Friday, November 29, 2013

Bite Before Christmas Giveaway

Happy Black Friday!  It's time for our annual Bite Before Christmas Giveaway here at From the Shadows.

This year we are giving away an ebook copy of Blood and Mistletoe, an Ivy Granger urban fantasy holiday novella, and a signed Blood and Mistletoe poster to one lucky winner!

Blood and Mistletoe (Ivy Granger #1.5) by E.J. Stevens

Holidays are worse than a full moon for making people crazy. In Harborsmouth, where many of the residents are undead vampires or monstrous fae, the combination may prove deadly.

Ivy Granger, psychic private investigator, returns to the streets of Harborsmouth in this addition to the bestselling urban fantasy series.

Holidays are Hell, a point driven home when a certain demon attorney returns with information regarding a series of bloody murders. Five Harborsmouth residents have been killed and every victim has one thing in common--they are fae. Whoever is killing faeries must be stopped, but they only leave one clue behind--a piece of mistletoe floating in a pool of the victim's blood.

The holidays just got interesting. Too bad this case may drive Ivy mad before the New Year. Heck, she'll be lucky to survive Christmas.

***Bite Before Christmas Giveaway***

To enter, use the easy peasy Rafflecopter form below.  Giveaway ends December 18, 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway .

Monday, November 25, 2013

Excerpt: Moth by Daniel Arenson

Today we have a special excerpt from Moth by Daniel Arenson.  Daniel is also giving away copies of Moth on Goodreads.  Goodreads giveaway ends November 30th.

Moth (The Moth Saga #1) by Daniel Arenson.

They say the world used to turn. They say that night would follow day in an endless dance. They say that dawn rose, dusk fell, and we worshiped both sun and stars.

That was a long time ago.

My people are the fortunate. We live in daylight, blessed in the warmth of the sun. Yet across the line, the others lurk in eternal night, afraid... and alone in the dark.

I was born in the light. I was sent into darkness. This is my story.



They entered the shadows, seeking a missing child.
            Torin swallowed, clutched the hilt of his sword, and gazed around with darting eyes. The trees still grew densely here--mossy oaks with trunks like melting candles, pines heavy with needles and cones, and birches with peeling white bark. Yet this was not the forest Torin had always known. The light was wrong, a strange ocher that bronzed the trees and kindled floating pollen. The shadows were too long, and the sun hung low in the sky, hiding behind branches like a shy maiden peering between her window shutters. Torin had never seen the sun shine from anywhere but overhead, and this place sent cold sweat trickling down his back.
            "This is wrong," he said. "Why would she come this far?"
            Bailey walked at his side, holding her bow, her quiver of arrows slung across her back. Her two braids, normally a bright gold, seemed eerily metallic in this place. The dusk glimmered against her breastplate--not the shine they knew from home, but a glow like candles in a dungeon.
            "I don't know," she said. "Yana has been strange since her parents died in the plague. Maybe she thought it would be an adventure."
            Despite himself, Torin shivered. "An adventure? In the dusk? In this cursed place no sensible person should ever enter?"
            Bailey raised an eyebrow and smiled. "Why not? Aren't you feeling adventurous now?"
            "No." He shook his head vehemently. "Adventure means sneaking out to Old Garin's farm to steal beets, mixing rye with ale, or climbing the old maple tree in the village square." He looked around at the shadowy forest, and his hand felt clammy around his hilt. "Not this place. Not the dusk."
            They kept walking, heading farther east, deeper into the shadows. Torin knew what the elders said. Thousands of years ago, the world used to turn. The sun rose and fell, and night followed day in an endless dance. Men woke at dawn, worked until the sunset, and slept through the darkness.
            Torin shivered. He didn't know if he believed those stories. In any case, those days were long gone. The dance had ended. The world had fallen still. Torin was a child of eternal sunlight, of a day that never ended. Yet now . . . now they were wandering the borderlands, the dusky strip--a league wide--that was neither day nor night, claimed by neither his people nor the others . . . those who dwelled in the dark.
            A shadow darted ahead.
            Torin leaped and drew his sword.
            A rabbit raced across the forest and disappeared into a burrow.
            Bailey stared at his drawn sword, eyes wide, then burst into laughter.
            "Protect me, brave Sir Torin Greenmoat!" she said, doubling over. "Will you defend me from the evil Bunny of the Night?"
            Torin grumbled and sheathed his blade, cursing himself. He had come of age last autumn, turning eighteen, and he had joined the Village Guard, yet it seemed Bailey would forever mock him.
            "Hush," he said. "It could have been them."
            She rolled her eyes. "They don't walk this far dayside, if they even exist."
            "How do you know?"
            Bailey groaned. "Everybody knows that. It's still too bright here. The nightfolk only live in the deep darkness." She lowered her voice. "It's dark as the deepest cave there, Torin. It's darker than the soul of a killer, darker than toast burnt in dragonfire, darker than the empty spaces inside your skull. So dark you can't see your own feet. That's where they lurk . . . scuttling, whispering, sharpening their claws . . ." She inched closer to him and smiled wickedly, the orange light reflecting in her eyes. "When all light is gone, that is where they'll . . . leap at you."
            She lunged toward him, clawing the air. Torin muttered and pushed her back.
            "This is no time for your games," he said. "A child is missing. Until we find Yana, I'm keeping my hand on my sword. And you should nock an arrow."
            She blew out her breath noisily, fluttering her lips. "Yana is thirteen, rebellious, and wants attention. We'll find her long before we hit the true darkness. Let's keep walking, and do try not to wet yourself." She winked. "I promise you, no bunnies will hurt you, Babyface."
            He sighed. She knew he hated that name. Even at eighteen, Torin still stood a little shorter than Bailey, and people often said he looked young for his age, his eyes too large, his cheeks too soft, and his chest too smooth. Torin had hoped that joining the Village Guard would make Bailey see him as a man, not a callow boy, but so far his hopes had been dashed. Standing almost six feet tall, preferring leggings and boots to gowns and slippers, Bailey wasn't easy to impress. Jumping at rabbits wasn't helping either.
            They walked on. Torin didn't wet himself, but with every step, his heart raced faster and more sweat trickled. As they headed farther east, the sun sank lower behind them. The shadows deepened, stretching across the forest floor like slender men in black robes.
            The forest began to thin out. Back in Timandra, in the full light of day, the trees grew thick and lush and rich with birds. Here in the dusk, they faded like receding hair on an aging man's scalp. The verdant woods dwindled into a few scattered trees, stunted and bent, their leaves gray. The soil lost its rich brown hue, darkening into charcoal thick with black stones. Another mile and the sun actually touched the horizon behind them, casting red beams between the last trees. The air grew colder and Torin hugged himself.
            "We should go back," he said, hating that his voice sounded so choked. "We've come too far. We're almost at the night."
            A lump filled his throat like a boiled egg, too large to swallow. Torin had seen the night before. Like everyone in the Village Guard, he had climbed the Watchtower upon the hill. He had gazed across the dusk, this withered no man's land, and beheld the great shadow in the east. But that had been different. In the safety of the Watchtower, the daylight upon him and the forest rustling below, it was easy to be brave. Now he walked toward the very lair of the beasts.
            "Scared?" Bailey asked, smiling crookedly.
            Torin nodded. "Yes and you should be too. They live near here." He took a shuddering breath. "The people of the night. Elorians." The word tasted like ash.
            Bailey snickered and kept walking, her braids swinging. "If you ask me, 'lorians are just a myth." She trudged up a hillside strewn with boulders. "People who live in eternal night, their eyes large as an owl's, their skin milk white, their souls pitch black?" She snorted. "It's just a myth to keep children away from the darkness."
            Torin followed reluctantly, though every beat of his heart screamed to turn around, to head back west, to return to the eternal daylight of his home. Bailey could snicker at the stories, but Torin wasn't so dismissive. If the world indeed used to turn, and day and night would cycle like summer and winter, would people not have lived here once? When the world had frozen, leaving Timandra in light and Eloria in darkness, would the people here not wither into twisted demons, hateful of the light, thirsty for the blood of honest folk?
            "Torin!" Bailey looked over her shoulder at him. The low sun painted her a bloody red. "Are you following, or will you run back to safety while I go looking?"
            He grumbled and trudged uphill after her. "If I turn back now, I'd never hear the end of it."
            She grinned and winked. "That's the spirit, Winky."
            He sighed. It was another name he hated. Years ago, while wrestling with Bailey, he had fallen upon a stone and scratched his left eye. Since then his pupil had remained fully dilated, hiding most of the iris. He could see only smudges from that eye now, a blurred world like a melted painting. Folks joked that his eyes were like the world's halves, one green and good, the other black and dead. To Bailey, he had simply become Winky.
            Since his parents had died in the plague ten years ago--a pestilence many claimed the Elorians had spread--Torin had been living with Bailey and her grandfather. The young woman, a year his senior, could always draw him into trouble. Whenever Bailey climbed the Old Maple, she would challenge him to climb too, then laugh as he dangled and fell. Whenever she ran across the fields, she'd challenge him to a race, then tease him relentlessly for losing. Torin had always been a little slower, a little clumsier, a little meeker, and even here and now--old enough to serve in the Village Guard, tracking a missing child through the shadows--she could goad him.
            He shook his head as he walked uphill. Sometimes he loved Bailey like a true sister. Sometimes he thought her beautiful, brave, and his best friend. And sometimes, like now, he thought her the most stubborn, reckless soul this side of darkness.
            Several feet ahead of him, she reached the hilltop, froze, and gasped.
            Torin's heart raced. He clutched his hilt and drew a foot of steel. For an instant, he was sure the Elorians were swarming toward her. He raced uphill, boots scattering pebbles, and came to stand beside her.
            His hand loosened around his hilt, letting his sword slide back into its scabbard.
            Bailey turned toward him, her eyes damp, and smiled tremulously. "It's beautiful, Torin. It's so beautiful."
            He looked ahead, saw the land of Eloria, and could barely breathe.
            Beautiful? he thought. It looked about as beautiful as the black heart of a viper.
            From the Watchtower back home, the night seemed a mere smudge of ink, a blackness that spread into the horizon. But standing here upon the edge of dusk, he beheld a new world. Lifeless black hills rolled into the distance. Beyond them, mountains rose against a deep indigo sky. Wind moaned, scattering dust and invading Torin's clothes with icy fingers. No plants grew here; he saw no grass, no trees, no life at all.
            Upon one hill, several miles away, rose the black obelisk men called the Nighttower, a twin to the Watchtower back home. Torin had seen it before from the safety of daylight, a needle in the distance. Seeing the edifice so close chilled him, a strange feeling like seeing one's profile between two mirrors, a vision familiar yet uncomfortably different. The Nighttower rose like a stalagmite from the hilltop, black and craggy. Some men claimed it was a natural structure, carved by wind and rain; others claimed the Elorians had built their own tower to observe Timandra. Even standing here, Torin could not decide, but he had no desire to get any closer.
            Above all else, even more than the barren stone and looming tower, it was the sky that spun Torin's head. Countless small, glowing dots covered the firmaments like holes punched through a black blanket. An orb floated among them, as large as the sun back home, glowing silver. It took Torin a moment to realize--it was the moon. He had seen the moon before from the dayside, a wisp like a mote of dust, but here it shone like a great lantern.
            "The stars and the moon," Bailey whispered. "I've heard of them. The lights of the night."
            He grabbed her arm. "Bailey, this is enough. We've crossed the dusk; this is Eloria itself ahead. This land is forbidden." He tried to tug her back downhill. "We go home. Now."
            She refused to budge. "Wait. Look, Winky. Down there."
            He followed her gaze, staring toward the distant land of darkness. A lump lay below upon the eastern hillside.
            "A boulder," he said.
            Bailey shook her head, braids swaying. "All the other boulders here are tall and jagged. This one's smooth."
            She pulled her arm free and walked downhill, heading deeper into the darkness. Torin cursed and looked behind him. Back in the west, the sun still shone and trees still grew; they were gray and twisted nearby, green and lush farther back. Far above them, he could see the top of the Watchtower and the blue sky of Timandra behind it.
            Home. Safety.
            He turned away, muttering curses, and began walking downhill after Bailey.
            "She always does this to me," he grumbled.
            Thanks to her taunts, he had fallen from trees, almost drowned swimming after her in the river, and nearly gagged during a pie eating contest. And now this--walking into the land of darkness itself.
            He drew his sword and held the blade before him. He had never swung it in battle; he wondered if that would change now. As he moved nightward, his boots scattering pebbles, he kept glancing around, seeking them. He had seen countless statues, paintings, and effigies of Elorians, and now those visions returned to him, mocking him with oversized eyes, sharp teeth, and claws. He sucked in his breath and held it.
            Bailey knelt ahead over the lump. She looked up at him, and the last beams of sunlight filled her eyes. They gleamed, two orange lanterns.
            "Torin," she whispered, voice choked.
            He crossed the last few steps toward her. He knelt at her side, looked at the shadow below, and lowered his head.
            We found her.
            Yana lay on her back, eyes glassy and staring. Her skin was pale gray, and her hands were still balled into fists. Three gashes gaped open across her chest, and blood soaked her tunic, deep crimson in the night. A steel star, its points serrated, pierced her neck.
            Bailey's hand shook as she closed the girl's eyes.
            "I think we should leave now," she whispered.
            Torin nodded and they lifted the girl. All the way here, they had taunted each other, laughing and groaning. They walked home in silence, leaving the darkness and returning to a day that seemed less bright.

Want to immerse yourself in the world of Moth?  Check out The Music of Moth by Ekaterina here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Q+A with S.J. Harper (Cursed) + Giveaway

Please welcome today's paranormal guest authors Samantha Sommersby and Jeanne C. Stein who form the writing team S.J. Harper.  Samantha and Jeanne are the authors of Cursed.

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

  I really didn't start writing seriously until I moved to Colorado almost twenty years ago. I had played around with writing before that, but it was joining Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and getting involved in a critique group that made the difference.

Sam:  I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I came from a very pragmatic family and it never occurred to me that it was something I could pursue as a career. I put writing aside for graduate school, career, and family. It wasn’t until I was forty that I returned to it. My job was very demanding and I turned to writing as a way to relieve stress. Once I rediscovered that passion, there was no turning back. In 2007 I left my full time job – best decision ever.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

Vampire novels and movies have always been my guilty pleasure. Then I got hooked on Buffy, and the rest, as they say, is history!!

Sam:  And this is one of the reasons Jeanne and I are such good friends! I grew up watching “B” horror films and reading Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes before graduating to Stephen King and Anne Rice. Then there was the Buffy period – which I’ve never gotten over.

EJ:  If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?

  I'd like to be an immortal. I'd love to be around to see where we go as a race in the next hundred years. Maybe it would be disappointing and/or appalling, but I'm an optimist. I'd like to think we'll finally see the errors of our ways.

Sam:  Supernatural talent? I’d love to have the ability to heal. Not just myself, but others.

EJ:  Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.

I hope they find Cursed entertaining, sexy, exciting, well-written and clamor for more!! Emma is a great character, immortal but with human frailties. She and her partner, Zack, are FBI agents whose mission is to seek redemption by saving others. Emma was cursed for failing to protect Persephone. Zack is a werewolf whose past as a black-ops assassin still haunts him.

Sam:  As Jeanne pointed out, there’s something in CURSED for everyone. There’s a mystery to solve, some suspense, romance, magic. But most importantly are the characters. I really admire both Emma and Zack. They’re supernatural creatures, yes, but they are individuals readers can relate to. They’ve made mistakes, they have struggles, but they are resilient, heroic, and have wonderful hearts.

EJ:  If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?

  For Zack, I picture a rugged David Beckham kind of character. For Emma, maybe Sandra Bullock, who can look both plain and glamorous with a change of hairdo. I'm not too versed on the younger actors and actresses of today, so I'll leave it up to you to come up with actors that fit the bill.

Sam:  My other thought might be Chris Hemsworth for Zack. Nina Dobrev for Emma. Vital, though, would be the chemistry between the leads. They would have to click and pull off being able to work side by side yet exude an underlying heat. With Emma and Zack it’s apparent they connect because they share a mission, they are alike on so many levels – but there’s also a subtext, an underlying passion.

Cursed (Fallen Siren #1) by S.J. Harper.

Meet FBI Agents Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong. She's cursed. He's damned. Together, they make one hell of a team.

Emma Monroe is a Siren, cursed by the gods and bound to earth to atone for an ancient failure. She’s had many names and many lives, but only one mission: redemption. Now that she works missing persons cases for the FBI, it could be just a rescue away. Unless her new partner leads her astray.

Special Agent Zack Armstrong just transferred into the San Diego Field Office. He’s a werewolf, doing his best to beat back the demons from his dark and dangerous past. As a former Black Ops sniper, he’s taken enough lives. Now he’s doing penance by saving them.

Emma and Zack’s very first case draws them deep into the realm of the paranormal, and forces them to use their own supernatural abilities. But that leaves each of them vulnerable, and there are lines partners should not cross. As secrets are revealed and more women go missing, one thing becomes clear: as they race to save the victims, Emma and Zack risk losing themselves.

Release Date: October 1, 2013 (Roc)
Add to Goodreads

Thank you Samantha and Jeanne for joining us here today at From the Shadows!

To learn more about the Samantha and Jeanne and their writing, please visit the S.J. Harper website.

***Cursed Giveaway***

We are giving away a Kindle copy of Cursed, the first novel in the Fallen Siren series by S.J. Harper.

To enter, please leave a comment on this post (include your email address so we may contact you if you win).  This giveaway is open internationally to anyone who can utilize a Kindle book.  Giveaway ends November 27, 2013 at midnight EST.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Tyger Tyger Week

I love the Goblin Wars series and am excited to announce that Tyger Tyger, the first book in the Goblin Wars series by Kersten Hamilton, is FREE this week at Apple, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon!

Read my review of Tyger Tyger here.

Download your Kindle, iBook, or Nook copy today!

**These deals change rapidly, so please check the price before clicking for download.**

Friday, November 1, 2013

All Hallow's Read Giveaway Winner

Congratulations Natalie the winner of our annual All Hallow's Read Giveaway at From the Shadows!  Natalie will receive ebook copies of THE PIRATE CURSE, the fifth and final book in the Spirit Guide young adult paranormal series, and GHOST LIGHT, the second full-length novel in the bestselling Ivy Granger urban fantasy series.

Thank you to all who entered.  Your comments were so much fun to read.  I hope you all had a spooktacular Halloween!

**Winners selected using**