Friday, February 15, 2019

Two Witches and a Whiskey by Annette Marie - Book Blitz + Giveaway

Two Witches and a Whiskey
Annette Marie
(The Guild Codex: Spellbound, #3)
Publication date: February 8th 2019
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
Three months ago, I landed a job as a bartender. But not at a bar—at a guild. Yeah, the magic kind.
I’m not a badass mage like my three smokin’ hot best friends. I’m not a sorcerer or an alchemist, or even a wussy witch. I’m just a human, slinging drinks like a pro and keeping my non-magical nose out of mythic business. Seriously, I know my limits.
So why am I currently standing in a black-magic ritual circle across from a fae lord?
Somewhere behind me, my three mage friends are battling for their lives. Somewhere near my feet is the rogue witch I just knocked out with a stolen spell. And I have about five seconds to convince this very angry sea god not to shmoosh me like a bug.
I’m pretty sure this wasn’t part of the job description.


THE GUILD CODEX: SPELLBOUND

Three Mages and a Margarita (#1)

Dark Arts and a Daiquiri (#2)

Two Witches and a Whiskey (#3)


EXCERPT:
Shouts burst from Aaron’s table in a mix of triumph and dejection. Half the table lifted their shot glasses and tossed them back, Aaron included. He slammed his glass down and growled.
“That one wasn’t fair,” he complained. “Lyndon, your turn.”
Surveying the gathering, I counted most of our top combat mythics—from mages like Aaron, Kai, and Laetitia, to sorcerers like Andrew, Lyndon, Gwen, and Zora. Even Girard, the first officer, had joined in. This was the elite faction of the guild—the ones who claimed the toughest jobs and took on the deadliest opponents.
Ezra was part of the circle too, but he’d slid his chair back and didn’t have a glass. He never drank much, stopping long before he got tipsy.

Whiskey bottle in hand, I leaned against his chair. “What’s going on?”
“Drinking game,” Ezra replied with a grin. “Going around the circle, each person shares something they’ve done or experienced on a job. Anyone who hasn’t had a similar experience has to drink.”
“Since Darius covered it so thoroughly,” Lyndon declared, “I want to know. Who’s been bitten by a vamp? If you haven’t, cheers!”
Groaning, Aaron downed his refilled glass. Wasn’t he happy to be vamp-bite-free? Or maybe he was so many shots in that he’d prefer pointy fangs over more liquor. Laetitia, Gwen, Andrew, and two others drank as well, but Kai didn’t.
Zora pushed her sleeve up and displayed an ugly half-circle scar on her forearm. “The bastard nearly ripped a chunk out of me. It happened back at my old guild and their healer wasn’t top- notch.”
As various mythics whistled appreciatively, Lyndon pulled his shirt collar aside. A similar scar marked the spot where his neck and shoulder joined. “She drained a solid pint before my team caught up. I don’t normally relish a kill, but that one didn’t bother me.”
They passed the whiskey around, refilling their shot glasses.
Andrew, a skilled defensive sorcerer and frequent team leader, leaned back in his chair. “I want to see who hasn’t tripped and fallen on their face in the middle of a fight. And when you drink, we’ll all know you for the liar you are.”
As everyone laughed, Kai alone lifted his shot and downed it. Smacking it on the table, he raised his chin in challenge. “Who’s calling me a liar?”
I snickered when no one said a word. If there was ever a mythic who hadn’t wiped out in a battle, it was super-ninja Kai.
Girard stroked his beard. “My turn, isn’t it?”
Aaron and Kai exchanged despairing glances.
Smirking, Ezra half-whispered to me, “Girard will try to make everyone drink.”
The officer shot him a grin, then lifted his glass in a mocking toast. “Not to get too macabre, but Lyndon brought up kills, so. If you haven’t seen at least six bodies in one place, drink.”
“What?” Gwen pointed accusingly. “What kind of horrific shit have you been sticking your greasy beard in, Girard? Who stumbles across six piss-reeking corpses?”
Ah, Gwen. Every time she opened her foul mouth, I had to fight the urge to laugh. With her sleek blond ponytail and penchant for designer business attire, she looked like a high-end executive— an impression she ruined whenever she spoke.
Girard wagged a finger. “Drink, Gwen.”
Scowling, she tossed back her shot. Everyone else lifted theirs—except Aaron and Kai. Their smiles had vanished, their expressions grim as they stared at their shots like they wished they could drink too.
An uncomfortable silence settled over the table, then Zora grabbed my arm and pulled me in front of Ezra’s chair. “Tori, you do one!”
“Uh, me?”
His drunken grin back in full force, Aaron took my replacement whiskey bottle and stuffed a full shot into my hand in its place. “Give us a good one, Tori!”
I blinked around the table, packed with the guild’s best warriors. What could little ol’ human me say? What had I done that none of them had? Well, there were a few contenders. Flown with a dragon? Made a darkfae scream like a sissy girl? Punched a rogue druid in the nose? Problem was, I couldn’t talk about any of that.
My gaze dropped to Aaron. “Who here has thrown a drink on three mages at once?”
Laughing groans circled the table. Even Girard had to take a shot.
“Wait!” Laetitia lowered her whiskey. “I spilled a coffee across Darius, Tabitha, and myself once. Does that count?”
The table debated, then decided it counted. Zora gave me a commiserating slap on the hip, making me stumble backward into Ezra, still seated in his chair. He steadied me with a hand on my waist.
“Good try!” Zora exclaimed. “You almost had it, but no one’s managed to make everyone drink yet.”
“Tori could have,” Kai interjected. “All she had to do was say ‘kissed Aaron.’ Then we all would have lost.”
The guys howled with laughter and Aaron snorted.
Zora turned to Alistair, an older man I knew only as the most powerful mage in the guild. He was rarely here, too busy hunting the scariest bad guys both in the city and outside it.
“Last round, Alistair,” she said. “I can’t handle any more whiskey, so this is your final chance to claim ultimate victory. Go big or go home.”
Alistair tugged thoughtfully on his snow-white beard. Deeply tanned and weathered, with full- sleeve tattoos on his sinewy arms, he oozed badass-ness. I leaned forward, eager to hear his challenge.
“Hmm. All right, this is mine: Who among us has fought the ultimate opponent?” His dark stare roved around the table. “Who’s fought a demon mage?”
No one moved. A wordless ripple passed among the mythics as they assessed their comrades’ reactions. Cold, tangible fear crawled through the eerie silence. Then, in near perfect unison, they lifted their shots and drank.

Author Bio:
Annette Marie is the author of Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it's not quite that bad) with her husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

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The Singular Adventures of Jefferson Ball by David Perlmutter - Book Tour + Giveaway


The Singular Adventures of Jefferson Ball
by David Perlmutter

Genre:
YA SciFi Fantasy

There never was a heroine like Jefferson Ball. And, thankfully, there may never be.
She is, simply, the most powerful humanized female dog in a universe full
of them. Faster, stronger, more attractive to boys. Unbeatable as a
lover. Unfortunately, her brains are not up to this quality, but don’t tell her that.
About the only one who can is Major Hamilton Pomeranian, the diminutive
ex-soldier who is Jeff’s best friend and conscience. When she gets
too big for her limited clothing, Hamilton tells her what for. And
it’s usually only after that point that they are able to escape
from whatever convoluted situation they find themselves in.
This potential collection will have readers both laughing and awestruck at
the events that happen. And, hopefully, you will be one of them.


Jefferson Ball was drunk.
    She was also, for good measure, scotched, tipsy, pickled, loaded, smashed, lit, hammered, jonesed, stoned, tippled, bashed, pixilated, looped, high as a Georgia pine, gassed, Harvey-wallbangered, flipped, up-set, just drinkin’, salted, hard-boiled, fried and [insert your own term for inebriation here. There are many to choose from.]
    The most obvious evidence was that she, the most powerful human-shaped female dog in a universe chock full of them, was lying face down on the floor of the bar she was in- one of many ignominiously-styled establishments in her home town of Hugopolis. Clad only in her trademark monogrammed black bikini and black boots, she seemed much more like a typical skid row derelict barfly, someone who had long ago abandoned herself to the winds of fate, chance and alcohol, than the larger than life heroic- or, as her enemies saw her, anti-heroic figure she truly was.
    Jefferson Ball possessed many virtues, chiefly of the physical variety, that she was wont to exploit in her favour, manipulative creature that she was. Fortunately for herself and the universe around her, she used most of them in the service of her kind. Centuries of breeding and body conditioning among her ancestors, coupled with some shady DNA and genetic manipulation at one point, had created, in Jefferson, a creature possessed of astonishing physical abilities, among them the ability to run a four minute mile in less than two, and powerful physical strength, enough to balance hundreds of thousands of pounds on her fingertip alone. Not surprisingly, these abilities, plus a deadly accuracy with the whip she always kept at hand, made her a very formidable opponent of the forces of evil, particularly all aliens, robots, and other supernatural beings who thought they could outfox her in the speed and muscle department, and especially those who employed those beings in a futile attempt to destroy her.
    But, like most heroic types, she had an Achilles heel. Two, in fact- both of which she bore the scars of, though less than you might think given her remarkable resiliency.
    The first of these was the more obvious and the more hurtful to her reputation. Boys of her race- and the males of any alien race she encountered- and plenty of them! In both the actual evidence known, and her own personal Munchausian exaggeration of her abilities, she was, indeed, a formidable lover. Mata Hari and Mae West had nothing on her! But, rather than experienced lovers, she preferred to initiate virgins- especially fine young things- into the ways of the world. It was common for her, during her adventures, to regularly slip out of a young male’s boudoir, having blown his genitals to smithereens (metaphorically) with her own, more powerful ones, and to leave him permanently longing for her touch- and/or cursing her to the heavens for tricking him into giving up his cherry for good.
    As powerful and influential she was as a hero or lover, however, Jefferson had an equally colorful reputation as a drinker- or, more accurately, a lush. When boys were not available, she drank, and, even when they were, she drank. Socially and professionally, she drank as well, and this damaged her social status as much as her being a lover of renown. For this reason, most beings of her gender, despite her heroism, were reluctant to establish lasting friendships with her on two counts. She would, it was said, either steal your “man” from you with her charms, good looks, and muscular, pneumatic physique, or she would do so in a duplicitous way- by drinking you under the table!
   It was at this point, almost on cue, that Jefferson’s sole female friend- indeed, the only friend of either gender she truly had in the whole universe- entered the bar-room, spotted Jefferson sprawled on the floor, put her paws on her hips, and exclaimed:
  “So there  you are!”


David Perlmutter is a freelance writer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
He is the author of America Toons In: A History of Television
Animation (McFarland and Co.), The Singular Adventures Of Jefferson
Ball (Amazon Kindle), The Pups (Booklocker.com), Certain Private
Conversations and Other Stories (Aurora Publishing), Honey and Salt
(Scarlet Leaf Publishing), The Encyclopedia of American Animated
Cartoon Series (Rowman and Littlefield, forthcoming) and Orthicon;
or, the History of a Bad Idea (Linkville Press, forthcoming).





Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!









Well Below Heaven by Idyllwild Eliot - Book Tour + Giveaway



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Literary / YA (older teen)
Publisher: Cur Dog Press
Published Date: February 7, 2019

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Seventeen-year-old Kelly is in a spartan boarding school in northern Idaho, sent away for drugs—as planned. Her little brother Sammy is left home in Missouri, getting ready for high school. He is twitchy, quick, writes dark poetry and longs to play football. He’s also got a nose for trouble, and Kelly has left a sordid truckload. Her sadistic ex is involved, so is one twisted teacher, and so is the object of Sammy’s crush. He’s in deep, and Kelly’s warnings fall flat, and the consequences will be dire.


Excerpt: Kelly’s first
From part 1, an early letter

•=========•
December 11
Dear Sammy,
I’m in Siberia, in a slave labor death camp. I mean it. I just got out of indoctrination—which is why I haven’t written. They call it ‘Program Orientation’, but we spent all our time painting a barn and clearing brush, and then, when there was no more brush to clear, we moved a pile of frozen mud—eight girls with shovels and picks—twice!!! I am not kidding. The wardens told us it was to help drainage, but it’s just part of their ‘therapy’. There’s no therapy here. It’s brainwashing. By the end of the first week, I was so cold and so exhausted I could barely stand, and that’s when they came in and started asking us questions about our families, and why we were sent up, and how we felt about everyone back home. Some of the girls started shaking and bawling as if they’d stabbed their mothers.
It was a bunch of crap, Sammy. They’re tricking us, and it’s lame. If I’m not careful, I’m going to come out a prissed-up, environmentalist zombie and spend all day—not an hour like we do now—‘contemplating’ my place on this earth.
Well my place is a glacier. Everything’s frozen, even the pine needles. It’s the coldest fall in school history, and winter’s supposed to be worse. The wardens were kind enough to give me some extra blankets, and before I left, Mom and Dad gave me some flannel pajamas. (Thanks Mom, they’re really great. I just love yellow.) They should’ve sent me to Louisiana, and they could have if they would have waited. But no, they had to yank me away in the middle of the semester. I barely even got to tell you goodbye. They didn’t want me to, Sammy. Mom was afraid I’d corrupt you with a hug. If they could have, they would have packed me up while you were at Joey’s and had me call from the road. Whatever. So now I’m going to shiver myself to death, and the bitch in the bed beside me will probably let me go on shivering, and take my blankets and boots once I’m stiff. I doubt I’ll even smell. It is that cold, Sammy, and the girls are that heinous. They all want to tell me what to do and how great school is and how I’m going to love it once spring comes, which I don’t think it EVER will. They’re almost as bad as Mom. They won’t shut up some of them—as if I’m a freshman again!—even the eighth graders. All it takes is a day at level three and they become know-it-all hags.
Laurel, my absolute favorite, the one waiting for my boots, she’s already told me how to eat breakfast and what I should do on the ropes. And the first day out of Indo, when they finally let us ride a horse instead of brush one, she comes out like a cheerleader captain and tells me how I’m slouching, and how I need to sit up straight during a trot. AS IF I’d never ridden before! Ugh! Laurel had never even been on a horse until she came to Larchridge.
I hope your conference went well. They really can suck. As long as you didn’t have to sit between Mom and Dad while Mrs. Pathel or some other loser teacher tells them how horrible you’ve been, you should have been okay. So don’t worry.
And think about this—your story rocked. It’s the start of an epic, about a traveling boy and his chocolate sniffing dog. Mrs. Pathel probably only called Mom and Dad in because she thought you were so creative—or perhaps because of the spurting blood. You might want to ease off on the slicing next time and keep to dogs, at least for school. Teachers are uptight about blood, but they like dog stories. And don’t eat too much chocolate, Sammy—it’ll give you zits. Don’t give it to a dog, either—it’s poison. You probably knew that. That’s why Diana was peeling her skin, right? Because of the chocolate? No other reason, right? They weren’t going to start grinding? Tell me, no. And I wouldn’t hang out in caves if I were you. There’s a cave not far from the ropes course that Ms. Jamison, the least witchlike of the teachers, even with her big teeth, says there’s a bear inside. “Never wake a sleeping bear”—that’s what they told us the first day. “They wake up hungry.” So I probably won’t see a bear for a while, because I’m sure as hell not going to go digging around for one.
Send the end when you find it. I want to read it, just like it is—sex and all. And send more letters. And try to ease off on the twitching. I know it’s hard, and I know it’s easier to say than do—a LOT easier—but the less you think about it, particularly the little head shake, the less you’ll do it. It’s been a long time. Try to chill if you can. They’ll lay off if you do.
Love, Kelly




About the Author

After adolescence survived in the Midwest and a few obligatory years at the university, Idyllwild Eliot embarked on a journey of internal and external exploration. With stints in Houston, Louisiana, and even Thailand, where she studied yoga, Ms. Eliot has become a semi-professional vagabond. Most recently (at the time of publication) she has been experiencing the North American west. If not sipping a cocktail on a deck in the northern Rockies, she might be found bodysurfing in Southern California, watching Bald Eagles in Montana, or in some other picturesque town hiking, meditating, or sitting with her laptop open and, at its side, a stout mug of black coffee. Well Below Heaven is her debut.





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