Posts Tagged ‘Paranormal’

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
it?
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
world.
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.


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Myths and Magic
An Epic Fantasy and
Speculative Fiction Boxed Set
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
University, and the Chronicles of Koa series. When she is not writing
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!
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Rhuna – Keeper of Wisdom
A Quest For Ancient Wisdom Book 1
by Barbara Underwood
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
In the ancient, mystical past when an idyllic Atlantis-like civilization
flourished, its people with exceptional powers could build giant
stone structures like the Pyramids, and transform elements such as
sand to stone and metal to gold with concentrated energy of the
mind.
This utopian Atlan Empire is rocked when one of its most preeminent
Masters rebels and seeks to subvert the ideals of Atlan society.
Roaming the countryside in a black robe, misusing his powers on
innocent people, he becomes known as the dreaded Dark Master.

 

On a distant and isolated island on the fringes of the Atlan Empire, a
young girl named Rhuna comes of age when she meets a man from Atlán
and learns that her father was an Atlan Master who was killed in his
attempt to destroy the Dark Master.
Journeying across oceans and ancient worlds, Rhuna learns to master her inherent
mental powers, transforming elements and summoning visions by means
of the Gazing of the Waters. Unlike her peers, however, Rhuna
discovers she has an extra power, namely the ability to summon
visions mentally, without incantations or powders.
When the Dark Master’s activities become a threat to the peaceful Atlan
Empire, the Atlan Masters come to realize that they cannot defeat him
without Rhuna’s special visionary powers to observe the Dark
Master’s activity and whereabouts.
The first book in this extraordinary Urban Fantasy series lays the
foundations of the Atlan Empire and Rhuna’s world, and even when
the Dark Master appears to have been defeated, secret and sinister
powers continue to threaten the ancient Utopia.
Rhuna- Crossroads
A Quest For Ancient Wisdom Book 2
This exciting second book in the Rhuna YA Urban Fantasy Series can also be
read as a standalone novel.

 

Some years have passed since Rhuna helped to defeat the Dark Master in her
new home of Atlán, and now Rhuna has a teenage daughter who
accompanies her on an assignment in Ancient Egypt to investigate some
disturbing reports.
She soon discovers an astonishing underground network of the Dark
Master’s followers, along with the secret group of Atlans dedicated
to stopping them. In the process of trying to carry out her
assignment, Rhuna is confronted with enormous challenges that could
drastically change her entire life and everything she has ever
believed in!
Rhuna – The Star Child
A Quest For Ancient Wisdom Book 3
This thrilling sequel to Rhuna: Crossroads is set in mystical Ancient
Egypt where Black Magic was developed by the followers of the
legendary villain, The Dark Master. As strange and frightening curses
plague the population, Rhuna discovers the underground organization
that performs this uncanny new magic, but she can only combat it with
the help of her long-lost father. Having learned from her father
amazing new skills to empower her on the Astral Plane, Rhuna once
again strives to preserve peace and harmony in the idyllic Atlan
civilization.

 

Far more challenging than fighting powerful Dark Forces, however, is
Rhuna’s personal anguish when her daughter becomes involved with
the leader of the Black Magic movement, and the once-perfect Atlan
society based on utopian principles begins to crumble all around her.
Shocking events escalate Rhuna’s world to a breathless climax as
she and her family undergo a momentous upheaval, and she is forced to
make great personal sacrifices for her loved ones.
Rhuna – New Horizons
A Quest For Ancient Wisdom Book 4
The fourth book in the series, Rhuna: New Horizons can also be read as a
standalone novel.
After sacrificing a life of comfort and security for her daughter’s sake,
Rhuna and her family go into exile and start a new life in the former
Atlan colony of Varappa. This faraway land is a frontier of new
technology such as air travel, loops in time and a society apparently
flourishing without a governing body of any kind.
On the surface, everyone appears to thrive in this liberated society,
but this kind of free thinking is fertile ground for the Dark Master
and his followers. Just when Rhuna and her family settle into their
beautiful new lakeside home, strange things begin to happen. Powerful
conjurers cause upheaval with their sinister magic, driving people
from their homes.
An isolated society claiming to adhere to the ways of the First Atlans,
appear to be fighting a losing battle against these followers of the
Dark Master. While attempting to find a diplomatic solution to the
escalating conflict, Rhuna faces great challenges in her personal
life. Aradin’s love for her has cooled off inexplicably, and
Lozira’s emotional wellbeing teeters on a precarious threshold. In
desperation, Rhuna combines her magical powers and Varappan
technology to do the unthinkable. What she does, however, is
forbidden, and brings about a rift between her and her own father.
Rhuna may have headed down a path from which there is no turning
back…

 GUEST POST FROM THE AUTHOR

The Writing Process, Some Advice, and how to Unwind

My writing process is fairly straight-forward, combining practical common sense with a bit of unbridled creative passion!  First of all, I glean all the information on my next topic (eg Rhuna in Ancient Egypt) from my stash of historical, New Age, spiritual, pseudoscientific books and take notes of the points I like.  From about 50 such points, however, I might only end up using half or less, but that’s fine.  In the beginning, I don’t have a clear idea of what I’m going to use, but if I have a nice long list of ideas/topics/facts/myths to choose from, then it’s easier to grab one as I’m going along.

Before I start writing, I formulate a general plot in my head.  Since this a series, I have a definite starting point (the cliff-hanger from the last book) and end point (the cliff-hanger leading to the next book).   I have some definite ideas what will happen between both points; not just in terms of events but how characters will be affected.

Once I have a fairly solid base line to follow, I allow myself to develop and add things as I go along, and this often happens almost by itself from Part II onwards.  Often I have Part I clearly defined in my mind before I get started, and this helps me lay the groundwork for the rest of the book, such as setting the scene, raising the new issues or problems Rhuna will be facing, and creating some suspense as to what will happen.

Usually I write to story in sequence, but at times I’ve been overwhelmed by new ideas or a description of feelings or events that happen further along in the story.  That’s when I let the creativity flow freely, and later I connect those scenes with the ones written in chronological order.

Some advice I’d gladly pass on to new and aspiring authors are these:

  • Be yourself. Don’t try to write in the style of a popular author, or even your favourite author.  You have to find your own inner voice and then let it shine forth.
  • Every word you write should come from your heart and soul – not your brain dictating how you think it should read. If you do this, readers will instinctively feel it and have an emotional response to your book.
  • Remember that books are like people: with some you immediately ‘click’; with others you just can’t gel. This goes for the books you read yourself, but also what to remember when readers don’t like your book.  Not everyone is going to like it, just as not everyone is going to like you personally.  That’s just the way it is.
  • If you are being yourself in your creation, then continue to be true to yourself. Keep writing and growing while doing the necessary promotion and marketing of your books, and your readership will grow:  slowly but surely.

Being creative can be more mentally exhausting that you realize, so it’s important to make yourself have a break before you feel the brain fog or mental block developing.  In my case, I have another creative outlet, namely art: sketching, oil painting, acrylic, watercolour, still life, portraits or whatever grabs my fancy.  I meet with other artists at the local Art Society’s studio once a week, and this is already a great little break when I’ve been writing or thinking a lot about a book.  Other times, I feel I need a week or two away from writing and just do paintings and sketches around home.

When I’m out of creative gusto, I play games: jigsaw puzzles (on the computer nowadays – much easier!) some hidden object mystery games and Super City on Facebook.  Other times just going to the park with hubby and the dog is enough unwinding for a few hours.  And believe it or not, doing some necessary chores and housework can also help to unwind mentally just by giving you some distance from the work you were focused on.

Barbara Underwood was born and raised in Sydney, Australia; the only child of
German migrants who provided a rich and diverse childhood
environment. Already in third grade she wrote a short children’s book
for a class project and realized that she was deeply satisfied with
creating stories. In sixth grade, for another class project, her
teacher was so impressed by the lengthy story she submitted, that he
commented at the end “I see we are going to have another author”.
Over the years Barbara kept writing one thing or another, but only as a
hobby while she pursued other interests and goals. In the 1990s, she
completed a correspondence course in professional writing, doing it
in her spare time after work. This led to having a few short stories
published, but what she really wanted to do was write a proper
novel.
At this time, Barbara had travelled extensively and gained a wealth of
knowledge and experience in subjects that held special appeal for
her, namely ancient history, myths and legends (such as Atlantis, the
builders of megaliths around the world), folklore (the belief that a
god-like race gave mankind its technology), human psychology and the
culture of other countries. What better subject for her first novel
than to combine all these elements into one big adventure!
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