Monday, December 15, 2014

WALKING SHADOW Excerpt and Giveaway




WALKING SHADOW by Emma L. Adams is out now, and today, I get the opportunity to share an excerpt with you! Don't forget to enter the giveaway below!

The world flipped over. I was suddenly overwhelmed by the stench of earth and leather. There was something else lurking beneath, a more subtle scent, metallic and salty. Blood. My arm throbbed.

I rolled out of the way of my attacker―a big man, broad and wild-looking. He wore the tattered remains of what must once have been a pristine suit, which was now torn and stained with mud. His steel-grey hair was matted and his teeth were bared in an inhuman snarl.

“I found you,” he hissed.

I couldn’t move. Even though he wasn’t touching me, I felt as though I was frozen to the spot. It was like one of my nightmares which ended in sleep paralysis, with me unable to even move a limb, or scream for help. He must be a magic-user, a powerful one.

But before anything else could happen, there was an explosion of fiery light and the man leapt aside, roaring in pain. Claudia faced him, and she looked incredibly pissed off.

“What,” she said, “is your problem?”

“This is none of your concern,” he growled.

“I’d say it is,” said Leo, and threw himself at the man.

This was an incredibly foolish thing to do, given that his opponent was twice his size, but the guy clearly hadn’t expected such a direct assault. They both fell away down the hill, and judging by the flashes and yells of pain, both were using magic. I hesitated to follow, not wanting to get in the way. I’d never seen Leo display the slightest bit of aggression before, but now he looked livid. I was ashamed at myself for holding back, but it didn’t seem a bright idea to get in the way of the flames. Being half-demon meant I’d never be able to summon fire myself, although I could still overwhelm a demon using ice that burned like flames. But I couldn’t make myself immune to burning, like Leo and Claudia could. In a fight like that I’d burn alive.

“Get away from her!” yelled a voice.

I’d forgotten about Conrad. He ran toward us, but his feet slipped on the wet grass and he went head over heels. I would have laughed at him if I didn’t have more pressing matters to deal with.

Ignoring my throbbing arm, I contacted the Darkworld and felt the familiar surge of coldness, of pure energy, rush through me. Without thinking, I threw myself after the other two. Claudia hung back, perhaps hesitant to shoot a fireball in case she hit Leo by accident. But I didn’t really have a plan. I just wanted to get him away from Leo.

Ice spread out from my palms rapidly as I latched onto the man from behind.

“Leo, let go of him!” I shouted, not wanting him to get caught in the spell, too. He backed away, gaping as the man before him rapidly turned into a statue of ice.

Drained, I dropped to my knees.

“How in hell did you do that?” said Leo. “I’ve never seen magic like it.”

“I have no idea.” Light-headedness swept over me. I pressed my forehead to the cold ground, my body trembling. This big guy just attacked me for no reason. “Tell me I didn’t just imagine that. Who was he? A werewolf?”

 “No, he’s another vampire,” said Leo, and he wasn’t laughing. “His name’s Bill Melmoth, and he’s my guardian.”


When you have a connection to the Darkworld, nowhere is truly safe.

Ashlyn has found a new home in Blackstone, but when a spate of grave robberies across the country spark fears that someone is practicing illegal sorcery, she comes under the radar of the Venantium, the protectors of the Barrier between her world and the Darkworld, who are suspicious of any sorcerer unaware of their origins.

The trouble is, what Ash does know might just get her killed.

Sufferers of the dangerous condition known as the vampire’s curse are being brutally killed, and the latest victim is Leo’s guardian, the ex-head of the Venantium. Ash determines to help Leo find out what’s really going on, but it isn’t long before events are spiralling out of control. The dead are rising from their graves, and the barriers around Blackstone are threatened by a demon which looks exactly like Ash herself…


Amazon US   Amazon UK   Barnes and Noble

Add on 
Goodreads!


And here's more information on the first in the series, Darkness Watching  (Darkworld #1)

Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she's losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back.

Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone  - little knowing that it isn't coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.

All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life - but demons never give up, and their focus on Ash has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she's looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is.

In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be...
 

Reviews

“In the vein of Buffy and Supernatural, DARKNESS WATCHING found that perfect balance between the freaky and the fun.” - YA author Jen Estes

"Demons, Sorcerers, evil, and secrets. Could you ask for a better supernatural suspense set-up?...It's full of suspense, danger, evil and dark humor. The plot is original, and completely gripping. From the first page, this book had me hooked." - Rose at 
Desert Rose Reviews

"A suspenseful first part to an intriguing new fantasy series." - 
Sharon Stevenson, supernatural author

“The story is extremely well-written with effortless, flowing prose, and the original magic-user mythology and Darkworld creatures are very entertaining. The author took what might have been over-done premise and twisted it into something very fresh and exciting.” - Lexa Cain, author of Soul Cutter

"This is a wildly different story than any I have read about demons...I loved it!" - Kathy at 
Bookmarks, Spoilers, and Happily-Ever-Afters


https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gifFear's Touch: A Darkworld Novella is also available now!

This is a standalone novella, intended as a prequel to the Darkworld series. As it takes place one year before the events of Darkness Watching, it doesn’t contain any spoilers (although it does hint at things which will come into play later in the series).

Freakish powers and staring demon eyes aren’t part of Claudia’s plans for the future – and neither is ending up stuck at the gloomy, isolated University of Blackstone. But bad life decisions are the least of her problems, when a split-second decision to help out another magic-user puts her in the crossfire of both the shadow-beasts and the creepy organisation which hunt them down.

Claudia’s never had to worry about making the right choice before, but every decision matters when you have a Darkworld connection. Soon, she’s going to have to make a choice: turn her back on the crazy and try to live a normal life, or take the monsters down.

But in a world where everyone seems to have secrets, can she really trust her fellow magic-users – or even herself?




Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing bizarre, fantastical stories. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also entertained her creative writing group and baffled her tutors by submitting strange fantasy tales featuring dragons and supernatural monsters to workshops. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).

Now a reluctant graduate, Emma refuses to settle down and be normal. When not embarking on wild excursions, she edits and proofreads novels for various publishing houses and reads an insane number of books. At the age of 21, she signed a publishing contract with Curiosity Quills Press for the first book in her creepy urban fantasy Darkworld series. DARKNESS WATCHING was published in October 2013, the first in a five-book series.
Emma’s books tend to contain monsters, magic, and wildly inappropriate humour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 28, 2014

Advent Calendar 2014 - The Grinch Who Stole All The Holidays



image by Carl Holscher via Flickr

Ready for another advent calendar in story form? The idea behind an advent calendar is to sweeten the wait until Christmas. There are twenty-four pockets, and starting December 1, you can open one each day.

Standard advent calendars are filled with chocolate or toys. I fill ours with a story—plus some candy, because we all know children can't live on words alone.





Feel free to read my story yourself, with your kids, dogs, cats or anyone else. There's one bite of story for each day until Christmas Eve.

If you'd like to see what our calendar looks like (hint: socks!), or read stories from previous years, click here.

DECEMBER 1
Once upon a time, there was a mean, green creature who stole Christmas. Then his heart grew three sizes, and he gave all the Christmas goodies back.

Only that wasn't the end of the story.

DECEMBER 2
By New Year's Day, the Grinch's heart shrunk just a bit. Before the snow had melted, the Grinch got tired of all the Whos' singing and smiling. Their la-la-la made him cr-cr-cringe. His heart shrunk one more size.

DECEMBER 3
By March, he was completely annoyed every time those Whos made a rhyme. His heart shriveled further.

And what the Grinch absolutely, positively HATED were bunnies.

You know what holiday came next? Easter. 

Except...

DECEMBER 4
At the thought of Easter, the Grinch frowned and scowled. With his heart back to its tiny, original size, he attached wheels to his sleigh, decorated it with pink streamers, colorful baskets and purple eggs, and rolled all the way down from Mount Crumpit to Whoville.

DECEMBER 5
The Whos greeted the Grinch with smiles and heeheehees and hahahas. The Grinch tried to smile back, but the corners of his mouth turned down and he said, "Hello, you—." He wanted to say "boring." He wanted to say "stupid." Instead, he grunted, "—friendly Whos."

DECEMBER 6
While they were at work and in school, the Grinch broke into the rabbit hutches and stole all the rabbits from Whoville. Then he broke into the houses and found all the plastic eggs and chocolate bunnies and cute little Easter chick drawings. When his sleigh was full, he trudged back up Mount Crumpit.

DECEMBER 7
The day of Easter came and went. The Grinch perched on a cold rock, his mouth twisting from a frown to a smile as he imagined all the Whos' sad faces. All alone in the cold, cold wind, he stuffed all those chocolate bunnies in his mouth...until he had a HUGE belly ache.

DECEMBER 8
All through the year, the Grinch stayed up in his cold, damp cave. When the evenings grew darker and the leaves began to fall, he realized another holiday was coming. And this next holiday was a terribly fun one too: Halloween. He couldn't allow the Whos to have that much fun.

DECEMBER 9
So the Grinch ripped the faded pink streamers from his sleigh and decorated it with pictures of black cats and smiling vampires and green monsters (not too different from himself!). Once again, he rolled down Mount Crumpit.

DECEMBER 10
The Whos greeted him with smiles and heeheehees and hahahas. While the kids were in school and the parents at work, he collected all the jack-o-lanterns from the front porches. He ripped pictures of ghosts off walls and fake spider webs from doorways, and he stuffed every costume he found into a sack. Finally, he scrounged in cupboards and stole all the Halloween candy.

DECEMBER 11
Up on Mount Crumpit, the Grinch sat, his feet freezing on the rocky ground. He remembered the belly ache from Easter. As you can imagine, that memory made him EVEN GROUCHIER.

So he decided not to eat all the Halloween candy this time. It would be so much worse if he wasted it. So, he went to the side of the mountain and dumped it all over the edge: the jack-o-lanterns, the ghost pictures, and the costumes. And on top of that, packages of gummy bears and caramel and chocolate bars and lollipops.

DECEMBER 12
One month later, when it came time for the next holiday, the Grinch kicked the Halloween pictures from his sleigh. He slapped turkeys he made by tracing his hand onto the side of the sleigh, and he traveled down Mount Crumpit to Whoville.

The Whos greeted him with smiles and heeheehees and hahahas. While the kids were playing in piles of dried leaves and the parents bought last minute necessities, he scraped the pumpkin and turkey pictures from the window of each house. He opened the refrigerators and stole the turkeys, the mashed potatoes and the corn. He piled all the pumpkin pies in one towering, wobbling stack. Then he drove the sled back up Mount Crumpit.

DECEMBER 13
The Grinch still hadn't forgotten that belly ache from Easter, so he went directly to the edge of the mountain and tipped the sled. Down flew the adorable turkey pictures. Down flew the turkey and the mashed potatoes and the corn. And like Frisbees in the wind, down flew the pumpkin pies.

DECEMBER 14
It began to snow, and the frost did not improve his mood. The Grinch grew icier every day. One week before Christmas, he took the wheels off his old, rickety sled. He ripped off all the Thanksgiving decorations. Then on Christmas Day, he put on his old, tattered Santa hat and tied the horn on his dog's head. Together, they stomped through the snow down to Whoville.

DECEMBER 15
When the Grinch reached the town square, the Whos greeted him with smiles and heeheehees and hahahas.

What is wrong with these Whos? he wondered.

They'd lost Easter and Halloween and Thanksgiving. They had to know a disaster was coming. They should be SAD. They should be AFRAID.

DECEMBER 16
Instead, Cindy Lou Who took hold of his hand and smiled a sweet, sweet smile. "I'll help you, Mr. Grinch!" she said, her eyes sparkling.

The Grinch grunted and squinted his grouchy eyes at her.

DECEMBER 17
"Come along, Mr. Grinch," said Cindy Lou's dad. "No need for you to do all the work at every holiday."

These Whos were not making sense. They were supposed to go to church or to do last-minute shopping so he could sneak into their houses and steal all their decorations and presents and goodies. Instead, they held his hand and pulled him through the town square and around to the back of the church.

DECEMBER 18
There was a beautiful gold sleigh with a soft, red velvet bench. The seat was heated, and so was the spot for the driver's feet. Four horses were hitched to the front. And this sleigh—it was filled with food and presents and Christmas trees and lights. And there was a brand new Santa suit on the seat.

"Here, Mr. Grinch! We think it will fit you well," said Cindy Lou Who. She jumped up and tugged off his old hat. Then she handed him the new clothes.

DECEMBER 19
The new Santa suit was soft and warm. And so cuddly, his dog rubbed up against him. The Grinch tried not to smile—he pushed his mouth muscles down as hard as he could. But the corners of his mouth turned up all the same.

Then the Mayor strode out of the church with a big smile on his face. "There you are! Mr. Grinch, we'd like to thank you. We've all been so caught up in making the perfect holidays, that we forgot about our poor, poor neighbors on the other side of Mount Crumpit."

The Grinch scowled. The poor neighbors? Yes, the people in Poorville had only cold huts and cold porridge and torn clothing and no TVs.   

"What about them?" grumbled the Grinch.

DECEMBER 20
"Well, the mayor of Poorville came by to thank me after Halloween. For the decorations and the candy. I didn't understand. Then he came again a month ago, after Thanksgiving. He said everyone was so grateful for the food and the adorable turkey drawings, especially the nicest one, in a hand shape." The Mayor nodded very wisely.

But the Grinch still did not understand. "Where did the poor people in Poorville get all these things?"

DECEMBER 21
The Mayor clapped the Grinch on the back. Cindy Lou Who giggled and held onto his hand.

Cindy Lou's dad said, "Oh, you don't need to play with us anymore. We guessed your little trick, Mr. Grinch. We know you've been taking all our things."

DECEMBER 22
The Grinch's eyebrows squeezed together. "You know? And you're not mad?"

The mayor clapped him on the back again. "Of course not. Not when we realized you were showing us how important it is to SHARE!"

DECEMBER 23
When the Mayor clapped the Grinch on the back a third time, and Cindy Lou Who wrapped her little arms around him for a humongous hug, that too-small heart not only grew, it grew bigger.

And bigger.

And bigger.

And bigger.

And it got STUCK.

DECEMBER 24
Stuck big. Warmed by such a big heart, the Grinch smiled and smiled. And the Mayor pushed the Grinch onto the toasty, plush seat of the new sled. "Thank you for delivering our donations to our neighbors in Poorville!"

"Thank you, Mr. Grinch," said a Who-woman.

"Thank you, Mr. Grinch!" called a Who-man.

"Mr. Grinch?" asked Cindy Lou Who, "Will you come to our house for Christmas dinner today? Please?"

The Grinch nodded, and as he drove the four beautiful horses toward Poorville, his new, warm heart—stuck big—would not let the smile slip from his face.



 Note: I do not own the rights to The Grinch. But I am a very big fan.










Friday, November 21, 2014

Cover Reveal: WALKING SHADOW


My critique partner Emma L. Adams is releasing her newest book, and I get to present the stunning cover! Check out all the beautiful covers below!


When you have a connection to the Darkworld, nowhere is truly safe.

Ashlyn has found a new home in Blackstone, but when a spate of grave robberies across the country spark fears that someone is practicing illegal sorcery, she comes under the radar of the Venantium, the protectors of the Barrier between her world and the Darkworld, who are suspicious of any sorcerer unaware of their origins.

The trouble is, what Ash does know might just get her killed.

Sufferers of the dangerous condition known as the vampire’s curse are being brutally killed, and the latest victim is Leo’s guardian, the ex-head of the Venantium. Ash determines to help Leo find out what’s really going on, but it isn’t long before events are spiralling out of control. The dead are rising from their graves, and the barriers around Blackstone are threatened by a demon which looks exactly like Ash herself…


Release date: 1st December 2014

Add on 
Goodreads!


And here's more information on the first in the series, Darkness Watching  (Darkworld #1).

Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she's losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits – and the darkness is staring back.

Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone - little knowing that it isn't coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.

All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life - but demons never give up, and their focus on Ash has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she's looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is.

In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be...
 

Reviews

“In the vein of Buffy and Supernatural, DARKNESS WATCHING found that perfect balance between the freaky and the fun.” - YA author Jen Estes

"Demons, Sorcerers, evil, and secrets. Could you ask for a better supernatural suspense set-up?...It's full of suspense, danger, evil and dark humor. The plot is original, and completely gripping. From the first page, this book had me hooked." - Rose at 
Desert Rose Reviews

"A suspenseful first part to an intriguing new fantasy series." - 
Sharon Stevenson, supernatural author

“The story is extremely well-written with effortless, flowing prose, and the original magic-user mythology and Darkworld creatures are very entertaining. The author took what might have been over-done premise and twisted it into something very fresh and exciting.” - Lexa Cain, author of Soul Cutter

"This is a wildly different story than any I have read about demons...I loved it!" - Kathy at 
Bookmarks, Spoilers, and Happily-Ever-Afters


Fear's Touch: A Darkworld Novella is also available now!

This is a standalone novella, intended as a prequel to the Darkworld series. As it takes place one year before the events of Darkness Watching, it doesn’t contain any spoilers (although it does hint at things which will come into play later in the series).

Freakish powers and staring demon eyes aren’t part of Claudia’s plans for the future – and neither is ending up stuck at the gloomy, isolated University of Blackstone. But bad life decisions are the least of her problems, when a split-second decision to help out another magic-user puts her in the crossfire of both the shadow-beasts and the creepy organisation which hunt them down.

Claudia’s never had to worry about making the right choice before, but every decision matters when you have a Darkworld connection. Soon, she’s going to have to make a choice: turn her back on the crazy and try to live a normal life, or take the monsters down.

But in a world where everyone seems to have secrets, can she really trust her fellow magic-users – or even herself?




Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing bizarre, fantastical stories. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also entertained her creative writing group and baffled her tutors by submitting strange fantasy tales featuring dragons and supernatural monsters to workshops. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).

Now a reluctant graduate, Emma refuses to settle down and be normal. When not embarking on wild excursions, she edits and proofreads novels for various publishing houses and reads an insane number of books. At the age of 21, she signed a publishing contract with Curiosity Quills Press for the first book in her creepy urban fantasy Darkworld series. DARKNESS WATCHING was published in October 2013, the first in a five-book series.
Emma’s books tend to contain monsters, magic, and wildly inappropriate humour.