Monday, January 11, 2021

The Talented Trilogy: a Fantasy trilogy with a Giveaway!


Seventh Born
The Talented Book 1
by Rachel Rossano
Genre: Christian Fantasy

In a world where seventh born sons are valued for their strength and power, she is born a daughter.

Zezilia Ilar is the disappointment. Born after six brothers, she was supposed to be the son to restore her family’s prestige. She intends to remedy her shortcomings by being a dutiful daughter, marrying well and producing children, preferably a set of seven sons. But when someone offers her an alternative, she begins to dream of more.

In a society that worships a goddess, he follows the Almighty.

Hadrian Aleron, as a seventh son of a seventh son, stands to take up the second highest position in government, Sept Son. His main qualification for office is his birth. Despite preparing for this role from childhood, he does not desire what is to come. As a follower of the Almighty, he knows he will be the target of many, and his faith might eventually lead to death.

SEVENTH BORN is first in a series of three books.

The Defender
The Talented Book 2

Zezilia Ilar joins the sept son's entourage as a defender. Her growing Talent ability makes her a target for the Elitists, and her gender makes people question her competence. She must protect the sept son.

 Any mistake could be fatal.

Hadrian Aleron always knew his beliefs would cause trouble, but he didn't realize how much. Rebels are rising. He could lose his title, his position, and if he's not careful, his life. As the assassination attempts grow bolder, Hadrian must rely upon his young defender and their shared faith in the Almighty to keep him from faltering.

The Defender is the second in a trilogy. Reading Seventh Born first is recommended.

Living Sacrifice
The Talented Book 3

Separated, but still joined, they strive for freedom.

Left behind at the sept son's compound, Zezilia Ilar struggles with the after effects of her prolonged commisceo-link with Hadrian. She devotes herself to caring for the wounded arriving almost daily from the battlefields. Pressed to perform procedures and make decisions far beyond her training, Zez grows in confidence and skill. All the while, she wonders if she'll see Hadrian again, fearing the worst possible news will arrive any day.

Sept Son Hadrian Aleron fights to bring peace to his home nation. Allied with the new high king, he and a small army of Talented struggle to retake the capital city. Elitists, though scattered, continue to pick off the strongest of his men. As he battles the remnants of the commisceo-link and tries to organize the campaign, he begins losing himself to exhaustion. Only a miracle will keep him alive. 

Living Sacrifice is the third in a trilogy. Reading  Seventh Born and The Defender first is recommended.

Rachel Rossano is a happily married mother of three children. She spends her days teaching, mothering, and keeping the chaos at bay. After the little ones are in bed, she immerses herself in the fantasy worlds of her books. Tales of romance, adventure, and virtue set in a medieval fantasy world are her preference, but she also writes speculative fantasy and a bit of science fiction.

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$20 Amazon 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Folder: a YA Fantasy Thriller!


YA Fantasy, YA Sci-fi, Science Fiction

Published: November 2020

Publisher: Regilius Publishing

Eric Folder has moved to Oregon to attend Portland State University when an automobile accident leaves him stricken with migraine headaches. The resulting visual effects—something medical professionals term an aura—render him virtually blind and defenseless when a gang of street thugs attacks him. Desperate to see and needing to protect himself, Eric reflexively tears at the luminous lines of light and finds they have become tangible. When he pulls them aside, his present reality folds away with them, leaving him in better circumstances with his enemies vanished. Attempts to fold his way out of subsequent perils leave him in increasingly strange situations until, eventually, his world becomes a nightmare.

Praise for Folder:

A wild young-adult alternate-worlds adventure that will leave you guessing right up to the end! Fans of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials will love this!” - D. J. Butler, author of Witchy Eye

A big, engaging ride across our infinite possibilities - and our choice to be heroes.” - Anthony Dobranski, author of The Demon in Business Class


I’m lost.

I don’t know if I should laugh or cry when I say this, because I sound as if I’m repeating words from a hymn or I’m in need of a compass, or else I’ve given up completely. The thing is, I’m terrified because all these things are true and I don’t know how to fix them. I would say a prayer if I thought someone could hear, but even if they did, I don’t think this is a place where prayers get answered. If I had a compass, knowing whether I’m facing North or South wouldn’t take me away from this place, let alone back to where I started. In fact, no one can get me out of the mess I’m in, except maybe me, and I’m as scared to try to change what has brought me here as I am afraid do nothing.

I remember when my friends and I were kids and we hid in the bushes and pretended there were monsters coming after us. Well, now the monsters are real. I’ve been listening for what seems an eternity to their angry snorts and the clatter and scratches of their claws on the large stone surface where those creatures are gathered. Every now and then, one of them hisses and another does the same in response. The rate of their footsteps escalates and I imagine two of them colliding and squaring off in an expression of indignation. It’s too dark to see whether this has actually happened, or if it’s just my imagination, but the pounding of my heart in face of the impending danger keeps me riveted on what’s happening.

As I hide in a clump of bushes and the minutes pass, I’m more than a little relieved that they’re taking so long to find me. Unexpectedly, the full moon peeks through a break in the cloud cover and the scales on the bodies of several great beasts glisten. Each is twice the size of a bullmastiff and I count six of them several yards from here. Their eyes glow whitish gold and appear to have vertical slits, although it’s hard to be sure at this distance. As they circle a spot where I was standing a short while ago, sniffing the ground in several directions around it, one of them raises its head and opens its mouth, baring rows of long, needlelike teeth. I expect the creature will howl. Instead, a rasping reptilian sound emerges and I shudder, wondering what kind of beings they are.

Although I’ve recently arrived, from my earlier experiences and the landscape’s layout, I recognize this place as being near where the street car used to stop in a time that’s lost to me forever. The place where I’m hiding used to be the parkway where Park crosses Mill—or what used to be Park and Mill before everything transformed into this new reality. There aren’t any streets anymore and I’m surprised there are even deer trails to mark where Park and Mill once intersected. This used to be Portland State University, but now everything’s grown over and forested. The clock tower has vanished, as have the student union and the rest of the buildings that were part of the campus.

Without warning, a thought bubbles up from a world I’ll never see again and I almost cry out loud. Cursing this lack of control, I force my idiot self to keep quiet. Still, there is some truth to the thought that this situation is what Dad would have called a mixed blessing. It’s because it rained so hard that those things haven’t discovered me already. Here I am, kneeling on a thick bed of leaves. If they weren’t so soggy, they would crackle each time I move and announce my location. Instead, their wetness muffles whatever noise I might otherwise make. On the other hand, because the night is so cold and water is starting to soak through my pants, I’m beginning to shiver and I’m afraid I might sneeze any minute. If I do, those creatures will certainly hear and I know I will die because I’m sure they can out-run me.

The breeze that’s been chilling me starts to increase and I wonder if another storm is building. The last of autumn’s leaves whip though the air and there is a sharp crack above me. The creatures turn in my direction and two cock their heads. A third one starts walking toward me and I hold my breath, wondering whether it will continue to advance, when a second crack drops a large bough into the bushes a few yards to my right. The creatures stop and stare at the spot where it landed. Then, apparently satisfied they understand what caused the disturbance, they resume their search in the original location. Realizing I’ve been holding my breath and that I need to breathe, I inhale deeply, then exhale. My breathing is starting to grow normal when something grabs my shoulder.

About The Author

Raymond Bolton lives near Portland, Oregon with his wife, Toni, and their cats, Max and Arthur. His epic fantasies are published by WordFire Press, publisher of the Dune and Star Wars novels, and have received endorsements by the late Mike Resnick and award-winning author Paul Kane.

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Monday, January 4, 2021

Call Me Dragon: a Fantasy Novel with a Giveaway!


Call Me Dragon
Dragon Fires Rising Book 1
by Marc Secchia
Genre: Humorous Fantasy

Call me Dragon. It’s the last thing you’ll ever do.

Blitz the Devastator has never done a decent day’s devastating in his life. Fireless, artistic and shunned by his Dragon Clan, he struggles to pillage even the meanest village. A future full of misery and failure beckons.

This much is true until the day the burly brown Dragon successfully – imagine that – kidnaps the Princess Azania. As a black Princess of T’nagru, this spirited beauty is by definition the most unforgettable woman in the seventeen realms. Knights errant, men-at-arms and sundry Princes expire at her feet in drivelling worship.

Unfortunately, they all want his scaly head on a platter shortly thereafter. Goes with the territory.

To Blitz’s consternation, the royal nuisance refuses to behave herself and be a typical pampered Princess. With humour, unconventional flair and the odd stomp of her diminutive slipper, she sets out to reform her Dragon.

One question remains. Who will save the Dragon from the Princess?

Marc is a South African-born dragon masquerading as an author, who loves writing about dragons and Africa, preferably both at the same time. He's the author of 25 fantasy books in 5 languages including 10 rip-roaring dragon fantasy bestsellers. Dragonfriend won a Gold Award for Fantasy in the 2016 IPPY Book Awards.
When he's not writing about Africa or dragons Marc can be found travelling to remote locations. He thinks there's nothing better than standing on a mountaintop wondering what lies over the next horizon.

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$50 Amazon

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Black ≠ Inferior: a Poetry Book with a Giveaway!



Date Published: January 1 2021

Publisher: The Roaring Lion Newcastle LTD

Black ≠ Inferior is a collection of poems divided into 2 parts. The first part is a collection of thematically linked poems exploring Blackness and the myriads of issues it attracts. The second part oscillates themes— talking about consent, a query of death, a celebration of love among others. In his usual stylistic, this collection deals with weighty matters like race and colourism with simple and clear language.

In Black ≠ Inferior, we see Tolu’ Akinyemi reacting in response to the world, to issues that affect Black people. Here, we see a poet shedding off his burdens through his poems; hence, the beauty of this collection is in the issues it attempts to address. In this collection, Tolu’ wears a coat of many colours – he is a preacher, a prophet, a doctor and a teacher.

We see Tolu’ the preacher in these lines:

I wish you can rise through the squalor of poverty

and voices that watercolour you as under-represented.

I wish you can emblaze your name in gold,

and swim against every wave of hate.’

This is a collection of poems fit for the present narrative as any (Black) person who reads this collection should beam with confidence at the end. This is what the poet sets out to achieve with his oeuvre.

About the Author

Tolu’ A. Akinyemi hails from Nigeria and lives in the UK where he has been endorsed by the Arts Council England as a writer with “exceptional talent”.

Tolu is the author of seven outstanding books which includes, Dead Lions Don’t Roar (Poetry, 2017) Unravel your Hidden Gems (Essays, 2018) Dead Dogs Don’t Bark (Poetry, 2018) Dead Cats Don’t Meow (Poetry, 2019) Never Play Games With The Devil (Poetry, 2019) Inferno of Silence (Short Stories, 2020) A Booktiful Love (Poetry, 2020). Two poetry collections, “Black ≠ Inferior” and “Never Marry a Writer” are scheduled for publication in early 2021.

A former headline act at Great Northern Slam, Crossing The Tyne Festival, Feltonbury Arts and Music Festival, and featured in various Poetry Festivals, Open Slam, Poetry Slam, Spoken Word and Open Mic events in and outside the United Kingdom.

His poems have appeared in the 57th issue (Volume 15, no 1) of the Wilderness House Literary Review, The Writers Cafe Magazine- Issue 18, GN Books, Lion and Lilac and elsewhere.

His books are based on a deep reality and often reflect relationships, life and features people he has met in his journey as a writer. His books have instilled many people to improve their performance and/or their circumstances. Tolu’ has taken his poetry to the stage, performing his written word at many events. Through his writing and these performances, he supports business leaders, other aspiring authors and people of all ages interested in reading and writing. Sales of the books have allowed Tolu’ donate to charity, allowing him to make a difference where he feels important, showing that he lives by the words he puts to page.

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Sunday, December 13, 2020

Realm Explorers Part CXXXVII: Visit Heaven with Darlene N. Bocek

Welcome to Realm Explorers!  In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors.  Enjoy your travels!  And don't forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured book. 

Author's name:

Darlene N. Bocek

Title of book and/or series:

The Last Noel (Return to Me series) (paranormal dystopia)

Brief summary of the story :

When fireman Reuben Morales learns his unsaved sister has been tragically killed, he struggles with her death until he is swept up into Judgment Day and sees her life and death through the eyes of God. The trauma of this vision propels him as he directs the church Christmas pageant and discovers the answers to his questions in an unexpected way.

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story: The story takes place in Southern California. But at one point, Reuben is brought into a vision or dream of Heaven. The strange and fantastical, “speculative” world in this story is a paranormal view of heaven on Judgment Day. The “otherliness” of this story lies in the spirit world and its contact with us. This is the first book of a trilogy, in which the supernatural and paranormal (ghosts, phantoms, demons, dreams and visions) are examined in their real impact upon us. I call this realm “paranormal dystopia.”

If we were to visit Heaven as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?

Ha ha. Judgment Day before the throne of God. I know I’ll be looking for Jesus to hide under the shelter of his wings.

What dangers should we avoid in Heaven?

Certainly, the way to avoid a dangerous Judgment Day is to listen and bend to the truth that is readily available to us today, in the Bible.

Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Heaven?

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Fruit from a tree that gives twelve different kinds of fruit.

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Heaven?

There is the Sword of Truth that will cut through bone and marrow, soul and spirit.

What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Heaven?

In The Last Noel, a vision of the Nativity story and of the Crucifiction is put on display at Judgment Day.

What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Heaven that we don’t see on Earth? There will be a Tree of Life, and some beings described as having “the face of a human being, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle.”

Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Heaven?  What are dreams? What are visions? Are they real? Are they merely mental impulses? Is there some kind of heavenly-tech that conveys things like that? I’m not sure the means but maybe it’s heaven-tech!

What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Heaven? 

As a crossover contemporary/speculative novel, the supernatural experience of a vision or dream of Judgment Day compels Reuben toward finding resolution about the frightening thing that is Hell. But, moreso, the reality of such supernatural locations as Heaven and Hell as described in the Bible, help Reuben to understand and to treasure his life, his duty on earth, and God’s ways.

Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?

Every Christian has had to face the death of an unsaved loved one. It is not an easy hurdle to jump, and is never a pleasant time. This book is fostered in the heart of someone who has faced the death of Muslim friends who have died without faith in Christ.

What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?

Any Christian you ask would honestly say that the idea of “hell” is the most repulsive of all doctrines Bible-believers are to hold to. This book is the journey of one man who discovers, through his brief journey into Judgment Day, the rhyme and reason behind such a place. 

Author Biography:

Faith-building “What-If” Fiction. Darlene is a thinker of big thoughts and a lover of nature’s message, and her words are a merger of both. Her fans enjoy being challenged by new people, strange places and old ideas helping them to think and grow like never before.

Darlene’s favorite genre to work in is near-future dystopia sci-fi, and her current “Pogland” dystopian trilogy is under consideration with publishers. It takes place in Los Angeles, has “aliens” and strange technology. As a native southern Californian, she likes to write about life and troubles there.

Her first work, Trunk of Scrolls, takes place in ancient Turkey and is available in paperback and ebook. Darlene is grateful for endorsements by Michael Horton, Darrell Bock, and Joel Beeke. 

A native of San Diego, California, she studied Social Science at Westmont College, emphasizing ancient and modern Middle East, after which she received her teaching credentials.  As she is connected to Westminster Theological Seminary of California, her speculative writing is confessionally reformed.

As an armchair student of natural theology, an ancient history aficionado, a methodical homeschool mother, and especially as a pastor’s wife in Turkey, Darlene loves bringing readers and students into a deeper appreciation of the depth and truths of Christianity. 

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)?  Please include links.

The Last Noel is available as ebook for FREE for the 2020 Christmas season only for signup HERE. After January 6, it will be for sale on Amazon. Follow Darlene N. Bocek on Amazon to get a print copy.

Where can readers connect with you online?  

Darlene is found regularly on Instagram and Facebook.

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Heaven!  Questions about the world or the book?  Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!  

Click here to read other posts in the Realm Explorers series.

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to another world in next week's edition of Realm Explorers!
Are you an author of a sci-fi or fantasy novel that takes place in another world? Click here to find out about having it featured on Realm Explorers!
-Annie Douglass Lima

Thursday, December 10, 2020

My New Poetry Book - Available Now!

 Across the Miles: Poems of Fantasy, Faith, and Fun

by Annie Douglass Lima

Watch a violinist spin stars and snowflakes into existence and wake dragons. Step into a bookstore full of dusty treasures, and wander through a graveyard for poems that died before their birth. Join a solitary star treading the measures of its stately dance above a rainbow like a stream of dripping jewels. Then mourn with the alien who crash-landed on Earth and can’t get home - but be careful to avoid the deadly shadow creatures slinking through the darkness.

Grab your copy of this volume of poetry now and embark on an unforgettable journey across the miles!

cover photography by Lisa Douglass

These poems touch on themes such as travel, friendship, nature, God, music, fantasy, music, animal encounters, and school. Some whimsical, some serious, they include specific, lesser-known varieties of poetry such as pantoum, rondeau, triolet, roundel, and villanelle. 

Read on to sample two of the poems in Across the Miles!

Monopoly (a Pantoum)

A pantoum consists of four-line stanzas in which the second and fourth lines of one stanza become the first and third lines of the next stanza. It works well to describe noisy places or repetitive thoughts or conversations.

“Monopoly’s such a fun game.”

“So now how much more do I owe you?”

“Did you pay as much as you claim?”

“The rules are right here, let me show you.”

“So now how much more do I owe you?”

“You’re not getting Boardwalk from me!”

“The rules are right here, let me show you.”

“It’s ‘Get out of Jail for Free’.”

“You’re not getting Boardwalk from me!”

“Will all you guys please be more quiet?”

“It’s ‘Get out of Jail for Free’.”

“You landed on mine, don’t deny it.”

“Will all you guys please be more quiet?”

“I can’t hear a word that you say.”

“You landed on mine, don’t deny it.”

“Just pass me the dice, then I’ll play.”

“I can’t hear a word that you say.”

“Are Reading and Short Line for sale?”

“Just pass me the dice, then I’ll play.”

“So how do I get out of jail?”

“Are Reading and Short Line for sale?”

“She owes you nine hundred for rent.”

“So how do I get out of jail?”

“You know how much money I’ve spent?”

“She owes you nine hundred for rent.”

“Aha, he’s advancing my way now!”

“You know how much money I’ve spent?”

“You landed on Baltic, so pay now.”

“Aha, he’s advancing my way now.”

“Did she roll a three or a four?”

“You landed on Baltic, so pay now.”

“I don’t want to play anymore.”

“Did she roll a three or a four?”

“You owe me two hundred and twenty.”

“I don’t want to play anymore.”

“Don’t buy more hotels – you’ve got plenty!”

“You owe me two hundred and twenty.”

“Did you pay as much as you claim?”

“Don’t buy more hotels – you’ve got plenty!”

“Monopoly’s such a fun game.”


For best effect, read this poem aloud with a stuffy nose and hoarse voice.

I’ve decided I hate the flu – I really do!

The soreness and aching,

the temp’rature taking

which tries to make me a believer that I’ve only got a fever

of 99.2

but I’m pretty sure that thermometer’s a liar

’cause it feels way higher

and I think I may slowly be going insane

’cause my cough’s such a pain

with its racking and its hacking

while all of the drugs that I take are in vain

and my head and my chest

are both tight and congest-

ed, and I’m faced with issues

like running out of tissues

(’cause my drippy nose never stops)

and having to bring cough drops

everywhere I go

and my eyes getting runny

 – and NO! It’s not funny!

’cause I don’t like being in pain and congested and woozy

And inconvenienced and fevered and fluzy.

Want to enjoy nearly a hundred more poems like this? Click here to download your copy of Across the Miles for just $2.99 (that's only about three cents per poem!). Or gift a paperback copy to a poetry-loving friend or family member for Christmas!

About the Poet:

Annie Douglass Lima considers herself fortunate to have traveled in twenty different countries and lived in four of them. A fifth-grade teacher in her “other” life, she loves reading to her students and sparking their imaginations. Her books include science fiction, fantasy, YA action and adventure novels, a puppet script, poetry, Bible verse coloring and activity books, and a fantasy-themed cookbook. When she isn’t teaching or writing, Annie can often be found sipping spiced chai or pomegranate green tea in exotic locations, some of which exist in this world.

Connect with the Poet Online:

Click here to join Annie Douglass Lima's author email list and receive a free copy of one of her fantasy ebooks!