Blog tour: Building From Ashes – Elizabeth Hunter

For the release of Building From Ashes the first spin off of the Elemental World series on October 23rd 2012, we can share with you a little excerpt of the book. Enjoy!
“So, you’re going to be in the Garda, are you?”
She shrugged. “Maybe Irish police. Maybe something international. Always wanted to travel.”
“You have?” From what he’d remembered Ioan telling him, the girl had trouble leaving the house to attend the village school.
She curled her lip. “Yeah. I have.”
“Well, good luck.”
“Thanks. Are we done talking now?”
He pointed to her pint. “Drink up. It won’t bite.”
“Unlike some things at the table.”
He laughed. “Well, that’s true, I suppose.”
Brigid rolled her eyes again, and Carwyn wondered if there was some sort of human medical procedure to keep her from repeating the annoying gesture.
“You really don’t have to do this.”
“Check up on me for them. I’m fine, Father.”
For some inexplicable reason, Brigid calling him “Father” annoyed him. Perhaps because she said it with such clear disdain. He lowered his glass and leaned across the table. “Look here, Brigid Connor. Get rid of the attitude.” He reached out and wrapped a hand around her tiny wrist, but softened it when he felt the flinch. He rubbed one thumb over her knuckles. “You and I both know that I could make you tell me anything I wanted if I used my amnis. I’m trying to be pleasant. I’m trying to do a favor for Ioan and Deirdre and your Aunt Sinead, who I happen to like more than most humans. So why don’t you—“
He broke off when the door opened and a gust of wind blew in. The cool air slid into the room and slipped over Brigid’s neck, drifting to his keen nose. His eyes narrowed, and his grip on her wrist tightened slightly. The fangs grew long in his mouth and his heart began to pound.
What the hell?

For a thousand years, powerful earth vampire Carwyn ap Bryn has served others. God. His family. His friends. But tragedy and loss disrupt his peaceful existence, causing him to question everything he has committed his eternity to.

Brigid Connor has known about vampires since they rescued her from a painful childhood. But not even their vast elemental power can save her from the demons that torment her.

As loyalties are tested and new paths are forged, a lurking danger slowly grows in the Elemental World. Carwyn and Brigid will learn that even secrets revealed can come back to haunt you when you least expect it.

Elizabeth Hunter
Author of the Elemental Mysteries

Guest Post: Darklands by Nancy Holzner

In DARKLANDS, the fourth book in my Deadtown series, shapeshifting demon slayer Victory Vaughn travels to the Darklands, realm of the dead, to prevent her nemesis from regaining his full powers. The Darklands are based on Annwn, the mythological land of the dead in ancient Welsh lore.
Mallt-y-Nos, also known as Matilda of the Night, is a spirit who chases down the souls of the dead and drives them into Annwn. According to legend, Matilda was once a beautiful Norman princess whose favorite pastime was hunting. She loved the thrill of the hunt so much that she exclaimed, “If there is no hunting in heaven, I’d rather not go!” Matilda should have been careful what she wished for. She became Mallt-y-Nos, the Night Hag, who forever rides nightly with her pack of hellhounds, terrifying all who see her as she hunts for lost souls.
In the following excerpt from DARKLANDS, Vicky summons Mallt-y-Nos to request admittance into the land of the dead.
Excerpt from DARKLANDS
Calling a spirit is tricky business. To do it right, you need a ritual dagger, along with candles, incense, salt, and an altar loaded up with all kinds of magical paraphernalia. Except for the kitchen salt shaker, I didn’t have any of that. What I had was my intention.
I stood in the center of the living room, having pushed its few pieces of furniture against the walls. I took a couple of minutes to get centered, breathing deeply and going inside myself. Breathe in . . . breathe out. Breathe in . . . breathe out. No thinking, no guilt, just a steady focus on each breath. When the world seemed to pulse in time with my heartbeat, I opened my eyes. I pointed at the cabin floor and moved in a slow, clockwise circle. I concentrated on my intention: protection. I projected my will from my brain, my heart, down my arm and through my pointing finger, creating a sphere of protection around me. Nothing could enter the circle unless I allowed it.
Let it be so.
Then, I called the Night Hag. I pulled up everything I knew about her legend. I remembered the terror I’d felt as a child—lying in bed, sure she was coming for me, pulling my pillow over my head to block out the sound of galloping hooves. I could see the pages of a book of Welsh folktales, one from Mab’s library, where I’d read her story. I felt the uncanny shiver that had tingled through me when, walking alone at night in a dark Welsh lane, I’d felt somethingpass by. My pulse pounded like those galloping hooves. My whole body trembled with the desire to run, to flee, to stay out of range of the hag and her pack of hellhounds. But I stood my ground.
And I called her to me.
“Mallt-y-Nos!” My voice rang out with a confidence I didn’t feel, pushing past the cabin’s walls. “Matilda of the Night! Lady of the hunt! Mistress of Hounds! Night Hag, who drives lost souls to the Darklands! I, Victory Vaughn, do invoke thee!”
The words echoed back to me, then faded. My intention cut through the silence, as I held the image of Mallt-y-Nos in my mind. A silhouette on horseback, shadowy against the moon, long hair flying behind her as she rode. She reined in her horse and cocked her head, listening. I called out again: “Mallt-y-Nos, come to me!”
In my imagination, the hag wheeled her horse around. She whistled to her hellhounds. Shrieking a bloodcurdling hunting cry, she raced toward me.
“Come!” I shouted, shrieking too, raising the volume to blot out the horrible sound of the hag’s approach. “I command thee!”
Hounds bayed and howled in the distance. The sound grew closer. The ground shook as thundering hooves pounded closer, closer. I clamped my hands over my ears and kept shouting. I wasn’t saying anything now; I was just making noise. Anything to fight the terror of her approach.
An explosion jolted the cabin as the wall collapsed. I staggered back a step, almost falling, covering my face with both arms. A tingle in my shoulder told me I’d bumped into my protective magical barrier, and I jerked forward. I had to stay inside the sphere.
I dropped my arms to see what I’d called
I stared into the fiery, red eyes of a massive steed. Flames shot from its nostrils, but they broke to the left and right before they reached me. Hounds leapt forward, jaws snapping, but they couldn’t reach me. My protection held.
“Quiet!” shouted a woman’s voice. The hounds fell back, milling around the cabin. The wall they’d burst through remained intact. The half-dozen hounds that crowded the place didn’t look like any dogs I’d ever seen. Each was the size of a small horse. Their eyes glowed red and orange, lit by inner fire. Saliva dripped from their fangs; it sizzled when it hit the floor.
The horse turned sideways, and Mallt-y-Nos came into view. I blinked. This was the Night Hag? The woman astride the horse was young and beautiful, with blue-green eyes and golden blonde hair that flowed, shining, to her waist. She looked nothing like the nightmare hag that had terrorized my childhood imagination. “Why have you summoned me?” she demanded, regarding me imperiously from her demonic steed.
Before I could answer, her face changed. Wrinkles formed around her eyes, on her forehead, between her nose and mouth. Her blonde hair faded to gray, then bleached white. Her skin went from creamy to blotchy red to jaundiced. I gaped, unable to look away, as the beautiful young woman sagged and faded into an ancient crone. Finally, the hair thinned to a few wiry strands. The skin shriveled and peeled away, baring the skull beneath. Flames consumed the eyes, leaving only a red glow.
I looked into the face of death.
The cycle began again. In the course of a few minutes, Mallt-y-Nos flowed from youth to middle age to decrepitude and death. And back again. And then again. I stared, fascinated, almost forgetting the terror of her presence.
In her death’s-head form, she pointed a skeletal finger at me. “Why did you call me?” she asked again, her voice impatient. Youthful flesh covered her skull. Her cheeks turned pink; her eyes sparkled. Thick, shining hair cascaded down her back. “Do not suppose, mortal, that you can command me. I came because I was curious. Mortals run from me; they do not request my presence.”
That I could believe. Even in her youthful form, she was terrifying.
“I called you to ask you a favor.”
DARKLANDS, the fourth novel in Nancy Holzner’s Deadtown series, is now available. For information on Nancy and her books, visit her website. You can also find Nancy on Facebook and Twitter. And visit her Kickstarter page to find out about her plans for a Deadtown prequel!

Darklands (Deadtown, 4) – Lancy Holzner

They call it Deadtown: the city’s quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its border—but Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demon slayer, isn’t exactly human…

Boston’s demons have been disappearing, and Vicky’s clients are canceling left and right. While fewer demons might seem like a good thing, Vicky suspects foul play. A missing Celtic cauldron from Harvard’s Peabody museum leads her to an unwelcome conclusion: Pryce, her demi-demon cousin and bitter enemy, is trying to regain his full powers.

But Pryce isn’t alone. He’s conjured another, darker villain from Vicky’s past. To stop them from destroying everything she loves, she’ll have to face her own worst fear—in the realm of the dead itself.

Excerpt for The Seduction of Phaeton Black by Jillian Stone + Giveaway

The Seduction of Phaeton Black (Paranormal Investigator, 1) – Jillian Stone

Blurb #1

THE YEAR IS 1889 and Queen Victoria, exemplum of decency and sobriety, is in her fifty-second year of reign. Paranormal Investigator, Phaeton Black, on the other hand, couldn’t be less interested in clean-living. He has recently taken up residence in the basement flat of London’s most notorious brothel. A dedicated libertine with an aptitude for absinthe, he wrestles with a variety of demons both real and self-inflicted. Unfairly linked to Scotland Yard’s failure to solve the Whitechapel murders, Phaeton is offered a second chance to redeem himself. A mysterious fiend, or vampire is stalking the Strand. After a glass and a consult with the green fairy, he agrees to take on the case.

On his first surveillance, Phaeton pursues an elusive stranger and encounters several curious, horrifying beings. But the most intriguing creature of all is a Cajun beauty who captures him at knifepoint and threatens to spirit away his heart.

Alternate Blurb #2

Hold onto your knickers ladies, Phaeton Black has arrived!

He’s the man with the magic touch. A master of deduction and other midnight maneuvers, Phaeton Black is Scotland Yard’s secret weapon against things that go bump in the night. His prodigious gifts as a paranormal investigator are as legendary as his skills as a lover, his weakness for wicked women as notorious as his affection for absinthe. But when he’s asked to hunt down a fanged femme fatale who drains her victims of blood, he walks right into the arms of the most dangerous woman he’s ever known.

She’s the devilish Miss Jones. Pressing a knife to his throat and demanding he make love to her––Miss America Jones uses Phaeton as a willing shield against the gang of pirates chasing after her. As dangerous as she is with a derringer tucked in her garter, Miss Jones is not the vampire killer Phaeton is stalking––but she may be just what he needs to crack the case. As the daughter of a Cajun witch, she possess uncanny powers. As a fearless fighter, she can handle anything from Egyptian mummies to Jack the Ripper. But when an ancient evil is unleashed on the world, she could be his only his salvation…or ultimate sacrifice.
She had never met the like of such a man.
After a few deep draughts of spirit, he kicked a chair out from under the table and straddled the seat. “The chair rails guard my bulging privates. Not to be confused with filthy pirates.”
He took another swig from the bottle. “Tell me about these imaginary, cutlass wielding corsairs. Miss––?”
 “My name is America Jones.”
He set an elbow on the chair back and cupped his chin. He had a wary way of studying her, as if she were some kind of curiosity. “Are you incapable of answering questions in a truthful manner? Again, Miss––?”
She set her jaw and glared. “America.”
“Is the name of a continent, or two. I can never remember if there are two continents designated north and south, or one continent designated south and north. Which is it?”
Why did he play the Mad Hatter? Leaning far back off the chair, he had to catch himself. The grog appeared to be having an effect. “And there is a new country, the United States of America.”
Even with arms tied down, she still managed a shrug. “It is my name, sir. America Síne Jones and I have learned to live with it these twenty-ought years.”
 “I believe I may call you by your middle name.” His mouth twitched. “Sin–ay. I do so admire the first syllable.”
Her gaze narrowed to a quizzical squint. “Is your mind always in the gutter, Mr.––?
“Black.” Liquid sable eyes flecked with gold drank in every inch of her. “Only when I am interested, Miss Jones.”
“And are you interested?”
“I once enjoyed a meal at the Langham Hotel, which I thought about repeating for weeks afterward.”
“Is that what I am to you? A supper?”
 He lowered his chin. “A banquet, my tempting dark dove.” Hooded ebony eyes crinkled at the sides. He enjoyed taunting her. 
Captivated for a moment, she mentally slapped herself.  “I would love to stay and chat, really I would, but I must be on my way.” She flashed the faintest of smiles. “Now that we are introduced, certainly you can release me from bondage?”
“One more thing, Miss Jones. If you would kindly explain about the pirates?” He tilted his head. “Your eyes are most extraordinary. Almost feline.”
What an exasperating man! While he swigged from the bottle, she tugged again on her bindings. “Why do you insist on torturing me?”
She pressed her lips together and chewed the inside of her bottom lip. A force of habit when vexed beyond endurance. Well, she supposed two could play this silly, annoying interrogation game. “Are your parents still living, Mr. Black?
He sat up and blinked. “Mother died of a virulent meningitis years ago. My father teaches advanced mathematics at Trinity College.” He ran a hand through thick waves of dark brown hair. “He might as well be dead. We don’t get on.”
“I could not tell you if my mother is alive or dead. I’ve not been home to Louisiana in many years. Buried my father four short months ago. Charles Gardiner Jones.” She leaned forward purposefully. “A decent and honest merchant trader. Acquaintances said he couldn’t face his business failure––that he died of drink. People who knew him well, told a very different story. My father’s heart was broken by his lying, scheming business partner.”
When her eyes threatened to tear, she lifted her chin. “After his funeral I vowed to bring Yanky Willem to justice.”
“And how goes this pursuit?”
She frowned. “Not as well as I’d hoped. Last night Willem caught me rifling through a year’s worth of cargo manifests.”
He arched a brow. “Searching for––?”
“Proof of piracy, Mr. Black.”
He smiled that maddening grin of his. “I knew if I was patient, we might actually get round to the original subject of my query––the filthy pirates.”
“Chased me from the Docklands all the way down the Strand.” She laid her head back against the padded chair and counted the cracks in the ceiling. “When you stepped into the sharp edge of my blade, I was clean out of bullets.”
“Bullets? And where, pray tell is your pistol?
Now it was her turn to grin. “Untie me, and––“
“I think not, Miss Jones.” From behind protective rungs, Mr. Black stepped over the seat of his chair and ventured closer. “Shall we search together?”
For more info you can check the links below:
Facebook:  G Jillian Stone
Pinterest: Jillian Stone
Website: Jillian Stone

For the tour, bewitching book tours gives away The Key to Phaeton’s Heart and ten print copies of The Seduction ofPhaeton Black. The contest is international.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog tour: excerpt of A fall of Water by Elizabeth Hunter

You can discover today an excerpt of A Fall of Water, the last book in the Elemental Mysteries by Elizabeth Hunter.

“No secret stays hidden forever.”

Still grieving from their loss in the far East, Giovanni Vecchio and Beatrice De Novo discover that for them, all roads really do lead to Rome. But nothing is quite as it seems in the Eternal City. Joined by Carwyn and Tenzin, unexpected clashes greet them almost immediately, and rivalries churn beneath the glittering facade of the old Roman court. They quickly realize that allies might be enemies, and ancient rivals could hold the key to a deadly secret.

Giovanni and Beatrice will be forced to call on old alliances, ancient power, and fierce cunning to survive for the eternity they both desire. Sometimes, finding the end means going back to the beginning. Fire, Earth, Wind, and Water finally meet with devastating results in the conclusion of the Elemental Mysteries.

I can’t believe how much gelato I’m eating.”

Ben eyed Dez as she scooped up another spoonful. “It is pretty amazing. But then, I think we just need to accept that we are no longer eating lunch while we’re in Rome.”
Yep, gelato is its own food group here.”
Dez leaned back against the cool pillar as they sat in the shade in front of the Pantheon. They had woken that morning as they did most mornings since they had come to Rome. Late. Angela fed them breakfast before Dez and Ben struck out to explore the Temple of Hadrian, which was fairly close to the house. Every day, they would take in some site that the guidebooks recommended before they found a suitable gelateria and a shady place to people-watch.
Even though Ben made a game of flirting with Dez, she and Matt were two of his favorite people, and the three were having a great time exploring the city. If he was free, Matt came along, but most times he was running an errand for Beatrice or Giovanni. That morning, he happened to be meeting with some of his “friends” to procure a suitable weapon for Ben to carry when he was in Rome. Ben slipped a hand into his pocket and felt the cool grip of the knife his uncle had given him the night before.
Carry it whenever you go out. Particularly if you’re with Dez. Get to know the neighborhood. Learn the streets. We’re relying on you. Be smart, Benjamin.”
His eyes darted around the square, watching the bustling crowd. Tourist season had already started, but Ben knew enough about cities to be able to spot the locals. He may have spent the previous few years taking it easy in Houston and L.A., but he had been born in New York, and raised himself on the streets. And big cities, he knew, were remarkably similar in a lot of ways.
He could still spot the tourists with the fattest wallets. He could spot the savvy local girls. And he could definitely spot the guy with the shiny forehead wearing the unseasonably warm jacket who was trying a little too hard to be inconspicuous. 
Okay, I’m stuffed.” Dez stood and stretched, shoving her sunglasses up her nose and looking around. Ben could hear the trickle of the fountain in the background, and the murmur of the crowd, but he kept an eye on the suspicious man out of the corner of his eye. The guy was definitely eyeing Dez, and Ben didn’t think it was because of her California-girl looks.

You can enter the grand prize giveaway on the author website to win A signed paperback copy of A Fall of Water: Elemental Mysteries Book Four OR A complete e-book set of the Elemental Mysteries Books 1-4. For that you just need to answer a question here.