COVER REVEAL: Lurking in the Shadows

Title:  Lurking in the Shadows

Edited by: Jaidis Shaw

To Be Published:  June 28th, 2016

Publisher:  CHBB Publishing

Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Paranormal

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Synopsis:

Embrace the darkness.

Murderous entities, haunted houses, screaming banshees, and sympathetic necromancers are just a few of the chilling things you’ll encounter in this anthology. Follow our authors into the shadows … if you dare.

Stories featured in this anthology include the following:

“An Empty Building” by Jacqueline E. Smith

“Bump in the Night, Inc” by Melody Black

“Dorcha Scath” by Liz Butcher

“Living Nightmare” by Savannah Rohleder

“Lizzie” by Tania Hagan

“On Two Lane Roads” by Shelly Schulz

“Release” by E.M. Fitch

“Revenant” by Stacey Jaine McIntosh

“Scream for the Night” by Gina A. Watson

“Too Young To Kill” by Lily Luchesi

Add Lurking in the Shadows to your GoodReads TBR!

 

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Investing

I’m not all that skilled when it comes to logic, business, or actually making money.  I just like to write.  I’m not a marketer or a strategist or any kind of intelligent that might actually help me out in the real world.  That’s where my dad comes in.  Ever since I told him that I wanted to be an author and that I wanted to independently publish my own books, he’s been my business brain.  Let’s face it, I just make up stories.  He’s the one who helped me start up my business and advises me on what to do or what not to do when it comes to actually managing the company.  One of his favorite sayings is, “You have to spend money to make money.”

Now, that’s kind of an odd concept.  I’d really like to make money, so my first instinct is to lock it all away in savings and never touch it.  But when you run any kind of business, I’ve learned that you have to invest in that business.  Almost every cent that I’ve made from my book sales has gone right back into Wind Trail Publishing.

Recently, my dad and I have been talking about marketing.  He’s suggested I pay GoodReads and Facebook to take out some ads.  But the thing is I’m not all that certain that’s the way to go.  After all, I see GoodReads and Facebook ads all the time but I rarely investigate further.  That’s why I’ve chosen to invest, not in online ads, but in my readers.

That sounds strange, I know.  But in the past few months, I’ve met dozens of book reviewers, mostly through Instagram and GoodReads, who love to read and review books.  These reviewers are sweet, intelligent, lovely, real people who share my passion for books and stories.  So I’ve been sending them free copies of my books.  Yes, it costs money.  But I believe, wholeheartedly, that it is a much worthier investment than an online campaign.  Writers are nothing without readers.  And I am eternally grateful to every single one of you.

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New Release: In the Company of the Dead

NEW RELEASE Ciara Ballintyne’s Epic Fantasy ‘In the Company of the Dead’

Only a fool crosses a god, but Ellaeva and Lyram will do anything to get what they want.

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Title: In the Company of the Dead
Author: Ciara Ballintyne
Series: The Sundered Oath #1
Genre: Epic Fantasy/Fantasy Romance
Chosen as a five-year-old orphan to be the Left Hand of Death, Ellaeva has nothing to call her own—nothing except a desire to avenge her murdered parents. Her duties leave her no time to pursue the man responsible, until both her work and revenge lead to the same place—the lonely castle where Lyram Aharris is serving out his exile for striking his prince.

Lyram is third in line for the throne, and when the castle is unexpectedly besieged, he fears his prince means to remove him from contention for the crown permanently. Ellaeva’s arrival brings hope, until she reveals she has not come for the siege, but instead she hunts the castle for a hidden necromancer dedicated to the dark god of decay.
Within their stone prison, Ellaeva and Lyram must fight to save themselves from political machinations and clashing gods. But as the siege lengthens, the greatest threat comes from an unexpected quarter.

Chapter 1

Premonition

Only a fool would split hairs with a god, least of all the goddess of death, but Ellaeva would count herself such a fool and consider it worth it—if she could get away with it.

She leaned across the knife-scarred timber of the tavern table.

“Are you sure?” she asked, her tone even and barely loud enough to be audible over the noise of the flute and the zither. Her work on behalf of the goddess Ahura, adjudicating the small war here in Dayhl, could only be abandoned in favour of a greater threat. If she was going to chase off after the man who killed her parents, she needed to be sure her arguments stacked up. The pursuit of personal justice wouldn’t be enough.

Is it justice or revenge?

No time to worry about that now. She tugged her black hood farther down over her infamous face, even though deep shadows blanketed the common room corner. She’d chosen a table far from the tallow candles mounted in their stag-horn chandeliers. There was no point taking chances; the black hair and porcelain skin of a Tembran would be remarked here among the platinum-haired Dayhlish. Besides, someone might recognise her.

“In Ahlleyn, sure as the spring comes after winter, Holiness.” The narrow-faced man across from her grinned, baring teeth more brown than yellow. The acrid smoke from the candles didn’t cover his pungent breath.

She half-stood, making an urgent, negating gesture as she glanced around, but the hubbub of chatter from the patrons and the music covered his slip. No one even glanced their way. On the far side of the room, away from the two blazing hearths, tables were pushed aside for dancing. She dropped back into her seat, her black robes fluttering around her booted feet.

Ahlleyn lay on the other side of the continent, months of travel by horse. If her informant was right and a Rahmyrrim priest had been dispatched there, he would likely be gone long before she arrived—unless she begged a favour, but she’d not do that for a lark of her own. However, if it meant catching the man who killed her parents, well then maybe she could come up with an argument that would hold water for a god. Old grief and anger, stale from a decade or more, stirred in her gut, and her fingers curled around the edge of the table.

Releasing her grip, she reached to the inner pocket in her robes where rested the smudged charcoal drawing of a man. Hard work and luck had helped her obtain that picture of the man she believed killed her parents—a man she knew to be a priest of Rahmyr. If she decided to act against her standing orders, then she needed to be sure it was the man she was after, and that he was involved in some act heinous enough to attract her goddess’s attention.

“Did you get the name of this priest? Or his description?” An unknown number of priests served Rahmyr, but she knew six by sight—six still alive anyway.

The thin man shook his head. “Nobody mentioned. I got the impression he’s already there, or on his way leastways.”

She scowled. No way to be sure then that this was the man she wanted. Begging favours of Ahura for her personal satisfaction was a risky business, especially if she neglected her duties, and perhaps it would all be for nothing.

With one hand, she flattened the map that curled on the table between them. The patrons behind them exploded with laughter at something unheard. Ignoring the noise, she stabbed her finger at an unmarked portion of the map in the foothills of the Ahlleyn mountains. If he didn’t know who, maybe he knew the what. “There, you say? What possible interest could Rahmyr have there? There’s nothing of interest at all.”

She lowered her voice even further as she uttered the name of the goddess of decay, and glanced around again. That name spoken too loudly would bring unwanted attention. But nearly all the tavern patrons were busy whirling on the impromptu dance floor or lined up to watch the dancers, their backs to her.

The nameless man leaned forward, treating her to another stomach-clenching blast of foul breath, and touched a spot perhaps half an inch away from her finger. A tiny, unlabelled picture marked something there.

“Here, Holiness.”

She squinted at the picture, letting his lapse slide. The image represented a holy place. There was an old shrine to Ahura somewhere in the Ahlleyn Borders, wasn’t there? And a castle built over it. “Caisteal Aingeal an Bhais.”

“That sounds like the name,” he agreed. “Never could get my mouth around them Ahlleyn words. Pink castle, I heard.”

She grunted. That was the one. “There’s still nothing there.”

Nothing of interest to Rahmyr anyway. The shrine wasn’t particularly important, and the castle held no political significance.

“What’s there,” the man said, “is Lyram Aharris.”

The premonition went through her like a blast of icy wind, stiffening her in her chair as the hand of the goddess brushed against her mind. A light caress, but from a giant, and so it sent her mind reeling. She clutched the table for support. Lyram Aharris’s reputation preceded him the length of the continent: eight years ago, at the age of twenty-seven, he’d brought an end to the centuries-long conflict between Ahlleyn and Velena through a series of brilliant military manoeuvres. He’d survived the Siege of Invergahr against near-impossible odds, brought the crown prince safely clear of the conflict, and fought the Velenese to a standstill using their own guerrilla warfare tactics against them. As a novice, she’d covered the tactics thoroughly as part of her studies. The man was a military genius. That he was third in line for the throne of Ahlleyn was the least there was to know about him—at least it was, until his king dismissed him from court. The rumours on everyone’s lips said he murdered his wife, even if no one could prove it.

What did Rahmyr want with him?

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Ciara Ballintyne grew up on a steady diet of adult epic fantasy from the age of nine, leaving her with a rather confused outlook on life – she believes the good guys should always win, but knows they often don’t. She is an oxymoron; an idealistic cynic. She began her first attempts at the craft of writing in 1992, culminating in the publication of her debut work, Confronting the Demon, in 2013. Her first book to be published with Evolved Publishing is In the Company of the Dead. She holds degrees in law and accounting, and is a practising financial services lawyer. In her spare time, she speculates about taking over the world – how hard can it really be? If she could be anything, she’d choose a dragon, but if she is honest she shares more in common with Dr. Gregory House of House M.D. – both the good and the bad. She is a browncoat, a saltgunner, a Whedonite, a Sherlockian, a Ringer and a Whovian… OK, most major geek fandoms. Her alignment is chaotic good. She is an INTJ. Ciara lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, her two daughters, and a growing menagerie of animals that unfortunately includes no dragons.

Authorfest 2016

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I am excited to announce I will be involved in Authorfest  this year . This will be the second year I will have participated. The event is located in Denison, Texas on their Main St. Friday night will boast dinner and author readings at the Paper Plate Catering Center located at  205 West Main. Authors will read from their books and it is always interesting and fun. I have not been to this restaurant before, but if it is anything like last year’s choice, it will be a night to remember.

The next day, the authors will have book booths along different places on Main St.  and will be able to sell and  autograph their books for you. Saturday afternoon will bring another author reading for the people of the city and the Bark and Paw event.

It should be noted that portions of the sales of the books will benefit…

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Social Limits

Hi, friends!  Happy Wednesday!  I hope your week has been spectacular thus far.

My week has been okay.  Not terrific, not awful, just mediocre.  The weather’s been gross.  I’ve been feeling kind of gross.  I’ve been burning a lot of fall candles and catching up on reading to combat the gloom, but I’m definitely ready for some sunshine and adventure and excitement.

All of this being inside has resulted in a lot of time spent on social media.  A lot of wasted time.  True, I do some marketing and some networking, but a lot of it is just mindless creeping.  And today I realized I’m kind of sick of it.  So I’m going to try my best to limit my browsing time.  I need to get more active, more productive.  I need to read more.  I need to get back to de-cluttering and organizing my office (it looks pretty awesome so far, I must admit).  And I need to keep working on all my books!  I’m really excited with how they’re all coming along, but I need to work faster.

In other news, tonight is Boy Band‘s one year bookiversary!  This silly little book has changed my life and I have all of you to thank for that.  I love you all so much.  You’ve made my dream come true.  You make my dream come true every single day and I’ll never be able to truly express how grateful I am to all of you.

Have Reading!  Happy Writing!

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Still Writing

Hi, friends!  Wow, life has been kind of hectic lately.  In a good way, thankfully.  But still quite busy.

I’ve been so distracted talking about this past weekend and all the new books that I get to read that I totally forgot to share my own bit of news.  This month, Boy Band celebrates its first book birthday!

It’s been an incredible year, to say the very least, and to show my appreciation for all the love and support that my little NaNoWriMo book has received, I’m hosting a special GoodReads Giveaway!

Enter Here!

I’m giving away five signed copies of both Boy Band and its sequel, Backstage.  Please enter and spread the word!

And yes, I am still hard at work on finishing up Worldwide, the third in the series.  I’m still hoping to get it out there by June at the very latest, but the days seem to be speeding by a little faster than I had anticipated.  Worldwide, I think, will be a little longer than the first two, and it’s a different sort of setting, since most of it takes place on the tour bus, in between shows, etc…  It’s a very fast-paced book.  The characters don’t have a lot of time to really sit around.  They’re quite busy and distracted.  And although I want to get it out as soon as possible for all y’all, I also want to make sure it’s the book you deserve!  But please know that it is coming!  And I LOVE it.  I’m having so much fun with it.

I’m also working on the next book in the Cemetery Tours series, Lost Souls, and a possible new project.  I have so many books in my head, y’all.  I want to write them all.  And I’m going to.  I have no doubt.

Thank you all so much for everything.  I don’t think you’ll ever know how much I appreciate having you all in my life.

Three Cheers for Indie Authors

On Saturday, I attended the North Texas Book Festival for the second year in a row, and it was even more fun this year than it was last year.  I had several friends there and I was privileged to make the acquaintance of even more wonderful readers and writers.

I may have come home with one or two new books…

Hey, it’s networking.

Currently, I’m in the middle of reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova.  I loved the movie, so I’ve really been looking forward to reading the book.  The thing is, however, I’m so, so, so excited to start reading all my new books that I got on Saturday that I’m finding myself kind of speed-reading through Still Alice in order to get to my new ones.  There’s something so special and remarkable about reading books that have been produced and published by the author themselves, especially authors you’ve met in person and who’ve shared their personal stories and experiences.  The best way to get to know an author is to read their book.  And I can’t wait to dive in.

I know I’m also an independent author, so what I’m about write may sound a bit self-congratulatory and egotistical, but I am so proud of the work I’ve done, and I’m so proud of my colleagues for their dedication and passion.  There’s this stigma that independent publishing is the “easy way out.”  Let me tell you now, there is nothing easy about taking matters into your own hands and learning skills that you never thought you would need practically overnight.  Independent publishing is real work, work that I would never have even considered if I didn’t truly believe that my books were worth sharing.  This is why I say three cheers for all my fellow indie authors.  You do not believe in limitations.  You will not accept no for an answer.  You conquered your own mountains, you made your own dreams come true.  I am so honored to be in your company.  And I can’t wait to read your books.

Perfection

Happy Wednesday, friends!

As usual, there’s a lot going on.  I’m beta-reading my friend Paula’s new book, which always takes longer than actual reading because I’m trying my best to catch things and make comments.  I can’t just zip through like I usually do.  I’m also preparing for my first book event of the season this Saturday!  I’ll be participating again in the North Texas Book Festival in Denton!  I’m really excited about it.  I just loved the Festival last year and I met so many amazing people.

For the occasion, I designed and ordered some brand new bookmarks to hand out to readers.

I’m also still hard at work on Worldwide, which I’m really loving.  I think it’s going to be my favorite book in the Boy Band series.  I’m hoping to have it out early summer.  I’m also working on a new project.  I love my series, but I also want to branch out.  I have so many stories and characters in my head.  I wish I had eight arms.  Then I could work on four stories at a time instead of just one.

I saw a post on Facebook the other day.  It was in one of the writer groups that I’ve joined over the years.  The writer claimed that they wanted to write, wanted to publish a book and become an author, but they never finished a manuscript because it was never good enough.  They wanted their work to be perfect.  This is very understandable.  But I think it can also be very detrimental.

Allow me to explain.  I’m not saying you should publish a mediocre manuscript.  Never.  Your book should always be the very best that it can be.  You should always be happy with it.  But you should never let a fear that it won’t be good enough or that it won’t be perfect hold you back.  There is no such thing as perfect.

I’ve also heard of aspiring authors worrying that no one will read their work, or that no one will like it, or that it won’t sell.  My question to them is so what?  Write what you love.  Write what you enjoy.  Write a book that you would want to read.  Of course, as an author you desperately want people to read and enjoy your books, but write the story that you want to write for you.  Don’t worry about what other people might think.  If you write what you love, with genuine joy and passion, then others will love it too, because they’ll be able so feel that same joy and passion when they read your story.

Don’t worry about achieving perfection.  It will come to you.