Monday, November 30, 2015

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Inner Sea with Howard Andrew Jones + Giveaway

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Los Angeles with Jamie Schultz

Come on boys and ghouls!  It's time to hop on Route 666 for a spooktacular Paranormal Road Trip.

This week's stop is the Inner Sea and our special guide is Howard Andrew Jones the author of the Pathfinder Tales fantasy novel BEYOND THE POOL OF STARS.

The Inner Sea's Top 5 Spooky Places

It might seem that a fantasy world like Golarion is so rife with the supernatural that you’d trip over it around every corner, but there’s a difference between the everyday use of magics—employed much like modern folks might use cell phones or microwaves—and the eerie, spine-tingling sense that something’s afoot “man was not meant to know!” Here are five spots in and around Sargava, the breakaway colony of the demon-haunted Chelaxian Empire.

Chelish Fleet Wreckage

In Desperation Bay, off the very coast of tropical Sargava, lies the wreck of a vast fleet sent to the bottom during a long and brutal fight with pirates paid to defend the homeland. It molders still, and is said to be the home to ghosts and other troubled undead, and the lair of monsters ready to rend the flesh of explorers eager to loot the sunken treasures.

Fortress of Fangs

High in the Bandu Hills sits a lonely outpost. Fangs and horns of hundreds of great beasts are worked into its crenelated heights—nothing besides remains, save for the lonely wind, and the shattered remnants of the city the fortress must once have shielded.

Arena of Crown’s End

Crown’s End is the most unsavory settlement within Sargava, and is infamous as a home for pirates, scoundrels, and black marketeers. It’s also a minor stop in the fighting circuit of the southern coast, and its arena is built into the ruin of an ancient temple. No one seems to know what exactly was stored within the temple in ancient days, but here are dim hallways and subterranean chambers that even stalwart guards fear to enter, owing to strange noises and moans from creatures that cannot be seen.

The Stasis Fields

Deep in the highlands of Sargava intrepid explorers chanced upon a hidden labyrinth of caves. They sought a lost treasure and instead discovered what some theorize must have been a vast underground prison. Whoever set the prison in place has long since vanished, but the prisoners—all of them mighty warriors of frightening aspect—remain in stasis.  No one can say when, and if, they might return to life, and what they would do if they walked free…

Kaava Lands

Haunted both by carnivorous lizards and head-hunting boggards, the Kaava Lands are no place for the faint of heart. Yet hidden in the cool green depths are said to be ruins of great civilizations, among them a wondrous city of the lizardfolk lying beyond the Pool of Stars, a fabled lake shining in the jungle depths.

Thank you Howard for giving us such a haunting tour of Inner Sea! 

To learn more about Howard Andrew Jones and his books, please visit his website.  You can add Beyond the Pool of Stars to your TBR list here on Goodreads, and don't miss your chance to win a copy of Beyond the Pool of Stars below!

Beyond the Pool of Stars Pathfinder Tales fantasy by Howard Andrew Jones

 Beyond the Pool of Stars Giveaway

We are giving away TWO trade paperback copies of Beyond the Pool of Stars by Howard Andrew Jones.

To enter, please a comment on this post and include your email address so we may contact you if you win.  This giveaway is open to the US and Canada.  Giveaway ends December 13, 2015 midnight EST. **This giveaway is now over.**

Fortress of Fangs, Arena of Crown's End, The Stasis Fields, or Kaava Lands—which Inner Sea location do you think sounds the spookiest?

On our last Paranormal Road Trip we visited Los Angeles with Rachel Marks.  Next week we'll be traveling to Soul's Harbor with Angela Dennis.

Join us for another spine-tingling Paranormal Road Trip...
if you dare!

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Bite Before Christmas Giveaway

The Bite Before Christmas paranormal book giveaway at From the Shadows win blood and mistletoe

Happy Black Friday!  In addition to the annual Black Friday Shadow Sight 99 cent Kindle deal, it's time for our Bite Before Christmas Giveaway.

Kick back, relax, and grab a slice of pie.  We're making it easy to enjoy these Black Friday events.

Bite Before Christmas Giveaway

We are giving away winner's choice of a signed trade paperback copy or signed postcard and ebook copy of BLOOD AND MISTLETOE!

Blood and Mistletoe Ivy Granger urban fantasy novella

Blood and Mistletoe (Ivy Granger #1.2) by E.J. Stevens.

Holidays are worse than a full moon for making people crazy. In Harborsmouth, where many of the residents are bloodsucking 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.

Blood and Mistletoe is an Ivy Granger series novella.

Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Add to Goodreads.

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  Giveaway ends December 8, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Burning Bright Audiobook Release Giveaway Winner

Congratulations Alisha S. the winner of the Burning Bright Audiobook Release Party Giveaway
Burning Bright Ivy Granger Psychic Detective Urban Fantasy Audiobook

Alisha will receive a signed BURNING BRIGHT postcard, BURNING BRIGHT audiobook download from, and custom E.J. Stevens earbuds.

Earbuds E.J. Stevens Audiobook

Thank you for all for entering, and don't forget to come back tomorrow when we kick off our annual The Bite Before Christmas Giveaway.

Happy Holidays!

*Giveaway winner randomly selected using Rafflecopter*

Monday, November 23, 2015

Shadow Sight 99 Cent Black Friday Urban Fantasy Deal

It's time for the annual Ivy Granger SHADOW SIGHT Black Friday Week book sale.

For a limited time, SHADOW SIGHT, the first novel in the award-winning Ivy Granger urban fantasy series, is at the low price of 99 cents.  Just in time for the holidays!

Send your virtual stocking stuffers, load that gift Kindle, or stock up on holiday vacation reading.  But act fast, this sale will be gone before you can say ho! ho! ho!  Here is all you need to know about Shadow Sight and the Ivy Granger series.

Shadow Sight Ivy Granger paranormal urban fantasy by E.J. Stevens

Shadow Sight (Ivy Granger, Psychic Detective #1) by E.J. Stevens

Welcome to Harborsmouth, where monsters walk the streets unseen by humans…except those with second sight, like Ivy Granger.

Some things are best left unseen...

Ivy Granger's second sight is finally giving her life purpose. Ivy and her best friend Jinx may not be raking in the dough, but their psychic detective agency pays the bills—most of the time. Their only worry is the boredom of a slow day and the occasional crazy client—until a demon walks through their door.

Demons are never a good sign...

A demon attorney representing the water fae? Stranger things have happened. And things are about to get very, very strange as a bloodthirsty nightmare hunts the city of Harborsmouth.

There's blood in the water...

Kelpies have a reputation for eating humans. Unfortunately, Kelpies are the clients. When an Unseelie faerie this evil stalks the waterways of your city, you have to make hard choices.

The lesser of two evils...

Release Date:  July 24, 2012
Genre:  Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Add to Goodreads.

Books in this series: Shadow Sight (Ivy Granger #1), Blood and Mistletoe (Ivy Granger #1.5), Ghost Light (Ivy Granger #2), Club Nexus (Ivy Granger #2.5), Burning Bright (Ivy Granger #3), Birthright (Ivy Granger #4).

Praise for Shadow Sight and the Ivy Granger series

"This must-read urban fantasy series is entertaining and fun! ...Ivy continues to be a supremely likable kick-ass heroine."
-Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews

"These books are always well written... Highly recommended to adult urban fantasy/fantasy fans!"
-Rabid Reads

"If you've been looking for an enjoyable urban fantasy I would definitely recommend checking it out."

"The writing is strong, the characters are genuine, and the action is fast and furious. ...A good series for urban fantasy fans."
-If You Only Knew

"The worlds are well developed, the characters are brilliantly done and the story is enchanting.  ...Ivy is one of my all-time favorite Urban fantasy characters."
-The Reading Diaries

"As I followed Ivy through the case, building her army of misfits, I started to figure out, “Oh shit, this is going to be huge!”  When the final scene starts to unfold, I was glued to my spot, listening intently as the battle began!  Shadow Sight was a great start to a new series that I look forward to reading, or shall I say listening to!" [audiobook review]
-Paranormaly Yours

"This book reminded me why I love urban fantasies"
-The Reader's Hollow

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Left-Hand Way Book Giveaway Winner

Congratulations Stephanie B. the winner of The Left-Hand Way Book Giveaway at From the Shadows!  Stephanie will receive a hardcover copy of THE LEFT-HAND WAY by Tom Doyle.

The Left Hand Way urban Fantasy by Tom Doyle

Thank you to all who entered!

**Winner randomly selected using Winner will be notified by email.**

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Q+A with Serena Gilley (Licked by the Flame)

Q+A with Serena Gilley (Licked by the Flame) paranormal romance dragon shifters

Please welcome today's guest author, Serena Gilley!  Serena is the author of the The Forbidden Realm series, including new release LICKED BY THE FLAME.

Q+A with Serena Gilley

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

I started writing as soon as I was old enough to hold a crayon. I loved books and was fascinated by the magical notion that all those confusing lines on the page could somehow tell a story. I was desperate to learn the alphabet, and made my mother spell words for me one letter at a time so I could write stories for her. I never quit making magic with words, although nowadays I use spell-check to help me out instead of my mom.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

  There's just so much you can do! I love the freedom to create things that have never existed before, and I love the idea of being bound by a completely new set of rules. I've had so much fun imagining what it would be like to be a part of The Forbidden Realm, but even more fun when my magical characters have interaction with regular non-magical folks. There's a lot of freedom in writing paranormal and it really feeds my soul to play "what if?" at the keyboard.

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

I have absolutely fallen in love with my dragon, Nicolai, from LICKED BY THE FLAME. I had so much fun building his world and I am looking forward to revisiting him in future books. I might even do a spin off and write a whole dragon realm series. If I could pick one of my characters to become, it would be a dragon. They are strong and powerful, plus they can fly and shapeshift and communicate telepathically. And breathe fire! Yeah, I would totally be a dragon.

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

  A hot, sexy dragon! He's definitely an alpha male, but he gets in touch with his softer side when he falls in love with Lianne. I hope readers love following along on their journey toward each other. There are some exciting "save-the-world" plot lines swirling around them, plus the fairies Raea and Kyne from the first two books in the series are there to lend a hand even as their romance continues to grow. A love building a complicated story with lots of twists and turns, but mostly I think my readers will love the sizzling attraction between Nic and Lianne.

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

  What a fun question!  Let's see--who would I cast... Nicolai is special. I'm not sure any one actor really fits my vision of him, but I'd love it if I could do a mash-up! I would probably start with someone who has smarts and a ready-for-action attitude like Daniel Craig, but he's going to look like David Gandy and have sexy tribal tattoos like Dwayne Johnson. For his spunky co-star, Lianne, I would cast Scarlett Johansson. She could give Lianne just the right combo of brains, confidence, and sex appeal, I think. And then I'd invite them all over to my house for a cook-out. Wouldn't that be a blast?

Thank you Serena for joining us here today at From the Shadows!
Licked by the Flame by Serena Gilley dragon shifter paranormal romance

Licked by the Flame (The Forbidden Realm #2) by Serena Gilley.

Shape-shifting Dragon Nic Vladik has infiltrated a human technological organization to monitor their efforts on alternate fuel sources. It seems they have discovered the power being emitted from one of the Dragons' facilities. Nic must keep the humans from learning the truth about this Dragon stronghold at all costs and deter them from tapping into their heat source. That means stopping an incredibly sexy scientist from ruining his race.

Lianne McGowan is a human scientist sent to assist with the site. She believes this heat source will help save the planet and she will stop at nothing to learn more and discover the full truth about what lies beneath this mysterious mountain. But when she meets the sinfully seductive and dangerous Nic and dark forces start to work against them, she begins to realize that there is far more to the story than she ever imagined...

Release Date: July 7, 2015
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Add to Goodreads.

Have a question for Serena?

Please ask in the comment section below.  We love comments!  Learn more about Serena Gilley and her books on her website.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Los Angeles with Rachel Marks

Paranormal Road Trip: Washington D.C. with R.S. Belcher

Come on boys and ghouls!  It's time to hop on Route 666 for a spooktacular Paranormal Road Trip.

This week's stop is Los Angeles and our special guide is Rachel Marks author of The Dark Cycle urban fantasy series, including DARKNESS BRUTAL.

L.A.'s Top 5 Spooky Places

Spooky Places from DARKNESS BRUTAL (Los Angeles Area):

The Hollywood Sign:

Raised in 1923, and probably the most famous spot in Los Angeles, it was only created to last a few weeks. It once lit up the night and read "Hollywood Land", but in 1949 the "Land" was removed. In the between years, 1932, a very tragic story took place at the letter "H". An unknown actress at the time, Peg Entwistle, climbed to the top of the letter and leapt to her death. Since that day there have been literally hundreds of stories about hikers and trespassers spotting a woman wandering the grounds, dressed in the fashion of the 30s.

Houdini Mansion:

At the hight of his fame, Harry Houdini purchased an extravagant home in Laurel Canyon. It was like a fortress, with towers and hidden passageways, and underground tunnels. This is where he supposedly hid his chest of magical secrets. To this day the chest remains undiscovered, even after a fire burned the strange mansion down in 1959. By 1960 a rumor began circulating that Houdini had in fact not died, but had been seen in and around the property. Some people say he can still be seen in the area today.

Magu Rock (PCH):

Legend has it that a young native woman was brutally murdered by a rich land owner on a property near the location of Magu Rock. Her spirit is said to still roam the shore, like a woman in white with dark holes for eyes.

Griffith Park:

The area of land that incorporates Griffith Park is very large, and many ghost stories were born in one or more of the famous locations on the property once owned by the Feliz family and is said to be cursed because of a family dispute about how the land was passed down. Today it consists of the Observatory, the Greek Amphitheater, the Los Angeles Zoo, the Museum of the American West, the Travel Town train museum, two golf courses, a merry-go-around, countless hiking and horse trails, and the Hollywood sign. The most interesting story to come from the cursed land originates in the picnic area. A haunted picnic table to be exact. In 1976 a young couple was making love on a picnic table when a large sycamore tree fell on them, killing them both. The couples ashes were tossed onto the spot by the family in memory, allowing them to be forever together. And to this day the table and tree are still entwined, because when the city workers went to clean up the fallen branches the tree moaned and shook. It's said the couple became a part of the tree that still hasn't been removed.

The Devil's Gate (Pasadena):

If the stories of disappearances and deaths surrounding the land, and the strange rock formation shaped like a devil’s head don’t make you wary, then the story behind the myths most certainly will.

The land has always had the humans steering clear. Before the dam was built in the 1920s the Arroyo Seco River ebbed and flowed over the area on a seasonal whim. At times it would rage, causing serious flooding, then other parts of the year it would be as dry as a bone. The Native Americans believed that the land was cursed and barred their own from going anywhere near it, many saying there was a dark doorway in the area.

In the late 1940s, a very real reason became evident, and many more people began viewing the dam as a porthole to Hell, as one event after another spread the mythos. These events were said to be triggered by the real-life magic workings of the famous rocket scientist and occultist, Jack Parsons, along with the science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. They believed the dam carried magical properties and powers, as the Native Americans had always said. But they also believed they could harness that power to call up something called, a moonchild; an anti-god that could abolish civilization as we know it.

These rituals and magical spells (dubbed the "Babylon Working") performed at the dam, as well as at Parsons' home, were said to have opened a portal to another world, allowing monstrous demons to come and go as they pleased.

Thank you Rachel for giving us such a haunting tour of L.A.! 

To learn more about Rachel Marks and her books, please visit her website.  Rachel will also return next month for an in depth Q+A to discuss her writing.  (You can read our Q+A with Rachel Marks here.)  You can add DARKNESS BRUTAL here on Goodreads.

Darkness Brutal urban fantasy The Dark Cycle series by Rachel Marks

What did you think of Rachel's picks for spooky places?

On our last Paranormal Road Trip we visited Washington D.C. with R.S. Belcher.  Next week we have a special week of Black Friday bookish deals and giveaways planned. The following week we'll be traveling to Inner Sea with Andrew Jones.

Join us for another spine-tingling Paranormal Road Trip...
if you dare!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Q+A with Vonnie Winslow Crist (Owl Light)

Q+A with Vonnie Winslow Crist (Owl Light) fantasy

Please welcome today's guest, Vonnie Winslow Crist. Vonnie is the author of The Greener Forest, The Enchanted Skean, Owl Light, and other fantastical books.

Q&A with Vonnie Winslow Crist

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

Vonnie:  I've loved words since I was young. An avid reader, I began to write poetry with some seriousness in my late twenties. It wasn't until ten years later that I started writing prose. At first, I tried to write mainstream fiction, but I found I couldn't keep the speculative elements out of the stories. I think I comfortably settled into the "speculative writer" niche in my late forties, and have happily been writing science fiction, fantasy, and horror poetry and prose for the last fifteen years.

EJ:  What brought you to the science fiction genre?

Vonnie:  Truth time here – I'd say Star Trek, Star Wars, and the books of Andre Norton hooked me on science fiction. Of course, once I was bitten by the science ficiton bug as a reader and television and movie viewer, it was only a matter of time before those influences appeared in my writing. I remember a poetry workshop many years ago, led by poet Roger Kamenetz, where the poets had to send in three examples prior to the workshop. Roger handed our poems back to us at the beginning of the session. Scrawled in big letters on the top of my stack of poems was: "Science Fiction poetry – interesting. You don't see this every day." From that moment on, I realized my poetry was speculative in nature.

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

Vonnie:  I'd like long life, though I wouldn't want to be a vampire. Perhaps some sort of Faerie being or person with Elven blood which granted longevity would do the trick. I'd like to know what happens next, and after that, and after that. The future has so many possibilites, I'd like to see a few of my science fiction dreams become a reality.

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

Vonnie:  Owl Light is a speculative story collection, so there's a variety of tales. If one story doesn't quite strike a reader's fancy, I suspect another one will. The book includes steampunk, other-world science fiction, a fractured fairy tale, ghost stories, dark fantasy, and more. It should be noted, every story takes place between dusk and dawn, and every story has one or more owls in it.

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

Vonnie:  Since this is a collection of short stories, there would be lots of roles to cast! That said, I can see: Johnny Depp as the time-traveler, Mr. Hopewell, in “The Clockwork Owl;” Zoe Saldana as the archeologist in the science fiction tale, “Pawprints of the Margay;” Christine Ricci would make a good Darleen in the ghost story, “Bad Moon Rising;” Liam Hemsworth (he played Gale Hawthorne in The Hunger Games and its sequels) would be a great Fen in “The Burryman,” and for the protagonist, Thorn, in the fairy tale retelling, “Feathers,” I think Game of Thrones' Peter Dinklage would be wonderful.

I guess a few other movie roles I can envision: Selma Hayek as Mari in the Day of the Dead story, “Gifts in the Dark;” Ansel Elgort (he played Gus in The Fault in our Stars) would make a good Duffy in the dark fantasy, “Henkie's Fiddle;” Shailene Woodley (of Divergent, its sequel, and other movies) would be a good fit for sideshow performer Dusana in the mermaid story, “By the Sea;” and last, but not least, Game of Thrones' Emilla Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) would make a convincing Audra in the Halloween story, “Gabeta.”

The “whys” to all of the above castings are because either past roles, body language, or physical appearance seem to fit my vision of the character. But to be honest, I'm glad I'm a writer not a director casting a movie!

Thank you Vonnie for joining us here today at From the Shadows!

Q+A with Vonnie Winslow Crist (Owl Light) fantasy

Owl Light by Vonnie Winslow Crist

In Owl Light, mystery and magic are close at hand. A deer hunter encounters the Daughter of Winter. Ghosts join a holiday celebration. A clockwork owl is the key to preventing murder. A gravedigger unearths a vengeful trow. To save the woman he loves, a dwarf strikes a bargain with faeryfolk. A sideshow attraction wishes to be normal, with unexpected results. And an anthropologist must choose between her modern world and an ancient culture.

These stories and more dare the reader to step into Owl Light, where early stars flicker, owls wake from slumber, and shadows appear where shadows ought not be. But be warned: Owl Light dims to darkness, dreams turn to nightmares, and dawn is more distant than you know.

Release Date: April 2014

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Add to Goodreads 

To learn more about Vonnie Winslow Crist and her books, please visit her website or blog, Whimsical Words.  Have a question for Vonnie?  Leave a comment below.

Have you ever had an encounter with an owl?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Burning Bright Audiobook Release Party Giveaway

Today we are celebrating the audiobook release of BURNING BRIGHT, the third full-length novel in the award-winning Ivy Granger urban fantasy series by E.J. Stevens.  Let’s party!

We have two very special book excerpts to share with you and, of course, A GIVEAWAY!  Keep reading for a chance to win.

Burning Bright Audibooks Now Available
Amazon . iTunes . Audible

Burning Bright (Ivy Granger, Psychic Detective #3) by E.J. Stevens, Narrated by Melanie Mason and David Wilson-Brown

Burning down the house...

Things are not going well at the offices of Private Eye. Jinx is having demon problems, the city is overrun with pyromaniacal imps, and Ivy's wisp powers are burning out of control, attracting the attention of both the Seelie and Unseelie courts.

Along came a faerie queen... It's the worst possible time for the Green Lady to call in a favor, but Ivy's bound by her deal with the glaistig. Too bad there's no wiggle room in faerie bargains.

Ivy must rid the city of imps, keep Jinx from murdering her one solid link to Hell, and fulfill her bargain with the Green Lady—with sidhe assassins hot on her tail.

Just another day's work for Ivy Granger, psychic detective.

Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Add to Goodreads.

Book Excerpt #1
(Ivy gets wet.)

My first impression of Emain Ablach was that it was wet.  Very, very wet.  But I didn’t have much time to think about that fact.  I was too busy drowning.

I struggled to swim to the surface—wherever the hell that was—the weight of my clothes, leather jacket, and weapons weighing me down.  My lungs burned and my brain screamed at me to find a way out of this wet torment.  I needed air, badly.

I forced my eyes open, salt and whatever else was in the water burning like acid, but being able to see my surroundings didn’t help matters. It did, however, make me glad for quick reflexes and muscle memory.

At the first sign of my assassin stalkers, back in a Harborsmouth alley, I’d grabbed one of my throwing knives.  I may not be able to throw it now, not in this water, but the pressure of the blade in my gloved hand made it easier to face the grinning corpses smiling back at me.

There were hundreds of them.

Bloated bodies in every state of decomposition drifted at the ends of seaweed infested chains that rose up from the ocean floor.  I would have assumed that the people on the ends of those chains were dead, a warning to anyone foolish enough to trespass here, except for the hands reaching outward and the curve of their rotting lips.

Grins like frightened, blue worms curled up toward vacant eyes.  The eyes, or what was left of them, were coated in a white film and looked as though they’d been nibbled on by grazing fish.  The chained corpses may not be able to see, but I had no doubt that they could sense my presence.  Their hands clawed at the water and their faces were all turned in my direction.  Perhaps they could scent me, like sharks on a blood trail.

Now that was a cheery thought.

I kicked away, trying to put more distance between myself and the grasping dead.  I recoiled as my boot hit something squishy.  Mab’s bones, I didn’t realize there was a chained corpse that close to where I swam.  I did not want to touch these things or the chains that bound them.  Those were visions I’d never survive.

The delay alone would kill me.

Heart pounding, I propelled myself upward, but I had a nagging suspicion that I wasn’t going to make it.  I’d sunk too deep into this watery hell.  Already my lungs burned and dizziness sent my head spinning like a ride on an otherworldly merry go round.  My limbs were cold and heavy and I could barely feel the knife in my hand.

How ironic would it be to die here, within spitting distance of a tree that grew magical apples capable of reviving the dead?

Air bubbles sprung from my nose and I fought not to breathe.  Inhaling water would mean my death.  I made one more sluggish stroke through the water and felt strong hands grip my waist and haul me upward.  I was sailing through the water, away from greedy hands and the hundreds of faces that grinned hungrily after me.

My rescuer was a strong swimmer and I doubted Torn would have gone to so much trouble to save me.  I felt a tingle of energy zing through my system, helping me to hold onto the slippery tendrils of consciousness. Ceff, it had to be Ceff.

I gasped as my head broke the surface of the water, gulping air and choking on a mouthful of water.  I coughed up phlegm and who knows what else—with those corpses steeping down below, I didn’t want to think about it—and pushed wet, bedraggled hair from my face.  I was alive, but
it wasn’t pretty.

I grimaced and pushed the floating evidence of my humiliating coughing fit away.  Ceff had a grip on my jacket, still helping to keep my head above the water’s surface.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

With his wet hair slicked back from large, dark green eyes and his chiseled jaw, he looked gorgeous.  He was completely in his element here, unlike his half-drowned girlfriend.

“I just swallowed a gallon of salty corpse tea and sea monkeys,” I said, a rueful grin on my face.  “I’ve been better.”

Book Excerpt #2
(Spiders, why does it have to be spiders?)

“Have you both lost your minds?” Torn asked.

“What would you have us do, leave them here to become spider food?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.  “Yes, exactly.  It’s the cycle of life, a beautiful thing best left alone.”

I shook my head.

“That could have been any one of us,” I said.  “Hold still, we’re here to help!”

The last I yelled at the cocoon.  I didn’t know if the person inside could hear me, or how far gone they were if they could, but I had to try to comfort them.  Plus, I really didn’t want to risk maiming the person I was trying to save.

“You have no idea what kind of monster is inside that thing,” Torn said.

I scowled at Torn.  No one deserved to be hung out like prosciutto and gobbled up by some huge spider.

“This is a hero’s path,” Ceff said.  “It is highly probable that they are honorable.  If not, at least we tried.”

Torn sighed and shook his head.

“Fine, it’s your funeral,” he said.

“Ready?” Ceff asked, holding the bundle as still as he could.

“I was born ready,” I said, doing my best tough guy impersonation.

I carefully cut away at the tough fibers of the cocoon.  Almost there…

Thousands of baby spider fae poured out of the cocoon, skittering in every direction.  Except it wasn’t a cocoon.  It was an egg.  I screamed—though I’d deny it if I lived long enough for Torn to tell anyone—and stumbled away from the horde of spiders.  So much for my tough guy act.

I stomped on the spiders as I backed away, halting their progress.  A brave one ambled forward and sank it’s dripping mandibles into its nearest kin.  The other spiders followed suit, joining in the feeding frenzy.

“Oh, look, aren’t they cute?” Torn asked, pointing to where baby spiders were busy cannibalizing each other.

“Freaking adorable,” I growled.

I inched further up the trail, relieved to see that most of the spiders were too busy attacking each other to notice my retreat.

“Perhaps we should have listened to the cat sidhe, just this once,” Ceff said, whacking the more determined stragglers with his trident.

“I told you so, Princess,” Torn said.

I flexed my fingers, hands itching to wring the cat sidhe’s neck and wipe that smug look off his face.  Instead, I stormed past him and around the corner.  I’d had it with this place and its creepy inhabitants.  We needed to find Ailinn’s grave, grab a magic apple, and get the hell out of Dodge.

Custom E.J. Stevens Earbuds Burning Bright Ivy Granger Audiobook Giveaway

Burning Bright Prize Pack Giveaway

We are giving away a signed BURNING BRIGHT postcard, BURNING BRIGHT audiobook download from, and custom E.J. Stevens earbuds!

To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is open to mailing addresses in the US/CA/UK. Giveaway ends November 24, 2015.

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Monday, November 9, 2015

All Hallow's Read Giveaway Winner

All Hallow's Read Giveaway Winner at From the Shadows

Congratulations Amanda the winner of our All Hallow's Read Giveaway at From the Shadows!  Amanda will receive an ebook copy of Hunting in Bruges, the first novel in the Hunters' Guild urban fantasy series.

Hunting in Bruges Hunters' Guild urban fantasy by E.J. Stevens

Thank you to all who entered!

**Winner randomly selected using**

Paranormal Road Trip: Washington D.C. with R.S. Belcher

Paranormal Road Trip: Washington D.C. with R.S. Belcher

Come on boys and ghouls!  It's time to hop on Route 666 for a spooktacular Paranormal Road Trip.

This week's stop is Washington D.C. and our special guide is R.S. Belcher, author of NIGHTWISE.

Washington D.C.'s Top 5 Spooky Places

The characters in my novel, Nightwise, pay a visit to Washington D.C. and attempt to run a caper on the occult agencies of the U.S. shadow government.  I used to live in D.C. when I was going to graduate school and working as a private detective.  I found it to be a fascinating city with a very unique feeling of power, criminality, culture, antiquity, and weirdness—the city hums with all of it.

So when I lived in D.C. and then, years later, when I researched my characters coming to town to stir up trouble, I discovered all kinds of cool and strange things about the District.  I thought I'd share them with you as part of your paranormal road trip.

The Octagon House:  This home in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood is reported to be one of the most haunted locations in the District.  The Octagon is one of the oldest buildings in Washington D.C. and was built in 1799.  The house was declared a national historical landmark in 1960 and opened as a museum in 1970. 

There has been all manner of supernatural phenomena and entities reported in Octagon House over the centuries.  As far back as the 1800's, spectral servant bells ringing are recorded through much of the house's early history, even after the cords for the bells were cut.  Ghostly apparitions have been sighted on the stairs and stair landings, as well as the ghost of  First Lady, Dolly Madison, who has been seen in the house on multiple occasions.  The Madison's resided in the house briefly after the burning of the White House by the British in the War of 1812.

In 1888, a team of twelve men entered the home to either prove or debunk the claims of supernatural activity.  A first-person account of what happened published after the group's overnight stay reported all manner of activity in the home including bloodcurdling screams, the tromping sound of boots, and the clanking of sabers.

The Reston Monkey House: This house was in the suburbs of D.C. , in the quiet little community of Reston, Virginia and was the site where the Hazelton Labs animal containment facility once stood.  This innocuous building, which was destroyed in 1995 by the owner after numerous failed attempts to rent it, is the birth place of the first reported American-based strain of the Ebola virus—Reston Virus, or RESTV.  This strain of  Ebola was only lethal to non-human primates, but its close relation to the Ebola strain that infects humans, viruses nasty habit of mutating, and the facility's close location to the U.S. Capitol set off all manner official and unofficial red flags in the 90s.   

The Monkey house and its unfortunate residents—long-tailed macaques—are highlighted in the novel, The Hot Zone by Robert Preston.  Don't read it when you're coming down with the flu.  You'll be comforted to know if you visit the site today, the new building located where the Monkey House once was has been home to a series of child care related businesses for decades.

The Lair of the Demon Cat:  Legend has it a demon stalks the sub-levels of the nation's Capitol Building.  Washington has a semi-secret underground city—miles of tunnels, corridors, and connecting sub-levels that run between the numerous Federal buildings.  The workers and security personnel that navigate the maze of tunnels have reported encountering a creature that takes the form of a black cat with hypnotic yellow eyes.  This creature, Federal workers have nicknamed “DC,” has shown up since shortly after the construction of the Capitol in 1793. 

The Demon Cat is said to appear to someone just prior to some national tragedy, like the assassination of presidents, the stock market crash that led to the great depression and the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Security guards have claimed to fire on the cat as it came toward them, growing in size and ferocity, only to vanish as it pounced, untouched by the gunfire.   The tales have bounced around the Capitol for over a century.  The legend may date back to the 19th century when building caretakers employed cats to deal with the building's rodent problems.  I have even heard that there is a pair of small cat footprint tracks embedded in the stone floor of the Capitol Rotunda near the old entrance to the Senate hall.  One of the D.C. Roller derby teams call themselves the “D.C. DemonCats.”

Rock Creek Park:  A beautiful and serene oasis of green in the concrete heart of  D.C. the park is often a refuge for joggers, lovers, and those looking to disconnect for a little while from the hum of the urban hive; however, the solitude attracts others with less innocent intent.  Rock Creek has a long history of being the final resting place of victims of murders and suicides.  The most famous of these in recent memory is Chandra Levy, the intern and lover of Representative Gary Condit.  Levy's remains were discovered in the park in the early 2000s. 

Rock Creek has developed an infamous reputation as a hunting ground for serial killers, muggers and rapists looking for isolated prey.  There have been numerous discoveries of slaughtered animals in the park that authorities and park police attribute to sacrifices made as part of the Santeria religion.  The darker aspect of Santeria—Palo Mayombe—is popular with certain drug gangs in the District looking to get a supernatural edge on their competition.

The Underground World of Harrison Dyar:  In 1928, a truck driving near 21st and P street in the District fell into the earth as the street beneath it collapsed.  The incident revealed an intricate series of elaborate  tunnels stretching beneath the city streets, inducing bricked walls, plastered six-foot arched ceilings, and electrical lighting.  Further investigation could not determine the architect of the covert network of tunnels or what purpose for which they were created.

Enter Harrison G. Dyar—an entomologist with the Smithsonian, who claimed the maze of tunnels were a hobby of his with no ulterior motive and that he simply loved to dig.  Dyar stated to the press, when he  came forward to claim the tunnels as his work, that he had discovered this passion while digging in his wife's backyard garden in 1905 and simply kept going. Dyar was a non-descript, hunched man of 58 in 1928 and seemed physically incapable of such an elaborate project on his own.  He admitted to digging other tunnels under the streets of the District, including a massive bunker chamber and more tunnels including pipe ladders to access the various levels.  This complex reached the water table under B Street.  You could toss pebbles into the darkness at the end of one such tunnel and here it splash in the water below.

There were strange things about Dyar's underworld that were never explained to anyone's satisfaction, including sculptures of human and animal heads on the walls at intermittent points along the tunnels, and on one tunnel arch, a Latin inscription—“ Facilis Descensus Averno”—from Virgil, it translates to “The way down to the lower world is easy.”   Dyar never had a chance to be pressed on any more details to his odd, and seemingly, incomplete story.  He died at his desk of a stroke in 1929.
Many theories and rumors persist about the reason for the tunnels, including one tale that claims that Dyar had two families and used the tunnels to move between houses and another tale that he suffered some form of mania that compelled him to keep digging.  The underworld of the mysterious scientist still exists, but the known entrances have all been sealed with concrete. 

Thank you R.S. for giving us such a haunting tour of D.C.! 

To learn more about R.S. Belcher and his books, please visit his website.  You can add Nightwise here on Goodreads.

Nightwise by R.S. Belcher dark fantasy

What did you think of R.S. Belcher's picks for spooky places?

On our last Paranormal Road Trip we visited New York City with Shanna Swendson.  Next week we'll be traveling to Los Angeles with Rachel Marks.

Join us for another spine-tingling Paranormal Road Trip...
if you dare!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Book Giveaway: The Left-Hand Way by Tom Doyle (American Craftsmen Urban Fantasy Series)

Today we have a very special book giveaway for our readers.  We are giving away a hardcover copy of THE LEFT-HAND WAY by Tom Doyle!

Win The Left-Hand Way

Book Giveaway: The Left-Hand Way by Tom Doyle (American Craftsmen Urban Fantasy Series)

The Left-Hand Way (American Craftsmen #2) by Tom Doyle.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy meets ancient magic, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

Poe’s Red Death returns, more powerful than ever. Can anyone stop him before he summons an apocalyptic nightmare even worse than himself?

In this second book of Tom Doyle’s contemporary fantasy series, the American craftsmen are scattered like bait overseas. What starts as an ordinary liaison mission to London for Major Michael Endicott becomes a desperate chase across Europe, where Endicott is both hunted and hunter. Reluctantly joining him is his minder from MI13, Commander Grace Marlowe, one of Her Majesty’s most lethal magician soldiers, whose family has centuries of justified hostility to the Endicotts.

Meanwhile, in Istanbul and Tokyo, Endicott’s comrades, Scherie Rezvani and Dale Morton, are caught in their own battles for survival against hired assassins and a ghost-powered doomsday machine. And in Kiev, Roderick Morton, the spider at the center of a global web, plots their destruction and his ultimate apotheosis. After centuries of imprisonment, nothing less than godlike power will satisfy Roderick, whatever the dreadful cost.

Release Date: August 11, 2015
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Add to Goodreads.

The Left-Hand Way Book Giveaway

Win a hardcover copy of THE LEFT-HAND WAY by Tom Doyle!

To enter, please leave a comment on this post and include your email address so we may contact you if you win.  Giveaway open to US and Canada.  Giveaway ends November 20, 2015 midnight EST.

Magician soldiers?  Ghost-powered doomsday machine?  This book sounds amazing.

Good luck!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Paranormal Road Trip: NYC with Shanna Swendson

Paranormal Road Trip: NYC with Shanna Swendson

Come on boys and ghouls!  It's time to hop on Route 666 for a spooktacular Paranormal Road Trip.

This week's stop is New York City and our special guide is Shanna Swendson, author of the Enchanted, Inc., Rebel Mechanics, and Fairy Tale series.

NYC's Top 5 Spooky Places

All of my fantasy novels so far have been set in New York City, probably because that's always been a magical place to me. I didn't actually visit the city until I was an adult, but I'd seen so many movies set there, read so many books set there, and had dreamed about it as a place to achieve stardom that by the time I did finally go there, some of that magic seemed to transfer to the way I experienced the city. It's a place full of history layered on top of more history, full of possibilities, so I find magical things that inspire stories around every corner. Here are five magical (and maybe a little spooky) places that have inspired my books:

1) Central Park
The very concept of a vast parkland in the middle of a major city is rather mindblowing. It seems to exist on a border between the manmade world and the natural world, and I feel like I've entered some other realm when I visit the park. That was a big inspiration behind my Fairy Tale series, in which the park holds portals to the fairy Realm. The Ramble, in particular, seems to exist in some other sphere than the city, and sometimes you can hear the distant sound of a violin coming from within. Or there are the tunnels under the street that lead to Bethesda Terrace, which I'm pretty sure are passages to a magical land. Then there are all those lampposts straight out of Narnia.

2) Lower Manhattan
This is the oldest part of the city, and although there aren't too many buildings from the colonial era left, thanks to fires, war, and constant reconstruction, the twisty, turny street pattern from that era remains. It's very different from the grid in the rest of the city, and it's one place where I can get truly lost in spite of my good sense of direction and ability to carry maps in my head. You never know what you'll find around the next corner, and sometimes things look entirely different when you look at them out of the corner of your eye. This is where I set the headquarters for Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., the magical corporation in my Enchanted, Inc. series. It just seemed like the kind of place an ancient corporation would be based, and where you might find a castle with turrets tucked down a narrow side street that you never noticed before.

3) The South Street Seaport
There's something about a tall ship that calls to my soul, and the masts and rigging towering over the docks here seem to have come out of another era. If you look at it the right way and in the right frame of mind, you might even imagine yourself traveling in time. That imagery comes into play in Rebel Mechanics, set in an alternate 1888 New York, where those tall ships at docks are a common sight. I just wish I could see them from the deck of an airship, the way my heroine does.

4) Grace Church
This Gothic-style church makes the list more for what isn't there. When I was initially planning the first book in my Enchanted, Inc. series, I was pretty sure there had to be gargoyles there. It's the kind of building that just cries out for some gargoyles or grotesques. But when I visited the city to research the book and took a good look at the church with my story in mind, I was surprised not to find any gargoyles at all. That ended up playing into my story. And you kind of have to wonder where the gargoyles might have gone …

5) The mansions of Fifth Avenue
This is another item on the list that's about what isn't there anymore. For a rather brief period of time, the stretch of Fifth Avenue facing Central Park was a row of impressive mansions. These buildings nearly filled entire city blocks and looked like palaces. But that's some of the most expensive real estate in the world, and although you'd think a building would be substantial, these turned out to be rather ephemeral, gone within a couple of decades and replaced by tall apartment buildings. There are only a few traces left of what was once there, with some of the old mansions now serving as museums, or the gates from a mansion now gracing the gardens in the park. This was one case where I couldn't research a book setting by visiting it because the setting I wanted to use in Rebel Mechanics was no longer there. Fortunately, a lot of photos were taken of these homes, inside and out, and a few facades still exist to help us imagine the ghosts of what briefly existed there.

Thank you Shanna for giving us such a haunting tour of NYC! 

To learn more about Shanna Swendson and her books, please visit her website.  You can add here new steampunk fantasy novel Rebel Mechanics here on Goodreads.

Rebel Mechanics steampunk fantasy by Shanna Swendson

What did you think of Jamie's picks for spooky places?

On our last Paranormal Road Trip we visited Los Angeles with Jamie Schultz.  Next week we'll be traveling to Washington D.C. with R.S. Belcher.

Join us for another spine-tingling Paranormal Road Trip...
if you dare!