Friday 28 February 2014

BECAUSE OF LUKE by F.X. Scully Blitz & Giveaway

Character Interview: LUKE
Tell us about your family.

LUKE: My brother is my family. At least the only family that matters. We’re pretty damn close. Ross has always been there for me and as tough as it is sometimes to give up the things I care about, I’ll do it if it makes him happy. You can ask for better family than that guy. Just be sure to ask me about him on a good day.

What’s your favorite group or artist?

LUKE: Nirvana. I’m into Queen and Johnny Cash too.

In the morning are you perky or a terror?

LUKE: Neither. My mornings are pretty predictable, so I’ve kind of just learned to roll with them. You’ll find me getting on with my day just like a normally do. It starts with rolling a random chick, who’s not even mine, out of my bed and ends with me holing up in my room and shutting out the noise from one of my brother’s parties.

What one word best describes you?

LUKE: Hermit

Are an introvert or an extravert?

LUKE: I haven’t talked to most of my friends since high school. When I was younger, I guess you could say I was an extravert. I mean, I had fun. But after that whole mess with my parents, I kind of stayed away from parties and, well, people in general. I still had my boys, but things were different. We did our own thing and left the rest of the world alone.

Since I started college, I’ve mostly been an introvert, but I guess now that I’m headed out on tour I’ll have no choice but to start interacting with the masses. Plus, being on a bus for three-months straight with four other people, including a hot chick who’s determined to get my attention, isn’t much of a place to continue my stint as the shy guy.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

LUKE: I want a quiet life. I play in a band and those guys can get pretty rowdy, but I’m the complete opposite. My dream isn’t the record deal and night after night of partying. It’s a boring job, living in the suburbs and being half-normal.

The Book

Because Of Luke by F.X. Scully
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

About Because Of Luke:
Shannon and Sheila Carlson have been best friends for life. Shannon's had her days of rebellion and is ready to settle down and get serious. But Sheila is just getting started. They'd do anything for each other. Until the Spring of 1991 rolls around and they both fall for the same guy.

Luke Black is a closeted musician, ripped from his boring life as a college student and thrown into the rocker lifestyle by his older brother, Roscoe. Before he knows it, their band is on the fast track to becoming an international sensation. Studios withdrawn Luke, doesn’t want any part of it, until he meets a groupie who proves to be much more. Luke soon finds he can’t resist her, but not until after he’s unknowingly fallen for her sister.

Between these two women, he feels complete. They both satisfy a piece of him but eventually he'll have to choose one—and not without some hearts breaking along the way.

Because of Luke is a bittersweet New Adult romance, topped with music, love and sibling rivalry.

** This book contains explicit sex scenes, profanity, and drug use and is intended for individuals 18+ **
Source: Info in the About Because Of Luke was from the press kit from the publicity team.


“Hey.” She tilts my head up to look at her, but the blue eyes aren’t helping. They’re only reminding me of what I left behind. “Hey,” she says a little louder this time. “You can do this. Remember what I told you back at that show in Lewiston?”

Now she wants me to recall days gone by? I can’t even remember my fucking middle name.

“You’re the talent,” she says with as much conviction as if she was telling me that boys have penises and girls have vaginas.

And as if that’s exactly what she’d just said, I laugh.

She frowns in response. “I’m serious. You’re a genius on that thing.” She nods toward my guitar. “Roscoe’s got a great voice, Dash and Ryan tear it up on the drums and keyboard, but you? With the bass and the voice? You’re,” she drops her voice to a whisper. “One day you’re going to be what they come to see. You’re amazing, Luke. Don’t forget it.”

She stands up, offering me a hand. For whatever reason, her pep talk seems to have worked. My breathing is back to normal and I can feel my fingers again. I take her hand, rising to my feet, but don’t say anything.

“What are you guys singing tonight?” she asks, even though I’m sure she already knows.

“The first song we wrote,” I reply. “Ross and I.”

“In Peace, right?” She grins and I can’t help but smile back. “That’s a good one.”

I nod. It is. If it weren’t for that song, performing it that night at Chagrin’s, we might not even be here. We wouldn’t be.

“Alright,” she says, still gripping my hand. “Five minutes. You got this?”

Five minutes. I nod. Shit. I’m starting to freak out again.

Sheila must sense this, because before my legs can give out on me or my hands can start shaking again, she’s up on her tiptoes pulling me toward her. When her lips cover mine, everything stops. My thoughts, my fears, my mini-freak out halts in place and all I can think about or feel is her soft mouth on mine. There’s no tongue at first. She just presses herself to me so hard I can’t help but give in. Then I start kissing her back. Not because I’m turned on or feel anything toward her at all, but because for whatever reason, it makes me feel like I’m in control of something again. Even though she’s the one doing all the work.

Her hands cup around the back of my neck, they move through my hair, grazing my scalp. Her tongue pries its way past my teeth to stroke my own and I welcome it. Before I know it, we’re full on making out, everything that clouded my mind before not even a memory.

It isn’t until I hear Roscoe yell, “thirty seconds!” that she pulls away and wipes her lips with the back of her hand.

“Better?” she asks.

I nod.


“As I’ll ever be.”

Meet The Author
About F.X. Scully:
F.X. Scully loves romance, but she doesn't write your typical Happily Ever After. Because let's face it, in the real world, it can sometimes take a lot of angst and pain before you get there. And some of us never do. But since most of us pick up books to escape the real world, her stories don't lack hot boyfriends and sexy encounters. Neither will she leave you completely heart broken, sobbing into a tub of ice cream. Rest assured you'll be on a roller coaster, but you'll be glad you went along for the ride.

F.X. is the author of TWO THOUSAND 3 (November 2013) and BECAUSE OF LUKE (February 2014).

Visit the Because of Luke blitz page for a list of participating blogs with more exclusive content!

  • One (1) $10 Amazon/B&N gift card, Godiva Chocolate Lover's gift set, and Because of Luke ebook {USA/CAN}
  • Two (2) eBooks of Because of Luke by F.X. Scully {INT}
Ends: 12 March 2014

Thursday 27 February 2014


Popularity of Paranormal in YA Fiction
By author, Sherry Soule
Today author, Sherry Soule has some exciting news to share with us! All the previously published books in the Spellbound series have been rewritten and republished with more epic romance, sizzling character chemistry, and thrilling suspense. The new versions also include exclusive bonus material and brand new scenes. Even additional scenes from charming, bad-boy, Trent Donovan’s point-of-view! To help promote the new editions, Sherry is doing this awesome book promo to share the update with fellow booklovers.

The Spellbound series is a great mix of Pretty Little Liars meets Buffy, the Vampire Slayer!

Sherry is here to chat about the popularity of paranormal themes in young adult fiction.

Don’t you wish you could have a fairy godmother to grant your wishes?

I did and would’ve told her: Forget — fame and fortune!

Everyone has dreams. I just wanted to see my work in print, and read by the general public. See my book on library and bookstore shelves. I wanted to wake every morning and get to do what I love. So I decided to write a novel that I would enjoy reading. Not for Fame. Not for fortune. Nope. I wrote for readers.

I knew that the paranormal romance genre in both adult and YA novels was one of the fastest growing genres in fiction, but it may not be what you think it is. In standard publishing terminology, “paranormal romance” is a subgenre of romance. But paranormal novels don’t mainly focus on romance, and they include elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, blending together themes from the genres of traditional fantasy, science fiction, and even horror.

As a writer, using aspects of the paranormal in my storyline adds so much more action and possibilities to my stories. I love that extra element of danger and suspense. And I’ve always had a morbid fascination with ghosts and haunted houses.

Since I love all things supernatural, and I knew the young adult fiction market was flooded with vampires, fairies, angels, and werewolves, I decided to make the heroine of my debut novel a sassy witch, who works in a haunted house filled with lost souls. Because witches need love too! And I wrote a story that entwined all the things I loved. And thus, my young adult paranormal romance novel, BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN was birthed.

Basically, the premise of the Spellbound Series that I created involved an teenage girl named Shiloh Trudell, who is chosen by an ancient prophecy (like a modern-day Buffy) to have magickal powers to defeat paranormals and other evils in the cursed town of Fallen Oaks. She accomplishes this with the assistance of her friends and family. During the series, Shiloh discovers that, not only does she possess supernatural powers; she comes from a long line of heritage witches. The first in the line, Rowena Brossard, prophesized that one day the “Thirteenth Daughter” would be produced from her lineage. A force of good, she would be gifted with magick to battle the forces of evil.

In closing, I believe that novels with paranormal aspects will still hold a lot of appeal for teens and tweens (adults too!). Urban Fantasy and paranormal romance novels continue to be a favorite among readers of young adult fiction.

It was my honor to be your guest today. Thank you so much for allowing me to chat up my new series! I sincerely hope you guys enjoyed this post. Now go feed your mind and read a book! Preferably one of mine. :-D

Beautifully Broken by Sherry Soule
Book 1 of the Spellbound series
Genre: urban fantasy

About Beautifully Broken:
They say every town has its secrets, but that doesn’t even begin to describe Fallen Oaks. The townsfolk are a superstitious lot and the mystical disappearance of a local teen has everyone murmuring about a centuries old witch’s curse.

When sixteen-year-old Shiloh Trudell takes a summer job at Craven Manor, she discovers a ghost with an agenda. That’s where she meets the new town hottie, Trent Donovan, and immediately becomes enchanted by his charms.

Finally, Shiloh’s met someone who is supercute and totally into her, but Trent is immersed in the cunning deception that surrounds the mysterious Craven Manor. So much so that he may lose sight of what is truly important to him. And she can’t decide whether she wants to shake him or kiss him. Yet neither one of them can deny the immediate, passionate connection growing between them.

But underlying everything is the fear that Trent may be the next victim on a supernatural hit list, and Shiloh is the only person with the power to save him…

With cryptic messages from a pesky wraith, Shiloh will finally begin to understand the mysterious significance of the strange mark branded on her wrist and decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice to protect the other teenagers in town.

Unfortunately, for Shiloh, not all ghosts want help crossing over. Some want vengeance.
Source: Info in the About Beautifully Broken was from the press kit from the publicity team.

Buy Link(s):

For as long as I could remember, I’d heard whispers in the shadows. Black, twisting shapes that chilled my blood. Slithering through the night, their greenish skin, crimson eyes, and sharp claws were illuminated even in the dark.

Sunlight now meant the difference between life and death.

I normally felt safe during the day with the heat of the sun brushing my skin, so that morning—when the shadows showed up in my bedroom—I barely recognized the eerie whispering. The desk lamp flickered, startling me. I stared at the last line I’d typed on my essay for English class, one hand hovering over the keyboard.

Homework could wait.

I raised my head and closed the laptop. My heart hammered. A hint of chilling menace climbed up my spine. Finishing my homework was the last thing on my mind.

The spooky whispering, inhuman and ominous, grew more intense.

Setting the laptop aside, I uncrossed my legs and jumped off the bed, nearly tripping over my long nightgown. I scanned the dark bends and edges of the room. The swirling azure colors of the witch ball suspended over the bed rotated in a slow circle. I got down on my hands and knees to check under the bed. Nothing.

The closet door stood open a crack. I stood up and wavered, shoulders hitching.

I dragged my feet over to the closet and pushed the door open wider with my foot. My gut clenched. My skin prickled. On tiptoes, I leaned over the threshold, stretching to grasp the brass chain, then gave it a yank. Light bled across dirty laundry, illuminating metal hangers scattered on the floor. Dusty board games littered the shelf, and haphazardly hanging clothes swayed on the bar. Fuzzy, pink bunny slippers stared upward with glassy button eyes. Nothing unusual.

So why was I feeling so freaked?

The feeling, indistinct, but ominous, lingered like the remnants of a bad dream. I couldn’t isolate the source. But something felt wrong.

The closet light and lamp suddenly blew out. As I turned around, my peripheral vision caught a maelstrom of shadows. Things moved within it. Something snaked past my leg. Writhed.

Stupid, stupid, stupid! I’d forgotten to keep my telepathic shield up. Again.

Shadows murmured in an ancient language, covering the round pink rug like an opaque stain. The creatures fed off my fear, which was doled out like too much bitter candy. Within the inky blobs were gleaming eyes. Red orbs, open and staring. Spiny reptilian fingers reached to grab my ankles. Instinct alone jerked me from their grasp. Demonic things with darkling eyes glared back at me.

Trembles traveled from my legs and vibrated up my neck. Dread choked me like a noose, strangling me from the inside. Bile rose in my throat. I struggled to calm myself; all I had to do was run from the room.

Instead I froze with my back flat against the wobbling closet door. My eyes caught something else. An entity, dense and vertical, detached itself from the other shadows. Bigger. Darker. Malevolent.

The blackness was deep and vast. From within the shadow—a mass of darkness, like a terrible yawning hunger rose in front of my wide eyes. The shadow hung heavily, like a spatter of crude oil, pulsating and swirling until it nearly touched the ceiling. It morphed, muscles expanding over bones, skin convulsing, a resurrection of shiny obsidian, smooth and razor-sharp, created from darkness and shadow. It throbbed, altered, trickled into limbs and flesh and — Oh, God, it’s almost touching me!

I flinched and stumbled backward, bumping into a chair. My knees buckled. I swayed, leaning hard on the doorframe. Blood roared in my ears.

The nest of smaller shadows shimmered and crouched in terror. They whispered in tangled voices, circling my legs like frightened children. Their panic increased, seeping into my gut. My palms went damp.

When scary things get scared—so not good.

Breathing out desperate little choking noises, I shook my head, hoping the image would fade. The head shake didn’t make a difference. Only reinforced my worst nightmare.

Shadows had come alive and coalesced, taking on form. A human form.

A cold tremor shot down my back. I was in real danger.

Power surged through the demon as he swelled into a seething black mass of energy, bent on blocking my escape. His rough skin, the color of soot, held a sturdy flexibility, more sinuous than flesh, like a venomous viper. His strange features—part phantom, part skeleton—fought to become corporeal. Naked. Partially humanoid. No genitals. No hair. He flexed his hands, revealing long fingernails. Talons on his feet. Knife-sharp teeth. The reptile-looking creature did not move. He watched me with ocher eyes that blazed, searing through my nightgown and scorching my skin.

The smaller shadows—demonic shapeshifters—slunk away, blending into the dim corners. Beady eyes blinked. However, the seven-foot-tall creature remained. The hellish warmth radiating from his body entered mine like the breath of a dragon.

I swallowed. Hard. My scalp prickled with sweat. It wasn’t as if I were some girly-girl afraid of her own shadow, but when they had glowing eyes and sharp teeth…well, I tended to freak out.

Okay, focus, Shiloh.

My gaze darted to the window. Sunlight was my only ally. If I lifted the blinds, the sun’s rays would swallow the darkness. At least that was the idea. A crack of light ebbed into the room, soaking the crevices.

Inching forward, I kept an eye on the junior shadows with their onyx hands, arms…flashes of carved faces. They continually moved, sliding under the bed in a twisted game of peek-a-boo. The shadow man stood very still. Intent, watchful, calm. Dangerous.

The disgusting odor of sulfur, musty and acrid, wrinkled my nose. I wanted to say something tough and snarky, but I could only gape stupidly at Shadow Man. Big bad evil. Whatever.

I pinched my nose and focused on not throwing up.

Shadow Man raised one hand and pointed at my arm. “Debts must be paid.” His inhuman voice slid across the space between us, resonant and sinister, like the threat of a snake before it strikes. “You bear the Devil’s Mark.”

Say what? Then the ugly scar on my forearm—the one I’d lived with for years—burned at his words, as if I’d plunged it into scalding water. It totally caught me off guard. It had never hurt like this before.

Sucking in a breath, I held my arm against me. Tears filled my eyes. I gritted my teeth, twitching, unsure what to do next.

Move. Now. My legs refused to budge. Terror clutched my throat. Please, oh, please, go away.

Too bad I lacked the courage to scream or fight rather than stiffen like a statue, immobile and breathless.

Shadow Man glowered. The miniature shadows swarmed around me. Were they his little minions? Or were they still as freaked as me? Didn’t matter because now they had me cornered.

I backed against the closet door and stared, waiting for them to attack. Shadow Man stepped closer. The freaky hellspawn crouched behind him. The circle tightened, then he stopped. He cocked his head to the side.

Someone knocked on the door. “Shiloh?” My mother’s voice, loud and anxious, penetrated the wood. Her frantic tone was almost as odd as the thing standing in the room. “What’s going on in there? I heard a noise.”

Why wasn’t Dad the one pounding on my door? He’d want to protect me.

Wait—what was I thinking?

He would think I was hallucinating. Only I saw paranormals in this dysfunctional family. No way was I letting the big bad evil leave this room to hurt my dad. Who knew what Shadow Man would do?

“Uh, sorry,” I croaked. “Can’t decide what to wear.”

“Be quieter then.” She twisted the knob. Thankfully, the door was locked.

Now I had no choice but to do something about this…this thing. Before it went after my parents. I glanced from the door to the demonic shadow. I recognized danger. I recognized warnings. I bit my lip, tasting blood.

“Okay.” My fists clenched at my sides. Fingernails cut deep into my palm.

“We’re gonna be late…and do something with your hair.” The soft tread of my mother’s feet padding down the hall rattled me enough to do what I’d first intended—run like hell. I took a step, then stopped. I surprised myself with a sudden burst of anger. I didn’t know where it came from, but I was glad for it. More than glad.

The eruption of hostility flushed my cheeks. I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror above the dresser—eyes wild and mad and cheeks stained with the blood of roses. My lips tightened.

Come on, Shiloh—think.

I rubbed my hurting arm over the cotton nightgown. Door or window?

Shadow Man stood between the door and me. His black and muscular physique looked invulnerable. No escape there. The heat of his stare slammed into my scar. Yellow eyes expressed lust, thirst, hunger, and death.

He crooked a finger like a hook. “Come here.” The demon’s gaze flicked sideways, settling on me with such heaviness and animosity my skin recoiled. “Now, or pay the consequences.”

Rage uncoiled in my heart. A dark force unfurled within me, as black as the demon before me. I jerked forward, my cheeks flaming. My short fingernails dug into my palms. But I felt no pain. Only the slow graze of terrible rage. I bared my teeth in a snarl as the obscure dark power stirred within my chest: precarious, unwinding. “Is that a threat?” I asked, but the tone was not mine. This time power and courage flooded my voice.

No one moved. Even the nasty little shadows became rigid. Shadow Man hesitated. Our gazes met in silent combat. I held my breath, watching him. My heart was beating at a dizzying pace.

The demon flung back his head. A thin stream of smoke spewed from his parted lips. The predatory cloud-snake pulsed with electricity. His smoky vomit was viscous and black, generating an electromagnetic vibration and a sulfurous residue.

At that moment, the only things real to me were the rage coursing through my veins and the heat scorching the scar that traced a jagged line from my elbow to my wrist. A constant reminder, ensuring I’d never forget my freakishness.

Well, hell.

Instead of screaming like a smart girl, I decided to be brave and sprint for the one thing that might save me: the window.

As I raced past Shadow Man, a blistering heat slashed into my chest. Stumbling, I tripped over a book and fell to my knees. I gripped the ledge of the windowsill.

Panic and fury radiated through my limbs. Blazing strong, a surge of mystical energy encompassed my body, crackling with power. Static electricity lifted my long hair. I squeezed my eyes shut.

Oh, god. Please—OPEN!

Book Trailer:

Meet The Author:
Sherry Soule is the author of the popular YA series, “Spellbound” and bestselling author of the adult novel, IMMORTAL ECLIPSE. Sherry writes Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance for teens and adults. She lives with her family and one very spoiled black cat in California’s San Francisco Bay Area.

Wednesday 26 February 2014


Character-Driven Beginnings
I’m a character driven reader in my fiction. If I fall in love with a protagonist, I will come back sequel after sequel. It doesn’t even have to be a main character.

The Care and Feeding of Sex Demons is entirely character-driven. Cypher MacKenzie stops apocalypses but can’t keep his best friend and sex demon from nearly starving. On top of that, he realizes he has been putting the bare minimum into his relationship with his fae lover and needs to try harder at…relationshipping. There are quite a lot of twists and turns in the plot, but unless I can catch the reader’s attention and make them root for the new emotional bonds, no one is going to get to the good bits.

Through the years, I found three tricks that really make your main character the driving force behind your plot. We all know going in that your main character is going to grow and change throughout the book and (hopefully!) the series, but he (or she) needs to start the book with enough pop that it separates your story from everything else.

The first point was made by Donald Maass in his amazing Writing 21st Century Fiction seminar. He explained that three kinds of main characters should begin their journeys showing different traits. He says as soon as you can, show the heroic protagonist being human, the everyman protagonist being heroic and wounded heroes wanting to heal.

When reading erotica, I don’t like everyman protagonists. I don’t care about their mundane lives. Heroic protagonists for me need some sort of weakness in order to be engaging. My vampires in The Master of the Lines series were superhuman in their talents and power, but my main character, Vision, was torn between wanting a lover who could completely dominate him in bed but be utterly deferential at work.

I work almost exclusively with wounded protagonists, and for years I heard the same piece of critique back. Everyone who got past chapter ten loved the main character, but had a hard time getting past the wallowing. As Mr. Maass said, there comes a point in every friendship with an alcoholic that you give up drinking with them or admit you have a problem too. But the first time that friend calls in the middle of the night wanting to go to rehab, your ideal reader is going to be the one who throws their coat on, grabs the car keys, and goes along.

Moving that moment of change to the beginning of the book automatically sets it apart from all the other future trunk novels beginning with wallow. Erotic romance is escapist. The last thing most people want to read after work is a smutty Angela’s Ashes.

Secondly, try to write the sequel before going back to edit. Writing 101 says you should be leaving your manuscript alone for six months before you go to reread it anyway. At the least you should work on a project between writing and rewriting so that have a bit of distance between you and the work. You’ve already gotten the world in place if you have finished book one. By writing book two you are really going to have a handle on what this world is about and what the main problem is.

Beginning any book is like groping around the nightstand for your glasses in the morning. You wouldn’t have started the book unless you had some idea of the shape, but I’m always so surprised at how flat even my main character is in the first draft. I know them so much better after working with them for so long.

My next book coming out, Coral were his Bones, is about selkies, creatures from Celtic mythology that can change shape from seals to humans. Selkies can give their metaphorical hearts to their lovers and bind their lives to that other person, but if they are tricked there are no take-backsies. When Finn comes to visit his first love on his one day off a year, his situation is somewhat grim, but there was no driving reason why the escape plan had to happen at that exact moment.

I immediately started the sequel. It opened the world up. Just how rule-oriented Finn was became a theme that I wanted to pick up from the beginning, but also I knew there had to be a concrete, dire reason that Finn had one shot at escape. That reason had to be there from the start. I know the need for immediate gratification can make the roots of your teeth ache, but by finishing a trilogy before publishing the first book gives you so much time to foreshadow the interesting bits and let you put a hint to the end of the book in the opening paragraph. Most people would probably not even notice, but the ones who do will think you are brilliant.

The last part to make your main characters pop is to clearly show the main character’s goal, and then show at least two or three solid, undeniable reasons why that can’t happen. At least one of them should be an internal conflict that the main character needs to overcome within himself. In The Care and Feeding of Sex Demons, Cypher puts his life on the line as required. It’s dangerous, but he’s good at it. His boyfriend wants him to quit. Cy loves saving the world. The world is worth being saved. It’s just that Patrick has good reasons to be afraid. If the amount of power Patrick holds could fill up an Olympic sized swimming pool, the pitiful amount Cy has could fit into a sippy cup with lots of room for ice. It’s never a fair fight.

Urban fantasy and paranormal is a well-trod stage. There are still amazing stories to tell, but you have to make your main character pop out for your reader. The more unique you can make the protagonist, the more chance you have at telling the story you want to tell.

The Book:
The Care And Feeding Of Sex Demons by Angela Fiddler
Genre: paranormal/erotica

About The Care And Feeding Of Sex Demons:
Keeping a sex demon happy and sexually satisfied is always the safest option, even if Cy has his own relationship issues. When saving the world on a regular basis, a happy home is important, especially when mixing human, fae princes and a starving sex demon.
Source: Info in the About The Care And Feeding Of Sex Demons was from the press kit from the publicity team.

Buy Links:

When rotten fish and bile smell of the ambergris met… well, you know what sulfur smells like, the whole sky lit as fragrantly as it did brightly. Just like the old days. Evil came in different flavors but it all smelled badly. I was ready for whatever came out of that cloud. But the only threat was a different kind of bad smell. My agents replaced three quarters of the whale vomit with earwax at the source to cut costs. We didn’t know it would also save the world.

My boyfriend, Patrick, had insisted the bad guys would now the difference and that I was risking my life to make the switch, but the person picking up the ambergris from my agent hadn’t known what it was supposed to look or smell like either. I wasn’t even supposed to be here. My brilliant planning was supposed to have helped out my team, not me, personally.

After the sky fizzled out, the warlock had exploded in a billion, billion...billion? I had no idea. I wasn't a physicist, I was an apocalypse stopper. Calculating how many photons contained within whatever warlock the Internet coughed up this week wasn’t in my job description. No scientist would ever read my paperwork.

I was retired from active duty. I was only supposed to administrate the real apocalypse stoppers. I'd been out scouting for possible altar locations when the world-ending had started early. The exploded warlock had been as surprised as I was until he had been unmade.

And he took my company car with him.

When the apocalypse had started, my first thought had been oh, good.

Patrick was going to kill me.

The cow walking along side me looked as though nature has squared off her body. If cartoon physics were correct her cross-sections would look like T-bone steaks. The highway I walked beside stretched on ribbons, rolling over the endless hills in the high country. The cow had been following me for a while just on the other side of the barbed wire fence. Three hours of constant adrenaline had left my fine-reasoning skills somewhat stripped, but I was fairly sure it wasn’t a threat. It reached the end of the fenced in field and regurgitated some cud.

I wanted breakfast, too. My back hurt, my shins ached, and the dried mud on the legs of my suit added twenty pounds to each step. My boss had even forced me to wear dress shoes to the stupid meet-and-greet that had turned into a scream-and-run.

Another red car appeared in the distance, but I didn’t get my hopes up. Because the high powers above loved to mock my life choices, the last three cars that appeared in the past hour had all been small, two-seaters, and red.

It bobbed up and down on the ribbons. I had a blister on the back of my foot. I wanted to stop walking, but that would almost guarantee the car wasn’t Patrick’s.

On the last rise, the turn signals came on, and the car started slowing down. Patrick had a meeting with one of the major charm-makers in town. He’d been worried about it for weeks, but once the rogue warlock who was sourcing his hanged-man pancreas through craigslist had run out of his ambergris, the hell-fire had stopped. The warlock had brought a full truck’s worth of sulfur, but without enough of the catalyst ambergris, it fizzed out before summoning even a hell-puppy, forget a hell-beast. Exploding into subatomic particles was an easier death than having a summoned-but-not-contained denizen of hell munching on parts of you from a watching-your-own-death happen perspective.

We had a lot of specific terms in our business. We used a lot of dashes.

Patrick and I had been together for five years, and yet when I asked him if I had woken him up just before dawn before his biggest meeting of the year, he lied and told me he’d been awake the whole time. I wouldn’t have lied to him.

Patrick slowed down, but didn’t stop, so neither did I. He didn’t unroll the window until I couldn’t pretend my shoes weren’t hurting my feet which every step.

“Get in the car, Cy,” Patrick said.

He drove on another couple feet and stopped, so I still had to limp to get in. He didn’t even wait for me to do up my seatbelt before he pulled the sports car into a U-turn. I’d been on a single lane highway, but the tiny car had no problem completing the circle on the road with its tiny wheel base.

The silence was worse than the million questions he had every right to ask me. He didn’t ask. I wanted to crack a window to let some of the tension out, but it wouldn’t actually affect the air pressure.

Neighborhoods surged beyond the city limits like massive muffin tops. Some groups subdivisions were love handles by now. Calgary needed a bigger edge to contain everything inside of it. “Have you eaten?” Patrick asked.

“I’ll grab something at the house.”

“I’m not dropping you off at the house. I have to be in at the university in twenty minutes. There’s a C-train station there.”

My feet were killing me. I just wanted to go home, and I’d bought the fucking car. I put my head against the back of the seat. “I’ll get a cab.”

Patrick exhaled, sharply. I hadn’t meant anything at all by wanting to hire a car to take me home.

“What wrong?”

“You promised me you were going to be in a supervisory position. In what role is the supervisor supposed to be involved in a standard apocalypse prevention attempt? You have minions. They should have singed eyebrows right now, not you.”

I reached up to touch my face. Mud flaked off. I would get the car detailed, but I didn’t really have the time, which meant Patrick would have to get it done for me, which meant he was cleaning up after my mess again. We’d just had that talk. So that meant he’d do it for me. I wondered if it had occurred to him not to answer the phone when I called. “It was just supposed to be a dry run. He just recited his incantations better than most. As far as we knew—"

“Do not sit there and tell me that you have a clue as to what your boss knows. It’s far more like Ms. Gwen to know it was supposed to be tonight all along than it is that this was all just a misunderstanding.”

Patrick swung into a fast-food restaurant parking lot. “You normally call your demon when you get into shit and you don’t want me to know about it. Was he not picking up?”

I flushed. August was my sex demon. He’d been given to me at the end of a successful job back when Patrick and I had two separate addresses. It had been after the house fire so technically I had an address, but no place to live.

Patrick had bright red hair. When I met him, his arms and legs had been too long for his body in a way that I found adorable. He moved with coils of energy. In the past five years he’d left his early twenties behind and he finished filling out all the way. Now everything looked in perfect proportion.

“I got you coffee,” Patrick said, motioning to the white coffee container in the two-cup holder. It hadn’t been sipped from either.” Alarm bells went off. “What, do you think I poisoned it?”

“No,” I said truthfully. But he would have had to do something to it, or he would have sipped on it on the way out of the city. Patrick hated mornings. He grabbed it and took a big swallow. “Happy?”

Meet The Author:
Angela Fiddler wrote her first erotic novel as a birthday present to a friend who had requested kneeling and vampires. While the vampires come and go in the story, the kneeling remains. Angela likes smut, dark humor and stories that mix erotica with raw emotion. She talks about writing and her characters at

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WW28 book offering: The Care And Feeding Of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper

A sunburned vampire is not a pretty sight.

I should imagine that would be extra crispy!

PARENTAL ADVISORY: This book contains adult material.
About The Care And Feeding Of Stray Vampires:
Iris Scanlon, Half-Moon Hollow's only daytime vampire concierge, knows more about the undead than she'd like. Running all their daylight errands - from letting in the plumber to picking up some chilled O neg - gives her a look at the not-so-glamorous side of vampire life. Her rules are strict; relationships with vamps are strictly business, not friendship - and certainly not anything else. But then she finds her newest client, Cal, poisoned on his kitchen floor, and only Iris can help.

Cal - who would be devastatingly sexy, if Iris allowed herself to think that way - offers Iris a hefty fee for hiding him at her place until he figures out who wants him permanently dead. Even though he's imperious, unfriendly, and doesn't seem to understand the difference between "employee" and "servant", Iris agrees, and finds herself breaking more and more of her own rules to help him - particularly those concerning nudity. Turns out what her quiet little life needed was some intrigue and romance - in the form of her very own stray vampire.

©2012 Molly Harper White (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
Source: Info in the About The Care And Feeding Of Stray Vampires was taken from on 24/06/2013.

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Tuesday 25 February 2014


Why I Write
Anyone who has written a poem or a short story understands how personal and rewarding writing can be. Maybe the hardest thing I had to learn to overcome wasn’t rejection but people being over critical of my work, or being plain nasty. I was speaking with someone about my books, keep in mind this was someone who had never read anything of mine, they asked me to name of any of my titles. They wanted to buy them “because they needed more toilet paper.” It was meant as a joke. I knew it right away, but it’s the lack of people’s understanding of how hard you work to produce what you hope is a good product that sometimes is difficult to overcome.

The first time I wrote a novel was because someone bet me I couldn’t write a best seller. I had never considered writing a novel before that day and had no idea the pitfalls and the highs of the journey I was about to begin. Yes, I wrote the book on a bet, but it was written for me. I had no idea about demographics or who my future audience would be. It was purely because someone told me it couldn’t be done. It wasn’t until the book was complete that I ever heard the words “query letter”, or cared.

There are roadblocks on every stop along the way of writing a book. But tell me anything worth doing that doesn’t have roadblocks. Over time, I know my style has changed. I now write far more dialogue then I did in my first book. Sometimes I even purposely go overboard with accents or create over the top characters. It’s not that I don’t have an audience in mind now when I write, but I still have to write for my enjoyment. Years ago, when I was first starting out as a real estate agent, I had an instructor tell me that if you do your job well, the money will come. Don’t do it for the money. Do it because you enjoy it and want to help others. Only then, will you be rewarded. I now have the same philosophy with my writing. The first time someone came to me and told me they enjoyed reading my book was one of the greatest highs I had ever experienced. There will be more lows in the future, but when they happen, I remind myself of one of my readers who keeps all my books on his phone, so he can read them whenever he is down. I make his day, he makes mine knowing I created something that touched a reader so deeply. Keep living your dream.
Michael Cantwell

The Books

Soul Intentions by Michael Cantwell
Book 1 of the Leadership and Redemption series
Genre: fantasy

About Soul Intentions:
Caeles Novo has lost count at how many times he has have taken a soul. He now fears his actions are not saving his existence, but damaging it. It is a painful transition when you question if your life has been a lie
Source: Info in the About Soul Intentions was from the press kit from the publicity team.
Buy Link(s):

Chapter 1 of Soul Intentions:
Soul Intentions
Chapter 1

The granite steps were damp and cold from the drizzling rain falling on an early British afternoon. The time had come for me to return what was never mine. My subject sat with his hands covering his face, his shirt torn at the sleeve, his breaking point was near. I cautiously sat down on the same steps to his right knowing the time was now or never. It took nearly five minutes before he reacted to my presence.

“Your face seems familiar to me. People assume because I meet hundreds from around the world and I am generally surrounded by bright lights and cameras, I would not notice when someone is following me, but I do. Who are you? Are you a fan looking for an autograph? Or do you want to sit here and pity me like so many others do now? ”

“It is not important for you to know who I am, but only that you focus on what you believe is lost in your life. If you don’t, it will be impossible for me to give you back what you seek.” My subject had been without his soul far too long. I do not know for sure what it must feel like to lose something so valuable, yet in watching my human targets struggle without them for several decades, it is not a feeling I want to know firsthand.

His tired face and frail body slumped even more at the shoulders. However, for the first time in months, I knew he was ready for me to restore his soul. He stared down into the cold grey steps where we were sitting and replied, “I know I am lost. My wife was taken from me far too young. My ability to do the only thing in life I have ever loved was destroyed, yet you sit here, a total stranger and I feel like you know all this without me telling you, and I don’t know why. Did you do this to me? Did you take my most precious of gifts from me? If you are the one who is punishing me, please stop. My daughters need me. My band needs me. I need me. Please, I know you have been following me for several months and I don’t know why. But if you can help me, I beg you to release me from my misery!”

Maybe I did pity him to some degree. Here was someone who had everything most humans seek, yet because of one mishap in his life, he threw it all away.

“You did this to yourself fool, but I will try to repair the damage you have done. However, I cannot repair what is broken until you open your mind and body. Allow yourself to fully understand what it is you have lost. It is imperative you admit to yourself what you have done to your life. Stop blaming your ills on everyone else and admit you are the one responsible, not me, not your family, and not your band mates. It will be in a single moment, a simple frame in your life, where I can offer back what was stolen from you because you stopped appreciating all which was given to you.”

As he looked up and turned my way, I focused on his face and hit the shutter release. It was done. I noticed one small tear had leaked from the corner of his left eye as he asked, “How long was I without it?” It was forbidden for me to be doing any of this, but I felt obligated to tell him. It seemed I had broken so many ancient laws already, what was one more? Choking back my own emotions, I could only respond, “Longer than I had anticipated, but let us both take comfort in knowing you are whole again.” After delivering my final remark, I could only hope he had found his long lost hopes and dreams and my Elders would not send me back on another mission to steal again what I had just returned.

Myself, I felt drained of life, yet somehow relieved. My subject was given a reprieve, something I had never attempted. My body was reacting in the opposite way to what it felt when I stole all the souls in my past. To return one was new to me, and expressly forbidden by the laws of our High Council.

A young woman, who seemed to recognize my subject, was now sitting to his left. She was speaking to both of us, but my senses were so dulled I could barely speak. I was not sure I could stand and walk away, but I knew I had to try. My legs wobbled as I hobbled down the many steps of The Royal Albert Hall. For a few moments, I was not sure I would survive my last snap of the camera shutter. It was not until a tall stranger, clean shaven and pale skinned with long flowing white hair, whispered for me to lean on him. When I did, instantly my abilities to function were restored.

You see, there are some cultures that believe someone can steal your soul if you take their photograph or they see themselves in a mirror. Others believe you can lose part of your soul with the click of a shutter release and still others have no desire to seek the truth. Those who believe that such a force exists know the truth. How can I be so certain in my words?

I am one of the few remaining who roam this earth and are responsible for collecting broken souls. They are the damaged souls, ones which my Elders have deemed far too ruined to deserve to remain within their earthly bodies. However, in my opinion, the time has come when my Elders have lost their way for not hearing my pleas. Anytime I talk of exploring it my way, I am branded a heretic and shame is brought to my family name. “Caeles our mission is clear and concise, the longer you deny our truths the more you damage all of our kind.”

In Latin they call it “anima furtim,” to steal one’s soul. However, I have over time started to develop my own plan, my own system. Unfortunately, my first attempt made me weak and disoriented. It is a system I need to perfect before I try again. The next time I might not be so lucky. Despite my Elders objections and threats, there will be a next time.

Since some in our highest court had lost faith in my judgments, I was now being tracked in the same manner I would track my own subjects. Once word got back to them, the Elders were furious with me, but what else is new? I had again over stepped my limits and used my powers with little regard for our laws. They were furious that I restored a soul years after I had stolen it from the original owner.

“We ordered you before our Council yet again because you have been taught beyond a shadow of a doubt our powers are to take, never to return. Our mission is not to offer hope to the hopeless or restore what has been deemed forever broken. These people we send to you as subjects, they do not deserve to keep their most precious of all gifts and you know this Caeles . You have been taught this since you could barely read and write, yet you insist on disobeying us, even with our most sacred law! Have you nothing to say to defend your actions?”

What could I say? It is true in all my years of reading the ancient scrolls, nowhere does it read where our kind can or should restore souls our kind had already stolen. Our mission on earth has always been to steal from humans who no longer appreciated their blessings on earth. Yet as I stood before the six men who comprised our highest Council, the Elders who would decide my fate, I felt confused. I felt that way because I knew our powers grew stronger the more we stole. This was not my opinion or a lesson taught to me. No, this was more, it was physical. I could feel all my senses explode with energy every time I ripped a soul from my intended target. I could feel it when others of our kind stole as well. So I knew it was very important for our own survival to continue to steal. But after I restored my first soul, and discovered respite on another’s shoulder, I felt a moment of peace in my own soul, never realized in my past.

“No, Elder Orcus, I cannot defend my actions before the High Council. I only beg that before you hand down your ruling you seek to understand the power of healing can be a powerful source of energy, possibly more than destruction.”

“Damn you Caeles, have you not listened to a word I have told you today? Or the last time you stood before this Council? We have shown you mercy in the past, yet you continue to develop powers not permitted by our laws. Do you not realize I have the power to destroy your soul as you stand in front of me?

My powers were growing stronger with each passing day. So as I looked upon the six men deciding my fate, any one of whom could remove my soul with a flick of a finger, I didn’t believe I had to answer to any one of them for my actions.

“Caeles, I can see into your soul as I can anyone else’s here on earth. I see confusion and murkiness that was not there the last time you stood before this Council. Our entire survival depends on thieves like you to be strong and vigilant. As you are aware, our numbers have diminished in recent years. We once numbered in the thousands across the globe with the power to steal. Now we are but a small number who still possess the sacred power granted centuries ago. If you insist on returning souls, I don’t know what will become of our kind. You must know everyone of us felt the same weakness when you restored that pitiful man’s soul. That includes your own family. This Council cannot and will not tolerate your wreck less behavior in restoring what is broken and jeopardizing our people’s existence here on earth. Rules have been in place for centuries and will exist long after your time on earth has expired!”

As Charon Orcus, the highest of our Elders, sat staring down at me with his piercing black eyes and long grey hair, again scolding me for my actions, I knew I was at a point of no return. I had been penalized before, having been forbidden to steal for one year. That might seem like a holiday for many, but for every year we are forbidden to steal, we lose years off of our time here on earth. Our powers thrive from thieving. He knows by denying me the right to steal, it not only weakens my body but also disorients my mind to the point of permanent dementia. But he understands, the longer he keeps me from thievery, the longer there is one less on earth collecting broken souls. We cannot survive as a species without collecting and feeding off broken souls.

My attention was again focused on our leader as he continued his rant, “This Council will no longer tolerate you developing new powers. Do not dare to believe that your new found skills can save you should you attempt your foolishness again. I can assure you the Council of Elders will have no mercy on you. Your punishment will be harsh, swift but just. You cannot continue to behave so poorly by ignoring our decrees and customs. Should you break any law or attempt to take another soul before my ruling; your fate will be death. Now retire to your home and await your punishment.” With his decree, I knew of only three words which would allow me to leave with my soul and possibly my life still intact, “Yes, Elder Orcus.”

The Council was now placed with a very difficult decision. Remove me from the ranks of the few remaining soul stealers and slowly watch our kind suffer, or go beyond their archaic beliefs and listen to my plea that healing souls can nourish us as well. I held out little optimism they would hear my plea.

Soul Directive by Michael Cantwell
Book 2 of the Leadership and Redemption series
Genre: fantasy

About Soul Directive:
Caeles Novo continues his journey of seeking broken souls that he started in “Soul Intentions”. Caeles is now the leader of his disciples and must discover the mystery as to why so few soul stealers remain on earth. He learns the high cost of both leadership and success. Caeles is assigned to remove the soul of an internet blogger who is spreading false information for the President of the United States, a man who trains fighting dogs and others. He meets up with a Doctor about to cure cancer and a woman with multiple personalities. He does all this while attempting to lead his people and be a good husband and father.
Source: Info in the About Soul Directive was from the press kit from the publicity team.
Buy Link(s):

Chapter 1 of Soul Directive:
Soul Directive
Chapter 1

Few remained. The old and weak had lost their ability. Among the young and strong; few had the will. Yet it was imperative I persevered. This is my story.

Most have the luxury of choosing their own destiny. Maybe I did. I do trust everyone has the ability in freedom of choice. Only my choices were far more limited than most. It was always presented as my duty to feed our kind with stealing damaged souls. It was not until later in life, I also believed that most, if not all, deserved a second chance. Our Council had eliminated the power of restoration of broken souls long ago. My grandfather’s bloodlines were chosen to alter the power of the Council and restore the power of redemption. The responsibility was now mine.

However, along the way, I had lost my family as well as faith in my leaders.

My given name is Caeles Novo. I was the preeminent soul stealer on earth. I assumed I knew who my family was, and what my future held. That was until I discovered the people closest to me, never told me the truth about who I am. My mother and father did not disclose my true bloodlines to me until my natural born grandfather visited me in a hospital bed. He appeared to me with his grand visions and my future path. Sure I had been known to fight my elders, but I never could have imagined the destruction and pain that ensued.

Charon Orcus no longer owned his soul since I had just removed it. He was lying in the fetal position on the floor exactly where I’d ripped out his most prized possession. I couldn’t muster up even one drop of sympathy for him. If anyone no longer deserved a second chance, it was my former leader.

After the unexpected had happened, silence fell upon the room. Three of the five elders left. I peered across the room, eyes still filled with tears. My wife and son stood like statues, where Charon Orcus cast his spell. They were not like stone but still in the flesh, unable to move. The cold marble floor started to feel even less inviting as I struggled to stand. The lone window was barely offering a glint of light as the two elders remaining in the room guided me to my feet.

“Caeles, I can assure you, no one on this Council expected this outcome. Orcus assured us your family would only remain motionless for a few moments. He told us he only wanted to scare you into backing down. I would be a liar if I stated that some of us on the Council weren’t hoping for a way to remove him as our leader but no one wanted this. It all happened so quickly. Yes, there is no doubt I wanted to find a way for you to replace Charon Orcus on our Council, but removing his soul was not our first option.”

“No? Then tell me, what was your first option?” I asked my grandfather.

Again silence filled the room. It was all very obvious to me that they didn’t expect the outcome they just witnessed. They never dared to believe I would remove his soul. However, some on the Council did want me to start a power struggle with the man who was our leader for decades.

My grandfather spoke again. “What is done cannot be erased Cale. We will move forward from here. You have been elected as a full voting member of the Council and our new leader. Many of us are tired and have little time left on earth. It is time we pass along the responsibilities to someone with your youth. This has always been your destiny, Caeles, long before you were born.” I attempted to gain a firm footing to stand alone as my grandfather continued.

“Caeles, everyone understands things have gotten out of hand. After Elder Orcus assumed his position as leader of our Council, he believed his authority was more than our laws describe. It had become a problem. However no one assumed you would use your powers to remove his soul. Even if you attempted it, not one of us considered it possible. We assumed he was too powerful. Therefore, please believe me when I tell you, what just occurred was never our intention. That being said, none of us intend on returning his soul to him.”

“With all due respect, Grandfather, I don’t give a damn about Charon Orcus or his soul. I only care about how to restore my family. Now, if you would be so kind in doing so, it would be much appreciated.”

“Caeles, none of us has a cure for your wife and son. We don’t know what Elder Orcus did to your family.”

“Well isn’t that just great! You bait me into a battle with Orcus and none of you envisioned what the consequences might be? On top of that, my family is lost to me and the only man who understands what he did has the capacities of a newborn, whoo hoo! Do any of you have anything to offer me other than your lame excuses?”

Stillness erupted in the room as we stared at each other. My grandfather, James Spia, the oldest of the five remaining elders with a soul, along with, Jair Rex, another elder and the grandfather to my frozen wife, looked down to the ground. The elder who was usually first to voice an opinion on the Council after Orcus, Elder Jair Rex, spoke up.

“Caeles, we all realize this was a tragic accident. We will find a solution. However, our disciples need leadership. As stated earlier by Elder Spia, who we just now find out is your own flesh and blood, we are an aging Council. Some of us, me included, should have retired many moons ago. It should be obvious for all to see that you were sent to us for a reason. You must be the one to bring back our disciples from the brink of extinction and our wicked ways.”

“Thanks guys but let me say this slowly so I don’t confuse any of you. I don’t want to be the leader of this Council, our disciples, or even my home town city council, until my family has been saved. Can I be any more direct with you?”

At that point, my grandfather raised his voice to get my attention.

“I will not tolerate any more of your insubordination, Caeles. We will find a way to restore your family but you will lead this Council. There is a room set up here in the complex for you to rest. Once you calm yourself, you will assist us in deciding our future path, but no more childish behavior.”

I’m not sure what everyone could expect from me. For as much training as I had to learn not to be emotional, it was still difficult. It is true the highest honor for our kind is to lead the Council. But I was in no emotional state to lead anyone. However, I would listen to the advice and retired for some self examination to determine what my life now had in store for me.

Sleep was difficult. Not only was I stressing about my family all night but the few times I could drift off, I would have a dream loop over and over in my brain. It contained a voice reciting, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” It played in my brain throughout the night.

“Elder Novo, it’s time to wake.” That was the next thing I heard. It was one of our disciples standing alongside my bed. “Elder Novo, please a long day awaits you.”

“Who are you? Why are you in my room? And who’s Elder Novo for goodness sake?”

I did my best to focus on the young man’s face. I could see his confusion matched mine.

“You’re Elder Novo, are you not? The Council has a long day planned. With all due respect, you need to get your wits about you. After all, you are our new leader, Sir. And to answer your initial question, I have been assigned to assist you while in the complex. My name is Peter, Peter Pascal.”

“Well Peter Pascal, your first assignment is to head back out the door, lock it and don’t allow anyone to enter it until I walk through it to leave.”

“I’m sorry, Elder Novo. I am under strict orders from Elder Spia. I believe his exact words were; get his ass in this Council room immediately.”

“Maybe so but I’m now the leader of the band around here, so what I say rules. Am I wrong?”

“Elder Novo, a wise man once said, what’s in a name? I am going to conclude it applies to titles as well. I refuse to go back into that room and tell Elder Spia you decided to sleep past noon. I’m too new here. I would like to keep my job and my new title for more than a few hours. Please get up.”

I didn’t want my new assistant to shed tears on his first day. I got up.

When I arrived in the Council room, there were three of our disciples with their noses plastered inside the pages of old dusty books. Along with them were the five members of the Council with a soul, anxiously peering over their shoulders, as if the books contained the winning lottery numbers.

Elder James Spia, took the lead. “Have a seat Caeles. Our best historians are reading all they can to solve the issue with your family.”

“Issue, you are calling it an issue?” I was none too pleased. His words and demeanor seemed almost trivial.

“Caeles, please, have a seat. There are many topics that need to be discussed. Some are of a delicate nature, but we can all agree your family is our highest priority. Now, please, we all understand you are still emotionally charged, but you are a trained professional. You’ve been trained for emotional situations. So calm down and get your mind right. We will fix the wrong that has happened. However, you are now on this Council. One day soon, you will be presented to our disciples as their new leader. But until that day, there are many urgent issues around the table for discussion.”

I looked around the room. The five members of the Council were all seated at a large round wooden table with me. They included my grandfather, James Spia, along with my wife’s grandfather, Jair Rex. It was not until recently these two men were exposed to me as more than Council members. I was hoping there would be no more surprises concerning the other three. They included, Nathan Stella, Baruch Robus and Reuel Polus. I only knew these men from coming before the Council when I was being praised or punished. Along with Charon Orcus, the previous leader of the Council, these six men had shaped my life with their decrees and words of wisdom.

There was one window I could stare out. The floor was as cold as the icy stare Orcus had in this room the previous day. The table we were using was designed as the more informal place for the Council to sit while discussing the agenda. There was also the dais where the Council sits when conducting official business, such as handing out penalties to the likes of me, when I would take matters into my own hands. There were a few scant paintings from past European masters on the walls, merely to cover up the boring and sterile qualities of the room. I was trying to focus on all the discussion around me but I wasn’t interested. That was until one topic came up. Elder Stella started to speak in an anxious manner.

“Elders, we cannot continue to pretend our dwindling numbers of soul stealers is not an issue. We can no longer support all we need to support. Our research indicates that our disciples are living on average fifty years less than they were only one generation ago. This generation has been dying at an alarming rate of less than two hundred and fifty in earthly years. Our founders all survived past three hundred. Our mission on earth is far too important to allow this trend to continue.”

This information was all new to me. I had noticed my own parents starting to slow, despite being barely two hundred years on earth. Why the trend?

“Ok, this being all new to me, can someone please explain why the lower life expectancies?” I inquired.

Elder Stella attempted to explain. “It is simple math, Elder Novo. When the Lord of Life bestowed upon us the ability to remove souls from humans, who no longer could appreciate all that was given to them, we were one hundred strong. Each and every one of our ancestors had the ability that the six of us have, meaning to be able to see into another’s soul and remove it, if deemed necessary. Once we started to marry pure humans and thin our bloodlines, fewer and fewer acquired the same abilities. It is why now some can only remove souls and so few other than the six at this table and possibly our offspring will be able to see into another’s soul. Because so many have mated with humans over the generations we have hundreds that we feed but we are down to less than thirty active soul stealers other than us at this table.”

“Ok, so what’s the plan? I mean you guys have been sitting around this table for decades, you musta’ seen this coming? I mean if you are telling me it’s all simple math then let’s fix the math.”

Elder Polus spoke up. “As you are aware, Elder Novo, all our bloodlines are carefully recorded. We have hundreds living now with some remaining strains of our bloodlines that we feed. However, with less than forty at least half blooded and less than fifteen full blooded, it is likely why we are dying at an earlier age. We are a dying breed.”

“Why has it taken so long for anyone to do anything about this Elder Polus?”

“Would you have listened if we ordered you to marry someone other than Kalani, Elder Novo? I think I’ve made my point.”

I couldn’t believe all I was hearing. But then again, why should I have cared? I could care for myself. I could steal all the souls I wanted and keep myself in top form.

“You know what guys, this is not my problem. I can see into another’s soul, I can steal, I can survive. I don’t think we should really care about anyone who decided to thin out their blood line.”

My grandfather spoke up. “So tell me Caeles, should you become injured removing a soul, or when you become too old or ill to remove souls, will you still wish this Council to have the same approach you are taking now?”

“You are missing my point, Grandfather. I have worked very hard to reach my goals and my position in life. If others don’t care to try, why should I help them?”

“What about the ones who through no fault of their own, but only through genetics have never developed the power to steal like your father Caeles? Shall we tell him, sorry but we no longer can support you? He pays his dues to us. There are hundreds with good jobs in life who help support our cause. We should ignore them?”

“There has to be a better way, Grandfather.”

“There is and it’s one reason why you are now on this Council. When you risked your own life to offer redemption to Dylan James, a man who you barely knew, I knew you would one day find a solution to this issue. I suggest you start thinking.”

My first Council meeting as a member disbanded. I had much to think about but my mind was still elsewhere. I walked across the hallway and sat with my wife and child, still frozen in time. I didn’t care much about others shortened life spans or ones who could possibly steal, who didn’t want to for various reasons, like my own mother. My mind rested with my family.

The Council sat around the table for a few more days until it became obvious that I had to continue on as a soul stealer and no one had the cure for my family. I sat through boring meeting after boring meeting with men who had led our disciples for years acting as if they were just brought into find solutions the same day I was. It was appalling to me that the ones who admonished me for years for my ideas, where now looking to me to lead. My entire world had become upside down in less than a week. I decided that I would travel to Jamaica to visit with my old friend, Bastian “Doc” Duvaliar, who assisted me in restoring my first soul. He was in possession of a book that documented many of our secrets from the past. It had been given to his ancestors many decades ago. He taught me how to offer redemption to a broken soul from the writings stored in this book. Since many of our disciples aren’t even aware of its existence, my hope is that it also stores the secrets to unlock my family.

As I departed, my grandfather was there to offer a few words.

“Cale, everyone on the Council understands the pressure you are under right now. I promise you, we will search every avenue we can to find a cure for your family. We’ll also look into your idea of contacting all of our disciples to see if they want to go through some of our training again to see if they have developed powers since the last time they were tested.”

“Thanks, Granddad, it seems every time I think I have life figured out, I’m on another airplane entering a new phase in my journey. I wish I could go back to being a single guy with no responsibilities to anyone but myself.”

“No you don’t, have a safe trip.”

Fortunate Soul by Michael Cantwell
Book 3 of the Leadership and Redemption series
Genre: fantasy

About Fortunate Soul:
In this third installment, Caeles Novo has been removed as leader of the Council. He now seeks revenge for those who have taken away his power to remove souls and is on a journey to return his disciples back to their original mission.
Source: Info in the About Fortunate Soul was from the press kit from the publicity team.
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Chapter 1 of Fortunate Soul:
Fortunate Soul
Chapter 1

Sadness and euphoria are intertwined within the fabrics of our lives. I should know; they are the emotional landscape I’ve crossed back and forth for decades. I never wanted for material items, mine were more spiritual. Maybe I didn’t care about the material things because I never had to think about them. They were always provided to me by my fellow disciples. The spiritual ones were developed over decades of following my instincts and intensive education. My entire life was dedicated to my craft, which led me to another dangerous exchange between sadness and euphoria.

My name is Caeles Novo. My grandfather believed I was sent from the heavens to change the ways of our disciples who have misplaced their values. This is why I was given my particular name. You won’t know me. I work in the shadows. I look like any other human wandering the busy streets of large cities. I can also appear as a broken man on the side of a dusty country road. That’s the idea.

My education and that of my fellow disciples was more extensive than most who travel the earth. My life expectancy was once more than three times longer than ordinary humans, so my structured learning lasted three times longer as well. Most would have you believe that more education could only be of value. Think again. Our superiority has destroyed our way of life. We are not ordinary humans. Despite my superior intelligence, I was victimized by some who no longer found my way of leadership in compliance with their own way of life. Priorities changed for some, mine were more secure. My fellow disciples and I were trained for one mission in life. I followed my gut and continued our predetermined journey, others became wayward. I again crossed over from euphoria to sadness. I realized I lost the ability given to me from the heavens and was destined to do. In those mere seconds of self-realization, when you have once again crisscrossed back to the other side, you must decide who you are as an individual, leader, husband and father.

Some are designed to lead, while others follow. Some are dominant. Others live a more submissive way of life. Some live conservative lives while others want to change the structure of every institution they meet. Some are men, some are women. Some have dark skins, others the shade of cream. None of that mattered to me. I only cared about the next soul on my list. I could read souls like some read the daily newspaper. If yours was broken, I stole it. That was my mission in life. I make no apologies for who I am. If you couldn’t appreciate all that life had bestowed upon you, welcome to my list.

I was trained to be an unseen shadow. You never found me. I found you. When I did, you would either fall to the ground or barely feel a scratch. Everyone has a soul. However, depending on how much one believes they own a soul, determines how much the loss affects them. Non-believers are fools. I know the truth. I stole your most prized possession if you made my list of being a dark soul. I’ve taken from some who laugh in my face, or cry for redemption within moments of my thievery. Either way, I was completing what I was born to do.

If I wasn’t taking your soul, one of my fellow disciples would do so with as much passion as me. After all, we trained for fifty years to be experts in our decree sent from the Lord of Life. However, because of our extensive education, some of our disciples evolved past being mere soul stealers. For their sin in wandering away from our decree, I will destroy their perfect lives. However, I am now the broken one.

I was so involved in restoring the number of soul stealers on earth, being the leader on our High Council, as well as a good husband and father, I never saw the fact that our disciples had become leaders in their communities across the globe. The less than thirty of us who did remain loyal to our goals on earth, were constantly on a mission attempting to steal souls. That’s where our power resides. If we are no longer removing souls, we become mere mortals. Greed for power and money while abandoning our true task has become our collective downfall.

Because I no longer had my ability, to see into, and remove souls, I was replaced as leader of the High Council. Members of the Council had decided long before my appointment as leader, ruling the world’s economy was a better option for our disciples than to remain loyal to our original decree. Before they removed me, I was driven to make sure no mistakes were made in taking souls not dark enough to be stolen. I became dangerous. I would on occasion, return a soul which was preposterous to our leaders. My own kind set out to destroy me. They succeeded.

The crossroads where sadness and euphoria intertwine had found me once again. Many days came and went where I wanted no responsibility to anyone but my family. But that day had arrived without my consent. My destiny was stolen from me. I had to ask myself, could being restricted to being only a good husband and father be the path to euphoria, or the conduit of sadness? I had to answer one important question. Did I still have a burning desire to be the ultimate soul stealer and follow my mission sent from the heavens? Kalani had been my wife and confidant for decades. She was furious when she heard what our fellow disciples had done to me. It took all of my best powers of persuasion to calm her over the phone and not allow her to seek revenge. I didn’t know what my response to my newly formed sworn enemies would be, but sending my wife on a suicide operation was not option one. She always wanted to protect me, as I did her, but we needed to think through our next move.

Kalani was on assignment the day we met in Hawaii where she was born and raised. I was on vacation from removing my first few souls when we met. Neither of us had any idea we were both soul stealers until days after our initial encounter. She found herself in some trouble with the local band of drug traffickers on Oahu, when we were both shoved off the road while bike riding. When the attacker stepped out of the car to finish his task, I instinctively removed the soul of her attacker. I caught grief with our Council for that mishap. It also exposed my identity as a soul stealer to my future wife. It wasn’t until later that she admitted we shared more in common than our love.

We were married soon after and have been faithful companions ever since. She got herself into trouble with the Council protecting me, as I have her, more than once. We don’t see each other as much as we would like because of our extensive travels, but we attempt to live as a normal family as much as possible.

Kalani and I wanted to grow our family. At the time of my removal as leader, we had one son, Nicon. He was training to be a soul stealer and already had what would be equivalent to a Master’s Degree in Business. Because we aged slower than full blooded humans, our son looked to be a child of seven or eight but was already nearing his twenty- fourth birthday. Kalani and I didn’t want to wait much longer to make a decision about having another child. The tender ages were the toughest for our disciples. We are far more educated than others who look our age, until we appear to be in our late twenties. By the time we look to be twenty, we have traveled the world usually more than once, speak multiple languages, have read all the classic literature, explored many of the world’s great museums, and lived with one or more ancient culture. We are immune to most earthly diseases but we’re not super human. When attacked with common weapons such as a knife or bullet, we are wounded like an ordinary human. Those were the difficult years for our son, to look so young, yet still be so mature.

It wasn’t easy for Nic to associate with others who appeared his age on a physical level. He played little league baseball, and other physical activities with children who looked his age, but weren’t. He was forbidden to tell the other kids he went to the World Series at Yankee Stadium several years before they were even born. He had the mind of a student with an MBA degree, but he still struck out like an eight year old boy. That frustrated him to no end. But he needed the physical work as much as the mental side of life. My dilemma was to decide if I had become one of those people who couldn’t appreciate all that was given to him or her. My choice was to live a secure and peaceful life with my wife and son, or seek revenge on the people who removed my ability to do what I was destined to do. I was not put on this earth to live out my remaining years selling used cars but I was a broken man.

I needed to make a decision. One issue was that the one person who could assist me with regaining my power was not exactly my best friend. I was told by my former Council members that Doctor Grayson Winfield created the potion which blocks my ability to remove souls. It was possible he had created such an evil toxin, but I had been misled so many times. The truth was always complicated. I returned home to California to Kalani with my wounded ego and damaged self to figure out what to do with my life. She looked as radiant as ever. Her dark olive skin and shiny black straight hair that reached an inch above her waistline hadn’t altered since the day we met. Her jade colored eyes and Polynesian shape that curved in all the proper places still made me smile knowing she was my one and only. A few had tempted me to stray over the years, but Kalani would always be my one true love. My wife knew my short comings. “So, Cale dear, since you plan to sit on the sofa watching the woman from New York tell fortunes and do your best to cook us all dinner, does this mean you aren’t the best soul stealer now? I will admit maybe you were better at kicking ass and taking names than you are a cook, but hey, at least I know now I can buy you cook books for Christmas.”

She looked directly into my eyes, and offered me her stare she used when she wanted to challenge me. I wasn’t biting. She continued.

“But then again, we really don’t know if your numbers were legit since you liked to return half of souls you stole. At least when I take one, they stay taken. It can be official now that I‘m the best. I still think while you were sitting on the Council, Bink gave you far too many easy assignments. I had to earn all of mine slinking down dark alleys, chasing violent criminals. Your targets were white collar professionals who have to take in a Stallone flick to see a gun.”

Another stare, only this time longer. “I’m sorry I introduced you to that Timmons woman, Cale. I might tease you, but I never tried to get the best of ya. It seems she did. I’m sorry.”

That was the wound. Fireworks started to blast through my skull. A pain rushed from my head down to my gut and back up again. It was as if someone was playing a game of pong between my head and belly using a bottle rocket as the pong ball.

“That woman didn’t get the best of me. And don’t you ever, ever suggest she did. Just for that, I’m not making you any dinner tonight!”

I could see Kalani’s ruby lips curl at each end, knowing she made me realize, I was the best ever. Not Tasha Timmons, not Charon Orcus, Peter Pascal, or any of the others who schemed to derail me, could keep me on that blasted sofa that sagged in the middle. I ordered take out for Kalani and mapped out how to proceed.

At my core, I was and always would be a collector of broken souls. There were occasions when I did find reason to return one, because deep inside I believed in redemption. I needed to come to grips with that. Being a husband and father didn’t have to be secondary to my work. I think my conscience had been getting the better of me since my father had always been in the house with me and didn’t travel. I would spend time with Nic and Kalani but it never seemed to be enough. In that regard, I was like most humans.

It was imperative I board the first available flight to Texas to speak with Doctor Grayson Winfield. The desire to be the best soul stealer as well as to restore our disciples to prominence had returned. Kalani assured me, I had made the right decision. She kissed me as I made my way towards the front door of our modest home.

“I married you because of who you are, Cale, not because of something you’re not. If I wanted someone at home cooking dinner and polishing the silver, I woulda married someone else. It’s important to me that you are happy in who you are. Go be that person again.”

Kalani knew how to motivate me in those rare times where I felt lost. My personal pity party had ended. It was now time to seek my destiny not because my grandfather assured me he knew what it was, or because I was told it was sent from the heavens.

For the first time in my life, I was one hundred percent certain of my chosen path. Life is not a simple choice of one direction or another. It’s a long complicated one with peaks and valleys filled with every emotion one can imagine. I had long been on my journey. This slight detour wasn’t about to alter my destiny and who I was as a person. I never thought I would return to Winfield’s office, but there I was. I walked in the door to find Nurse Simon sitting behind her desk.

“Good afternoon, Nurse Simon. I need to speak with Doctor Winfield. It’s an emergency.”

“Well hello, sugar, Rose sure has missed seeing you. How you been?”

“Rose? What are you doing here? Where is Doc Winfield?”

Rose stood up from behind the desk, walked over and put her arms around me. She offered a loving hug; then whispered in my ear.

“I told you, sugar, Rose would take care of everything and she has.”

Meet The Author

About Michael:
Michael Cantwell, CCIM (1958-present) is an author and commercial real estate agent in Florida as well as a published photographer. He was born in Ft. Campbell KY, raised in Trenton, NJ, graduated college at LaSalle University in Philadelphia, PA. He now resides in Palm Beach County, Florida. He is married with three children and one dog. He loves music and is a Miami Marlins, Dolphins, Panthers and Heat fan. He also enjoys strolling Florida with his camera at hand. He has served on many board of directors and volunteered many hours as a coach for baseball and basketball as well as for Junior Achievement in many schools around South Florida.


A signed set of the 3 books in the Leadership and Redemption Series by Michael Cantwell - open to US shipping