Posts Tagged ‘action/adventure’

Grim Nora and the Secret of the Skull
by A.M. Albaugh
Genre: YA Fantasy
278 pages
When Nora Youngblood’s father dies on her sixteenth birthday, it’s the
end of everything she ever knew. But a new journey begins with a
skull-shaped pocket watch – the last gift from her father, a
professor of archaeology. Where did this mysterious trinket come
from, and why would a warlock named Kabos now be hunting her for
Nora, now an orphan, finds protection under a wizard named Malachi, his
handsome apprentice, Aidan, and a brother she never knew she had. As
she learns the truth about her family’s mysterious past, Nora seeks
to uncover the secret of the skull, which leads to both a powerful
and dangerous weapon. With the fate of the skull in her hands, she’s
lured into the hidden world of Dubhgail to combat the treacherous
Kabos – who has kidnapped her brother. Can she sacrifice herself to
save her brother and her friends?
In this fantasy novel, a teenage girl discovers her magical heritage and
soon finds herself facing the might of an evil warlock in another
A. M. Albaugh is an award-winning poet and photographer. She studied
anthropology and communications with an emphasis in film and
television at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Favorite authors
include Hermann Hesse, Dostoyevsky, J.R.R. Tolkien, Marion Zimmer
Bradley, Lao Tzu, Kurt Vonnegut, Knut Hamsun, and Kahlil Gibran. She
also enjoys writing code.

Grim Nora and the Secret of the Skull Excerpt:

When Nora awoke, she was lying on a large crimson bed with gold sheets. She gazed around at the spacious dark room, lit by many white candles. Walls of black granite surrounded her. Her only way out was a black iron door with no handle. She got up and pounded on it with her fists.

“Let me out!” she yelled. “Do you hear me? I know you’re out there!”

But Nora could only hear silence. She tried pounding on the door again, but once more nothing happened. She sat down on the bed in defeat. Shortly thereafter, a loud clanging sound came from behind the door, and it swung open. Nora stood as Kabos walked briskly toward her, followed by three soldiers. He wore black and gold robes, and came to a stop a few feet away from her with his arms behind his back.

“Welcome to my home, Nora,” Kabos said. “I am honored that you came all this way. But I am rather disappointed that you did not come alone. Had I known more were coming, I would have been more properly prepared for their stay.”

“Where is my brother?” she asked.

“He is still alive,” he answered. “You made the right choice.”

“You tricked me,” she accused.

“I am not responsible,” he sneered. “However, Orhan does not kill indiscriminately.”

Tears came to Nora’s eyes as the image of Lena holding her father’s lifeless body flashed in her mind.

“I see you are still in denial about what you have become,” he said, eyeing her. “Do not try to hide it, Nora. Do not waste tears on people who do not deserve them.”

She looked at him, ashamed. “It’s my fault,” she said softly.

“Do not tie the noose so stiff around the neck,” Kabos said. “Let go of blame. Let go of sorrow… Let go of fear. I can show you how…”

He walked toward her, but she backed away from him in disgust.

“Do you think your brother will accept you now?” Kabos asked angrily. “He was clearly envious that you possessed your mother’s talents, and he did not. But now, well… You are no longer the same little sister he can protect.”

“No,” Nora said, shaking her head. “I will never believe your lies.”

“Then know this,” he hissed. “Your father gave you the skull because he wanted you to become the Morrigan.”

“Liar!” she said angrily.

“Am I?” he said and smirked. “He told me so before he died. He said, and I quote, ‘She will be a warrior queen feared and loved by all’. It is tragic how you cling to your pathetic brother. You think he is all that you have left. But you have no idea what you are, do you? You are all alone, Nora. No one to love, or be loved in return… You have already caused irreversible harm. They will never come for you now.”

“I may not know what tomorrow holds, but I know what you are,” she said quietly. “You’re an abomination!”

Kabos gazed at her in silence. Then his eyes turned red and his many sharp teeth protruded from his mouth. She stepped back in terror. He grabbed her arm and dragged her out of the room and down the hallway. They descended down many stairs. He pushed her into a dark round chamber with large mirrors. He stopped in front of one of the mirrors. He held her close to it.

“Look!” he commanded.

Nora looked into the mirror. Her reflection faded, and she began to see a monster form in the darkness. It looked like a giant red bull with claws and large, razor sharp teeth. The monster took notice of her, and began to run at her. She screamed and tried to step away from the mirror, but Kabos held onto her. As the monster appeared to jump at her, she cried out again and closed her eyes. Kabos let go of her, and she fell backwards. Opening her eyes, she noticed that the monster had not jumped out of the mirror. He appeared taken aback by something, as though he had been electrocuted.

The monster paced back and forth. A soldier brought in a prisoner. The prisoner was in tattered rags and chains. He fell to his knees and pleaded with Kabos. Kabos ignored him, and pointed. The soldier tossed the prisoner at the mirror, and Nora watched in horror as he was sucked inside. He tripped and fell. After he got up, he looked around anxiously. Then he shrieked in terror as the monster approached him. The monster tore him apart and ate him. Nora closed her eyes in horror. The soldier grabbed her and made her stand.

“Each of these mirrors are holding cells in the void,” Kabos explained to her. “Some of them hold monsters, and some of them hold prisoners. Some hold monsters and prisoners, which can be highly entertaining at times.”

The soldier pushed her, and she was forced to follow Kabos as he pointed out a mirror. She saw that there was a crowd of naked people covered in feces and urine. There was no room and they were unable to move. They were bone thin. Tears came to her eyes. Kabos turned to her.

“Wait, there’s more,” Kabos said enthusiastically.

They came to a stop in front of another mirror. At first, Nora did not see anything. Then she covered her mouth in horror. She saw her brother lying on the ground. His clothes were tattered. He had scars and bruises. There were bones scattered around him. She noticed his hands were shaking.

“Raynor!” she shouted, but Raynor did not lift his head.

Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!
The Kingdom
Berkeley Blackfriars Book 1
by J. R. Mabry
Genre: Urban Fantasy
An unhinged tycoon.
A lodge of evil magicians.
A plan to steal every child from the face of the earth…
When Kat Webber discovers her brother’s comatose body in the midst of a
demonic ritual, she knew she was in over her head…
Fr. Richard Kinney is having a crappy week. He’s not at all sure he’s
the best leader for the demon-hunting Berkeley Blackfriars, and his
boyfriend has just broken up with him. But when a violent demon
possesses one of the richest men in the world, Richard doesn’t have
time for self-pity.
Kat and the Blackfriars discover their situations are entertwined—leading
them to a lodge of black magicians who make every avocado in the
world disappear. Their dark power growing, they eliminate every dog
from existence.
Kat and the Blackfriars find themselves in a desperate race against time
as the magicians try to eliminate their next target—every child on
earth. To save the world’s next generation, Kat and the Berkeley
Blackfriars will have to put themselves in the line of fire instead…
The Kingdom is the first book in the Berkeley Blackfriars series. If you love
supernatural suspense laced with humor and danger, you’ll love J.R.
Mabry’s Berkeley Blackfriars’ books. Fans of
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Preacher,
The Dresden Files, and the Mercy Thompson series will thrill to this new
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**Only .99 cents!**
J.R. Mabry roams the earth like the ghost of Jacob Marley, searching for
the perfect omelet pan. He writes thoughtful urban fantasy and
science fiction. When not haunting high-end cooking stores, he lives
with his wife and three dogs in Oakland, CA. He is allergic to
coffee, tea, and alcohol, and for this reason the hills resound with
his lamentation. He is also generally a cheery guy.

Check out the relaunch of The Kingdom, out now from Apocryphile Press. The
relaunched The Power will be out next month, followed by the all-new
The Glory—also known as the Berkeley Blackfriars series. The
Berkeley Blackfriars aren’t your ordinary priests—they curse like
longshoremen and aren’t above the occasional spliff or
one-night-stand. But if you’ve got a nasty demon on your ass,
they’re exactly the guys you want in your corner.
For a free short story in the Berkeley Blackfriars universe, download The
Demon Bunny of Ipswich.
For more on The Kingdom and the Berkeley
Blackfriars, visit J.R. Mabry’s website at

Guest Post

When did you know you were a writer?

Writing is like a virus. It gets into you when you’re small, and often you don’t even notice it. But it gradually spreads throughout your system, leaving no part of your life untouched.

My first act of creative fiction was committed in the third grade. It was a short story called, “The Mystery of Salary Swamp,” and it featured pencil drawings of people that looked more turtle-ish than human, had zero character development, and an ending you could see coming from the first paragraph. Still…it was a start. Oh, there was also, somewhere between pages three and four, a recipe for cinnamon toast. That was there for two reasons: first, I knew how to make cinnamon toast; and second, because Patti Duke had written a story on her TV show, and had included a recipe. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. You’re welcome, Patti.

I don’t remember if the story was a school assignment or not—probably not. But I did show it to my teacher, Mr. Vanasaker. He was impressed. So were my folks. I remember thinking, “That wasn’t hard, and I got a lot of good feels from it. Let’s do that again.” So I did. And again. And again.

In other words, I got bit. My best friend Mickey was also a writer, and in seventh grade we were in neck-to-neck competition for a school-wide writing contest. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that one of us was going to win it—but just which of us would was anyone’s guess. In my heart, I knew that Mickey was the more accomplished writer, and that my little story didn’t hold a candle to his. His characters sounded like grown-ups. Mine sounded like a kid trying to sound like a grown-up. That’s a big difference.

Yet, something about my story must have had some charm, because the contest ended in a tie. This eliminated any hard feelings, but didn’t settle the score between Mickey and I. Even in junior college, when we went on a European tour together, Mickey and I were competitive about our trip diaries.

But real life intervened. I became a magazine editor, and later a pastor and a teacher. Writing went on the back burner. I wrote articles now and then, but nothing major. Then I realized that there was no appropriate textbook for the graduate studies program I was putting together. If my students were going to have what they needed, I would have to write it. So I did. I wrote more textbooks, and many of them are in use in graduate programs around the country.

Encouraged, I had an idea for a novel that just wouldn’t let me go. So I wrote The Kingdom. And you know what? It kicked my ass. Finishing that damned novel was the hardest thing I have ever done. Seriously, climbing Everest would have been a piece of cake by comparison. Dental surgery without anesthesia would be nothing compared to this. But I kept at it, and three years after I began, it was done.

I was exhausted. I didn’t write another word for six months. But then I wrote a Christmas novel, What Child is This? Then I wrote a sequel to The Kingdom, The Power. Somewhere along the way, with every finished novel, it got easier. I no longer collapse in a heap when novel is finished. Instead, I don’t miss a beat. I finish one novel and start the next one the very next day.

I have now finished eight novels, and have outlines for about four more. The only thing I regret is that I don’t have time to write as much as I want to! So yeah, I got infected with the writing bug in third grade, and it has now snowballed into a full-blown chronic condition. I can manage it, but I don’t think I’ll ever be rid of it. And I don’t think I want to be.


For a free short story in the Berkeley Blackfriars universe, download The Demon Bunny of Ipswich. For more on The Kingdom and the Berkeley Blackfriars, visit J.R. Mabry’s website at

Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
Myths and Magic
An Epic Fantasy and
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by K.N. Lee
Bec McMaster
Calinda B
Jayne Fury
Lori Titus
Jessica Cage
Jeffrey Bardwell
LC Ireland
Kara Jaynes
Jessica West
Alex H. Singh
Alledria Hurt
Caroline A. Gill
Mary Bernsen
CI Black
Terri Bruce
16 Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels by 16 New York Times, USA Today,
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K.N. Lee is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She is the
author of the Dragon-Born Saga, Eura Chronicles, Wonderland
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twisted urban fantasy, epic tales of dragons, pirates, and mermaids,
and dark poetry, she does a great deal of traveling and spending time
with her family. Wannabe rockstar, foreign language enthusiast, and
anime geek, K.N. Lee also enjoys gaming and sketching. She is a
winner of the Elevate Lifestyle Top 30 Under 30 “Future Leaders
of Charlotte” award for her success as a writer, business owner,
and for community service.
She is signed with Captive Quill Press and Patchwork Press and
represented by Hershman Rights Management.
K.N. Lee loves hearing from fans and readers. Connect with her!
Follow the tour HERE!