Come on down, I’ll introduce you.”

Meet The Authors:

For many years Mark, a high school English teacher, and Sheri, a freelance writer and blogger, wrote independently. No matter the writing project—newspaper articles, retreat talks, college recommendation letters, fan-fiction, blog posts on spirituality or 80s pop songs—they tended to work alone. Separate rooms, separate computers. But raising their twin sons helped them discover an important truth: All Good Things Come in Twos.