Release Day and Scavenger Hunt Kick Off

LLoL cover

Synopsis:

In a dusty, dilapidated stall tucked away in an alcove of a bustling Bazaar in India, a man with a rickety spine and a spindly beard bends over his work bench, forging a locket with accidental magic. There’s power in a wish, and there’s nothing he wants more than for his children to return home. The locket was intricately crafted, adorned with one dragonfly for each of his children—and the power to find them.

 

With the guidance of fate, the locket skips through time and journeys across oceans, traveling from person to person in a constant search for the souls whispered into its vessel. Centuries after the magical old man in the Bazaar became near-forgotten myth and whispered legend, the locket has fallen into the hands of those with echoes of the six dragonflies: the seeker, the empath, the dreamer, the confidant, the adventurer, and the dancer.

 

YOU CAN BUY IT NOW!

Amazon Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

 

JOIN THE SCAVENGER HUNT!

 

Welcome to the first ever Patchwork Press Scavenger Hunt. Everyday for the next two weeks we will be revealing a letter. These reveals will be on fun blog posts about the anthology, pinterest, instagram, and twitter. The letters will spell out the theme of our next anthology. Find all of the letters and unscramble the word and you have exclusive information before we even reveal it officially!

 

There will be 14 posts. Two weeks of hunting!! Go to each post and collect the letters and read all of the fun posts. We will tweet each post on the official @patchwork_press twitter, and the master key of all the posts in case you miss any will be at Patchwork Press.

 

Grab your copy of The Lost Locket of Lahari and join the scavenger hunt fun!

 

My Short Story Cover Reveal

Amidst finishing up The Painted Maidens Trilogy, I’ve been busy – and so have the other ladies of Patchwork Press. We have teamed up to create something we really think you’re going to enjoy… our first anthology! Five of our authors, including your truly, plus one of our fantastic interns, have each contributed a story to The Lost Locket of Lahariwhich is being released into the world on September 9th! We can’t wait to share it with all of you! But for now, here is the amazing cover given to you by talented author/artist Erica Crouch:

LLoL cover

 

Add it to your Goodreads TBR list now!

Synopsis:

In a dusty, dilapidated stall tucked away in an alcove of a bustling Bazaar in India, a man with a rickety spine and a spindly beard bends over his work bench, forging a locket with accidental magic. There’s power in a wish, and there’s nothing he wants more than for his children to return home. The locket was intricately crafted, adorned with one dragonfly for each of his children—and the power to find them.

With the guidance of fate, the locket skips through time and journeys across oceans, traveling from person to person in a constant search for the souls whispered into its vessel. Centuries after the magical old man in the Bazaar became near-forgotten myth and whispered legend, the locket has fallen into the hands of those with echoes of the six dragonflies: the seeker, the empath, the dreamer, the confidant, the adventurer, and the dancer.

In the hands of its new owners, the power of the locket adapts, bending and remaking itself to answer need. While the locket never found the children of Lahari, it found the next best thing… Their spirits.

The six novellas of the Lost Locket of Lahari anthology pause a moment in time when the locket finds the ripples of its ancestry. From the Victorian-era to the Roaring Twenties, the 1940s to modern day and beyond, this anthology is a collection of stories as dynamic as the authors themselves.

 

‘Air, Book Two’ Free First Chapter

Oh geez, I’ve got a cold…and a stomach thing…and like half my kids have it too.  I just realized two posts ago I promised the first chapter of each of my books, then didn’t continue.  Sorry!  But in case you missed the news flash, ‘Fire, Book Three of the Akasha Series‘ is now available!!! Except for iBooks (grrr) – still not available there.  It’s been submitted but their approval process can take forevs.

Anyway, here is the first chapter to ‘Air, Book Two of the Akasha Series‘. Enjoy!

__________________________________

Chapter 1: Breath of Life

“I can see my breath.”

There was no response from the small, handheld radio nestled in my thick glove.

I clicked on the talk button again. “Did you hear me, Micah? I said I can see my breath. Time to go.”

Finally, a voice answered, though not through the radio. Do you not understand the concept of silent ops?

He was using our telepathic connection. I immediately shut it down. There were things in my head he need not know – not yet anyway. I couldn’t take the chance he would find them while tooling around in there. I clicked the radio again. “Then why did you bring the radios?”

I could almost hear his frustrated huff through the vast expanse of the Pennsylvania pine forest that lay between us. He had explained it to me before we separated; the handhelds were there in case we suspected someone intruding on our telepathic connection.

He came back, over the radio this time, and said, “I am almost to the cabin. Let me just check it out and then we can go. I am going silent – for real this time.”

“Don’t you dare turn off the—” my best warning voice was cut off by the hum of the radio, letting me know I was no longer connected to my counterpart. It was tit for tat with us.

I huffed, the same way I imagined him doing it. My breath formed a cloud of fog that lingered lazily in front of my face. I played with it, sucking it back in, then blowing out to form bigger clouds, and swishing it away with my hands. Anything to keep my mind off the cold. The wind picked up as clouds moved into the valley, darkening the midnight sky further.

I squinted, trying to pinpoint the cabin in the dark. The moon, fully hidden behind thick clouds, was no help. We had tracked Shawn this far, despite my protests. In my opinion, it had been far too easy – like following bread crumbs. But Micah’s need for vengeance surpassed my own.

Giving up on the cabin, I exhaled again. A gust of cold wind met the fog. I narrowed my eyes. This gust had come in against the oncoming storm. I watched as my breath cloud was sucked into an invisible black hole and disappeared, sizzling as it went. The wind followed its trail, straight into my lungs.

I turned, flailing my arms out to ward off whatever was attacking me. But how can you ward off air? The sucking persisted, panic and fear taking hold of me more thoroughly than the cold that had bit its way into my bones. Had it not been so dark out already, I’m sure I would’ve already seen the forest go black.

Falling to my knees, I reached out for the only element of which I had a strong grasp; water.  Particles were drawn from the clouds, the soil, and the trees. They rushed to meet me, then wavered in front of my face, hesitating. I wasn’t sure what to do with them. But there was more than just me at stake. In a desperate, final act, I sent them down my throat, into my lungs and into the very thing that sucked the life out of me. I flooded it with far more water, volume-wise, than the amount of air it took. Shortly, it proved to be too much, and the mysterious void of nothingness expelled everything. Water and air both flooded my system. I sputtered, choking up the water I had so desperately called to my aid.

As soon as I lifted myself from the ground, thoroughly soaked, I thought of Micah. Whatever, or whoever it was might be going after him too. The trail leading up to the cliff was steep and full of loose rock, causing me to slide most of the way down. Once my feet hit solid earth, I took off running. The forest was dense, but I avoided the protruding roots and clawing branches easily enough. There was only one thing on my mind. Without thinking, I opened up the telepathic connection and screamed his name, Micah!

There was no answer. I ran faster. The forest opened up into a small, circular clearing. As I entered it, I spotted Micah clearing the trees on the opposite side in a dead run toward me. We met in the middle, coming to a stop a few feet apart, both hunched over with our hands on our knees. A cursory scan of each other while still gasping for air was enough until words came to us. He was out of breath, but he was unscathed and handsome and dry – and I hated him for it.

Before he could say anything, I went first, in between breaths, “Well – was there anything in the cabin?” I didn’t bother keeping the bite out of my voice.

He held up a piece of paper in his hand, at least having the mind to look sheepish. “I found a letter.” He folded it up and put it in his pocket. “What happened to you?”

I fixed him with a stare as cold as the wind, “I found trouble.” Then, because I couldn’t help it, I shivered.

He sighed, taking off his jacket and wrapped it around me, “I guess I shouldn’t expect anything less from you, Kaitlyn.”

___________

Hope you liked it!  Don’t forget to get ‘Water, Book One’ now free pretty much everywhere as an ebook.  ‘Air, Book Two‘ is at a special price of $2.99.  Stayed tuned for the first chapter of ‘Fire, Book Three‘!

FREE March 28th and 29th on Amazon

The Kindred Curse Cover

The Kindred Curse Anthology is set to the very low price of….FREE March 28th and 29th on Amazon.  Click here to pick up your ebook copy.

With an average of 4.25 stars out of 17 ratings on Goodreads, and an average of 4.6 stars out of 8 reviews on Amazon, this is a CAN’T MISS FREEBIE!

Synopsis:

A disease passed to each new generation of descendants attracts vampires. Pieces of family history and the secrets to survival are lost as the lineage progresses. The Kindred Curse Anthology of prequels lead you back in time, revealing the root of a dynasty’s plight and a beginning that ultimately transcends the family’s end.

Consisting of five short stories, each subsequent book in this anthology is written as a prequel to the prior. The matriarch of the family, Anna Sprengel, survives a vampire poisoning. Her tainted blood is passed down to each new generation, morphing into deadly auto-immune diseases. However, no descendant can escape the magnetic pull they have toward vampires – and vampires have toward the family. Loosely based on the true story of the foundations of the Order of the Golden Dawn, Anna foresees the destruction of the world, and joins forces with a vampire in order to prevent the total loss of both races. But every member of the family in each generation must play their part. Constantly on the run from vampires, their instincts for self-preservation overcome even their kindred bonds. Anna is no longer around to ensure the prophecy is carried out by her family, but her vampire cohort, Xavier, is. Even if he can overcome the sensual pull toward Isabelle, fulfillment of the prophecy remains precarious as the future of both races is at stake.

Be My First Chapter Beta Reader

avalanche-11x200

I am currently undertaking the daunting task of reading my entire novel out loud to myself.  As I’ve discovered with my vampire short story series, and even the second book to the Akasha Series, ‘Air’, this method works wonders for catching hard to spot grammar/spelling mistakes and awkward sentences.  Although ‘Water’ has been on the market since September 2011, I haven’t yet put it through this process.  I have vowed to have this done by the time we go to Canada for our kid’s spring break trip (better get a move on because that is next week). Anyway, by the time I finished reading the first chapter out loud, I decided it needed a complete rework.

Whether you have read ‘Water’ yet or not, I would very much appreciate your input on the short 637 word excerpt below.  Does it grab your attention? Do you want to find out more? Does the dragon analogy work? If you have read ‘Water’, should I just stick with what is already there? Please leave your comments and thank you!!!

Chapter 1: Avalanche 

I leaned forward.  The board strapped to my boots responded.  Slicing through the fresh powder, I made a sharp curve to the right.  A quick glance uphill showed the wave of snow had almost tripled in size, and it was about to catch up to me.

More than anything else, it was the noise that pumped me full of adrenaline.  Like the roar of an angry, unrelenting dragon; breath stinking of the earth churned up in its path.  The entire right side of the unmarked backcountry trail was a wall of thick trees, impossible to break through.  I pulled my toes up, arching back to the left side of the trail.  But I wasn’t going to make it.  The dragon’s spittle pelted me on the back of my neck, sending chills down my spine.  Instead, I pointed my snowboard straight downhill and put all my weight on my forward leg, hoping to outrun the beast.

I willed my board to go faster than I ever dared before.  The avalanche was faster.  The dragon opened its mouth wide, closing in on me from both sides and overhead, blocking out the bright blue sky and the trees to the side of me with its gray jaws.  The slope beneath me cracked and slithered forward, like the monster’s forked tongue.  As the force of nature dropped over me, I closed my eyes and threw my arms around my head.  My screams were lost deep inside the creature.

Completely engulfed, I moved with the dragon.  The whole of the trail had transformed into its body; an agitated, unstoppable river of churning snow and debris.  The world became darker and darker, the snow heavier and heavier.  Flashes of light were few and far between.

When I gasped for air, I was sometimes rewarded with a clear breath but more often than not I sucked in a mouthful of snow.  Hacking to rid my throat of the slush, I came to the awful realization that I was drowning on dry land.

My hands, flailing for something solid to hang onto, finally caught hold of a tree.  Small as it was, it held fast against the merciless rush of snow.  I fought against nature, literally holding on for my life.  I wrapped myself around the trunk as two large branches just above me ripped away and disappeared in the churning white waves, along with my screams.  I squeezed so tight the rough bark scratched at my arms and cheek.  The scent of pine was strong, and I inhaled deeply as though the scent alone would keep me tethered to the tree.  I willed the roots to be strong.

They were, but I was not.  My grip started to loosen as my tired muscles and numb fingers were unable to hold on against the rushing snow.  I lost the stable trunk and returned to the tumble of snow.

I came to a halt just like the rest of the debris of the Canadian mountainside.  A small air pocket had formed, allowing me to spit out the coppery taste of blood.  Suffocation couldn’t be too far off, encased in an immobile block of ice as I was.  Feeble attempts at movement proved useless.  Silence settled in on me as I heard the last of the snow come to a halt above me.  Tolerating its crushing weight because I had no choice, I was left as I always was – alone.  Most of the time I preferred it that way; people were nothing but annoying.  But annoying or not, having someone who at least knew of my vacation plans would have been welcome.

As the numbness slowly receded, pain returned to one hand.  I wiggled my fingers.  They were free, possibly above the surface.  I grimaced.  Great – at least the wolves would find me.  Closed casket for me.

New Release

I kind of slipped this one in there in between releases of the 1st and 2nd books of the Akasha Series.  The Kindred Curse Anthology is a series of vampire short stories.  Ten lucky winners will be notified shortly that they won a free e-copy of the book through the Follower Love Giveaway Hop.  The Kindred Curse Anthology will be available for one week only on Smashwords, Amazon, and B&N.  After that it will be available on Amazon only.

A few disclaimers, there is nothing ‘eco’ about this book. It has action, it has vampires, and it has sex. It was a delicious thing to write and it is a delicious thing to read. Can’t wait to hear what you think!

The Kindred Curse Anthology

A disease passed to each new generation of descendants attracts vampires. Pieces of family history and the secrets to survival are lost as the lineage progresses. The Kindred Curse Anthology prequels lead you back in time, revealing the root of a dynasty’s plight and a beginning that ultimately transcends the family’s end.

Consisting of five short stories, each subsequent book in this anthology is written as a prequel to the prior. The matriarch of the family, Anna Sprengel, survives a vampire poisoning. Her tainted blood is passed down to each new generation, morphing into deadly auto-immune diseases. However, no descendant can escape the magnetic-like pull they have toward vampires – and vampires have toward the family. Loosely based on the true story of the foundations of the Order of the Golden Dawn, Anna foresees the destruction of the world, and joins forces with a vampire in order to prevent the total loss of both races. But every member of the family in each generation must play their part. Constantly on the run from vampires, their instincts for self-preservation overcome even their kindred bonds. Anna is no longer around to ensure the prophecy is carried out by her family, but her vampire cohort, Xavier, is. Even if he can overcome the sensual pull toward Isabelle, the prophecy remains precarious as the future of both races is at stake.

Pool Party (Minus the Pool)

Want to find out what happens when myself and four book bloggers get together for an entire week?   I’ll tell you what happens.  Best. Party. Ever.   And you’re invited!  Throw in a pool and it just might be EPIC.  There will be giveaways, character interviews, book reviews, a detailed intro to the Akasha Series and some discussion points you will definitely want to get in on.  Here is the skinny:

23rd January – Day One: A Biographical write-up – join in the discussion to pick your elemental power of choice; water, air, fire or earth!
24th January – Day Two: An Introduction to the Akasha series
25th January – Day Three: Each blogger’s review of ‘Water’, and teasers to the second book, ‘Air’
26th January – Day Four: An interview with Terra Harmony and character interviews
27th January – Day Five: Eye Candy – a guest post by yours truly.  Join in the discussion to let everyone know your favorite book covers!
28th January – Four totally free short stories based on characters from the Akasha Series.

Join in the party at one of four sites:

Ritesh at Ritesh Kala’s Book Reviews (The Host)
Alexia at Alexia Chronicles (The Hottie)
Natasha at Dreamland: A Teenage Fantasy (Life of the Party)
Jenifer at Can’t Put it Down (The Bookworm)

Better yet – you can enter the giveaway now!  Click here and sign up.  You’ll get extra entries for commenting on posts all week.  So, grab your drink of choice, put on your favorite music, and connect!

***And if you DO have a pool – I recommend playing ‘Pool Party’ by the Aquabats.***

Flash Fiction – Oil Spill

Welcome to the first ever edition of my weekly short stories, based on characters from my books.  I’ve yet to come up with a clever series name; so for now I’m sticking with Weekly Shorts.  If you have any ideas for a better name – feel free to comment!  I promise to keep them between 1,000 to 2,000 words each.  These are samples of my raw, unedited writing – please excuse any grammar/spelling mistakes!

 This week’s short features Susan and Micah (brother and sister) at a younger age on one of their first missions for the Seven, an organization hell-bent on saving the Earth

“Susan, Micah. Keep up.” The Gaia snapped at the kids trailing her. The hired dog sled team had refused to take them further so they were forced to walk the last mile over rough, icy terrain to the shores of Prince William Sound. “And turn off that blasted headset.”

Susan rolled her eyes, but obeyed anyway and slipped her Walkman into her backpack. “It keeps my mind off the cold. It is freezing out here.” Susan buried her head back under her parka’s thick jacket hood and spared a sideways glance for her younger brother. The bite of an Alaskan winter didn’t seem to be affecting him as much; his mind was elsewhere. Just one month ago, with the untimely passing of the Seven’s Ardwyad, Micah had taken his place. Youngest ever Ardwyad, their adoptive father Cato had said. The Gaia had reservations about an 11-year-old Ardwyad. Several in fact, that she made known to Cato, to Susan and to Micah himself, especially during their tedious trek from Indonesia to Alaska to help with the oil spill.

Her rants did nothing for Micah’s confidence. Since his job was basically to protect and train the Gaia, she really could have helped herself by helping him. Instead, she was making it worse for everyone. Susan couldn’t blame the Gaia too much. Susan knew the Ardwyad’s job was also to kill the Gaia once a stronger one was found. This wasn’t always common knowledge with the Gaias that came through; although Susan was sure this Gaia knew. She has accepted her fate with grace; that is until she met her would-be assassin face to face.

There had been a short send-off ceremony for the trio. The Gaia had tolerated it with her arms crossed tight over her chest, Micah was hanging on every word spoken during the ceremony, and Susan had kept her Walkman on the entire time. Cato blessed them with a prayer;

The Earth is my Mother

I shall not want.

Her breathe is the air that gives me life.

Her hand brings forth the green pastures.

Rivers run forth from her great breasts, remain close.

Fire is her gift, providing purity and warmth.

Her womb is the earth that will enfold me.

Surely, goodness and beauty will nurture me all the days of my life,

and I will become part of the earth forever.

“Here is good.” The Gaia stopped so suddenly, Micah almost ran into the back of her.

“Sorry,” he mumbled. Susan automatically wondered if he was aware of the ‘other’ part of his job; she sure as hell wasn’t going to be the one to tell him. How would he do it anyway? Would they give him a gun? A poison syringe? Was suicide an option – just to spare an 11-year-old boy the trouble? She probably wouldn’t, selfish –

“Susan! Snap out of it!” The Gaia had lost all patience with her charges. “I swear to God, I should’ve been doing this with Sian.” Sian was the former Ardwyad, and had chosen to go with the previous Gaia when it was her time. Susan had only been there a few years, and she hadn’t detected a love interest but what goes on between a Gaia and her Ardwyad mentor was largely private.

The three stood on an icy bank looking out into a sea of oil. Ribbons of gray and brown were strewn over the ocean water, turning almost shiny in the sunlight, and slowly spreading out like an infectious disease. They were told to help, but given very little direction as to how. Cato merely asked they bring as much oil ashore as they could; it would be easier for the Adanas, the earth elementals, to clean up from there.

“Ok, Susan. Do your thing,” said the Gaia.

“My thing?”

“You are a Nerina, yes?”

“Yes,” said Susan.

“A Nerina specializes in the element of water, yes?”

“Yes.”

“This water is dirty, yes?”

Susan grit her teeth together, “Yes.”  She was barely able to hold back the string of curse words trying to force their way out.

“So clean it. I didn’t know you needed someone to tell you how to do your job.”

Susan wanted to scream out loud. Instead, she chose to be the adult, and turned to the oil. She had limited practice with Cato, but had more with her mother who was also a Nerina. She wished she could remember more of that training. She wished she could remember more of her mother. At least she has some memories; Micah had been too young to remember anything about their parents. All he had was Cato.

Susan shook off the depression that always set in when she thought of her parents, and concentrated on her task. Almost immediately, she felt herself connect with the water. The tide rushed in to meet her, then pulled a part of her back out with it. Normally she’d have to fight the pull. She would be fighting to stay on land when all she wanted to do is submerge herself in the life-giving liquid. Not this time. This time the water was tainted and sluggish. The dark slime permeated every small cell, leaking into the very essence of the water, the very essence of Susan.

Susan dry-heaved at the feeling, and felt the Gaia huff behind her. She took another deep breath, telling herself it wasn’t really on her. But that was a lie – the water, Susan’s lifeline, was almost beyond repair. All Susan could detect was death; molecules were corroded – and as a result phytoplankton, fish, mammals, and the eco-system as a whole were dying.

Micah stepped up next to his sister. She looked down at him and smiled. His mere presence was calming. Susan attributed it to the fact that although they had an adoptive father, no one would really look out for Micah like she would. He was solely her responsibility. Believing this gave her strength.

She took Micah’s hand in her own, squeezing to feel the ridges of his fingers through their thick gloves, and closed her eyes. The ocean opened itself up to her, revealing its composition, movement, and more importantly, the elemental forces within.

She experimented with those forces, delving into her work, cold forgotten along with time. It took her near three hours before the puzzle before her finally unfolded. Susan targeted the water molecules, charging them with energy. The trace amounts of metals found in the crude oil repelled from the charged molecules, and automatically pushed itself away like two wrong sides of a magnet.

The only problem was, if the oil were to separate from the water, it had to go somewhere, and the only somewhere around that wasn’t water was the shore, which so happened to be where they were standing.

The oil gained momentum, propelled forward by a magnetism force. Within seconds the oil slick was several dozen feet high. Susan, shocked out of her connection with her element, was at a loss on how to stop it.

The Gaia immediately sent her own weaves into the water, trying to undo Susan’s manipulation. But the Gaia’s elemental strength, even with water, was double Susan’s. The surge of her energy into the ecosystem further charged the molecules and caused the slick to pick up speed. Now they both were at a loss at how to stop it.

Micah, feeling largely inept until now, stepped in front of the Gaia. He ignored the oncoming wave of oil and faced her. His hands clenched, and his face had gone red in anticipation of what he thought he must do.

Rivers run forth from her great breasts, remain close. The prayer Cato said before they departed was the only thing running through Micah’s head.

Suddenly, Micah buried his face square between the Gaia’s breasts, which elicited a high-pitched squeak from the Gaia.

Susan’s mouth dropped open. Micah pulled his head out, sucked in a badly needed breath, then looked back at the oil slick. It was still coming. He turned and did another face plant; only harder. Thinking perhaps she couldn’t feel him under all those layers of clothes, he shook his head back and forth.

Just as the wall of crude oil crashed into the shoreline, it lost momentum. It slowed and rolled to a goopy stop right at the trio’s feet. Micah’s move had flustered the Gaia, causing her body to flood with adrenaline. Since her natural reaction of accumulating nearby energy during an adrenaline rush followed; she essentially discharged the molecules.

Susan looked at her brother in wonder. He couldn’t have known how that would play out. Nonetheless, Micah turned back to the Gaia, still wide-eyed, but also with a small smile of accomplishment.

He had done his job; he had finally proven himself worthy of his Ardwyad title. The Gaia slowly raised her hand and issued a neat slap to his face.

“When we get back to the Chakra, I am filing a sexual harassment suit.”

Susan could no longer hold her snort of laughter back; as if the Seven had a human resources department. The Gaia turned on Susan, “Of which you will be included as an accomplice.”

“How – ”

“ – for helping to fulfill the desires of your puberty-stricken brother!”

The Gaia turned on her heel, sliding in what oil had made it that far onto shore, and stomped away in the ice and snow; black boot prints trailing her.

Susan watched the Gaia go, then scooped up some clean snow and put it on her brother’s reddening cheek. He held it in place.

“Well, how was your first time?” She asked.

“It was…” he started to walk after the Gaia, slowly, and Susan followed. “Liberating.”

Susan cleared her throat.

Micah looked up, suddenly appalled, “Wait, did you mean using magic? I mean…I didn’t use any magic. I thought you meant…her, um – “

“Don’t say it. I don’t even want to know what you call them.” Susan spared a sideways glance for her brother, then punched him playfully in the arm. He punched back and missed.

She shouldn’t be so hard on him. He had rougher times with women ahead. It was those handsome green eyes of his; they were going to get him into big trouble one day.

.

What did you think of my first short?  Please comment or an e-mail directly to me at terra (dot) harmony11 (at) gmail (dot) com.  Worth following?  Please sign up to follow by e-mail!