Book Blitz – The Spitting Post – by Jason R. Barden #horror #DarkFantasy

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THE SPITTING POST
Jason R. Barden
The Spitting Post
Genre: Horror, Dark Fantasy
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: December 8, 2017
Vincent must find the Spitting Post, but only the purple swan knows the way.
Vincent Carpenter’s life is a wreck. He has given up his dreams. He has lost his job after an economic disaster. His ten-year marriage is crumbling. Then he awakens in a maniacal land of frighteningly vivid realism with skull trees, glowing forests, ravenous beasts, and other psychologically haunting adversity.
While traveling through this demented unearthly world, he has a chance encounter with a beautiful maiden dressed in green; before he can start a conversation, she disappears into the unknown. Vincent must try to find her at a fantastical place known as the Spitting Post. But first he must overcome many macabre misfortunes and face nightmares that question his sanity. Will he reach her? What will the Spitting Post reveal? Will he suffer more disappointment and tragedy? Or will he find peace at last?

Review from The Romance Reviews

Vincent Carpenter isn’t having a good day. It’s the weekend and he forgot to turn off his alarm. When he rolls out of bed, he’s surprised to see that his wife, Erika, isn’t there. When he does find her, he mentions the dinner reservations he’d made for their tenth anniversary but she doesn’t want to go. What follows is a slow trip down a rabbit hole to the land of the mundane.
Until it isn’t.
Suddenly, he awakens in a strange world where nothing is normal. From the glowing forests to the skull trees, Vincent is lost in a world that would rival the minds of some modern masters of the macabre. A chance meeting with the Green Maiden forces Vincent through this nightmare world in search of a place called the Spitting Post but to get there, he must face some intense nightmares that could destroy even the strongest of psyches.
I had no idea what to expect when I started reading this story and I found it as intriguing as it was disturbing and that’s a good thing. With each new ordeal/event, Vincent finds himself more immersed in his nightmares, and we as readers, gain a bit more information. So much so that once you reach the end (Spoilers!), you’ll find yourself going back to reread sections again.
For when you do: “You must rethink everything you thought you knew. You must let your mind go back to the beginning and reconsider what it is you thought was truth, what you thought was reality, and what you thought was a dream,” and even then, THE SPITTING POST will surprise you.
Reprinted with permission from The Romance Reviews
The Spitting Post Teaser

Excerpt

When night settled in, the trees began their song of despair and completely blocked out any other noise. This is great, I thought. The beast could be right on me, and I would never even hear it. But the trees continued their sad symphony just the same.
With the thought of the beast ripping at my body and consuming my insides and the tree’s wailing, I found myself at the edge of lunacy. When dawn finally broke, the trees stopped their wailing, and the silence became deafening yet again. At last, peace and quiet. I picked myself up from the madness and marched onward. I was not a bit hungry, and my stomach was far too nervous for breakfast, so I went without. I also knew this would save time. One extra moment in this place was one too many.
Again I found my thoughts racing as fast as my feet. It would be a complete triumph when I escaped this land, or so I thought. If only I could make it to the bridge, then maybe I would be safe. As I raced on like a frightened animal about to become the beast’s dinner, I thought about the townspeople. I hoped they were safe in their new home far from here; I felt empathy for them knowing what fear the beast inspired.
I was lost in thought when again I heard the violin’s call. It was close this time—too close. I stopped and surveyed the land with terrified eyes, growing more anxious with each passing note. The ambient tune working itself into a manic frenzy. Can’t they shut up? With that racket the beast would find us, and I knew what would happen when it did. There would be no more violin playing for that musician, and I would never find The Green Maiden.
I scanned the countryside for the insane violinist and spotted him on a small hill just to my right. When I saw his ghastly appearance, I almost wished I hadn’t found him. He was a stout man dressed in total blackness with a red violin resting against his shoulder. His skin was a brilliant white, as white as a bed sheet. On his head was a black top hat, and he wore a twisted grin on his porcelain face.
“What are you doing?” I yelled. “It will hear us!”
The man said nothing and kept playing his maddening melody.
“Are you crazy?”
The man opened his mouth wide and without moving his lips, he said, “Precisely.”
Then he began to cry tears of blood, yet still he played. The blood rolled down his face and pooled on the grass. Then I came to a grotesque realization. He was not playing for amusement; he was calling the beast.

About Jason R. Barden

Jason R. Barden

Jason R. Barden began writing poetry around the age of thirteen. At age thirty three he decided to transition into fiction writing with his first novel The Spitting Post. In addition to writing he enjoys hiking and photography. Jason lives in Fort Worth, Texas where he is currently working on a collection of his poems.
Social media link: Facebook | Goodreads Author Page

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Release Blitz – Touch of Ice [Dawn of Dragons, 1] by Mary Auclair @mauclairauthor #scifi #paranormal #romance

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TOUCH OF ICE
Mary Auclair
Touch of Ice
Series: Dawn of Dragons Book 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction Romance
Publisher: Eclipse Press
Publication Date: January 18, 2018
He is as cold as ice. She is the salvation that will melt his heart.
When Endora is faced with her daughter’s terminal illness, she takes the only chance she’s got. She braves the potential risks and signs a mating contract with the Delradon Draekon Lords, intent on using the payment to buy the aliens’ cure to save her daughter’s life.
Lord Aldric Darragon rules over his land with an iron fist until one day the only woman who is genetically compatible with him agrees to his offer of mating. As his all-consuming passion for Endora explodes, an ancient threat looms heavy over humans and Delradons alike. With the lives of everyone he cares about hanging in the balance, Aldric has to fight the demons of his past if he wants to defeat the enemies of the present.
“A spectacularly entertaining read! I highly recommend this read to anyone looking to get away for a few hours of adventure, romance, intrigue, steamy sex and did I mention the dragons.”
– Paranormal Romance Lovers
“Really glad I took a risk on this new author. This is a beautiful love story, the relationship dynamics will draw you in immediately, the story line and imagery makes it a page turner. “
– Kindle customer

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Touch of Ice Teaser

Book Excerpt

Snow fell with an unrelenting fury, blanketing the early evening with the smell of things cold and pure. Aldric watched as the air filled with the large snowflakes, lost in his thoughts.
Under his palm, Rhyl’s scales shivered with withheld excitement. The beast wanted to take to the skies at least as much as Aldric did. Soaring in the middle of a snowstorm was the only luxury Aldric awarded himself, the only time he allowed his own personal pleasure to come before his responsibilities as High Lord of Katanie. As long as the flight lasted, there was only the sky, him, Rhyl, and the connection between man and dragon that ran deeper than a cellular level.
Only he always had to come back.
The sound of a door opening made him turn and he stifled a growl of annoyance at the sight of Dalgo. His old friend’s face was set in familiar grim lines, and he walked briskly toward Rhyl and himself. Aldric was tempted to ignore his friend’s presence and fly away on his dragon, but as his gaze locked with Dalgo’s silver eyes, eyes he shared with every Draekon, something in them made him stay. It looked like it could be important enough to postpone his flight.
“Don’t tell me we had another disturbance on the northern border? I thought those thieves had been properly scared away.”
“What I have to tell you has nothing to do with some low-life human thieves.” Dalgo stopped walking and stared straight at Aldric. He never bothered with the proper greetings when they were alone. “But before I tell you, you have to promise to listen to everything I have to say before you make your decision.”
“What is it, then?” Aldric turned to face the large opening in the mountainside that was the dragon’s landing and departing strip. The open sky called to him, and his mood worsened at the knowledge he wouldn’t get to enjoy the freedom of the flight. When Dalgo didn’t answer, he turned back to stare at his friend. Dalgo’s eyes were determined but his mouth was closed. He seemed to be at a loss for words, something that never happened to Aldric’s usually loquacious captain of the guards.
Dalgo took a deep breath, then squared his shoulders.
“She came forward this afternoon at the Human Liaison Office in Helbon.”
“Who?” Aldric frowned, not bothering to hide his irritation. What woman could be worth wasting a perfect snowstorm like this?
“Her. Your match.”
Comprehension dawned and Aldric suddenly wished there were chairs to sit on near the landing strips. A flash of a young woman, laughing and flipping long, dark hair came to his mind. He was surprised at how vivid his memory was, how well he remembered her face. Those large, dark velvet brown eyes, those full lips stretched in an easy smile, that luscious body with a woman’s full curves. He remembered everything about her.
“Endora.” Aldric tasted her name on his lips. He hadn’t allowed himself to speak that name in a decade. “She accepted the offer?”

About Mary Auclair

Mary Auclair

Mary grew up in the quiet peace of a small rural village in the heart of Quebec, Canada.
She spent her childhood chasing butterflies and catching frogs, playing in the mud and generally being as unladylike as she could. Her love of science led her to complete a mechanical engineering degree at the Ecole Polytechnique of Montreal, where she met the love of her life.
Years later, as she enjoyed the role of full time mom to her two wonderful children, she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.
She now write as much as her busy schedule allows to bring to life her inner world, filled with exotic planets, mysterious creatures and off course, hot, alpha heroes and the women who melt their hearts.
When she’s not writing, she can be found in the garden, walking her dogs or playing with fire in her kitchen as a part time hit-or-miss chef.
She loves to hear from her readers, so don’t be shy and drop her a line!
Official website: http://www.maryauclair.com
Connect with Mary Auclair on social media:

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Book Discovery Tour + #Giveaway Featuring 6 Exciting Titles for your Reading Pleasure

 

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BOOK DISCOVERY TOUR
Hosted by Book Unleashed
February 15 – 19, 2018
Featuring an exciting lineup of books for your reading pleasure.
Check them out today.
And be sure to JOIN THE TOUR GIVEAWAY below too. It’s FREE!
Wicked Dance
WICKED DANCE
Olivia Boothe|Chronicles of a Dancing Heart Book 1|Contemporary Romance
She never imagined her heart could ever dance again
Former dance student Sara Hart had aspired to grace the stage on Broadway, but a reckless decision forced her to renounce that dream. Years later, while struggling with an ungratifying job and an even more unsatisfying love life, she literally stumbles upon a dangerously sexy stranger who sends her heart—and her body—into hyperdrive. His touch makes her feel alive again and sparks a desire to rebuild her dance career. But Sara is still haunted by the demons of her past. One dark lie could cost her everything.
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Finding Purpose
FINDING PURPOSE
Tiffani Lynn|Colorado Veterans Book 1|Erotic Romance
Second Chance at Life. Second Chance at Love.
Once upon a time, when Quincy Hannigan needed saving, he was there to hold her hand. Years have passed since she was that weak, broken girl; instead, a strong, intelligent woman stands in her place. She’s making the world a better place one arrest at a time and has everything she’s always wanted—except Judson Rivers.
Purchase Links: Amazon | iBooks
Click on any of the book covers below for more detailed info on each title.
Old Fashioned with a Twist

An infant’s abduction reveals long held secrets that will affect an entire family.
Amazon
Tempting Their Best Friend

Tempting Their Best Friend has never been so sweet…or delicious.
Amazon
Special Promo: Up to 15% OFF on selected books. Click here for more info
I Got Your Back, Hailey

Our hearts can be kidnapped in the strangest ways.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Special Promo Price: 99 cents until Feb 19
Midnight's Edge: The Secrets of Sleepy Meadows

The title, Midnight’s Edge, comes from the time of night where the veil between the living and the dead disappears and, for a brief moment in time, the dead can return to the mortal world and live again.
Amazon
Special Promo Price: 99 cents on Kindle (Regular Price: $2.99)

Giveaway

WIN $20 GIFT CARD AND MORE
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Prizes up for grabs:
1. $20 Amazon Gift Card
2. $15 Amazon Gift Card from Olivia Boothe
3. Finding Heart by Tiffani Lynn (eBook)
4. Old Fashioned with a Twist by Rebecca Marks (eBook)
5. I’ve Also Got Your Front, Hailey by June Kramin (Print)

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Cover Reveal + #Giveaway – Immortal Reckoning – by Tara Fox Hall

Immortal Reckoning
IMMORTAL RECKONING
by Tara Fox Hall
Series: Promise Me Series # 18 (Origin Story)
Genre: Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Suspense, Romance
Publisher: Melange Books
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Through the love and loss of the ages, immortality brings only one certainty: vengeance.
Disinherited and poverty stricken, bastard Danial clutches at the slim chance to earn a living as a guard, until a night attack leaves both him and his half-brother Devlin vampires. After finding true love with the aristocrat Lacey, Danial comes to the attention of James, the devious Vampire Lord of France. Enslaved by James, his love murdered, Danial plots to escape, his complex plan of years finally succeeding only to result in all of Europe’s demonic forces on the hunt for him.
After a reunion and subsequent falling out with Devlin, Danial travels to the new world of America in pursuit of a new life. Settling in the west, Danial forms alliances with native vampire Valerian and the witch Cheyenne to survive a game of cat and mouse with Devlin and protect his new love Kathryn amid his rapidly changing world. Triumphant yet nursing a broken heart, an undeterred Danial protects his friends and thwarts his enemies, determined to find a life of peace…until unexpected news comes of James’s presence, the one man on whom Danial has waited centuries to get revenge.

PRE-ORDER LINKS

About Tara Fox Hall

Tara Fox Hall

Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, erotica, horror, suspense, action-adventure, children’s stories, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal fantasy Lash series, the paranormal romantic suspense Unhallowed Love series and the paranormal romantic drama Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice. All of her published children’s stories to date are free reads on http://www.childrens-stories.net.
Tara Fox Hall’s Email: tarafoxhall@gmail.com
Official website: http://www.tarafoxhall.com

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Contest runs from February 13 – March 21, 2018.

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Release Blitz + #Giveaway – Heavenly Pleasures [For Heaven’s Sake, 1] by Isla Dennes @IslaDennes #RomCom @Totally_Bound

Heavenly Pleasures
HEAVENLY PLEASURES
Isla Dennes
Series: For Heaven’s Sake Book 1
Genre: Chick Lit, Comedy, Romance
Publisher: Totally Bound
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
At Heavenly Pleasures, quite a lot of things are possible…
Meet Brooke, a self-confessed shopaholic turned reluctant brothel receptionist, as she stumbles through life, trying to live up to her parents’ and fiancé’s high expectations—at the cost of her now low self-esteem.
Who would have thought a group of working girls would help her rediscover her inner strength and finally tackle her personal demons? But at Heavenly Pleasures, the rules are made to be broken and new opportunities are just around the corner…

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Excerpt

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Scarlett asked, taking in my pale face and trembling hands.
“Some bloke just walked in here and asked me to have sex with him!”
Uggh! And he’d been all greasy black hair, gold fillings and overgrown ’tache, like an aging porn star. I stifled the urge to throw up.
Shaking her head in disgust, Scarlett rolled her eyes. “Hate to break it to you, precious, but you are working in a brothel, you know.”
“But—”
“But nothing. What the hell did you expect him to ask for, a burger and fries?”
“I kept telling him I was only the receptionist, but he didn’t seem to care. He told me he’d pay extra if he had to.” I fought to calm my racing heart and queasy stomach.
Scarlett’s eyes narrowed. She didn’t look happy. It occurred to me that maybe I should have kept my mouth shut.
“What do you mean extra? How much extra?”
“Um…” I swallowed hard. “Three hundred dollars.”
The temperature in the room plummeted as a blast of ice-cold fury filled the air.
What!” she screeched. “And you turned him down?
“But—”
“Jesus Christ!” she hissed and bolted over to the waiting room. “Shit, where the hell is he now?”
My glance flickered toward the door. Scarlett’s followed. For the briefest of moments, I thought she was going to drag him back in and make him apologize for being an insensitive bastard.
Instead her eyes widened in shock. “What! You let him walk out of here? You selfish fucking cow. You mightn’t have wanted him, but what about the rest of us girls? Three hundred bucks and you just let him walk out of here? Jesus! Prue is going to go off her nut when she hears about this.”
Prue was the Madame and owner of Heavenly Pleasures. An outwardly serene woman with immaculate hair, but nonetheless seriously scary with a sinister reputation, not unlike Cruella DeVille on a bad day, and therefore someone I did not want to cross.
“Oh, please don’t say anything,” I begged, on the verge of tears. “Look, I promise if he comes back in, I’ll call you out straight away—before JoJo. Just don’t mention it to Prue. I was just a bit taken aback, that’s all, and didn’t know what to do.”
This part was true. Haggling for sex wasn’t something we’d covered in secretarial college. Maybe it was the look of pure terror on my face or possibly Scarlett was in a rare compassionate mood, but after a moment’s hesitation she stopped scowling, her expression softening in what could well have been pity.
“Okay. I won’t say anything—this time,” came with reluctance. “But of course I’ll expect some more bookings, if you get my meaning.”
Yes—her meaning was loud and clear. She was blackmailing me, but I was in no position to protest. I nodded.
Her mood lightened. “Hey, cheer up, will you? So what if some ugly punter wanted a poke? Jeez, you’re not the first one to have the hard word put on them by some tosser, believe me. Guys come in here, think they’re God’s gift to women and although they know you’re not a worker, it gives them a sick thrill to think they can convince you to drop to your knees for a blow job—even if it is for three hundred dollars.” She threw me a disgusted look and shook her head in disbelief. “I reckon in their pathetic little minds they’re convinced they’ve seduced you with their hot looks and charm. Losers, that’s what they are. Anyway, I suppose it’s probably just as well you didn’t take him up on it.”
“Really?” I brightened, seeing it as a sign I was forgiven.
“Yeah, the girls would have flattened you if you had.”
Oh, God. I felt ill. What on earth had happened to my perfect life?
Two months ago, I had never met or even spoken to a prostitute. Two months ago, I’d had no idea brothels even existed outside the red light district of King’s Cross. Two months ago, I’d thought French, Spanish and Greek were southern Europeans rather than hooker code for certain sexual practices. And two months ago, I’d been happily looking forward to marrying my fiancé, Brad, an up-and-coming lawyer who planned to be the youngest junior partner in the law firm where he worked.
Yes, two months ago my life had all been mapped out before me.
But that was before a day out in the city to catch up with an old friend triggered a series of events that would ultimately bring about my downfall. Yep, it was at that point I can honestly say my life had bit the big one, nose-diving to newly discovered depths of desperation and despair. I was completely screwed and I didn’t have anyone to blame but myself…
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About Isla Dennes

Isla Dennes

Married, mother of one son and three daughters, Isla Dennes developed a love for writing while employed in her dream job as the owner of a book shop situated in a seaside resort town in NSW, Australia. Not content in simply reading every book in the store, she found herself compelled to create novels of her own.
Had she concentrated more on sales and less on writing she might well have retired a wealthy woman, but writing won out in the end, with the result being a lifelong passion for creative writing across a number of genres, including a brief but regrettable sojourn into horribly sentimental New-aged poetry which is best forgotten.
Social Media Links: Facebook | Twitter

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Release Blitz + #Giveaway – Mastering Her Fear [Miami Masters Series bk 3] by BJ Wane @bj_wane #erotic #RomanticSuspense

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MASTERING HER FEAR
BJ Wane
Mastering Her Fear
Series: Miami Masters Book 3
Genre: Erotic Romance, Suspense
Publisher: Blushing Books
Publication Date: January 12, 2018
He walked away from her once. Would keeping the full truth from him cost her a second chance?
Julie Martin pulled on Jackson Davenport’s protective urges the minute he stepped outside and saw his five-year-old neighbor go flying off her swing to land in a heap of gangly arms and legs then come up smiling. When he discovered how her parents pressed her into competing in beauty pageants for their own selfish gratification, he took it upon himself to provide her with the friendship the little girl craved. Years later, just when his adult feelings – and body – began to desire more from the beautiful young woman she’d grown up to be, Julie moved away to take the modeling world by storm. Jackson’s first encounter with the changes in her broke his heart and he severed all ties with her.
Six years after Julie lost the most important person in her life, she returns to Jackson a broken woman, unable to cope with the nightmare that changed her life forever. When Jackson discovers her penchant for cutting herself to deal with the fear, he shows her a new side of him she’s never seen before, and a new way to get through the darkness that continues to plague her.
Even though Julie embraces Jackson’s dominant sexuality and the way his painful administrations work much better at calming her fears, the truth of what happened the night her two friends were murdered stands between them. Will she be able to set aside her guilt to tell him the entire truth, or will she once again lose the only person who can complete her?

PURCHASE LINKS

Mastering Her Fear Teaser 1

Excerpt

The sudden glare of flashbulbs nearly blinded Jackson as they stepped outside, but it was the immediate change in Julie’s demeanor that snared his attention. Gone was the vain, brittle woman he’d just spent an uncomfortable dinner with and in her place preened a gushing, simpering celebrity putting on airs for the tabloids. Bitterness that rivaled what he’d felt when Federal agents invaded his home and arrested his parents for drug dealing and complicity in a child’s death rolled through him. It wasn’t fair to have his illusions ripped out from under him twice in a lifetime.
Needing to get away, Jackson stepped away from her and hailed the next cab then gave her a quick hug as soon as the reporters left. “Good seeing you again, Julie.” He kissed her forehead and turned, ignoring her as she called after him in a puzzled voice.
“Jackson?”
But as he reached for the handle of the taxi, Jackson held up a finger, bidding him to wait. Spinning back around, he caught a glimpse of confused insecurity on Julie’s face before she masked it behind the façade he’d been staring at all night as he strode over to her. Yanking her against him, he held her head immobile by cupping her nape. Swooping down, he kissed her, fast and hard, refusing to give in to the temptation to linger, to savor, to take more. Her low moan of instant surrender threatened his resolve to walk away, but he forced himself to remember the past hour, the worst he’d spent in her company. Pulling back with a sigh of regret and heavy ache for all he had lost, he drank in her face one last time. “Have a good life, Julie.” Ignoring her astonishment and the arousal in those amethyst eyes, he hopped in the cab and didn’t glance back.
Mastering Her Fear Teaser 5

Other Books by BJ Wane

Seven men from troubled childhoods bond as teens at a summer camp for juvenile delinquents, a bond that carries through to adulthood and adds a penchant for BDSM. Each of these dominant, over-protective men meet their match in the Miami Masters series, filled with emotional trauma and heart-pounding suspense.

Bound and Saved
BOOK ONE
$2.99

Master Me, Please
BOOK TWO
$4.99

About BJ Wane

I live in the Midwest with my husband and our two dogs. I love dogs, enjoy spending time with my daughter, babysitting dogs and kids, reading and working puzzles. We have traveled extensively throughout the states, Canada and just once overseas, but I now much prefer being homebody. I worked for a while writing articles for a local magazine but soon found my interest in writing for myself peaking. My first book was strictly spanking erotica, but I slowly evolved to writing erotic spanking romance with a touch of suspense. My favorite genre to read is suspense.
BJ Wane’s Email: bjwane@cox.net
Social Media Links: Facebook | Twitter

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Contest runs from January 17 – 23, 2018.

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Book Blitz – Silent Meridian by Elizabeth Crowens @ECrowens [The Time Traveler Professor #1] Speculative Fiction, Gaslight Fantasy, Alternative History

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SILENT MERIDIAN
Elizabeth Crowens
Silent Meridian
Series: The Time Traveler Professor Book 1
Genre: Speculative Fiction, Gaslight Fantasy, Alternative History
Publisher: MX Publishing
Publication Date: May 15, 2016
A 19th century “X” Files meets H.G. Wells’s “Time Machine” featuring Arthur Conan Doyle and partner
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is obsessed with a legendary red book. Its peculiar stories have come to life, and rumors claim that it has rewritten its own endings. Convinced that possessing this book will help him write his ever-popular Sherlock Holmes stories, he takes on an unlikely partner, John Patrick Scott, known to most as a concert musician and paranormal investigator. Although in his humble opinion, Scott considers himself more of an ethereal archeologist and a time traveler professor.
Together they explore lost worlds and excavate realms beyond the knowledge of historians when they go back in time to find it. But everything backfires, and their friendship is tested to the limits. Both discover that karmic ties and unconscionable crimes have followed them like ghosts from the past, wreaking havoc on the present and possibly the future.
SILENT MERIDIAN reveals the alternate histories of Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Houdini, Jung and other luminaries in the secret diaries of a new kind of Doctor Watson, John Patrick Scott, in an X Files for the 19th century. Stay tuned for A Pocketful of Lodestones; book two in the Time Traveler Professor series by Elizabeth Crowens.

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Book Excerpt

Take an inside look at Silent Meridian with this thrilling excerpt!
Edinburgh, 1898
Scotland was just barely crawling its way out of the nineteenth century. I was a naïve, but ambitious student studying music at the University of Edinburgh hurrying over to meet Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who would change my life forever.
“John Patrick Scott, sir,” I said as I approached Mr. Doyle, who was already seated at a back corner table where he hoped he wouldn’t be recognized. He had picked the Deacon Brodie, the pub that inspired the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
I extended my hand to greet him and removed my rain-soaked hat, while my overcoat slipped out of my hands and fell on the floor by accident. It was still hard to believe that good fortune had finally brought us together, but we were both nervous.
“The pleasure is all mine.” Doyle responded like a father to his son.
“Mr. Conan Doyle, or should I call you Doctor Doyle?” I said unsure how to address him.
Doyle scrutinized me from top to bottom as he signaled the waiter. “John, call me Arthur,” he said casually, ignoring the tension I couldn’t control.
“Sir, I’m so honored that you agreed to discuss this matter. Perhaps you can enlighten me in a way that I’ve failed to comprehend.”
I wanted to ask him about my unusual turn of events straight away but he caught me off guard and was dead set on pulling me into the swift current of an unexpected conversation.
“Can I assume you believe in the transmigration of souls?” he asked.
“Until now, I haven’t given it a lot of thought,” I said, unsure as to which direction he was leading.
“Did you ever read those books about that Swiss doctor who felt his body and soul had been taken over by a Benedictine monk? That presented a curious case. He claims that he was approached by the spirit of an elderly monk before he died, and that the monk needed to rent his body to continue his spiritual mission.”
“Rent?” I choked in disbelief.
“We truly don’t take anything with us when we pass on, do we? This monk knew that he was dying, and therefore had to replace his physical body with something more youthful and vital.”
“That’s incredible. It debunks the theory that you have to die and be reborn as an infant to carry on your spirit,” I said.
Mr. Doyle had the tinge of excitement in his voice.
“John, here’s another instance. I’ve had my suspicions about a famous musician who had an obsession about a notorious and controversial mystic. You’d surmise by his overwhelming attraction to that person that he might’ve been him in a previous lifetime, but facts were clear that he was born three years before the mystic died. My understanding is that the mystic knew he didn’t have long in his present incarnation. Therefore he made plans for some sort of partial soul transference while he was still alive to imprint his essence upon the child. That would’ve allowed him to carry on and accomplish unfinished business that couldn’t have been executed otherwise. Essentially he had the ability of being two places at once.”
“Sounds more like Spiritualism,” I replied.
“Honestly, John, I don’t think there are any steadfast rules when it comes to this matter. That’s what makes it so intriguing.”
I sensed he had a secret agenda.
Doyle reloaded his churchwarden pipe with fresh tobacco and continued, “This is not at all like anything you’ve ever read from H.G. Wells or Jules Verne. We’re poking holes in every treatise written on the subject— the idea of being able to reincarnate a part of yourself while you are still alive into another soul.”
Our conversation was quickly becoming like a speeding train ready to jump the tracks. Realizing this, Doyle slowed down the pace and took a deep breath. He carefully composed his next statement.
“Fiction it may seem to be but it’s not hocus pocus. Don’t you also find it strange that you somehow found yourself initiated into a mystical order on a commuter train bound from London to Edinburgh when the instigators kept on mistaking you for me? There are no accidents.”

About Elizabeth Crowens

Elizabeth Crowens

Elizabeth Crowens is the pen name author of SILENT MERIDIAN, an alternate history/ 19th century “X Files” alternate history novel published by MX Publishing in London. Recently she won First Prize in Chanticleer Review’s Goethe Award for Turn-of-the-Century Historical Fiction, is on the short list of finalists for Chanticleer’s 2016 Cygnus Awards for Speculative Fiction, Paranormal and the Ozma Award for Fantasy Fiction and received an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s fiction short story contest for Emerging Writers. She has also published a variety of non-fiction articles and is currently writing a column called The Poison Apple in the World Fantasy and Alfie Award-winning publication, BlackGate.com.
Recently, she participated on panels at The World Fantasy Convention, MidAmericon II/Worldcon, Lunacon, Heliosphere, the Writer’s Digest Conference, Queens Book Festival, Philcon and was also interviewed for the radio show, Hour of the Wolf. A Pocketful of Lodestones, the sequel to Silent Meridian is awaiting a publication date. Current work-in-progress is Dear Mr. Hitchcock, a psychological/domestic suspense novel/series.
A 15-year veteran of the film industry in Hollywood, she’s also an alumnus of Algonkian workshops and the Gotham Writer’s Workshop and a member of the Horror Writers Association, Historical Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America. An active Sherlockian, she’s lectured on Arthur Conan Doyle, belongs to several Sherlockian scions, and is an independent scholar on Eastern and Western mysticism and Jungian psychology. A blackbelt in martial arts, she’s lived in Japan. Currently, she lives in New York City.
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