Cover Reveal: Three Hours by Dannika Dark

So to take a break from my own stuff, I want to introduce you to my absolute favorite author. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it: this woman writes exactly what I want to read. Somehow, she has tapped into my brain and figured out everything I need in a book to read it in one sitting. Overnight. Knowing that my baby is getting up at 5:30 and the Monkey has to be up for school at 6:15.

I love her Mageri Series, (Logan, you ever become real and single, call me!) but the Seven Series is my all time favorite. It may or may not have something to do with me hosting. I will 100% help promote one of my favorite authors to get to see her cover featuring the books main character a teeny weeny bit earlier. #Sorrynotsorry.

Here you go. Do yourself a favor. Pick this stuff up. You can send me thank you notes later. 🙂

 
Three Hours
(Seven Series, Bk # 5)
By Dannika Dark
 
Blurb: 
Destiny will find you
 
Naya James is a confident woman who also happens to be an exotic dancer. She doesn’t care if people judge her, just so long as they don’t disrespect her. Life has been good, but when two dancers from her club are kidnapped, Naya puts her life on the line to uncover the truth.
Wheeler is the black sheep of the family, evident from his extensive tattoo collection to his dark personality. Nothing like his twin brother, Ben, who can do no wrong. Wheeler’s pack loyalty is put to the test when Austin orders him to act as a bodyguard for a woman he’s despised for years—one who presses his buttons every chance she gets.
A dark secret unravels, uniting two enemies and threatening to fracture the brotherhood of the pack. A tortured soul, a violent past, a fiery romance, and a shocking twist that will leave you breathless.
Release Date:
April 6, 2015
The Seven Series
 
About the Author
This is the segment where you learn a little more about who I am, so here’s what I can tell you:  I drink copious amounts of vitamin water placed precariously close to my laptop while writing. These are two healthy habits I have no intention of breaking. I’m a transplant living in the south, but I was born in the 70’s to a military dad who moved us around the world.
When I’m not writing (which is all the time), I’m hunting down Indie music, watching movies, reading, eating Tex-Mex, discovering new ways to humiliate myself bowling, and burning up my laptop battery on the Internet. I have a relaxed, easy-going personality and don’t like drama. I live with a cat who thinks she is a dog, or a goat (she eats plastic, so I’m not sure which).
Throughout my life, I’ve had insomnia. Counting sheep never worked and eventually I would imagine those sheep were the sole source of food after an apocalyptic battle where only thousands survived. I made up stories in a futile attempt to bore myself to sleep. The problem was, I got so wrapped up in my “head stories” that I would continue them through the following nights, changing it up each time to make it more exciting. Eventually, I started writing my ideas down – creating short stories, and then I discovered my love for poetry.
It’s almost embarrassing how many spiral notebooks and stacks of paper I have of poetry and lyrics.
Another passion: digital art. I design all my book covers, marketing, and series art. I’m a very visual person and pursued photography as an avid hobby for many years.
I am not a YA author (I feel like I have to state this only because I’ve had a few people ask), but I think it’s wonderful there are so many books available to teens in Urban Fantasy and Paranormal.
I am finally doing what I have always wanted to do: giving my characters a pulse through writing full time. I focus on adult urban fantasy romance, but I don’t like labels and I enjoy blending genres to break out of the confines of predictability.
But it’s what I love to do.
Danni
You can stalk, I mean find Dannika here:
            
 
 
 
Presented by

Guest Post by author Stephanie Fleshman

Please enjoy this guest post by Stephanie Fleshman, author of the enticing Paranormal YA, Render. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

The 5 Guys You’ll Meet in YA Fiction:

A Guest Post by Stephanie Fleshman

According to GalleyCat, YA eBook revenues increased 120.9% last year. The great news is whatever YA male character types keep you reading, it’s unlikely you’ll run out of books anytime soon. After a while contemplating my favorite YA reads, I noticed a pattern when it came to the male heroes in these stories. Without further ado, here’s a run-down of the 5 guys you’re likely to meet when reading a Young Adult novel…

Guy #1: The Broken and Vulnerable

When I think of broken, I think of Josh from Barry Lyga’s Boy Toy. The sad thing about Josh is that he knows he’s broken but blames himself instead of the person at fault.

When I think of vulnerable, two characters come to mind: Sam from Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series and Cabel from Lisa McMann’s Wake series. Cabel is doused with gasoline, then set on fire by his alcoholic father. He wants to be loved, yet is scared. What makes him strong in a not-in-your-face kind of way is that he wants to love. His lack of resentment and hate is what makes him attractive.

Guy #2: The Abusive

In Jennifer Brown’s Bitter End, Cole is the product of “like father, like son.” In Swati Avasthi’s YA novel Split, however, Jace is the product of being victimized by his own abuser. Unlike Cole, Jace is capable of remorse and guilt. He not only owns up to his actions, but he wants to pay for them. By comparison, Jace makes Cole look like a sociopath.

Guy #3: The Obsessive

It’s no secret that Edward from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga is borderline stalker when it comes to Bella. She is his world entirely. In his mind, though, he is only being protective. So, is Edward protective, overprotective, or obsessive? You decide:

  • Protective: Capable of or intended to protect someone or something.
  • Overprotective: Having a tendency to protect someone, esp. a child, excessively.
  • Obsessive: Of, relating to, characteristic of, or causing an obsession; Excessive in degree
    or nature.

Guy #4: The Dominant

A good example of this type of YA male lead character is Patch from Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush series. Patch is 100% boy. He’s self-confident, strong, and stands his ground against Nora. Though he is dominating, I don’t believe it’s in a harmful or abusive manner.

In the second book, you get to see more into his heart as he begins to really care for Nora’s well-being.

By the third book, he’s thinking of Nora’s safety and how he can stay with her. He sacrifices what he wants in order to protect her and their relationship, which seems non-existent to Nora by this stage. Not everything is what it seems, though.

Other good examples are Alex from Simone Elkeles’s Perfect Chemistry and Avi from the same author’s How to Ruin series.

Guy #5: The Lovable

I’m going to start with Koldan from my own YA novel, Render. Koldan is firm but not so dominating that he feels the need to control. He’s confident and strong, but recognizes his weaknesses. He’s romantic in the sense that he will do whatever it takes to keep Raya safe, even if it means risking his own life. And he’s not afraid to show his feelings for Raya.

Now, I cannot move forward without mentioning Holder from Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. Thirteen years! Thirteen!!! That’s all I’m going to say. Those of you who have read Hopeless know exactly what I’m talking about. For those of you who haven’t, there’s nothing about this guy not to love.

Now I’ve got a question for you: What’s your favorite YA male character type?

Render Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, Render, the debut YA Paranormal novel by Stephanie Fleshman, is on sale for just 99 cents! What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Get Render at its discounted price of 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  3. Visit the featured social media events
  4. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.

About Render: A betrayal born of blood. A curse for a gift. A love worth saving… Seventeen-year-old Raya Whitney thought she knew Koldan–until a sudden turn of events threatens both their lives. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Stephanie Fleshman graduated with a degree in psychology and has family throughout the United States as well as in Thessaloniki and Athens, Greece. Visit Stephanie on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

The Rundown on Render

So, I finished Render by Stephanie Fleshman in about a day and a half. A ten hour road trip helped considerably. All in all, it was much better than I expected to be, so I decided to post my review early. First the book trailer to get you started, then my review:

Why you’ll love Render

It’s well written. Are you a writer? Editor? Have an English degree? Have you ever put a book down because despite the story, you were constantly pulled out of it due to the misuse of it, it’s, and its? Don’t worry, you’ll be safe in Render. Lately, some of the big blockbuster hits have had… shall we say less than impressive writing? Instead it’s all drama and feelings and action, but not long term satisfying. There are a couple of metaphors I could think of for this, *giggle* but I’m going to use the PG version. A meal of Chinese take out will taste great but everyone knows you’ll be hungry an hour later. With Render, you get a well-rounded steak dinner with a salad and a dessert. You are full, not stuffed sick, and you will definitely visit this restaurant, I mean author, again.

It’s not angsty.Or at least what I would consider “stupid angsty.”

Its not Twilight. It’s not Mortal Instruments. Its not Percy Jackson or Hunger Games. In fact, Render is the most grown up YA novel I have read to date. Thank you Stephanie, really. As much as we of the “mom” age enjoy reading and remembering our teenage years, it’s refreshing to have something that keeps me from rolling my eyes. The difficulties these characters experience are real, important, and feasible. Not only that, these kids, Koldan, Raya, Lucas, and Ethan, think beyond their own selfish wants. They sacrifice for each other, and even for people they don’t know and may never meet. The main crew could just as easily be 25 as 17, and I dig that.

It won’t slow down. I was never bored. I was never saying, “keep it moving!” I never found my eyes skipping down the page, because I knew if I did, I would miss something important.There are so many subplots in Render, you’re always unraveling a mystery. Then Stephanie  switches to a different conundrum and you’re off in another direction. I chased this story the way a cat chases a laser pointer. (Without running into a wall.)

It has history! I’m such a history nerd. As soon as I finished the book I was scouring the web for more about the Russian royal family. Having been fortunate enough to see the Catherine the Great exhibit when it came to the States in… well hell, it was awhile ago. I was little, but I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Have you seen her carriage??

This is but one of many. Ol' Cathy rode in style!

This is but one of many. Ol’ Cathy rode in style!

And the end of the Romanov dynasty with the possibility of missing Prince Alexi and Princess Anastasia? Such a good base for some seriously juicy fiction. I’m so glad Stephanie decided to use it. Now if we could get the Assassin’s Creed franchise on board… I’ll sidebar that for another day.

Why Render may not be the book for you

You want the typical, mainstream YA novel. If you need a moody, brooding, teenage vampire/billionaire/angel/half-angel/werewolf/ghost/zombie/fairy/wizard or any combination of those as a leading man. If you need the worst thing that could happen in the story to be not getting to kiss that guy. If you need the world to revolve around that guy and his love interest. If you are 14, or an adult who thinks Fifty Shades was the best novel ever written. If you want the main female character to rebuff the protectiveness of her male counterpart. If any of these things are what you want in a book, you may be disappointed. The closest you’re going to get in Render is Koldan, and he’s closer to Doogie Howser with an ulcer than anything listed above. Maybe Mikihail in later books, but still, he’s not exactly what you want either.

Don't worry ladies! He's still available... oh, wait!

Don’t worry ladies! He’s still available… oh, wait.

You want strong paranormal elements. No ghosts/vampires/zombies/fae/were-creatures to be found. I was terrified, but that could be from reading Render at the beach, after catching what I thought was a jellyfish, but turned out to be a moon jelly. Oh, and remembering that documentary about those teeny, tiny, evil little box jellyfish, with their nematodes, and how people react to their stings. Yeah, that’s the stuff of nightmares. Give me a vampire and a wooden baseball bat, and I give myself better odds. (Oddly enough, Stephanie mentions the same documentary in her acknowledgements, so I included part of it below. Yeah, she gets it.)

You have to know, right now! Look, we all know that it takes time to craft a sequel, and if its not done right, we’ll all be disappointed. I’m not asking you to wait say, seven years *cough* George R.R. Martin!*cough* or anything. But if you need all the answers at the end of the book, you are so screwed. Render is Lost, but with (thankfully) more answers. I can’t wait to see what happens next, but what I really mean is  I can if it means its done right. That’s a good book to me, but you may be different.

Still wondering what's going on. What happened to the polar bear?

I’m still wondering what’s going on. What happened to the polar bear?

You need the characters to be just like you. While I can relate to some of the more personal or moral feelings the main crew has, there’s always a bit of disconnect. My family wasn’t wealthy, nor was I a child prodigy, so I can’t relate to Lucas or Koldan. We’re certainly not in the billionaire club, so Ethan is out. I never even dated a rich guy like Raya. Strip their world away, which sort of happens on the island, and it’s much easier to feel for them. I just worry that it might happen too late in Render for some readers.

My favorite line

Koldan: “It’s not how I want to remember him. But the picture is more oil than water, and I know it will never fade.” I liked this line so much, it became the first intentional bookmark I’ve ever put on my kindle.

My favorite character

Ethan. I want more Ethan. I have a soft spot for Southern gentlemen, being from the south myself. I love his charm, his easy-going attitude, and the perpetual cigarette he’s always sporting. He can be sweet, without making Raya, thus me, uncomfortable or worried about his intentions. Yeah, give him his own series and love interest someday. I’d read that in a heartbeat.

I'm a die-hard lover of his older brother Chris. Still, the more Liam Hemsworth looks like his brother, the more I feel like a lecherous old woman. If Render makes it to film, here's my nominee!

I’m a die-hard lover of his older brother Chris. Still, Liam Hemsworth makes me feel like a lecherous old woman. If Render makes it to film, this guy is my Ethan.

Thing I want to see in the future

Better classification. I’m still waiting to see the paranormal aspect of Render. Unless something easily identifiable as paranormal shows up, I would lose it. Render is strong enough on its own, without adding anything else.

Raya’s back-story. I’m sure this will be covered in future books, but as she is the most relatable character to the other 99% of our country, I need to know about the normal girl. What the hell do I know about billionaires?

A sequel. Post haste!

Two things bear repeating. Render was way better than I expected. Maybe I’m becoming jaded by the carbon copy YA I’ve been reading lately. Secondly, from the beginning, Render reminded me of Lost, a show I loved. I say loved because eventually, I got tired of questions and needed some answers. Stephanie takes care of us in that aspect. Suggest Render to your YA friends, or at your next book club meeting. You won’t be disappointed.

Now, I’m ending this review before it gets any longer… damn. Oh, wait. Tour notes:
Render Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, Render, the debut YA Paranormal novel by Stephanie Fleshman, is on sale for just 99 cents! What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Get Render at its discounted price of 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  3. Visit the featured social media events
  4. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.

About Render: A betrayal born of blood. A curse for a gift. A love worth saving… Seventeen-year-old Raya Whitney thought she knew Koldan–until a sudden turn of events threatens both their lives. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Stephanie Fleshman graduated with a degree in psychology and has family throughout the United States as well as in Thessaloniki and Athens, Greece. Visit Stephanie on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Welcome to Stephanie Fleshman Week!

Please enjoy this interview with Stephanie Fleshman, author of the enticing Paranormal YA, Render. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

An Interview with Stephanie Fleshman

Author of YA Paranormal Novel, Render

1. How do your experiences traveling and growing up in a rural town help you to write?

Traveling has always stimulated the passion I have for learning other cultures. Render definitely depicts that, since I bring so many other cultures into the story.

2. You are among many new authors who went to a post-secondary school for something completely different from writing. How does your degree in psychology play a role in your writing?

Psychology is the study of human behavior, so that has definitely helped to create multi-dimensional characters.

3. Do you have any advice for others who have stuck to a career path, but find that writing is their true calling?

I don’t believe you have to choose. Experience and knowledge of different fields can benefit a writing career, depending on what you want to write.

4. Who are two of your favorite authors, and why do those authors speak to you?

Cormac McCarthy. I think he is a literary genius.

J.K. Rowling. She is a true storyteller, which I believe is different than telling a story.

5. You use some really unique names in Render like Koldan, Raya Whitney and “The Russian.” Where did you get the inspiration for the names? Secondly, when in the writing process do you name characters?

I start with names, but those names have a tendency to change throughout the story. For Render, most of the names had to do with origin.

6. “Koldan Holdt knows what he wants.” He knows, but his fate has been determined since before his birth. Can you discuss how people find their way around the obstacles of life as well as any suggestions you might have?

Recognizing there is no such thing as complete control–the control you do have is determined by different variables, one being the choices you make.

Render Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, Render, the debut YA Paranormal novel by Stephanie Fleshman, is on sale for just 99 cents! What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Get Render at its discounted price of 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  3. Visit the featured social media events
  4. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.

About Render: A betrayal born of blood. A curse for a gift. A love worth saving… Seventeen-year-old Raya Whitney thought she knew Koldan–until a sudden turn of events threatens both their lives. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Stephanie Fleshman graduated with a degree in psychology and has family throughout the United States as well as in Thessaloniki and Athens, Greece. Visit Stephanie on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

60 days to be a Writer – Day 6

Hey! I got in before midnight tonight! Look at me trying to keep normal hours!

As promised, my first Examiner.com article is now live and can be found here.

About 2 seconds after I posted my last entry, my editor emailed me to let me know when she would give me a return date on SD. Bless that wonderful woman.

In the mean time, I went back and looked at another project I worked on after SD. I’ve actually been itching to get back into it for some time. Like I said yesterday, I needed a break from vampires. So as I read over it, something happened. I consider it the absolute best, most exciting part of being a writer.

I liked what I was reading. I felt for my characters, as a reader. I want to know what happens next!

That feeling, that event is what gives me the confidence to publish and make a go of this writing thing. If I know what happens, but I still get nervous; if I know a romance is brewing but still get a little flutter in my gut when my characters have a “moment.” If we are our worst critics and I’m reading a first un-edited draft going, “Yeah! I love this!” 

Then maybe someone else will feel that way too. And maybe, I might actually have something.

I hope that doesn’t sound too egotistical. I just get excited when I still like what I write after I’ve walked away from it.

So now I’m going to go figure out what happens. : )

Emily

60 Days to be a Writer: Day 2

I want to start off by saying how much I appreciate the comments, likes, follows, and general outpouring of support I received from you all yesterday. I have a feeling I’m going to need to go back and read them from time to time.

I’ve been cleared to writer for the local Examiner website, so that’s nice. I’m going to try to cover local authors, indie book stores, and local events related to writing. I also found out that writing a guide or a topic section for About.com is not going to be as easy as I thought. Or at least getting contracted to write one.

Also, has anyone heard of Essay Shark? I can’t decide if its shady or not. I mean, how can you write academic papers for people and that be okay? Let me know if you have any experience with this.

It was great being home with Monkey today, although trying to keep her focused/entertained without letting her watch Sponge Bob all day was quite an effort. It will take us a bit to get back into our old routine. We’re going to be playing “Honey the Hero” in a minute. The cuteness will be epic; I may have to post it. After that, it’s time to finish these edits.

Here’s to us and the promise of a new day doing what we love!

– Emily

Sneak Peek of Child of Destiny by George Elder

Welcome back to the Child of Destiny blog tour! Today, you lucky readers get an excerpt from Child of Destiny. But wait! That’s not all. To further whet your appetite, we also have a synopsis, and a little but about George Elder himself. Missed the first part of the tour? Click here to read Elder’s thoughts on Sci-fi and religion.

 

Child of Destiny (The Genesis Continuum trilogy #1) by Dr. George H. Elder

Edited by Julie Tryboski & Illustrated by Randall Drew

 

THE ANCIENTS BELIEVED THE PURPOSE OF LIFE IS TO EVOLVE SPECIES THAT CAN PERPETUATE THE POSSIBILITY OF CONTINUED EXISTANCE THROUGH THEIR THOUGHTS AND DEEDS — WITH THOUGHT BEING A SEMINAL POWER THAT CAN OVERCOME THE DARK FORCES THAT DRIVE ALL THAT IS TOWARD NOTHINGNESS (“NOTLOH THE OLDER” OF HARKAD PRIME).

CHAPTER 1: ISHTAR’S CHILD

 

Kara had worked tirelessly piling heavy boulders around her hillside cave’s entrance, leaving a thistle-covered opening on the mound’s top that was barely wide enough for her to squeeze through. Over the years, successive layers of soil and jagged rocks were heaped on the boulders, and the humble shelter could now resist the fiercest storm and harshest winter. Long razor grass, thorny briars, and shrubs flourished on the stout construction, providing Kara’s home with a camouflaged barrier that served well against both four- and two-legged predators. The only drawbacks were meager lighting, invading spiders and centipedes, and the poor ventilation provided by the narrow entrance. Yet these were relatively small prices to pay for security. Moreover, the shelter was adjacent to a spring-fed stream that froze for only part of the winter. Of course, there was a constant need to collect firewood, gather fruits, nuts, and berries, and hunt, but Kara was proficient in these arts. She had to be, for such is an outcast’s lot.

She sat cross-legged on the cave’s floor, bathed in a shaft of sunlight that poured through the entrance. The flint tip of her spear needed sharpening, and she deftly chipped away tiny flecks of stone with a hard rock. Kara’s father had taught her the ancient art of blade-making, not that Torok ever envisioned his daughter would depend on such a skill to sustain a solitary existence. No, he had felt she was destined for great things within the tribe, which was only appropriate for the child of a Labateen chieftain such as Torok. And Kara grew to be a most unusual girl, a precocious child who tagged along behind hunting parties and played violent war games with the tribe’s boys.

By her fifth season Kara’s deftly thrown spear was regularly taking down prey that was nearly as large as she, all of which were proudly dragged back to the great cave. She even learned the old storyteller’s sacred litanies, repeating without error the lengthy and complex tales to the delight of family and friends. Torok was proud of Kara’s intelligence, strength, and courage, and considered her an ideal daughter. Never a man of many words, he once told her, “Blood of my blood, you are a very special child. God has blessed you in many ways and you make my heart proud.” Kara basked in the warmth of his approving smile, and found confidence in the tribe’s universal acknowledgment of her rare talents.

Yet neither Torok nor Kara knew about the awful mark she bore high on her scalp, the one her mother had worked tirelessly to conceal since Kara’s birth. The Labateen were the true Children of God, and only the most perfect in form could be accepted into the tribe. And to all appearances Kara’s long, thick, red hair, green eyes, hazel skin, and lithe athletic body were ideal, the quintessential elements of a Labateen woman. Indeed, all was perfect, except for a dark brown birthmark that hid underneath a luxurious mane of hair.

Leah, her mother, was horrified when she first saw the blight, although there was no one to share her shock in the isolated birthing cave. Her labor was long and difficult, and there were times Leah thought death would be a welcome reprieve. And a lonely, painful demise for mother and child was the inevitable penalty for a failed childbirth. This most sacred process was overseen only by God –- and God alone would dictate if both mother and child survived. But survival was only the first step, for then came the mother’s responsibility of ensuring that the child’s body was perfect in all ways. This was God’s test of a mother’s will to abide by the sacred laws that guided the Labateen for countless generations. These were the same laws Torok was sworn to uphold as the tribe’s Dorma, and thus Leah felt particularly driven to follow the ancient codes.              

The birthmark’s grotesquery compelled Leah to contemplate bashing Kara’s tiny head against the jagged walls of the birthing cave, the floor of which was richly littered with tiny bony reminders of Labateen mother who had done their duty. Every Labateen woman knew that allowing an unfit or marked child to live would introduce impurity into what were God’s chosen people. The only right and merciful thing was to end such a star-crossed life swiftly. Leah roughly grabbed her writhing daughter, who still wore the blood and slippery wetness of a new life. She stared into the infant’s eyes, and suddenly her will to follow the old ways evaporated. Perhaps it was the long torment of giving birth, or maybe it was the blood loss, but Leah felt that God was guiding her thoughts and deeds. ‘Yes, God must want this infant to live,’ she thought, ‘And to live for a divine purpose.’

Leah deftly severed the umbilical cord with an obsidian blade and suckled the crying infant. With every passing moment the bond between mother and child grew stronger, as did Leah’s conviction that she was doing God’s work. But Leah’s convictions were the stuff of sacrilege, and that would lead to a dreadful fate for any Labateen. However, it was customary for a new mother to remain away from the tribe for ten suns after giving birth, which was yet another trial to help ensure that only the most able would walk amongst the Labateen. Leah took the time to make dyes from nearby plants and berries, being well versed in the art of marking. Indeed, as the daughter of an Elder and wife of the tribe’s Dorma, Leah was expected to be an exemplary marker and healer.

She carefully dyed her infant’s head, hands, and feet deep black, all signs that the child was one with God’s earth by thought and deed. She repeated the procedure over the coming days until the rich dyes were absorbed by Kara’s skin, hiding any sign of the blemish. When the day came to rejoin the tribe, friends and relatives saw the baby’s markings and she was quickly dubbed “Kara,” meaning, “Companion of God.” Many in the tribe thought it odd that Leah didn’t change Kara’s markings as the child matured, but few dared question a Labateen aristocrat. The query might be seen as an insult, and only blood could assuage such folly. The ploy served well in giving Leah’s daughter time to grow a thick and luxurious mane of dark red locks that hid the sin, at least until the age of ascension.

The spear’s tip was nearly ready, and Kara examined it in detail. A good spear and sharp knife were as essential as stealth, speed, and strength when hunting. Yet the hunt had gone poorly for seven suns, and Kara did not know why. Normally, late spring provided ample game, although one had to be ever watchful for the swift grenlobs that followed the migratory herds. The large, bipedal reptiles were armed with sickle-shaped claws and serrated teeth that turned many hunters into prey. However, a hunting party of Labateen was more than a match for any animal. Even a small party could bring down a tork, a hulking, wooly, four-legged brute with a nasal horn taller than a man. Yet tribal lore aptly described a lone hunter as the personification of a “sad thing,” and Kara was reduced to stalking relatively small rodents and marsupials, with an occasional fish supplementing a meager vegetarian diet.

She preferred hunting in the nude. But it was a chilly morning, so Kara donned a pair of well-worn moccasins and the long rawhide tunic her mother once wore. Although much-patched, the tunic was one of Kara’s prized keepsakes, and as she put it on thoughts of that terrible day wafted anew. The Right of Ascension takes place during the 14th springtime of every Labateen’s life, and the ritual is overseen by the tribe’s Elders. For women, Ascension entails having the head shaved with dull blades, being tattooed with sacred symbols, and silently enduring purification via the excruciatingly slow application of steaming hot water to the clitoris. The unremitting pain often caused visions, and these were a blessing from God if their meaning could be divined.

 

Want to know more? Here’s the synopsis I mentioned:

 

Child of Destiny (The Genesis Continuum trilogy #1) by Dr. George H. Elder

The universe is nearing its inevitable end, everything is being rapidly devoured. The last hope of a dying universe is to awaken the Seeker, a legendary metaphysical being known only through ancient tales. The Seeker has the capacity to link the entire universe; they alone may be able to spark the rebirth of the universe.

Many of those that remain desperately want existence to continue. As the remaining races struggle to survive and fight over saving existence, lofty ideals give way to brutal pragmatism. Missions are sent out in search of the Seeker. One such mission encounters Kara an outcast noblewoman of the Labateen, a Stone-Age warrior culture. Kara is well versed in the Seeker’s litany, beyond what would be considered coincidence –to Kara the litany is simply the ways of God. Will Kara be able to help locate the Seeker?

Those who wish the universe to end in disorder, with no more than a whimper are not willing to sit by as others race to alter the end universe. As these opposing forces mount their defenses, racing to see their goals are achieved one question stands out…

Is Kara the key?
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. George H. Elder has a Ph.D. from Penn State in Speech Communication and a Masters Degree in nonfiction Writing from UNH. He also has a very eclectic work and personal history. He has been a college teacher, custodian, upper-level scholar, drug addict, weight lifting coach, bouncer, and much more. He has authored numerous articles in the popular press and even a scientific text book that examines the neuropsychological basis of human communication. He has also addressed subjects such as philosophy, free speech, weight training, drug use, nutrient effects, street life, and a wide range of other issues.

His varied life experiences and education give him a unique and interesting perspective, and he often weaves philosophical insights and pathos into his texts. His books are action-oriented, but they do not have simplistic plots wherein good vs. evil or some other hackneyed approach is used. Instead, Elder employs plot shifts that allow the characters and readers to question the relationships we often take for granted. For example, a hero may do great wrongs while a species once perceived as malicious can be revealed to be honorable and wise. This offers refreshing and exciting perspectives for readers as they delve into Elder’s texts, for one never knows what to expect.

 

You can buy a copy of Child of Destiny here.

To learn more about George Elder, visit his website here.

Hope everyone enjoyed the sneak peeks! Happy reading, happy writing!