Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Alex Mckenna and The Academy of Souls by Vicki-Ann Bush #YA #Paranormal #LGBTQ



Alex Mckenna and The Academy of Souls
Alex Mckenna Series 
Book Two
Vicki-Ann Bush

Genre: YA, Paranormal, LGBTQ
Publisher: The Parliament House Press
Date of Publication: October 20, 2020
ISBN: 979-8697729533
ASIN: B08HCFGHXJ
Number of pages: 314
Word Count: 61,823
Cover Artist: Shayne Leighton Machova

Tagline: The Dead Need Him

Book Description: 

After surviving a harrowing case, Alex McKenna just wanted to rest. Unfortunately, his plans are interrupted by the ghost of Seven-year-old Haven, who is lost in an in-between realm.
 
Despite his great-grandmother's warning, Alex crosses the bridge between the living and the dead, sending him and his girlfriend into the world of the Academy of Souls, a high school for dead teens who are unable to complete their journey.
 
There, Alex meets Ophelia, Haven's teenage sister, who's been searching for her for more than a century. Together, with a few friends he meets along the way, Alex must cross the treacherous terrain of the Underworld in-between, to save Haven from the clutches of the Soul Gatherer and reunite the sisters.

Amazon    BN     Kobo


Excerpt:

The streetlamps illuminated the black empty sea of asphalt. A quiet calm laced the row of sleepy houses. Alex reveled in the tranquility. So much noise constantly filling his head, any semblance of stillness wrapped around his mind like a child's favorite blanket.

            In the center of the glass, a small sphere of light caught his attention. At first, he thought it was in the yard. Leaning forward and squinting, he realized it was a reflection coming from directly behind him.

            Jumping up, he spun around. Growing in diameter, it was beginning to spin.

            "Hey, whatcha doin?" Margaret said groggily.

            "Stop. Babe, slowly move to your left and come over here by me."

            "Why? What's going on?"

            Margaret gingerly slid to the left as Alex instructed, and then quickly scurried by his side. "What do you see?"

            "It's the vortex opening, the gateway to that girl, Ophelia.”

            "Alex, please be careful. Remember what your Gram said. Don't get too close," Margaret pleaded.

            "She's there, it looks like a bedroom."

            "What's she doing?"

            "Sitting on the bed, she's covering her ears."

            The wind whipped around the vortex howling like a wolf speaking to the full moon.

            "I don't hear anything?" Margaret turned to Alex.

            "It's like a high-pitched howl. It's deafening. Wait. It's quieting down. She sees me."

            "What's she doing now?"

            "She's coming closer."

            Alex leaned closer to the anomaly.

            "Alex, back up." Margaret tugged at his t-shirt.

            "Babe. I gotta do this. Please. Let go of my shirt."

            Margaret reluctantly let the fabric fall from her fingertips.

            Alex inched closer.

            "You are Alex McKenna, right?" Ophelia asked.

            The anxious teen widened her eyes in anticipation.

            "Yes. I've seen Haven. Who is she?"

            "She is my sister."

            "I think she's in trouble," said Alex.

            Ophelia floated off the bed and stood directly in front of the entrance to the living.

            "I've been searching for her for years. She was taken by a man, a Soul Gatherer. I think she is counting on you to help."

            "I think she is, too."

            "Can you?" Ophelia's eyes widened.

            "I can try. Where are you? Is it The Academy of Souls?"

            Ophelia’s chin dropped.

            "Yes. You know about my school?"

            "I do."

            "Oh no."

            "What is it?'

            "The gateway. It's closing!" Ophelia shouted.

            Alex heard the desperation in her voice as he helplessly watched the circle shrink. The wind cried out once again, as it violently thrashed around the outer edges of the bridge between the dimensions.

            "I have to go." Alex tasted Margaret's lips. "I'll be back soon."

            "What the hell? No. Alex. You can't," Margaret shrieked.

            "I love you," his voice trailed.

            Alex stepped into the center of the storm. The vision of Ophelia rippled, traveling to the rim of the circle, and splashing into the void. "This shield is my power to protect against evil, this shield keeps out harm. No dark entities shall pass through this shield. As I will it, so shall it be."

            Sawing to fill his lungs with air, he pushed forward and landed on the floor of the dorm room. Gazing up, Ophelia stood in front of him, her mouth wide open.

            "Ugh. My head hurts. Where are we?" a voice echoed.

            Alex winced. His heart punching the walls of his chest. Whipping his head around in a frenzy, Margaret was lying on the floor beside him.

            "No, no, no, no. What the fuck, il mio amore." Alex scrambled to her side.

            Ophelia moved closer. With her pointer finger, she quickly poked his shoulder and retracted.

            Alex didn't respond. His focus was Margaret.

            "How could you do this? Why did you do this?" his voice strained.

            "I couldn't let you go without me."

            Alex kissed away the saltiness from her cheeks. With the back of his sleeve, he gently patted dry her eyes.

            "Alex?" Ophelia murmured.

            The couple turned to the bewildered Ophelia Wetherton.

 

About the Author 

Originally from New York, Vicki-Ann currently resides in Nevada. Writing Young Adult paranormal, she finds inspiration from events that have been in her life for as long as she can remember. Inheriting the sensitivity to the supernatural from her family, they continue to be an endless source of vision and access to behind the veil.







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Monday, December 28, 2020

The Continuing Journeys of a Different Necromancer by James J Crofoot


Author Advice-

So you want to write a book? You want to be a best-selling author? 

Well, it takes work and perseverance. So, you have an idea? I say write it down, carry a pen and paper everywhere. If you get rejected by a publisher try again. Take any constructive criticism they offer.

I’ve heard time and again, “Someday I’m going to write a book.” 

However, they never just sit down to write it. so, do it. sit down and write it. 
It’s that simple. If you love writing do it.


The Continuing Journeys of a Different Necromancer 
Locked Door Series 
Book Two 
James J Crofoot 

Genre: Fantasy 
Date of Publication: Aug. 02, 2020 second edition 
ISBN: 9781393745709 
ASIN: B00J2NFKBU 
Number of pages: 100 
Word Count: 20k 

Book Description: 

Thomas now views his magic as less than good, but he must raise one more army. This one not of his creation though. For the first time he learns fear of the undead. 

More than ever, he longs to see the waters of the great sea to the west. Will he find peace there? Will Christina and he find a home with the people of the shores? Maybe. 

But, maybe he'll have to fight magic darker than his own to keep his new home. Maybe he'll have to fight magic so dark that even a half-demon witch fears it.

Excerpt

          “Not the prince, not the prince,” screamed the old hag.

The demons from the entrance sprang from the walls and came at Thomas.

“Attack the demons,” he commanded his risen and they went into action, putting themselves between their master and the creatures. Thomas ran forward and swung at the nesferatu. The same clawed spectral hands began to claw at Thomas, but his sword worked against them and they retreated into the substance from which they came.

The nesferatu swung at the necromancer and opened Thomas’s chest with the claws of his fingernails.

Thomas swung at the demon lord, but the blade passed through it harmlessly. Marina had lied. He could do nothing against this thing.

It laughed.

Then Thomas felt the leather amulet burn his skin deeper. His mind raced. Backing up against the onyx bowl as it spewed forth its shrouding vapors, he watched the demon lord. The eyes of the thing glowed red and it smiled in a hungry satisfaction.

If the bowl is his power… He turned and swung with both hands down onto the side of it.

The sword shattered. Both the clawed hands of the demon lord raked down the necromancer’s back, causing him to arch backward and yell in pain. The bowl imploded and then shards of the black rock flew in every direction. The boiling, dark green mist poured from the base of the bowl as if liquid. From the remains of the giant dish, something crawled, pulling itself up on thin, torn arms. Its eyes were the solid black of hate and anger.

“I shall rend your soul, necromancer.” The nesferatu spoke the words softly, but Thomas felt the power they carried reverberate in his bones. Then he burst into light the color of the mist, surrounding them.

When this happened, the demons from the entrance scampered up the walls and fled from the cavern. His risen, about to follow, stopped as Thomas commanded.

Thomas looked to find the prince dragging a still jabbering Andrea to her feet.

The creature on the remains of the bowl opened it mouth and turned toward the prince.

“Christoff,” the necromancer said, careful not to speak too loudly, for fear of attracting the attention of the new beast.

The prince lifted his head at hearing his name, but froze half-erect, as the thing caught his gaze.

Thomas moved to put himself between the prince and the thing dragging itself forward. Thomas thought the language the demon lord spoke similar to that which the nesferatu spoke moments before, like something a reflection would say. The prince focused on Thomas.

“Run.”

Grabbing the girls other arm, Thomas pulled the two into action. Nothing stopped them. No hands from the mist reached out from the shroud. All else had fled. Everything seemed absent, gone at the sensing of this new ruler. As fast as they could drag the still dazed girl, they headed for the entrance back into the tunnels leading to the power-blasted crater outside.

“Is it really you, Christoff,” whispered the girl. “Is it you this time?”

“Yes, love,” answered the prince. “You’ve got to run.”

Looking over his shoulder, Thomas saw the new demon drag itself out of the bowl shards and into the concealment of the fog. As it submerged itself, the necromancer saw it legs shredded below the knees.

“We’ve gotta move faster,” Thomas said. “Let’s go, let’s go. Move move move! Risen, attack the demon.”

The new demon halted as the risen attacked him, but only for an instant before they burst into dust.


About the Author:

James J Crofoot started working at 11 years old and never stopped. He’s been a sailor in the U.S. Navy, worked in video tape production, made money investing in stocks, and traveled throughout the US as a truck driver and an army brat. He’s been to all four corners of the US and to the top of every major mountain range in the United States. 

Through it all, writing has been his first love, companion, and constant friend.

He has so many stories to tell, he plans to spend the rest of his life writing. 

Born in Germany he currently resides in the "Great Mitten" that is Michigan. He resides with his insane family consisting of his sister, two spoiled but loving nieces, a brother in law, and two dogs.

He hopes you’ll enjoy his books while sipping tea, coffee, or cocoa on a rainy day.

https://twitter.com/crofoot626_j 

https://www.facebook.com/jamcrofoot626

https://www.facebook.com/1947-244407719923733

https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Crofoot/e/B00J2NFKBU

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7282309.James_J_Crofoot 





On Sale for .99 Hidden Realm by T.R. Slauf #DarkFantasy #Horror

Hidden Realm 

Legends of Lightning 

Book 1

T.R. Slauf  

ASIN: B0872QJW9G

Publication Date: October 6, 2020

Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror, Fantasy

War is coming: are you sure you're ready Realm Walker?

“The next Realm Walker will bring with them a storm. Lightning must fight the Crimson Shadow, or the lands will be cast into eternal darkness.”

When she was a child, Esther was plagued with vivid nightmares. Now they have returned to haunt her. Bloodthirsty monsters chase her through a forest of dead trees while a mysterious hooded figure stalks her. After waking with fresh wounds from her dreams, Esther searches for the truth about who she is and the Hidden Realm she is destined to save.

Join Esther on her journey of self-discovery as she travels into a world long forgotten. Unsure if she can trust her hooded guide, she is hunted by unknown enemies and smothered by expectations of grandeur. Deciphering friend from foe she travels the lands, trying to unite kingdoms torn by pride.

https://amzn.to/3gORlxz 

#DarkFantasy #Horror #Fantasy #Nightmares #Monsters #AmReading #Read #SalePrice #99Pennies #99CentSale #BookSale #ebook  #HiddenRealm #TRSlauf #LegendsofLightning #NewSeries #RealmWalker #CrimsonShadow 


Sunday, December 27, 2020

Please Vote for Bewitching

 It's that time of year again

Bewitching Book Tours is up for best Promotional Firms, Sites, and Resources... 

in the Annual Critters Readers' Poll 

Please vote https://critters.org/predpoll/promotions.shtml

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Marked: Dark Kindred Spirits by Athena Floras


Marked
Dark Kindred Spirits  
Book One
Athena Floras

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication: November 21st, 2020
ASIN: B08MBNHBR7
Number of pages: 108
Word Count: 19 679
Cover Artist: Nicholas Mallet

Tagline: When all hope is lost, love will find a way.

Book Description:

When there is darkness, seek the light…

Sebastian Falls has known his fair share of pain and sorrow in his life. His world is one filled with evil and danger. He’s learned to keep his emotions to himself and not let anyone get close. It’s the only way to not get hurt. But when he meets Ariel Olivier, the shy, awkward girl in his class, he wonders if he should continue to stay in the darkness. There’s something about Ariel that makes him want to let her in.

Ariel Olivier never knew when she got a tattoo on her eighteenth birthday that her whole world would change for the worse. From that moment on, her normal, mundane life turned into something sinister. An evil grows within her and it threatens to consume her and all those she cares for.

There is only one person who can help her vanquish what wants to destroy her, the alluring, mysterious Sebastian Falls. She can’t help but be drawn to him. He comes from the same evil world that is trying to kill her. Can she trust him and her growing feelings or let whatever dark power that is controlling her take over completely?

Amazon     Amazon.co.uk     Amazon.ca

Excerpt:

Ariel Olivier’s wandering mind never rested. It kept her occupied at the most inopportune times, like right now in her Humanities’ class. Mr. Brentwood’s monotone voice as he read a passage in the reference book on religion and its influence on politics was the driving force propelling her thoughts away from the subject matter.

This was her least favorite class. She probably wouldn’t have chosen it if another Humanities subject was available in the same timeslot. But there hadn’t been, so she was stuck with this boring class and Mr. Brentwood’s unemotional and slow-paced teaching methods for the rest of the semester.

The squirrel doing a balancing act on the powerline outside her window had her undivided attention at the moment. It seemed to stare at her, urging her to open the window to let it in. It was cold outside. The puissant wind blew the fur on its puffy tail, making it shiver.

If she could do it undetected, she would have let it in. She hated to see it suffer.

When the squirrel saw she wasn’t budging, it scurried farther down the powerline, searching for another opportunity to come into the building.

She sighed, glancing down at her watch. There was only a few more minutes of class left and then her school day would be over.

She couldn’t wait until she was out of the school. Throughout the entire day, she worried someone would realize it was her birthday and wish her best wishes.

She hated drawing attention to herself. She was shy and reserved. She felt the most at ease when she could sit in class or in the library and not be seen or heard. Being invisible was what she thrived for, because it meant freedom without prejudice. No one could criticize her bad posture when she sat or how her hair curled untamed. Or how she wore only monotone colored clothes and hated patterns of any kind.

She could be herself and not be judged for any quirks, odd habits, or preferences she might have.

Mr. Brentwood flipped the massive textbook closed. The echoing noise it produced sliced into the silence drawing her out of her reverie. She blinked focusing on his words.

“That’s the end of today’s lesson. I’d like you all to read the next chapter in the book and we’ll discuss it on Tuesday.”

All of a sudden, he honed his gaze onto her and he smiled. “I almost forgot one very important thing to mention before you go.”

She shifted her eyes and fidgeted in her chair. Somehow, she knew what he’d say next. She should have expected it. He always did it for all of his students.

“It’s Ariel’s birthday today. She turned eighteen. Please wish her along with me a happy birthday.”

All eyes turned to look in the direction Mr. Brentwood focused. Only a couple of the students knew immediately she was Ariel. The rest seemed to have noticed her for the first time, as if they never knew she existed before now.

She felt her cheeks burning. She wanted to crawl under her desk and hide.

* * * *

Sebastian Falls witnessed the chaos from afar. He cringed noting the scene was stressing Ariel out.

He didn’t know her personally. They’d been in the same Humanities class for the past month and had never spoken to one another. But from the frequent times he’d observed her from the back of the classroom, he could tell she was a lot like he was, an introvert who didn’t like talking in class.

Too bad Mr. Brentwood hadn’t figured that out yet. The worst thing he could have done, he did. Drawing everyone’s attention to the fact it was Ariel’s birthday was freaking her out.

Her cheeks turned beet red and she couldn’t keep eye contact with the students as they swarmed in and offered her happy birthday wishes.

He even caught her eyeing the door. She obviously was contemplating running the hell out of there. If he were in her shoes, he probably would have been thinking the same thing, except his reason was different from hers. She was shy and awkward. He just hated crowds and wanted to be left alone.

Grabbing his books, he made his way out, avoiding the traffic jam around her desk. It was getting too busy and too noisy for his liking. Peace and quiet were what he thrived for. He couldn’t get it at home, but he made damn sure to get it at school.

He walked into the hallway and leaned on a random locker waiting for the perfect time to act. He had no idea how long he’d have to wait—a minute, ten minutes, or even half an hour. But he didn’t mind. It would all be worth it in the end if everything fell into place like he planned. 

About the Author:

Athena Floras is a wife and proud mother of three who loves to read and write suspenseful and romantic stories. When she isn't busy being a mom, she spends her spare time in her den, totally immersing herself into the whimsical, fantastical world of fiction. She hopes the stories and characters she creates will bring readers as much pleasure and entertainment as they have her.

Website/Blog: https://athenafloras.blogspot.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Athena-Floras/e/B018N7U26S

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlorasAthena

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Monday, December 21, 2020

Rhyker’s Key by M.C. Solaris + $10 Book Store Gift Card Giveaway



Rhyker’s Key
Orion’s Order 
Book Two
M.C. Solaris

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: M.C. Solaris LLC
Date of Publication: 12/21/20
ISBN: 9781952655050
ASIN: B08MZJJRZM
Number of pages: 740
Word Count: 220,000

Cover Artist: Mayhem Cover Creations

Tagline: Sexy Shifters. Hot Vampires. Intriguing Immortals.

Book Description:

Rhyker, tattooed bad boy and lethal jaguar shifter, falls for the sweet and caring healer, Keena. Except, she’s determined to keep him in the friend zone... good thing he’s a predator that enjoys the hunt.

Together, can they heal their past and forge a future bonded with true love?

SECOND BOOK IN THE ORION’S ORDER SERIES

Orion’s Order returns in another addictive installment about their secret world of magic and mystery. A world where the most powerful words in the Universe are discovered in the fight against an ancient evil force.

KEENA OLIVER

I am haunted by my past mistakes. Mistakes that I have no idea how I even made. I am an educated mind and spirit healer after all. So how in the holy healer hell did I end up in a relationship where the male who I thought I loved…

Yeah, it’s probably best not to rehash those nightmares. But if I don’t dare open up that box to my past, then how am I ever going to be able to move on? Especially because I so want to move on with a certain sexy male. A male whose lips devoured mine in a darkened corner that one time. A male whose predatory piercing blue eyes practically track my every move. A male who I shouldn’t be fantasizing about every second of every day. Why? Because it would ruin me.

RHYKER KINGSLEY

I’ve had my eye on a certain female for almost a year now. A female who is damn determined to keep me in the friend zone. A female who's been hurt by her ex but refuses to open up to me about it. So, you could say I go through a lot of smokes… a f*cking lot.

Meanwhile, my pack of lethally trained and skilled hunters and I are gunning for an evil SOB who not only signed his death warrant the second he tried to come after my pack sister and mate to our alpha, but also the f*cker poses a threat to our world as we know it. Yet, said ancient powerful bastard has gone off the grid and is all but impossible to track.

Oh, and did I mention that the past seems to be mixing with the present? I mean, the f*ck is this? The revenge year of the shitty exes? 

So, excuse me while I light up a smoke… or two. 

Devour this addictive series at your own risk...

+ Happily Ever After
+ Sexy Paranormal Jaguar Shifter Romance
+ Multiple POV
+ Mature Content
+ This series is meant to be read in order for the best reading experience
----------------------------------------------
RHYKER’S KEY is an adult paranormal jaguar shifter romance. If you like swoon-worthy males, heroines with feminine strength, an engaging plot, satisfying relationships, steamy love stories, happy ever afters, and getting sucked into a supernatural story, then you’ll want to immerse yourself in the world of species!

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/Jp_cqmFCZFQ

Books2Read     Amazon 

Apple Books     BN     Kobo     GooglePlay      EdenBooks


Excerpt 2

“Is everything okay?”

“Yeah,” he said, unsure where that question was coming from.

“I can feel otherwise but I won’t push.”

He cursed under his breath. Of course she could feel his lethal mood and the emotional storm he had been trying to keep at bay regarding the whole fucked-up Cecille situation. He set all of that aside and focused fully on Keena. Lately, she was the only thing that was helping to get his mind off the past.

“It’s just our case,” he added in a tone that was clear he wasn’t going to say anything else.

She nodded. “Understood. I’m here if you want to talk.”

“What if I don’t want to talk?” he drawled, pressing in close to her and sliding his hand to the nape of her neck.

Her lips parted at the close contact. Suddenly, all she could feel was the heated desire between them. He leaned down and claimed her mouth in a slow, smoldering kiss that took her breath away.

“Rhyker.” Her voice was a little breathy.

“Yeah?” He playfully nipped at her lower lip.

Wrapping her arms around his neck, she went in for the kiss and it was anything but slow. She slid her tongue against his and, suddenly, she had her legs wrapped around him with her back pressed up against the wall. He broke the kiss only to move his mouth to her neck. Her hands drifted through his thick and silky black strands as she moaned. The sensual sensations of his tongue on her neck and his body against hers shot through her body and straight to the apex of her thighs.

“Wait,” she managed to get out with just barely more than an exhalation of air. She knew that if she didn’t stop this soon then she wouldn’t have the strength to stop this from going any further. She wanted it to go further—a lot further, but she also wanted to take things slow.

He immediately halted and looked at her in a way that let her know she was in complete control of how far this went.

She could see the fiery desire in his now glowing, piercing blue eyes. “I want us to take this slow.”

His smirk was sinful. “We can go as slow as you’d like, Fire Gem.” His tongue made the slowest ascent from the curve of her neck all the way to her ear where it flicked her soft little lobe.

She shuddered.

“Is that slow enough for you?” he teased on a rough whisper.

She somehow managed to nod.

He repeated the motion. “I could lick you all day.” He smiled in satisfaction at the involuntary sound caught in the back of her throat. He slowly kissed his way back to her soft mouth and sucked on her bottom lip.

Using the last of his reserves, which were severely lacking when it came to this female, he allowed just enough space between them so she could slide down the length of his body until her feet were back on the ground. The friction and crackling desire pulsing between them had them sucking in heavy breaths.


About the Author:

M.C. Solaris’s life took an unexpected turn during the super blood moon eclipse on January 20, 2019. She woke up and began writing bios for her imaginary friends that she met that day. As soon as the pen hit the paper (or fingertips to the iPhone), she couldn’t stop. It was kind of like one of those fire hydrants, spewing copious amounts of water all over the place. The characters and their stories just flowed out of her. She is honored to be the scribe, getting to share her friends’ stories. You can read all about her gifted friends in the Orion’s Order series (Book 1 is Calypso’s Heart).

On a personal note, M.C. Solaris is actually the pseudonym of Marina Schroeder, women’s health enthusiast and lover of all things paranormal romance (PNR) and happily ever after (HEA). When she is not curled up on the sofa with her partner’s oversized hoodie, a PNR novel, peppermint tea, and one of her three cats, you will find her either at the ocean with her toes in the sand or in a forest hugging a tree. Well truthfully? There is one more place you might find her: trolling the aisles of Whole Foods for a satisfying combination of salty and sweet while hiding in her partner’s hoodie… like any proper PNR-writing introvert.

Want to get the latest scoop, sneak peeks, and short shares all about her imaginary friends? Go to www.mcsolaris.com/newsletter and sign up for the newsletter.

Welcome to The Order!

https://mcsolaris.com/newsletter

https://mcsolaris.com/

https://www.instagram.com/mcsolarisauthor/

https://www.facebook.com/mcsolarisauthorofficial

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20295545.M_C_Solaris

https://twitter.com/mcsolarisauthor

https://www.bookbub.com/books/calypso-s-heart-orion-s-order-1-by-mc-solaris




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Tail of a Feather by Melanie Snow ~ Deck the Halls with Books Holiday Extravaganza



The Spellwood Witches Winter Solstice Brew Recipe 

The Spellwood Witches take their holidays seriously. One of their favorite recipes is their special blend of herbs, spices, and a special ingredient to celebrate the Winter Solstice on top of Mount Katribus.

Not only will this amazing drink taste delightful, but it will also soothe your soul. The witches recommend you also share this with friends and family. It has brandy in it, so make sure you let your coven members know who don’t drink alcohol.

This also works as a wonderful solstice gift. After the infusion is complete, you can put the amber liquid into jars and decorate as you wish.

But like the witches, make sure you give yourself enough time to make this brew because you will need five to six weeks for the magic to happen.

Now fire up your cauldrons’ and let’s get brewing.

Ingredients

4 cups of a high-quality brandy (don’t use the cheap stuff as the taste will not be as magical)

1 cinnamon stick about 8-10 inches long

1 vanilla bean or 2 TBS of pure vanilla extract (don’t use imitation vanilla extract as it will the taste won’t be as wonderful)

2 TBS of cacao chips (organic and raw are best and add more if you want to have more chocolate taste)

2 star anise pods (anise pods look like a flower so use the entire pod)

4 organic oranges (wash well and dry then chop them up into 4-6 pieces each)

20 black pepper corns  

1 TBS of Pure Maple Syrup (always use pure instead of imitation)

Instructions

1.       Gather all your ingredients in a clean, odor free wide-mouth jar. If you have a cauldron with an air-proof lid that would be fun as well. Label your jar, cap tightly. Then find a cool, dark place for two weeks. The witch’s like to place crystals around their jars to give it an extra boost.

2.       While your infusion is brewing shake every day for two weeks.

3.       After two weeks strain the material through a fine-mesh strainer or coffee filter. Return the brew to its jar, recap tightly, put it back in a cool, dark place, and let it mellow for three more weeks.

4.       After the three weeks you can put the liquid in gift jars to give away to friends and family, drink immediately, or refrigerate or store in a cool dark pantry.

There you have it. As you celebrate the Winter Solstice make sure you have some of this special brew straight from the cauldron of The Spellwood Witches.


Tail of a Feather
The Spellwood Witches 
Book Three
Melanie Snow

Genre:  Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Spirit Paw Press, LLC
Date of Publication:  10-6-20
ISBN: 978-1-7324375-8-6
ASIN:  B08K4S9D9T
Number of pages:  225
Word Count: 44644
Cover Artist: Molly Burton

Tagline: A witchy sleuthhound. An enemy from the past. A threat to everything she loves…

Can Sarah stop the mayhem of Witchland before it is too late?

Book Description: 

A mysterious portal. Eight crows with a message. A missing police chief.

Sarah Spellwood feels she maybe too late to save her beau, the handsome police chief Eli Strongheart, from disappearing from Witchland forever. But with the wisdom of eight crows, she and her collie sidekick, Addie, focus on their mysterious task ahead. Yet time is running out and the tension rises when they discover there is more to the mysterious portal than they expected. 

As the clues fly, Sarah is shocked to learn that Madras Spellwood is trying to get back into Witchland to take over its beauty and magic. But Sarah and Addie are vowed defenders of the forest, and they will not let Madras succeed, or Eli get away. 

Can Sarah save Eli and beat Madras at the same time?

Tail of a Feather is book three in the magical Spellwood Witches cozy mystery series. If you like paranormal puzzles, charming canine companions, and a bit of flirty romance, then you will love Melanie Snow’s crafty quest.

Buy Tail of a Feather and take flight into the magical world of Witchland today!
 



Chapter 1

            Sarah snuggled into her jacket and relished the slight sting of the cold on the tip of her nose. Autumn was washing Witchland in rich oranges, browns, and yellows, and little frost crystals coated the ground in the morning. The scent of pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice espresso treats wafted continuously out of Javacadabra, where Susie and Karen worked tirelessly to delight the taste buds of the town with the help of their familiar, a talking white cat named Zeva.

            Holding her tea latte between her palms to warm them, Sarah kept pace with Eli as they began the trek up the Mount Katribus trail. Sarah’s canine familiar, Addie, padded along at her side. “I wonder why I love autumn so much.” Sarah sighed contentedly.

            “Because you’re a witch,” Eli teased, his gorgeous blue eyes twinkling as he smiled at her.

            He wrapped his arm around her shoulders, and she snuggled in close. Addie looked up at them, love in her soft brown eyes. “I must say your warmth for each other is keeping me warm,” Addie joked.

 Though Eli couldn’t hear her, he was starting to get to know the loyal collie mix well, and he asked her, “Where is your boyfriend, Kelvin, huh, girl?”

Addie barked happily when she heard the name Kelvin. “He’s in the woods, hunting rabbits,” she answered, which Sarah repeated to Eli so he could hear.

“Girls always love the bad boys. Or, in your case, the bad wolves,” Eli said.

“So Jenna did the rounds this morning? There’s no sign of Madras?” Sarah asked as the trail they were walking on began to incline up the mountainside. Eli Strongheart was the police chief of Witchland, and Jenna Mora was his deputy.

“Not a sign,” Eli replied. “Tonight is my turn . . . I imagine these woods make you a bit nervous now, don’t they?”

Sarah shrugged. “Not at all, actually. I love the woods so much that I won’t let my wicked great-great-great-whatever-aunt ruin them for me. Besides, I feel so much more confident knowing that I defeated her. That she’s banished for good.”

Eli smiled. “We always try our best to keep these woods safe. Even the greatest demon witch of all time can’t defeat our team.”

“So . . . I was thinking. I invited my parents to my house for a little dinner in two days. Would you like to join us?” Sarah went on. She had felt slightly apprehensive about inviting Eli, since they were a new couple. The last thing she wanted to do was scare him off. But she knew in her heart that Eli was in it for the long haul, and that made it easier to come out and say things, even things that made her nervous.

“Of course,” Eli said, looking slightly taken aback. “Any weird quirks I should prepare for?”

“Um, definitely don’t talk politics with my dad.” Sarah laughed. “It could get pretty heated. Also, let’s keep the magic talk to a minimum.”

“I thought you told them that you’re practicing witchcraft?” Eli said.

“I did. But it’s a touchy subject. You know that my father tried so hard to put distance between himself and the Spellwood legacy.” Sarah shrugged. “They’re accepting, but I just don’t want to make them super uncomfortable.”

“I think you should just be yourself,” Eli said gently. But then he added, “Although, I probably wouldn’t talk about witchcraft to my mom, either. She’s probably a far worse denier than your parents.”

“Well, my parents don’t deny it. They just don’t practice it. The last time was at my aunt Beth’s when we visited her, right before she passed away and I started seventh grade.” Sarah suddenly stopped in the middle of the trail. Addie, who was wandering slightly ahead, turned back and looked at her expectantly. “Let’s go visit Aunt Beth’s. I haven’t been able to bring myself to go since I moved here,” said Sarah.

“Your aunt Beth’s house? Well, sure,” Eli said, again taken aback. He laughed as they changed course and began to walk toward the small goat farm Beth Spellwood ran. “I love how spontaneous you are.”

“I haven’t seen her farm in so long, and I really miss that place. That was where I first discovered I had powers, and I was very close with my aunt.” As Sarah attempted to remember her way through the maze of trails to the farm she had not visited since she was twelve, she regaled Eli with tales of Aunt Beth, including Aunt Beth’s talking pet goat.

“So that was the original Addie,” Eli commented.

Hey! No one is like me,” Addie protested.

“That is true. You are one unique dog,” Sarah assured Addie, who blinked at her happily.

They finally broke through the tree line and came upon a fence, which was sagging with the weight of the ivy growing on it. It enclosed a generous pasture with a goat shed in the center of it. Now, in place of the milk goats Aunt Beth had raised, there were two cows chewing cud listlessly. Beyond that, stood the modest farmhouse where Aunt Beth had lived, and where she and Sarah’s father had grown up. Smoke curled from the chimney.

“So many memories.” Sarah exhaled, feeling both joy and sorrow at the sight of her long-gone childhood. “I hope the family living here is happy.”

“Too bad we can’t go inside,” Eli commented.

“I suppose we could always knock and ask.” Sarah shrugged. She glanced at Eli, and when he agreed, she led him around the fence to the front door of the house. “Ah, I forgot about this knocker,” she said, tracing the bronze gargoyle knocker with her fingertip after knocking. “I always thought it was so cool, but now I realize how out of place it was against this modest little house.”

A woman carrying a baby on her hip opened the door. The minute she saw Sarah, her face softened in recognition. “You must be the little girl in all of those photos we found in the attic,” she cried. “Beth Spellwood’s niece?”

“Yes,” Sarah said happily. “You found pictures?”

“Well, yes, we did, and we have them. We tried to send them to family, but we couldn’t find an address. Come on in!” The woman stepped aside and ushered Sarah and Eli into the house. “Oh, hello,” she greeted Addie, also welcoming her inside.

“Puppy!” several kids cried as they flocked around the dog. Addie rolled on the floor and showed her belly happily as the kids scratched it.

“My kids love dogs, as you can see.” The woman laughed. “I’m Meg, by the way.” She set the baby down and shook Eli’s and Sarah’s hands as they introduced themselves. Then she excused herself to retrieve the pictures. “You can take a look around, if you want,” she called over her shoulder.

Sarah stepped into the kitchen. “The cauldron is gone.” She sighed, noticing the open fireplace with its hanging cauldron was now replaced with an oven. The fridge was also new and covered in kids’ art, with none of the strange recipes and spells that Aunt Beth kept on it.

Eli placed a comforting hand on her elbow. “You can’t expect it to be the same.”

“I know. It’s just so different.” Sarah sighed, breathing in the smell of the macaroni bubbling on the stove for lunch. “Well, actually, it seems like a happy home, and I’m just glad these people love it.”

Meg reappeared with the photos. “Here you go!”

Sarah smiled as she sifted through them. “That was my goat!” she cried, showing Eli the photo of the black-and-white goat hanging his head over her shoulder.

“You were cute,” Eli said. “So many freckles.” Teasingly, he touched her cheek, pretending to count the freckles she still had.

“She sure was,” Meg said, nodding her head in agreement. Then she added in an undertone, “Do you want to go upstairs? I have to ask you about some things about this house . . .”

Sarah and Eli followed Meg up the narrow staircase to a landing. Meg paused in front of a door. “Um, I hate to mention this, but . . . I know the reputation of Lativia Spellwood.”

Sarah smiled and nodded. “That is my ancestor, and the founder of Witchland.” Then she narrowed her eyes knowingly. “Let me guess, weird things happen around this house?”

“Yes, well, Neil and I don’t—well, we didn’t believe in that stuff. Not at all. But after moving here . . .” Meg bit her lip, looking nervously from Sarah to Eli.

“We don’t think you’re crazy, don’t worry,” Sarah assured her. “Weird things happen in Witchland, and especially in this house. It did house three generations of witches.” She and Eli exchanged knowing glances and then laughed, sharing memories of the many magical misadventures they had been on together in their efforts to protect Witchland from both Madras and greedy developers.

“Oh, good. I wasn’t sure where you stood with all of that.” Meg laughed nervously and gathered her hair into a ponytail. “Well, you see, we took the master bedroom here and . . .” She opened the door and pointed within.

Sarah stepped into her aunt’s old bedroom. As if she were a child again, she could remember the four-post bed that took up most of the space, and the rolltop desk where Aunt Beth sat to pay her bills and write letters. Though the décor was different, the atmosphere of the room still felt like Aunt Beth: calm, sweet, earthy, loving. Tears welled up in Sarah’s eyes.

“We keep cutting them back.” Meg led them to the window, where several flowers emerged from the wooden frame, vibrant and colorful. They were growing without soil and without water. “We’re not really sure how they keep growing.”

Sarah touched one of the blue flowers gently. “My aunt Beth loved her flowers, her garden, her goats. She was part of nature—so it seemed.” She turned to Meg. “These are enchanted flowers that she grew because she thought they were pretty. The only way to remove them would be to break the enchantment.”

“Oh.” Meg looked worried. “I have no idea how to do that.”

“I can bring some friends of mine by who can do that. If you don’t mind, can I have them?” Sarah imagined planting them in her own room and always having a piece of Aunt Beth near her.

“Of course! I would hate to kill them, but it’s just, well . . .” Meg shrugged haplessly. “Not our choice of décor. I hope that doesn’t offend you.”

“I get it.” Sarah nodded. “It is your home now.”

“Um, there’s one other thing.” Meg led them into the bathroom next and pointed to the blue tiles over the clawfoot bathtub, where Sarah had spent many afternoons pretending she was a mermaid in a frothy ocean of soap bubbles, with an army of rubber duckies to do her bidding.

Sarah smiled softly as she ran her fingers along the porcelain of the tub, entranced by her memories. Eli watched her, vicariously enjoying her reminiscing through the expressions on her face.

Meg turned on the shower. Gradually, words began to form across the tiles as the steam started to bloom from the water. Sarah squinted and realized that it was a spell for making the room smell like roses. Just as soon as she read the spell in her mind, the bathroom flooded with the flowery scent. “Aunt Beth’s scent,” Sarah murmured. “I always just thought it was a perfume.”

It’s strong, like Margaret and Hua’s greenhouse,” Addie complained, backing away toward the door.

“Any way you can break this enchantment? We love this scent, but . . .” Meg again looked hapless.

Sarah acquiesced and said a quick spell to erase the enchantment.

Spell be gone,

You have grown wan.

You have done well,

But it’s no time to dwell.

Instantly, the words began to unfurl and stretch until they made a popping sound like bubbles and ran down the walls in streams of black ink. Then the ink grew clear and disappeared. The rose scent began to gently fade. If only I could capture that scent in a bottle, Sarah thought. I have to enchant my bathroom to do that so that I can always smell Aunt Beth’s rose scent.

“I’m so sorry, and thank you so much,” Meg said profusely as she showed them out. She handed Sarah the pictures in a bundle.

“Thank you for letting us inside and these pictures. I’ll definitely treasure them. I’ll come back with my friends, Margaret and Hua, later. They will transplant the flowers for you and remove the enchantment,” Sarah promised.

As she, Eli, and Addie walked back into town, Sarah sighed. “It’s so hard to let go of the past and watch things change. I sure miss my aunt Beth.”

“Can you visit her, you know, in that ghostly clearing?” Eli inquired. He was referring to the place where ghosts communed with Lativia Spellwood’s ghost on the top of Mount Katribus.

“She moved on to the other side,” Sarah said sadly. Then she interlaced her fingers with Eli’s and cuddled against his muscular shoulder. “I miss her, but I know she’s in a good place. And I’m very happy with how my life is now. I can only embrace the present.”

Eli kissed the top of her head, and Sarah felt happy. “I think Aunt Beth would have adored you,” she told Eli. 




About the Author: 

Melanie Snow is the pen name for Wendy Van de Poll, a bestselling author, pet loss grief coach, and animal medium. She is the author of The Spellwood Witches, a paranormal cozy mystery series. 

Her books weave together positive magic, snarky forest faeries, and insightful animals with fun and eclectic humor. True life adventures and intuition are woven into her stories laced with unbridled imagination. She has been followed by wild wolves in minus sixty degrees, hissed at by a mama bobcat, and played ball with a wild owl—among other animal encounters. 

Find out more about her work at:  












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