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VBT – THE SPECTER OF THE INDIAN

The Specter of the Indian banner

 

Title:
THE SPECTER OF THE INDIAN: RACE, GENDER, AND GHOSTS IN AMERICAN SEANCES, 1848 – 1898
Author: Kathryn A. Troy
Publisher: SUNY Press
Pages: 200
Genre: Historical Nonfiction

The Specter of the Indian unveils the centrality of Native American spirit guides during the emergent years of American Spiritualism. By pulling together cultural and political history; the studies of religion, race, and gender; and the ghostly, Kathryn Troy offers a
new layer of understanding to the prevalence of mystically styled Indians in
American visual and popular culture. The connections between Spiritualist print
and contemporary Indian policy provide fresh insight into the racial dimensions
of social reform among nineteenth-century Spiritualists.
Troy draws fascinating parallels between the contested belief of Indians as fading from the world, claims of returned
apparitions, and the social impetus to provide American Indians with a means of
existence in white
America. Rather than vanishing from national sight and memory, Indians and their ghosts are shown to be ever present. This book transports the readers into dimly lit parlor rooms and darkened cabinets and lavishes them with detailed séance accounts in the words of those who witnessed them. Scrutinizing the otherworldly whisperings heard therein highlights the voices of mediums and those they sought to channel, allowing the author to dig deep into Spiritualist belief and practice. The influential presence of Indian ghosts is made clear and undeniable. 

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The Vanished Return
In her 1885 book Life
and Labor in the Spirit World
, Mary Shelhamer, the sitting medium for the
primary Spiritualist journal the Banner
of Light,
recounted her visit to the ghostly realm. “Beyond [a] rolling
river,” she wrote, “there is a deeply-wooded country. Here you are up high
among the mountains; this is the red man’s home […] it is a refuge for the
poor, hunted and despised Indian, who, fleeing from mortal chains, finds
therein rest and peace.”[1]
Her description of Indians as figures in flight, as members of a dying race,
was by the late nineteenth century a common one. For many white Americans,
Indians were, for the most part, already a thing of the past. They appeared
constantly in popular culture as figures of legend and literature, but real
Indians were primarily perceived as living relics—faint reminders of a vanished
people. But to nineteenth-century Spiritualists, Indians had never completely
gone; the ghosts of Indian dead walked among them. The proclaimed presence of
Indian spirits in American séances challenged the dominant discourse of Indians
as vanished, and had a profound impact not only on the Spiritualist movement,
but also on some of the most important debates of the day—those on race,
gender, civilization and the development of an American national character.
            This book
explores the spectral appearances of Indians in late nineteenth-century
American séances in relation to those national debates, and analyzes the
importance of such apparitions on several levels—racial, gendered, religious
and political. It demonstrates the overwhelming pervasiveness of this sorely
understudied phenomenon as a central social element of the Spiritualist
movement. The project establishes how the witnessing of Indian spirits affected
American minds and the reception of federal Indian policy by influencing
concepts of racial difference and socio-political hierarchy.
            The heart
of my analysis examines the racial elements unique to the spiritual
manifestations of Indians, as well as how American Spiritualists utilized the
Indian spirits they claimed to encounter as sources of political empowerment—as
agents of peace between whites and Indians, as models of sexual difference, and
as guides to spiritual progression for both races. Spiritualists understood
Indian ghosts to appear in séances with a mission to fulfill: to help ensure
the inner illumination of Spiritualists, to support white attempts at social
reform, and to serve as sources of strength to the female mediums they
possessed. They acted as mediators between the material and spiritual realms,
providing essential information about the condition and means of progression
through the several spiritual spheres, and communicating the temperament and
will of the supreme deity commonly referred to as the Great Spirit. Through
Indian spirit appearances, Spiritualists were apprised of the Great Spirit’s
attitude regarding social and political issues, such as the actions to be taken
regarding Indian nations, political equality for women, or the correct position
on congressional policies. The presence, strength, and support of Indian ghosts
were recognized as contributing to the efforts and accomplishments of
Spiritualists to create a “heaven on earth” that reflected the enlightened
position of spirits.
            These
spirits did not manifest predominantly as nostalgic symbols of a vanishing
race. They appeared frequently in the 1860s to 1880s, when the United
States was almost constantly at war with
Indian nations, when debates about what to do with Indians raged, and when the
future of the North American West was anything but certain. They did not simply
appear as Indians who were better off dead in the Happy Hunting Ground,
assuaging white guilt about conquests and an imagined vanishing, as has been
suggested by many historians—such as Alan Trachtenberg in his writing of
fictionalized Indians, Jared Farmer in his discussion of legends representing
Indians as ghostly and most pointedly Molly McGarry in her chapter on Indian
spirits.[2]
Indian spirits were also not categorized on the whole as being from the distant
past and thus safely nonthreatening.[3]
            Spiritualists
saw Indian ghosts as awakening public outrage and inciting political opposition
against the wars waged by the United States
on Indians, causing Spiritualists to question government objectives in the
West. Spiritualist publications vehemently denounced the Sand Creek Massacre of
1864, George Custer’s invasion of the Black Hills and
the duplicity and corruption of American Indian policy, as exemplified in the
Ponca Affair of the 1870s and multiple reports on dismal reservation
conditions. Spiritualists recognized the support of Indian ghosts for peace
policies and political equality, and the efforts of Spiritualists to restore
what they felt their country, allegedly superior in religion and civilization,
had lost—its sense of honor. They were not simply utilized as servants of the
mediums who conjured them; they were praised as guides and instructors, helping
to ensure the nation’s spiritual future. When Spiritualists closely followed
the development of the Indian Peace Commission in 1867, the rise and decline of
Ulysses S. Grant’s Peace Policy, the success of “civilized” tribes like the
Cherokee, the Carlisle and Hampton Institutes and the implementation of the
Dawes Severalty Act in 1887, they believed they were both heeding ghostly
warnings and working to rebuild the pride of their nation. These major events
in American/Indian relations are linked in this project to the intensity of
Indian spectral appearances and their centrality to the Spiritualist movement’s
contemporary development, serving as the basis for the powerful trop of the
“Indian spirit guide,” which persists today.
            A deeper
analysis than those by previous scholars of the manifestations themselves
reveals the complex and sometimes conflicting nature of such phenomena.
Scrutiny of the methods, acknowledgements, and purposes of Indian
manifestations opens wide a door to a much richer understanding of how the
intellectual and professional classes that comprised the foundation of
Spiritualist Movement constantly redefined and integrated the concept of “Indian”
into a society structured by racial and sexual difference. The notion of
Indianness that emerged from Spiritualist séances advocated a politically
non-racial society, whereby Indians could and should become American citizens,
and incorporated gender models that undermined contemporary definitions of
manliness as positively linked to violence.
            In using
such terms as “Indian spirits,” I refer to manifestations witnessed by
Spiritualists in which they claimed to see Indians, including cases of
specifically named Indians, as well as those “Indianness” derived solely from
Spiritualist identification. The ways in which Indian celebrities were
authenticated and nameless “Indians” were recognized both reflected how
“Indianness” as a scientific racial category was understood and constructed in
the Spiritualist arena and, I posit, were reflective of broader American
cultural attitudes. The actual presence of Indian spirits at nineteenth-century
séances is neither accepted nor denied in this book. It is only relevant that
Spiritualists accepted their experiences as truth. To assert at the onset that
all Spiritualists were knowing frauds is risky and counterproductive. Such
evaluations invite statements like those of Lisa Lenker, who in her research
connected her discussion of Spiritualism with Manifest Destiny rhetoric as
supporting the ethnic cleansing of the American continent. Lenker asserted that
all Indian ghosts were simply and happily dead (not undead, as the term “ghost”
suggests).[4]
The ghosts of Indians will often be described throughout this book from the
perspective of the Spiritualists themselves—as distinct historical actors. To
believers, these specters spoke, made claims and issued warnings. Writing about
their alleged activity in such a way allows this book to delve into the
responses and reactions of Spiritualists who believed these apparitions to be
intelligent, active agencies. This approach to describing spectral activity is
offset by the simultaneous focus on specific individuals deeply involved with
Indian apparitions, including the mediums Jennie Lord, Mary Shelhamer, Fannie
Conant, and Cora Tappan.
            Placing
Spiritualist manifestations at the center of this project, essentially shifting
the focus onto non-entities, is a somewhat unorthodox approach to the study of
history, and has not been the practice employed by other scholars of
Spiritualism. Yet doing so allows the incorporation of a body of literature on
ghostliness and hauntings that is central to this project. Such scholarship has
to this point been absent from Spiritualist studies, strangely so given that
the movement, at its core, was about communicating with the dead. Rather than
referring to these manifestations only as spirits from the celestial realm or
as the products of an American imagination, I abstain from judgment on their
existence. By using the labels that Spiritualists themselves did—ghosts of the
dead returned to life—I employ a lexicon of definitions that are critical to
understanding the full significance of Spiritualist encounters with such
phenomena. “Ghosts” are undead—uncanny, temporal disruptions that appear in
specific ways at specific times to deliver a message. Communication by such
entities conveys information about an obscured past occurrence. To the witness
of such phenomena, the presence of the ghost is made clear through a distinct
sensory experience, its disruption of logical time remedied only by listening
to what the ghost wants and providing it with satisfaction. It is with these
terms in mind, originating predominantly in fictive, psychological and
paranormal studies, that I look upon séance activities of nineteenth-century America.
In his work on literary hauntings of America
during the first half of the century (the period of federally sanctioned Indian
removal), Renee Bergland rightly suggested that representations of Indian
ghosts simultaneously established and questioned an intangible American
nationality, as well as racial and sexual classifications.[5] Examining how the
Indian spirits of séances contributed to changing definitions of race and
gender is the main thrust of this project.
            Organized
by theme rather than time, the chapters included in this book cover the nature
of Spiritualist hauntings marked as specifically Indian, and the questioning
and redefinition of masculinity, femininity, and morality as linked to national
progress that took place within séance circles beginning in the 1850s and
continuing throughout the 1880s. This timeframe will be repeated in each
chapter as different aspects of Indian hauntings are visited. A majority of
works on Spiritualism have chosen to narrow their scope to the earlier,
formative years of the movement. Studies about the Fox Sisters or Andrew
Jackson Davis, for example, emphasize the Spiritualism of the 1850s as
definitive of the entire movement. Bret Carroll highlighted the 1850s as an
emergent period, as did Howard Kerr.[6] Such an approach is
not appropriate here. The frequency with which Indian manifestations were
recorded was fairly comparable from the 1850s through the 1880s, peaking during
the 1860s and 1870s. The decline that Burton Brown said occurred in the 1870s
is not borne out by the increased frequency of Indian apparitions.[7]
The seemingly consistent presence of Indian ghosts at séances serves in part to
bolster my argument that Indian ghosts were a defining characteristic of
Spiritualist practice from its inception, and makes discussion of the movement
through the course of the century imperative to my efforts. Both Indian policy
and Spiritualism evolved in the twentieth century, and continue to do so, but
analysis of such changes is beyond the scope of this book. My intention is to
demonstrate how spiritual tropes of Indianness developed on the crest of
Spiritualism in tandem with dramatic change in Indian visibility in the public
eye.
            My focus on
recorded instances of Indian specters also determines to a large degree the
emphasis on certain sources at the expense of others. While myriad articles,
pamphlets, treatises and monographs by Spiritualists provide this project with
a contextual foundation for their beliefs, as well as Indian manifestations,
the recording of Indian ghosts emerged predominantly in certain forms of
Spiritualist print—namely, their periodicals. Newspapers played a critical role
in the development and dispersion of representations of Indians that saturated
nineteenth-century American culture and continue to do so.[8]
The majority of writing on such phenomena appeared in the Religio-Philosophical Journal and Banner of Light; these sources are therefore dominant forces in
this project. My use of Banner of Light
in this book works somewhat as a centralizing force in a movement which had
none, and provides a modicum of order to the cacophony of Spiritualist voices. Banner of Light takes on an added
significance in my research because of its extensive coverage of Indian
affairs. The development of the Indian Peace Commission, the Modoc War, the
Ponca Affair, and the violation of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie were all
covered and editorialized in the weekly journal, receiving consistent attention
in a periodical ostensibly dedicated to matters of the spirit. The amount of
space accorded to such news should not continue to be overlooked in the
analysis of Spiritualist print. The longevity of the Banner of Light, enjoying an approximately fifty-year run, speaks
once again to the pervasiveness within Spiritualism of this very specific
racial phenomena.[9]
            Geographically
speaking, this project views Spiritualism as a national movement in a broad sense,
with loci of activity in New York
and Boston. As the sites of some of
the first violent contests with Indian nations, the northeastern states have a
well-developed “penchant for hauntedness,” as Judith Richardson claimed,
“alongside a more enduring popular interest in ghosts and the supernatural.”[10]
Local variations of Spiritualism did not seem to have a significant impact on
Indian spectrality, and so has been omitted from this project. The one
exception to that is the Spiritual culture of New Orleans.
The connection between this city’s history and the spirit of Black Hawk will be
discussed in Chapter Two.  Likewise,
while there are many significant connections to be made with contemporary
Spiritualist movements across the globe, this project’s focus is on American
Indian ghosts within American Spiritualism, and the resulting effect on
American society. This intention, juxtaposed with the virtual absence of
similar phenomena in Europe, justifies the exclusion of
such a discussion in this work. The references to Britain’s
literary gothic tradition are brief, and useful only in demonstrating
Spiritualism’s place among the gothic tradition of the western world. European
Spiritualism is beyond the scope of this book. Additionally, this project is
not about Indian spirituality in its own right, as there were no significant
efforts on the part of Spiritualists to understand or incorporate Indian
religions into their own belief system. Their interest in native spirituality
extended to generalized ideas about animism and a natural Romanticism, which
will be addressed in Chapter Four.
            The
remainder of this introduction will serve several functions. It provides a
background on aspects of Spiritualist theology that are essential to
understanding the arguments made in this project, a discussion of Spiritualism
and Indian hauntings in context with changes in federal Indian policy, a brief
summary of the key goals and themes of each chapter, and a few words about the
bodies of scholarship most directly engaged and built upon in this book.


            [1]Mary
Theresa Shelhamer, Life and Labor in the
Spirit World: Being a Description of Localities, Employments, Surroundings, and
Conditions in the Spheres by Members of the Spirit-Band of Miss M.T. Shelhamer,
Medium of the Banner of Light Public Free Circle
(Boston: Colby & Rich,
1885), 85-86.
            [2]Alan
Trachtenberg, Shades of Hiawatha: Staging
Indians, Making Americans 1880-1930
(
New York: Hill & Wang, 2004), 19; Jared
Farmer, On
Zion’s
Mount: Mormons, Indians and the American Landscape
(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008), 312;
Molly McGarry, Ghosts of Futures Past:
Spiritualism and the Cultural Politics of Nineteenth-Century America
(
Berkeley: California University Press, 2008), 73.
            [3]McGarry,
72; Robert Berkhofer, The White Man’s
Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present
(New
York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978), 90.
            [4]Lisa
Lenker, “Haunted Culture and Surrogate Space: A New Historicist Account of
Nineteenth-Century American Spiritualism” (PhD diss., Stanford University,
1998), 30.
           [5]Renee
L. Bergland, The National Uncanny: Indian
Ghosts and American Subjects
(
Hanover: Dartmouth, 2000), 7.
            [6]Bret
Carroll, “Unfree Spirits: Spiritualism and Religious Authority in Antebellum
America” (PhD diss., Cornell University, 1991),
25. Howard Kerr, Mediums, Spirit Rappers
and Roaring Radicals: Spiritualism in American Literature, 1850-1900
(
Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1973).
            [7]Burton Gates Brown Jr., “Spiritualism in
Nineteenth-Century
America” (PhD diss., Boston University Graduate
School, 1973).
[8]John Coward, The Newspaper Indian: Native American Identity in the Press, 1820-90
(Chicago: Illinois University Press, 1999), 11.
            [9]The Banner of Light is regarded as the most
widespread of Spiritualist periodicals. According to Sally Morita, by 1860 the
periodical had a circulation of approximately 25,000. Ann Taves, Fits, Trances and Visions: Experiencing
Religion and Explaining Experience from Wesley to James
(Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1999), 184; Sally Jean Morita, “Modern Spiritualism
and Reform in
America” (PhD diss., University of Oregon,
1995), 78.
[10] Judith Richardson, Possessions: The History and Uses of Haunting in the Hudson
Valley
(Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press 2005), 39.

 

Kathryn Troy is giving away 2 sets
of spiritual postcards and 2 Ouija design tote bags!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Four winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter
  • This giveaway ends midnight September 29.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on September 30.
  • Winners have 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Kathryn Troy has two Master’s Degrees in History from Stony Brook University.
She contributed to the anthology The Spiritualist Movement published by Prager in August 2013, and teaches at Farmingdale State College and Suffolk County Community College.
In her spare time she pours all she knows about the ghostly and supernatural
into her fiction writing.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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VBT – Krait’s Redemption

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About the Book
Title: Krait’s Redemption
Author: T.L. Shreffler
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: September 12, 2017

5. Krait's Redemption COVER_small
With winter solstice fast approaching, Sora and her companions are running out of time. She must stop The Shade from awakening the Dark God, yet a powerful force has overtaken her Cat’s-Eye necklace, rendering the stone almost useless. To use the stone, Sora must learn to trust her instincts and embrace her own inner strength. She joins forces with unexpected allies, Lord Gracen Seabourne among them, to protect the City of Crowns. As the city dissolves into chaos, she finds herself barreling toward an epic battle that will decide the fate of mankind.

At risk to his own life, Crash returns to the Hive seeking aid against Cerastes. However, the events that led him into exile have not been forgotten. Will the Hive offer him redemption, or will they demand he pay the ultimate price for his transgressions?

Join Sora and Crash in their epic battle to save the City of Crowns!

Author Bio

tlshreffler
T. L. Shreffler is a noblewoman living in the sunny acres of San Fernando Valley, California. She enjoys frolicking through meadows, sipping iced tea, exploring the unknown reaches of her homeland and unearthing rare artifacts in thrift stores. She holds a Bachelors in Eloquence (English) and writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and poetry. She has previously been published in Eclipse: A Literary Anthology and The Northridge Review.

Website – http://www.catseyechronicles.com
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/catseyeauthor
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Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5138153
Amazon Author Page Link – https://www.amazon.com/T.-L.-Shreffler/e/B00AGIYQR4/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Pre-order available now!
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Giveaway

Win 1 signed copy of Krait’s Redemption, 1 Cat’s Eye Necklace or 1 free eBook copy of the book during our giveaway!
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EXCERPT

Prologue

Crash watched the bonfires in the distance.
Each day, more devotees swelled the Shade’s ranks. Shadow portals transported them from cities, from fields and mountains—from anywhere—to this forsaken desert. Nameless warriors pooled beneath a red plateau that towered in the twilight, blocking the moon.
An army of the lost, Crash thought. Their burning pyres beckoned to him like lighthouses on a foreign shore. But he had left those fires behind, walking miles into the flat desert to sit among the sand.
The Shade’s encampment might be in the Desert of Ester, but he wasn’t sure. His sense of certainty had fled long ago. He wondered at this unprecedented gathering. He wondered at the royal city’s evacuation, so close to winter solstice night.
He watched the fires glint against the darkness. He watched, and sat, and pondered. At first, Cerastes’ army had puzzled him. He didn’t know why a Grandmaster, typically a solitary figure concerned with martial discipline and meditation, would want to gather so many numbers. But now, as Crash became more firmly entrenched in the Shade’s activities, he knew what they were about. He had thought Cerastes meant to wage war against the human kingdom, but he was wrong.
Cerastes wanted the Hive.
Crash had realized the Grandmaster’s ambition when the assassin Cobra had issued his last dying words. It had all become suddenly, perfectly clear. Stop him. Cobra’s death had returned the arrow to Crash’s compass, and perhaps for the first time, he knew true north. He knew what he had to do.
He stood and walked away from the crimson fires on the horizon, behind an outcropping of rocks. There, he emptied a bag onto the ground. Ingredients for his spell, including a sheaf of yellowed parchment and fresh salamander ink, fell to the sand. He wrote the spell, then built a small fire out of venomgrass and willow bark. He drew symbols in the sand, and the flames turned indigo blue. Then he burned the paper with its written message. A wandering wind brushed the top of the dunes, carrying wafts of sand and smoke up to the stars.
He doused the fire when he was finished. Then, his black hood pulled low over his face, he sat on his heels to wait.
Redemption. A returning, a renewal. Would the Hive help him now, or would they hold him to his trespasses? Someone must answer, he thought. Someone must answer his call, his message burned on the wind, and someone must answer for his Grandmaster’s mistakes.
He thought back to Sora and the rest of his companions in the City of Crowns, and he felt ashamed. Under the influence of Cerastes’ power, he had wavered. His demon had sensed his Grandmaster’s dark aura, had sensed a home, and for a while, he had lost himself. But Sora’s touch—more than that, her words, her spirit—had brought him back.
He couldn’t fight Cerastes alone. He couldn’t trust his darker half to resist the Shade’s pull, because he, too, was a discarded outcast of the Hive. His Grandmaster’s demonic presence was irresistible, drawing close all those scattered savants with nowhere to belong. Crash had felt his own will tremble. Even now, he couldn’t quite steady his hands. He couldn’t show Sora his weakness. More importantly, he couldn’t show it to his own kind.
Someone had to do the right thing. The right thing, he thought ironically. Someone had to warn the Hive. Anyone who can read the Wind can read this message, he thought. He only hoped Cerastes was too distracted to see it.
Hours passed as he waited. The silence of the desert stretched, as spacious and echoing as a tomb. The stars and moon circled overhead, trailing across the heavens. He found the constellation of Kaelyn the Wanderer and asked, begrudgingly, for luck. Then his eyes picked out other celestial formations known to his race. He recounted their stories in his head: Sibilant, the assassin so stealthy and quiet, she could walk between this realm and the world of ghosts; Dartmouth, who replaced his teeth with knives; Marrow, so cunning he outsmarted the gods and stole the Dark God’s weapons in eons past. Crash found it ironic that, despite all that had transpired, a story could still lend him courage. And each star was a story, a light in the dark, a dream in the abyss.
The wind picked up without warning. A whirl of sand twisted up from the ground, building, growing. Then a figure stepped from the dust.
Crash stood up. He didn’t know what to expect.
The sand settled. A woman dressed in black stood before him. She was insidiously tall. Her hair fell in plaited rows down her back. He noted the chakrams at her belt: circular blades that could remove a man’s head with a single powerful throw. Her eyes glowed the shocking green of aloe.
Memory stirred, and he recognized her. He searched for her name. It came to him.
“Grandmaster Natrix,” he bowed.
“Viper,” she returned, and waited for him to straighten. “I have listened long for word of my brother. Tell me, what has Cerastes done?”

Book Tour – A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth

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A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth

by Gerhard Gehrke

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GENRE: Science Fiction

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BLURB:

What would you do if you found a dead alien on a lonely highway?

Was it an accident, sabotage, or murder? And why is everyone blaming Jeff?

The extraterrestrials aren’t waiting for answers. They want revenge. And Jeff isn’t ready for company.

His only hope is an outcast mechanic from another world and a woman who might do anything to get off planet, including selling out her own kind. Jeff has to get to the bottom of why there are so many alien bodies piling up and who is really responsible.

A science fiction adventure novel, A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth tells the story of a reclusive ex-computer programmer who is the unwitting central figure of a plot to keep humanity from ever making first contact.

MediaKit_BookCover_ABeginnersGuideToInvadingEarth

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Excerpt:

First contact with the humans wasn’t going as planned, as was obvious by the rank smells that choked the air of the alien visitorsʹ craft. But no one called them aliens where they came from.

Seven little Greys, short bipeds with large heads and big eyes and delicate limbs, sat in the flight seats of their ship’s crew compartments and listened as the Mission Commander lectured them from the Command Module. The harangue lingered in the air, not as words or even sounds but as a smell, a ripe one replete with pheromones and scent packets that the Greys used to speak with one another. A new string of curses from the Commander’s glands smelled of licorice. The Mission Commander composed itself. It wiped sticky sweat from its hairless frontal lobe.

The lights and displays in front of the seven crewmembers blinked and flashed. No one would so much as touch a button until the Commander was finished addressing the crew.

“I’ll hear no more of it,” the Commander said. “We’re on the human world. We go forward. Probability calculations for success show at 100%. The computer will be trusted.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ABeginnersGuideToInvadingEarth

Gerhard Gehrke studied film at San Francisco State University. He wrote and produced several shows for community television. His Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror short stories have appeared in several publications, including an Editor’s Choice-winning short story at AnotheRealm.com. A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth is his first novel.

You can connect with him at Gerhardgehrke.com.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gerhardgehrke

Facebook: www.facebook.com/gerhardgehrkeauthor

Blog: www.capriciousnarrator.wordpress.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=a+beginner%27s+guide+to+invading+earth+

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-beginners-guide-to-invading-earth-gerhard-gehrke/1122581957

Also available on iBooks

YouTube Trailer:

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GIVEAWAY 

Gerhard Gehrke will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $10 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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INTERVIEW

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Hunger and other base needs keep me from sleeping in. Writing comes into the picture as early morning is the only consistent time I have to write, so I want to get up early and I have been in the habit of doing so for quite some time.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
I would love to hang out with Charles Shultz, the creator of the Peanuts characters. Wouldn’t it be great to hear how he managed to portray a hopeful, positive view of the world through his characters while they focused on the mundane frustrations of childhood? His comic strips could be at once simple, funny, and profound and Mr. Schultz never wavered in a consistent output that lasted for decades.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth began in my work truck’s notebook with the line “No one likes them very much.” That line was to be the conclusion reached by aliens intent on first contact who landed the USA and decided to try other parts of the planet after some unfortunate experiences. This developed into the aliens wanting nothing to do with the entire planet and them hanging a virtual “Do Not Disturb Occupants” sign on our doorknob. As I fleshed this out over a few months I decided a smaller story that focused on one man’s experience as a scapegoat for an alien conspiracy that was trying to make first contact fail just felt better. By then I had a rough idea on where I wanted the project to go, and the aliens would have to be part of it.

Tell us your writing process
When I can’t shake an idea, it goes into a notebook. When the notes in the notebook has enough friends I see what happens when I put them on a page. If they play well together and get my figurative juices flowing, I keep on it. I work with loose outlines, more of a connect-the-dots approach informing me where I want a story to go. My notebooks have lists of out-of-order scenes, words, and phrases that I later add. Plenty gets left behind and never used. Most of my writing gets done early in the morning because my brain turns to mush by 9am when the coffee wears off and I turn into a pumpkin once the sun sets.

Do you have any promo tips you can share with other writers?
I’m very new at promotion too as this is my first novel to see the light of day. From running a business I know that you have to advertise and you never know what will take. Social media is an essential component. The message can’t be “Buy my book” or you’ll fall in with thousands of others sending out the same message and be ignored. Engage with people. Try to be interesting or funny. Give them a reason to listen to you, whether its a blog, podcast, or cheeky tweets.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
There’s never been a singular moment. In grade school I made Pac-Man comic books. I wrote regularly in a notebook and started putting down stories soon after. Getting involved in local community television introduced me to actually finding an audience for things put down on paper, even though most of what we worked on was non-narrative in structure. Writing fiction evolved from that.

Tell us about your main character:
Jeff Abel is a paranoid recluse whose mental condition has cost him his marriage and his job as a computer programmer. Unbeknownst to Jeff, he actually is being watched, and the aliens are coming for him. But it’s his skills with technology that may prove to be his and the aliens’ salvation, as they have a traitor in their midst and only Jeff is in a position to stop him, er, it.

What are you working on next?
I have a follow-up to A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth that is now going through editing. Also I have a post-decline of civilization novel I’m writing where a young girl escapes from a secret sanctuary only to discover that the world outside is a much more complicated place than she had ever imagined.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I have memory tricks for people’s names that irritates my brother-in-law whenever it actually works. I’m good at mixing drinks even though I don’t drink the things I make. I never use an alarm clock. And I can make the grumpiest baby smile for me.

Who are your favorite authors?
Margaret Atwood for her world building and defying my expectations for where her stories are going. Octavia Butler for creating aliens that are, well, alien. Andy Weir for making the memorable character Mark Watney. And Allan Cole and Chris Bunch for writing the most re-readable military sci-fi adventures out there.

What do you like to do with your free time?
Hiking, cooking, reading, and watching movies, all of which I do with my lovely wife Abby.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
Besides the two projects listed above, a far-ranging project that I try not to think about too much as it would become distracting is a story that follows a group of ordinary children of some super villains.

 

Book Tour – The Grim Spectre

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About the Book

Title: The Grim Spectre

Author: Ralph L. Angelo Jr.

Genre: Crime Fiction

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1937, the world on the brink of war. But in the city of Riverburgh, NY forty miles north of Manhattan there was a different kind of war brewing, it was a war of survival for the common man. A war against the gangsters and thugs who ruled the streets and against the corrupt politicians who turned a blind eye to the evil that ran rampant in Riverburgh.
In a city where everyone had given up hope and cried to the heavens for a savior, a savior had arrived. But was he heaven sent or a monster from hell? A grim, skull faced being who glowed with a terrible brightness. A monstrous creature who wielded twin .45 caliber pistol’s with a deadly and practiced aim, as well as strange and frightening powers that matched his terrible glowing eyes.
But would even the terrible Grim Spectre be a match for the forces the gang lord Phylo Zeus unleashed against him? Even if he was, would The Grim Spectre be able to withstand the attacks of the corrupt Mayor and his police force that dogged his every move? Caught between the twin forces of darkness encompassing the small city of Riverburgh, was The Grim Spectre too little, too late? Or can the supernatural avenger somehow defeat his many foes on both sides of the law while caught between the teeth of their vise of greed and corruption?
Find out within the pages of the New Pulp adventure, ‘The Grim Spectre.’ by Ralph L. Angelo Jr.

 

Author Bio

Ralph L. Angelo Jr., recipient of the 2014 ‘New Pulp Award’ for ‘Best New Author’ has written novels in the Sci-Fi/Space Opera, Sword and Sorcery, Epic Fantasy and New Pulp as well as non-fiction genre’s. Ralph has also written various stories in anthologies for different publishers in the New Pulp genre as well. In his spare time Ralph is an avid motorcyclist, skier, guitar player and martial artist. All of Ralph’s books can be found at http://RLAngeloJr.com

 

Links

Twitter: @RLAngelojr
Email: RAngeloJr@aol.com
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RalphLAngeloJr

Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/Grim-Spectre-Ralph-L-Angelo/dp/1519668996/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1450441246&sr=8-1&keywords=grim+spectre

Amazon (eBook): http://www.amazon.com/Grim-Spectre-Ralph-Angelo-Jr-ebook/dp/B017QVEQWS/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1450441246&sr=8-1

Book Excerpt

1937, the small city of Riverburgh, forty miles north of New York City up the Hudson…

“Benny!  Benny! Yeah it’s me, I gotta talk to ya. Somethin’ just happened Benny, somethin’ bad. I was in ‘Little Nicky’s’ knockin’ back a few wit’ the boys. The place was packed an’ the smoke in there, it was like pea soup-it was a good night. When the door busts open, like someone kicked it in, hard! An’ standin’ there in the doorway, framed in th’ moonlight is this guy in a trench coat an’ slouch hat. An’ he’s lookin’ down, like at th’ floor or somethin’. Waddaya mean how could I tell? His hat was pointin’ down, like his whole head was starin’ at th’ floor, that’s how! Anyway, an this is the weird part, his trench coat was blowin’ in from behind, like he was in the wind, but there weren’t no breeze blowin’ Benny. There was nothin’. So’s Big Mack, the bartender, shouts ‘Hey! You comin’ in or stayin out? Yer lettin’ all the flies out.’ An’ all the mooks, they start laughin’.

“But this guy? He ain’t havin’ none o’ it. He just stands there starin’. Then finally after everyone in the whole friggin’ place stops talkin’ an’ is all starin’ at the door this guy raises his head, and his face is still in the shadow o’ the hat mind ya, but he starts to talk, an’ in this voice like death over ice says ‘Where is Joey DeLuca?’ That’s all he says, at least at first. Guys start grumblin’ an’ angrily mutterin’ to themselves when he says it again, this time so loud mugs o’ beer shatter all around the bar, I swear Benny, it was like a crack o’ thunder, ‘WHERE IS JOEY DeLUCA?’ he says.

Giveaway – autographed copy of “The Grim Spectre”.

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Book Tour – Space Cadets by Laurence Moroney

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Space Cadets
by Laurence Moroney

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GENRE: YA Sci-Fi

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BLURB:

After conflicts in Korea, Pakistan and the Middle East turned nuclear, the world stood on the eve of destruction. Realizing that we only have this one precious planet containing all of humanity, the United Nations pulled us back from the brink, and started a new, multinational effort to conquer space. Many years later, the peak of achievement for any young person is to be admitted to the Space Academy. Previously available only to a precious few, it has recently opened enrollment to anybody who can meet their strenuous entry criteria. Space Cadets is the story of the first African-American girl, Aisha Parks, to enter into the academy, where she learns that the more some things change, the more they stay the same, and despite the honorable intentions of the academy, there are some dark secrets being kept – secrets that could be the end of us all.

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Book Excerpt:

Training

It never failed to give her a thrill when she saw the moonscape rush by underneath her ship, and the blue curve of Earth rise above it. Aisha smiled at its beauty.

Down there, girls her age were wondering about homecoming dances, and what dress they’d wear, or which boy would ask them out. She was much happier here, piloting her ship, zipping at breakneck speeds across the Moon, and getting ready to break into deep space.

“I think I see them,” said David, her navigator and co-pilot, sitting in one of the wing pods to her right. “Two-seven-zero karem one-nine-eight.”

“Confirmed,” came the clipped voice of Soo-Kyung, her gunner. Aisha glanced to the pod on her left and her eyes met Soo-Kyung’s. The Korean girl smiled and nodded.

Aisha always wanted a visual confirmation. Comm lines could be hacked and voices faked. Soo-Kyung knew this instinctively. That’s what made them a great team.

“Okay,” said Aisha. “Weapons hot. Let’s check them out.”

She punched in the coordinates, and the ship turned towards their target.

“Visual range in five seconds,” said David.

“I see them,” Aisha replied. Her heads up display started to light up with targets. Squares projected on her canopy, wrapping tiny dots that could easily be mistaken for stars to the naked eye.

“That’s a lot of ships,” she said, awe sneaking into her voice.

“That’s a bloody awful lot of ships,” said David.

Soo-Kyung was business as always. “Orders?”

“Can you confirm ship type?”

“They are mostly type-three fighters. About eighty of them.”

“What else?”

“A single mothership. That’s the target.”

“No other fighters?”

“A couple of type-ones, but hard to tell with all the movement.”

The fighters were moving around the mothership, following what looked like random patterns, making it hard to get a radar lock.

“Are they moving to intercept?”

“No, sir.”

“David, probe the edge of their defense shield.”

His gentle voice sounded in her earpiece. “Yes, Sir.”

David took the ship forward slowly, while Soo-Kyung watched the behavior of the enemy fighters. They knew from experience that these ships could turn from defense to offense in the blink of an eye. If they didn’t react, they could find themselves surrounded and destroyed in seconds.

“We are at the edge of previous attack ranges,” said Soo-Kyung. “Recommend that we hold at this position.”

“Do it.”

The ship halted, and they floated in space, watching the enemy.

“Any update on ship types, David?”

“The best I got is maybe two or three type-ones, the rest are definitely type-three.”

She wished she had read the spec books more closely, but was glad David was there. “Turning radius of type-threes?”

“Two hundred degrees,” he answered, almost in reflex.

“Distance of fighters from the mothership?”

“Average about three hundred clicks.”

Soo-Kyung raised an eyebrow. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“Yes,” said Aisha. “Full frontal assault, all shields on front.”

“If we leave our back exposed–”

“Hopefully they won’t get a chance. Maximum throttle, straight at the mothership, direct all energy to front shields.”

“Including lasers?”

“Including lasers. We’re on bullets and torpedoes. Can you do it?”

She heard the smile in Soo-Kyung’s voice. “Done.”

“Good. And fire at will.”

“Roger.”

“David. Punch course in.”

“Course, aye.”

“Manual control to me.”

“Roger.”

“Here goes nothing!”

Aisha punched the program, and she felt the craft lurch as they accelerated forward. She continued its burn, getting faster and faster as they approached the enemy ships.

“Ships turning to intercept.”

“Acknowledged.”

She saw the enemy ships swarming to intercept. Suddenly their random patterns stopped, and they turned, almost as one, bearing down on her. They opened fire, but the forward shields held.

“Intercept in five seconds,” said Soo-Kyung. Aisha marveled at her ability to stay calm, and it seemed the more stressful the situation, the calmer she was.

And just like that they flew through the squadrons of enemy fighters, on a course straight for the mothership.

“They’re turning to intercept.”

Time seemed to slow down in her mind. The mothership approached weapons range at a painful crawl. The enemy fighters, now behind her, were slowly turning to follow them, with a clear shot at Aisha’s tail. She’d turned off their lasers, directing their energy to the shields, so they’d need to be close for ballistic weapons to be effective.

It was going to be tight. Once the enemy fighters had turned around, the back of Aisha’s fighter was exposed. The lead ones had almost turned, and were ready to open fire.

But then Soo-Kyung had her target locked and opened up with everything she had on the mothership. Direct hits, but the ship stayed intact.

A hit on their right wing made the ship lurch.

“Now would be a good time, Soo-Kyung.”

Aisha looked to her left, seeing her friends’ face deep in concentration. Another torpedo launched, hitting a module to the rear of the mothership’s bridge. A small explosion was followed by several large ones, but before the ship was destroyed, Aisha’s ship was hit again. This time right in the engines.

Aisha felt her ship lurch. Red lights all over her console. The reactor had taken a direct hit. It was about to go critical. Her heart was beating hard. She reached for the eject buttons, hesitating long enough to see the mothership go up in a ball of flame.

The moment’s hesitation was enough.She felt the ship lurch as the reactor gave out. Her mind slowed as the white flash enveloped them. She had enough time to realize, with resignation, that she was dead. Both co-pilots too.

The simulator door opened, and Captain Simms’ craggy face looked in at her.

“You’re dead. All of you. Again,” he said. Disapproval in his voice. “I thought you guys were better than that.”

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Laurence Moroney is the author of more books than he’s prepared to admit. After several best selling programming books, his first Young Adult novel “The Fourth World” became a #1 book on Amazon Kindle, spawned two sequels “The Million Year Journey” and “The Legend of the Locust”, and is currently being shopped around studios for a potential movie. “Space Cadets” is his latest, a cutting edge science fiction novel, based on real science that starts a new series charting out humanity’s course to the stars. He’s presently working on the sequel “The Quiet World”, which he hopes to finish in 2015. For his day job, Laurence works as a Developer Advocate for Google, where he is constantly counting his blessings for being part of the best workplace in the world…

Find him here:

Space Cadets Blog:  http://join-the-cadets.blogspot.com/

Space Cadets Website: http://www.join-the-cadets.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lmoroney

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Laurence-Moroney/e/B001ILFKMS

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GIVEAWAY 

Laurence will be awarding a signed copy of Space Cadets to a randomly drawn winner (US ONLY) via rafflecopter during the tour.

Win a signed copy of the book – a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Tour – THE HYDRA OFFENSIVE

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THE HYDRA OFFENSIVE
by Joshua K Johnson

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BLURB:

The nation of Ansgar is divided.

In the east, King Eadric Garrard has crushed one rebellion but gets no rest as the rebellion in the West is rapidly spiraling out of control. If he can’t get things in line soon, his reign could be at an end.

Raedan Clyve has traveled across the Vast Sea to secure treaties and trade. Unchecked in his studies of magic, his powers are growing beyond his control. The dark path he has set himself on leads to destruction and chaos, but is it too late to turn back?

Kyrie Salas captains the Dragon’s Breath, chartered to carry the Western emissaries across the world. She sees the potential in Raedan and seeks to harness it. But will her emotions get the best of her?

War has raged, battles have been fought, and lives lost. But the conflict for the future of Ansgar is just beginning.

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Book Excerpt:

Cadmus Reid was slow and methodical with his shots, carefully choosing his next mark. He was looking for officers to cause chaos or sharpshooters to limit the risk to his men. The Loyalists were hiding on the other side of the valley, behind boulders and below the crest of the hills. The eastern skirmishers were limiting their exposure, only presenting themselves long enough to find a target and fire.

Cadmus squinted as he looked up the sundrenched hills. The enemies had multiplied; where once a handful of skirmishers had been, now dozens were firing. Every hill on the eastern side of the valley was suddenly populated by a hundred Loyalist soldiers.

“They’re going to make their move soon,” Cadmus said to Gared as he reloaded again.

The increasing volume of fire was meant to frighten the western skirmishers: only a fool would expose himself to so much flying lead. Cadmus was unmoved by the tactic. He’d used the same tactic five years ago in the fight to free the Broken Plains Barony from foreign invaders and orcish mercenaries. A particularly deadly group of orcs had taken up in a temple. He’d fired volley after volley to distract them while another platoon had circled around to flush the mercenaries out. He had never expected to be on the receiving end and it bothered him that there was no effective way for him to counter the tactic. A regular infantry company would have a light gun or two to throw shells at the enemy from range. Skirmishers had no such luxury.

The first boom of cannon-fire echoed over the valley and the shot whistled as it fell. The enemy guns would have been placed on the plains beyond the far hills. Their angle would be poor and they would be relying on the scouts to direct their fire. The first rounds sailed over the western soldiers to slam into the ground far behind them. Solid shot against his skirmishers would be dangerous, but at least they weren’t explosive shells. The fragments of iron balls would be deadly.

What must have been a brigade of Loyalist troops flooded over the eastern hills, some firing at Cadmus and his men, others trying to load their rifles as they ran. Cadmus counted the flags.

“Signal a withdrawal,” he said. “Make for the swamps!”

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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Joshua Johnson is the author of “Gunpowder Fantasy” The Cerberus Rebellion and the creator of the Griffins & Gunpowder universe. When he isn’t working or spending time with his family, he writes novels, short stories and novellas.

He currently lives in Northern Illinois with his wife and young children.

You can visit his website at www.gunpowderfantasy.com

https://twitter.com/authorjkjohnson
https://www.facebook.com/authorjkjohnson?fref=ts

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-hydra-offensive

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/554457

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B010ITAYGC

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GIVEAWAY

Joshua will be awarding a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour an ebook containing short stories set in the same world as the novel, titled The Chesian Wars.

Enter to win a book – a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Tour – REAP & REPENT KDP TOUR

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Title: Reap & Repent
Author: Lisa Medley

This book will be FREE as part of the KDP Select Program from August 17 – August 21.
Follow The Tour Here:
http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2015/08/kdp-free-days-reap-repent-by-lisa-medley.html

Blurb:
They see death. Can they share a life?

Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

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Excerpt

What does a guy have to do around here to get some service? Deacon Walker marveled as he glared at the undulating queue of grotesque reapers in front of him.

For all that’s holy, move the hell along already.

It had been a long week, and it wasn’t over yet. He needed to make at least one more pass through the hospital circuit before he could call it a day. He could already feel the tug of a freshly departed soul. Again. People were dropping like flies lately.

He massaged his brow, trying to soothe his exhausted patience as the line inched forward at a snail’s pace.

He was worn thin. Over the past few weeks, three demon soul poachers had popped up in his fair city of Meridian like poisonous mushrooms after a hard rain.

While it wasn’t unheard of for one to slip out from Hell every now and then, three was a nightmare.

When it got topside, a demon’s M.O. was to steal a human body, poach a few souls from the dead and dying, and then make its merry way back to Hell, taking its host’s soul along for the ride. The only way to save the souls a poacher was carrying was to behead the host with a scythe. Not a pretty thing to do, but the poor suckers were too far gone by then to survive anyway. No human could withstand the pressures of being ridden by a demon. And it was worth it to save a handful of souls, not to mention inconveniencing the demon.

Deacon refused to lose any souls from his territory. At all. So far the score was Deacon, 3. Demons, 0.

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Author Bio

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Lisa has always enjoyed reading about monsters in love and now she writes about them, because monsters need love too.

She adores beasties of all sorts, fictional as well as real, and has a farm full of them in her Southwest Missouri home, including: one child, one husband, two dogs, two cats, a dozen hens, thousands of Italian bees, and a guinea pig.

She may or may not keep a complete zombie apocalypse bug-out bag in her trunk at all times, including a machete. Just. In. Case.

http://lisa-medley.com

https://www.facebook.com/lisamedleyauthor

https://twitter.com/lisamedley

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7824406.Lisa_Medley

https://plus.google.com/u/1/+LisaMedley/posts

Find Dark Urban Fantasy, Paranormal & SciFi Romances here at my Amazon Author Page http://amzn.to/1gMV6Db

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GIVEAWAY

The author will award a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly chosen winner via Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Cover Reveal – The Blood-Tainted Winter

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About the Book

Blood - 7

Title: The Blood-Tainted Winter

Author: T.L. Greylock

Genre: Mythological Fantasy

Raef Skallagrim wants to take the sea road. His ship is fast and sleek, his crew skilled and eager, and they will seek out new lands and win fame in the eyes of the gods. But Raef’s father refuses to allow the journey and when a stranger brings word that the king is dead and a gathering has been called to choose a successor, Raef must set aside his dream for his duty to his ancestral lands and his father.

When factions split at the gathering to choose a successor, Raef finds himself mired in bloodshed and treachery. Forced to make an uneasy alliance with a man he does not trust, Raef must navigate the tides of a war among three kings while seeking revenge for cold-blooded murder.

But winter has come early to Midgard, and even the gods will feel the cold.

Author Bio

T L Greylock drinks tea (English Breakfast with milk), likes neon-colored socks, and once held an epic pigeon-racing tournament in the gardens of The Tuileries.

Links

www.tlgreylock.com

twitter.com/tlgreylock

facebook.com/tlgreylock

Giveaway

Win a signed copy of the book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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