Cover Reveal & Giveaway!


, , , ,

All of you know my big, fangirling love for Intisar Khanani’s books, including her novel “Thorn” which came out last march (read it! read it! read it!!!).

And now “Brambles“, the prequel novelette, is slated for release on December 7th on eBook and Audio (same voice actor who did Thorn, woo hoo!)!

Check out the gorgeous cover below, another work of art by Jenny Zemanek:

In the kingdom of Adania, everyone knows what Princess Alyrra did to earn the court’s contempt, her mother’s disdain, and her brother’s hatred.

She betrayed her own.

Yet, the truth hides another story, one of honor and honesty, of a princess gambling her own life for another’s. It’s a tale of courage and consequences, and a choice that can never be undone.

A short story prequel to her multi-starred fantasy, Thorn, Intisar Khanani’s “Brambles” gives Alyrra’s account of what really happened all those years ago, and how a few critical days turned her life into a daily fight for survival.

Add it to Goodreads!

I got to read a copy of Brambles early and it really is an amazing story about the choices we make and how these choices have the power to redirect one’s entire life.

And now…

The Giveaway!

To celebrate the novelette’s upcoming release you can enter to win $20 of books from The Book Depository! This giveaway is open to anywhere The Book Depository ships and is FREE to enter.

Click HERE to go to Rafflecopter, or head over to the giveaway page on Intisar Khanani’s website


An excerpt from the book:

“I’ve got a secret,” Valka says, stepping up beside me. We stand at the edge of the roughly cobbled courtyard before the hall, mud sticking to our boots and our cloaks flapping in the chill spring breeze.

The last of this morning’s departing carriages rolls toward the gates. Edlyna nods regally through the carriage window at us.

“Wouldn’t you like to know it?” Valka presses.

I glance helplessly around, as if someone might appear to rescue me. But of course, Valka has timed her approach perfectly: Mother has already departed with her coterie of vassals, and my brother hasn’t bothered to come at all. There are a few other nobles who have yet to leave for their lands for the summer, including Maralinde. But, along with the rest, she’s busy packing. Unlike Valka, unfortunately.

“If it’s a secret, you shouldn’t tell anyone,” I say, shifting uneasily.

“You’re such a mouse, Alyrra.” Valka gives a sweet, tinkling little laugh. The sound of it makes my skin prickle. I’ve heard that laugh enough times now to know that what she has to share will hardly be innocent.

The Theft of Sunlight (and a giveaway!)


, , , ,

Today I’m thrilled to show you all the cover reveal for “The Theft of Sunlight”.  An incredible YA fantasy written by Intisar Khanani – a dear friend and an amazing author – this is without a doubt one of my favorite stories (the world! the characters! BREN FOREVER!!)

But first, the cover……

TheftofSunlight - Final Cover 6.4.20

Cover Artist: Jenny Zemanek

The Synopsis:

I did not choose this fate. But I will not walk away if I can make a difference.

Children have been disappearing from Menaiya for longer than Amraeya ni Ansarim can remember. When her best friend’s sister disappears, Rae knows she can’t stay silent any longer. She finds the chance to make a difference in an invitation to the palace. But Rae struggles to fit in with the lords and ladies of the court. Instead, she finds unexpected help in a rough-around-the-edges thief named Bren who always seems to have her best interests at heart. Soon even Bren can’t help her, and Rae must risk her life and well-being to face an evil that lurks in the shadows of the darkest hearts.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?? You’re gonna want to add this to your Goodreads shelf. Book 1 in a duology in the “Dauntless Path” world, “The Theft of Sunlight release is slated for March 23, 2021 by Harper Teen (US/CA), Hot Key (UK)

The Giveaway:

In celebration of the cover reveal, there’s an awesome giveaway prize – FREE to enter. Head over to the Rafflecopter entry page (or the author’s website) for a chance to win $25 of books from The Book Depository (open to folks anywhere The Book Depository ships, winner chooses the books, yay!).

The Excerpt

Read on for a sneak peek from the book!


I wait, listening for the sound of someone entering the house. Anything to indicate I need to hide what Niya’s doing. I can hear a woman calling to her children somewhere in the distance, and the general sounds of the town: a wagon creaking its way down the road, chickens clucking in someone’s backyard, and, faintly, people calling Seri’s name. I swallow and glance back at Niya.

She looks up. “It’s not working. I don’t know if it’s me or . . .”

“Here,” I say, catching the end of one of my braids. “Try my hair. See if that works.”

Niya takes the bit of hair I snap off and bends over her bowl again. I grip my skirt with my fists and hope, hope that it’s Niya’s magic that isn’t working, and not . . . not that Seri is truly beyond our reach.

“It’s working,” Niya says, her voice flat. I look down to see the leaf has turned, the silver needle glinting brighter than it should as it points straight toward me.

I raise my eyes to Niya’s. Seri isn’t just missing. She’s somewhere even magic can’t find her.

She’s been snatched.


If you’d like to read more about Rae, she stars in The Bone Knife, a short story found at the end of “Thorn”, another book in the Dauntless Path world – which is on sale for only 2.99 right now! I’ve read it and it’s a gorgeous fairy tale retelling of The Goose Girl that I’ve reread at least twice.

Grab a copy before the sale ends! and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

About The Author

Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. She has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. Intisar used to write grants and develop projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Cover Reveal Giveaway – Ends Today!!


, , ,

I’ve been dying to show you all the cover for Between Savage Tides, the sequel to Beneath Cruel Fathoms, designed again by the incomparable Jenny Zemanak of Seedlings Design Studio.

Take a look!!


I’m so excited about this cover!! It’s absolutely perfect and I’m IN LOVE ♥♥♥

Currently, there’s no pre-order link, but you can add the book to your Goodreads list HERE. With the pandemic still in full force, I’m holding off on setting up the preorder until closer to release date – planned for August 31, yay! I’ll let you know when the buy link is ready to go.

However, I am celebrating this gorgeous new cover with…



This ends at midnight central-standard-time of Wednesday, June 17 (so, by the end of today)

FREE TO ENTER – international entries welcome

The Prizes:
Silver Glow-in-the-Dark Dolphin Bookmark
Red Sirens Book Sleeve
Signed Paperback Copy of Book One – Beneath Cruel Fathoms

I’m so sorry about the quick deadline. I intended to post this sooner but my brains have been really scattered with all that’s happening. The good news? Whoever wins will get their prizes really quick 😉

Click HERE to enter and good luck!

Book Release, Sale, and A Giveaway!


, , , ,

Awesome book news coming your way!

Last month, the first book in the fantasy anthology trilogy I’m a part of released, and it’s currently ON SALE for only 99¢ for a limited time.

What’s the anthology about?

In a word: ** MAGIC **



No matter the world, life can be dangerous. Be they wizards and shamans, assassins, or everyday people, Hidden Magic tells their stories about escape, consequences, and most of all, magic.

From Earth cities and fantastical new worlds comes a collection of stories where heroes grapple with the seen and unseen in order to save themselves, their families, and often the world.

Fans of Patricia Briggs and Tamsyn Muir will love Hidden Magic!

The book is only 99¢ via a Kindle Countdown sale for another couple of days. Grab your copy before it goes back to 2.99! It’s also on Kindle Unlimited and includes my story “A Veil is Parted”

You can read Chapter One HERE.

And because these anthologies are rapid release, you can grab the sequel right now!! Wayward Magic just became available April 14th on Amazon & Kindle Unlimited.


Along with the continuation of 19 other fantasy stories, it includes my sequel “When Day Fades Into Night


Grab Hidden Magic for 99¢ and Wayward Magic to binge read a fantasy set that’s already picked up loads of five-star-reviewreviews from readers!

What about that giveaway?

Celebrate the launch of Wayward Magic by entering up to FOUR times for a chance to win an awesome prize pack.


The Prize Pack Includes:

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • One Bookish Tote Bag
  • Pack of Four Bookmarks
  • An Enamel Unicorn Pin
  • A Sparkly Pencil/Pen Bag
  • One Wand Pen
  • A 5″ x 7″ Fantasy Art Print

This giveaway is FREE to enter between now and midnight April 19th (so you have through the 18th to enter – Only TWO DAYS LEFT!).

No pre-order is required. International entries welcome! Don’t miss out. Enter the giveaway today!

Hidden Magic Is Out!!


, , ,


I’m super excited to announce that my newest fantasy story, along with the works of 19 other amazing authors, is now available on Amazon for 99¢ & Kindle Unlimited!

Hidden Magic released on March 10th and is already #1 in one of its Amazon categories and hit #1 in Hot New Releases.

** Read Chapter One from my novella below **

What makes this anthology special?

This is the start of a trilogy of fantasy anthologies unlike anything you’ve seen before. The project required each author to write 3 interconnected novellas, like installments in a TV show, that make a complete story by the end – That’s 20 complete stories!

These are set to rapid release (March, April, May), so you won’t have to wait long for the next installments.

As promised, below is all of Chapter One from my novella: A Veil Is Parted – available exclusively in Hidden Magic


The synopsis:

Simith of Drifthorn is tired of war. After years of battle between the Thistle court and the troll kingdom, even a pixie knight known for his bloodlust longs for peace. Meeting with the troll king in secret is the only hope for a ceasefire. When the trolls ambush him instead, Simith flees through a doorway hidden by magic into another world. Wounded, he’ll need to defeat his pursuers and get home before anyone realizes he’s gone. If his commanders find out what he’s been up to, the trolls will be the least of his worries.

In Skylark, Michigan, Jessa leaves a party after some devastating news. Cutting through her neighbor’s sunflower farm, she runs into a fight between creatures straight out of a fantasy novel – only the blood is very real. When one of them falls to his attackers, Jessa decides to intervene. She’s known too much death to stand idly by, but what does a poet like her know about fighting? As their weapons turn against her, Jessa realizes how much she stands to lose, even for someone who’s already lost everything.



The arrow took Simith in the back.

It punched through his left wing and lodged itself below his shoulder blade. Flitting between the trees on his way to the meeting place, he almost lost his hold on the next branch as pain exploded across his body. He scrambled for cover amid the foliage, swallowing his pained gasps, but leaves were sparse at this spot in the Jaded Grove. He didn’t find it in time.

The second arrow drove through his right wing, ripping the aft membrane, but he was fortunate. The arrowhead only split the leathers by his ribs. He found a nest of twisted branches and crouched behind them, trying to quiet his ragged breath—trying to think. He’d made certain he wasn’t followed when he left camp. No one saw him depart and he hadn’t dared tell anyone his plans, not his fellow knights and certainly not the Helms. Who was attacking him?

The arrowhead burned in his back. With sinking dread, he noted the numbness in his left arm. Iron. It was made of iron, which meant his magic was inhibited and he couldn’t heal the wound. Simith pressed his brow to the black bark. Only one creature could wield iron without poisoning themselves. He clunked his head against the wood, cursing himself. Of course, the trolls would ambush him. They had no reason to believe his appeal for a truce was in earnest, not from a knight who’d butchered more of their kind than any other. What better way to kill him off than when he was alone, on a mission no one knew about?

Hollow disappointment blended with his fury. He wasn’t sure whether it came by their blatant betrayal, or that he’d failed to make Rim’s dream come true. What did it matter? He’d been a fool. He was a fighter, not a peacemaker, and the dead buried their dreams in the ground along with their broken flesh.

Maybe soon, he’d be buried along with them.

Simith’s keen ears picked up on the whisper of footfalls over the mossy earth below. He could no longer fly and he couldn’t outrun them. He had his knives though, and his crystal blade. If he could wield it. He folded his limbs closer, shielding as much of his body as possible behind the wood. The muted green of his leathers should’ve camouflaged him, though night had fallen hours ago. The shadows were more friend to trolls than pixies. Their arrows couldn’t pierce these enchanted trees at least. Simith might have been a fool to trust them, but he hadn’t chosen the Jaded Grove as the meeting place by happenstance.

“Little Moth,” a gravelly voice called from below. “Your flight is done.”

“You’re not that precise with your bow,” he called back. “A sprite has better aim than your kind.”

“The scent of your blood is as sweet as sugar, pixie,” came another’s eager chortle. “Come down and tarry with us a while.”

“Join me up here and I’ll tarry all you want.”

Silence followed. Only stone welcomed the touch of a troll. No tree would abide them. He’d witnessed it before, the way the bark groaned in warning and the branches trembled with outrage before the wood shook them off like a tick. The roots would draw themselves from the soil to squeeze throats and ribcages. The Fae of the former Seelie and Unseelie courts had made sentinels of the forests that ringed their respective domains. Even a century after the destruction of their race, the Fae’s powerful influence lingered in the green world.

It might’ve been the certainty of this power that slowed Simith’s reaction to the snapping of twigs and the scrape of boots against the tree trunk. They couldn’t be climbing up, he assured himself. He’d have felt the rising ire through the bark. A trick, then, to lure him from cover.

Simith risked a glance. Eyes glowed up from the lower branches, yellow witchlights in the gloom moving steadily closer. He gaped down at them in astonishment.

“Impossible,” he whispered.

The brush of air whizzed by his face before he felt the skin split high on his cheekbone. Simith reacted on instinct, hurling a silver blade at the encroaching eye shine. One winked out. A scream rent the quiet grove and a body crashed to the ground. He counted four more pairs of eyes, their stout forms a shadowed outline in the darkness. None of them watched their comrade’s demise, gazes fixed upward on him. They continued to climb.

Simith did the same. Magic, he decided, gritting his teeth as he clambered toward higher branches, the iron arrowhead scraping against his shoulder blade. They must have procured a conduit through which to funnel their magic in a way that the trees didn’t recognize them as trolls. He didn’t know that was possible. Every conduit had a particular signature that marked its user. Sprites typically used a crown of roan berries, the hobgoblins steel piercings they wore on their skin, the boggarts the bones of their first kill. A conduit could not simply be swapped for another. They became as near and familiar as a limb.

Could they be using power without a conduit? Simith dismissed the notion out of hand. To draw raw magic into oneself was as lethal as swallowing flames. Only the immortal Fae had been capable of wielding it, their very blood fabled to be made of the same elements. Even the fairies, their cousin race, had to use conduits.

Yet, he couldn’t refute the quick sounds of pursuit behind him. None of this made sense. For now, it didn’t have to. For now, he simply had to escape, get back to the Thistle Court and confess to his commanders his foolhardy attempt to forge an accord with the trolls—and hope the fairies wouldn’t see it as treason.

Escape first, he ordered himself, noting with some worry that his mind was growing unorganized. It had to be the iron still lodged in his body. He didn’t have time to stop and remove the arrows. He wasn’t moving fast enough either; they were closing in on him. If he could leap to another tree, it might impede their chase. They’d managed to climb this one, but the ground-loving trolls weren’t as experienced moving between tree tops as he.

Simith found his chance in a tangle of branches that led away from the trunk he climbed. He followed them, barely as wide as his calf, but sturdy enough to bear his weight. With any luck, it would snap under the much heavier trolls should they dare to follow.

Working his way across in a crouch, he was halfway to the neighboring tree when a third arrow struck him. It plunged through his sword arm, just above the elbow. Simith couldn’t silence the hoarse cry. His foot slipped, slamming him chest-first into the solid wood. He threw another knife, a mere guess at the direction the arrow had come, barely clinging on with his legs. He heard a troll curse, but knew he’d hit nothing vital. The distraction bought him enough time to struggle the rest of the distance and put the trunk between them.

“Where is your famed battle lust now, Sun Fury?” one of them mocked. “We thought there’d be a better fight than this.”

Hazy with pain, Simith hadn’t the breath to pretend at bravado, his hands shaking, his skin soaked in blood.

The branches he’d used to cross trembled with the weight of another crossing. His heart sank. How were they doing this?

Simith dragged himself up and climbed anew. Slower than before. They must’ve heard his graceless movements. Triumphant snickers filled the night air.

“Why do this?” he called down, grasping at the frail hope of parlay. “My intention to discuss peace was in earnest.”

“Safer to trust a boggart with a newborn babe than to allow you near our king.”

He gritted his teeth. “Your army is on the brink of collapse. The fairies will send their legions to rout what’s left of it and march toward your homes.”

No reply.

“You’re making a mistake,” he shouted.

“It’s too late for peace.”

He said no more, cold despair settling on his feverish skin. Rim’s last words to him sounded in his head.

Don’t let the blade wield you, Sim. It’s your hand on the hilt. Your choice. Your will.

But she was wrong. Violence had wrung all choice from him. Even under a banner of peace, his enemies saw him as only a weapon.

Those same enemies crossed from the first tree to this one more expertly than he would’ve expected of a troll. The branches somehow held their substantial weight. Simith drew a steadying breath and prepared himself. Though he likely deserved it, he refused to be felled like an injured bird. He gripped his crystal blade, not yet drawing it. His magic would light the darkness like a blinding ray of dawn. They might know his position and scent his blood on the air, but he doubted they expected him to turn and fight, not after he’d already fled so far.

A tremor beneath his feet pulled his attention to the branch on which he knelt. He frowned at it, wondering if he’d imagined the wood had stirred. He bit back a sound of surprise when the bark under his palm did the same. It rippled, a vibration that travelled up his fingers and down the bones of his hand. As if it beckoned him. He put his cheek to its rough skin, and listened.

Climb, it murmured into his ear. Up. Now.

Simith released his sword, summoned what strength he had, and obeyed. The Fae had taught their trees to speak, though they rarely did. Until this moment which he’d thought his last, he’d never experienced it before. And he didn’t believe in serendipity. With clumsy arms and shaking legs, he pulled himself slowly and unsteadily upward, knowing all the while that he likely climbed toward a dead end. Toward death. The sentinels of the Jaded Grove were known to be tall enough their branches could block the midday sun in some areas, but once he arrived at the top, it was over.

Still, he continued without hesitation, the tree murmuring at him all the while; Higher. Higher. Go. Sounds of pursuit came from below, though blessedly, no more arrows. The branches grew dense here, weaving between each other in the complicated patterns of the green world. Perhaps they didn’t think they could aim for him clearly. Perhaps they needed to concentrate on their hand and footholds this high up. Or—the more likely reason—they saw no need to put in the extra effort when eventually they’d catch up to—

His head collided with something solid. Startled, he jerked down a pace, staring upward in confusion. He could see nothing. That, in itself seemed odd. No sky, no stars. Not even the shadowy outline of branches leading on. He lifted a hand, wincing with the movement, and his fingers brushed against a wide, smooth surface. Pressing the whole of his palm against it, he swept outward, trying to locate the edge. Could it be a knotty shelf grown out of the tree?

It didn’t feel like wood. It was soft, and gave when he pressed in, bits of it breaking off to scatter over his face in a gritty rainfall. Dirt? He rubbed it between his fingers. The texture held that of soil. How could that be?

Up, up, up, the tree chanted again.

Branches creaked somewhere farther down. His pursuers approached. Simith skimmed his hands across the silty surface, but he found nothing. No edge. No hole. Nothing to get him past this barrier.

Higher. Climb. Climb!

Not knowing what else to do, Simith burrowed his fingers into the cool surface and gouged out a palm-full of…yes, it was dirt. He tossed it away, delving back in again and again as a hole formed above him. His arm and shoulder became a thundering agony greying his vision, but he could’ve sworn light came through the thinning layers. If he could just get to the top of them—

His hands broke through. An avalanche of dirt fell with it and he turned his head to the side just before he caught a face full of it. Irritated grunts came from below. The trolls had come close enough to be hit by some of that. Hopefully, it gave them pause while Simith frantically dug along the sides to widen the hole enough for his lithe frame. A dim glow filtered its way to him, a breeze whispering past the opening with unfamiliar scents. It didn’t matter where this led. The priority was escape and this was the only one.

He reached for it. His hands found purchase on either side. With fresh blood pulsing from his wounds, he hoisted himself through.

And found himself on the ground.

He gawked at the grass under him, at the solid weight of the green floor. His thoughts couldn’t cobble any sort of logic together to explain it. Simith got his knees under him, trying to gain his bearings. Above him, he glimpsed the stars, a sliver of moon suspended in the sky like a ready scythe. He was no longer in the forest. What magic brought him here? Had he, in his desperation, unwittingly used his own? He touched his chest, his conduit hidden beneath the leathers he wore, but felt no tell-tale heat. If magic had done this, it hadn’t come from him.

He looked behind him and stared at the hole in the ground. A hole he’d carved with his own hands at the top of a tree in the Jaded Grove, a hole that led to…Where? Even the air smelled different.

He glanced around him, but what he saw only disoriented him further. Rows and rows of sunflowers, planted in organized lines like crops. A warm breeze moved between them, shifting them so their round heads waved in greeting. In the distance he heard something. Music. Drums, but unlike any he’d known before. A battle nearby? In a field of sunflowers?

“Where am I?” Simith whispered, just as a hand grabbed his leg.


What other stories will you find in the anthology?


No matter the world, life can be dangerous. Be they wizards and shamans, assassins, or everyday people, Hidden Magic tells their stories about escape, consequences, and most of all, magic. From Earth cities and fantastical new worlds comes a collection of stories where heroes grapple with the seen and unseen in order to save themselves, their families, and often the world. This collection features:

  • Elderly antiques experts interacting with souls
  • Shamans growing outlawed magic
  • Baby chimeras battling for their lives
  • Children sprouting fluffy tails
  • A king’s boat thrown off-course
  • A perfect life coming at a not-so-perfect cost
  • Vikings defending a village against the unseen
  • A lone shifter atoning for his past mistakes
  • Trolls and pixies tumbling through the doorway to another world
  • And more!

The book will only be 99¢ on Amazon for a little while longer, so grab your copy quick!! – Or download via Kindle Unlimited!

Get To Know…

Magical Mayhem Press

Jessa Dimaandal from Skylark, Michigan, an award-winning poet who can’t write poetry anymore, not since what happened eighteen months ago. Below is the final verse she penned before her creative heart went dark.

Find out more about Jessa and the pixie knight she meets battling for his life by grabbing your copy ofHidden Magictoday!

What’s Jessa’s story, “A Veil is Parted,” about?

Simith of Drifthorn is tired of war.

After years of battle between the Thistle court and the troll kingdom, even a pixie knight known for his bloodlust longs for peace.

Meeting with the troll king in secret is the only hope for a ceasefire. When the trolls ambush him instead, Simith flees through a doorway hidden by magic into another world.

Wounded, he’ll need to defeat his pursuers and get home before anyone realizes he’s gone. If his commanders find out what he’s been up to…

View original post 112 more words

So…I’ve been plagiarized

In April of 2018, I published a flash fiction piece on Daily Science Fiction, an awesome site that posts quick stories for Sci-Fi fans every single day. They also pay the writers who submit, which is hard to find for flash fiction these days, and I was incredibly proud to have my story accepted by their editors.

So, you can imagine how it sucks to see it copied. A dear friend of mine gave me a heads up, and I reviewed both stories just in case it might have been a mistake of familiarity, and not actual plagiarism. But, yeah, it is. The writer added more words in, but the sequence of events, some turns of phrase, and the twist at the end (even the final quote) is pirated. No, it’s not word-for-word, but plagiarism takes different forms, the main crux being “to steal and pass off ideas or words of another as one’s own”.

If you’d like to have a look for yourself:

My story “The Farewell” can be found HERE 

Today’s story “Departure” can be found HERE

The saddest part of the whole thing is that in the time it took this person to regurgitate my story, they could’ve written their own. Was it a lack of confidence in their own work that led to this? Did they not feel confident an original piece would get accepted, so they went with something that already had been accepted? We all go through those fits of self-doubt, but the worst thing you can do is trade in your integrity for the quick win. It only leads to a loss for everyone involved.

Upcoming Appearance – Galaxy Con


, , , ,


If you’ll be in Minnesota between this Friday November 8th and November 11th, come and visit me over at Galaxy Con! It’s going to be an awesome event in Minneapolis with huge celebrities coming including William Shatner, Jonathan Frakes, Dave Batista, and many others. I’m half hyperventilating at the very idea that I’ll be in the same building as these people.


If you’re there, you can find me in Artists Alley, spot H4 – they’ve listed me under my imprint: Fine Fables Press. I’ll be signing books and doing a few big swag giveaways over the weekend, and I’d love to see you! (Plus, apparently they’ve sold 25,000+ tickets to this thing and, yeah *blows foghorn* it’s an introvert emergency, someone come hug me PLEASE)

Seriously though, it’s going to be a really great time with loads of fun stuff for both kids and adults, so if you’re in the area, check it out.

Hope to see you there ♥

99¢ Sci-Fi!!


, , ,

Looking for some Sci-Fi this weekend?

Author A.C. Spahn’s Endurance is only 99 cents! For a limited time, you can grab the complete novella series all in one anthology – which includes 2 bonus short stories! Yay for bonus!!

“The perfect blend of classic science fiction tropes and modern sitcom humor.”
– New York Times Bestselling Author Michael Levin

“Fast paced story, good science fiction, funky aliens, and characters like you and me.”
– Goodreads Reviewer

“A good balance of action and character development, and pacing that keeps you reading without gasping from over exertion.”
– Author Tahlia Newland


A disrespected ship, exiled to lonely patrol in the dark corners of the solar system.
A crew of screw-ups, written off by the entire fleet.
They’re about to change everything.
If they don’t blow themselves up first.

Join the Endurance’s crew – a trigger-happy first officer, a hyperactive engineer, a shy covert operative, a conspiracy-spouting physicist, and a captain trying to earn his way back into his superiors’ good graces – as they explore the galaxy by accident and trip their way into saving the world.

This anthology includes all five Endurance novellas, as well as two bonus short stories.

Available everywhere! Grab your copy before the sale ends!

Night Latch – Chapter One


, , , ,

It’s launch day for NIGHT LATCH, a new adult urban fantasy full of dangerous quests, supernatural dangers, and loads of good-natured snark. I had loads of fun writing this one and can’t wait to share it with you!

REMINDER: There’s a giveaway contest running through Oct. 8th for those who order the book. More info on that after the excerpt – otherwise go HERE.

Sam Alvarez doesn’t just open locks. He’s the key.

Living in Bellemer, Iowa, Sam leads a typical small-town life. When he’s not looking after his Nana or dealing with his mother’s expectations, he runs a one-man locksmith company. Unlike regular locksmiths, he can open anything with a touch and a wish, but Sam keeps that secret to himself. No reason to alarm the neighbors, after all. And if he sometimes feels an indefinable pull to do more with his life, well, that’s probably just indigestion.

Then one day, an unsettlingly beautiful out-of-towner asks for Sam’s help to open a door. Only one problem: The job’s in a graveyard. And the client? Turns out she’s Death.

Maybe that’s two problems.

When Sam unlocks more than he intended and demons come out to play, he discovers he’s far more than a locksmith with a hidden quirk. Now, he needs to figure out who he is and what he’s been called to do before darker forces close the door on him for good.



IT WOULD happen any minute now.

The clock on my phone wouldn’t rewind or fast forward no matter how much I stared at it. I would just have to endure what came next.

The walls of Clover Mall echoed with its standard orchestra of early evening shoppers and the intermittent screech of hungry toddler. Almost five-o’clock on a Friday afternoon and time, once again, to steel myself for the inevitable encounter. There was always a chance I’d get lucky this go around. Maybe a massive sink hole would suddenly swallow the town of Bellemer, Iowa and spare me from this weekly ritual. Was it selfish to wish myself and 2,500 innocent bystanders out of existence to avoid an awkward situation?

I shook my head at myself, slouching a bit on the stool propping me up behind the counters of the kiosk. My contract with Clover Mall stipulated someone had to man the center lane space I rented for at least ten hours during the business week. A chronic procrastinator, I wound up doing all of them on the last possible day. Which Mr. Upland knew. Ah, the land mines of owning a small business no one tells you about.

And there he was now. Right on schedule and headed this way. The man had punctuality even German transit operators would admire. He waved cheerfully to shoppers and store owners, exchanging pleasantries with a few. A man in his late-fifties, he became the town celebrity when he won the national lottery jackpot five years ago. Two hundred million. He spent some time in New York but came back home and poured money into Bellemer’s failing economy. He fixed up the schools, the roads, built a museum, a new movie theater with awesome stadium seating, and yes, constructed this fabulous strip mall just off the main highway. He was a great guy. We all loved him.

And he wanted me to date his daughter.

I slouched a bit more and tried to appear engrossed in the ninety-nine-cent comic book I’d rummaged out of the bins at the dollar store. There was no escaping this though.

“Sam, my boy!” Mr. Upland boomed as he leaned his forearms against the counter and gave me an earnest smile. “Big plans for the weekend?”

I lowered the comic and smiled back. “Not really. Work, the usual. What about you?”

Mr. Upland shook his head in exasperation. “You work too much, kid. Business going okay? I could make some inquiries for you with a few companies.”

With a town our size, hardly anyone locked their doors even at night, but there were only three certified locksmiths in operation within thirty miles. Supply and demand, baby. Sam Alvarez, Locksmith Co., LLC was doing fine. Or fine enough for my ambitions.

Better to not say that out loud. He’d only insist on helping me then—which was kind, but wrong knowing the motivation. Not to mention, I didn’t like drawing too much attention to myself. Most locksmiths needed their tools to open locks. Unlike me.

“I appreciate that, sir, but I prefer to make my own way.”

“You’re a stand-up guy, Sam. Hard worker.” His gaze took on a proud twinkle and I tried to avoid direct eye contact. Here it came. “Why don’t you come have dinner with Anna and me at the house tomorrow night? Heidi’s home from college.”

Heidi was a great girl. We went to high school together. She was fun, kind, and had a pair of brown eyes that warmed your soul like hot cocoa in December. She was also a lot smarter than me and her vision for the future after Cornell University didn’t include living out her life in Bellemer, no matter how many improvements her dad made to it. I had no plans to go anywhere. Mr. Upland’s strategy to dangle me as a love interest who’d convince her to move back home for good—probably within a few miles of her parents—wasn’t going to work out.

But she was their only daughter and try as I might each week, I just couldn’t bring myself to fully crush the man’s dream.

“Maybe next week, Mr. Upland. I’m pretty busy this weekend.”

Disappointment dimmed the smile in his eyes. He tapped the counter top and shrugged good naturedly. “All right then. Have a good weekend, Sam. Don’t overwork yourself, hear?”

“You too, sir.”

He turned away, which would’ve been a great moment to shove my face back into the comic book and keep my mouth shut. He moved off, a slight slump to his shoulders.

And it got to me.

“Tell Heidi I said hello, will you?”

He looked back, the twinkle returning. “Absolutely, Sam. Hey, you know she has the Skype on her laptop. Maybe you two could catch up on there.”

“Uh, definitely. Next time I’m online, I’ll send her a message.”

“Good man.” He shot a pair of finger-pistols at me and sauntered off with a lighter step.

I was almost never online. Heidi knew that and would get the message. Besides, from what I’d heard, she was dating a guy on the university football team, a Rhodes scholar and a native New Yorker.

Me? Well, I was hardly the stuff of romance novels. Thanks to my free weights and my evening runs I hadn’t gone into complete Cheeto decline in the three years since graduation. The combined heritage of my parents had given me the height of a Scandinavian with the dark hair and burnished skin of a Colombian mestizo. But girls were looking for someone with ambition, someone who wanted to get out of this town and make something of themselves. One look and it was obvious that wasn’t me.

I lacked inspiration and they all knew it.

Staring blankly at my comic book and mulling over this cheerful thought, I nearly jumped out of my skin when I glanced up to find a young woman standing at the counter. Watching me.

I didn’t hear or see her walk up. She’d simply materialized.

“Sorry, I hadn’t, uh—” I bent down to pick up my fallen book and convince my fists to unclench. Jeez, it was just a customer. Pull it together. I stood and made another try for professionalism. “How can I…?”

Of course, professionalism became more difficult when I focused enough to look at her. Long hair fell in a sheet of black silk down her shoulders with eyes like blue ice set into pale gold skin. She was not from Bellemer. I’d have remembered her. She was beautiful and unsettling at the same time, like watching the skies go dark as a storm rolled in from the east.

I cleared my throat. “How can I help you?”

“You open doors.”

As was my custom around stunning women, my fumbled response was peppered with undeserving bravado.

“Mm-hmm, that’s me. Sam the door opening man.” Dear God, no wonder I hadn’t been on a date in months.

She did not react with the typical pity laugh to which I’d grown unwillingly accustomed. In fact, she didn’t react at all. She did not blink, lean, tap, or shuffle her feet. She didn’t even lay her hands on the counter the way everyone did.

She was just…still.

“I need you to open a door,” she said finally.

“Definitely. Sure. I can do that. I’m available.” Ugh, no. Somebody hit me.

“Not now. Tonight.”

“Okay.” No, it wasn’t. I didn’t do calls at night. “What time?”

“When the moon is high.”

“So, what is that, like, eight o’clock?”

She gave a nod. “That is acceptable. You will find me again at Sunny Oak Hills.”

I turned to my pad and pencil at the register behind me to jot down the information.

“Sunny Oak. That sounds familiar but I don’t think I know it. I’ll need your name and the address.”

But when I turned back, she was gone.


Available on Amazon & Kindle Unlimited

The Giveaway Contest