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Blog Tour: The Awakening of Artemis – John Calia

TheAwakeningBT copyThere’s a new book coming out this month and if you enjoy science or speculative fiction, you’re going to love it! Check out The Awakening of Artemis by John Calia!

Cover

The Awakening of Artemis

Expected Publication Date: September 29th, 2021

Genre: Science Fiction/ Speculative Fiction

Orphaned by war and disillusioned about her life, Diana Gutierrez-Adams is on a routine military assignment when she and her team are kidnapped by a domestic militia. She learns from her captors that her cryogenically-frozen grandfather is at the center of a high-stakes plan to steal technology that will change the world for greed and great fortune.

Challenged by the conspiracy and pulled by emotions she doesn’t fully understand, Diana’s rescue mission will change her life. What happens to her is unexpected, perhaps miraculous – an adventure that embraces all her hopes for finding her true self and her place in a world dominated by powerful elites and even more powerful artificial intelligence.

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Excerpt

Diana knew that everyone who lived in the pods as well as anyone officially connected to the government had an embedded chip that enabled monitoring technology to identify where every individual was at any time. The chips also measured the secretion of enzymes and hormones. Algorithms had been developed to predict everyone’s wants and needs based upon those secretions. Over time, the algorithms learned from human response and adjusted their predictions accordingly – without human intervention.

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About the Author

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A Brooklyn-born, second generation American and the eldest of three boys, writing is his third career and the one about which he is most passionate. Following graduation from the US Naval Academy and active duty in the Navy, he embarked on a career in business. He began writing his blog “Who Will Lead?” in 2010 attracting over 115,000 readers. It inspired him to write his first book, an Amazon five-star rated business fable titled “The Reluctant CEO.” Currently he makes his home in Fairport, NY, a village on the Erie Canal.

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Blog Tour: The Shepherd’s Burden – Ryan Young

The SheperdsBurden copy

Welcome to the book tour for award-winning novel, The Shepherd’s Burden by Ryan Young. Read on for more info and a chance to win a signed copy of the book (North America) or a digital edition if your are international!

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The Shepherd’s Burden

Publication Date: June 18th, 2020

Genre: Paranormal Thriller

1st Place Winner, 2020 Chanticleer International Book Awards, Paranormal Awards for Supernatural Fiction Category

Staff Sergeant Daniel Jefferies has returned home to upstate NY after nearly being killed in an ambush in Iraq. Plagued by the trauma of war, he struggles to find his place in a world that he no longer recognizes. He feels disconnected from his family and friends. But, none of his burdens are heavier than the terrifying secret that he has kept about a mysterious encounter from his youth. When a suspicious murder occurs, he will discover that he has been chosen for a purpose that transcends life and death, forcing him to confront his past. In order to stop the killer, he will have to make choices that will change the fate of the people he loves the most. Can Daniel summon the strength of mind and body, that he once had as a soldier, to face the most profound and consequential challenge of his life?

Excerpt

Daniel took the main route out of town. It took them through the city center and back to the site of Nella’s murder. As they approached the site, they saw a man and his young son crossing the road with their donkey. The donkey was towing a wooden cart full of produce. There was an open-air market in the city center. People traveled there to sell their goods. For many of them, it was their only source of income. The boy was four or five years old and the cart was fully loaded, so they were moving slowly. Daniel pulled to a complete stop to allow them to cross. 

“Keep an eye out,” Keith yelled up to Aashirya. 

It was always dangerous to be stopped in the middle of a road in Iraq. Instead of the vehicle being a moving target, which could be hard to hit, it became a stationary target, which was much easier to hit. The chances of an ambush greatly increased.

It was Keith’s job to keep his team on alert, but the heightened state of awareness didn’t change his demeanor. He was perfectly calm. He pulled out another cigarette and lit it while they waited for the man and his son to cross the road. He offered one to Daniel, but he turned it down.

“I can’t understand how nothing seems to bother you. I’ve been doing this just as long as you have. No matter how many times I’m out here, I still get nervous. I wish I knew your secret,” Daniel said.

Keith laughed it off.

“There is no secret, Danny. I told you before, nothing lasts forever. Everyone dies at some point. It’s a foregone conclusion. It’s not a question of if, but when. What’s the difference if we die now or fifty years from now? We shouldn’t fear death. We should embrace it.”

“I think you have been out here too long. You are really starting to trip me out. I think you need a long nap and a cold beer. After that, you need to get laid and seriously rethink that no-fear, embrace death bullshit. Personally, I would much rather be afraid and alive than calm and dead.”

Daniel turned his attention back towards the road. The man and his son were now directly in front of the vehicle. The boy stopped walking and turned to look at him. When they made eye contact, Daniel got an eerie feeling that something was wrong. Before he could react, a large explosion went off underneath the Humvee. The blast tossed the vehicle fifteen feet into the air, landing it on its side. 

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About the Author

Author Pic

Ryan Young is a former Army Captain and Iraq War Veteran. He is a lover of all things fantasy and sci-fi. A native of Utica, NY, he now calls New England home.

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Blog Tour: Where We Are Tomorrow – Tavi Taylor Black

wherearewetomorrowBT copy

Welcome to the blog tour for award-winning novel, Where Are We Tomorrow by Tavi Taylor Black! Read on for more info and a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card!

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Where We Are Tomorrow

Publication Date: May 31st, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Women’s Fiction

Publisher: TouchPoint Press

Alex Evans, a thirty-six year old touring electrician, discovers through an accidental pregnancy and then the pain of miscarriage that she truly wants a family. But to attempt another pregnancy, she’ll have to change both her career and her relationship; her partner Connor, ten years her senior, isn’t prepared to become a father again.

When Alex is implicated in an accident involving the female pop star she works for, she and three other women on tour rent a house together in Tuscany. While the tour regroups, confessions are made, secrets are spilled: the guitar tech conceals a forbidden love, the production assistant’s ambition knows no limits, and the personal assistant battles mental issues.

Through arguments and accidents, combating drug use and religion, the women help each other look back on the choices they’ve made, eventually buoying each other, offering up strength to face tough decisions ahead.

TRIGGER WARNING: MISCARRIAGE/ ADDICTION/ GRIEF 

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Excerpt

Inside the concrete arena, programmed lights whirred and spun in rhythm; eleven thousand fans watched, mesmerized, as vibrant magenta and violet beams sliced through midnight black. On stage, the band regurgitated the same set as the night before, and the night before that. They’d performed the set in Mexico City and Guadalajara. As far south as Santiago and Lima. The road crew for Sadie Estrada’s Home Remedy tour knew each dip in volume, each drop in the beat. They knew exactly, down to the second, how much time it required to step outside and suck down a Marlboro. These time-zone travelers planned bathroom breaks by the songs’ measures; no one missed a cue to mute the stage mics, to hand out room-temp bottled water for set breaks, to pull up house lights.

Behind heavy velvet curtains, separated from the frenzied pace of the show, Alex unscrewed the cover of a moving light to expose the core: circuit boards and capacitors, motors connected to color wheels. Deep bass, feedback, and the fevered pitch of collective voices penetrated the curtain, the familiar, almost comforting reverberations of life on the road. Alex continued her diagnosis, removing the light harness as a mother removes a soiled diaper— routinely, with a touch of tenderness. While she located and replaced the broken part, she kept an ear to the music, alert to the final measure of the set, ready to repack her multi-wheeled toolbox, move on to the next city, set up again.

Alex ran the light through all its functions, testing and retesting once she’d replaced the gobo wheel. The body of the light panned and tilted, working fine. A small victory.

“Sure you know what you’re doing, little lady?” Alex turned at the familiar voice of the tour’s production manager.

“Funny,” she said. “Very original. For that, you get to help me put it away.” Alex waited for another barb, one about her not being able to lift the seventy pounds by herself, but Joe simply helped her flip and crate the unit, a harder task for him at 5’2” than it was for Alex, a good five inches taller.

The arena crackled in anticipation of the show’s climax. Thousands of voices swelled and surged, a unified congregation. The body of the moving light settled into the carved Styrofoam, and Alex tucked its tail inside the handle. As she slammed the case shut, Joe’s laminate got caught inside the box, and he was jerked down by the lanyard around his neck. He freed the latches and yanked it clear, smoothing the wrinkles from the photo of his two young children, a wallet-sized clipping he’d taped behind his backstage pass. Joe caught Alex eyeing the photo.

“When are you gonna give in and pop out a few yourself?” Joe asked.

Alex breathed slowly, letting a brief sadness settle into her body, though her face wore a practiced, blank expression. She gestured into the smothering dark, into the roar of the crowd and sweat-filled air. “And give up all this?”

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About the Author

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Tavi Black lives on an island near Seattle where she designs sets for the ballet, works as the tour manager for a musical mantra group, and has founded an anti-domestic violence non-profit organization. Before earning an MFA from Lesley University, Tavi spent 14 years touring with rock bands. Several of Tavi’s short stories have been shortlisted for prizes, including Aesthetica Magazine’s Competition, and the Donald Barthelme Prize for Short Prose.

Tavi Taylor Black | Instagram | Kirkus Reviews | Indie Reader

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Blog Tour: Cenotaphs – Rich Marcello

Cenotaphs copy

Welcome to the book tour for Cenotaphs by Rich Marcello! Read on for details and a chance to win a fantastic giveaway!

Cenotaphs FRont Cover FinalCenotaphs

Publication Date: July 26th, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

AFTER A CHANCE MEETING, AN OLD MAN AND A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN CHART AN UNCONVENTIONAL PATH FORWARD.

When Ben Sanna, a contemplative retiree with a penchant for helping people, and Samantha Beckett, a secretive New York City hedge fund manager, meet by chance in a small Vermont town, they enter into a tenuous relationship. Over several weeks, Samantha and Ben open their pasts inch by inch, sift through their futures consciously, and come to terms with the strength and depth of their bond. A meditation on redemption told in alternating chapters of musings and scenes, Cenotaphs is about platonic love; the ways we close ourselves off in reaction to pain and what happens when we open ourselves up again; and the deep, painful legacy of loss.

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A SORTING

The parts recur––the son, the lover, the husband, the father, the friend, the citizen. They come in whispers and fragments, in the unwinding of memory. They come in your smile, in the laughter of our children, in nightmares, in bursts of violence against once precious objects. How do you gauge the parts of a life? Did I perform any of them well? How do you summon them into an unfettered whole?

I am old now. I’d hoped I would’ve figured out a few answers by this point, but the truth is I spend more time each day watching the Red Sox than thinking about such things. In the summer and fall, the games are on every day, often twice a day, and watching them gives Zeke and me something to do. Something zen exists about the game, something appealing to me as I age, something about the stillness, the waiting, the bursts of energy, all mimicking the best and worst times in life. And I like the red, blue, and gray uniforms. They remind me of a more structured time.

Zeke, a big black, brown, and white mutt I rescued about ten years ago, keeps me company in our cabin. When I first got him, he liked digging holes in my yard, searching deep and dirty, with only a rare unearthing. His record: twenty-two holes. Twenty-two! In one of them, he found an empty wine bottle, message-less. Now, Zeke mostly sleeps in the same worn spot on the living room rug. I’m not sure which one of us will die first.

Available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble

About the Author

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Rich is the author of five novels, The Color of Home, The Big Wide Calm, The Beauty of the Fall, The Latecomers, and Cenotaphs, and the poetry collection, The Long Body That Connects Us All. He also teaches creative writing at Seven Bridges’ Writer Collaborative. Previously, he enjoyed a successful career as a technology executive, managing several multi-billion dollar businesses for Fortune 500 companies.

As anyone who has read Rich’s work can tell you, his books deal with life’s big questions: love, loss, creativity, community, self-discovery and forgiveness. His novels are rich with characters and ideas, crafted by a natural storyteller, with the eye and the ear of a poet. For Rich, writing and art making is about connection, or as he says, about making a difference to at least one other person in the world, something he has clearly achieved many times over, both as an artist, a mentor, and a teacher.

Rich lives in Massachusetts with his wife and Newfoundland Shaman. He is currently working on his sixth and seventh novels, The Means of Keeping and In the Seat of the Eddas, a follow-on to The Latecomers.

Rich Marcello | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Blog Tour: Lore of Prometheus – Graham Austin-King

John Carver has three rules: Don’t drink in the daytime, don’t gamble when the luck has gone, and don’t talk to the dead people who come to visit.
It has been almost five years since the incident in Kabul. Since the magic stirred within him and the stories began. Fleeing the army, running from the whispers, the guilt, and the fear he was losing his mind, Carver fell into addiction, dragging himself through life one day at a time.
Desperation has pulled him back to Afghanistan, back to the heat, the dust, and the truth he worked so hard to avoid. But there are others, obsessed with power and forbidden magics, who will stop at nothing to learn the truth of his gifts. Abducted and chained, Carver must break more than his own rules if he is to harness this power and survive

About the Author

Graham Austin-King was born in the south of England and weaned on broken swords and half-forgotten spells.

A shortage of these forced him to consume fantasy novels at an ever-increasing rate, turning to computers and tabletop gaming between meals.

He experimented with writing at the beginning of an education that meandered through journalism, international relations, and law. To this day he is committed to never allowing those first efforts to reach public eyes.

After spending a decade in Canada learning what ‘cold’ really means, and being horrified by poutine, he settled once again in the UK with a seemingly endless horde of children.

To date he is the author of five novels, drawing on a foundation of literary influences ranging from David Eddings to Clive Barker.

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Blog Tour: Orange City – Lee Matthew Goldberg

OrangeCity

Welcome to the tour for Orange City by Lee Matthew Goldberg! Today I have an excerpt to read and a chance to win a signed copy of the book!

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Orange City

Expected Publication Date: March 16th, 2021

Genre: Science Fiction/ Dystopian Sci-Fi

Imagine a secret, hidden city that gives a second chance at life for those selected to come: felons, deformed outcasts, those on the fringe of the Outside World. Everyone gets a job, a place to live; but you are bound to the city forever. You can never leave.

Its citizens are ruled by a monstrous figure called the “Man” who resembles a giant demented spider from the lifelike robotic limbs attached to his body. Everyone follows the man blindly, working hard to make their Promised Land stronger, too scared to defy him and be discarded to the Empty Zones.

After ten years as an advertising executive, Graham Weatherend receives an order to test a new client, Pow! Sodas. After one sip of the orange flavor, he becomes addicted, the sodas causing wild mood swings that finally wake him up to the prison he calls reality.

A dynamic mash-up of 1984 meets LOST, ORANGE CITY is a lurid, dystopian first book in a series that will continue with the explosive sequel LEMONWORLD.

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Excerpt

At six on the dot, the gloved cellular let out a piercing ring. A timer turned on, ticking down with each buzz. E wouldn’t have long to remain idle. The entire pod apartment vibrated, and his capsule bed slid open. The white ceiling drew his attention, the walls devoid of color, a minimalist’s fantasy—nothing like a home.

Shades of the dream from last night still lingered. His knuckles painted with blood as he beat a shadow. The voice of the shadow belonging to a ten-year-old boy. The boy’s cries stabbing E’s ears. He shook that dream away.

He removed the intravenous tube that connected him to his bed and switched off the cooling mist which allowed him to slumber for days. He stretched his old bones, his hair standing up in a state of white shock like it had since he was a young man. Swinging his thick legs over the side of the bed, he yawned at the morning before finally answering his cell.

“I’ll be right there,” he coughed into the digital eye on his gloved palm.

He removed the glove and pushed a button on the side of the bed. Doors opening along the wall revealed a sliver of a kitchen with a piping pot of subpar and gritty coffee brewing on the counter— the best offered to the Scouts— and two sizzling poached eggs from a suspect source. He scarfed down the eggs and pushed another button to raise the shades along the lone wall facing east. The heart of The City hovered in the near distance, its new buildings staggering on one end like giant colorful stalagmites. Sipping his black coffee, he watched it in motion as he did every morning.

Between the Scouts and the rest of The City lay a half a mile of ice water. The City was made up of many Regions, his situated on the outskirts. Sometimes he wondered what it would be like to fall into those frosty waters and drift off to wherever it might choose to take him, no longer having to shuttle between The City and the faraway Outside World anymore. But instead of a dramatic suicide, he suited up and headed through the tunnel with a suitcase in hand like he had for twenty years. He’d convinced himself long ago that living here was better than rotting in prison like he would’ve been if they hadn’t selected him. At least he was still able to get lost in a bottle of whiskey or feel the sun against his cheek during

the few instances it was allowed to peek through the chronic clouds. Even though The City was far from ideal, the Outside World remained definitely worse. It reminded him too often of the man he used to be and of the terrible sins he’d committed. These thoughts returned at the beginning of every week while he geared up for another one, as he wondered if one day the Man in the Eye might give him a promotion and he wouldn’t have to be a Scout anymore.

That way, he’d never have to return to the Outside World.

Then, he could possibly be at peace, like all The City’s inhabitants wished.

Available on Amazon!

About the Author

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Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the novels THE ANCESTOR, THE MENTOR, THE DESIRE CARD and SLOW DOWN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the Prix du Polar. His first YA series RUNAWAY TRAIN is forthcoming in 2021 along with a sci-fi novel ORANGE CITY. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in The Millions, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, LitReactor, Monkeybicycle, Fiction Writers Review, Cagibi, Necessary Fiction, the anthology Dirty Boulevard, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. He is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of-the-box. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City. Follow him at LeeMatthewGoldberg.com

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Blog Tour: The Big Tilt – Dan Flanigan

TheBigTilt

Welcome to the blog tour for The Big Tilt, follow-up novel to gritty, noir detective story Mink Eyes by Dan Flanigan! Read on for more details and a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

The Big Tilt Front CoverThe Big Tilt (Peter O’Keefe Book #2) *Can be read as a standalone 

Genre: Thriller/ Noir/ Crime Fiction

Publication Date: October 27th, 2020

Publisher : Arjuna Books

The war in Vietnam didn’t kill Peter O’Keefe. Neither did his run-in with ruthless crime boss “Mr. Canada” in the Arizona desert. But chasing after justice in his own hometown just might.

A year after the private detective uncovered a criminal ring disguised as a mink farm in the Ozarks, O’Keefe is back home and back in trouble. A high school crush of O’Keefe’s turns up dead, but the details don’t add up. His pal, Mike Harrigan, has put his trust in the wrong people and now stands accused of crimes that could put him in the slammer. And O’Keefe? The mafia has put a price on his head.

In their search for the truth, O’Keefe and his team will have to venture into the criminal underworld of their city, each step forward bringing them closer to the edge. As trouble begins creeping closer to home, O’Keefe must decide if he’s willing to pay the cost of justice — before someone else makes the decision for him.

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About the Author

Author Pic

Dan Flanigan is a novelist, poet, and playwright, as well as a practicing lawyer. In his series of Peter O’Keefe private eye novels, Flanigan intends to tell us the story of our times from the 1980s to the present day. Book 1 of the series, Mink Eyes, is set in 1986 and explores the “greed is good” dynamic and the cultural tensions and gender complexities of that era. It is a modern hero’s quest in mystery-detective form. His newest novel and the second book in the Peter O’Keefe Series, The Big Tilt, is set one year later, 1987, with the nation is in the midst of the S&L crisis, which is threatening the financial underpinnings of the national economy. Meanwhile, in his private life O’Keefe is gulping water trying to keep his head above the waves and living out the old proverb “no good deed goes unpunished.” In addition to developing a screenplay version of Mink Eyes, he has published a book of verse and prose poetry, Tenebrae: A Memoir Of Love And Death, and Dewdrops, a collection of his shorter fiction. He has also written the full-length plays–Secrets (based on the life of Eleanor Marx) and Moondog’s Progress (based on the life of Alan Freed).

Over the years Dan has committed his time and energy to projects and organizations he is passionate about. He and his wife Candy established Sierra Tucson, a leading international addiction treatment center in Tucson, Arizona. Dan also serves on the Board of Directors of Childhood USA, a national nonprofit organization working to end child sexual abuse and exploitation.

He divides his time among Kansas City, New York City, and Los Angeles.

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Blog Tour Schedule

December 14th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

@bookishkelly2020 (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/BookishKelly2020/

The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

December 15th

The Scary Review (Spotlight) https://thescaryreviews.com

The Cozy Pages (Spotlight) http://thecozypages.wordpress.com/

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

December 16th

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

Tsarina Press (Spotlight) https://www.tsarinapress.com

December 17th

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

@the_eclectic_review (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/the_eclectic_review/

I’m into Books (Spotlight) https://www.imintobooks.com/

@bookishkelly2020 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/BookishKelly2020/

December 18th

Book Dragons Not Worms (Spotlight) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1

Meli’s Book Reviews (Review) https://melisbokreviews.wordpress.com/

@the.b00kreader (Review) https://www.instagram.com/the.b00kreader

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Blog Tour: Venators Book 2 – Promises Forged – Devri Walls*

It has been mere days in the world of Eon, where Rune Jenkins, her twin brother Ryker, and their friend Grey have been trapped, fighting for their lives. After discovering the truth of their ancestry, the three are far from home, and far from anything resembling their mundane lives of the past.

While Ryker is still held captive by the eerily beautiful Zio and her goblins, Grey falls into the clutches of Feena, the Fae queen. She begins to drain his soul bit by bit to feed her dark underground garden, and Grey has no hope of escaping on his own.

It is now up to Rune to save Grey, as his precious time slips away inexorably. But the Council has denied her permission to embark on a rescue mission, until she can harness her Venator gifts and prove herself capable of venturing into the Fae queen’s territory. As Rune discovers that promises in Eon are forged with life-or-death consequences, she realizes that she must act quickly, or else be swallowed and Grey along with her by the dangers of Eon.


Devri Walls is a US and international best-selling author. She specializes in all things fantasy and paranormal. She’s best known for her uncanny world-building skills, her intricate storylines, and the ability to present it all in an easy-to-digest voice. Devri loves to engage with her loyal following through online sessions organized for her readers and social media. Devri lives in Meridian, Idaho, with her husband and two kids. When not writing, she can be found teaching voice lessons, reading, cooking, or binge watching whatever show catches her fancy.

Author Q&A

What motivated you to begin crafting your own YA stories?

I was a theater major and a singer and had taken a break from everything while I was raising my children, but it left massive creative holes in my heart. I was desperately searching for something to fill it. In a strange series of events that are entirely too long to add here, I had the undeniable and unexplainable urge to write a book. It seemed insane at the time. But when I couldn’t ignore it any longer, I started my first project. Turns out, not only could I write; but, writing filled those creative voids better than anything else I’d ever dabbled in. I found my life’s calling completely on accident.

Whator whoinspired Grey, your Venators hero?

Oh, Grey. Grey was a very important character to me. I envisioned him, trudging with his head down, letting his hair fall to cover his features, hunkering down in that trench coathiding from the world. And I knew that he had suffered at the hands of abuse. Grey has endured sexual abuse from a young age. It was very important to me that the character in the book dealing with sexual abuse be Grey. It’s a topic not covered nearly enough. There has to be examples for people to read about that tell male victims of sexual abuse that they’re going to be all right. That they are not weak, or dirty or broken or less of a male because of it. The thing that I love the most about Grey is that he doesn’t allow this abuse to define or destroy him. It affects his life in so many ways, but it hasn’t darkened his heart or inhibited his kindness. In fact, it has fed his charity and created a true hero as one who seeks out the broken, the lost and downtrodden. Grey may feel broken and lost; but, he lifts everyone around him.

Whator whoinspired Rune, your Venators heroine?

Rune was the opposite side of Grey’s coin. In this story Grey came first, he was my original muse. And Rune was everything he once thought he wantedathletic, popular, came from a wealthy family and your typical, “appears to have it all” kid we all knew in high school. But Grey saw, as we soon do, that her life is not nearly as perfect as it appeared. I wanted a woman who suffers from toxic perfectionism that was forced on her. A girl who was drowning under expectations and responsibilities. It’s such a problem among so many women and the human population in general.

What do you wish you’d known earlier in your career as an author, and what key piece(s) of advice do you have for other aspiring writers?

Honestly? I don’t think I would’ve given myself any more knowledge than what I had. Ignorance kept me going too many times. HA! But I would probably tell myself to relax a little bit more and enjoy the journey. Advice for others… Understand that writing and being a writer as your job are very different things. If you have no desire to ever have a bad review written, to spend time promoting yourself on social media, to help with marketing and working when you don’t want to, then being an employed writer is maybe not for you. But by all means, keep creating stories! You are no less a writer for choosing that path. If you really can’t imagine doing anything else and will pay the price for your career, then go for it.

What influenced your approach to building the book’s otherworldly realm?

Books like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Although Venators is very different than both of these examples, both books built something enormous. Stories with vastly different cultures and geographic features spread across the land. They widened my mental horizons and said, yesthis can be done.

How would you describe your creative process overall?

A hot mess. Wait… am I allowed to say that? Probably ill advised, but I’m sticking with it. I am very much a “build as I go” kind of writer. This often leaves me with a very messy draft that I loathe. I should point out that it’s very difficult to work on something you hate. I have to go over my stories again and again, adding and tweaking as necessary until I’ve polished it into something beautiful. I’m reasonably sure this is the most painful way to create art, but it’s the only way I’ve found that allows my creativity to remain as unleashed as possible. With the high fantasy and fantasy blends that I write, being totally free in my imagination, has always lead to the most beautiful scenes in the end.

Both on and off the page, you’re passionate about empowering other women; how has that mission informed the characters you create?

I’m so excited to watch Rune on her journey as she tries to shed this old shell and learns to embrace who she really is. For the first time in her life, Rune will have to start making choices for herself. She will trudge through triumph, grief, guilt and pride, then roll over to do it again. I want to write REAL women. There was a trend in literature for a while to write more women, which was fantastic! But the pendulum swung a little too far the other direction. We started seeing book after book of “kickbutt women” which translated into, invincible, power-hungry, emotionless women. They weren’t the greatest role models as no one besides an AI can actually BE all of those things. I strive to write women who are strong yet flawed. Determined, yet emotional. Capable in some areas and weak in others. Because really, what is the point of reading about a fantastic female character you could never emulate or learn from? It’s like our world trying to actually become that Phototshopped, curated version of the pictures in magazines. But reading about a woman who struggles and gets back up again. Now that is inspiring.

What can fans expect next from the Venators series?

Oh. My. Gosh. You can expect everything!!! This series is going to just keep getting bigger and better as Rune and Grey venture deeper into Eon. Book two will deliver big time on what the fans have been begging for and that is more Beltran! We also get a twisted look into Queen Feena’s Fae garden that has Grey a little “wrapped up”, while Rune is forced to embrace a side of herself she’s not quite ready for. And book three?? Well, let’s just say the games will be of epic proportions!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.