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.

In My Mailbox

“In My Maybox” is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren

(repris en français par la bibliothèque de Lilie
Les traductions sont personnelles 

Don’t forget our 6 Months Giveaway 

 Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles, 1) – Kevin Hearne

Atticus O’Sullivan has been running for two thousand years and he’s a bit tired of it. After he stole a magical sword from the Tuatha Dé Danann (those who became the Sidhe or the Fae) in a first century battle, some of them were furious and gave chase, and some were secretly amused that a Druid had the cheek to defy them. As the centuries passed and Atticus remained an annoyingly long-lived fugitive, those who were furious only grew more so, while others began to aid him in secret.
Now he’s living in Tempe, Arizona, the very last of the Druids, far from where the Fae can easily find him. It’s a place where many paranormals have decided to hide from the troubles of the Old World—from an Icelandic vampire holding a grudge against Thor to a coven of Polish witches who ran from the German Blitzkrieg.
Unfortunately, the very angry Celtic god who wants that sword has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power, plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good, old-fashioned luck of the Irish to kick some arse and deliver himself from evil.
Atticus O’Sullivan fuit depuis 2000 ans et commence à en être fatigué. Après avoir volé l’épée magique des Tuatha Dé Danann (ceux qui sont devenus Sidhes ou Faes) dans une bataille du premier siècle. Certains étaient furieux et lui ont donné la chasse, d’autres ont été secrètement amusés que le Druide ait le cran de les défier. Comme les siècles passaient et qu’Atticus restait un ennuyeux fugitif, ceux qui étaient furieux, le devinrent encore plus, tandis que les autres l’aidaient en secret.
Maintenant il vit à Tempe, Arizona, la dernière ville des Druides, où les Faes peuvent le trouver facilement. C’est en endroit où de nombreux surnaturels ont décidés de se cacher des problèmes du Vieux Monde – du vampire Icelandic tenant rancune contre Thor, au couvent du sorcières Polonais qui fuirent la Guerre Allemande.
Malheureusement, l’ancien Dieu celtique, toujours furieux, veut cette épée et est bien décidé à le traquer. Atticus va avoir besoin de tout son pouvoir, et de l’aide des séduisantes déesse de la mort, d’une barman sexy possédé par une sorcière Hindoue, de la chance irlandaise pour botter quelques fesses et se délivrer du mal.

Deadtown (Deadtown, 1) – Nancy Holzner

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

Vicky’s demanding job keeping the city safe from all manner of monsters is one reason her relationship with workaholic lawyer (and werewolf) Alexander Kane is in constant limbo. Throw in a foolhardy zombie apprentice, a mysterious demon-plagued client, and a suspicious research facility that’s taken an unwelcome interest in her family, and Vicky’s love life has as much of a pulse as Deadtown’s citizens.
But now Vicky’s got bigger things to worry about. The Hellion who murdered her father ten years ago has somehow broken through Boston’s magical protections. The Hellion is a ruthless force of destruction with a personal grudge against Vicky, and she’s the only one who can stop the demon before it destroys the city and everyone in it.
Ils l’appellent Deadtown : la partie de la ville en quarantaine pour les non humains et les résidents morts. La plupart des humains restent à la limite – mais Victory Vaughn, la seule tueuse de démon professionnelle de Boston, n’est pas vraiment 
Le travail de Vicky consiste à  protéger la ville par tous les moyens des monstres. C’est une des raison pour laquelle sa relation avec l’avocat, fou de travail (et loup garou) Alexander Kane est sur le fil du rasoir.  Ajoutons à cela un apprenti zombie téméraire, un client mystérieux démon-pestiféré, et une recherche qui n’est pas très bien prise par sa famille, la vie de Vicky a autant de pulsations que tous les citoyens de Deadtown.
Mais maintenant Vicky a de plus gros problèmes. Le Hellion qui a tué son père 10 ans auparavant, a brisé les barrières magiques de Boston. Le Hellion possède la force pure de la destruction avec une rancune particulière contre Vicky. Et elle est la seule qui peut stopper le démon avant qu’il détruise la ville et tous ceux qui y habitent.
Zombie Business / Flip this Zombie (Living with the Dead, 2) – Jesse Petersen
The Zombie Apocalypse has been good to Sarah and David. Their marriage is better than ever. They communicate well, share responsibilities, and now, they’re starting a business. ZombieBusters-for all your zombie extermination needs.
There are lots of zombies and that means lots of customers…Except one of them doesn’t want the zombies dead, he wants them alive and ready for experimentation. Mad scientists make for difficult clients and this time, Sarah and David might have bitten off more than they can chew.
Tout ne va pas si mal pour Sarah et David.
Leur mariage se porte mieux que jamais, ils ont même monté leur petite entreprise d’extermination. Le marché est f lorissant : plein de zombies et donc plein de clients désireux de s’en débarrasser ! Sauf que… le cours du zombie s’affole quand certains s’avèrent plus difficiles à zigouiller. Une mutation ? Ce serait le début de la crise pour Sarah et David.
Les zombies, ça oblige à se creuser la tête !
Alien Tango (Katherine “Kitty” Kat, 2) – Gini Koch
It’s been five months since marketing manager Katherine “Kitty” Katt started working with the aliens from Alpha Centauri, and she and Jeff Martini are getting closer. But when an experimental spacecraft is mysteriously returned to the Kennedy Space Center, Kitty and the rest of her team are called in to investigate. Now the team must survive murderous attacks, remove a space entity from a group of astronauts, and avoid an unhinged woman with a serious crush on Kitty’s high school boyfriend. And that’s all before evil masterminds decide Kitty’s extermination is vital.
Cela fait 5 mois que Katherine “Kitty” Katt, manageur en marketing a commencé à travailler pour les Aliens de Alpha Centauri, et elle et Jeff Martini se sont un peu rapprochés. Mais quand un vaisseau spatial expérimental revient mystérieusement au centre Space Kennedy, Kitty et le reste de son équipe se doivent d’enquêter. Maintenant son équipe doit survivre à des attaques meurtrières, enlever une entité d’un groupe d’astronautes, et éviter une femme détraquée avec un gros béguin pour le petit-ami de lycée de Kitty. Et tout cela avant que les les cerveaux maléfiques décident que l’extermination de Kitty soit vitale.

Summoning the Night (Arcadia Bell, 2) – Jenn Bennett


After narrowly escaping her fate as a sacrificial scapegoat, Arcadia Bell is back to normal. Or at least as ordinary as life can be for a renegade magician and owner of a tiki bar that caters to Earthbound demons. She’s gearing up for the busiest day of the year–Halloween–when a vengeful kidnapper paralyzes the community. The influential head of the local Hellfire Club taps Cady to track down the fiendish bogeyman, and now that she’s dating red-hot Lon Butler, the Club’s wayward son, she can hardly say no.

Cady and Lon untangle a gruesome thirty-year trail of clues that points to danger for the club members’ children. But locating the person behind the terror will require some metaphysical help from Cady’s loyal bar patrons as well as her potent new Moonchild powers–and she’d better figure it out before the final victim disappears and her own darkest secret becomes her biggest enemy.


Après avoir échappé à son destin en tant que bouc émissaire, la vie de Arcadia Bell retourne à la normale. Ou au moins autant qu’une vie ordinaire peut l’être pour un magicien renégat et propriétaire d’un tiki bar pour démons liés à la terre. Elle prépare la plus grande journée de l’année — Halloween — quand un kidnappeur en quête de vengeance paralyse toute la communauté. Le leader du club Hellfire demande à Cady de chasser le loup garou, et maintenant qu’elle sort avec le sexy Lon Butler, le fils rebelle du Club, elle peut difficilement dire non.
Cady et Lon doivent démêler une trainée d’indices accumulés durant 30 ans qui semble pointer le danger vers les enfants des membres du Club. Mais localiser la personne derrière tout cela requière de l’aide métaphysique de la part des patrons du bar et de ses puissants pouvoirs d’enfant de la lune — et elle ferait bien de trouver rapidement ce qu’il se passe avant que la dernière victime ne disparaisse et que son noir secret devienne son plus grand ennemi.

The Prophet (Graveyard Queen, 3) – Amanda Stevens

My name is Amelia Gray.
I am the Graveyard Queen, a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. My father passed down four rules to keep me safe and I’ve broken every last one. A door has opened and evil wants me back.
In order to protect myself, I’ve vowed to return to those rules. But the ghost of a murdered cop needs my help to find his killer. The clues lead me to the dark side of Charleston—where witchcraft, root doctors and black magic still flourish—and back to John Devlin, a haunted police detective I should only love from afar.
Now I’m faced with a terrible choice: follow the rules or follow my heart. 
Mon nom est Amelia Gray.
Je suis la Reine des cimetières, une restauratrice de cimetière qui voit les fantômes. Mon père m’a légué les quatre règles pour me protéger et j’ai enfreint la dernière. Une porte s’est ouverte et le démon me veut à présent.
Afin de me protéger, j’ai voulu rétablir ces règles. Mais le fantôme d’un policier assassiné a besoin de mon aide pour trouver son tueur. Les indices m’ont conduits du côté noir de Charleston – où sorcellerie, médecin et magie noire sont partout – et de retour auprès de John Devlin, un policier hanté que je devrais seulement aimé de loin.
Maintenant je dois faire face à de terribles choix : suivre les règles ou suivre mon coeur.