Wednesday, August 24, 2016

CHARM CITY by @AshKrafton is FREE on #Kindle! Limited Time Only #urbanfantasy

Call him exorcist. Call him master of the dark arts. Call him dime-store magician. Most names don't matter, not when Hell knows yours…
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Ash Krafton is back with a magical vengeance…this time, with a new urban fantasy series: The Demon Whisperer! An exorcist mage teams up with a mysterious divinity to challenge the rising darkness. This dark, humorous, intriguing series will have readers wondering if a line has been drawn between the light and the dark...and how easy it might be to cross it. And for a very limited time, you can get the first book, CHARM CITY, *free* on Kindle.
The author who brought us The Books of the Demimonde has taken magic into her own hands, and it's become her latest addiction.
CHARM CITY (The Demon Whisperer #1)
The darkness is rising and one man stands against it: the exorcist mage Simon Alliant. But in Baltimore, he finally meets his match...a part-mortal divinity with the power to whisper away demons. Simon Alliant is an exorcist who battles demons, whether he wants to or not. Sometimes it's not so bad...he gets to play with magic, after all. But for Simon, magic represents a demon of another kind. He's addicted to magic and it takes more than a handful of charms to keep that particular demon at bay. Chiara is part Light, part Dark, and stubbornly mortal. The woman has a way with words: she literally talks demons into abandoning their human hosts. Simon thinks that's not the only trick she has up her sleeve-and that's pretty high praise coming from a mage like him. As intriguing as that may be, Simon has too many reasons to distrust of them being his more-or-less partner, an angelic Watcher. Amidst all the celestial warnings of the rising dark comes a new prophesy that makes him wonder: is Chiara a threat to him and all of mankind? Or will she be his salvation?
"...this isn't a story about waving wands and doing fancy tricks—it's going to be a tough, dark story that is going to get raw..." --Amazon reviews
Charm City banner for Wattpad photo CC banner wattpad_zpstdvjfamy.jpg
Want a taste? Here's an excerpt…

CHARM CITY: The Demon Whisperer, Book One


He caught the whispered sound of his real name and tilted his head toward it.

His real name was nearly an unknown thing these days, especially after having played the role of Kevin Murphy, career mental case and junkie from Boston's darker side. He'd created the alias so long ago that he'd nearly forgotten the details of Kevin's manufactured life.

If only his time as Kevin allowed him to forget his life as Simon.

Looking around, he spotted a tall, pale man wearing a tunic and loose pants, leaning against a tree. Sandy brown hair fell in soft curls to his shoulders, framing a sculpted face that seemed unbeguiling.

So out of place in modern Boston. If the dude wasn't careful, he'd get mugged. Good thing he was more or less invisible to ordinary people.

The tall man straightened himself and walked toward him. A vague mist hung about his shoulders, trailing behind him like a shadowy fog.

It would have seemed unnatural if Simon didn't spend so much time hanging about on the wrong side of nature. Odd mists weren't enough to put him off. They weren't even enough for him to mention.

"Mack." Simon looked him up and down. Sandals. Another reason to mug him. He really needed to get with the times. "Long time, no see. What, you couldn't visit even once? Not even on Tuesdays? We had Taco Tuesdays, buddy. You really missed out."

"You were trying to regain your sanity, Simon." The man's voice was smooth and melodious, a mild accent that couldn't be pinned down to any one region. Or millennium, for that matter. "I doubt visions of an angel would have helped."

"Shoot, sanity. It was good old R and R."

"Was it, now?" Mack pursed his lips, eyes brows raised. He had a very human-like quality to his features, if one ignored the ghost of his wings. "I thought it was…antidepressants and group therapy."

"Well, the first week or two. But then nothing but spa days from there on out."

"Mmm." The angel smiled, a gentle radiance that elevated his already-beautiful features. "A solid month of being magic-free? How did it feel?"

Simon ruffled his hair. He couldn't lie, not to the one entity that had never lied to him. Magic and free never belonged in the same sentence. "Feels like I can use a smoke. Shall I buy my ciggies now or after we land?"

"After. We need to get your boots on the ground right away."

"I just got out of the looney bin, pal. Give me a moment to acclimate."

Mack slowly shook his head. "There was a gathering at the Ladder today. Simon…the darkness is rising."

"Why not?" Simon hung his head, defeated. "Can we just skip the Metatron light show and just have the down and dirty? They held my afternoon Valium and my head is splitting."

"But you lose the surety—"

"I've never gotten anything but the straight shit from you, Mack. So let's have it."

"There is a…traitor."

He rolled his eyes. Half of Mack's heavenly announcements began with those same words. "There's always a traitor. Why does this one get divine attention?"

"Because it's an internal concern. A child of the Light has one foot in the darkness. It needs to be handled…delicately."

"And you need good old Simon Alliant to be the heavy. Figures. Nobody else willing to get their wings dirty." He cracked his neck and spared a forlorn glance at the newsstand down the street. "Where, this time?"


 Simon groaned. The original Charm City. He'd taken a great deal of ribbing from an old master about previous sojourns there. A man who used amulets for a living had no business in a city with so trite a nickname. "I hate being that close to D.C."

"You can complain afterwards." The angel stepped behind Simon and wrapped his arms around his chest, emitting a soft glow that began to encompass them both.

"I usually do." Simon closed his eyes, waiting for the pull and the drop.

The power hit swiftly like freefall, pulling his breath out in a gush.

For a moment, his essence was caught between two places, his molecules stretched apart, his spirit suspended in a void. Memory couldn't reach him here. His past couldn't catch up to him here. It was a perfect singularity, this being in the now.

True freedom, the shortest lived of its kind. Yet the perfection of the moment was tainted. Tainted with a dread he couldn't outrun.

He dreaded the inevitable instant this tiny reprieve would end.

Want more Simon Alliant? Get your fix right now…

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Book Review: How to Make a Living as a Writer by James Scott Bell #writinglife #writingcraft #bookreview

How to Make a Living As a Writer by James Scott Bell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's the best time on Earth to be a writer

More writers are making money today than at any other time in history. For centuries few have been able to support themselves from the quill or the keyboard alone.

Not anymore. With the rise of ebooks and indie publishing there are now more opportunities than ever for writers to generate substantial income from their work. And there is still a traditional publishing industry that needs new talent to keep growing.

In How to Make a Living as a Writer, you'll learn the secrets of writing for profit and increasing your chances of making a living wage from your work. Here are some of the subjects covered:

- The 7 Secrets of Writing Success
- The 8 Essentials of Your Writing Business
- How to Reach Your Goals
- Keys to a Winning System
- How to Stay Relentless
- Unlocking Your Creativity
- How to Write More, Faster
- Comparing Traditional and Self-Publishing
- How to Go Traditional
- How to Go Indie
- How to Form Multiple Streams of Writing Income
- How to Write a Novel in a Month
- How to Choose Non-Fiction Subjects
- How to Keep a Positive Mental Attitude
- Resources for Further Study

And much more, all to help you write what you love and earn what you’re worth.

James Scott Bell has made a living as a writer for nearly two decades, and shares with you everything he knows about the best practices for turning your writing dream into a reality.

My Review:

I read this book in 3 days. If I didn't have a husband and 4 children who wanted food and clean clothes all the time, I would've finished it sooner. It's been a while since I've read a book on writing that has kept my attention as well as this one. I've read many books on the subject of writing and after a while it sometimes seems the same information is regurgitated in different ways by different authors.

However, I learned new things in this book. Tips I haven't tried before such as using a site with the sounds of a coffee shop as background noise while I write (FANTASTIC!). Also, methods for brainstorming that I haven't used in a long time, and frankly, forgot about, but work so wonderfully that I'm happy to be reminded of it so I can attempt them again. I've never heard of the LOCK system, so I'm eager to give that one a try. Personally, I enjoyed reading the sections on traditional publishing, self-publishing, and how to write a novella and short story the best. The examples used were excellent and informative.

Which brings me to the format of this book. The chapters are broken down in easy to locate sections, which I know will be essential when I re-read this (and I guarantee, I'll re-read this one). It's full of valuable information for both newbie writers and old pros. Perhaps the best piece of advice was given at the beginning of the book, how a writer should look at writing success as a game and not winning the lottery. That part lit a spark in my brain. Why hadn't I thought of it like that before?

The author's voice is entertaining to make this an easy, quick read, slowed down only by the need to jot down notes in a notebook. I wrote several pages of information I hope to make use of shortly. I'm the kind of writer who likes to try new ideas or methods to improve my writing. I'll never be finished with studying the craft, but finding a book like this one adds that little valuable something that makes me remember why I love writing so much.

View all my reviews

Friday, August 12, 2016

Book Spotlight: Dragon Knight's Ring by Mary Morgan #Romance

Release date: August 12, 2016


Death destroyed their love. Yet, can a trio of Fenian warriors roll back time to reunite two lost souls?

Crusader, Adam MacFhearguis is on one last quest to the standing stones in Scotland where he seeks to bury the past. However, a silent prayer sends him to an unknown future and to his beloved Meggie. When he uncovers a shocking revelation, Adam questions everything about the woman he thought he knew and loved. He may have traveled the veil of ages, but time is now his enemy.

Margaret MacKay lives a life in the future without the memories of her past—her death. When Adam arrives at her door confessing he knows her, she is confused and wary. With each passing day, she yearns to learn more from this stranger. Yet, when a truth is revealed, can she trust the man to unlock the chains from her mind and heart?

Will love free the bonds to unite the two lovers who were doomed centuries ago? Or will evil finally claim victory over the Dragon Knights?


Meggie brushed her fingers over the leather pouch. “It feels empty.”

“Are you not tempted to take a wee look inside?”

She snatched her hand back. “I’m not peering inside the man’s belongings. As soon as he wakes, he and his horse can leave.” Giving the horse a firm pat, Meggie walked out of the stall and away from her smirking cousin—only to run smack into her other cousin, Lena.

“Blast,” snapped Meggie, grabbing her cousin by the arm to help steady them both. “Sorry, didn’t see ye,” Seeing the excitement in Lena’s eyes, she stepped back. “What?”

“I hear you have a Highlander in the guest room,” she replied, giving Meggie a wink. “Are you going to share?”

Meggie placed her hands on her hips. “He’s not my Highlander. Feel free to have him, though as soon as he wakes he’s gone from here.”

Lucas strode out of the stables, wiping his hand on a cloth. “I think I’ll go introduce myself, since I think this man bothers you. You keep stating he must leave as soon as he wakes.”

Lena pushed her cousin aside. “No, Lucas. I will go check on him.”

“Ye are both crazy,” protested Meggie. “He’s just a man.” Stepping past them both, she marched away from the stables.

Approaching the entrance of the castle, her nerves tingled and the air cooled. Halting on the gravel courtyard, she slowly glanced up at the guest bedroom window. Gazing down at her was the dark Highlander. His hands were braced on either side of the glass, and Meggie could swear for an instant, she recognized him from somewhere. A dream, perhaps? The look he gave her pierced her soul, and she shivered.

“Impossible,” she muttered. “I don’t dream. And ye are leaving now.”

Breaking from his stare, Meggie entered the castle, almost running up the stairs. By the time she reached the guest room, her hands were shaking. Not even bothering to knock, she pushed open the door and stormed inside.

Her mouth became dry, unable to form the words to order this giant out of her home. His bulk blocked the light from the window as he leaned against the ledge staring at her. She was not one prone to swoon at men—any man, but this one made her a jumbled mess. Moving to the table, she picked up his sword and took it over to him. His eyes widened as she approached and she fell into their dark blue depths. 

“I…um…” she stammered before continuing. “Ye should leave.” There, she got the words out.

Instead of reaching for his sword, the man lifted two fingers and caressed her cheek. She gasped, the touch searing her skin, and she took a step back. She could see the look of shock pass over his features, as if he felt the same reaction.

Meggie shoved the sword into his arms and ran for the door. Yet, when her hand touched the handle, she heard him speak.

“Dinnae leave me again, Meggie.”

Buy Links: 

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Scottish paranormal romance author, Mary Morgan resides in Northern California, with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return. 
Mary's passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. She spent far too much time daydreaming and was told quite often to remove her head from the clouds. It wasn't until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling--writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.

You can find more information about Mary Morgan here:

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Book Review: Stranger at the Hell Gate by @AshKrafton #Angels #Demons #paranormalromance #bookreview

Stranger at the Hell Gate by Ash Krafton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jagger Sintallon, a half-demon warrior, has dedicated his existence to fighting demons who enter the world through Hell gates. A loner of conflicting ideals, he offers shelter to a troubled woman but knows he is too rough, too dangerous, and too cocky for her delicate nature.

Dedicated to Divine Will, Sonya Camael, a Seraph, is determined to discover why she is drawn to Jagger's doorstep and the reason behind her mission. She needs the demon's help but fears he may get himself killed before she can figure it out and the world slips into Hell's dominion.

Sonya faces grave danger with evil stalking her every move, and Jagger shouldn't care but realizes he cares more than he'd likely admit. Sonya knows Jagger cannot win this war alone, but will her divine intervention mean his imminent end? Or will just the right combination of Heaven and Hell set the world right once again?

Kindle Edition, 72 pages

Published March 25th 2013 by The Wild Rose Press, Black Rose

My Review:
This was a short, sweet romance between two sensual supernatural creatures. I was swept into the world of humans, demons and angels right from the start. Sonya is a Seraph seeking help from half-demon Jagger. Their world is gritty, harsh and painful, but there is beauty and hope, too. Because this was a short story, I don't want to give too much away about the plot. The characters were believable and well-written. I liked how the chapters were brief and split between Angels and Demons. This made it easy for me to slip back into this world when I had to step away from the book for a quick moment (I have kids who demand this attention all of the time!). As with her other books, I enjoy reading this author's writing style. Ms. Krafton has a way with words that leaves this reader breathless. Elegant and poetic with gothic undertones. A quick, enjoyable read for someone wanting to dip their toes into an imaginative world.

View all my reviews

More About this Book 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Can I Give Up Writing? #IWSG #novelist #aspiringwriter
#IWSG Asks: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

I wrote my first completed novel when I was 15 years-old. It was summer vacation. One morning, I woke up from a particularly vivid dream. As per usual, I grabbed a notebook and scribbled down the details of my dream. Throughout the day, the dream kept growing in my imagination. Later, I sat at the desk with my dad's Tandy computer, opened a file and began typing the monster that would become my gateway into the writing world.

I finished that sucker in a week!

An entire week that I barely ate nor slept. I was hooked on this incredible high that I never felt before, this addiction to get the images in my head onto printed paper. There was a movie in my brain filled with quirky characters, lush settings and a complicated plot along with amazing twists. 

Of course, at the time, I barely knew what the word plot meant. I knew nothing...absolutely nothing...about the writing craft. I was an avid reader, however, and I let the storytelling part of my brain guide me. This book was written with gut instinct, nothing more.

Suffice it to say, I keep this novel buried deep in the catacombs of my hard-drive. 

Every so often, I come across the file during some obscure search and I open it to gaze lovingly at the adventurous fantasy that I wrote during my writing infancy.

The story was a 80,000 word novel about a young woman who went camping with her friends one summer. During their hike through the woods, they were sucked into a portal leading them to an alternate dimension. In that world of kings and queens, healers and sorcerers, warriors and heroes, this group of friends was plunged into a war against an evil mage and his mistress. Although the villains had gained control of the kingdom, there was a group of warriors who continued to fight to free their captured land and bring the rightful rulers back to the throne. The young woman played a key role in a prophecy that was foretold about the days of reuniting the kingdom and bringing peace to the land.   

I have ventured to re-write it only once. Maybe I will again some day. For now, it remains the unseen novel that awoke the desire in my soul to create with the written word.

This particular question from #IWSG comes at an opportune moment for me. At times (like this year!), life gets tough, money is scarce and I think that in order to feed my family I need to give up writing and get a real job. After all, as many people know there is no guarantee of financial success for writers. Very few make it to where they can quit their day job.  And I have bills to pay just like any other person. My family relies on me to take care of them. Tough times like those happening recently make me wonder about my life's choices. Maybe I should quit writing and go back into retail management. Maybe I should go to college or trade school to get a degree for something with a guaranteed paycheck.

After all, do I really have what it takes to make it to financial success with my writing?

During these times of doubt and despair, I try to remember one thing...

How many other people finished an 80,000 word novel in a week when they were 15?
I've learned so much about writing since then. Twenty years worth of knowledge from attending workshops and conferences, reading books about the writing craft, asking authors for advice, reading published novels and dissecting them one chapter at a time to see how the author worked at piecing it together, and researching, researching, researching...

Countless hours of my life I've devoted to something that for many years I just considered a hobby. Now, that I've finally breached that invisible wall, becoming a published author
Photo courtesy of Ash Krafton
myself, I believe it would be such as waste to let it all go when life gets tough.

This too shall pass. Life goes on. And I'll keep writing. 

Because, truly, my soul craves it. I love writing. I need it. Honestly, after all these years, I really don't know how to live without writing in my life.

If I have to get a day job, I'll still write. If I never publish another book ever again, I'll still write.

And that is why, I'll never give up. 

Thank you, #IWSG, for reminding me how I began this writing journey.  

Be sure to check out other writers in the Insecure Writers' Support Group!