Sage Seed Chronicles Promo Tour @HBarboWriting @MoBPromos

 THE SAGE SEED CHRONICLES

Promo Tour for Books 1 – 3

 by Holly Barbo

GENRE: YA Fantasy

 

There are no monsters on Ose. People can be monstrous enough.

Disaster strikes the beautiful world of Ose. Marisily is one of the Sages who can help heal the planet when nuclear winter pushes the civilization back to the brink of destruction. Only she doesn’t know her own powers yet.

It is survival of the fittest as vicious outlaws destroy all that remains, kidnapping, enslaving and killing those weaker than themselves.

With a bounty on her head, alone and betrayed by her own father, can a young woman find the strength and wisdom necessary to rally the good people of Ose and rebuild their culture?

Sari worsened as the day wore on. She was too weak to fight off the effects of the abuse and the fever at the same time. Marisily was at her mother’s side when she died. She closed her mother’s eyes and wrapped her in a clean sheet. Then she sat at her mother’s side and rocked back and forth as the tears rolled down her cheeks. Eventually, her sobbing breaths quieted and she wiped her cheeks.

Dazed, Marisily resumed her duties. She had made a stew in the afternoon with the thought that the broth would be nourishing for her mother. Now she served it to her father for dinner. Jed came in from his workroom and started eating when Marisily quietly said, “Mother’s dead. I have prepared her for burial.”

Jed gave his daughter a long look before he answered. Marisily sensed he was considering saying something that she wouldn’t like and she steeled herself for it, but when he spoke all he said was, “I am sorry to hear that. She was a good wife. The only thing she didn’t do was give me a son. I’ll move her body to the workshop before I go out tonight.” He scooped another piece of meat from the stew and chewed thoughtfully. “Daughter, I don’t think I can continue to support you. I will give you a choice. Rory, the herder, needs a wife. He’s a friend of mine. I don’t believe he has ever cleaned his place and though he is eight years older than me, he is lusty enough to keep you busy. I think he could take you to wife tomorrow. Or you could leave. It makes no difference to me. As your father, I don’t need to give you a choice, but since I’m grieving the loss of your mother, I will be generous. If you are still here tomorrow morning, I’ll know your decision is to wed.” He finished his meal and pushed back from the table. “I am going into Morraton to meet with friends. I’ll bring my new wife home after I bury Sari tomorrow.” Jed put on his heavy coat and smiled to himself as the door closed behind him. He didn’t believe his daughter had enough warm clothing to survive. She would either set out tonight and freeze to death or would stay and leave with Rory tomorrow. It didn’t make any difference to him. She would be gone either way.

Marisily cleared the table, giving her father time to go down the trail to town, keeping an eye on the window until he disappeared from sight. There was no way she was going to remain. Angry at her father’s offhand comments, total insensitivity and arrogance, she was also fully aware of her danger. Marisily had been very lucky that her father had given her a choice. She had been thinking about where she would go. There was a place that she had seen several years before. At the time, Jed had been gone on a journey to obtain yarns spun in Osily. Sari and Marisily had ranged miles from the cabin picking berries. They had separated, to cover more area. Marisily thought hard about where that place was. They had meandered through the foothills during that gathering trip.

She brought out her coat, and put on all of her warmest clothes as well as a few things of her mother’s. Her father would never allow her to leave with anything he deemed his property and that included everything in the home. Marisily knelt by her bed and, rolling back the rug, she removed the floorboard. She pulled out a heavy, knitted hat, scarf and gloves that she had made for her mother’s upcoming birthday and donned them. Her mother would be happy that she was using the gift to survive. Quickly, Marisily emptied her secret cubbyhole of her journal and other small treasures. Gathering what she could carry that she felt her father wouldn’t miss, Marisily stepped outside and disappeared from her childhood home. She had no intention of ever coming back.

There are no monsters on Ose. People can be monstrous enough.

A virulent disease sweeps through the budding civilization on the planet Ose. As people are dropping like flies, the healers’ guild is not making headway in finding a cure.

Just as every hope seems lost, young Ree comes into her sage powers. Despite having to fight the disapproval from those who think her too young and inexperienced, she comes up with a cure from unusual natural sources.

The race is on to get ahead of the epidemic. Time is tight, and a swindler’s “miracle cure” makes matters worse.

With Ree and the healers’ lives in danger, is the whole planet doomed?

Ree smiled and turned away to scan the verge of the grassland where it met the woods. There seemed to be a very subtle movement in the tall stalks as the inconsistent breeze moved the tassels of ripe grass seeds. Ree gazed with casual curiosity at the wind-kissed grass. Her nonchalance gave way to amazement as she realized she and Catri were not alone. Slowly, she sat up straighter and reached out to Catri.

At Ree’s touch, Catri opened her eyes and looked at the young woman’s alert posture. “What is it?” she whispered.

Ree barely breathed the answer, “I’ve never seen any animal like this. It’s beautiful, but what it is, I don’t know.”

The answer did not come from Catri, but instead was spoken inside of Ree’s head. “I’m a lyrix. We are ancient inhabitants of this world. My name is Raow. We prefer to stay hidden. There are few of us left now, but at one time, long before the race you call the Ancients arrived, we were the psychic species that held this world together.” Raow had both Catri and Ree’s undivided attention.

Catri, who had also heard the creature’s voice in her head, spoke first. “Your kind is legend. Stories from the Ancients refer to you, but I have never heard of anyone seeing you. Thank you for this gift.”

Raow continued to focus on the younger woman, though he didn’t seem to mind Catri’s involvement in the conversation. Ree studied the fascinating animal. Raow was about twenty inches high at the shoulder. He was covered in fur from his four paws to the tips of his pointed ears. His tail was no more than five inches long and he had a ruff of fur from under his jaw to behind his ears. Raow had intelligent, gold eyes. The rest of his coloring seemed to shift and change with what was around him as if he was a figment of their imagination. But Raow was quite real.

Ree spoke, all the time keeping his gaze. “I’m honored that you decided to make yourself known to us. Can you tell us why?”

Raow returned her scrutiny. “We lyrix choose who sees us and who will be accepted as part of our family. Ree, we share a special type of kinship. You are a sage with barely awakened powers. This is so new, you haven’t become aware of it. I’m here to provide guidance in these skills and to be in your life when you need me.

Something is shaking Erin’s world. Freak storms and disastrous earthquakes ravage the land, and perfectly healthy people are suddenly dying. Are these harmless coincidences or deliberate, connected events?

Erin’s parents die of a mysterious fever, but she isn’t fooled. It is clearly murder. Why would someone want to kill a weaver and his wife? Besides, Erin can feel that same malevolent energy hunting her down. Is that a new skill she didn’t know she had?

With no time to grieve, Erin leaves home and joins a merchant caravan for protection and to give herself time to solve the puzzle.

Who killed her parents? Why are they trying to kill her, too? And why is the planet unraveling?

There was a breeze in the moonlit forest; the shadows shifted and blended as the branches moved. A young woman raced between the trees, oblivious to the branches that tore at her hair and clothing. In her haste, her feet slipped on the leaves and decaying foliage, adding to her terrified flight. The slender girl whirled behind a tree and crouched low. Her large, blue eyes darted back over her trail, searching the flickering shadows for her pursuer. Her breathing was ragged. Where was he?

She tried to catch her breath so she could listen, but her heart was racing like a stampeding elk; her breathing was so choppy that her whimpers escaped her throat in short, ragged bursts. She looked around the tree at the terrain she had just covered. Was that a movement back there? With a gasp, she darted back behind the tree and staggered into motion. She knew he was following. Goose bumps raced up her arms as she tore over the small rise, her heart pumping like a smithy’s bellows.

Something brushed her cheek. At first the soft touch didn’t register through the overwhelming terror of her flight but it came again, this time with a voice. ‘Erin. It’s all right. You’re safe for now. Erin, hear me.’

The light contact came again and abruptly broke through her mind. Startled out of the nightmare that had gripped her, she opened her eyes and, with a shuddering breath, looked up into the gentle eyes of the merlin falcon that was standing beside her head.

“Thank you, Keir.” Her breath hitched as she spoke. She rose up on one elbow and reached up to touch the bird, but her hand quivered with the remaining adrenaline that still coursed through her blood. “That was . . . terrifying.”

The bird bobbed his head. ‘The nightmare is understandable. The murder of your parents is bad enough, but there’s also the fact that you have new abilities. Erin, you’re sensing the dangerous person who is seeking you. I am sure of it, and that had to play into your dream. But that person isn’t near. My kind have been watching. Rest. Dawn will arrive soon. There are some miles to go yet to get to Ree. She will have some answers for you. Rest. You are safe for now.

Erin’s nod was a little shaky. She could feel the sweat from the nightmare drying on her skin. “You’re right. It was so real, it’ll take me a few minutes to be clear of it so I can sleep. I’m sorry I woke you, Keir.” She shook her head and her long hair slipped behind her shoulders. A few strands still clung to the sticky sweat on her face. Erin raised a hand that was steadier than it had been moments before and brushed the hair away from her forehead. “I know Ree will at least be able to advise me, because she’s a wise woman, and right now I need all of the advice I can get.” She looked off through the trees. “I think we are no more than several hours away.” Erin sighed then sank back down and pulled her blanket around her. “Thank you, my friend. You get more rest too,” she said with a smile.

Keir made a small sound in the back of his throat before flying to a low branch above her. ‘I may be gone when you wake but I will not be far. Just keep going to Ree’s home.’

BOOKS 4 & 5 OF THE SAGE SEED CHRONICLES

A major event of cataclysmic proportions threatens Ose. The damage done by false gossip and accusations has infected people’s minds, and a misguided but deadly witch hunt hinders the remaining sages’ ability to concentrate on correcting the planet’s imbalance.

Their one chance to save the civilization comes with the next eclipse, but there are too few of them left, and very little time. The people, the weather, and even the planet itself seem to fight them at every step.

Can Drune and the other sages reweave the fabric of their world before the eclipse tears it apart?

 

Long-lost artifacts lure people from a lost population out on a secret quest. At the same time, an unexpectedly strong winter storm forces Erin to take refuge in an isolated cabin. Unbeknownst to her, this was the last known location of the missing items that Kai, one of the lost, is looking for.

Dismayed to find Erin at the cabin, he reacts in the only logical way: Kill any witnesses to protect his people.

With a ferocious blizzard ravaging the realm, will the sages be able to prevent bloodshed? And what would it take to avoid war with THE LOST ones?

 

Holly’s world is shaped by her love of family, the beauty of the natural world and an irrepressible creative drive. She has always been curious and sees life through questions. These four characteristics color her writing voice and her stories frequently evolve from her asking “What if….?” Her tales tend to have non-urban settings with nature contributing to the plot, building discordant themes inside a seemingly peaceful refrain.

My motto: Weaving Alternative Worlds with Threads From Today.

A Beltane Gift Release Blitz @HBarboWriting @MoBPromos

A BELTANE GIFT

by Holly Barbo

GENRE: Contemporary fiction/Quick Reads/Cultural Heritage

Summer in Scotland, and Mari is working on an archeological dig of a Viking burial ship during Beltane, a time of the year when the veil shrouding the spirit world thins. What could possibly go wrong?

~1291 A.D.~

The day was high summer with an onshore breeze ruffling the waters of Loch Sunart. Leda watched as several strong men hauled a small boat out of the water. Muscles strained as the ship resisted the pull of the ropes as if it didn’t want to leave its buoyant home. She knew it was time, and turned her head to scan the progress on the moor. A boat-sized hole had been dug to rest the vessel in. Teams of men from the village maneuvered the dragon boat onto skids and fought the graceful craft up to where the low moors began. With every available hand on the ropes, the ship was lowered into the ground until only the short, carved dragon on the prow looked over the grassland to the shore.

Once the small ship was nestled into the ground, more of their friends came, placing Leda’s husband’s body on a prepared berth. Items meaningful to his life were set around him in easy reach, should he need them in the afterlife. This burial was a supreme honor but still the tears trickled down her lined face and dropped onto the funerary objects. As the gathered crowd paid their last respects, several foxes were heard yipping in the low hills. As one, everyone turned in the direction of the sound. There, on a cairn farther up the slope, was a family of the rust-colored creatures raising their voices to the wind. Leda smiled and made a small bow to the animals. Laughter was heard around the boat as comments were made about the tribute. In this lighter atmosphere, everyone pitched in and began to fill the craft with dirt and stones.

Holly’s world is shaped by her love of family, the beauty of the natural world and an irrepressible creative drive. She has always been curious and sees life through questions. These four characteristics color her writing voice and her stories frequently evolve from her asking “What if….?” Her tales tend to have non-urban settings with nature contributing to the plot, building discordant themes inside a seemingly peaceful refrain.

My motto: Weaving Alternative Worlds with Threads From Today.

The Founders Release Tour @HBarboWriting @MoBPromos

THE FOUNDERS
Book 1 of the Sage Seed Chronicles
AUTHOR: Holly Barbo


GENRE: YA Fantasy

There are no monsters on Ose. People can be monstrous enough.Disaster strikes the beautiful world of Ose. Marisily is one of the Sages who can help heal the planet when nuclear winter pushes the civilization back to the brink of destruction. Only she doesn’t know her own powers yet.

It is survival of the fittest as vicious outlaws destroy all that remains, kidnapping, enslaving and killing those weaker than themselves.

With a bounty on her head, alone and betrayed by her own father, can a young woman find the strength and wisdom necessary to rally the good people of Ose and rebuild their culture?

Sari worsened as the day wore on. She was too weak to fight off the effects of the abuse and the fever at the same time. Marisily was at her mother’s side when she died. She closed her mother’s eyes and wrapped her in a clean sheet. Then she sat at her mother’s side and rocked back and forth as the tears rolled down her cheeks. Eventually, her sobbing breaths quieted and she wiped her cheeks.

Dazed, Marisily resumed her duties. She had made a stew in the afternoon with the thought that the broth would be nourishing for her mother. Now she served it to her father for dinner. Jed came in from his workroom and started eating when Marisily quietly said, “Mother’s dead. I have prepared her for burial.”

Jed gave his daughter a long look before he answered. Marisily sensed he was considering saying something that she wouldn’t like and she steeled herself for it, but when he spoke all he said was, “I am sorry to hear that. She was a good wife. The only thing she didn’t do was give me a son. I’ll move her body to the workshop before I go out tonight.” He scooped another piece of meat from the stew and chewed thoughtfully. “Daughter, I don’t think I can continue to support you. I will give you a choice. Rory, the herder, needs a wife. He’s a friend of mine. I don’t believe he has ever cleaned his place and though he is eight years older than me, he is lusty enough to keep you busy. I think he could take you to wife tomorrow. Or you could leave. It makes no difference to me. As your father, I don’t need to give you a choice, but since I’m grieving the loss of your mother, I will be generous. If you are still here tomorrow morning, I’ll know your decision is to wed.” He finished his meal and pushed back from the table. “I am going into Morraton to meet with friends. I’ll bring my new wife home after I bury Sari tomorrow.” Jed put on his heavy coat and smiled to himself as the door closed behind him. He didn’t believe his daughter had enough warm clothing to survive. She would either set out tonight and freeze to death or would stay and leave with Rory tomorrow. It didn’t make any difference to him. She would be gone either way.

Marisily cleared the table, giving her father time to go down the trail to town, keeping an eye on the window until he disappeared from sight. There was no way she was going to remain. Angry at her father’s offhand comments, total insensitivity and arrogance, she was also fully aware of her danger. Marisily had been very lucky that her father had given her a choice. She had been thinking about where she would go. There was a place that she had seen several years before. At the time, Jed had been gone on a journey to obtain yarns spun in Osily. Sari and Marisily had ranged miles from the cabin picking berries. They had separated, to cover more area. Marisily thought hard about where that place was. They had meandered through the foothills during that gathering trip.

She brought out her coat, and put on all of her warmest clothes as well as a few things of her mother’s. Her father would never allow her to leave with anything he deemed his property and that included everything in the home. Marisily knelt by her bed and, rolling back the rug, she removed the floorboard. She pulled out a heavy, knitted hat, scarf and gloves that she had made for her mother’s upcoming birthday and donned them. Her mother would be happy that she was using the gift to survive. Quickly, Marisily emptied her secret cubbyhole of her journal and other small treasures. Gathering what she could carry that she felt her father wouldn’t miss, Marisily stepped outside and disappeared from her childhood home. She had no intention of ever coming back.

Holly’s world is shaped by her love of family, the beauty of the natural world and an irrepressible creative drive. She has always been curious and sees life through questions. These four characteristics color her writing voice and her stories frequently evolve from her asking “What if….?” Her tales tend to have non-urban settings with nature contributing to the plot, building discordant themes inside a seemingly peaceful refrain.

My motto: Weaving Alternative Worlds with Threads From Today.

Tendrils Re-Release Tour @HBarboWriting @MoBPromos

TENDRILS
Where ’What if’ becomes ‘What is’
AUTHOR: Holly Barbo
COVER DESIGNER: The Graphics Shed
GENRE: Short story collection covering the following genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Sci-fi thriller, Sci-fantasy, Contemporary, Contemporary Thriller, Historical Fiction and Fantasy

Stories come from any number of places. One could start from a memory, a photo in a magazine or from pondering a news item and wondering, “What if?”
This collection arose from that sort of random stimuli. Some are pure imagination of science fiction or fantasy. Others developed from random historical facts or the disturbing news stories of war-torn regions.
This is a collection of stories for those who like to think.
Includes 4 award-winning short stories.
“I enjoyed every story in Tendrils! I am impressed with the versatility and well thought out environment in each setting. Obviously good research was put into writing these stories as well as a wonderful gift of empathy with a delightful touch of practical wisdom. In my opinion the last story would even make a good movie!” (Cynthia)
“An excellent compilation of short stories over different genres. I was highly impressed by the quality of the writing and her use of words, which dragged me in on every page.” (Bookcollecter)
“I thoroughly enjoyed this read. I had a hard time putting the book down. Some stories are short, some long. All are suspenseful & of different genre. I am amazed at her extensive vocabulary and her overall knowledge on so many subjects. Her imagination takes you on a great trip every time with every story. None are ever boring. I highly recommend this latest book of hers. You will not be disappointed. Sit back & take yourself on an adventure. You will learn something too along the way.” (Paul and Patti L. Jordan)
Excerpt
SAMPLES FROM 5 OF THE SHORT STORIES
The Tin of Honey:
Zoe knelt by the tiny trickle of water that seeped out around the rocks. She wet some dirt and caked it on the stings that liberally dotted her face and arms. Zoe breathed a sigh as the mud eased the discomfort. The little girl would be filthy by the end of the day, but she doubted anyone would notice.
There was a scuff of sound and Zoe whirled low into the deepest shadows of the rocks. “It’s just me,” came the whisper. Bright green eyes under a messy thatch of brown peered over the edge of the gully.
The little girl sagged in relief. Sam wouldn’t tell on her.
The boy studied his small friend. “I see you found the bee’s nest. Did you get the honey Robson wanted?”
The little girl nodded. She knew the man’s desire for the sweet. He had impatiently pried open the can and grabbed a honeycomb as soon as she delivered it last time. Zoe pointed to the large tin. She stood and brushed the drying mud off her palms as she moved to the container and lifted it into her arms. Sam shook his head at the picture. The tin seemed almost as big as she was. “You got that okay? Both of us have to get back to the work team. We’re late. I’ll see you there.”
Zoe shook the tangle of tawny-colored hair out of her eyes and nodded toward the top of the gully. Sam picked up his bucket of berries and, with a wave, disappeared over the rise.
The youngster scrambled up the slope. The tin was big and awkward in her arms and she stumbled, jarring the container. She struggled to get her balance. Though she knew Sam would have helped her, she couldn’t allow that. There were consequences if she didn’t pull her weight.
Stopping at the edge of the wheat field, she set the big tin down again and rubbed at the bee sting at the edge of her collar of obedience. Nothing could be done about that particular sting. It was just going to chafe against the hard edges of the band. The collar was impossible to take off. All the kids wore one. Robson had found them in the old prison storage room and used them to ensure the orphans did as they were told. The collar was constructed in a series of overlapping metal flakes. It reminded her of the scales of the snake she had seen near the compound last week.
With a sigh, she squatted down and wrapped her skinny arms around the tin. She got the weight balanced and started through the waving grass. Running was impossible, but she hurried the best she could. Sam was far in the distance and would reach the other orphans probably ten minutes ahead of her.
A Crystal Snowflake:
Orion gave a quick scan of the room. He needed to make sure he had everything important. His backpack was stuffed and the computer case held so much that there were edges of paper sticking out of it in a haphazard manner. The slender young man slung the strap of the computer bag over his shoulder, grabbed the backpack and headed for the front door. His hand paused as he reached for the knob and he looked out the window.
It was dark and he could see the snow falling through the street lights. There didn’t seem to be anyone about, so he slipped from the house and walked casually to his trusty old Chevy, his breath coming out in rapid visible puffs. The nonchalance was an act. He wanted anyone watching to assume he was going to M.I.T. to get in some late night work. He scanned the shadows, hoping that no one was there. He threw his backpack on the passenger seat then wedged the computer case between it and the seat back. He wanted both within easy reach. Once buckled in, he allowed his nervousness to slip out and thoroughly checked the view from his mirrors.
He eased onto the street and when there was no sign of his tires slipping, increased his speed. Orion reached into the pocket of the backpack for the pre-paid phone that he’d picked up when he determined his cell had been tapped. At the stop sign, he punched in a number. The snow flurries were increasing and he switched on the wipers. Orion waited for his friend to pick up.
He smiled when he heard her voice and responded by saying, “I’m on my way and no one is following me. Just in case, I sent instructions to our safe place. Don’t worry about retrieving the envelope unless I don’t get there by morning. Okay. Gotta go. I’ll be at your door for breakfast with your favorite croissants. Have the coffee brewed.”
Orion laughed at the response. “Okay. I need to concentrate on driving in this stuff. See you soon, Chayse. Bye.”
Beyond the stop sign, the road sloped to a picturesque country bridge, one of many that dotted the New England states. He had to admit it was beautiful in the snowfall but with the driving conditions worsening, he focused on how the car responded to his small adjustments in steering. In the weak light, he didn’t notice the watcher standing in the shelter of some trees on the far side of the road. The muffled figure took a box out of his pocket, pointed it at the car and pushed a button. The loud sibilant schwuff of the slush hitting the car’s undercarriage drowned out the pop.
Without any warning, Orion’s power steering quit. Working to compensate on the slick road, he fought to correct the fish-tailing motion of the car. “Shit!” He tapped the brakes and was horrified as his foot went all the way to the floor.
Fighting the wheel and the momentum of the old Chevy on the slippery surface became his entire focus…and he was losing. He tried gearing down and applying the emergency brake, but the car went into a spin and he caught a glimpse of the bridge railing coming up too fast. “Shit!” The car broke through the wooden barrier and sailed into the darkness over the side.
Octopus’s Garden:
“Come on, Allie, wake up! Your fever’s broken and we’ve got to get out of here. They plan to kill you!”
A girl with big dark eyes looked over her shoulder from the look-out position near the hallway. “Shh! Keep it down, Mitch! See if you can get her upright. She’s going to be worthless until she gets some fluid and one of those energy bars inside her.”
He lifted the pale girl to the edge of the bed and propping her up, touched a glass of water to her lips. “Allison, take a sip. Open your eyes and look at me. I need you to pay attention.”
The weak girl made a protesting sound but took a sip of water. Her eyelids fluttered. “Where am I?”
Sensing his building impatience, the girl at the door whispered sharply, “Tell her and get her to eat the bar!”
“All right, all right, Pilar!” Mitch returned his focus to Allie. “Can you hear me? I’ll tell you but not until you take a bite. The food will help you feel more like yourself.”
With her eyes still closed, Allison chewed. “Answers now!”
“We’re in the medical research pod of Oceania Four, the Underwater Habitat west of California. A hundred and twenty of us were recruited to help the scientists find ways for humans to adapt to living and working for long periods of time underwater. Do you remember any of this?”
Half of the bar was gone and Allison was sitting up on her own. “Vaguely. Keep talking.”
“We came here to work in the labs. Our college debt would be forgiven and we were guaranteed research jobs.”
“So…I got sick?” The bar was gone and Allie started on the second. She could focus now and was looking around the dimly lit room as she listened.
“We all did. It turns out we’ve been guinea pigs for their gene manipulation experiments.”
“Oh shit. Give me the bottom line.” Allison slipped off the bed and onto her feet. Shaking a little, she reached for the glass of water and a third of the highly-efficient power bars.
“Forty-nine died screaming in agony. Thirty-four mutated into…things beyond nightmares. Eighteen of us made it through the fever and were lucky enough to wake at night and slip out of the facility between security shifts. We’ve come back for you but we’re nearly out of time. There are eighteen remaining and they’re all in beds in this ward, desperately ill. They’ll not get a chance to win or lose their personal battle in the cellular war. We’ve learned the decision’s been made to do a major cover-up and ‘sanitize’ this facility. They plan to euthanize all their test subjects in the morning. That means us if we’re caught!”
The Ball:
Baakir slept curled against his little brother in the dusty darkness. He woke as his mother touched his shoulder. “We must go. Now!”
The boy didn’t question but rose from the sleep mat and waking his brother, lifted the child to his feet. There were sounds from the end of the village: a cacophony of harsh shouts and screams. He took Azizi’s hand and hurried to the doorway where his mother crouched, peering out. The flickering firelight from burning huts glinted on her face and the wire jewelry around her neck. There were shadowed figures moving around the far huts.
“Stay low and follow me.” She looked at her sons to see if they understood.
Both boys nodded.
Slipping a bundle onto her back, Kofi melted into the blackness. Baakir was close enough to touch her skirt but didn’t loosen his grip on little Azizi’s hand. The three became part of the moonless night as they dashed for the depression of the wadi and the deep grass beyond. Each knew they could be discovered at any second!
They were going to the safety of Kofi’s old village. It was isolated in a remote region of the country and away from most of the fighting. The journey would be dangerous but staying was certain death. Baakir heard the throaty grourff of a hunting lion in the distance to his left and swinging little Azizi onto his back, quickened his pace.
At dawn, they hollowed a place in the tall grass. Azizi slid off his back as Baakir sank to his knees. Within minutes both little boys were curled up and sound asleep, the tears on Azizi’s cheeks drying to leave salt trails, which glistened in the morning light.
The Heart of a Shadow:
Giselle came to awareness with a confusion of pebbles and dust pelting her. A stench of concrete powder, burnt plastic, acetone and something she couldn’t place overwhelmed and made her cough. Elle lay disoriented, wondering where she was…what had happened?
The last thing she remembered was walking through the village. The stalls in the open air market were closing for the day. Elle exchanged cheerful banter with the merchants as they gathered their goods and earnings, preparing to go home and spend an evening with their families. She’d grinned at the antics of the flower seller’s daughter who’d been mischievously peeking through the cheerful yellow blossoms. Charmed, Elle had taken her picture. The child’s bubbling laughter was so contagious that several shoppers had stopped just so they could share in the merriment. Abruptly, there was a flash of bright light and the world exploded.
***
At first Elle could only hear the patter of falling debris. The young woman tried to raise her hand to brush the grit out of her eyes. Her body was sluggish and it was a few moments before she managed to touch her face. Elle’s fingertips brushed against painful areas and her hand came away sticky. She was alarmed to see blood smearing her dusty hands.
With a small groan, she turned her head. Chunks of bricks, concrete and boards littered the street. Shock and denial froze her body and took her breath. The beautiful little girl from the flower stall lay broken and still not eight feet away, tossed against the cobbles like a lost doll. Elle stretched her arm toward the child in desperate supplication, beseeching the little girl to blink or move, but it was too late. The muscles in the young woman’s face and chest contracted painfully in grief as she drew in a shuddering breath and began to cry in wrenching bursts.
The sound of running feet and shouts filled her ears. A young man knelt beside her. Efficient hands ran over her, searching for injuries. He leaned low and placed his cheek against hers, making soothing sounds between his questions as her body wracked with sobs. Finding nothing broken, he lifted her to lean against his chest. Water sloshed and a woman’s soothing hands gently washed the cuts on her face. Gradually, Elle’s breathing settled enough for her to answer.
“I’m Giselle Bouvier. People call me Elle. I’m shooting pictures of life at the edge of the war zone. Thought you were out of shelling range.”
The young man brushed her hair away from a cut on her forehead that a woman was swabbing with antiseptic. “Elle, you are one of the lucky ones. The missiles came without warning from miles away. There are rebels in the hills.”
About the Author

Holly’s world is shaped by her love of family, the beauty of the natural world and an irrepressible creative drive. She has always been curious and sees life through questions. These four characteristics color her writing voice and her stories frequently evolve from her asking “What if….?” Her tales tend to have non-urban settings with nature contributing to the plot, building discordant themes inside a seemingly peaceful refrain.

My motto: Weaving Alternative Worlds with Threads From Today.

Sunstone Release Blitz @HBarboWriting @MoBPromos

SUNSTONE
AUTHOR: Holly Barbo
GENRE: Steampunk Thriller
COVER DESIGNERJC Clarke
EDITOR: Sheenah Freitas

The steam-powered civilization of Myrn is a thriving adolescent culture. But the rapid industrial development has given rise to greed, and the triumvirate of government, banks and industry leaders has lost sight of those it is supposed to serve and protect.
When a mysterious incurable illness sweeps through the impoverished masses, increasing the suffering to breaking point, rebellion seems unavoidable. Society is on the brink of revolution, and the planet is marked for destruction.
M’nacht, his son Kes, and his team of researchers investigate a legend about three sacred fossils that could save the people and rebalance Myrn. However, they are not the only ones looking. Where they see salvation, others see power, wealth and control.
Will the gifts from the goddess Navora be found in time to save their world, or will the sacrifice of innocents be lost under the weight of human depravity and corruption?

Ravarian wiped the sweat off her forehead and peered out over the strait. Her grey eyes were clear and resolute. The clear day was warm and so beautiful that her heart filled with bittersweet joy. Grateful for this last gift from the Goddess, Ravarian pulled in her line and the small fish on it. Once it was stored in her cooler, she moved her boat again. No one watching her would be able to see when she palmed the fossil and let it slip beneath the waves as she pulled in her catch. Hours went by as she continued to cast her line.

Her task accomplished, Ravarian decided to stop performing for her watchers. Returning to shore with her cooler full of her catch, she was met by the young man she had rented the boa from. He grinned at her and the size of her haul. They bantered about her luck. She loaded her steam car to return home and smiled her good-bye. As the steam filled the chamber and she began to move, Ravarian gave a final salute. The lad laughed and way her away. When her vehicle crested the rise on its way back to the city, his face took on a serious expression and he returned to the hut. On his desk was the dash-key and, without wasting a minute, he tapped out his report and hit “send”.

She was ready when the uninvited visitors came. Her mind was at peace. As she opened her door to them, she had the random thought that the police reports and newspapers would report her death as a victim of a brutal home invasion burglary. Ravarian was shoved into her living room as one of the men tore her pictures and books from the walls. The other set a bad down that clunked with ominous metallic sounds and approached her with the gait of a predator. She knew that the next few hours would be unpleasant for her and frustrating for her guests. No one would hear her screams. They wouldn’t learn what they wanted to know, only enough of a story so they wouldn’t go after her loved ones. This particular chapter of the Sunstone would close for now, but she was confident that the little fossils, there would be another day just as she know she wouldn’t live to see the next sunrise.

Holly’s world is shaped by her love of family, the beauty of the natural world and an irrepressible creative drive. She has always been curious and sees life through questions. These four characteristics color her writing voice and her stories frequently evolve from her asking “What if….?” Her tales tend to have non-urban settings with nature contributing to the plot, building discordant themes inside a seemingly peaceful refrain.

My motto: Weaving Alternative Worlds with Threads From Today.

THE EDGE OF MADNESS Pre-Order Blast @MoBPromos

THE EDGE OF MADNESS

Official genre of box set: SUSPENSE, THRILLER, HORROR
Content warning: RATED MA 18+ for mature content, V — violence, S — graphic sexual situations, L — vulgar language. Not suitable for anyone under the age of 18. Reader discretion is advised.
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MARCH MADNESS as you’ve NEVER seen it… 15 COMPLETE NOVELS AND NOVELLAS FROM YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS IN ONE PRETTY PACKAGE.
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Kick off Spring 2016 with a collection of macabre, suspenseful, and disturbing thriller/horror stories from around the globe. From murder in Vegas to deadly obsessions and down dark rabbit holes so deep, you may never find your way out again. Each story will have you biting your nails, and both fearing and anticipating turning the page! The suspense might just kill you.
A mix of previously-released stories and never-before seen tales, this set holds fifteen new worlds to explore — fifteen incredible experiences to bombard your senses, fifteen sets of characters to love, hate, and run from — Who could ask for more?
 Pre-Order Links
✯ ✯ Special GIFT WITH PURCHASE Offer with KOBO purhcase ✯ ✯
 Synopsis of Each Book

 

13 ~ Julie Elizabeth Powell

What is found within the depths of the human soul? Does wickedness linger, as if the Devil’s thumb is ready to pluck the strings of certain choices? And with the strumming, just how far will Evil spread?
13 is the story of random souls pitted against the tragedy of the modern world. What is their connection, if any? Nameless; are these merely humans whose weaknesses force them to commit heinous crimes, or demons under the skin, aware of their sins yet indifferent to the outcome?
Will they decipher the unknown and make it out alive?
Who is watching, what is the end?
13 examines the modern world, its failings, its image, its ever increasing race to destruction – its collapse of values meant to further mankind rather than annihilate. It questions choices, peering into the distorted ethics and morals of where humanity stands today, what it has lost and whether or not there is any hope for the future. If morals have become simplistic and vague, tainted intellectually and rigid, can it only give rise to succumbing to personal motives and flaws, focussing only on self-preservation? Or is it a result of what has been lost in the face of progress? Where such ideology needs re-evaluating; where tradition, continuity, conservation, stability and constraints on behaviour have great value…maybe progress is the expression of ruin after all?
13 wallows in horror, not only in blood but the psychological neglect of why the modern world must be wary of its way forward and not succumb to self-interests, where greed, amongst other negative traits, is personified to such an extent that nothing is left to save us.
13 could be seen as a résumé of failures, yet, for those who read it, maybe it will filter enough into consciousness that the tide may be turned. Or perhaps Destiny has other ideas?
Warning: strong language and scenes of violence /horror/drugs/sex

Slots ~ R.E. Hargrave

You know the saying, ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ . . . well, that’s not always true. Three travelers find themselves running to Sin City in an attempt to right a wrong, only to have it backfire—in a big way. Rated NC-17 for extremely graphic scenes. Please heed warning inside.

Warnings
First off, the musical inspiration for this horrific short story came from God Speed You Black Emperor, Dark Lotus, Type O Negative, and Alkaline Trio. If you are a child, elderly, or have a heart condition, then this story is probably not for you. If you cannot handle torture scenes and/or have a weak stomach, why are you here? This story is not for you. If you have any problems with language, nudity (and descriptions of such), drugs, forced sexual acts (including gore porn), maiming, torture, forced humiliation, self-mutilation, vomit, urine, blood, snakes, character death and more . . . then I cannot stress enough that this story is not for you.
Jennifer Jones suffered the loss of her parents in a car accident. Heaped upon her grief and survivor’s guilt is a debilitating layer of domestic abuse from her fiancé, Aaron. It’s all too much, and without warning, she snaps. Free from the moorings that bind us all to rational boundaries, Jennifer finds that stepping across the line and committing murder means she no longer needs to follow anyone’s rules but her own, but has she gone too far? Now that she’s tasted the heady power of controlling her own destiny, she can’t stop!
Down the rabbit hole she goes into a realm of psychotic darkness so deep, she may never find her way out again! Is murder Jennifer’s new reality or has reality skewed, tilting on its axis, writing its own story? Reality is in the eye of the deceiver, after all. Is this new reality real or has Jennifer Jones split?
No Caller ID ~ Ruby West
Jerome’s all charm, no substance. At best, he’s a talented womanizer. His wife leads a long list of women scorned by him, and one of them carries a deep grudge.
When his life takes a downward spiral, in a blur of binge drinking and hookups, the calls start. Someone’s playing a tantalizing game with him, but who?

 

Secrets Room ~ Kim Faulks

Be prepared for the most haunting horror and suspense novel to hit the shelf in years… 
What would you do if you woke in a room filled with strangers, with no memory of how you got there, and no way out?
Morgan Drimmel wakes to find herself in the midst of this nightmare. The gouged, blood-splattered walls scream of terror and torture, and the unrelenting light that shines between the cracks in the walls fills her with dread.
When the others in the room wake, they form alliances, and Morgan finds herself drawn to rogue biker Slade Rivers. But dependence, for her, has always come with a deadly price.
Those inside the room have secrets too; dark secrets they will go to any length to keep from getting out. When evil rears its ugly head, Morgan will not only have to fight to survive—she will also have to trust.
This is THE book you shouldn’t pass up!
Blood Crow ~ Cleve Sylcox
As Confederate and Union forces clash in and around the Missouri community of St. Charles, Constance McAdams fights a war of her own. Her mind has been fractured, her heart ravaged, and her soul nearly torn from its very existence. Her husband, Gavin, threatened by a corrupt sheriff and judge, is the binding that holds her together. With a blessing from an old Choctaw woman as her only weapon, she spirals into a maddening world of crows and spirits as she fights the forces pressing in around her.
Blood is Power ~ Ella Medler
In this second installment of his story, Nick Hunter proceeds to track down and eliminate every person involved in his son’s kidnap. But where will the chase end? And has he bitten off more than he can chew? Nick discovers a tangled net of human trafficking and corruption, and world-class players with a penchant for disturbed obsessions. Gritty, dark, chock-full of suspense. Don’t start reading if you cannot finish it in one sitting.
Duplicitous ~ Stephanie Nett
It was meant to be an easy job; go to my sister’s and update their security system. My sister’s husband is handsome and rich and she lives the epitome of a perfect life. As I work, Reese drops a bombshell and things begin to spiral out of control at a rate far faster than I’m comfortable with. After waking covered in blood, I’m left to piece together the mystery of what happened before I go mad. Or die trying.
A Crystal Snowflake ~ Holly Barbo
When Chayse’s friend is murdered before he can get protective custody, she and her department in Homeland Security are thrust into a race to stop a destructive cyber worm from wiping out all bank and stock market records during the Christmas break. The good news is there is an inoculating code which will stop the worm. The bad news is it is hidden in a special crystal concealed in the sculpted walls of a beautiful ice hotel in the lapland region of Sweden and the terrorists are searching for it too. As the snow flurries of November becomes frozen December each side rush to find the crystal…with entirely different goals. Will the Christmas holiday bring destruction for western financial systems?

 

Lost Shadows ~ Julie Elizabeth Powell
Not only had Adam lost his parents in a car crash, but he’d also forgotten who he was. Pamela is haunted by the patient who was murdered by her father. Barbara and Mike have mysterious secrets. Harry seeks solace at the bottom of a glass. And why is Mildred so afraid? While Helen’s mind gathers dust, Lizzie mourns the loss of her, and her husband. Both Penny and Jane are frantic to find their daughters, if in different ways. Rick wonders what to do about his family. And who is William?
Most are strangers, all are haunted by darkness – does this unite them, or is it something they must do that will free them?
Will they find what is lost?

 

Tropical Nightmares ~ Kelly Cozzone
Surviving numerous attempts on their lives including the explosion that rocked Tropical Dreams, David Murphy and Tiana Alexander started to rebuild their lives. Living on the beautiful and tranquil island of St. Lucia, they tried not to let the ugliness of Robert Dubose invade every aspect of their lives. They knew he was coming and wouldn’t stop until someone was dead.
Robert Dubose planned every second of his revenge against David and Tiana down to the littlest detail. This time he was leaving nothing to chance. Bringing a partner in on the plan almost guarantees his success.
Can David and Tiana once again defeat Dubose or will he finally get his revenge? Will Dubose and his hidden partner finally succeed in killing them? Can David forgive himself for failing Tiana or will their love be another casualty?
Dirty Business ~ Julie Elizabeth Powell
Gavin Bloom and Alex Moore run an online magazine for an adult market; although each insists it has to be within the limits of not only the law but to their sense of decency. Gavin is on the edge of developing a revolutionary turn for that very magazine, a programme that will no doubt secure the business, maybe forever.
Amidst the excitement and enjoyment of its success, however, is the mysterious and heinous murder of one of their own.
Who can have done it? And why?
And who is the woman fastened by a chain to a wall?
Follow the twists and turns and perhaps you can solve the puzzle before they do.
Warning: some strong language, violence and moderate scenes of a sexual nature.
My Daylight Monsters ~ Sarah Dalton
I always thought my demons came out in the day, rather than at night. I’ve never been scared of the dark. I’ve only ever been scared of real things: getting ill, having injections, physical pain… death. Those are my monsters, not ghosts or vampires or whatever else can hide under your bed at night.
I was wrong.
The dark makes everything worse.
When 17-year-old Mary Hades is admitted by her parents to a psychiatric unit, her worst nightmares are confirmed. How can she get better in a place that fills her with dread? Her friendships with the other patients — her wacky roommate Lacey, her protector Mo, and the mysterious, green-eyed Johnny — begin to fill her with hope, until she realizes that people in the hospital are dying without explanation. Something sinister stalks the corridors, and it’s up to Mary to stop it. But the closer she gets to the answer, the more perilous her situation becomes, and Mary discovers the only way to get out alive is to confront the things that scare her most.
North by Northeast ~ Cherime MacFarlane
Without her he is alone in the world. Letting his wife go alone to Seattle, Washington to display her paintings in an invitation only show is difficult. But he has commitments to fulfill. Unease turns to fear when she doesn’t answer his call. The “sight” tells him something is horribly wrong. An inept investigator, an obsessed fan and three friends all come together in a tight tale of a race into British Columbia’s Pacific Coast as a husband tries to save the only thing he ever wanted, his wife.
Captive (Book 1 of A New Life Series) ~ Samantha Jacobey
A New Life Series is an epic adventure. TORI FARRELL’s life IS one wild story… escaped from a biker gang and running from drug lords… used by the FBI and hoping to protect her present from her past… IT’S DARK – IT’S BRUTAL, and it’s WORTH EVERY MINUTE OF IT!! (Mature read, 18+ for graphic sexual content and violence, including rape)
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The Edge of Madness – A Thriller & Horror Anthology Blitz @WTMOreads

The Edge of Madness –
A Thriller & Horror Anthology
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Release Date: March 1, 2016

 

MARCH MADNESS as you’ve NEVER seen it…
15 COMPLETE NOVELS AND NOVELLAS FROM YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS IN ONE PRETTY PACKAGE. 

 

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Kick off Spring 2016 with a collection of macabre, suspenseful and disturbing thriller/horror stories from around the globe — some of which you might be able to read with the lights off. The rest are going to scare the bejeezus out of you! One thing is guaranteed: once you’ve read them, you won’t ever be the same! 

A mix of previously-released stories and never-before seen tales, this set holds fifteen new worlds to explore — fifteen incredible experiences to bombard your senses, fifteen sets of characters to love, hate and run from — and who could ask for more? 

The perfect companion for a leisurely weekend of mayhem is at your fingertips — one-click your copy today! 

 

THIS BOX SET INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING TITLES: 

13 — Julie Elizabeth Powell 
SLOTS — R.E. Hargrave 
SPLIT — Michele E. Gwynn 
NO CALLER ID — Ruby West 
SECRETS ROOM — Kim Faulks 
BLOOD CROW — Cleve Sylcox 
BLOOD IS POWER — Ella Medler 
DUPLICITOUS — Stephanie Nett 
A CRYSTAL SNOWFLAKE — Holly Barbo 
LOST SHADOWS — Julie Elizabeth Powell 
TROPICAL NIGHTMARES — Kelly Cozzone 
DIRTY BUSINESS — Julie Elizabeth Powell 
MY DAYLIGHT MONSTERS — Sarah Dalton 
NORTH BY NORTHEAST — Cherime MacFarlane 
CAPTIVE (Book 1 of A New Life Series) — Samantha Jacobey 


RATED MA 18+ for mature content, V — violence, S — graphic sexual situations, L — vulgar language. Not suitable for anyone under the age of 18. Reader discretion is advised. 

RELEASED by PERMISSION — All works in this box set have been professionally proofed by Paper Gold Publishing, unless this service was expressly refused by the author. Some stories are written in American, some in Australian, and some in British English. The authors have chosen to stay true to their heritage. 
All rights reserved.

 

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so be sure to sign up for your gift if you use them as your vendor…

 

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