Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday Mishmash 1/15/18

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. I'm a USA Today Bestseller!  Back in October, I became a USA Today bestselling author as Ashelyn, and that was awesome. But...I wanted that title as Kelly as well. Last Wednesday, I got it. :) Since the rank was under 50, this was posted in the print edition as well as the online version.
  2. Proofreading  I'm currently proofreading the paperback proof of Unseen Evil and Evil Unleashed. I don't think I could love these books more. I'm so excited for everyone to read them this April and May.
  3. Editing  I recently got a new editing client, so I've been working with him to polish his picture book and query letter.
  4. Drafting  I'm drafting an Ashelyn novella scheduled to release this summer.
  5. Runes Kindle World  I'm part of the Runes Kindle World releasing February 6th, and we're having a cover reveal tomorrow. Join me here at 2:00 p.m. EST to see the cover of my book Tormented Souls. 
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

Monday, January 8, 2018

Monday Mishmash 1/8/18

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Revising  I'm revising a book this week after getting it back from my editor. So far it's going well, which is good because I'm having the cover designed this month.
  2. Snow  We are getting more snow today. Have I mentioned I hate winter?
  3. Amazon Giveaway  In case you don't subscribe to my newsletter, I have some giveaways going on right now. You can win a copy of White Raven by JL Weil here.
  4. Replica Signed Paperback ARC Giveaway  Want to win a signed copy of Replica, my sci-fi novel in the Wrath and Ruin boxed set? You can enter here.
  5. Games We Play Signed Paperback ARC Giveaway  If you like suspense books, enter to win a signed copy of Games We Play here
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

Monday, January 1, 2018

Monday Mishmash 1/1/18

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Happy New Year!  Here's to hoping 2018 is a great year!
  2. Wrath and Ruin  I can't believe Wrath and Ruin releases tomorrow. Thank you to everyone who has already preordered this collection of 24 sci-fi/fantasy books. If you haven't grabbed it yet, don't wait. The price will go up very soon. 
  3. Editing  I'm editing for a client right now, and her book is SO good. If you haven't read anything by Karen Lynch yet, you need to go do that right now. Trust me. She's amazing.
  4. Games We Play is out tomorrow, too!  When my very first book released in 2013, I had two releases on the same day. Now, five years later, it's the same thing. You can grab the last book in the Lies We Tell trilogy here: 
  5. Reading  Over the holiday, I read two craft books. It's been a while since I read a craft book, but I asked for two for my birthday and made time this past week to read them both cover to cover.
That it's for me. What's on your mind today?

Friday, December 29, 2017

When Fate Aligns

Check out this excerpt from When Fate Aligns, a sci-fi novel by AK Koonce, exclusive to the Wrath and Ruin boxed set.

I don’t have the slightest idea where Asher is from, what he was doing before he was locked away at Compound 186, but the gravity of the look he’s giving these berries right now fires my restless nerves through my body. I shift on my feet and fold my arms over my chest to stop myself from touching the dried scratch at my neck.
“Do you think they’re poisonous?” I ask in a nervous voice.
He gives a long sigh, his lips thin and turn down slightly.
“Most definitely,” he says, nodding his head slowly.
He takes another worried look at my neck. I try to take deep breaths as his intense stare seeps into me. His concern transfers right through me, wedging into every crevice of my mind, but I continue to focus on my breathing. He pushes loose strands of hair off my neck, and the small cut stings when his fingers brush against it.
“Do you think the cut is anything to worry about?” I ask, starting to panic internally while the forest around me remains silent.
His steel eyes glance from the scratch to my face. He tilts his head to better inspect the affected area of my neck. My mind is racing a mile a minute at all the thoughts of infection and bites I’ve seen over the years within our camp.
“It’s hard to say really.”
My mouth is dry and I’m still sweating, but I can’t tell whether it’s from the intense heat or whether it’s a symptom of the deadly poison racing through my bloodstream.
“We could always give you an antidote just to be safe,” he says, looking at the ground in thought.
“There’s an antidote?” I ask loudly, hope fluttering into my panicked heart. Is my heart rate accelerated from the berries?
He gives a small, masked smile. “My DNA is a cure all. Do they not teach you anything at that camp?”
His DNA. I instantly wonder what else Shaw used him for. Was there more to the compound than work and the secret testing?.
“Your DNA. Like your blood?” I ask, trying not to curl my lip in disgust. The thought of seeing his blood again, let alone wiping it on myself makes me want to run far, far away, poisoned or not.
“Our blood is an instantaneous solution, but there are other ways to transfer DNA,” he says in a low voice with an animalistic smile.
Confusion crosses my face as I think through his words. I’m almost about to ask him to explain when he licks his lips. My eyes follow the movement with slow understanding washing through me. My uneven breaths halt altogether. I suddenly notice how close he is to me. I give an awkward half smile and struggle to find a sentence to clear the air.
“Relax, I’m not going to bite you,” he says with a soft laugh that hums through my own body.
“It’s not that.” I pause trying to dissolve my awkwardness. “So, you’ll just lick me and—and I’ll absorb your magical healing powers?” I try to force the sarcasm from my voice because that’s all I have. It’s either sarcasm or shuddering nonsense.

He gives another drool-worthy half smile at my attempt to think through all this. “It’s not magic, but, yeah, sure, let’s call me magical.”

If you enjoyed the excerpt and want to keep reading, preorder Wrath and Ruin for only $.99 and get When Fate Aligns along with 23 other sci-fi/fantasy books!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Withered Rose

Check out this excerpt from The Withered Rose, a sci-fi novel by Penny BroJacquie, exclusive to the Wrath and Ruin boxed set.

“To the basement,” Althea commanded the group of brown-clad people who were hauling her children down the stairs. Floriana felt like she was suffocating under the pressure of the bodies pressing into her as they led her into a bright, almost daylight-like room. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Vittor trying to keep his balance as he was dragged in by a couple of strong young men.
“Look who’s here.” An old man’s nasally voice echoed from the back of the large room as a short man in a white laboratory coat emerged from behind a row of iron cupboards. He was followed by a small group of similarly dressed people.
“You must be Floriana. I have heard so much about you.” The old man approached her and brought his face close to hers. Floriana felt irritated when his nose almost touched hers as he observed her features through his glasses.
“Have I got something in my teeth?”she asked scathingly.
The old man took a step back and he turned his back on her as he addressed her mother in a shrill accent. “Sarcastic and scoffing. Just like her grandfather. Althea, I expect you to get rid of this unpleasant girl right now. I do not want her to mess things up now that we have finally put our plan to exterminate lesser human races into action.” He sniffed noisily as he turned back to one of the many laboratory tables and chairs in the room. His team of white clad scientists looked absorbed in their notes, indifferent to the new faces that had just come in.
Floriana straightened her clothes as she was freed from her mother’s grip. Vittor stood beside her, cleaning his glasses with the edge of his plaid shirt.
“This is Dr. Foulkaneli. Show some respect,”Althea said to Floriana furiously. “Why do you have to be so annoying?” Althea hissed, pointing at her daughter.
Her mother’s continuous verbal assaults hurt Floriana’s soul deeply. Offended and enraged, she could not control her anger anymore.
“Why do you have to be alive?” Floriana’s body quivered as tears flooded her eyes.
“You are so arrogant and ungrateful. I brought you here, where magnificent things are happening. You are both in the center of the action, where the brightest minds of the world have gathered to write history, to give humanity the purity it always needed. We are giving humans the final push, making the decisive step toward divine perfection. Only those who are genetically perfect will survive. All disabled people, homosexuals, and those of a lesser race will be exterminated from the face of the earth. We are about to touch God’s hand, and you have the privilege of watching it happen.”
Althea seemed lost in her daydream of a dystopian future where human rights were disregarded and an elite set of identical ice-blond people ruled a society devoid of justice. Floriana felt sick to her stomach as she watched her mother give her senseless and merciless speech with a mad look in her eyes. It proved definitively that she was mentally deranged.
“How did this happen to you?” Floriana uttered without hiding her disgust; tears rolled down her face.

“The tone in your voice reveals your disapproval. I cannot blame you. You have been brainwashed by your grandfather into believing that Black Rose ideology crap,” Althea responded as she turned her back to them and approached an iron cupboard. She pulled a set of keys from a pocket in her black suit and opened the cupboard. “You are unable to distinguish what is wrong and what is right. Dr. Foulkaneli is right; you will never adopt our ideology. Deception has such strong roots in your conscience that you will never choose the right path. Bringing you here was a huge mistake. You have to go,” she said icily as she took something out of the iron cupboard. Then she closed the door of the cupboard and turned the key in the lock. As Althea turned around, Floriana felt her heart stop beating when she noticed her mother holding a gun.

If you enjoyed the excerpt and want to keep reading, preorder Wrath and Ruin for only $.99 and get The Withered Rose along with 23 other sci-fi/fantasy books!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone celebrating Christmas today has a great time with family and friends. Happy holidays!

Friday, December 22, 2017

The People's Necromancer

Check out this excerpt from The People's Necromancer, a sci-fi novel by Rex Jameson, exclusive to the Wrath and Ruin boxed set.

Frederick clapped the archer on the shoulder. He and his three men returned to their horses and made their way toward the smoke and the distant screaming. A cacophony of metal, hooves and cries drowned out the sounds of their own footsteps. They moved in a circuitous route south and found five men with red sashes raping a woman along the road from Shirun to Perketh. Two men held down her arms as their cohorts cheered on a man who was vigorously thrusting and spitting in the woman’s face as she fought against the hands that pinned her down.
Two arrows split the heads of the spectators, and Frederick leapt from his horse with his sword at the ready. He plunged it through the rapist’s chest cavity, spreading blood all over the poor woman and the wagon on which she was pinned.
“I’m sorry,” Frederick said lamely as he realized he should have thought of the blood spray.
The two remaining men screamed and released her and ran toward the western woods. Simon and the two archers gave chase. Frederick didn’t have to watch them. He knew his archers would catch the perpetrators if his squires didn’t. His four other men stood ready, encircling him.
He knocked his visor up and absently stroked the plume atop his helmet. It was a nervous tick of his that happened when he couldn’t think of something to say. The woman looked in shock and disbelief at the blood all over her body.
“I should have gotten him off you first,” Frederick apologized. “I wasn’t thinking.”
She guffawed queerly as she pushed her dress back down and began to rub the blood all over her body. “No, good knight. This will do.”
“Are you hurt?”
Her eyes tensed up. She groggily looked back at a small house some twenty yards away.
“I don’t…” she said but nodding. “I don’t feel anything.”
Tears began to fall down her face. Frederick left her and moved to the fence and saw two sets of small legs from behind a wheelbarrow. The boys didn’t move. As he approached, he covered his gaping mouth with his hand. Their innards had been cut from them, likely in front of the mother. The children had been dragged around the yard. Blood was everywhere. Madness and evil had been here.
Frederick gripped his sword and gritted his teeth. He strode to the woman. He pointed to the dead bandits beside her.
“Bathe in their blood if you like,” he said. “If it provides you some comfort, I’ll empty the others onto you as well. Say the word and I’ll bring back all the blood you require!”
She stared at her body, raising her bloody hands in front of her face before looking back at him. “It would be an empty thing… Like me, I feel. Unnecessary… without purpose…”
“Is your husband also?”
She laughed so hard she cried, as she rolled off the wagon and began shuffling back toward her house and the backyard that held her horrors. “He left us long ago. For all I know, he’s one of these men… this Red Army.”
“I’ll tell the King of your loss,” Frederick promised. “I’ll petition for grievances.”
“I have grief enough,” she said softly.
“At least tell me your name,” the Captain said.
“Sarah,” she said. “Sarah Crow.”
“I’ll…” he said, trying to think of some promise to her. A song sounded too flippant. He would offer her a rose, but this wasn’t a tournament. What she had suffered was loss beyond what he could comprehend in the moment. “I’ll kill as many of them as I can.”
She turned to him along the short, barren path, likely trampled by her boys in their young years. She nodded as more tears fell.
“Yes,” she said. “Please.”
He leapt atop Lightning and Simon followed him closely on his own mount. They found a bandit group and slayed seven more before any backup arrived. Frederick became wraithlike, solely focused on carnage for Sarah. In his mind, he saw each of these men killing the small boys at the house on the road to Shirun, and they all paid bloodily for the damage they had inflicted.
Ten more on the road leading to Perketh. Five more in the forests just south of the smoke. Three more who had made camp and offended his ears with their boasts of rapes and murders. A small group of six who managed to ding his armor with arrows before he ripped their insides from their stomachs and spat into their faces as the light faded from their eyes.
Covered in their blood, he meandered through the wood, hoping against hope that Perketh still stood—that he had made it in time to save even one of these people. But the screams were muted and the smoke was beginning to subside, as if there wasn’t much more to burn.
He stumbled through the trees until he came to a shadow there, watching the town. Unlike the faceless men he had slaughtered, this one seemed familiar. Frederick raised his visor, squinting at the leather-clad, brown-bearded man in a long leather cap and non-descript armor who had not noticed his approach.
“Jeremy?” Frederick asked, surprised.
He knew Jeremy Vossen from anywhere. They had enjoyed many a strong ale together in the capital. Jeremy had even served as wingman to him while table hopping at social events, often distracting fathers as Frederick had stolen a kiss from Lucille Croft, Evelyn Crayton and any number of other dangerous potential liaisons.
Frederick forgot himself. He almost forgot where he was, as if the mayhem and retribution had all been a dream and this chance meeting was the reality. He took his helmet off and smiled widely and genuinely through his twirled blond mustache. He stroked the plume of his helmet as he thought of something to say.
“Lord Vossen has sent you here, hasn’t he?” Frederick asked, walking up to him and giving him a hug.
The hug was returned but lighter and stiffer than usual.
“Well, I’m so glad you’re here,” Frederick said. “I’m only leading ten men, but they’re good men. We’ve killed dozens. Maybe three. I haven’t been counting. But man, we could use you.”
Jeremy nodded, but he seemed lost.
“You ok?” Frederick finally asked.
“You’re on loan,” Jeremy said, in a rambling sort of way. “The King loaned you to Mallory over the repayment, didn’t he? This was your special assignment?”
“Yeah,” Frederick said with laughter still in his voice at seeing his old friend. “I thought it would be a quiet time on the frontier. I expected I’d be patrolling orcish borders, not this…”
He motioned at the smoke and bodies he had left in his wake.
“Whatever this is!” he said finally. “Man, I have some stories to tell you the next time we sit down…”
“I bet…” Jeremy said, hugging him again.
Frederick patted Jeremy on the back, slightly confused.
“There was this woman,” Frederick said. “Sarah. I found men… pinning her down. They were… You know… I… We killed them all, but not before they had killed her boys. Spread them out all over her yard… I left her there…”
He winced as he thought about her covered in blood, turning toward him on the path to her small home and the graves she would have to dig.
“I wish you hadn’t come,” Jeremy said, grabbing him by the back of the neck.
“No one wants to be here,” Frederick said, smiling at his friend, “but someone had to come. It’s a good thing I came. That we both came! You and me together? The Red Army doesn’t stand a chance!”
A sharp pain pierced Frederick’s neck and a metal taste flooded his mouth. He gasped as he pushed away from Jeremy. He grasped around at his exposed neck and felt the knife handle. He fell to the ground.
“I wish you hadn’t come,” Jeremy said as he bent down to Frederick’s level.
Every inhalation sent blood into his lungs. His body spasmed violently as he gasped for air. He reached out to Jeremy, who held his hand as he sputtered the last breath of his short 22 years. He looked up at the sky and thought of the tournaments he had won. Of his father’s proud face in the crowd. Of Jeremy standing next to Godfrey and just as happy as he had been.

“God damn it, Freddie,” Jeremy said. “God damn it…”

If you enjoyed the excerpt and want to keep reading, preorder Wrath and Ruin for only $.99 and get The People's Necromancer along with 23 other sci-fi/fantasy books!